For Rudolf Steiner, life can be truly understood only if it is experienced as art is experienced, as inner activities expressed through physical materials. On this ground of the union of inner experience and sensory life, he developed his unique, holistic approach to education. Richards views Steiner schools as expressing a new educational consciousness appropriate for our time, a “grammar of interconnections” among scientific observational, artistic imagination, religious reverence, and practical activity in which every part bears a deep connection.
M.C. Richards' CENTERING, published 25 years ago, went on to sell 120,000 copies and became a classic on the melding of spirit and art and the discovery of the self through creativity. This is the first major collection of her richly imagistic poetry which combines previous work with new poems written in the past decade. Richards here inquires about the essence and power of the imagination, and advocates viewing the world in images that "make us whole." "The world will change," she says, "when we imagine it differently," This new book includes eight color paintings by Thomas Buechner, with the poems they inspired.
Beloved spiritual teacher, poet, and philosopher Mark Nepo returns to the inspiring short-chapter format of his #1 New York Times bestseller, The Book of Awakening, to map an insightful and resilient path for inhabiting the soul by engaging in the world. Mark Nepo has been called “one of the finest spiritual guides of our time,” “a consummate storyteller,” and “an eloquent spiritual teacher.” With the rare ability to communicate stirringly profound truths directly to each individual heart, Mark inspires audiences of more than 15,000 people as well as small, intimate groups. Now, in The One Life We’re Given, Nepo’s personal stories, questions, and meditations take us on a deep and uplifting journey to know our own hearts and enliven our souls. “In order to fully live the one life we’re given,” Nepo writes, “we each must affirm how precious this one life is and open ourselves to loving whatever life puts before us. Whether that is suffering, pain, fear or loss, or surprise, beauty, love or wonder, we work to stay in touch with our hearts in order to make sense of our experience. As we learn when to try and when to let go, when to give our all and when to surrender and simply receive, we unfold the moments that reveal meaning and ready us for grace. This is how the heart breaks a path to our soul’s work, leading us to our authenticity, and to how we can be useful to others and the world.” By illuminating the art of finding and restoring what matters and by exploring the craft of awakening, The One Life We’re Given affirms our purpose as not just to stay alive but to stay in our aliveness.
Ceramics had a far-reaching impact in the second half of the twentieth century, as its artists worked through the same ideas regarding abstraction and form as those for other creative mediums. Live Form shines new light on the relation of ceramics to the artistic avant-garde by looking at the central role of women in the field: potters who popularized ceramics as they worked with or taught male counterparts like John Cage, Peter Voulkos, and Ken Price. Sorkin focuses on three Americans who promoted ceramics as an advanced artistic medium: Marguerite Wildenhain, a Bauhaus-trained potter and writer; Mary Caroline (M. C.) Richards, who renounced formalism at Black Mountain College to pursue new performative methods; and Susan Peterson, best known for her live throwing demonstrations on public television. Together, these women pioneered a hands-on teaching style and led educational and therapeutic activities for war veterans, students, the elderly, and many others. Far from being an isolated field, ceramics offered a sense of community and social engagement, which, Sorkin argues, crucially set the stage for later participatory forms of art and feminist collectivism.
This ain't no Dreamgirls," Rhodessa Jones warns participants in the Medea Project, the theater program for incarcerated women that she founded and directs. Her expectations are grounded in reality, tempered, for example, by the fact that women are the fastest growing population in U.S. prisons. Still, Jones believes that by engaging incarcerated women in the process of developing and staging dramatic works based on their own stories, she can push them toward tapping into their own creativity, confronting the problems that landed them in prison, and taking control of their lives. Rena Fraden chronicles the collaborative process of transforming incarcerated women's stories into productions that incorporate Greek mythology, hip-hop music, dance, and autobiography. She captures a diverse array of voices, including those of Jones and other artists, the sheriff and prison guards, and, most vividly, the women themselves. Through compelling narrative and thoughtful commentary, Fraden investigates the Medea Project's blend of art and activism and considers its limits and possibilities for enacting social change. Rhodessa Jones is co-artistic director of the San Francisco-based performance company Cultural Odyssey and founder of the Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women. An award-winning performer, she has taught at the Yale School of Drama and the New College of California.
Poet, philosopher, and cancer survivor Mark Nepo has been breaking a path of spiritual inquiry for more than forty years. In his latest book, the #1 New York Times bestselling author “writes reflectively and poetically about the lifelong spiritual journey” (Publishers Weekly). Called one of the finest spiritual guides of our time, Nepo explores what it means to become our truest self as we face life’s challenges—as well as its joys. Navigating some of the soul’s deepest, most ancient questions, he asks: How do we stay vital and buoyant amid the storms of life? What is the secret to coming alive? The soul’s journey is inevitable, and no matter where we go we can’t escape this foundational truth: What’s in the way is the way. As Nepo writes, “The point of experience is not to escape life but to live it.” Featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday program, and a key presenter in Oprah’s nationwide The Life You Want Weekend Tour, Nepo inspires each of us to discover who we were born to be. Like his bestselling The Book of Awakening, The Endless Practice is filled with insights and stories, guidance and practice that will bring you closer to living life to the fullest.
"The practice of contemplation is one of the great spiritual arts," writes Martin Laird in A Sunlit Absence. "Not a technique but a skill, it harnesses the winds of grace that lead us out into the liberating sea of silence." In this companion volume to his bestselling Into the Silent Land, Laird focuses on a quality often overlooked by books on Christian meditation: a vast and flowing spaciousness that embraces both silence and sound, and transcends all subject/object dualisms. Drawing on the wisdom of great contemplatives from St. Augustine and St. Teresa of Avila to St. Hesychios, Simone Weil, and many others, Laird shows how we can uncover the deeper levels of awareness that rest within us like buried treasure waiting to be found. The key insight of the book is that as our practice matures, so will our experience of life's ordeals, sorrows, and joys expand into generous, receptive maturity. We learn to see whatever difficulties we experience in meditation--boredom, lethargy, arrogance, depression, grief, anxiety--not as obstacles to be overcome but as opportunities to practice surrender to what is. With clarity and grace Laird shows how we can move away from identifying with our turbulent, ever-changing thoughts and emotions to the cultivation of a "sunlit absence"--the luminous awareness in which God's presence can most profoundly be felt. Addressed to both beginners and intermediates on the pathless path of still prayer, A Sunlit Absence offers wise guidance on the specifics of contemplative practice as well as an inspiring vision of the purpose of such practice and the central role it can play in our spiritual lives.