A Useful Diagram of Contemplative Practices

Contemplative Practices can be some of the most life-giving and nourishing things we can do (“do” is not the best word for it, of course. ha!)

I found this graphic you see here at onbeing.org.

It includes a number of practices from different religions to show examples of each branch. The roots represent the two may intentions of the contemplative practices found worldwide: Communication and connection; and awareness. Both are essential for transformation and progressing in maturity.

The main branches include:

  • Activist
  • Relational
  • Movement
  • Ritual/Cyclical
  • Stillness
  • Generative
  • Creative

Your specific tradition may include examples for each branch. For me, plenty was lacking in what I knew of my tradition in its modern form. It wasn’t until I dug a lot further into history and the whole spectrum of practice, did I see the depth therein and find new opportunities to enrich my soul and increase my felt connection to God and others.

If you’re searching for something in your daily spiritual practices and want to add a new sort of richness, see what you can add from a branch you haven’t climbed yet.

( Photo by Carrie Bergman + design by Maia Duerr)


What is Content Marketing? (A New Go-To Guide)



I’m so excited to release another Sparky Go-To Guide!

This is is only available on Kindle.

(Remember using the Kindle app is Free and it can be used on the computer or smartphone.)

The Go-To guide is UNDER 2 Bucks, too!

What? Yes. Crazy!

Everything in tradition communication has changed because of 3 seismic shifts.

This quick go-to guide will give you those reasons and the lay of the land now, so you can make the kinds of connections that will matter most.


Ever wonder why magazine and newspaper ads, or even television and radio advertising are foolhardy wastes of money now?

Wonder no more.

The ad men of Madison Avenue (MadMen) are extinct and  reason will surprise you (and it has nothing to do with smoking or martinis).

Many people have noticed the 3 shifts on a certain level, but most haven’t understood what to really do about about it when they want to get their message out.

If you have a ministry,

a group,

a book,

a creation of some sort,

or you want to make some side money and aren’t sure how to spread the news,

get wise to this Go-To Guide. 

It will likely save you a lot of wasted time and money.

Click below to read a short sample at Amazon, right now!

2nd Sunday of Advent-Peace

cropped-90_05_20-Christmas-Lights-Regent-Street-London-England-_web.jpgA short Advent reflection today!

At my church we light Advent candles during the four Sundays before Christmas. It’s a tradition I’ve embraced and enjoy.

The first week stands for Hope, the second stands for Peace, the third for Love, and the fourth for Joy. (Various places do it in different ways.)

I’ve been thinking about peace. How to get it. How to keep it. Does it exist in a way that matters?

Advent is literally about a pregnant pause. We think about what is not yet here, like the girl Mary waited for many things expecting the Christ baby. Waiting.

It’s amazing how un-peaceful this time of year can be. There’s a lot to do, there’s bad weather to get around, there’s extra cooking, baking, and wrapping. And plenty more. The blitz from media alone is enough to get you ornery and want to opt out.

We’re are watching various Christmas themed family movies lately on the ABC Family Channel and the 8 minutes bombardment of commercialism propaganda in the commercials after every ten minutes of movie time gets me pretty frustrated!

So what about PEACE?

The peace that comes from the Spirit of peace really is inclusive of many others words, isn’t it?

The word peace is closer to Shalom which is a full-bodied concept. It included a fullness, a well-being, an “all will be well” over-arching attitude and sense. Provision. Rescue. Comfort.

Shalom is not contingent on circumstances but endures and carries an abiding joy (sturdy happiness).

It’s a lack of discord too.

There is a generosity to the word. There is a mercy there.

When Jesus offers peace to his followers in troubling times, he says the words, “Peace be with you”. It’s to bring comfort and stillness–ease of breath. Relief and placidity. Peace feels like coming home to a home you somehow remember but have never quite found.

“Peace on earth, goodwill to [humankind].”

It’s something you buy into. It’s something you put on and do things with.

Carry a bit of that with you today. Better yet, do something with it, and spread it, too!

(Start by spreading this article)

A Blessed Advent to you.

Now a question to ponder or reply to here: What else is peace (to you)?

27 Things to Talk About At Thanksgiving Dinner


There’s no place like home for the holidays…

It can be fun, it can be World War III, or something in-between…but there’s no place like it!

I checked around and found out some people are counting on one thing to get them through Thanksgiving this year.

• Food? No.

• Gratefulness? No.

• Football? No.

• Shopping? No.

What then?

That’s right, the medicine that’s kept family feasting bearable since the dawn of time. Even cave-dwellers were digging up their stashes of mead before gathering with the clan around the family fire pit and feasting on wooly mammoth, or what-have-you.

Some families don’t drink alcohol, of course. This is no time for hair-splitting. You’ve come here for help. Scroll down for the resource!

For introverts holiday gatherings can be tedious, but it’s more than that. It seems that most of us are less used to conversing face-to-face. It’s a lost art. We get itchy so soon now to numb out or escape on smartphones, tv, and the computer and then time for connection is wasted. Or, the discomfort of connecting (or misconnecting) has us looking for the exits. I’ve been there!

Here’s the truth: When extended families get together there’s usually baggage, off-limit topics, old wounds, jealousies, and enough backstory to create torrents of anxiety. That’s the side of the holidays that doesn’t make it to the commercials.

No, it’s not always like this.
Sometimes it’s just family fun and favorite foods, and good times from start to finish, but that isn’t really the way things go typically. At the very least there’s the stress of the adding obligations and scheduling everything will wind things up.

Here’s some help!
Rather than zone out or make guests uncomfortable, which is also time-tested family tradition in many homes too, try these conversation starters as you feast and holiday! Recycle them for other days if you had fun with it, or think of some of your own. Don’t put pressure on anyone to play, but use this quick download as an excuse to to try something different.  It really doesn’t take much to upgrade your holiday.

You might want to implement a 2 hour technology fast. This seems like a great idea…then you do it and 20 minutes later your nerves start to fry. (That’s what I mean about a lost art!) This can help with that.

Feel free to view, download or print the file below.

Other tips:
• You might want to place a printed question under each plate, or into a hat to draw from. Feel free to have duplicate questions circulating too.

• A person can answer the question that they get or they can swap with a previous question (your house rules can be different–just have fun with it. The point is to have fun).

• Remember keep the whole thing chilled out and enjoyable.

Not sure how to start?

Just say, “Hey, everyone, I thought this year instead of just asking everyone what they are thankful for, I thought we could play a game while we eat!

• If it doesn’t work out, just blame the game. Easy-peasy.

Click here to read, download, and print.
(It’s also a good way to get your kids involved and keep them busy.)

27 Things to talk about:

(FILE) Tabletalkgame DOCUMENT

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I’d love to hear how things went.

Let me know! and stop back to hear the audio podcast released twice per week.

Know someone who might need some holiday help?
Please share !


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