Sarah's on a blogging hiatus, busy working on the launch of her new book which is now available for preorder on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or IndieBound. Here's a sneak peek:
AN INTERVIEW OF (SWEET) SARAH BY (SNARKY) SARAH
Hey. You can't interview yourself. That's bogus.
Hold up there, bub. The book is in preorder! We'll have interviews by more impressive people when the press get their copies soon. They will all love the book and write spectacular reviews, but likely not as entertaining as snarky Sarah interviewing sweet Sarah. But if you insist, here's a link to people not named Sarah (okay, well there is one Sarah, but it's not us), who have spiritual street cred and who liked the book. Read reviews.
Ok, well why should I buy this book? I already have a stack of unread books I feel guilty about.
How much time do you have? There are tons of reasons: SERENITY: It will help you stop beating yourself up for not meditating every morning, missing yoga, or being perfectly spiritual every day. JOY: It's frickin funny. BARGAIN: It's only 16.95… that's like 1 lunch out, 1 hand of a manicure, or two grande lattes. SAVES LIVES: Each book sold will mean a donation to charity:water to bring clean water to the 663 million people who lack access to clean water. And I could go on…
Ok, enough. Let's start with the cover. What's with the unicorn?
That's you. That's me. That's all the readers: the Spiritual Rebels. Not afraid to stand out and strike our own path, yet united in that we are all seeking, looking for a deeper perspective and a higher purpose for our lives.
Nice way to hit the subtitle there. Alright, then what's the inside of the book about?
Bringing together insights from a wide range of traditions―from Taoism to Jediism to Yoga to Science―Spiritual Rebel unveils three weeks of unconventional practices—including forest bathing, hiking, cat-gazing, mindfulness, and sacred space crashing to name just a few. Combining pop culture with ancient wisdom, the book helps not only spiritual seekers—but also agnostics, atheists, the spiritual-but-not-religious, and the (joyfully) spiritually confused—curate meaningful spiritual moments throughout the day without having to commit exclusively to one path, never having to fear they might be “doing it wrong.”
I heard you interviewed a bunch of really cool spiritual people for the book. Tell me more about that.
You heard right! I'm a bookworm who can’t stop reading and an unrelenting researcher. I believe this makes me an inspiring spiritual tour guide. So I mined the world’s philosophical, scientific, and religious traditions for juicy tidbits, drawing on the wisdom of Wayne Teasdale, Dr. Andrew Newberg, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Neil deGrasse Tyson, John Muir, Dr. Qing Li, Deepak Chopra, Ram Dass, Thich Nhat Hanh, Madeleine L'Engle, Krishna Das, Belden C. Lane, and many others (including Princess Leia and Yoda). And I had some deep chats with others, including Lindsay Mack, Diane Berke, Francesco Mastalia, Steven D. Farmer, and Joshua Coombes, As a result, Spiritual Rebel contains a diverse collection of practices and resources to inspire the Force within you, by whatever name you call it.
And about that Force… I heard a rumor you were a Jedi. What's up with that?
Well, truth be told, I'm an aspiring Jedi. After the book launch, I'll get back to hitting the books to make it official.
So, I'm not religious.
You don’t have to be. Spiritual Rebel doesn't require you to "be" anything, believe anything specific, join anything, or agree to anything. It's about exploring your spiritual side in whatever way is meaningful to you.
I was thinking about gifting the book to a friend, but she's religious. Are you gonna rip on religion and piss her off?
Nope. No religion bashing here. Religions—at their best—are groups of caring, spiritual people trying to support each other to get good stuff done in their community (so that all can feel sustained and strengthened). Religions—at their worst—are groups of people focusing on how to keep themselves solid (by excluding those that stretch their ideas of what the community stands for). like any institution. I'm a fan of a lot of sacred texts, spiritual practices, and spiritual people from all different kinds of religions. There's amazing stuff out there, so I won’t throw the baby out with the proverbial bathwater.
Why should I order now, when I won't get the book until June?
Because you are a trendsetter. An influencer. A first adopter. Or maybe you just like to get free stuff. (If you preorder and email your full mailing address to email@example.com we'll send you a sticker.) Preordering also helps us make sure we print enough books.
Who are these Monkfish people publishing you?
Monkfish is an independent press publishing spiritual and literary books from a diverse range of perspectives. Genres include memoirs, wisdom literature, fiction, and scholarly works of thought. Monkfish creates books for both the seasoned and novice seeker as well for to the general public looking for reliable sources on spirituality. Learn more
Your first book was really long. I mean thorough. Is this book long too? I'm a busy person!
You are in luck. Straight through this book takes only 4-5 hours to read. But, it's designed to be read in short chucks of about 10-15 min each day for 21 days. Most sections are followed by a spiritual practice for you to try out.
Umm. I didn't read your first book.
That's ok! You didn’t need to. This one's completely different.
Ok, well thanks. You are clearly a brilliant, creative writer whose book will change my life. How do I get it?
If you preorder on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or IndieBound, the book will be shipped June 11. E-books will be available at launch as well.
Got it. And will you be doing a book tour so I can come bug you in person with all my deep questions?
You are in luck again! The epic book tour starts in June. To keep up-to-date on book signings as well as my upcoming workshops in Seattle (August 2019) and New York (January 2020), check out the Events page (and sign up for the monthly newsletter).
How can I rock one of those awesome "Spiritually Rebellious" t-shirts I saw you wearing on Facebook. Or maybe Instagram. I don’t know. I saw you in a cool shirt somewhere.
I bet you did. Those shirts are my unofficial author uniform. Here's a link to get your own.
Last question: So what's next?
Audiobook. I like to talk.
Hey, thanks for your time, Sweet Sarah.
Back at ya, snarky. Don't forget to check us out on IG @spirituallyrebellious to keep up-to-date on our antics.
Last month I was reflecting on my second chakra and pondering Schrodinger’s Cat. So, it’s amusing that while digging in to my third chakra, I found myself pondering the mischievous Cheshire cat, made popular in Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Remember him? From time to time, his body would completely disappear, except for his big grin. On some occasions, he’d even jokingly dislocate his head from his body…
Likewise, it seems this month that my third chakra has been playing hide and seek with me. I certainly know that I have a third chakra. I see its impact in my life: I have a healthy sense of self; I’m able to act autonomously and with purpose; I’m independent and can move plans easily from idea into action. But for the life of me I could not locate the damn thing in my body. As I’ve been studying the chakra system for the past few months, I’ve been able to easily find the prior chakras—Muladhara (root) and Svadhisthana (sacral). All I needed to do was think about one and I could feel its location. But when I started my journey to feel the Manipura, or third chakra, I was s*!t out of luck...
“It’s like Schrödinger’s cat,” purred Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella from in front of the shimmering model quantum computer. And suddenly a small gasp escaped my lips. I self-consciously peeked to see if anyone noticed. Even though there were 6000 other geeks in the auditorium, I momentarily thought Satya was speaking directly to me.
I’ve long been fascinated with Erwin Schrödinger’s infamous thought experiment from the 1930s. If you’re not familiar with it, you should be, because it explains a lot about how we see “reality"...
A whopping 89% of people in the US, believe in some sort of "God". And that % gets higher if we expand the term God to include any kind of Higher Power, like the Tao, the Universe, Spirit, the Source, and so on. Yet, the % of people who consider themselves affiliated with a specific religion has dropped down to about 77%. And of those, only 60% attend a house of worship.
Many of us who don't fit nicely into the surveys are actually becoming increasingly spiritual. Our definition of religion is expanding. We're finding new ways of connecting with the God of our understanding. We're redefining what sacred, spiritual, and religious mean for us. We have spiritual practices that come from multiple faith traditions. We may do yoga in the morning, meditate in the afternoon, hit a Shabbat service some Fridays, pray at a Church service some Sundays, and teach our kids about the power of the Force.
What would YOUR spiritual journey look like as a playlist? This is mine:
Read more from Sarah Bowen in Void if Detached: Seeking Modern Spirituality Through My Father's Old Sermons.
I’ve never been fond of the word “grounded”. So, it should come as no surprise that when recently asked to get grounded by exploring my first chakra, I was a bit skeptical.
In my teen years, “getting grounded” was usually the result of staying out too late, or some mischief involving boys and beer. As I grew older, I was much more interested in staying on the high side of things than being grounded. Grounded was boring. Lame. I was looking for excitement. Transcendence...
The more I try to set aside my pre-pubescent Jedi theology, the more it seems to follow me. This happened again recently when I picked up the book In Search of Zarathustra: Across Iran and Central Asia to find the world’s first prophet by Paul Kriwaczek, an Austrian dentist turned BBC journalist. Surprisingly going back into history would propel me out into space not once, but twice.
Here's what happened: Kriwacek starts his journey in the 1950s, describing his introduction to Zarathustra through Nietzsche’s book from the late 1800s entitled Also Sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra). If that name doesn’t sound familiar to you, one of its sentences might: “Gott ist tot” (God is Dead).
I had somehow escaped college without reading Nietzsche, so I best knew Thus Spoke Zarathustra for its cinematic notoriety. In 1896, composer Richard Strauss was inspired by Nietzsche’s book to write a musical piece of the same name. Then in 1968, director Stanley Kubrick snagged it to use in his film 2001: A Space Odyssey. You know… bom… bom.. bom… DA DA… as the sun appears from behind the planet? Well, that’s part of Also Sprach Zarathustra.
So just who is this Zarathustra? ...
Today I want to tackle what I often call the “p” word—otherwise known in religious circles as prayer.
This simple 6-letter word has caused me more trouble in my life than all the 4-letter words I was fond of using in my rebellious formative years. Before puberty, the word prayer caused me no issue. I recited the prayers we kids learned in Sunday school with my fellow frilly-dressed and tiny tie-wearing fellow students. Then when I became a “big girl”, I recited The Lord’s Prayer with the congregation, and tried to sit silently during the Silent Prayer. I knew to bow my head and not fidget. This was not the time to tickle your sister, as tempting as it may be. This was the time for reverence, to “talk to God”. But I couldn’t quite grasp it. I had tried to pray to get things I wanted, and when they didn’t appear, I fluctuated between sentiments of “praying is stupid” and “I’m stupid, I can’t pray right”. Plus, God never seemed to talk back. How rude! I totally would have been in trouble for not talking to someone who talked to me. But it seemed God had special rules...
Have you seen the bumper sticker “My Karma ran over your Dogma”?
Well, as a modern reverend who has studied the diverse religious traditions of the world, I’ve been pondering this bumper sticker all week. It’s clever, I agree. But what is it saying?
I started by asking the collective wisdom that is… Yahoo Answers:
There were two dozen or so answers, including a few confused people that were offering dog training advice. Maybe Yahoo Answers wasn’t the best place to start. I decided to break it down...
Many afternoons during my elementary school years, my mother would yell “SARAH!” from the kitchen when she realized I had brought home yet another dead chipmunk in my lunchbox and left it on the counter.
Bringing dead chipmunks I found on the way home from school made complete sense to me. I was a preacher’s kid, and they clearly needed burial. But to my mother—not so much. It meant that on a very tight budget she would need to buy me yet another lunch box.
At that age, I lacked the language to explain why I was doing this. It just made sense to me. I had a connection with these animals, and I needed to bury them in my mother's front bushes...
The command “Resist!” screams at me daily now from my Facebook feed. Since the election of President Trump, the word has steadily returned to our collective vocabulary. And there seems to be no end to the popular icons used to ask me to resist: Smokey Bear, Princess Leia, and Uncle Sam appear on posters under the same heading… Resist!
Which leads me in a roundabout way to Martin Luther. Until recently my view of Luther was an inspired reformer and resistance leader who took the indulgences and atrocities of the Roman Catholic Church to task with his 95 theses, fueling the Reformation. In other words, a very simplistic, generalized Protestant view. Last year, I expanded this view when reading the actual theses and some pieces of his other works at the Morgan Library’s exhibit Word and Image: Martin Luther’s Reformation. Viewing the sparring of Luther and the Pope through words and images (against my backdrop of the US election season) was poignantly timely. I began to see the human, culpable side of Luther… the other side of the coin. This expanded even further when viewing the Thomas More exhibit last month in DC. Viewing endless examples of anti-Catholic rhetoric and violence quickly turned the Reformation into a multi-faceted issue for me.
A few weeks later, when watching the documentary The Cross and the Star: Jews, Christians, and the Holocaust I heard Luther quoted “Next to the devil himself, a Christian has no enemy more cruel, more venomous and violent than a true Jew.” WTF? Next, I heard how Hitler used Luther as a German hero to support his rhetoric, and undermine the Confessing Church. So I checked out selections from Luther’s 65,000 words On the Jews and their Lies. Suggesting burning synagogues? Forbidding rabbis to preach? I’m led back down the rabbit hole of anti-semitism and Christian triumphalism from the mighty church fathers. Selected readings of St Augustine, John Crysostom, and Tertullian accompanied me back into the “Jews killed Christ” bullshit. Meanwhile, the news on my modern tv set seemed to scream “Make Christianity great (and superior) again!”
Breathe. Breathe. Breathe...