Unshakable Joy – Spiritual Tools & Practices for Resilience, Self-Compassion, and Empathy
Each day, we’re bombarded with stressful news and other distractions — on our televisions and phones, in the conversations around us, and within our own quiet moments of reflection.
Our attention and energies are pulled in so many directions by these powerful forces that our thoughts scatter, our body’s wisdom is abandoned, and our society splits off in clashing directions.
As the world speeds up, it’s more important than ever to slow down, honor each other’s humanity, and be kind to one another.
Who can we turn to for the wisdom we need to create an unshakable inner resilience — to face, and even embrace, all that life brings?
About the Wisdom of Brother Lawrence, the Friar d'Amour
The wisdom our world needs right now — according to author Carmen Acevedo Butcher, PhD, an award-winning translator of spiritual texts — can be found in the teachings of Brother Lawrence, the Friar d’Amour.
Brother Lawrence was a down-to-earth mystic, monastery cook, sandal repairer, and disabled veteran who limped painfully all his adult life.
He lived through a time that was strikingly similar to our own — marked by authoritarianism, political division, social and economic disparities, climate crises, hunger, plague, global death, and war.
As a result, his writings, found after his death in 1691, are filled with profound yet practical tools and wisdom that apply to our moment in history — equipping us to live more calmly and deeply as we connect with ourselves, others, and God.
In Brother Lawrence’s view, these were written outpourings of the Holy Spirit, capturing God’s mystery and kindness as Brother Lawrence reflected on the ways his own suffering allowed him to grow into a profound relationship with the Divine.
During a 10-year dark night of the soul, Brother Lawrence discovered one of his most important spiritual tools — a simple and profoundly healing presence prayer that brought him lasting peace and unspeakable joy as he recited it throughout each day for the rest of his life.
Today’s seekers are discovering that Brother Lawrence’s spiritual practices can help them accept and even embrace the pain that life can bring, while moving them toward healing, greater connection to our global human family, and joy in serving others.
We invite you to welcome Brother Lawrence’s spiritual wisdom into your life as well.
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What You'll Learn During “Unshakable Joy” With Carmen Acevedo Butcher
During this free online spiritual healing class, you'll discover more about Brother Lawrence’s gentle, simple practices for returning to love — and feeling more grounded in the midst of life’s biggest distractions and greatest challenges.
Carmen will share how she experienced a most extraordinary relationship with Brother Lawrence — beyond the limits of time — when she translated his words years ago.
As you’ll discover, Brother Lawrence’s wisdom and practices can bring you home again — into yourself and back to love — as you cultivate an inner sense of calm and the ability to act lovingly.
Class Topics: Unshakable Joy
- A guided imagery exercise to befriend your feelings and welcome them into your life — so you can experience healing, let go of any desire for power and control, and create a space for what Brother Lawrence called “unspeakable joy”
- How the teachings of 17th-century friar Brother Lawrence — including the practice of the presence of God — are a beacon of hope that can help you navigate today’s challenges and crises
- How to uncover the often repressed and overlooked feminine energy in Brother Lawrence’s teachings that can help you embody greater “mother compassion” — accepting the holy in yourself while listening to the holy in others
- Brother Lawrence’s gentle, simple practices for returning to love and our inherent groundedness in the midst of everyday distractions and life’s greatest challenges
- The newest translations of Brother Lawrence’s teachings that unveil his path to self-compassion – and the importance of cultivating this quality to bring loving kindness into every encounter
During this free online spiritual growth workshop, you'll learn about the powerful spiritual tools and practices of Brother Lawrence, the 17th-century Carmelite friar, for resilience, self-compassion, and empathy — to help you cultivate deep gratitude for the present moment and hope in the darkest of times.
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About Your Spiritual Teacher – Carmen Acevedo Butcher
Carmen Acevedo Butcher, PhD, is an internationally acclaimed speaker, author, educator, poet, and translator of spiritual texts. Her dynamic work around the evolution of language and the necessity of just and inclusive language has garnered interest from various media, including the BBC and NPR’s Morning Edition.
From a young age, she was drawn to Brother Lawrence’s “practicing the presence” prayer, and with degrees in medieval studies and a linguistics background, Carmen brings history to life and makes its wisdom widely accessible and useful for healing, growth, and peace.
She is the award-winning translator of classics such as Practice of the Presence by Brother Lawrence… The Cloud of Unknowing, an anonymous work of Christian mysticism… Hildegard of Bingen: A Spiritual Reader… and A Little Daily Wisdom: Christian Women Mystics.
Her teaching reinvigorates the timeless insights of the humble French friar Brother Lawrence, The Cloud’ s engaging contemplative teacher Anonymous, the creative genius Hildegard, and the deeply loving Julian of Norwich, among others.
A Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year and Fulbright Senior Lecturer, Carmen currently teaches at the University of California, Berkeley in the College Writing Programs.
Testimonials for Carmen Aevedo Butcher
“Like the spiritual guides whose teaching she brings to us through inspired works of translation, Carmen is a master teacher. As her colleague and partner teacher of many years, I have learned deeply from her practice of receptivity, focus, attention, curiosity, playfulness, and ego release. We suffer so much from a lack of these goods in the world — and I have witnessed, time and time again, how Carmen cultivates abiding faith in our ability to find joy through devotion to presence.” — Dr. Mary Grover
“Over the years I have appreciated learning from Carmen the wisdom of the medieval women mystics. She brings us now into the world of a 17th-century French friar, Brother Lawrence, a down-to-earth mystic. Carmen’s teaching invites us into a rich consideration of our human experience and with the focus on love, all through Brother Lawrence’s living “the presence.” This practice is so timely in this Information Age when we are all bursting at the seams with input. [It] gives us hope and a path for personal peace.” — Phyllis Duhon
“Carmen Acevedo Butcher is a treasure. Her deep understanding of Middle English is reflected in her scholarship as well as in the way she communicates these texts to modern readers. Her translations can be delved into as devotional readings of central works in the contemplative Christian tradition. They can be appreciated by contemplatives of all traditions, as shown by the fact that her translation of The Cloud of Unknowing is published by a Buddhist press. She gives a new accessibility and readability to these ancient masterpieces, making it a truly spiritual experience to read her books. Even the footnotes are worth savoring, as they contain so much to enrich the text. Carmen is a delightful and gracious person, and that gracefulness shines through in her books and in her teachings.” — Darrell Grizzle
“Carmen’s beautiful, inclusive translations and teachings make contemplative practices accessible and relevant as she brings everyone into the very down-to-earth, ordinary, wise, and loving world of mystics. She helps us learn new ways of seeing, connecting, and integrating presence into our lives to build stronger community and healing. Her insights shine light in the dark places and help all of us let that light in even more. She opens up the mystics and their love and kindness to all.” — Kimmetha Herndon
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