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Fully Awake and Truly Alive

Spiritual Practices to Nurture Your Soul

By Rev. Jane E. Vennard
Foreword by Rami Shapiro

6 x 9, 208 pp, Quality Paperback


Large Print edition also available from

A “Best Spiritual Book of the Year.”   —Spirituality & Practice

Fulfill the reality that the glory of God is the human fully alive.

“Reverend Vennard is fearlessly awake to the wild dance of life. Rather than sleeping through life, she awakens to it. Rather than escaping from reality, she embraces it. Rather than distracting herself with a life to come, she dares to live the life that is. And she wants you to do all this as well. Read this book. Live this book. Wake up.”

—from the Foreword 

In a culture enthralled with technology, striving and speed, people of many faith traditions and no faith tradition long to slow down, pay attention and wake up to the present moment. They want help in realizing their hope that they can become more truly alive.

This engaging and highly readable book offers you guidance for the journey. Sharing stories from her personal life as a spiritual seeker and from her professional career as a retreat leader, spiritual director and teacher, Reverend Jane Vennard illustrates the joys and frustrations of spiritual practice, offers insights from various religious traditions, and provides step-by-step exercises and meditations to practice:

Caring for the body • Rest • Silence Solitude • Letting go
Community • Hospitality • Service • Living gratefully

“Offers bountiful gifts and delightful surprises.... I loved it—and will recommend it widely, because this is a book for everyone.”

Brian D. McLaren, author/speaker/activist (; author, Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words

“Rich with transformational potential.... Actively engaging with this book’s contents could alter positively the quality of your life.”

Thomas Ryan, CSP, director, Paulist North American Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations; author, Soul Fire: Accessing Your Creativity and The Sacred Art of Fasting

“Jane Vennard scores a bull’s eye with this masterful and down-to-earth resource on spiritual practices that bring zest to everyday life. A rich blend of action and insight.”

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, co-directors,

“Invaluable [for] expanding our definition and understanding of spiritual practice.”

The Phoenix Spirit

“With remarkable clarity of language and depth of insight, Jane Vennard invites us and startles us into being alive and awake.... A fine book for spiritual directors to know and to recommend.”

Mary C. Earle, Episcopal priest; author, Celtic Christian Spirituality: Essential Texts Annotated and Explained and Marvelously Made: Gratefulness and the Body

“Refreshing, broad-ranging exercises for body and soul.... A treasure trove of stories, practices and resources, this book is a gift to people both within and outside of traditional faith communities.”

Marjorie J. Thompson, author, Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life

“Elegant guidance, generous invitations to practice and potent questions. How useful for the newly awakened to soul and the spiritual director who wants to stay awake to body, mind, heart and spirit! [This book] will be dancing off my shelf into the ready hands of those I serve and love.”

Cynthia Winton-Henry, co-founder of InterPlay; author, Dance—The Sacred Art: The Joy of Movement as a Spiritual Practice

“I’d fallen asleep and didn’t know it, and this book called to me in the nick of time. With quiet wisdom, moving stories and inviting practices, Vennard awakens us to new life.”

Margaret D. McGee, author, Sacred Attention: A Spiritual Practice for Finding God in the Moment

“Ilumines a broad spectrum of spiritual practices, making them available and accessible to all who seek to enrich their lives. [Invites us] on a journey inward toward the home that awaits us within and on a journey outward in meaningful connection to those around us.”

Victor Kazanjian, dean of Intercultural Education & Religious and Spiritual Life, Wellesley College

“We wake up through Jane Vennard’s words to recognize the innate spiritual nature of living immediately and directly into our experience of our bodies, into silence and solitude, into community, hospitality and service.... Our response is gratitude for Jane Vennard’s masterful teaching.”

Dwight H. Judy, PhD, professor emeritus of spiritual formation, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary; author, A Quiet Pentecost: Inviting the Spirit into Congregational Life

Praise for Fully Awake and Truly Alive and Rev. Jane Vennard’s Work

“A wise, helpful and nourishing book, filled with personal stories and practical guidance.”

Marcus J. Borg, author, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time

“Jane Vennard presents a spiritual path for practical feet, a guide for finding the seeds of prayer, reflection and nourishment in a delightfully spacious way. [This is] is a blessing for all of us who, as our lives go faster, yearn for divine healing and companionship in the still, small voices of the soul.”

Wayne Muller, author, Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest

“Jane Vennard has given us guidance that is both simple and profound, practical yet very mature, personal yet social. Her wisdom about prayer is what we need.”

Richard Rohr, O.F.M Center for Action and Contemplation

“One of the most extraordinarily helpful books I have ever read on the relationship of our deep bodily-emotional selves to our spiritual unfolding. Combines practicality with personal sharing, wit, poignancy and deep spiritual insightful wisdom.”

Flora Wuellner, author, Prayer and Our Bodies

“Vennard’s concise introductions to spiritual practices and forms of prayer will enrich the prayer lives of both individuals and groups. This book will help readers become open and available to the grace and generosity of the Holy Spirit.”

Joseph D. Driskell, Pacific School of Religion

“The work of a master teacher, and like all master teachers, Jane Vennard is clearly in love with her subject. She is in love with the honest, spirit-stretching questions people have about prayer. She is in love with the stunning multitude of ways people can engage in spiritual practice. Drawing deeply from her personal experienced, she leads her readers into the joy—and humility—of helping others discover the life-filling richness of prayer.”

Steve Doughty, pastor; author, To Walk in Integrity

“On a personal level, I was unexpectedly rewarded to have my own spiritual life challenged and enriched by my encounter with Jane Vennard’s mind, heart and spirit in this volume.”

Howard Clinebell, PhD, author, Anchoring Your Well-Being

Rami Shapiro is a renowned teacher of spirituality across faith traditions and a noted theologian. He is author of the award-winning The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Preparing to Practice and Recovery—The Sacred Art: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice, among other books.

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