Put Your Hands Together 

Even the unpious can pray, says Emeryville author Janell Moon.

With quasi-religious symbolism aglow — and dusted with faux snow — in every shop window and booming out of every loudspeaker for nearly another whole two weeks, you can't help but wonder whether you're supposed to ... well, pray. This controversial and season-sensitive practice can be enjoyed even by the unaffiliated, according to Janell Moon, whose book How to Pray Without Being Religious doesn't ask you to convert, tithe, or talk in tongues. "I wrote it to help all those who want to connect with their spirit but not necessarily within the walls of a church," says the Emeryville author, who is also a counselor and hypnotherapist. "The book invites readers to join in the creation of a new prayer life." To aid the spiritually shy, "Include many examples of new prayers, including prayers for emotional and physical healing, prayers for living with the mysteries, morning and evening prayers, and prayers of and to our ancestors."

Along with Berkeley poet Daniel Marlin, author of Heart of Ardor, Moon will appear at the Nefeli Caffe (1854 Euclid Ave., Berkeley) on Dec. 14 as part of the Last Word series, hosted by Dale Jensen, Ralph Dranow, and Diana Q. Despite the corporate clamor of shopping malls and eggnog, she asserts that the holiday season is nonetheless a prime time to stoke the spiritual fires naturally, and suggests baking for neighborhood kids, donating food to friends and other good causes, doing crafts, and walking or running along the waterfront: "Use the beauty of the bay and its wildlife to appreciate where you live and what is offered here," says Moon, whose other books include the poetry volume, Riding Free in a Blue Studebaker. "Every day for two weeks, write ten things for which you are grateful and remember them throughout that day," she urges. "Notice what is good." 7 p.m.

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