As a spiritual director, I meet with people who want to deepen their spiritual lives and practices through intentional sharing and listening.
Here's a guest blog post I wrote for Abbey of the Arts, about going on faith. It explains some of my own philosophy about teaching, writing, and life.
A second guest blog talks about the importance of a church community in my spiritual life.
Those unfamiliar with Spiritual Direction may find these questions and answers helpful. If you are interested in meeting or talking more about the process, contact me.
What is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual Direction explores the meaning and direction of our lives through conversation about our deepest values and sense of connection to God. The term “God” is not essential to this conversation; any name -- spirit, light, universe, the holy, the divine, nature, the cosmos-- can be used. The term “direction” can be confusing too; the process does not “direct” one to change beliefs or religion, or even change life path. Some people use the term 'spiritual friend' or ' companion”; I like the Gaelic phrase “anam cara” or “soul friend,” perhaps due to my Irish ancestry.
Is this a new process?
Not at all! In the early Christian church, people sought counsel from the Desert Fathers, hermits who helped transform souls through an experience of deep contemplation and prayer. The process fell out of favor for several centuries but is enjoying a revival as we search for meaning in a world that feels more and more out of balance with what really matters.
How do I know if Spiritual Direction is for me?
Anyone with unanswered questions of the spirit, a longing for deeper meaning, who has been deeply touched by life events or who wants more than their current life offers, might find the process useful. Spiritual direction may be most helpful to those who currently feel cut off or distant from the sacred in life or from their religious tradition.
What can I expect in a session?
A spiritual director can ask questions and listen for answers that reveal the sacred in everyday life. We can help you to discern what action you may want to take in response. The conversation might involve: personal reflection about your spiritual journey; exploring spiritual practices such as meditation or centering prayer; using your dreams as a way to understand messages from the unconscious; or writing, journaling, drawing, collage, music, or other creative experiments.
Do you work with groups?
I have led multi-session workshops for groups, including an ongoing Dream Group; Unjournaling. a three-session workshop focused on reviewing your journals as a way of reflecting on your life; and Nurturing Your Creative Spirit, a series to help rediscover, welcome and nurture creativity through spiritual practice and engaging in creative activities.
What are your qualifications?
I am a graduate of the Spiritual Direction Program at the Haden Institute, North Carolina, which included work in the Jungian, Mystical, Dreams, and Christian Traditions. I am also a member of Spiritual Directors International and have agreed to follow their ethical guidelines.
What religion are you?
I was raised in the Roman Catholic tradition and have a great reverence for the rituals and roots of the Church. I was an active Unitarian Universalist for nearly 30 years and now attend a congregation that is part of the United Church of Christ. I am less into a belief structure and focused more on values and actions that respect humanity and the earth. I want to be part of a larger religious community that strives to improve our world through love and spiritual growth. As an active church member and leader I have learned to work with varied approaches to the life of the spirit.
The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing... not healing, not curing... that is a friend who cares. -- Henri Nouwen
Mine is the mysticism of everyday life, of the heaped laundry and the bruised toe, of overcooked broccoli and leaves spangled with dew, of sunrise and sorrow, laughter and linguine, music and mold. This everyday mysticism requires no special powers, only imagination, a doting and practiced attention to the ordinary, a willingness to be surprised by grace. -- Philip Simmons, "Learning to Fall"
If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.
The road to the real self is a steep one. It goes up and down. -- Joan Chittister