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Guest Author: 
Carissa Kane

It seems rather easy, almost effortless, to receive and experience peace when in a tranquil setting. When surrounded by the beauty of nature, or standing on a mountain top looking down at passersby, it can be so much easier to let go and release the concerns that can bear down on us.

There is a hymn I find solace in titled, “Peace is Flowing Like a River.” While that is mostly true, there are times when it is not—times when someone or something becomes an obstacle or intrusion to our harmony … times when we allow external things to form a dam and block the flow.

Guest Author: 
Linda Labelle

A few years ago, when I was visiting Istanbul, Turkey, I stood in the middle of Hagias Sophia (Holy Wisdom or Divine Wisdom), the most important byzantine structure and one of the world’s greatest monuments. Built in the sixth century, it was a place of Christian worship for nearly a millennia and is a profound tribute to wisdom. Wisdom indeed is something to be honoured.

“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion”
—Proverbs 8:12

Guest Author: 
Lauren Carlson

The statistics on the value of rest are indisputable. According to the Center for the American Dream, if you work over eleven hours each day, you are two-and-a-half times more likely to develop depression, and have a sixty percent higher risk of heart-related illness. Overworked Americans have more health issues related to obesity, a weakened immune system, poor sleep quality, and joint pain.

Guest Author: 
Janice Lynne Lundy

There are two words I enjoy thinking about when it comes to spiritual companioning: “inspire” and “encourage.” One often leads to the other. Both deepen our experience of Presence.

Inspire comes from the Latin inspirare, meaning to breathe or blow into. For me, this implies opening ourselves to the Divine One via the breath—the sacred breath—so that we may receive the gifts of Spirit to do what we need to do in life. Hopefully, spiritual direction allows this to happen.

Guest Author: 
John Backman

When you first saw the theme for next year’s SDI conference, did you cringe a little?

Many of us did, I imagine. We may be vowed solitaries or just natural introverts. Whatever the details, we tend to be our best selves, and do our best work, alone.

I read the words, “Seeking Connection” and think mixers, networking, and loud rooms with dozens of people. Sigh.

Guest Author: 
Sharon Kauth

I went to Iona not knowing exactly why I wanted and needed to go. The mystique and sacredness of an ancient island, the peace, and beauty of a faraway place, and the warm and welcoming (written) words of the pilgrimage leaders were all compelling; but, the why of my “yes” was as elusive as, I was to discover, the island's corncrakes.

Guest Author: 
Christina Walker

“What’s this?” I wondered as I pulled the mail from the box. Amidst the bills and junk was a bright white envelope with a return address that I didn’t recognize. Once in the house, I slit open the top and removed a note card. The cursive words looked childish, as if from a third-grader who had just learned to make those looping letters. Yet somehow, the wording of the message didn’t seem typical of an elementary school student. In halting sentences, the note praised my sermon from a few weeks prior, the one I had given on Mother’s Day. And the valediction said, “Your Good Friend and God’s, Dave.” 

Guest Author: 
Jane Vennard

When I think of resiliency, I picture a toddler learning to walk. She pulls herself up, lets go, and immediately falls over. She does this again and again until she lets go of support and takes a step. Soon her steps increase and although she continues to tumble, she never fails to get up. You could say she is falling and bouncing back.

This image of physical resiliency is appropriate as the young child learns to walk and master other skills necessary for development. But if we carry this childhood image as we age, it can become a hindrance to our psychological and spiritual well-being.

Guest Author: 
Linda Labelle

In her book Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, Karen Armstrong writes, “Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of the world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity, and respect.”

As spiritual directors, we know that compassion is fundamental to our spiritual practice. It literally means, “to suffer together.” It includes tuning into the other in a kind and loving manner, truly listening with the ears of our hearts. Compassionate listening brings healing and openness.

Guest Author: 
Jean Wise

BEWARE: A contagion is spreading. The symptoms begin with one person and rapidly transmit to a family, a workplace, and even the entire community.

The name of this catchable entity? Enthusiasm.

I learned firsthand how infectious and powerful enthusiasm is when I served as the administrator of a county health department. My attitude when I presented a new idea and explored options with the staff wielded persuasive influence. If I exhibited interest and eagerness, the reaction reflected positive energy. But a listless and sluggish attitude created an atmosphere of apathy.

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