Guest Author: 
Stephen Grindle

In seminary while training to become a spiritual director, I spent a lot of time focusing on my personal narrative. From personality tests, to life maps, to extended solitude retreats, to required hours in therapy and spiritual direction, I became extremely aware of the uniqueness of my journey. I understood the ins and outs of my temperament, my history and how that affected my relationship with God, what my temptations were, and how to put language to my emotions. As I became more self-aware however, I found myself diminishingly fascinated by the larger narrative of God found in nature and scripture.

Guest Author: 
Terri Pahucki

From dawn to dusk, summer is ablaze with rejoicing. Purple morning glories open to welcome the sun; lightning bugs flash like tiny firecrackers celebrating the end of another day.

Walking beside a favorite creek, I witness the daily festival: the monarch butterflies dance through wildflowers, bushes overflowing with ripe red raspberries, turquoise dragonfly wings whirling over water. Rejoice and be glad! Summer’s invitation calls me to dance and splash, my spirit leaps with delight in the glory and fullness of life.

I recall Saint Francis of Assisi’s joyful Canticle of the Sun, “All praise be yours, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth, who sustains us and governs us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Guest Author: 
Antoinette Voûte Roeder

I had been offering spiritual direction informally for less than a year when I attended my first residency of the Pacific Jubilee Program for Spiritual Direction in the summer of 1992. My only training up to that point had been completing Annotation 19 of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, as well as the follow-up year of spiritual companions. The latter paired each participant with a partner, and we listened deeply to one another, undoubtedly picking up some skills and experience, and all of this under supervision. 

Guest Author: 
Cynthia Bailey Manns

“I will not follow where the path may lead,
but I will go where there is no path, and I will leave a trail.”

—Muriel Strode

Guest Author: 
Cookie McGee

What does it mean to empower someone?

For me, to empower means to call someone to believe in his or her inner strength and ability. Empower does not mean to seek physical power, but to use the power of conviction to move mountains.

Empowering begins with every individual believing that they are God’s beloved son or daughter, blessed as God’s greatest creation, loved unconditionally, and created to be the best person they can be. 

We can empower each other every day by showing respect, kindness, love, compassion, and mercy. We can empower the homeless man on the corner by not judging him, and letting him know that God loves him, that he is not alone. Will this empowering give him a home or a job? Only God knows the answer to those questions. What it can do is give him the faith to continue to seek and persevere.

Guest Author: 
Cookie Magee

One definition of honor given by Merriam-Webster is “good quality or character as judged by others.”

I believe that to be a spiritual director, honor needs to be one of the first characteristics a person recognizes in oneself and in another human being. To companion a spiritual directee in their life with God, honor is imperative. I find my honor by recognizing that I am God’s beloved daughter, chosen and unconditionally loved by God. When I embrace those characteristics, I have greater respect for myself and can show greater respect for others.

Guest Author: 
Lauren Carlson

The recent attack on Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, USA, draws attention to what comedian Jon Stewart called, “America’s gaping racial wound.”

Guest Author: 
Lauren Carlson

What does it mean to be authentic? I like to think of authenticity as the space where I live into God’s desire for my life. However, as a relational creature, I must recognize that my authenticity goes beyond how I express myself. If authenticity has anything to do with living fully as a person made in the image of God, then I must make room for the other—I must receive them as God would receive them. Although I hardly consider myself an expert, I would like to offer three considerations that help me practice authenticity.

Guest Author: 
Kristen Hobby

Cornish College in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia began a Mindfulness pilot two years ago. The focus is to find ways to introduce mindfulness into the curriculum, and encourage teachers and students to find simple and practical ways to introduce quiet and contemplation into their lives. This year, the school participated in a “Mindfulness in May” initiative that involved weekly teacher activities and an invitation to every student to enjoy five minutes of mindfulness three times throughout the day.

Guest Author: 
Kimberly Borin

I recently participated in a retreat at The Bon Secours Retreat Center with the Shalem Institute. On the final day of our silent retreat, all the participants gathered in a conference room. I entered the room and discovered a tea party! The center table was filled with elegant teacups and organic teas. Flowers and fresh scones decorated silver trays nearby.

The sight of the celebration astounded me. What continued to unfold was not just a tea party, but also a tender family reunion. The elements of our unfolding ceremony brought memories of my family and the gifts they offered to my life.


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