Guest Author: 
Janice Lynne Lundy

I am a quote lover from way back. I’ve been collecting them since I was a teenager, recording them in my journals. I don’t do anything special with them, simply re-read them on occasion. Though I often find that they initiate a “remembering” in me—the recall of an “important something” that I may have forgotten, like how to stay calm, forgive, or let go.

Lately, I’ve been collecting quotes on listening. On some level I know that while the ability to listen empathetically is often a natural gift, it is also a commodity that needs ongoing attention and cultivation. As spiritual companions, listening is key to what we do. We are “professional listeners.” 

Guest Author: 
Liz Budd Ellmann

Whether you are Roman Catholic or not, Pope Francis’s comments about spiritual direction help every seeker and spiritual director understand the value of spiritual direction today.

Pope Francis clearly stated that women and laity (people who are not priests) may be called to serve as spiritual directors:  

Spiritual direction, the pope said, "is not a charism exclusive to priests. It's a charism of the laity." (Catholic News Service [CNS], 18 May, Wooden)

Pope Francis empowers everyone who senses a call to the ministry and service of spiritual direction to discern the call.

Guest Author: 
Carissa A. Kane

As I sit quietly and think back, I can see the faces and hear the words of those through whom I have experienced hospitality, and those who have taught me to be hospitable to others. I think of my parents. As a child, I recall getting ready for visitors to our home. As we readied the house and prepared what we would serve, there was something greater going on. I felt an excitement in the air that continued throughout the visitors' stay. We were not just opening our home to the visitors but also our hearts. As we all sat together, an energy existed among us—generative love was in the air.

Guest Author: 
Cynthia Winton-Henry

Pictured: Susan Pudelek (Catholic), Chau Nghiem (Buddhist), Barbra Wiener (Jewish)

In my teens, my body snuck up on me as a spiritual guide. Singing in choir and dancing in the sanctuary opened me to the words professed in my spiritual tradition, “You are part of one body.” I felt it!

In seminary, I discovered the key that explained why I get overwhelmed by both love and sorrow.

"If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together."
—Corinthians 12:26

One body? Oh yeah! I pick up others’ feelings in my body.

Guest Author: 
Lauren Carlson

In a small town twenty-minutes from my home, craftsman Andy Kahmann runs a letterpress print shop in an old diner on Main Street. Andy and I are working on a project together. He is helping me print illustrated booklets of my poems. Andy has kindly offered to allow me to hand set the printing press. He warns, some people enjoy it—some don’t. “It’s not anything like typing on a computer, or using Photoshop,” he explains; “You have to learn to read upside down and backwards.”

Guest Author: 
Kimberly Borin

The seven-week series I was leading on a contemplative prayer program entitled Nourishing Peace had just started. My goal in teaching the series was to offer people a place to rest, to be still, and to be nourished in prayer. I also wanted to share techniques for breathing, sitting in silence, mindful movement, creativity, and self-reflection. Each lesson was carefully crafted with structure, materials, technique, and the hope that God’s grace would work beyond the lessons and techniques.

Guest Author: 
Stephen Grindle

As spiritual directors, we are charged with a great responsibility: to experientially understand the nature of the transformative process and to walk with others along that journey. We seek to become a transformed people, a community of the new. As I contemplate this, two questions emerge:

Guest Author: 
Bernadette Graves

I am intrigued by the dictionary definition of the word, “pause.” It can be used as a verb: to stop or suspend an action; or as a noun: a hiatus in activity for a calculated purpose or temporary respite. It seems to me that is a fitting way to describe spiritual direction.  As a verb, spiritual direction is to pause and be still; to step away from the busyness of daily life and to listen to that wise inner whisper. As a noun, spiritual direction is a graced invitation, an intentional interruption, a divine appointment.

Guest Author: 
Lauren Carlson

If asked, I assume many people would say that words are the most important part of a poem. However, careful readers and poets themselves would probably insist that pauses, or the endings and beginnings of lines, are just as important as the words of a poem itself; perhaps even more so. Like careful readers of poetry, we must consider more than our actions. We should scan our lives not only for words, but also for pauses.

Guest Author: 
Terri Pahucki

The harsh self-critic is an old acquaintance. She shows up all too often in my life, and in the lives of those I companion. I’ve heard his voice in the stories of men and women struggling with their personal worth. I’ve seen her judging eye looking back at me in the mirror when I’ve failed to live up to my own expectations.

In the mind of the self-critic, life is a scoreboard. Accomplishments and errors are tallied, and we look out upon the crowd to see how high—or low—we’ve ranked. While self-judgment is prevalent in many lives, it is an obstacle to becoming fully who we are.

On the journey to wholeness, the spiritual practice of humility might offer some guidance. By humility, I mean simply the work of finding and knowing our place, and living our shared humanity. 


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