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Guest Author: 
Chris Slabbekoorn

“You are a spiritual director. You will always be a spiritual director, because it is now who you are.”

As I stepped over the threshold between the three-year spiritual direction practicum and the new reality of actually “being” a spiritual director, this was the gift my mentor gave me.

“It is now who you are.”

The words seemed to fall from the heavens and resonate and ripple in all directions, but especially deep inside. I still feel it in all of me – body, mind, heart, spirit, and soul.

Guest Author: 
Kathleen Deyer Bolduc

 

Twenty-five years ago, when my son Joel was a toddler, I woke up one day with the knowledge, deep in my gut, that I did not have what it takes to parent a child with a disability. We didn’t have a diagnosis of autism yet. What we did know was that our youngest son wasn’t developing according to the timetable followed by his two older brothers, He had constant meltdowns and tantrums. He pulled hair. He had a miniscule attention span with a constant need for attention and redirection.

I opened my eyes that morning knowing there was no way, in my humanness, that I could do this right. I simply didn’t have the vast reserves of energy, creativity, wisdom, and insight needed to be the mother Joel’s needs required.

Guest Author: 
Steven Crandell

Did you know you are shining like the sun this very minute?

Guest Author: 
Rev. Julia Singleton

My day consists of running from pre-school drop off to prayer meetings, to preschool pickup, lunch prep, sermon prep ... you get the picture.  Being a young clergy mom, I fully understand being short on time.  Finding time for self-care and reflection isn't easy.  The same is true for most of my directeesI have five directees: one young mom, two young clergy moms, and two more clergy, all with at least one thing in common. We are all short on time. 

I try to be as efficient as possible. I love that meme that says, “When that meeting could have been an email.”  I know technology is not always the answer, but I also think we aren’t fully embracing technology to the extent that we can, especially as spiritual directors.

Guest Author: 
Steven Crandell

We all have faced rejection - the job we didn't get, the school we didn't get into, the relationship that ended when we wanted it to continue. We all have experienced the "no" that struck us a smarting blow because we wanted to hear "yes" so much.

This practice invites you to unpack the experience of rejection in a spiritual way.

Guest Author: 
Rev. Wilfredo Benitez

 

 

Stepping into a walking labyrinth becomes a sacred experience when we connect it to our own personal journey, our walk in the desert, our meanderings through an unknown and sometimes bewildering wilderness. I recently walked the outdoor labyrinth at the Kanuga Conference and Retreat Center, in Hendersonville North Carolina, while attending Spiritual Direction training offered by the Haden Institute.  The weather had been unusually cold. Snow and ice had taken its toll on the surface of the labyrinth, it was gritty, and stained, and not very warm and inviting. 

Guest Author: 
Denise Brill

I live on the California coast within a few blocks from the beach. One of my favorite pastimes to do after a storm blows through is to go beachcombing for sea glass. I tend to lose myself in this activity of slow walking on the wet sand when the tide is low. I look with intention along the shore for what shimmers in the sunlight. This afternoon there was a minus tide and the ocean’s waves have done all the work, churning up the rocks, so they lay like carefully placed pebbles tossed in a formation upon the shore.

Guest Author: 
Brian J. Plachta

 

I wake early so I can light a candle and place it in my window. 

Its light illuminates my darkness and, perhaps, the darkness of the world. The reverent glow flickering from quiet candlelight serves as a beacon for the birds who visit the feeder outside my sill.  As they find morning nourishment, they feather simple joy upon my heart.

I wake early because when I do, I recall the miracle of my breath. I feel the beating of my heart. And my dog’s snoring at my feet becomes a choir.

Guest Author: 
Rev. Stephanie Rutt

Editor's note: Here's a truth to ponder - not all spiritual companionship happens face-to-face or even by Skype or telephone. Sometimes our listening makes a difference, but the seeker being heard never even knows we are attending. Read this lovely story from a spiritual director who discovered the human frailty and grace that lies beneath political conflict.

Last year, just after the US presidential election, my husband and I drove down to the World Alliance of Interfaith Clergy conference in Marriottsville, MD. On the way, we found ourselves listening to a talk show which was inviting callers to share their feelings regarding the election of Donald Trump. I was struck at the level of anger on both sides. One caller, a strong Trump supporter, was particularly angry leveling venom at those who were now protesting his election. After a follow-up question, she suddenly launched into what could only be called a full-blown tirade.

I found myself becoming more and more irritated. I felt quite sure that had she been in my physical view I would have leveled back in defense. And then, somewhere, tucked in the middle of the tirade, I heard a short phrase (they usually are) that stopped me cold. She said, “My daughter died…” and a little later, “from a drug overdose.” Suddenly, I could hear all of her complaints about the lack of border control, illegal immigrants, health care challenges, financial strain, in a whole new light. And, most of all, I remembered: behind every anger is a hurt.

Guest Author: 
Shivali Bhammer

Editor's note: Shivali Bhammer is one of the workshop presenters at Seeking Connections 2018, SDI's annual conference. She will present "Mindfulness: An Exploration of Karma & Devotional Yoga in the Yogic Tradition."   She approaches spiritual companionship from the Hindu tradition. This is her first post on the SDI blog. We welcome her perspective.)

A young girl recently wrote to me with a dilemma. Her father insisted that she should marry someone from her community, rather than the Sri Lankan she was in love with (she was Indian).

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