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Guest Author: 
Blanca Trigueros-Lytle

 

Last night I was remembering my uncle Virgilio.  He was a magnificent guitar player, loving father and husband, a sweet man.  But when he drank alcohol, he would become violent, so violent that he would be taken to a sanitarium and put in a strait jacket.  I know this because my mother told me when she tried to visit him  These were precautions, we were told, so patients would not harm themselves. 

Guest Author: 
Janice Lynne Lundy, DMin

 

As news of soul-staggering violence against others spins around the globe, we, too, may feel ourselves spinning; dizzy from reading angry rhetoric; lost in the maelstrom trying to figure out what we can and should do to quell the calm.

As a spiritual guide—and I’m certain you have experienced this also—others expect that you will hold steady in difficult times such as these. They look to us to be the calm in the storm, the safe place to express their grief, worry and anger. As spiritual confidants, they know we certainly must feel strongly about what is happening in the world, but we know how to hold our tangled thoughts and emotions prayerfully.

Do we? Are you? These questions tug at me lately (and have since November 2016 with the U.S. election). I not only observe, but sit, with other guides, pastors, priests and care-giving professionals who struggle doing so.

Guest Author: 
Dr. Bruce Tallman

 

God does not have to “intervene” in human affairs, as if God was swooping in from the outside, because God is everywhere and always has been. If anything, we humans are the interlopers, not God. As psychologist Carl Jung engraved in stone above his home’s entrance, “Summoned or not, God will be there.”

When Moses asked God what God’s name was, God said “I Am.” In other words, God is pure being, or “Being-Itself.” But God is also “Becoming-Itself.” God’s love is moving the whole evolutionary process forward toward God’s reign of wisdom, joy, justice, peace, and love.

This is evidenced by the fact that evolution has consistently moved in a spiritual direction: from rocks and water to plants and animals to humans and further to the spread of major religions around the world. So the direction is: matter to life to thought to spirit.

As a thought-experiment, let’s consider that possibly Jesus wanted to take things a further step, to a religion beyond religion — a meta-religion for everyone (“meta” means “beyond”).

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: 
Jennifer Olin-Hitt

It’s not uncommon for Americans in our 21st century to find their way to a mental health clinic. In the U.S. today, according to the DSM-5, 46% of adults are likely to develop a diagnosable mental disorder.  There are a variety of reasons for the statistics: economic stressors, environmental challenges, inadequate social resources, and often, simply a greater awareness of and the reporting of diagnoses.  For the millions of people affected by mental health disorders – depression, anxiety, personality disorders, etc. – mental health professionals provide relief and hope. Psychiatrists, counselors, marriage and family therapists are important resources, contributing greatly to the well-being of society.

Guest Author: 
Miriam Frey

 

My journey from a small Mennonite community in southern Ontario to serving as Canada Coordinator for Spiritual Directors International has been a monumental leap. I pinch myself almost every day to be sure I am not dreaming. 

I grew up in a Mennonite church that has vigilantly kept its religious views and lifestyle constant for hundreds of years. From an early age I learned the monastic values of simplicity, obedience and humility. It was a safe, religious community that observed adult baptism and required group conformity. It emphasized separation from the world and did not value education. What I did and how I dressed was all dictated by the leaders of the church. 

As a teenager I began to realize that I was heading down a dead-end street. I was expected to leave school at the age of 16. My honour within the community was to become a wife and mother. Instinctively, I knew I didn’t want either one yet I didn’t know how to get out of these expectations. I begged my father to let me finish high school. This extra education allowed me to get an office job in town. 

Even with this bit of freedom, I felt imprisoned.

Guest Author: 
Rev. Marcia Smith-Wood

     

 

 

“Look at the bug,” my friend says.

I turn my head and suddenly see not a bug

but a large dragonfly - resting flat against the back of the chair near me

its four huge translucent black and white striped wings spread wide and motionless

in the sunlight,

total stillness,

quiet,

and yet more.

Guest Author: 
Carissa A. Kane

                                                          

 

It serves us well to remember that while the sun greets each day and the moon bids it farewell, each day is not the same. Though the hours in a day remain the same, each day offers countless possibilities and opportunities. In order to pursue or partake of them, though, often requires one to make a change.While we do need some things to be consistent and to have some structure, it is often good to re-evaluate our routines. Are there ways in which I have become closed off to that which is new or different? Is there room for change?

Guest Author: 
Aprille Jordan

My first experience with Spiritual Direction took me by surprise. I was going through grief and in the midst of transition. During this time, I was invited by a not-so-close friend to meet weekly for conversation and prayer. I accepted her invitation and discovered that although she wasn’t an accredited spiritual director, she was a naturally gifted one. She provided for me what I then came to expect from Spiritual Direction: a focused listening ear.

Guest Author: 
Steven Crandell

                      

In Asia and Africa and in many indigenous cultures around the world, venerating ancestors is more than a tradition of the past. It's a way to live well and prosper today. In the Hebrew Bible, one of the most famous commandments says, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land THE LORD your God is giving you.”  Christian and Islamic faiths also see honoring parents as a virtue. All these traditions hold that individuals, as well as communities and even countries, benefit by respecting those who came before. In this blog post, SDI’s new Director of Content and Philanthropy, Steven Crandell, looks at our relationship with our ancestors (and the lack thereof). The ideas that follow are Steven’s own, not those of SDI. We offer them here  in our beloved public square of spiritual direction  in hopes they may of some use to our members as they guide their directees and as they follow their own spiritual paths. As always, we welcome your comments. How do you honor your own mother and father and the generations that came before? Or do you choose not to honor them? These questions are not always easy to answer, but the process of considering them can be fruitful.  -- Editor

A tree without roots cannot grow.

When we humans lose our roots, we too begin to wither — losing our balance, our health and our spiritual foundation.

I call this Ancestor Deficit Disorder — the new ADD. And I believe it is a spiritual epidemic.

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