In this season of gratitude, it is often easy to come up with the right answer to the question: What are you thankful for? Things like family, health, stability, and community quickly come to mind as classic answers. But what if we dug a little deeper? What gratitude can we find in the growing—often painful—parts of our lives?
I have recently had the opportunity to explore the Enneagram with both my coworkers and my family. It has been a profound learning experience, and I have been thankful for the opportunity to understand myself better, as well as the people I hold dear. More than that, I have been surprisingly thankful for our differences.
I have often been called the black sheep of my family—a classic youngest amongst first-borns; highly emotional in a group of practical people. I never saw life quite the same as my parents or siblings. For quite a while, all I wanted was to fit. To see the world like they did. To react in similar ways. To be the same. As I have settled into adulthood, I have grown to embrace our differences and I think they have, too.
The Enneagram has been a new tool to me to see those differences in a fresh way. Through the recent SDI Webinar and a workshop I attended led by Fr. William Meninger, I have found new joy in the differences amongst us. There is beauty and wholeness in embracing each different worldview. A two on the Enneagram shouldn’t spend their whole lives trying to be a six; their worldview is just as valuable as another. The Enneagram has helped me shed light on the “outsider” feelings I have had, and helped me name it as the distinctive in the way I was created. I am grateful to still be learning, growing, and pushing boundaries in myself and in those around me.
I am also thankful for the diversity of this inclusive, global learning community. Our SDI community is different in countless ways: faith tradition, country of origin, gender, and age, just to name a few. We are different but together we contribute to a unique and common mission—to further spiritual direction around the world and across traditions. We hold the tension of our differences and know that there is strength in embracing the whole. At our best, we are a community of people with different points of view and different beliefs, who come together for the commonality of spiritual direction and connecting with the Divine.
Despite differences feeling uncomfortable or challenging much of the time, they are what I am most grateful for this year. Differences amongst us highlight the imagination of our Creator. How strange and boring our lives would be if everyone was the same! I am so grateful for the contributions those who are different from me can bring, and I am refreshingly aware of how my differences can contribute to the greater whole.
What growing or painful edge are you grateful for this year? How can you see gratitude in the areas you are being stretched. Share your thoughts on the SDI Blog.
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1. Upcoming Online Educational Opportunities
2. Post Conference Offerings in Louisville, Kentucky
3. New Contemplatives Initiative: Applications Due
4. New! Listening for Wisdom Reception
5. New! Free Teleconference: Spread the Word!
6. New Video! SDI Learns from … Rev. Julene Tegerstrand, MDiv, and Rhesa Higgins
7. New! Connections is Online
8. Submit Your Artwork to Presence
9. SDI Blog Highlights
10. November Poem by Moira Deslandes
11. November Blessing
Finding Seekers publication
Did you know that SDI offers online educational opportunities with CEU credit? Are you looking to explore and learn about new topics from the comfort of your own home or office? Register now for the upcoming SDI Webinar.
The Case for Spiritual Direction in the Technology Age led by Christianne Squires, MA, MS, from Florida, USA.
19 November, 1:00 p.m. EST; 5:00 p.m. GMT/UTC
19 November, 8:00 p.m. EST; 1:00 a.m. GMT/UTC (following morning, 20 November)
SDI Webinars are offered twice to accommodate multiple time zones. SDI aims to make programing available for as many people as possible.
Additional recorded webinars are available for purchase and view on demand.
Are you aware that there are multiple contemplative offerings available following the Emerging Wisdom conference in Louisville, Kentucky, USA?
Process all you learned during the conference from our dynamic speakers and workshops leaders during the pilgrimage and contemplative retreat. Staggered in schedule so you can participate in both, the pilgrimage and contemplative retreat offer spacious programming, learning experiences, and contemplative silence to be refreshed and renewed.
Hurry—the application deadline for the New Contemplatives Initiative is this month!
Are you an emerging contemplative under the age of forty? Do you know someone else who is? The New Contemplative Initiative Scholarship and Bursary Award is your opportunity to engage with the global learning community of Spiritual Directors International during the 2015 Emerging Wisdom conference.
The application deadline is 28 November 2014.
Please forward this information to your friends and colleagues under the age of forty to apply. If you know someone you would like to nominate, simply fill out a short form to nominate him or her! SDI will follow-up with an e-mail and invitation to apply.
A gathering of volunteers, local leaders, SDI staff, and the SDI coordinating council will meet for an afternoon in Louisville, Kentucky, USA to listen for the wisdom that is emerging. We ask that you pray that our time together will be fruitful and that we would hear emerging wisdom clearly. We also ask you to pray for each member of the coordinating council who will gather to plan for the future of the organization.
Sr. Kathleen McAlpin, RSM, Chair, Pennsylvania, USA
Kristen Hobby, MASD, Secretary, Victoria, Australia
Bruce Calvin, MDiv, Treasurer, Washington DC, USA
Wendie Bernstein Lash, California, USA
Sr. Jung Eun Sophia Park, SNJM, California, USA
John Pollard, MA, Ontario, Canada
Ravi Verma, California, USA
Are you looking for an engaging way to introduce people to spiritual companionship? Consider inviting seekers in your area to the upcoming SDI teleconference. Post this information on your website, in your church or synagogue bulletin, and at your local coffee shop. Help people in your area learn about the value of spiritual direction.
“How to Seek and Find a Spiritual Director”
18 November 2014, 12:00 p.m. EST; 5:00 p.m. GMT/UTC
The teleconference will include tips on how to use the online Seek and Find Guide, discernment questions for seekers, and more! RSVP online and participants will be e-mailed more information about the November teleconference.
Don’t miss this opportunity to share the ministry and service of spiritual guidance with colleagues, chaplains, campus ministers, and other spiritual care providers. Everyone is welcome.
6. New Video! SDI Learns from … Rev. Julene Tegerstrand, MDiv, and Rhesa Higgins
Rev. Julene Tegerstrand, MDiv, and Rhesa Higgins explain the spiritual strengths of the millennial generation.
Rev. Julene Tegerstrand, MDiv, has worked at Northwest Nazarene University as the director of student ministries for five years. She is an ordained minister in the Church of the Nazarene. Her ministry includes the oversight of mission trips, ministry clubs, and small group ministry. For Tegerstrand, spiritual direction is becoming the lens by which she sees her ministry to students in formal and informal settings.
Rhesa Higgins is the founder and director of The Center for Spiritual Formation in Dallas, Texas, USA. She is a trained spiritual director who spends her days with pastors and lay leaders who sense a call to experience God through spiritual direction and contemplative practices. For Higgins, spiritual direction is the spiritual home she had always looked for and is now inviting others to join.
The November issue of Connections is now online! Engage with your global learning community through poetry, reflections, photographs, and more.
Highlights of the November 2014 issue include:
- reflection pieces and poetry from Iona pilgrims;
- a new perspective on being grateful from SDI member Diane Cameron; and
- a note of gratitude to all SDI donors who helped grow the ministry and service of spiritual direction over the last year through their generous gifts.
Presence art editor, Tobias Becker, is now accepting images of original artwork for possible publication in the journal. If you would like to submit your art, please send an electronic image to Tobias at email@example.com.
The SDI Blog is a happening place! With writers from around the world and across traditions, the SDI Blog offers a way to dive deeper into our contemplative practice of the week, and learn from other members of the SDI global learning community.
Are you interested in writing for the SDI Blog? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Blessing for Equanimity
As the dawn breaks and your head aches;
May you be blessed with a still mind.
As the morning opens to the day;
May you put down divisions and look for synergies.
As the sun reaches its height;
May you call on your higher self.
As vespers arrive and unfinished business haunts;
May you gratefully gather up the remains of the day.
As evening comes and you toss and turn;
May you be rested and refreshed by a deep sleep.
As the darkness settles in;
May you be filled with starlight.
And may the Man in Sapphire Blue;
Bless you with equanimity.
May you celebrate the differences you see in yourself and others. May you find gratitude in unexpected places. May thankfulness resonate deeply in your soul.
Communications and Engagement Specialist
Finding Seekers: How to Develop a Spiritual Direction Practice from Beginning to Full-Time Employment. The classic work for spiritual directors. “A tremendous resource”—Presence (June 2012). Also: 1000 Spiritual Lessons: Brief Life-Changing Insights for Busy People ($2.99) “An amazing and important work—a real goldmine for spiritual directors.” Edwin Buettner, PhD. For expert testimonies, full Table of Contents, and to sample the first 8 pages go to www.brucetallman.com.
Luther Seminary, the largest of the eight ELCA seminaries, located in St. Paul, MN, is seeking a theologically reflective and imaginative person for a tenure-eligible position in Congregational and Community Care Leadership. Candidates should have ministry experience and be committed to communal-contextual and intercultural paradigms of pastoral care and demonstrate the capacity to relate theology with psychology and other social sciences in caring for persons, congregations, and communities. Review of applications will begin after 14 November 2014 and will continue until position is filled. For full job description and application information please see: http://www.luthersem.edu/employment/positions_Luther.aspx.