Spiritual Directors International

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Run with Me

Run with Me: An Accidental Runner and the Power of Poo
by Jennifer Luitwiele
Folsom, CA: Civitas Press, 2011
228 pages
Reviewed by Greg Richardson

Run With Me by Jennifer Luitwieler is not, as she readily tells us, about running.

Luitwieler writes about people and community, and The Dog; those who have helped shape her, those from whom she draws strength, those she has come to understand more deeply, and a running community that supports, encourages, and inspires her as she continues on her path. Luitwieler writes with honesty and humor about the struggles she has faced, and how running has helped her face them.  She uses running as a metaphor for the contemplative process of letting go, of allowing things that hold her back to fall away.

In addition to Luitwieler's humor and honesty, I appreciate that Run With Me does not really end.  She tells her story, and the story continues. We remember and tell the story, but must always be ready for a new chapter.

Run With Me is a very valuable resource to me as a spiritual director. It gives a tangible description of a process in which someone discovers his or her true self, strengthening an understanding and inner discipline each day. It is engaging, interesting, and draws the reader in to learn more each step of the way. It helped me appreciate again what spiritual growth feels like, and it inspired me to begin running again!

The question Luitwieler evokes in me over and over is, who is in the community that supports, encourages, and inspires me? This is a question we each ask ourselves, and one that men and women seek to answer in spiritual direction.

Greg Richardson is a spiritual director and leadership coach in Pasadena, California, USA. He is also a lay oblate with New Camaldoli Monastery near Big Sur, California.

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