Spiritual Directors International

The Home of Spiritual Companionship

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Guest Author: 
Miriam Frey

Editor's note: Miriam Frey has been a spiritual director for 20 years and has deep experience in the training of spiritual companions. She is coordinator of Toronto's Jubliee Program. She's also SDI's Canada Coordinator. We asked her to offer key guiding questions for people looking for a formation or training program. We recommend you give this blog post some time and focus. Read it. Discern on the questions that resonate with you. Then read it again. And if you are considering becoming a spiritual companion, please accept our deepest thanks. This calling offers a blend of contemplative practice and deep listening which can change the lives of individuals and through them, their relationships and their communities. As the saying goes.... "How do we change the world most profoundly? One person at a time." Blessings to you all. 

 

“How do I find a formation or training program?” This is a common question from those interested in serving as a spiritual companion or director. Others will ask, “How do I know if a program is right for me?”

Guest Author: 
Steven Crandell

Dear Spiritual Companions, Seekers and Friends,

The time has come for action. Only days remain until our early-bird discount ends on January 31, 2019. We don't want you to miss out on the chance to participate in our annual conference - Seeking Connection ~ Across Generations. Where else will you have the chance to connect with - and learn from - hundreds of other spiritual companions?

This post is for those of you who:

  • want to attend, but need more information before making a decision
  • want to make sure you're getting the lowest price, or
  • have a strong interest, but just don't have the budget.
Guest Author: 
Steven Crandell

 

Where does love come from?

What might we discover if we listen in stillness without expectation?

When is a good time to be generous?

To be curious?

To be kind?

How can we make space for that which arises from deep within and disrupts our assumptions and indeed our lives?

~~~

These are questions for living. Questions that arise from what a Zen Buddhist might call "beginner's mind" - fresh, open to learning, free from pre-conceptions.

Such questions can help orient our lives, can help spiritual companions support others to find profound connection.

Guest Author: 
Janice L. Lundy, DMin

"Shifting our identification from the ego to the heart-mind is the beginning of individual spiritual work."
~ Ram Dass, Be Love Now

A few years ago, I was blessed to have a private conversation with the yogic sage, Ram Dass, whose work has guided me for years. During our time together, we talked a great deal about the "heart-mind." For him, our spiritual health, as well as the well-being of our planet, are sourced in our ability to live through “the heart-mind.”

In the English language, we use the word "mind" all the time. Yet, in Eastern thought, it is often used to mean the consciousness that pervades everything. It is also used in the field of (Western) body/mind science to explain how consciousness may exist in every cell of the human body.

Of course, we know where the physical heart is, right in the center of our chest. But what if the heart, like the mind, pervaded our entire consciousness—every thought, every cell? And what if we could harness these two perceptions and marry them within our consciousness? What if we could perceive and interact with everything and everyone with our heart-mind?

Guest Author: 
Lisa Van Allen

 

This practice challenge comes from SDI member and SDI webinar presenter Lisa Van Allen. She lives with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS,) a chronic condition that afflicts people with severe and relentless pain. (She's says she's not brave, but I, like others, admire her.) I share this practice here so all may benefit from her approach to embracing resilience in a time of intense and perseverating difficulty. (Lisa's original Facebook post is below for context.) I am grateful to Lisa for her permission to share it with our community. Sending you love, Lisa - Steven Crandell, SDI Content Director

Use this practice at any time, in any place, no matter how hectic or stressful or painful life is. It will help you towards balance. It will help you welcome the love that arises naturally within us. The practice is simple, but not always easy to follow. Don't chastise yourself for getting distracted. Always forgive yourself. If you feel you have lost your way and are overwhelmed with negativity, that's the perfect time to try this. Or to try it again.

Guest Author: 
Lizzie Salsich

I recently had the great privilege of spending 5 days in beautiful and wildly resilient New Orleans with co-conspirators (and SDI New Contemplative mates) Alison McCrary and Chelsea Forbrook.  Our time together came as a breath of life-giving fresh air for all of us - what an immense support to be held in deep, spiritually-rooted community.

Guest Author: 
Steven Crandell

I made God an offer She couldn’t refuse.

 

I would be grateful for everything in my life, all my experiences - no matter how hard, no matter how painful, no matter what. For as long as I lived.

 

What did I get in return?

 

Something beyond my wildest dreams.

 

 

When you wake up, what comes to mind first - problems or peace?

Do you feast on the present or pick through leftovers from the past? Do you open your senses to what’s around you or open the Pandora’s box of anxiety about what may never come to pass?

Guest Author: 
Sharon Seyfarth Garner

 

As you might discern from the above illustration, Sharon Seyfarth Garner isn't just a spiritual director and author, she's a workshop presenter at the SDI Conference Seeking Connection - Across Generations, to be held in Bellevue, Washington, USA March 14-17, 2019. Not surprisingly, she'll be doing a  workshop on prayer mandalas. We're grateful she took time to write this piece for us on one of her favorite spiritual practices.

Our dog, Bear, loves to go on walks.  He’s no longer a puppy, so he is usually pretty mellow as we stroll quietly around the block together.  That is, of course, unless we see a … “Squirrel!”  Then, all focus is gone and our normally calm Bear is completely distracted and off to the races.

My prayer life is full of these “squirrel” moments. I calmly settle into prayer with all the best intentions.  However before I know it, distractions take over and my mind is off to the races.  Time to be still with God is quickly overrun by “squirrels” that turn my distracted mind toward the grocery list, family calendar, or work deadlines rather than staying focused on God.

Guest Author: 
Tessi Muskrat Rickabaugh

I haven't been writing much over the last few years. A few blogs here and there, some sporadic journal pages, but nothing approaching the near-continuous outpouring of words that characterized most of my life before that point.

Guest Author: 
Jinks Hoffmann

 

If this feels like a paradox, perhaps even impossible, then you are on the right track and it's the perfect time to try it.

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