Spiritual Directors International

The Home of Spiritual Companionship

SDI Encounters - A Contemplative Podcast about Spiritual Companionship

Guest Author: 
Matt Whitney

Editor's note - Matt Whitney is an artist. If you've noticed the wonderful drawings in our publications, he's the one guiding the pencil. (There's one of his creations just below.) A true Renaissance man, Matt engages in many pursuits. As SDI's Visual Media and Technology Coordinator, he launched our podcast* this year. This post is his introduction to SDI Encounters, a free source of inspiration that we hope will become a gateway for people to discover spiritual companionship and share in our amazing community of listeners.

In my work at Spiritual Directors International (SDI) – I’m now recording and hosting a weekly podcast called SDI Encounters.

It’s about our work at SDI. SDI is a learning community for people who identify as spiritual companions.

What’s a spiritual companion? Simply, it’s someone who listens to others, on a deep level. A spiritual director is a vocation, particularly rooted in the Catholic tradition, who listens to people on an individual basis, helping them discern for themselves the workings of the Divine in their lives. We consider spiritual companionship to be part-and-parcel with this, but on a broader level that embraces this deep relationship across faith traditions (or having no particular religious background). Everyone is welcome in what we call the "Public Square of Spiritual Companionship" to enter with their spiritual tradition or inclination intact.

The podcast itself is about spiritual direction, spiritual companionship, contemplative practices, spirituality in general, InterFaith dialog, and everything in-between.


How did I become a host of this show?

I myself am not a spiritual director. But, I know for myself I need spiritual direction. I am that seeker who needs a good listener. I need companions who will, with grace and care, hear the jumbled ramblings of my consciousness and help me discern the gentle quiet behind all of that. I need people in my life who will walk beside me as I am ever leaning, within my limited and corporeal capacities, into this shared mystery of life we all participate in and with. I suppose this is the archetype that I bring to hosting this show – not as the trained spiritual director, but as the person who needs spiritual direction, which I believe is all of us.

Art, walking, contemplative practice – these are ways in which I explore this mystery and find meaning, embedded within the ordinary and the breath of this present moment. There is a broad community of people in the world who have their own practices and explorations and experiences. Within this community are the listeners – the people who are trained in spiritual direction, and know how to listen to your story and seek to help you excavate deeper realities and deeper truths within. Not to dictate or determine a path for you, but to help you suss out for yourself your own unique path. It is a fascinating, enriching community, one I am continually learning from and one that has a myriad of stories and paths, and yet within the myriad of experiences is a shared resonance.

This podcast is about those stories and those paths, and hopefully that resonance.

I hope you’ll give it a try. Please send me an email let me know what you think – podcast@sdiworld.org

You can both listen and subscribe on Podbean – https://sdiencounters.podbean.com/

On Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/2ufeZhwf9z6WuBi5pZEeNn

On Apple Podcasts – https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/sdi-encounters/id1451231142?mt=2

SDI Encounters is also on our website – https://www.sdiworld.org/podcasts

…and probably other places where you listen to a podcast!


* What is a podcast? Learn more here.


Matt Whitney is a multidisciplinary artist and educator who grew up in the Pacific Northwest and lives in Seattle. He works between drawing, painting, photography, collage, video, performance, and group facilitation, with a focus on the metaphorical and spiritual power generated through life’s everyday rhythms – walking, riding the bus, gardening, making things, or simply being still. He has a BA in Art from Whitworth University and an MFA in Visual Art from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has taught art at the college level for several years. You can see some of his personal work at www.matthewwhitney.com. If you've seen any of the splendid photos from Seeking Connections 2018 in St. Louis or the design of Listen and Connections, that's Matt's work.

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