Lately I’ve discovered that I, and a number of my clients, have been struggling with what I call existential FOMO. For you non-millennials out there, FOMO is a fear of missing out. It’s the unpleasant anxiety that by staying home, declining a job opportunity, passing on a blind date, or generally saying no to option A— we will miss out on something extraordinary. How do I know I made the best decision? If I go with option B, how do I know I wasn’t supposed to go with option A? (Or C, or K, or Z?)
Editor's Note --Jerome Neyrey, SJ, will present a full-day seminar and a half-day workshop on Igantian Spirituality and contemplative prayer at Seeking Connection - Across Generations, the SDI conference to be held March 14-17, 2019 in Bellevue, Washington. Neyrey offers a fresh approach to those familiar to Ignatian contemplative practice, blending spirituality with social science. Here Neyrey, a retired professor from Notre Dame, explains how the Ignatian approach to spiritual imagination can also be culturally and historically accurate.
Contemplation of the Gospel has long emphasized focus on the humanity of Jesus. This means appreciating that he thought with a human mind, willed with a human will, and loved with a human heart. The day-to-day life he lived from birth to death matters, because, for Christians, he sanctified all human living; he made all human living holy.
The Executive Director and Coordinating Council of Spiritual Directors International wish to join their voices in condemning the unconscionable, and senseless attack on one of the USA's oldest Jewish communities. We grieve for all of those lost beautiful souls, for their families and friends.
Our hearts are breaking once again, and we urge our leaders to implement sensible measures to tamp down the sickening frequency of these violent attacks.
One of the things I loved about my new teaching position this year was I had the opportunity to teach young students about mindfulness. We used both the contexts of drama and music to become witnesses to our own thinking and the emotional results we get from our thoughts. Our school bought a program called Zones of Regulation. It puts emotional states into 4 colour groups. Red for angry emotions, Blue is for fear or tired states, Yellow is anxious or on the verge of going into the Red zone and Green is for happy and peaceful emotions. I thought I was using the program to teach students about mindfulness and managing emotions but once again, it turns out that they had some things to teach me too.
I was growing up during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992-1995), living in the divided city of Mostar in different dark shelters, hiding from shelling and gunfire, constantly worrying about whether relatives and loved ones were still alive. Living in constant fear, I developed a lot of stereotypes and prejudices. I hated people from other national and religious backgrounds.
In one of those long conversations that we sometimes have, a dear friend once told me, “you are a useless treeand that because of that, you have no problems in the world.”
I was puzzled, then he explained that it came from an ancient Taoist story of The Useless Tree, by Chuang Tzu, and that I should be honoured to be called a useless tree. I had never heard the tale before, so he shared the whole thing with me. It's not long, but it's very beautiful, and my friend is right.
Editor's note - This post captures the feeling of being on the Scottish Island of Iona as autumn arrives. For those who have visited, and those who long to visit, it is both invocation and invitation.
Greetings from Iona. We are here on this beautiful and atmospheric island in late September. This is the same time of year as the SDI Journey will be in 2019.
Iona is known for its winds and we are glad of hats, gloves and warm waterproof coats when we walk the lanes and tracks of the island. It’s beginning to get dark early so we need flashlights to go around in the late evening. The sea is beautiful and powerful as it crashes on the rocks on the Bay at the Back of the Ocean. It’s good to have time to respond to these experiences in writing and paint and to have space to reflect.
Editor's note - Kristen Hobby served as the chair of the SDI Coordinating Council . She finished her term of service earlier this year. She wrote this recollection of her time providing volunteer leadership to our organization. We are grateful for her service. She will be missed on the Council, but she continues to contribute as an SDI member, a spiritual director of deep compassion and writer. Blessings to you, Kristen.
In 2010, I was a relatively new member of Spiritual Directors International (SDI). I had attended my first SDI conference in Vancouver in 2007 and returned to the Houston conference in 2009. I also worked with SDI in presenting an interfaith panel on the topic of spiritual direction at the Parliament of the World’s Religions when it was hosted in Melbourne in 2009. The Parliament was a profoundly moving experience for me, both in the presenting of the workshop, the offering of a quiet ‘listening space’ for attendees, as well as seeing the Dalai Lama speak at the opening address.
Editor's note: This post comes from one of our members. The project discussed here is not a Spiritual Directors International project, nor is it sanctioned by our nonprofit organization. We do, however, want to share the stories of our members. In fact, we see it as part of our mission. We offer this post now in that spirit.
When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.
~ Chinese Proverb
Letting go.Inviting in.Embracing change.Easy words, hard actions.The ability to let go of long held beliefs and ideas and fully embrace and welcome those that yesterday were unknown can challenge our hearts, minds, and souls.Technological advances have pushed our world forward at a remarkable pace.I grew up in a world devoid of smart phones, voice mail, Instagram, or Twitter accounts.Instead of texts or emails, we wrote letters with a pen and paper that were stamped and sent through the U.S. Mail.To communicate with someone in the neighborhood we walked to their house and knocked on the door.It was a different time in countless ways.
Editor's note: These extraordinary quotes come from the popular Christian author and theologian Frederick Buechner. Together, they suggest one of the key themes in all his work -- listening to one's life.
May spiritual companions and seekers around the globe use them as inspiration to discern on the role played by God - or however we name the ground of all being - in our "day-by-day" lives.
Blessings to you all.
One of the clearest messages Frederick Buechner has woven into his many books is to pay attention - to your life, to the people with whom you are closest, to the things that happen to you. This, according to Buechner, is the best, and most authentic, way to experience yourself and God.