Spiritual Directors International

The Home of Spiritual Companionship


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.

Guest Author: 
Kelly Deutsch

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?)

Guest Author: 
Jerome Neyrey, SJ

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.

Guest Author: 
SDI Coordinating Council


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.

Guest Author: 
Jill McPherson

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.

Guest Author: 
Lejla Hasandedic-Dapo

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.

Guest Author: 


A companion of the Way is an empty thing —

like Chuang Tzu's Useless Tree.


In one of those long conversations that we sometimes have, a dear friend once told me, “you are a useless tree and 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.

Guest Author: 
Andrew & Wendy Rudd

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.


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