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Guest Author: 
Steven Crandell

Did you know you are shining like the sun this very minute?

Guest Author: 
Rev. Julia Singleton

My day consists of running from pre-school drop off to prayer meetings, to preschool pickup, lunch prep, sermon prep ... you get the picture.  Being a young clergy mom, I fully understand being short on time.  Finding time for self-care and reflection isn't easy.  The same is true for most of my directeesI have five directees: one young mom, two young clergy moms, and two more clergy, all with at least one thing in common. We are all short on time. 

I try to be as efficient as possible. I love that meme that says, “When that meeting could have been an email.”  I know technology is not always the answer, but I also think we aren’t fully embracing technology to the extent that we can, especially as spiritual directors.

Guest Author: 
Steven Crandell

We all have faced rejection - the job we didn't get, the school we didn't get into, the relationship that ended when we wanted it to continue. We all have experienced the "no" that struck us a smarting blow because we wanted to hear "yes" so much.

This practice invites you to unpack the experience of rejection in a spiritual way.

Guest Author: 
Rev. Wilfredo Benitez

 

 

Stepping into a walking labyrinth becomes a sacred experience when we connect it to our own personal journey, our walk in the desert, our meanderings through an unknown and sometimes bewildering wilderness. I recently walked the outdoor labyrinth at the Kanuga Conference and Retreat Center, in Hendersonville North Carolina, while attending Spiritual Direction training offered by the Haden Institute.  The weather had been unusually cold. Snow and ice had taken its toll on the surface of the labyrinth, it was gritty, and stained, and not very warm and inviting. 

Guest Author: 
Denise Brill

I live on the California coast within a few blocks from the beach. One of my favorite pastimes to do after a storm blows through is to go beachcombing for sea glass. I tend to lose myself in this activity of slow walking on the wet sand when the tide is low. I look with intention along the shore for what shimmers in the sunlight. This afternoon there was a minus tide and the ocean’s waves have done all the work, churning up the rocks, so they lay like carefully placed pebbles tossed in a formation upon the shore.

Guest Author: 
Brian J. Plachta

 

I wake early so I can light a candle and place it in my window. 

Its light illuminates my darkness and, perhaps, the darkness of the world. The reverent glow flickering from quiet candlelight serves as a beacon for the birds who visit the feeder outside my sill.  As they find morning nourishment, they feather simple joy upon my heart.

I wake early because when I do, I recall the miracle of my breath. I feel the beating of my heart. And my dog’s snoring at my feet becomes a choir.

Guest Author: 
Rev. Stephanie Rutt

Editor's note: Here's a truth to ponder - not all spiritual companionship happens face-to-face or even by Skype or telephone. Sometimes our listening makes a difference, but the seeker being heard never even knows we are attending. Read this lovely story from a spiritual director who discovered the human frailty and grace that lies beneath political conflict.

Last year, just after the US presidential election, my husband and I drove down to the World Alliance of Interfaith Clergy conference in Marriottsville, MD. On the way, we found ourselves listening to a talk show which was inviting callers to share their feelings regarding the election of Donald Trump. I was struck at the level of anger on both sides. One caller, a strong Trump supporter, was particularly angry leveling venom at those who were now protesting his election. After a follow-up question, she suddenly launched into what could only be called a full-blown tirade.

I found myself becoming more and more irritated. I felt quite sure that had she been in my physical view I would have leveled back in defense. And then, somewhere, tucked in the middle of the tirade, I heard a short phrase (they usually are) that stopped me cold. She said, “My daughter died…” and a little later, “from a drug overdose.” Suddenly, I could hear all of her complaints about the lack of border control, illegal immigrants, health care challenges, financial strain, in a whole new light. And, most of all, I remembered: behind every anger is a hurt.

Guest Author: 
Shivali Bhammer

Editor's note: Shivali Bhammer is one of the workshop presenters at Seeking Connections 2018, SDI's annual conference. She will present "Mindfulness: An Exploration of Karma & Devotional Yoga in the Yogic Tradition."   She approaches spiritual companionship from the Hindu tradition. This is her first post on the SDI blog. We welcome her perspective.)

A young girl recently wrote to me with a dilemma. Her father insisted that she should marry someone from her community, rather than the Sri Lankan she was in love with (she was Indian).

Guest Author: 
Ashley Davis Bush, LICSW

(Editor's note: Ashley Davis Bush does a beautiful job in this post describing the delights of a silent retreat in the Catholic tradition. It's worth noting that retreats are integral to Hindu, Sufi and Buddhist traditions as well - with meditation and yoga sometimes being themes in modern day silent retreats. Regardless of tradition or focus, retreants who stay silent over a period of days say it deepens awareness and refreshes the spirit.) 

I recently told an acquaintance that I was headed for a silent retreat weekend.  “I go to this monastery in Cambridge several times a year,” I beamed. She looked at me with a blank stare and asked increduously, ‘Why?’  The implication was that it must be dreadfully boring, even a waste of time.  

Why do I go?  Upon reflection, I would say that I go as an act of self-care -- to carve out space for personal contemplation, to be amidst a monastic community, to nurture my spirit, to rest; and to spend quality time with God.

Guest Author: 
Hans Hallundbaek, MDiv, DMin

 

Prison metes out segregation, isolation and punishment for ill deeds. Out of public sight, prison often becomes a place of brutality, mistreatment and unimagined human suffering for those incarcerated.

However, given the proper guidance, prison also has the potential to become a place of transformation and healing. An incarcerated person can also develop as a highly spiritual individual.

Once awakened to the inherent spiritual impulse, a person in longtime incarceration, with a little creativity and help from the outside, has the time and opportunity to turn his or her prison time into a “monastic” experience.

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