Spiritual Directors International

The Home of Spiritual Companionship


Guest Author: 
Lee Fogel

This talk was given in the fall of 2017 at Kol Nidre, the evening service that begins of Yom Kippur.  Traditionally, Jews atone for our transgressions on Yom Kippur and pray to be included in the book of life- to have a good and healthy year.  We greet each other by saying ‘G’mar chatimah tovah,’ loosely translated as, ‘May you be inscribed in the Book of  Life.’ As we approach Yom Kippur this year (starting on the evening of September 18), I share these words with all the Spiritual Directors International community as an invitation for people of all spiritual paths to consider new possibilities for relating to prayer.

 A non-religious, Christian-raised friend recently asked me, “Do you believe in G-d?”

Guest Author: 
Eric Massanari, MDiv

Editor's note: The current controversy over “fake news” and the lamentable attacks on journalists as "enemies of the people" have obscured the vital spiritual role played by news-gatherers. Yes, you read that right. News is just as spiritual as anything else - as long as you receive it with an open heart. It's also worth remembering that news need not be partisan, mean-spirited or commentary, but can offer a remarkable window on our world - an invitation to learn and be compassionate. As Eric Massanari explains, it can even be an act of prayer:

At some point in the middle of 2017 I realized that I was avoiding the news. I was no longer reading newspapers, I wasn’t turning on my favorite radio broadcasts and I was going out of my way to avoid televisions that were tuned into the usual parade of boisterous and blustering pundits. Whether it came from “the right,” “the left” or somewhere in the muddled middle, it all seemed so full of pain, fear and vitriol.

Guest Author: 
Christine Eberle

Editor's note - This is an excerpt from a new book by Christine Eberle, Finding God in Ordinary Time.  The author has kindly granted SDI permission to publish it here.

In my year as a young hospital chaplain, I met many patients, but there was one in particular whose faith still inspires me.

I’d been paged to the oncology floor late on a Sunday afternoon.

Guest Author: 
Gudjon Bergmann

How many times have you been having a conversation about your values or beliefs—political, theological, spiritual, nutritional—and been met with absolute statements? People say things like: “The truth of the matter is that…” or “what you don’t know is that…” or “this is that way…”

Telling people how things are, what the truth is, and what they don’t know, in relation to beliefs and values is extremely unhelpful in a two-sided dialogue.

Guest Author: 
Shirin McArthur


I believe the most frequently used word in my vocabulary these days could be “enough.”

Guest Author: 
Sr Virgina Herbers


Editor's Note: This post comes from the generous folks at Global Sisters Report, an independent nonprofit source of news about Catholic sisters and the people they serve. Though it clearly comes at spiritual direction from a Christian and Catholic perspective, Sister Virginia's insights into spiritual companionship and its value to help us be present - to what is and how we perceive it - can offer benefits to anyone, no matter what spiritual tradition they espouse, or if they embrace none. SDI is grateful to share it here.

I have the great privilege of being a spiritual director.

Guest Author: 
Staci Lee Kennelly

Photo (c) Staci Lee Kennelly

Feelings are wonderful, glorious things. Some are easy to love: joy, hope, happiness, peace. Some take time to learn how to love: confusion, apprehension, remorse. For others, it can be hard to see how or why we ought to love them at all: grief, abandonment, fear. Still, if we allow them, and if we are brave enough to feel them, all our feelings can be wonderful and glorious things. Confusion can become curiosity, remorse can become a lesson, grief can become love for what was, is, and is to come.

However, some of us don’t allow our emotions to be felt fully and allow them to teach us and reveal their mysteries to us. Some of us were taught at an early age – either by our guardians or by our own mind trying to protect us – that feelings are dangerous. Even the feelings that bring us joy eventually dissipate, so to deeply feel any emotion fully, deep down in our soul, is a risky thing.

Guest Author: 
Bruce Tallman

(Editor's note: We encourage you to dive into some spiritual reading this summer. Of course, this is only one list put together by one spiritual director - albeit an experienced one. No doubt our readers could add to it with their favorite titles. Feel free to do so in the comments below.

P.S. We have taken the liberty of including links to sample pages from each book - or other background information - so you can get a better feel for what experience the book might hold for you.)


Why not do your own personal spiritual retreat this summer?

This less busy time is perfect for contemplation and development in religious understanding. And there is no better way to do that than getting into a good book. Here are some major works I have found helpful over the years.

Guest Author: 
Erin Pickersgill

Editor’s note: Erin Pickersgill is one of SDI’s New Contemplatives of 2017. In this post, she shares two lovely ideas for bedtime spirituality that come from her Christian perspective. We believe the ideas of the “basket” and the “movie” can be adapted to be used by families from any spiritual tradition or those families whose spirituality is sourced in a number of traditions or no tradition at all. We encourage all parents to give them a try.


While sitting at swimming lessons the other day, watching my daughter dive for rings, I was listening to the parent-talk around me. They were sharing about children who wouldn’t sleep - and one particular child who suffered nightly from terrors and bad dreams. Obviously, the parents and the child were exhausted and at their wits’ end.

Guest Author: 
Ryan Kuja

Editor's note: We are grateful to spiritual director and author Ryan Kuja for sharing this excerpt from his new book From the Inside Out: Reimagining Mission, Recreating the World. An SDI New Contemplative (2016), Ryan is currently working in Medellin, Colombia as a Christian contemplative activist. In this excerpt, he examines the contemplative spirituality that arose among the Desert Mothers and Fathers and continues today as a practice that invites us  to leave the "falsity of the ego" and "meet a God we don’t know and can’t possibly imagine."

After Constantine converted to Christianity around 313 CE, the still fledgling Jesus movement that had existed only on the fringes of society became the religion of the Roman Empire. As the Christianizing of the ancient Near East began, the foundations of the gospel began to morph to fit Rome’s vision rather than the vision of Jesus and the original church.

The empire began remaking the Jesus movement into its own image.

As many faithful followers of Jesus witnessed the perversion of their faith concretize further and further, some chose to resist it by fleeing. Men and women left the cities for the deserts of Palestine, Egypt, and Syria. It was here that desert spirituality arose as a reaction to and liberation from empire spirituality.

They fled into the wilderness to nurture another way of life in community, to discern what it meant to follow Christ through humility, silence, and solitude. The desert invited a radical interiority rooted in contemplative practice focused on a complete surrender to the divine as well as a confrontation of falsity in the self and in the world. Here, the Desert Mothers (Ammas) and Fathers (Abbas) were able to have an experience of Christ not mediated by the state but by their own bodily reality.


Subscribe to RSS - blogs

Two for the Price of None

Learn. For. Free. Discover and Listen. One signup, two great resources. Free.

Help Us Serve More People

Become an SDI member. Great benefits, discounts, and networking. Learn more...