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Guest Author: 
Liz Budd Ellmann, MDiv

Seeking God

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"The Magi Journeying" by James Tissot

What can we learn about spiritual direction from the Western Christian feast day of Epiphany, celebrated on January 6? Three wise seekers follow a star; they travel with spiritual companions. They do not know quite what they are searching for. They trust the journey.

The feast day of Epiphany enlightens the global human story of spiritual direction—the Magi model how to seek God.

Most Epiphany illustrations show three wise men at night, with a brilliant star to guide them. In the painting, “The Magi Journeying,” James Tissot captures a different glimpse of the wise men’s trek. Tissot invites us to experience their journey in the harsh daytime heat of the desert.

Guest Author: 
Holly Benzenhafer Redford

Season of Light

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Photo by Holly Benzenhafer Redford

I am a night person. The glory of a blazened sunset brings anticipation of the first stars in the night sky and the rising moon’s dance of waxing and waning. The night that follows—especially a night in winter—calls me to a certain kind of yearning. The winter nights bear a particular kind of silence. Hushed and weighty, it lingers around the edges of rooms and stands still and present in the brisk, open air. It is a silence of Presence, and it beckons me to enter its shadows. 

Guest Author: 
Michele C. Tamaren

Hanukkah: A Spiritual Celebration of Miracles and Light

Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Light, illumines the power of commitment to one’s faith and invites us to reflect upon, shine, and share the sacred spark within our own souls. Over two thousand years ago, the holy temple in Jerusalem was captured by Syrian-Greek soldiers who desecrated it with statues of Zeus and the slaughter of swine. Their emperor, Antiochus, forbade the practice of Judaism and ordered Jews to worship the Greek gods and to eat pork: both forbidden by Jewish law. Those who did not comply were tortured and killed.

Guest Author: 
Rose Slavkovsky

Spiritual Directors featured on Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting Television

Tonight at 10:30 p.m. EST

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Tonight, Spiritual Directors International and contemplative listeners Rev. Terry Hershey and Marianne Hieb, RSM, will be featured on Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasting Television at 10:30 p.m. EST. If you enjoyed their ten-minute video in the series “SDI Learns From…,” then tune in for a thirty-minute program on imagination and the art of spiritual direction.

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Rev. Terry Hershey is an author, inspirational speaker, dad, and ordained minister. He divides his time between designing sanctuary gardens and sharing his contemplative practice of "pausing" and "sanctuary" to help us do less and live more.

Guest Author: 
Margaret Benefiel, PhD

Spiritual Companions across the Centuries

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Photo by Flickr user b.roveran.

“Rebuild my church.” God used these words from Francis of Assisi’s story to speak to me as I sat in prayer with two spiritual companions in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA, after a heartbreaking disillusionment. I had left a job that I thought was my dream job; my dream shattered. “Oh God, what now?” I cried. My two companions, Quaker ministers like myself, sat with me in my pain and confusion.

Guest Author: 
Jennifer (Jinks) Hoffmann

 

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Radical Amazement

Abraham Joshua Heschel speaks

of radical amazement.

Of those moments in ordinary life,

when the Sea of Reeds is parted,

and for a fraction of a second something different,

something different,

something different

is glimpsed.

A finger points at the sliver of a moon against a startling sky,

and only a fool would look at the finger, he offers.

How often are we fools in our ordinary, daily lives.

The Sea of Reeds parts so many times each day,

and like Jacob we should say

ma norah ha-makom ha-ze,

how awesome is this place,

and I, I did not know it.

There are obvious daily calls to radical amazement

like the silver moon sliver, the first star;

the angel soft breath of a grandchild;

Guest Author: 
Liz Budd Ellmann, MDiv

The Joy of Anticipation

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December arrives chock-a-block full of bright decorations and sensual delights: Nutcracker ballets, Hanukkah latkes, and Christmas cookies. For many years, my spiritual direction group decided not to meet during December because it is “just too busy.” This year, however, our group noticed that we need to meet in December more than ever.

I am surprised by my desire to come together and reflect on God’s movements in our lives during a month when we ordinarily do not meet. Because of our commitment, I am more awake to the holiday hubbub that already overwhelms my senses. I confess that my contemplative practices often get placed on hold until the new year because “I’m just too busy.”

Guest Author: 
Rose Slavkovsky

Blessings and Blemishes

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While driving through the auburn hills of Eastern Washington, I stopped at a roadside fruit stand with larger-than-life advertisements for apples, pears, and more. Boxes of fruit displayed the abundance of autumn in the Pacific Northwest, and after some browsing, I chose a box of brightly colored honey crisp apples for homemade applesauce. Once home, the pealing and trimming began, and I discovered the bumps, dimples, and sweetness of each individual fruit. 

The past month of November has offered many opportunities for reflection. With the passing of All Souls Day, SDI invited you to embrace the closeness of your ancestors and notice that “the veil between heaven and the earth is thin.” As the curtain fell on this month of remembrance, two important days come to mind as turning our hearts toward the blessing and abundance in our lives.

Guest Author: 
Rev. Susan Morrison and Kathryn O’Connell Cleary

Gathering across Spiritual Traditions

Rev. Susan Morrison and Kathryn O’Connell Cleary

 

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On Monday, September 12, 2011, a meeting of the Greater Boston Spiritual Directors was held at Hebrew College in Newton Center, Massachusetts, USA. Spiritual directors from the Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, and Quaker traditions met for two hours within a contemplative format. This group has been meeting quarterly for a year. At each gathering, two members of the group share the role of facilitator on a rotating basis.

Guest Author: 
Rose Slavkovsky

A Day of Tolerance

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We are living in a world of constant change, of ebb and flow, of becoming. As spiritual directors, you hold the grace of accompanying others on their journey of jostle and stride, like watching a stone become smooth and radiant by the soft tumble of water. In your attending and listening, you fashion a holy space for all seasons of emotions, where each nudging has its place and each feeling has voice.

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