Spiritual Directors International

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Membership Moments

Guest Author: 
office@sdiworld.org

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Sitting in a pew in Ebenezer Baptist Church, I begin writing this reflection for you. How do I describe my intense feelings while contemplating in this sacred space where Martin Luther King, Jr. and so many other social activists found courage and solace? At first I sit alone in the empty church listening to one of Dr. King’s sermons that is piped into the sanctuary. But the sanctuary is not empty. Generations of prayers and meditations radiate through the stain glass windows that have been lovingly restored to what the sanctuary looked like when Dr. King and his father, “Daddy King” were pastors here. It is what our Celtic brothers and sisters call a thin place.

Guest Author: 
Liz Ellmann, MDiv

How do you describe compassion?

That’s a question we will ask all participants in Atlanta during the upcoming “Cultivating Compassion” series of educational events. We’ll ask the question two times: once at the beginning of the conference and again at the end. Why? Because compassion isn’t static. Just as the compassionate listening we offer in spiritual direction changes over time, so does the way we understand and express compassion. In the global ministry of spiritual direction it is important for us to continually cultivate compassion toward ourselves, toward our spiritual companions, and toward the world we live in.

Guest Author: 
Liz Ellmann, MDiv

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Shift Happens

I walked across the street in the rain to get a cup of coffee. After stirring the cream in my coffee, I saw that some cream had dripped to the floor and against the waste basket.

I noticed the witness in me pause and choose. There was a pause. Contemplative practice helps us notice the pauses when we can choose the next action, rather than let the next action choose us.

Once upon a time I would have seen if anyone were looking and cleaned up for their kudos.

Once upon another time I would have seen if anyone were looking and quickly walked away, as if I didn’t notice the cream on the floor.

Today, I witnessed myself cleaning up the cream, as if the floor had asked me to make it clean again. Did the coffee shop need me today? Did I need the coffee shop today?

Guest Author: 
liz Budd Ellmann, MDiv

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Have you ever had a song arrive during contemplative practice, and it sticks around for a while? Do you remember the simple tune and lyric by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, “In my life, I love you more”?

This tune came to me the week of the tragic violence in Tucson, Arizona, USA, and has emerged repeatedly since then. As I learn of personal tragedies in my friends’ lives and witness violent struggles in Tunisia and Egypt, the song beckons me gently to notice love in the midst of the specifics and beyond.

I am not alone in discovering the potency of this Beatles song. Read the lyrics, and then the stories of how others’ have encountered them:

Guest Author: 
Liz Budd Ellmann, MDiv

altJean Vanier and Sister Elisabeth le Jariel, RSCJ

In the New Year, when will you make time for a personal retreat, to nourish your soul and practice compassion for yourself, which ripples out into our families, communities, and world?

Near the end of last year, I made a silent retreat at a retreat center located in a tiny village called Trosly in northern France. Jean Vanier directed the retreat. Jean is the founder of the international movement of L'Arche communities, where people who have developmental disabilities and the friends who assist them create homes and share life together. I am deeply grateful for Sister Elisabeth le Jariel, RSCJ, a spiritual director and chaplain in Paris, France, who invited me to join her on the retreat titled, “Community: A Place for Forgiveness and Celebration.” Jean and Elisabeth are pictured above.

Guest Author: 
Liz Budd Ellmann, MDiv

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The night before the journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, I slept restlessly. I felt anxious about crossing into Palestinian Territories through heavily armed border gates, past the haunting huge wall that seems to go on forever separating Jerusalem from Bethlehem.  As a fledgling pilgrim group from Africa, Europe, North, and South America, I knew the day would rattle us. Shaking us out of our spiritual comfort zone, we would witness a divided Israel up close and hear stories from local people about how the barriers affect living in the West Bank.

I also worried about the olive tree. We planned on planting a tree as a visible sign of hope and a gift of peace from the Spiritual Directors International community. I tossed and turned in my sleep, fretting about the health of the tree after we planted it. Who will water it and help it grow?

Guest Author: 

Spiritual Directors International participated in the Spiritual Care Summit gathering of North American chaplains. The chair of the summit, George Grant, PhD, visited the Spiritual Directors International booth and is pictured with Lisa Irish (in the background, Bobbi Breitman and Carol Ludwig). Member Bobbi Wright, a spiritual director and a chaplain, writes about the thread that links spiritual direction and chaplaincy in the Christian tradition:

Guest Author: 

Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction welcomes three new members to the editorial review panel:

  • Gordon Self from Alberta, Canada
  • Gloria Tiede from Vancouver, Canada
  • Doug Gregg from St. George, Utah, USA

For a full list of current panel members, click here.

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Guest Author: 

Be sure your expanded listing is in the print version of Seek and Find: A Worldwide Resource Guide of Available Spiritual Directors. All current members of Spiritual Directors International who are available for spiritual direction will be listed in the print version of the Seek and Find Guide. However, if you want an expanded listing, you need to act soon. The deadline is May 1 for making it into the print version. (The print version will mail in August 2007.) Click here for more information on upgrading your listing.

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