- Private Spiritual Direction
- Group Spiritual Direction
- Journey Groups
- Silent Retreats
- Spiritual Exploration Seminars/Retreats
- Other Opportunities
Private Spiritual Direction
Silent Retreats, Spiritual Exploration, Seminars and Retreats
These opportunities will be offered occasionally and will vary in content. They will be announced on this site and in my business social media feeds. They will vary in location and cost depending on the content and location and will be dependent on a specified number of participants.
Always with a view of considering the Divine topics and offerings may include:
- Vision Board
- Guest speakers on a variety of topics and practices
- Body work practitioners
Group Spiritual Direction/Journey Groups
Group work offers the advantage of the experience of others and may also be a less expensive way to explore spiritual direction.
There are many ways to form a group. They may include:
- A previously existing group of friends who would like to embark on a spiritual journey together.
- Individuals who have contacted me and would like to be part of a group who may or may not know one another.
Frequency and Location
Groups typically meet monthly for the sake of consistency of schedules. They are usually made up of four but may vary according to needs. Sharing depends on group preferences and may vary from only one person sharing in a session to a longer opportunity for all to share.
Each person is given ample opportunity to express themselves and others in the group are given time to respond. There is always time for silence and thoughtful reflection before each person offers input.
As the facilitator, I become the time keeper and hold the responsibility of making the space safe and the responses appropriate. I will also support the group by offering reflections, resources and prayer or silence as required.
Journey Groups are similar to Group Spiritual Direction but have a very formal format of sharing and silence. The group may decide on which format they prefer and discussion about changes is always welcome.
For an overview of what takes place in a group visit Shalem Institute.
Because I am affiliated with other groups who offer similar opportunities links to their events and exploration of the Divine will be available on my web site and social media when they arise and when they are considered reliable .
Rates for spiritual direction meet an accepted standard but may vary depending on location and individual circumstance.
Group rates will be determined by the number of individuals attending and will reflect prices of the facilities where events are held.
Please ask about rates when you contact us.
The Anam Cara - A Descriptor of Spiritual Direction
There are many descriptions of spiritual direction and many viewpoints for a description but as I search I find it difficult to find one succinct statement that expresses the nature of spiritual direction.
Perhaps the difficulty in description is the diversity of the experience. While the modern, western, practice of spiritual direction is based in Christianity I am confident it is something that has been occurring, naturally and formally in every religious tradition for thousands of years.
From the beginning I would like to offer my own bias about the language of spiritual direction. I recognize it is from the need for continuity that we use the term and that we speak of “God”. I would prefer to find a less intimidating term like, companion, friend, or even mentor. The Anam Cara or soul friend implies the entwining of souls with the Divine and is the image and basis I will chose for my own practice.
In my own simplistic definition spiritual direction is, “The seeking of the divine with a soul friend who is also a seeker who is willing to support your journey without, sharing their learning and faith without imposing on you. “
Some of the strongest examples of spiritual direction which I know come from the ancient Hebrew texts in the stories of Moses and Joshua, Elijah and Elisha. Each of these leaders mentored their second in command until the second became more capable than the first. Then the leader stepped away and allowed the combined wisdom to move forward with the Spirit as their guide.
Jesus, like his contemporaries in other religions, was a prime example of spiritual director. He taught his disciples to do the same. Like the Egyptian Eunuch who rode with Paul, when we seek a mentor the Divine will provide one and they will travel with us for only as long as we need them.
The most straight forward explanation of spiritual direction I have found is from the Statement of Purpose of “A Code of Conduct for Spiritual Directors”. It states: “Spiritual direction is an ancient ministry, a unique one-to-one relationship in which a trained person assists another person in search for an ever-closer union of love with God.”
William A Barry and William J Connolly describe the Ignatian experience this way: “Spiritual direction is “help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to growing intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship”. [i]
The assumption of the Ignatian philosophy is that God longs for us first and because of that longing we are aroused to long for God. (Janet K. Ruffing, RSM, Spirutal Direction – Beyond the Beginnings.)
Part of explaining spiritual direction is finding authority which recognizes it. Recently Pope Frances has been encouraging the use of spiritual direction in the Roman Catholic Church and uses the symbol of the three chairs to signify the presence of two plus the Holy. Many church traditions, most notably the Anglican in Canada, have required their leaders to have spiritual direction on a regular basis for many years.
While doing some of my own spiritual practice during lent I ran upon a “40 Day Journey with Kathleen Norris”, a modern day mystic. Reworking some of the questions she asks in day two of the study I find a good foundation for what spiritual direction should be.
It is a place, with a person who allows seekers:
- to express doubts about faith, tradition or practice of their faith
- to express negative thoughts, moods, feeling, or concerns about faith
- encourages seeker to explore what they believe and wrestle with the questions of faith.
Norris also quite eloquently expresses the call of the spiritual director as I see it. That is, to support and “to pray for people who have questions about their faith but don’t know where (or perhaps how) to ask them. “
There are many how to’s and don’t do’s of the art of spiritual direction. It is not therapy, or counseling. Both of those imply the person needs “to be told” what they should do. While a spiritual director may offer suggestions and make observations as many counselors do, there is a basic understanding that the “directee” needs to find and has the ability to find their own answers. There is an assumption each is quite capable of seeking and hearing the voice of the Divine.
Perhaps all any of us need from a mentor is the assurance of our ability to hear the voice of the spirit.
The anam cara simply listens to the person with the heart of the Divine and speaks truth and wisdom which is filtered in prayer and humility, knowing always that the Divine is the source.
[ii] 40-Day Journeywith Kathleen Norris, Kathryn Hausesen, editor, Augsburg Books, Minneaplois, MN