What is spiritual direction?

Something of a misnomer, for starters, since we don’t direct people as in telling them what to do. Here’s my take on the whats and the whys. Note: Since my home tradition is Christianity, I use the word God to describe what others may call the One, the Source, the Universe, the Ground of All Being, etc. You are most welcome to substitute whatever word or name has meaning for you.

Why would I do spiritual direction?

Maybe you’re facing a life decision and you want God’s help with it. Maybe you yearn for more depth in your life. Maybe you do all the “right things,” like prayer, study, meditation, and worship, but something’s missing. Maybe you’re lost and can’t find your way back. Whatever the details, something is nudging you, it has to do with God/your life/your future/etc., and you want a companion to help you address it.

How does spiritual direction work?

Something nudges you to come see me. You tell me what’s on your mind. I listen with full attention and a wide open heart. I ask open-ended questions to help you go deeper. I help you see where God might be present, active, speaking in your life. Ideally, you gain clarity and insight and a more joyful relationship with God.

Still unclear? Of course it is. That’s why I offer you your first session at no charge.

Sounds like therapy.

They do look alike. One big difference: In therapy, only two people are involved and the goal is the client’s mental health. In spiritual direction, there are three people in the room–you, me, and God, all listening to one another–and the goal is to connect you to God more closely.

Why would I do spiritual direction with you?

Different directors offer different strengths. Here is some of what I bring to the table:

  • An open heart. No judgment here. All your stuff is welcome. (While I’m aligned with both Christian and Zen, you do not have to be either to work with me.)
  • A you focus. This is part of the open-heart thing. I’m not interested in measuring you against an external framework (unless that would be helpful for you). I would much rather start with you–your stuff, your issues, your values, your beliefs, etc.–and help you find God within that.
  • Deep listening. With as close to full attention as possible. I’m listening not only to your words and nonverbal cues, but also to what might be happening beneath the surface. I’m also listening to God and to my own reactions.
  • Really good questions. The questions arise from the deep listening, so they often uncover something: a new perspective you’ve never seen before, a why-didn’t-I-think-of-that insight, a tender nerve that needs gentle care.
  • Everything we discuss is confidential. Beyond that, the open heart and you focus create a safe space in which you can explore at will.
  • Credentials and experience. I have been an active Christian for 40+ years, engaged in contemplative prayer and spirituality for 20+, and maintained a daily zazen practice for a few. My spiritual direction training took place at the Linwood Spiritual Center under the tutelage of director Don Bisson and other wonderful teachers. I am a member of Spiritual Directors International. When not directing, I write and speak on ancient spiritual wisdom and its surprising relevance for today’s world.

How do you meet with people? And how often?

My two favorite methods are face-to-face (in a location of your choosing) or online (via Zoom). Once a month is usually the best idea.

Do you charge for this?

Yes. Ask me for details.

I might want to do this, but I’m still not quite getting it.

I’d be surprised if you were. That’s why I offer your first session at no charge. Try it out and see.