Listening together for the work of the Spirit
To “listen” another soul into a condition of disclosure and discovery may be almost the greatest service that any human being ever performs for another.
– Douglas Steere
I have provided informal spiritual direction through my work as a pastor for over fourteen years and have a certificate in Spiritual Direction and Social Transformation. In addition to one-on-one direction, this unique certification offered through the Center for Prophetic Imagination and the Minnesota Institute of Contemplation and Healing, focuses on discerning the liberating work of the Spirit in communal and social settings.
What is spiritual direction?
Spiritual direction is an ancient practice of listening together for the movement of the Spirit in one’s personal life, relationships, the social systems in which we are entangled, and the specific watersheds we inhabit. Directors who address personal and social transformation are trained in discernment, deep listening, spiritual practices, systems theory, and political analysis.
Why would someone seek direction?
People often seek direction when they are facing an important decision (e.g., vocational change, a potential move, relationship struggle, social action), are navigating challenges/changes to their faith, or when they are wanting to be more intentional about tending to their spiritual life. Spiritual directors offer people a safe, confidential, and sacred space in which to share their own story with a trusted person.
A director helps listen for the presence of the Spirit in people’s lives, paying attention to longings and dissonance that we often ignore or do not trust ourselves to name on our own.
“It is so easy to douse the inner light of a human being.” writes mystic and activist Dorothy Söelle. In the spirit of the One who will not snuff out a vulnerable flame (Isaiah 42:3), spiritual directors hold a shelter of loving presence around directees (those receiving direction), allowing their inner light, their awareness of the Sacred, truth, and beauty, to grow.
Too often, when people begin to languish spiritually, the individual is pathologized.
Tragically, many people are told that the solution to their suffering lies solely in their ability to become more resilient by learning how to cope better. However, life is more complex. We are all part of systems (familial, corporate, religious, racial, economic, etc.) that perpetuate myths, generate expectations, and press upon us in harmful ways. A systems-aware approach to direction, helps people name, resist, and seek freedom from oppressive powers.
What kind of direction does a spiritual director offer?
The term “spiritual director” is somewhat misleading in that most practitioners use an evocative and empowering approach.
Spiritual directors do not tell people what to do. Rather they help direct people’s attention to their own wisdom and capacity for discerning the presence of the Divine in their own lives and in the world.
Spiritual Directors direct people’s attention to truth that emerges during a session. They may direct people to various spiritual practices to experiment with to increase their ability to be aware of the Spirit’s presence in their lives, and they may direct someone’s attention to God’s grounding and peaceful presence during times of stillness.
What does a session look like?
Generally, a one-on-one session lasts an hour. A session will often begin with the director leading a brief grounding exercise to help the directee relax into the moment and intentionally open themselves up to God’s presence during the session. It is common for the grounding exercise to include a time of silence. Then, the director invites the directee to share whatever is on their heart. It might be a question, story, fear, anxiety, longing, emotion, dream, or desire. The director will listen deeply, lifting up what they notice as the directee shares. The session moves into a sacred conversation that may include several moments of silence, initiated by the director, to allow both the director and directee to notice what is emerging. The session often ends with the director offering a summary of the session followed by a blessing.
Group direction can take a number of different forms and include various practices (e.g., guidance through power/political analysis, crafting a unique social discernment process) depending on the group’s unique needs.
Where does spiritual direction take place?
I am happy to lead sessions in my backyard office, over zoom, or in a physical location of your choosing. I also meet with directees at Ladner United Church. It is helpful if the location is conducive to deep listening, sitting in stillness, and is free from distractions. Although direction often takes place while seated indoors, outdoor seated or walking sessions can be lovely too.
What is your spiritual location?
I practice spiritual direction from an LGBTQIA2S+ affirming and inter-faith perspective that respects and celebrates many expressions of spirituality.
I have belonged to and learned from various Christian streams (e.g., Catholic, Protestant, Mennonite), traditions (Anabaptist, contemplative, charismatic, evangelical), and theologies (liberation, disability, queer, feminist, womanist, non-violent, ecological).
How can I learn more or book a session?
I offer an initial one-hour session at no cost, where I can share more about who I am, how I approach spiritual direction, and where we can talk about the kind of spiritual accompaniment you are looking for. This obligation-free initial session is an opportunity for us to discern if we think a director/directee relationship would be beneficial at this time. Additional sessions are offered on a sliding scale from $50 – $100. If we discern that the relationship is a fit, and the fee presents a barrier to direction I am happy to negotiate something that works for you.
Click here to inquire about direction or fill in the contact form at the bottom of the page.
I am happy to host spiritual direction sessions in my backyard office. After a session, directees are welcome to explore the yard and to find a place to sit and to reflect. Sit in circle with a beautiful oak tree and the resident barred owls or consider the many other trees, flowers, and birds that make their home here.