Spiritual Direction as a Wellness Practice

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I love the practice of spiritual direction so much. Because it’s not only my calling and livelihood, it’s a place of healing for me.

Spiritual direction – at its best – is a wellness practice. It’s not usually an emergency visit (although at times it can be) nor is it about spending the hour complaining about one’s problems and how to fix them. Ultimately, it’s about taking time each month to open your heart to a trusted listener whose only job is to help you look at the fragmented pieces of your life and support you as you put them together in a healthy way.

I loved this exchange on Twitter this week. Hannah Paasch, a blogger who writes about how we heal from religious trauma, asked people who have experienced religious trauma, “What is the healthiest you can imagine?” And this is the answer she received from Marcy Bain, an ordained Presbyterian minister and business consultant.

 

This is what makes spiritual direction a wellness practice:

  • We journey with someone or with a group of people

  • We keep the focus on our spiritual process(es)

  • No one manipulates an outcome (if they do, they’re doing it wrong!)

  • Success is when people flourish, regardless of their spiritual tradition or lack of one

 

Last week, in a moment of weakness around theological anxieties that crop up for me as Easter approaches, I spent an extra hour with my spiritual director considering ways I might move through this season with integrity and care instead of retreating into sleep, fiction and Netflix. At the end an hour of being listened to and supported, I felt hope. I felt healing was happening. I was on my way to greater wellness.

Most of the work I do is driven by the desire to offer that to others. This happens in spiritual direction and discernment coaching with individuals and groups.

It also happens in the writing I do, which is why I’m delighted to announce that this blog, Spiritual Direction 101, has just become a book by the same name, designed to demystify the practice of spiritual direction for everyone—seekers, spiritual directors and those interested in becoming spiritual directors.

If you are someone intrigued by the practice of spiritual guidance, I hope you will check out Spiritual Direction 101: The Basics of Spiritual GuidanceAvailable as an ebook or paperback.


In need of spiritual direction? I have openings in my schedule for new directees—regardless of where you live. I can work by phone or Skype or if you live in the Phoenix metro area we can meet in person. Contact me at teresa@teresablythe.net  or visit www.teresablythe.net.

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