Paying Attention to What Is


It was my annual 3-day summer retreat at a reduced rate resort in Scottsdale and I was ready to lounge by the pool. As I was about to enter, I noticed a swarm of about 40 elementary to middle school-aged kids with their camp counselors also entering the pool area. It was a charity event [Read More...]

Top 5 Fears People Have About Spiritual Direction

Photo by Milada Vigerova on

Because the practice of spiritual direction is still rather new to a lot of people, there are some fears borne out of misconceptions about it. Here are the top five fears I have noticed people have about spiritual direction. 1. The spiritual director will judge me. Fear of being judged harshly keeps some people away [Read More...]

Spiritual Directors as “Good Soil”

Photo by Saul Cuellar on

The effectiveness of any spiritual director resides primarily in his or her ability to be a gracious container for whatever story the directee wants to bring to that session. I find Jesus’ story of the parable of the sower helpful in explaining this (Matthew 13:3-9). Think of the directee as the sower (the farmer) and [Read More...]

Staying Peaceful when the News Isn’t

my happy place

One of the most common threads in spiritual direction conversations is “what do I do with my outrage over all the news I hear about violence and heartbreak?” I’ve asked my spiritual director that question a few times myself. Overall, our world is proportionately less violent than it was thousands of years ago. But that’s [Read More...]

Anne Lamott and the Trans-bashing Tweet

Photo by James Hall

The high priestess of progressive Christian inspiration, Anne Lamott is busy this week backtracking and apologizing for a crude twitter remark in which she said (and I will paraphrase)  she would not call Caitlyn Jenner “she” as long as Jenner still had a penis. Since quite a few transgender Christians seek spiritual direction—mostly because it [Read More...]

Giving Away Your Power

Credit: Kino Lorber, Inc.

Spiritual direction is about claiming your own power and God’s power within you. The code of ethics that spiritual directors abide by expressly prohibits us from becoming gurus. To be the person who gives advice, admonishes or fixes your problem is to take your personal  power away. Never, ever give your personal power away to [Read More...]

Why I remain a contemplative Christian

Although I often work in spiritual direction with people from no religious background, I am no “none.” While I’m open to spiritual practices from a variety of religious traditions and am proud to have close friends who are atheists, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim and everything in between, I remain a committed progressive contemplative Christian. I don’t [Read More...]

Summer Slowdown

Photo by Teresa Blythe

Warm weather invites us to slow down but how many of us really accept that invitation? Our jobs certainly don’t slow down just because the summer is here.  We just slog through at the same high-speed pace even as our bodies cry out for a break. It is hard spiritual work to listen to our [Read More...]

Five Ways to Deepen a Conversation

direction session

Spiritual directors have five conversational tools we use to help the person we are talking with share more deeply. These aren’t secrets and you don’t have to be a spiritual director to use them. They are especially helpful if the person you are talking with feels safe with you and wants to talk about important [Read More...]

New Life: The Heart of Spiritual Direction

People sometimes wonder if Christians of the progressive, liberal, contemplative persuasion (like me) believe–really believe—in resurrection. Although I don’t usually share Christological perspectives in this blog, I’m making an exception this week. It doesn’t matter to me how Jesus of Nazareth lived on after the crucifixion. What matters to me is that new life is possible. [Read More...]