5 Ways Spiritual Direction Promotes Freedom

  Spiritual direction takes freedom very seriously. We want to feel free to be the person we were created to be–with as few internal fetters as possible, barriers such as negative self-talk, low self-esteem or dependencies. A spiritual director is trained to notice where you may not be as free as you want or need [Read More…]

Holding our Pain: A look at “The Gift of Hard Things” by Mark Yaconelli

This post is part of a roundtable discussion about the new book The Gift of Hard Things by Mark Yaconelli, now featured at the Patheos Book Club. It’s easy to be spiritually focused when life goes well for us. Not so easy when grief, suffering, pain and frustration fill our days. Spiritual director and storyteller [Read More…]

Stages of Freedom: Reflections on The Wolfpack

For one of the most jarring and accurate depictions of the stages of freedom, I recommend spending 89 minutes one day watching the documentary The Wolfpack (streaming now on Netflix).  It’s an exploration of the lives of six Angulo brothers—exceptionally bright and creative—who were homeschooled by their mother in their Lower East Side apartment and [Read More…]

Mysticism and Diversity: Lessons from a Van Flat

It took an experience of mysticism a few years ago for me to understand pluralism—the peaceful co-existence of different religions, theologies and spiritualities. Once, while walking down a tree-lined street on a sunny, warm day in Marin County, I had that mystical experience of “oneness” with the Holy—the kind of experience you cannot bring upon [Read More…]

Welcoming Difficult Feelings in Spiritual Direction

As soon as we accept how we really feel , healing and restoration can begin. But for the highly sensitive person (HSP), the amount of time it takes to move through difficult emotions can feel ridiculously long. I know because I am one (HSP) and I constantly look for ways to shorten the healing time. [Read More…]

Money Matters in Spiritual Direction

Never go to a spiritual director for financial advice. Not only would it be unethical for us to offer it, most of us would be pretty bad at it—it uses a whole different part of the brain. However, it is common for people to come to spiritual direction to discern how God is leading them to [Read More…]

Decent Work is a Spiritual Value

It hurts to be unemployed, underemployed or working at a job that offers few to no essential benefits like health and dental insurance, paid time off and an employer assisted retirement savings plan. I’ve seen too many people crushed by the fatigue of being unable to locate and obtain decent work, by that I mean [Read More…]

Five Recommended Books on the Unconditional Love of God

What drew me to spiritual direction in the 1980’s is what draws many people to it today—recovering from an image of God that feels pinched, harsh and conditional. Coming out of fundamentalism is difficult and calls some of us to study theology from a different point of view. The five books I’m recommending here (in [Read More…]

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…]

Staying Peaceful when the News Isn’t

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…]


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