Stages of Freedom: Reflections on The Wolfpack

wolfpack - photo courtesy of magnolia pictures

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

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

Free photo from Foter

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

checkbook photo

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

Photo by Getty Images

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

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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

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...]

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...]


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