All relationships have a lifespan, and the relationship between a person and their spiritual director is no different. It is a shame when people hang on with a spiritual director out of a sense of duty or obligation. If you find you are no longer growing in the way you had hoped to grow spiritually with your director, then it is time to say goodbye. And it doesn’t have to be terribly awkward or sad for either party. As one… Read more

Have you included “getting spiritually grounded” on your list of goals for 2017? If so, you may find the practice of spiritual direction helpful. Spiritual direction is a contemplative look at what really matters in your life. Here are 5 ways spiritual direction can be helpful to you:   Spiritual direction provides a safe, confidential space for you to share your hopes, dreams, beliefs, doubts, spiritual experiences and longings. A spiritual director is a nonjudgmental presence who can assist you… Read more

The field of spiritual direction harbors an unfortunate bias against young adults becoming spiritual directors. Some training programs will not consider anyone under 30 for admission and others reluctantly accept those in their 30’s but really believe that anyone under 40 doesn’t have enough life experience to be a spiritual director. The message is:  wait until you are old to do this work.   The Bias Conventional wisdom holds that a spiritual director is someone who is “farther down the… Read more

Many churches and faith based organizations do good work in the present but have difficulty catching a vision for the next chapter in life, be that the next three months or the next three years. Change takes them by surprise, the congregation or group’s anxiety ratchets up, and fear about the future begins to drive decision-making. It feels like a crisis, but is actually an opportunity to rediscover the spiritual practice of discernment. What Usually Happens When the crisis-of-change hits, the… Read more

An elderly minister I visit regularly in my job as visitation pastor for my church told me today that “spiritual direction will be greatly needed in the days ahead.” He was one of many people I know deeply troubled by the reports of hate crimes and hate speech directed at people of color, the LGBTQ community, women and immigrants after the election of Donald Trump as President. Regardless of how you feel about how the election turned out, the fact… Read more

With only a few days left before the 2016 Presidential election there are still those who have not yet decided whether to vote for Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, third party candidates or a write-in candidate. So it’s time for an outline of 5 basic spiritual discernment questions—culled from the writings and teachings of Ignatius of Loyola in the mid-16th century–that may be helpful. Discernment is the spiritual practice of listening deeply within your heart for God’s wisdom guiding you. It’s… Read more

Feeling addicted to political news and commentary? If so you’re not alone.  You may need a spiritual detox from the ridiculous amount of information coming at you daily. You may need some help weaning yourself off watching your smartphone for breaking news. You probably need a break from clearing your email inbox of frantic requests for donations. Your system may need you to hit the reset button. Here are five ways to detox from this election: Vote early and get… Read more

For highly sensitive people like me, news in the fall of a presidential election year feels like a sharp and constant hammer to the head. The harsh rhetoric, the reality of the deep division between those on the left and those on the right, the way every single emotion-evoking event is turned into a partisan issue—it’s enough to make me want to run to the nearest sensory deprivation tank. News events, election coverage and strong feelings about the presidential race… Read more

  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 to be. Some examples of a lack of inner freedom would be: Wanting to change careers but fearful of what your family will think. A… Read more

We need healthy religious and spiritual leaders in our faith communities–bright, energetic ministers who embody joy and compassion and know when and how to draw appropriate boundaries. A new book due out this fall, Sacred Habits: The Rise of the Creative Clergy by Chad R. Abbott addresses a number of ways clergy can lead more balanced and healthy lives. It includes a chapter I wrote on spiritual direction for clergy and today’s blog entry is an abridged version of that chapter…. Read more

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