You’ve made the commitment. You’ve set aside the time for spiritual direction. But you wonder: “What do I need to talk about at today’s session?” When we have a burning question, situation, or spiritual experience to explore with a spiritual director, then it’s no problem. That’s where you begin. But what if you don’t have a mystery sitting right in front of you?
Here are some ways to get the most out of your spiritual direction session regardless of whether you have a burning issue or not.
Spend some time before the session considering what you need to discuss.
This seems like a no-brainer, but our busy lives sometimes find us hurling from one appointment to another with little time between. If you can, set aside some time the day of, or a few hours before, your monthly session to calm your mind and consider what area of your life you want or need to explore. Recall — mentally or from notes — experiences you would like to share with the spiritual director. We love hearing about all aspects of your life (it’s all spiritual), especially:
- Prayer experiences or times you felt a significant manifestation of the Spirit.
- Challenges you faced over the month.
- Joys, gifts, or high points of your month.
- How your relationships are faring.
- How you relate to your spiritual community.
- What you have learned and how you have grown in the last month.
- Questions in your life for discernment.
- Memories you need to spend time with.
Have a regular spiritual practice and keep track of how it’s going
When you are engaged in a regular spiritual practice, be it a type of prayer, meditation, body work, or play, you are communicating with the Divine. Even if you are not someone who journals, keep a few notes throughout the month about how the practice feels and how you are experiencing God. You might want to look over your notes prior to the spiritual direction session. Because you know your spiritual director will ask how your spiritual practice is going. That’s what we do!
If you journal, bring your journal to the session with you
I love it when a directee comes in with their journal. It’s a log of their daily experiences, questions, written prayers and so forth, which makes it a good place to dig into during the session if you aren’t sure where to begin. People sometimes forget really incredible experiences of God that happened a few weeks prior. Your journal can be a place for essays about your life or poems you write. All of that is great content for a deep and engaging spiritual direction conversation.
Bring your art, tooIf you are an artist or writer, it’s likely you experience the Divine in your creative pursuits. If you want to bring in something you have created or share a writing with your director, please do.
Yes, you can come in with a list of topics to talk about.
I do it all the time for visits with my spiritual director, and many of my directees bring a list. Sometimes they apologize for bringing a list, but I get it. I have a lot to talk about with my director and a list makes sure I hit on the important points before my hour is up. You don’t have to do anything with your list if the session goes in a fruitful direction before you take up the list. The very act of making the list helps us organize our thoughts so we get the most out of our 50 minutes to an hour with the spiritual director.
The spiritual direction session is entirely yours, and directors are trained to follow your lead when it comes to what to talk about. If you’ve done all of the above and still don’t know what to talk about, share the story of your journey of faith. There is always something more to look embedded in your life story.
Want to learn more about spiritual direction? I have a new book Spiritual Direction 101: The Basics of Spiritual Guidance by Apocryphile Press that addresses many aspects of this practice. It’s available on Amazon.