COMMON QUESTIONS

What do you mean by “spirituality”?

For me, spirituality is the humility and gratitude I feel when I’m connected to nature. I am present when I pay attention to the simplicity and beauty that surrounds me.

What is spiritual direction?

Spiritual direction is a way for people to cultivate those same qualities — attention, humility, simplicity, and gratitude — when they meet.

The word direction — as in “finding a sense of direction” — is important. You may experience spiritual direction as discovering a path and being guided on your journey.

We can also describe spiritual direction as a process that’s based on presence and permission:

  • Process — focusing on your path rather than planning to achieve specific outcomes; spontaneously sharing, listening, and discerning rather than following a fixed agenda
  • Presence — bringing exquisite attention to your moment-to-moment experience; going deeply into your felt experience rather than abstract concepts
  • Permission — talking about any aspect of your life — “going wherever the spirit moves you” — without fear of judgment; using language that appeals to you, whether based on a religious tradition or not

There is a paradox in spiritual direction. On the one hand, the sacred dimension of life lies beyond all names. At the same time, we long to name and celebrate the concrete ways that the sacred shows up in our daily life.

This paradox gets to the heart of being human. Spiritual direction offers a way to embrace both the sacred and the profane, the nameless and the named.

How does spiritual direction differ from therapy?

As a spiritual director, my intention is to be present as you deepen and grow in your spiritual practice. My role is to listen deeply to your story and reflect back what I hear.

This can feel very different than therapy. In therapy I would support you by healing your relationship with the past. This could include delving into your family structure, traumas, and other emotional issues.

As a spiritual director I also support you. However, I am more concerned with your present-moment experience rather than situations or trauma from the past. Spiritual direction may also move at a slower pace than therapy and feel more relaxed.

During spiritual direction, issues may arise for you that are more appropriate for therapy. In that case I will refer you to a qualified practitioner.

How do people benefit from spiritual direction?

You might come to spiritual direction for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Identifying and trusting your own experiences of the sacred
  • Integrating spirituality into your daily life
  • Making difficult choices and discerning your options
  • Sharing your hopes, struggles, and losses
  • Developing greater empathy towards human suffering

Most important, however, is that you notice and are mindful of what you do.

My own experience with spiritual direction has helped me reduce anxiety, become more mindful, and change habits related to shopping and eating.

How do I choose a spiritual director?

Feel free to ask any questions that come to mind, such as:

  • What does spiritual direction mean to you?
  • What is your background and training for spiritual direction?
  • Have you experienced spiritual direction yourself?
  • How often will we meet, and for how long?
  • Where will we meet?
  • What will happen during our sessions?
  • Are you affiliated with a specific religious tradition? If so, do you work with people outside that tradition?
  • Do you charge a fee for your services?

Also tune in to the personal presence of your prospective spiritual director. If you’re compatible, you may well sense that fact right away. Trust your intuition.

How do we get started?

I offer a free 30-minute phone consultation. Please call me at 612–210–4625.

During this conversation I may ask about what you would like to work on during our time together.

This initial conversation is a time for exploration. You do not have to commit to meet with me in the future. Take as much time as you want to make your decision.

If we find that we’re compatible, we’ll arrange to meet in person.

What happens next?

As your spiritual companion, I will meet with you for a one-hour session, once per month. During one of life’s inevitable stressful periods, however, you may occasionally want an additional session.

Spiritual direction often involves moments of silence as well as free-ranging and non-directive conversation. Our time together may also include supportive practices such as journaling, meditation (walking mindfully or sitting), and being in nature.

How do I know when spiritual direction is working for me?

Notice changes such as increased gratitude, joy, and serenity in the midst of changing circumstances. You may also have a growing sense that the sacred permeates the details of your daily life.

At the same time, remember that change often involves discomfort. Spiritual direction can help you move into that feeling, discover any lessons it holds for you, and take the next step on your journey.

You can always be truthful and forthcoming with me. As a spiritual director, I am here to assist — not to judge. I am not with you to be pleased or discouraged by what you discuss.

Sometimes it is appropriate to take a break from spiritual direction or discontinue it. You will know when it is time. I leave it up to you to decide when and if you will return.

Whether our relationship continues for many years or only a short period of time, it is very important for us to be comfortable with one another.

To learn more, call me at 612–210–4625.  I welcome your contact.