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Many, many years ago a friend shared that receiving spiritual direction had helped her grow in her relationship with God.  This was a new thought for me.  I explored  that spiritual practice.  Since that time I’ve found it invaluable as part of my spiritual journey.

Spiritual direction is a spiritual practice in which an individual or group share how they are living their lives in order to grow in their relationship with God, the Divine and/or deepen their spiritual life.

Spiritual director is a title for a spiritual guide/companion or mentor.  The practice of spiritual direction  has been a practice for thousands of years though it wasn’t given that title.   In Hebrew Scriptures we find many examples such as Samuel being guided by Eli  (I Samuel 3:1-18)or Joseph who interpreted dreams (Genesis 40:1-41:37).

In the early days of the church people would go to the desert to consult with the desert mothers and fathers for spiritual guidance.  These desert mothers and fathers had gone into the desert to deepen their own relationship with God and thus were known as ones who could also guide others.

Even today, people who want to deepen their spirituality or focus more intentionally on their relationship with God, look for a guide or mentor.

Receiving spiritual direction is an opportunity to share one’s spiritual hopes, struggles, joys and concerns.  It helps one be accountable in growing spiritually and deepening one’s relationship with the Divine.  In spiritual direction the directee shares with the director what has been important in their spiritual life since the last meeting.  They may share their prayer life, dreams, life experiences and where they are aware of the Divinity in their life.

A spiritual director listens to what is said and reflects back.  The Spiritual director is also aware of God’s spirit being the real director.  Thus the spiritual director does not usually give directions but through asking questions helps the individual find the directions that are already in one’s heart.

I find that talking with a spiritual director on a regular basis helps me stay focused on how God is working in my life and helping me in ministry.  It helps me be aware of when I think that all I do depends on me, rather than on God.  It helps me remember and be thankful for the gifts God gives me.

Now, not only is spiritual direction a very regular spiritual practice for me, I’ve also become a spiritual director for others who want to use this spiritual practice to deepen their spiritual life.  I encourage all who are interested to engage in this spiritual practice of meeting regularly with a spiritual director.

 

December 17, 2017 0 comment
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In a recent dream I was to give a presentation on the stages of dying.  I planned to focus on the 5 stages  that Elizabeth Kubler-Ross had written about in her book On Death and Dying (c. 1969).  Those stages  she addressed were denial, anger, bargaining, depression (mourning about the dying process/loss) and acceptance.   I also planned to use the song “Teach me about Dying…and I’ll teach you to live” by Deanna Edwards from her cassette Peacebird (c. 1974).

When Dr. Kubler-Ross did her research on death and dying, the dying process wasn’t much researched or discussed.  Around that time Deanna Edwards was writing songs addressing similar issues.

Since then many others have written books and music about dying, mourning and losses.  We all experience many kinds of dyings and deaths in our lives:  leaving home, losing a job, loss of dreams, health, pet, friendship to mention a few.  Each of us deals with these dyings in our own individual way, based on our life’s experiences and our personalities.

On waking I wondered about this dream.  It didn’t seem that the presentation on stages of dying were so much about physical death as about situations that feel like dying or deaths in our daily lives.

I see these stages not so much like moving from preschool through high school, but more as a spiral.  When we are dealing with losses sometimes we may be in denial. Or we may  be in depression or mourning the loss, or perhaps in some part of acceptance.  Another time we may feel anger at the loss or attempt to do some bargaining,  later coming to a deeper level of acceptance.  How we cope with the losses is determined by how important each loss is to us and how we have dealt with life’s other struggles.

By acknowledging our feelings as we face our losses, we not only can learn about deaths  and losses in our daily lives but grow in awareness of what it means to live each day at a time.

Reflecting on the stages of dying can be helpful for by looking at each of the stages, we may see where we are in our process.

We don’t forget what was important but somehow by letting it go, and not wishing it was still there, we can move towards some kind of restoration or acceptance and find a new normal.

Our prayer may be brief.

Comforting One, as we face these dyings in our daily lives, help us grow in awareness of what it means to live.  Remind us to take each moment at a time and that you are with us.  Fill us with your peace as we go through these losses in our lives.  Amen.

 

September 25, 2016 0 comment
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While quietly sitting with my calico cat curled up on my lap, I reflected on the peaceful scene outside my window.   My reflection led me to write this prayer psalm.

Bless the Creator, O my soul!

O Holy One, you give us beauty in colorful nature.

I praise you for the hungry goldfinches eating thistle seed,

their gold and black feathers highlighted in the sun.

I praise you for the energetic humming bird

flying among the purple and pink petunias and deep red geraniums.

It’s rapidly moving wings keeping it steady

as it drinks the flower nectar.

I praise you for the silver leafed maple tree,

the solid oak tree and the multi-branched elm tree.

Each provides a different emerald background for my brilliant balcony flowers.

I praise you for the luminous sunlight

around the white fluffy clouds

below the light blue sky.

O God, how wonderful is all your creation.

May we always respect, value and appreciate all you have made.  Amen.

August 1, 2016 0 comment
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