All content including photographs by Mary Linda McKinney unless otherwise noted. ©2018

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Spiritual direction is the practice of listening. I will listen to you as you find a way to express the yearning you feel. I will sit with you while you listen for the Still, Small Voice or your own inner wisdom or maybe for something you don't have words for and can't understand. Sometimes I will ask questions or make observations or point out patterns I see but mostly I will be present with you, a companion for you on your journey.
 

The title "Spiritual Director" is misleading; I won't be directing anything. My role is to create a trustworthy space in which your vulnerable, authentic self can show up. Think of my work as that of host, doing what I am able to make you comfortable so that you can, perhaps, go places and learn things about yourself and what the Divine is asking of you that move you out of your comfort zone.

 

My job as a spiritual director is not to convince you of anything. Whatever you call the Divine is okay with me. It's fine with me if you don't believe in anything but the hope of basic human kindness. I have nothing vested in you believing any particular way. My spiritual path is my own and your path is your own. I can't promise that I will fully understand or even relate to your path but I honor it and trust you to it and I will do my best to be present to whatever you bring to our time together.

 

Even folks who share a religious tradition will have different meanings for words they share so don't be surprised when I ask what you mean. Many of us have had religious wounding from negative church experiences which caused sensitivity around particular words or concepts. For instance, one might bristle when encountering the word "God". My communities have a spiritual practice we call "listening in tongues" which means to listen to the intended spirit behind the words that are spoken. When we practice this, it is on the listener to translate the bothersome word into a term or idea that allows the listener to be present to the speaker. I expect you to speak from your own experience using the language you are comfortable with and I will do the same (which I will rarely do because our sessions are not about me).


Spiritual direction resembles therapy in that two people sit in a private, quiet space (or meet together via the phone or internet, or sit together in a park or a coffee shop) to talk; the difference is what they talk about. In spiritual direction, the focus is on your spiritual life. I don't believe one's spiritual life is separate from the other areas of one's life so those things will probably be woven throughout what you talk about but none of them will be the focus. If you meet with me and spend a great deal of your time talking about your job, your mother, politics, or whatever, I may become more directive as I try to help you recenter to our purpose, asking you questions about where you experience the Divine in regards to this aspect of your life. I may even suggest that you see a therapist or counselor so our time together can remain what it is intended to be. 

You don't have to have a compelling reason to come for spiritual direction. Ennui, anger, fear, confusion, grief, exasperation, or desire for more are some of the many things that might cause a person to seek out this kind of relationship. I remember a time in my life about 15 years ago when I was feeling God calling me to something that I didn't understand. I was agitated and frustrated and had an inexpressible longing. I needed a guide or mentor and found no one who could help. Sadly, I hadn't heard of spiritual direction at the time because I see now it might have been a tremendous boon to my spiritual life. 

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If you are curious about spiritual direction or would like to learn more, feel free to email or call. We can set up a time to meet with one another for an introductory session.

About Spiritual Direction

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