While ancient in form and practice (as early as the 2nd century C.E.) Spiritual Direction remains unfamiliar, mysterious, and often unheard of to much of the modern day church. When folks ask what I do and I say, “I’m a Spiritual Director”, the response is usually a puzzled stare, possibly an inquisitive question or two, or most often, the topic of discussion is quickly changed.
Because of this, I’ve compiled a list of some of the questions that I’ve personally been asked during these awkward dinner party moments. Hopefully they help further our understanding about this beautiful form of soul-care and how it fits into our journey of faith.
1. So, what is spiritual direction anyway?
Spiritual direction is a three way conversation. The contributors to that conversation are the directee, and the director, and the ultimate Director (a.k.a. God, The Divine, The Infinite Other, Spirit, Ultimate Reality…); where we slow our busy pace of life to sit, pray, talk, listen, and reflect, and look for the places where God is at work in the life of the directee.
2. What does a spiritual direction session look like?
Its my goal to provide a safe, contemplative space where masks can be dropped at the door and the work of honest seeking, for God and self, can take place. The conversation begins in a time of quietly centering ourselves, allowing us to be focused and fully present with our thoughts and feelings. The conversation typically begins with a simple question like, “How are you today?”, or “Did you come with anything specific on your mind that you’d like to begin with?” From there the directee speaks freely about whatever is on their mind. My job is to listen. I will have some questions along the way that lead us deeper into the heart of the matter at hand, but this time is strictly for the directee to come, speak, and listen for the Spirit of God. Both self-awareness and God-awareness are major focus points for the conversations and questions asked during a session. We also recognise that our own words ultimately fall short, and can often be a barrier themselves, so at times we will wait in stillness and silence, listening for the invitations of The Spirit, our true Director.
The work of spiritual direction hinges, in large part, on honesty. Honesty with one’s feelings, honesty with one’s thoughts, and particularly, honesty with God. There are no topics or emotions that are ‘out of bounds.’ You are welcome in Direction, exactly where and as you currently are. When we become open to knowledge of our true-selves we are able to see more clearly the potential roadblocks on our path. To sloppily paraphrase John Calvin, it’s these moments of self-awareness that lead us to a deeper God-awareness, which then leads to greater self-awareness, which leads to deeper God-awareness, which leads to…well, you see the point.
3. How long does a session last/what is the cost?
A session lasts between 1 and 1.5 hours. I am happy to meet one-on-one for a single session as well as for longer-term relationships. For a continuing relationship, once every 4-6 weeks is recommended. Commonly the cost for spiritual direction ranges between $50-80 for 60-90 minute sessions. My fee is $60 per session. However, I am happy to offer a sliding scale if this amount is not possible for you. I am also happy to speak with you over the phone for an initial conversation with no charge. Click the ‘Connect‘ tab above if you would like to set up an initial meeting.
4. Who could benefit from a spiritual direction relationship? Who is it for?
Do you find yourself wrestling with these thoughts-
What is truth? How do I find happiness? What should I do with my life? My connection with God used to be simple and certain, but now it’s full of complexity and doubts. Why am I here? What do I do with my loneliness? Why am I so needy for affection, approval, or power? How can I overcome my fears, my shame, my addictions, my sense of inadequacy or of failure?
On and on the list could go… These are all very real, and very important questions- questions that are not easily answered. As a Spiritual Director, I help directees turn toward the questions, embrace the questions, look for God in the questions. Some questions need to be answered, these need to be lived into. These deep questions of life and faith must be slowly, and prayerfully walked through with God and with our spiritual communities. Spiritual direction provides a safe and sacred place for searchers. It’s for those who long for a deeper, more intimate connection with God; feel unsatisfied with their current prayer-life; feel stuck in the routines of religion and tradition but know there’s more to life than what their currently experiencing. It’s for anyone who feels far from God and wants to be close again; are experiencing grief, loss, frustration, distance, doubts, sorrow in life church or even with God and want a judgement-free place to process these difficult places. In short, a spiritual direction relationship is a wonderful form of soul-care for almost anyone who longs for a deeper connection with the Divine in their daily experiences.
Well, that just about covers most of my commonly asked questions about the nature of the spiritual direction relationship. If you would like to schedule a session or are simply interested to discover more about spiritual direction, click here or on the ‘Connect’ tab at the top of the page. I look forward to sharing in your journey.