Sunday, September 27, 2020

And so it begins... my spiritual direction program

Tonight was the official beginning of the spiritual direction program through Columbia Theological Seminary.

Like many things, our first residency was not a residency, but rather a zoom introduction.  We will have other monthly opportunities to build community these next three months with hopes we will be able to meet in person in the Spring.

We began our time together with Simple Presence, a short reading and three minutes of silence.  CeCe Balboni, our cohort leader for this session, led us.  She read a portion of Psalm 132 from Nan Merrill's Psalm Prayers, one of our required books.

As we listened to the reading, these words and phrases stood out to me:

  • healing
  • wholeness
  • peace
  • be not afraid
And then the thought came to mind, "And so it begins...".   What a great way to begin this journey.

The reading and the silence reminded me of how we always began our FUMSDRL board meetings.  There was some form of centering, be it native american flute or a reading, and always some silence.  

Silence allows us to center, to clear away any clutter, to become present.  

I was grateful for the beginning tonight.

And then we spent time in introductions, getting to know the leaders and each of the participants.

It's not how we expected to begin our time together.  In fact, even the leadership has changed some, as Jane Vennard retired earlier.  It's all good.  

When we are able to be open handed to receive that which comes to us loosely, without holding on tightly, we are more able to go with the flow of things. It's not always easy.  Even without tons of expectations, there is still some disappointment.  Yet, it's still good.  It's still an adventure.  It's still a journey.

One can still learn and grow and be transformed in the process.

Though I don't know fully what's ahead of me or where this journey will take me, I do know that I am looking forward to it.

I look forward to the readings, the relationships, the challenges, the growth.  Even tonight we had some technological challenges.  That has happened during the pandemic with other things.  It's all good.

The first major assignment is an eight hour day of silence and solitude and a two page reflection paper on that experience.

Woo hoo!  Packing my hammock and hiking poles as I write.  Not literally.  Just mentally.   Let's see.... I can drive somewhere, hike in to a waterfall, hang out a while, and hike back out.  That's one option.  It has been a long while since I have done a full 8 hours of silence and solitude, so I might need to start working my way back up to it.

One thing I miss right now is being able to talk to my spiritual director about this.  Due to the pandemic, we haven't met in a while, only texted.  I will text her this week.  

Here is the portion of Psalm 132 that was shared tonight:

Psalms for Praying (link to entire Psalm)

Those who follow the way of Love
	with calm and faith-filled
Know that all is working toward
		healing and wholeness.
And may the healing power of Love
	lift you from the limitations
		of fear and ignorance
		into the arms of freedom.
May the peace of the Spirit bless
		you, and
	lead you on life’s journey.
Be not afraid of the Silence, for
	Wisdom’s Voice is heard there!

I invite you to click above on the "Psalms for Praying" link to read the entire Psalm.  I posted what stood out to me in the above section.  There is more in the entire Psalm that resonates with me.  It might with you too.

In closing, these two lines seems like a proper benediction in these days: 

"May the healing power of Love lift you from the limitations of fear and ignorance into the arms of freedom.  May the peace of the Spirit bless you, and lead you on life's journey."

Rev. Deb

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