Friday, April 21, 2023

Spiritual Direction-- a balm for my soul

I met with my spiritual director this morning for our monthly time. After our session, I took a moment to check out her beautiful garden and get some photos. I took a handful of photos and didn't stay long, but the incredible beauty could have kept me there much longer. There is such a diverse variety of plants and flowers. It is a gorgeous space! St. Francis thinks so too, as he was there in statue form.

As I drove away, I noted the peacefulness and calm in my heart, mind, body, and soul. I gave thanks for this gift of spiritual direction as I reflected on today and the years I have been in direction.

I believe I started in spiritual direction in 2009. I thought I had a blogpost about the beginnings of this journey, but I don't. I started blogging in September 2010, so that's why I don't find a blog about the beginning of my spiritual direction journey. I do have about 5 posts in which I have mentioned "spiritual director" and/or talked some about my experience.

I wrote a paragraph or so about my time with my spiritual director in the above posts. Truthfully, I would have thought that a spiritual practice I have been engaging in monthly would have had more written about it than I have done. 

One thing that is evident from the above writings is that this spiritual practice of spiritual direction brings me peace. I'm glad it's a practice that I began and that I've continued.

I know I've written about it in my journal. I found my journals from 2011 to present and yes, I have written some about spiritual direction. However, I don't find anything taking me back to the beginnings of the journey.

How and when did I begin spiritual direction? I think it goes back to one of the SoulFeast experiences at Lake Junaluska (though I didn't attend one of those until summer 2010). Does it go back to the 5 Day Academy that I attended in the Fall of 2010? I was on the board for about 6 years with Fellowship of United Methodist Spiritual Directors and Retreat Leaders (FUMSDRL) also known as Hearts on Fire (HOF). It could have started in those days. I thought maybe I began in 2009 or 2010, but I can't find proof.  Maybe I started in 2011 when I started back to seminary for the M.Div. in 2011?! No, I am fairly sure I was already in direction by then. Now, where are my spiritual timelines that I had to write in the early days of seminary?!?! Those might help me. I'm not sure what about the year is important to me, but for now, it is something for me to let go. That's the "when" (or lack of "when").

Here's the "how":

I remember searching the directory on the Spiritual Directors International website. I found 3 directors locally at that time. As I prayed, I felt led to one more than the others. She was a retired professor, had taught at UTC, and became an Episcopal priest as a second calling. Our first meeting was held at the Barnes & Noble cafe at Hamilton Place. The connection was good and I have been seeing her monthly ever since (except for during the pandemic). 

Today's time in spiritual direction contained more silence and pauses on my part. I noted the ongoing liminal space(s) in my life and a sense of not being tethered (or rather a sense of being untethered). Other words that came out were "unknowing", "trusting", "peace". I have experienced quite a bit of liminal space and unknowing over the years. I think that is how I have come to live in it with more peace. It has helped me become more present in the present moment and to trust what is to be. 

Here are some photos from the garden/front yard after my spiritual direction time.

Peace in the ongoing liminal space and transitions, 


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