‘There are no experts in prayer, only people who have been faithful to the ache’
Macrina Wiederkehr in ‘A Tree Full of Angels’
Spiritual Direction is a place to be faithful to the ‘ache’. It is not for those who are experts. You may not feel you pray much, or that you know what you believe. Spiritual Direction is not just a place for those who come with ‘a problem’, although many do first discover Spiritual Direction during a time of transition or because of some sense of dissatisfaction. It is a place to listen for what the ache is saying, and to where it might be leading you; to greater life and freedom. It is a place to find companionship in taking risks into a depth of inner life which ‘costs not less than everything’.
A spiritual direction session is an hour, usually 4 to 6 weekly, of confidential and supportive listening; an enabling listening to yourself as you are compassionately listened to. And together listening for how you experience the spiritual – perhaps experiences which are already within you but you may not know it; and what all this means for life.
Spiritual Direction is open to everyone – it encompasses all things, not just the hard-to-pin-down ‘spiritual’. The ‘direction’ does not come from the person you meet with, but in the direction your life has the potential to take at its fullest and most free. And it lies with the Spirit who is the true director of all.
The Ignatian tradition of Spiritual Direction, which is my training, has a particular emphasis on ‘discernment’; noticing inner moods and movements and finding the grace to choose what is more life-giving. For most of us, decisions in life are often actually between ‘two goods’ – how do I know which response is most in tune with who I was created to be. How am I enabled to let go into my truest being and live out life in its fullness, in an ongoing way? This is ‘contemplation in action’.
If people wish I can also offer creative approaches during sessions such as image, music, gesture and movement, writing, role work, collage and storytelling. These have become increasingly important to me as ‘mediators of the sacred’, ways to encounter the Creator through our whole selves – body, mind, spirit and emotions.
Growing up in church, I became unwell in my teens and in my twenties began to meet with a spiritual director. At a time when my own life experience and my experience of church did not connect, I greatly valued the companionship of another as we talked and listened together. It was a safe place to hold on – however fleetingly – to the things I still wanted and believed in, and to let go of others; to slowly rebuild my relationship with myself, others and God and to redefine my experience of prayer and community. 25 years later I have more sense of being enabled to hold together my experiences of brokenness, grace and gratitude. Out of this, I offer space to others who come with their very individual stories, beliefs and ‘aches’.
If you are interested to know more, or for an initial exploratory meeting in Edinburgh, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For an initial meeting – to explore if our time feels like a good ‘fit’ – I invite an offering of £15. Subsequent sessions are £30, with a sliding scale for those who would otherwise not be able to come. I work to the Code of Practice of The Epiphany Group, Scotland and am a member of the PVG (Disclosure Scotland) scheme.
‘I’d rather be honest than try and pull the wool over peoples’ eyes because there’s an integrity and hopefully something that’s attractive about someone who is being honest because it’s real and it’s human – there’s nothing wrong with not understanding everything’ from An Aching and A Longing CD by Martyn Joseph.