“For most spiritual backgrounds, spiritual direction is less head and more energy or heart-focused.”
What was your path to becoming a spiritual director?
I began to make holy decisions, or discernment, with my life after reading “The Purpose Driven Life,” by Rick Warren. Reading the book led me on a journey to the midwest, which resulted in a graduate degree, a house, and my first entrepreneurial business. After the business failed, I felt compelled to investigate life coaching—I came back to New York and sought out education in spiritual direction. After another graduate degree, I decided to complement my non-faith-based career with a part-time spiritual-direction ministry. Getting the degree also convinced me that I didn’t want to be a traditional life coach—I decided to outsource life coaching if needed and focus on helping others through spiritual direction.
What should someone know about working with you?
For most spiritual backgrounds, spiritual direction is less head and more energy or heart-focused. It looks at the whole person and how to make that person more whole. It’s also a time to focus on self-care and what a client is doing in their life to practice self-care. Our sessions open with a period of silence. Based on the client’s perception of a higher power, we focus on where the energy is coming from in that relationship. A session can continue with more talk about the divine relationship, life-decision discernment, religious text, understanding the importance of exercise in spirituality, entertaining a “rule of life” or other forms of spiritual structure, and exploring the client’s prayer life. The session usually ends in prayer.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
Coaches and therapists can give me more insight into the desires and goals of someone I work with. This is also true for the therapists and coaches who come to me to integrate a spiritual component into a client’s holistic wellness. I really appreciate this collaboration—and I also appreciate the value of having someone to talk to in both clinical and non-clinical settings. Seeing a spiritual director like myself once a month adds to the structure people need to achieve the goals set in life coaching, therapy, nutrition therapy, or other professional sessions.
What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to try spiritual direction?
Nothing is wrong with exploring the energy inside you. Knowing this and knowing that you are always loved by a greater love is all you need to know. Tapping into this energy and realizing that it is best applied with a spiritual companion—and, even more, with a greater community (i.e., family, friends, social media, support groups, religious institutions, etc.) as a whole—should be celebrated, and it should have a place to be celebrated and reflected upon. I can provide structured time for someone to celebrate and reflect. Spiritual-direction sessions should be fun—and it’s always good to have them with a trained guide.
Is spiritual direction something that people from any religion can benefit from?
Anyone can partake in spiritual direction. Since the focus is on energy brought by the breath, discernment of that energy can be done by anyone. Instead of prayer, for someone without a particular faith, the person’s “dialogue with their future” could be entertained. All of this thinking is a modern expression of spiritual direction. While it is true that spiritual direction is an ancient Christian practice, it has since been embraced by spiritual directors of many traditions—especially because of its contemplative nature. Silence, reflection, prayer, dream work, and listening to the breath are embraced by all religions. Spiritual direction is simply taking an hour every month to recharge your inner monk!
“While it is true that spiritual direction is an ancient Christian practice, it has since been embraced by spiritual directors of many traditions—especially because of its contemplative nature.”