This past week, I met with my supervisor and was able to articulate some of the places where I feel most alive - spiritual direction is one of those places.
The reason for this aliveness to be both noticed and claimed is because in spiritual direction I am able to show up as myself, fully - not matter what had happened the day before, a week before, or even a month before. I am able to articulate an intention to seek God and to see the places where I saw the Spirit show up as well as where it is a bit fuzzier.
I wonder where the places are where you feel most alive? Have you taken time to explore why you feel that way? And what gift does that feeling offer you and the world?
One of the conversations I have over and over again at my job is about how to open up spaces for new people. Sometimes we get so caught up in how we perceive things or what we hope, want, or expect, that it prevents us from talking and acting in ways that are inviting.
This is especially true in the spiritual world.
We use words that aren't understandable and assume that everyone has had an experience like ours - and it just acts like a wall around the spiritual parts of our being.
But maybe we don't need new spaces for new people, but rather ancient spaces for new people. Ancient spaces like spiritual direction where we can show up fully as ourselves and reconnect with our spirits. Maybe we need spaces of grace that allow us to be fully unique and fully connected.
What are you looking for in a space that connects you deeply with your own being in an authentic and honest way?
This past week, I quite literally stepped in it - not once, but twice. The first time involved coming home after dark and retrieving my trash and recycling cans. Only I misstepped - and went right on into a pile of mud. Mud so deep that it claimed my shoe for a period of time.
Later, I was visiting someone in a nursing home and stepped in something again - something slippery on the floor that neither myself nor the nurse had noticed at the time.
Part of creating sacred spaces for holy listening is to yes, have someone listen to you. But more importantly, to me, it also gives you a companion to walk with you when you step in it. Or help you notice God when you are so deep in that you aren't sure where to turn. In that way, it is a gift.
Who is with you, dear friends, when you step in it?
One of the things that makes my heart sing is to teach. It doesn't matter if it is an exercise class, spiritual direction program, or group in the church - I love the process of putting together material that touches people's spirits and transforms lives.
A few weeks ago, we launched a pilot program at the church I serve to help people be taught how to teach others. It sounds a lot more complicated than it is. It really is a time to dig deep and then live into what they learn in a way that companions others.
After the first week, I had one of the participants stop to talk to me about the book we are using first. It has some of the best stick-figure drawings I have ever seen in it! :) But more importantly, those stick-figure drawings speak about the beliefs that we can have about the Spirit that can give us false notions or understandings of the Divine.
Those things that we need to unlearn in order to step into love and wholeness.
I wonder what things you need to unlearn this day? What is some of the spiritual baggage that you are being invited to set down, in order to find the abounding and abiding nature of God with us.
There are few words that we seem to avoid more as human beings than accountability. Maybe it's because of baggage we carry around about what we think accountability is or how it has made us feel in the past. Maybe it's for different reasons entirely.
But I can say that the more I use the word accountability, the more uncomfortable people seem to become.
In my church, we are talking about accountability with discipleship. And every time I explain it - it goes something like this. Who are the people who can gently hold you accountable to your goals? Asking you each week with an open heart how it is going and encourage you?
I have had many a conversation that ends in stunned silence - because this is not what folks imagined when I said the word accountability.
Or in my own life - I just had a friend text me to make sure that I was taking time to rest. Telling me that rest is good and to hold to my plan.
That was the accountability I needed.
Accountability is also a large part of spiritual direction. I know every month when I come that I am going to be asked how it is with my soul. And that gives me space to reflect and be honest and vulnerable.
What type of accountability are you searching for in your life? And what do you need to set aside in order to hold it gently?
Michelle is a Spiritual Director and End of Life Doula. She is the founder of Abide in the Spirit.
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