In 2007, I realized that I wanted to do some very intentional and focused work on my own spiritual journey. While I was involved in several “formal” settings, my path seemed to be winding around and I wasn’t sure where it was headed. That same year, I began work in the Haden Institute’s Spiritual Direction Program. Based in Flat Rock, North Carolina, the program draws people from all over the country.
Over the two years, we met for six intensive long weekends while doing the remainder of our work as distance learning. Throughout our time, we worked with our own spiritual director as well as our small group within the Haden program. In addition to group and individual spiritual direction, we studied wide ranging topics including prayer practices, the Christian mystics, Jungian psychology, the Celtic Christian tradition, the Meyers Briggs, and dream work. Our reading requirements were extensive and “meaty.” While the program is grounded in the Christian tradition, we were encouraged to study and draw from other traditions.
Most of us in the program found the term “spiritual direction” was not an accurate description of the process. The “director” is more accurately described as a spiritual companion who creates a time and open space for the “seeker” to explore and deepen the relationship with God …..who is the true Director.
People come to this companioning process for many different reasons…..a spiritual question or longing, a crossroads in life, a desire to be more intentionally relational with God, a struggle with their own spirituality or religious life. Some people are actively involved in a church and others haven’t darkened the door in years.
My formal training is in school counseling and administration and I am a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in South Carolina. For 28 years, I counseled teenagers and their parents while working with diverse staffs in a variety of school settings. Following that career, I spent the next ten years supervising Clemson graduate students in school counseling who were doing their field work in the schools. I am also trained as a forensic interviewer for children and teens that have been sexually abused. For the last three years, I have been very involved in my passion project to raise community awareness about sexual abuse. Learn more about the Survivors Finding Voice project at www.survivorsfindingvoice.com I have listened to many, many stories and I know that I have the “gift of ears and presence.”