I believe that everything in life is connected and relational because all the things in life were created by the same Divine Presence. I believe that the complexity of the Divine Presence is so incredibly vast that we would lose ourselves if we were to ever fully experience it. I also believe that the Divine Presence is simple, even ordinary. We are never apart from it, never removed from it. It is closer to us than our own jugular vein. The suffering of life, while not necessarily caused by the apparent contradiction of these two aspects, is certainly influenced by this paradox and the effects it has upon our personality. My passion is to help people to process the real effects of this paradox and to deepen their relationship with God. I join them on their life path and together we work to access our most precious birthright: a simple, effective and healthy relationship with God. In my experience, this is the most direct way to abiding peace, deep joy, and inner connection.
Structure: The Practicality of My Practice
My style of spiritual direction includes talk therapy, sacred stillness, meditation, energetic healing, sacred chanting, and prayerful communication. Sessions can stand alone or be part of a regular, even long-term therapeutic program. As often as I can, I tailor the direction the sessions to the needs and experiences of you, the client. I make every effort to blend session work to the client’s existing spiritual vocabulary and experiences. For this reason, the flow of one client’s sessions will often look very different from those of another client. What they have in common is that my sessions are dedicated to helping each individual to enhance his or her relationship with the Divine Presence and then to apply spiritual skills to the practical needs of life. I am excited about this work because it constantly shows me how dynamic God is and how our life on earth is truly a miracle.
Education: Roots of My Practice
My relationship to the Holy has always had a distinctive interfaith component. I believe that God is in all cultures, all customs, all persons and all people. In my younger life, this belief gave me a deep sense of freedom to explore practices and spiritual teachings from a variety of sources. In the mid 1990’s, while living in Chicago, I trained with the Natali Institute, a shamanic training group based out of South Africa. We used meditation, singing, and trance dance to experience God directly. The teachings of the Institute had their roots in West Africa, South America and Ireland. The central teaching was that the well of wisdom is inside each of us. This well is tended by the angelic beings who have committed themselves to helping us through our walk of life. They do this by accessing the power of God and using it to guide us when we pray, meditate, or dance.
These teachings helped me to develop a deep trust in God’s guidance. That is to say, I came to see that God gives each of us a subtle, constant guidance. This guidance appears in every moment. It uses the people, places, and ideas around us to craft messages that are personal and relevant.
Also while in Chicago, I received training in the Reiki system of energetic healing. Reiki helped me to understand that God can be felt as energy. If we are in proper balance with this energy, then we are also in good health. If are not, we experience sickness, suffering and complications in our life. My Reiki training showed me how to identify imbalances and to call upon God’s energy to help bring them back into proper alignment.
I began my career in private practice once I completed my Reiki training. Over the years, the nature of my practice grew tremendously. With each educational experience that came into my life, I was able able to adapt my public offerings and enhance my own understandings as a spiritual director.
As part of my undergraduate college career, I was trained in an innovative program called Applied Behavioral Sciences. The curriculum drew from the fields of communications, business management and psychology and trained me to understand how groups formed and what their needs were as they matured and developed over the fullness of time.
I complemented my bachelor’s degree with a Master’s degree in Applied Theology. This interfaith program gave me tools to develop healthy spiritual practices inside or outside of a traditional religious setting. The degree greatly added to my understanding of interfaith spirituality and opened a deep well of spiritual resources from more than a dozen faith traditions. At this time, I also joined a non-profit organization called Phoenix Rising Transitions, a group who brought the principals and practices of Sufi mysticism into the Oregon state prison system.
Prison ministry had a deeply profound impact upon me. I found that in order to go into the prison, I had to place myself into God’s hands fully. To do this, I would see myself rapped within folds of light. The light was a very essence of trust and of compassion. Even then, walking within the cold stale walls of the prison, with the guards, the bars, the guns, I was quite unnerved. Then there was the context of the work we did with the guys inside. We talked of trust and of divine love. We danced, we prayed, we held hands, and we cried. Then it would occur to me that the man next to me might be someone who would otherwise harm me or someone I loved. And, even if this was not true, the guards acted as if it were true. It was clear to me that should something happen, it would happen so quickly, that I would not be able to protect myself. So, I was back to the trust in God and the protection of light.
The work in the prisons helped me to find a new compassion for other people and a deepened trust in God’s guidance. It helped me to see how powerlessness can feel and how what is right and what is wrong largely depends upon who is talking and why. I began to integrate the theology of Sufism into my life. This theology encouraged me to see God not only the Creator and Sustainer, but a Friend, a Trusted Advisor and as a deeply intimate companion.
After graduation, I published my first book, “Die Before You Die”. The focus of this book is to apply the key points of Sufi spiritual development to daily life. Two years later, I published my second book, “Fire from the Cauldron”, a book that helps to apply the theology of the Wiccan tradition in an interfaith context of spiritual direction. I use these books as fuel for workshops and group intensives which help people to develop a new and direct connection with what we call the Divine Spark. Once the connection is made, the Divine Spark, helps the individual to hear God’s essence more clearly in the mundaneness of daily life and to call upon it in times of need.