What is Spiritual Direction?


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Spiritual Direction is about spiritual self-care.

What is Spiritual Direction? (I’ve heard it called Soul Coaching, Spiritual Companioning, and Anam Cara Care.)

It is NOT counseling, therapy, or life coaching. While the larger conversation MIGHT include problem solving, changing behaviors, creating accountability and goal setting, this is not that. A large part of my work is helping clients shift perspective, hear the wisdom in their own words, listen for their soul’s longing and for God’s response. Very often, clients are in the process of discerning a right next step, grieving a loss, or looking for new sources of light and delight.


Who Benefits from Spiritual Direction?

People in transition, either inwardly or outwardly. People who serve in leadership or public roles and need an encouraging, compassionate and non-judging companion, people experiencing grief and needing to find a “new normal,” people who are religious, people who are spiritual but not religious.


I will meet you where you are.


What Will We Do?

Usually a session begins with a brief check-in and then we enter into the silence. From there, you lead where the Spirit nudges, and I follow with reflections, guided meditation, questions, and whatever other tools in my kit rise to the occasion.


If any of the following evoke a Yes from you, Spiritual Direction might be for you: 

  • If your well of spiritual resources seems to have run dry… things that used to work aren’t working anymore…
  • If you want to explore new approaches to spiritual self-care and need encouragement…
  • If you are experiencing a nudge toward new ways of being and you want to explore where you are being led…
  • If you are in transition or approaching transition, and you want to connect with the deep places in you that remind you of the nearness of the Holy…

Then, Yes. Consider a Spiritual Direction Session with me!


A little bit more about me (books and video)...

I am co-author of Finding God in the Verbs: Crafting a Fresh Language of Prayer (Intervarsity Press, 2015, with J.Brent Bill), which is almost a retreat-in-a-book to help you unpack the language you use when speaking about God and to God. Our goal in writing was to rediscover joy and authenticity in the most Holy Conversation-- prayer!


I also wrote Leading Quakers: Discipleship Leadership, A Friends Model, (Earlham Press, 2008),which is a program of study for worshipping communties that aspire to name and nurture spiritual gifts within the congregation by taking the conversation back to shared understandings and relationships.


And here is a short magazine article I wrote on the diversity of sources of authority (and wisdom) in a community and how they can be useful in a shared discernment process. 


I was interviewed in November 2015 about my understandings of faith-inspired activism. Press play on the video to see me in action.

"Having Jennie as my spiritual director has brought me back into touch with the deep well of self knowing that has sometimes been covered over in the busy-ness of parish ministry. I was initially drawn to spiritual direction as a way to move forward with work on a doctoral project and soon discovered Jennie provided a channel back to my earlier call to explore the mystic within. Jennie is one of the best listeners I have ever encountered, one who is able to weave the seemingly scattered images into a cohesive whole that helps me make meaning of life's circumstances. Her ability to be fully present is such a gift."

Rev. Linda Michel

Parish Minister

"Spiritual direction is an important part of my faith journey. Each month we meet for about an hour, and I share the joys and challenges in my life and ministry. Jennie is an outstanding listener, and always manages to gently encourage me to see where the Holy Spirit is moving, and to become centered in Christ once again. I always emerge with a greater sense of clarity, and inspired to live a life more fully with God."

Rev. Heather Blais

Priest, Saints James and John Episcopal Church, Greenfield

"Having Jennie as a spiritual director has helped me to be more sharply attuned to the multiple ways that God invites me into relationship and guides and upholds me in my personal, professional and spiritual life and endeavors. Jennie’s ability to listen deeply and to articulate a spiritual coherence in what I bring to her of my life’s work and concerns, is a precious gift. She is a pastor for pastors.

...

Jennie is insightful and faithful, is able to see coherence in what seems random, and is attentive and articulate. She is spiritually mature and eloquent in her prayer life. Her humor is a leaven and her unconditional positive regard combined with her fearless willingness to listen into the silence strengthens and challenges me at the same time!"

Marguerite Sheehan

Pastor of Trinity Church, Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts