SDI Encounters
EP080 - Sexuality and Spiritual Companionship - Part 4 with Langston Kahn

EP080 - Sexuality and Spiritual Companionship - Part 4 with Langston Kahn

July 27, 2020

This week we continue with our four part series on the exploration of sexuality in spiritual companionship. Facilitated by Frederica Helmiere, we present to you a series of perspectives from several spiritual directors, pastors, and guides on how they approach sexuality in their roles as spiritual companions. These episodes are offered in conjunction with our upcoming webinar series Spiritual Companionship and the Divine Erotic – Ethics and Sexuality, which you can learn more about at sdicompanions.org.

 

This week features a conversation with Frederica and Langston Kahn, a New York City based shamanic practitioner specializing in emotional clearing and radical transformation. He stands firmly at the crossroads, his practice informed by the western modality of Inner Relationship Focusing, initiations into traditions of the African Diaspora, the contemporary shamanic tradition of The Last Mask Center and the guidance of his helping spirits and ancestors weaving it all together.

 

Langston has studied and facilitated Inner Relationship Focusing, developed by Ann Weiser Cornell for the last 8 years. He has completed 5 years of training with Christina Pratt in the Cycle of Transformation and also serves on the leadership council for the Last Mask Community, a community of contemporary people striving to live in alignment with ancient shamanic beliefs and principles in a way that answers the unique challenges of our time.

 

A new thing we’re introducing this week is a Podcast Forum – a place where SDI Members can be in conversation about topics related to the podcast. We’re very excited about this new benefit, which is for SDI Members. You can become a member and join in the conversation by going to our website – sdicompanions.org

 

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Support for this podcast comes from SDI’s upcoming webinar, Spiritual Companionship and the Divine Erotic – Ethics and Sexuality In this two part webinar, we will explore embodied spirituality, sexuality and the divine erotic as they relate to the practice of spiritual companionship. Join us for this practice-based training designed for spiritual companions, guides and directors. Learn more at https://www.sdicompanions.org/product/sdi-webinar-series-spiritual-companionship-and-the-divine-erotic-ethics-and-sexuality/

 

 

EP079 - Sexuality and Spiritual Companionship - Part 3 with Rev. Dr. Beverly Dale

EP079 - Sexuality and Spiritual Companionship - Part 3 with Rev. Dr. Beverly Dale

July 20, 2020

This week we continue with our four part series on the exploration of sexuality in spiritual companionship. Facilitated by Frederica Helmiere, we present to you a series of perspectives from several spiritual directors, pastors, and guides on how they approach sexuality in their roles as spiritual companions. These episodes are offered in conjunction with our upcoming webinar series Spiritual Companionship and the Divine Erotic – Ethics and Sexuality, which you can learn more about at sdicompanions.org.

 

This week features a conversation with Frederica and the Rev. Dr. Beverly Dale. RevBEV is the Chair and Founder of the Incarnation Institute for Sex & Faith, and she is a workshop presenter for our upcoming SDI Conference in Santa Fe.

 

A new thing we’re introducing this week is a Podcast Forum – a place where SDI Members can be in conversation about topics related to the podcast. We’re very excited about this new benefit, which is for SDI Members. You can become a member and join in the conversation by going to our website – sdicompanions.org

 

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Rev. Dr. Beverly Dale is the Chair and Founder of the non-profit, Incarnation Institute for Sex & Faith where she trains professional leadership an inclusive, science-friendly, and sex-positive Christianity. An artist and musician she has written, produced and performed in her one-woman show, An Irreverent Journey From Eggbeaters to Vibrators. She is the co-author of Advancing Sexual Health for The Christian Client recently published in 2019 by Routledge Publications. This unique resource provides tools for theological and sexual health professionals as it combines the insights of science and a sex-positive Christian theology. Her ministry has included ecumenical campus ministry at the University of Pennsylvania for 21 years and as a local pastor. She is currently serving as clergy-in-residence at United
Christian Church in Levittown, PA and is a professor at Lancaster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania teaching courses on sexuality and religion.

 

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Support for this podcast comes from SDI’s upcoming webinar, Spiritual Companionship and the Divine Erotic – Ethics and Sexuality In this two part webinar, we will explore embodied spirituality, sexuality and the divine erotic as they relate to the practice of spiritual companionship. Join us for this practice-based training designed for spiritual companions, guides and directors. Learn more at https://www.sdicompanions.org/product/sdi-webinar-series-spiritual-companionship-and-the-divine-erotic-ethics-and-sexuality/

 

 

EP078 - Sexuality and Spiritual Companionship - Part 2 with Tommie Watkins and Westina Matthews

EP078 - Sexuality and Spiritual Companionship - Part 2 with Tommie Watkins and Westina Matthews

July 14, 2020

This week we continue with our four part series on the exploration of sexuality in spiritual companionship. Facilitated by Frederica Helmiere, we present to you a series of perspectives from several spiritual directors, pastors, and guides on how they approach sexuality in their roles as spiritual companions. These episodes are offered in conjunction with our upcoming webinar series Spiritual Companionship and the Divine Erotic – Ethics and Sexuality, which you can learn more about at sdicompanions.org.

This week features a conversation with Frederica, professor and spiritual director Westina Matthews, and Episcopal Priest Father Tommie Watkins, who will be presenters at our upcoming Santa Fe conference.

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Westina Matthews is an adjunct professor for the Center for Christian Spirituality at The General Theological Seminary, where she teaches contemplative spiritual direction. A graduate of the Spiritual Guidance program at the Shalem Institute, she is an author, public speaker, spiritual director and retreat leader whose practice reflects contemplative living through “holy listening.” Westina has contributed to several Forward Movement anthologies and was a frequent contributor to Sacred Journey: The Journal of Fellowship in Faith. Her newest book is Dancing from the Inside Out: Grace-filled Reflections on Growing Older (Church Publishing Inc., 2019).  

Father Tommie Watkins, the first openly gay ordained black priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, is the Rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama. A certified Spiritual Director and licensed master social worker (LMSW), he completed his joint Doctorate in Philosophy degree from the Universities of Alabama, Tuscaloosa and University of Alabama, Birmingham, School of Public Health. Father Tommie earned his Masters of Divinity (M.Div.) degree from The General Theological Seminary. In his book Living Out Loud, he shares his struggle of self-acceptance. Father Tommie’s favorite quote is Dr. King’s: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” As such, Father Tommie is compelled to continue to Live Out Loud.

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Support for this podcast comes from SDI’s upcoming webinar, Spiritual Companionship and the Divine Erotic – Ethics and Sexuality In this two part webinar, we will explore embodied spirituality, sexuality and the divine erotic as they relate to the practice of spiritual companionship. Join us for this practice-based training designed for spiritual companions, guides and directors. Learn more at https://www.sdicompanions.org/product/sdi-webinar-series-spiritual-companionship-and-the-divine-erotic-ethics-and-sexuality/

EP077 - Sexuality and Spiritual Companionship - Part 1 with Karen Erlichman

EP077 - Sexuality and Spiritual Companionship - Part 1 with Karen Erlichman

July 6, 2020

Today we start a four part series on the exploration of sexuality in spiritual companionship. Facilitated by Frederica Helmiere, we present to you a series of perspectives from several spiritual directors, pastors, and guides on how they approach sexuality in their roles as spiritual companions. 

Karen Erlichman, DMin, LCSW provides psychotherapy, spiritual direction, supervision and So(U)L coaching in San Francisco, with a mind-body-spirit approach to healing. Karen’s writing has been published in numerous journals, blogs and anthologies, including Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction, Tikkun, Feminist Studies in Religion and in the interfaith anthology Spiritual Guidance Across Religions.  She is passionate about creating diverse and welcoming spaces for liberation, embodied spirituality and community. Her website is karenerlichman.com.

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Support for this podcast comes from SDI’s upcoming webinar, Spiritual Companionship and the Divine Erotic – Ethics and Sexuality In this two part webinar, we will explore embodied spirituality, sexuality and the divine erotic as they relate to the practice of spiritual companionship. Join us for this practice-based training designed for spiritual companions, guides and directors. Learn more at https://www.sdicompanions.org/product/sdi-webinar-series-spiritual-companionship-and-the-divine-erotic-ethics-and-sexuality/

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EP076 - New Website! sdicompanions.org

EP076 - New Website! sdicompanions.org

June 29, 2020

Hey everybody; SDI has a brand new website! After months of work, we are so excited to present to our community sdicompanions.org. Built from the ground-up, sdicompanions.org integrates everything that we do, from offering clear information on the work of spiritual companionship across orientations, to our popular searchable database of spiritual companions, as well as new spaces where our members can be in conversation with one another, access resources, including a brand-new digital platform for Presence, our quarterly flagship publication. Ann Lancaster and I talked about the process of getting this website up and running, our vision for this website, and some of the new features that people will find. I invite everybody to come explore spiritual companionship, at sdicompanions.org.

A few of the items we discussed:

  • Our vision for the new website
  • Seek and Find Guide is now Find a Spiritual Companion – back end improvements, new real-time search results
  • Unified login
  • Member Forums
  • Events Calendar
  • Digital Presence

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EP075 - Poetry as Spiritual Companionship - Pastor Dave Brown

EP075 - Poetry as Spiritual Companionship - Pastor Dave Brown

June 22, 2020

This week, I and Pastor Dave Brown explore poetry as spiritual companionship. Dave shares a bit about how he began using poetry in his services as a pastor, to the ways he incorporates poems as one of the Pacific NW Interfaith Amigos, and through his Blues Vespers concerts, where he intersperses poetry reading with performances by musicians. In our conversation, the poem serves as the sacred text through which our companionship finds common ground, and shared presence.

Pastor Dave Brown retired from Immanuel Presbyterian Church, a growing progressive community where he had served since 2005, in 2018. He is the innovator of award-winning Blues Vespers, a Blues concert with poetry and reflection. While at Immanuel, he led four spiritual pilgrimages to the Island of Iona, Scotland, as well as organizing four Habitat builds in Guatemala. A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, Pastor Dave has served congregations in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Federal Way, Washington. He also worked as staff for the National Council of Churches Committee on Public Education and Literacy, and the Comprehensive Health Education Foundations‘ Partnership Project.

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Support for this podcast comes from SDI Press – announcing its newly published book, Spiritual Direction Supervision: Principles, Practices, & Storytelling by Lucy Abbott Tucker. An innovative, full-color workbook designed to support the care and growth of your spiritual companionship practice, representing the best thinking of master teacher Lucy Abbott Tucker. We invite you to explore her principles, practices, and stories as you deepen your own approach to spiritual direction, companionship, and the supervision process. Learn more at sdicompanions.org

EP074 - Companionship in the Outdoors - Heather Makowicz

EP074 - Companionship in the Outdoors - Heather Makowicz

June 15, 2020

I (Matt Whitney) had a really fun conversation with one of our SDI members, Heather Makowicz, who is the founder of an organization called Peak Encounter Ministries.

As founder and president of Peak Encounter Ministries, Heather Makowicz organizes and leads hiking excursions and other outdoor experiences that integrate prayer, contemplation, and reflection with her enthusiasm while encouraging people to encounter God in his creation.

She is a certified Spiritual Director, retreat director, speaker, and outdoor adventure leader.

Heather has found a calling in speaking with young adults and women, particularly on prayer, healing, discernment, and spiritual accompaniment.

 

Heather holds a Masters Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Neumann University in Aston, PA, and a Masters in Clinical Social Work from Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia.

Peak Encounter Website: https://peakencounter.org/

Video for Peak Encounter: https://youtu.be/lbWT2QnQzeU

EP073 - The Long-Term Benefits of Meditation - Sean Murphy (Part 2)

EP073 - The Long-Term Benefits of Meditation - Sean Murphy (Part 2)

June 1, 2020

This is Part 2 of my deep dive conversation on meditation practice with Sean Murphy, Zen Master, Author, and SDI Coordinating Council Member. Here we learn something of the long-term benefits of mindfulness, as it plays out in our work, our creativity, and our relationships. What does it look like to stick with a meditation practice for the long haul, especially when it seems like nothing is happening or nothing is changing? The fact is we are changing, and we are growing. How often have you noticed that, in the early springtime, there are buds on a tree, and then later suddenly the whole of nature is awash in color, and then just as suddenly, the trees are bare again? I think its like meditation - the process seems slow, but the results can be dramatic.

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Sean Murphy teaches meditation, creative writing and literature for UNM-Taos and has taught and presented on Zen practice and meditation for over 20 years.  Sean is the recipient of a 2018 National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Creative Writing, and is a fully sanctioned Zen teacher in the American White Plum lineage. He is the founder of the Sage Institute for Creativity, Consciousness & Environment, and also serves on SDI’s Coordinating Council. You can learn more about Sean’s work at his personal website, murphyzen.com, and at sagetaos.com.

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EP072 - Mindfulness as the First Fruits of Meditation - Sean Murphy

EP072 - Mindfulness as the First Fruits of Meditation - Sean Murphy

May 25, 2020

I (Matt Whitney) had a wonderful deep dive conversation with Sean Murphy, Zen Master, Author, and SDI Coordinating Council Member. His story is fascinating, and there’s a lot of wisdom gleaned from his 30+ years of meditation practice. My biggest question to him is, what are the results of that practice? We have this understanding that meditation is about mindfulness – being aware of ourselves, our thoughts, our emotions, and the present moment. But listening to Sean, it’s clear that there is so much more than that. Mindfulness, as I learned from Sean, is just the first fruits of meditation.

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Sean Murphy teaches meditation, creative writing and literature for UNM-Taos and has taught and presented on Zen practice and meditation for over 20 years.  Sean is the recipient of a 2018 National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Creative Writing, and is a fully sanctioned Zen teacher in the American White Plum lineage. He is the founder of the Sage Institute for Creativity, Consciousness & Environment, and also serves on SDI’s Coordinating Council. You can learn more about Sean’s work at his personal website, murphyzen.com, and at sagetaos.com.

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Support for this podcast comes from SDI Press – announcing its newly published book, Spiritual Direction Supervision: Principles, Practices, & Storytelling by Lucy Abbott Tucker. An innovative, full-color workbook designed to support the care and growth of your spiritual companionship practice, representing the best thinking of master teacher Lucy Abbott Tucker. We invite you to explore her principles, practices, and stories as you deepen your own approach to spiritual direction, companionship, and the supervision process. Learn more at sdistore.org.

 

EP071 - Talking with Lucy Abbott Tucker about Spiritual Direction Supervision

EP071 - Talking with Lucy Abbott Tucker about Spiritual Direction Supervision

May 18, 2020

In this episode, we share a conversation between Reverend Seifu Anil Singh-Molares, and Lucy Abbott Tucker. This conversation was a livestreamed event from SDI, which we are calling Digital Tonw Halls, and you can find the recordings of these videos by visiting the website – sdicompanions.online, or by searching for sdiworld on Youtube. In thier conversation over Zoom, Lucy shares some stories from her life that led her into her calling as a spiritual director and supervisor to spiritual directors, beginning with a mystical experience growing up in New York, and how that experience has motivated Lucy’s lifelong work.

Lucy Abbott Tucker is one of the founders of Spiritual Directors International and she led the task force to write and establish SDI’s official Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for all spiritual directors, regardless of culture or tradition. She has worked in adult formation and the preparation of people for the ministry of spiritual direction for 35 years. Lucy has led in retreats and workshops throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, and Canada. 

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Support for this podcast comes from SDI Press – announcing its newly published book, Spiritual Direction Supervision: Principles, Practices, & Storytelling by Lucy Abbott Tucker. An innovative, full-color workbook designed to support the care and growth of your spiritual companionship practice, representing the best thinking of master teacher Lucy Abbott Tucker. We invite you to explore her principles, practices, and stories as you deepen your own approach to spiritual direction, companionship, and the supervision process. Learn more at sdistore.org.

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As part of our release for Lucy’s workbook, SDI is offering an online supervision workshop with Lucy Abbott Tucker this June. This 4-part introduction to spiritual direction supervision will touch on all the key themes that make supervision an essential part of the training and on-going professional development of any spiritual companion. And at $79 for SDI members, it’s a remarkable bargain that will introduce participants to key concepts and then give them the chance to put these principles and practices into action in small groups. We call it “A Taste of Spiritual Direction Supervision” and we hope you will consider joining us.

 

EP070 - A Dreamwork Session with Amy Curran - Fishbowl Spiritual Companionship

EP070 - A Dreamwork Session with Amy Curran - Fishbowl Spiritual Companionship

May 11, 2020

In last week’s episode of SDI Encounters, we talked with Amy Curran, a Dreamworker, about our dreams and the work of dreamwork and spiritual companionship. As part of my (Matt Whitney) exploration into dreamwork, I went through the typical dreamwork process with Amy, using one of my own dreams for this process. In this case, my dream was about working in a grocery store. So here’s how it went – I had the dream, and Amy invited me to write it out, in the present tense. I sent that to Amy, who then responded a couple of days later with some clarifying questions, such as “you mention so-and-so in your dream, or such-and-such place – describe this person, or this place, in three words.” I responded with my answers and descriptions, and Amy then creates her dream interpretation.

What follows here is our conversation about Amy’s interpretation of my dream. For someone who was admittedly ignorant about dreamwork before these conversations, I found the exercise fascinating, and really revealing. It’s a bit long for our podcasts, and it certainly feels vulnerable to put my own dream out there – especially since it includes a LOT about my work with SDI, but I hope my doing so invites you to more freely explore your own dreams, and get a sense of how dreamwork functions as a form of spiritual companionship.

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Amy Curran is a certified dreamwork facilitator, who received her two-year certification from the Haden Institute in 2019. She also has a BA in Marketing from Western Washington University. A lifelong resident of Bainbridge Island, WA. Amy’s interest in the inner realm of the dream has lead her to seek out groups to help process her own dreams. She has also worked with psychotherapists in the Jungian tradition, both of which have provided her with rich insights. Amy’s desire as a dream worker is to guide those with curiosity and interest in their dreams, through explorations of what the unconscious brings forth. She offers a safe container for deepening relationships to dreams, in her home studio on Bainbridge Island. Learn more about Amy and her work at www.innerdreamwork.com

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Support for this podcast comes from SDI Press – announcing its newly published book, Spiritual Direction Supervision: Principles, Practices, & Storytelling by Lucy Abbott Tucker. An innovative, full-color workbook designed to support the care and growth of your spiritual companionship practice, representing the best thinking of master teacher Lucy Abbott Tucker. We invite you to explore her principles, practices, and stories as you deepen your own approach to spiritual direction, companionship, and the supervision process. Learn more at sdistore.org.

 

EP069 - An Introduction to Dreamwork - Amy Curran

EP069 - An Introduction to Dreamwork - Amy Curran

May 4, 2020

Maybe it goes without saying, but all of us dream, multiple times a night. Some of us are more attuned to our dreams than others, with myself being one who historically has not been attuned to my dreams.

Anecdotally I (Matt Whitney) have heard about people having more recollection of their dreams, and much more vivid dreams, during this time of pandemic. And my anecdotal recalling is backed up by recent news articles on the increased reporting of vivid dreams and their unusual content from people during this time of CoronaVirus. I have included links to a few of these articles below.

So it’s with a good deal of relevance and personal curiosity that I spoke with Amy Curran, a certified dreamwork facilitator. You can learn about her work at her website www.innerdreamwork.com

Have you been dreaming more vividly and extensively during this time, and would like to explore a deeper, more purposeful meaning to your dreams? Or are you a spiritual companion looking for some ways to explore dreams with the people you work with or meet with?  This episode has a lot of practical advice and tools for you to begin to work with.

And in the next episode, I go through the dreamwork process with Amy, so stay tuned for a session of "Fishbowl Spiritual Companionship" - looking into the real-life process of spiritual companionship!

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Amy Curran is a certified dreamwork facilitator, who received her two-year certification from the Haden Institute in 2019. She also has a BA in Marketing from Western Washington University. A lifelong resident of Bainbridge Island, WA. Amy’s interest in the inner realm of the dream has lead her to seek out groups to help process her own dreams. She has also worked with psychotherapists in the Jungian tradition, both of which have provided her with rich insights. Amy’s desire as a dream worker is to guide those with curiosity and interest in their dreams, through explorations of what the unconscious brings forth. She offers a safe container for deepening relationships to dreams, in her home studio on Bainbridge Island. Learn more about Amy and her work at www.innerdreamwork.com

 

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From the Los Angeles TimesYou’re not imagining it: We’re all having intense coronavirus dreams https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2020-04-07/coronavirus-quarantine-dreams

From the New York Times: Why Am I Having Weird Dreams Lately? https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/13/style/why-weird-dreams-coronavirus.html

From National Geographic: The Pandemic is Giving People Weird, Unusual Dreams. Here's Why: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/04/coronavirus-pandemic-is-giving-people-vivid-unusual-dreams-here-is-why/

 

EP068 - Meet Ann Lancaster - SDI Production Assistant

EP068 - Meet Ann Lancaster - SDI Production Assistant

May 1, 2020

We’re using the podcast here to occasionally introduce you to new faces and voices in the SDI Family – we heard from Desiree Casil a couple of weeks ago who is taking over for Membership Services. This week, we get to meet Ann Lancaster, who has come on as SDI’s Production Assistant, helping us with graphic and layout design, helping me in the SDI Laboratories where we are cooking up many new and exciting offerings for spiritual companions.

Ann tells us about her previous work at Microsoft, her experience so far working with SDI, her own spiritual awakening, being a Reiki practitioner, being a mega-fan of a Danish band called Mew, and how she unwinds by playing odd video games.

Learn more about the amazing Ann Lancaster through her various projects:

http://www.annlancaster.com/

https://www.whitelodgeawakening.com/

http://www.mewx.info/

EP067 - Group Spiritual Direction with Diane Millis (and new offering from SDI!)

EP067 - Group Spiritual Direction with Diane Millis (and new offering from SDI!)

April 28, 2020

SDI is announcing a new series of group spiritual direction sessions, facilitated by Diane Millis and Matt Whitney, beginning May 12th 2020. Learn more and register on our store site, sdistore.org. In this Encounters episode, Diane and I (Matt Whitney) talk about how she developed her methods for group spiritual direction, and what you can expect in the group zoom sessions we have upcoming for May 2020.

SDI's Group Spiritual Direction package will include 4 90-minute sessions over zoom, Tuesdays at 9am Pacific. Our time together will include Centering in shared silence, group spiritual companioning in groups of 4, and Collective Reflection and Meditation.

  • You can expect to gain familiarity and experience practicing a specific approach to Group Spiritual Companioning;
  • Co-create an occasion for community building in this period of social distancing;
  • Increase our sense of solidarity and service as spiritual caregivers in these uncertain times.

Diane M. Millis, PhD, is an inspirational speaker, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and consultant. She is the author of Conversation—The Sacred Art, and Re-Creating A Life: Learning How to Tell Our Most Life-Giving Story, which was named one of the "Best Spiritual Books of 2019" by Spirituality and Practice. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

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EP066 - Meet Desiree Casil - SDI Membership Services

EP066 - Meet Desiree Casil - SDI Membership Services

April 20, 2020

SDI is a member based organization, with over 6000 members worldwide. We have a Membership Services Team that is there to assist our members with anything from renewing a membership to taking a payment to registering for a conference or workshop, or anything else related to your SDI Membership.
Desiree Casil is taking over as our new Membership Services Coordinator, and so in this episode of Encounters I had a chat with her about how her training over zoom is going, we do a riveting roleplay in which I pretend to call in as a member with some seriously hardball questions to see how Desiree handles them. In Part 2 we chat about her weekend, some big spiritual questions Desiree is chewing on, and learn a bit about her dog Ava, whose picture is posted in these notes.

You can become a member too, by calling our Office, at 1-425-455-1565, or by going to our online store, sdistore.org.

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I just want to update you on a couple of webinar offerings we have in the next month. First of all, the Remote Spiritual Comapnionship webinar I mentioned in the roleplay is really happening. In fact it is Thursday April 22nd, with Kristen Hobby and Ravi Verma and will offer practical advice and wisdom on how to do spiritual companionship over web conference, phone, email, how to handle scheduling and payment, and some approaches to the kinds of things people are wrestling with during the global pandemic.

The 2nd Webinar I want to mention, this is really exciting, is a four part series with Mirabai Starr, titled Mystic Wisdom in an Uncertain Time, which begins May 8th. Mirabai will be sharing on insights on spiritual companionship through the contexts of St. Teresa of Avila, Ram Dass, Grief and Loss, and The Divine Feminine.

All our webinar offerings can be watched live, and are also recorded so you can watch them at your convenience. You can register for either or both of these webinars by calling our Office at 1-425-455-1565, or by going to our online store, sdistore.org.

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EP065 - Hallmarks of Spiritual Companionship (Listen 14.2 - April 2020, read by SDI Staff)

EP065 - Hallmarks of Spiritual Companionship (Listen 14.2 - April 2020, read by SDI Staff)

April 19, 2020

At SDI we just released our quarterly digital publication of Listen – it includes a written reflection on spiritual companionship by Reverend Seifu Anil Singh-Molares, poetry by well-known members of our SDI community, and original artwork by me. You can find it, download it, and read it from our website, sdiworld.org, under the Media navigation.

In this episode, please enjoy an audio version of the April issue of Listen, read by us at SDI.

 

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EP064 - The Paradox of Showing Up, and Letting Go, as a Spiritual Companion - Brian Plachta

EP064 - The Paradox of Showing Up, and Letting Go, as a Spiritual Companion - Brian Plachta

April 13, 2020

Brian Plachta is a spiritual director based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Brian joined me for this conversation about spiritual direction and companionship, and he offers very practical advice for on being present to the companion, while not getting in the way or over-directing the companion’s spiritual journey. We begin with talking about the notion of failing someone we’ve been companioning, which relates to an article Brian wrote for Presence Journal, which appeared in the December 2019 issue.

What is at the essence of being a spiritual companion? Perhaps it's simply to walk alongside someone on their spiritual journey as they discern the Divine in their lives. How do we handle it when someone we’ve been walking with goes away, and takes a path that for whatever reason, we can't follow?

You can learn more about Brian's work on his website, http://brianplachta.net/

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Support for this podcast comes from SDI Digital Refuge - a new service from SDI, designed to support you through our enhanced digital offerings. As we face this time of pandemic, we hope that these offerings will offer solace and strength. Learn more at http://sdicompanions.online

BONUS - My Boss is a Zen Priest (and an amazing guitar player!)

BONUS - My Boss is a Zen Priest (and an amazing guitar player!)

April 9, 2020

If you’ve been listening to this podcast for awhile, or have viewed some of the SDI short videos for our Santa Fe conference, you’ve heard the guitar music in the background. You may not know that the classically trained person playing guitar is our very own Executive Director, Reverend Seifu Anil Singh-Molares, and one day at the SDI Offices he brought in his guitar and we recorded him playing so I could carve it up for our various media offerings. Well, I dug up the original recording of that session, which also has a cameo from Frederica Helmiere who had just joined SDI. So I thought it would be cool, as a bonus podcast, to release the unedited take of Reverend Seifu playing some amazingly beautiful guitar, with a few mistakes which I’m only pointing out because he needs you to know that he knows they’re mistakes. Anyway, enjoy!

EP063 - Walking as Spiritual Companionship (Pilgrimage in Place)

EP063 - Walking as Spiritual Companionship (Pilgrimage in Place)

April 3, 2020

Pilgrimage-in-place, or, Walking as Spiritual Companionship.

For this week’s podcast, I (Matt Whitney) went for a walk with a spiritual companion. That is, my friend Jeanette Banashak went for a walk around her neighborhood in Chicago, and we recorded the conversation we had while Jeanette was walking. Jeanette is a co-founder of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute, and is pretty knowledgeable on the topic of Pilgrimage, having undertaken multiple pilgrimage journeys around the world to many different holy sites. She is the author of The Mindful Pilgrimage: A 40-Day Pocket Devotional for Pilgrims of Any Faith or None. 

We recorded this conversation last month, and now as I record this today, there’s not a whole lot of travel going on. Our conversation feels prescient now, because we spend some time getting to what the essence of a pilgrimage is. What is supposed to happen on a pilgrimage, and what makes for a successful pilgrimage? Knowing or understanding these things, can a pilgrimage happen on a walk from your home to the grocery store? Or the post office? Or just meandering around your neighborhood?

We used the Five Excellent Practices of Pilgrimage as a framework to address this question, from a book called The Art of Pilgrimage by Phil Cousineau. I hope our conversation inspires you to try this out for yourself.

Go for a walk. Go a different direction. Go somewhere you don’t normally go. Go for the sake of going. Take your phone and call a friend, and chat while you walk. Describe what you are seeing to one-another.

EP062 - Listen to our Discover March Newsletter

EP062 - Listen to our Discover March Newsletter

March 27, 2020

Did you catch our March 2020 e-mail newsletter? It's called Discover, and it brings with it all the updates and goings-on at SDI. If perhaps it got buried in your inbox, or perhaps you haven't subscribed yet, never fear because I (Matt Whitney) read aloud our newsletter in this podcast episode - so you can simply listen to our updates! This is a bit of an experiment for those who might want to listen to our monthly updates while walking, cooking, cleaning, or playing in the background of whatever else you have going on. But make sure to listen, or read, because there's a lot going on at SDI as we work hard to provide ways for you to do the urgent work of spiritual companionship, and find nourishment within the SDI community!

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