SDI Encounters
EP113 - Taste of the Divine Garden of Rumi - Imam Jamal Rahman

EP113 - Taste of the Divine Garden of Rumi - Imam Jamal Rahman

July 20, 2021

In this week’s episode, Creative Director Matt Whitney speaks with Imam Jamal Rahman, about their July 2021 webinar series “The Fragrance of the Beloved”, built upon new revealings and discoveries in the poetry of Rumi, through the lens of spiritual companionship.

In the truest tradition of spiritual directors and spiritual companions, Rumi asks open-ended questions that lead us to ask penetrating questions of ourselves. He accepts us as we are and opens the way for us to explore what our lives can be in contemplative union with the Beloved.

Jamal has been studying Rumi most of his life. Sitting in Jamal’s circle of love as you contemplative Rumi’s mystic brilliance is a chance to broaden and deepen your concept of spiritual companioning.

Learn more about this offering on our website at: https://www.sdicompanions.org/product/the-fragrance-of-the-beloved/

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Imam Jamal Rahman is a popular speaker on Islam, Sufi spirituality, and interfaith relations. Along with his Interfaith Amigos, he has been featured in the New York Times, CBS News, BBC, and various NPR programs. Jamal is co-founder and Muslim Sufi minister at Interfaith Community Sanctuary and adjunct faculty at Seattle University. He is a former co-host of Interfaith Talk Radio and travels nationally and internationally, presenting at retreats and workshops.

Jamal’s passion lies in interfaith community building. He remains rooted in his Islamic tradition and cultivates a “spaciousness” by being open to the beauty and wisdom of other faiths. By authentically and appreciatively understanding other paths, Jamal feels that he becomes a better Muslim. This spaciousness is not about conversion but about completion.

EP112 - SDI Coordinating Council and the State of SDI

EP112 - SDI Coordinating Council and the State of SDI

July 14, 2021

In this week’s episode, SDI’s Creative Director Matt Whitney poses a variety of questions to SDI’s Coordinating Council in a special “State of SDI” gathering, which was recorded during our Renaissance 2021 Conference from April of this year.

The Coordinating Council (Board of Directors) is the governing body of Spiritual Directors International. With the role comes fiduciary, visionary, strategic planning, and personnel oversight responsibilities. Council members serve three-year terms, and new members are appointed as members of the council complete their terms of office. The year following each coordinating council member’s name indicates the year they complete their term of service on the council.

If you missed SDI Renaissance, it's not too late - we are offering for sale recordings of all our keynote presentations and our 40 workshops - over 90 hours of video content on spiritual direction and spiritual companionship - available from our website, sdicompanions.org. Recordings are accessible for 120 days after purchase.

EP111 - Renaissance 2021 - New Contemplatives - Part 2

EP111 - Renaissance 2021 - New Contemplatives - Part 2

June 14, 2021

In this week's episode, we hear from our New Contemplatives

The New Contemplatives Initiative is a container of vocational support and development opportunities for emerging spiritual companions in their first half of life. New Contemplatives enrich the SDI community with new forms and paradigms of spiritual care, bringing their voices to the center of the organization and the broader field of spiritual companionship. Together, we work to weave a web of intergenerational wisdom and practice, and to seek answers to: what is spiritual companionship for our times? 

This session was recorded during our Renaissance 2021 Conference from this April and features the voices of our program leader Lizzie Salsich and her group of New Contemplatives: Ufra Mir, Sunyata Kopriva, Nathan Bettger, Meissan Chan, and Sarah Zaltash.

This episode is a continuation from last week's episode, so please have a listen to part one to put things in context.

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Join SDI for a 8-night / 9-day transformational journey to one of the most mystical places in the world - Iona, Scotland.  Ritual, community worship, poetry, body prayer, meditation, journaling, music and movement will be our tools to deeply listen to the voice of The Great Mystery. Led by retreat leader and Iona native Reverend Simon de Voil, we will walk the landscape of Iona together as pilgrims, wandering to special places on the island to embrace the wilderness and to pray with nature. Learn more at sdicompanions.org.  

EP110 - Renaissance 2021 - New Contemplatives - Part 1

EP110 - Renaissance 2021 - New Contemplatives - Part 1

June 9, 2021

In this week's episode, we hear from our New Contemplatives

The New Contemplatives Initiative is a container of vocational support and development opportunities for emerging spiritual companions in their first half of life. New Contemplatives enrich the SDI community with new forms and paradigms of spiritual care, bringing their voices to the center of the organization and the broader field of spiritual companionship. Together, we work to weave a web of intergenerational wisdom and practice, and to seek answers to: what is spiritual companionship for our times? 

This session was recorded during our Renaissance 2021 Conference from this April and features the voices of our program leader Lizzie Salsich and her group of New Contemplatives: Ufra Mir, Sunyata Kopriva, Nathan Bettger, Meissan Chan, and Sarah Zaltash.

This is part one of a two part series - please tune in again next week for the second half of their presentation.

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Join SDI for a 8-night / 9-day transformational journey to one of the most mystical places in the world - Iona, Scotland.  Ritual, community worship, poetry, body prayer, meditation, journaling, music and movement will be our tools to deeply listen to the voice of The Great Mystery. Led by retreat leader and Iona native Reverend Simon de Voil, we will walk the landscape of Iona together as pilgrims, wandering to special places on the island to embrace the wilderness and to pray with nature. Learn more at sdicompanions.org.  

EP109 - The Invitation Sale - 10 percent off All SDI Membership, Resources, Books, etc until June 2

EP109 - The Invitation Sale - 10 percent off All SDI Membership, Resources, Books, etc until June 2

May 29, 2021

We are very excited about the new "feast" of experiences and resources SDI has on offer for spiritual directors and spiritual companions. And we wanted to invite our community to partake of this feast.

Thus, "The Invitation Sale" was born.

10 percent off everything in the SDI Store. For 5 days.

Please consider this your invitation to join us at our feast.

Iona. Rumi. A new enhanced issue of Presence. Christian Mystics. Books. SDI Courses, SDI membership. Renaissance 2021 video recordings. Yes, everything we have in our SDI Store. All 10 percent off. From now, until 12 noon Seattle time on Wednesday June 2. If you have been considering one of our offerings, now is an ideal time to sign up.

Here are some of the possible ways to save:

  • Rumi - A New 4-part webinar series on the great contemplative poet  led by Sufi spiritual director Jamal Rahman.  Register here.
  • Iona - An SDI Journey -  March 18- 26, 2022. Led by spiritual companion and mystic musician Simon de Voil. Watch video | Learn more.
  • New Enhanced Issue of "Presence" - Our creative staff says the June issue is "amazing." As a special bonus for those in our community who aren't members yet, the online issue is free to everyone for this weekend only. Start exploring the issue now.
  • Find your Niche as a Spiritual Director or Spiritual Companion - New Webinar taught by spiritual director and digital marketing professional Rev. Larry J. Morris III.  Register now.
  • Christian Mystics & Spiritual Companionship - 4-part SDI webinar series led by author Carl McColman. Learn more.
  • Recordings of the 2021 Conference - Access for 120 days - Learn more.
  • SDI Courses - In-depth, 12-session on-line courses. Learn at your own pace.  Companionship Across Traditions and Feminist Perspectives.
  • SDI Press - 10 percent off all our best-sellers.  Explore now.
EP108 - Marian Sorensen and Holistic Approaches to Spiritual Companionship

EP108 - Marian Sorensen and Holistic Approaches to Spiritual Companionship

May 24, 2021

In this week's episode, SDI's creative director Matt Whitney chats with Marian Sorensen, an English spiritual companion based out of Ibiza, Spain. Marian uses a holistic approach to her integrative practice, which includes the modalities of spiritual direction, holistic health coaching, and life coaching. You can find out more about Marian at her website Growing Edges: http://growing-edges.com.

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SDI Encounters is supported by:

EXPERIENCE AN INTERFAITH LEARNING CENTER, A SACRED COMMUNITY, AND A SPIRITUAL HOME AT ONE SPIRIT, TO BE OF SERVICE IN TODAY’S RAPIDLY CHANGING WORLD. EXPLORE OPPORTUNITIES IN SEMINARY, AND INTERSPIRITUAL COMPANIONING AND COUNSELING CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS, AND EXPERIENTIAL COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS AND EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. VISIT 1SPIRIT.ORG/ENCOUNTER TO DISCOVER WHAT’S POSSIBLE.

EP107 - Q&A With the Executive Director from the SDI Renaissance Conference (and bonus questions!)

EP107 - Q&A With the Executive Director from the SDI Renaissance Conference (and bonus questions!)

May 18, 2021

Traditionally, on the last day of an SDI Annual Conference, our Executive Director Reverend SeiFu Anil Singh-Molares will deliver something of an Annual Report, going over the finances and operations of our non-profit organization. Afterwards there is a Question and Answer session in which he dialogs with members in the audience. On the last day of our 2021 Renaissance Virtual Conference, this presentation was delivered over Zoom, and thanks to its robust Q&A and Chat technology, this session became supercharged, with lots of great questions about a variety of topics. In this episode, we’re replaying that Q&A Session. As a bonus, Rev. SeiFu and I (Matt Whitney) recorded an additional Q&A conversation where I ask a few more questions that we didn’t have time to get to during the Conference session. We really enjoy being in dialog with SDI Members, and we’re grateful for your curiosity, participation, and engagement with the organization.

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SDI ENCOUNTERS IS SUPPORTED BY:

The Spiritual Habits Group course is for people who have an interest in spiritual things but struggle to actually apply them to their lives or people who find it hard to be consistent with their spiritual practices.

Highlights include:

  • Connecting with a community of like-minded others who are seeking to actually practice mindfulness, acceptance, and kindness to themselves and others as a way of daily life.
  • Applying behavior science to spiritual principles
  • Teaching you how to build and sustain a meditation practice that works for you—in your unique life for your unique preferences. 

You can learn all about it at: spiritualhabits.net

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EXPERIENCE AN INTERFAITH LEARNING CENTER, A SACRED COMMUNITY, AND A SPIRITUAL HOME AT ONE SPIRIT, TO BE OF SERVICE IN TODAY’S RAPIDLY CHANGING WORLD. EXPLORE OPPORTUNITIES IN SEMINARY, AND INTERSPIRITUAL COMPANIONING AND COUNSELING CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS, AND EXPERIENTIAL COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS AND EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. VISIT 1SPIRIT.ORG/ENCOUNTER TO DISCOVER WHAT’S POSSIBLE.

EP106 - Highlights from the SDI Renaissance Conference - Sr Joan Chittister, Fr Richard Rohr, Roshi Joan Halifax, more

EP106 - Highlights from the SDI Renaissance Conference - Sr Joan Chittister, Fr Richard Rohr, Roshi Joan Halifax, more

May 10, 2021

If you regularly listen to this podcast, you have heard the advertisements for our SDI Renaissance virtual conference. We hosted this virtual gathering a couple of weeks ago now, and we as a staff are still processing, debriefing, discerning. We do know that overall, we feel like it was really successful – we’ve heard from a lot of participants that they were really glad for the time together, surprised that it could work virtually – and I will say for myself, even though we were on our devices and meeting over zoom, that it FELT like a conference. This is my third SDI conference, having been in St Louis in 2018, and Bellevue in 2019 – and this one had the same energy, and the same tiredness frankly! But it was a really rich time, with a broad diverse representation of the public square of spiritual direction and spiritual companionship. I wanted to offer you a few highlights from our time together, and also inform you that we are offering for sale the recordings of our conference keynote presentations and all our workshops -which is over 90 hours of video content on spiritual direction – via our website, sdicompanions.org. But here we’re offering a couple of minutes from each keynote presentation as something of a recap.

 

If you missed SDI Renaissance, it's not too late - we are offering for sale recordings of all our keynote presentations and our 40 workshops - over 90 hours of video content on spiritual direction and spiritual companionship - available from our website, sdicompanions.org. Recordings are only accessible until July 25, 2021, so act soon!

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SDI Encounters is supported by:

EXPERIENCE AN INTERFAITH LEARNING CENTER, A SACRED COMMUNITY, AND A SPIRITUAL HOME AT ONE SPIRIT, TO BE OF SERVICE IN TODAY’S RAPIDLY CHANGING WORLD. EXPLORE OPPORTUNITIES IN SEMINARY, AND INTERSPIRITUAL COMPANIONING AND COUNSELING CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS, AND EXPERIENTIAL COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS AND EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. VISIT 1SPIRIT.ORG/ENCOUNTER TO DISCOVER WHAT’S POSSIBLE.

 

EP105 - Reflections on Awakening and Maturity for Spiritual Companions - Genjo Marinello

EP105 - Reflections on Awakening and Maturity for Spiritual Companions - Genjo Marinello

May 3, 2021

Our latest book release from SDI Press is now available – Reflections on Awakening and Maturity for Spiritual Companions, by Genjo Marinello. Genjo’s fascinating book chronicles his lifelong and ongoing commitment to spiritual growth, through thick and thin, as well as a courageous embrace of many difficulties, shortcomings and flaws.

Genjo composts all of these into assets, establishing them as the building blocks for his own ongoing spiritual growth and evolution. And by extension, for ours.

In the process, he engages with numerous spiritual companions and models, most notably the Buddha, St Teresa of Avila, and the Zen Oxherding pictures. They reveal insights and challenges both easy and joyful, along with some quite difficult and painful.

In this conversation, Genjo and Rev. Seifu Anil Singh-Molares discuss the new book.

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SDI Encounters is supported by:

EXPERIENCE AN INTERFAITH LEARNING CENTER, A SACRED COMMUNITY, AND A SPIRITUAL HOME AT ONE SPIRIT, TO BE OF SERVICE IN TODAY’S RAPIDLY CHANGING WORLD. EXPLORE OPPORTUNITIES IN SEMINARY, AND INTERSPIRITUAL COMPANIONING AND COUNSELING CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS, AND EXPERIENTIAL COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS AND EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. VISIT 1SPIRIT.ORG/ENCOUNTER TO DISCOVER WHAT’S POSSIBLE.

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Genjo Marinello Roshi began his Zen training in 1975. He moved to Seattle in 1976 to serve as a VISTA community organizer in the central district of the city. In 1980 Genjo was ordained as a Zen monk, and in 1981-82 trained in Japan at the Zen temple Ryutaku-Ji. In 1999 Genjo succeeded Genki Takabayashi Roshi as the second abbot of the Seattle Zen temple, Chobo-Ji, and became a Dharma Heir in his lineage of Rinzai Zen in 2008. Genjo has been a member of the University Friends Meeting (Quakers) since 1983. In 1989, Genjo completed a certificate program in Spiritual Direction (The Pacific Jubilee Program). For several years Genjo was the volunteer Buddhist pastor of the Twin Rivers Correction Center in Monroe Washington and has served as adjunct faculty at the Seattle campus of Antioch University.

EP104 - Roshi Joan Halifax - The Landscape of Compassion

EP104 - Roshi Joan Halifax - The Landscape of Compassion

April 7, 2021

In this week's episode, SDI's Executive Director Reverend Seifu speaks with Roshi Joan Halifax about confronting mortality and The Landscape of Compassion as a lead up to her keynote address at our SDI Renaissance 2021 virtual conference, which kicks off at the end of April.

Roshi Joan explains that the questions that arise in people who are at the terminus of their lives are also fundamental questions for every stage of living. What is my life about? Have I met - and taken care of - important relationships? Have I mattered in this world? In her plenary address at the SDI Conference, Roshi Joan will explore why spiritual directors and spiritual companions fulfill one of their most important roles by holding space so people can respond to questions like these.

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Roshi Joan Halifax is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She is Founder, Abbot, and Head Teacher of Upaya Institute and Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

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Join us at SDI for an unprecedented virtual conference in April 2021 which we are calling Renaissance – the meaning of the word being, “rebirth”. This season of pandemic, and political uncertainty in many countries around the world, have been difficult for all of us. But for every season, there are new beginnings, and out of the mulch and the compost, new life can grow.

This conference is going to be a gigantic sandbox for spiritual companionship and contemplative community. No travel costs, no hotel or meal expenses. Attend from your home, participate from anywhere, around the world. Live, or on-demand. This promises to be the biggest and most extensive gathering of spiritual companions in SDI history.

Registrations for SDI Renaissance 2021 are now open. Everyone is welcome to attend, and be nourished, by this conference. Go to sdicompanions.org for the details and registration options.

 

EP103 - Father Richard Rohr - A Call to Contemplative Solidarity

EP103 - Father Richard Rohr - A Call to Contemplative Solidarity

March 29, 2021

In this week's episode, SDI's Executive Director Reverend Seifu speaks with Father Richard Rohr, a keynote speaker for our SDI Renaissance 2021 virtual conference, which kicks off at the end of April.
 
Father Richard talks about how spiritual direction helps us to find firmer ground to stand upon, particularly in these difficult and unpredictable times. He is keen to be in conversation with us all about the issues at the heart of spiritual companionship. We are planning a highly interactive session with him at Renaissance 2021

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Father Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he also serves as Academic Dean of the Living School for Action and Contemplation. Fr. Richard’s teaching is grounded in the Franciscan alternative orthodoxy–practices of contemplation and self-emptying, expressing itself in radical compassion, particularly for the socially marginalized.

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Join us at SDI for an unprecedented virtual conference in April 2021 which we are calling Renaissance – the meaning of the word being, “rebirth”. This season of pandemic, and political uncertainty in many countries around the world, have been difficult for all of us. But for every season, there are new beginnings, and out of the mulch and the compost, new life can grow.

This conference is going to be a gigantic sandbox for spiritual companionship and contemplative community. No travel costs, no hotel or meal expenses. Attend from your home, participate from anywhere, around the world. Live, or on-demand. This promises to be the biggest and most extensive gathering of spiritual companions in SDI history.

Registrations for SDI Renaissance 2021 are now open. Everyone is welcome to attend, and be nourished, by this conference. Go to sdicompanions.org for the details and registration options.

 

EP102 - Andre van Zijl on Art and Spiritual Companionship

EP102 - Andre van Zijl on Art and Spiritual Companionship

March 17, 2021

In this episode, Matt Whitney talks with Rev. Andre van Zijl about art and spiritual companionship. Andre is a cofounder and codirector of All Paths Divinity School, an online interfaith seminary promoting and nurturing sacred community through the arts. He is a spiritually inspired, award-winning artist, poet, published author, and non-dual philosophy teacher. Andre is also the founder and director of Van Zijl Art and Design Studios.

Andre's art, poetry, and prose is highlighted in his article entitled "Sacred Companioning by Making Art" in the March 2021 issue of Presence Journal

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SDI's creative team has been hard at work bringing a new version of Presence to the web. Our new enhanced edition features audio and video recordings by artists, authors, and poets, as well as bonus media reviews, all packaged in an easy-to-read format which can be accessed anytime, anywhere, on any device. 

To celebrate the launch of this new initiative, SDI is offering the March 2021 issue of Presence to everyone for FREE! Just go to sdicompanions.org/presence to check it out!

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Join us at SDI for an unprecedented virtual conference in April 2021 which we are calling Renaissance – the meaning of the word being, “rebirth”. This season of pandemic, and political uncertainty in many countries around the world, have been difficult for all of us. But for every season, there are new beginnings, and out of the mulch and the compost, new life can grow.

This conference is going to be a gigantic sandbox for spiritual companionship and contemplative community. No travel costs, no hotel or meal expenses. Attend from your home, participate from anywhere, around the world. Live, or on-demand. This promises to be the biggest and most extensive gathering of spiritual companions in SDI history.

Registrations for SDI Renaissance 2021 are now open. Everyone is welcome to attend, and be nourished, by this conference. Go to sdicompanions.org for the details and registration options.

 

EP101 - Presence Journal Online - Enhancements, Features, and a FREE ISSUE!

EP101 - Presence Journal Online - Enhancements, Features, and a FREE ISSUE!

March 9, 2021

In this episode, Ann Lancaster and Matt Whitney (SDI's creative team) discuss all the new enhancements and features of the online version of Presence and the labor of love that goes into producing our flagship publication in a new format.

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SDI members tell us that Presence is one of the best things about membership. They say it offers them a way to stay current on our calling and learn from the leading voices of our contemplative community. Now, Presence is evolving to become the enhanced Presence Online. The printed quarterly will still be mailed to Jupiter and Cosmos members. But starting this month, all members, including students, will be able to access Presence Online with bonus and enhanced features:

  • Audio & video recordings by artists, authors, and poets
  • Bonus media reviews
  • Reduce footprint on the environment
  • Access to the content sooner than the print version
  • Easy-to-read content

To mark the occasion, we are making the new March 2021 issue FREE for everyone! 

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Join us at SDI for an unprecedented virtual conference in April 2021 which we are calling Renaissance – the meaning of the word being, “rebirth”. This season of pandemic, and political uncertainty in many countries around the world, have been difficult for all of us. But for every season, there are new beginnings, and out of the mulch and the compost, new life can grow.

This conference is going to be a gigantic sandbox for spiritual companionship and contemplative community. No travel costs, no hotel or meal expenses. Attend from your home, participate from anywhere, around the world. Live, or on-demand. This promises to be the biggest and most extensive gathering of spiritual companions in SDI history.

Registrations for SDI Renaissance 2021 are now open. Everyone is welcome to attend, and be nourished, by this conference. Go to sdicompanions.org for the details and registration options.

 

EP100 - Sunyata Kopriva - Providing Culturally Congruent Trauma Care For Young People

EP100 - Sunyata Kopriva - Providing Culturally Congruent Trauma Care For Young People

March 2, 2021

Here at SDI we have an initiative that brings emerging spiritual companions in the first half of life to our community, helping us weave a web of intergenerational wisdom and practice, which we call the New Contemplatives initiative. These New Contemplatives enrich the SDI community with new forms and paradigms of spiritual care, bringing their voices to the center of the organization and the broader field of spiritual companionship.

In this episode, our New Contemplatives Coordinator, Lizzie Salsich, talks with one of the 2021 New Contemplatives, Sunyata Kopriva. Sunyata talks about their spiritual journey and practice of spiritual companionship.

Sunyata is a global integrative trauma psychotherapist, and founder of Healers Hive, LLC, which specializes in providing culturally congruent trauma care to individuals, communities, and families. They are a gender varied, queer, Buddhist, yoga teacher, meditation teacher, and clinical social worker with Irish/Dutch/Czech ancestry. You can learn more about Sunyata’s work at www.sunyatakopriva.com and www.healershive.com

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Join us at SDI for an unprecedented virtual conference in April 2021 which we are calling Renaissance – the meaning of the word being, “rebirth”. This season of pandemic, and political uncertainty in many countries around the world, have been difficult for all of us. But for every season, there are new beginnings, and out of the mulch and the compost, new life can grow.

This conference is going to be a gigantic sandbox for spiritual companionship and contemplative community. No travel costs, no hotel or meal expenses. Attend from your home, participate from anywhere, around the world. Live, or on-demand. This promises to be the biggest and most extensive gathering of spiritual companions in SDI history.

Registrations for SDI Renaissance 2021 are now open. Everyone is welcome to attend, and be nourished, by this conference. Go to sdicompanions.org for the details and registration options.

 

EP099 - We Need Elders In Our Lives - Nathan Bettger and Lizzie Salsich - New Contemplatives

EP099 - We Need Elders In Our Lives - Nathan Bettger and Lizzie Salsich - New Contemplatives

February 8, 2021

Here at SDI we have an initiative that brings emerging spiritual companions in the first half of life to our community, helping us weave a web of intergenerational wisdom and practice, which we call the New Contemplatives initiative. These New Contemplatives enrich the SDI community with new forms and paradigms of spiritual care, bringing their voices to the center of the organization and the broader field of spiritual companionship.

In this episode, our New Contemplatives Coordinator, Lizzie Salsich, talks with one of the 2021 New Contemplatives, Nathan Bettger. Nathan talks about the importance of having elders, and how people in the first half of life need to be in community with those in second half of life – and allowing wisdom to flow.

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Nathan Bettger is a board-certified hospital chaplain and spiritual director from Oshkosh, WI, where he lives with his wife (Kat), his two sons (Brendan Arthur and Owen Raine) and his Welsh Terrier (Wendell). Nathan is committed to nurturing connection and community, through our relationships, our bodies, our sense of self, the land that we live on, and our experience of the Divine. Deeply grounded in contemplative and mystic Christianity and nature-based spirituality, Nathan seeks to consistently invite others into more unitive and loving life, whether it be through spiritual companioning, caring for those in the hospital, advocating for more natural earth keeping, caring for his honey bees and his garden, or writing. Nathan has led community groups for many years focused on spiritual integration, conversations on death and dying, grief support, and men’s spirituality. He received his Masters in Divinity from Bethel Seminary in St Paul, MN and Certificates of Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Direction from George Fox Seminary in Portland, OR. Nathan served on the founding board for the men’s spirituality non-profit, Illuman and is a graduate scholar of the Orphan Wisdom School, led by teacher, story teller and author, Stephen Jenkinson.

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Join us at SDI for an unprecedented virtual conference in April 2021 which we are calling Renaissance – the meaning of the word being, “rebirth”. This season of pandemic, and political uncertainty in many countries around the world, have been difficult for all of us. But for every season, there are new beginnings, and out of the mulch and the compost, new life can grow.

This conference is going to be a gigantic sandbox for spiritual companionship and contemplative community. No travel costs, no hotel or meal expenses. Attend from your home, participate from anywhere, around the world. Live, or on-demand. This promises to be the biggest and most extensive gathering of spiritual companions in SDI history.

Registrations for SDI Renaissance 2021 are now open. Everyone is welcome to attend, and be nourished, by this conference. Go to sdicompanions.org for the details and registration options.

EP098 - Free eBook! Starting Spiritual Direction - John Mabry, Part 2

EP098 - Free eBook! Starting Spiritual Direction - John Mabry, Part 2

January 26, 2021

In this episode, I continue my conversation with John Mabry, longtime friend of SDI and former Presence editor. This week we get into the modality of spiritual companionship at its essence, which is helping people to grow spiritually. For John, who wrote a very practical book about this called Starting Spiritual Direction, its about creating safe space for others to explore mystical experience (which is more common than we realize), and awaken to the Love Story that is their spiritual life.

John is graciously making this e-book available as a download to all spiritual companions in our community. He asks that you please do not share this widely, but if you are a part of the SDI community and have an e-reader, please  free download of STARTING SPIRITUAL DIRECTION: https://BookHip.com/XFRMWF

John Mabry is a United Church of Christ pastor, currently serving Grace North Church in Berkeley and Our Redeemer Lutheran in Oakland. He teaches world religions and spiritual direction at the Chaplaincy Institute in Berkeley. He sings for two progressive rock bands, Mind Furniture and Metaphor, and also writes songs for liturgy and worship. He is based out of Oakland, California, and you can learn more about him at johnrmabry.com.

EP097 - Feminist Perspectives on Spiritual Companionship and Direction

EP097 - Feminist Perspectives on Spiritual Companionship and Direction

January 20, 2021

In this special episode of SDI Encounters, Director of Programs and Events Frederica Helmiere talks with Beth Bartlett about their upcoming course offering from SDI Education – Feminist Perspectives on Spiritual Companionship. This 12 week course is for anyone who offers spiritual companionship to women, and anyone who receives spiritual companionship from women. The course begins live on January 27 2021, and is also offered on-demand, learn more now by going to our website, sdicompanions.org.

Beth Bartlett, Ph.D., is an educator, author, activist, and spiritual companion.  She is Professor Emerita of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where she helped to co-found the Women’s Studies program in the early 80s, and taught political and feminist thought, including courses on women, religion, and spirituality, for forty years. She also served for many years as the co-facilitator of the Spirituality Task Force of the National Women’s Studies Association. She is the author of numerous books and articles, including Journey of the Heart: Spiritual Insights on the Road to a Transplant, Rebellious Feminism: Camus’s Ethic of Rebellion and Feminist Thoughtand Making Waves: Grassroots Feminism in Duluth and Superior. She is trained in both Somatic Experiencing® and Indigenous Focusing-Oriented trauma therapy, and offers these healing modalities through her spiritual direction practice, and recently, through racial healing workshops. She has been active in feminist, peace and justice, indigenous rights, and climate justice movements and has been a committed advocate for the water protectors.

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EP096 - Catching Up With John Mabry - Creative Work and Interfaith Exploration

EP096 - Catching Up With John Mabry - Creative Work and Interfaith Exploration

January 11, 2021

John Mabry is beloved in the SDI Community. He’s been with SDI for over 20 years in a number of ways. He is the former editor and a longtime contributor to Presence Journal – our quarterly magazine on spiritual direction and companionship. He does…so many things. He’s a spiritual director, he’s a prolific author, having written dozens of books on spirituality and mysticism, (I counted 23 books just on spirituality on his website!), but he also writes fantasy and science fiction novels. He is a UCC pastor – at two different churches, AND he makes music with two bands, and is working on a solo album. How in the world does he find time for all of this? In this podcast episode, Part 1 of our conversation, we catch up on all the things John is up to, his teaching practice at the Chaplaincy Institute, why Interfaith exploration and openness is an important part of the spiritual journey, and how the heck he finds time for all his creative endeavors.

John Mabry is a United Church of Christ pastor, currently serving Grace North Church in Berkeley and Our Redeemer Lutheran in Oakland. He teaches world religions and spiritual direction at the Chaplaincy Institute in Berkeley. He sings for two progressive rock bands, Mind Furniture and Metaphor, and also writes songs for liturgy and worship. He is based out of Oakland, California, and you can learn more about him at johnrmabry.com.

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Support for this episode comes from SDI Renaissance 2021 Virtual Conference, offering an unparalleled lineup of workshopsinstitutes and premium workshops and keynotes. Sister Joan, Father Richard, Roshi Joan and our other speakers and workshop presenters will all focus on spiritual companionship. Such an amazing array of wisdom teachers - all addressing our beloved calling - may never be available in one conference again. 

And now, because our conference is 100-percent online, you can enjoy the entire experience without the risk of COVID-19 infection and with considerable savings. That's means significantly lower tuition and no travel or hotel costs.

In addition, every participant will have access to recordings of all plenary sessions - and the vast majority of 40 workshops - as educational resources for 3 months after the end of the conference. (Imagine being able to relax as you enjoy the conference, knowing that if you miss a session you can always catch up later. Imagine having all these wisdom teachers accessible on video for multiple weeks so you can review what you've learned, discern and go deeper.)

Click here to learn more and register today.

 

EP095 - Setting Intentions for Spiritual Companionship in the New Year - A Short Meditation

EP095 - Setting Intentions for Spiritual Companionship in the New Year - A Short Meditation

January 1, 2021

Spiritual companionship is for everyone. The gifts of spiritual companionship are meant to be given to others, and to be received by ourselves. There are opportunities everywhere, all the time, to cultivate a contemplative heart, to be a better listener, and to help others realize they have dignity and are beloved.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in the Book of Joy, calls us to be in the world as “an oasis of peace, a pool of serenity that ripples out to all those around us.”

As we transition to a new year, to a new season, I invite you to contemplate the small and potent ways you can practice spiritual companionship in your life, whether you are a longtime spiritual director, or simply a friend to others. Let us be, in our lives, an oasis of peace, for ourselves and in service to others.

Here are some simple intentions, inspired by Reverend Seifu’s Dimensions of a Spiritual Companion, to which I offer here as a meditation, and I also invite you to create your own intentions as spiritual companions. Let’s work together to heal our broken world.

EP094 - Two Years of the SDI Encounters Podcast - Notes and Reflections

EP094 - Two Years of the SDI Encounters Podcast - Notes and Reflections

December 22, 2020

Thank you to everybody who has supported the SDI Encounters Podcast, by listening, sharing with a friend, writing a review, or by being a guest. At SDI, we see the podcast as a vital part of our outreach to the public on the merits, value, and necessity of spiritual companionship in the wider culture. Much of our work at SDI is to provide educational media and resources that are for the broader public, to share the healing work we do as spiritual directors and companions to as many people as possible. I view all my work this way – I firmly believe that spiritual companionship should be widely understood and practiced in our culture, and that everyone should have a spiritual companion.

In honor of our 100th Episode, I’ve compiled something of a “Best of the Podcast” list. I don’t really think there are “best” episodes – because they’re all amazing for their own reasons! Of course, I believe each episode contains deep wisdom and lived experiences of spiritual companionship. And the ones that might be perceived as lower quality are relative. For example, the first few episodes reveal a bit of age in their technical quality – I was still learning how to put together a podcast and didn’t understand all the timing nuances and audio tricks like volume leveling and noise reduction. But they still are formative for being the first ones we put out there, and I still love them as much for their technical warts as for the universality of spiritual companionship that we are speaking about.

With that said, it can be overwhelming if you are new to the podcast to know where to begin. I would really say “Begin with the first one and listen to them all!” but realistically you may not have time for all of that. So, as the host of SDI Encounters, here’s an attempt to present a few categorized “curated” lists.

Top Five Episodes based on overall downloads, as of October 22, 2020

EP034 and EP035 – Richard Rohr giving his Keynote on the Universal Christ at the 2018 SDI Conference in St. Louis. Richard Rohr is a superstar, so no surprise here. Let’s just count this as one episode.

EP040 – Spiritual Journey – Iona with Frederica Helmiere and Dave Brown. Receive a taste of what could have been with the 2020 Iona Journey, had the pandemic not shut everything down and cancelled all our plans.

EP036 – Rewilding and Companioning the Earth – Mary DeJong. I was really moved by the deep heart Mary has for the natural environment, in particular the way she holds grief for environmental degradation with dignity, hope, and purpose.

EP033 – Cultivating the Spirituality of Children – Kristen Hobby. This could be a “fish bowl” episode as Frederica and myself offer our own children as guinea pigs to Kristen’s safe and gentle guidance. People must be pretty curious about whether spiritual companionship is something that can be offered to our little ones (hint – it can!).

EP063 – Walking as Spiritual Companionship (Pilgrimage in Place). This is one of my favorites as well as one of yours. Jeanette went for a walk through Chicago, with me on the phone, as we companion and pilgrimage together in real-time. If it hadn’t been here, I’d have added it to the “Personal Favorites” for its experimental quality.

 

 

“Nuts and Bolts” of Spiritual Direction:

EP087 – Non-Theistic Companionship with Joe Sehee. What is spiritual companionship, if “spirit” is not necessarily the ground by which the companioning relationship takes place? The practice is – being fully present and holding space for someone, and respecting aheir agency er to understand and find meaning in their journey, with compassion and non-judgement - Joe approaches his work with deep integrity and purpose.

EP071 – Supervision with Lucy Abbott Tucker. Rev. Seifu talks with Lucy about the supervision process, the need to practice accountability as spiritual directors, and how Lucy’s teachings are distilled in her book.

EP093 – Bernadette Miles – a refreshing conversation in which Bernie tells her own story of getting into spiritual companionship. Bernie describes her earlier relationship to religion as an “insurance policy for getting into heaven” until one day when a pastor sees her at an icon (a Crucified Christ on the Cross), ponders it for a moment, and says “that wasn’t a very happy ending, was it?” This small encounter opened the floodgates of the reality of Spirit and that relationship with the Divine is truly available to all of us.

Any of the Rev. Seifu 1/1 conversations. “My Boss is a Zen Priest” or “Hallmarks/Dimension of a Spiritual Companion” series. In these episodes Rev. Seifu and I explore the modality of spiritual companionship and how this relationship is necessary for anyone on the spiritual journey (which is everyone!).

 

Examples of real-life companionship (I call these “fish bowl” episodes, because you get to hear actual examples of companionship, rather than talking about it)

EP013 – Dani Forbess on Embodied Spirituality I opened up about my own wrestling with how I relate to my Christianity in a way that sounded somewhat heretical. Dani held the space for me to do so gently and without judgement.

EP075 – sharing poetry with Dave Brown. This one was really fun – Dave starts by sharing about how a poem itself can be a spiritual companion to us. Then he and I go back and forth sharing some of our favorite poems in a “Poetry Battle” (or if that’s too militaristic, how about a “Poetry Dance”?)

EP070 – Dreamwork Session with Amy Curran – In the previous EP069 episode, Amy and I do the interview format about her spiritual companionship practice as a Dreamworker. But in this episode I offered one of my own dreams and we do real-time dreamwork together. If you have ever been interested in dreams or dream interpretation, this episode is a must-listen!

EP081 – Nonviolent Communication with Pam Winthrop Lauer: I brought my inner critic for an open and vulnerable conversation with Pam, who adeptly held the sacred space for me to do so, while practicing the tenets of Nonviolent Communication to help hold the safe space and to disarm my inner critic.

 

Personal “Favorites” – I don’t really have favorites, but there are some where the podcast interview format gets interrupted in creative ways.

EP065 – SDI Staff reading the April 2020 Issue of Listen - We tried to do something creative with the podcast format and I really love how it turned out!

EP042 – if you want to hear Frederica and myself cracking up multiple times in a very unprofessional way, here you go.

Hidden Gems – a couple of episodes in which a deeper Truth or bit of wisdom is revealed, that you might have missed if you just read the Title and moved on!

EP089 – AccountabilityThis is a Hallmarks of Spiritual Companionship conversation I had recently with Reverend Seifu about the need for spiritual directors to seek supervision and to hold their practice as professionally as possible. What the process of accountability does is it puts our very identity as spiritual companions under the microscope. Ultimately we learn to let go of the need to direct, we trust the person we are companioning, the seeker, to find their own direction, to trust their hearts, to find and walk the path that is put before them.

EP077 – Sexuality and Spiritual Companionship with Karen Erlichman: I just appreciate the real groundedness that Karen has as a spiritual companion. She talks frankly and plainly about sexuality as it pertains to spirituality – the beauty and the traumas and the potential pitfalls. And the dissolution of any sort of boundary or taboo around what is considered “spiritual” and what is not.

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