SDI Encounters
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!

Subscribe to Discover - The Monthly Newsletter from SDI

Become a Member of SDI - join our Tree of Life, and support the work of spiritual companionship around the world.

Check out our Livestream portal for Companionship and Town Halls.

 

EP061 - Bonus Podcast - Spiritual Companionship For Urgent Times

EP061 - Bonus Podcast - Spiritual Companionship For Urgent Times

March 19, 2020

Hello to our SDI community. It is March 19th, 2020, and the world is very much in flux right now, with the global coronavirus pandemic, markets crashing, jobs disappearing, and civic life grinding to a halt.

People have been referring to our current situation as “uncertain times” which they most certainly are. But, were times so certain before coronavirus?

Last week, when we heard the Governor of New Mexico declare a state of emergency and make the recommendation to cancel all social gatherings, we at SDI went to work to postpone our Santa Fe Conference, which we are happy to say we’ve completed, and we are going to be offering pretty much the same conference, but now rescheduled for April 22-25, 2021.

So although we will not be gathering in person for the foreseeable future, we’ve been hard at work to bulk up our digital offerings, so that we can offer conversation, community, and resources for spiritual companions.

it is these times today that make the work of companionship more urgent than ever. But as we take steps to isolate and self-quarantine, we’ve got to reimagine the ways we do this work. At the same time, we are presented with something of an opportunity – to be faced with a very uncertain world, and to have our daily rhythms of life utterly dispruted – we have a unique opportunity to go deeper in our spiritual practices. Darkness and unknowing – for who knows what comes next with this pandemic – are forced upon us. It is our contemplative practices that will provide us light and ways of being, and perhaps even living joyfully.

To that end, we’ve launched a new web portal called sdicompanions.online which will be the hub for a series of upcoming Town Halls, livestreams, online gatherings, and facilitated contemplative practices. Our first one is being offered this Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 9am Pacific Time. It will be livestreamed over Youtube, or you can join the Zoom call.

Our Conference is called Spiritual Companionship For Our Times, and this will be the theme of this Town Hall. Our Executive Director, Reverend Seifu Anil Singh-Molares, and myself, will facilitate a panel discussion with a group of spiritual companions, and we invite you to join us. There will be opportunity to submit your questions and comments during this 90 minute online discussion, and we hope this will be a springboard by which we can offer community, contemplative practice, and companionship during these indeed, very uncertain times.

Rev. Seifu and I chatted about these offerings, and the things SDI is working on, to continue to provide spiritual companions and contemplatives with tools, resources, and platforms. SDI’s Community is strong and flourishing and we invite you to continue to help us discern and grow the urgent work of spiritual companionship.

EP060 - My Boss is a Zen Priest - On Silence and Meditation

EP060 - My Boss is a Zen Priest - On Silence and Meditation

March 16, 2020

Here's the latest in a series we are calling My Boss is a Zen Priest. I (Matt Whitney, Creative Director) talk with SDI’s Executive Director, Reverend Seifu Anil Singh-Molares. He’s my manager, he makes the decisions, and he’s also an ordained priest in the Zen Buddhist tradition. We have weekly one-on-one check in meetings, where I tell him about the things I’m working on, and he provides feedback and insight. That feedback and insight often delves into deep dives around spirituality. 

This week we talk about our experiences with meditation, and the encounters one has with Silence.

In the episode, I mention our partnership with Spiritual Paths and Interspiritual Meditation, which you can learn more about here.

EP059 - A Day in the Life of a Cancer Care Chaplain - Taqwa Surapati

EP059 - A Day in the Life of a Cancer Care Chaplain - Taqwa Surapati

March 9, 2020

Taqwa Surapati is a Cancer Care Chaplain for Stanford Hospital in Palo, Alto, California. She completed her chaplain residency at Stanford Health Care, before going to Hartford Seminary in Connecticut for a Graduate Certification in Islamic Chaplaincy in 2014. Prior to that, Taqwa served for a decade as a Spiritual Care volunteer at Stanford and other local hospitals in the San Jose area. Currently finishing her Master of Art in Islamic Studies from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Taqwa’s interests include oncology chaplaincy, how people of faith think of end-of-life situations and advance health care planning. Taqwa came to the US in 1998 from Jakarta, Indonesia. 

Taqwa was very gracious in offering her time and sharing a bit about her work with us. She describes what is it like to be a “first responder” to people presented with a sense of their own mortality – which often manifests as a spiritual question. Why death? Why suffering? Why me?

Taqwa shares how her Muslim faith helps to sustain her in this work, along with being a mother, and having a simple joy and sense of humor that interrupts her when she’s feeling down, and we hear how all these help to fill the infinite well of compassion she needs for the work she does.

EP058 - The Crisis of Relationship - Pat McCabe (Weyakpa Najin Win, Woman Stands Shining)

EP058 - The Crisis of Relationship - Pat McCabe (Weyakpa Najin Win, Woman Stands Shining)

March 2, 2020

Pat McCabe, whose Navajo name is (Weyakpa Najin Win, Woman Stands Shining) is a Diné mother, grandmother, activist, artist, writer, ceremonial leader, and international speaker. She will be the Ceremonialist for SDI’s upcoming Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In this podcast we introduce you to Pat, and learn a bit more about her.

In our conversation, Pat describes what she refers to as "The Crisis of Relationship" – to ourselves, to each other, to the larger community of life, which lies at the root of so much that is disordered about the world right now. The work of healing begins with attuning to the spiritual laws of life that govern our being, our places, and our inter-being. Pat says indigenous cultures call these “Original Instructions” - and how those need to make themselves manifest across cultures. The thing about these Original Instructions is that they’re not written down. They’re meant to be known through lived experience, which requires listening, presence, and practice.

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Support for this week’s podcast comes from SDI’s upcoming contemplative writing retreat, called: Writing at the Edge of the World, June 15th through June 19th, 2020, on beautiful Orcas Island in Washington State, USA. Led by award-winning writer Tania Casselle, and NEA Fellow and Zen Teacher Sean Murphy, this retreat is designed to meet you wherever you are on your creative journey. You’ll leave with a notebook full of writing, and a fresh set of tools to invigorate your creative voice. Learn more on our homepage, sdiworld.org – and you’ll find the Writers Workshop in the homepage slider.

EP057 - Companioning with Death and the Dying - Eric Massanari - Part 2

EP057 - Companioning with Death and the Dying - Eric Massanari - Part 2

February 24, 2020

Eric Massanari, M.Div., is an ordained pastor in the Mennonite Church USA, living in Newton, Kansas where he serves as a spiritual director and the chaplain of a continuing care community for older adults. He serves on the SDI Coordinating Council, where he brings a passion for inter-faith learning, community building, and companioning people who are exploring the fertile ground of elderhood and those who are nearing the end of life. An avid poet and essayist, and a personal good friend.

 

Part 2 of my conversation with Eric Massanari focuses on the topic of death and companioning people at end of life. Last week we learned about what it means to be curious. Inquisitive. Leaning into the unknown and dwelling there in a state of openness and hospitality. As a chaplain Eric encounters and companions a lot of people who are at the end of their life, and who pass on. This also awakens in him a sense of curiosity and humility about his own life, which opens him up to a deep sense of gratitude, and compassion for others.

I (Matt Whitney) am so grateful to Eric for his openness and vulnerability in the questions I ask him around his companioning work. What I heard from him was not specific worded answers to these questions, but rather reflection on how he’s living out these questions every day, and by doing so means leaning further and further into a place of not-knowing.

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Support for this week’s podcast comes from SDI’s upcoming contemplative writing retreat, called: Writing at the Edge of the World, June 15th through June 19th, 2020, on beautiful Orcas Island in Washington State, USA. Led by award-winning writer Tania Casselle, and NEA Fellow and Zen Teacher Sean Murphy, this retreat is designed to meet you wherever you are on your creative journey. You’ll leave with a notebook full of writing, and a fresh set of tools to invigorate your creative voice. Learn more on our homepage, sdiworld.org – and you’ll find the Writers Workshop in the homepage slider.

EP056 - The Practice of Curiosity in Spiritual Companionship - Eric Massanari - Part 1

EP056 - The Practice of Curiosity in Spiritual Companionship - Eric Massanari - Part 1

February 17, 2020

Eric Massanari, M.Div., is an ordained pastor in the Mennonite Church USA, living in Newton, Kansas where he serves as a spiritual director and the chaplain of a continuing care community for older adults. He serves on the SDI Coordinating Council, where he brings a passion for inter-faith learning, community building, and companioning people who are exploring the fertile ground of elderhood and those who are nearing the end of life. An avid poet and essayist, and a personal good friend.

Eric joined me for a conversation about his work as a spiritual companion, which we’ve turned into two episodes. The first one, here, touches on curiosity – which here I would define as a posture of listening that is genuinely inquisitive and engaged with someone they are listening to. And not just curious about what that person is saying or thinking or feeling, but curious also about the ways the listener finds themselves responding to what they are receiving.

Part 2 of this conversation will come out in our next episode, where we focus on the topic of death and companioning people at end of life.

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Support for this week’s podcast comes from SDI’s upcoming contemplative writing retreat, called: Writing at the Edge of the World, June 15th through June 19th, 2020, on beautiful Orcas Island in Washington State, USA. Led by award-winning writer Tania Casselle, and NEA Fellow and Zen Teacher Sean Murphy, this retreat is designed to meet you wherever you are on your creative journey. You’ll leave with a notebook full of writing, and a fresh set of tools to invigorate your creative voice. Learn more on our homepage, sdiworld.org – and you’ll find the Writers Workshop in the homepage slider.

 

EP055 - Examen the Play Dough - Nancy Shadlock, MA

EP055 - Examen the Play Dough - Nancy Shadlock, MA

February 10, 2020

Nancy Shadlock, MA, is the CEO and founder of Centered Life Coaching (www.centered.ca). Nancy has a Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation from Carey Theological in Vancouver. After completing spiritual direction training through SoulStream and serving many years as a spiritual director, she expanded into the coaching field to help people hear the divine in not just their spiritual life, but also the pain points that show up in their business, relationships and health.

We hear from Nancy in this conversation with Frederica Helmiere about a few of the differences between spiritual life coaching and spiritual direction, and also receive some beautiful insight into the use of artistic clay and pottery as spiritual practice.

Nancy is offering a workshop at our upcoming Santa Fe conference, called ‘Examen the Play Dough’. She describes it as a hands-on, kinesthetic workshop, leading into creativity and insight, in which the play dough is molded into an image of current limitations or struggles, and then to form another totem of what is the fullness of life you are being called to. This workshop is perfect for those who are ready to hear from Source in a fresh way or those who regularly companion others and are looking to add a form of artistic expression to their practice. 

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Support for this week's podcast comes from SDI Journeys. SDI has been leading passionate travelers on spiritual journeys around the world for over 25 years -  not just vacations, but truly exceptional trips filled with inspiring and enriching experiences. We have upcoming journeys planned for 2020- in Iona Scotland, and an Ignatian Journey through Spain. Explore our site to find out more – sdijourneys.org.

 

EP054 - Counseling Communities through Mass Tragedy - Rabbi Carla Howard

EP054 - Counseling Communities through Mass Tragedy - Rabbi Carla Howard

February 3, 2020

Lately on the podcast we've been talking with various workshop presenters for our upcoming Santa Fe Conference. This week, Our Events and Journeys Director Frederica Helmiere talks with Rabbi Carla Howard, who is the Founder and Executive Director of Jewish Healing Center of Los Angeles.  Rabbi Howard combines rabbinic ordination with a unique background of pre-medical studies, clinical work in women’s medicine and midwifery. Rabbi Howard is on the faculty of UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, the Academy for Jewish Religion, and sits on the Bio-Ethics Committee of Santa Monica/UCLA Medical Center.  She has published numerous articles, and lecture on spiritual care and end-of-life issues to both lay and medical organizations, in the U.S. and internationally.

The website for Jewish Healing Center of Los Angeles is https://jhcla.org/

Rabbi Howard’s workshop is titled Counseling Communities Through Mass Tragedy. The description from the workshop states:

"What can leaders of faith communities do when tragedy strikes their community?  How can we prepare for the spontaneous eruption of disaster which by its very definition, strikes us unaware? This workshop will cover disaster Impact and Recovery Models, what makes us effective as community leaders, understanding our roles and its limitations, and how we take care of ourselves in order to be there for others.

This workshop is experiential, interactive and didactic.  Its goals begin from the moment the participants enter the workshop by modeling for them, when they will be working with individuals who have experienced trauma,  how to ensure privacy in a group setting, create safe space, and create compassionate, contemplative space to contain grief and mourning in its myriad forms."

Learn more at our Conference Website - www.sdievents.org

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Support for this week's podcast comes from SDI Journeys. SDI has been leading passionate travelers on spiritual journeys around the world for over 25 years -  not just vacations, but truly exceptional trips filled with inspiring and enriching experiences. We have upcoming journeys planned for 2020- in Iona Scotland, and an Ignatian Journey through Spain. Explore our site to find out more – sdijourneys.org.

 
 
EP053 - Gender Equity and Reconciliation - Cynthia Brix and Will Keepin

EP053 - Gender Equity and Reconciliation - Cynthia Brix and Will Keepin

January 27, 2020

Do you or the people you companion long for relationships that are based not only on mutual respect, but also mutual reverence?

Do you or those you companion ever find it difficult to navigate issues of gender and sexuality within your religious or spiritual traditions?​

​Are you, or those those you companion, uncertain of how to be in relationship with women and/or men since #MeToo?

If you answer YES, to any of these questions, you will appreciate the dialog we have in this podcast with Will Keepin and Cynthia Brix, as they discuss the workshops they lead on Gender Equity and Reconciliation, which they will be offering in a one-day intensive format on April 22nd in Santa Fe New Mexico, the day before our Conference, on Spiritual Companionship for our Times. Frederica Helmiere and I had an amazing conversation over web conferencing software with Cynthia and Will, two leaders in the interspiritual movement and in spiritual healing.

Rev. Cynthia Brix, PhD (Hon) is an ordained contemplative interfaith minister and was formerly a campus minister at the University of Colorado, and an honorary doctorate from the California Institute of Integral Studies in Spirituality and Social Justice. Cynthia is co-author of Women Healing Women, and contributing author of Divine Duality: The Power of Reconciliation between Women and Men.

Will Keepin, PhD is a mathematical physicist and scholar-practitioner of interfaith spirituality.  Will co-authored Divine Duality: The Power of Reconciliation between Women and Men and Women Healing Women.  His new book is Belonging to God: Spirituality, Science, and a Universal Path of Divine Love, which presents a universal, nondual path of divine love, bridging science and mysticism. 

Cynthia and Will are co-founders of the Gender Equity and Reconciliation International, which has conducted 120 trainings in nine countries. Here’s how they describe their one-day intensive workshop for our upcoming Conference:

Spiritual companions of all ages and faiths routinely encounter gender injustice –– and in particular, significant challenges between women and men –– in their practices.  The #MeToo movement has increased awareness of gender conflicts, sexual harassment and exploitation, and patriarchal oppression—but how can these knotty challenges be addressed in practical terms? 

​This workshop introduces Gender Equity and Reconciliation International (GERI), which has developed an innovative methodology for healing and reconciliation between women and men. Inspiring examples of remarkable healing and reconciliation between the sexes will be presented from GERI’s application in Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu communities. Experiential exercises are included to give participants a first-hand taste of this transformative process.

 

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Support for this week's podcast comes from SDI Journeys. SDI has been leading passionate travelers on spiritual journeys around the world for over 25 years -  not just vacations, but truly exceptional trips filled with inspiring and enriching experiences. We have upcoming journeys planned for 2020- in Iona Scotland, and an Ignatian Journey through Spain. Explore our site to find out more – sdijourneys.org.

EP052 - Spiritual Practices of Sufi Islam - Azra Rahim

EP052 - Spiritual Practices of Sufi Islam - Azra Rahim

January 20, 2020

Azra Rahim has a BSc in Molecular Biology and holds an MD.  She describes herself this way: “Muslim Sufi.  Spiritual Quester. Truth seeker. Globe trotter. Lover of food, flowers and all things green. Indiscriminate dispenser of hugs. Kisser of all things beautiful."

Azra came in to the SDI Studios to share about her experiences growing up in Iraq, India, and Montana, how she came to Sufism, a form of mystic Islam, and a little bit about the workshop she is offering during our 2020 Conference in Santa Fe in April, which is called Seeking Feminine Wisdom from our Muslim mothers: poetry, writing and whirling as spiritual practice.

Azra’s workshop description states: “Islam offers a system of guidance that brings into balance and integration the masculine and feminine energies.  Never has such integration been more important, given the stark disharmony in which the feminine and the masculine exist in the world today.  When energies are balanced, there is healing that takes place not just at an individual level but a societal level.  This healing extends to the earth, who is Mother - the ultimate manifestation of the nurturing generosity of the Divine Feminine.  When integrated and healed - our soul being at peace, we become beings that reflect the Divine Unity.  We can offer others only what we are, in every relationship including that of spiritual companion. 

In this workshop, we begin this work of integration.  We will start by attuning ourselves with a seated Zikr (chanting remembrance of Allah).  Then, one by one, we will welcome these mothers into the circle by singing their name. Aarda (Earth).  Hajar (Hagar). Maryam (Mary).  Khadija (Wife of Prophet Mohammed).  Fatima (Daughter of Prophet Mohammed). Peace and Blessings upon them all.  We will share their stories.  Some interfaith, some uniquely Muslim.  We will share some poetry by Rabia Al- Adhawiya.  We will engage in a short writing exercise.  We will conclude with a standing Zikr with Sufi whirling and turning.  (Please bring thick socks to turn in, in case we are on a hard surface)”

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Support for this week's podcast comes from SDI Journeys. SDI has been leading passionate travelers on spiritual journeys around the world for over 25 years -  not just vacations, but truly exceptional trips filled with inspiring and enriching experiences. We have upcoming journeys planned for 2020- in Iona Scotland, and an Ignatian Journey through Spain. Explore our site to find out more – sdijourneys.org.

EP051 - Technology, Contemplation, and Interspirituality - Jeff Genung, Kate Sheehan Roach, and Brother Wayne Teasdale (!!)

EP051 - Technology, Contemplation, and Interspirituality - Jeff Genung, Kate Sheehan Roach, and Brother Wayne Teasdale (!!)

January 13, 2020

Interspiritual pioneer Brother Wayne Teasdale wrote in his seminal book The Mystic Heart, “Daily spiritual practice is the technology of inner change.” 

Jeff Genung and Kate Sheehan Roach work at the intersections of digital media and technology, contemplative practice, and Interspirituality. We talk about these intersections in this episode, and give a taste to what they’ll be sharing as workshop presenters at our upcoming Santa Fe Conference in April – which you can learn about at sdievents.org.

Jeff is co-founder and president of contemplativelife.org, a non-profit digital hub that connects people and communities with transformative practices. Kate serves as Director of Content for Contemplative Life, and they are both facilitators of Transformation365.org, an online experiential practice network.

Towards the end of this episode, Jeff shares a recorded contemplative practice by the late Brother Wayne Teasdale. I invite you as you listen, to participate in this practice, and share the sacred space that Brother Teasdale offers us. Note that there is a four minute period of silence during this space, from approximately minute 44 to minute 48.

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Support for this week's podcast comes from SDI Journeys. SDI has been leading passionate travelers on spiritual journeys around the world for over 25 years -  not just vacations, but truly exceptional trips filled with inspiring and enriching experiences. We have upcoming journeys planned for 2020- in Iona Scotland, and an Ignatian Journey through Spain. Explore our site to find out more – sdijourneys.org.

EP050 - Art, Creativity, and Spiritual Companionship - Matt Whitney

EP050 - Art, Creativity, and Spiritual Companionship - Matt Whitney

January 6, 2020

Intro: We kick off the New Year of SDI Encounters episodes with an interview with your host, Matt Whitney! This was the idea of SDI's Executive Director, Reverend Seifu Anil Singh-Molares, to flip the script and have him interview me. So here’s our conversation, in which I (Matt) share my own personal story as a visual artist, how I came to work at SDI, and how I’ve come to understand the role that spiritual companionship plays in all our lives.

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Support for this week's podcast comes from SDI Journeys. SDI has been leading passionate travelers on spiritual journeys around the world for over 25 years -  not just vacations, but truly exceptional trips filled with inspiring and enriching experiences. We have upcoming journeys planned for 2020- in Iona Scotland, and an Ignatian Journey through Spain. Explore our site to find out more – sdijourneys.org.

EP049 - 2019 Highlights of SDI Encounters

EP049 - 2019 Highlights of SDI Encounters

December 30, 2019

It's the end of the year and it's time for a clips show! I (Matt Whitney) have pulled several highlights from the 50 episodes that we've now published under SDI Encounters and placed them here as we take a tour of the last 11 months since we launched this podcast. Thank you to all who have been listening, thank you for sharing and following this podcast, and thank you especially to all our guests who have shared of themselves. I hope this podcast has been and will continue to be enriching and inspiring for all of us, as we share the important and diverse work of spiritual companionship around the world.

EP048 - Support and Participate in Our Public Square of Spiritual Companionship

EP048 - Support and Participate in Our Public Square of Spiritual Companionship

December 23, 2019

SDI is the Home of Spiritual Companionship - an inclusive, global learning community of people from many backgrounds who share a common passion and commitment to the art and contemplative practice of spiritual companionship.

For thirty years, SDI has served this community through educational events, publications, and outreach programs, helping people connect with one another and with the Divine in their own lives. Through this work, SDI seeks to help cultivate a more interconnected, more peaceful, and more just society.

Matt Whitney, Creative Director of SDI, invites all of us to support the work of SDI through a number of ways, to help us all advocate for the healing work of spiritual companionship. Below are suggestions and links to various offerings:

Please subscribe, rate, write a review, and share this podcast with a few friends! As we share the word of spiritual companionship we support the work of professional spiritual companions and invite others into the rich community of spiritual wayfarers and travelers.

Subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter Discover, and our quarterly publication Listen.

Follow us via social media - Facebook, Instagram, or Instagram

Donate to our Diversity Scholarship Fund

Become a Member of SDI

Attend an Event - learn more about our upcoming conference in Santa Fe. Scholarships are available!

Thank you for supporting SDI and the work of spiritual companionship!

EP047 - Connection with the Living World through Animals and Art - Straja Linder King and Madeline Rugh

EP047 - Connection with the Living World through Animals and Art - Straja Linder King and Madeline Rugh

December 16, 2019

In this episode Frederica Helmiere talks with Straja Linder King and Madeline Rugh over web conference software, on therapeutic connection with the living world, via art experiences, and in relationship with animals. Straja and Madeline are facilitating a workshop at our 2020 Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Their workshop description states:

"Through contemplative speaking, walking, making, and sharing we will practice multi-sensory and ancestral art forms that facilitate presence and connection with the living world which is our archetypal template for companioning. We will follow the guidance of award-winning Shiloh Shepherd therapy dogs Twillow Roses and Tala Rain of Alberta, Canada. Taking our cues from the spirit of the dogs, participants will take a contemplative walk (amble) on a scent, sound and shape journey of embodied presence “finding”, in the manner of our ancestral hunter/gatherers, something that calls attention to itself whether human made or natural. Returning to our room, our forms will be “arranged” (another ancestral art practice) within a hoop in the center of the room forming a contemplative community Mandala. During this practice of arranging, and sharing participants will listen to the narrative of their found forms listening with both the “ear of the heart” and to the heart of the world as the human animal bond is embedded in the soul of humanity."

Straja Linder King is a Registered Art Psychotherapist and Board Certified counsellor working with verbal and non-verbal treatment modalities. She is the first to merge these two non verbal interventions both in her practice, research, and teachings. A printmaker, published poet, writer and Animal-Assisted specialist (both canine and equine). Linder King’s innovative work (medical research in stroke recovery) specializes in working non-verbally and she has extensive focus in bereavement including complicated and disenfranchised grief.  Linder King pioneered art in healing from a spiritual/nature-based perspective in Alberta and developed the Strawberry Tree Studio for Spiritual Directions, the only open art studio in Western Canada working with award winning International Therapy Dogs for over a decade. Madeline Rugh is a consultant and educator specializing in the role of art, nature and spirituality in health and wellness. She holds a doctorate in adult and community education and is currently an associate adjunct professor for Pratt Art Institute in New York City and for the University of Oklahoma Master’s in Counseling program.

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Support for this week's podcast comes from SDI Journeys. SDI has been leading passionate travelers on spiritual journeys around the world for over 25 years -  not just vacations, but truly exceptional trips filled with inspiring and enriching experiences. We have upcoming journeys planned for 2020- in Iona Scotland, and an Ignatian Journey through Spain. Explore our site to find out more – sdijourneys.org.

EP046 - Roleplaying Games as Spiritual Companionship - Rabbi Menachem Cohen

EP046 - Roleplaying Games as Spiritual Companionship - Rabbi Menachem Cohen

December 9, 2019

 

On this podcast we share a diverse range of stories and practices that involve spiritual companionship, and where I really get excited is when people are inventive and creative with the ways in which spiritual companionship is expressed and practiced. So it is with deep joy that I present this episode to you – the intersections of spiritual companionship and roleplaying games!

Frederica Helmiere talks with Rabbi Menachen Cohen, whose work and research involves the use of role playing games (of which the best known is Dungeons and Dragons) can be utilized as a medium for spiritual companionship. Rather than playing a mythical character, the player is actually able to put something of themselves into the character, or even test out some characteristics of one’s True nature that perhaps have been repressed or hidden in one’s everyday life. The roleplaying game becomes a safe space for trying out the traits and ethics that one might desire to live out in their actual lives.

Rabbi Menachem is presenting a workshop on this topic at our 2020 Conference in Santa Fe, which you can check out by registering for our conference at sdievents.org.

Rabbi Menachem’s own website is whatmakesyoucomealive.net.

EP045 - My Boss is a Zen Priest - On Metamorphosis

EP045 - My Boss is a Zen Priest - On Metamorphosis

December 2, 2019

This week I’m running the lastest episode of a series I’m calling “My Boss is a Zen Priest” –  so my boss is SDI’s Executive Director, Reverend Seifu Anil Singh-Molares. He’s my manager and he provides oversight on the things I’m working on, and he’s also an ordained priest in the Zen Buddhist tradition. We have weekly one-on-one check in meetings, where I tell him about the things I’m working on, and he provides feedback and insight. And because we work at SDI and my boss is a zen priest, that feedback and insight often delves into deep dives around spirituality.

In this conversation we talk about our most recent publication of Listen – a digital publication that you can read on our website, sdiworld.org – and the inspiration for Rev. Seifu’s article, and my illustrations, on the concept of metamorphosis.

As you listen to this conversation, and all the metaphors we contemplate as descriptors for the spiritual journey, I invite you to reflect on this point in your own journey, and how you might define it.

As you reflect on your own sacred story, and yes your own story is indeed sacred, what are some metaphors you would use to tell this story? What’s in that cocoon of yours right now, being combusted? I invite you to journal on these questions, and share with a spiritual companion.

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Support for this podcast comes from Spiritual Companionship For Our Times, SDI’s annual gathering of spiritual companions happening in Santa Fe, New Mexico, April 23 – 26 2020. Registrations are now open, with Super Early Bird pricing through September 15th. We’ll be celebrating SDI’s 30th Anniversary, and charting the road ahead as we seek to welcome more and more people to the transformational gifts of spiritual companionship, and to make this healing modality available to every person on the planet. 

Learn more now about our annual conference at www.sdievents.org.

Ep044 - Finding Agency in Brokenness and Embracing Change - Bayo Akomolafe and Jiordi Rosales - Part 2

Ep044 - Finding Agency in Brokenness and Embracing Change - Bayo Akomolafe and Jiordi Rosales - Part 2

November 25, 2019

The next two podcasts revolve around a conversation between SDI staff and two curators of The Emergence Network -learn more about their work at emergencenetwork.org. Bayo Akomolafe will be familiar to some of you – he was a keynote speaker at our Annual Conference in March 2019, and recently facilitated an SDI Webinar. He was joined by co-curator Jiordi Rosales, our executive director Rev Seifu Anil Singh-Molares, and Director of Events and Programs Frederica Helmiere.

This conversation came out of a retreat space, and they’re driving in the car, so there’s automobile noise. I also debriefed their conversation with Frederica, which we hope will frame the conversation they are having around seeing, openness, and brokenness. It’s an invitation to explore  how we interact with one-another, some of the sacred assumptions we operate out of, and what it means to companion during these troubled times.

Last week’s episode was about grief – accepting that things die – not just people but systems, institutions, and ecologies. Grief is real and we learn to experience it well, but we also, in finding that death is a normal and natural part of everything, learn how to work with it, be in relationship with it, and to practice hope and resilience.

This episode contains Part 2 of our dialog. Please check out Part 1 of this episode here.

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Support for this podcast comes from Spiritual Companionship For Our Times, SDI’s annual gathering of spiritual companions happening in Santa Fe, New Mexico, April 23 – 26 2020. Registrations are now open, with Super Early Bird pricing through September 15th. We’ll be celebrating SDI’s 30th Anniversary, and charting the road ahead as we seek to welcome more and more people to the transformational gifts of spiritual companionship, and to make this healing modality available to every person on the planet. 

Learn more now about our annual conference at www.sdievents.org.

EP043 - An Invitation to Brokenness - Bayo Akomolafe and Jiordi Rosales - Part 1

EP043 - An Invitation to Brokenness - Bayo Akomolafe and Jiordi Rosales - Part 1

November 18, 2019

The next two podcasts revolve around a conversation between SDI staff and two curators of The Emergence Network -learn more about their work at emergencenetwork.org. Bayo Akomolafe will be familiar to some of you – he was a keynote speaker at our Annual Conference in March 2019, and recently facilitated an SDI Webinar. He was joined by co-curator Jiordi Rosales, our executive director Rev Seifu Anil Singh-Molares, and Director of Events and Programs Frederica Helmiere.

This conversation came out of a retreat space, and they’re driving in the car, so there’s automobile noise. I also debriefed their conversation with Frederica, which we hope will frame the conversation they are having around seeing, openness, and brokenness. It’s an invitation to explore  how we interact with one-another, some of the sacred assumptions we operate out of, and what it means to companion during these troubled times. Having listened to these conversations I contemplate an exploration of the boundaries of spiritual companionship, and finding new avenues for being in the world – how to live, how to die, and allow for things to die well.

This episode contains Part 1 of our dialog. In next week's episode, we'll publish Part 2.

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Support for this podcast comes from Spiritual Companionship For Our Times, SDI’s annual gathering of spiritual companions happening in Santa Fe, New Mexico, April 23 – 26 2020. Registrations are now open, with Super Early Bird pricing through September 15th. We’ll be celebrating SDI’s 30th Anniversary, and charting the road ahead as we seek to welcome more and more people to the transformational gifts of spiritual companionship, and to make this healing modality available to every person on the planet. 

Learn more now about our annual conference at www.sdievents.org.