SDI Encounters
EP091 - A Gratitude Meditation for Spiritual Companions

EP091 - A Gratitude Meditation for Spiritual Companions

November 25, 2020

Please enjoy this short (10 minute) guided meditation, which I (Matt Whitney) wrote and recorded this week as an offering to spiritual companions. It offers a few specific gratitude prompts, each related to key aspects of our service as spiritual companions. Each prompt is followed by 30 seconds of silence, with a chime sounded to move between each phase.

Gratitude is a universal practice of orienting ourselves towards the fact that everything is a gift. Gratitude is, essentially, a posture or a lens through which we see the arrangements and circumstances of our very existence. Do we view the world with a sense of scarcity, and lack, and pessimism? Or do we view it as a place of abundance, and beauty, and hopefulness?

We practice gratitude for the good things in our lives, but also for the challenges. Because by being challenged, we are stretched, we soften, and we grow in our capacity to be more compassionate, and we grow in the wisdom of what it is to be human.

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Thank you for supporting the work of spiritual companionship around the world. Learn more at www.sdicompanions.org

 

EP090 - Announcing the SDI 2021 Renaissance Virtual Conference!

EP090 - Announcing the SDI 2021 Renaissance Virtual Conference!

November 16, 2020

We at SDI are so excited to announce an unprecedented virtual conference for 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.

Here’s a quick conversation for the podcast with Rev. Seifu Anil Singh-Molares, our Executive Director, about the intentions and hopes for this conference. We've also produced a shorter video on YouTube that you can watch.

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.

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EP089 - Dimensions of Spiritual Companionship - Accountability

EP089 - Dimensions of Spiritual Companionship - Accountability

November 10, 2020

Who is a spiritual companion? A spiritual director is a spiritual companion, as is a life coach, a chaplain, a hospice nurse, really anybody in a caring vocation. But it can also be a type of person who lives and listens in ways that embody this type of caring. That is, a spiritual companion need not do it as a job. Some of us are spiritual companions in the way we honor our relationships to family, friends, neighbors, the land, our ancestors, and the cosmos.

So there are lots of ways the role of spiritual companionship manifests, and SDI celebrates the diversity of practices and people who identify as one. But, how does one identify or see themselves and others as a spiritual companion?

In April 2020’s Listen publication, Executive Director Reverend Seifu Anil Singh-Molares wrote a reflection on the Dimensions of Spiritual Companionship - a series of characteristics and skills that a companion lives into.

What are the characteristics of a spiritual companion? Rev. Seifu’s various Dimensions invite us to consider this. And I think it’s important to note that one need not embody ALL of these dimensions at once - but each one should give us some pause, in which I might consider - how do I practice this? How do I embody this dimension?

In an ongoing series of episodes, Rev. Seifu and I will have conversations around each of these dimensions, as a way to unpack and get to know each of them in depth. And as you listen, I invite you to consider each for yourself. The way you understand each dimension need not reflect how we understand it, but I hope these conversations spark either a deep knowing within you, or a good curiosity.

I hope this conversation has awakened or stirred something in you. Take a moment to reflect - how do you identify with this dimension of spiritual companionship? Does it feel natural? Does it feel elusive? How does this dimension manifest for you? Is it something you desire to increase for yourself? I invite you to take a few breaths, and tend to that stirring.

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Do you want to be part of a global contemplative movement that contributes to peace, justice, and living in right relationship with all creation? Your membership supports networking opportunities, publications, educational programming, outreach, and more.

Together we are changing the world through the contemplative action of spiritual companionship. Everyone is welcome to become a member of SDI.

The SDI global learning community is a group of compassionate listeners who are committed to peace and justice. Become a new member or renew your membership on SDI’s secure online store.

Membership benefits include:

  • Being part of a worldwide contemplative movement
  • Global and local networking
  • Listing in the Find a Spiritual Companion Guide: A Worldwide Resource of Available Spiritual Companions
  • Access to Group Spiritual Direction sessions and exclusive online Town Halls and Gatherings
  • Subscription to Presence, Listen, and Connections
    Discover newsletter
  • Discounted liability insurance
  • Discounts on all educational events and gatherings
  • Discounts on SDI brochures and resources
EP088 - Dimensions of a Spiritual Companion - Mutuality

EP088 - Dimensions of a Spiritual Companion - Mutuality

October 26, 2020

Who is a spiritual companion? A spiritual director is a spiritual companion, as is a life coach, a chaplain, a hospice nurse, really anybody in a caring vocation. But it can also be a type of person who lives and listens in ways that embody this type of caring. That is, a spiritual companion need not do it as a job. Some of us are spiritual companions in the way we honor our relationships to family, friends, neighbors, the land, our ancestors, and the cosmos.

So there are lots of ways the role of spiritual companionship manifests, and SDI celebrates the diversity of practices and people who identify as one. But, how does one identify or see themselves and others as a spiritual companion?

In April 2020’s Listen publication, Executive Director Reverend Seifu Anil Singh-Molares wrote a reflection on the Dimensions of Spiritual Companionship - a series of characteristics and skills that a companion lives into.

What are the characteristics of a spiritual companion? Rev. Seifu’s various Dimensions invite us to consider this. And I think it’s important to note that one need not embody ALL of these dimensions at once - but each one should give us some pause, in which I might consider - how do I practice this? How do I embody this dimension?

In an ongoing series of episodes, Rev. Seifu and I will have conversations around each of these dimensions, as a way to unpack and get to know each of them in depth. And as you listen, I invite you to consider each for yourself. The way you understand each dimension need not reflect how we understand it, but I hope these conversations spark either a deep knowing within you, or a good curiosity.

I hope this conversation has awakened or stirred something in you. Take a moment to reflect - how do you identify with this dimension of spiritual companionship? Does it feel natural? Does it feel elusive? How does this dimension manifest for you? Is it something you desire to increase for yourself? I invite you to take a few breaths, and tend to that stirring.

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Do you want to be part of a global contemplative movement that contributes to peace, justice, and living in right relationship with all creation? Your membership supports networking opportunities, publications, educational programming, outreach, and more.

Together we are changing the world through the contemplative action of spiritual companionship. Everyone is welcome to become a member of SDI.

The SDI global learning community is a group of compassionate listeners who are committed to peace and justice. Become a new member or renew your membership on SDI’s secure online store.

Membership benefits include:

  • Being part of a worldwide contemplative movement
  • Global and local networking
  • Listing in the Find a Spiritual Companion Guide: A Worldwide Resource of Available Spiritual Companions
  • Access to Group Spiritual Direction sessions and exclusive online Town Halls and Gatherings
  • Subscription to Presence, Listen, and Connections
    Discover newsletter
  • Discounted liability insurance
  • Discounts on all educational events and gatherings
  • Discounts on SDI brochures and resources
EP087 - Non-theistic Companionship with Joe Sehee

EP087 - Non-theistic Companionship with Joe Sehee

October 20, 2020

This week’s episode is a conversation I had about companionship with Joe Sehee. I very intentionally refer to ‘companionship’ here, as Joe approaches this work from a non-theistic, non-religious perspective. We discuss topics around finding meaning and universality in suffering, human connection, using silence to be in conversation, compassion fatigue, and remembering to have a sense of humor.

Talking with Joe, I thought of the famous line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. At SDI, we talk about the healing modality of spiritual companionship. You can call it companionship, or spiritual direction, guidance, friendship. Call it what you like – it’s about the relationship, the listening work, and the meaningful story of the others we companion.

Joe Sehee is the Executive Officer of Social Health Australia based in Melbourne. Social Health Australia brings forward innovative approaches to companioning people in crisis and combating the growing problems of social isolation and loneliness. Their mission is to make times of transition, uncertainty and loss not only less debilitating, but also opportunities for building resilience and creating community.

Joe has a wide range of experience as a non-theistic spiritual director and pastoral caregiver including serving four years as Associate Director of Campus Ministry at the Jesuit-run University of San Francisco. A Peabody Award-winning journalist, Joe is founder of the Green Burial Council, director of EarthFunerals, chairman of the Bendoc Cemetery Trust and a senior fellow at the Environmental Leadership Program.

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Support for this podcast comes from the Siena Retreat Center. Are you passionate about the spiritual growth and transformation that comes from the practice of spiritual guidance? Siena Retreat Center, located on Lake Michigan between Chicago and Milwaukee, is seeking an experienced leader in the area of spiritual companioning. The full-time position of Spiritual Guidance Coordinator involves the collaborative leadership of the Center’s Two-Year Spiritual Guidance Training Program. We invite you to explore the job description at www.sienaretreatcenter.org.

EP086 - Apollo’s Lyre - Spirituality and Psychoanalysis with Dr. Kenneth Porter

EP086 - Apollo’s Lyre - Spirituality and Psychoanalysis with Dr. Kenneth Porter

October 5, 2020

This week, Frederica spoke with Dr. Kenneth Porter, author of the book Apollo's Lyre: The Art of Spiritual Psychotherapy. Dr. Porter is a spiritual psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. He has taught Buddhist Insight Meditation at the New York Insight Meditation Center, was a long-term student of the Kundalini Master Chandrasekharanand Saraswati, was President of the Association for Spirituality and Psychotherapy, and is an ordained Teacher/Minister of the Diamond Approach, the work of A.H. Almaas. He currently practices and lives with his wife in New York City.

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About Apollo's Lyre:

"Where does spirituality belong in psychotherapy, and in our lives? Drawing upon thirty years of experience with meditation, spiritual practice, and the art and science of psychotherapy, Dr. Kenneth Porter demonstrates how spiritual practices and psychotherapy inform and enhance one another in helping therapists, clients, and all of us in simply living our lives to find our fullest, most authentic, and loving selves. Utilizing a balance of personal experiences and established psychological theory, this book is an essential resource for psychotherapists and patients, presenting a compelling case for spirituality’s place in therapy, and explaining in detail how practitioners may incorporate spirituality into their practice. But Apollo’s Lyre is also a crucial resource for all of us, establishing how we are all spiritual beings at our core, and revealing how spirituality reveals incredible possibilities for loving self-discovery and transformation in our lives."

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Support for this podcast comes from the Siena Retreat Center. Are you passionate about the spiritual growth and transformation that comes from the practice of spiritual guidance? Siena Retreat Center, located on Lake Michigan between Chicago and Milwaukee, is seeking an experienced leader in the area of spiritual companioning. The full-time position of Spiritual Guidance Coordinator involves the collaborative leadership of the Center’s Two-Year Spiritual Guidance Training Program. We invite you to explore the job description at www.sienaretreatcenter.org.

EP085 - Somatic Healing and Vulnerability with Angie Fadel

EP085 - Somatic Healing and Vulnerability with Angie Fadel

September 28, 2020

This week, I spoke with Angie Fadel - a spiritual director who engages in somatic methods of healing by teaching archery to her companions. Among other things, we discuss the necessity of opening up to being vulnerable in our spiritual journeys, feeling anger and even rage, privilege and identity, and the work of deconstruction in spiritual companionship, and how that can open us to excavating our traumas and to engage the work of healing our souls.

 

Angie Fadel is a certified spiritual director with an MA in spiritual formation, but don’t let that scare you. She spends most of her time specializing in somatic methods of healing archery, hiking, meditation, and mindfulness. She is always looking for ways to empower and connect the mind, body, soul, and spirit. She is the founder and creator of Soul Care and Meditative Archery and co-founder of collaborative arts troupe. Agents Of Future.

 

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Support for this podcast comes from the Siena Retreat Center. Are you passionate about the spiritual growth and transformation that comes from the practice of spiritual guidance? Siena Retreat Center, located on Lake Michigan between Chicago and Milwaukee, is seeking an experienced leader in the area of spiritual companioning. The full-time position of Spiritual Guidance Coordinator involves the collaborative leadership of the Center’s Two-Year Spiritual Guidance Training Program. We invite you to explore the job description at www.sienaretreatcenter.org.

 

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EP084 - Sacred Music and Conversation with Simon de Voil

EP084 - Sacred Music and Conversation with Simon de Voil

September 18, 2020

Enjoy this lovely conversation between Frederica Helmiere and Simon de Voil. Simon is an interfaith/interspiritual minister, sacred musician, youth worker and wooden boat builder. In all these vocations, he uses music and carpentry as a means to help individuals and groups connect sacred presence with everyday life. He is also a very accomplished musician; Simon has toured internationally as a singer-songwriter and storyteller and released four solo albums over the past decade. His music explores themes of the inner landscape of the soul, the enchantment of the natural world and a personal journey to follow an unexpected calling. Simon lived as a resident of the Iona community in Scotland for many years, and now lives in Vermont. His unusual life and music are the focus of the award-winning documentary film ‘Funny Kinda Guy.’

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SDI Members are the lifeblood of our organization, which exists to advocate for and equip spiritual companions across traditions, orientations, and around the world. This work begins with you: whether you are a fellow spiritual traveler (as we all are), or work as a spiritual director, life coach, chaplain, or religious leader. We all have a sacred story to tell. The world needs compassionate listeners to bear witness to and to honor these stories.
Whomever you are, and wherever you are in your spiritual journey, there's never been a better time to join our global family of spiritual companions.
We've put together a video featuring a few friends from the SDI Community as they share about the benefits of membership. And we have more on the way! If you haven't done so, please consider joining our Public Square of Spiritual Companionship: https://www.sdicompanions.org/shop/membership-features/
EP083 - Dimensions of Spiritual Companionship - Exploration of the Unknown

EP083 - Dimensions of Spiritual Companionship - Exploration of the Unknown

September 15, 2020

Who is a spiritual companion? A spiritual director is a spiritual companion, as is a life coach, a chaplain, a hospice nurse, really anybody in a caring vocation. But it can also be a type of person who lives and listens in ways that embody this type of caring. That is, a spiritual companion need not do it as a job. Some of us are spiritual companions in the way we honor our relationships to family, friends, neighbors, the land, our ancestors, and the cosmos.

So there are lots of ways the role of spiritual companionship manifests, and SDI celebrates the diversity of practices and people who identify as one. But, how does one identify or see themselves and others as a spiritual companion?

In April 2020’s Listen publication, Executive Director Reverend Seifu Anil Singh-Molares wrote a reflection on the Dimensions of Spiritual Companionship - a series of characteristics and skills that a companion lives into.

What are the characteristics of a spiritual companion? Rev. Seifu’s various Dimensions invite us to consider this. And I think it’s important to note that one need not embody ALL of these dimensions at once - but each one should give us some pause, in which I might consider - how do I practice this? How do I embody this dimension?

In an ongoing series of episodes, Rev. Seifu and I will have conversations around each of these dimensions, as a way to unpack and get to know each of them in depth. And as you listen, I invite you to consider each for yourself. The way you understand each dimension need not reflect how we understand it, but I hope these conversations spark either a deep knowing within you, or a good curiosity.

I hope this conversation has awakened or stirred something in you. Take a moment to reflect - how do you identify with this dimension of spiritual companionship? Does it feel natural? Does it feel elusive? How does this dimension manifest for you? Is it something you desire to increase for yourself? I invite you to take a few breaths, and tend to that stirring.

---

Do you want to be part of a global contemplative movement that contributes to peace, justice, and living in right relationship with all creation? Your membership supports networking opportunities, publications, educational programming, outreach, and more.

Together we are changing the world through the contemplative action of spiritual companionship. Everyone is welcome to become a member of SDI.

The SDI global learning community is a group of compassionate listeners who are committed to peace and justice. Become a new member or renew your membership on SDI’s secure online store.

Membership benefits include:

  • Being part of a worldwide contemplative movement
  • Global and local networking
  • Listing in the Find a Spiritual Companion Guide: A Worldwide Resource of Available Spiritual Companions
  • Access to Group Spiritual Direction sessions and exclusive online Town Halls and Gatherings
  • Subscription to Presence, Listen, and Connections
    Discover newsletter
  • Discounted liability insurance
  • Discounts on all educational events and gatherings
  • Discounts on SDI brochures and resources
EP082 - Dimensions of Spiritual Companionship - Deep Listening with Rev. Seifu

EP082 - Dimensions of Spiritual Companionship - Deep Listening with Rev. Seifu

September 2, 2020

Who is a spiritual companion? A spiritual director is a spiritual companion, as is a life coach, a chaplain, a hospice nurse, really anybody in a caring vocation. But it can also be a type of person who lives and listens in ways that embody this type of caring. That is, a spiritual companion need not do it as a job. Some of us are spiritual companions in the way we honor our relationships to family, friends, neighbors, the land, our ancestors, and the cosmos.

So there are lots of ways the role of spiritual companionship manifests, and SDI celebrates the diversity of practices and people who identify as one. But, how does one identify or see themselves and others as a spiritual companion?

In April 2020’s Listen publication, Executive Director Reverend Seifu Anil Singh-Molares wrote a reflection on the Dimensions of Spiritual Companionship - a series of characteristics and skills that a companion lives into.

What are the characteristics of a spiritual companion? Rev. Seifu’s various Dimensions invite us to consider this. And I think it’s important to note that one need not embody ALL of these dimensions at once - but each one should give us some pause, in which I might consider - how do I practice this? How do I embody this dimension?

In an ongoing series of episodes, Rev. Seifu and I will have conversations around each of these dimensions, as a way to unpack and get to know each of them in depth. And as you listen, I invite you to consider each for yourself. The way you understand each dimension need not reflect how we understand it, but I hope these conversations spark either a deep knowing within you, or a good curiosity.

I hope this conversation has awakened or stirred something in you. Take a moment to reflect - how do you identify with this dimension of spiritual companionship? Does it feel natural? Does it feel elusive? How does this dimension manifest for you? Is it something you desire to increase for yourself? I invite you to take a few breaths, and tend to that stirring.

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I want to tell you about SDI’s very first online course, called Exploring Spiritual Companionship Across Traditions. Join SDI for a twelve week survey course of spiritual companionship’s expression in various authentic forms: Judaism, Buddhism, Indigenous traditions, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, contemporary Shamanism, eco-spiritualities, and more — guided by the very best in the field offering their expertise and personal experiences. 

This course is for anyone who desires to broaden their understanding and practice of spiritual companionship beyond a single tradition or approach. It is for anyone who is considering becoming a spiritual companion and seeks an inclusive pluralistic introduction to the craft. And it is for anyone who is curious about what spiritual companionship is in our pluralistic modern world.

The live course begins September 9th, but you can register anytime to watch the recordings, and learn at your own pace. Register now at our website, sdicompanions.org.

 

EP081 - Nonviolent Communication - Pam Winthrop Lauer

EP081 - Nonviolent Communication - Pam Winthrop Lauer

August 12, 2020

In this episode, I (Matt Whitney) go into the fishbowl of spiritual companionship with Pam Winthrop Lauer, a spiritual director and a practitioner and teacher of Nonviolent Communication, or (NVC). Also known as Connecting Communication, Non Violent Communication is a revolutionary communication model that provides concrete ways to transform judgment, anger, and fear into compassion for ourselves and others. NVC offers strong, effective tools to connect open-heartedly with anyone, so that when we are called outward into the public square, we have the skills to work for change nonviolently – i.e. in a way that honors the sacredness of all humanity.

Pam introduces NVC to us, offers a meditation, which then moves into our process – in which I offer a conflict I am having, with myself. Rather, my Inner Critic, that voice in my head that tells me that the things I make, as an artist and as a creative practitioner, are not good.

Pam Winthrop Lauer grew her spiritual direction and Nonviolent Communication practices gradually over 15 years while raising her children and caring for her husband who was ill.  In 2015, with her children grown and husband recovering, Pam launched a full-time practice of spiritual direction and NVC coaching and teaching.  She also volunteers as an interfaith leader.  Pam's teaching style is dynamic, effective, and gentle.  She is a candidate to become a certified trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication (cnvc.org).  Her spiritual direction certification is through the Lev Shomea Jewish Spiritual Direction Training Program of 2001-2003.

 

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.

 

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