Spiritual Guidance / by Justin Gage

I put on Ayla Nereo's soundcloud and pressed play on the Tide Album to respond to this e-mail.

I was setting up a skype session for Spiritual Direction. I found my spiritual director after a trip this summer, as I was desperately seeking a place of refuge and retreat for my soul.
I got an e-mail from a family friend's friend, with her information but also speaking in a caring way of my emotions and heart, that she was holding space for me.
I called her. Her voice was soft and tone calm. I was a little weirded out. But it reminds me of that weirded out that I experienced in my first Sociology class at Westmont with Winslow. I went up to her at the end of the class, syllabus in hand for the Social Problems class, not getting why Food and Hate Crimes were listed, telling her "Uh.. I don't know if this sounds like something I want to do". She smiled at me nodding her head yes. Something made me keep that class. Honestly one of the best decisions of my life.

And I'm wondering if going to my Spiritual Director's retreat and continuing sessions through skype isn't just that.

Before moving forward, I want to address the awkward use of language with the term "Spiritual Director". It's not a guru, as my SD put it, it's a "companion for the soul" meeting you where you are, holding space for you, guiding you to the forest of your soul, moving with you through your pains and joys and growth. My SD caught my interest as she is a follower of Christ and applies Jungian methods to her sessions. She also finds her own spiritual language through Celtic traditions and practices.
I entered her studio and was speechless. Glimpsing labyrinths, a painting of a woman in a forest, as Pacha Mama would be represented, a luminary of Christ.

I shared my heart and soul with this woman. It wasn't easy. It didn't flow, it was intentional and directed in a certain way, I wondered if I said too much or too little, if I chose the wrong subject, the wrong emphasis.

Tears fled my eyes. She saw me. She shared prayers with me. Allowing me to take the space that I take.

I just recommitted to speaking with her again. Yes, these are paid sessions. That is one thing I struggled with a lot. Struggling with paying for something that I want to be how we are in society, as friends, struggling with paying for something that I should just do on my own. However, I want to honor this practice. Somehow, placing a price of sacrifice on it does just that and orientes my life forces in that direction that I want to be facing and moving forward in.

I found myself responding to these questions in preparation for our session.

What is your consolation and your desolation.

What is life-giving now? Where are you resonating with life?  

What is not life-giving now?  Where might you feel a rub?

As I responding truthfully and mindfully tothese, I found my soul opening, the sweetness revealing. Being washed anew.

An Ocean having heard my heart.

I want to invite you to contact me with your consolation and desolation. I will be your Ocean. Do not fret about too many pains, too little positivity, about drama and fanning flames and planting bad seeds.
I am here for you, to stand beside you in your darkness or light, to walk beside you.