Place ✝ Time

by Ivy Clark

Place and time characterize our story’s historical meanings and social and cultural coherence. They whisper our sense of belonging and hold the continuity of our identity. As much as time feels finite, tangible, measurable and chronological, and the world relates, measures, and controls it through a numeric currency of tik-tok tik-tok tik-tok, I find time’s cadence, movements, and capacity much more fluid, circular and uncertain, as it synchronizes with the heartbeat of the Holy One, who authors time and dwells in and outside it.

As a spiritual director offering holy listening with a non-anxious presence for directees, I am drawn to place and time’s ever-changing geometry and autonomy. First is the directee’s cerebral embodiment of the physicalities of their place and time that is finite. Second, paralleled by an indissolvable dimension unbridled from the metaphysics of place and time, where the past, present and future are wholly and eternally present, open for Spiritual orientation and transcendence. These two dimensions of place and time interact and correspond continuously to each other, transmitting and interpreting, renewing and reviving meanings for the directee’s identity and story sealed in God.

Witnessing my directees’ sacred stories has been a holy ground for me. In my silence, I pray for “a listening ear that can see” (Howard Thurman). I sense that the deep in God calls me to cross the boundaries of my place and time, orienting my wholeness and sensitivity toward my directee’s journey, their identity, lived experiences and worldviews, etc. Spiritual direction, in many ways, feels like a repeated voyage of crossing over to the directee and returning to myself. God’s “shamar*”is offered and received each time I return with a deeper seeing of myself, yielding a deeper seeing of the directee. I have been on a journey of patient trust, holding my directee in the unbridled Spirit, the host that shows the way. Ivy Clark Reflection Journal Entry – Aug. 2023 2 of 2

This circular, grace-filled, emancipating and expanding experience with the parallel dimensions of space and time that ground us, and liberate us, enable us to encounter the trustworthy God, impregnated with wonder, love and action for Her children, makes spiritual direction a spacious and wildly God-centered journey for those who pilgrim it.

(*Hebrew “shamar”: to exercise great care of, to guard, observe, preserve …)

Books I am deeply savouring this summer:

• Kaleidoscope – Broadening the Palette in the Art of Spiritual Direction (I am rereading it for the second time)

• Our Unforming – De-Westernizing Spiritual Formation (by Cindy Lee) (I am rereading it for the second time)

• The Land – Place as Gift, Promise, and Challenge in Biblical Faith

• The Promised End – Eschatology in Theology and Literature (by Paul S. Fiddes)

• Inklings of Heaven – C.S. Lewis and Eschatology (by Sean Connolly)

• Shakespeare’s Shakespeare – How the Plays Were Made (by John C. Meagher)

• The Tempest (I studied it in junior high school. Now re-reading it with my deep curiosity about the illusive concept of space, time and the last things.)

Stories from Sabbatical

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Tara and her daughter Seren on the Hill of Tara, Ireland, during sabbatical

Even as a writer, I find it hard to put the experience of sabbatical into words. In truth, it would be easy enough to tell you chronological stories of what happened, when, and where. But one of the things I experienced is that time inside of sabbatical isn’t exactly chronological.

So, let’s start with the end, then.

Discovering What I Missed

As September began, my calendar filled again with the work I love and get to do: Scripture Circles, spiritual direction, supervision, apprenticing, teaching. Some of you wondered if that experience was difficult for me, wondered if it would feel heavy or tiring. What I found was that I’d missed something other than I’d expected—I hadn’t missed the work (especially the email part of it); I missed the with-ness with God and with people. That particular quality of sacred presence that runs as a golden thread through all the activities I get to do was what I missed the most, and what energizes me each and every day.

I had missed being anam cara, and discovering that “missing” was one of the many gifts of sabbatical for me.

Sacred Space, Sacred Time

One of the activities that emerged during the three-month window was the reorganization of my home office. With much-needed help, the prayed-over and well-used space of mess and meeting became a holy sanctuary. I gave away a lot of books. I moved retreat resources to storage. I kept only the books I would read again or the unread books. If we meet over Zoom, you almost wouldn’t see any difference in my bookshelf backdrop; however, what is behind me has massively changed. In some ways, I’ve created an antilibrary, a reminder of how much I do not know. Nassim Nicholas Taleb coined that term and writes about it this way:

“The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of scholars who are encyclopedic, insightful, and nondull. He is the owner of a large personal library (containing thirty thousand books), and separates visitors into two categories: those who react with “Wow! Signore, professore dottore Eco, what a library you have ! How many of these books have you read?” and the others — a very small minority — who get the point that a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you don’t know as your financial means, mortgage rates and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menancingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.”― Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

It seems to me that this, too, is a parable of sabbatical, this reorganization of space to make more room for unknowing, while also inviting in more deeply the mysterious relationship that underpins it all—my relationship with Christ.

While reclaiming my space (I hesitate to call it an office) during my sabbatical, I realized I have more than 10 pieces of completely original art on the walls, some commissioned pieces, some not. The one on the threshold, that circumscribes the sanctuary, is an original painting depicting Jesus asleep in the boat during the storm. Around him the lines of the painting swirl and intersect. In the small quarter of the image where his body touches the water, the lines still and create reflection. This, too, is an icon of sacred time.

Don’t Die By Inches

Sabbatical began with a lot of death. Spiritual, relational, physical death happened around me and to me in various ways. There was a moment when I found myself running at full speed into those frigid waters, almost as if by holy instinct. I know what it is to let go of things reluctantly, prying my fingers off one cramped movement after another. I made a decision that if this time was to be in some measure about dying, I didn’t want to do it in slow, agonizing inches. I wanted to be plunged in quickly and completely.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to stay there for a long while.

Become the ancestor of your future happiness – David Whyte

These are the words that formed and held me in the dying. The hope and reality is that whatever this journey was, whatever it now is, whatever it will be, I have said yes to becoming a good ancestor. To myself, yes. But also to the sacred future. There is a way in which entering into sabbatical is a kind of death to linear sequential time—at least in the ways you’ve known it up until that entry.

Practically speaking, that also meant a death to my dream of time away on the island of Iona, time with the community of Northumbria, and time on Holy Island. It also meant death to my expectations (one of the hardest deaths, sometimes) and to my timelines.

There’s been a lot of learning and healing unfolding from those deaths, and there is still more. But death is not something that often happens easily, which surely continues to be the case for me.

Welcome Forward

This leads me straight into the paradoxical reality into which I’m still living: my sabbatical may have ended in linear sequential time, but I haven’t left sabbatical. I’m coming to see that if you’ve really, truly entered into sabbatical time, it’s not something you ever leave.

This makes for awkward conversation, especially when the traditional greeting you offer after someone returns from a vacation or a trip or maternity leave or a hospital stay (all of which I’ve experienced) is, “Welcome back!”

There’s no such thing as “Welcome back” from sabbatical (and I still deeply appreciate the people who have said it to me because what else does one say, really?). The closest reality is “welcome forward,” which also makes for awkward greetings. (Not as awkward as the Joshua/Moses/God intersection at the Tent of Meeting in Exodus 33, but that’s a sacred story for another time.)

All of this is to say that I’ll keep having stories from sabbatical to share: here, in person, in prayer, in writing. I’m still living out of time in ways that God is teaching me about, and as hard as that is to put into words, I’m deeply, wildly, unaccountably grateful.

So, thank you. For being part of the community that made and makes this countercultural reality possible. My hope and prayer is that you, too, will one day experience what crossing over into sabbatical will bring.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


When I was about 13 years old, I spent many of my Saturdays building fence with my grandfather. (Yes, I mean “building fence” and not “building fences”—it’s a Kansas farm boy thing, I guess). Because he had a shoulder injury that caused him to be permanently disabled, I did most of the hole digging, post driving, and wire stretching, but unless one of his friends stopped by to visit or he just got too cold to stay outside, he was with me for the work. It didn’t matter to me that most of the physical labor was mine to do. I didn’t care that he would occasionally bark orders when I wasn’t doing the job just right. I was just happy to be with my grandpa, earning a little money and learning important life skills. 

The day usually began by him picking me up at 7:30 am or so. We would leave my house and then drive to The Red Maple, the local family restaurant in my hometown, for a hearty breakfast. Because, “You can’t build fence on an empty stomach.” Then we would drive out to my grandparent’s place in the country, gather supplies, my grandpa would have a cigarette (or two), and we’d get to work. 

On particularly cold days, we would take more frequent breaks. We would sit in the shop where the wood stove was always burning while my grandpa smoked Kool kings and told stories. Sometimes he would reminisce about his childhood, the time he and his brothers built the dam for the old pond by hand; just a few boys with shovels. Or when he and his brother went to California for the summer to work on the railroad when they were fourteen and fifteen and lived in a tent in the front yard of the twelve year old girl that would eventually become my grandmother. Sometimes he would tell stories about hunting in the Sandhills (the local name of the area where he grew up and lived until he died). And nearly always, he would tell a story that I wasn’t sure was actually true but he would swear on his life happened just the way he told it to me. When one of his friends would stop by, the tales got taller and my work breaks sitting by the stove in the shop would last much longer. 

It’s funny, as I try to remember some of the stories he told, the details are vague at best. I’m sure I’ve forgotten the vast majority of them, but the feeling those memories stir in me is as present as if I was sitting by that wood stove right now. I can smell his menthol cigarettes, the wood smoke and hot metal. His voice, his laugh, his gestures when he would get wound up telling a story, those are indelibly etched in my memory. I don’t remember much of what he said, but I remember him. And as I think back, I realize how significant it was to be a 13-year old boy whose grandpa picked him up on Saturday mornings and, more than the breakfasts or the stories or the work ethic or the life skills, gave him a safe place to become and belong. 

That’s what being “with” does. When one offers the gift of presence to another, they are making a space where we can become and belong. We find groundedness there with them, even when the rest of our life may feel unmoored. To find a person who will hold this kind of space for us is indeed a rare gift. 

In 1997, Fred Rogers received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 24th annual Daytime Emmys. During his acceptance speech he did something that must be etched in the minds of everyone who attended. I know that it is etched in mine. As he was accepting the award, he said; “All of us have had special ones who have loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are . . . ten seconds of silence, I’ll watch the time.”  Then he pulled up his coat sleeve and looked at his watch. There was a giggle that rippled across the audience. But as the camera began to pan across the room filled with television and film stars, people started to realize that he was serious. In that moment, tears began to fill people’s eyes. The room got very quiet as people began to remember those who had loved them into being. 

Everytime I see that clip, (which you can watch here), my grandpa comes to my mind. His presence was a safe place for me to find my way. May you too find safe places to be loved into being, dear friends. 

– Jeremy

photo credit:

Is Your Spiritual Director Certified? Probably Not.

As I write this in the early days of 2022, the tragedy and tangle of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shape our world in ways both seen and unseen. Homelife and safety, public life and how we form it, mental health and our care for one another, schooling and teaching—all have undergone radical shifts for ill and for good. Counselors, therapists, social workers, all find their schedules full with those seeking care. The same is true of spiritual directors.

One of the gifts of this time comes from the shift in accessibility that we’ve seen across the globe. Forced to move online, caregivers now have more secure, effective, and safe ways to meet with clients regardless of their location. This has opened up the practice of spiritual direction to so many who simply did not have access to it before, which is a huge grace and a stunning gift.

Alongside that gift comes responsibility, and one of the ways that spiritual directors are charged with caring for their directees and the larger community is by the accurate representation of their training and credentials. As training in spiritual direction has proliferated, and spiritual direction becomes more and more known as a healing modality, I’ve begun to hear a certain kind of slippage in the language used to describe a spiritual director’s training and credentials. This is, I am completely sure, good-hearted, as most of our understanding of caring professions gets modeled after licensed professional therapy or social work. But it’s dangerous, unnecessary, and unkind to borrow language from one profession in order to bolster the distinctiveness of spiritual direction.

Spiritual directors, when presenting themselves to the public, preserve the integrity of spiritual direction by being in right relation with persons and organizations representing qualifications and affiliations accurately. —Spiritual Director’s International Guidelines for Ethical Conduct

In 2016, ESDA (Christ-Centered Spiritual Directors) published an article explaining to their members why representing themselves as a “certified spiritual director” is a problematic practice. In it author Monica Romig Green explains:

Generally, when someone uses the term “certified,” it communicates to the hearer that the person has been given a certification as opposed to just a certificate. It usually means that they possess an official designation from a qualifying professional organization that affirms they meet and uphold specific standards of their profession.

To become “certified,” one must show evidence to a certifying organization that they meet or exceed continuing professional standards. Additionally, as a professional designation, certification is usually something that can expire over time and must be renewed occasionally in order to affirm that someone is still practicing their work at a competent or high level of quality.

Contrastingly, receiving a certificate or diploma from a training program usually means that you have successfully completed your specific program’s educational requirements. It does not mean that you have met the practicing standards of a particular profession.

Regarding spiritual direction, there is, in fact, no specific and official standard for training/formation. That means that one person’s certificate of training could mean something completely different than someone else’s. For instance, I know of a program that gives a certificate after someone has spent 2 weeks studying spiritual direction, while other programs require that their students spend two to three years studying and complete hundreds of direction hours before they receive their certificate. With such variation in training, it’s easy to see why our training certificates would not automatically indicate meeting some kind of general standard.

If you’re a spiritual director or even someone exploring the practice of spiritual direction, the whole article is worth reading. As Green argues, and I concur, it isn’t just a splitting of hairs to insist that “completed a certificate in spiritual direction” is a more accurate and ethical way of representing training in spiritual direction than using the term “certified” (or, in several somewhat upsetting instances, I’ve heard spiritual directors refer to themselves as “licensed” which is both inaccurate and manipulative, as it creates a false sense of accountability and safety for the directee when the director has no such body of oversight).

As someone who also respects and honors the work that my colleagues in therapeutic and social work settings have done, I don’t want to water down the incredible amount of work and continuing education they have and continue to do, even if it appears to up my credibility.

There’s also an important tension to hold here, as there is a certifying body in spiritual direction and the supervision of spiritual directors (CCPC Global), through which I hold both certifications. This is an open organization, to which anyone globally can apply who meets the requirements of certification over and above having completed a certificate in spiritual direction. At the same time, the larger community of spiritual direction continues to hold a diversity of opinion about whether or not certification is necessary, beneficial, or an accurate measure of expertise in a field that holds so much Mystery. Spiritual Director’s International (SDI), for example, discourages the use of these credentials, while the professional spiritual direction associations of countries like Ireland or Australia have created even more rigorous standards and accountability structures for the practice within their borders.

As our push online since the emergence of COVID-19 has shown us, there is also great good to de-institutionalization of education. Seminary-level education is now available to those who would never be able to relocate in order to have access to educators of this quality. Systemic barriers historically operating in education because of sexism, ableism, or racism have been seriously (and thankfully) damaged by our ability to seek wisdom not just from “professionals” but from those with expertise and lived experience. Those whose voices have previously been silenced in these spaces and conversations have had the opportunity to create new and dynamic spaces for experience and education.

In the face of this wild, generative proliferation, it is nonetheless important to care for those seeking spiritual direction with an accurate and clear portrayal of education, experience, and expertise. As a practitioner, I’ve continued to sit in the “both/and” of the questions around the professionalization of spiritual direction. In churches and spiritual communities around the world, there are wisdom figures and those who listen on the margins who would never go to graduate school or seek the title of “spiritual director”—and I believe these faithful men and women are still doing the good work of spiritual direction in the world. I also believe that it is important for me and those I train in spiritual direction to continue to do the work of skills building, growth, and learning within the field and that when it is within the purview and possibility of a particular director, to seek to meet any professional standards that are helpful to their practice and serve their directees well.

The chances are that your spiritual director isn’t “certified.” How and whether that matters to a directee is in the hands of those seeking spiritual accompaniment. However, for ethical practice, spiritual directors need to represent their training, associations, and professional development in a clear, straightforward and well-thought-through manner.

Prayer for the Woman in the Minivan Putting on Her Makeup at the Stoplight

I blame my friend, Tanya Marlow, for forcing me to make room to write this one out. You can blame her, too.

Prayer for the Woman in the Minivan Putting on Her Makeup at the Stoplight
After Brian Doyle

I will say, at first, that I’m glad you weren’t checking social media or texting or even reading email while you waited, which is what I see so many people doing these days while driving, and even myself, I confess. Father, forgive me. And I know you will probably be embarrassed that I saw you leaning into the small mirror in the visor before you, carefully dragging the mascara wand through lashes you most likely think are too thin or not curly enough or too short. But in seeing you in that moment I saw the vast and vulnerable humanity of us all—caught in between here and the world to come—trying desperately in our own small and humble ways to make the world a little bit more beautiful, a little bit more worthy of being looked at in the eyes when being talked to, a little bit more redeemed. However misguided our fumbling attempts, however we contain the sunsets with gilded frames and inspirational quotes—as if the glory of the Heavens needed a paint job—we are still trying, all of us, our engines idling in the rush between dropping off the kids and getting to the meeting, to bring the world into focus, to call forth something magnificent. And you did, you know: you and Cover Girl. You showed me the face of God. And so, amen.

A Spiritual Director’s Prayer

As I read this prayer to a directee today, I realize that God had brought it to heart and mind not just for that person, but for myself as a spiritual director. Sometimes I struggle to find a way to express the “why” of what I do as a director, but this poem by Ted Loder captures at least part of the soul behind being an anam cara*.

Bring More Of What I Dream

O God,
who out of nothing
brought everything that is,
out of what I am
bring more of what I dream
but haven’t dared;
direct my power and passion
to creating life
where there is death,
to putting flesh of action
on bare-boned intentions,
to lighting fires
against the midnight of indifference,
to throwing bridges of care
across canyons of loneliness;
so I can look on creation,
together with you,
and, behold,
call it very good;
through Jesus Christ my Lord.

Ted Loder, Guerrillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle, p. 115


*Anam cara is the Gaelic word for “soul friend.”

Let There Be Light

God is beautiful, mysterious, good and so much bigger than I can possibly comprehend. As a spiritual director, I only get small glimpses into His work in the lives of those with whom I journey, only short looks through a window of His Spirit into His kind plans and His grace. It may seem like nothing, these glimpses, but it really is enough, because I trust Him to be at His work with or without me. I trust Him that He’s moving, bringing about life, wholeness, redemption.

And every now and again He just opens curtains wide, just for a moment.

There’s so much light everywhere, so much glory.

And I’m humbled. Awed.

Those are the “Let there be light” moments, and the whole world burns bright.

These are the gifts of the journey. The times when walking alongside others is inarticulate joy.

Shhh! Something New Is In the Works!


Just for my blog readers, I wanted to let you know that something new (well, lots of new things, actually, but I can’t tell you about those yet) is in the works at Anam Cara Ministries.

I’m really excited to be working on a new offering for those longing to go deeper with God.

Head on over to the Retreats & Resources page to check it out.

Oh, you want a hit?

Okay, okay. Here’s one: Retreat Curation.

(I’m SO excited!)

Spiritual Friendship For Children

“In human life nothing holier can be desired, nothing more useful sought after, nothing is harder to find, nothing sweeter to experience, nothing more fruitful to possess than friendship. For it bears fruit both in this life and the next, showing forth all virtues in its sweetness and in its strength destroying vice. It softens the blows of adversity and moderates elation in prosperity.

Without friendship there can be hardly any happiness among humans; they may well be compared to animals if they have no one to rejoice with them in good fortune or sympathize with them in sorrow, no one to whom they can unburden themselves in time of trouble, or with whom they can share some especially uplifting or inspiring insight.

Alas for anyone who is alone and has no one to lift him up when he falls. Without a friend one is indeed alone. But what joy it is, what security, what a delight to have someone to whom you dare to speak as to another self; to whom you are not afraid to admit that you have done something wrong, or shy of revealing some spiritual progress you have made; someone to whom you can entrust all the secrets of your heart and with whom you can share your plans.”

St. Aelred of Rievaulx

This quote is part of an essay I contributed to a project that I’m really excited to see born. It’s called “Wild Goslings,” and my small part was a piece on how we can encourage our children toward spiritual friendship and true listening.

If you’d like to learn more, you can watch the trailer below. (Gentle caution for those who are sensitive, there is a little “language”.) I think you’ll be as excited as I am.

Wild Goslings from Brandy Walker on Vimeo.

From Brandy: I believe that the younger we are, the more we intuitively understand the unfettered wildness of God. I believe that in some ways we have much more to learn from our daughters and our sons than they could ever learn from us.

For the past several years, I have been dreaming of putting together a massive resource for teachers and parents to help change the way we look at teaching our kids about God and spirituality. When I first started my blog, I was using imaginative prayer and reading to help my daughter, who was six or seven at the time, feel closer to God. She loved it. She used to request special exercises in which she would imagine she was with Jesus in her favorite places in the world. And I envisioned creating a book of spiritual disciplines for kids.

11 Questions to Ask A Prospective Spiritual Director

You’ve heard about spiritual direction, and learned as much as you can about it. You’re ready to begin the process of finding a spiritual director to accompany you as you walk with God. As I tell those with whom I’m exploring a spiritual direction relationship, it’s important to ask all the questions that you want in order to get to know your prospective director. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to know where to start, so here’s a list of 11 questions that might be helpful to ask during your first session with a prospective spiritual director.

1. What kind of training did you undertake to become a spiritual director?

This question helps you understand the background and training of your director. You may be more comfortable with a director who has gone through an accredited program, or a supervised practicum in spiritual direction. On the other hand, someone who has been giving direction for a long time but may not have gone through a formal program. What is most importnat to you?

2. How long have you been giving spiritual direction?

You can ask this question in terms of years, or in terms of hours. Some directors may have been giving direction for years, but have only had one or two directees during that time. Others may not have been giving direction for as long, but have a number of directees, meaning that they have a greater total hours of experience. While the numbers themselves may not be important to you, understanding the level of direct experience your director has in the practice of direction is helpful to know.

3. Do you have a spiritual director?

Someone who practices spiritual direction definitely understands the value of having a spiritual director as they journey with God. I believe that spiritual directors should, where possible, be in direction themselves as they care for their own spiritual lives.

4. Do you have a supervisor or a peer group?

This is an extremely important question to ask. One of the ways that a spiritual director cares for you and tends your soul is to actively seek accountability and supervision of peers or those in spiritual authority. This process helps your director grow and allows them to seek consultation and wisdom.

5. Are you part of any professional spiritual direction associations? Do you hold to a formal code of ethics from any of these?

There are numerous spiritual direction associations that have a formal code of ethics for spiritual direction. Whether your director is part of these associations is something that can help you decide on the right director for you. More often, directors who have a private practice or are only loosely associated with a church will be part of these associations. Sometimes directors who are part of a monastery have enough accountability within their order that they feel other associations are unneccesary.  

6. What’s your guiding image of spiritual direction?

Each director holds one or more images of what the spiritual direction relationship is to him or her. Whether this is as a companion, mentor, guide, friend or any other image, knowing what guides them in their practice of direction will help you know if this director fits well with your desires for the spiritual direction relationship.

7. What has your journey with God been like?

Some people might feel that this is too personal a question to ask a spiritual director; however, this is someone with whom you’ll be sharing one of the most intimate areas of your life—your spiritual journey. Feel free to ask them about their journey wtih God. Not only will this help establish relationship, you’ll learn a lot about your director’s background, assumptions about God, and spiritual history.

8. What is your experience tending your own life of prayer, contemplation and meditation?

Again, this seems like a deeply personal question, but it’s one that your director will be asking you on a regular basis. Learning more about your director’s practices will help you understand if this person is a good match for you.

9. What kind of on-going education or enrichment in spiritual direction are you undertaking?

The spiritual journey is never static—neither is the practice of spiritual direction. It’s important to know what your director is doing to continue learning and growing, placing him or herself under a teacher to grow in the practice of spiritual direction.

10. What kind of covenant or agreement will we establish between us in the on-going spiritual direction relationship?

While some directors prefer an informal, spoken covenant (including, necessarily, confidentiality), I personally prefer a written agreement that both the director and directee sign in order to establish roles, responsiblities and appropriate boundaries. This can sometimes seem like “just paperwork” but a formal agreement help you to feel safe and protected within the direction relationship. This agreement also helps you to understand the spiritual perspective that your director will be operating from. As a Christian spiritual director, I welcome people from other faiths or those who are seeking God in my spiritual direction practice; that said, my agreement document states that I practice from a Christian perspective and will be talking about Jesus. It also clarifies that I’m comfortable with Christians from all denominations, and I make space for differing theological viewpoints and understandings without needing to change them. Ask yourself how important it is for you to have a Catholic director if you are Catholic, or a Protestant director if you are Protestant. Would an Orthodox director be okay for you, even if you’re Jewish? Coming to the initial session with these questions answered will help you make the right decision for you.

11. Do you charge for spiritual direction? If so, how much?

This last question sometimes gets taken for granted. Some spiritual directors wouldn’t think of charging for direction, and others have established a private practice in which they charge a specific amount per session or per hour. Other directors charge on a sliding scale of donation. If payment is a hardship, speak candidly with a potential spiritual director about that. In some cases, even paying a minimal amount toward direction helps you to understand the investment in your spiritual growth that meeting with a spiritual director is, and creates value in dedicating the time to that endeavor.

• • •

Was this list helpful to you?

Are there other questions that you think should be asked in the initial spiritual direction appointment? What might they be?