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Listen A Seeker's Resource Issue 4.3

Listen A Seeker's Resource Issue 4.3

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Listen: A Seeker’s Resource for Spiritual Direction offers resources for spirituality, contemplative practice, prayer, compassionate listening, mindfulness, discernment, education, and retreats. Sacred listening transforms lives through the art of spiritual direction, also known as spiritual guidance, spiritual accompaniment, anam cara in Gaelic, and mashpiah in Hebrew. Sign up for Listen to be delivered to your mailbox: www.sdiworld.org
Listen: A Seeker’s Resource for Spiritual Direction offers resources for spirituality, contemplative practice, prayer, compassionate listening, mindfulness, discernment, education, and retreats. Sacred listening transforms lives through the art of spiritual direction, also known as spiritual guidance, spiritual accompaniment, anam cara in Gaelic, and mashpiah in Hebrew. Sign up for Listen to be delivered to your mailbox: www.sdiworld.org

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Published by: Spiritual Directors International on Jun 17, 2010
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 J U L Y 2 0 1 0 V L 4 : s s U 3
 A Seeker s Resource for Spiritual Direction
he relatively tiny details,circumstances, and situationsof life
matter. Nothingdwells beyond the scope of ourattention. Our orientation toward thespecifics of life defines who we are.
Yesterday, deep belly breathing calmedmy pulse. Tears threatened to splashthe cold, dull gray, speckled linoleumfloor. Anguish and astonishmentsmacked my solar plexus, hard. Theman I have loved for eighteen yearswas attempting to walk a straight line.Instructed to position his feet heel totoe, heel to toe, one foot in front of the next, he could only wobble, flail,stumble. The neurologist reached outher pale hands, positioning her body to offer support to a six foot, five inch,active man now dressed in sky bluehospital shorts and a white tee-shirt,unable to walk across the examinationroom. My knees buckled.I landed in a chair, grateful for thesupport. Snippets of inner knowledgemarried reality, permeating my consciousness. Overwhelmed by theunfolding implications—an earliermeeting with a neurosurgeon, thenhours later, an urgent appointmentwith a neurologist—I sunk into thelyrics of the U2 song, “Grace.” Playingin me for the twentieth time that day,I breathed, “Grace makes beauty outof ugly things / Grace finds beauty in everything / Grace finds goodnessin everything.” In this unexpectedcircumstance, could I trust this?Connection, trust, and compassionwere being called forth in me. My response,
 I am here
.None of us are spared from painand suffering. In my mid-forties, Ihave already experienced my fairshare. That evening, images of a vital, vigorous man darted in me, contrastingwith the present, undiagnosed, reality.Anguish in me grew, “This too? Ididn’t sign up for this. Why do I haveto live everything by experience? It’sreally not necessary, thank you very much.” I sobbed—for him, for me—and had a temper tantrum with God.Then, befriending my tumultuousemotions, I found a gentle innersmile as compassion flooded withinme. I recalled what Brother DavidSteindl-Rast, OSB, said, “You cannotbe grateful for everything, but you canbe grateful in every situation.I have a choice to make. We eachdo, everyday. It is in relation toour attitude or orientation toward
Grateful Compassion
Field Notes: Compassion
Poetry: The Path
Global Resources
Field Guide: Gratitude—An Unfinished Work?
Ask Owlbitterness and resentment, orcompassion and gratefulness. Nothingis insignificant. Every action, every word, each thought matters. If wewant to become fully human and livepassionate, discerning, creative, andcontemplative lives that contribute toand engage the world, we have a daily choice to make. Our decision willmake all the difference, and carry us intimes of joy and suffering. A spiritualdirector can be a good companionwhen we wrestle with how to live withcompassion and gratefulness.
Will you join me to cultivatecompassion for self, others, and thecosmos?
Will you join me to grow kernelsof gratefulness—even for that whichappears ugly, unwanted, arrivesunannounced, and has every right togrow bitterness in the human heart?Please, simply say 
—Pegge Bernecker
Green Violetear—
Colibri thalassinus
hen I was in eighth grade, I suffered through oneof the worst possible events—my best friend diedby suicide. His death completely devastated me,leaving me hopeless and depressed; there was an emptyspace in my heart that I could not fill. After all the years of knowing him, and my deep love for him, he was suddenlyripped away from me without warning. However, afterabout a year, I realized I was able to relate to people whowere having problems of their own. In these instances I feltlike I could make a difference in people’s lives. Perhaps theywould not feel stuck and alone in that dark hole of grief where I was caught. Knowing the feeling of not being ableto prevent what happened to my friend, and thinking if Ihad done something differently my friend would have lived,led me to my compassion for others in pain and grief.
This compassion now plays a major role in my desire togo to college and become a veterinarian. All of my life,I have had countless animals ranging from dogs to cats,bunnies to rats, birds to fish, and frogs to hermit crabs.My family has always had about six animals or more atthe same time, and regardless of how many there were,each one was special to me in his or her own uniqueway. My relationship with these animals strengthenedmy ability to love and care for others. However it was notalways me caring for the animals; many times it was theirpure love and affection which I needed at crucial timesthat comforted me, providing the motivation I needed sodesperately to keep moving forward. Yet, this is not theonly reason I wish to become a veterinarian.After having so many pets, and knowing friends whohave pets, I know how shaken up people can becomewhen their pet is sick or dies. Often, pets seem like theonly ones who do not judge us for who we are and thechoices we have made. Pets create the opportunity for usto have a deep, strong, and personal relationship, with acreature who gives us unconditional love. It is in thesecircumstances—when people are either losing the onesthey love most, or think they might lose them—that I canrelate and make a difference. By becoming a veterinarian,I am confident that I can help prevent suffering, offersympathy, and aid people through hard times. After notbeing able to do this for my best friend, it is important tome that if I can, I will prevent tragedy from occurring inothers’ lives. I believe that no matter who a person is, orthe bad choices they have made, they do not deserve tobe hopeless or alone when their pet is not well. Therefore,my desire to aid anyone who is suffering from ending upin the same place that I did a few years ago will be fulfilledthrough caring for animals, and in a broader sense, I willbe helping others in a time of need.
—Andria Peter, San Clemente, California, USA (High School Class of 2010)
R e f l e c t
Has a powerful personal experience shaped the work orservice you offer in the world? Is this a topic to explorewith your spiritual guide?
field notes
PRAYER IN THE CAVEOF THE HEARTSilent Contemplative Retreat
October 1-3, 2010Fr. Cyprian Consiglio, OSB
Unit 1: Dealing with Spiritual Pain
 November 5-6, 2010
December 3-5, 2010Michael Crosby, OFM. Cap
December 31-January 2, 2010Br. Kelly Cullen, OFM
We offer Private Retreats all year long.
5802 East Lincoln Drive Scottsdale, AZ 85253800-356-3247 • 480-948-7460 • www.thecasa.org
Volume 4, Issue 3 Seeking spiritual direction? Go to www.sdiworld.org 
Seek and Find: A Worldwide Resource Guide of Available Spiritual Directors 
w w w . s d  w   L d .   
is an outreach publication of Spiritual DirectorsInternational. When you visit the Spiritual DirectorsInternational Web site at
, you can learnabout retreats, programs, conferences, and other eventsrelated to spiritual companionship. You can read descriptionsof the spiritual direction relationship from a variety of spiritualtraditions, and discover excellent questions to ask yourself,and any potential spiritual directors you choose to interview.To locate a spiritual director or guide, go on-line to
Seek and  Find: A Worldwide Resource Guide of Available Spiritual  Directors
. More than 6,000 available spiritual directors arelisted by geographical location at
       L       i     s       t     e     n
Spiritual Directors International
Executive Director:
Liz Budd Ellmann, MDiv 
Pegge Bernecker
Production Supervisor:
Tobias Becker
is published four times a year (January, April, July, October).The names
Spiritual Directors International
and its
are trademarks of Spiritual DirectorsInternational, Inc., all rights reserved. Opinions and programsrepresented in this publication are of the authors and advertisersand may not represent the opinions of Spiritual DirectorsInternational, the Coordinating Council, or the editors.
The Path
When you have followed the mapwhich is not a mapand created the path with every step you will traverse the in-ferno,meet the dragons and find themtame.You will bathe inthe pool of the past and empty it.You will cross the desert andfall in love with life teeming thereand you will emerge wherethe luminous world swoons at yourfeet, seeking what only youcan give.
— Antoinette Voûte Roeder,
Still Breathing
(2010)Reprinted with kind permission fromApocryphile Press, Berkeley, California, USA.
Self-contained, free and flexible modules are specificallydesigned to assist individuals to integrate theology, spirituality,human development and ministry with their lived experience.
Four-month and Nine-month programs
SAT.School of Appled TheologyGraduate Theological union2400 Ridge Road
Berkeley CA 947091-800-831-0555
510-652-1651email satgtu@aol.comwebsite www.satgtu.org
 A Spiritual Directors International publication Listen

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