Monday 17 September 2012

Unseen Connections

Over the weekend I had the privilege of spending time with my peers who have been engaged in the Graduate Diploma in Spiritual Direction with me over the last 18 months. The main objective of the weekend  was to share with each other a summary of our projects. We each took a turn talking about our methodology , our results and the conclusions to which we have come. The rest of the group were then able to ask questions and make comments. It was a wonderful experience and certainly helped me to refine and clarify my research question and what else I needed to read before submitting it in November. 

More inspiring than hearing everyone's work from the last two years, was hearing the stories of how people have engaged with the different experiences of spiritual direction. The topics ranged from Spiritual Direction with those who are grieving, to contemplative walking and to my own topic of mandalas. In each and every project summary there were stories told of how people had been touched deeply by their experiences of God. The availability of Spiritual Direction helped people to identify and become aware of how the divine was moving in their life.

On Sunday morning, for our prayer time, we were given the space to walk the labyrinth. Every time I walk the labyrinth, something new happens and I become aware of something new within myself. In my walking yesterday, the one thing of which I was aware was the hundreds of spider webs in the labyrinth. In almost every bush and tree along the way silken webs glistened in the morning sun. I probably missed most of the beautiful flowers as my eyes were drawn over and over to these small spiders and the intricate designs they had woven. Sometimes I did not see them until I turned slightly and the sun's rays were caught. 

At one point, as I was the first to walk the path for the day, I noticed a web stretching across the pathway. I was very careful to take the time to step over the web so as not to destroy it. I turned back to see the person following me step over as well. I could not stop to make sure every person noticed the web, however, and had to decide to let it go. Needless to say, on my return walk from the centre, the web had gone.

After finishing the labyrinth I attempted to take some pictures of the webs on my phone. I looked at the pictures today, hoping that I may have caught some of the magic of these hidden gems. All that can be seen are some strange views of branches and twigs. The thing that was brought to my attention in the labyrinth was that we are surrounded by unseen connections. Connections to God and to others. Sometimes we breeze through life and walk straight through them. destroying them. Sometimes we don't look from the right angle or in the right light. 

This was the best of the lot! Can any of you see the web?
The purpose of Spiritual Direction is to help people see the connections in their own life. It is to help them to slow down and take in that which they usually walk straight past. Spiritual Direction helps people to notice, value and interact with the sacred webs which connect and bring together. Maybe my experience in the labyrinth was reminding me of the fragility and vulnerability with which some may come for Spiritual Direction and the care and attention that I need to have for the unseen connections in my own life in order to be present to others.

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