13 years ago was a time when I hit rock bottom.
I was really quite desperate for help and someone encouraged me to find a spiritual director.
I didn't even know what that meant at the time, but I started asking around and one day someone actually knew what that term was and handed me a business card of a woman named Joy.
Joy agreed to meet with me and my life was forever changed.
Joy had an incredible gift of listening. There was nothing too shocking or overwhelming for her to absorb. She just was incredibly attentive and showed deep respect for my humanity and the story that I found myself in.
One of the most profound gifts Joy gave me was that she never once felt sorry for me.
Even though I was a mess and crying at almost every session, she never pitied me or coddled me.
Because she never allowed herself to feel sorry for me, there came an invitation for me to also not feel sorry for myself and to see the choices that were in front of me to make.
she allowed me to have dignity and self-respect and personal value.
She never rushed with answers or problem solving, but would linger in silence to listen for the story underneath the story.
She'd often respond with a question rather than an answer after a period of utter stillness.
I learned so much wisdom from Joy. She became a mentor to me in my soul journey.
13 years later I still correspond with Joy and she is as dear to me as ever.
One of the practical gifts she gave me was to pay my way for a 3 day Silent Retreat. I would never have chosen to do this on my own, but as it was fully paid for and I needed to get away, I went.
That silent retreat changed my life. It became an anchor, an oasis, the beginning of an inner root system that has shaped this past decade of my life.
Now I lead retreats like this because of what Joy did for me. There is one coming up in November for women. If you are interested in coming or would like to sponsor someone else to go - a life could be changed, as mine was.
In our fast paced lives it is a great challenge to value stillness and silence. But this is where our souls sing. This is where we find ourselves again and out of the fullness of this silence, we can jump back into our lives with a deeper energy and sense of purpose than we ever had before.
Here is the link to the Mark Centre if you want more info:
November Retreat - Mark Centre