To live a meaningful life of compassion and service, we need good guides! If we want to grow into our potential as vital, authentic human beings we need one another. Our ancestors, elders, friends, and the world itself teach us how to live.
John O’Donohue said, “A friend is a loved one who awakens your life in order to free the wild possibilities within you.”
It is essential that we encounter people and creatures who awaken our wild possibilities. A good spiritual guide is able to look into our essence and convey I see you. This frees us to integrate our own life story.
There is magnificence in our ordinary, everyday life. And, it is easy to miss beauty and significance when we are busy and inattentive. Wise companions—and beloved friends—can guide us in the process of becoming fully human, embodied, and capable of transformative, mutual love. Occasionally we may have an experience that knocks us off our feet or awakens a wild possibility. At times like these, when the interwoven nature of the cosmos and our connectedness intersect, a flash of insight can lead us to gratefulness.
I live on a steep, tree studded hillside overlooking a lake. Snow-frosted glaciers dominate the eastern horizon. Some days, during my Qigong practice, my fingers, hands and arms trace the jagged dips and peaks, back and forth. One morning, nestled into a mission oak rocker, I gazed at mist interweaving thousands of spruce trees. Daybreak shimmered into shadowed mountain peaks. Five minutes passed, then ten. I pondered a question in my heart—a vivid, wild awakening. A sheer white flash caught my periphery vision. I rose, in utter stillness, taking one step forward. My breath hushed. Two trumpeter swans flew, side by side, wing tips inches from each other, in fluid motion. Within thirty seconds, they vanished. Their soaring, powerful presence was gone. I have not seen them since, and yet, my inner spirit remains awake to their untamed, precious gift. I am grateful.
In essence, this too is the gift of a spiritual companion. A spiritual director is rooted in both visible and invisible realities. Spiritual guides witness our beauty, fragility, and potential to become wildly alive. A spiritual companion reflects our truth and place in the community of life. The possibility for hope, healing, and love in our world is real. Spiritual friends remind us—you belong, you matter. For this, let us be grateful.
- Who are your significant spiritual guides and ancestors?
- How do you listen to your potential, life patterns, and inner dreaming? Who listens with you?
- What wild possibilities dwell within you?
- How might your presence free an unexpected possibility for someone else?
–Pegge (Bernecker) Erkeneff
Reprinted from Listen: A Seeker’s Resource for Spiritual Direction, April 2010, Vol. 4, Issue 2 (Spiritual Directors International © 2010). Reprinted with permission of Spiritual Directors International. To order copies or a free subscription of Listen, call 1-425-455-4506 or go to www.sdiworld.org