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Viewpoint from Rev Helen Garrard 21/05/2021

HELEN GARRARD 05-2020Rev Helen Garrard
Lead Chaplain, Norfolk Community Health Care
Associate Priest in the Rockland Benefice (Bramerton Group)


Finding your way

Spiritual Direction is an area of ministry that I am greatly inspired by. Last year I commenced training as a Spiritual Director at Sarum Theological College in Salisbury Spiritual Direction is the practice of being alongside people as they seek to deepen their relationship with God, or explore and grow in their own personal spirituality. The directee, or person seeking direction, talks to the director about their thoughts and feelings, their encounters with God and their experience of the spiritual dimension of life. Together they reflect on how it might support their personal development and relationships. A space is held in which deep thoughts and feelings can be shared, questions asked and life’s journey explored
dove leftA form of prayer which can be used to support both the director and the directee is called the Examen. This was first experienced and taught by St Ignatius. It is a powerful method of prayerfully reflecting on the events of our day in order to discern God’s presence and to consider our choices, decisions and actions in the light of this. The Examen is equally appropriate for people who do not have faith or belief
St Ignatius recommends following a pattern of five steps:

  1. Relish the gifts both big and small within each day, everything from restful sleep or hot coffee to the greater gifts like love and life

  2. Request the Holy Spirit or power beyond ourselves to be present and direct us during the process

  3. Review your day, hour by hour lingering over the important moments and letting the less significant pass by

  4. Dove rightRepent. Pause at the challenging moments within the day use your faith or life philosophy to seek healing, peace and forgiveness for yourself or others

  5. Resolve. Discern how you wish to move forward from this point. What are you being asked to do and how can you commit to that? 

The general rule is to keep the whole process to under 15 minutes. Set aside a special place and follow a comforting ritual or prayer or preparation involving familiar words or music to denote the time for beginning and ending your Examen. Use your breathing to calm and steady any racing thoughts and consider your body posture and gesture to reflect the acts of giving and receiving. Be thankful to yourself and the universe for the opportunity you have had

If you wish to discuss spiritual direction further I would be happy to talk with you



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Peter Gray-Read (Guest) 21/05/2021 08:02
Interesting article - the structure is helpful. But isnt it something we are all expected to do - hence the encouragement to journaling...