Still Lake Listening | Spiritual Directors | Compassionate Listeners


We're Sandra & Michelle, spiritual directors.

We're so glad you're here.

Picture of laughing Michelle Copithorne and Sandra McDonald in a green meadow with the Rocky Mountains behind them Spiritual Directors Cochrane Alberta Still Lake Listening Home Page

Still Lake Listening is...

…listening companionship for people seeking a deeper understanding of Self and Soul.  The term spiritual “director” is a misnomer as we do not direct. Rather, we come alongside you as co-learners as you explore the intersection of your identity and spirituality.

Our practice is to companion you through open, non-judgmental, and curious questions.

We are not personally aligned with any religious or political institution or agenda. We understand that we are all Humans Becoming. All are welcome here.

Hi, I’m Michelle

I am a spiritual director, patient listener, teacher, guide, lover of trees (and those tiny little mushrooms hidden in the moss – they’re so cool!). 

I’m a partner, momma, cook, consultant, and confidante.  I’ve held space with the dying and have experienced a messy, entangled journey with core shame, betrayal, and crisis of identity. 

I’m a Queer Contemplative who has slogged through her own versions of complex trauma, family system dysfunction, loss of loved ones (miscarriages and parents), loss of home and career, divorce, and physical suffering (chronic disease).  I have come out the other side with some scars, an intact sense of humour and mischief (although my partner still rolls her eyes at some of my jokes), and hopefully a smidgen (the beginnings?) of wisdom. 

My faith journey?  I was raised Christian, yet felt closest to my understanding of God when I stood on the rocky ridges of my homelands, surrounded by prairies, trees, and a thousand miles of wild.  My heart sings when I can share the path with others…listening, asking questions, exploring things of the soul; the things that really matter. 

Join me?

Michelle Copithorne sitting peacefully in front of a rock wall spiritual director cochrane alberta
Michelle Copithorne (she/her)

...and I'm Sandra

I’m a spiritual director and empathetic listener. Trauma, spiritual abuse, core shame, and relationship story are some of the growth areas you may want unpack with me. I am a Human Becoming. This means I’ve left some things behind: my extreme-conservative Christian upbringing and the harsh parts of organized religion, a 30 year marriage, financial security, servitude and subjugation, being straight, and a dissociation from the essence of who I am. It is also about a sloooow untangling of entrenched beliefs that were hurtful to others and crippling to my own wild Soul.

My journey into offering spiritual direction has come by way of engaging in this grounding and disruptive practice for myself. What a winding-restorative path that has been — a gradual returning “home” to who I am by design.

In part, I’m mum to three kind, adult kids. My life’s work has been a mix of companioning in special needs, lay ministry and study, and being present to marginalized, hurting, and grieving people.

Belief now? ‘Wonder, non-judgment, queerness, and an abiding Love that seems to be the container that holds it all. Like Hafiz, I wonder, “What love mischief can we get up to today?” What about you? We don’t have to do this alone. You are welcome here.

Sandra McDonald smiling, standing on a ridge overlooking a mountain valley spiritual director cochrane alberta
Sandra McDonald (she/her)

What we offer

One-on-one sessions are typically one hour long. You may wish to meet with your spiritual director weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

Group conversations are an opportunity to deepen your healing and growth in the company of a small group of like-minded companions. Groups may have a special theme or focus.

Retreats and workshops are an experiential and nurturing means of tending to your group’s pillars of wellbeing (mental-emotional, physical, social, and spiritual). Michelle & Sandra are at-the-ready to craft an offering unique to your group needs.

Special Offerings

Unstuck:  Grief & Loss

(free drop-in group)

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

10:30am – 12:00pm

Cochrane Public Library

What is spiritual direction?

What is bringing you joy?

What is breaking your heart?

The essence of spiritual direction is asking open questions such as these that help us to go deeper into ourselves.  These may seem like simple questions, but as you explore what answers arise for you, they can be life-altering.

If you’re here, it is possible (even likely) that you have faced into some deep questions around your own identity already. You may be bumping up against the UNknowing of things as much as any kind of epiphany or fresh growth. This can feel a little shadowy and unsure. It is an exercise in curiosity…even while it is profoundly disruptive!

It can be hard to be with these things alone. That is what a spiritual director is here for. We listen. Without judgment. We are here as companion, confidante, and co-learner in the process of self-learning — not by giving advice or counsel (because we trust that your Inner Teacher knows what you truly long for, and need).

We ask spacious questions, helping you hear and tend your own deep Self, your Soul.


Who am I, really? 


What do I believe? Do I believe?


What does my body have to do with my identity and spirituality?


Am I connected to community where I need neither explain, nor defend myself?

Talking to you feels like sitting beside a deep, still lake.
I am consistently touched by your kindness & respect; I'm always amazed by your ability to listen and hear, and in the case of groups, to hold all that is said and respond to it in a way that is appropriate. Wow!
I have such gratitude for all you are able to see and reflect back to me from the deep listening you provide.

Curious to learn more? Ready to connect?

Unsure? Here are some links to more information...