We are compassionate, interfaith listeners
We offer online or in-person compassionate listening and spiritual companionship for people seeking a deeper understanding of self, soul, and place in the universe. Our practice is to companion you through deeply curious, non-judgmental questions.
We are not personally aligned with any religious or political institution or agenda. We are accepting and affirming.
We liken ourselves to being “midwives of the soul…offering presence to another in a time of vulnerability, working in areas that are deep and intimate.” ~Margaret Guenther, Holy Listening
Henri Nouwen would call us wounded healers: “A wounded healer is someone who can listen to a person in pain without having to speak about his or her own wounds.“
What brought us to this place
complex trauma, family system dysfunction, spiritual abuse, grief and loss (miscarriages, death of loved ones), grief and loss (identity, place, career), divorce, physical suffering (chronic illness and pain) and the deconstruction and re-forming of belief systems.
to be companioned by patient teachers. In practice we’ve both delved into post-secondary study, lay mentorship, and a variety of lay ministries in the context of organized religion. Looking back through our work history we are reminded that every administrative, management, and get ‘er done role we’ve played in the work world has also been shaped by this Way of Being. Whatever space we inhabit, we are instinctively companions of the soul.
these events, roles, and losses have become (one and all) our healers and our teachers. We are learning to befriend even our darkest hours as Gift.
Michelle Copithorne (she/her) is a patient listener and teacher. Her experience with dying and death, shame, betrayal, and personal resilience ensure safe insight.
Michelle’s roots are ranch life, communications, and forming faith (from a Christian Uni degree, to working with the film industry and project management, to deep diving into Celtic spirituality). She is an athlete and a mama. Her lay ministry resume is a long one! And contemplative living is at the heart of her own rocky-road journey of sorrow, healing, and coming into Self. Sometimes this takes the shape of a long walk in the trees; sometimes this Way of Being expresses itself in hot food, lovingly prepared, in music, or in deep study.
Sandra McDonald (she/her) is an empathetic listener. Trauma, spiritual abuse, core shame, and relationship story are some of the growth areas you may want unpack with her.
Sandra’s background is a bit of a mixed bag: Think, extreme-conservative Christian upbringing meets disruptive deconstruction and re-forming of Belief. She’s a city girl with a heap of mentorship experience (including walk-alongside with the LGBTQIA+ community). Her contemplative path is one of turning inward with Holy Mischief and curious compassion. She’d say she’s a one trick pony: non-judgmental listening and asking questions that allow for deep exploration are her One Thing.
Your listener will offer: Inclusivity Nonjudgment Discernment Affirmation Skilled listening Ethical conduct Intuition Authenticity Hospitality Competence Contemplation Accountability Wisdom Reverence Compassion Presence
We are welcoming and present, listening and responding without being judgmental. We are contemplative and honour silence as a spiritual practice. As intuitive spiritual friends, we are accountable and compassionate, hospitable and open, loving yet independent.
Nouwen says, “A wounded healer is someone who can listen to a person in pain without having to speak about his or her own wounds.“
We will endeavor to inspire you to experience authenticity in your life as you connect with and explore your Ground of All Being, that deepest of truths which is beyond life and death and goes by many names, including God.
We offer the gift of
- guidance in prayer (as you understand that practice) and silence
- the ability to see and name what is arising in you during a session
- capacity to explore deeply and broadly (theologically, spiritually, personally)
- the ability to meet you where you are and hold a safe space for you and your spiritual exploration (whatever tradition, or lack thereof, that may include)
- connection between you and your deepest truths, integrating mind, body, will, and spirit
We have training and experience in
- listening deeply: noticing, tracking, distinguishing, prioritizing, paraphrasing, waiting, probing, challenging and disclosing—always to serve you and the spiritual direction relationship.
- maintaining an inner life practice: including prayer or other contemplative practice, reflection, deepening self-awareness, and familiarity with personal gifts, limitations, and wounds.
- honouring healthy interpersonal boundaries: understanding when and how to make appropriate referrals; acknowledging assumptions and personal biases, and recognizing and avoiding dual relationships.
- exhibiting habits of self-care and care for others, including careful attention to Spiritual Directors International’s Guidelines for Ethical Conduct.
We are competent in
- honouring your confidentiality in accordance with SDI’s Guidelines for Ethical Conduct.
- distinguishing between psychology and spirituality, and recognizing the limits of our own personal knowledge and experience which might indicate the need to refer to another professional.
- recognizing your varied states of Being, including mental, emotional, physical, spiritual states; noticing shifts in spiritual movements, affective moods, cognitive states; naming personal triggers, hooks, wounds.
- maintaining ongoing learning as part of our practice, including study of various faith or wisdom traditions and orientations. We are open to insights from other professional disciplines, and the dynamics in psycho-socio-cultural integration — all religions, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, and races are welcome.
We are committed to
- attending regular spiritual direction for ourselves.
- receiving ongoing supervision by peers and teachers.
- showing respect for your person and autonomy.
- following universal ethical guidelines, summarized as, “Do no harm”.
- finding support and accountability in a community setting.
- inspiring others to explore and embrace trustworthiness, vulnerability, openness, courage, faith, integrity, and transformation.
- integrating values into daily life, such as: nonjudgment, inclusion, contemplation, compassion and service for the common good.
- being members, in good standing, with Spiritual Directors International.
We acknowledge that there are many ways to name and honour the Source of our Being, or Deep Truths. We wish to honour the names that you may revere.
Here are a few terms of reverence:
Universe, God, Lord, Allah, YHWH, Great Spirit, Ground of our Being, Higher Power, Mystery, Divine, Sacred, Holy, Almighty, Ultimate, the Beyond, Intimate, Abba, The Christ, Wisdom, Source, Spirit, Creator, Enlightenment, Interconnection, Holy One, Breath, The Holy Wholly Other (The Wholly Holy Other), Energy, The Divine Mother, Original Love
A spiritual director may identify by many different names:
Compassionate Listener, Director, Soul Companion, Guide, Teacher, Soul Friend, Anam Cara, Soul Care Practitioner, Spiritual Therapist