Accompaniment & Spiritual Conversation
Through my own life history, my therapy, training, and reading, I see spirituality as a profoundly important aspect of being human. Spiritual concerns can be expressed as questions about and hunger for life's meanings and purposes, whether or not we hold formal religious beliefs. Such questions often come to the fore at times of crisis, stress, change, or loss.
Accompaniment is for people who want to give themselves regular space and time to reflect on their inner life and to look at what nourishes and sustains them to live more fully and meaningfully. Accompaniment as I practise it seeks - through person-centred principles - to deepen and extend a person's spiritual life and exploration. It can be an invaluable resource both for those beginning - or rediscovering - their 'spiritual journey', as well as those who have long walked a spiritual path. Accompaniment meetings generally take place on a monthly or six-weekly basis.
At a time of increasing secularisation, it can he hard to know where and how to explore spiritual questions and the search for meaning. Within Christianity, the Ignatian and Franciscan traditions are accessible in contemporary ways. Ignatian spiritual practices are particularly embracing of emotional life as a way of walking a spiritual path rather than something to be avoided or diminished. Christian meditative practices can also be explored with the World Community for Christian Meditation. These rich traditions have all contributed to my own spiritual life and influence my accompaniment work. Others working in spiritual accompaniment are trained to work specifically within one approach, and I am happy to signpost you to them.
For an increasing number of people however, traditional religious language and practice - Christian or otherwise - is unfamiliar and unattractive and my approach to accompaniment may be particularly helpful to them. This person-centred form of accompaniment may be of particular help to those who:
These articles below by Brian Thorne (former Professor of Counselling, and a Lay Canon of Norwich Cathedral) may give you a feel for how I understand and aim to offer accompaniment:
This video by Stephen Wright (who has written extensively about spirituality, healthcare, and human development) touches on various themes relevant to this kind of accompaniment.
St. Benedict listening
L'Abbaye de la Pierre qui Vire, France.
'Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.'
Rainer Maria Rilke