2:00 - 3:30 PM

Four workshops are included in the registration price. Each registrant will be able to choose one workshop from each of the four Sessions A, B, C, and D (2:00-3:30 and 4:00-5:30 on Friday and Saturday). SDI will send you a form at the end of October inviting you to sign up for your four workshops. 

Come to engage, participate, and learn from the SDI global learning community! CEUs are available for workshop participants.





Seventy-five percent of people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine now consider themselves “spiritual but not religious,” representing the fastest-growing religious group in the US and Canada: the “nones.” These young folks express that religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules, and more interested in self-preservation than taking a stand for justice. It is for these reasons that many feel that the rise of “spiritual but not religious” is not a sign of spiritual decline or a rejection of God, but rather a new kind of spiritual awakening. Drawing on his experience of working with the Nones, the Dones, and Homeless LGBT youth who are often hurt and traumatized by religion, Adam will share stories from his work as well as his thoughts on the best way to support the new generation in finding authentic spirituality. In doing so, he will introduce experiential contemplative practices, frameworks for spiritual direction, and explore how to utilize the best of our traditions to support the longing to be contemplatives in action, dedicated to building a more just world.



Spiritual Guidance in a Post-Religious World: Lessons from the Front lines of Working with the Nones, the Dones, and Those Hurt by Religion

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Adam Bucko is an activist, spiritual director to many of New York City’s homeless youth, and co-author with Matthew Fox of a new award-winning book called Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation (Sacred Activism). He was recently appointed to serve as Minor Canon at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in New York, and launch the cathedral's new Center for Spiritual Imagination. Adam established HAB, an ecumenical and inter-spiritual “new monastic” fellowship for young people that offers formation in radical spirituality and sacred activism.

Perhaps no other topic provokes such heated debate as sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Our workshop provides a healthy alternative to didactic teaching that tells others what we believe is truth, and instead provides a unique opportunity-- perhaps for the first time-- for spiritual companions to address issues of sexuality and spirituality irrespective of one’s own sexual orientation. We will not attempt to convince one another to adopt any view, but rather offer a safe and sacred space to share knowledge and to engage in open and healthy conversations when discussing sexuality. You will leave with tools and resources for your own spiritual practice, including a free Workbook and Resource Guide for future reference, to support your journey of spiritual companioning. 

Westina Matthews is an adjunct professor for the Center for Christian Spirituality at The General Theological Seminary, where she teaches contemplative spiritual direction. A graduate of the Spiritual Guidance program at the Shalem Institute, she is an author, public speaker, spiritual director and retreat leader whose practice reflects contemplative living through “holy listening.” Westina has contributed to several Forward Movement anthologies and was a frequent contributor to Sacred Journey: The Journal of Fellowship in Faith. Her newest book is Dancing from the Inside Out: Grace-filled Reflections on Growing Older (Church Publishing Inc., 2019). 


A Contemplative Approach to Spirituality and Sexuality


Father Tommie Watkins, the first openly gay ordained black priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, is the Rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama. A certified Spiritual Director and licensed master social worker (LMSW), he completed his joint Doctorate in Philosophy degree from the Universities of Alabama, Tuscaloosa and University of Alabama, Birmingham, School of Public Health. Father Tommie earned his Masters of Divinity (M.Div.) degree from The General Theological Seminary. In his book Living Out Loud, he shares his struggle of self-acceptance. Father Tommie’s favorite quote is Dr. King’s: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” As such, Father Tommie is compelled to continue to Live Out Loud.


Using the story Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, this workshop will present three qualities that often accompany our spiritual journeys: a willingness to be messy, the gift of curiosity, and the sheer grace of courage.  These same issues are often discussed in spiritual direction sessions.  Directors too need to be aware of their own responses to messiness, curiosity, and courage. 


Through input, story-telling, personal reflection and sharing, we will journey with Alice as she leaves her comfortable, secure place on the riverbank and tumbles down a rabbit hole into new realities.  Frequently, individuals come to spiritual direction when their comfortable, secure places no longer match the lived reality of their lives.  Like Alice, they question and struggle with all that is happening within.  They ask questions and look first outside of themselves for solutions.  As spiritual directors we sit with them while they discern the answers that are within themselves. 


Thus, as spiritual directors, we too struggle with our own responses to messiness, curiosity, and courage.  What are the life experiences that influence how we can be present to another during these challenging times?  Believing that we attend to others in the same ways we attend to ourselves invites us to look not only at another’s response to messiness, curiosity, and courage but also to our personal response.  The two activities create a dynamic flow from director to directee.


What Alice in Wonderland can teach spiritual companions


Lucy Abbott-Tucker has worked in adult formation and the preparation of people for the ministry of spiritual direction for thirty-six years.  She prepared for the ministry of spiritual direction at the Institute for Spiritual Leadership, Chicago and then completed a Master's Degree at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago.

Lucy has been active in the work of Spiritual Directors International, serving on the first Coordinating Council and chairing the committee that prepared the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct. As well as working on the recent revisions of that document Lucy recently completed a Curriculum to accompany the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct.  She also worked on the committee that prepared the Portrait of a Spiritual Director and the Principles for Training Programs published by Spiritual Directors International. In addition to her ministry as a spiritual director and supervisor, Lucy currently teaches at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.  She also works in training programs in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Canada.  Lucy has published several articles n adult formation and the ministry of spiritual direction.



A big part of any spiritual companion relationship is assessing where we are in our own unfolding spiritual journey, where we have been and where we may need to deepen or explore. In this workshop we will investigate ancient wisdom about spiritual development derived from both the Zen and Christian perspectives. Specifically we will look at the path of awakening as told by the Ten Zen Ox Herding Pictures and associated verses, mixed with an overlay of stages of spiritual unfolding from the perspective St Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle.  We will also spend time investigating the difference between the process of spiritual awakening and deep maturity. Can there be awakening without maturity?  Yes!  Awakening alone is insufficient and only a stepping stone towards maturity. If we aren’t always beginning just where we are, we have been sidetracked into some kind of arrogance, ignorance or spiritual bypassing.


Ten Zen Ox & Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle: 

Spiritual Development from a Zen perspective


Genjo Marinello Roshi began his Zen training in 1975. He moved to Seattle in 1976 to serve as a VISTA community organizer in the central district of the city.  In 1980 Genjo was ordained as a Zen monk, and in 1981-82 trained in Japan at the Zen temple Ryutaku-Ji. In 1999 Genjo succeeded Genki Takabayashi Roshi as the second abbot of the Seattle Zen temple, Chobo-Ji, and became a Dharma Heir in his lineage of Rinzai Zen in 2008. Genjo has been a member of the University Friends Meeting (Quakers) since 1983.  In 1989, Genjo completed a certificate program in Spiritual Direction (The Pacific Jubilee Program).  For several years Genjo was the volunteer Buddhist pastor of the Twin Rivers Correction Center in Monroe Washington and has served as adjunct faculty at the Seattle campus of Antioch University.

Listen to Genjo on this episode of SDI Encounters - the SDI Podcast.



Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing

Our workshop is a deep dive into our shared humanity across past, present, and future generations. There will be dedicated time to contemplate and journey with one’s own ancestors and dedicated time to share that experience with one another. If you are curious how to connect with your ancestors in ritually safe ways and in ways that can usher forth personal, familial, and cultural healing, then this would be a fruitful container to learn and share in. When we come together in intergenerational ways and relate with our wise, luminous ancestors, each of us can walk away with a deeper understanding of both our back bodies and our inherent and organic connectedness. We do hope you'll join us!

Adrienne Sloan is an animist, ritualist, and ancestral healing practitioner. Her work is informed by story, myth, and a deep relationship with the spirits of the land. As a former psychotherapist, Adrienne weaves her knowledge of transgenrational trauma and unacknowledged grief into ritual space to better support folks through the process of ancestral connection. She guides folks to reclaim the gifts and earth-honoring ways of their people so they can engage with the animate world from a place of ancestral integrity that serves to transform cultural harms. She is descended from generations of farmers by way of Ireland, Scotland, England, and Germany. Adrienne currently resides on the traditional homelands of the Tewa speaking people, now known as northern New Mexico. In her work as a psychotherapist, Adrienne most recently worked with indigenous youth and adults from the eight northern pueblos to help them navigate the impact of intergenerational trauma and addiction.

Lindsay Sudeikis is an educator-activist, practitioner of ancestral healing, and former Catholic nun, currently based in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in connecting folks with their inner-life and with their people for the overall wholeness/holiness of all beings. Her focus on ancestors and soul coaching emerges from classical philosophical inquiry and 20 years of metabolizing Catholic teaching at considerable depth. Since 1999, she’s journeyed with thousands of people on their quest for wholeness, wonder, and social justice through circle discussions, personal sessions, retreats, immersive service experiences, and civic engagement throughout North America and parts of Europe. She believes that engaging in lineage repair work with our blood ancestors can serve as an antidote to the systemic injustices of our time. 



Seeking Feminine Wisdom from our Muslim mothers: poetry, writing and whirling as spiritual practice

Islam offers a system of guidance that brings into balance and integration the masculine and feminine energies.  Never has such integration been more important, given the stark disharmony in which the feminine and the masculine exist in the world today.  When energies are balanced, there is healing that takes place not just at an individual level but a societal level.  This healing extends to the earth, who is Mother - the ultimate manifestation of the nurturing generosity of the Divine Feminine.  When integrated and healed - our soul being at peace, we become beings that reflect the Divine Unity.  We can offer others only what we are, in every relationship including that of spiritual companion. 

In this workshop, we begin this work of integration.  We will start by attuning ourselves with a seated Zikr (chanting remembrance of Allah).  Then, one by one, we will welcome these mothers into the circle by singing their name. Aarda (Earth).  Hajar (Hagar). Maryam (Mary).  Khadija (Wife of Prophet Mohammed).  Fatima (Daughter of Prophet Mohammed). Peace and Blessings upon them all.  We will share their stories.  Some interfaith, some uniquely Muslim.  We will share some poetry by Rabia Al- Adhawiya.  We will engage in a short writing exercise.  We will conclude with a standing Zikr with Sufi whirling and turning.  (Please bring thick socks to turn in, in case we are on a hard surface)

Azra Rahim has a BSc in Molecular Biology and holds an MD.  She describes herself this way: “Muslim Sufi.  Spiritual Quester. Truth seeker. Globe trotter. Lover of food, flowers and all things green. Indiscriminate dispenser of hugs. Kisser of all things beautiful."


Listen to Azra discuss her workshop on the SDI Encounters podcast.


Mindsight: How Interpersonal Neurobiology Can Change the Brain, Promote Flourishing, and Heal Relationships

Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) is an emerging interdisciplinary field drawing on findings
from neuroscience, psychology, systems theory, anthropology, and sociology to create a truly
integrative framework for understanding the brain, mind, and relationships.
This workshop applies IPNB to spiritual companionship; it will explore IPNB as a theory of intrapersonal and interpersonal health and flourishing while simultaneously shedding light on its important practical applications, grounding the theory in the real world of pain and joy, desolation and consolation, brokenness and thriving. We will look at what it means to have an integrated brain, mind, and body and why this matters for the sacred work in which we are engaged as spiritual companions.


Participants will experience how the individual mind/nervous system (inward) interacts with the mind/nervous system of others (outward) and how these influence one another in relationship (together). You will leave with a new set of unique practices to, for example, change the brain’s neural pathways; utilize “mindsight” to connect brain, mind, and relationships; manage states of dysregulation in oneself and in clients/directees; and help clients/directees change their brains to promote flourishing and greater connection with self, others, and the divine.

Ryan Kuja (MA,The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology / 2016 SDI New Contemplative) is a trauma-informed spiritual director, author, teacher, retreat leader, and practical theologian. With a background in international relief and development, he is a global citizen who has lived in fifteen cities on five continents. His writing has been published in the Journal of Feminist Theology, Presence, Sojourners, Red Letter Christians & Missio Alliance . Ryan's book, From the Inside Out, is a clarion call for the integration of action & contemplation through engaging memory, mysticism, mutuality, and imagination toward the flourishing of self and world.



From Judgment to Connection with Ourselves, Our Directees, and the World: Nonviolent Communication/Connecting Communication for Spiritual Directors

Nonviolent Communication (NVC), also known as Connecting Communication, is a revolutionary communication model that provides concrete ways to transform judgment, anger, and fear into compassion for ourselves and others. In this highly interactive, experiential workshop, we will see how NVC can enhance the spiritual direction relationship, helping directors to perceive and reflect the deepest motivations brought by their directees, in ways that can help the directees come to compassion for themselves and others. 


NVC offers strong, effective tools to connect open-heartedly with anyone, so that when we are called outward into the public square, we have the skills to work for change nonviolently – i.e. in a way that honors the sacredness of all humanity. Participants will learn how anger, fear, and judgment can be clarifying emotions, pointing us to what we most long for.  We will learn how meeting our motivations with deep compassion can help us move from those difficult emotions to the love which leads to more effective action.


Finally, we will note how NVC has sometimes been used to enforce the status-quo of white privilege and see how we can recognize this and turn it around, employing NVC to help dismantle systemic oppression.

Pam Winthrop Lauer grew her spiritual direction and Nonviolent Communication practices gradually over 15 years while raising her children and caring for her husband who was ill.  In 2015, with her children grown and husband recovering, Pam launched a full-time practice of spiritual direction and NVC coaching and teaching.  She also volunteers as an interfaith leader.  Pam's teaching style is dynamic, effective, and gentle.  She is a candidate to become a certified trainer with the Center for Nonviolent Communication (  Her spiritual direction certification is through the Lev Shomea Jewish Spiritual Direction Training Program of 2001-2003.


SoulCollage ®: A Window into the Soul – A Tool for Self Discovery and Applications for Spiritual Companions


In this workshop attendees will experience SoulCollage® as a tool for self-discovery, shared community and contemplation. With a few simple elements: scissors, glue, magazine images and a matte board, you will create an amazing portal into your inner self, as well as a connection to a wider community. Participants will be guided through the process of quietly grounding and choosing images, then assembling them onto a matte board to make a card. We will then use the card to do a reading: ask a question and receive an answer from your own Inner Wisdom. The process is easy, accessible, quiet, fun and contemplative. It has a wide range of uses both in spiritual companionship, therapeutic venues, private prayer or meditation and community building within a group. The images and experience of SoulCollage® create a community that unites and connects all cultures, generations and spiritualities. All materials will be provided in this workshop and no prior art experience is necessary.

Teresa Knipper is a certified Soul Collage ® Facilitator and Spiritual Director. Teresa has a curiosity about how the inner journey can be expressed and explored through intuitive art such as Soul Collage®, mandalas, and poetry writing. It is her deepest joy to share her passion with others. She received her Spiritual Direction certification at the Upper Room Spiritual Center in Neptune, NJ, has attended the Awakening the Creative Spirit training with Christine Valters Paintner and Betsey Beckman and completed training in Contemplative Leadership through Oasis Ministries.


Spiritual Direction with Children


In this workshop we will explore the unique ways that children are wired for spiritual connection and further how an adult listening companion can help to enliven those connections. We will ground our exploration in the unique expression of children’s spirituality. Children are free from certainty, they engage the world with all the dimensions of the person, they communicate through play and imagination and are naturally open to the sacred. These ways of being enable a child’s unique spiritual knowledge. The attentive listening offered by an adult companion can help to create lifelong patterns of growing spiritual awareness for a child.

We will practice accompanying a child as they learn to see goodness, truth, beauty, wonder and awe in their everyday lives. We will also learn how to be a faithful witness to their pain, fear and sorrow. As a child’s spiritual experience is not limited to the sharing of words, but can include tactile engagement with silly putty, body awareness, play, art, finger labyrinths, and prayer beads, we will also engage with these tactile means.


Participants will come away with a renewed and expanded knowledge of children’s spirituality. They will come to know the innate spiritual posture of the child, both the child in front of them and their own childhood selves. Participants will gain an experiential knowledge of spiritual engagement practices that meet children in the various dimensions of their person. They will also gain knowledge around the particulars of expanding their spiritual direction practice to include children.

Lacy Finn Borgo, DMin, teaches and provides spiritual direction for the Renovaré Institute, for the DMin. in Spiritual Direction at Fuller Theological Seminary, for Master’s and Doctoral classes at Portland Seminary, and for the Companioning Center. Lacy has a spiritual direction and supervision of spiritual directors ministry, and provides spiritual direction for children at Haven House, a transitional housing facility for homeless families in Olathe, Colorado. She is the author of Life with God for Children: A Curriculum for the Spiritual Formation of Children. She is the coauthor, with Ben Barczi, of Good Dirt: A Devotional for the Spiritual Formation of Families Volumes 1, 2, and 3. Her book Spiritual Conversations with Children: Listening to God Together will be released March 2020 through IVP.



Companionship for the last third of life 

Too often we do not accept the gifts of aging. We do not understand that here in these last years of our life we can discover who we really are created to become. We have the opportunity to live out our own destiny. This workshop will demonstrate ways to cherish and value this special time in our lives. It will enhance the ability to live these years most effectively and to companion others in the aging process. This workshop will include presentations, silent reflection, and small group sharing.

Margaret Schroder is a certified Spiritual Director and trained Celebrant who currently leads retreats in prayer, silence, meditation and aging. She has a Masters degree in theological studies from Saint Meinrad Seminary seminary in Indiana. Margaret is a lifetime learner, having studied Myers Briggs, the Enneagram, Human Design, and the Course of Miracles. She is passionate about building community and believes it must start with listening to our stories. Margaret is still married to her first husband of over 50 years and still enjoys playing with him. They have two children and three grandchildren. They have recently left their home of over 50 years and are now excited about the next chapter of their aging journey. Margaret is currently practicing living gracefully into her last third of life.




Dreams: A Portal to the Divine


Spiritual Direction is a psycho-spiritual relationship between seeker and companion and between the outer world of ego and the inner world of spirit.  In spiritual companionship we often hear questions like “What does God want me to do or be?” “Where is there meaning in this situation?” “How do I know that what I hear is the voice of the Divine?”


What if there is a portal to the answers for these questions that is easily accessible and ever present? There is such a portal and it is dream work – the practice of translating messages from our nightly dreams into waking life understanding. Across time and religious traditions, dreams are known as a profound source of communication with the Divine.


This workshop introduces the practice of projective dream work based on the analytical psychology methods of Carl Jung; offering tools for navigating the path toward spiritual maturity, bypassing ego resistance by using the language of symbol and metaphor, imagery and story. Workshop participants are invited to bring a dream to share, or to participate in a circle to process a dream.  The deep listening and shared inner images of the group experience introduce the deep inner work used to address psychological and spiritual issues frustrating our spiritual growth. Dream work enables practitioners to engage in social justice concerns motivated by compassion and reconciliation rather than projection, anger and self-righteousness. The projective method offers a model for both group and individual work and many Spiritual Directors find dream work to be a deepening and enriching modality for accessing divine wisdom in spiritual companionship.  A brief lecture, with time for questions, follows the dream group demonstration to expand on the foundational principles of Jungian psychology as a path to psychological wholeness, spiritual resilience and integrated social engagement.

Allen Proctor is the Director of the Haden Institute, a program that trains Spiritual Directors and Dream Workers in the Jungian, Mystical Christian tradition. Allen is a Spiritual Director, Dream Work Facilitator and Presbyterian minister.  Throughout his ministry he has worked with others on questions of identity, relationships, vocation and meaning, using dream work, the Enneagram, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, meditation practices and Celtic spirituality.