4:00 - 5:30 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.





What happens when the inner sanctums of contemplative reflection spill through the gates that have divided mind from matter, and touch the outward wilds of action and engagement? What if thought itself were a matter of ecologies and an enfolded earth, not pristine human minds separate from the embodied flow of things around us? What happens to spiritual companionship if the very nature of the spiritual (and the 'material world' it is supposedly superior to) is called into question?


The sacred has changed address. Our halos are broken. Movements and flows in the world at large are now inviting us to re-notice, re-member and re-visit the world we once assumed ourselves lords over. With this annulment of our suzerainty over the planet comes an urgent intuition to hold space for a collective descent - an emancipatory demise that allows us rekindle our connections with the more-than-human world. In this workshop, Bayo Akomolafe speaks of this dying, this collapse, as "postactivism" and as a "making sanctuary", and reads the practices of spiritual companionship through emerging new arts that help us live on a damaged planet. Presenting this collapse - this catabasis - as an opportunity, Bayo presents a creative social cartography that inspires deep inquiry, and may help us find other places of power. Coming down to earth is the messianic rupture in the fabric of power, allowing us to glimpse the face of god - as if for the first time. 


Coming Down to Earth: Making Sanctuary as Spiritual Companionship


Bayo Akomolafe (PhD) is a father, husband, diaper changer and lover of words and rich conversations. An author, speaker, public intellectual and teacher, Bayo also serves as Chief Curator of The Emergence Network - an organization that is committed to unsettling habitual modes of perception and practitioner engagements around challenges and issues of our time. Inspired by Yoruba epistemologies and the decolonial trickster work of figures like Esu, Bayo teaches in multiple universities around the world, speaking in public arenas, facilitating community and stitching collective practices that might help us live well in the ruins of modernity.

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


 Beyond Play: Uses of Role Playing Games for Spiritual Companionship


There is a growing field of research into the use of role playing games for educational, social, and therapeutic purposes. This workshop explores the use of games, in particular Role Playing Games, in spiritual companionship. Role playing games (RPGs - perhaps the best known is Dungeons and Dragons) create fictional distance, allowing us to explore our selves without ego and defenses. We create a character with skills, spells, and weapons who goes on adventures, and we say, “it’s my character, not me” negotiating with dragons and deposing ruthless warlords. Yet, the truth is it is us, and growth in our characters can parallel growth in us. This ineractive workshop will offer participants an opportunity to experience a Role Playing Game specifically designed for the spiritual growth, exploration and healing of the players. 

No game experience required!

Menachem Cohen is the founding Rabbi of Mitziut in Chicago and the Black Rock JCC, at Burning Man. He received smicha/ordination in 2003 from Hebrew Seminary. From 2006-2019 he did outreach with homeless and/or LGBTQ youth in Chicago. After graduating from Beloit College with a degree in Creative Writing and Women's Studies, he worked for Little Brothers/Friends of the Elderly in Minneapolis and the Center on Deafness in Northbrook, IL. He then earned an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before pursuing the rabbinate. In 2019 he earned his Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Loyola University. He offers spiritual direction and coaching to individuals and groups, sometimes using role playing games (RPGs). He also designs/writes for RPGs, usually ones that foster spiritual growth, exploration, and healing. 

Most important, he is a dad.


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

Contemplative spiritual direction models have created a spacious, trustworthy foundation for deepening one’s inner life and discerning the outer work.  Building on this legacy, this advanced experiential workshop will offer a holy container for wrestling with our collective shadows as spiritual companions.  We will steep ourselves in embodied creative practices that build on the contemplative foundation of spiritual direction, and cultivate the tools to deepen our capacity to embrace risk, courage and transformation. While this workshop is designed as an advanced experiential practice seminar for seasoned spiritual guides, everyone is welcome.


Wrestling with our Shadows: Transformation and Risk in Spiritual Guidance

Karen Erlichman provides psychotherapy, spiritual direction, supervision and So(U)L coaching in San Francisco. Most recently Karen has been exploring embodied leadership and transformation,and has been especially inspired by her trainings with the Strozzi Institute, Jewish Studio Project and the Center for Courage and Renewal. Karen’s writing has been published in numerous journals, blogs and anthologies, including RitualWell, Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction, Tikkun, Feminist Studies in Religion and the interfaith anthology Spiritual Guidance Across Religions. She is passionate about creating diverse and welcoming spaces for liberation, embodied spirituality and community.


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



Forgiveness confronts us as individuals, our families, our spiritual companions and our communities.  Forgiveness is one of the most difficult issues of our lives and it becomes especially meaningful at the end of life.  As spiritual companions we will often be with companions through the dying process, holding space for this sacred time. It is a time of deep listening, connecting to the infinite and often will involve issues of forgiveness which Ira Byok, one of the major figures in the hospice and palliative care movement, says is one of the four things that matter most at the end of life. Roshi Joan Halifax says, “If we attend to forgiveness, we can more easily be with the good events of a person’s life.” Forgiveness can be an intensely poignant experience, calling for trust and presence. As spiritual companions we may be the bridge between long-separated brokenness and help for its mending awakened with the anticipated loss. 


This workshop will be experiential, involving participants in contemplative forgiveness meditations; “ telling their stories,”  confronting issues of forgiveness, practicing as Spiritual Companions and learning a forgiveness process to use with companions.  Participants will have a greater ease in talking about death and dying , being with the dying and discussing forgiveness.  During the workshop, participants will learn what is and isn’t forgiveness and some of the questionable assumptions about forgiveness; understand dysfunctional forgiveness (cheap or pseudo forgiveness); and learn two options of a forgiveness process: acceptance and healthy forgiveness.


Forgiveness and the Dying Process: A Passage to Wholeness

Frank R. Williams, PhD, has written about and presented on dying and death and other end of life topics for over 50 years.  Recently retired, having served 11 years as Director of Social Services for Casa de la Luz Hospice, Tucson, Arizona, he presently is Community Educator with Casa de la Luz Hospice and the Arizona End of Life Care Partnership, a collaboration of agencies working in the field. He is Director of Tacheria Interfaith School of Spiritual Direction and a spiritual director.  Previous to coming to Casa de la Luz, he was Executive Director of Family Counseling Agency, Tucson; served 20 years as Family Studies Professor at the University of Arizona and is a United Methodist minister, having served churches in California and Arizona. A graduate of the University of Arizona, his Master of Sacred Theology and Doctorate were received from Boston University.



Inner, Outer, One - The Body Compass

Sarah Cledwyn, MA is a spiritual director, energy healer and the Director of Inquiry and Discernment for Sacred Ground Center for Spirituality. Sarah uses energy work and BioSpiritual focusing as tools in her personal and professional work and has found using the body as a compass a potent technique for expanding awareness.  Sarah specializes in working with people whose primary desire is to live in deepening alignment in all areas of their life including business, service, activism and spiritual seeking.  Sarah's current learnings are bringing total trust in guidance to the fore in her entrepreneurship, food and racial justice activism, and parenting as well as taking particular guided action that wells up from stillness. She has been known to put a sign out on a coffee shop table and offer guerrilla spiritual direction in her hometown of St. Paul, MN USA. 

Drop into the body.  Ground your energy.  Open your heart.  What do you know here?  On our awakening journey our inner wisdom and guidance become increasingly the center point and fuel for outer action.  This workshop will tune us to the information our bodies hold as a bridge between inner and outer and a guide for inspired action. We will experience biospiritual focusing.  We will chant. We will practice hand breathing.  In our bodies we can sense our alignment with or invitation towards Love, experience what it feels like to operate from our center source, and navigate a reliable pathway home to love from a perspective of separation, upset, or fear.  To be whole, Spiritual Direction today must take into account our embodied nature and skillfully use it in service of conscious awakened living. We will practice these embodied tools to invite all areas of life into a more congruous reflection of our inner connection with specific focus in this workshop on our companioning practice and activism in the public square.  The workshop will include a gentle pace of experiential practice moving into reflection with each other and the large group and back to practice again.  What space can you create in harmony with your body?  What world can we create when we come into harmony with the larger body of activists yearning to bring justice, love and compassion into embodied reality?


Spiritual Companionship in the Islamic Sufi Tradition- Rumi, Hafiz, Rabia and the Qur'an


This workshop will explore the practice of spiritual companionship in the Islamic Sufi tradition through the lens of the acclaimed sages and poets Rumi, Hafiz and Rabia whose insights and inspirations are rooted in the teachings of the Qur'an. Their poetry, filled with longing and nuance, speaks beautifully to the notion of spiritual companionship with God, with each other, and with ourselves.In this experiential workshop, participants will, hopefully, experience something of the 'fragrance' of the Divine, as revealed through the works of these great beings.

Jamal Rahman is a popular speaker on Islam, Sufi spirituality, and interfaith relations. Along with his Interfaith Amigos, he has been featured in the New York Times, CBS News, BBC, and various NPR programs. Jamal is co-founder and Muslim Sufi minister at Interfaith Community Sanctuary and adjunct faculty at Seattle University. He is a former co-host of Interfaith Talk Radio and travels nationally and internationally, presenting at retreats and workshops. 


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


A Four Worlds Approach to Spiritual Direction: Companioning Spiritual Journeys Internally, Externally, Beyond and Between

Integrating Body, Heart, Mind and Spirit (four worlds) are core to the equanimity, challenge and nurturance we offer our directees. The inner life and outer work for transformation co-arise in their own unique balance when we are able to embrace both the tensions and the emerging clarity that are expressed in the work of spiritual direction. This workshop explores the continuum of contemplative and activist approaches to spiritual direction, offering insight into working with directees as they journey internally in their soul lives and/or externally with family systems, friends, workplaces, social justice and ecological needs in our world today.

Participants in this workshop will be invited to engage with the four worlds approach to both contemplative and activist expressions of their life with Spirit, exploring the ideas presented through dyad exercises and sharing, fishbowl sessions and large group discussion. We will gain greater awareness of the information, gateways and approaches to deeper spiritual guidance for ourselves and our directees as we hone our skills in working with various spiritual typologies.



Shawn Israel Zevit, (RRC/ALEPH) serves as rabbi at Mishkan Shalom in Philadelphia, PA and is a member of the ALEPH Ordination Council and Faculty. Shawn is co-founder/director of the Davennen Leader's Training Institute and, with Rabbi Nadya Gross, is the Associate Director for the ALEPH Hashpa'ah (Spiritual Direction) Training Program. Shawn has been offering spiritual direction for over 20 years, working with people of all faith backgrounds. He is an active leader in faith and justice work, co-chair of the clergy caucus of POWER Faith in Action in Philadelphia and is a  liturgical recording and performing artist.  Shawn is co-editor of Brother Keepers: New Perspectives in Jewish Masculinity; and author of Offerings of the Heart: Money and Values in Faith Community. 

Rabbi Nadya Gross is the Director of  Hashpa’ah, a Training Program for Jewish Spiritual Directors in the ALEPH Ordination Program. She and her husband, Rabbi Victor Gross, share a pulpit at Pardes Levavot: Jewish Renewal Congregation in Boulder, CO, and recently founded Yerusha, an organization dedicated to furthering the legacy of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. Nadya transmits the mystical teachings passed down from her grandmother in a two-year wisdom school: Secrets My Grandmother Told Me. She has trained End-of-Life Doulas, is a co-Director of the Sage-ing® Legacy Program, and serves on the faculty of the Anamcara Project of the Sacred Art of Living, Center for Spiritual Formation. She is co-author, with Rabbi Malka Drucker, of the recently published book, Embracing Wisdom: Soaring in the Second Half of Life.




Going Out to Go In: Companioning Seekers of Spiritual Vision and Discernment in Wild Natural Spaces

Spiritual companions are often familiar with the natural world as a powerful place for personal restoration, renewal, inspiration, and deepening of spiritual connection. This workshop will expand awareness of the opportunities presented by time spent in wild natural spaces. Specifically, we will explore ways that spiritual companions can support directees who are called out of doors to seek spiritual discernment, vision and healing.


Through sharing of information, stories, resources, contemplative practices, and experiential
exercises, participants will be guided to consciously and intentionally listen on multiple "channels" in ways that acknowledge and respect the subtly and nuance of spiritual information presented by the natural world. Drawing on personal experience, traditional knowledge and practice, and embodied forms of psychospiritual inquiry, participants will be given tools to more skillfully recognize and reflect back the symbols and synchronicities that show up on the land as significant and transformative for those they companion.

Jocelyn Burkhart, MEd, is a spiritual companion, coach, teacher, and artist with a passion for embodied awareness and the natural world. Influences in her reflective and intuitive approach include spiritual direction formation with Ontario Jubilee Associates, yoga teacher training at Yasodhara Ashram, apprenticeship in both traditional and contemporary approaches to wilderness Vision Quest and energy healing modalities, and doctoral studies exploring embodied awareness focusing for spiritual discernment and healing. Jocelyn has
over 20 years experience as a facilitator of adult experiential education and self awareness programs, including 5 years instructing holistic education courses for preservice teachers and graduate students at Lakehead University. Her private practice offerings include spiritual direction and supervision, as well as facilitator formation and business coaching for soul centered companions, coaches, healers, and leaders. Jocelyn currently lives in Thunder Bay, on the beautiful north shore of Lake Superior, and loves to sing, dance, garden, and cook.


Pilgrimage of Companionship and Celtic Imagination: Walking with the Spiritual but not Religious


I sat at the foot of Michael's fresh grave, crying, laughing, drinking Irish whiskey and telling stories to the 100 ghosts gathered around. Michael had walked with me for 23 years as my spiritual companion through dark nights, decisions, doubts, fears, celebrations. The Irish priest died in his homeland while I was finishing yet another walking pilgrimage with doubters and skeptical seekers. Michael taught me to see life as a pilgrimage and now I live it as a way of life. The 6,000 years of Celtic Imagination continues to reveal the mysteries of life and death without institutional dryness. This workshop will be a rich visual contemplative dialogue between the ancient and the contemporary responding to the question of how to walk with the spiritual but not religious.

The Rev. Cn. Gil Stafford, Ph.D., D.Min. is a retired priest from the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona. He served as the Canon Theologian. Previously, Stafford was the President of Grand Canyon University, as well the university’s baseball coach, winning three national titles.  He is a student of Hermeticism and Alchemy. Stafford is the author of Wisdom Walking: Pilgrimage as a Way of Life (Church Publishing, 2017) and When Leadership and Spiritual Direction Meet: Reflections and Stories for Congregational Life (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014).
Life is a pilgrimage and Stafford has taken many, including walking Ireland coast-to-coast. He and his wife, Cathy Stafford, Ed.D., are founders of Wisdom’s Way Interfaith School of wisdom and spiritual companionship.

Dr. Cathy Stafford, Ed.D is a seeker of Wisdom and a pilgrim of compassionate presence. Her journey has taken her on the path of serving as an elementary school teacher, college professor, and public school superintendent. Cathy practices holy listening as a way of life and provides professional leadership coaching to those who are looking for support. She has organized and facilitated several pilgrimages in Ireland for other seekers. She is a graduate of Tacheria Interfaith School of Spiritual Direction in Tucson, AZ. In September 2014, Cathy and Gil began an interfaith school for spiritual exploration and spiritual companioning — Wisdom’s Way Interfaith School in Phoenix, AZ, following the practices of The Circle Way and supported by Tacheria Interfaith Spirituality Center.




Examen the Play Dough

Remember how fun it was to play with play dough as a kid? Remember the imaginary world you could create? Wouldn’t it be great to explore and wonder like that again and hear from Source at the same time? In this hands-on, kinesthetic workshop, professional potter, Nancy Shadlock will lead you into that kind of creativity and insight.  The bulk of this presentation will be experiential, using clay (ahem… play dough) to mold an image of current limitations or struggles, and then to form another totem of what is the fullness of life you are being called to.

Think of doing the examen, but in 3D!


As a spiritual director, life coach and potter, Nancy will help you tune in to the deepest parts of yourself and hear how the Divine is speaking to you in this particular time. This exercise will help you bypass your analytical and often critical left brain so you can tune into your creative right brain and hear what you are being called to—your unique next steps in sharing it with the world in the most impactful way. This workshop is perfect for those who are ready to hear from Source in a fresh way or those who regularly companion others and are looking to add a form of artistic expression to their practice. 

Nancy Shadlock, MA, is the CEO and founder of Centered Life Coaching ( Nancy has a Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation from Carey Theological in Vancouver. After completing spiritual direction training through SoulStream and serving many years as a spiritual director, she expanded into the coaching field to help people hear the divine in not just their spiritual life, but also the pain points that show up in their business, relationships and health.


Nancy grew up in a conservative Christian household as a missionary kid in Kenya. She has gradually grown and expanded her spirituality to notice the Divine in everything! Nancy had to face into some of her own limiting beliefs to accept and celebrate herself as a queer woman and has been amazed at all the new life and growth that has emerged from that deep, authentic awareness and alignment. She loves to bring creativity into all areas of life, even procreation! Nancy and her wife were pregnant at the same time and now have two 2-year-olds who were born 25 days apart.  


Centered Coaching is sustained by Nancy’s desire to create a better world for her children. She knows that as each person gets clear on who they were created to be, and what their particular gifting is, the whole world is enriched when they let that shine.



The Civic Imperative of Spirituality and Spiritual Companionship

Fetzer Institute and Hattaway Communications have teamed up for a groundbreaking study of spirituality in America that explores how people experience and practice spirituality within and outside traditional religion. Learn what brand-new survey data show about the spiritual lives of Americans, consider what it says about the relationship between our inner lives and our outer action, and discuss how practitioners might ignite the civic imperative of our spiritual lives. This study will be of particular interest to spiritual companions, as it speaks to, and provides insights, into many issues we confront on a daily basis


Gillian Gonda is engagement program director of the Fetzer Institute, a philanthropic organization whose mission is to help build the spiritual foundation for a loving world. She guides Fetzer’s storytelling and public engagement efforts—with strategies that support sacred relationship and connection. Gonda is a passionate advocate for restorative narratives and works to help media makers and storytellers of all kinds see the transformational potential of their work. Gonda has worked her entire career in the nonprofit sector, spending much of that time in public media and philanthropy leading communications, program strategy, community outreach, and public engagement.


Veronica Selzler is a director at Hattaway Communications, a strategic communications firm that helps visionary leaders and organizations use strategy, science, and storytelling to achieve ambitious goals for people and the planet. She partners with foundations to get to know the values at the heart of their work, and uses qualitative and quantitative research to better understand the identities, motivations, and aspirations that inspire their audiences to take action. Before joining Hattaway, she managed communications and grants at Venture Philanthropy Partners and the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

C. Vanessa White, D. Min. is Assistant Professor of Spirituality and Ministry at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She is a member of the summer faculty of Xavier University of Louisiana’s Institute for Black Catholic Studies in New Orleans where she teaches in both the Master’s degree and Continuing Education and Enrichment Program. Her articles and essays have appeared in New Theology Review, U.S. Catholic, AMERICA and  She is a contributor for the GIVE US THIS DAY, daily prayer booklet published by Liturgical Press.  Her research is focused on the intersections of spirituality and praxis and is attentive to issues of discernment, health, women’s spirituality, diversity/intercultural dialogue, leadership development, spiritual and ministry formation, spiritual practices, lay ministry and adult faith formation.


Creating Sacred Companionship and Self-Care Through the Arts

As spiritual companions serving in the world, we need time for self nourishment and self care. Art-making is a illuminating healing tool, creating a pathway, a means and access to the language of the heart, sensitizing us to the “still small voice within”. Staying open, embracing a calming, contemplative mode of being, we can engage our imagination in ways which can surprise and gift us with subtle joy, and new insights. Art can offer creative solutions to support our conscious being and doing in the world. It is important that we continually nurture the creative dimensions of our being to allow surprise, delight and awe to be our experience in the world, both individually and in community. This wholly interactive workshop employs art, poetry, and music to create spiritually inspired images to release one’s natural creativity and imagination. Participants are given the opportunity to experience adult play, to be intuitively creative in a facilitated, safe uncritical space where all shades of ability are unconditionally welcome. Inclusivity, non-judgmental creativity, free self-expression, and communal celebration in a spirit of quiet love, is nurtured and embodied. The completed artworks may be exhibited at the conference for further interaction by viewers.  Materials will be provided.   

Zimbabwe born Rev. Andre van Zijl is co-founder of ALL PATHS Divinity School, an online non-denominational inter-spiritual seminary. He is an award winning artist, mystic poet, published author and non-dual philosophy teacher. Andre's teaching includes All Paths, University of Cape Town, the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department,
 LA County Museum of Art and LA Folk Art Museum. Andre is an elder of “The Mankind Project” and founder and director of Van Zijl Art and Design Studios. His most recent exhibition was: “I AM “: an Archeology of the Future” at the 2018 Toronto Parliament of World’s Religions in Toronto.

Interfaith Minister, Rev. Debrah Friedland-van Zyl is Co-founder, Co-director of All Paths Divinity School, an online interfaith seminary. Programs include Interfaith Ordination, Master of Divinity/Theology degrees, Spiritual Counselling & Spiritual Development. She is co-chair of the Southern California Committee for a Parliament of the World’s Religions (SCCPWR). For nearly 40 years, she has designed and facilitated many interfaith and spiritual events, workshops and retreats, both in the US and  internationally. In 2013, 2015 and 2017, she was Co-Producer, Co-Chair and event manager of the SCCPWR Seeds of Peace events in Los Angeles and is co-creator of the Conversations on Pluralism Series. Debrah is L.A.-based and South African born and is a certified Death Doula.