Friday, October 23, 2009

(4) Filling the Gap

As one grows older, time moves faster and faster. My two-year
residency at Shalem came and went. I was provided a Certificate
of Completion, ready to strike out as a spiritual director. But herein
was my quandary. Most spiritual directors are connected with a
religious group either at a church or denominational college/
university. Still "unchurched," these environments seemed

As for spiritual direction itself, it was more open to many more
people than the more concentrated clinical or analytic
environments. So once again I felt a sense of being lost, not
being able to follow through. I suppose I could join a church,
but I really didn't want to be a hypocrite. I had enough issues
without adding yet another. But Providence came through for
me, setting me upon a totally new course.

To explain: there are Jungian Societies all over the country. As
analysts we were part of these groups, supported by all sorts of
people who were devoted students of Jung's psychological
philosophy. These societies provided not only a social context
for their members, but also a place for learning. And that's where
we analysts came into the picture--giving lectures, leading seminars.

Sometimes, too, we had visiting analysts (from out-of-town) who
would be invited to present a weekend seminar. Our local group,
the Washington Society of Jungian Psychology, had invited a
famous Jungian psychologist from San Diego to give such a
seminar. Like Morton Kelsey, he was also an Episcopal priest.
His topic was about the archetypal imagery projected upon
Jesus. I was interested and decided to attend his seminar.

That particular weekend I learned a lot of unique perspectives
about Jesus, but I also gained some life-changing information!

After the seminar was over, I got into a conversation with this
gentleman from San Diego. One topic led to another, and finally
we got into the challenges of spiritual direction. I told him about
Shalem, about my inability to find an environment where I might
offer my services. With this, he gave me an answer.

This visiting analyst told me that occasionally he worked with a
Benedictine monastic group in New Mexico. Their charism
focused on Jungian Psychology as it relates to spiritual growth.
They were located near the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, close
to Santa Fe. Also there were colleges, pastoral counseling
centers, ecumenical retreat facilities in this area, all offering
programs within a Jungian context. And, beyond this, Santa Fe
housed a Jungian training facility, replete with a Board of Analysts
as well as supporting a Jungian Society for the greater citizenry.
In other words, the Land of Enchantment offered all sorts of
possibilities for moving more specifically into spiritual direction.

So I decided to take a vacation and visit this fertile territory.
I stopped and plugged-in with a number of these places, mainly
all in Santa Fe. That made it convenient, having so many
outlets nearby one another. And besides the monastery, near
Santa Fe, a number of these facilities practiced "outreach"
when it came to spiritual guidance or direction. There was
Albuquerque, Taos, and Los Alamos--all within driving distance.

Having surveyed the territory, I drove home ruminating upon a
big decision. By the time I reached Washington I had decided
that I would "retire" to Santa Fe. And after another 18 months,
when I completed work with my last analysand, I flew out to the
Land of Enchantment and secured a residence. The moving
vans soon followed, and I set up shop.

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