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The Woman in White Marble

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Dis-Ease: Living with Prostate Cancer

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My first classroom and congregation were made up of dollies and stuffed animals lined up on my bed under the gables of a pretty white house on a hill in Michigan. I drew pictures for them and promised love and faithfulness to counter what didn’t feel loving downstairs.

My educational journey flowed from art to art history to teaching children to ministry in the United Church of Christ. (The historic USA mainline Christian denomination that lives out the message of God’s radical welcome and inclusion).During twenty-five years as a local church pastor in Northern California my passions were connecting with human souls and preaching the love of God.

In order to more deeply connect with people I was guided in the 1980’s to train as a classical Christian Spiritual Director and then to become a Pastoral Counselor (American Association of Pastoral Counselors, AAPC). Through my relentless internal quest for self understanding and spiritual growth I became a student of the Enneagram, meditation, centering prayer and, for 17 years the Ridhwan School, learning that by making intimate contact with the truth of my everyday life, I can know the depths of whom and what I am. I came full circle when I discovered I am what I experienced as a little girl with my dollies; I am love.

Today I practice as a certified Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapist. I work with my clients on their inner system of Parts while leading, guiding and following their inner journey grounded in the belief that “All parts are good and all parts are welcome.” IFS creates a therapeutic environment in which one’s inner system is deeply respected and nourished. Focused, nurturing attention to internal parts and the sacred, essential nature of Self is a concrete way to practice self-love and to lead a soul led life.

My monthly column, Soul Desire, will be reflections on love and the sacred nature of ordinary experience. I present a collection of writings from past and present that include contributions to church newsletters, a travel blog, professional magazines, poetry, sermons, and heart-full reflections. Most contributions are filtered through yoga stretches, long walks, vigorous swimming, birds in my back yard, select women clergy, a creative witch, and my loving husband who is a publisher.