As I sat at breakfast with a colleague last weekend, I was given a wonderful gift that I didn’t know I was wanting. She gifted me with a phrase. It was just in passing that she referred to her work as a private practice, but that simple utterance resonated so deeply with me that it woke something up, which I didn’t know was there. It was a need for grounding and validity.
When I was only a dream worker, I struggled for a long time with a sense of validation; a sense that being a dream interpreter was legitimately helpful for people and could be considered a calling. I knew it but every time I spoke with someone else, I yearned for them to know it too. I needed them to reflect my legitimacy back to me. So, I would spend any available time in conversation building up my argument for dream work as deep soul work worthy of the title of “job”.
And then I discovered spiritual direction, and I was home at last. It has been almost one year exactly since I became a certified spiritual director and I am still seeking legitimacy. By now, though, my insecurity is much more masked because a spiritual director is actually a thing (more so than a ‘dream interpreter’, at least in my view of what is acceptable to most people). So that insecurity didn’t go away like I thought, it just sunk down a little deeper into my unconscious.
When Becky mentioned her private practice, I stopped her and told her that she had just given me something spectacular; a role. I have a spiritual direction private practice…and I am once again at home at last.
“Private practice” instantly re-frames everything I am doing. It has shaped how I see my time at home spent cultivating Sweet Georgia Pam and it has given me countless new ways to enhance and continue to tend the garden of my vocation.
I am so grateful to colleagues like Becky who feed me in ways no one else can. And I welcome every opportunity to network with my community of spiritual directors, dream workers, and soul healers. We are everywhere but we tend to become isolated because of our ‘listening life’ and our love of contemplating and sitting with the unknowable.
This morning I came up with a new way to look at how I spend my work time-
There are three parts to my private practice which are all important to the health of my business.
- The PILLARS: the pillars of my private practice are the professional organizations to which I belong and actively interact (Spiritual Directors International, The Haden Institute, and the spiritual directors networking events in Atlanta); along with the continuing education efforts I make to stay informed (reading recommended books, listening to podcasts, following other spiritual directors, and keep up with current trending topics in spiritual direction and in dream work, etc)
- The WALLS: (which I also labeled fluid clay); the walls of my practice are made of my own spiritual direction I do for myself, the SD supervision, my contemplative practice and practicing my faith (the structured religion I adhere to)
- The PAINT: The paint is the decor that is Sweet Georgia Pam- it is the work I produce, like the look and feel of this website, the posts in this blog, my offerings, appearances, dream groups, and every way in which I engage with all of you, Sweet Readers. All of my expressions and all of their outlets are the decor of my private practice.
By spending time in each of these three areas on a regular basis, I am tending the hearth of this vocation and building a solid, safe, loving, compassionate practice that can last and not be solely dependent upon my temporary whims.
In order for Sweet Georgia Pam the spiritual direction practice to hold up for the deep work that will happen here, it must be grounded in steady progress.
That is the gift I received at breakfast last weekend. I expect it to be a guide post I point to in the coming months and years as one of the moments where I received the help I needed to keep going as a spiritual director.
And what about you, Sweet reader? have you had a guide post moment? recently or has it been a while? and what did it teach you?