A spiritual director is one who helps another to recognize and to follow the inspirations of grace in his life, in order to arrive at the end to which God is leading him.
-- Thomas Merton
SPIRITUAL DIRECTION, MENTORING, AND GUIDANCE
What is Spiritual Direction / Mentoring / Guidance?
Spiritual direction can meet many different needs depending on what a person is seeking in their life. At its core, spiritual direction is an ancient practice of holy listening intended to create holy space and stillness. Within this sacred container, we can find deeper understanding of ourselves. Through conversations and contemplative practices, we can listen together for the movement of the Divine in your life and discern answers and solutions to difficulties that lead to opportunities for growth and transformation. When we lose our way in life, spiritual direction can help us reconnect with who we are meant to be.
What Can We Explore?
Together we work to discover your connection to the wider truth of you. We can explore aspects like:
Moving through changes you're going through with higher awareness and confidence.
Noticing what is coming up in your life that wants to be revealed and expressed.
Finding answers to questions about who you are at your core using contemplative practices.
How to grow and expand in your life.
Breaking down obstacles that are impeding your growth.
Discernment of the next steps in your journey by talking through options, values, and desires and evaluating choices so you can move forward with wisdom and clarity.
Reasons you may be feeling disconnected from your own life.
Adding and cultivating daily spiritual practices so you can learn more about who you are and how you can express yourself through soul-level awareness.
Finding perspective when everything around you seems chaotic.
Discovering elements of your life meaning and purpose by revealing what is calling for your attention and talents.
Working through the pain of grief, sadness, and loss.
Using spiritual tools for finding peace and calm in the storms of your life.
Processing and healing past wounds and hurts that are negatively effecting you.
Your connection to something greater.
Understanding where the Divine is present and active in your life.
Learning who you are authentically and how to live more fully in your personal power.
Getting unstuck by understanding and removing inner and outer barriers and circumstances so you can grow and thrive again.
Birthing new ideas by examining the true stirrings and passions of your heart.
Walking your journey with a spiritual companion is about moving toward wholeness by uncovering what it is you need at your deepest level, connecting deeply with a greater power, and facing your joys and challenges with the knowing of a higher grace and wisdom.
What is a Spiritual Director/ Mentor/Guide?
Spiritual directors/guides are dedicated to assisting seekers on their spiritual journey by serving as a trusted confidant, non-judgmental witness, and spiritual path companion through the ebbs and flows of your journey as you explore the meanings, callings, difficulties, joys, successes, and purposes of your life. I see myself as a privileged witness to the beautiful spiritual unfolding of your path.
Who Seeks Spiritual Guidance/Mentoring?
Anyone with a desire to explore the mystery we call life more deeply and/or is interested in exploring questions, seeking answers, and problem solving will find spiritual direction beneficial. People of diverse faiths and traditions — the religious and non-religious. No particular belief is required for spiritual direction to be beneficial.
What Happens in a Spiritual Guidance/Mentoring Session?
Each session is unique based on your changing needs. We usually begin with a short poem, guided meditation, intention, prayer, or a few minutes of silence to ground and center ourselves and ask the Divine to be with us. Some seekers come with a question they’d like to explore. Others take this this time to discuss challenges, intentions, joys, difficulties, or struggles they’ve been experiencing. Divine guidance arises through conversation, contemplative practices, and creative expression.
As we sit within the energy and love of the Divine presence, we work together to perceive the divine nudges we receive and how to act on those bits of guidance. Sometimes we will use contemplative or consciousness tools to help move through our spiritual issues like dream work, meditation, prayer, journaling, reflection, contemplation, writing intentions for clarity and manifestation, SoulCollage, Touch Drawing, mandala work, poetry, affirmations, music, labyrinth walking, and other intuitive creative expression practices to help you connect with your inner Divine Voice. In each session, you can expect to receive insight, guidance, and encouragement as you explore the spiritual dimension of any aspect of your life.
Is Spiritual Direction/Guidance Religious?
Some spiritual directors/guides do practice religion-specific guidance. However, I consider myself interspiritual. My diverse spiritual background and personal practices welcome all spiritual paths, including those who do not consider themselves spiritual or religious. We are not exploring religion. Rather, we are exploring what you most need at this time in your life so you can live more fully and joyfully.
Is Spiritual Direction/Guidance Different Than Counseling?
Spiritual direction is not counseling. It's a time set aside to learn how to pay attention to the deep wisdom already present within each of us. It's a time for listening to what might be at work within your soul.
A licensed counselor follows a medical model to diagnose clients with a mental health issue and creates a plan to help alleviate symptoms. A spiritual director is more focused on developing spiritual well-being and helping you tap into your Divine Voice for a more balanced, informed, and contemplative life.
Can I Substitute Spiritual Direction/Guidance for Counseling?
Because spiritual direction/guidance and counseling are two different types of services with different goals, they are not a substitute for one another. If you have specific mental health needs, counseling may be the best option for you. Some people may decide to participate in both counseling and spiritual direction because they meet different needs. Others may feel they do not need counseling services but simply want a companion to accompany them on their spiritual journey.
If you'd like to further explore walking this journey together before scheduling an appointment, consider a complimentary introduction session.
Amara is a trained Spiritual Director through the Haden Institute, a shamanism teacher with the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, and a consciousness studies trainer with The Monroe Institute. Please see her bio, training, and certifications.
In-Studio and Online Appointments
I am available for spiritual direction/guidance both in-person and online via Zoom. Additionally, I offer online workshops for many spiritual, contemplative, and consciousness activities where you can learn to go deeper in your own process.
In-person appointments are offered at Zen Altitude Healing Studio, a serene, sacred space located in the Great Smoky Mountains with a breathtaking view of Mount LeConte in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Frequency of Sessions
Typically we meet once a month for an hour. Some seekers may want to meet more often during difficult times and others may be further along in their own discernment process and only need sessions a few times a year when working through a tough decision or spiritual distress event.
Anything you share during spiritual direction/guidance sessions will be kept in strictest confidence and your dignity will be held sacred. I understand, honor, and respect that spiritual direction sessions can bring forth vulnerabilities and difficult emotions.
I follow the ethical guidelines established by core shamanism teachings and Spiritual Directors International, which can be distilled into one main concept — do no harm.
A Bit About Me
I know a spiritual director's personal practices, learnings, and life experiences are very important when choosing someone you can relate to. Finding a guide who shares some of the qualities, characteristics, and/or difficulties you may have experienced — and who can understand where you have been and help you to see where you are going — is important. I believe in transparency, especially in matters of the soul. Here's a bit more about my life that cannot be found on my bio page, but may be valuable for you to know.
I am in my 50s, have been married for over 20 years, have three children, and four dogs.
I was raised Catholic, left the church when I was 18, and hold the loving aspects and practices of my Christian faith. I have in-depth, personal experience with Wicca, shamanism, Buddhism, and mysticism practices, theories, and concepts. I consider myself interspiritual — having combined my Christian, Wiccan shamanic, Buddhist, and mystical practices into my own eclectic spiritual path — and work with people of all faith traditions or those with no faith tradition at all.
I have personally experienced the pain, fear, and loneliness of miscarriage, physical abuse, job loss, financial devastation, divorce, family deaths, loss of beloved pets, infidelity, business failure, parental abandonment, religious disillusion, and medical situations.
Like most people, I have been on the receiving end of what some might call the “smaller losses” — but can be larger than life: loss of youth, health, love, friendships, freedoms, goals, feelings of security/safety, and betrayals.
I struggled for quite some time to recover from the grief, loss, sadness, and PTSD caused by a wildfire that destroyed my family's home, devastated our community for years, created a near-death situation from which my family scarcely escaped, and caused the death of 14 community members, including my daughter's best friend.
I believe one feels the calling to become a spiritual director after having first worked through decades of life filled with their own challenges in the hope they can help shine the light of help and healing that will give others the strength to push forward. We cannot assist others on their path until we have gone through our own difficulties, discoveries, questions, discernment process, maneuvering through tough times, breakthroughs — our "dark nights of the soul." It truly helps to have someone who is familiar with the various stages and seasons of the spiritual life to sit in holy space and listen to your life concerns and celebrations alongside you.
I have trained with the Haden Institute of Spiritual Direction -- a program that focuses on spirituality, contemplative traditions, discernment, and holy listening. I am also a member of Spiritual Director's International. Please click to read my bio and credentials.
Three sliding scale rates are offered for sessions because we believe spiritual services should be accessible for everyone. Please choose the rate that is reasonable for your budget. Those who are able to pay the higher rate make it possible for those who need to pay less to receive the gifts of spiritual services. Please click HERE to see a full listing of services and rates.
Spiritual direction/guidance is spiritual in nature and does not interfere with any medical treatment an individual may be following under a doctor’s care and sessions are in no way intended to take the place of a doctor’s care. Spiritual direction is seen as a complementary aid to an individual’s physical and mental well-being. Amara is not a therapist, therefore, does not diagnose or treat mental health disorders nor prescribe any medications.
May I be a guard for those who need protection,
a guide for those on the path,
a boat, a raft, a bridge for those who
wish to cross the flood.
May I be a lamp in the darkness,
a resting place for the weary,
a healing medicine for all who are sick,
a vase of plenty, a tree of miracles.
And for the boundless multitudes of living beings,
may I bring sustenance and awakening,
enduring like the earth and sky
until all beings are freed from sorrow
and all are awakened.
-- Shantideva, Indian Buddhist sage