Sometimes a Little Knowledge is Dangerous.

In 2005 and 2006, between practicing law and writing my first book, amidst family challenges, I carved out time to go to school to become a spiritual director. The Monastery of the Risen Christ’s School for Spiritual Directors trained us in:

  • the art of listening, a.k.a. soul companionship,
  • the art of listening, a.k.a. soul companionship,Abbot David Gereats - Spiritual Direction School Graduation
  • using gifts of the Holy Spirit,
  • various forms of prayer and practices of meditation and contemplation,
  • discernment tools,
  • personality assessment models (Myers’s Briggs and the Enneagram),
  • dreamwork,
  • poetry and spirituality,
  • movement and mind-body-spirit awareness,
  • healing prayer and the influence of the family tree, among other things.

Our curriculum included personal inner work, working our dreams, and being in spiritual direction ourselves. We were fully immersed, living in community for 4 weeks, complete with praise and worship, vespers, adoration, small prayer groups, and daily Mass. After graduating, I joined Spiritual Directors International. I gave and received spiritual direction from others who taught in or were part of the school and to a few people who attended retreats I hosted, and I did some informal spiritual direction. I attended numerous continuing ed retreats for spiritual directors over the past ten years. I was in a monthly dream group led by Abbot David Gereats, the wise Benedictine who had founded the Monastery of the Risen Christ’s School for Spiritual Directors, who continued to be my spiritual director. I got involved with ACTheals, back when it was called the Association of Christian Therapists. However, I didn’t feel ready to hang out my spiritual director shingle to the general public until now, for reasons I’ll explain.

While I was in that Dream Group, a dream launched me into writing Reap As You Sew.

Quilter-Lawyer-Dream-Chris Smith's Life Story QuiltThe cartoon above captures the turning point in my life that one dream represents. I saw the lawyer part of myself, who missed research and writing, using that language and logic-loving part of my brain. I also saw the quilter who loved connecting with other quilters and using the creative-artistic-relational aspects of my brain. The dream suggested that I combine the two! I’d first imagined writing about quilting when I was preparing to teach a Spirituality of Quilting Series in 2001 (see my post on Transitioning from Lawyer to the Spirituality of Quilting).

After the dream, the book took shape through conversations with other spiritual quilters and with the Holy Spirit. It also benefited from the excellent editorial assistance of successful screenwriter and quilter Annie Beckett (whose astounding personal story I ultimately included in Reap As You Sew: Spirit at Work in Quiltmaking, but that’s getting ahead of myself.) After some years of floundering, writer’s block or inertia had set in.

I got stuck and needed Creativity Coaching to complete the manuscript.

Chris Smith Certified Kaizen-Muse Creativity CoachReap As You Sew was only completed after I got myself motivated by enrolling in a Kaizen-Muse™ Creativity Coaching (“KMCC”) training program. During those intensive six months, I learned a very practical approach to overcoming the resistance that creative people so often experience. It worked for me, and I got psyched to offer it to others. We’d done practice coaching during the training, and the feedback from my practice clients was excellent, so I was encouraged. Caught up in the excitement of the finished book and my new KMCC certification, I began to offer creativity coaching.

 

I began to notice that what blocks creativity sometimes involves a component of spiritual resistance.

During the final months of completing my manuscript, I also experienced another major back problem and realized I had to reconcile with my younger daughter, who wasn’t speaking to me, and I had no clue as to why. The impasse led me read a Christian book on removing hindrances from your life and then to experience the Convergence™ Spiritual Cleansing Method (“CSCM”).

The first step was to undergo an active 7-step forgiveness process—not a “forgive and forget” variety of sweeping feelings under the rug. I’m eager to share the process in upcoming teachings, but for now, I want you to know that I forgave and was forgiven by my daughter. I forgave everyone else I could remember ever having hurt or offended me as well—though I’ve since found more people and situations to forgive :-). Major discovery and the unearthing of lies happened throughout this process!

I then underwent 12 weeks of training and practice to become a licensed CSCM Specialist and followed that with another 12 weeks of training to become a Convergence™ Spiritual Coach.

sc_convergence-spiritual-cleansing-specialist-certificationspiritual coaching certificate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More than ever, I was seeing and hearing about spiritual resistance—the kinds of influences I’d been freed of when I was set free through CSCM ministry. Things like fear, doubt, low self-esteem, procrastination, self-sabotage, compulsions, extreme perfectionism, and unhealthy habits were also blocking other people’s creativity, as well as joy and freedom, just as they had for me.

I passionately wanted to share that with the Christians I was coaching, but some were Catholic and unsure about the Protestant background of the CSCM ministry. I’m a strong proponent of unity in the Body of Christ and was well familiar with the scriptural support for healing and deliverance ministry, which would apply to Catholics and Protestants alike. However, to respect the desires of my Catholic sisters, I looked for, found, and got the training to serve in UNBOUND, a similar but Catholic-approved healing and deliverance prayer ministry.

All of this blended perfectly with my previous training as a spiritual director, along with two training courses in healing prayer through Christian Healing Ministries. I renamed my coaching from creativity coaching to Spiritivity Coaching (Spirit + Creativity blended into one).

Women whose creativity is a hobby don’t get coaching as much as those who employ their creativity to their work or ministry.

ARTbundance coaching - where work feels like playI discovered that women whose creativity is for their pleasure or fulfillment hesitate to pay for coaching to overcome what gets in the way of their being more creative. On the other hand, creative entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, especially women, are eager to be taught how to apply creative principles, techniques, and artistry to their businesses and practices. They enjoy “making work seem like play.” So, I committed to yet another training program last January through July, emerging from that as a Certified ARTbundance™ coach and practitioner.

ARTbundance™ is a spiritual (non-religious) creative and playful approach to choosing a principled, balanced, intentional, intuitive, connected, grateful, abundant life in which your actions align with your vision and attract those you are meant to serve. I can’t imagine I’ll ever forget to check my important choices against these principles. I’ve adapted much of what I learned in this program to:

  • coaching myself through creative hands-on methods that tap into the Spirit within and my inner knowing;
  • making my speaking and teaching more interactive;
  • opening up coaching and spiritual direction clients by sidestepping logic while getting input from their intuitive, creative, relational, and loving faculties.

A nightmare in September directed me to face and reconcile certain personal motivations and challenges.

The message was loud and clear and my physical health was confirming it: I was killing myself with overwork, adrenal exhaustion, and divided focus. In my next post, I’ll tell you what I’ve decided to do about it.

Meanwhile, I welcome your comments!

This was Post #3 in a series of 6 posts:

  1. Including the Messiness When You Tell Your Life Story
  2. How I Transitioned from Lawyer to the Spirituality of Quilting
  3. How Do You Know When You’re Actually Ready?
  4. Serving God and Money: A Nightmare Makes It Clear I Can’t! 
  5. How Is God Calling You to Serve Joyfully?
  6. When Not Knowing is a Gift