We Claim Sanctuary! – Spiritual Companionship in Urgent Times

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The world is in crisis. How can we find sanctuary? By slowing down. Join us for 3 contemplative sessions unlike any you’ve experienced – filled with paradox, courage, mystery and tenderness. Led by Bayo Akomolafe, one of the world’s most innovative spiritual voices.

3-part Webinar Series

The world is in crisis.

Where can we find sanctuary?

All around us, actually.

Amidst the struggles and suffering.

In our lives. With each other.

By companioning each other as we go within and beyond.

This is a dynamic sanctuary. A sanctuary without limits.

But to experience it, you must first claim it.

And to claim it, you must slow down.

Join us for 3 contemplative sessions unlike any you’ve experienced –

Filled with paradox, courage, mystery and tenderness.

Led by Bayo Akomolafe Ph. D., one of the world’s most innovative spiritual voices.

In ancient traditions, sanctuary describes something sacred and set apart. In contemporary usage, it often refers to a place of safety and refuge.

What if sanctuary isn’t a place? What if it isn’t set apart? What if sanctuary is all around us? What if sanctuary is inside us, too – an active relationship playing out moment by moment between ourselves, all beings around us and the transcendent?

What if sanctuary offers not security but connection, and connection depends on seeking questions not answers?

“Seeing anew would take not just crafting new answers to our most intractable problems,

but finding new questions new ways of asking.

Our vocation must now be to seek out questions and to come to the places where we are ‘undone.’ “

-Bayo Akomolafe

Spiritual companionship offers just such a dynamic sanctuary – a relationship both accepting and questioning, where being “undone” can lead to greater wholeness.

This webinar series seeks to encourage all those who would create such limitless sanctuary.

If you offer spiritual care, this series is for you.

If feel any spiritual yearning or inclination – no matter how strong, faint or flickering – this series is for you, too.


We invite you to slow down. Slow down so self-discovery becomes as natural as breathing.

This is the relational refuge that invites transformation.

This is the prospect of finding your own antidote to despair.

Will you join us on this learning journey?

“Slowing down is not a matter of reducing velocity, but changing shape.”

– Bayo Akomolafe


Bayo Akomolafe, Ph.D., comes from Nigeria and lives in India with his family. A philosopher, professor and psychologist, he was raised Christian and found his own dynamic sanctuary in the ancient ways and stories of his people. He has the voice of both poet and prophet, a scholar’s depth of learning, the openness of a child, and the audacity and good humor of a truly kind heart. He says spiritual companionship is more than mere guidance, more even than listening and asking intuitively spot-on questions that open up inquiry to what is deep within us. He says spiritual companionship is encouragement to “actively lose one’s way in order to find it in a different way.” He calls this becoming “generously lost” so you may be found by something greater than you. At the SDI Conference this year, he was a standout plenary speaker. Vibrantly present, fully blossoming in the first half of his life, he is also wise enough to honor those who have come before and the wisdom that is a gift of the ancestors. Watch the video below to get a sense of his warmth, his intellect and his invigorating approach. (Scroll down please for his bio.)

“Sanctuary is not safety, but sensuousness.”

– Bayo Akomolafe


  • Spiritual companionship as sanctuary
  • Getting generously lost so that you may be found by something greater than you.
  • Choosing/exploring the obstacle path so that you may shape-shift
  • Slowing down – how this is a creative response in difficult times
  • The awakening that comes when rational/expected/culturally approved illusion is shattered – the coming alive that follows the welcoming of stillness


Anytime you like.

“Falling may well be flying – without the tyranny of coordinates.”

– Bayo Akomolafe

All sessions led by Bayo Akomolafe, Ph.D.

Session 1 – Spiritual Companionship as Sanctuary –  What is this kind of sanctuary? How does companionship create the conditions for transformation – individually and in our communities? We will look at the theological, political and ecological aspects of creating sanctuary. We will consider the idea of companionship between the personal and universal – that forgiveness, healing and love always have impact beyond our expectations and perceptions, that each relationship and each moment bridge the temporal and the eternal.

Session 2 – Getting Generously Lost – We will explore getting lost as a means to finding a different way. What does it mean to get generously lost? What role does curiosity play? How can subverting expectation – and existing cultural structures – help to build relationships of trust and the communities and societies that honor that trust? We will also look at the boon of “being found by something greater than you.” And we will look at the practice of asking questions as a means of exploration.

Session 3 – Choosing & Exploring the Obstacle Path – Bayo says his people (in Nigeria) say the best way to find your path is to choose the “obstacle path” because the obstacle is what “shape-shifts” you. We will explore the role of companionship in this. We will also dialogue about the awakening that comes when rational/expected/culturally approved illusion is shattered – the coming alive that follows the welcoming of stillness.

Once, I lived on the tarred, lonely highways of truth “slugging towards the looming horizons” the promised dwelling places for those who did not waver. The whole world was about being either right or wrong. I was either lost or found. That was many years ago though. Today, when I meet people, I recognize how utterly beyond right and wrong they are “how their lives are symphonies beyond orchestration, how their mistakes and failings are actually cosmic explorations on a scale grander and of a texture softer than our most dedicated rule-books could possibly account for. You see, something happened on my way and I lost my coordinates, my map, my directives. Now the whole journey is the destination and each point, each barren point, just as noble as the final dot. Every splotch of ink is become to me a fresco of wisdom, a beehive of honey, a lovely place and every aching voice a heavenly choir. The world is no longer desolate and empty and exclusive; she is now a wispy spirit, whose fingers flirt through the wind a million roads where only one once lay. And I need not be certain about the road travelled since I arrived the self-same moment I set out.”

– Bayo Akomolafe


Bayo Akomolafe (PhD) is a father, husband, diaper changer and lover of words and rich conversations. An author, speaker, public intellectual and teacher, Bayo also serves as Chief Curator of The Emergence Network – an organization that is committed to unsettling habitual modes of perception and practitioner engagements around challenges and issues of our time. He inspired and delighted hundreds of participants at the SDI Conference in Bellevue as a plenary speaker this year. Inspired by Yoruba epistemologies and the decolonial trickster work of figures like Esu, Bayo teaches in multiple universities around the world, speaking in public arenas, facilitating community and stitching collective practices that might help us live well in the ruins of modernity.

“… As hate and fear get codified into law, there is yet one place to go: beneath the surface. A catabasis into the under-realms. Into the folds of thick time. Into the creases of our long bodies, populated by a strange multitude. Into the fellowship of trees and the nonhuman world. Into the deep biospheres of life-death. Into dreams upon which the hieroglyphics of other worlds are faintly inscribed. Into the embrace of new questions, the asking of which is not possible when we stand on the surface of things. Into sanctuary.”

– Bayo Akomolafe

Additional Information

Each session will run 75 minutes. CEU credits are available for all those who participate. (See below)

Learning Objectives

The main goal of this webinar series is to encourage spiritual companions – and all those who offer spiritual care – to honor their calling and their lives by slowing down. We hope to inspire all those on the webinar series to claim and explore the dynamic sanctuary of their experience by opening up to the possibilities in getting lost generously. We also seek to offer practical wisdom to all those who work in spiritual care so they may better support others in their spiritual lives.

Who may join the webinar?

Everyone is invited to participate in SDI Webinars.

Are CEUs available?

SDI will provide a certificate of completion for self-reporting to agencies. More information can be found here:  continuing education units (CEUs).

“Sanctuaries become wide where we are broken down.”

Bayo Akomolafe


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