Last year, the first edition of this webinar series struck a chord that resonated with spiritual companions across the world. That series became the most popular webinar in SDI history.
This year we have 9 new presenters who have all found creative ways to follow a deep, heart-felt calling and pay the rent. Some offer spiritual companionship to others part-time, some blend services, and some are spiritual entrepreneurs – not only working full-time, but offering other spiritual companions work in their centers of spiritual care.
We’ll grant you that it’s not easy to make a living as a spiritual companion. But our presenters show that itâ€™s definitely possible. And during our webinar, all our presenters will share their recipes for turning spiritual companionship into a financially sustainable career.
If you are a student of spiritual direction – or you already work in a listening profession – this webinar series is for you.
A free PDF copy of Hiro Boga’s new book The World of Your Business Playbook is included for all participants as well as the PDF workbook for the course.
Week 1: A Tale of Two Questions – Moving from “Can I be a spiritual companion?” to “How can I be a spiritual companion?” – Debbi Horton and Genjo Marinello Roshi. Sustainable businesses and working lives don’t start with marketing. They start with intention. And intention depends on discernment – the same thing that plays such a vital role in spiritual companionship. The key is asking “how” with an open heart. Genjo Marinello found his “how” through combining spiritual direction with psychotherapy and being a Zen priest. He now has a full slate of people he companions. Debbi Horton used her affinity for the Enneagram (she’s the Board President of the Minnesota Chapter of the International Enneagram Association) to help build her spiritual direction practice. Both will explain the practical role intention has played in their working lives.
Week 2: Building Community Can Build a Livelihood – Jamal Rahman & Amanda Petersen. Spiritual entrepreneurs know genuine community is the key to attracting clients and referrals. Jamal is a Muslim Sufi imam whose spiritual direction practice grew as he helped build an interfaith community in Seattle. Amanda is a spiritual director and soul-centered life coach, as well as an entrepreneur. She launched a healing center in Phoenix which now hosts 11 other listening care professionals. Both Jamal and Amanda speak eloquently about how you can build community by using the same skill you use in spiritual companionship: listening.
Week 3: Becoming a Soul Entrepreneur – Hiro Boga and Taya Shere. Both Hiro and Taya built their livelihoods by creating innovative ways to serve others spiritually. Born in Bombay, and now settled in British Columbia, Hiro has offered “soul-infused” mentoring to thousands of people over 35 years, companioning those people as they create and develop purpose-based businesses. Taya spent 10 years as a rabbi in Washington DC before creating a unique blend of ways to companion people — using embodiment, music, ancestral healing, somatic experience and multi-religious ritual. They both see service as a creative act and say that spiritual business thrives when it springs from our truest selves.
Week 4: Doing That Which Makes Your Heart Sing – Karen Erlichman, Langston Kahn and Jacquelyn Smith-Crooks. This final session focuses on your best asset when it comes to making a living as a spiritual companion – your heart. In an extended 90-minute session, three experienced companions at very different stages in their careers offer wisdom on how they have found personal fulfillment – and paychecks – by offering spiritual companionship. In the SF Bay area, Karen Erlichman combines spiritual direction with supervision, teaching and psychotherapy to create a thriving practice. In New York City, Langston Kahn, one of SDI New Contemplatives for 2019, offers emotional clearing and shamanic healing in a form of companioning that is at once ancient and contemporary. And, at age 70, Jacquelyn Smith-Crooks, with Georgia Baptist roots and Unitarian experience, will tell her story of how the connectedness and availability of her “heart-working” parents inspired her to bring the techniques of spiritual companionship into her everyday life, an approach that eventually landed her a job at Harvard.
Week 1 – A Tale of Two Questions – “Can I?” vs. “How Can I?”
Debbi Horton is a certified Enneagram teacher, coach and spiritual director Certified as a spiritual director through Cristos Center for Spiritual Formation, her passion is to experience Wholeness and to live vibrantly in the Present moment. “I am honored to companion others on their journey of discovery.” Board President of the Minnesota Chapter of the International Enneagram Association, she also runs retreats and facilitates groups. Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, she is also a certified teacher of the Embodied Present Process (TEPP). Her website refreshingly leads by talking about her personal qualities or “gifts.” Warmth, humor, creativity, and open-heartedness. Quote: “The heart of my work … is about uncovering what keeps us from God’s Love and Wholeness… I am honored to companion others on their journey of discovery.
Genjo Marinello Roshi is a Zen Priest, Spiritual Director and Mental Health Counselor. He sits with adults, couples and sometimes adolescents, specializing in working with people who are aware of their own journey of awakening. He does traditional talk psychotherapy in line with the thinking of Adler, Jung, Winnicott and Maslow. Quote: “Spiritual directors invite people to do their own exploration and deep inquiry and invite people to experience a dimension of unity or something beyond themselves… As a spiritual director, I’m asking questions such as, “Where do you feel most creative?”
Week 2 – Building Community Can Build a Livelihood
Imam Jamal Rahman is co-founder and Muslim Sufi minister at Interfaith Community Sanctuary. He is also adjunct faculty at Seattle University. He specializes in what he calls “spiritual direction in a circle” with groups. A popular speaker on Islam, Sufi spirituality, and interfaith relations, he has authored or co-authored seven books. Along with his Interfaith Amigos, he has been featured in the New York Times, CBS News, BBC, and various NPR programs. Quote: “To remove the veils between us and our Creator, the Prophet Muhammad says, ‘Know thyself and you will know thy Lord.’….’ He also explains the role of a spiritual teacher and companion: ‘The teacher kindles the light; the oil is already in the lamp.’ …Rumi’s prayer for us is that over a lifetime we connect with several spiritual teachers, guides, and friends so that we can ‘come out of the Circle of Time and enter the Circle of Love.'”
Amanda Petersen, MDiv, is the founder of Pathways of Grace, a healing center in Phoenix that offers spiritual direction, soul-centered life coaching and other modalities to help people find balance and wellness. She is co-director of Explore and Connect with God spiritual direction training and Living From Your Heart training and Director of the Supervision of Spiritual Directors training at Pathways of Grace. She has led many contemplative workshops and retreats and is adjunct faculty at the Hesychia School of Spiritual Direction as well as other spiritual direction schools. Amanda has been practicing spiritual direction for over 22 years. With individuals, she walks through the transitions in one’s life using spiritual direction and feng shui allow each person their own unique way to pay attention to the gift of God/Divine in the midst of all circumstances. Quote: “I have found being an entrepreneur the most spiritual practice of my whole life, encompassing faith, trust, fear, gratitude and a fair amount of experimenting.”
Week 3 – Becoming a Soul Entrepreneur
Hiro Boga uses spiritual companionship to encourage conscious businesses to evolve from inspired individuals. Thousands of people have benefited from her “soul-infused” mentorship. Born in India and resident in Canada, she has meditated every day for the last 60 years, offered training in energy alchemy and practical mysticism and founded a teaching and research facility for spiritual seekers of every faith and perspective. A former publishing executive, she has authored three books, including the one all webinar participants will receive as part of the course. Quote: “Stay rooted in your soul, in the strength of your true purposes, deepen your relationship with the soul of your business, so that you and your business grow together beautiful, strong, steady, in accordance with the inner laws of your being.”
Taya Shere offers spiritual companionship by playing passionately in realms transformative ritual, embodied vocalization and Jewish ancestral healing. Taya is on faculty at Starr King School for the Ministry, where she trains emergent clergy across faith traditions. A practitioner of both Ancestral Lineage Healing and Somatic Experiencing, she facilitates three-day Ancestral Lineage Healing Intensives across the U.S. and sits regularly in individual sessions with clients around the world. Taya is the co-founder of Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, an ordination program for spiritual leaders reclaiming and innovating embodied, earth-honoring, feminist Jewish practices. Taya is an author, musician, composer and devotional chant leader. She is Spiritual Leader Emeritus of a Washington D.C. area Jewish congregation and completed her graduate studies in the Folklore of Religion at the University of Pennsylvania. She co-leads Makam Shekhina, a multi-religious Jewish & Sufi spiritual community based in the California Bay Area. Quote: “I’m smiling bright at the possibility of connecting with you in reverent ritual play.”
Week 4 – Doing That Which Makes Your Heart Sing
Karen Erlichman, DMin, LCSW provides psychotherapy, spiritual direction, soul coaching, supervision and consultation in San Francisco and has done so for more than 20 years. Karen is co-director of Practistry, an advanced mentoring and training program. She’s also serves as a Professor of Jewish Spirituality at the Graduate Theological Foundation and an adjunct faculty member in the Interfaith Spiritual Direction Training Program at the Chaplaincy Institute in Berkeley. She is inspired by the work and mentorship of Quaker educator and activist Parker J. Palmer and has trained as a Courage and Renewal facilitator with the Center for Courage and Renewal. Quote: “It takes courage for someone to allow their vulnerability to be witnessed. That is where we find our strength, and in those moments there is a felt sense of hope, grace and transformation.”
Langston Kahn is a New York City based spiritual companion and shamanic practitioner specializing in emotional clearing and radical transformation. His practice is informed by the western modality of Inner Relationship Focusing, initiations into traditions of the African Diaspora, the contemporary shamanic tradition of The Last Mask Center and the guidance of his helping spirits and ancestors weaving it all together. He joyfully endeavors to bring spirituality out of the dark dusty recesses of the esoteric and into our daily existence, where it can aid us in re-aligning with our soul’s purpose and opening our hearts to create real lasting change. He firmly believes that no emotional wound or trauma is beyond healing. Quote: “I would love to meet more courageous human beings working to create change within themselves, their communities and the world through deep engagement with spirituality and the numinous, especially (but not limited to) people of color … As a person of German Jewish and Swiss father and an African-American mother, I bring a very nuanced understanding and ability to speak to and navigate issues around race compassionately.”
Jacquelyn Smith-Crooks, Ed.D, is a spiritual director, life coach, and the former Director of Community Outreach Programs at Harvard Medical School. She was the founding Executive Director of Macedonia Church Family Life Center. She works with people on issues of change and transformation in leadership and organizations. Jacquelyn works with people individually and in groups, as well as leads retreats, workshops, and presents keynote speeches at meetings. She currently resides in Amherst, Massachusetts, and is available for sessions in person or by other media means. Quote: “Do that which makes your heart sing.”
The aim of this series of webinars is to give spiritual directors insight into how they can follow their calling to be a spiritual companion and pay the rent. We seek to support each participant as they strive to make a living as a spiritual direction. We will outline key steps and practical considerations such as – discernment, finding a niche, building a practice and the community to support that practice and networking and marketing your services. As in all our webinars, there will be space for contemplation. We also hope to encourage all participants to participate in our special Facebook group called “Making a Living as a Spiritual Companion” to build their networks within our community.
The first 3 sessions will each last 75 minutes. The fourth session will last 90 minutes. CEU credits are available for all those who participate. (See below)
Who may join the webinar?
Everyone is invited to participate in SDI Webinars.
Are CEUs available?
After participants complete full engagement with all webinar sessions, SDI will provide a certificate of completion for self-reporting to agencies continuing education units (CEUs).