Spiritual Direction2023-03-20T16:03:33+00:00

Spiritual Direction

“Spiritual direction is about listening to people’s stories, listening for glimpses of grace and hints of the holy, listening for the breakthrough presence of God in the midst of ordinary life.”

– Sue Pickering from Spiritual Direction: A Practical Introduction.

As we go through life, it’s not very often we have space to really talk honestly and authentically with someone about our faith life without fear of judgment, unwanted advice or for wholehearted listening. Spiritual Direction offers this beautiful, brave and safe space to share your present awareness and experience of God, to share your struggles, to celebrate the excitements and to find the ‘fingerprints of God’ in the seemingly mundane rhythms of everyday life. While you share, the director listens with the sole purpose of holding this space for you to connect and reflect without distraction, asks questions to invite you deeper into your experience, and is present with you through your journey of faith. It’s a space for you to notice the invitations from God in your life, and explore how you’d like to respond.

Spiritual Direction is an ancient practice in the Christian faith tradition which facilitates attunement to God. It’s a space set apart from the regular routines of life where one can come to find rest, presence and connection with the Creator.

What is a session like?

A session of Spiritual Direction focuses on the directees life and unfolding faith journey with specific attention paid to the presence of God in the directees life.

We begin our session with a grounding practice to help us be present, usually a check-in, some basic breathing and a contemplative prayer practice like breath prayer, lectio divina or imaginative contemplation. From there, the directee is given space to share anything they’d like about their relationship and experience with God.

As director, I am here to hold space for the directee to share, to listen fully, and to pay attention to the ‘shimmer’ of the holy spirit. I ask questions that will offer an extended space of intentional reflection and prayerful connection to God, questions that may aid in discernment if necessary, and questions that will facilitate attunement to God. These questions are both evocative and contemplative in nature. A session of spiritual direction is marked by a slow, spacious rhythm. We take time to think, to pray, to experience.

The session ends in prayer and takes a total of 60-minutes from start to finish.

“In Spiritual Direction we help directees notice the signposts on the way, and make choices at a crossroads. We sit with them, tending to the bonfire, when they are stuck; we celebrate with ‘arrivals’ of some sort, offer a chance of rest and refreshment, and encourage them when God interrupts their complacency and invites them out on the road again.”

– Sue Pickering from Spiritual Direction: A Practical Introduction.

Learn more about what a session is like.


“The intentionality of monthly sessions has leaked into an increasingly daily intentionality in how I connect to God. The reflective questions inviting me to seek God’s response to every part of my life have given me greater insight into how much love God is pouring out onto me in every moment, not just the peaks & valleys but in the mundane. The experiences I’ve collected through Spiritual Direction have cultivated a deeper, more consistent intimacy with Jesus.” – Lori

Lori Alcorn

“When I first started Spiritual Direction, I felt like my relationship with God was very surface level and missing depth. Over a year later and I can honestly say that this is the closest I have ever been to God in my life. He has brought so many truths to my lies, I have communicated more with him than ever before, I listen and discern better, and overall feel like I am in a much deeper relationship with him. It’s a feeling unlike any other and Spiritual Direction really allowed me to dig deeper into this relationship through so many unique techniques including prayer, lectio divina, visualizations, and deep reflection.” – Bianca


“I look forward to each spiritual direction session I have had with Aelea and greatly value the intentional space to meet with the Lord. I love how unique each time has been and how I have been met where I’m at. From working through areas in life that I am seeking discernment, experiencing breath prayer, meditating on scripture and taking space to simply be present with the Lord I am so grateful to have this opportunity to explore.” – Tara


“I randomly started following Aelea on IG a few years ago, her content resonated with me, I found solace in her words, I would try her prompts, and meditations and prayers and practices. Last year I finally got up the nerve to reach out and sign up for spiritual direction, the first words out of my mouth at our first meeting were “I’ve never been to church and I haven’t been baptized!”, she did not seem phased by this. My time with her has been so beneficial in building a relationship with God that I never thought was possible. Through her thoughtful questions and imaginative prayer, God and I have established our ways of interacting with each other, He’s my trusted advisor but we can also be silly and curious together, just like two pals.

Spiritual Direction has given me a space to intentionally reflect on where God has been showing up in my life lately, or where I feel like I could use him more. It’s challenged me to dig deeper into God’s character, his thoughts and emotions.

It’s been a place where I can get affirmation of my experiences with God without judgement.

I can’t wait to see what happens in my spiritual journey over the next 6 months and what ways my relationship with God will grow.” – Kim



How often do we meet?2023-03-18T17:11:22+00:00

The most common schedule is a once per month meeting. This is often a sustainable rhythm for the directee. I recommend new directees try spiritual direction for at least six months before deciding whether or not to continue. Six months allows for trust to build between director and directee resulting in honest and authentic sharing.

Where do we meet?2023-03-18T17:11:44+00:00

As of now, all sessions of Spiritual Direction are held virtually over Zoom. If you are in Winnipeg, we can discuss the possibility of in-person sessions as well.

What is the cost?2023-03-18T17:11:58+00:00

I want to be as accessible as possible and not allow financials to be a hindrance. Spiritual Direction is available on a sliding scale of $40 – $60 per session. Please reach out if you are interested in spiritual direction but are unable to meet the base fee and I would be happy to discuss options with you.

If you’re interested, please click below to fill out an inquiry form and we can set up a 15 – 20 minute discovery call where I can answer any of your questions and see if we would be a good fit.

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Spiritual Direction FAQ’s

Who is Spiritual Direction for?2023-03-18T17:10:40+00:00

Spiritual direction is a practice that any person who considers themselves to be on a journey of faith could benefit from. Whether you’re just discovering God and are looking for someone to talk to and join you on this new adventure, you’re someone whose experience with religion or faith is changing and you’d like a safe space to share doubts, ask questions, or show up authentically, you’re someone who has been on this journey for a while and is looking to explore new depths, or, you’re anywhere in between, you may find spiritual direction valuable.

Those who may especially benefit from pursuing spiritual direction are:

  • Those who are going through a difficult season of life and who are perhaps wondering where God is in their story, or who are looking for support through this time.
  • Those who are in the midst of big decisions and are seeking assistance discerning what God might be inviting them into as they explore options.
  • Those who are at a place in their faith where they have doubts, questions, and are wrestling with ideas as their faith changes.
  • Those who are feeling stuck or burnt out.
  • Those who crave a deeper connection to God but who are unsure how to go deeper.
  • Those who want to explore new spiritual practices and explore their faith experience outside their regular practices and disciplines.
  • Those who find traditional spaces to not be welcoming or safe or who have felt hurt by traditional spaces who still desire exploration of their faith and connection with God.
  • Those who lack a faith community to connect with about their faith.
  • Those who find themselves entering onto new paths on their faith journey and are looking for support and encouragement.
  • Those who are in a season of consolation and want to explore their growing in and moving towards more faith, hope, and love.
  • Those who are in a season of desolation and want to explore their feelings of distance from God with compassion, love, and curiosity.
  • Those who have big feelings that often don’t find support from others.
  • Those who crave soul nourishing and a spiritual companion as they move through life. Someone to hold be with them in their grief and pain, someone to celebrate their joy and success, and someone to be with them in every space in between.

Similarly to other avenues of wellness and care, individuals often first seek out spiritual direction when there are shifts and changes in their life and they are looking for support. These shifts and changes can be ones that are challenging, exciting, or anywhere in between. Often those who seek out spiritual direction during these times continue with the practice due its benefits.

Click HERE to read more about ‘Who is Spiritual Direction for?’

What are the Benefits of Meeting with a Spiritual Director?2023-03-18T17:10:32+00:00

While the initial value of spiritual direction in one’s life will vary depending on what they are looking for, the practice itself has many benefits that may include:

  • A sense of connection. Having someone to share your life (thoughts, ideas, struggles, joys, experiences) with can make you feel less isolated and alone.
  • Feeling supported and encouraged. Having someone in your corner who sees your growth, can connect the dots between sessions to notice patterns and encourages you along your journey, and supports you.
  • A greater awareness of the presence of God. When entering a session and throughout, we make space to acknowledge and connect with the presence of God. This can often trickle out into your awareness of God in daily life.
  • A greater awareness of the movement of God. As we explore your current lived experience in sessions, you may notice how God intentionally connects with you, as the unique person you were designed to be, and become more aware of the movements of the Divine in your own life.
  • Deepening faith. A journey of faith is less like a path forward or backwards and more like a journey of depth. Intentional reflection with God, along with the sharing of spiritual disciplines, can facilitate an overall deepening of your faith experience.
  • Greater self-awareness. Noticing your thoughts, emotions, and responses in a safe space can grow your self-awareness to understand more about you.
  • Growing intimacy with God. Engaging in honest, real and authentic time with God cultivates intimacy with the Divine.
  • Take-away tools. During sessions of spiritual direction, you may be introduced to new spiritual disciplines, go-to questions for reflection or other insights or experiences that become supportive systems and tools you reach for in daily life.
  • Awareness and discernment of the Spirit. As we take slow, spacious time to intentionally connect with God, we invite discernment to our time; is this the Spirit speaking? What is the Spirit inviting me into? We practice discernment in a safe space so we can live it out in our daily lives.
  • Unique faith and experience exploration. The questions asked to you during spiritual direction are often unlike questions you’ve experienced before. Contemplative and provocative questions with a focus on your experience with and of God offer something completely unique to your usual reflection.
  • Self-acceptance. Your life is unique. There is no shame in being who you are and where you find yourself on your journey. You’ll find a safe, judgment-free and loving space to be exactly who you are


Each individual who has sought out spiritual direction would most likely have something else to add to this list based on their own experience of why they began meeting with a spiritual director and what has kept them coming back time and time again. The benefits are rich and during different seasons of your life, you may find what feels like the greatest benefit to you shifts and changes. During a season of doubt, having a safe space to share without judgment can feel like a life-vest. During a season of discernment, having someone to ask unique questions can help you approach all angles and get curious. During a season of joy, having someone to celebrate with you and reflect back to you the journey they have witnessed can be the greatest gift.


Whatever season you find yourself in, the benefits of meeting with a spiritual direction can be found.


Click HERE to read more ‘What are the benefits of meeting with a Spiritual Director?’

What is a Session of Spiritual Direction like?2023-03-18T17:10:25+00:00

A note, I am sharing my own experience offering spiritual direction and all directors are a little different. Please be sure to ask any director you’re considering working with what a session is like.


The flow of a session:

  • Settle In + Centering Practice
    • When we meet, after the ‘hello’ and ‘how are you?’ portions of warm greeting, we begin our session with a grounding practice to help us settle in and be fully present to our time together. First, you’ll close our eyes (if that’s comfortable for you) and take a moment to acknowledge the loving presence of God here with us. I encourage you to do this in a way that feels authentic to you. This could mean an intentional inhale and exhale, a moment of silent prayer, or even allowing a smile at the thought of God being present with you. Next, we take 3 to 4 deep inhales and exhales. Deep, intentional breaths are known to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, aka, our rest and digest mode, helping to calm us. Then, we do a check-in. We check in to see how our mind is feeling, how our body is feeling, and how our heart is feeling. We do this as a means of discovering a baseline for our arrival so that, as we move through our session, you’re more aware of thoughts, feelings, and body sensations and can bring them forward throughout our time together as things you are noticing, allowing them to be cues to follow.


  • Prayer
    • Next, I take time to pray for us as we enter into the practice of spiritual direction. I often thank God for you, the directee, for the time we have together, and ask God to help us be good listeners to what the Divine is saying.


  • Contemplative Practice
    • The final piece is a contemplative prayer practice. This could be a simple reading from scripture, Lectio Divina, breath prayer, or imaginative contemplation. Engaging in a practice allows you to already begin intentionally connecting with God and self, listening for the Spirit, and noticing your own experience.


  • Spiritual Direction Conversation
    • As the contemplative practice comes to a close, you, the directee, are given space to share anything you’d like. Perhaps you’ll share about your experience during our beginning practices, or maybe you’ll share about something you made note of during the most recent month to connect about. The floor is yours and you’ll share what feels most significant to you in context to your current experience and awareness of God.


The role of the director is to compassionately listen to you and notice where the Spirit may be prompting them to direct the conversation. We often call this paying attention to the ‘shimmer’ of the Holy Spirit. The director will ask questions that will offer extended space of intentional reflection and prayerful connection to God, questions that may aid in discernment if necessary, and questions that will facilitate attunement to God. These questions are both evocative (asking you to share more about what it is you’re sharing about) and contemplative (where might God be in your experience) in nature.


You will take time to notice what is happening internally, where you may be sensing the Spirit, and will enjoy taking your time to respond. There’s no need to answer anything right away. A session of spiritual direction is marked by a slow, spacious rhythm. We take time to think, to pray, to experience. Your director is there to fully support your experience. The director isn’t there to answer questions or offer advice, but to offer questions, reflect your experience back to you, notice the details, and listen well as they assist you in noticing the presence of God in your life. The title director could be used to think of helping the directee ‘direct’ their attention to God.


  • Closing
    • The session ends with the director praying for the directee. Often, this time of prayer incorporates things the directee has mentioned throughout the session; from areas of affirmation and growth to areas of trial and struggle.


Altogether, the session takes a total of 60-minutes from start to finish and is completely confidential. After we close in prayer, we will often pencil in our next session time so we can stay on top of our monthly rhythm.

Click HERE to read more ‘What is a session of Spiritual Direction like?’

Common misconceptions about Spiritual Direction2023-03-18T17:10:15+00:00
  • Do you just tell me what to do?
    • This is perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about spiritual direction based most often on the name of the practice being ‘direction’ and the title of the facilitator as ‘director’. Contrary to the words direction and director, a session does not unfold with the directee sharing their situation, followed by the director telling you what to do. Perhaps, a more accurate title is ‘spiritual companionship’ with a trained ‘spiritual companion’. As a spiritual companion, the director listens fully to you and the Spirit, then asks contemplative and provocative questions to guide you into deeper awareness and reflection about your experience. The only time a director may ‘tell you what to do’ would be in the form of offering prompts for prayer, questions, or inviting you into a spiritual practice. This is coming from a space of consent and invitation. There is no ‘just do this’ answer to your unique lived experience and relationship with God.
  • Will you just answer all my questions about faith and God?
    • Since the foundation of the practice is exploration of the directees experience and relationship with God, questions about faith and God are often met with questions to help you explore your heart beneath the question; how would an answer impact your relationship with God? What does this question reveal about your own desires?
  • Do I just ask you all my big questions and you tell me the answers or tell me how to find the answers?
    • The answer above is relevant to this question, too! If you ask questions that are big and meaningful to you, the director will hold compassionate space for you to explore the depth behind the question. Sometimes, at the end of a session, a director may ask if you’d like a recommendation of a book or resource they enjoyed. It is completely up to the directee if they’d like the suggestion and they are under no obligation to follow through.
  • Do you share your faith experience with me and guide me along the same path?
    • Remember when we used the phrase, ‘spiritual companion’ above? In spiritual direction, the director is your companion as the directee. I like thinking of an analogy offered in a book on spiritual direction that talks about the practice of spiritual direction as tending a fire. The directee is walking down the paths of life and they come to a spacious clearing. A fire is being tended by the director who offers you a safe space to rest and find reprieve. As you share about your journey, the director asks questions to help you explore deeper. The director may notice themes or things that ‘shimmer’ as guided by the Spirit, and they may say ‘hey, let’s talk about this more’. When the session is over, it’s your time to venture back on your path of faith. Next month, when you meet with your director, the fire is roaring, the tea is warm, and we are ready to hold space for your experiences and relationship with God. We acknowledge that everyone’s path is different; we all have different experiences, different backgrounds, different spiritual temperaments, and different relationships that create our own individual lived experiences. A director holds space for you and your experience and generally does not share their own experience or encourage you along their same path.
  • Does the director give me advice from their own experience?
    • Similar to above, a director holds space for you on your own journey. A spiritual director does not offer advice from their own lived experience.
  • Do you make me believe what you believe?
    • In spiritual direction, we make what we would call a few ‘theological assumptions’ that form the foundation of this practice and bring it to life for both the director and directee. We believe that God is present with us, we believe the Spirit connects with us through our thoughts, our feelings, our experiences and that we can connect to the Spirit, we believe that we all have equal access to God (ie, the director doesn’t have special access but that both parties listen to the Spirit), we believe that God loves us and desires intimacy with us, we believe in the great Mystery of God (that we can’t possibly know everything there is to know). These points are often common ground between director and directee. Often, a directee finds a director they feel they share some beliefs or experiences with, making the directee feel safe to share. This was the case when I found a director who also loved Jesus and taught yoga. A director will not force beliefs on you.
  • Do we need to have the same theological background or belong to the same church?
    • The numbers vary, but a quick google search of ‘how many christian denominations are there around the world?’ gives you some big numbers. Often, a spiritual director is trained to hold space for people across the Christian faith tradition, meaning you do not have to belong to the same church, community, or denomination. As a director, I’ve held space for those who belong to denominations such as Catholic, and those who would identify as Non-Denominational. It’s really about finding a director you feel comfortable with. You may find comfort in seeing a spiritual director who is part of your community, or you may prefer going outside of your church. It’s up to you!

Click HERE to read more ‘Common Misconceptions about Spiritual Direction’.

Why have a Spiritual Companion?2023-03-18T17:10:06+00:00

When we talk about spiritual direction, we can think of the director as an anam cara, a soul friend, to the directee. This type of soul companionship is unique. A soul friend is one who journey’s with you as you walk the path of faith in this life. They are one of compassion, who cares deeply for you, and to see your relationship with God flourish. They walk with you through the inevitable ups and downs of life and are a mirror which can reflect back to you the experience they witness you having to help you understand it even more. The masks come off, the soul is laid bare, tears flow, laughter is shared, and lived experiences are honoured.

Spiritual direction offers this kind of spiritual companionship to those who hunger for a safe space of authenticity. As your director directs your awareness and attentiveness to the Divine, their focus is directed to you; to hear you, to listen to what isn’t being said as much as what is, to draw you deeper into knowing of both self and God, and to be a companion who walks with you through all of life’s adventures, no matter what they are. Safety, compassion, and acceptance, are the foundations of every time you meet, trusting the conversation and relationship to God whose loving presence guides the conversation.

Click HERE to read more ‘Why have a spiritual companion?’

What’s the difference between Spiritual Direction, Therapy/Counselling, and Life Coaching?2023-03-18T17:28:12+00:00

Counselling and Therapy vs Spiritual Direction

  • Counselling often involves working with a mental health counsellor on a specific issue for a limited amount of time while giving you tools to move forward and take into your daily life. For example, meeting with a marriage counsellor, a grief counsellor, or working with a counsellor to learn tools to manage and stress, etc.


  • Therapy is often more long-term focused and focuses on how you see the world, your thoughts, your behaviours, and your underlying patterns of why you do the things you do. Therapy is often where you work through past trauma and experiences that are still impacting you today to find healing strategies.


In both counselling and therapy, your professional is there to listen well, truly hear you, and then offer strategies and solutions.


  • Spiritual direction is focused on deepening your relationship with God, self, and those around you. While spiritual direction holds space for you to share about your life and what you are going through, the role of the direction isn’t to offer healing strategies or tools, but to direct your attention to your experience with God. Spiritual direction can be short-term or long-term and it is not uncommon for one to meet with a director for 10 or 20 years.


  • In spiritual direction, your director is there to listen well, truly hear you, and ask questions to help you more fully engage with your experience of self and God.


Life Coaching vs Spiritual Direction

I was once asked if spiritual direction was like life coaching but with Jesus. It was a great question since both life coaching and spiritual direction use questions as the foundation of the practice.


  • Life coaching is the practice of powerful questioning to help an individual feel empowered to move forward towards the life they desire to live. A life coach will often work with someone who is discovering a sense of desiring something more for their life, or who knows they want more for their life but they aren’t quite sure how to move forward. A life coach helps their client uncover what is holding them back, and asks them powerful questions to help them feel confident to move forward into the life they desire. A coach will often work with someone for a shorter period of 3 to 6 months.


  • In life coaching, your life coach may also have moments of mentorship where, with the permission of the person they are coaching, they can share from their own lived experience if they think sharing will be helpful.


  • Spiritual direction is also question based but instead of getting a person to move forward, we help the person more fully notice their current experience to see where they may be sensing the spirit. Often the practice of awareness in a session impacts how a directee notices the spirit in their daily lives, which is a powerful tool.


  • In spiritual direction, aside from introducing a directee to spiritual disciplines or practices during a session, which they may enjoy as tools during their own time, a spiritual director does not share of their own experience. We understand that people’s own unique lived experiences mean that while we may feel we can relate based on what has been shared, each person lives unique lives and our relating may dim the experience of the directee.


Each of these modalities has their place. For healing from past trauma and working through current trials, therapy and counselling is the most beneficial. If you’re feeling like you desire more from life, or have goals but aren’t sure why you can’t seem to move forward, life coaching would be beneficial. If you’re looking to deepen your faith, spiritual direction can offer the safe space to explore and grow. One does not replace the other, and all offerings has an appropriate place in your life.


Click HERE to read more ‘Spiritual Direction, Therapy/Counselling, and Life Coaching’.

Guest Spiritual Director

If you’re planning a retreat or gathering for a large or small group, or are part of a ministry hosting a retreat or gathering, and are interested in Spiritual Direction, I am more than happy to join you and offer 1:1 sessions of Spiritual Direction for those attending. Sessions would be the same as described above.

If you’re interested, please send me an email to aelea.wandertowonder@gmail.com and I would be so excited to learn about your upcoming retreat or gathering and how spiritual direction can enhance your time of rest, nourishment and intentional connection to God.

Inquire Now