I offered the following as part of a workshop through The BTS Center called "Spiritual Direction for a Climate-Changed World" on June 23, 2022. A video of the event is available here.
I am in the Kaskaskia, Sangamon, Vermillion, Wabash, and Embarass watersheds, the settler colonized land of the Illinois, Peankashaw, Wea, Miami, Mascoutin, Odawa, Sauk, Mesquaki, Kickapoo, Ojibwe, Chickasaw and Potawatomi people now known as Urbana, Illinois.
As spiritual directors, as spiritual directees, we work with a lot of stories. Stories about who we are as individuals, as family members, as community. Stories about our society and our places within society.
Few, if any, of these stories are neutral.
When we are aware and when we are not, human stories of white supremacy, patriarchy, anti-semitism, capitalism, transphobia, xenophobia – human stories to create fear and practice oppression – are at work on us, in us, and through us.
In spiritual direction, we are allowed to witness how those stories function within an individual how they intertwine with personal story and how they are met by sacred story. The stories about the sacred and the relationship between humanity and divinity, collectively and individually. Those can be the formalized stories of scripture and tradition as well as those of personal revelation and encounter.
The practice of forest therapy is, much like spiritual direction, an opportunity to encounter and counter the stories we carry, be they baggage that needs to be released or the bug-out bag that will help us survive.