Want to Talk about Your Spiritual Needs or Life Purpose?
Feel Your Sense of Purpose Needs a Boost?
TRADITIONAL BELIEFS NOT WORKING ANY LONGER?
Sometimes formal religious practices or teachings no longer work for our needs.
FEEL SOMETHING IS MISSING IN YOUR LIFE?
Our felt sense of purpose sometimes needs to be explored more deeply.
WANT TO TALK ABOUT Spirituality But NOR SURE WITH WHOM?
It can be a challenge to speak about deep questions of purpose and meaning.
YOUR RELIGIOUS PRACTICES FEEL A BIT EMPTY?
Going through the motions we learned as a child may not be enough to nourish us.
WANT TO GO DEEPER, AND NOT SURE HOW TO START?
We often make sense of our experiences and need through talking them out.
FEEL CALLED TO EXPLORE A DIFFERENT SPIRITUAL PATH?
Change can be difficult when we feel alone and need non-judgmental discernment.
What is Spiritual Direction?
Grounded in the belief that nature is sacred,
spiritual direction is an opportunity to walk together
to explore deep meaning and transformative mystery.
Let’s First Explore Spirituality
Spirituality is the personal experience of relationship with transcendent aspects of existence.
This can mean many things to many people. It can involve relationship with god or the gods, veneration of our ancestors, and feeling connected to the spirits of nature. Spirituality can connect us with mystery, such as when we encounter the jaw-dropping wonders of the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls, experience the magic of new life with baby puppies or kittens, or feel connected to certain trees or those birds at our feeders.
Many of us have had spiritual, transcendent moments, and these glimpses into elements larger than ourselves are part of this. I have experienced this power walking the stone circle in Avebury, gasping at the beauty of light coming through the ancient stained glass windows in Chartres Cathedral, or feeling the energies of those who walked before us for a thousand years on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route.
Whenever we experience something we may deem sacred, filled with inexplicable meaning, or somehow connecting us to our ultimate purpose–that is when we connect with the spiritual.
…Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
— excerpted from Mary Oliver, Wild Geese
Approach to Spiritual Direction
How Spiritual Direction Works
Spiritual Direction is a modern practice of an ancient tradition, where people work with a trained spiritual guide whose role is to help support an individual’s making sense of their spiritual lives and help them chart a personal path forward. Spiritual care is present in all traditions and cultures, and does not belong to only one religious or faith community; it is open to people of any or no religious affiliation.
Spiritual Direction sessions are often once or twice a month, usually for an hour each, where the spiritual director, also known as a spiritual guide, spiritual care provider, spiritual mentor, or spiritual companion, listens deeply to what an individual shares and helps the person to reflect and make their own informed choices. The spiritual direction I offer provides reflection, focus, discernment, and accountability to support your spiritual journey.
Our relationship is built on trust and our conversations are always confidential.
Who Goes to Spiritual Direction?
The simple answer is that spiritual direction is available for anybody who wants it. However, you really may be trying to understand the answer to the question, who attends spiritual direction with me?
Well, I provide spiritual direction to many kinds of people — some who feel a spiritual connection with nature and want to talk about it with somebody, others who practice neo-pagan or earth-centric ways, those who minister to or are part of established religious traditions and wish to work with somebody outside their own communities, and even those who are not clear about their traditions or do not want to box themselves into a simplistic definition of what they believe or how they are spiritual.
In other words, I work with many people who are exploring their spiritual or religious practices, are part of the growing population of spiritual but not religious, feel excluded from speaking to others for reasons of safety (especially due to age, gender identity, LGBT+ status, religious practices, or ethnic / race concerns), and are simply burned out from dealing with a fast-paced, judgmental, and complex world.
Is Spiritual Direction for Me?
Only you can know what is right for you!
Sometimes we feel we need something else in our lives, and cannot name or articulate what that is. This is also where spiritual direction may be of service, as it seeks to help people come to their own answers about how to engage with mystery, the sacred, ultimate reality, the power of nature, or any gods or goddesses.
A spiritual direction session will engage in the concerns you raise. While many consider spiritual direction to be a ministry, it is one that does not impose any faith, belief, assumption, or religious doctrine upon you. There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to personal spirituality. Spiritual direction is a judgement-free zone, where you set the direction and boundaries for what you want to discuss. In my role as spiritual director, I will not pressure you to accept anything–you will set your own path and I will support it through listening, noticing, and guiding.
Expectations of Spiritual Direction
There is no single right way to approach or benefit most from spiritual direction.
The deep relationship formed between a spiritual director or spiritual guide and the individual seeking to walk a path with the sacred creates a safe space to explore our own purpose and internal journey through life.
Sessions involve talking and listening, along with prompts or spiritual activities that are collaboratively discussed and experienced. We can be as creative as you wish using any (or none!) of the Spiritual Practices (below) you wish.
More than anything, spiritual direction is about having somebody to listen, notice patterns and concerns, ask questions, and offer spiritual guidance in a safe and affirming manner based on what is discussed.
Can We Talk about This First?
Engaging in spiritual direction is a personal and private experience, and it only makes sense that an individual considering it can meet with the potential spiritual director to see if they can fit with one another.
I welcome you to schedule a free Spiritual Direction Exploratory Chat with me for us to meet, see if we may be aligned, and if I may be of service in supporting your spiritual journey.
You may also find my Spiritual Direction FAQs helpful in exploring next steps.
What Approach Do You Take?
My approach to spiritual direction is deeply rooted to my own approach to spirituality. I see the sacred in nature and the earth; value the creation of a personal path that does not follow rules set by somebody else; and honor the gods, ancestors and nature spirits.
I help the spiritually restless transform their relationship with and around the natural world. I believe individuals make sense of their being-ness in the world in a highly private and personal way, and as humans we have the right to create our own paths.
I have experienced and studied many traditions and frameworks of spirituality and religion, and as years ago I transitioned from a very conservative approach to Catholicism, I wished there would have been spiritual direction available that was not rooted in a belief system that would judge me and tell me what to do.
This is why I became a spiritual director, as I want to be that support for others who are struggling. I seek to share the restorative power of sacred connection through the wisdom and peace of Nature and the power of the Earth.
This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men — go freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the mothers of families — re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body.
— Walt Whitman, preface to Leaves of Grass
Jeffrey Keefer, PhD
Some information about me
Jeffrey serves as a spiritual director, having trained in Cherry Hill Seminary‘s Spiritual Direction Certificate Program, to people who embrace many traditions along with those developing their own ways outside formal religious structures. Jeffrey focuses on those who practice Ecospirituality or Nature-Based Spiritual Paths, Modern Paganism (in all its many forms!), adherents of New Monasticism, members and friends of the LGBT+ community, and those who are Spiritual but not Religious. Having completed his first graduate degree in systematic Catholic theology, he brings a deep understanding of structured religion, and how individuals personally engage with or reject it, to his work.
Professionally, Jeffrey is an educational consultant, institutional researcher & accreditation officer in higher education, professor of research methodology, nonprofit capacity building & strategic planning consultant, educational development coach, spiritual life advisor (chaplain) at New York University, spiritual director, and Wikipedian.
Jeffrey holds a Ph.D. in Educational Research (E-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning, Lancaster University, U.K.); graduate degrees in Adult and Organizational Learning (M.Ed., Columbia University), Business Education (M.A., New York University), English and American Literature (M.A., Hunter College), and Religious Studies (M.A., Institute of Religious Studies); and an undergraduate degree in Philosophy (B.A., St. John’s University). In his free time, Jeffrey edits Wikipedia articles, volunteers with the global Wikimedia Movement community, writes poetry, engages in ongoing research within open education and liminality in learning experiences, reads across science fiction / fantasy / post-structuralism / actor-network theory, and is planning for third pilgrimage walk along the Chemin de Saint Jacques de Compostelle (French route of the Camino de Santiago).
These are the steps to begin working with me
Want to Work Together?
There are several things to discern when considering working with a spiritual director. Will we be aligned? How does it work? What is this person really like? These are the 3 steps to begin this process. While the Spiritual Direction Exploratory Chat is free, future fees will be discussed during our time together.
1. A First Chat
If what you read here on my website resonates with you, then perhaps we should meet as a first step? Let’s schedule a free 30-minute Spiritual Direction Exploratory Chat via Zoom. This will allow us to talk and discern if we may be a compatible for this spiritual direction relationship.
2. Intake Form
If you want us to work together after we speak, the second step includes completing my Spiritual Direction Intake Form. This is intended to help you give words to your current spiritual state while also helping me with a baseline. You will receive an emailed copy of your responses after you submit. All responses are kept confidential and private per the Spiritual Directors International (SDI) Guidelines for Ethical Conduct.
3. Spiritual Direction Session
If we already met and you want to work with me as your Spiritual Director, Spiritual Guide, or Spiritual Mentor, then please schedule a full hour Spiritual Direction Session. Sessions are usually arranged via Zoom, including for those sessions where we may meditatively walk together via distance.