12 Mar

A Bit about Me

 

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.  ~Henry S. Haskins

Here are some things you might like to know about me, my training, and Altar Ego.

I have been a life-long seeker of Truth and Beauty.

Since my early 20’s, I have participated in and learned from many religious traditions, spiritual practices, and experiences.Through every moment of exploration I have experienced a Source of Hope and Love: that which I choose to call “God” (use your own word for our Benevolent and Creative Source).

About 12 years ago, I chose to enter a detox facility to deal with my Alcoholism. In the months following, I received a miraculous healing from a Compassionate Source Greater than Myself. This miracle deserves more than I can write about here, but what you need to know now is, my life was transformed and infused with a new sense of purpose and meaning, and I am so very grateful. The next few years were consumed with recovery, and with learning about addiction; mine and that of others.

Then, with a background in art, psychology and social justice work , I was led to seek further education in a field of listening and compassion: Chaplaincy. Following Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), I was hired by the Episcopal Diocese of Utah where I continue chaplaincy part time at St. Mark’s hospital. I also served at Salt Lake Behavioral Health as Staff Chaplain. In chaplaincy  I’ve had the privilege to facilitate Spiritual Support Groups, listen to patients’ Holy Stories, create Interfaith and Interspiritual Worship Services, and support patients and staff spiritually and emotionally.

In 2013 I traveled to San Francisco and to Chartres Cathedral in France to complete Labyrinth facilitator training with Veriditas, an internationally respected labyrinth resource and certification body.

I was also privileged in 2014 to have the opportunity to complete SoulCollage® Facilitator Training. SoulCollage® is a transformational, creative, fun, and deeply healing modality and has become a primary spiritual practice for me.

In 2014 I entered into a two year spiritual and professional formation program at the Chaplaincy Institute Interfaith Seminary in Berkeley, CA to become an Interfaith Spiritual Director. I completed my certification in January 2016.

All of these pieces came together in October 2014 with my new professional practice: Altar Ego LLC!

Spiritual direction is less about “direction,” and more about spiritual companionship as you explore your relationship with God, Love or Source (or whatever name you chose for ultimate meaning).

You might come to Spiritual Direction for a variety of reasons, including wanting to integrate spirituality into daily life, negotiating difficult transitions, digging deeper into Authentic SoulEssence, looking for purpose and meaning, discerning and making difficult choices,  or identifying and trusting personal experiences of God.

I have the privilege and responsibility to journey with you as you realize the beauty of your SoulEssence, and deepen your relationship with your Source.

This journey to wholeness takes place in the context of group sessions or confidential individual sessions (usually once a month for an hour).

I am currently facilitating occasional group Labyrinth walks and monthly SoulCollage® workshops.I am scheduling monthly individual sessions and hold Bi-Weekly Spiritual Support Groups called Awakenings. I am available to teach Art and Soul classes for your group or organization.

Soon, I am planning  a free monthly drop-in Spiritual Support Group. Let me know if you’d like to check it out!

Blessings and hugs,                                                                                                                                                   ~Julie

06 Mar

Sacred Focus

The other day I was reminded by by my friend, Cole, and by Ann H. Hughes in her blog at http://blog.soulcollage.com/soulcollage-altar/,  that one of the reasons I do the work I do, the very reason I named my Spiritual Direction Practice “Altar Ego,” is that I believe altars carry energy and speak to a very different part of us than the logical, linear mind. They speak to our Souls.

When the whole world feels chaotic;  when I look at news sites or social media, and what I see is divisiveness and angry mobs, I can quickly call myself back to my center with images and with objects that remind me of my Soul’s Essence.

Altar

My altars (with an s because when I look around my studio or house, there are little altars everywhere) display my intentions, my hopes, my beliefs. They also help me to grapple with the internal struggles I feel when confronted with evidence that the whole world doesn’t want what I want. Not everyone wants peace. Not everyone wants cheesecake either!

Altars can help me take a literal look at my projections and move more toward compassion than combativeness. Less judgement and more understanding.

An altar can remind me to forgive (both myself and others…and after all it’s the same thing, isn’t it?), and then turn to the important stuff,  which for me is creative living. Making things. Whether that means creating a painting, a SoulCollage® card, a good meal (OK, I haven’t created many of those lately), a beautiful home (or at least a comfortable one),  a business plan, an altar, a blog…

I’m not saying this is effective all of the time. I can get caught up in my self-righteousness as much as the next gal. I can even waste precious hours of my life justifying my indignation; finding all kinds of evidence for my high-falutin’ stances…

But. I believe we all have a mission, a purpose, a calling. When I create a sacred space to come to again and again, I can forgive myself again and again, and then get on with mine.