The Guild for Spiritual Guidance

March 2022 Newsletter

Monthly Reflection: On Being a Crow
by Steve Allen, chair of operations

The other day I came across an article by E. L. Doctorow entitled Home. The first sentence gave me a jolt: “There has always been another world.”
I don’t know what Doctorow went on to discuss; one day I will go back and read the whole essay. But this day, the title and that first sentence would not let go of me. I realized with new clarity two things: that in the midst of this mundane world there has always been, indeed, another world – the world of spirit. And the second thing that came shudderingly clear was that this other world is the really real – our true destinal home.
Exploring this other world is, I believe, the ultimate vocation of each of us, of civilization as a whole, and, of the unfolding cosmos itself. In this brief essay, I cannot hope to do more than draw a few lines on the map of profound consciousness.
Everyone knows or can know about this other world, this true home. We may glimpse it in the beauty of a sunset, the embrace of a beloved, the loss of a friend, the shock of a tragedy. At such moments it seems as if the surface of living gives way, scales have fallen from our eyes, mufflers have been removed from our senses, hobbles have been taken off our actions, and we are in the presence of sheer mystery. This experience has been spoken about as encountering a thin space. Every space carries the potential of becoming such a space – a transparent doorway from this world to the other world.
In the future, I would like to describe the states of being which may be revealed in such moments, to begin to map the topography of the other world, to describe the facets of profound living which may become more real – the sense of mystery, of radical awareness, of inclusive care for the universe, of incomprehensible peace.
But for now I’d like to share just a thought about the mundane nature of these moments of transparency, and to do so I offer this brief poem by Robert Frost:
                                    DUST OF SNOW
                                    The way a crow
                                    Shook down on me
                                    A dust of snow
                                    From a hemlock tree
                                    Has given my heart
                                    A change of mood
                                    And changed some part
                                    Of a day I had rued. 
Right in the midst of standing or walking in this wintery world, a random act sends snow falling onto someone, who is catapulted into the other world. And that makes a profound difference: it brings the traveler home.
The travelers of our time desperately long to encounter and live in the other world. And I suspect that the role of the Guild may be like that of the crow for Frost, the agent that offers the vehicle by which that hunger may be satisfied, and the seekers and strivers of the spirit may find the deep comfort of home. One could do worse than be a crow.

Register for the Spring Graduate Circle Retreat
Reconnecting to the Spirit through the Senses
April 2224, 2022 at Wisdom House

Our senses are the first gifts from our creator; endowments with endless opportunities to connect, reconnect and be at one with our source. But how often do we ignore them, take them for granted and fail to see their pathways to inner wisdom and connectivity? Join us this weekend to reestablish and rekindle our sense pathways and our relationships with our spirit and each other!

Registration is now open for the spring Graduate Circle retreat at Wisdom House in Litchfield, CT. This will be our first in-person retreat in two years.  Acclaimed vocalist Leslie Valentine AP XX will be the presenter. Make it a point to stay and attend the Apprenticeship Program graduation ceremony. 
Painting by Becky Nielsen XIX

      A Sunny Show of Solidarity 

by Laura McEvoy

Sunflowers are the national flower of the Ukraine. They represent friendship, faith and strength. Sunflowers are heliotropic,in that  their petals move in response to the direction of the sun, their source. They grow in community, as their roots share nutrients with one another. The wisdom of nature applies to people too. In tragic times people seek divinity and community. Let us pray for the people of Ukraine, Russia, and the world.

A  Message From the AP Coordinator

Greetings AP Graduates, 
APXXII is now forming and we look forward to receiving many more applications before we begin our program in September 2022, just six months from now!
Connection and community feels so important in this struggling world.  I’ve been thinking a lot about the deep connections Apprentices make with one another during their two year Apprenticeship Program. And what a transformational journey it is to deepen relationships with yourself, others, the divine, and the universe all within a safe circle of spiritual listening, sacred presence and response. 
Each of you are so important in the connections needed that encourage our next apprentices to follow their hearts and souls and apply to take their seat in the APXXII circle. Do you remember sitting in the circle of your Guild Apprenticeship experience? What was the journey like for you? How were you changed? What relationships deepened? This morning I was reading Paula D’Arcy’s “Gift of the Red Bird” and she writes, “My story, as a history, is unimportant to anyone but me. But all of our stories, as spiritual journeys, matter. We affect one another. We are all reflections of a great mystery.”
I have a practice of meditating and praying each morning and when an Apprenticeship group is forming I picture a circle of chairs, with an altar table in the center adorned with a woven cloth, a candle, and a circle of friends.  As we receive applications and meet our candidates for interviews, I begin to place them in my vision of the Apprenticeship circle … and let the mystery open my heart and breathe in a welcome to each apprentice.  
Won’t you join me in this visioning?  Who do you know that might expand their spiritual journey by claiming a seat in the APXXII Guild circle?  Please offer them the gift of a conversation that encourages their exploration and application.  I welcome phone calls and e-mails.  
“Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come in as {S}He likes.”  ~Oswald Chamber
With gratitude and love,
Dianne Disston

Creative Oasis Begins Again April 4, 2022

Well over a year ago, at the height of winter pandemic isolation, the Guild offered its members an opportunity to play and laugh and create together on Zoom. Named, The Creative Oasis, members met weekly throughout its first winter and spring. By the summer of 2021 the Oasis began to meet twice a month and has continued to do so until recently when needs caused a temporary pause in the process. 

The Oasis will resume meeting again beginning April 4 and 18 at 7:30 pm EST. All Guild members are invited to join (see zoom link below) – simply bring a pen or crayon; a paint brush or knitting needle; a whatever or whatchamacallit!   The use of crayons and markers seems incongruous to the intimacy which develops during this time; the gathering spirit remains a mystery. Somehow the opportunity for creative self expression and shared conversation held together by technology and the vibrational pull of soft music, brings folks together week after week. Those who gather speak of a deep relaxation by the end of the session, better sleepquality, a greater sense of well being, and the smiles that emerge from shared creations (see examples below).  If, at the end of a day, you find yourself feeling the need for a deep breath, left brain instead of right brain engagement, an alternative to nightly news, or a soothing approach to sleep, then chose a color and click the link at 7:30 on April 4!  Questions?  Do not hesitate to contact Cari at:  
Creative Oasis Zoom Meeting Link

Meeting ID: 886 8224 1968
Passcode: 360150

Film Festival Concludes for the Spring in April

The Guild film festival on hope and resilience will conclude for the spring in April. Film festival participants explore hope and resilience, how the promise of life and freedom can break down the limitations of self-sufficiency and fear. The presenter, Father Larry Lewis, is conducting the discussions following the films along the lines of group spiritual direction.

Julie Gross, who has been participating in the film series, observes,
"The choice of films took me to “places” in my heart and mind not visited before. I was taken by unimagined circumstances and experiences performed by remarkable characters/actors. There was much to take in, and a pleasure and challenge to process.  I look forward to the next film!"

The final film in the spring series is I'm Your Man, a German film. It will be shown on Tuesday, April 12, 2022, at 7 p.m. ET.                                      

The presenter, Father Larry Lewis, has facilitated film discussions since 2004. The author of The Misfit: Haunting the Human – Unveiling the Divine, Lewis received his Ph.D. in spirituality from Duquesne University, and has been a friend of the Guild since 1997. A Maryknoll missionary, he spent many years in China and now serves in the Maryknoll Office of Society Personnel.  

This Engaged Wisdom film course is free and open to all, Guild members and non-Guild members.

Good News from the Universe for Bad Times:

Crisis, Transformation, and Deep Trust from a Cosmic Perspective

This seminar invites us to reflect on the universal nature of crisis, change, and transformation as well as the resources available for cultivating resilience and trust during difficult times. Drawing on insights from modern cosmology and the evolutionary perspective, we find sources of support, renewal, and guidance that can sustain us through the challenges we face personally, culturally, and globally at this critical time.
The presenter, Steve Martin, is an astronomer, educator, and author. He has taught astronomy, physics, and consciousness studies at colleges, universities, and learning centers across the U.S. for over 25 years. He is currently one of the lead instructors for the Deeptime Network, and he also consults at the Center for Spiritual Emergence in Asheville, NC. 
Three virtual sessions, Mondays, 6—8:30 p.m. ET beginning April 25, 2022
Dates: April 18, 2022, April 25, 2022, May 5, 2022       
The cost is $75.
This course is open all, members and non-members.                                       

Pilgrimage to Assisi Web Page Is Live 
 Register Today!

Join us in May 2023 when the Guild is offering a unique opportunity to walk in the footsteps of beloved mystics and peace activists, St. Francis and St. Clare, in the medieval city of Assisi, Italy, and surrounding countryside. “In the Footsteps of Francis and Clare” is an immersion experience in one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites — a unique pilgrimage to contemplate your own spiritual path in companionship with beloved saints. 
There’s a choice of three pilgrimages. Each highlights the life events, spirituality, and writings of Francis and Clare, explored through talks, meditations, and contemplative practices.  On Pilgrimage A — May 14-20, 2023 — you will visit well-known sites deeply connected to the rich Franciscan legacy in and around Assisi – most significantly, the Basilicas of St. Francis and St. Clare, the original Little Portion Friary, and the San Damiano convent, among other wonders (including the ancient Roman Temple of Minerva). On Pilgrimage B — May 21-27 — you will venture out into Umbria and beyond, to visit, among other sacred sites, some lesser known, the town of Greccio, where Francis originated the living nativity; La Verna, where he received the stigmata; and, Gubbio, where the Jungian story of how Francis tamed the wolf took place. Join us for Pilgrimage A, or B, or both (May 14-27, with a discount)!  
You are invited to join us to experience how the Guild’s four strands — Teilhard/Evolutionary Cosmology, Jung/Depth Psychology, Mystic Spirituality, and Sacred Community — intersect with the Franciscan Tradition in meaningful ways. Each strand will help light our way as we follow in the footsteps of Francis & Clare within and around Assisi. We’ll share more in upcoming eNews articles.
Register today to nurture body, mind, and spirit by living into the wise ways of Francis and Clare and their connection to the Guild’s four strands. In doing so, you can call forth what is deepest within you and begin to express that outwardly, within and around the medieval city of Assisi. To register, or for more information, to download the itinerary, and to view photos, visit the Guild’s new “Pilgrimage to Assisi” web pages by clicking on the button below
Your facilitators and co-hosts will be the Rt. Rev. Br. Mark D’Alessio, Franciscan friar, graduate of Guild AP XVIII, and past Guild board member (twice!), and Paul Kimmerling, spiritual director, contemplative photographer, and resident of Assisi. You can see more of their bios on the pilgrimage website page.
Learn More and Register

2022  Sacred Travel Pilgrimages 


The Iona pilgrimage scheduled for the summer of 2022 is so popular, it is now fully booked!

The pilgrimage to sacred places in Switzerland, planned for May 2022, has been cancelled due to insufficient registration.

Join the Virtual Coffee Cafe Tuesdays at 10 a.m. 

Guild graduates, if you love the idea of connecting with friends from your Apprenticeship Program and other Guild graduates, join the Coffee Café every Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. There are people who would love to see you and reconnect.

There is no cost to attend the Coffee Café.
Join us via Zoom

Silent Meditation, Thursdays at 6:30 a.m.

Every Thursday morning at 6:30, Guild members gather for time together in quiet. There is no program as such. Log on as close to 6:30 as you can, settle in, breathe, and sit together with our Guild family, holding the world, the Guild, our lives in holy space. The meeting closes around 7:00 with a reading. You are welcome any Thursday morning.

For more information and the zoom link please email Holly Moore at:

There is no cost for these meetings.

 Upcoming Programs at Wisdom House

Check out these upcoming programs at Wisdom House, particularly those offered by Guild members Br. Mark D'Alessio and Laura McEvoy.
  • Parallel Teachings of Jesus and Buddha. Part 4: Developing Great Love -- the First Sermons of Jesus & Buddha, April 8-9, with Br. Mark D’Alessio
  • Praying Simply, April 23, with Laura McEvoy
  • People of Light in Times of Darkness, April 30
  • Wild & Precious: Poetry of Mary Oliver with Br. Mark D'Alessio, May 7
  • World Labyrinth Day, May 7
  • Day of Prayer with the Three Amigos, May 25
Wisdom House Program Information

Upcoming Courses at Deep Time Network 

  • Essential Teachings of Christian Spirituality, March 30
  • Emergent Dialogue, June through August
  • DeepTime Leadership Practicum, April 6 - June 17 
Deep Time Network Course Information

Upcoming Event at Friends of Silence 

Singing the Trees, April 22-24
Singing the Trees Info

Writers and Artists Wanted

Would you like to write a reflective piece for the newsletter? Would you like to share your poetry, artwork, or remembrances of what made the Guild such a special experience for you? Would you like to write a profile of a Guild member for the newsletter? If so, please contact Lou Anne Bulik. 
You’re receiving this because you’re a member of the Guild or a Guild member has recommended you because of shared interests. We hope you enjoy hearing from us, but if you would prefer not to receive this, then feel free to unsubscribe at any time.   Shalom. Salaam. Peace.
March  2022
Copyright 2021, Guild for Spiritual Guidance, All rights reserved.
Header Photo Credit, John Keith

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