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You are the Space.
You are the Prayer.
You are the Divine manifestation of Love.
How we help you hold the sacred space
Contemplative Spiritual Direction and Soul Companionship
Workshops and Online Courses in Spirituality
What is Contemplative Spiritual Direction
or Spiritual Companionship?
Contemplative Spiritual Direction is an ancient tradition. Some call it spiritual mentoring. A spiritual director is a guide who listens, reflects, and holds the space with you on your spiritual journey. It is said that spiritual direction is the essence that Freud extracted from counseling, which made talk therapy a more linear experience. But God is not linear.
People often seek out a spiritual director in times of transition such as illness, divorce, or death. Some seek spiritual companionship as they contemplate a career change, a call to a new vocation, or as they approach retirement age. Some might seek out a spiritual director after moving to a new location.
The common denominator in all of these is we find ourselves at a crossroads in life and we turn toward our spirituality and sometimes seek new ways to deepen that spirituality. We begin to ask the bigger questions and set out to find a greater understanding of our divinity. We seek new ways for the sacred to become known to us. We search for new ways to pray, ways which lift us beyond the rote words of our prayer books. We long to be in relationship with our Creator. We find God in the ordinary, perhaps in the way sunlight streams through the leaves on a tree on a Spring day, or in the graceful flight of a hawk against a blue autumn sky. We begin to perceive and experience the movement and expression of God differently than we ever have before. We start to question things we perhaps never questioned before. We may hear God calling us to something new. We long to communicate with the Divine in a new way, and perhaps above all, we want to make space for this new movement of God in our world.
You need not be a member of a church or even define yourself as religious to be in Spiritual Direction. Spiritual Direction is for anyone who is on a spiritual path and seeking a deeper relationship with the god of their understanding. All denominations and faith traditions are welcome.
Spiritual Direction sessions with Maria are scheduled online with Zoom or by phone.
Writing from the Sacred Space Workshops
(Coming Soon in an Online Format)
All creation is a sacred act, rooted in our spirituality, and the art of writing is no different. However, we have been conditioned to think of writing as a linear activity. We are taught at a young age to outline and organize our thoughts before committing them to paper. As such, most people are writing from the left side (or linear side) of their brain.
But when we write from a contemplative space, we connect with a forgotten place deep within our soul where the mystery of creative expression awaits you. We learn that faith and trust in creative process will guide us. It is then that we are creating with the right side of the brain, a rich and fertile place, a place of innocence and freedom where we meet our
authentic voice and where we co-create with God.
This class combines writing with meditation and is specifically designed to help you quiet your thoughts, remove creative blocks, and allow you to access your deepest wisdom on the page.
While it is not necessary to be in Spiritual Direction to appreciate this class, Maria often recommends this class to her directees.
Please note, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this course is currently being created in an online format.
Please check back for details.
Online Courses in Spirituality and Spiritual Development
(Coming Soon in an Online Format)
Online courses, at your pace, on various topics in spirituality, including meditation, grief, forgiveness,
divorce, dealing with illness, and more.
Please visit us again for updated information
Meet Maria Mandarino
I am a spiritual director, trained in the Benedictine contemplative tradition. I have been a seeker on the journey since 1996 after the unexpected death of a childhood friend, which was followed by a serious car accident caused by a drunken driver, both events a year apart only by a matter of three hours. I intuitively knew that wasn't a coincidence. The veil that Long Island summer night somehow felt eerily thin, and I sensed I was being drawn into a deeper experience. Broken by grief and then plunged into chronic pain from my injuries, my life, my career, and virtually all my relationships had been forever altered. I no longer wanted to have small conversations. Pushing paper at the international medical journal where I served on the editorial staff no longer seemed important. Born into Roman Catholicism, I spent nearly the next 20 years exploring eastern thought because the church of my origin seemed to hold no answers for me. In a quest to free myself from chronic pain, once my body healed enough with the help of alternative medicine, I returned to school to become a massage therapist. I studied T'ai Chi, Yoga, and Qi Gong. I eventually returned to school to complete my Master of Science degree in acupuncture.
It would be some years later though that my life would change again and I would find myself standing before a small congregation at an Episcopal church in Lakewood, Colorado, where I attended a contemplative service called Nishma. I stood before the group, reading the "Initiation Song from the Finder's Lodge" from Always Coming Home, by Ursula Le Guin. The poem was part of a send off for our pastor who was about to leave on sabbatical. At the end of the service, a woman who I barely knew approached me and said I should consider going into spiritual direction. Knowing she was a spiritual director herself, I had assumed she meant I should be mentored by a spiritual director. I shared with her that I had been contemplating this, but hadn't yet made an appointment with a director. She said, "No, I mean, you should think about becoming a spiritual director." I laughed and said, "You've got the wrong woman."
One week later, however, she approached me again. This time with a brochure from the Benedictine monastery where I would enroll one year later. There was a lot of discernment that happened in that year. And to be honest, a whole lot of resistance. I will tell you, when you find yourself resisting something strongly, it is exactly then that you need to put everything else down and begin your work. During that year I worked closely with a spiritual director who was trained in the Enneagram, an experience that was absolutely pivotal for me to understand myself as a human being and to come face to face with my place in and purpose on this earth. My whole life as I know it today would be different had it not been for that experience.
I spent the next two years in spiritual formation at Benet Hill Monastery in Colorado Springs, where I graduated from their two year Benedictine Spiritual Formation Program (BSFP). It was at this serene healing space in the Black Forest of Colorado Springs that I became immersed in the Benedictine way of "listening with the ear of the heart." It was in this program that I also began my study of the Enneagram, an exploration that I continue till this day.
In addition to being a spiritual director, I am the owner of Spirit Point Acupuncture. I also own Spirit Point Business Coaching, where I use the Enneagram to guide practitioners in the holistic healing arts in how to build their ideal practice by being in harmony with their True Self.
I am also a writer and hold my Master of Science in Secondary English Education. While I left the high school classroom many years ago, I never stopped being a teacher. And so when I was asked by the Poetry Society of Colorado to present a class on contemplative creative writing, I immediately said yes. That invitation gave way to Writing from the Sacred Space: a Contemplative Writing Workshop. This course has become an extension of my work as a spiritual director.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have. I would be honored to hold space with you on your spiritual path.
Blessings and peace on your journey,
Online Classes on Spirituality
This section and these links are still being developed.
Please check back soon or call us with any questions.
A Call to the Sacred:
How do I listen for the voice of God in the midst of chaos?
This course is designed for the person who is in a life transition. As these transitions occur, we often find ourselves overwhelmed, wishing there were a rule book to navigate these changes gracefully. We feel alone, confused, and sometimes scared. We feel like by now we should have it all together, and we feel inadequate because we don't.
Perhaps it's a career change, a move, a relationship where you just don't feel as supported as you once did, or maybe your spiritual community is changing, or you never had a spiritual community to start with. Maybe you are facing retirement, or perhaps you are an empty-nester seeking new purpose. Any and all of these transitional moments are a call to the sacred.
This course will help you explore the places where you are separated and will help you hear your new call. As we grow spiritually, our goals and needs change and it can be overwhelming to know where to start. This course will unlock the spiritual tools you need to create inner stillness so you can hear your Creator speak to your heart.
Writing From the Sacred Space
Some words people have shared...
"I’ve worked with Maria for several years now and I appreciate how well she listens
and helps guide me with situations in my life from all angles.
She is a wealth of knowledge and experience. She helped me to see possibilities I didn’t know were there, asked the hard questions, and helped me find solutions that were right for me."
Amy Vander Linden of Moment of Truth Physical Therapy interviews Maria
about the Enneagram on her podcast, Bellies, Babies and Birth.
Holding the Sacred Space Blog
The Nei Jing is one of the classic texts of Chinese Medicine, filled with clinical theory and Taoist wisdom. It discusses not only pathologies, but also the vital importance of…
June 23, 2020
And so there are times when we have it all planned out. Our pencils are sharpened. We have index cards. Pretty color coordinated ones even. You know how many days the project…
July 15, 2019
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