The Practice of Spiritual Direction of the Rev. Cat Cox

17 Nov 2012 7:44 PM | Charles (Scot) Giles
    Over twenty years ago I began my path towards a second career as a UU minister - the first having been as an English and Drama teacher at both the high school and college levels. My first master’s degree was in the Art of Teaching (M.A.T.) and specialized in the teaching of composition.  

    Creating break throughs to the “I can’t write” limiting beliefs of college students by guiding them to write only about what mattered to them was really my entree into a “ministerial” way of working with people.

    At about the same time, I had begun to study dreamwork, and I had a life-changing dream that I was teaching people to write about their dreams.

    This was the catalyst towards seminary!

    I knew from the outset that mine would be a community ministry.  

    I wanted to be with people at depth in ways that supported them in finding and living their own most authentic lives.

    To dreamwork I have since added other tools and lenses for pscyho-spiritual development: Compassionate Communication (NVC), the Enneagram, energy work (EFT), Inquiry, Voice Dialogue - in addition to practices such as art-making, journaling, guided visualization, tai chi, meditation, prayer and the insights of the world’s wisdom traditions.

    My study of spiritual practices is and will be ever-expanding!

    What has evolved is a ministry of interfaith spiritual direction.  My website, The Path of Joy, describes it: my ministry serves people of all faiths seeking to live vibrant, fulfilling, meaning-centered lives - truly the path of joy!  

    It encompasses a private practice focused on serving individuals, couples, families, seminarians and clergy, seniors and business / professional women as well as an outreach ministry to Unitarian Universalist congregations, districts, ministerial chapters, interfaith groups and service-oriented organizations.

    Most people miss that we are not taught to orient our lives to listening for the Call of the Sacred in our lives - nor to believe in our capacity to create  fulfilling lives by learning how to overcome obstacles to hearing and following that call.

     Instead, most of us are taught either to obey the rigid rules of some authority embedded in a hierarchy or to fiercely compete for the maximum wealth, power and status no matter the cost - including to ourselves.

     Either is a painful way to live.
    My ministry focuses on the inner work that reorienting to living in response to the Call of the Sacred (named or unnamed) requires.

    It’s a huge undertaking for most of us!

    The skills the old paradigms require - self-discipline, analytic thinking, respectfulness, goal-setting - still have value, but need to become the servants, not the master of our lives. We also need flexibility, openness to the "flow,” spontaneity, willingness to question, play, balanced self-care - and always an inner attunement to the Sacred Aliveness seeking to move through us into the world.

    My community ministry has become successful, I believe, primarily because the principles and practices I teach guide my own life and ministry. My ministry keeps me on my own growing edge and is itself a spiritual practice I’m  most grateful for.

    I have expanded into new ways of offering my ministry. For example, I now Skype with directees from all over the country - originally a stretch for this “non-techie.” But clearly part of answering the Call.

    Living and ministering guided by Howard Thurman’s words has kept me centered - and I could not wish more for you: “Ask not what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.  Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”



  • 19 Nov 2012 4:45 PM | Kathleen Moloney-Tarr
    Thanks for sharing about your spiritual direction ministry. Your journey of spiritual practices is richly varied and sounds like fun as well as work. I like the Howard Thurman quotation so much and appreciate your sharing it in this piece.
    Link  •  Reply
    • 24 Nov 2012 12:07 PM | Cathleen Cox
      You're welcome Kathleen! I'm blessed to do work I love, but I also recognize that happened in my life through attention to my sense of call and saying "no" many time to work that was available, but not really on my path.
      Link  •  Reply

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