A Ramily Labyrinth

Walking a labyrinth is meditation, a prayer, a way to destress, or a pilgrimage of the soul. Thich Nhat Hanh says we should walk as if our feet are kissing the earth. I invited high school students to do that last week when walking the labyrinth.

I had the honor of holding space for several classes at Badin High School, a Catholic high school in Hamilton, Ohio. As a graduate of Badin, my facilitating a labyrinth experience was way of giving back to a community which has helped me to find my way. I’m passionate about the labyrinth. I know the life-giving and life-affirming value of it. I know it as a tool for prayer, for managing stress, for encountering the Holy. Holding an experience for Badin was a dream realized. I am grateful to Mr. C for his openness to collaborating with me in providing this experience for his students. We are a Ramily – a family of Ram graduates, supporters and followers. We are One.

I began each class by letting them know I was there because of my mom for two reasons. The first was her love for Badin Baseball and my continued interest in supporting the players. Because I attend the games fairly regularly, I met and got to know the psychology and French teacher, Mr. C. We quickly discovered we had a shared interest in the value of the labyrinth as a way to calm and manage stress, meditate and a way to pray. When he learned that I had a Chartres style canvas labyrinth, he was all in!

The second reason, I told the students, was also because of my mom. I shared my first experience with walking a labyrinth about two months after my mother had died. By paying attention to my breathing and slowing down, I began to move from shock into traveling the road of grief. Grief is a part of our journey. I soon learned the value of the labyrinth as way to lean into difficult emotions, a way to get clarity and inspiration and a way to celebrate joy.

Prior to leaving the classroom and walking to the activities center, I shared how students might approach the experience of walking. Release, Receive, Return and Remember. Release and let go of worries and plans and walk toward the center. Once there, receive Grace, Light, Love or whatever is needed. Return by the same path and bring with you what you received. And then Remember. I encouraged them to journal about it or talk about it. I suggested that in the coming days they can always remember what they felt and noticed.

Mr. C and I made sure we had lap labyrinths available for those students with mobility issues. A few students opted to not engage at all in the process. Most entered with curiosity, respect, and even reverence. Most sensed the sacredness of the space.

We placed battery powered votive candles in the lunations, a candle in the center, and played soothing music to create a calm and peaceful environment.

I almost do not have the words to explain how receptive and gracious these young men and women were to this new experience. I was awed by young athletes holding hands in prayer in the center. I felt joy observing some students walk with a spirit of play and a spring in their steps. Each group held a different energy. Some bowed at the beginning of their walk. Some made the sign of the cross. All seemed to find the experience meaningful and helpful.

I am grateful to Mr. C and rest of the faculty, staff and administration for their openness to this experience. I have heard positive feedback from everyone. Folks, the honor was all mine.

Ram Dass, the American spiritual teacher, guru of modern yoga, psychologist, and author, said “we are all just walking each other home”. Thank you, Mr. C and Badin students, for walking with me.

Thank you Mr. C and Badin students!

Blessings ~ Christy

(Photos courtesy of Stephen T. Badin High School. I do not own the copyright to these photos.)

(This blog is not intended to serve as individual spiritual direction however, if you would like to explore one-on-one spiritual companioning, grief work, SoulCollage©, labyrinth, Reiki, or mindfulness meditation please contact me. If you, your faith community, book club, or other gathering of spirits would like to know more about spiritual companioning, hold a workshop, learn about SoulCollage® or labyrinth, please contact me to schedule a workshop. May these musings, photos, social media postings serve as a pause in your day, food for thought, or just a reminder to breathe in and breathe out all that is holy and good. The Divine Milieu is all around us. Thank you all for prayers, vibes, positive energy and support.)

Gratitude and Looking Forward

I pray you received Grace, Light, and Love in abundance this month however you celebrated. 

In Gratitude
Thanks to all who attended an in-person or online workshop I offered in 2022. The grace I receive from facilitating experiences for others is beyond words. I look forward to offering other opportunities for YOU to experience soul tending practices like SoulCollage®, labyrinth, HealthRhythms®, day retreats and MORE!

I am grateful for the grace and blessings I received from the directees I companion through spiritual direction. Whether we met monthly or during a retreat, please know your authenticity and sharing is gift to me.

I am honored and humbled to walk beside those I’ve met at the Lindner Center of Hope. Their efforts to be whole in body, mind, and spirit inspires me.

Last but not least, THANK YOU for supporting the Sally Wesselman Angel in the Dugout Endowment. Badin baseball players need your continued support. No donation is too small! https://badinhs.org/memorialdonation.html

Looking ahead to 2023

Holy Fire® Reiki Energy work

In November, 2022, I became a Holy Fire® Reiki Master. In cooperation with Serenity Herbal Farm and Wellness Center near Eaton, Ohio, I will provide Holy Fire® Reiki energy sessions for relaxation and wellness, beginning Monday, January 9, 2023. Please visit my page https://listening-heart.com/reiki/ for more information about Reiki

Due to the nature of Reiki, appointments will be scheduled for one hour beginning at the following times: 10 AM, 12:30 PM, 2:30 PM and 4:30 PM Mondays only. The exchange for one session is $70. Cash preferred. Prepay for a package of three (3) sessions for the discounted price of $175.

Appointments are first come first scheduled. Please call or email me to schedule. 


SoulCollage® Events

Creating Sacred Space – Tending to Your Soul card making, Wednesday, January 4, 2023, 6:00P – 9:00P EST via Zoom. Suggested donation $12 to the Sally Wesselman Angel in the Dugout Endowment Fund Register at http://www.listening-heart.com/events

Introduction to SoulCollage® workshop, Sunday, January 22, 2023, Noon to 6PM, Virtual via Zoom. Register http://www.listening-heart.com/events

Future planned events (and ideas floating around waiting to be birthed) . . . 
      …. contemplative photography
      …. Visio Divina 
      ….  Seasonal and lunar cycle labyrinth walks . . .
      ….  In-person SoulCollage® gatherings
      ….  HealthRhythms® drumming sessions


Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash
Spiritual Direction and Companioning – Please contact me about regular spiritual direction/companioning. I prefer to companion you in the peaceful surroundings of my country office (or we can meet via Zoom). Contact me to schedule a FREE 30-minute informational session.

This blog is not intended to serve as individual spiritual direction. Spiritual direction and spiritual companioning are typically done face to face in a confidential setting or via Zoom or other virtual platform. If you would like to explore one-on-one spiritual companioning, group companioning, SoulCollage©, the Labyrinth, HealthRhythms®, or Reiki, please contact me. If you, your faith group, your church or your book club would like to know more about spiritual companioning, please contact me to schedule an informational workshop. In the meantime, my hope is that these photos and this blog serve as a pause in your day, food for thought, or just a reminder to breathe in and breathe out all that is holy and good. The Divine Milieu is all around us. Thank you all for prayers, vibes, positive energy and support.)

When I’m 64

I celebrated another trip around the sun in October. For about a month prior, I was thinking of ways to make this next trip a little more special. My inspiration came from two sources. One inspiration came from the 15-year-old son of my friend. His “bucket list”, which she discovered after her son died suddenly from a brain aneurysm two years ago, included saving a life and learning how Sunny D was made. Nicholas saved several lives through his unselfish desire to become an organ donor. One of his recipients contacted the makers of Sunny D and the makers of Sunny D responded. Sunny D sends special bottles to woman helping complete late teen’s bucket list https://local12.com/news/local/sunny-d-sends-special-bottles-woman-helping-complete-late-teens-bucket-list-cleves-nick-cordrey-organ-donor-death-lakeisha-dulin-delight-beverage-company-recipe-ingredients-nicks-list-cincinnati-ohio?fbclid=IwAR23lIj6QVIQrHYn6hNhJ0z1BYgt39928AK29NYVLt9G3KtDI18kSe5X6Jk (There are several ways to register to be an organ donor and vary from location to location. Are YOU an organ donor?)

The other inspiration came from my friend Nancy who, at 49 and about to turn 50 later this year, created a “50/50” list – 50 things she wanted to do before her 50th birthday. Her list included travel, taking an electrical class, driving construction equipment, and visiting “kitcsch” roadside attractions similar to the largest frying pan or largest ball of twine!

Both of these “lists” are about living life with intentionality. Sometimes it means planning an event or activity. Sometimes it means being totally spontaneous. In any event, as I see it, these kinds of lists are more the proverbial “bucket list” of things to do before dying. My “When I’m 64 Living Life List” is about living life with intentionality, as if you have less than a year to remain on this plane of existence. It means living life with joy and abandonment. I’ll admit the title is a bit cumbersome. It doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as “bucket list”. Yet both Nicholas and Nancy seemed to understand the importance of going for the gusto and grabbing life.

Henry David Thoreau

“I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life”

My list continues to evolve. Some things on it require international travel and a larger bank account than what I have. Some things are planned. Some are spontaneous. For example, I’ve always wondered how the coin machines work in the grocery store. I see folks bringing in their buckets of change and dumping them in instead of rolling coins. I decided to take a bucket of pennies in and for the cost of 4 rolls ($2.00) I received a voucher close to $30 I redeemed for cash at the customer service desk. It was just something I always wanted to try.

Other things on the list are reminders to be grateful, to forgive, to write a thank-you note, to acknowledge someone’s best efforts and to spend more quality time among trees.

So far, I’ve taken a mosaic workshop and made a lovely votive candle holder, visited Lake Erie (the photo above was taken on the beach at Port Clinton) and Put-in-Bay. I also tried to make pottery on a pottery wheel but let me tell you, using a pottery wheel is harder than it looks. Sadly, Patrick Swayze was not there to provide assistance!

I haven’t decided whether to publish the list or not because it is changing and evolving. I am paying more attention and being more mindful about what gives me life and letting go of what no longer feeds my soul. My hope is to live more intentionally.

I’ll keep you posted from time to time, or you can follow me at Listening Heart on Facebook.

How will you live with intentionality? What would you do differently if you knew you only had less than a year to live on this planet? How do you want to be in the world?

Blessings ~ Christy

(This blog is not intended to serve as individual spiritual direction. Spiritual direction and spiritual companioning are typically done face to face in a confidential setting or via Zoom or other virtual platform. If you would like to explore one-on-one spiritual companioning, group companioning, SoulCollage©, the Labyrinth, HealthRhythms®, or Reiki, please contact me. If you, your faith group, your church or your book club would like to know more about spiritual companioning, please contact me to schedule an informational workshop. In the meantime, my hope is that these photos and this blog serve as a pause in your day, food for thought, or just a reminder to breathe in and breathe out all that is holy and good. The Divine Milieu is all around us. Thank you all for prayers, vibes, positive energy and support.)

Locked In/Out

South Bass Island, Captain Alfred Parker Park, Lake Erie, Ohio (c) Christy Wesselman

I visited South Bass Island in Lake Erie, Ohio this weekend as one of the items on my “When I’m 64 Living Life List”. While some create a “bucket list”, I was inspired by a friend who had created a 50 before 50 list – 50 things she wanted to do or experience before her 50th birthday. It includes everything from running construction equipment, taking a basic electrician’s class, to seeing oddball tourist sites in her state.

I “locked in” on this idea and created a list of 64 events or experiences I would like to have before I turn 64. My friend could feasibly complete her 50/50 list by doing one a week. For me, it’s a little more challenging!

This weekend I crossed off number 3 and number 4 on the When I’m 64 Living Life List. Number 4 was to see and visit Lake Erie. I’ve lived in Ohio most of my life and never saw Lake Erie. And I’ve heard about Put-in-Bay. I took the jet express ferry boat from Port Clinton to Put in Bay, rented a golf cart and toured the island. It was a beautiful sunny and warm fall day. I enjoyed the slow pace of puttering around the island and experiencing all it had to offer.

Apparently, there is a fence in Captain Alfred Parker Park on South Bass Island https://www.putinbay.org/attractions/alfred-parker-park/ where the chain link fence is filled with “locks of love”. While I was visiting last weekend, I snapped this photo.

I was intrigued by these impromptu expressions. The image of thousands of locks of all kinds on a chain link fence which was apparently erected to keep folks safe from dropping into Lake Erie, made me pause. I love images. I love snapping photographs and collaging with others’ images in SoulCollage®.

I invite you to use this photo for your reflection, to write a poem or essay or journal with and about it. Maybe you feel invited to create a collage/SoulCollage® with it. Questions which come to my mind include: “Where are locked in? Where are you locked out? What binds you? Who or what holds the keys or combinations to those locks? What are you bound to? How do you feel when you are “locked in” or “in the zone”?”

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Experience SoulCollage® IN PERSON (workshop)

Would you like to find out what SoulCollage® is and experience it? You still have time to sign up for this workshop. It will be held on Sunday, November 13, 2022, 1:00p to 4:30p https://listening-heart.com/events/ Walk the labyrinth for inspiration and create collaged cards. It’s fun and insightful. All materials are supplied. Bring a friend and have fun while discovering more about yourself.

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New Service – HealthRhythms® Facilitation

I recently trained as a HealthRhythms® facilitator. https://remo.com/experience/post/healthrhythms/ HealthRhythms® is a protocol developed by Dr. Barry Bittman, a neurologist and international speaker based on his conviction that Recreational Music-making is an effective therapeutic strategy in medical settings. Dr. Bittman led a team of researchers who studied the biological effects of the HealthRhythms® drumming protocol and found that group drumming increased the activity of natural killer cell activity, reduced bodily stress, improved mood, and increased job satisfaction and reduced burnout rates.

HealthRHYTHMS® is a “fun, evidence based whole person strategy which promotes socialization and ensures a healthy non-strenuous workout” and fosters personal expression. It can be used in group counseling, support groups, rehab centers, schools, hospitals, facilities focused on the aging, offices and businesses seeking to reduce stress and build team cohesion. https://remo.com/experience/post/healthrhythms/

Please contact me to discuss scheduling HealthRhythms® for your group, school or business.

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New Service – End of Life Companion Services

I am adding a new service in addition to spiritual companioning, SoulCollage®, labyrinth and HealthRhythms®. I feel a call to companion folks in their autumn and winter years – those who are facing terminal illness and death.

Some who engage in that kind of work call themselves end-of-life doulas. A doula is a Greek word, which long ago referred to a woman of service. In the 1980s, the word doula became used again to refer to a person who guided a woman through the birthing process. While the end-of-life doula approach is based on that birth doula model, the work I feel called to offer is non-medical because dying is not a medical event – it is a human event. Dying is a journey through the unknown.

Some individuals who do this work identify as a death doula, death midwife, death coach, end-of-life coach. I have not grafted on to a term yet however, I am committed to providing compassionate companionship and guidance to a person who is transitioning to death and to assisting their loved ones through the dying process.

Our modern western culture has created a deep fear of death. There is an embedded bias in our health care systems which prevents us from accepting the naturalness of dying and more importantly, how to support and companion people going through it. Today, most families live far apart, and generations no longer share homes where family members care for the sick and dying. The way accompanying the dying was handled during the pandemic was deeply distressing to me. Often loved ones were without family in their final hours whether they were dying from the virus or not.

I believe it is time to care for the dying – and those close to them – with an open and listening heart providing presence and compassion. I believe it’s time to re-member and return to the kind of soul tending our ancestors embraced. I believe it is time to return to allowing the process of dying to open us up to the inner healing, beauty and sacredness that can be experienced between people surround a dying person.

My presence can be initiated immediately after a terminal diagnosis, later on when a person is declining, at the point where the person’s body is beginning its final breakdown and keeping vigil or watch is needed, or even after a death to help loved ones start grieving. My desire is to provide emotional, spiritual, and physical support to everyone involved.

My commitment is to provide a deep listening heart to fears, hopes, concerns of the dying person, and to listen to life stories of the person who is dying. I am committed to providing referrals to community resources. I am committed to holding sacred space for the entire dying experience that honors and respects the person. I am committed to deeply listening to the life stories of who the person is and has been in their life and to helping them live with purpose – and hope – up to the final breath.

Please call me for more information.

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Let me know how I can support your spiritual growth and healing through individual spiritual companioning or Reiki or support your group, business, retreat center or educational service through SoulCollage®, labyrinth, or HealthRhythms® facilitation.

Autumn blessings ~ Christy

(This blog is not intended to serve as individual spiritual direction. Spiritual direction and spiritual companioning are typically done face to face in a confidential setting or via Zoom or other virtual platform. If you would like to explore one-on-one spiritual companioning, group companioning, SoulCollage©, the Labyrinth, HealthRhythms®, or Reiki, please contact me. If you, your faith group, your church or your book club would like to know more about spiritual companioning, please contact me to schedule an informational workshop. In the meantime, my hope is that these photos and this blog serve as a pause in your day, food for thought, or just a reminder to breathe in and breathe out all that is holy and good. The Divine Milieu is all around us. Thank you all for prayers, vibes, positive energy and support.)

Writing, St. Ignatius & SoulCollage®

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Writing a blog is intimidating. Writing about spirituality is even more so.

When I notice areas where I’ve grown or had profound insights, a part of me wants to share that with others – sometimes shout it from the rooftop. I’ve struggled with boundaries most of my life and I tend to err on the side of being overly cautious, protective and guarded. What if what I share is TMI – too much information and I overexpose myself? The last thing I want to do is to expose proverbial behind on the internet FOREVER.

I journal which is more for I suppose. And even with my journaling, I’ve left explicit instructions for my journals to be burned upon my death. My personal musings, doubts, rants, questions, struggles and redundancies should not be a burden for my spouse or family to deal with.

I do want them to honor my SoulCollage® cards. I hope they will. I hope they see “me” in the various images because the images on those cards are windows into my soul. They don’t need words or explanations. When taken in their entirety, they reflect my inner wisdom and spirit.

I sometimes wish I could share some of those creations with you. First of all, the cards I’ve created are very personal. And another reason I don’t share them is I choose to honor the intellectual property rights of photographers and artists whose images I’ve used in creating my cards. Most of the images in magazines are copyrighted images. We respect copyright in the world of SoulCollage®. (The one card you see on this page is made of images from photographs I took.)

I wish I could show you the cards which have emerged in the past month. In the past month or so, I’ve felt a nudge or a call to work with the spiritual exercises designed by St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556). The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola are a usually done in a month-long program of meditations, prayers, considerations, and contemplative practices that help Christian faith become more fully alive in the everyday life of contemporary people. Very few people are able to dedicate an entire month for a retreat using these exercises. There are a variety of ways to use the Spiritual Exercises outside of a taking a month off for a retreat. I highly recommend obtaining the help and guidance of a spiritual director or companion should you desire to undertake these exercises.

I reviewed several adaptations by different authors and chose Louis M. Savary’s The New Spiritual Exercises: In the Spirit of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. When I read in the introduction that St. Ignatius adapted the exercises several times throughout his life, the proverbial lightbulb went on. What if, while using the Spiritual Exercises as prompts to dive deeper into my spirituality, I “mash them” with another spiritual practice namely, SoulCollage®? What if, I allow the prompts and reflections to tickle my imagination – which is one of the ways St. Ignatius invites us to deepen our relationship with God? What if my imagination leads me to create SoulCollage® cards?

I wish I could share with you the cards that emerged after reflecting on the mystery of the Incarnation. The images that came forth symbolizing the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Presentation and Jesus teaching in the Temple surprised and delighted me in ways I could not imagine. I felt an abundance of Grace and insight into the mystery of God daring to become one of us. It has been a joyful journey in the past few weeks. Creating SoulCollage® cards has been extended prayer and meditation on the great mystery of God becoming like us and showing us “this is how it is done.”

By combining these two spiritual practices, I’ve been renewed and refreshed. All of which comes on the heels of companioning others on their spiritual journeys while directing week-long silent retreats in June and July. I feel so incredibly blessed and enriched by the lives of beautiful souls. I am grateful for their trusting me to hold tender and gentle space for them.

Perhaps the message is I don’t need to produce anything or bare all the details of my journey. Perhaps the gift to you is in the sharing of the process. Perhaps you sense an invitation to be creative, to respond to the nudges you feel from Spirit – however you name that and allow it to take you wherever YOU are meant to go.

Wherever you wander or whatever path you find yourself on, don’t be afraid to share that with a companion. I’m incredibly blessed with a wonderful spiritual director, a companion who holds the space for my exploration and creating. I am forever grateful for spiritual friends along the journey, too. Men and women who are not afraid to be real, genuine, and soul-deep.

Yes. It is intimidating to write about matters of the heart and matters of the soul. I’ll keep trying. I’ll keep doing the best I can with what I have at the given moment. It’s really all I can do.

I hope you will keep reading.

Be well and blessings – always ~ Christy

(This blog is not intended to serve as individual spiritual direction however, if you would like to explore one-on-one spiritual companioning, grief work, SoulCollage©, labyrinth, Reiki, or mindfulness meditation please contact me. If you, your faith community, book club, or other gathering of spirits would like to know more about spiritual companioning, hold a workshop, learn about SoulCollage® or labyrinth, please contact me to schedule a workshop. May these musings, photos, social media postings serve as a pause in your day, food for thought, or just a reminder to breathe in and breathe out all that is holy and good. The Divine Milieu is all around us. Thank you all for prayers, vibes, positive energy and support.)

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