Who are you Jonny?
Yes, let me introduce myself — I live in Nottingham with my wife and two children. I have been a designer, artist and teacher for over fifteen years. I love to explore creativity, spirituality and meaning, in my artwork and in interactions with others. I continue to practice and teach in the area of art and design (you can see that work along with links to my design business at jonnynorridge.com).
Through my professional work and in voluntary roles I have had very real and practical experience with encouraging others in their creativity and offering pastoral care. This has taken place most prominently in two particular contexts — the faith community of Trent Vineyard in Nottingham and (with a creative focus) the degree courses in the School of Art & Design at the local University where I am a sessional lecturer. For the last two years I have been offering spiritual direction to a number of directees.
Who are you associated with?
I have received my training in Spiritual Direction with the organisation Sustainable Faith in Amsterdam. For many years I have served and lead within various ministries and small groups in the life of Trent Vineyard (UK). I continue to serve the church in this way and have provided spiritual direction for several of the churches members and leaders.
What is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual direction is a way for you to nurture your spiritual life, deepen your relationship with God and care for your soul. It provides contemplative, prayerful and spiritually sensitive space, for you to discern the activity of the Spirit in your life, explore your experience of God and respond to divine invitations.
Is this a Christian thing?
I practice spiritual direction within the context of the Jesus tradition. It can be traced back throughout church history and resonates with the teaching and approach of Christ as we see him in the gospels. Does that mean you need to ‘have a faith’ in order to receive spiritual direction? Ah, now there’s a phrase loaded with meaning. I would want to highlight: you always start where you are and there is space to explore how you are being drawn onward in your spiritual life.
“History shows that throughout the centuries followers of the way of Christ have sought help from mature Christians who had a deep capacity to listen with their hearts, who were familiar with the signposts and struggles on the Christian journey towards holiness, and who could, when familiar landmarks disappeared in the darkness, provide a strong beacon to keep the light of God alive.” S. Pickering
Spiritual direction, counselling, coaching… how are these related or different?
This is a helpful question to explore. All three are important and can play a helpful role in your life; but, they are different. As a short explanation, perhaps these distinctions will help: coaching often will have a focus of problems and solutions, symptoms and goals; counselling will proceed in a therapeutic and psychological manner; whereas the intention of spiritual direction is to go deeper. — “The focus is always on the relationship with God. Contemplating the mystery that is God in Christ in a deeply spiritual way to come to know God and ourselves in a fuller, healthier way.” (quote from the article at I-am-significant which offers a detailed explanation of this topic). The focus of my work with The Contemplative Space is spiritual direction.
“Few relationships in a leader’s life are unencumbered with multiple agendas. While the people around them are often more concerned about what they can get out of them in terms of productivity and success, the spiritual director is in a unique position to ask the question ‘How is it with your soul?’ and to keep asking it whenever it seems like [they] are losing themselves amid the demands of life in leadership.”
R H Barton