I was blessed to have had a profound spiritual experience as a 10-year-old child. Walking down a country road one day with friends, I suddenly felt as if the whole of the earth I was looking at was bathed in light, and that the light was pouring into me, that somehow I was connected to all of it in a profound way. I did not understand it at the time. I described it to myself then that I felt filled with infinite possibility, that my life had potential and that I was capable of filling that potential.

When my life deteriorated in my 20s due to severe anxiety illness, I clung to that memory from my childhood, thinking that if I could get back to that sense of profound connection, joy and light I could find my way out of the dark valley I had been plunged into with my first panic attack.

It took me 20 years of therapy, reading, meditating and spiritual direction to rediscover that way of being in the world. It has been an amazing journey. Raised a Catholic, I became an atheist in my late teens. In a strange way, becoming an atheist wiped the slate clean of “required beliefs” so that as I began my spiritual quest, I was open to exploring my relationship with God and open to understanding how unique and precious is each person’s relationship with the Infinite.

My spiritual practice has included meditation, prayer, readings, retreats, and the creation of personal rituals for healing and growth. These practices have saved my life, becoming as important to sustaining me as food and water. They have also been a tremendous joy, becoming an integral part of my story. While other mundane realities of my life have faded from memory, the richness of the experiences I have had in my prayer life, and the powerful transformative events that have taken place at the heart of my ritual and retreat practices, live on in me as powerful and empowering realities.

Several years ago, wanting to share what I had learned with my children, I wrote “Dancing in the Light: A spiritual primer for transformation and growth.” Today, I am working on a second book, titled “Running towards the Light: Creating ritual to deepen and enhance your spiritual life.” It is the second in a 4-part series that I look forward to completing in the coming years.

I recently completed a two-year certificate program in spiritual direction at John Carroll University’s Ignatian Spirituality Institute, and have been leading prayer and providing spiritual direction through Centering Space for the past two years.

One evening, an attendee at Centering Space prayer said to me, “Prayer is the most powerful tool we have.” I feel that my life is witness to that truth, and find tremendous joy in sharing that reality with others through my work at Centering Space and in my daily life with everyone I encounter.

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