On the fourth Thursday of each month I will introduce you to someone whom I look up to as a spiritual friend and teacher. The focus of my questions is on their spiritual practices and what nurtures their deepening spirituality.
This month meet Ann Adams, Ph.D., whom I met when I put a flyer on a community bulletin board inviting women "of a certain age" who were interested in forming a circle to explore spirituality in our later years.
Ann is not only a mother of two daughters, grandmother to six children, a sister, friend and mentor, but also an educator, who for over 40 years was a teacher, counselor and administrator in public education and universities. Her personal theme can be stated in the words of Mary Rose O'Reilly, "We can listen them (children) into existence."
About herself Ann says, "I am a deep listener who believes if we take the time to listen deeply to ourselves, our children, and other adults we honor their spiritual space and in that place help them hear and follow their own song."
Ann, I am so grateful for the wisdom you have brought our Wise Women group. Please tell my readers about your spiritual practices.
On a daily basis, I actualize my spiritual practice in an integrative way, blending all the various techniques I have practiced over the years. These include frequent conversations with angels and ascended masters, meditation, mindfulness, journaling, journeying, Reiki, EMF Balancing, and Divine Coding.
The wisdom and light gained from these practices are a part of me as I walk through my day. Each of them, in their own way helps me feel grounded, supports my intuitive understanding of my experiences, helps me listen deeply to others' words and to see beyond their surface meaning. My spiritual practices help me move to a positive outlook, so I can frame my experiences in an enlightened, intuitive way.
The flood of warmth, gratitude, and appreciation of the significance each moment brings is with me no matter what I am doing and leads me to be in the present. When I am in the present moment, I own how I feel about what I am experiencing. I appreciate the Great Spirit and Universal Energy, which allows me to touch the deep parts of who I am.
You have incorporated so many interesting avenues of spiritual practice. Can you give some examples of how you approach what you might experience on any day?
Connecting to nature is a large part of my practice. When looking at a cloud formation, for example, I may see an image (animal, angel, face, etc.), and I expect it is a message for me, and I smile. I welcome, thank and/or make a request as the cloud movement gradually fades into yet another image.
Behind the home I share with my daughter and her family, there are two beautiful ponds surrounded by prairie grasses and wildflowers. While walking with my young grandchildren on the paths that stretch past these ponds, we thank the ducks or geese that may join us.
I know how important children and their energy is to you. How does that deep love connect to your spirituality?
Children are a direct line to the Great Spirit, and I am in awe of their outlook and awareness. At one point one of my six grandchildren asked if Grandpa Tom, who died in 2011, was outside my window in spirit form. I responded by saying, "Maybe so," knowing that children can often see and understand spiritual images and messages that I, as an adult, can not see. We waved and said, "Hi. I love you."
I have no doubt you and your grandchild felt Grandpa Tom's love in that moment, too. Has there been a time in your life when a spiritual practice has had a special impact on your life?
Experiencing a divorce at age fifty, after twenty-two years of marriage, created purpose and space for me to explore who I was. I was eager to begin my spiritual search.
The Universe brought me a woman who hosted quarterly retreats in her home using Native American tradition with the Medicine Wheel as the foundation for reflection. The grief, sadness, and confusion related to the divorce were replaced with gratitude for the new spiritual sisters I found, along with the new time and space for self-reflection, and the energy to direct towards healing.
I became clearer and more spiritually aware. Annually, a number of women from that group meet to thank each other and Great Spirit, and we continue to define and honor our individual spiritual practice.
How does your spiritual practice relate to your profession as an educator?
Until my recent retirement, I wove spiritual lessons into the content of the curriculum I taught graduate students studying to be teachers and school administrators. I used select readings, reflective journaling, and discussion to enable my students to discover their own unique "song" and how to share their song with the world. Most of my students realized that the teachers who had touched their lives and whom they remember fondly were those who honored their individuality, which is what I call 'spirituality.'
My best hope is that all people, teachers included, understand:
Honoring the spiritual space of the classroom
starts within the teacher, which then can sustain
the spiritual possibility within the classroom. The
way into spiritual awareness is to be present, and
listen. The student brings the material, and we have
an opportunity to reach our students right where they
live. (Lisa Miller)
Now that you are no longer teaching, how will you continue to teach your spiritual understanding?
I have learned that I need to share how I live my spiritual practice and to hear how others practice spirituality as well. If there are long spaces where this does not happen, I begin to falter in my spiritual practice. The sharing provides clarity and direction for me. Therefore, I participate in several groups--the Wise Women group, a monthly Spiritual Reflections Journal Writing group, and an Anthroposophical study group discussing the lectures of Rudolf Steiner.
The suicide attempt of my 12-year-old granddaughter and the lack of concern shown by her school environment highlighted for me that there is much more work for me to do. I continue to ask, "What am I to learn from what just happened?" How can I use this experience to better know and understand my world?" And I find myself asking Spirit for direction. How can I put my skills and awarenesses to work to benefit future generations?
I know you are open to what Spirit has in store for you, and on behalf of all those who will benefit from your spirit, I thank you.
Ann is interested in gathering with others curious to learn and talk about our own spirituality and our role as guides, leaders, and teachers. Ann can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Miller, Lisa. "Present to Possibility: Spiritual Awareness and Deep Teaching" Teachers College Record Volume 111 Number 12, 2009, p. 2705-2712 ID Number 15781 http://www.tcrecord.org/search.asp?kw=Present+to+Possibility&x=34&y=9
I Will Not Live an Unlived LIfe; Reclaiming Purpose and Passion by Dawna Markova
Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment by Rudolf Steiner
Wheel of Initiation: Practices for Releasing Your Inner Light by Julie Tallard Johnson
How the Light Gets In, Writing as a Spiritual Practice by Pat Schneider.
What spiritual practices help you be in the present moment? If you have retired or are in a different stage of your life, how will you continue to share your spiritual understandings? Post your questions and comments.