WCGR member Cami Mann does soul work, the kind of work that touches one’s deepest sense of self. She embraces the deep places, the places where wisdom resides. In tapping into these places, she finds and assists others in finding the meaning that comes from embracing their interior wisdom.
As a spiritual director, she creates space for someone to tap into that sense of wisdom, helping individuals to understand and trust that the answers they seek lay deep within.
Long lasting quote/quote resonating with you now?
What I am, I am and say not. Being is the great explainer.”
– Henry David Thoreau
Was there a specific moment/event/happening that ignited your holistic flame?
It really came out of my own crash and burn moment which happened about 22 years ago. Knowing that the way I was doing life was not working for me culminated in my surrendering myself to something bigger than myself. I began to give up my own sense of ego, and started seeking and searching and trusting something beyond me to give me a little bit more of a vision and depth. That’s what really started what has been a 22 year journey unfolding in stages along the way.
Which way did you carry out your passion for holistic health?
I really began my work for holistic health as I began to find healing myself. My journey early on drew me into work within the Catholic Church working with youth, young adults and families. It was during this time that I became trained and educated in bereavement, family life cycles and pastoral care. Having experienced a growing, expansive sense of the sacred, I left employment in the Catholic Church and completed a three year program for spiritual direction. I also received training in energy work.
How does your work differ from other therapies similar to yours?
Spiritual direction is specific to what you would call soul work. The soul work sometimes goes through the mind and/or the body, but whatever path it takes it takes us into that deep seated place where our sense of wisdom resides. When we tap into that, we tap into the deepest sense of ourselves. I don’t know that other modalities go to that depth; into that deep meaning which comes from embracing our interior wisdom. Spiritual direction is creating the space for someone to tap into that sense of wisdom. I think it differs from the therapeutic model, which is a little more problem solving and strategy focused, in that spiritual direction understands and trusts that the answers people seek lay deep within them.
Spiritual direction actually draws out what is already there for people. It works with the unseen in that way. It uses a similar process, such as logo-therapy; word, story, but it also incorporates other experiences that help people articulate their sense or experience of the sacred. For example, some people enter through the word. Some are very intellectual so it may be a lot of idea. Some are image driven so you might use a lot of imagery instead. Overall it is an embodied experience.
Spiritual direction is somewhat of a misnomer, it is not directive at all. The idea is that people possess their own deep seated wisdom. And so by deeply listening and attentively watching, as a director you will notice body posture or you may notice someone continuing to use the same phraseology over and over. These are often the cues that prompt questions, give rise to insight and help create prompting questions.
What type of people/symptoms do you generally work with?
I have what is called an interspiritual direction practice. Some spiritual directors may stay within a particular tradition, and they may want to meet with those that specifically fit that tradition. My practice is interspiritual in that I am comfortable in not naming the sacred in any particular way which allows for being with people who are naming it however they encounter the sacred. Therefore, I am comfortable sitting down with those who come from any background. I meet with a wide variety of people.
What I notice more specifically, though, is that a majority people who I sit down with have a deep-seated woundedness. A lot of people are spiritually wounded and do not feel welcome because they do not “fit a box” and therefore, they are going to hell. Or they have a sense of something being bigger than the box that they were given.
I sit with people who seem to fit into one of these three areas: experience spiritual distress, crisis or abuse. They are those who may have experienced a death of a loved one and they are trying to make meaning out of it. It does not align with what they believed. It no longer fits into their previous meaning-making structure. There is also the distress of someone who has been abused by clergy or other members of a tradition, whether it was sexually, verbally, or emotionally… abused in a power structure that has been set up to enforce its power. That is a growing area of my practice.
Where did you grow up? What things were you drawn to/curious about? What are you drawn to now?
Wheeling, West Virginia. I grew up in the mountains of West Virginia and I always loved the winter. The foliage always covers everything up, but in the winter, everything is exposed. You get to see the caves and the rock formations, everything that you don’t always get to see. I think that instilled in me a curiosity to be mindful that there is what we see, but there is always something that we do not. That has always been a prevailing principle for me.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
What I am most proud of is being able to look at the trajectory of my life; where I am and where I have been. I am proud that I have the courage and tenacity in myself and something beyond me to craft my life in a way that I am happy with. I am proud and privileged that this trajectory has invited me into accompanying others as they live into healing and hope.
Where is your peaceful/happy place?
Physically, my peaceful place is the mountains. Anything around rocks is very soothing for me. Rocks are the keeper of our stories. I always feel safe, peaceful and happy around them.
What do you do to center yourself?
I find that when I am centered the most is when I am able to empty myself out and give over to contemplative prayer. I enjoy watching the outcome of that contemplative prayer unfold as I live my life. It is a contemplative practice where I do not have to think or fill it with anything. There is this flow of wisdom that we naturally tap into. The other way I center myself is body movement. It helps to take me outside of my mind, if I am having a hard time shutting my mind down.
Do you have a positive affirmation? A favorite word?
“This is what life looks like right now.”
In your eyes, what does a beautifully spent day look like to you (with alone time)? Easing into my morning which means that I do not wake up to an alarm, but not sleeping in too late either. I get to walk through the quiet of the morning gracefully and simply, setting the intention and the tone for the day. It would be spent reading and laughing with my husband before we went out for a hike. Walking through grass barefoot. And then closing the day with a great meal and a wonderful cocktail, while watching a beautiful sunset. Gracefully and simply.
About: Cami Mann is a spiritual director at manIFeStations GR. As a practitioner of interspiritual direction, Cami firmly believes that the sacred resides deep with each of us. Through interspiritual direction, she works to accompany the seeker as they move deeper into the sacred and holy.