Spiritual Direction Series with Dorothy Tullmann, PhD, RN

By the practice of the presence of God . . . the soul comes to a knowledge of God, full and deep.
— Brother Lawrence

A Q&A with Associate Spiritual Director, Dorothy Tullmann on her new Spiritual Direction Series through Theological Horizons.

What is Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual direction is an ancient practice whereby a trained person assists another person in developing a more interactive relationship with God and learn to discern the invitations of God to a fuller awareness of and experiential knowledge of God.

The terms “spiritual direction” and “Spiritual Director” imply that one individual “directs” the other in making decisions about life. But spiritual direction is not therapy or mentoring. Rather, the process of spiritual direction is for the Spiritual Director to listen carefully to the directee’s stories and help the seeking person discern what God—the true Director—is communicating through the directee’s life and experiences. The ultimate goal would be for those seeking spiritual direction to become increasingly aware of God’s presence and movement in their lives.

What happens during a spiritual direction session?

We will begin with a period of silence to provide space for both of us to set aside the typical busyness of everyday life and intentionally prepare ourselves to be open to God’s Spirit to guide us during the hour. You will begin talking whenever you are ready and I will listen very carefully, asking questions along the way to better understand you and your story. Depending on the situation we may also discuss activities for you to consider to assist you in your spiritual journey.

What preparation have you received to be a Spiritual Director?

I have been receiving spiritual direction since 2004. In the fall of 2015 I began the Associate Spiritual Directors Training Program at the West Virginia Institute for Spirituality (WVIS)  and am working on my final assignments to receive certification from WVIS as a Spiritual Director. While my spiritual path is and has been as a follower of Christ, my invitation to assist in spiritual growth is open to anyone.

What else is involved?

Finding the right “fit” in spiritual direction is important. For that reason we will commit to meeting monthly for three months then re-evaluate to determine whether or not we will continue the relationship. A suggested donation for a spiritual direction session is $40 - $75 with checks made out to WVIS. The Associate Spiritual Director Training Program requires supervision so—with your written permission—I will be recording our first few sessions and transcribing part of each session to be reviewed by my supervisor. Your identity will not be disclosed.

What is the series you're offering through Theological Horizons?

During the sessions, we will draw from the book, The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence and participate in group spiritual direction. This practice brings together individuals who share a desire and longing to know God more intimately. The Spiritual Direction Group will meet for five Thursday evenings:

More info coming soon on the days and times. Location will be the TH office upstairs @ Common Grounds, 480 Rugby Rd., Charlottesville

The cost is $20 for the sessions and the book. Space will be limited, so register early!

More about Dorothy...

Dorothy Tullmann, PhD, RN, CNL is an Associate Professor Emerita at the University of Virginia School of Nursing, an elder at All Souls Charlottesville, an Associate Spiritual Director with the West Virginia Institute for Spirituality, and a member of the Board of Directors at the Center for Christian Study. She is a native Californian, the seventh of nine children, raised on a dairy farm. Her undergraduate degree in nursing is from California State University, Chico and her master’s and PhD degrees from UCLA.  Dorothy has practiced as a nurse (critical care, hospice, sexual assault nurse examiner) for many years as well as being an academic. She and her husband, Bob, live in the woods of White Hall where she enjoys, reading, knitting, walking, spiritual direction, keeping the house warm with the wood stove, and eating Bob’s amazing homemade waffles on Saturday mornings. Dorothy and Bob have three adult children and two grandchildren in California: Deb (and Jack) Sylvan, a film maker and mom with Zoe Rose in San Francisco, Hans—an elementary school technology coach—(and Alina) with Jonas Luke in Bakersfield, and Heidi in Oakland, an artistic sign painter, activist, and proud auntie.

Please don’t hesitate to email Dorothy with more questions or to register for the series at dftullmann@gmail.com.