Raised In The “Spiritual Barn" | Spiritual Direction - The Work, J.R. Mahon

“What the hell are you into J.R.?” “When did you lose your mind with all this “Divine” stuff?” It’s no secret, I like God. Those who know me, know my two passions have always been television and the incredibly insane life lived in faith. Yes! It’s a dichotomy and at times It gets confusing to watch... for me too! I make no apologies and I get it, it creates a conundrum looking in. I was seven when I met God. It was very intentional, the Divine simply announced deep in me that he/she “was” and that he/she loved me. For those stuck to the roof of certainty, I’m well past thinking God is simply male oriented. Plus, I’m being a smart ass. See that? That’s the dichotomous conundrum. I didn’t freak out when the Divine touched me or run home screaming, or needed you to believe me or even cared what to call it. I fell in love with the peace showered on me. I knew I belonged, I knew you belonged, I knew he/she belonged and all that poured out of that wonderful voice, was alive in all of us... in everything, even the things we’d hate. It was an amazing day. 

I often say I was raised in the “spiritual barn,” far away from the teachings of the “church.” Today, I’m grateful for that. As a result my religious education and training was less than zero, which created a wonderful formative foundation led by curiosity and spiritual instinct. Although, over the years without a teacher, mentor or spiritual director I was very prone to wander and did. And for those who know me, you know booze made a great companion while I fucked up life for awhile. TV was passion and it’s arena gave me cause. I thrived in the creative of telling stories and started parties wherever I went. For a season it was magical but never came close to that the peace handed me on a bright summer day in the mid-seventies. I was happy for a time allowing drink to guide me, hold me while trying to make me “somebody” but it simply created hell and pulled in those I loved. I never forget he/she. He/she was always close. I’d spend hours with her/he bathing in divine love, it was always the space I was fully alive. Asking me to join its insanity, the Divine never stopped pursuing me. Always a breath away, always holding up love as the method to birth more peace. I’d joke with my wife, “one day, I’m gonna flip out, join God and never come back to ego, fear and the rules of this world.” This conundrum needs one explanation only, I simply have no choice but to blindly fall into the flow of it’s love... believe me, I’ve tried like hell to shake it. Today I’m a 52 year old contemplative spiritual director, married 26 years with three adopted kids... there are days I feel like my faith is more a plague than blessing. But I’m so grateful to have worked out this journey. I’m incredibly lucky to have mentors, sponsors, spiritual directors and a set of practices that allow maintenance for the flow of this gift. I felt the need to allow you into my movement, my “insanity...” my peace. I want you to know, I haven’t “changed,” I hope I never do. I’m still very much that funny, seven year old who loves to mix it up and look hard at the realities of what we make our lives. I love who’ve I’ve become, I love what’s happened to me. I love I’ve given way to that voice stirring in me. I love the way it holds love for you and invites me into your needs and desires. I love the dichotomous venture my life is. 

J.R. Mahon