About Mary

  • About Mary Grigolia
  • About Mary Grigolia

My Spiritual Journey

If you are considering asking me to serve as a spiritual catalyst, I’d like you to know where I’m coming from on my spiritual and religious journey. Although we may not have had the same spiritual experiences, we need to be in harmony with each other in learning and growing.

I’ve always been attuned to ‘the spiritual’ – the dimension where we are part of something larger than our individual selves. As a child, I had luminous experiences in ordinary settings:

  • climbing the garden stairs at age four, watching the sun illuminate the blades of grass, knowing I was part of something whole and beautiful.
  • sitting by the window at school, hearing an inner voice say, “The Christ is within you;” knowing it is our true and shared identity.

As a teen-ager and young adult I struggled with Bulimia.

I left my childhood (American Baptist) church and disavowed the belief that there is only one way to God/Truth.

As a young adult I was drawn to altered states of consciousness. I studied yoga and eastern mysticism and meditation.

Embracing democracy as a form of spiritual practice, I threw myself into anti-war work, believing that ordinary people – teachers and trade unionists – could stop the war if we knew what was happening and were organized. I taught classes about the origins of the war; I wrote articles; I went door to door.

In a dark night of the soul at the age of 28, I had a near-death experience, bringing me back to my life’s purpose of healing and spiritual exploration in community, allowing me to start again.

I deepened my yoga and meditation practice and started teaching.

In my early 30s, I wrestled with anxiety attacks and learned to dispel them through chanting and movement, giving voice to the soul’s yearning for the divine.

At 40 I answered the call to ministry as a Unitarian Universalist (UU) and went to seminary (Starr King School, part of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA). I was ordained a UU minister in 1992.

I started sharing the chants and songs from my spiritual practice. My music ministry grew beyond my congregation through workshops, retreats, recordings and publishing.

I’ve loved and cared for six congregations, growing with them in their ministry to one another and the communities they served.

I embraced the study of integral philosophy, exploring how consciousness evolves in individuals, institutions and cultures. I teach integral studies, using it with congregations, in spiritual direction and pastoral counseling.

Leaving my last fulltime parish position, I lost myself in another dark night of the soul. And opened to wider peace, joy and compassion.

I deepened my practice as a spiritual director, pursuing certification through the interfaith, Jung-centered Haden Institute.

It is a privilege and pleasure to explore the journey together.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of minister are you?
Who are your primary spiritual or religious teachers?
What’s your spiritual practice? Does it change over time?

 

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