Posted in Essay, Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart

It’s All Sacred Space

Star Trek, Captain Kirk and “Bones” (Dr. McCoy) using Universal Translators

Sometimes I think that we all need universal translators when we are trying to understand each other across cultures, belief systems, and personal social locations.

Often, though, it takes someone yelling at us to knock us out of our system of thinking and gives us the ability to see things in a new and visionary way that connects rather than divides. All too often we cannot get to this point because we walk away when we things are uncomfortable, challenging, or abrasive.

And no doubt, abrasive is yucky. Witness: the US government interactions right now.

What to do?

Enter deeply into the story of the other person. This is a spiritual practice. I call it Extreme Accompaniment (should I trademark that?). I was contemplating this further today as I was researching another article. My reading revealed to me that we get to radical acceptance of the other when:

  1. Everyone goes to uncomfortable places
  2. Step outside of social norms, forget what you think you know about the other
  3. Everyone involved becomes open to conversion
  4. Keep dialoguing past the rhetoric and abrasiveness
  5. Then, transformation and acceptance may occur (Congress, are you listening??)

Of course, there are limitations. You should not be in situations that may cause harm.  But I am more and more convinced that this deep listening is a spiritual practice. And it is a practice that our world does not do well right now. It is up to the artists and the contemplatives to lead a new revolution! A revolution of extreme accompaniment or of walking with other people. A practice of deeply listening and working with the other’s deepest desires. A practice of loving each other. Love is the universal translator.

If we listen and love, maybe we will all be able to see past the space debris and see the cosmos in each other’s souls.

Shalom and Amen,


© 2013, post , Terri Stewart, All rights reserved

terriREV. TERRI STEWART is Into the Bardo’s  Sunday chaplain, senior content editor, and site co-administrator. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual. (The 2014 issue just released!)

Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at,, and  To reach her for conversation, send a note to


I am a monk disguised as a passionate prophet. My true loves are God, family, and the creative arts. And maybe just a little bit of politics too. (PS My photo is by Eric Lyons Photography).

12 thoughts on “It’s All Sacred Space

  1. Terri, I apologize for responding so belatedly. This is so intune with our goals here and in tune with the ultimate peace of our hearts and our speciies. I appreciate your concept of Extreme Accompanyment, a way of walking in another’s moccasins. Bravo! Keep on keeping on in light of peace. You are valued.


  2. An enlightening and uplifting piece of writing for Sunday, Terri, which I’ve much enjoyed, particularly the video. I so enjoy – have done for years – identifying ourselves with the cosmos, getting ourselves into perspective with the enormity of the universe and the most important message of all, learning to listen, deeply listen to an alternative view of the world, however unfamiliar and uncomfortable it may be to do so.


  3. Love the video! And ‘extreme accompaniment’ is a neat way of putting it, really. I think of the “hands on” activities I do with people at my museums – field work at the living history place and the direct current wheel at the techno museum – and commenting on how they’ve spent their physical energy. We recognize when another person is tired or winded. I remind them that all they need to do to put energy back in the system is rest and eat. We are all capable of re-energizing, of participating in a sustainable system of work and replenishment. It comes naturally. And we routinely do a lot of crazy stuff to make ourselves stuck. But when we wake up to the beauty of how we’re made, and made to work together, we can get unstuck. May it be so!


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