I chose the name “Grounding Mist” for this space because I love the word picture and how it depicts the struggle of cultivating a life that is grounded. I find this often feels like trying to anchor something that is somewhat tangible while somewhat elusive, like mist.
A main focus of my writing will be exploring how we can understand and engage with what happens internally as we try to navigate life externally — whether that be at work, in our romantic and family relationships, and larger communities. To do so, I’ll be integrating some of my favorite things from spiritual formation and psychology.
The most plain meaning of psychology comes from two Greek words, meaning study of the soul. While I know this isn’t how we always use the word today, that’s how I’ll approach psychology as I integrate with spiritual formation practices here. We’ll explore how to better understand our internal world — the depths and contours of our souls, and what is forming our souls.
The main way I’ll explore this is through something most generally called “parts-work” in the therapy world, often known specifically through approaches like inner child work, Internal Family Systems (IFS), or shadow work. We’ll anchor parts-work concepts alongside something called Polyvagal Theory, which is just a fancy way of saying we’ll look at the different states our autonomic nervous systems function in. Depending on which state our nervous system is in, we might feel overwhelmed, panicked, or shut down, and this will certainly impact the formation of our souls and how different parts of us show up and function in our lives (as is depicted well in the Psalms!).
As we try to navigate the messiness of life and figure out why spiritual formation gets so complicated, these two perspectives give us incredibly helpful windows into how we operate as people. In addition to helping us understand what goes on in the depths of our souls, these perspectives also help us find pathways toward healing and wholeness.
Before we begin, it’s important to me to be clear that I don’t think I have perfect answers or the answers to one right way of integration when considering therapy, faith, and formation. Please know my heart is simply to offer one perspective of what this can look like, a tapestry of my favorite strands of therapy and soulcare.
If it’s helpful to know about my background and training: I hold two master’s degrees, one in Christian Counseling and one in Biblical Studies. My studies were also shaped by a Spiritual Formation Fellowship during my time in seminary. I also currently lead spiritual direction groups and lead therapeutic soulcare retreats in East Tennessee. I occasionally teach at a local university and weekly teach a dance fitness class as a fun way to engage and regulate all parts of our embodied beings. While these disciplines can seem like their own separate domains to many people, I am deeply passionate about contemplating what a rich integration of them might look like, which is why I decided to create this space to explore the intersections of therapy, faith, and formation for the entirety of our embodied beings.
I’d love to hear your feedback and questions in the comments!
- A. C. Grace
One last note, A. C. Grace is a pen name that stands for the initials of my first and middle name, Anna Christine, and reminds me that anything I do, is always, grace. For information about my work as a licensed mental health professional, see embracecounseling.info.