Experience in Spiritual Direction
Monica grew up in a Christian family and in the church. God was always more than just idea to her; He was personal, intimate and loving, while simultaneously wondrous and awesome. Her faith in God through Christ grew over the years as she faced many of life’s difficulties and challenges, including broken relationships and a battle with breast cancer. After a 28 year career working in various areas of live theatre, Monica completed a master’s degree in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care at Biola University’s Institute for Spiritual Formation in 2005. It was there that she learned the art of spiritual direction, a ministry which helps Christians discern God’s active involvement in their lives.
After working as staff and adjunct faculty at Biola University in the areas of spiritual formation and spiritual direction, Monica joined the Grafted Life Ministries (formerly ECSW). She founded and was formerly Director of the Evangelical Spiritual Directors Association and co-writes Grafted Life’s spiritual formation materials with her colleague and friend, Debbie Swindoll.
To learn more about Monica’s work in spiritual direction, visit her direction ministry website.
Experience in Improvisation
Monica began studying improvisation while a student at Stanford University under her mentor and friend Patricia Ryan Madson, author of the book Improv Wisdom. She quickly came to embrace and practice the principles taught by Patricia, based on Keith Johnstone’s European school of theatrical improvisation.
Additionally, she is one of the founding members of the Stanford Improvisors – or SImps – an official Theatresports™ team. In 2012, she returned to Stanford to celebrate the SImps 20th Anniversary, where she was invited to speak on an alumni panel about her experience connecting improvisation and her work in spiritual direction and teaching.
For several years, she had offered workshops in churches, seminaries and spiritual direction training programs, sharing the joy and freedom of improvisation, helping others to truly embody the Gospel of Christ. Then, in 2012, her work came together in their most clear expression to date: Play Without Ceasing.
Monica is currently writing a book to support and expand the Play Without Ceasing concepts shared in the workshop and retreat teachings, highlighting how practicing the principles of playful improvisation can help us grow in our relationship with God, ourselves and others.