The Beloved – You and I

beloved_by_panhead13-d6q1tw9In my work through a course in Spiritual Direction with Ontario Jubilee (Certificate Program in Spiritual Deepening and Spiritual Direction) I have been reading many authors I have never been exposed to before.  Among my favourites is Fr. Henri J.M. Nouwen. Of Dutch decent, this great author, priest and pastor, studied in the United States and settled in Canada.  His work is now renowned in the world of spiritual deepening.

This week I read “Life of the Beloved” where Nouwen proclaims we are all “The Beloved” of the creator.  He would argue we are all created perfectly and in his work he expresses strongly our need to believe in ourselves as special and divine.

Addressing our tendency toward self deprecation, Nouwen says, “Self rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us “Beloved”.

For we, who live in a society where humility is often confused with self-abnegation, we can be easily led to believe we are not worthy of an “abundant life” because our status or circumstance has put us in a place which appears to be of less value than others.

While this place is unfortunate it is also a place where we can become lethargic and allow ourselves to be less than we were intended to be.  When we believe ourselves to be “less valuable” we can get away with “being less valuable”.  We can forget our dreams and aspirations.  We can put aside our hopes and blame it on circumstance and life.

On the other hand Nouwen challenges us with this statement.  “From the moment we claim the truth of being the Beloved, we are faced with the call to become who we are.”

When I teach/train Peer Supporters in the mental health field it is my great pleasure to watch the metamorphosis of people who, because of their mental illness, have believed they had nothing to offer society.  In the training we encourage trainees to use their own experience with mental health issues to offer hope, support and purpose to others living in the shadow of mental illness. We address the tendency toward putting ourselves down and point out it is never productive to our own health or that of others.

I challenge you, in this week of resurrection, to first to believe yourself as the “Beloved” of the creator and when you do, to follow your dreams.

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About Peggy Guiler

You just never know what show up on my blog. As the name implies it is about the stuff of life just like Spilt Milk. Everyday events spark thought and contemplation. Special events in the community, the country or the world may strike a cord and get me talking. Sometimes it's about people in my life or circumstances, sometimes about my garden, sometimes about a book or a political issue. Always it's about something I am passionate about. In my business, River of Hope Enterprises, I work as an "Associate Certified Coach" (International Coach Federation), a trainer, consultant and speaker. and soon to be, spiritual director. I also drive a school bus to keep the wolf from the door while I build my business. I love the kids on the bus (most of the time). My family is grown and I have three grandkids who thrill my heart but I don't get to see any of them very often. Circumstances of life have made "family" difficult. My son died by suicide at age 16 in 2000 and the strain on our family relationships since has been huge. Mental health is a field where I worked for almost 20 years and where I still do some consulting and training. That combined with my own battle with depression and my son's death weave together to form some of my greatest soap box items: suicide intervention, suicide bereavement and peer support in mental health are right on the top of my list. Social justice is an underlying passion. Keeping the wolf from the door as a single parent was full-time work and my career path as a journalists was augmented with cleaning contracts, cooking, retail clerk, and bartending. I have known hard work and am grateful for the experience and perspective it has given me. My own passion for learning has now taken me toward a new field as a Spiritual Director. I am studying with the Ontario Jubilee Program. This new field I believe puts all my talents with people into one place which and may​ become something I can continue into retirement. Supporting people is what I do best. Woven into all of this is my love of writing. Trained as a Journalist, and having worked in the field as a freelance news writer for many years, I have a great love for writing. This blog is a new beginning for me. As I hone my skills and begin to form a daily discipline of writing I hope it will lead to more writing in the future.
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