These are just 4 slides from Rhonda Pigott’s final integration project in SoulGuiding ~ a two year practical learning program in spiritual growth, soul development and the art of Spiritual Direction. Rhonda graduated from the SoulGuiding program in 2013 and she says, “Creative expression was a highlight of the program because I was able to use photography, music and writing in the way I’m most comfortable. No restrictions! There were 57 slides in my final project and they were set to music that my son, Shawn, composed.” She goes on to describe the impact that SoulGuiding had on her life. “A lot of what I learned clarified parts of my life that I didn’t understand or didn’t know about. It helped me to have more understanding of myself and it gave me permission to express myself differently than the usual way.”
Rhonda describes her creative process in two ways. Sometimes she looks at an image that she’s photographed and she lets words come that expand the image. Other times she has the words already and she’ll photograph an image that accompanies and touches those words. It’s an intuitive process and she uses it in times when she wants to be centered; times when she’s feeling dishevelled or disgruntled but also in times of great joy. She says, “There’s that moment when beauty touches you and it’s like the thin spaces – those places where “heaven” and earth touch your heart. I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember – for the last 40 years at least – and I’m still doing it.”
She has 75,000 photos on her computer. Some days she sets her camera to shoot continuously and will take up to 1,000 photos in a day; while other days one specific angle, or right moment grabs her attention, giving her what she wants in a single shot. She can never predict what the day will bring, but something attracts her and that’s what she follows. What’s at the core of this creative process? Rhonda answers emphatically, “Photography, writing and music are the ways I express my thoughts and feelings most easily. Sometimes it’s the only way to express them.”
Rhonda Pigott has been a United Church minister for the past twelve years. She’s a Spiritual Director trained by the Pacific Jubilee Program. She’s a member of Spiritual Directors International and long time associate member of the Iona Community in Scotland.
Her interest in photography and music have been lifelong passions. She completed her Diploma in Photography from Red Deer College in Alberta and has been an active member of the Central Alberta Photographic Society. Rhonda teaches a contemplative photography course called “Seeing the Mystery with your Heart.” Trained in piano in Vancouver, BC, Rhonda holds her ARCT in performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. She’s been teaching music since the 80’s and now teaches from her home studio in Lake Country, British Columbia. You may contact Rhonda here.