Inspired by the opening pages of At the Center of the Human Drama: The Philosophical Anthropology of Karol Wojtyła/Pope John Paul II by Kenneth Schmitz, I have been reflecting on the purpose of Beauty of Becoming. I began this website because I had dreams of creating courses to support Catholics with more actively and intentionally living their Catholic faith and better understanding themselves through the process. I already had experience in creating courses and offering them through my university; however, in order to offer explicitly Catholic courses that would nurture the process of becoming, I would need to share them independently of my university. I needed to learn the skills to be able to offer the courses without the structure and support that my university provides within my career.
While sharing glimpses into my story has always been a part of the vision for Beauty of Becoming based on the power of story and providing mentors of process, At the Center of the Human Drama inspired me to expand the scope of my vision for this work. I am realizing that this space is as much about my own process of becoming (sometimes maybe even more so) than it is about nurturing the process of others. Likely it will be about both but with a greater emphasis on one over the other at times. Currently, I perceive it being about diving deep into my story and who I am, better understanding how God has uniquely created me.
Business skills was at the forefront of what I needed to learn in order to be able to offer courses independently vs. through my university, and one key piece of advice is discovering one’s niche. Yet, I’m coming to realize that authentically understanding my process of becoming is more complex than narrowing in on a niche. Acknowledging that within the scope of trying to advance Beauty of Becoming as a business or an apostolate, it seems like a step back to widen, rather than hone in, but that is where I am at. Making choices about what to prioritize has helped me to realize that even though I created Beauty of Becoming primarily for a business-related purpose, it has come into sharper focus that it is really more about relationship with God, whether or not it ever ends up being a business.
Originally, I had been seeking to transition everything that I knew from my current career and then fill in the gaps of my knowledge in order to potentially have Beauty of Becoming replace my income for my family (or provide enough to make it work for me to transition out of my career). There is so much that I love about my career but also long for something explicitly Christ-centered and Catholic, which I cannot do within a secular teacher education context.
Nonetheless, as different layers have unfolded, I continue to work and serve within my secular university, and along the way there have been whispers that lead me to believe that maybe God plans for me are to stay right where I am at as a longer term vision. If so, my career already provides everything my family needs financially. Little by little, I am realizing that because of that, my work at Beauty of Becoming is really more about my relationship with God.
Because I do not need any revenue from Beauty of Becoming to meet our basic needs, instead it can be a space to explore and experiment. I can widen the focus or narrow it, depending on the season. Professionally, when I was doing my doctoral coursework, I had a sense of zooming in and zooming out. In the years preceding my doctoral coursework, I had done a deep dive into my specific context – teaching language arts at a dual language charter school with a reading and writing workshop philosophy. Going back to school served as zooming back out and thinking about education from a broader scope once again. I could see the value in both and a place for each at different seasons.
In recent years I have been in more of a zooming in once again – this time diving deeply into my Catholic faith. My word for the liturgical year in 2022 (play) has pointed me towards intentionally zooming out once again. It has been about reconnecting with different layers of my interests and identity and seeing the beauty in how those activities can teach me about myself – about who I am, how I have been created, and what my unique contributions can be. As I transition into the 2023 liturgical year with my word father, I am continuing and deepening a focus on cultivating my interests and the integration of different parts of me.
I will write more about it when I do my book reflection on At the Center of the Human Drama, but one aspect that captured my attention about the book was about how theater influenced St. John Paul II, which made me think once again about how God uses it all. One of the things I loved previously was blogging about books – professional books for teachers, middle grades and YA novels, and the books I was reading for fun as an adult. Later, I did some blogging for Catholic books.
I decided to reconnect with blogging about books and other resources (movies, music, learning experiences) this year on Beauty of Becoming, and I decided to include the broader picture, beyond just Catholic resources. Though I will often still consider it all through the lens of the Catholic faith and the concept of the process of becoming.
Another way of looking at it is that rather than only sharing the layers that I have more “figured out” on Beauty of Becoming, I am going to view this as a space for discovery, exploration, and play. With time, I will be able to see how all the pieces fit together into a bigger picture, but it might look random, disjointed, or less focused along the way. Rather than continually refining and narrowing in on a niche, instead, there will likely be seasons of zooming in and seasons of zooming out, seeing the value in what can come from the freedom to play, the freedom to view this site as being for me, alongside the dreams for it to be for others.
We’ll see what He has in store as He continues to lead me on this adventure of revealing me to myself and cultivating the process of others.
Copyright 2022 Amanda Villagómez // Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Unsplash