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  • Jamie Leat

Pasture News | Persona non Grata


The manic barking alerted me to a possible danger in the pasture. Glancing out the window, I couldn’t see anything. “Look harder!”, our protective Great Pyrenees barked.


I scanned the pasture more intensely, and there, sitting motionless was a coyote; his slender head raised just above the tall, grassy weeds. Our eyes met. After accessing the situation, he stood and headed toward our house, his tan, skinny body evidence of the lack of food in the neighborhood. Approaching the barn, he looked at me one last time and, with an odd mixture of courage and fear he slunk behind the barn, crossed Buffalo Creek, and disappeared into the deep foliage.


Coyotes are persona non grata nowadays.


The scene reminded me of a time when I felt like the persona non grata – not wanted.


Several years ago, I started working for a highly, structured corporation. Job descriptions and hierarchy were strategically designed to maintain the system and control the message. Navigating this austere environment exposed my awkwardness and inexperience, and I felt like an unwelcome intruder.


Throughout the time I worked there, I felt judged, as if I had nothing of value to offer, rather than recognized for what I might contribute. And just like the coyote, I slunk off certain there was nothing good within me.


This circumstance exposed an unhelpful belief I held about myself. I was mostly unaware of the hidden dynamics happening deep within my soul. Really, I never realized how much the feeling of unwantedness crippled my ability to see any good within me. Feeling unwanted affirmed the belief of my unworthiness, and I actually became the persona non grata; the unwanted person.


Working with a spiritual director helped me focus on the masked tendencies of my ego rather than my stressful situation. I wrestled through questions like:

How am I responding to the feeling of unwantedness?

Is the response helpful to me or actually harmful?

What is the true belief I hold about myself?

What is the true belief I hold about God?


In this case, I uncovered the buried belief that I was unworthy. Because the belief of unworthiness was camouflaged by the feeling of unwantedness, I needed the presence of an insightful spiritual companion to help me notice the connection. My director encouraged me to stay the course toward healing which resulted in the freeing realization that when I notice the good in others, I end up finding the good within me.


Finally, lasting inner spiritual transformation! Isn't that what we all want?


If you would like to explore this topic further, please email me. I am happy to meet with you or offer you other spiritual directors to choose from. You can find the best fit for you.

Image: Sitting Coyote by skeeze at Pixabay, no attribution required.

Image: Zentangle Coyote by Sybirko, Standard License, found at CanStock Photo.