Silversmith & Spiritual Director
My work focuses on listening to longing, affirming the divine spark inherent in each human being and encouraging soul-driven creativity. These practices of taking care of the soul are countercultural.
Life as a Silversmith:
I am driven by a desire to make art jewellery that is beautiful, meaningful, is inspired by listening to the wisdom of the land and expresses a commitment to the work of social change.
My home studio in Kitchener, Ontario is situated within the Haldimand Tract, land that was promised to the Haudenosaunee of the Six Nations of the Grand River, and within the territory of the Chonnonton, Anishinaabe, and Haudenosaunee peoples.
I grew up on the shores of Lake Superior in Sault Ste. Marie, which is in Robinson-Huron Treaty territory and the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe.
The rhythm of the seasons that I experienced as a child is a significant inspiration for my work as I pay attention to the lessons and beauty of the natural world. I am deeply committed to the work of reconciliation with Indigenous people and I often include symbols of this commitment in my creative process.
I also love words. I write lines of poetry or the thoughts that arise as I create in metal. The combination of creating something that can be worn along with expressing its meaning through words truly makes my heart sing. My hope is that it is a gift of beauty to a broken world.
I love that I am connected to all those who receive my work and am grateful when others find it meaningful for their lives.
Education & Formation:
I learned the craft of metalsmithing in 2002-2003 when I took several continuing education courses at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax. In 2004-2005 I took continuing education courses in jewellery design at the Vancouver Community College.
I earned a Bachelor of Arts from Queen's University in 2000, a Master of Divinity from the Vancouver School of Theology in 2004, and a post-graduate certificate in Expressive Arts from The Haliburton School of Art and Design in 2011. Since 2012 I have been a member of the faculty of this Expressive Arts program.
I love this quote:
"Some things are best done in the dark, including the transformation of raw material into tools and pieces of art. There is a smith in our soul who works the failures and successes of everyday life into eternal shapes that make us who we are. It's not extraordinary, this dark place of heat and hammering, but rather an unspectacular scene of hard work. You might think of your dark night as such a place and realize the importance of keeping it stocked and fired and dim. Your job is to provide the setting and let the divine smith do his work."
- From Dark Nights of the Soul by Thomas Moore
Spiritual direction is an ongoing practice of being present as you seek to live your life actively aware of your inner life of soul. It is time set-aside for listening and reflection, where you experience yourself opening to a deeper connection with the spirit.
Allow your soul to take the lead.
Allow your actions to arise from a deeper place of knowing.
The description of spiritual direction is intentionally open and non-prescriptive in order for the practice to be shaped by your personal spiritual life and ways of being. Here are some words that are commonly used in relation to spiritual direction and whose meaning is open to interpretation:
Attentive to the movement of the spirit, the inner life of soul, the inner teacher, the divine, God, etc.
Sessions are usually one hour long and are scheduled for once a month or every six weeks. We meet using Zoom. The flow of a session typically includes:
Entering into a time of silence in order to create space to listen for what is surfacing and longing to be noticed. When you are ready, you share whatever is arising for you.
I offer open and honest questions, reflections on what I have heard, affirmations for your spiritual journey or sometimes reframing of a harmful spiritual narrative.
Closing the session with naming takeaways, intention setting and blessing.
You may want to reflect on the following questions in preparation for an initial session:
What language resonates for you in terms of your understanding of spirit and your spiritual life?
What is transpiring in your life that is prompting you to seek spiritual direction?
What spiritual practices or ways of being are meaningful to you?
What words in the list above resonate for you and what do they mean to you personally? Are there words that you would add to this list that are meaningful to you in relation to your spiritual life?
What practices are most effective for you to create space and an opening for listening – i.e. how might our sessions together begin? (This might include silence, poetry, guided meditation, art/creativity, finger labyrinth, movement, etc.)
What questions do you have for me as we discern our fit together?
Training and Experience:
I trained as a spiritual director from 2012-2014 in the Ontario Jubilee program. I have been offering spiritual direction to numerous clients on an ongoing basis since completing the program.
I was ordained as a minister in The United Church of Canada in 2005. I have a Master of Divinity degree from the Vancouver School of Theology and graduated with the award for highest achievement.
From 2007-2016, I was the Program Director at Five Oaks Education and Retreat Centre where I created and led a variety of programs to deepen the spiritual life of participants.
I have a post-graduate certificate in Expressive Arts from the Haliburton School of Art and Design and have been teaching in the program since 2012.
I am a Veriditas Certified Labyrinth Facilitator and have led countless workshops, retreats and programs on the labyrinth.
Contact me for more information and for my current fees:
Email me: robinmcgauley(at)hotmail.com - replace the (at) with @.
"Like fighting an addiction, being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination." - Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
I offer anti-racism mentoring for people who have white skin privilege.
Layla Saad, author of Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor and host of the ‘Good Ancestor Podcast’ describes the work of anti-racism as ‘spiritual work’. It requires in depth self-reflection and commitment to both recognizing and changing patterns of behaviour that are rooted in white supremacy and colonialism. Doing ‘the work’ means a commitment to 'Listen, Learn and Repair'.
As a trained spiritual director, my role is to accompany you on the anti-racism journey and to provide accountability. I listen to your experiences of learning about racism and encourage areas for further growth in order to continuously uncover your socialization as a white person. I provide the space for you to lean into discomfort.
I invite you to bring real life scenarios from your relationships, place of work or engagement within community, in order to unpack the experience within an anti-racism framework.
For more information, please visit the Anti-Racism Mentorship page.