The Reconnection Point
An excerpt from Weathering the Storm, a community book written with the aim of helping folks through any time of crisis including the one(s) we find ourselves in now. Free from many ebook outlets including Blackwells, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.
When we are in crisis, it’s easy for our sense of connection to fail. Having to deal with trauma, severe anxiety, or an endless run of mundane realities that leave no time for self-reflection can take a heavy toll on our spiritual side. Sometimes, spirituality can even go completely by the wayside. That’s where I’ve been, only recently. As the pandemic swept the globe and over a course of only a few days the advice (in the UK) escalated from washing hands to staying at home completely, my soul seemed to shut down, just a little bit.
I was suddenly short of paying work. My clients had shut up shop or cut costs dramatically. Events were cancelled. Three kids who had previously had the support of the education system were suddenly at home 24/7, and whilst their presence was an absolute joy, I fretted at how best to keep them educated and sane during this trying time. Even going to the shops was fraught with danger, as we tried to navigate the apparently endless swarms of people who couldn’t understand what a 2-metre distance was… or perhaps they simply didn’t care.
In short, I became swamped in a mire of negativity. My anxiety came and went in waves, but mostly, I was a bit numb. I had stopped talking to my gods and goddesses, or even singing with the wind. It was time to find the reconnection point, that place where spirituality starts to make sense again; starts to become a part of everyday life, and not a luxury that’s been put aside to make way for other things.
Don’t Punish Yourself
I started small, reminding myself that we are all in the same boat. I wasn’t a bad person for letting my spiritual commitments slide. I wasn’t evil for not refreshing offerings or cleaning my altars. I wasn’t stupid for forgetting when the full moon was.
In times like these, in fact, at all times, punishing yourself is completely counterproductive. Toxic language and self-recrimination only lead to guilt and negative feelings that fester. I don’t know anyone who benefits from being told, repeatedly, that they suck. So, don’t do it to yourself. If you find yourself being hard to yourself, ask yourself if you would treat a student like this. If you are part of a coven, group, or organisation, would you berate your fellow members for feeling the way you do and behaving in similar ways? If at all possible, try and treat yourself as kindly as you would treat the others in your life.
Making the Time
I’ve come across a lot of practices that insist it’s super easy to put ten or twenty minutes of your day aside for personal spiritual practice. “Why, if you can’t even manage this time what are you doing trying to honour your gods?”, is the strong inference. Piffle, I say. If you are exhausted and strung out from running around after kids or animals all day, or dealing with a depressive episode, or simply doing mundane tasks that have drained you, then making the time can be hard. Even just considering the scope of a pandemic and having empathy for those on the front lines or held hostage by low paying jobs can be so numbing. Never berate yourself for not doing more than you could; your gods or spirits will understand; the universe will understand.
Having said that, if you are in a position to be able to put aside even just five minutes a day, this can help you start a routine where you can repair your unbalanced spirituality. The important thing is not to make a commitment you know you can’t realistically stick to. If five minutes a day immediately seems like a chore that you’ll have to shoehorn in somewhere, then make it five minutes a week. Remember, this time is for you. It’s for your peace of mind, your soul, and to help you reconnect to the world. If you treat it like a box ticking exercise, as many of us do when we’re dealing with the burdens of other problems, it will become a negative rather than a positive part of your life. You never want to end up in the position of resenting your spiritual obligations, so always make a commitment that you are confident you can stick to. Ideally, you want to look forward to this time you spend restoring your spiritual self. It should be a moment of joy in your life.
Find Your Magic
I said earlier that when I was looking to find my own re-connection point, I started small. Before I was part of organised groups, I used to talk to the moon by myself. So, that’s what I went back to doing. I looked out of the window, and the blessedly clear skies were the perfect backdrop for the spectacle of the moon. The end of the first week in April, 2020, was a spectacular full moon. I let it fill me up, then breathed out everything I wanted for the world. I breathed into the universe my hopes and wishes, my desire for better politics that allowed for better solutions to these problems. For people to be kinder and less judgemental. For those in positions where they cannot avoid the illness to be safe, to have the protections they need.
Sitting and venting at the moon like this allowed me to get my own thoughts into some semblance of order, to really understand what was making me feel the levels of anxiety and stress that were driving me into a place where nothing made sense. The moon was a confessional, and I was a wayward priest, lapsed in my practice but always faithful. The moon is my magic; yours may be something completely different. Find that thing you can always rely on, and go to it.
Simple Ways to Reconnect
From this point onwards, I began to find the other ways to reconnect that had worked with me in the past. These include the simple actions of lighting a candle and focusing on the flame, not worrying about clearing my mind but letting the thoughts simply float around, not judging them, not trying to force them into any particular shape, simply allowing myself to be. Different scents of candle evoke different moods and states of mind, and have physiological effects too. Lavender, it’s well documented, is great for sleep.
On that note, sleep is so important. The simplest way to get anything in your life back in order, even spirituality, is to ensure your body and brain are well slept. If you haven’t been sleeping, and there are very good reasons why this could be the case, then seek help. Look for sleeping meditations, try ASMR videos (a personal favourite of mine), use relevant oils if appropriate (speak to a medical professional if you are unsure about this as some can cause reactions) or talk to your doctor if things are really difficult. Sleep can make a huge difference. Without it, we simply don’t function the way we are supposed to.
Sometimes, having had an intense or deeply personal with a particular deity which has gone by the wayside can be like any personal relationship that’s lapsed. It can be difficult to repair that relationship. You might not know what to say, what to do, and there may be that lingering fear that you will not be welcome. It’s hard, but try and put these fears to one side. Your gods or spirits are yours for a reason. You found your way to them once- or they to you. They have a connection to you- and you to them. Remember your first tiny steps, and find ways to repeat them. Be kind to yourself and give yourself the patience you would give others. You are worth it, and you are enough.
About the Author:
Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.