My sense of the sacred is something that has shifted a lot over time. It’s not a hard pattern to trace. In my teens and early twenties, I was infused with feelings of possibility, open to a sense of wonder and able to imagine divinity and magic as part of the world.
Things happened in my twenties that closed me down. It’s a long and unhappy story – which is perhaps all anyone really needs to know about it. I became uncertain, depressed, anxious, and I lost much of my sense of wonder and possibility.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways in which hope and confidence are necessary for feelings of faith and wonder. At the times when I’ve been least able to believe in myself, I’ve also been less able to believe in much else. With the current political state of the world and the looming realities of the climate crisis, it is not easy to stay open to beauty, to find joy, to be hopeful. Without that openness, the scope for experiencing anything numinous is much reduced.
This autumn has taken me on a transformative journey that is steadfastly changing my life. At this point I’m confident in naming it as a healing process, but I can see it will be more than that. I’ve faced up to many of the things that have locked me down. I’ve made my peace with many things, I’ve gained insights and I’ve changed. I feel more like the person I am supposed to be and considerably less like a ball of scar tissue. Alongside this I’ve seen my creative output increase dramatically and take new shapes I’m excited about.
I’ve been writing a lot of poetry. There are themes through it about connecting with divinity. It’s become a process of re-enchantment, for me, and rediscovering what it means to feel wonder, awe and inspiration. Being able to feel those things is changing how I feel about myself.
I’m taking this winter to look inwards (a surprisingly conventional response to the wheel of the year, but there we go!). I have a lot of inner work to do, alongside keeping doing the things that are supporting this whole process. I am investing time in following the calls of inspiration, and seeing where these emerging feelings of wonder and hope might take me. At the moment, I need to hold carefully the process itself – at some point I might be able to talk usefully about how all of this has happened, but not while I’m in the middle of it.
What I can say is that all of this growth and change is fundamentally rooted in experiences of peace and safety. I know the theory is that we do our best growing on the edge of the comfort zone. I’ve lived for a long time outside my comfort zone, sometimes not even being sure where the comfort zone would be anymore. Folding into peacefulness, into security and gentleness has been transformative. Sometimes the healing part has been brutal, but it is the feeling of safety that makes it possible to go through that.