In my experience when you are stressed it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain any kind of spiritual practice. In my case my major sources of stress are family related and in particular the communications and situations that arise between my children and the schools they attend. Please don’t mis-understand me here, the staff at both my children’s schools are very supportive and caring. They do their best to support both the children and myself in coping with difficult circumstances but they must consider the well-being of all the pupils and staff in their establishments and that can mean challenges for me, not hostile ones, just challenges.
In an earlier post I wrote how it seemed that Rose had settled into primary school ok, I was wrong. It was simply that information about her behaviour was not reaching me. Now it is and things are not going smoothly but a great deal of support has been put in place to help my little girl. My boy hasn’t had the smoothest time in the last few weeks either but I think things are settling down a bit with him now. And for me one of the consequences of all of this is that adding work to the mix right now is just too much to cope with so I’ve been off work for a couple of weeks. Work isn’t overly stressful for me but it’s one thing too much at the moment.
What I have also found is that at times like this much of my spiritual practice simply goes out the window. I try and keep up with my simple practices at new and full moons but somehow it feels harder to focus, harder to feel connected, harder to find time to think about things even.
Intellectually I know I am not really alone in experiencing this type of disconnection when under stress. Emotionally though it’s another thing that can make things feel tougher. I want to feel that sense of joy and connection with the world around me, with my gods. I want to feel as if they are wrapping their arms about me in loving support. In my heart I know that they probably are but I can’t feel much of it.
In many ways this is the very time when doing a bit more meditation would be really beneficial for me but I’m not doing that. Partly time but probably more due to lack of focus.
I used to be heavily involved in the local pagan community as well as with online groups. I’m not now. I have had to withdraw more and more because I can’t make the commitments that I used to in terms of time or energy. I miss those interactions. I miss feeling of use to the wider community. I may not have been that useful but I felt more useful. For me that was part of my spiritual practice and it’s gone now.
Getting out and about in nature helps but at this time of year is increasingly restricted unless you are one of those people who adore being wet, cold and muddy and I’m not one of them. I do go out in the rain and enjoy it but only for relatively short periods of time when I know I can come back to a warm house and get a hot drink. This plus levels of light, availability of good company (Neil has to work much longer hours in the winter months) and driving conditions mean I don’t go far at the weekends if I’m on my own and during the week I feel even more constrained as I never know when one of the schools might need me to drop everything and come and get one of my children due to some issue or another.
I don’t have a solution to all these confused feelings of disconnection. Things will get calmer at times and be more stressful at other times and there is nothing I can do about that. All I can do is gradually learn to cope with it better and I will in time. And as I do, hopefully I will also start to feel more connected again.