Thinking About: What to do if we lose our connection with our Path

forest pathSometimes, no matter how strong our love for our spiritual path, we can feel a disconnection from that source. Sometimes life is so full of noise that we can no longer hear the sound of our own heart’s longing. Sometimes the grey of daily news appears so strong that we can no longer see the green of the land.

It happens.

It’s happened to me in the past.

I suppose it’ll happen again.

When this feeling of disconnection falls it can be quite devastating. It can feel as if all that we held dear no longer makes sense, no longer feels right, no longer fuels that passion in our lives – the passion of our Spirit.

It hurts.

This disconnection can happen for a number of reasons – a lack of spiritual nourishment in the form of ritual or meditation; the disappointing actions or words of someone we respect or value; the actions of a community that just cannot seem to exist without sometimes angry disagreement; the feeling that somehow the Gods are against us, or not hearing the prayers for our needs; to name just a few. The experience, the end result, is that what we once felt for our spiritual path lessens, or sometimes seems to disappear altogether.

However, there are ways to reconnect.

1) Do nothing. Sometimes we just need a break from our active spiritual paths. It doesn’t mean that the relationship is over, but sometimes trying too hard to bridge that disconnection can make things worse. Sometimes we just need a break. Sometimes we can try so hard to rediscover that connection that the very act of searching feels wrong, and it can make that gap grow, instead of drawing it closer together. Doing nothing might not be right for everyone, but it can be during those moments that we become aware of the sunset whilst driving home from work, or the barn owl caught in the edge of our headlamps, or the old sacred hill we once loved might call  to us again. Unexpectedly, as a gift.

2) Introduce a regular daily spiritual practice – sometimes the disconnection can happen because we are waiting for other people to teach us, or take the lead, or maybe to keep leading. But our spiritual path is a personal one and that connection grows with practice. If we meditate or maybe do a short greeting to each morning, this simple act can keep our connection real and vibrant. When I introduced a regular daily spiritual practice my path changed completely. At first it felt like a chore, now I miss it if I cannot find the space to do it.

3) Take some time to contemplate what it was that drew you to your spiritual path in the first place –  What was it that opened you up? Where were you? Who was there? What were you doing and how were you feeling? Those early moments can represent the source of your inspiration, and over the years your path can be influenced by others, or it can simply change direction, and sometimes that new direction is not as nourishing as what called you in the first place. If it was a book pick it up and read it again. If it was music, put on some headphones and listen to it again. Remember that feeling. Let it flood through you again. Remember.

4) Listen to the land – there are a lot of people ready to offer advice (this blog post being one of them!). The reason for some peoples’ disconnection can be the actions of other people. But the constant teacher is the Land. It is from the land we emerge, and to the land we will return, It is the land that feeds us, gives us our drinking water, or bodies, our stories. Sometimes when we lose our connection to our path what we need to do is get away from the human world and walk into the land. To stop, open our eyes, open our spirits, our ears, to feel and listen. Rediscover our place in the symphony that is the natural world. Human constructions can offer us safety, but often it is our overwhelming immersion in the human realm that unplugs us from our spiritual path. Turn off your mobile, and walk out into nature. Then breathe, and hear the voices of the land speak and sing.

Maybe you have sometimes felt a disconnection and you found a way to reconnect that I haven’t covered.

Do you have a story to tell?

If so, do leave a comment.

By | 2016-10-14T11:01:03+00:00 August 19th, 2013|Categories: religion, spirituality, Thinking About|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. Sage Mystree August 19, 2013 at 11:30 am - Reply

    I find when going through a slump that being kind to myself is key
    I “do nothing” for a while to see if it will work itself out
    If it doesn’t I start to make dates with myself
    A commitment of one per week
    Usually once I start it easily works out into more
    Sometimes, though life (aka other people) get in the way and I have to settle for the once a week
    I find the summer usually puts my spirit into chaos, been that way for 20 years, so I look forward to autumn and settling down and usually things go good for a long while and I am fed 🙂

    • Glywys May 5, 2015 at 1:54 pm - Reply

      I also get problems in the summer! It is bizarre. A time when nature is bursting with life and energy, we should be immersed in it and full of joy, but every year without fail I start to feel dead inside no matter how much I try to fight it. I really don’t get why…

      I’m viewing this blog post because I was googling about losing touch in paganism, and it’s four days after Beltane… sigh.

      • Devin October 29, 2015 at 2:18 pm - Reply

        This just may be a natural cycle for you. Some people find their spirits are more in tune with one or two particular cycle of the year than the others. Some people, let’s say Sun worshipers, thirve in the summer. Some, like me, thrive in the fall and winter months. It could be that your spirit is just naturally not in sync with that season. This is not a bad thing.

  2. Marcus Bollonius August 19, 2013 at 11:45 am - Reply

    i love these magical thoughts. for me nature is the friend that is always there to support me when everything else is out or touch with me. as i tune in to the land sky sea plants and creatures they always have messages of comfort strength reassurance and inspiration. Luckily i am also surrounded by folk that match the nature i describe. Mxx

  3. Bia Helvetti August 19, 2013 at 11:47 am - Reply

    Several years ago I had an awful, life-shattering experience and was left feeling betrayed and abandoned by everything and everyone connected to my faith – including divinity. It took a mixture of all the methods you’ve said above to get to the place where I am now – A little walking away and leaving the pot to simmer, a lot of sleep and rest and food, a little ranting and raging and crying and wailing, a lot of listening in meditation and a little talking in prayer. I can look back now and see that my Mother knew what she was doing when she let me fall, she wanted to build me up a little different, a little wiser, a little stronger and a lot less ‘stale and stubborn’ in my faith. Sometimes I think we’re lead off the path deliberately or allowed to get ourselves lost, not to cause us harm (as it might seem at the time) but to let us discover the rich diversity of new and different paths which divinity wants us to explore.

  4. Hennie August 19, 2013 at 11:52 am - Reply

    For me it works just to ignore it for some time – that is : actively ignore by pushing away thought like ‘perhaps I should meditate’ or ‘I need to to do a Full Moon ritual’- push these thoughts away for some time, untill one day I find myself actually living something Otherworldly- and then things start to flow again…

  5. John Willmott August 19, 2013 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Important post. I feel everyone needs to know where their regenerative space is where they can just say ‘no’ to everything and head off to when needed. Everyone should know when those moments happen and not feel guilty because it means cutting off from what others may be needing us to do and be part of.

    Daily ritual I think is a bit formal, though some people feel this routine is essential for them. To make this useful is perhaps to look forward to retreating to our special place. Care, though, because looking forward can deprive us of the sensory gifts of the present … but just knowing there is a place for us can make the present more pleasurable and sustaining.

    I have a weekend ritual of heading off to the forest on a Sunday for picnics, poetry etc. I’ve done this during most of my life. Its what my father, uncles and aunts used to do, what my own children did with us and what they still do with their children. So I suppose its routine for us, something to look forward to without denial of our present.

    For a quick ‘top-up’ though, I do have my native tree labyrinth to wander around or just spend some time weeding, mulching, watering, pampering.

    I feel lucky. I always know where to go, even away from home. I hope you all have that place you know, and do not fear saying ‘no’ to others so you can retreat there and recharge when you need to. Its as essential as food, water, sleep, and being around people to support each other too.

  6. Serpentia August 19, 2013 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    Ever heard of a disconnect from too much happiness? Ever since my new relationship I feel so full of happiness and love and contentment that there is just no room left, no need to fill, no … nothing I want for. I am deeply and seriously grateful to the powers that be for feeling that way, and I honor my faith and way of life everyday – but my attention has shifted somewhere else and I find it hard to “stay connected” in the outer world.

    • Rhiannon August 19, 2013 at 3:33 pm - Reply

      I can completely relate. After having my first baby, my son, 10 months ago I’ve just been somewhere else entirely. So happy and enjoying this huge life change, of no longer thinking of me first but of him, everything now revolves around him, and I’ve let it. I’ve not needed anything else. It’s only recently that I have felt that pull on my soul, that feeling of being bereft of that intimate connection with the gods and the world outside. I’m picking things up again, slowly. I’ve been exploring first through creativity, writing to organise my thoughts and am hoping to resume some kind of meditation routine like the old days 🙂

  7. Marian Bryant August 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm - Reply

    I lost connection during illness, I am sure the ‘ medication blanket ‘ shrouded me and separated me from spirit, I could not hear, sense or feel spirit for a long time.
    I felt lost and alone.
    But spirit was strong and found a way through and back to me.

    • Julia Weaver August 19, 2013 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      Due to medical issues and pain pills I’ve been feeling somewhat separated myself, but last night after an emotional outburst I heard the Red Tail Hawk that lives nearby screeching as if she knew I needed to reconnect with nature. This is tough because the smoke from forest fires makes it almost impossible to be outside for very long. Still, a few minutes of “grounding” and I am sure I will find my “path” again. This post couldn’t have come along at a better time. Thank you!

  8. Elaenior August 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    I am in that place at the moment and have been for a while now, doubting all that gave me much needed strength not so very long ago. I tell myself ‘ I just don’t have time’, life is too busy, too full of ‘stuff’..I need to focus on reality and yet those wonderful moments when I hear the haunting call of the Buzzards stirs something deep within…

    Thank you for the post Damh.

  9. Lorna August 19, 2013 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    Being out in nature usually brings me back to what I am about spiritually, but I also agree about re-visiting books and music that were formative for me too.
    I find that it is the ‘normal’ life stuff such as work that can distance me sometimes, but learning to say no, and having friends that understand that sometimes I will just disappear for a few days helps …..
    I have a few favourite places I will go, and I give myself Reiki which always completely grounds me and blisses me out.
    Often, a short time sat under the Willow tree in my garden is enough !

  10. Ashel Ladyhawke August 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm - Reply

    I am still trying to find my way back. Sometimes I feel I’m getting close just to fall again. Nothing has went right since I had a near fatal auto accident in 2010. And no matter how hard or how much I want it to, it doesn’t change. Maybe someday.

  11. Angela Samson August 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    I am going through that very crisis of belief right now. I read so much of other peoples experiences with their spiritual journey and I look at my own and then I think there is something fundamentally wrong with me because I cannot reach the highs they seem to obtain. Why am I so cynical, maybe I shouldn’t compare but it is so hard not to. Why is it I am thinking someone is having a bloody laugh at my expense. I can’t seem to push these ideas away at the moment. I need to get down to the beach and try to meditate, maybe that will help. x/l\x

    • John Willmott August 19, 2013 at 5:05 pm - Reply

      Angela, those ‘highs’ are only what you can read from their comments, their enthusiastic and maybe fantasy words, but it should be guaranteed that you discover and experience just the same. Its just your words to explain them may be different. Its all just as embracing, if you let it 🙂

      • Angela Samson August 22, 2013 at 3:50 pm - Reply

        Thank you John for your encouragement, I know some people can be very flowery with their descriptions of their visions. I’m afraid that that was just one of my problems. The main reason that brought me to druidry was the lack of egos. No priests or priestesses, with the ethos, we are all equal under the sun but I have found this is not quite true, there will always be someone who will try to dominate…..I may be naive but I had hoped, that this path would be different than all others.
        Blessings to you
        Angela /l\

        • Andrew Smith August 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm - Reply

          Ego is everywhere, even when we’re on our own. It is part of human existence, and Druids are no exception. The difference is that Druidry is what you bring to it. There are people who claim to be priests/priestesses etc but that does not mean they are any better than you. In a few cases the titles are affectations; mostly they are just convenient names to describe a role they have chosen to fulfil within the community. The difference about Druidry, compared to some other paths, is that there is no holy book or heirarchy to obey. It’s your path. If someone says you must do Druidry a certain way, thank them politely for their input… and walk away. No one knows for certain – most of us are making it up as we go along, sharing ideas and experiences with one another along the way. That, for me, is why Druidry is so special – it is creative, slightly anarchic and experiential. We have to do it for ourselves. We may seek advice from others, or gain inspiration from other people’s experiences, but ultimately we are responsible for our own spiritual development. And, although we will have some experiences in common because we are all humans, in other ways our paths will be quite unique, depending on who we think we are and what we feel we need to learn. “We are all equal under the sun” – bring that to your Druidry, Angela, and you won’t go far wrong.
          Hope something here is helpful to you 🙂

          • Angela Samson August 23, 2013 at 1:33 pm

            Thank you Andrew, your input has been of great help. I seem to have allowed a member of my grove’s personal idea of how Druidry should be conducted to get under my skin which had rattled me somewhat. As you rightly said, we are responsible for our own spiritual development and it is not for anyone else to criticize how you express this or if you make mistakes. We are all individuals with our own idea’s of honouring the spirits, after all, its the intention that really matters. As a new grove member I felt unwilling to challenge someone who has 30+ years experience. I have meditated on this issue and have decided to walk away if the problem persists.
            I am going to re-read the book that brought me to Druidy in the first place and hopefully I will once again feel good in my own skin.
            Thank you Damh for the opportunity to air my views here and for some sound advice.
            Love and light
            Angela x/l\x

          • Katie August 23, 2013 at 1:39 pm

            Angela,

            What book brought you to druidry? (if you don’t mind me asking?) I would consider myself Pagan, but am interested in druidry.

            Thanks
            Katie

  12. Stephen Cole August 19, 2013 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    A little thought on daily spiritual practice;
    We love our Full moon meditations and our Solstice celebrations, but let’s face it – most of our lives are spent washing up, walking the dog, waiting for a bus, whatever. “in the meantime” as an old teacher of mine called it. My daily spiritual practice is to simply acknowledge, as I start the day, exactly whose day it is – based on the names of the days:
    Sun’s-Day, Moon’s-Day, Tiw’s-Day, Woden’s-Day, Thor’s-Day, Freya’s-Day, Saturn’s-Day.
    Whatever each of those means to you, make your day about that.

    It takes 5 minutes; it teaches me about different figures of myth and legend; it helps me to embrace all the many parts of who I am – It’s a mixture of Celtic (Sun, Moon), Saxon (Tiw, Woden, Thor, Freya) and Roman (Saturn), and these are all part of the heritage of this land.

    And so every day becomes a sacred day, without having to wait for the next sabbat or esbat.

    Blessed be /|\

  13. Carrie August 19, 2013 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    Know and understand. One thing that really helps is to go out onto the back lawn of an evening and sit. Sat there cross-legged, looking up, the bats swoop by, the bees go home, the woodpeckers settle. Placing the palms on the lawn one can feel the almost electric, tingling energy feeding up through you (if you are ‘quiet’.) It is an occasional thing, but boy, it does it fill the tanks. Highly recommend it, in the summer, of course! :0)

  14. Lorna August 19, 2013 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    For me, I have found spending time in nature helps. Last night I started a fire in my yard(my first fire pit). While setting up up I watched the bats hunting and listen to the sounds of the small woods beyond my yard. It was wonderful. I took a picture of the fire once it started and have been told there is a fire elemental in it. This was what I needed to get me back on track.

  15. Alan Berkshire August 19, 2013 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    I have just been through such an experience…… I lost the urge to paint, [vital to me.] I lost the urge to write and learn. [Also a vital part of me.] I didn’t get it at first, but then I realised what it was. I was giving too much of myself to others. sounds crazy. But in helping others, [mostly family and close friends] I was leaving no time for myself. I was left drained, tired. I wasn’t sleeping. [Something I don’t do a lot of in the first place!!!] Wasn’t eating. So I pulled back, let myself drift for a week or two. Sort of shut down. And here I am again! Painting, eating, [sort of] Never was much of a sleeper. I’m still able to help others as and when, but I’m making sure I’m holding back a little of “me” for me. Bright Blessings, Love and Light.

  16. Jude August 19, 2013 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    I find the best way for me to reconnect is to listen to meaningful music while walking or sitting in the bush. It is truly majic to see how the world moves to the rhythm of the music and every small happening takes on a new significance. Your song ‘Under a Bealaine sky’ has figured heavily in my practice lately.

  17. Helen August 19, 2013 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    Thank you, utterly appropriate for me as I face the birth of my second child and wonder about maintaining the spiritual connection that the birth of my first child cut off (with valuable and valid reasons in hindsight but painful nevertheless). Think I’ve got it figured but this post was very helpful in reminding me to prioritise my spirituality once more.

  18. Katie August 19, 2013 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    On the Summer Equinox I felt compelled to plan a trip to Glastonbury. I went two weeks ago with my son who is 13. For the first time ever I feel I really connected to the Goddess. Now I’m back in the ‘real world’ and I’ve felt a longing and calling in my soul and my heart. Upping sitcks and moving down south isn’t an option at the moment with a child going through High School. I came back to Scotland and found a place in a nearby park that I can go and call upon the Spirit i felt so strongly. It’s not the same, and today I’ve been crying and asking why I’d be shown something so beautiful for it to be taken away, but it’s a start. Maybe it was a kick to go deeper in my personal practice? I don’t know. But Damh your song Under a Beltane Sun has been ringing in my ears all day!! and while in Glastonbury, day and night, I had The Winter King in my brain juke box. Thank you!

    • Angela Samson August 23, 2013 at 2:58 pm - Reply

      Hi Katie, you asked me which book drew me to Druidry. It was called. “Druidry” by Emma Restall Orr. Druidry fits everything I was looking for in a spiritual path.
      Blessings to you on your journey
      Angela x/l\x

      • Andrew Smith August 23, 2013 at 3:44 pm - Reply

        Emma’s ‘Perennial Course in Living Druidry’ on the Druid Network site is pretty good, too: http://druidnetwork.org/what-is-druidry/learning-resources/perennial/

        Her Living Druidry is one of my favourite books. Inspiring.

        • Katie August 23, 2013 at 3:46 pm - Reply

          Thanks guys!! Much gratitude! These look great! and thanks Damh. This blog post and reading what others are writing has prompted me to start some type of daily practice. I don’t know what yet….but I’m sure i’ll be shown what to do by the Goddess.

  19. Anthony August 19, 2013 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    Quite a few years ago, I became aware that I had lost my connection with whatever it was that drove my spirituality; in fact, I took the stance that the is nothing beyond what we see, that there is no God, for want of a better term.
    Circumstances have changed since then BUT the sense of disconnection still remains; I have been to places of ritual and /or power (Chanctonbury, Cissbury, Clapham, Highdown Hill, Lancing Ring), I have walked on the beach and climbed the Downs, and still “it” eludes me.
    So I shall go back to what first connected me (Tarot) and I shall try to follow your suggestions and we’ll see how it all goes.

  20. Corin Price August 20, 2013 at 2:38 am - Reply

    very good advice, I too have experienced this disconnection, I find the daily practice helps a lot to re-attune myself 🙂

  21. Joanne August 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    My disconnection was a painful severing due to illness and divorce. I felt numb and unable to connect and it took a pause in my life, a review of what I needed to begin the pathway back. My path was always there as a strength but my sensitivity had ebbed away and it was utterly devastating. it took a gradual immersion back into the land, woodland and bay to open a door and see the light again; to smell, sense, touch and see the beauty, the history and the sheer peace that connection brings. I am now able to socialise again and attending Pagan Con for the first time this year plus doing the OBOD course has made me feel complete and that I belong again- and in the occasional down times at work, and frustration with the everyday? I play your music and remind myself that outside of my windowless office there is a gorgeous, enthralling world 🙂

  22. Andrew Smith August 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    The busy modern world is so noisy – so full of distractions and demands on our time, energy and resources – that it can be a struggle to maintain a contemplative spiritual practice. When I’ve lost touch, I stop, place my bare feet on the earth (if possible) and breathe. Or I go and wash the dishes – just wash the dishes. Sometimes I think we lose touch with our spiritual life when we forget that it is not separate from our everyday life. Washing the dishes is as much of a spiritual act as sitting at an altar, if we make it so.

  23. David "Frog" August 21, 2013 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    There is, of course, another viewpoint. We might not be letting go, but moving forward, the “deviation” from the path might actually take us further on, or just in a different direction. When we try to “reconnect” we try to recapture – essentially trying to hang on to what was before rather than embrace the now.
    Although my own practice still has elements of druidry, I realise that the influence of Taoist thinking is definitely playing its part.
    So have I disconnected? Possibly – or possibly not.
    Should I try to reconnect? No, that was then and this is now.

    A great post Damh, very thought provoking.

    • Andrew Smith August 22, 2013 at 3:28 pm - Reply

      Good points, David ‘Frog’. I can relate to this. About 14-15 years ago my life blew apart and with it my involvement in Druidry. In the last couple of years, I’ve found myself drawn back to it but only after exploring Buddhism which has provided many insights that, looking back now, I possibly could not have gained through the Druidry alone all those years ago. In some ways, I have felt I lost precious time in leaving the path; but in other ways I think I have learned more and travelled further by taking a different path for a while. My Druidry now is far deeper and more meaningful than the Druidry I wore 15 years ago.

  24. Devin October 29, 2015 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    In this day and age, everyone is overworked and overwhelmed. This leads to burn out, causing feelings of disillusionment, hopelessness, disconnection, apathy and depression. (Burn out is different from Stress.) If you find that being burnt out is the real root of the problem and not just being disconnected, it’s easier to isolate and treat the problem.

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