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Religious Trauma & Beauty

“We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.”
C.S. Lewis

I’ve become a beauty chaser since leaving organised religion.
I’ve realised it’s where I feel God/god/the ground of all being/the energy of every living thing.
It makes me feel held.
Part of something bigger than me.
A sunset can hold my gratitude and joy, the ocean the waves of my pain, the grass beneath my feet makes me feel grounded.
Beautiful music, gorgeous fresh produce, flowers and colour all make feel centred, rested, peaceful.
They make me smile.

I’ve been told this is pantheism, a dangerous diversion from truth and God. That it’s a cheap substitute for the real thing.

But it feels like the real thing to me. And I’ve learnt to trust my feelings. I want to bathe in it, become part of it.

The older I get, the more it’s part of my wellness. I know I need it. We see people in dire circumstances, in death and conflict, anxiety and depression, seeking beauty, rituals, poetry, music, community, commemoration.

It grounds us.

Religious trauma can dislocate us from ourselves and the grounding practices we have been used to perhaps for many years. Practices like prayer and worship music can become triggering, contemplation and even stillness can feel unsettling.

Read the poetry of Mary Oliver.
Look up at the sky.
Create a new playlist.
Try a nurturing practice everyday, fresh tea in a pot, wrap yourself in a soft fabric scarf, have a bath.
Seek out nature.

Start with beauty as you come home to yourself. See how it feels.

If you’re struggling with the impact of religious trauma or high control religion, reach out. I see clients online Australia wide & in Marrickville in-person.

You can also download my story of leaving faith, The Sentimental Non-Believer, here.

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Download 'Melancholy': an excerpt from "The Sentimental Non-Believer."

Melancholy is a reflection on the way Easter used to feel and how it feels now.