“Heart, sex and spirit” – this was the motto of the ZEGG Pentecost camp this year. The festival was fully booked because there is a great desire to research these topics. Sitting on the podium with Dolores Richter, she asked me what my work has to do with sex, heart and spirit. The answer was simple: everything. It’s the magic triangle in which I move naturally like a fish in water.
That sounds almost too good to be true, and it’s only part of the truth. Because one thing has become clear in these three days: All of these three cornerstones that are essential for people carry a cultural wound. I find myself, so to speak, in a beautiful but also very painful triangle in which something is allowed to transform.
What is a cultural or collective wound?
With “sex” it is obvious: This wonderful, connecting, living and deep force has become a grimace of what it could be for us through repression, shame, guilt, prohibition and censorship on the outside and inside. In the “outside” because a sexually repressive culture with commandments, prohibitions and norms affects and domesticates us. In the “inside” because we have already taken over the censorship and the taboo deep in our cells. There are many things we don’t even allow ourselves to wish for, let alone express, because we’ve already internalized the strict guardians.
What do we do with the lousy twist of hunger and prohibition? Between inner shortage and outer oversupply? We oscillate between “overstimulation and malnutrition,” as Hannah Milling put it in her talk. Between hypersexualization and listlessness.
Tapping into sex as a source of nourishment and pleasure can be work. I’ve been doing this job for years.
„Spirit“ – the word alone has a negative connotation for many. It sounds esoteric and some think of tinfoil hats and reality transfigurers. Others associate everything religious with compulsion, forced rituals and empty phrases. Christianity does not have a glorious missionary history. Collectively, for entire populations and for individual biographies, there have been and still are numerous violations of borders in the name of religion – real wars are being waged in religious missions.
So how do you find a positive relationship with the longing to be “connected”? What if there is an intuition that there is more than ourselves, that we spring from something much greater? How do we deal with the need to feel cared for and guided by a “divine” power, and how do we find the “divine” within us – a deep appreciation and devotion to life? How can knowing that we are connected and not separate also grow into a practice of compassion and solidarity that can only be political?
“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are an entire ocean in a drop.”
The longing for a spirituality that can also be a home is huge and yet also taboo, because for many it is burnt land.
And then the “heart” – anyone who knows my work knows how much I work with the heart space.
Heart space, what is that supposed to be, many ask, and for some it sounds like a funny, esoteric idea and again one of those sleuthing exercises where everyone closes their eyes and breathes in and out pathetically. Cynicism is sometimes a sign of helplessness. Sometimes we are “lost” and do not know what the heart “speaks” when we are cut off from it. The heart space is numb and closed.
Open your heart, open yourself to all feelings, take off your armor, become touchable, allow yourself to feel – this is not something that can be taken for granted. We live in a world that is not designed for us to be touchable and vulnerable.
Those who persevere and work well are rewarded. Making yourself felt is work, and it’s not always nice either, because there are not only positive feelings, but also sadness, fear and anger. The whole range of emotions is worth so much more because when you allow yourself to vibrate and resonate, you are alive. Opening the deaf, armored heart is work.
In the valuable conversation I had the opportunity to have Dolores Richter as a counterpart. Dolores is a highly experienced peace and community researcher and has been leading groups for over 30 years. She provides a common thread for working with wounds and healing in the area of love. She is behind the concept “Sex, Heart, Spirit”, gave the project its name and has researched the potentials of this triangle in depth. Her research, her “spiritual garden,” is an inspiration to many in the community and far beyond. She is also co-director of the “Love School for Young Adults” which has the motto:
“It takes a whole village for a love affair to succeed. And for a village to survive, it needs thriving love relationships.”
You can hardly express it better.
This healing work, in the wounded triangle, the magic triangle, in which we have the potential to feel connected, fulfilled, meaningful and deeply touched – this cannot be done alone.