‘It’s not just you’ – a lost sense of community and connectedness. I broke a karmic pattern at the start of the week. It’s only taken 700 years for me to do it. And really, that’s huge. It feels 70% fantastic. The other 30% is the new space that’s opened up and that now needs to be filled. It’s where my past got stuck, and now it’s a chance to move forward. It’s a space for new things.

This is happening to many of us right now. With Mercury still in retrograde, the past keeps rearing it’s sometimes surprising head, and we are challenged to let go of it, encouraged to go inwards and reflect, encouraged to make space for the new.

And I see people relieved to know that it’s not just them – that this is a theme right now. We all need to know that we are not alone, that it’s not just us. So, if we knew how connected we all really are, energetically and spiritually, all of the time, would we feel very different about our lives, I wonder. Is the illusion that we are “separate, individual” beings one of the most painful of the illusions that come with being human. That and our mortality?

It’s like when there’s a crisis – a national crisis, or disaster say – and suddenly there is this strange sense of camaraderie – of togetherness – that is not normally there. And that, in spite of everything, can be enormously comforting.

And I find myself thinking back to my travels in India many years ago – 2001. And I remember being driven along what they call “The Queen’s Necklace” in Bombay/Mumbai – the coast line filled with high rise flats, shopping malls, office blocks – the pride of the city – and seeing, all along the edge of the street, between the road and the beach, communities of slum-dwellers gathering in the evening, against the sunset, backs to the sea, to eat together, smiling and laughing.

As we drove past, I looked into their slums, with their open doors and windows, and was amazed to see shiny pots and pans, TV sets and aerials. I asked my Indian friend to explain these luxury items in the context of such poverty. She told me that the Indian government, keen to make Mumbai into a showcase for foreign dignitaries, tried to clear the slum-dwellers off the streets by putting them into council flats. Yet the people sold their council flats, took the money and bought their luxury items instead as they moved back into the slums. And, strange as it might sound, I thought that I could see why – this was their community.

Open-air dinners cooked together (and this was winter) with family and neighbours they could and were laughing with. They had roofs over their head (albeit thin corrugated ones), they had their TVs and pots and pans, and they had the sound of the sea to send them to sleep at night. Most important, though, perhaps, their lives and journeys, their troubles and joys, were shared ones.

So many of us have lost that sense of community now. And I think that it’s a big hole. We have lost a sense of togetherness and connectedness. And that becomes most obvious and most challenging when the journey is difficult. Not that I’m advocating going back to living in traditional communities, but, as Autumn and then Winter approach again, we will start to retreat indoors again – and away from others.

And so I wonder about “community” – about connectedness. It’s in politics all over the world at the moment – people’s desperation to be brought together in a common cause – to feel connected to others like them – even if it ends up being at the expense of the “Other” who is “not like them”. Can we transmute these energies, I wonder – find ways to channel the need for togetherness into projects that do good instead of harm? Connected individuals and then connected communities – a real sense of togetherness – what would that look and feel like? What if I could fill this new space with that? What if we all could?

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