When we set out on a journey, we can never be sure where it will take us. As I am new to the journal, I will share the twists and turns in mine. I started my working life as a newspaper reporter. I loved writing and I loved the endless flow of extraordinary, ordinary characters. But somewhere down the line, the people became more important to me than getting their stories into print and I moved into community sector infrastructure work, building links and networks between organisations.
Community work is relational – a question of the macro and the micro – and ultimately led me down a different track: into counselling. I’ve been a bereavement worker for five years and finished training as an integrative counsellor last year.
I have found my soul in this work, and parallels with writing: metaphor, image, narrative. At the BACP Spirituality division conference in Leicester in November, I found community too. And so, in taking up the role as editor of Thresholds, I have gently, delightfully, rejoined the path I set out on.
Prior to becoming editor, I was a Thresholds reader and greatly admired Amanda’s poet-like ability to weave the diverse content of the journal around her own journey and reflections. It is an art and it seems apt that she has handed over several articles that directly speak of the threads that connect us.
Caroline Brazier reflects on her late father’s life journey and thinks about how we work with clients’ stories, exploring ‘loose ends and story fragments’. Jeff Leonardi meditates on William Stafford’s image of a constant thread that runs through life and on how the embodied, felt sense – or ‘kind of tickle in the tummy’ – leads the way. And Alistair Ross writes the first in a series of articles called Real-World Spirituality, in which he explores the ‘uncanny connection’ in counselling, and invites readers to explore the ‘delicate strands of unworded experience’.
Recently, my own adventures in CPD have taken me off-road, to what poet, author, priest, and philosopher, John O’Donohue, describes as ‘out-of-the-way places of the heart’.1 I am learning philosopher Eugene Gendlin’s focusing method, which involves connecting with your ‘intricate bodily knowledge’, with the help of a partner, who accompanies but does not guide.2 It is magical.
As spiritual practitioners, we strike a constant balance between the solid, tangible world of counselling theories, techniques and frameworks and a deep spiritual connection that can be hard to put into words. All of the articles in this issue explore the bridge between the two, and express what it feels like to work from Winnicott’s ‘sacred incommunicado centre’, which ‘collects together the details of the experience of aliveness’.3
As I get to know you all, I look forward to hearing about the threads that run through your work and those that guide your way. If you would like to write an article, please do get in touch.
Amy McCormack thresholds.editorial@ bacp.co.uk