pandemic

This, our mythic moment

There is a point in the swing of a pendulum, at its farthest position from the centre, when it pauses mid-air, before returning on its downward journey. At that moment it is both in motion and yet immobile, momentarily hypnotised by the tension between gravity and momentum.

Some years ago, at a small workshop in London, storyteller and teacher Sue Hollingsworth introduced me to a concept she termed the “mythic moment”. In the context of a personal story, such a moment might encapsulate a mind-bending experience, a sense of awe at something magnificent or terrible, or a piece of shocking news after which life will never be the same. The defining characteristic of moments such as these is that time seems to slow down, stretch out, even stop completely, the universe and its unfolding events paused in brief hiatus, like the pendulum suspended at the top of its swing before a new perspective comes into view and motion is resumed.

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