Wed., April 11, 2012 –On Wednesday mornings, after taking the dog for her morning walk, I head to the Rec Center and swim for about half an hour. This morning’s swim was especially nice, as I had a lane all to myself–no worries about having to swim around someone or be “swum around,” just the sounds of my breathing and the water sloshing and whatever thoughts came to mind. I often try to “sing” a chant or a hymn(silently), a sort of watery meditation to focus upon.
Then, at lunchtime, I take the dog for another, longer walk. I love how she is totally in the present–this intriguing smell here, ooh, listen to that bird, and, oh my, wouldn’t that squirrel be fun to play with?! I, of course, am often processing what’s happened during the morning or thinking about what I need to do this afternoon, but she just keeps trotting along, nose to the air, ears perked, tail curled and swishing. Don’t take yourself so seriously, she says, and don’t miss all this great stuff.
Then, after whatever else I’ve got going on Wednesday afternoons, whenever possible I go to a yoga class from 5:45-7:15. It’s a class that stretches me in lots of ways–not only my joints and muscles, but also, often, the limits of what I think I have the energy to do. Donna, our teacher, always says to listen to your body–if it needs a rest, rest. If you want to go further, take the next step. Pay attention to your body, to this moment, and don’t judge. It just is. That’s a stretch for me, having honed the art of “judging” over a lifetime.
By the time I fall into bed most Wednesday nights, my body whispers to me that I’m not getting any younger. (OK, sometimes it screams that to me.) But it is a good tired. This is the one body I’ve got for this journey, this time around. It feels good to fully inhabit it (usually). When it doesn’t feel good, I am not a happy camper, and I’m not particularly pleasant to be around. So, I actually view all of this physical activity, as well as what and how I eat, as part of ministry–taking care of the gifts entrusted to me.
Last Sunday on the radio show “On Being” with Krista Tippett (7-8 a.m. on VPR–check it out, or the website www.onbeing.org), Armenian Orthodox theologian Vigen Gurioan said that the Orthodox liturgy, which involves all the senses–smell, sight, sound, touch, taste– “engages the whole human being…and that is consistent with the Christian belief in the bodily resurrection, the whole self, not just some disincarnate soul.” I love that, and often regret that our worship doesn’t engage our senses very much at all–no “smells and bells,” a little carefully controlled standing and sitting, a few (beautiful) paraments, music that’s neither too loud or too raucous. That’s ok – don’t judge, remember?
I’m just glad for other reminders that Resurrection involves our bodies, including what we do with them, how we take care of them, how we treat others’ bodies, how we live in and take care of the Earth’s body–Creation. It’s not just about some disembodied after-life. This is where we “practice resurrection.”