Theme5-2017

What Does It Mean To Be
A Community of Embodiment?

I spend most time wondering if I should be somewhere else.  Instead, I’m learning to shape the words “thank you” with my first breath each morning.  My last breath each night.  So when the very last breath comes, at least I will know I was grateful for all the places I was so sure I was not supposed to be.

– Sarah Kay, Poet, from The Paradox

We spend so much time in disappointment. We worry we’re missing out. We long for something better. Focused on how imperfect or incomplete our current situation is, we hunger for elsewhere.

Instead of being aware of exactly where we are right now. We use our minds to take us outside our bodies–to the future we long for or fear, to the past we long for or regret. Meanwhile, we forget where we are right now.

For just a moment, be aware of where you are. Locate yourself in space and move your attention to your body. What does it tell you about what you are feeling? About what you need? About where your attention needs to be? Only with embodied awareness can we have the presence we need to live fully.

But religion wants to push us even harder–to respond to the present moment with gratitude itself. The way back into real embodiment, it says, is not just through the skill of attention but also Sarah Kay’s skill of “shaping the words ‘thank you’ with our first and last breath.”

And not just the skill of ‘thank you,’ but the skill of listening as well. Every religion worth its salt will tell you that the reason to pay attention to the present moment is so that we can better hear what life and our hearts are trying to tell us! Embodied living is not simply about being grateful for the unnoticed gifts in front of us; it’s also about noticing that every moment and every context–no matter how imperfect, messed up and incomplete–is trying to talk to us!

The reason we are called to sink into and care for our bodies is not just to relieve stress; it’s so that our body’s voice no longer gets drowned out by all the other noise. The reason we are called to allow nature to embody us is not simply so that we can feel our interconnectedness; it’s so that we can allow that interconnectedness to tell us its wisdom. The reason to stop trying so hard to change our current circumstances is not simply to “be here now;” it’s so that our current circumstances will finally be able to get a word in edgewise about where it thinks we should go!

And if we do this friends–if we shape our ‘thank you’s’ and take listening seriously–then that elusive gift of embodiment will be ours: that sacred sense of being–fully–exactly where we are supposed to be! Only then can we truly be together, connected in community. We know where we are, and others know where they are.

May this month’s work help all of us stumble back to and better embody that wonderful space!