I find myself in this moment, at the end of a long seminary semester heavy with words and ideas, staring at this month’s theme: Embodiment. Piles of books and scattered papers lie around me, and I am moved by the longing to return to physical life, to a space of the senses.
As we approach Mother’s Day, I reflect on how so much of parenting is about embodiment. Whether it is preparing meals to feed our families, caring for our children when they are sick, or expressing love and connection through hugs and cuddles, we are attentive to our children’s bodies. We also seek to protect them from harm.
As the mother of two tween daughters, my senses are heightened to the confusing and objectifying messages that society throws at our girls about the values of their bodies. Now, so much of parenting has become about teaching self-care and resistance; about teaching my children to love and to celebrate their bodies, in the face of these messages.
I believe in that celebration of embodied life, in a spiritual path that sees the essential connection between body and mind. Our bodies carry the DNA of ancestors, and wisdom for growth and healing. They allow us to move and fully experience this world– with all its sensual delight and terrible pain. Emotions are felt, held, and released through the body. Our bodies are precious, strong, and often vulnerable; and they are essential to fully experiencing our lives.
This month, I invite you to explore embodiment as a spiritual practice, to pay attention to your experiences as they are felt in your body. Whether you choose to practice yoga, tai chi, dance, or running; or eat a meal with slow, mindful attention; or truly experience and express emotions, may your practice bring you to a more lively, intimate encounter with the fullness of life.
PS: Due to a change in the congregational meeting date, I will not be with you in the pulpit this month. Instead, I invite UUCRT families and individuals to join me, along with friends from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockland (UUCR), on a visit to the Chuang Yen Monastery, in Carmel, NY on Saturday, May 13th. The Neighboring Faiths trip to Chuang Yen Monastery will include lunch ($6 per person) from 12-1, and a guide to meditate/ guided tour/ Q & A session from 1-2. I will also be participating in the Memorial Day Service of Remembrance, Lamentation, and Hope on Sunday, May 28th (5:30 PM, New Windsor Cantonment) and hope to see you there.