Mindfulness moments have become an important part of our Generous Space retreat experiences. Though brief, these moments remind us to be present, to practice contemplation in a simple way, and to have opportunity to center ourselves again. This year, each Advent reflection will begin with such a moment of pause. We invite you to engage them as part of your Advent waiting.
Take just a few moments to focus on your breath. If you’re like me, you may be tempted to skip over this and move right to the meaty part – but resist that. Breathe in and hold your breath momentarily while you try to tune in to your body. What part do you notice? Exhale. What made you notice that part of your body? Is there pain? Fatigue or heaviness? On each breath try to connect with a different part of your body. Your head and neck. Your torso. Your arms, hands, fingers. Your gut and pelvis. Your legs, feet and toes. Your back and buttocks. Inside your mouth. Are you holding tension anywhere? Can you consciously try to relax that part of your body? Finish this time by taking some deep, slow breaths – paying attention to the gift of breath.
Psalm 139: 13 – 15
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Many of us live with pretty high levels of disconnection from our bodies. We might not even notice it. Perhaps your work puts you at a desk and computer for most of the day, relying on your brain to get your tasks done. Perhaps chronic pain or fatigue puts you at odds with your body. Perhaps emotional disappointment, isolation, or grief has left you numb and disengaged. In our fast-paced world of expectation and pressure, it is a challenge to stay present and attuned.
Advent reminds us that God took on flesh. God wrapped themselves in a body. It was as Jesus was knit together in Mary’s womb, went through the raw physicality of birth, took those first breaths, and latched onto the breast that God’s presence burst into our world in a completely new way. The Creator became created to connect with creation in tangible, embodied form.
Bodies matter. They matter to God. Your body matters. Every part of it precious. Every part of it gift.
As we enter this first Sunday of invitation to pause, to wait, to anticipate, take time to marvel at your body. Embrace it. Take joy in it, imperfections and all. Love it.
Beautiful Creator draw me into the awe that you experience when you look at me. May I enter the mystery of your love of embodiment by embracing my own body. May I remember the miracle of your enfleshment: your deep knowing of what it is to be fully human, your profound awareness of my struggle to stay present, and your deep compassion for me.