I first heard that expression while working through a Seane Corn yoga DVD called Vinyasa Flow. I’m one of those people who usually skips past the philosophical introductions, becoming seated in simple cross legged pose sometime in the middle of that first cleansing breath and then I take on the practice like a mountain climber. Methodically. Physically. While my aching brain finds release in my muscles, and the sweat runs down my back and I blink salt out of my eyes and move. I love flow yoga. I love power yoga. I love the punishing sequence of an intermediate ashtanga set, and how I hurt in my body but my mind feels….
So when I was laying out my mat, and tuning out the thumping feet of my children through the floorboards, and taking my sips of water, and getting my block ready, and coming to be seated, this phrase “body prayer” somehow lodged itself in my psyche and stuck.
I’m not a religious person. I have very good memories of Sunday school at the Lutheran Church near our old neighbourhood. I have overwhelmingly warm memories of Vacation Bible School at Craig Church in Markerville. But that particular iteration of God has never soothed me the way it did the rest of our congregation. I wanted it. I wanted that peace and strength of faith. I wanted to feel lifted, walking side by side with the spirit of God, like they did. That sense of flying I used to feel when a song came alive inside of me, when it found my voice and lifted not just me but all of us together. When my voice met a song like deity and then fell through the heavens like rain. The congregations at those churches, when I was a little girl, they didn’t need to sing to find that feeling. They didn’t need to move their bodies. They just needed to be there, in the light of faith.
I don’t have that. And while I don’t sing, anymore, that has more to do with life and choices than it has to do with religion. The church just isn’t home to me.
Anyway, someone messaged me awhile ago about the obvious contradictions in my posts: I don’t believe in God, but I do cry to Heaven. I don’t attend church, but when faced with the black rebirth of grief and loss I fall to my knees and pray.
Out running this morning, I thought about a friend of mine who lost her son and how if the strength of my stride could help her through this, I would send it by national same-day courier from my body to her heart.
Send this strength to this family that has so much grief to bear….
I passed the Harleys parked a couple of blocks from my house and thought about the handful of saskatoon berries just ripening off my front porch.
Holy Mother, give him peace and keep him safe for all eternity….
I thought about a man who once pulled my family into hell, and these last three years of blackest clouds and broad bands of sunshine.
I find courage in Your strength, and take Your hand to guide me.
I thought about sitting with my son at the end of the diving board while he worked up the courage to take that first jump, and the joy in my body and the ache in my heart when he ran and jumped and the light in the water made him golden.
Thank you, for this life, for this moment, for these gifts.
It was my first long-run day, today. An extra 2k on top of the measly 5k I’ve been turning out a few times a week now that my IT band has finally succumbed to foam-roller torture and has (more or less) consented to obey. It was hot. The air was sweating. My lungs found a rhythm that my legs found acceptable, and my body begrudgingly took me along for the ride. (I have a negative influence on its efficiency.) I passed the Zion congregation meeting at the community hall, with their fabulous hats and pounding beats. A woman came out on the step with her hands lifted and her feet tapping and her voice falling down on both of us like rain.
Father, hear my prayer.
So, to answer your question, dear reader, I believe in science, resolutely. And I believe in faith. I believe in the strength of intention and the healing power of words. And I believe that humanity doesn’t yet know all there is to know about why we’re here and where we’re going.
Though I suspect, it might have something to do with 42… ;-)