Monday, May 4, 2015

Put Your Whole Self In

At an ICN workshop earlier this year, we were treated to the presence of Sr. Addie Lorraine Walker, SSND, who opened each session with song and dance.  "Put your whole selves in!" she urged us, as she led us through rousing renditions of familiar songs.  She then extended the metaphor of putting our whole selves at the service of God and neighbor through the vow of obedience, the topic she was facilitating that day.

I have had ample opportunity to practice putting my "whole self in" this year.  From a physical standpoint, I have been privy to a more holistic experience of body prayer each Sunday as I sing and sway with the Gospel Choir at St. Alphonsus, "The Rock," the Catholic church I've been attending where we practice Afro-centric worship with a sort of Southern Baptist feel.  We've practiced body prayer in our ICN sessions and focused on our different energy centers during a day of reflection.  

Perhaps during this contemplative year more than ever, I have learned that physicality is an important part of my spirituality.  My need for both exercise and stillness in a purely physical sense mirrors the need for an action-contemplation balance in all other areas of my life.  I'm still learning this one, and sometimes it still seems easier to run a half marathon than to stay focused during contemplation… but I've come to value the holy tension in it all.

Beyond the physical, however, we have had plenty of other opportunities to practice putting our whole selves in.  Whether it's in conversation with a spiritual director or in a house meeting with community, we have been invited again and again to that "exquisite vulnerability" that true discernment necessitates.  It doesn't mean sharing everything all the time, but it does mean taking the risk to trust at the appropriate times.  It's a decision I must re-make each day, sometimes multiple times a day.

Ultimately, we are all called to put our whole selves in to whatever particular path God has called us.  All of the opportunities I've had this year to practice this have been preparation for the possible discernment of vowed life as a consecrated person; putting my whole self in to love of God and neighbor through vowing obedience, chastity, and poverty.

I think it's safe to say I'll never view the hokey pokey in quite the same way again.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, I think similarly, and I'm very thankful for your blog/sharing.
    If there was a thumbs up to like it, I would :-)