Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Nest and nester...

Lucy has a nose for chick-care
My husband, Wally's rough hands cup a chick.  The rainy season is a harsh environment for the little ones. He has brought the hatchling for me to keep warm and sheltered, to give her a chance of surviving this setback. We've done this countless times. Sometimes I put the little life in the front of my shirt in the space between my breasts and move about doing my chores as the little chick sleeps as if under a wing of different sorts. Sometimes I make a nest in the pocket of my apron with a torn piece of t-shirt to catch droppings - a chick diaper. 

The noise of the chicken yard is our soundscape. At times the chick I'm carrying responds to its sounds. Maybe she hears her mother's cluck or the cheep-cheep (pio-pio in Spanish) of her siblings. It's a good sign. Her low trilling is the sound of content like a baby's gurgle or the purring of a cat. She feels safe. 
I am a nest.

Caring for her is not just good for the chick, it's good for me too. I do things more slowly and finally sit to marvel for 20 minutes at the perfect markings on her wings and back, a collection of finest feathers that makes a unity of design in a rich array of browns accented with ink black calligraphy. If only I could decipher its message. Who says brown is drab? Brown becomes more than a color but an experience of velvet-soft darkness.  Brown becomes worthy of a long study into weightless, ephemeral, featherness. 

Are we any less a wonder? 

How much do we miss by hurrying?
Contemplative-worshiper-chick of the chicken species

My hands today are good for chick care and little else. Stung by hornets, my hands are like two inflated gloves on the ends of my arms. It's a reprieve from my chores, I can take ease without guilt. Like the chick, I let the full weight of my being rest in the shelter of this day, this place. It can be a gift to be small and helpless. I can still multi-task as nest and chick-care-giver, a contemplative-worshiper-chick of the human species.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Body theology...

Capable Flesh

The tender flesh itself
will be found one day
- quite surprisingly - 
to be capable of receiving,
and yes, full
capable of embracing
the searing energies of God.
Go figure. Fear not.
For even at its beginning
the humble clay received
God's art, whereby
one part became the eye,
another the ear, and yet
another this impetuous hand.
Therefore, the flesh
is not to be excluded
from the wisdom and the power
that now and ever animates
all things.  His life-giving
agency is made perfect,
we are told, in weakness -
made perfect in the flesh.
 - St. Irenaeus
adapted and translated by Scott Cairns

This message is brought to you by your body.  Your sensory system is calling for a sound check...can you hear this or are you ignoring your body's attempts at communication? 

We know the things you put into your ears and your brain and what comes out of your mouth. The hope is for a dependable connection from your head to your heart - that's why we make this appeal. 

Pay attention to your body.  It's talking to you.

Listening is something everyone assumes they already do, but just because you have two ears doesn't mean you hear.

You say that all things are connected and are a part of a great wholeness of one, that the universe with all its multiplicity is ultimately one essential reality. Do you really believe that? Your very own body is integral within that wonder-world universe. You have a part to play.  

It's basic.  When you ignore the messages of the body eventually things go a wry, disorder ensues and can spread faster than repair! You become lost in feeling bad. It can result in a paralysis, like an impassive response to the news of climate change, you do nothing.

This is not simple aging, and please, stop bemoaning it.  Of course there's wear and tear that comes with the years, but in fact, a large part is due to the natural consequences of regular neglect over decades.  To make things worse, you speak with such impatience of your body, the body that has served you faithfully and remarkably well.

This probably comes as a shock to your good opinion of yourself.  You think yourself a peace-maker but you act like a slave-driver to the body, making demands, never listening.  

It's time to make peace with your body.  This body wants to enlighten your soul, be a God-house, save your life for heaven's sake!

Be receptive. You already have everything you need. Listen to your body with your breath, not your ears. Breath is the basis of language and creation. In the beginning, God spoke the world into existence and breathed life into creation. Nature knows what to do. There is innate wisdom in every cell. It's a dynamic system! The maps of that wondrous circuitry are marvels of art. 

Minister, like a priestess or a doctor, loving intentions with your powerful, creative, healing imagination. That's what it's there for - it's part of the design. Attend the aches and pains with an intuitive probing. Initiate healing with an empathetic hand over the body's weakness. Repair is a reflexive response of each cell. Your body will know what to do. Be healer and patient, for who knows your body like you?

Practice this each day and you will begin to feel like your standing on the bright, red X of life again. Be thankful for all your parts and their service.  It's a body wonderland of love.  Give thanks to the kidneys and bladder, thanks to the stomach and intestines, thanks to the shoulders and wrists, hands and fingers, knees and toes.