Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Dance

It is getting late on the night of Ash Wednesday, and while I came close to donning ashes today, the timing just didn't work out.  Instead I met with four other women in the sanctuary of my UU congregation where we enjoyed delicious conversation, devotional dancing, and chocolate (eating meditation).  It was our monthly Spirit in Practice session, and while one by one some members of the group have fallen off, others have remained, and new ones have joined.  Our focus tonight was on spiritual practices of the Body-- which for UU's falls somewhere in the middle of asceticism and hedonism, somewhere in the realm of "Real Time"-- as one woman described being outside, with your feet on the ground, fully aware and present of the cold air on your face and the wind in your hair, fully in the here and now.

It was last year during Lent when our minister first invited us to meet at 8AM to study spiritual disciplines.  It was that invitation drew us together in the first place, and tonight we shared how much we miss him as he serves in Afghanistan, and held a space for him in our circle and in our hearts.

Since that time last year, I have spoken to so many people in our congregation who are seeking a deeper spirituality.  And though we may crave an experience of wonder and awe during our worship services, it is also what we bring into that space which creates the spiritual experience...and so we must work to discipline ourselves, rather than to come empty-handed, expectant of the feast. This is the work of our gatherings- and our commitments in between.

Tonight, I played the perfect Enya song, as each of us found a place to move freely in interpretative dance.  Light and trusting of our bodies, fully and freely, we each experienced the music and dance a little differently. For me it was a dance of devotion and prayer, as I swayed and prostrated to an empty altar.  As we turned back to the circle after the music had ended, we all fell into a deep natural silent meditation which lasted.

This is my beginning to the season of Lent.  On this day of ashes, I remember I am dust, and to dust I shall return.

But I am also a living body between the edges of my life--and while I am here on earth I will dance.

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