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Rilke on the connection of spiritual and physical through sexuality

Well, lovely readers, I am back in California and getting back into regular life after my second and final session of training in spiritual direction.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the last three weeks of guest posts as much as I have! We will continue to have Five Questions on… every Friday for as long as we still have willing participants.  Everyone is welcome, so please feel free to share your responses and add your voice to the conversation.

I had some grand ideas for launching back into regular posting here at HBTB, but I’m afraid I’ve suffered from technical difficulties (three laptops in three weeks!).  For today, let’s enjoy this little snippet from the ever-wise Rainer Maria Rilke on the connection of the spiritual and the physical through experiencing our sexuality.

In the Fourth Letter of Letters to a Young Poet, Rilke writes:

We can recall that all beauty in animals and plants is a silent and enduring form of love and longing.  We can see the animal just as we perceive the plant, patiently and willingly uniting, multiplying, and growing, not from physical desire, not from physical grief, rather from adapting to what has to be.  That existing order transcends desire and grief and is mightier than will and resistance.  The earth is full of this secret down to her smallest things.  Oh, that we would only receive this secret more humbly, bear it more earnestly, endure it, and feel how awesomely difficult it is, rather than to take it lightly.

Oh, that we might hold in reverence our fertility, which is but one, even if it seems to be either spiritual or physical. Spiritual creativity originates from the physical. They are of the same essence — only spiritual creativity is a gentler, more blissful, and more enduring repetition of physical desire and satisfaction.  The desire to be a  creator, to give birth, to guide the growth process is nothing without its constant materialization in the world, nothing without the thousandfold consent of things and animals.  Its enjoyment is so indescribably beautiful and rich only because it is filled with inherited memories of millions of instances of procreation and births. In one thought of procreation a thousand forgotten nights of love are resurrected and that thought is fulfilled in grandeur and sublimity…

Perhaps the sexes are more closely related than one would think.  Perhaps the great renewal of the world will consist of this, that man and woman, freed of all confused feelings and desires, shall no longer seek each other as opposites, but simply as members of a family and neighbors, and will unite as human beings, in order to simply, earnestly, patiently, and jointly bear the heavy responsibility of sexuality that has been entrusted to them.

Thoughts? Questions? Reactions? Share in the comment box below.

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Mini-sabbatical: Gone to school (Part 2)

Hello Lovely Readers!

I’m on my way to Arizona for the second half of my training in spiritual direction.  Just like last time, I’ll be posting daily reflections on Of the Garden Variety.

NOT like last time, I have a special treat for you! While I’m gone, I’m beginning a new series of guest postings called “Five Questions on…”

So lots to see here over the next couple of weeks.  Come by and check out the variety of perspectives on HBTB issues like food, exercise, dating, church, and more!

 

Mini-sabbatical: Gone to school

Hello, my dear lovely readers!

Well, I’m off to Arizona for a short certificate program in Spiritual Direction.  Because of the schedule while I’m away, I won’t be posting anything new on HBTB for the next two weeks. I’ll be back to the regular schedule on March 11th.

But don’t worry!  If you miss me, you can follow my experience on Twitter and over at my old spirituality blog: Of the Garden Variety.  I’ll be reflecting daily on my classes and what God is stirring up, whatever that may be!

Be sure to follow that blog if you want email updates while I’m away.

You can also sign up for the monthly newsletter to get exclusive updates, book recommendations, suggested meditation exercises, and more.  If you sign up before the end of the month, you’ll get the link to an exclusive guided meditation video for Lent when the newsletter arrives in your inbox.  Newsletters come out the last day of the month. Best part is, it’s free!

Listeners who Shape the Story

Sticker from a recent Listener concert.

Sticker from a recent Listener concert.

Storytelling was my favorite class in seminary.  Out of all the classes I took, it was the one that scared me the most, stretched me the most, and inspired me the most.  In Storytelling, I discovered part of myself that I had never recognized or acknowledged before.  I found an untapped courage and an unheard voice.  In learning to the art of storytelling, I began to discover the truth underneath my own.

Telling our stories is powerful work.  Here at Holistic Body Theology, I write a lot about my own story.  I bare little bits of my soul, take a deep breath, and hit “publish.”  I share my story with you lovely readers because I hope that you will find something of yourself here, some bit of freedom or healing, some resonance or camaraderie or commiseration.  If nothing else, it is therapeutic, part of my own journey toward self-awareness, healing,  and wholeness.  I write the truth not just to share it with all of you but to keep the revelation fresh and conscious.  And I will keep on writing the truth until I convince myself.

But this blog is not just a platform for my own story.  It is also a forum for the sharing of all of our stories.  As I am finding my voice and learning to use it, I am also feeling a deep call to find my ears and learn to use them.  I am learning to be a listener.

Story-telling needs to be unhurried and unharried, so the listener must be willing to let the narrative unfold….Storytelling is also a dialogue, and sometimes the [listener] must become active in helping shape the story. – Margaret Guenther, Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction

I have been becoming a listener for a long time, listening to the stories of others and joining them with my own as we shape together the unfolding story of God in our lives.  In a world crowded with words and noise and advertisements and cultural mandates and every message from everywhere demanding attention and primacy and response, the call to the contemplative life is something like a rising wind, blowing across the desert dunes with such force and persistence that the shape of the terrain is completely rearranged and made new.  Suddenly the lay of the land looks different, unfamiliar.  The path we have taken is wiped away.  We can’t go back the way we came.  We can only continue onward.

I want to listen to your stories, dear readers.  As I share with you the journey I am on, I hope you will join me on the way and help me shape the story we are all in.  The comment box is always open.  For sensitive stories, I am always available by private Facebook message or email at bodytheologyblog at gmail dot com.  I am honored each time I hear from you, my dear companions on this journey.  We are all exploring this intersection of mind-body-spirit we call the human life.  We are all moving toward healing and wholeness together.

I am both listener and storyteller. 

I am both silent and engaging in dialogue.

I am both resting and moving forward.

I am both broken and becoming whole.

Holistic Body Theology is the art of balancing and honoring the mind-body-spirit connection that makes us who we are: human beings created in the image of God.  That is a story worth telling!

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