Recently, I was asked to write an article for The United Methodist Church on embodiment and why connecting with the body matters for Christians. Here's a short excerpt of that piece and a link to the full story. Your clicking and sharing is always encouraging to writers like me.
If you've heard my story, you know that over 15 years ago, my body went through a health crisis (a stroke and brain surgery on my 31st birthday). At this time, I did not always feel like a whole person; I often felt disconnected and broken. While my body was in chronic pain, my spirit was also discouraged.
In that time of frustration, a physician prescribed yoga. I am unsure if it was the last resort on their part, but I was hurting and willing to try exercise and mindfulness. What did I have to lose? I did not know that yoga would be an invitation for embodiment and an opportunity for healing in my whole self—body and spirit.
Now, more than 15 years later, I not only practice living embodied, I am passionate about inviting others into caring for their bodies and spirits through embodied practices. If you are not interested in down dogs, I understand, but please know that yoga is not the only way to become more connected and present with yourself (although you may also be surprised).
Click here to read more and be encouraged with ideas for connecting with your own body today.
Latin for spiritual or holy reading, Lectio Divina is an ancient prayer practice that allows us to listen for God’s activity using scripture. This style of prayer lets us listen with an open heart for God’s activity in our life today as we connect to God through the written word. Lectio Divina focuses on the formational reading of scripture rather than the informational reading to gain knowledge about God’s word. While both are important processes, this art is seen as a more personal way to interact with the word of God.
Lectio Divina is an ancient monastic practice that has been modernized by academia with consecutive steps to the process that were likely not defined when it was practiced in the 6th century. For this reason, you'll find varying outlines for the practice in books and across the internet. For all practical purposes, the steps are the same and the process is simply an invitation to enter in to a time of conversation and contemplation.You'll read, reflect, respond and rest in God's word.
For those of us who enjoy Bible study, it can be challenging to set down your commentaries and highlighters and simply settle in with God's word with this style of prayer and listening. Yet the rewards have been evident for me as I experience both big and small glimpses of hope and encouragement for how God speaks today through the ancient text of the Bible. Don't come with expectations, just come and listen.
Here is a simple overview of Lectio Divina:
Read, Reflect, Respond, Rest
Need some companionship in formational listening with scripture? Use my devotional book, Holy Listening with Breath, Body, and the Spirit. Or, listen to a guided Lectio Divina meditation on the Exploring Peace Meditations podcast.
The Lenten season is a time of fasting and releasing. I have gotten so comfortable here, Holy Week has slipped up on me.
Easter is almost here!
In that comfortable place of Lent, I've had some trouble thinking about celebrating Easter. Maybe you've felt overwhelmed by the troubles of the world too? It's easy to be distracted by the hard and heavy things of this life and miss out on the good things promised to us by our Creator.
But as a follower of Jesus, I do not want to miss out on celebrating the goodness of Easter! So, how do I move from Lent to Easter (and through an emotional Holy Week)?
My yoga knowledge reminds me how powerful presence is in the body using the senses. So this week, I am choosing to engage in tactile prayer experiences. And, I thought you too may enjoy this experience. I invite you to grab some crayons or markers and print the mandala resource below. It guides you with some thoughts to ponder as you pray and color.
No matter what you face today, may you...
Taste and see how good the Lord is!
The one who takes refuge in him is truly happy!
- Psalm 34:8 CEB
Whitney R. Simpson
yoga & meditation teacher
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Whitney R. Simpson
Exploring Peace Ministries, LLC