I was warned.  Being on sabbatical would be a transition from the ever-absorbing life of the church.  It is been almost two weeks, and I am not dreaming about church every night anymore.  You see, that is what happens.  Some of us ministers never stop working.  We work in our sleep, in our dreams.  We become consumed with ideas, worries, the accidental faux pas, the unseen and lonely shut-in we need to visit.  All of it occupies us, not only in the mind, but in a very embodied kind of way.

I also am having another experience of embodiment.  Not just the daily practice of yoga, but the experience of being pregnant.  Apparently, there are these hormones that cause me to want to nest.  I want to put everything in labeled bins.  I want a label-maker. I want to prepare and make way (like Advent!).  I want to create a beautiful space for this baby, not for material reasons, but as a way for me to enter into motherhood myself.  

Making preparations.  It is an active religious practice in the liturgical calendars of so many religious and wisdom traditions.  I remember in undergrad, in acting class, most of the work we did was making preparations.  We prepared our minds through studying the script, the character, the context (dramaturgy), and every beat of the play, uncovering the desires that conditioned the lives of the characters.  We prepared our bodies for this sacred ritual of performance over weeks of time, emptying our selves in order to take on the physical attributes of another, re-sculpting ourselves and seeing what happened when all of these layers came together in rehearsal on the stage.  By the time we got to the stage, we had to trust that we, as the actor, had done our work.  We had to trust and let our bodies and minds do what we trained them to do, being fully present to what Fr. Richard Rohr would call The Naked Now.  I still feel that the work we did in that little acting class was magical.  I watched each person grow in their presence to one another and to life.

When I answered the call to the church in spring of 2008, I was being called to my first ministry.  When I began in the fall, I had to trust and believe that I mad made all the preparations I could, and that I would continue to learn and grow.  What I know now is that I am always making preparations for something new.  Right now, it is for a baby and for birth.  But there is always more to learn and discover.  That is why the holy times like Lent-Easter or Rosh Hashanah-Yom Kippur (from Christian and Jewish traditions respectively) happen every year.  Every year, we are given the opportunity to take stock of our lives, our relationship with g*d or the Sacred.

We are never done!  We are always uncovering, relearning, arriving.  We need sacred cycles to allow us to recognize where we have grown and where we are still called to discover.  So, for now, I make preparations for arrival of baby & birth.  But motherhood will be a continuous learning.  Life is a continuous learning, a spiral dance.  So be prepared.  

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  • What preparations are you making in your life?  Do these actions/thoughts/experiences reflect where you are called to lead yourself?  Are there changes you would like to make in your way of being in the world that prepare you for a new direction or new calling?
  • What repeating sacred cycles might you consider for spiritual practice to give yourself the opportunity to take stock of your life and your relationship with g*d/ the sacred/ that which is of Ultimate Worth?
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