Barbara Brown Taylor said that line in her book an Altar in the World which I had the privilege of reading last year. I feel its the prophet that we all most ignore. Its the voice we silence because we have better ideas. Its the wisdom that persists. It informs and invites and it is still up to us whether we will attune and heed. Its covered in skin but holds so much memory and knowledge.
Even this morning the alarm was set and my clothes were laid out for an early morning run. Much of the morning before the alarm even went off I was tossing and turning. I lacked comfort and I was sweating just laying there. Why thank you hormones. As an infertile woman I loathe against this monthly cycle and all that it brings to me. And as a person preparing for a colonoscopy today, I am especially hot all over that it will be accompanied by this other body misery. So before the clock even turns to 6am, I have a choice about listening to my body. I begin thinking through all that I will need strength for in this day and as much as I want to run, always, I know it my heart of hearts it will take too much from me today. I will be on a clear liquid diet today so i can replenish what I would expend out there and I have a full day that will require me and my body to show up.
This is such hard work for me. To listen and to honor my body. To not be mad that it can't push through and even further to wonder how to convert my contempt toward these processes that are part of my journey - an autoimmune disease, a female cycle for an infertile body - and invite curiosity and kindness. To wonder what listening to this body looks like with particularity. To consider what I know it wants and seeks as well as mindfulness of its limitations.
In my life God has used these muscles and organs covered in skin to teach me more than I ever would have imagined - my body, my Jeremiah. He has invited me back to God's offering through acceptance and growth through treating my body with care. Through deep consciousnesses of the very breath I am so desperate for as I practice yoga or run - that breath that connects me back to myself and even more to my source of life. I never tire of hearing my own breath - fluid or panting - and appreciating that my very lungs need. They thrive on attention and not expect that they just perform. Sometimes I come home from a run and say, "it was in me today" and that typically means that the breath seemed effortless as I allowed my body to exert and fly through my neighborhood. Those mornings when my body is lining up with my desires and it feels so dang good.
Also, my body has been the place to first ridicule God's work and force a false self. I had a couple decades that not only lacked acceptance but harshly disowned the voice and shape of my body. When it would speak to me of hunger, I would offer it disapproval. When it uttered desire, I offered it disdain. When it changed and grew into the form it was always meant for, I offered it contempt. There is so much ache for me over wishing I had another way through growing up in my body. I cannot really imagine if I had offered kindness to my body then, what it would have spoken to me or given to me in strength. Part of me releases it to the natural part of adolescence and coming of age, and part of me cannot possibly accept that that must include a turn against one's body. One's best resource for knowing. One's host to the divine Holy Spirit. No more, I think. No more. I want to hear all the roar in my belly and longing in my chest and give space to listen. My body still speaks.