Mind, Body, Spirit

Postulants and novices in our community have the privilege of receiving one day each week that is set aside for reflection. That means we do not go to work at our ministry that day, but rather we take time to sit with and be present to all the emotions, all the thoughts, and all the wonderments that come our way through living a monastic life.

We meet with our formation director and perhaps catch up with another person or two, but other than that, the day should be one where we focus on the balance of mind, body, and spirit. Benedict reminds us often of the importance of balance -- ora ET labora.

Wednesdays are my reflection day. And, it just so happened that yesterday it was 72 degrees and sunny in Erie...in November! What a delight! I was able to spend almost all of daylight outdoors. What a delight!

I find that if I am renewing my mind, body, or spirit, I cannot compartmentalize. If I am renewing one, I am usually renewing another one, or two, simultaneously. For instance, my bike ride yesterday morning refreshed all three. My time at the lake with my lectio partner was the same thing as well.

While by the water, we shared conversation about a poem called Hokusai Says. The poet is Roger Keyes. I think that if we were truly able to live these words, we'd find a pretty amazing balance in our lives.

Hokusai says Look carefully.
He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing.

He says Look Forward to getting old.
He says keep changing,
you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat yourself
as long as it’s interesting.

He says keep doing what you love.
He says keep praying.
He says every one of us is a child,

every one of us is ancient,
every one of us has a body.
He says every one of us is frightened.
He says every one of us has to find a way to live with fear.

He says everything is alive—
shells, buildings, people, fish, mountains, trees.
Wood is alive.
Water is alive.
Everything has its own life.
Everything lives inside us.
He says live with the world inside you.

He says it doesn’t matter if you draw, or write books.
It doesn’t matter if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home
and stare at the ants on your verandah or the shadows of the trees
and grasses in your garden.

It matters that you care.
It matters that you feel.
It matters that you notice.
It matters that life lives through you.

Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength
are life living through you.
Peace is life living through you.

He says don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid.
Look, feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.

Let us walk in the holy presence.

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