Embodied Mindfulness: Aliveness and A Barefoot Way
I knew, growing up, that I had a body, soul, and a spirit. But frankly, my spirituality and religious devotion were almost entirely disembodied. Sure, we sang some songs and I played drums as I got older, which is probably where I had the most fun. But my "quiet time" or "time alone" with God was almost entirely a mental activity. Not even a mindful or meditative activity, but a strained, emotional, busied period of thinking, wondering, worrying, wishing and all the feels.
I didn't know there were embodied practices for this overthinking American Evangelical Protestant in the late 20th and early 21st century. I also didn't know most of the words in that sentence (hehe)! As I've grown, questioned, experimented, and continued in my journey, I have found that I feel closest to God not when I am in a place of worship, but when I am in a posture or practice that brings me into a state of aliveness.
For M83, "The city is my church." For me, it's the mountains, filled with natural beauty and drawing me into wonder. It's playing with children, freely flowing with our imagination and enjoying the improvisation of us in our environment. It's time at a coffee shop or house filled to the brim with amazing people and me with a warm drink in my hands. It's jumping into cold water to make sure I'm still here and feeling all there is to feel. It's the deep breaths I'm taking in as I gently move from pose to pose in the wet grass on my front lawn. It's the flow of me in my run, where yin and yang meet and body/soul/spirit intersect.
My relationship with God has changed... a lot. Whatever else my consciousness is and is connected to, I am happy to be practicing how it is embodied, and I think that might be the most deeply spiritual part of it all. Maybe my sense of communion, of worship, of devotion has changed, but I've never felt more alive.
How do you awaken your sense of aliveness?