beloved life practices 1: come home to your body

 

REFLECTION: ‘All you need is a deserted beach, lake, loch or river. Perhaps the sun breaking through. A desire to reconnect. And the impulsive courage to slip into the wildness of water. The spiritual life is not an ethereal, other-worldly thing, but a gritty, earthy human endeavour. To live a spiritual life is to discover a way of being that encompasses all that we are as human beings, connecting our inner person and our outer life, reflecting our best aspirations and our less-than-perfect realities. Our inner spark takes shape in the earthy reality of human bodies in engagement with the world around us. We need to come home to our bodies.

beloved life: come home to your body
beloved life: come home to your body

PRACTICE: Look for something that will enable your body to open up, to breathe deep, and to unfurl. Let yourself be drawn to something that is (or could become) somehow natural to you – perhaps walking or running, swimming or dancing, some simple stretching or yoga. This practice is not about pushing your body, dominating it or breaking through some kind of barrier. This is about loving your body, respecting its giftedness, and coming home to yourself…’

©Ian Adams 2013 ‘Running Over Rocks: spiritual practices to transform tough times’ (Canterbury Press)

Look out for short daily posts around this week’s theme on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be doing the practices wherever we are, and we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on – do let us know!

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morning bell: a fruitful field

The new series of morning bell for the beginning of Advent is emerging from our musing on the wisdom of the great Jewish prophet Isaiah (and his co-writers) – and specifically from the readings set for each day of this season. These poetic insights from the 8th century BC continue to resonate for us now, and particularly so in Advent – as they look ahead to coming salvation.

morning bell: fruitful field series
morning bell: fruitful field series

The images are all from a retreat that we were involved in leading earlier this month at Scargill House in North Yorkshire, home to the brilliant Scargill Movement. Make a visit there if you can!

One of the motifs that Isaiah uses is that of a ‘fruitful field’. May Advent prove to be a fruitful field for you…

Grace and peace to you at the beginning of this new Church year, Ian & Gail.

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beloved life practices for Advent & the Nativity 2013: earth & body

 

We are planning to offer a series of resources throughout the year beginning Advent 2013. Many of these will draw in part on Ian’s book ‘Running Over Rocks’ which outlines 52 spiritual practices in 8 series, each series sitting well in a particular season of the church year.

Running Over Rocks begins with the series ‘Practices of Earth and Body: from separation towards belonging – re-learning to live as human beings in the world’. These practices resonate particularly well in the seasons of Advent and the Nativity. In these seasons the tradition celebrates the divine taking earthy form in the man called Jesus of Nazareth, who becomes body, mind and spirit as one of us, with us and for us.

Beloved Life - earth and body practices
Beloved Life – earth and body practices

Look out for a weekly post on the website outlining a new practice – and then short daily posts around the week’s theme on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be doing the practices wherever we are, and we’ll look forward to hearing how you get on – do let us know!

 

Running Over Rocks is available from Canterbury Press, all usual book sources local and online including Amazon and The Book Depository, and in e-book format from Kindle ©Ian Adams 2013

 

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morning bell: light & darkness

 

As we approach the Advent season another series of morning bell begins with another exciting collaboration – this time with illustrator Kate Alizadeh. I first met Kate at a recent Bless event  where she was doing some quick illustrations of the day.

 

morning bell: light & darkness series
morning bell: light & darkness series

 

These illustrations by Kate deliberately form a wordless narrative, inviting you to enter the story and bring to it your own experience, hopes and prayers. We are simply calling the series ‘light & darkness’ – themes which take on particular resonance at this time of the year. If you want to use words alongside the images try the Benedicite, an old canticle (song) of the church based on Psalm 148, and part of the daily lectionary reading for this coming week. It includes the line: ‘bless the Lord light and darkness: sing his praise and exalt him for ever…’

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morning bell: seeds

 

The next series of morning bell is a meditation on seeds, storms and the season’s turning – and through them explores the seasonal nature of our lives. We are delighted that this series is another collaboration – the images are drypoint prints by South Devon artist Maggie Smith.

Morning Bell: seeds series
Morning Bell: seeds series

 

In his wisdom teaching Jesus seems to have frequently turned to the images of seeds and sowing as offering lessons for how we might live (and die to live). May the seeds and seasons’ turning offer their gift and provocation again to us…

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Beloved Life body prayer: the Beatitudes

 

We are really interested in finding ways to bring physicality to our prayers, so that our praying becomes more than words and more than silence (as important as they both are.) We also want to discover ways for some of the key texts of the tradition to seep into us and stay with us – so that perhaps we begin somehow to live them.  We sense that the Beatitudes may represent the very core of Jesus’ teachings and wisdom for the world, and wanted to make this the first in the series.

We’ve been experimenting with this body prayer for a few months and now want to offer it more widely. Here we’re showing the prayer in a story-board fashion. We suggest that you hold each stance for a few seconds (or longer) and let the physical stance both carry the words and whatever prayers or yearnings seem to emerge. Do let us know how you get on…

Beloved Life body prayer: the Beatitudes 1/2
Beloved Life body prayer: the Beatitudes 1/2

 

Beloved Life body prayer: the Beatitudes 2/2
Beloved Life body prayer: the Beatitudes 2/2

 

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