I study and practice Reiki, a Japanese healing art. Through my studies, I have learned to listen to my body, to notice how various places in my body feels, inside and outside. By placing my hands lightly on my own body and turning my attention inward, I can feel the pulsing within myself. Sometimes the pulse feels more like a hum. Sometimes the hum is shaky, even frenetic. Sometimes the hum is shallow, sometimes deep.
The place I am most drawn to lately is the section right above my navel and beneath my breast bone. This section of the body covers digestion, the pancreas and kidney function along with adrenal glands. But it also is where we keep our will power, or personal control. It is in this area where we form our opinions and beliefs and make decisions. This is our gut. And when our gut disagrees or doesn’t feel settled, our confidence, identity and independence falters.
My body feels so good, soothed, comforted simply by placing one hand in the middle of my belly and taking a few minutes to be mindful of myself, inside and outside.
I’m having to learn about myself again, my opinions, beliefs. I’m having to make decisions, be independent. I’m having to find my own confidence and reassure myself in ways I have not had to in two decades. I’m having to set directions, create new disciplines.
My belly, my gut, my middle, also known as our solar plexis is unbalanced and overtaxed. But I am listening to it, being mindful of it, of me.
I was reminded yesterday of a belief that the Swiss Theologian Karl Barth held about the Holy Spirit. He says we are less rooted or standing firm and more like we are being upheld by the winds of the Spirit.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of myself or trying to make myself “rooted.” Rooted feels secure. But this image of being upheld by the Spirit captured me three years ago after Superstorm Sandy.
Trees were uprooted everywhere. But round masses standing on their side with their trees lying beside them. The roots seemed to be mocking us saying, “the world is not near as sturdy or reliable as you thought.”
Perhaps we are not nearly as “rooted” as we think. But rooted feels more solid and being upheld feels like relinquishing control to the wind.
I want to say, put me down. Let me stand on my own. Let me make my own way. Live my own life. Set down some roots. But the wind says, “let go, I’ve got you. I’m holding you, firm. You are much more buoyant than you think. Sway with me.”
And so I place my hand on my belly and I breath, slowly allowing my breath to meet the rhythm of the Spirit’s swaying.