Message from Pastor Maria
In this season of Lent, my mind turns to Jesus’ humanity. Everything that his body went through in those last days is staggering. So I want to take some time today to be aware of our bodies…to be grounded in our physical selves and the world around us.
There are grounding techniques that people use for lots of things from simple meditation to calming anxiety. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) gives presentations that include trying some of these techniques. At a recent presentation, the speaker had us do a grounding exercise based on the 5 senses: seeing, touching, hearing, smelling, and tasting. It’s called the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise, and I want you to try it.
To begin, get comfortable and take a deep breath.
Now, name out loud 5 things you can see right now, wherever you are. (It can be anything – your kitchen table, a family photo, flowers, etc.)
Name 4 things you can feel right now. (the floor under your feet, the chair against your back, your fingers on a blanket, a breeze coming through the window)
Name 3 things you can hear right now. (a bird outside, a car going by, your stomach growling)
Name 2 things you can smell (coffee, rain outside)
Name 1 thing you can taste (toothpaste? The little bit of chocolate from the cookie you just ate, because any time is a good time for a cookie?)
This process slows us down and grounds us. I don’t know about you, but I’m not usually very aware of my body. This grounding exercise helps us to stop and reconnect to our body and the world around us. Our bodies are wondrous things! Our senses have the ability to connect us to ourselves and to the world.
One of my favorite healing stories that involves the senses is in Mark 8:22-25. Jesus heals a blind man, and his sense of sight is restored gradually.
22 They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged him to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Can you see anything?” 24 And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
It takes time for the man’s vision to come into focus. And being grounded in our bodies, through our senses, takes time. I suppose that’s why experts recommend doing a grounding exercise every day.
As we ground ourselves in our bodies today, we remember that like us, Jesus had an earthly body… a body that enduring suffering and pain, and rose to new life on Easter. As we look toward Holy Week, which starts on Sunday, let’s take a minute to ground ourselves in Christ with the Prayer of St. Patrick, for Christ is always with us.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
Christ is with you!