We’ve done it now a few times—the back-and-forth of going to the Lily Pad (our tiny cabin in Michigan) and returning home to Fall Creek Abbey. I wondered what it would feel like to make the transition there and then back again. And as I suspected, it’s felt a little wobbly.
I notice that it takes a couple of days before I acclimate to where I am and regain my equilibrium. It’s as though I am re-locating. I locate myself, once again, to where I am geographically and realign with what life is about in that place. I think this is going to take some time to get on to!
We returned home to Indy on Friday after having been at the Lily Pad for a couple of weeks. When I woke up on Saturday morning, I felt disoriented and off-kilter. As I paid attention to what I was feeling and what those feelings were telling me, I sensed the need to re-locate myself with my geography and place.
So, I put on my walking shoes and set off on a long walk down my street and around the neighborhood. I noticed several huge trees that had been decimated by an unanticipated storm the night before. I walked alongside MLK park and saw this mural on the side of an apartment building. Isn’t it beautiful? I spotted trash sprinkled like a condiment along the street. I took in a number of lovely, grand homes—a purple Victorian that had a sold sign in front—and enormous trees that provide much-needed shade during such intense heat.
By the time I returned, I had forgotten about feeling off-kilter and, instead, felt settled once again in my place, my home. This gentle act of walking the neighborhood reminded me that I am a human person with a body, who lives locationally. Though I have the ability, thanks to “planes, trains, and automobiles” to travel through space and time, I still need to land, to re-locate in order to catch up to where I am.
While my reflection up to this point has to do with traveling back-and-forth, I think it also applies to any situation when we feel off-kilter. How often we dislocate from our bodies and live in our anxious thoughts and stirred-up emotions. How often during a spiritual direction session do I notice a directee living an “out-of-body” existence, and how grounding it is when, in prayer, I invite them to locate themselves in their bodies in order to become present to themselves and God.
Anytime we pay attention to our senses by noticing what we see, hear, smell, taste, feel/touch, we immediately become embodied. Whenever we simply take deep, conscious breaths, we re-locate from living “out there” to living in our bodies, in our actual geography, and most of all in the present moment. So while you may not consider it, taking a walk through your neighborhood might be the most important spiritual practice you do each day. It re-locates you and me to the “where” and “why” of our earthly existence and readies us to be present to all that comes our way.