I Sing the Body Electric, Poetry

Disperse the Qi

We wave our arms,
stretching, our hands circling

As we stand on the
painted floor and practice.

Next to me
stands  a tall slim figure

Whose graceful
fingers seem made for this,

Stroking the air
with love.

 

We draw energy into
our bodies,

Embracing the world,
or even the universe,

Stretching out to
bring in stardust,

To bring in some of
what we are already.

 

Shoulders,
wrists,  knees and ankles revolve

drawing energy to
the center

The place where my
hands rest

One on the other,
quietly.

 

I watch them as they
circle away and back

As they expand an
imaginary ball–

Although I close my
eyes and see the colors

Changing from purple
to black.

 

My fingers, short
and plump, move through the air

The light seems to
come through them.

They move and draw
in and push out

Perhaps with their
own grace,

as I disperse the Qi.

1 Cor, I Sing the Body Electric

Things I Don’t Like About Paul, Part 103

(thinking about 1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only
one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to
receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one. So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the
air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to
others I myself should not be disqualified.
(NRSV)

Yeah. That's one of them. The athletic reference is a metaphor, encouraging us to press on toward the victory of an imperishable wreath (yes, I'm quoting Philippians, which happens to be a favorite metaphorical passage).

But is the body stuff a metaphor for his spiritual discipline? It may well be, but for some reason people hear the metaphor in the first two verses, but make the end of this passage a literal one.

Maybe it's not Paul's fault, except in the sense that he forgot people tend to be bloody literal-minded. Maybe it's us, or not you and me, but other people too inclined to make his word unimaginative and anti-literary.

The body stuff bothers me because for so many centuries we've extended it to include the earth and earth's creatures, enslaving them, using them for whatever might forward our agenda, whether spiritual or military or material. It's a usage mentality, a beating myself or you or whoever into submission sort of dominant-over-matter mindset.

And there are still people putting forward an anti-body agenda, or perhaps a better word would be unembodied or postembodied, asking us to focus like mad on the apocalyptic arrival of Jesus. I guess there have always been pockets of those people, people enamored with the idea of leaving these bodies behind for something celestial. 

But I am becoming convinced that living into these bodies is part of the experience to which God calls us. Why else embody us in the first place? And I don't buy the enslaving image, for body or spirit. Jesus came to set us free from those bonds, not to command us to cinch them tighter.

So whether it's our interpretation or Paul's personal neuroses at fault here, I reject the idea of enslaving the body as a path to the imperishable wreath.

You?

Don't Let's Call It a Diet, I Sing the Body Electric, Mothering, Poetry

Elliptically Speaking…

The paddles on the exercise machine
like snowshoes in the woods
ease my progress…

Occasionally used heavily, but
other times for hanging towels,
it fills a place…

Actual sweat runs down my neck,
constituting moderate exertion,
lights show fat burn…

The greater efforts of many years
have been poured into children
being mother…

You cannot calculate the effectiveness
of parenting in the same way,
clearly measured…

You only hope if someone stops
to track the progress you will have
seemed to matter…

The revolutions, the level of resistance,
the elevated beating of your heart,
the things that hurt…