If we are really to live the TOB, we have to exult in our bodies as well as our souls.
For so long I have lived as if my body was something that I needed to bring into submission, needed to overcome and force into a form or a shape to make sure that I was doing health "right". I have been thinking that as I have learned in TOB, the body should be as much a part of the faith experience as the spirit. I need to combine these parts of myself and be more integrated. Start enjoying more of what I have for so long worked at. The starvation diet in the TOB language is a form of restriction that keeps a person from experience. We are afraid of what our appetites will cause us to do, so we whip them into submission, get them under control and keep a tight rein. That is not how God intended for us to treat either our physical or our spiritual selves. We have to seek balance. To overindulge in any way is problematic, but to keep ourselves tightly "in check" and to never use the gifts that we have been given becasue we are afraid of losing control, that is also the wrong perspective. My body and my health are a gift and all the gifts that we are given should be given back in forms of worship. Every day should consist of intentional experiences, both in mind and body. I should not just think about what I am feeling in my heart, but also what I am feeling, tasting, how I am moving, what the sun feels like, how it is good to be able to enjoy a walk, what I am hearing. Going through the day as just a series of activities isn't worshipful. It gets things done, but it isn't the way to connection. Knowing that He is there, in every moment, requires all our senses. I am a body-person and so simply seeking God with my mind is only seeking Him with half of my being. My body is for experience, it is for using to reach Him. We have all the senses filled in all the sacraments. At Mass we are moving, singing, hearing, smelling, and certainly tasting.
In the sacrament of marriage we are certainly using our bodies as the sign of the sacrament, and in the other sacraments we have the sights, sounds, and feelings.
This helps us to grab hold, it provides a bodily memory. Every day should be like that! Every day should be a feast for the senses. I feel like I have been blind and locked away, even as I have been taking good care of my health and trying to be sure that I check all the boxes. It's the same as checking all the boxes in our faith. Ugh. I am a total box checker!
This Lent I need to learn to do more for the sake of worship. What are the ways that I can create moments of worship? Certainly more intentional enjoyment of the moments of the day. Thinking about what I am doing, and glorifying God in the lovely parts of the day. The touches, tastes and sounds. BEING present to each moment. Not just seeking to hear His voice in my heart, but to see it, taste it, and feel it, all day long. To push my body to be a little more responsive, to learn more about what it wants and needs. To find the things that I can do with it that glorify God even more.
It's so weird that I am just now figuring this out. I have been such a stoic in all my physical experiences. Making myself do this, that, and the other for the sake of doing the right thing, but then not enjoying it when "the right thing" gets me to the place where I can. Walking everyday on the treadmill has gotten me fit, but being fit for it's own sake is stoicism. Being fit so that I can feel the sunshine, walk up a mountain, get out and feel all of nature, that should be the point. Eating should be almost a religious experience. Not just something I do and something that I discipline myself about. Enjoying what God has given is part of gratitude. Enjoying it physically, not saving it, but savoring it, being here. Showing up, and then embracing each experience.
THAT is where TOB should be taking me.
Where have I been all my life?