I recently watched a great PBS show called “Sacred Journeys”. The episode I watched was of the annual pilgrimage of international veterans of war to Lourdes, France. This site is believed to have healing waters from when the virgin Mary appeared several times to a young girl from the village. Lourdes is a pilgrimage site for people, especially Roman Catholics, all over the world seeking healing in mind, body, or spirit.
The show was really quite moving. They interviewed several men and women who came as part of Wounded Warriors. Their experiences of trauma were different, and their expectations and experiences of healing were quite different. The healing wasn’t necessarily obvious, dramatic, or immediate. But, there was something. This strange experience provided a glimpse of healing in their lives. They could at least get a small feel for it, remember that feeling, and grow from there. Many will of course say that it is “just” in their imagination. But, I say that THAT might be the biggest miracle of all. That somehow in the midst of the physical, mental, and spiritual trauma they endure, they can imagine healing!? That is a miracle.
I realize that I am the target market to watch this show. I do not have to be convinced that experiencing forgiveness, cleansing, release, acceptance- all that- in the mind or spirit will cause a physical response. And vice versa. I believe in it. I have totally drank the yoga kool-aid that mind, body, and spirit are mysteriously woven together, and what effects one dynamic, effects the whole dynamic.
Stories like this make the case for yoga. Yoga is connecting mind, body, spirit; intentionally. But, we are always connected in mind, body, spirit, whether we are “doing yoga” or not. The stories of Jesus from the Bible that are the most wonderful and rich are of people experiencing “miraculous” healing and transformation through love; acceptance, touch, forgiveness, community. Love Changes Everything because the flip side of that love had shaped everything. The lives of the people who experienced healing when Jesus came around had been shaped by rejection, shame, exclusion, and violence.
I don’t believe that the people in the Bible or the Wounded Warriors at Lourdes were healed. I do believe that they felt somewhere under their skin, in the indistinguishable blend of mind-body-spirit, healing. They could finally imagine and start telling a new story of healing in their lives. And that is a real miracle.
The next Daily Bread Yoga retreat is Saturday, March 12th, 9a.m.-noon at Philo Presbyterian Church. We are going to “do yoga”; re-member our stories, and restory our bodies. That sounds like a lot and kind of heavy. It might be. But, we’ll all be there together, so there will always be laughter. There will always be snacks. Make this the retreat you finally sign up for. There will be no regrets. You can email me, Rachel, at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know you are coming. Please bring a yoga mat (or let me know and you can borrow one from me), a blanket, and a bottle of water. The cost is $20, if that works for you. If the cost gives you big anxiety…know that I would rather see you there than not. Just come and offer what you can.
peace on your head,