Sarx – Of Flesh, of Body

13 Apr

Recently I posted on Face Book that I was in need of recess. And at the risk of sounding gauche, I might add that if I don’t surf sometime soon, I’m going to start feeling like a dog in heat. What is it that makes us feel that “pent up aching river” when slumped in front of a computer for too many hours and not feeling our own bodies in motion?

Today at the swimming facility, I couldn’t help but notice three toddlers jumping and prancing about the locker room. To my delight, they stared at themselves in the mirror, exercised their vocal chords and tumbled over one another like puppies. And I thought, “They’ve got it figured out. They live in a body joyfully and spontaneously. As Walt Whitman once wrote, “I sing the body electric.” Our souls were meant to vibrate through our very flesh.

The more I force my body to submit to unnatural rhythms of non-stop work thanks to electricity, cell phones, email, etc., the more it cries out at times in rebellion. Today has been one of those days. While I’m blessed to have a great degree of flexibility in my current schedule allowing me freedom from a cubicle eight hours a day, my spirit and flesh still cry out in frustration when not getting enough time to get outdoors; to rest; to be. To dance, to laugh, to play.

I think of babies as they sleep and how we notice their breath because it permeates all through their bellies, creating a gentle rise and fall of the stomach. As adults, most of us no longer breathe this way. Instead, our breath lives shallow in the chest most of the time. And for me, sometimes I realize that I’m actually holding my breath as I go about the day.

So I remind myself – I live in a body. And while the flesh isn’t everything and definitely not to be deified, it nonetheless is something. It’s the house in which I live; it’s the vessel of my life force. It channels my voice and is the conduit through which I experience the world and God.

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