I am not a professional artist! But, I enjoy playing in art, and created this painting as a functional covering for an electrical box in our props closet. It served two unexpected purposes. First, it helped me to let go of some fear of judgement, and allow for creative expression, not an examination of performance but a unique design from the inside, being made visible . Second, the message that formed in it's creation is a daily reminder of who I believe God to be. Each time I pass this painting, I hear Him whispering these truths directly to me. The message of this painting has been my journey in discovering God as being personal, relatable, and present in my life. Not distant, but within. Not judging and critical, but caring and comforting. Not living in isolation, but in dynamic Family interaction: Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit nurturing and guiding their creation to see and enjoy the purpose of their being: to be Family. In other words we were created from Family for Family.
I have always engaged life from a place of physicality. I grew up exploring the physical world and how I could navigate space. I chased an older brother for hours, playing Cowboys and Indians. I climbed trees, until I couldn't climb any higher. I lived in the ballet studio, training my physical body to obey my commands. I developed a great and continuing love for the marriage of music and movement, expressing in a physical way what words never can. I studied and practiced physical therapy, amazed by the capacity and detail of the human body, along with the strong influence upon it by the mind and emotions. I dove headfirst into the mind-body practices of pilates, yoga, meditation and mindfulness. So, in this same pattern, I have long held a strong desire to know God in a physical and relatable way. If knowing God is only available through the intellect, distant and intangible, then I am surely left frustrated and unsatisfied in my desire to connect and relate with my Creator.
This ongoing path of seeking a genuine intimacy and knowing of God is what led me to a practice and study of yoga. I wanted a way to engage and include my physical body in my trust in God's presence. I wanted a lifestyle and practice that supports God sharing in all parts of life with us. I wanted to experience a unity with God that includes my physical body, with mind and spirit. If Jesus decided that a physical body was valuable and important for revealing who His Father is, than I wanted to be included in that mystery of the union of divine with flesh. If it is true that "in Him we live and move and have our being" and "we are the temples of the Holy Spirit", then I believe that this is part of the Life we are invited to explore, in the here and now. I have grown both more comfortable and inspired by swimming in this mystery, less from receiving answers to questions and more from enjoying the place of participation.
Through practicing yoga, I enjoy a blend of physicality and faith. Movement and meaning unite to display trust, creative expression, awareness, and honesty, through the sustainer of all: God. There is a growing place inside of me for listening and being sensitive to what is happening in the present moment. This display and cultivation is what I believe to be the delight and work of the Holy Spirit. As my painting declares, God is growing me in truth and whispering, "You are loved, valuable, beautiful, included, worthy, special, OK". Hearing and listening to this truth carries over into the way I see myself, and then to the way I see others. With clearer eyes to see, I believe we can notice a participating God-family in the world all around us. I call it "heaven on earth".
Yoga and exploring the mystery of "Christ in us", is what the new class "Yoga and Faith" is all about. We will be including all parts of who we are: physical body, mind, and spirit, to explore living in the middle of God's world and truths. This is about practicing to hear what is going on in ourselves through movement, music, meditation and stillness. We will practice slowing down our minds and focusing on less of the past and future. We will grow in accepting ourselves more fully, on being okay with doing less, on awareness of the quieter things, on the beauty of the mystery within, and on the gentleness of our Father as He reveals Himself to us. I am looking forward to continuing the Family journey, and sharing it with you!
"Yoga & Faith" Saturday mornings 9:00 AM @ AWE, sign up at artsandwellnessofedenton.com
For more on this topic including articles, discussion and community: www.christianspracticingyoga.com