My daily life has a new rhythm and I am not sure what I think about it. The biggest change is that I have enrolled in adventure boot camp for the next four weeks. As I sit here at day four, finding new muscles each time I move, I wonder what I am doing. My body screams pain right now, but in the early morning (Camp begins at 5:30 a.m.) I begin to feel new strength, endurance and vitality as I push through bicep curls and obstacle courses. It is a surreal experience as we gather in the dark and fog, do our thing and return home before sunrise.
I am exhausted and exhilarated all at the same time. I find, however, that my brain is not so engaged once I return home to try and read or write as I normally do in the morning. It is hard to think of God when muscles beg to be the center of attention. I have thought a bit about the Ascetics, particularly those who practice self-mortification. In my current state it really seems counterintuitive that bringing more pain to the body could bring you closer to God. It certainly removes thoughts about the rest of the world, but as I said earlier, I find it difficult to settle in and rest with God when my body yells, “take care of me.” I realize, of course, that a strenuous exercise program is not necessarily the same as a strict ascetic practice, but once the blood does flow back into my brain, I can’t help but ponder thoughts such as these.
Today, however, as I returned from taking my children to their respective schools I was compell-
ingly drawn toward the aesthetic beauty of the sunflowers pictured here. They gleamed with their brilliance from a neighborhood community garden. As I looked more closely, I saw that some had started to bow their heads as if in prayer while others lifted their faces toward the sun. Their rhythm was a reminder to me of my own rhythm…this new place I find myself as fall enters in with new work, school schedules and, of course, adventure boot camp. Will I raise my face toward the sun or gently bow my head and rest?
What are your rhythms as the seasons begin to change? Are you drawn to ascetic or aesthetic thoughts? Eugene Peterson speaks of the ascetic and aesthetic movements as being the “no and the yes that work together at the heart of spiritual theology.” I’d love to read your comments on this post.
photos by lucy