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Weaving and Being Woven: Intercorporeal Prayer with Earth

Cassiopeia is before me, or behind me, or above me, or below me. Spatiality, in the orbicular realm, is both dignified and amorphously fluid. Immense space exists between my body and the body of the stars that encircle me, yet I feel so close, so intimate. The pines, steeped in subterranean networks and poised with verticality, cast their evocative bough silhouettes through horizontal dimensions of space, revealing paradoxical origins of intercorporeality. I am aware of a dendritic sensation in the left lateral edge of my pelvis—ischial tuberosity—gradually yielding and pulsating through barriers that obstruct flow. I am aware of my pelvic diaphragm, yielding toward contact with the ground. I am aware of the sound of the river’s flow—near iced-water caressing the currents and eddies of rock and sand. The congealed alpine air penetrates the skin of my fingertips and cheek bones, and the fragrance of winter’s approach deliberately opens my nostrils. I sense the cells inside of my body—the 72 trillion cells swimming with fluidity—expanding and condensing, receptively reverberating cadence with the natural world. The night sky grows darker and reveals it’s saturation—an illuminating sea of star-lit wonder. Winter’s hum envelopes the narrow valley, revealing the vivacity of sound that emerges from silence. The snow began here tonight, inviting the bare bones of attunement for attending to the beauty before us and within us. The patterns tell the stories of the journeys of belonging. What might emerge from the creative fires of the attuned symphonies of renewal with the earth? -- Colleen Bishop, emergent words + creative musings from my embodied experience with life Blessed Earth-friends,
I hope this note finds you, wherever you may be, with a breath of air—a slower, deeper, fuller in-breath that catches you within the midst of this living-planet; followed by a slower, elongated exhale that carries you into this moment. An Experiential Invitation: Following this passage, I invite you to pause your reading, lift your gaze from the screen or close your eyes, and feel the experience of your living body—experience your body being breathed by life, being caught and being carried. Perhaps allow this breath-present-awareness to float into the center of your chest—underneath your skin, your muscles, your bones, and the sinew, and imagine a tree-lined portal—a portal like an open doorway in the center of your chest—an open doorway surrounded by trees with illuminating light flooding through it. As your awareness approaches the doorway, you begin to see—more and more clearly with every breath—a vision of yourself standing in the center of that open doorway, encircled by an enlivened forest and the emergence of a dawn chorus: alive, radiant, whole. As you step into the doorway, imagine this clear awareness embracing your own illuminating true nature standing in the center with the trees. In this place of light awareness, create or allow a heartfelt prayer or intent to emerge to carry you through this season. Weaving Prayers with Body We are alive during challenging times of facing great global peril: climate change, the greatest threat of species extinction; perpetual systemic violence and oppression; destruction and depletion of Earth’s body, and a dominant 'human-elitism' voice--which considers realities of embodied loving connections and regenerative interdependent relations--obsolete and insignificant. We are living in a time when defensive-righteous- reactivities stemming from systemic ideas of separation, percepticide, genocide, polarization and oppression of human and more-than-human life-force are being enacted. Whereas, embodied perceptions of honest, loving, kind, attuned, emergent, and reciprocal relatedness are—in a generalized-societal way—considered obsolete, archaic, and objectified. Bewildering times, indeed. I agree with Joanna Macy (2014) who suggested that the greatest initial danger of our time is not climate change or species extinction: The danger is the deadening of our heart and the perpetual dissociation from our living human and Earthen body. The greatest risk is when we leave our feeling-bodies and displace our belonging with Earth and one another. This 'forgetting' is an original trauma, and it poses a great risk because when we disassociate from our breathing sensate bodies, our perceptions become distorted by veils of separateness and sensual-ignorance, and in turn, we cannot respond to what is really happening from the felt-sense of our pulsating hearts and bodies. This Saturday I was gifted with a great opportunity to run 50 kilometers accompanied by my beloved, tbird, and desert-prana (i.e., life force). It was a beautiful journey of being ushered through emergent ordeals and challenges and being mentored by vulnerability to stay with them and not go back to sleep. In some ways, it resembled the arc of a rite of passage—a ‘chosen’ rite of passage. My privilege to choose to participate in this journey did not go unnoticed: the inquiry becomes how do/am I embodying my privilege in a way that cultivates healing transformative social change—beginning with a microcosmic level and weaving it further. Around the eleventh mile I was invited to feel everything—the joy and the pain. As a sensitive being who has vowed to be awake, I am curious about and interested in dismantling the shaping of sensual-ignorance and opening myself to feeling, to sensing, to experiencing life through my own body.

By mile 16, a felt-prayer moved through me: May my being here be a healing salve of this world. A great mentor to me, Rae Johnson, proposed the notion that revolution begins in the muscles. The journey on Saturday—the ordeal of running 31 miles—transformed and regenerated my approach of the repertoire of movement and expanded my proprioception. My bodily awareness became more sensitive to the ways the desert landscape and other bodies (i.e., environment) were shaping me and the ways I was participating in a process of flow with life. Then, something happened: From mile 19 to mile 31 the quietest perceptions of self-doubt and personal physical pain dissolved, and my body instinctually opened and reached into the touch and movement of intersubjectivity. I paused at the edge of a threshold and whispered a prayer into the wind: May my movement with this landscape—the movement of musculature, nerves, tissues, thoughts, laughter, tears—extend into and beyond the periphery of the seen relatedness; may this movement feed and liberate the hearts and souls of all who are suffering; may the movement connect with the regenerative, reciprocal, and attuned web of this living planet and weave it further.
For the next 12 miles I experienced a supportive, interconnected guidance and the movement of the unseen made seen—propelling embodied liberation on behalf of all beings. How do I tell the story of my body? How do I bring coherence and transparency to random scraps of emotion, sensation, and impulse? . . . The stories of my body lie buried in my bones waiting for the pull of muscle and sinew and the tickle of a deep, deep breath to float them to the surface of my skin (Johnson, 2018, p. 13). How did we arrive here? How do we tell the stories of our bodies—interacting and participating with the pulse of this living world? How do we live and tell the stories of our grieving and liberating bodies? At home now in the Colorado Rockies, I sense my human body participating in the field of water as a “mutability of form and function” (Gintis, 2007, p. 79)—in the oceanic rhythm. I pause and consider the felt sense of exquisite wonder that is evoked in response to this reality. I consider how each snowy step is carried to the ocean. For me, attuning with life through an embodied participatory mode of perception ushers me into a sensorial reciprocity with the ecology of magic—an ecosystem of animism. May you too feel, be fed, and be caught by the embodied pulse and prayer of liberation, wonder, and love, and together may we weave it further with each breath.

With breath, blessings, and love, colleen/collfeatherz


© Copyright 2022, reprint 2023, Alchemy of Prana | Colleen Bishop All Rights Reserved
The Way In Sometimes the way to milk and honey is through the body. Sometimes the way in is a song. But there are three ways in the world: dangerous, wounding, and beauty. To enter stone, be water. To rise through hard earth, be plant desiring sunlight, believing in water. To enter fire, be dry. To enter life, be food. ~ Linda Hogan ~

References Gintis, B. (2007). Engaging the movement of life: Exploring health and embodiment through osteopathy and Continuum. North Atlantic Books. Johnson, R. (2018). Embodied social justice. Routledge.

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