Practicing Living In My Body

by Mark Votava


Living in a place and living in the body are so interrelated that we cannot elevate one over the other.  They need to be practiced together through the mystical imagination.  North Americans seem to live outside of their bodies.  We are sometimes fragmented and scrambling for peace and sanity in the midst of this.

  • Recovering the lived body

A lot of times we create any kind of life we want at the expense of other people.  We become subtly, unconsciously violent through our individualism.  We need to learn how to recover the lived body in our postmodern culture as the body of Christ in the parish.

  •  Getting back into a body, live in a place

It is not very easy and will take some work on our part.  But it is definitely possible through the mystical imagination.  Walker Percy says, “The time is coming when the American… will wonder how to get back into a body, live in a place…”

  •  Seeking God in our locality

Do we understand what it means to live in the parish?  Do we understand how to become an expression of love in the place that we live?  Do we understand how to seek God in our locality with passion and intelligence?

  •  Have we forgotten how to listen?

Have we forgotten how to listen to the mystical imagination as the body of Christ in everyday life?  We cannot dismiss these questions anymore.

  •  Things I have done to practice living in my body

Some things that I have done to practice living in my body are: exercising, eating meals with others, slowing down, listening to others, reading, reflecting, walking in the neighborhood, gardening, cooking, hospitality, writing, meditation, silence, solitude, resting, art, working locally, living locally, shopping locally, partnering, collaborating, meaningful conversation, relaxing, laughing, contemplation, being present in the neighborhood, listening to and creating music.

  •  Taking a local songwriting class

I once took a local song writing class in which I had to write songs and play them publicly in front of others in the class.  I was so intimidated and afraid because I didn’t think I had a good voice.  I was new at playing the guitar.  I didn’t want to write songs about the typical romantic themes we all hear a lot.

  •  Haunted by the progress ideology of needing more

So I wrote a song about the disturbing draw of progress in our culture.  It was about how we are haunted by the progress ideology of needing more at the expense of everything else important in life.  I was not sure how this would go down.  I hadn’t played many songs before, but this experience cause me to become aware of living in my body.

  • My entire body being connected and whole

After I sang the song, I felt as though my entire body was connected and whole.  My voice was connected with my mind, with my hands, with my arms, with my legs, with my eyes, with my emotions, with my friends, with my place.  The time I took writing the words, creating the music and playing the song connected me with people in my neighborhood in a very mystical way.

How have we lost connection with our bodies in the midst of everyday life?