Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Connection

“The past,' he thought, 'is linked with the present by an unbroken chain of events flowing one out of another.' And it seemed to him that he had just seen both ends of that chain; that when he touched one end the other quivered.”

― Anton Chekhov, The Witch and Other Stories

I'm not a fan of ghost stories, so I haven't read this piece from Chekhov, but it feels like the perfect quote to go with my thoughts today. It's Spiritual Journey Thursday, the first Thursday of the month, and we are reflecting on my OLW for the year--connection. If you'd like to read more thoughts on this word, follow the links below when you have a few minutes to absorb and reflect.

Yes, I know it's Tuesday! But I am headed to the mountains with my daughters and grandson for some delicious family connections and I'm not exactly sure what kind of internet connection will be available. I figured it might be wise to get this posted before I leave.

One of the things I am exploring on this topic of connection is the link (or lack thereof) between my mind and my body. It goes without saying in my vocabulary that mind is more than just the mental faculties, but also includes the deeper connection to the heart. And we're also crossing another connection with this thought--my yoga practice and my writing. I'm shaking the ends of a bunch of chains here.

First let me explain a little pain science to you. We tend to think pain is a message a muscle (or other body tissue) sends to the brain. Research shows, however, that pain is a signal the brain sends to a tissue in the body, telling that muscle or tissue to protect itself. So we stub our toe, it hurts, we walk crooked for a few days, it heals, and the pain stops. However when we're talking about chronic pain, something that has been there for more than three months, there may or may not be a corresponding injury in the tissues. The brain considers many other factors when it is deciding to send the body that pain signal--things like memories, emotions, expectations, beliefs, and environment. See Jenni Rawlings blog for a fuller explanation and links to other websites on pain science. My PT son has been trying to explain this to me for years, but I hadn't managed to wrap my brain around it until recently.

I began yoga because of chronic pain in my back. It has always been a spiritual practice for me, as well as physical. As I begin to examine those places of chronic pain in my body, I am asking the Holy Spirit to show me what is causing that pain signal. And often it's not structural damage in my body, but some unhealed, unacknowledged, unrealized memory, emotion, or belief about myself that must be brought to the light of God's presence and held there for His healing word.

So, I'm re-educating my body through conscious slow movement that integrates what I know in my spirit is true and what I feel in my tissues.

Paul's letter to the Colossians says this: that they may be encouraged in heart, knit together in love, and filled with the full riches of complete understanding, so that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ,

I do realize I am taking this slightly out of context. But the truth is I want this connection of heart, mind, and body. I want to know the mystery of God in my physical tissues, this earthly temple of His spirit, and I don't think God has a problem with that. 

So today, I'm wishing you amazing connections! 

Leave your link below if you have connecting thoughts on your blog.


  1. Here's hoping your connections hold firm but in my book all those connections you mentioned in your blog seem to be molded into a love knot.

  2. Doraine, first of all have a wonderful time with your family. Your word connection is a strong one. It allows you to incorporate all aspects of your being as one unit, not separate parts (as it should be). Too often, we forget that mind, body, and spirit are the parts that all need to be fine tuned to work in synchronization. Beyond this, you showed us your spiritual side that needs to feel the Lord in mind, body, and spirit. Today starts Lent and what a beautiful day it is to find a connection to life, faith, and our physical/emotional well-being. Since I have had various bouts of sinusitis, allergy issues, and colds, I have been away from a regular dose of yoga. When I am in the studio I feel the pressure of the world leaving my body (that is if I can concentrate properly). I miss that world and hope to return to its contemplative site.

  3. Doraine, thinking of you in the mountains! Hope you are having a good time. During February I did the Yoga Summit -- 21 days of learning about yoga! I made all sorts of connections, and yes this pain as messenger tenet was brought up several times. I learned about how the asana is (are?) a way to connect more deeply with the mind, and that the physical poses are just one tool for the deeper purposes of yoga. I'm excited to talk with you further about this very soon. Thank you for hosting! xo

  4. This line, "I want to know the mystery of God in my physical tissues, this earthly temple of His spirit, and I don't think God has a problem with that. " made me smile. No, I don't think God has a problem with us getting in touch with our physical bodies. The practice of yoga is inspiring to me. I have found a class on Saturday mornings for Yen yoga. This type of yoga holds positions for a long time. At first I resisted. I cursed the pain I felt. But now I look forward to it. The holding gives me time for pure meditation. So powerful and helpful to my whole well being. Thanks for hosting today and for your word, connection.

  5. I was most interested to read your rationale for choosing the word "connection." It's a word I wouldn't have thought of, but your explanation puts a wonderful perspective on it. Like Margaret, I love these words: "I want to know the mystery of God in my physical tissues, this earthly temple of His spirit," A very worthy "want" I'd say. Hope you're having fun with your close connections!

  6. When so many friends mention connections to yoga, it makes me think that perhaps I should explore this means of connecting heart, mind, and body. Enjoy your family connecting time in the mountains!

  7. What an interesting perspective on the pain issue. I can see how that works, but never really thought about it that way before. Enjoy your time with family - every moment is a special connection!

  8. Blessings to all on this first Thursday in Lent. The pain connection is one that I have been exploring also. For 10 years now I have been following an experimental medical protocol for some autoimmune issues. This particular protocol teaches us that pain comes when our immune systems are working, when there is a fight going on between the body and the invader. This insight has helped me to ease into pain when I need to, to accept it and lean into it, to know that it is there for a reason. Sometimes I am able to be thankful for pain. I take it as a signal to pay attention. As we are mindful of our bodies and their sensations, we become more and more aware of the ways in which God speaks to us through them. These must be good connections. Best to you all, Karen

    1. This is most interesting, Karen. Is there somewhere online to read more about it?