Pick up your mat and walk.

…My heart is moved by all I cannot save:

so much has been destroyed

I have to cast my lot with those

who age after age, perversely,

with no extraordinary power,

reconstitute the world.

An excerpt from “Natural Resources”, by Adrienne Rich

There’s an interesting little story in the New Testament of the Bible about a very sick, “lame”, man who has been sick for 38 years, it says.  He has been lying near the pools of healing water for “a long time” but hasn’t been able to actually get in the water.  Jesus asked if he wants to be made well.  The man responds that there is no one to help him get in the water, and when he tries  everyone rushes in front of him.  Jesus tells him to pick up his mat and walk.

The man felt completely powerless to be healed, and when Jesus asked if he wanted to be healed, his response was to basically blame everyone else for it.  No one will help me.  Everyone pushes in front of me.

I will come out and say that this story is a spot-on metaphor for how I feel in relation to some of the great heartaches and injustices of the world.  I feel completely helpless to do anything, other than critique and judge everyone’s actions and apparent disregard.   Insert; the environment, gun violence, mental illness, hunger, abuse, sex-trafficking, addictions, foster-care, criminal justice system, racism, on and on and on again.  I have the same feeling as that man; of course I want to change situations of injustice and oppression, but I am completely powerless in the presence of so many forces that seem to stand in my way.  What can I do?

Jesus’ response is rather direct.  Pick up your mat and walk.  You have the power within you to do that.  Stand up. Go.   Stop blaming everyone else and show up.

The next Daily Bread Yoga retreat is called just that; Pick Up Your Mat and Walk.  Through our practice of yoga, community, and meditation we will dig deep into that sense of powerlessness — not to expand it, but to dismantle it and see that it is not true.  We are powerful beyond measure.  So, then we will figure out what that sense of despair was trying to snuff out in you…what passion and potential is in you, already? We feel that strength and potential for change and transformation in our body and mind during a yoga practice, so how do we use that confidence & experience off the mat?

Yes, ALL THAT & MORE will happen in three powerful hours on Saturday, November 8th!  If you aren’t there, you will most likely sense a shifting of power in the world coming from the direction of Chambana.

If you have heard me talk about this before, you are expecting a morning work project as well, in a local agency. That sounded great to me in the beginning, but it proved to not be all that helpful for local agencies.   And the more I thought about it the more I got honest about the reality that this deep sense of powerlessness is not going to be moved at all by 90 minutes of stacking canned food.  Not that this isn’t important work to be done, but it distracts us from the actual root desire to know that we have enormous potential within us to make change in our own life and therefore the world.

Maybe once you realize how much you Can do, one of the ways you live out your power is to serve in one of the great food pantries in Chambana or your community.  That would be so exciting!

So, put it on your calendar — Saturday, November 8th, 9a.m.-noon. $20.  And location to be determined, shortly.  That’s the least of your concerns.  Just put it on your calendar and then show up.  Maybe notice if you blame everyone and your mother, if you say no.  You don’t have to tell me about it, but it’s something interesting to think about, huh? 🙂

peace on your head,

Rachel

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