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A Blessing for Your Body
because it's already good
If you’re anything like me, you have developed a habit of turning the corner into a new year with a major side-eye and furrowed brow of suspicion, just waiting for the “new year, new you!” messaging to jump out from behind the bushes… or computer screen. It’s like a cultural PTSD we all suffer from: the calendar flips to January and suddenly we remember again how much we dislike ourselves. Maybe it’s the same character flaw you’ve been battling for years, or maybe it’s the weight you gained during the pandemic. Whatever form it takes, few of us feel like our best selves as we head into a new year.
In light of that, I humbly offer you a little spiritual practice to do, right here, right now. Take a moment to breathe deeply, then read on.
Imagine for a moment the sheer improbability of your even being here; of your body even existing at all. Your mother was born with 1 million eggs in her womb. Only about 400 of those eggs would ever be ovulated during her years of reproduction. Your father released hundreds of millions of sperm cells at your conception. Think of it: the likelihood of their having formed you is astronomically small.
Now zoom out. Consider the odds that out of all the people on earth, the two who created you happened to cross paths at all, much less that their relationship would extend so far as to make a baby. Pause for a moment and appreciate your body for the marvel that it is. The likelihood that you would be alive on this earth are astronomically small — some estimates put it at about 1 in 400 trillion.
Science indicates that your body is composed partly of stardust. Faith tells us this was no accident. The presence of your body on this earth today is a miracle — a massive statistical improbability. And yet here you are, held fast in the Divine generosity of this body you were given. Here you are, your flesh and bones a product of a perfect, generative, mysterious Love; a Love that holds all things together.
Here you are, created for such a time as this. How then, shall you live?
Where I’ve been lately:
I wrote an Advent piece for Red Letter Christians about what Mary’s virginity might symbolize (and invite us into) when viewed as an archetype.
At U.S. Catholic, I wrote a magazine article about shifting our Christian parenting mentality from obedience-based to connection-based.
It’s not too late to enter into the new year the right way, and for Franciscan Media I wrote about the importance of looking back before we can look forward.
Over on Patreon, I am starting a new monthly devotional series based on the writings of the female mystics (Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, Terese of Lisieux, Hildegard of Bingen, etc). If you’re interested in receiving these reflections in your inbox, tiers start at just $2/month.
And, of course, if you were waiting til the new year to read Rewilding Motherhood, here are some options for where to nab it.
Things I’ve loved lately:
The novel Nightbitch, by Rachel Yoder (a fellow Iowan!). If you aren’t a mom, you might just find this book reeeeeeally weird. But if you are a mom, you might feel deeply seen. I honestly felt like it was a piece of art, with all the discomfort and exaggeration that can entail.
Blackberry Ginger Ale, you guys. You’re welcome. (Related: someone once told me that LaCroix “tastes like a frown” and head of the nail, meet hammer. If I ever accept your offer of a can of LaCroix please know I was desperate and a small part of me died inside.)
My MIL got me a Sakroots bag for Christmas. They’re made out of recycled water bottles and come in the most fun patterns and colors!
While I’m discussing Christmas gifts, if you want to learn to not hate winter these indigenous-made mukluks are a good start. Thanks, mom and dad, for the warm toes!
Are you in need of some spiritual replenishing? Come out to Wisconsin and join me for a day-long retreat at the (incredibly gorgeous, seriously, look at the photos) Franciscan Spirituality Center at the end of February! Overnight lodging is available, and COVID vaccinations and masks are required. Find out more here.
Wishin you radical peace and self-acceptance this year. Let’s go gently.