On Memorial Day (two days past), the Grove held space for a service project: yardwork. The side garden of our sacred outdoor space has been allowed to grow “wild like those druids” for a few years, and Rev. Bee finally got tired of looking at it. The ever-encroaching jungle of aspen sprouts and crocus plants, not to mention the branches of our guardian crabapple trees trying to hug our house and guests who gather in the backyard, had finally become too much… so we asked our congregation and supporters for help (because it was a LOT).
They came, and we are grateful.
Ours is a very cerebral, and ethics/philosophy-heavy church/ministry, and we’ve traditionally left the hands-on part up to the individual or family. It’s a good model for ceremonial efficiency, but I see now that it leaves out something very crucial to the human experience: working together. What came out of this project is that each of those folx who had their sweat dripped into the land, and the hands deep in the dirt, and the scent of the earth in their noses… they are now more invested in their church, and are more healthy-of-spirit because of it.
I’m not talking about thinking-or-feeling as work. I’m talking about physical bodies in meatspace doing physical labor.
I’m talking about engaged and embodied orthopraxy.
It’s the DOING of right-doing.
The small doings are easy… the lighting of lamps and candles, the tossing of coins, the igniting of incense, the casting of runestaves. But what about the doings that break a sweat? The digging of holes, the hammering of nails, the climbing of ladders, the physical bits that are usually reserved for those wearing blue collars… we need to do work that gets us back into our bodies in a big way. Not topically, but deeply.
Like my friends in the Zen community say: Chop wood, carry water.
Before, and after we’re enlightened or awakened… in other words:
(See y’all tomorrow)