Manna Meditations

seeing into the future …

Manna Meditations, Day 31

Yesterday, in a moment of joy, I lifted my iPhone to a dogwood branch knotted with small dark buds – the hope of things to come.

By accident, though, I snapped a photo of my own upturned face, lit with quiet wonder.

I offer these two images today in humble recognition that they are both, in a way, photos of the same thing:

Unguarded Hope.

And also, beauty.

Because really:  anyone who can see hope outside herself is someone who harbors it safe within, too…

And that, friends, is a deeply beautiful thing. ❤

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The Body Electric

The Body Electric: Day Twenty-One

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Can I say something honest to you?

I grew up in a world that talked a lot about God — a lot — and I’m not always comfortable with the things that world taught me about him.

Tonight, though, as I walk the streets on this darkest night of the year, I stop in front of a plywood manger scene in someone’s front yard.  And I suddenly realize I’m grateful — so, so very grateful — for one thing:

I’m grateful that the God of my childhood was so physical, and so human…

A God in the shape of an infant, thrashing and crying in the straw.

A God who wept actual tears.  Who bruised and bled and broke.

A God who tells me that the divine can, in fact, dwell in this place:

… this hardscrabble earth.

… this fast-fading skin.

*

 

I turn my hand over.

I trace the river-blue veins in the wrist.

I think about the spirit that flows through that living water, and I can’t help but say:

 Oh, God … It is good. ❤

 

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The Body Electric

The Body Electric: Day Sixteen

This evening, I asked T if he would take a few simple, spontaneous photographs with me …

Not all of us, of course.  Just our hands:

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And at first, I think he felt like the whole thing was a little strange… 

But then this happened:

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Sometimes, the photos say it all. ❤

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The Body Electric

The Body Electric: Day Twelve

I find the rose almost by accident.

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It grows along the stairs to the backyard, struggling to bloom against the warmth of the concrete wall, right now, in the middle of December. I lean over the railing and finger its pink petals in wonder:  Could this be possible?  Now?

The rosebush is one of the ancient ones planted by our home’s original owner — its name a mystery, its scent headier than that of modern roses, so that the scent drifts through the yard like a cloud each June. But now … even now … it tries again.

I cut it and take it inside with me, into the warmth of the kitchen, where I stand quietly, stroking its velvet bloom down the curve of my cheek.  Its petals are crinkled by cold, darker than they should be, but still:  just a hint of that June scent.   I can’t get over it.

*

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It’s a funny thing — isn’t it — the way some gifts come not when you’d expect them, but when you need them most?  And that’s what my life has felt like lately: one rich out-of-season gift after another.   A bloom in the darkest month of the year.

This is what I am thinking as I trim the stem and fit my undeserved gift into a milkglass vase.  Set it under the kitchen window, where its half-furled petals can open slowly in the sun. I breathe in the scent and think: God — oh, my God — I am grateful.

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{Wonder what’s happening here?  For thirty days this December, I’m challenging myself to enjoy this body I’m living in:  to take pleasure in all my senses, to explore it and use it in new ways … and most of all, simply to cherish it.  I hope you’ll join me for the journey. <3}

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The Body Electric

The Body Electric: Day Eight

I don’t know when exactly it happened, but somewhere in the course of my 34 years, I accepted the idea that most of my clothes would be uncomfortable.

These days, I have a closet full of five-inch stilettos, nipped-waist pencil skirts and close-cut clothing in rough, hard-finish fabrics.  And most of the time I’m completely fine with that.

But now I can feel the winter coming on:  chapped lips and numb fingertips … knuckles so dry they crack and bleed through my mittens.  And in this season that, for me at least, represents a constant physical discomfort, I suddenly want to wear things that just plain feel good.

So I’m giving myself permission to wear cashmere socks and fuzzy loose-fitting sweaters.  I’ll spend a little extra on fabrics that slide silkily against my skin.  And maybe this sounds like silly self-indulgence.  But I am learning that when my body feels comfortable, my mind is free to think and love well, and to consider the comfort of others …

And that feels pretty beautiful to me. ❤

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{Wonder what’s happening here?  For thirty days this December, I’m challenging myself to enjoy this body I’m living in:  to take pleasure in all my senses, to explore it and use it in new ways … and most of all, simply to cherish it.  I hope you’ll join me for the journey. <3}

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The Body Electric

The Body Electric: Day Seven

You would think it would be easy by now — that seeing my own magic would feel as natural as breathing.

But there are still days when it’s work…  Days when I look at the mirror and see myself fading, and believe the lie that this makes me less:

Less valuable.

Less powerful.

Less human.

On those days, I turn my back to the mirror and tilt my face to the lens — even if it’s just the little lens on my iPhone.  And suddenly all the distance between subject and object collapses.  

Behind the lens, for a moment, I am the one in charge of the frame.

And I am the one who decides how to make beauty within it:

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Just behind me, over my shoulder, I can see myself reflected into infinity. ❤

 

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