I am very moved by yesterday’s DM and the comments from readers in response to it. And, in a special way, by the wonderful banner picture for which I thank my picture hunter and gatherer, Phila Hoopes (For some DMs, Jerry Maynard and Cynthia Greb also hunt for pictures and I thank them for their work also).
One thing that moved me so deeply about the banner picture (which is repeated here) is its Vibrancy, its Aliveness, its Color, and the determination and Gift-giving on the part of the dancers who are praying deeply in their sacred dance. And the beautifying of the body.
Once an Aboriginal woman in Australia said to me, “In our culture, we work four hours a day and the rest of the day we make things.”
“What things do you make?” I asked.
“Ceremony, ritual,” she said. “We have to make our bodies as beautiful as the birds and the reptiles when we do ceremony; we have to teach the children; and gather the necessary feathers and sticks and prepare food and make musical instruments and fast and all else for the ceremony.”
All this is the Via Creativa at work. It is good work.
I loved the banner picture also because it brought back deep experiences I have had praying by dancing among indigenous peoples at Sundances and Powwows and how deep once’s connection to Mother Earth and Father Sky returns in one’s soul and also in the soul of a community. Healing happens.
My Seneca friend, co-teacher and Franciscan Sister, Jose Hobday once said to me, “We Indians learn to dance before we learn to walk.” That made no sense whatsoever to my Aristotelian logical mind.
“How could one dance before one could walk?” I said to myself. But I did not object to Jose. I carried her statement with me for several years until one night I was part of a Pow Wow in Minnesota where about 700 of us were dancing/praying in concentric circles one beautiful night.
The drum was pounding (the heart of the universe), chants were being sung in full voice, the stars were beaming, and Mother Earth, Father Sky and my heart were blending beautifully when all of a sudden a young Indian man with long-flowing black hair blowing wildly passed by me dancing madly with his tiny baby in his arms.
I finally got it—Indians learn to dance before they walk when the ceremonies are honored. Praying by dancing honors the first chakra, it connects us to both Mother Earth and Father Sky, psyche and cosmos unite again.
To be continued
Adapted from Matthew Fox, The Reinvention of Work, pp. 255f.
And Matthew Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Postdenominational Priest, pp. 143f.
And Matthew Fox, A Way To God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey, pp. 196-200.
Also see Matthew Fox, Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: A powwow dancer holds her sleepy child as the sun sets on the Rama Powwow 2013. Photo by Robert Snache, SpiritHands Photography, on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
Are you moved by meditating on yesterday’s banner picture in the context of Donna Schindler’s teachings on the “Soul Wound”? How does it speak to you? Is dancing an important way of praying for you?
The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood For Our Time
Thomas Aquinas said, “To live well is to work well,” and in this bold call for the revitalization of daily work, Fox shares his vision of a world where our personal and professional lives are celebrated in harmony–a world where the self is not sacrificed for a job but is sanctified by authentic “soul work.”
“Fox approaches the level of poetry in describing the reciprocity that must be present between one’s inner and outer work…[A]n important road map to social change.” ~~ National Catholic Reporter
A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey
In A Way to God, Fox explores Merton’s pioneering work in interfaith, his essential teachings on mixing contemplation and action, and how the vision of Meister Eckhart profoundly influenced Merton in what Fox calls his Creation Spirituality journey.
“This wise and marvelous book will profoundly inspire all those who love Merton and want to know him more deeply.” — Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism
Passion for Creation: The Earth-Honoring Spirituality of Meister Eckhart
Matthew Fox’s comprehensive translation of Meister Eckhart’s sermons is a meeting of true prophets across centuries, resulting in a spirituality for the new millennium. The holiness of creation, the divine life in each person and the divine power of our creativity, our call to do justice and practice compassion–these are among Eckhart’s themes, brilliantly interpreted and explained for today’s reader.
“The most important book on mysticism in 500 years.” — Madonna Kolbenschlag, author of Kissing Sleeping Beauty Goodbye.
Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet
Because creativity is the key to both our genius and beauty as a species but also to our capacity for evil, we need to teach creativity and to teach ways of steering this God-like power in directions that promote love of life (biophilia) and not love of death (necrophilia). Pushing well beyond the bounds of conventional Christian doctrine, Fox’s focus on creativity attempts nothing less than to shape a new ethic.
“Matt Fox is a pilgrim who seeks a path into the church of tomorrow. Countless numbers will be happy to follow his lead.” –Bishop John Shelby Spong, author, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Living in Sin