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Center for Action and Contemplation

Incarnation: Weekly Summary and Story Dancing Practice

Saturday, December 26, 2020


Saturday, December 26, 2020
Summary: Sunday, December 20—Friday, December 25, 2020

We do the Gospel no favor when we make Jesus, the Eternal Christ, into a perpetual baby, who asks little or no adult response from us. (Sunday)

Christianity’s true and unique story line has always been incarnation. That means that the spirit nature of reality (the spiritual, the immaterial, the formless) and the material nature of reality (the physical, that which we can see and touch) are one. (Monday)

Christianity believes that God and humanity truly coexist in the same body, in the same place! (Tuesday)

Sophia is the eros of God become one with all creation, the love of God that longs for incarnation from before the beginning. She is the co-creativity of God, always inviting, never compelling. —Christopher Pramuk (Wednesday)

The symbol of Christmas—what is it? It is the rainbow arched over the roof of the sky when the clouds are heavy with foreboding. —Howard Thurman (Thursday)

How might we experience the Christ born in us today, “utterly real . . . transformed . . . and radiant in His light”? (Friday)


Practice: Storydancing

I asked a theologian friend “What comes to your mind when I say the word ‘incarnation’?” Without hesitating, he responded, “Dance.” Dance is an art that allows all of our body to express itself beyond boundaries. Sacred dance, ritual dance, and many other forms of dance allow individuals and communities to experience the grace and joy of being incarnated into a body. You don’t have to be trained or even skillful to experience this; you simply have to be willing to move beyond your comfort zone. Today’s practice invites you to explore telling your story through movement. Trauma therapist Dr. Jamie Marich writes:

A dynamic practice can be simply challenging yourself to look deeply into your heart and tell your story to the dance floor, a process I’ve come to call storydancing. This can be the story of your whole life or the story of what you’re living through right now. . . . You may feel called to use this practice for the purpose of transformation and manifestation, allowing the dance to help create a new ending, or usher in a new chapter. . . .

Perhaps you’ve already explored dancing with your breath, your heart, your mind, your body, and your concept of spirit. Notice what’s happening within you. I now invite you to allow all the elements to work together and create your story.

  • Tell your story to the earth below you, the space around you.
  • Your space is your canvas, your body is the paintbrush. Allow your story to be
    created in your space. The colors and the elements are being sent to you right now through your breath, through your spirit.
  • Paint your story, create your story, dance your story in this space!
  • You have options—it may feel organic to simply dance the story up to this present moment. If you believe that old story lines prevent you from experiencing the joy of the present moment, perhaps just notice those different story lines that pop up as you dance. Practice the challenge of noticing them, letting them go, and then returning to the present moment. If you feel inspired to move your story from this present moment and let the dance help you create a desired ending or a new, desired chapter in the journey, keep going with that process.

Dancing the element of story in personal practice is much like writing a journal, songwriting, or creating visual art. As many musicians and artists will tell you, we often create just for ourselves, for practice, for exploration, even if we never share the finished product. So, think about your dancing practice as a way to dance what you might normally write in your journal.

Jamie Marich, PhD., Dancing Mindfulness: A Creative Path to Healing & Transformation (Skylights Paths Publishing: 2016), 114‒115, 117.

For Further Study:
Diarmuid Ó Murchú, Incarnation: A New Evolutionary Threshold (Orbis Books: 2017).

Ronald Rolheiser and Richard Rohr, Adult Christianity and How to Get There (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2004), CD, MP3 download.

Richard Rohr, Essential Teachings on Love, ed. Joelle Chase and Judy Traeger (Orbis Books: 2018).

Richard Rohr, Franciscan Mysticism: I AM That Which I Am Seeking (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2012), CD, MP3 download.

Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent Books: 2019).

Mirabai Starr, Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics (Sounds True: 2019).

Howard Thurman, The Mood of Christmas and Other Celebrations (Friends United Press: 1985, ©1973).

Image credit: The Virgin and Child with Archangels, Scenes from the Life of Christ, and Saints (detail), early 17th century (Early Gondarine), Tigray Kifle Håger, Ethiopia, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image:
What I have seen is the totality recapitulated as one,
received not in essence but by participation.
Just as if you lit a flame from a flame,
it is the whole flame you receive.
—Symeon the New Theologian
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