The Art of Moving

It was a snap decision. I looked up the details on their website, dialed a number, left a message for Connie.

When I told a friend about my intentions, I said I had just decided "yes" last night, after Connie called me back.

But maybe I had been wanting this for a long time. I've been on an Art Pilgrimage and the thought has crossed my mind that sometime this art might need to move to my body. Maybe I would need to learn what it is to be a dancer.

Reading The Artist's Way, I remembered (as Julia asked me to) what I had always wanted to do as a child. I remembered that if life had been different I could have continued the ballet class my grandmother paid for (and I went to only for a short time). I remembered that I have always wanted to feel the air with my fingertips and toes, in just this way.

So I called Connie. And she said, "Come."

I did. Today.

First position. Second. Third. I remembered these. I watched. I tried. For long moments I was completely lost. I know some French, but not the ballet teacher's words that tell me what to do. At some point it occurred to me that, yes, there is a sequence. Everything to the front, now to the side, then to the back. I found little ways in, even as I got lost along the way.

"Move like a queen," she said. "Majestic."

Okay. I will never be a dancer among dancers. But I can pretend, just for a while, to be a queen.

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God in the Yard: In the Beginning • Week 1


Tomorrow I meet with my writing friend to begin our collaboration. But today I thought I should begin somewhere. Here are a few thoughts on structuring Week 1 in the God in the Yard Devotional Companion book. I welcome your suggestions, insights, conversation. Someday I will put all this together into a coherent whole. But for now it seemed good to begin...

From God in the Yard, Week 1

When I was a child, I lived in the woods.

Not literally, of course. I wasn’t a pint-sized Paul Bunyan, wielding my axe, toddling around with a stuffed blue ox. The woods were a place I sought solace from a difficult life. There, I watched the creek change from silver-green ribbon, to amber, from ice-blue to spring’s rush and tumble of white. I floated sticks and made pine needle beds. Sometimes I raced my sister across the creek rocks, then knocked her into the reeds. In the woods I was free...

A Few Thoughts on Beginnings

"Tell me about when I was born." My youngest child loves to say this when I turn off the light and tuck her in bed. Maybe the story of her beginnings gives her solace for the darkness she will now face alone. Maybe it informs and comforts her dreams. Maybe it is simply about connection or the pleasure of remembrance. Stories of beginnings are rich and powerful.

In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath note that remembering how we began, or how we came to a place, especially a place of difficulty, is often more valuable than thinking towards a vision of some hoped-for future. Unraveling the past, or following the trail from past to present, if you will, does more to propel us forward than trying to magically jump into an abstract tomorrow.

It was interesting to me to see that both Glynn and Laura chose to focus on the "When I was a child" option, in embarking on their first week with God in the Yard. Maybe they did other activities too, but this was the one they both chose to share. Stories of beginnings. Could it be that we instinctively know we move forward by first going back?

Beginnings in Scripture (all taken from the KJV)

Morning Reading • Genesis 1:1-31

Excerpt... "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, 'Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.'"

Afternoon Reading • Psalm 139:11-16

Excerpt... "My substance was not hid from thee when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them."

Evening Reading • Luke 2:22-38

Excerpt... "And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem."

Ways to Consider

In each of the passages above, it might be helpful to ponder...

1. Who are the characters present in the passage? (Don't shy from listing the animals as well :)

2. What is the setting like? What can we see, smell, hear?

3. What is happening in the passage?

4. Do you know more about any of these stories? About what happened before or after these particular moments? How do they relate (or not seem to relate) to the "beginnings" in these passages?

5. Can you relate one of your own "beginnings" stories to any of these passages?


In the beginning, you created, Lord. In this new moment of beginnings, create in me.

Art for Reflection

Anunciation, by L.L. Barkat (pictured above). Do you have other recommendations? Contributions? Let me know.

Musical selection

To be selected (this is not my forte :)

Notes to Myself (and anyone else who wants to listen :)...

Need to consider:

1. how well this captures the essence of Chapter 1
2. how to make the connection to spiritual practice (or not)
3. whether the questions are deep and wide enough, have the right focus
4. whether certain "natural" aspects can be played up (since GIY's setting is one of outdoor solitude), or whether they even need to be

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