It’s been an interesting week. Last Sunday morning, I woke up not feeling well. I got up, got ready, and headed out to the Unitarian Universalist church where I direct music. By the time the service started, I really didn’t feel well. By the end of the service, I realized a trip to the ER was no longer optional. Turns out I had a wound on my foot that looked healed, but was in fact concealing an abscess, and needed surgery. Fortunately, the infection was superficial, and had not gotten into the underlying tissue or bone.
Fast forward to Tuesday. I was still in the hospital, hooked up to multiple IVs that were feeding fluids and antibiotics into my bloodstream. Though I had felt pretty good Monday, I now felt completely out of sorts, sick, and very tired, and the doctor’s visit did nothing to ease my mind.
Two things came to mind:
- I have never really put any serious effort into cultivating a daily spiritual practice.
- A chant we had used in a study group the week before to raise power to send healing energy to a sick member.
I started researching spiritual practices, and found a couple of resources that I started digging into. That provided some comfort. The thing that got me through the day was the chant, that by now had become an insistent ear worm: Earth my Body, Water my Blood, Air my Breath, and Fire my Spirit. Singing that over and over, I made it through the day.
I have a strong connection to the elemental spirits, particularly those of water and air. Though the chant may seem trivial and even mindless, there is a lot of power in those simple phrases.
Earth my Body – Our bodies are made of the same stuff that makes up everything in the universe. When we leave this life, our bodies break down into their component materials and go back to the earth.
Water my Blood – Blood is mainly water, and water is a significant percentage of the mass of our bodies. Water played a very important part in my healing process while in the hospital, with all the physical water that was carrying medicine into my bloodstream through the IVs.
Air my Breath – Without air, we don’t breathe. Without breath, we die. It’s as simple as that.
Fire my Spirit – Fire is a symbol of spirit and spiritual energy in many religions. We talk about being “on fire” or “fired up.”
That a simple repetitive 10-word chant can capture and express our existence is mind blowing. That so much of who we are, physically at least, can be distilled down to four elemental energies is astounding.
For me, right now, this means a couple of things.
- First, you and I, the refugee, the homeless kid, the tyrannical dictator, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, dogs, cats, skunks, snakes, bugs, trees, weeds, and everything else are all the same stuff. We need to move past the artificial divisions we have created based on pigmentation, gender, sexuality, religion, income, education, and whatever else we use to keep us apart. It’s not easy, and I am rarely successful at knocking down the walls I have built, although I like to think I’m getting a little better at it.
- Many of us subscribe to an ethic of “harm none.” Some of us forget to include ourselves in “none.” It’s starting to dawn on me that, since we’re all made from the same stuff, that allowing harm to my body is indeed harming others, because at some point, someone else is going to have to deal with the consequences of my toxic behavior. Poor food choices, lack of exercise, neglect of medical care, and and the like greatly inhibit my ability to fulfill my purpose in this life. Bad health habits also show a lack of respect for the elemental that are so much a part of me. So, I’m formally expressing an intention to be better to myself.
Spirits of Air, give me the knowledge, intuition, and creativity to make wise decisions.
Spirits of Fire, give me the passion and zeal to transform poor choices into beneficial actions.
Spirits of Water, give me calm and openness to the changes I need to make.
Spirits of Earth, give me strength and resolve to follow through.
God and Goddess, Ancient Ones, listen to my words, and bless my efforts.
As I do will, So mote it be.