Exercise 74: Welcoming Whatever is Next With a Bow

Silhouette of a businessman bowinghttp://www.twodozendesign.info/i/1.png

There’s an excellent discussion of the spiritual power of bowing here. Two of the main take-aways from that excellent podcast are:

#1) Bowing is a supple, flexible, living reaction. This posture conveys an heir of willingness to respond to whatever comes next.

#2) There is an element of release and surrender in a bow; an heir of recognition that we stand before something that we may not fully comprehend.

As I listened to that podcast and pondered the end of 2020, it struck me as a rather timely response to this place we find ourselves in: we are saying good-bye to the strangest year in recent memory; we made it through the darkest time of the year. Residents (like myself) of the USA are in wondering if this next president will steer us away from the dangers we had been barelling toward.

The temptation can be to simply imagine a motion like bowing. The body is the doorway to so much that is good. Including it in rituals and practices is incredibly powerful. It is good to physically bow from whereever you are. It would be even better to stand solemnly and bow from a standing, respectful position.

I’ve presented a few different combinations of a bow with versions of the welcoming prayer in the space below. The first (74A) is one keyed to life changes. It might, for example, be used on New Year’s Eve. The second and third practices (74B and 74C) are practices which incorporate a bow into traditional approaches to the welcoming prayer. These are most often used to make peace with uncomfortable emotional realities.

As always, I hope you will play and explore with these practices as you construct something which will work best for you.

74A: Bowing and Welcoming the New Year (or other new transitions)

  1. Find yourself in this moment suddenly, with the finality of a snap of the fingers.
  2. Review in your mind the realities that you had been living in. As best you can, experience this past in your body and through your senses. Take your time to fully relive this.
  3. Bow to this reality that you have lived through.
  4. Welcome your feelings, thoughts, and emotions about this reality that is passing. Name and welcome them, out loud if possible. “Welcome, sadness.” “Welcome, regret.” “Welcome joy.” Etc. Bow to each of the feelings you have about this time and place.
  5. Inhale.
  6. Exhale.
  7. Bring to mind the new reality that is coming. Consider the things you know and the things you hope. Be open to the aspects you know about and the mysteries that you do not. Just as before, experience this in your body, through your senses as much as possible.
  8. Bow to this new reality.
  9. Identify and name your feelings about this new thing that is coming. Welcome each of these with words, “Welcome, excitement.” “Welcome, anxiety.” Bow to each of these feelings.
  10. Inhale.
  11. Exhale.
  12. Check in with your heart, body, and mind. What are you feeling? How are you carrying it. Bow, too, to your bodies reactions to this practice and the feelings you are carrying now.
  13. If you’d like, as best as you can, exhale these feelings and sit in a time of wordlessness.

Exercise 74B: One approach to Bowing and Welcoming Emotions

The Exercise:

  1.  Create a safe, quiet environment for yourself.  Turn down your phone and consider lighting a candle.
  2. Breathe deeply in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  3. Take a mental inventory of where you are, right now.  List the feelings you are experiencing.  Do your best to engage this with a nonjudgemental attitude.  Your feelings are neither good nor bad.  They simply are.  
  4. Choose the feeling which seems to be the most impactful.  Bow to this thought or emotion.
  5. Think, or say “Welcome ___________”  (E.G. ‘Welcome, Fear.  Welcome, sadness.  Welcome, anxiety.  Etc.)
  6. Say, or think, ‘I let go of my desire to change this feeling.’  or ‘I let go of my ___________’  or ‘God, I give you my _____________’
  7. You might wish to bow again, this time to whoever or whatever is taking up this emotion.
  8. Progress on to the next emotion, repeating steps 4 and 5.
  9. When you have worked through these emotions, spend a moment doing a mental inventory, assessing whether you feel differently.

Exercise 74C: A Second Approach to Welcoming Emotions with a Bow

  1. Create a safe, quiet environment for yourself.  Turn down your phone and consider lighting a candle.
  2. Breathe deeply in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  3. Take a mental inventory of where you are, right now.  List the feelings you are experiencing.  Do your best to engage this with a nonjudgemental attitude.  Your feelings are neither good nor bad.  They simply are.  
  4. Choose the feeling which seems to be the most impactful.  Think, or say “Welcome ___________”  (E.G. ‘Welcome, Fear.  Welcome, sadness.  Welcome, anxiety.  Etc.)
  5. Breathe once.
  6. Say, or think “I let go of my desire for security and survival.’
  7. Bow and breathe again.
  8. Say, or think, ‘I let go of my desire for esteem and affection.’
  9. Bow and breathe again.
  10. Say, or think ‘I let go of my desire for power and control.’
  11. Bow and breathe.
  12. Say, or think, ‘I let go of my desire to change the situation.’
  13. If you wish, you can repeat this process for a second, troubling emotion.

If you’d like to participate in ‘Discussing the Essence’ fill out a contact form at the top of this page or email otherjeffcampbell7@gmail.com

1 thought on “Exercise 74: Welcoming Whatever is Next With a Bow

  1. Pingback: You Are Welcome Here. | The Faith-ing Project

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