If you are a Christian on a journey of embodiment or discovering what embodiment might mean for you, there’s a book I would consider a must-read. The book is Embodied Prayer: Towards Wholeness of Body, Mind, Soul by Celeste Snowber, PhD, and like a text book, I’d call this one required reading! I found this book many years ago and have read it several times. While Dr. Snowber is an academic and educator, she is also a dancer, and it is the dancer who leads the way in this beautiful work on embodiment and prayer.
The book includes many stories and examples of people discovering what it is like to be enfleshed and embodied once more—after years of using the body without any regard to its needs or without even listening to the beautiful body that carries one through life. Snowber also includes a deep look at how the body is portrayed in scripture, especially Hebrew scripture (Old Testament), where the body wasn’t thought of as separate from its close relatives mind, soul and spirit. She describes a wholistic understanding of the person, as well as how our culture has worked to place a divide between these seemingly separate “parts” of the human experience. She also includes ideas and encouragement for experiencing God through prayerful movement and dance.
I could write pages of my favorite quotes from this book, but I’ll offer this one to you:
I am advocating that we permit our bodies to be an honest expression of our inner selves, moving from the deepest part of who we are. Some of us may not even know where that place lies, and the process may even feel awkward at first. Giving our bodies that rightful place in our lives is not a one-step process, something we can do once… It is a lifetime of ongoing exploration—an adventure into the geography of our body-soulscape.
We need to have places where we have permission to find our feelings, name them, and live in them. Our body movement and body prayer can be one of those places. Many of our experiences, through the sometimes mountainous and even torturous trek through life, are buried within us, even stored in our bodies: deep hurts, losses, disappointments, and traumas waiting to find release in our lives. It is the deepest feelings that must find a voice. They are the inner eye of our lives, and they yearn to be alive. Finding them may be the beginning of healing for many hurts in our lives. But it is not only the feelings of deep pain that must find a voice, it is the feelings and qualities of affirmation, strength, or love. Do we have places to be who we truly are? Are we bold and passionate, strong and courageous? And we steady or erratic, impetuous or deliberate, wild or tamed?
You can preview and read nearly a third of the book here. There is an older version with a pink cover titled Embodied Prayer: Harmonizing Body and Soul by Celeste Snowber Schroeder that is the same book (except for the foreword) if you’d like a very affordable option.
Blessings of artistry, creativity, worship & BEaUty, Jody
Jody Thomae © 2019 All Rights Reserved
Jody Thomae is the author of God’s Creative Gift—Unleashing the Artist in You and The Creator’s Healing Power—Restoring the Broken to Beautiful, both in-depth, interactive devotional books that are part of the Bible Studies to Nurture the Creative Spirit Within series and serve as resources for creative Christians, artists, and lovers of beauty and worship. Jody has been involved in worship arts ministry since 1997, serving as worship arts ministry pastor, worship leader and creative arts director, and is a guest lecturer on creativity, embodiment, and spirituality with Healing Care Ministries and HCM International. Her passion is for the revelation of God to be made more real through the prophetic use of the arts in church and the use of creativity in formational and healing ministry. It is her desire to portray the message of Christ’s desperate and unfailing love for His people to help sustain the hearts of the broken and weary. She is particularly interested in the reclamation of the body in the healing of trauma and works in the area of embodiment with survivors of abuse, addiction, and trauma. Her life verse is Isaiah 50:4.
Her books are available through Amazon. Signed copies are available for purchase through Square where her resources are available most affordably (and in bulk amounts for your creative ministry team or group study). Jody has also recorded a devotional CD, Song of the Beloved, which is available through Square, iTunes, YouTube, Spotify, and other music outlets.