Where Are My Feet?

To everything there is a season,

A time for every purpose under heaven. – Eccl. 3:1 (NKJV)


I’m not a summer person. Born in the Fall, under some duress, I prefer cool days that harbor harvest to the full-bodied warmth of June, July, and August. And yet, I know the wisdom of this season, too. The way the light is everywhere, catching all of us by surprise, even in its abundance. The way sunsets charm us because the days have been replete with activity—we’re not aching for more, but ready for the rest evening brings. I acknowledge the good of these days, even as I stumble under their density.

Sometimes, my seasons are asynchronous: I’m all Spring spiritually even though it’s Winter. Other times, I’m solidly in hibernation when the days are popsicle-long. This year, the congruity has been shocking: the saturation of Summer is both physical and spiritual. My soul is engaged in the kind of work that will eventually lead to worship, and I use the passive voice intentionally. To mix my metaphors, God is more than tinkering around under the hood—the Spirit is engrossed in transformation, tearing apart and rebuilding parts of me I thought were just fixtures and turn out to be wearing down the rest of my world. Externally, transition meets me at almost every turn, from friendship to community to my body to family and back again.

In times like these, spiritual practice is more than a formality and deeper than formation. It’s breath and life and a way to orient myself into the goodness around me: God, myself, others. More than a reminder, it’s the kind of revelation I need to remember that this isn’t destruction (as much as it feels like it); it’s Love at work.

Seasons like this remind me not to set the bar too high. I’m not here to achieve or progress or transact my way to spiritual success. Instead, the simple acts are the ones keeping my sanity, anchoring me in the Story.

For me, right now, it’s a simple, grounding, embodied question: Where are my feet?

I know that sounds like a spiritual metaphor, and I’m not against reading it that way. But before I go existential (which is where I like to hide, if we’re being honest), I have to start with my banged-up* and beloved self. Where are my actual feet, right now? What do they feel like? Can I wiggle my toes? 

These simple questions are an entry into mindfulness and, for me, so much easier than a clear-as-mud body scan, where I mindfully notice each part of my body in turn. As someone experiencing hormonal and physical change, these large-scale scan leave me more confused and in conflict than I started. My very skin is in transition (oh, hello, puberty in reverse), and sorting out these new-to-me messages can easily spiral me out. This coming from someone who wrote an entire book on our bodies and the goodness of meeting God in them—I’ve done a body scan or two thousand in my day.

Here’s the thing, though. Seasons change. What was soothing in one is stifling in another. You wouldn’t suggest a swimsuit in the middle of subzero temperatures any more than you’d sweat it out in a parka when the thermometer is peaking. That says nothing against either the swimsuit or the snow gear. And needing simple isn’t a failure; it’s simply self-awareness.

The question of my feet allows me to step back (pun absolutely intended) and reassess my worldview. Am I living in scarcity, believing I am not beloved? Am I panicking because my old ways don’t work, and the patterns of peace haven’t yet been established? Can I come back to being held and supported by God, by this battered Earth beneath me, by the network of humans around me and throughout history who have chosen for the good? Can I let go of trying to figure transformation out and simply be where my feet are? Somatic practitioners call this a method of self-regulation. It aligns my nervous system with the truth of my security, allowing me to respond rather than react and consent instead of resigning. I call it holy integration, a response to God’s kind call to take off my sandals, reminding me that the place where I’m standing is holy ground (Ex. 3.).

As a spiritual director, I’ve been formed for almost two decades by holy curiosity, but in seasons like these, it’s easy to slip into hyperdrive, focusing on sorting things out to be safe instead of staying in the posture of prayer that starts with, I wonder… or What might be here? And when that happens, one of the best and kindest ways to get my feet back under me is actually to ask where they are right now.



*To be clear, I’m not being physically beaten. But living with a connective tissue disorder, being a multiple heart attack survivor, and working to embrace my currently perimenopausal body means I’m feeling the wear-and-tear of living in this world.