Doreen Corwith Eckert
Mary's Cape A Restorative Practice (Dec 2019)
Updated: Jul 8, 2021
Doreen offers a 20 minute Rest for Advent or any time you are in need of nourishment.
This post was originally published on Christians Practicing Yoga.
This session will allow you to recharge during a time that often gets clogged with more busyness and leaves little space for wonder and self-care. Take time to nourish your body and to BE in silence. A regular rest time with Mother Mary will help you to manage your daily duties more efficiently, more gracefully and keep you in a state of sweet wonder.
Gently inverting the legs is one of the best ways to Reduce Stress, Relieve Pain, Release Mental Strain and Renew Spirit. Benefits include lessening of fatigue and swelling, relief for the low back and a shift of the nervous system’s active phase of fight or flight into the rest and renew state. As the body-mind relaxes, emotional turmoil and mental chatter settle like debris falling to the bottom of a lake.
WHEN: Between work and the evening meal is nice and so is right before bed to download some of the day’s mental activity and muscle stress. Anytime is helpful.
WHERE: Set up in a quiet room where you won’t be disturbed. Tell your family you will be available in 20 minutes; leave kids, animals and phones in another room.
GATHER THESE SUPPORTS
A straight back chair or Ottoman
3 blankets (1 for under you, 1 for over you, 1 for under your head)
Eye cover (eye pillow or hand towel)
Optional hot warmer or hot water bottle
Optional journal, pen, colored pencils to write or draw afterwards.
Psalm 139: 13-16 You created my inmost parts; weaving me together in my mother’s womb. I thank you for that, for I am awesomely and wondrously made. Your work is subtle and steeped in wonder; I know it well.
My body was not hidden from You; You gave me shape in secret recesses of the womb, You knit me whole in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed limbs; and You knew the deeds I could do even before there was an I to do them.
In the break there is room…room to notice, to breathe with awareness; room to feel, to watch the thoughts rather than be driven by them. Room to be held by Divine Mother Mary.
TRANSCRIPT Once you gather your props, place the chair sideways on a mat or carpet, (so the feet can hang over the side of the chair). (Or lie on a bed or couch if you cannot get on the floor.) Open a blanket diagonally like a diamond with the widest part at the sides and lie down on it with your calves on the chair. Place a thin cushion or blanket under your head, add the heating pad on your belly and cover yourself tucking a blanket around your feet, legs and even hips, (this is surprisingly comforting for most people). Then cover your eyes and settle down.
Gently, place your hands on your upper belly and chest or side of ribs - being sure to keep elbows on the floor and shoulders relaxed. Now, feel the stability of the floor beneath you and settle into it. Begin to notice your breathing. Notice the body settling down. Encourage it by making any small movements to get even more comfortable. Then return to your breath.
Gradually let go of other times and places and bring more and more attention to your breathing. Catch the wave of the inhale and exhale. Now, steady the breath so it becomes more even, quiet and comfortably deep. Keep settling and riding on the wave of the breath.
Slowly so as to not disturb your quiet, reach for the sides of the blanket underneath you and wrap yourself in it as if Mary were offering her cape. If you forgot to put a blanket underneath you, imagine it.
Sense yourself breathing and resting, Perhaps imagine you are in the safe darkness of the womb… held. …Sense the light knowing it is there among the darkness.
Now lead a brief Body scan -Bring awareness to each of these parts. (Reader: pause for a few breathes between each part). Sense your head and face, soften there, settle your neck and shoulders, soften your ribs and upper back, bring awareness to your lower back and notice how it feels here in this position. Then come to your belly and soften with each exhale. Sense your lower belly and buttocks. Notice your legs to your toes. How do they feel lifted like this? Now gently return back up the body to your breath.
You might feel the weight of gravity above you. Mother Earth’s embrace. And feel or imagine the cape beneath you, wrapping you in love, kindness, the sweet strength that only Mother Mary can give. Let it help you soften and release tension, worry, busy thinking, fatigue.
Can you rest in wonder?
Perhaps ponder what is growing in you this season? (pause in silence)
READ Psalm 139:13-16
You created my inmost parts; weaving me together in my mother’s womb. I thank you for that, for I am awesomely and wondrously made. Your work is subtle and steeped in wonder; I know it well.
My body was not hidden from You; You gave me shape in secret recesses of the womb, You knit me whole in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed limbs; and You knew the deeds I could do even before there was an “I'’ to do them.
Here is a poem by the middle eastern mystical poet Rumi: The Universal Soul met a separate soul and placed a pearl on her breast: Through such a touch, the Soul, like Mary, became pregnant with a heart-ravishing messiah. (pause in silence)
Return to the Breath and gradually deepen it. Sense yourself resting here. Curl and uncurl your fingers; wiggle your toes. Take a deeper breath. Remove the eye cover and draw legs into chest then roll to your side and rest there, then after a few breaths, sit up and pause seated.
Sit up Return your hands to belly and chest; establish the breath smooth and steady. Now, cup your palms over your eyes sense both darkness and the light and begin to breathe more deeply, you are coming back outward now. Notice how you feel.
Come back refreshed, re-membered. Hang onto any insights about being in darkness or held by the Mother of the World.
You might want to write or draw about your experience now. Peace to you.