Scripture ~ “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town.” Matthew 10:14
Spiritual Focus ~ “We are all just walking each other home.” Ram Dass (1931-2019), U.S. American spiritual teacher, psychologist, and author
Breath Prayer ~ Inhale, Walking …Exhale, together…
Story ~ It was a long day at the hospital: 24 hours on call, 5 emergency surgeries and multiple situations that needed immediate attention. Stripping off surgical gear and PPE*, showering, and grabbing a bottle of water, the doctor headed out of the hospital to go home. Once outside, and before he stepped into his car, he stopped and brushed off his shoulders, arms, chest and legs. When asked by the security guard if he was ok, the doctor responded, “I am just wiping off my day.”
Believe it or not, this is a practice for some who work in professions or jobs who experience high levels of stress related to caring for others. Sometimes the stress is caused by grief that can’t easily be wiped off. Sometimes stress is caused by unavoidable conflict and difficult decisions. We know that our thoughts, our mindset, the way we internalize experiences, can affect our body in positive and negative ways. Whatever the case, the practice of wiping off the stress of your day may help to change your perspective. Simple practices that physically involve the body can offer us freedom from nagging thoughts and help to reset our mind.
The practice of shaking the dust off our feet and moving forward has been a common practice throughout history. In the scripture today Jesus is essentially saying to his disciples, “If people won’t listen to your words, move on! The Spirit hasn’t opened the door yet, but you have done everything you can.” In her opening words during the presidential inauguration, Senator Amy Klobuchar said something similar. She said, “It awakens us to our responsibility as Americans. This the day when our democracy picks itself up, brushes off the dust, and does what America always does: goes forward as one nation under God, indivisible with Liberty for all.”
In the yoga community and in some religious traditions, the practice of taking off one’s shoes to step onto a mat, a holy rug, or into sacred space symbolizes that we brush off the dust of the past and are open to receive God’s holy presence. In this experience, we hope to be tenderly held, nourished, and renewed. Afterwards, feeling grateful and refreshed, we continue our journey, guided in such a way that we walk each other home.
*personal protective equipment