For Want of a Loose Garment


I must confess, I’m feeling like a bit of a hypocrite these days. My new book Look Up! touts “musings on the nature of mindfulness,” and the closest I’ve come to being mindful lately was the hour and a half wait at my doctor’s office this week.

I have nightmares of speaking at one of my book signings in breathless, supersonic speed, shoulders so tense they look like earrings.

This is not mindful. [ shaking head ]

How I would love for some time to reflect on everything that has transpired in the past six months. It’s been lightning pace since I got back from Texas in April, with barely time to consider what’s been happening.

There is a book! For heaven’s sake! A book!

There have been some amazing connections and conversations since April, too. Intense partnerships, fodder for poetry, milestones and amends-making that would make your head spin!

Quite frankly, it’s making me dizzy — so literally I was at the doctor’s office this week. Turns out shoulders affixed to ears is not only a bad fashion statement, it’s also a pretty unhealthy way to move about in the world!

It never ceases to amaze me how our bodies speak so clearly to us. If one’s brain is full of spinning thoughts, one gets dizzy. If one is carrying a burden of regret and lets it go, back pain eases. If one cannot let go, one begins to hold on — to weight, to pain, to illness.

At a gathering recently, a man I know made mention of the following quote: “Wear the world as a loose garment, which touches us in a few places and there lightly.” Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, I push those words around in my head often these days.

How can I get “all of this” to fit just a little less snugly?

How can I let go of “all of this” just enough to breathe?

How can I be mindful of all that has transpired, but allow it to flow freely, touch me but lightly?

17 thoughts on “For Want of a Loose Garment

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  1. Eph 2:10 We are God’s poiema from this word we get our word poetry…it literally means fabric.. Created to be dwelled in by Christ Jesus, for the purpose of intrinsically good activity.

    My friend just translated this for me from the Greek yesterday, Jen. A gift of synchronicity for us both, whether or not you have faith in Christ. While you have need to be in this place of book promotion this mindfulness practice from Ticht Nhat Hahn might help:

    When you hear the din of constant talk or whatever is causing the stress, view it as the Bell of Mindfulness to bring you back to center, even if for just a quiet moment of deep breathing.

    You probably already know this, but if you are like me, it’s so easily forgotten. I wish you well in every way.


    1. We all need reminders – even the healer needs healing? Thank you for the Ticht Nhat Hahn piece. That’s lovely and so very true true!

    1. One of the things I love about these blog posts, this baring of thought? It allows us to pose those questions, those struggles, out loud. Finally. And in doing so, find a path to answers – or at least recognition of the quest for answers.

    2. there is something very powerful in the voice – our voice – whether spoken out loud, or written out loud. We hear our self and in some magical way, also discover our truth.

    1. Sitting meditation and I don’t agree with each other. My walking meditations are a gift – one I have not been able to make enough time for lately. I must. Mustn’t I?

  2. being aware of the problem is half the battle… looks like you’re off to a decent start! good luck tomorrow! i have something for you… maybe before your next presentation? breathe… relax… enjoy… you have created something wonderful, and people are eager to meet you!

  3. It sneaks up on you, doesn’t it? By Friday when my work week is over, I’m wearing a pair of those earrings myself. Thank God for a good massage therapist!

    1. Amen to that! (I once had a yoga instructor who regularly had to remind me to drop my shoulders in poses. I finally told her “but this is how I keep my head on straight!”)

  4. Try reading your book and meditating on some of the fabulous photos. I’m really not trying to be funny. Pay attention to your shoulders, your jaw, and your breathing. Drop your shoulders, relax your jaw, breathe deep. Chill.

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