A few years ago I started going to the gym on a regular basis. I would listen to music on my headphones (earbuds, whatever) and walk on the treadmill while my daughter was in karate class. I’ve never been an athletic person and running only happens if I’m being chased, but there was an unexpected side effect from my little workout routine. I developed a new daily practice of listening to my spiritual allies.
I mean listening with the capital “L” here. The big listening. This went beyond hearing the music being pumped into my ears. A god showed up with me at the gym.
At this point in my life as a Pagan I’d not taken on a male deity in my personal pantheon and honestly, I wasn’t really interested in developing a relationship with one. It’s not that I was Dianic, but I didn’t seen any reason for working with male deities. He continued to show up every time I started my workout and the messages were clear. I needed to be more physical and he was the god that would help me.
During my workouts I would get clear communication, like I would from a trance journey. I would be shown insight on the situations where I felt stuck. I was given instructions on how this deity most wanted to work with me and how our relationship would develop. In the matter of months of going to the gym I had developed a relationship with this god that had taken me years of work and study to develop with other Goddesses that I had dedicated myself to.
It’s been many years since that first awkward conversation and that bold deity now holds permanent residency in my personal pantheon, even if going to the gym did fall by the wayside.
This last month I’ve gone back to the gym, almost every day. And I’m discovering that I’m listening in that same way again. It’s not that I haven’t been listening to my deities and allies for the last few years, but this is different. Being physically active shifts my focus. I’m put into an altered state. Working out started as a part of my personal practice to help me be in better shape. I expected to feel stronger and healthier, but I didn’t expect to find my spiritual muscles getting a workout too.
I’ve always felt that part of connecting with deities required letting go of my grounded nature. I have held this belief that I need to release some of my hold on reality on order to connect to the Otherworld. Like my physical self, physical body, was somehow inhibiting my spiritual body, spiritual self.
What’s become clear through my daily practice of exercise, my physical body is my spiritual body. In trying to deny it, leave it behind, or blame my grounded nature for keeping me from having a full spiritual experience, I’m actually working against myself. For me, being physical, being active, actually works as a trigger for my spiritual self to open up. I’m a better listener to my guides and allies when I’m physically engaged.
This makes me curious about others who feel they are ‘too grounded’ or have trouble leaving their bodies. Perhaps the answer is not to try and leave our bodies, but to become more engaged with them.