travel is therapy. that's my story and i'm sticking with it.

This time next week,Andy and I will be strolling the streets of Budapest. From there, we'll go on to Vienna and then Prague.  

A couple of weeks ago, I told you I'd been on John Robinson's podcast.  John and I talked quite a bit about my personal struggle with perfectionism, and toward the end of the show he asked how I intended to work on my perfectionism this year.  I said, "I don't know!"  

And then I realized, we're traveling just for fun.  We're going with a couple of maps and the Rick Steves guide, to three new-to-us countries.  We don't speak Hungarian, German, or Czech.  Things will no doubt get interesting in ways I can't predict. 

Based on our experiences in Italy a couple of years ago, I'm guessing that distances and directions will be misjudged, trains will be missed, and wandering will commence.

In essence, what I'm telling you here is that I need this trip to Eastern Europe to practice un-perfectionism.  It's therapy, y'all.  

I was thinking this past week about how we can do great cognitive work, but unless our bodies and our hearts are also engaged in the healing process, we're going to get stuck.

We were pretty heady in counseling school.  Lots of theory and best practices--and those things are all good. I really didn't hear too much about the necessity of our bodies and our relationships in healing, though.

Actually, the Christianity I grew up with is almost exclusively about the head. Primacy is given to what you know and believe.  If you think the right thing, your life will be right.

To be honest, I don't think this kind of religion is what Jesus showed us as he touched and healed and wept and raged his way through life.  

I think that brainy kind of religion is a lot more about Greek Stoic philosophy than Jesus.

I get it, though.  It's easier to be stoic than to deal with emotion.  If you can slap a verse on somebody, you don't have to engage with the real mess of life.

If the person doesn't believe adequately enough to solve their problem, that's not your fault.  You can move on and leave your neighbor in the ditch.  You told them to believe right.  They didn't.

But the thing I've learned from my clients is that sometimes all the best cognitive work in the world is not enough.  

When you've been beaten and left for dead--physically or emotionally--a Bible verse is not the answer.

Because we are not just a brain, you guys.  

God made us with bodies, and what happens to us happens to our bodies.  

We can't ignore our physical selves in the healing process.  We have to attend to what our bodies need.

And God meant for us to live in community.  Remember the first not-good thing:  not good to be alone.  

What happens to us happens in relationship.  

We get hurt in relationships, and we get healed in relationships.

For me and my perfectionism, it really is good to go someplace where things won't go according to plan and where I'm not competent in the language, the food, or the transportation system.  That's good body-work for all the stuff I think about being vulnerable and real and learning from failure.

And, I get to have that experience of un-perfection with my favorite person, who will love me even if I come a little unglued from time to time.  That's an experience I need like vitamins, a regular daily dose.  

Somehow, knowing that it's going to be okay even if I come unglued...helps me be okay without losing it quite so much.  Funny how Love works that way.

What does your head work look like right now?

What about your body?  How can you meet its needs?

And your heart?  Where are the healing relationships for you right now?

I won't be blogging for the next couple of weeks, so I'll leave you with a new animation about that head-body-heart connection, a great quote, and a song that's everything I wish for you today.

"Until and unless Christ is experienced as a living relationship between people, the Gospel remains largely an abstraction. Until Christ is passed on personally through faithfulness and forgiveness, through concrete bonds of union, I doubt whether he is passed on by words, sermons, institutions, or ideas."  Richard Rohr

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