Week 4

A Blessing for Bodies

by Rev. Nancy Shaffer


May we creatures of bone and tissue

know or bodies well:

the fourth rib, and how it rises

higher than the third, not so high as fifth;

how it feels to the thumb, slowly traced,

and under it, how the heart rests.

May we know that space where

no ribs lie, and unshielded, we bend.


May we know the bottom of each

toe, and that tender arch where

no skin touches ground;

also skin smoothed soft by clothing.


May we know the quick curve of the head

before it sits on the spine,

and the tiny hollow just behind the ear;

the length of the forearm,

lifting food to lips, and how lips become

a circle, waiting—and knowing this,

cease our study of war.


From Nancy Shaffer’s meditation manual Instructions in Joy, published by Skinner House Books in 2002, and available through InSpirit, the UU Book and Gift Shop (