This article appeared in the Fall 2002 issue of Spirituality & Health.
On dark winter mornings, for years, I have wrapped myself in a quilt and sat in the stillness for 30 minutes, meditating. But one summer Tuesday, instead of sitting in my prayer room, I rose at 5:30 and got on my bike. The sky was an iridescent hue of mother-of-pearl, and the Midwest was still at bay. I headed for the country beyond and housebound suburbs, and as I pedaled, I drew in deep, slow breaths, relishing the rich organic smells. I paid attention to details — a white cat darting behind a house, roses in vivid bloom against brown wooden shingles, a dog yipping in a backyard, a man in a striped bathrobe sleepily reaching for his newspaper.
My wheels circled in rhythm with my breath, and as I pedaled, I realized I was praying, as if my wheels were prayer beads. It seemed natural — effortless — to recite my mantra with each turn as my tires whirred against the asphalt. The prayerful repetition brought a deep sense of oneness with my environment, of harmony with the world around me, that stayed with me a …
Barbara Bartocci has written about the spiritual journey for national magazines ranging from Catholic Digest and St. Anthony Messenger to Family Circle, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day, and Good Housekeeping. Her book, Midlife Awakening:Discovering the Gifts Life Has Given Us, was published in 1998 by Ave Maria Press.