Fashion Your Body Temple

JULY 12, 2013
On my way to my 6 month follow up with my oncologist yesterday (all clear by the way!), The Province newspaper headline caught my eye. "100 is the new 85", it read, with a picture of a sweet 100 year old man holding a tennis racquet, happy as can be.

He beat intestinal cancer years back and has pacemaker, but you wouldn't know this man suffered a day in his life by the sparkle in his eye. He attributes his longevity to his healthy lifestyle and attitude, and to his mad tennis game.

This article inspired me because it was a reminder of the resilience and strength of the human body and spirit. I recently read a yoga book where the author spoke directly of our ability to shape ourselves and our lives, from the inside out:

Many wisdom traditions throughout history consider the body to be a temple for the spirit. In order to create a conscious and functional relationship with the body, I prefer to begin with an image that is less grandiose than a temple. A temple is an awesome destination. Going to a temple requires that I leave my home and my everyday life to seek contact with the divine. There are times and places for this journey, moments in life when a pilgrimage to a place beyond home is desirable and appropriate exactly for the separation from everyday life it affords...Rather then a temple of magnificent marble columns and lofty spires, I am inviting you into an image of your body that is more personal, more like a cozy seat in front of a hearth shared with your most trusted friend. The trusted friend beside you is yourself, not the icon of a supreme being, not an authority on mystical transcendence, but your own advisor...

To return to our natural state of being at ease in our bodies entails a personal journey that does not require traveling beyond ourselves to find the means for expanding into our fullest evolutionary potential. To come home to ourselves calls for returning to the original creativity that permits us the freedom and benevolence of spirit to begin with ourselves as we already are...

One story goes that God planted his hands in a lump of clay and breathed the breath of life into his handiwork. If we are to participate with the creative force moving through all of creation, isn't it possible that we have the innate capacity to shape the world in which we live from the inside out?"

- Don Stapleton, Ph.D, Self-Awakening Yoga

The simple beauty of a mud home is a symbol that invites us to a deeper appreciation for the flesh and blood haven of our own body, a coming home to comfortable security of our hut, the cozy shelter within.

Healthy, integrated living is not about creating an immortal body that will never die, but creating a body of light. One in which your own power, beauty and wisdom, that live inside you, ignites, informs and infuses your beautiful, earthen, fleshy, intelligent body.

May you remember your body not as a house that you enter form time to time, but a home, a place that is continuously being fashioned by you to fulfill your needs and to commune with the unfolding layers of your expanding self.

Chantal Russell