My body is a temple

Dear You,

A few weeks ago, I wrote to you about my commitment to self-awareness, “#40Days“. The challenge will ends today with an abundance of chocolate and the gathering of loved ones. I’ve enjoyed this time of self-reflection. I committed myself to regular writing, meditation and yoga. I found that the time I put aside helped me to see more clearly into the busyness of life that came in between. I still felt emotions that I did not understand and I definitely got caught up in taking on too much so as not to disappoint people. But, I knew that I could return to my practice whenever I needed to. And this regularity, this alone time, gave me space to be with myself however I was.

In celebration of the closing of this time, I’d like to share one of my favourite poems with you. It is a poem I wrote titled, “My body is a temple”.

When I was a child
I was invaded by non-believers.
Holding kerosene and matches,
They bashed through my doors,
Determined to burn me down.
.
I remained standing,
But I felt hollow.
My insides turned to ash.
My heart burned like acid.
I lost my appetite.
.
From the outside, I looked weaker,
Sadder,
A little bit smaller.
I turned away anyone who came
Searching for peace within my walls.
.
Joyful songs
And children’s laughter
Became a distant memory.
Sometimes I’d try really hard to remember,
But flames and my laboured breathing
Were all I was conscious of.
.
Night after night,
I sat alone.
I prayed that someone like God
Would come along,
Take me into her restful arms
And hold me.
I wished that I could cry to her…
Scream and choke on my tears.
I wanted someone to see my pain
And for her to tell me,
“It’s going to be okay.”
.
This never happened.
Each passing day of disappointment,
I took as proof of her non-existence.
Maybe she just didn’t care as much as I was promised she did?
If God existed, God was cruel,
And unforgiving.
.
I was the one who left my doors open that night.
I was the one who wanted to be admired.
I was vain.
Despicable.
The fire was my fault.
.
One night, I just couldn’t take it anymore.
I lit a fire in my crypt
And quickly, it spread.
The flames feasted upon my insides:
My paintings, my curtains,
My pews like fire-logs.
.
They scorched the roof of my mouth.
I tensed. I tried to contain
This torturous, suffocation.
Splitting, like burning swords
Ripping through my skeleton.
.
Villagers gathered in awe.
I realised, I was growing distant from my temple.
I could feel myself burn
But, somehow, the fire was no longer mine.
I was floating,
Sort of looking at myself from the crowd.
.
My temple was raging.
Flames burst through stained glass!
My walls crumbled
And my chest swelled up with
Overwhelming misery.
.
“Please! Make it stop!” I pleaded.
But no one heard my voice.
Mesmerised by my flames;
Some cried. Some comforted. Some just stared at me.
.
I realised in this moment,
That I was going to have to accept the fate that I had willed.
And I wondered,
How could something that looks so magnificent
Have felt so desperate?
How could something so pitiful be so abundant
At the same time?
All these years, I was certain I was broken;
Powerless to claim my right to life.
.
I watched the flames
Rise to the heavens.
Something God-like
Was inside my temple.
.
All this time,
I was sure I was her abandoned child;
Shunned because I deserved punishment.
Could it be that I was too dependent on her approval?
.
Air surrounded me,
And I did not breathe deeply.
The heavens rained
And I chose not to drink.
I hid from sunshine,
And I turned away visitors.
I was certain I needed her to heal me.
But maybe… I could have done it myself.
.
.
With love,
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