Temple: The Revelation
I was wandering for so long. Traversing disparate landscapes following a thread that seemed never ending. This thread had taken me through hills and deserts and mountains and islands, into several schools and training programs, and into jobs that did nothing to feed my soul. What did I have to offer the world? How could I possibly braid together all of the threads I had been following? To tell the tale of how I, a native Coloradan pastor's daughter, ended up in a massage school in Richmond, Virginia would be a tome, and maybe I will write it someday. But for now, dear reader, I will begin here.
Graduating from massage school and beginning to do bodywork for a living after all my wandering years was like quenching a terrible thirst. I was elated to finally feel closer to living my purpose in offering a skill that felt healing and transformative. My contentment, however, did not last long. I was beginning to see flashes of something else in my periphery, and I felt my spirit tugging on me to expand my vision. I wasn't quite there yet, and I knew it.
I began to be haunted again by my lifelong heart's desire to facilitate spiritual healing and transformation. As a child I had wanted to be a minister like my dad. As a young adult this shifted into social justice work, and then grew into birth work. I wanted to eradicate oppression, to stand in liminal spaces, sit in thresholds, descend into underworlds, and dance with others in upper worlds. I wanted to do all of it.
I am passionate about bodywork, but I was so often doing massage with the physical body as the sole focus, and this did not sit well with me. I knew deeply that addressing the physical body without an acknowledgement of the spiritual, emotional, energetic body was incomplete for me in my mission. Bodywork was only part of the vision unfolding.
Busy always, and somewhat reluctant because of the seeming enormity and vagueness of the vision, I only lightly toyed with the idea occasionally. Maybe I could start an organization of sorts? My own business? I didn't know, but I thought it might be fun to brainstorm names for this vision, and had been doing so for a few weeks when I had a revelation.
I often enter trance-like spaces when I am doing bodywork, and one summer day while in such a state I suddenly felt a staggering rush of energy pour into the top of my head and spread throughout my body. I immediately, right in the middle of this massage, started weeping.
The light of this name began to fill every inch of my being like flowing ambrosia. I saw in a vision the church I had longed for since leaving the patriarchal religion of my childhood, a sacred space to lift up the divine feminine, a place to honor the body, to commune with others, to explore the mysteries of the universe, to heal ourselves and each other. I saw a sanctuary that celebrated human diversity, worked for justice, and cast off shame. I still do not know how or when this vision will materialize completely or how it will shift and change as it grows, but I do know this:
Though I dream of a building that can house all of the work that I want to do in the community and the world, a sanctuary and a sacred space, Temple is not in essence a building.
Temple is the wild untamed heart, and the heart that is wounded. It is the shoulders that are grieved or overworked and the thighs that dance in praise. Temple is the fire of the spirit that compels you to pursue a persistent inexplicable call. It is the wide-as-the-sky opening of the ribcage when you want to transform another being's pain. Temple is the tidal wave in the throat when you speak truth to power, and the earth under your nails when you plant the rosebush. Temple is the trust that you build with another when you are vulnerable enough to ask for help. It is the sacred agreement between you and the one you ask to hold space for your transformation. It is the altar upon which you lay down your burdens and rest in a "great big unsayable love" (Meggan Watterson).
Temple is the womb, is the grave, is the resurrection place.
Temple is the house of everything holy, a dwelling place for your breath, your desire, your longing, your grief, your rage, your wild love, and the love that whispers. Temple is your body, your heart, your hips, your body, your lungs, your pelvis, your body.
The body is the dwelling place of the divine, the body is the "soul's chance to be here" (Meggan Watterson). Your body, your holy holy body just as it is is Temple.
The time has come to turn your heart into a temple of fire. ~Rumi