Soul As Sanctuary
There’s a calling in us to trace how the gods brought the world into existence. We ache to know the unknown. We ache to know we aren’t alone. We want to run our finger over the dotted line and land home. The place where heaven and earth meet can be anything. A mountain, the minaret of a mosque, a column of smoke, a lighthouse, a pyramid, a pole, a church steeple, a tree.
All of these are symbols representing the religious studies term: axis mundi. You’ll find them in Australia, North and South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The Taj Mahal, the Sistine Chapel, Mount Kilimanjaro. You’ll see them when you’re driving down the street. You’ll notice them in your own home and on TV. It’s your Christmas tree and your backyard bonfire. There’s no limit to the number of doorways between this world and the next. They’re everywhere on purpose and the most beautiful example of this is your body.
Think of your posture. Think how much better it feels when your shoulders are square and drawn down the back, when your chin is lifted, when hands hang easy. We did not always walk so upright. The way vertebrae stack perfectly, layer on layer. The way muscle, sinew and bone hug each other. The way lungs and tongue make language. The way hands can pray and hold another. The way teeth know temperature and your throat can sing. The way your lips can whisper. The body is holy.
And yet, we compete with others: she’s prettier, he has more money. We tear ourselves down, wear ourselves out, beat ourselves up: you’re nobody. You’re ugly. No one wants you anyway, you’re stupid, you should’ve known better. Looking outside ourselves for validation and justification causes pain. You feel it in the tightness of your shoulders, the cinch of your neck at its base. You feel your mind frantic when it wakes in panic and starts to race. It feels like there isn’t space in your ribs, there isn’t space where your heart’s home is. It feels like your chest is caving in.
Imagine the flower unfolding. The way each petal lets go to become part of the whole. The way things come to be, matters, the same way it matters what you eat. Bringing forth your future self develops as you breathe, as your heart beats. As thoughts run, you become.
Temples are built for worshiping. The high white slabs of alabaster are placed perfectly. Imagine tipping your head back in awe of how tall they are. Gold doors shimmer in the sun, beckoning. You can hear gentle bells and the sprinkle of wind chimes. Everyone who has ever been kind to you stands with you as you enter. Stained glass and soft leather. It smells like frankincense and myrrh. There are rows and rows of candles everywhere. Each one, a prayer for your happiness. This is the place where your soul lives. Here, you can be on your knees and feel the relief of not having to carry everything. You feel peace. The calm, easy, in and out breath. The expanding chest. Let your inner world be holy, be sanctuary. Let your limbs rest. Don’t require so much of yourself to be worthy. Let your eyes be altar and everything that rests in them be otherworldly.
10 Ways to Embrace Your Soul as Sanctuary
Practice. Understand that you are a developing work of art and you will always be in a state of becoming. Let that land. Stay in a state of becoming. Becoming is the process of coming to be something. We have the ability to influence the something we want to become, but we must be gentle with ourselves and let the becoming be the destination
Yell. If you can do it in the wilderness, do. I do it in my car. Not at a stop light but when I’m driving. As loud as I possibly can. Wooooooooo! Ahhhhhhhhh! We’ve been told to sit still and be quiet. Here, I don’t mean the Zen meditative way. I mean the stifling, contorting yourself into something you’re not kind of way. Let that shit OUT.
Pause. Clean up your mind. When you find yourself comparing, blaming and shaming…Just stop. Just take a moment and witness yourself doing this. Mornings are magical. We’ve been elsewhere while we slept and the space between sleep and wakeful is ripe for setting intentions. Take this time to prime yourself for the way you want to feel. This might sound like: I’m feeling good about myself and my place in the world, I’m feeling grounded and connected. I’m feeling open to viewing myself in a new way.
Get New Information. Fill your head with things you don’t know. Get real curious about anything. Plants. painting, history. Anything. You can’t put new information into your brain and repeat the same thought patterns at the same time. Come to understand yourself as sanctuary. Come to understand yourself as sacred. Come to see the light of the world lives in you. It lives in the trees and the bees too. Did you know, scientifically, the body of a bee is too heavy for its wings? Yet, it flies effortlessly. What heaviness has the world given to you that you don’t have to carry?
Praise yourself. Take every opportunity to notice how you’re doing well. Acknowledge it when you shift a thought pattern. Journal these moments. Keep a document in your computer with all the compliments you receive. Read it often.
Bless Me. Say this phrase. Keep it close. The spot you occupy is literally The Center Of The World. Right now, where you’re standing. You, as a human, connect heaven and earth. Viewing yourself as an axis mundi, as a connection between this realm and the heavens, is both empowering and terrifying. It’s also a way to orient ourselves. It’s a way of understanding our place. Feeling grounded and connected but also far reaching.
Make Offering. Light a candle in reverence for yourself. Simple but profound to make flame in your name. Give respect to yourself in this way. As honoring. Who you are now has value.
Watch Water. See how it breathes. See how it reflects with ease. Notice how it’s not soiled by debris. You’re the very perfect space where heaven and earth meet. It lives in you: the sacred and the profane. Let the contrast between who you are and who you want to be serve a purpose.
Tend Your Garden. Think of yourself as a spider plant. Pieces of you are in all stages: seed, just sprouting, growing roots, big beautiful leaves unfolding. You don’t yell at the flower to grow faster or say to the tiny sprout, make me money! Tend to yourself the same way you would a garden. Letting things move along in their own time and appreciating the growth stages.
Take The Bounce. This term came from Abraham Hicks (YouTube if you don’t know who that is). When you notice yourself in an inner dialogue that doesn’t support you, take the bounce. Shift your thoughts. Get on a different train.
Most importantly…Let’s not be so serious. Have fun with this becomingness. Laugh at yourself. Play music on your ribs. You never again have to look elsewhere. You never again have to turn away from who you are. Your heart is a drum, beating the infinite into existence.