If our bodies are temples, and I’m not saying they are, but if... just if they are, shouldn’t they be monuments to ideals higher than fear and doubt and timidity? A temple is no place to cower.
If our bodies are temples, and each line and curve and muscle and cell was first a particle in a star, and every piece of this temple has a legacy of evolution and change and adaptation, what a weak tribute it is to live in the shadows.
If our bodies are temples, it is not in the pristine and solemn sense. These temples are messy and full of life, no place for lowered eyes and voices. These temples are not made holy by some archaic ritual with smoke and mirrors. The soft and persistent beating of a heart is the oldest prayer mankind has ever known.
If our bodies are temples, they were not raised to honor some chaste deity. They were not made for society to bend and break in the name of purity and innocence and modesty. These soft temples that give life and receive pleasure and feel pain stand too tall to bow to values so low.
If our bodies are temples, let them be dedicated to our best selves. Let them be places of bravery and boldness, wildness and encouragement. Let these temples be overflowing with warmth, kindness, and unfettered joy. Let these temples be a refuge.
If our bodies are temples, each howl of laughter is a song of devotion. Each time the coffers of our lungs are filled with air which is then released in a burst of joy or sorrow, a soft sigh or a lingering moan, we are singing our praise.
If our bodies are temples, our movements are offerings. As our bodies twist and our heads fall back and our limbs explore the space around us, we are giving to the universe the only thing that is authentically and tangibly our own.
If our bodies are temples, by adorning our skin in ink we are marking moments in time, leaving stained glass images in the walls of our temple to signify the parts of our story we hold most dear. It is an intimate and public manifestation of the most holy parts of ourselves.
If our bodies are temples, their full use is the highest form of praise. These temples are made to be explored and known, every corner and nook and secret discovered and understood and embraced. Clean the walls with kisses and shine the windows with a lover’s warm gaze. To feel the deepest pleasure these temples can provide, to give ourselves over to such indulgent abandon, and to love with our bodies as well as our hearts is a blessing, be it with ourselves or with others.
If our bodies are temples, we must treat them as such. We must inhabit each part and find joy in each action. We must feel love and give love. We must see these temples as monuments to potential and beauty and time. We must know that these temples make things holy and need no outside force to legitimize each action and thought and feeling.
If our bodies are temples, and I’m not saying they are… but if our bodies are temples, we must worship.
Header Image: Harri Peccinotti
About the Author
Bridey Heing is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C. Her interests include travel, international politics, film, and tattoos. More of her work can be seen here.