you and me

The Labyrinth: A Series of Art. {Part Nine: Our Body, Our Temple}

{Photo credit: Kristi Stout}

“Is this dog poop?” said the neighborhood kid, Georgie, looking appalled, when my mother placed a cookie in his hand that was sweetened only with honey instead of sugar, and made with carob instead of chocolate.

Don’t get me wrong, it did really look like dog sh*t. But it didn’t matter, I thought they were yummy. Mind you, this was the mid 80’s, when people had big hair and fake shoulders and wore pants that looked like sparkly circus tents.

So carob-honey cookies just fit right in with the times, which I remember as being playful, neon, and filled with interesting things like beta cassette tapes, Califones, and the infectious music of Michael Jackson.

I segue with this story merely because my mother always taught me that health awareness, eating right, with the intent to prevent, was the most important thing we could do for our bodies, and from my perspective, she was on the the cutting-edge of this health movement. Ayurvedic and holistic, before these were even common words in the mainstream vocabulary of the U.S. in the 1980’s.

My parents were not hippies by any stretch of the imagination, but my parents were entrepreneurial professionals, exploring health concepts before gluten-free and veganism became common words and phrases. Perhaps it was the fallout from the hippie movement of the 1960’s that had adversely inspired them.

But as far as I knew in the 1980’s, vegetarianism was unheard of in mainstream America, and my mother was experimenting with these concepts long before kombucha or tofu could be found on just any mainstream grocery store shelf.

Perhaps the dog-poop cookies weren’t a raging success, but there were many other things that actually took hold and graced our consciousness on a larger scale in that era, mainly ideas of  making the body healthy — this, in the age of Jazzercise and mainstream gym chains (which did not really exist before Jane Fonda) taking hold of America in 1983.

I feel this was the first time society was looking at Self in a collective way.

To begin this part of the labyrinth’s exploration, we have Our Body. It is essential to the Divine, as it houses the Divine spark, which is why taking care of the body is a sacred task. My body is my temple is not an uncommon phrase, and for good reason. There is truth in it.

We are meant to be physical here, and that concept is in plain sight. Every day, in the mirror.

This world is made of tactile, feeling, experiences — themes and things that require us to be in our body and having experience. Simply being aware of this, I feel, unites our Divine spark with our physical being. It embodies a concept of knowing that we are in this world, but not of it.

We are proverbial visitors here, that is to say, Divine sparks having a physical experience. So I want to implore you to embody your physicality in whatever way, shape, or form, because it is beautiful and essential. It is my belief that when we do this wholeheartedly, it opens a pathway to the kingdom of heaven which is right here on earth.

It is a divine paradox and powerful dichotomy which requires us to ground in order to lift, and must utilize a mentality of embracing both sides of one coin. And thus far in human experience, I have found that very few can accept paradox.

But there is so much in life that is paradoxical.

In this world, I have seen so much of a depletion mentality — a way of depraving, repressing, escaping, hoarding — and I’ve found that all of these things are really bad for the body, whether it’s food, emotion, or pleasure senses.

If you deprave yourself of any of these things, or repress them, or even abuse them with over-use and hyper-stimulation and/or over-indulgence, it has a negative effect on your body, which affects the mind, which then affects the spirit (the Divine spark).

Emotion is energy — emotion, energy in motion — which should not be taken willy-nilly. If energy in motion is repressed, thwarted, or stopped, or even carelessly fed, it’s still in motion and will lodge itself somewhere. This, over time, yields an adverse affect.

Think of a termite, those silent little devastators that over years and years of time can destroy a building’s framework if gone unchecked. We can’t hear them, we barely see them, yet suddenly you have a support beam that buckles, leaving you without a roof over your head. This is how stuck energy behaves.

Our body is amazing, and it is affected by energy in motion (emotion). Energy is entirely real, and it will go somewhere if it’s not expressed in genuineness. Usually that means straight into our body, and gets stored there, transforming into something that makes dis-ease or acts out in a dis-eased way (terrorism), because it must go somewhere.

The answer to energy in motion? Feel it. Don’t repress it. And, like all the conscious music festivals of the times express, Leave no trace.

We need to adopt the same mentality with our bodies. Leave no trace.

Leave no trace of trash or defilement of the natural terrain. Leave no trace of hostile attitude or energy in motion (emotion).

Leave no trace of ill-treatment in the form of high alcohol/drug intake, over-processed sugars, depravation of sleep, and even over-working in high-stress scenarios. These kinds of things harm the natural terrain of the body, eating away at the way our body is designed to protect and miraculously heal itself.

If you do not give it what it needs, it will not give you what you need. It’s a very simple, very loving truth, and you have the power in this regard to co-habitate and co-create (with) your body.

However, our society tells us other things, and we more or less listen (unfortunately). Just stop listening to it. Which I know is easier said than done — we are all in this world, right?

But not of it.

Overall, unfortunately, society has created and manipulated everything to exist as disembodied from our bodies, almost as if on purpose so that it becomes a challenge to find our way back to the Divine relationship we have with ourselves.

It makes us hostile towards not only ourselves but others, and overall creates a termite-like effect with our emotions, and this perpetuates.

I don’t think anything ill is truly on purpose, as much as it’s just ignorance. Something shadowed without light shed upon it.

From the over-processed foods we consume in the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) which neither feeds vitality to our cells, nor helps them regenerate anew, to the over-worked frenzy of our schedules, to the over-indulgence in (and of) our media, the pillaging of the earth as a dead commodity, to even the shaming and abusing (and over-exploitation) of sex.

These things are all connected and interwoven, like a grand tapestry, and in this regard, they are telling a very dire story. Are we listening?

{Photo credit: Kristi Stout}

“Listen for the sounds that resound. Between the spaces where the beat meets the streets and the heart finds the drum — and the symphony is one tapestry — and the sound becomes one… Rhythm connecting every moment to this now…” ~ Goddess Alchemy Project

In so many myriad ways, we are kept from Source. And unless we seek out and tend that garden on purpose, with purpose, which requires work, we remain disembodied, ignorant, foolish.

This work requires us to get up off our butts, out of our conditioning, and do something about it all, with purpose. However, I promise you this work is work that does not deplete you, but brings you back to a sustainable life level and give you buoyancy. Getting grounded in order to lift into the higher octave vibrations of joy and peace.

When work brings you to life, when it ignites a vitality, you know it is holy (wholly) work you are doing. If your work doesn’t bring you to life, it is a clue you may be disembodied, and are in it for another reason — possibly an illusion.

As Deepak Chopra says, “Ecstasy is your original, primal energy. Shed all your labels and all that remains, is ecstasy. Our existence is an expression of love. The only real expression it can have. Everything else is an illusion.” 

Our obsession with this illusion — our epidemical delusion that we have control of it all — has hurt us, and continues to hurt us. A great remedy is to: Plan your joy moments and let life move around those moments. Make joy your priority. Life is too heavy to not make it so (or if you are musical, like my mother always says, “Keep it in the Key of G.”) because it’s the body that suffers when we do not take this into account.

If our body is our temple, why do we continue to defile it?

What a miraculous thing to have — a body to embody.

Far better than any superficial thing that I can think of. Though when you look at what’s man-made, and you look at the source of what made it — even if it was a machine that manufactured it — you find the source of even that, and see that it was a body somewhere in the world that made it. A body that dreamed it up.

There was thought that went into the shirt that I am wearing. Hands that sewed it, a mouth that got fed from it, a body nurtured.

It’s really quite beautiful what we are all capable of here with the right thought.

Georgie saw dog poop, I saw a treasured snack made from something that was natural and welcoming to my body. The way we think is everything.

{Photo credit: Kristi Stout}

This is an ongoing series by Kristi Stout. Tune in weekly for the next chapter in ‘The Labyrinth’.
If her art resonates with you, and you’d like prints, contact her through her website or Facebook.

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Kristi Stout

Kristi Stout

Kristi L. Stout is an artist, mother, and lover. She considers herself a Renaissance woman, in service of Love in its many forms. It is her belief that inside each of us is our own sacred, Wild nature -- a hidden instinct that is not forgotten as much as it is dormant, like leafless trees in winter. It is the part of of us that is connected to all things. A knowing without knowing. The part deep inside that understands darkness is necessary for the moon to simmer silver, and recognizes that even if you’re lost in the middle of nowhere you can always find a sacred somewhere -- like an internal compass pointing true north to your heart center. Her passion project, work in progress, is She Is Wild. You can find more of Kristi’s work here or connect with her on Facebook.