Growing up, we were taught a TON of control through what was perceived as right and wrong. Really, it felt like a super restrictive list of don’ts. If there were Do’s, they were couched in a bit of a Don’t guilt trip.
DON’T drink coffee
DON’T do drugs
DON’T be too hyper or emotional
Your body is a Temple, DO honor God by keeping your body clean.
DO set an example so you don’t give people something to judge our Religion on.
As I was able to drive and make more choices, my dad shifted to a statement I love, “Remember who you are, what you stand for, and ACT ACCORDINGLY.” For some reason, it’s the “act accordingly” that makes me smile. It’s an add-on to the original statement, and you can guess why.
I can easily remember who I am and what I stand for; it’s been drilled into my brain from birth! That doesn’t mean I always chose to “act according” to the rules intended to govern me.
I’ve been adulting outside the parental nest for a couple of decades now, which means I’ve been discovering which “Do’s” and “Don’ts” are in alignment with my inner truth. When I left the church of my childhood, I discovered new interpretations of their meanings, and now I apply these readily. I embrace the opportunity to learn and grow even more;)
One of the don’ts I’ve shifted the meaning of is how I honor my body as a temple and keep it “Clean.” The definition growing up was the food and drink you took in, personal hygiene, and not “marking it.” A tattoo was akin to graffiti on the House of the Lord, upsetting and slightly offensive.
My kids used to ask me about getting them, and my response was always, “When you move out, you’re welcome to do whatever you want to your body. Your scars from adventures are great tattoos that will last forever. And, I pray there is an intention behind what you get.”
When I began teaching others self-ownership and how to change their lives, I knew there were a couple of tattoos I’d eventually be placing on my temple. Three came to mind, very specific and clear in both their designs and placements. They symbolize my journey and things I choose to remember always.
My first was a turtle. Yes, many people have turtles, and I gladly joined the ranks.
Mine is on my right foot. It’s traditionally the side of “masculine” and expansive energy. I typically lead with this stronger, rough, and tumble side, and I had a habit of pushing too hard, going too fast, and draining my energy in the excitement of whatever project I was working on. The turtle came to me with a message as I was pulling tarot cards during a meditation one day. I was struggling with the idea of slowing down and being more present vs. running at full speed.
The message? Go at your OWN pace. No matter how slow it seems to those on the outside, it’s perfect for you. It is also a reminder to give my masculine side permission to “breathe.”
It’s been a few years, and due to my current life experiences, it was time to get the next one.
When a peacock opens its tail feathers, they all look like eyeballs. Each one has a slightly different point of view than the other.
The myth of a Phoenix is that it rises from the ashes.
My new ink is both: A reminder to see things from different perspectives, which I already strive to do, along with a reminder that whatever challenge is presented to me, I can rise above and be better than before.
And yet, there’s an additional depth to it now.
Seeing my mom’s illness from her perspective is heartbreaking and enlightening. To know you’re losing yourself and there’s nothing you can do would be so unimaginable. And yet, this is her experience, and I am here to support, encourage, nurture, and help her along the journey. I will rise from the challenge with new knowledge and understanding. At the same time, I am looking through new eyes.