a couple of days ago on the news there was a story about an art festival in naxos at a monastery turned into an art gallery. the cross that once sat atop the building has been removed, as has any semblance of religious relevance. my uncle, upon seeing this, started to rant about how disrespectful it is to deface a religious building like that, a holy site. his anger tends to set me off as i absorb energy quickly, so i just tried to be dismissive and agree about how horrible it was.
full disclosure – who gives a shit. a truly religious person should know that hey, a building has nothing to do with your spirituality. buildings are re-purposed for new uses all the time, it’s been happening for thousands of years. it’s shameful that humans need this control over space and things. who are you to deserve this sort of control? other animals realize the temporary nature of things, building nests and damns from materials that will perish, but humans have an unhealthy attachment to THINGS. it is something i’m trying to unlearn, slowly but surely.
a couple of days later we’re driving to the beach and we drive past the monastery-turned-art gallery, and again he goes on about what an atrocity it is. how orthodox christians never hurt anyone. to which my aunt finally retorted – yea, except for the crusades and hundreds of other horrible wars and fights over control, destruction of pagan and polytheistic sites…i sighed in relief. the truth, humans are dicks.
on the way back from the beach they wanted to take me to the temple of demeter. it’s up on a hill, in the middle of the island just abouts. what’s the first thing i see? a fucking orthodox christian church.
now don’t get me wrong, i have no issue with people of faith. i respect people’s right to religious freedom so long as their beliefs are respectful and don’t cause physical or psychological harm to others. but this was too much. i had spent a few days listening to someone complain about disrespectful nature and desecration of holy sites, but the argument was one sided. of course he made no mention of the church being on the site of the temple. there was no point in bringing it up, the hypocrisy of his anger was blatant.
i chuckled at the irony and let it pass. it was but a fleeting moment and so insignificant as the energy at that space is incredible. all ancient greek temple sites are built on sites with special energy that, if you’re at least somewhat in tune with the present moment and your senses, you can feel. this one is no exception.
i walked around the temple, touching the ancient marble slabs that used to house a temple to the goddess of fertility and grain. i touched the marble and felt a calm come over me, which i desperately needed bc i had absorbed my uncle’s anger and resentment and it was manifesting in anxiety and tension in my body. the marble instantly drained it from me.
i lament the need for control and power exerted by us, by humans. there was a time when things were more connected. when people went to a deity to ask for a specific need. where the idea of god was broken up into parts. each entity responsible for a specific good or evil. each one given reverence for their gift. but even then, humans were base, cold, reptilian. always looking for control, always trying to make things mine. in times where i feel this most deeply, i long for a truth that i don’t remember, a world that i wasn’t born into. one where humans lived in harmony with their surroundings – giving thanks to the animal for the sustenance it provides, saying a prayer for the spirit of the plant before it was consumed. tho i may not adhere to such a religious, ritualistic views, i believe in the necessity to give thanks, to give respect to that which sustains us — not to build and destroy and take control.
on the walk down from the hill i saw a little lizard cross my path. i see lizards all the time, no big deal. but, in an attempt to connect with nature more, and to see the synchronicity in life, i looked up the animal totem of a lizard.
the lizard is associated with letting go of the ego, dreaming, and being adaptable. this was my message from the energy of this space. my ego caused me to be angry at my uncle for his close-mindedness. this is wrong. i looked within and realized that i too was being equally disrespectful of his right to belief. if he feels his religious space was desecrated, i should respect his sadness in something that was his was being destroyed.
my ego was pushing me into an us and them, but this is exactly why humans are so horrible to each other. humans and egos are so interconnected. humans are the epitome of an egotistical creature. it is always us and them. but, there is no us and them. there is only we. we have done this to our earth, to ourselves. we have forgotten our connection to the world around us and become so individualistic that we no longer have sight of our connection to each other, let alone to the land, plants, animals, air that sustain us. if we cannot connect to each other, then how can we connect to and care for our home? and more importantly, how can we connect and care for ourselves?
the lizard, as i see him nearly every day, is a reminder to stay connected to my surroundings. to remember that there is no ego. there is energy, there is connection, and there is love. my journey to truly loving my body, accepting my emotions and my mind, this is how i connect. my dreams of creating a sustainable lifestyle, one which is respectful of myself and of my surroundings – this is the reminder our little reptile friend brings.
temple of demeter or monotheistic god – they are one in the same. there is no separation between them. and so i ask, what’s the purpose of creating these unnecessary separations when they only hurt us and the ones we love?