Saturday, October 29, 2016
Let me lure you with candy and treats. We can slip into creative costumes and alternative identities. Who wants to bob for apples, carve pumpkins or visit a spooky haunted house?! Come play with me. I shiver with the anticipation of dancing with you at this time when the veil is thin between the worlds.
I am Death.
Wait! Don't run away. I promise I haven't come to take you…yet.
Aside from this festive holiday, I know I'm not popular. But consider for a moment what the world would be like if I did not fulfill my promise of taking each and everyone of you. Trust me, it would not be a nice place! You may not like me, but you need me.
At the risk of alienating you further, I want to confess that I not only end lives, but I am also responsible for many other endings during your lifetime. You need those mini-funerals too.
That marriage, job, home, body part, companion, family member, identity/role, car, or whatever it was that you did not want to let go of had to go.
Endings are every bit as essential as beginnings and no beginning comes without an ending first.
Sometimes I like to jump out and say BOO! to give you a warning that that you need to change something in the way you are living your life.
You may then scramble to save a life (yours, a loved ones or a life situation). Your efforts may be temporarily successful. You think you defeated me. I indulge you in that illusion. Enjoy your reprieve.
But of course you know that nothing lasts forever. When I take your hand (or that of someone or something you love) and let you know IT IS TIME, it will be much easier for you if you do your best to accept me with grace.
As Heraclitus pointed out, “change is the only constant.” Even happy changes like births and weddings signal the death of a former way of life. So Life and Death are hand-in-hand throughout your entire existence.
You crave security, stability, predictability and for bad things to NOT happen to good people. You want nothing but kindness, sweetness, sunshine and light. You certainly do not want pain.
This is totally understandable. You are biologically and culturally programmed to crave a safe, easy, happy world. But it would not serve you and, and like it or not, that is not how I work.
There's really no point in resisting this. All that does is tie up your energy in fear or in propping up corpses of expired ways of living, (perhaps telling yourself that they are just “resting” or “pining for the fjords” — like in the Monty Python Dead Parrot Sketch) so that you can't fully LIVE.
By all means, love whatever and whomever is in your world. Live life fully cherishing what is alive for you, even while it is dying. Nourish yourselves and do what ever it takes to preserve and enhance health and vitality. This is your sacred mission as a human - living is what you came here to do.
But just as there are natural cycles such as autumn and spring, night and day, dark moons and full moons, so too are there natural cycles in your lives.
I know it is scarier and much more difficult to accept it when I leap out suddenly and whisk someone or something you love away without warning.
And often I take more than one thing you love at once. Sometimes I take so much at one time that seems truly unfair and more than you can bear.
After you go through the natural cycles of all the emotions associated with loss, you may discover that there are gifts. You may actually thank me. But sometimes you loss will remain an unfathomable atrocity.
I'm sorry I can't tell you all the answers to the great mysteries, but you need Mystery too.
You may hold someone or something in your heart forever, and never cease to miss them, you may move on with barely a backward glance or something on the spectrum in between.
However you say goodbye is up to you and totally fine as long as you fully feel whatever is present for you when the ending comes and then let go with love. Then you will be free to recognize and accept any gifts that may accompany new beginnings.
If you do not believe in life after death in any form, or believe that you will end up in some version of HELL, then the wisdom I have been sharing with you today about new beginnings will not be comforting to you as you contemplate the dirt nap in the pine condo (or whatever other euphemism you prefer).
If you believe that you have only this one, short precious life, then all the more reason to live fully, fiercely, and courageously rather than trying to hide from that which is inevitable.
Whatever you choose to believe and however you choose to live it's not my business. It is yours. And my business is mine, not yours. You do your best to live and die well and I will show up to help you when I know you need me - even when you don't want me.
Thank you for celebrating me on Halloween/ Samhain and Day of the Dead and All Souls Day. This is the time of year (assuming you are in the Northern Hemisphere) when the last of the living things growing in the gardens and fields have withered on the vines and your ancestors faced the very real possibility they would not survive the upcoming winter.
I love how, even in the midst of legitimate fear, they chose to recognize this time with playful rituals and games and that you continue this tradition. Honor those family and friends who have gone before you at this time - they like to know you remember them.
Also feel free to poke fun at me. I love gallows humor and any opportunities to play. I'm really not that scary, once you get to know me.
P.S. Obviously, I (Michelle) am not Death. I don't know how Death would answer the tough questions about senseless violent murders, genocide, slow torturous deaths or any of the other traumatic endings that seems so cruel and pointless. I have a few questions of my own to ask if I ever get the opportunity! But based on my experience with the endings in my life and those of many I know personally or know through the hundreds of publicly shared stories I have heard or read, I feel pretty confident that Death would approve of this post.