Originally posted on my personal Facebook page, I shared these words as I reflected back on Dia de los Muertos this year. For the past 5 years, I had facilitated a workshop in spiritual community for people to remember and share stories of loved ones who had passed away and create mini ofrendas in their honor. These ofrendas were then displayed on a large community altar where the entire community was invited to light candles of remembrance as well. This spiritual practice has been deeply close to my heart every year as I have been fortunate enough to bear witness to the love we share with others in life and in death. The experience of a large altar that takes on a life of its own from conception to a robust creation that then dwindles and withers away always feels to be a a beautiful and poetic metaphor for life's journey. This year, I have taken to nature and the surrounding Fall atmosphere to be held and reminded of the grace in Life's seasons.
This is my original post:
Dia de Los Muertos is my day. It’s not even just a day for me it’s a season. Some years it has felt like that season has lasted for the whole year. Not because my life was surrounded by death or because I spent a lot of time grieving. Just the opposite. Day of the Dead is a time to honor and celebrate life. It’s a day that is set aside to honor our ancestors and the loved ones we have been blessed to share time in this world with. It’s filled with joy and celebration for all that we were able to experience with someone and invites us to set aside the time to remember the dead for all that they were (and maybe were not) to us in life. This time of remembrance is a gift to the living from all of life that has come before us and this profound transformation is echoed to us throughout the Fall season.
This Autumn for me, has been unlike any other that I can recall experiencing before. My Life feels as if it is filled with quiet transformation and subtle letting go into Life with a somber beauty very unlike my usual Dia de los Muertos season. Just days after we would have celebrated Barkley’s Gotcha Day, I am being called to honor his life without his physical presence here. To acknowledge his loss and all that has seemed to follow in its wake. His aging furry companion, Jada who has been lost without him for months, the void left behind by hugs and I kisses I would inevitably have had to steal from him, the trips we would have planned to the mountains just to see him light up and pretty much everything about how two human adults and four furry kids functioned as a family has taken on a different hue since he passed. This loss has been profound for me and just part of this years’ time of transformation.
I have spent a lot of time in silence over the last few months. Crying. Praying. Meditating. Listening for answers and larger questions. And, quite frankly, getting out of my own damn way! I have found love in new and unexpected ways which I attribute completely to the fact that I was able to get out of my way if only for a fleeting moment in time. I have experienced connection, community and relationship in ways I never would have imagined. I have gained so much and lost so many things in life that for one reason or another I never imagined would be gone. Not just physical things, but ideas and beliefs; heartaches that I didn’t even remember I had. Losses that I am grateful for in addition to the ones that have broken my heart. Now, I have landed in the middle of my favorite season feeling called to be with it in a whole new way.
I have been walking through the Bosque and along the river in Ruidoso listening to nature as it gently allows for things to end so that it may go about the business of creating next year’s beauty. I am trying to allow myself that same level of patience and room to grow, knowing that life’s next season is not as far away as it may feel at any given moment. I’m remembering that in this moment all of Life’s gifts are right here waiting for me and I am being summoned to open myself up to them only in the best way I am able. Transformation is never instant and this year’s celebration of Dia de los Muertos for me is one of quiet gratitude for all that I have been blessed to hold in Life up until now and all that I have let go of. My heart is open for the beauty that awaits without ever having to be rushed. Feliz dia de los Muertos dear ones.