Life. Death. Love.

“Nothing can happen more beautiful than death.” – Walt Whitman

It is always hard for me to wrap my mind around why people are so afraid of getting old and afraid of death. After all, it’s going to happen to all of us. I can appreciate the wanting to live a good long life- free of disease. But why try to slow down the aging processimages? Why not accept the inevitable— and actually use it to create a well-lived life?

We started to die the day we were born.

When people first meet me, their initial thoughts are usually that I am a dark and mysterious girl with a morbid fascination. After all,  I make jewelry with vertebrae (human and animal). I paint animal skulls. I post images of death in all its forms. My home is decorated with all things death-related– skulls, skeletons, bones. My life is dedicated to the dead.

I have been fascinated with death since childhood. Being born on November 1st, it’s hard not to fall in love with images of death! My birthdays were always filled with bits and pieces of Halloween and All Souls Day. My work with dead goes back as far as I can remember-even within the realm of imaginary friends in childhood.

As I grew older, I began to realize that my life was destined to be entwined between the realms of the living and the dead.

Am I obsessed with death? No.

Do I venerate death? Yes.

I have never been afraid of the concept of death. I understand why most people are. It’s frightening to think about the unknown


I find death comforting. We are all going to end up there. Death is also the one thing in life that does not discriminate; Death does not care if you are rich, poor, what race you are, where you are from, who your family is, what religion you practice, who you pray to. Death is a bit of coming home after a long journey. For me, death is like a waiting lover. Open arms and ready to dance. Morbid? Not really.

My relationship with death has made me love life because Death is humbling. 

When I work with bones–I find it an honor. To hold something so sacred that ones supported the weight of a living thing is a blessing. When I work on a piece, whether painting on a skull or entwining vertebrae into jewelry, I think of what animal once owned those bones. What type of energy that animal had. Where it lived, what it did. I reflect on the essence of the being.

When I work on human bones- its an even greater honor. I think of the person, who they may have been, what they may have done. When I hold a human bone in my hand, I think of my ancestors– of all our ancestors– those who have walked this earth thousands of years before now. Its a sacred honor to me to hold those human bones in my hand.

Imagine if someone told you you had three days to live. Would you really live? Would you break the rules? Would you take risks? Would you be a kinder person?

This is why I love death. It made me learn to live my life with no regrets. I always reflect on the choices

I made, chances I took…things I have said– and I regret nothing.  I am getting older, I am learning that time goes by fast. Age is inevitable. But I have every intention of living my life my way.

In honoring and understanding death- I have learned to appreciate life. Death has humbled me beyond words. Working with and having human bones in my life is one of the greatest honors I could ever have. The dead remind me to live. REALLY live.


So yes, maybe in some strange way- I am obsessed with Death. But its an obsession of absolution. I know that someday I will be like those bones….that will be all that is left of me on this earthly realm. I have no fear of that.

 

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The Dark Side of the Moon: When the Light Fades

There is always a light and dark side to everything in life. And for those of us with depression, the dark side tends to be the most prominent. I have battled depression most of my life, with an attempted suicide at age 14 followed by panic attacks later in life and then several shrinks. I finally found a therapist I liked and from 2009-2013 I saw her and a psychiatric Nurse Practitioner during the darkest hours. I am very open about having clinical depression because I have to be the voice for the thousands out there afraid to talk about because they are afraid of being judged. In 2014 I was doing great—so great my social worker decided that she only needed to see me on as needed basis and my NP tapered my meds. I was feeling on top of the world.

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Then, I recently, and abruptly had a life change. Within two weeks, my boyfriend and I were packed up and heading to Arizona. There we were on a Saturday night enjoying some wine and sake listening to some old school tunes in an apartment I lived in for 15 years to suddenly packing boxes on Sunday, renting a U-Haul and driving 2300 miles away from the only place I had called home. It happened so fast I had no time to comprehend what the hell just happened. The whole cliché of having the carpet pulled out from under you—is serious shit.

Here we are in Arizona and the adjustment has been difficult. We went from a major city to a new town. We know no one. Have np physical support system here and are basically fending for ourselves. I have to find a job pronto to make sure we can pay rent which means finding meaningless work to pay the bills.

And what happens but that the dark side appears. I woke up one day in tears. I was crying to the point where I couldn’t stop. My depression had returned. YES—the move was the TRIGGER—but not the reason.

People who don’t have depression don’t understand what it’s like. Imagine that you are just moving along a bright sunny day when suddenly someone throws a pitch black can’t see shit bag over your face and never ever takes it off. It’s like that. A dark cloud that just doesn’t go away. And thoughts-bad thoughts come in your mind. And YOU CAN’T HELP IT. It’s just there.

I have had so many people tell me it’s the move. To give it time. To find joy in the things around me. Believe me…I am trying. We have gone to canyons, creeks, walked, enjoyed the beauty of the place—but my lack of happiness isn’t with where I live…it’s chemically going on in my brain.

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I think that’s hardest thing about depression–people think it’s an external thing that can be “fixed”–when it’s a chemical thing that can’t be fixed just “adjusted”….and I appreciate everyone’s helping…. but depression can’t be fixed with a walk or giving my move time…if it were…I would be walking all day every day and loving every bit of Flagstaff. It’s hard for people who don’t have a clinical diagnosis to understand that depression is not always due to outside circumstances. I appreciate everyone’s kindness and offerings of advice during times like this, but want I everyone to understand that it’s not going to “fix” what’s happening inside my head. I can’t just flip a switch and “be happy”—nor can I flip a switch and decide that all the chemical mishaps in my brain will fix themselves.

Being supportive is awesome. Being able to just be there—and listen—is even more awesome.

Cominando: The Walker

I believe, truly, in cosmic intervention–even when said intervention comes in the form of disruption, chaos, deceit and selfishness. Sometimes cosmic intervention–is not kind and circumstances arise that literally force you onto the path The Universe wants you to take. But when The Universe decrees something–it is to be so. The Universe works on its own terms and has its own methods. And even though you know you are going to make a change, The Universe will make the change happen when it is supposed to happen–not when you want it  to happen. So yes, its good to make plans, but not concrete ones, because they are always apt to change.

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One of the biggest lessons I have learned over the past few weeks is that, when you have nothing to lose–it’s often the BEST time for changes. You do not need to hit “rock bottom” or be irresponsible to have nothing to lose. But when you realize that you have exhausted yourself — spiritually, physically and mentally— that’s when you realize that you have nothing to lose.

I realized that I had nothing to lose a few months ago. I was in a job that was going nowhere, not happy  with my living situation, and was feeling spiritually fatigued. My loves and hobbies did not give me the joy that they once had. We were planning on moving in August, but then, The Universe decreed it was time for us to go now. It wasn’t a pleasant, and it left me feeling a lot of anger and hatred toward several people (something I have finally gotten over after realizing you can not change a person–or people–and that sometimes cosmic intervention comes in unpleasant forms). We decided, it was time to go.

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I decided to literally up root myself. After living in the same place for most of my life, I decided that in order for me to reconnect with everything important to me, I needed to move forward–take a leap of faith– close my eyes–and free fall. We packed our stuff in 2 weeks, found an apartment and decided to move cross-country to Flagstaff, Arizona. As most of you know, I had a profoundly deep experience when I went to Sedona, AZ in 2014. It was the first time in my life that I was somewhere where I felt that I belonged. And so here we are….

I am starting a whole new life. Like a flower that has been uprooted, I am being replanted in a bigger space with love, life and the ability to blossom like I have never done before. I am walking a new path, in a new place, filled with new bright adventures. Reinventing myself. Cracking out of the egg. Flying out of the cocoon. I feel–free.

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And of course it doesn’t come without fears. Fear is normal. I am starting from scratch, a whole new life. And it scares me. But of course, I know if it was not meant to be The Universe would not have delivered it right now. But it did.

Taking leaps of faith are scary. But with a leap of faith–only new beginnings can occur.

So if you have nothing to lose–I highly recommend….closing your eyes, free-falling and taking that leap. There is no backward..you can never go back. Only forward.

On The Longest Day of the Year……

I find myself missing a lot this Summer Solstice.

I miss being able to celebrate today with people of like mind. I miss being a part of spiritual group. Something consistent. Having a sense of a “family.”  Spiritual “communities” now are always full of egocentric people playing the holier than thou card. Or are to out of range that while their intentions are good, their feet are not firmly planted on the ground. Being spiritual and not religious–that’s a hard thing. There are no “churches” for Neo-Pagan Shamans. We are either solitary or we find other like ourselves.  I have tried starting my own little group. Trouble is, its a lot of work to write rituals and get a group going. Its a lot to find people who want to get together regularly.

I miss my family-in the backyard, with my dad cooking on the grill. Eating dinner on the back porch in the summer. I haven’t seen my parents in 3 years. My relationship with them has gotten better–mostly because I have worked on myself–and realized things I couldn’t accept before. I miss old friends. I miss silly conversations. I miss nights out. Creating silly memories. 

I miss the feeling of feeling like I should be normal. I am not normal. I will never be normal. Its not in my life to be normal. But sometimes, it was nice to wake up and think, “yes, I am just like everyone else” ~ even though I know that’s a lie. I am not like the regular folks out there. I am not a traditionalist. I never will be.

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I will never feel totally stable. I am always seeking. I am a seeker. I will always be searching. And sometimes searching means introspection and acceptance. It means realizing that in what you let go and miss the most — there are things gained. Life, I think, is much like having a good book. Sometimes, you like to re-read chapters and remember the chapters–and see how the characters enfold. How they grow chapter to chapter.

I have a had a lot of changes the past few years. I have shed my skin so many times its hard to keep track. And while I miss a lot of things, I have gained a lot. But I know, that I will always feel like there is something missing.

And I am always going to be trying to find it—whatever it is.

 

The Illumination of The Universal Heart


Its Beltaine today. The Wheel continues to turn and we begin to reap what we have sown. Sometimes, the seeds that we planted no longer blossom or just refuse to bloom. Sometimes, the seeds that we planted shoot up to the sky and embrace the light and warmth of the beautiful star shining above us. 

In the end, regardless of whether our seeds bloom or not, we do, eventually, reap what we have sown. We must be humble ourselves and accept the choices we have made. In the end, they are our choices. The Universe may have plans for us. The Universe always lays before us its desire for us. It already has our destination mapped out. The Universe wants us to have balance and happiness. However, our choices and free will ultimately lead us to the road of the journey we must take. The Universe has the map, we just have to figure out which route to take.

 

There is an awakening that will ultimately occur in our lives, when we realize that everything and everyone is connected. Despite how big the world may seem, in the end its small. We are a small planet in a big expanse of Space. Everything is in balance. The Universe keeps everything together. The Earth rotates. The moon keeps us in alignment. The Sun illuminates our sky and sustains life. Our galaxy is connected to everything and everyone. 

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Regardless of how things turn out–there is always a reason for what is occurring in your life at this moment. The people, the events, the journey. It’s all occurring for a purpose. Even if that purpose is to teach us strength, or how to find the light in the darkness. Everything and everyone is connected. The people in your life may come and go–but they entered your life for a reason. The happiness and tragedy that encompasses life is always part of the plan. There is no such thing as “failure” ~ only lessons to be learned. Only new roads being laid before us. 

Its an understanding and awakening to that single idea of The Universal Heart. We all are ONE. We all beat as ONE in the grandiose scheme of The Universe. It doesn’t matter if your rich or poor, white or black, happy or sad. We are all from its stars. And as the Sun continues to shine, and our Earth continues to move, we learn that eventually, we do really reap what we have sown.