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 Growth of the Butterfly

All of us are on a journey of self discovery–whether we realize it or not. Whether we want to or not. I have always been and always will be, starting new chapters in my life. Life is a book. Last year was the beginning and ending of a very long chapter. Yes, I am happier than I have ever been. I have found my calling. Learned what I want and need in order to grow, and have taken steps to follow through on my dreams. But along the way, I realized, that sometimes the more we love the more we have to learn; that nothing hurts more than holding on.

I have always had major trust issues with people.  I spent such long time fighting who I was and I wasn’t always true to myself. The past 10 years has been a struggle for me. The hardest part of changing and growing-is losing people in your life that you always thought would be there for you in the darkest of times.

I thought I was surrounded by friends who were essentially my “family” ~ friends who I truly believed would be by side regardless of situations. In the end, I only found the truest people were the ones I never expected. I remember at my wedding I had invited people who I considered family. Friends who I was involved with for a long time. Friends I cared about and who I thought cared about me. More than just casual acquaintances, but true friends. Then the day came when I got the text from my ex that he moved out and took everything we had together with him. I came home to an empty apartment-literally void of everything save a few pieces of furniture. Though I knew it was coming-though  I could see the writing on the wall–nothing is real until you see it. The illusion was finally shattered. My life was flipped upside down and I was forced to look at myself and the darkness inside myself that I pushed away.

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Devastated, hurt and confused, I texted, called and emailed my friends. Those who were at my wedding, those who were in my wedding and those who knew me long before I met and married my ex. The ones who I thought were apart of my life through thick and thin. Who I could count on for council, advice, a good laugh or just a shoulder to cry on.

Only three of my friends responded. Only three of my friends showed up at my door to be by side. And after days and weeks went by, only three of my friends even bothered to see how I was. The day of the divorce, only one of my friends was there to support me. None of the friends who I considered true friends even bothered to drop a line just to ask how I was doing. It was like I had ceased to exist. The curtains fell down and I just became another person. That hurt me more than my ex leaving and more than me having to face the darkness alone. I felt abandoned by the people I needed the most. Learning that all these relationships I had were nothing more than shadows. Maybe they didn’t even really exist at all. Maybe I created them – reveled in the idea that I had all these people in my life who I felt I could count on when shit hit the fan or I bottomed out. Everything was an illusion-a dream–gone in a puff of smoke and leaving me standing in front of a foggy mirror. I was involved in “show biz” then–a professional dancer and performing artist. A lot of friends were performers as well. Perhaps we were all actors?

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Months passed and still none of those friends even bothered to just see how I was. It was like they completely fell off the face of the world and I was left standing alone. I was suddenly shut out and shut off. It hurt. It still hurts. Save for my three friends who made sure I was ok. Friends who are only your friends when things are bright and cheerful–or when they need you for something–or can benefit from having you in their life for selfish reasons. TRUE friends and TRUE relationships in your life, are the ones where people actually care ABOUT you. When you are sick, down, going through a shitty time-they just drop you a line to say, “how are you,” or “thinking about you.” I started to delete them from my contacts. They became just more shadows of my former self.

It takes me a long time to forgive. Its something I am working on. But I have had to let go of a lot of people in my life because things were not what they seemed. Its hard seeing someone who you believed considered you family and think “wow, this person didn’t even bother with me when I needed them.” I remember the first time I attended an event and saw some friends who were at my wedding and they didn’t even bother to say hello–in fact, one of them walked passed me to get to the bathroom!

Part of growth, is realizing that not everyone is going to be with you along the way. It was a hard lesson to learn. And painful. It will always take awhile to forgive those people.

Now I am writing a new chapter–with new relationships–and learning to trust……all over again.

The Measuring Cup

Things are things. We cant take them with us when we leave. Yet, people put so much emphasizes on things. Material items have become what defines us. Big house, nice car, great job. The more we have the better we look. The more we have the better society thinks of us.

The most horrible bit is that items become what defines relationships. 

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And the issue with that, is that when its time to let go, we cant. We use items as a form of attachment to someone or something. We find solace in petty things because its easier to hold on to something tangible than deal with the fact that the relationship is over. If you can covet something as meaningless as a measuring cup, because its the only link you have left between you and your past relationship, then you are in denial. In denial that the relationship really truly is over. Its a last remnant of something that was once so beautiful that ended badly. The measuring cup is a reflection of your inability to let go. 

People hide behind things because its easier than facing reality. Life is hard. Sometimes things happen that we could not anticipate. But you cant reach up to the clouds if you are letting yesterdays junk hold you down. Holding on is harder than letting go. Why hang onto items that once were?

It will not change things. Its just a measuring cup.

 

The Tangible Darkness

I am usually a happy person. But I have depression and anxiety and sometimes there are things I can control and things I cant. I usually know my triggers. When anxiety happens or the sadness enters, I try to experience the why and accept it ~ even if its accepting that the chemicals in my brain are a bit out of sync.

But sometimes I have a trigger—and I will do anything to avoid feeling the pain. Sometimes, accepting what has set off my anxiety and dropped me into the deep hole of darkness is difficult. I try my best to stay focused and positive, but sometimes, its to hard. Shamanism always talks about the “wounded healer” and I know I have many wounds (and may to come) over my life time. However, some wounds are deep. Some wounds will never go away. 

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Wounds from betrayal. Wounds from those who turned away from me when I needed them the most. Wounds from someone who allowed others to dictate their choices for them. Wounds from broken promises and false friendships. When those triggers happen–my anxiety elevates because deep inside myself, I feel a sense of loneliness. I am not really lonely. I know that rationally. I know I am loved. Its the feeling that I will always feel lonely–and that’s the irrational anxiety trigger. And there are moments in my life where I often feel that I am on the outside looking in. That I am different from others. That its hard to relate to people. I think if I had to pick a tarot card for myself, especially today, it would be The Hermit. I am in the state of mind of introspection, isolation and reflection. But it doesn’t mean its easy and it doesn’t mean its not lonely. All spiritual journeys, in someway, are lonely.

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Part of this journey of life is being able to look within yourself — even the dark tangible bits of yourself. The parts that you know are palpable. The parts you like to keep hidden, but need to explore. We all have darkness inside us, but some of  us choose not to accept it. Living a lie that we are all full of unicorns and rainbows. If you cant see the bad parts of yourself, how can you see the good parts. And if you cant see both parts of yourself–how will you ever see them in others? Wounds caused by you and wounds caused by other are part of that inner darkness that you must accept and explore if you ever wish to move into illumination.

I both am grateful and sad when I am in this state. I know the clouds will break and the sun will shine, but I also know there are realities within my spiritual journey that I have to face–even the dark ones. I know that during the time of tears and silence, I will gain some deeper understanding of things. I have will have new fuel to keep burning that fire within. 

But right now……today…..I just need to feel.

The Weeping Trees

We all have been hurt by someone in our lives. Sometimes the people hurt us directly, sometimes they do it without even knowing. And hurt—hurts. The past 7 months for me have been an emotional roller coaster ride–albeit, I am the happiest I have been in years. But with my court date for my divorce approaching–I realized the most important lesson I have learned: when someone hurts you–forgive and forget about finding fault.

Relationships are a concoction of things. Like everything in life, there needs to be balance. Relationships are like pendulums. You have to keep it swinging in the middle–to far one way and the relationship is thrown out of balance. This is pertaining to all relationships-not just romantic ones.

We lose ourselves when we get hurt. Trying to find fault in the other person or beating ourselves up for something that “could have” been done. Those annoying “what if’s.” We try and wrap our heads around the reason why the other person hurt us in the first place. It becomes toxic. Toxic to yourself. When people hurt us intentionally or unintentionally—there is no sense in trying to find fault. No sense in perseverating on answers you will never get. 

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Its about the forgiveness. That’s the hardest part. Forgiving someone who wounded you deeply. But, you cant move on unless you are able to forgive. Even when someone has cut your soul so deeply that it feels like you will never be able to breathe-forgiveness must happen. Without that, a part of your soul gets lost. It stays in that place of pain. 

Your soul will weep with pain. You will feel hurt. You will feel confusion. But you need to forgive the other person so your soul can continue its journey and continue to have relationships—to live and learn from.

 

The Importance of Being Important

I am by no means a relationship expert. The past year has been a roller coaster for me-ending with a divorce and then *finally* finding my perfect partner. While I am not a relationship expert, I have learned three important lessons over the course of my “relationships.”

  1. Be important-I know that sounds impractical, especially in the beginning of a relationship, when you are both devoted to one another. However as time goes by-and the honey moon phase diminishes-always make sure that you are important to your partner. By this, I don’t mean by putting yourself up on a pedestal and demand attention. I just mean, don’t be someone’s second. If you are in a serious long term relationship, you have to make sure that your partner respects you enough to make you his/her number one. Especially if you are married. You should never have to play second fiddle to anyone or anything. And being important/wanted and number one means that your partner is open emotionally to you, respects you enough to tell you when things are changing, and  be open to evolving with you-rather than against you.
  2. Don’t look for your “type” – We spend most of our dating lives looking for someone who is our physical type-limiting our view of who is out there for us. I would only date guys with dark hair and eyes. Low and behold, my perfect partner ended up being the complete opposite. If you limit the distance of your net-you will never find the right catch.
  3. Loneliness is an illusion-So many of us feel we need to be in a relationship to fill a void -so we won’t be lonely.  Hand holding is nice-but shouldn’t be an excuse for putting your heart out there. If you are in relationship just because you are feeling a lone, you will find eventually that you are slowly losing yourself and your own independence. We all have stuff to work out-but you have to love yourself, honor yourself and respect yourself before you dive into a relationship. You can be in a relationship and still be alone-and that is a terrible feeling. So make sure that you are the best *you* even if you still have some things to work on. A good partner will help you work on you by being supportive and progressing with you.

 

Keep your heart open, your soul free and that perfect mate will appear. Mine did.

In The Garden of Trust and Change

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” —Anatole France

I was originally going to dedicate this post entirely to the aspect of trust, but with recent events my life, its become a post of change and the trust that follows.

Change is inevitable. We all change. We grow older. We end relationships. We begin relationships. We get jobs. We lose jobs. Somewhere in the world a baby is being born while another person is dying. A marriage is occurring while someone else is in the throws of a divorce. We all change. Change is about transformation. Its about progressing from losses and the gains. It can be spiritual progress, emotional progress, financial progress. Whatever is occurring in your life at this moment, whatever you are feeling or thinking or doing–is sending a ripple of change out into the Universe. All this preparing you for the next step on your life’s journey.

We are always evolving. People fear change. They fear it in themselves, and even more so when they see change occur in someone else’s life. For the simple reason that deep inside, they fear that the other persons change could happen to them. A seemingly happy couple gets a divorce. Someone who once had it all, loses it. Someone alive and beaming with life is suddenly gone. What happens when these changes occur in someone else’s life? The people who fear change the most feel this insatiable need to judge that person. Project their own fears of change onto the other person. It becomes their way of rationalizing how someone’s life could change so quickly.

Change happens.

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And with change comes the ends and the beginnings. Within both a level of trust is either given or taken. Trust is something earned, not something given. We all have insecurities. Trust is a difficult thing for most people, myself included. It takes a lot to trust someone completely. My friendships and relationships become something very deep for me. So its hard, when change happens, and the people you trusted decide its better to judge you than stand by you. We are not responsible for other peoples choices. Nor are we responsible for changes that occur in someone else’s life. Its at the end and beginning of all things, that we learn who will stand beside us when the walls are caving in-or if they are only their when they are going up. Sometimes, its the people we trust the most who walk away and judge. And that is painful. Its hard for others sometimes, to understand what choices we had to make in order to make a change. Its even harder to understand why someone would turn their back on you when you trusted them.

I have this little saying, “weeding the garden.” Its a phrase I use whenever I need to remove something or someone from my life. Its not a bad saying. It simply means that I need to take the old and replace them with the new. Pull the weeds and plant flowers. Sometimes weeding the garden also means re-potting the plants. The people we think are the closest to us are the farthest away. Or the people we hardly know are the ones we  should trust the most. You have to move them either closer to the sun, or more in the shade. You never know how your garden will grow. With all gardens, the trust of the sun and the nurturing of the rain always remains. Despite change, there is always the constant. 

For me my constant has always been my deep rooted spirituality. The belief, that with all the changes occurring in my life, there is in fact, a purpose. Sometimes I cant understand that purpose. Sometimes trust is broken, relationships end and I am left holding the broken pieces. But in my heart, despite everything, is the truth that the Universe is doing what must be done in order for me to evolve. And within that truth, is the recognition that regardless of how people look at me, my choices, my change, their feelings towards me is a reflection of their own fears and judgments. I accept the truth that people are meant to come and go. Things are meant to happen when they are supposed to happen. Its a constant. I trust the Universe and the change that must be occur.

Trust in change, because whether you trust in it or not, its going to happen.

 “Nothing ever goes away, until it has taught us what we need to know,” ~Pema Chodron