Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Urn Awaits

On this night when we traditionally laugh at our fears -- of goblins and ghouls, of things that go bump in the night, of our unleashed selves at that wild costume party -- I am home alone in my dark old house, about to build a fire, watch a scary movie, and contemplate Death with love and humor.

Tonight, through ritual celebrations, people of all ages in our death-fearing culture get to relax a little, and take the tiniest peek at the monster under the bed.

Perhaps what we fear is Life, not Death. If we surrender to Life and live in each precious moment, we have to let go, over and over, and damn, that can hurt.  It's often easier to dull the senses through distractions, but my wish is to completely wake up to the beauty and pain of it all.

Pausing the stream of mental chatter and tapping into essential being is what I have been seeking and studying here for years, especially recently. I want to enter into all the moments of my life, not just skate along the surface in the commentary of my mind and wonder what the hell happened when it's over.

Recently I was given a lovely gift from a couple who has faced Death in many ways. Awareness of our end-date adds a certain spice to each breath we take, and while my friends did not intend that I make this simple urn my final resting place, I think it is a perfect fit for my cremains.

So my very own pink and cream ceramic urn, with gold leaf details and a flock of tiny birds flying behind a fan of pink bamboo, sits on top of my dresser and waits. The dash of grief I feel when I look at it each day is gently teaching me to accept, not fear, my death. A note inside states that it is the future home of Linda Sonrisa Rowland-Jones.

"We love beauty because the mind stops," says Eckhart Tolle, and the wonder we feel in Big Sur brings flashes of serenity, so that we can sense our ability to blossom. The ocean, the mountains, the night sky, birdsong, storms and sunsets, flora and fauna, and the full moon on Halloween combine to create a world whose beauty makes me forget that Big Sur (and so much more) will outlast my physical form. Instead, a powerful awe compels me to fully enter the moment.

And then, there is Death, sitting on our shoulder, reminding us that this, right now, is all we have.  Someday the Reaper comes, and we don't know when. Add Love to these powerful truths and you have what I seek: Presence.

Tomorrow is the Day of the Dead, America's "newest holiday". Hooray! Pick an event in your neighborhood and remember your loved ones who have gone before. Let us embrace our dear Death, our teacher, the one who will lead us into a richer, sweeter Life.

Photos by Linda Sonrisa


Toby Rowland-Jones said...

again, darling Linda, you are so very lyrical and poetic, even when faced with Death!
You are seeking Presence in the most glorious manner - constantly seeking and becoming more fulfilled every day! A tremendous journey, but you are exceptionally well-equipped to undertake it!

Linda Sonrisa said...

Here's a quote from Vivekananda that says so much:
Death is stalking day and night over this earth of ours; but at the same time we think we shall live eternally. A question was once asked of King Yudhisthira, ‘What is the most wonderful thing on earth?’ And the king replied, ‘Every day people are dying around us, and yet men think they will never die.’ And this is maya.

Chris Counts said...

Thanks, Linda, I always enjoy your blog. I am reminded of a passage from one of Carlos Castaneda's books when he talks about death as a vulture that sits on his shoulder, constantly reminding him of the brevity of life ...

Linda Rosewood said...

exactly the right final resting place for your ashes, Linda, but not the rest. For ourselves, we live with death on our shoulder, and we embrace each moment as a oneness with the rest, and at our best, open awareness to this joy right now.

But for my friends, I remember this different philosophy.

Dirge without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, --- but the best is lost.

The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.