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