honoring the process of death

Everything ends. Everything is fleeting, temporary. This feeling, this open wound, this particular phase of the moon — we want it to be the way it is, but it isn’t. It is the way it will be, and will be after that.
Don’t get too comfortable. Don’t get too used to one thing, because it will become another. Don’t worry. You won’t stay as you are, either. This body is not the same one you had a year ago, ten years ago. Have you kept up with who you are now?
What will you continue to teach after you’re gone? Who will have your name in their mouths? What if it is no one? What if you are never internet famous, what if you never run a start-up that is the next cover of Wired, what if you do not leave a patented invention? What will you do with your life if you knew all you had was just your feelings when you create, your connections, your kinetics?
The great divine energy that is all that is loves to experience. The divine loves experiences so much that they have shattered themself into an innumerable amount of beings, each able to feel and see and hear and taste and love in different ways. They are moving through you to explore all there is to explore in your unique form. Do not deny the world your insights.
Do not be so selfish as to keep your gifts to yourself — even if they, too, will be temporary, will end, and may never be what you want them to be.
When something is dying, what happens? A withering, a crash; a crunch, a soft fading. Sometimes, things to do not go between the worlds willingly. Sometimes there is struggle. There is struggle all around, right now, as the old systems are dying.
Rage, rage, into the dying of the light.
Is there struggle in you? What is struggling to die? What should you be letting die with dignity, but aren’t? What wishes to sing itself into the great long slumber?
Me, I am shedding layers built up and I cower feeling the wind on my raw skin. It is hard to believe this is better, that this is where I should be: to look at the hard thing that I know will gut me and do it anyway. And I do it, and I do hate it, and that hate fades, and I have done it. Everything is fleeting, temporary.
Everything ends.
This body, too, will be a corpse.
Merry Samhain; happy Halloween.


actively embracing loss

“Samhain heralds in a terrifying season when we are asked to embrace loss.”

I’m really into dharma talks and recordings of meditations lately. I have a commute now; plus, I’m spend so much time at a computer for the 9-5 job, I do less of the computer stuff I used to do for fun — like read a million articles and scroll through Facebook groups. I’m spending more time resting my eyes.
But often, I still want to engage my brain and relax and learn.
So I’ve been listening to more podcasts, and looking up more youtube recordings, too. This one I’m sharing with you is “Through the Veil,” a samhain meditation.
Samhain (pronounced saah-win) is the witch’s new year, a celebration of the end of the harvest and the calling in of the coldest part of the year. It’s a festival of the dead, and a celebration of all those things we don’t necessarily see or look at directly — the unconscious.
I used to have a shirt that said “this body will be a corpse” in really big letters … I wore it a few times, but I got too many stares. I already feel as though I stand out, I didn’t like the attention it drew.
This culture I’m in doesn’t embrace thoughts like that. I wasn’t taught to honor death, to invite loss, to embrace it, to hold it like a lover. But what if I had been?
The buddhist dharma talks I’ve been listening to lately have a similar tone: an ask to embrace the inevitability of loss. It can be a way to be more conscious both of our grasping for something that does not exist (like stability, and guarantees) and of being grateful for the things we do have, that we have not lost.
There are fires near my home in Oakland. A hundred thousand acres, last I heard, with hundreds of homes burned down, dozens of deaths. I woke up on Sunday night at 2am and asked Hunter, “Do you smell smoke?” I thought our house was on fire, or our neighbor’s house — but it was huge forest fires on dry land 60+ miles away. The smell was so strong — strong enough to wake many folks in the Bay Area. I’m shocked by the loss, devastated by the photos. Some moments in the last few days, that’s all I feel — completely full of loss.
So I try to be grateful for what I have, reaching out with compassion (and money) to support. I practice letting go — of this moment, of this feeling, of this argument. Because everything is temporary. Even this body I’m in right now, it’s temporary. It, too, will be a corpse.
Samhain is an invitation to consider the dead, the loss, and non-attachment. A time when the veil between worlds is thin, thinner, thinnest. We can feel the death part of the life and death cycle the closest.
But also consider this: in this loss comes unexpected beauty, gratitude, compassion, and blooming. Something continues beyond that loss — seasonally, it is winter. And she, too, has blessings to offer.