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Archive for November, 2010

Long Live Day of the Dead!

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Life is too important to take seriously

~Oscar Wilde

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

~Steve Jobs

I love Day of the Dead. Not just because I love so many fabulous dead people and enjoy celebrating their lives, but because it is the only holiday that joyfully embraces the thing that gives any sense of meaning or urgency to this life. We are not around (in this form) forever so it makes sense to prioritize the people, places, thoughts, ideas, and activities we pay attention to, and find a way to liberate the rest.

Death is inevitable and important. Grief is devastating and necessary. And funerals are a fantastic ritual to expedite the process of release. That’s why for each of the past two years the Day of the Dead has marked the launch of Cemetery Mary’s funeral planning festivities where, with a group of talented actor/singers, we hijacked the ideas of holding a open casket funeral for the dead people, and used it as an event for the living to toss out the dead dreams, dashed hopes and disappointments that may mess with the ability to enjoy our days.

Funeral sing-alongs that offer people jazzy music plus a nice mahogany casket to symbolically release pain, woe, bitterness, suffering, anger, failure, and a full spectrum of nasty personal habits, can be very popular events. Many funeral guests said they got a glimpse at what it feels like to take life’s suffering a little less seriously, which then extended outside the service.

Personally, Cemetery Mary was enthusiastically hurling excess baggage into the casket. And, of course, what happens when we dump the junk? Lots of extra space opens in our lives makes room for lovely, miraculous new growth.

But we don’t need musical funeral events to take stock of what needs to be released each year. I’ve already started a collection of crap I don’t plan to drag into the New Year. I get a little cranky about aging, middle age anarchy of the uterous (ladies, I’m talking perimenopause), and the plummeting value of my real estate and retirement fund. But then I remember that those thoughts, ideas, and distractions get in the way of my good mood so I write them down, torch them (safely), and recite my favorite mantra:

Oh well.

We are always growing and molting simultaneously. Such is life (and death).

Best to let it all go.

If you want help to expedite this process, check out the essay questions below. Then take your written answers to a nice cemetery, bless your answers, set the paper on fire and do a happy dance.

If you are anything like the crowd at our funerals, this is how it will make you feel:

Rest in peace, love, and laughter whenever possible.

Essay Questions:

  1. What is growing and thriving in your life?
  2. Does it bring you joy, meaning, or satisfaction?
  3. If not, why not? Is there anything you can do to change this?
  4. What is dead or dying in your life?
  5. Are you ready to let it go?
  6. If not, list all of the ways it/he/she still serves you.