The dead, the “living”.

It’s Halloween in the states, which I miss. Say what you will about marketing ploys but any chance to dress up and express my creative outlet in recreating myself then seeing how others interpreted that is iNsPiRinG. (I mean, have you seen my last post?)

That being said, Mexico has a tradition on the first of November that while isn’t made to be for dressing-up, there’s still opportunity to.

Day of Dead Self Love
Dressed up for Day of the Dead in 2011.
Z Popovsky Photography.

It’s a death-centered tradition that honors death in a festive way. (Drinks are on Mittie!) and it is absolutely a must-see experience here in Mexico. The Catrina costumes are absolutely stunning.

And I suppose due to the combination of Halloween and death in the air, I began to think about what death has ever meant to me. I believe it’s even more mysterious to us than Love is. I have never spoken to someone who has been “on the other side” only to come back, but I would be curious to hear different accounts of what people interpreted of it happening. Was it simply like being asleep? Was there any awareness?

I myself, to not feel afraid of death. Seizing to exist doesn’t scare me, since I understand that fear itself is ego, and that the death of me would mean the death of ego. Fear would no longer exist. Pain doesn’t exist. Suffering doesn’t exist. So death will be fine. If it isn’t that, then I can’t imagine what it is, and that doesn’t scare me either.

It’s the dying part that scares me.

But more than the dying part, it is the not living that scares me. We all have the cliches that stuck with us for one reason or another, mine were all that had to do with “live for the now” and “forget the past” and I made all my decisions in a way that I could avoid regret at every cost. Making mistakes was one thing, but getting to the end of my life and looking at it with regret was unacceptable. The problem was, I couldn’t control how long I was going to live either. Or other aspects like go deaf, blind, lose function in my legs, etc. So “seize the moment” became, in essence, how I lived. Every moment of my life, I should be doing what I want to do. Because maybe the next moment, I won’t be able to do that. And I would hope that I would be able to navigate each new experience in my life in a peaceful way, that I would find new things to be grateful for no matter what. And that if I died, that in the moment that my life flashed before my eyes, I would not feel like I hadn’t said “I love you” enough, like people wouldn’t feel unloved or unappreciated. Like there was no regret.

I do have serious issues with the thought of anyone immediate to me dying, only because I have ever experienced death in such a distant way. In other words, every time I’ve experienced death of someone I knew, it was someone I was already distant from me anyway. The lack of them in my life didn’t mean anything, and so instead I mourned for those who did feel the loss.

The first time that I experienced death that personally affected me was, ironically enough, with Robin Williams. I had grown up with through his movies and comedy skits and had projected a lot of what I needed back then in a father figure on to him.

I mourned, for myself, for the first time ever with his passing.

But even in his death, I found lessons about life. My maternal grandfather, when he passed, also taught me a lesson about being alive and letting others in through a song he sort of kept bringing around him when he knew death was near.

It always comes back to the same thing, make sure you’re living. Make sure you’re loving others, and letting yourself be loved. Make sure you are loving yourself enough to allow yourself to go for what you want.

A nurse once told me she had been with a lot of people in their last minutes, both young and old, and that when they shared their regrets with her, they were always different, and very personal…things along the lines of missed opportunities, mostly people not knowing they had been more loved. But the one thing she never heard? “I wish I made more money.” And yet we spend our lives saying that. What are we going to say when we know death is near, vs. what we are saying on our day to day? Death brings wisdom, what would that wise us say to us now?

I am not sure where this was going friends, only that there is an on-going conversation in my head about what it means to live, how the only death I fear is the death of my ambition, of my drive, of my awareness, of my strength. And I want to make sure that I am Living. At all times, that I am truly Alive, that I understand what that means to me, that this is the only opportunity I will get to have these experiences under this awareness, that this is, for the time being, “all I know” –and they say to write what you know so this is my story. It’s got a thousand and one chapters, and I plan on writing them all before I beat this level and go to the next one.

Won’t you come with me? Let’s be Alive.
~xo!mj

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