- Haaweatea Bryson
When I die - give me back
I'm driving past bright green lawns. Men swarm over them in electric motors creating neat vertical rows, leaving little indents.
In the center of each row of grass sits a neatly placed bunch of flowers, representing someone sorely missed.
I'm hit with depression right at my heart. I take in the expanse of perfectly controlled, neat turf. My reaction quickly passes with images; coffin styles, all sorts of wood, metal and trim, cemetaries surrounded by iron fences, hymns we sing automatically, but don't really care for, how we dress our dead, and the array of memorial grounds where I've stopped and thought - what an uncomfortable place to be.
I don't mean uncomfortable because it addresses death. Death is one of the most relevant, powerful and transformative stages for us to be with. The memorial represents the epitome of discomfort because it is a 'stage' a platform for denial and niceties.
It showcases our separation and our struggle to digest our own life and death processes. It shows a tremendous amount of fear, brushed over with a new coat of paint. And it supports us to continue feeling this way.
Who wants to die? How can we lean into that in any way? I don't want to become part of that landscape. It's even a bored landscapers nightmare.
Instead would you just throw me into the woods, so plants can wildly send their roots into me, and deer can come and mate right above my head. I want the seasons to take me, to change me, to bear my body and for my matter to matter. I yearn to be engulfed by life. To be wildly devoured by every precious critter that I could never even fully attend to. For the colors to shift, the soil to know my blood, and the rain to sink into my skin. To return to my most primary, primal and fulfilling nature.
When guiding people in the wilderness, they regularly share their fears with me; of the mud, the dark, the rain, camping... It involves letting go of what we know, and our sense of control. It involves reaching in and finding a deeper level of self-trust. To realize our transient nature, and not take ourselves too seriously. To howl outside, now that's crazy? but it feels AMAZING. Especially with other people.
We long to belong.. and we try really hard. Millions of dollars and every ounce of energy to separate ourselves as a species. By trying to belong, we get further and further from our natural roots.
We've created a 'human prison'. Step out of it and expand yourself wider afield. Awaken to the living substance - that is with you, in support of all of you - right now.
With the amount of separation humans have placed between ourselves and 'nature', its surprising we acknowledge our primate ancestry over an alien one.
The human prison is to forget the substance of our livelihood - our precious and transient daily pleasures, being touched and impacted by the winds, sun and elements, our living and dying, our nature.
We ignore our bodies and our earth in numerous ways. In the U.S. toddlers are discouraged from running around naked.
We do our best not to make a noise when we breathe, to not have to talk about orgasm with our partner. We hide our goods, our godliness and our delicious senses from ourselves. It's quite a feat!
Do we really want to control everything? It is much harder to fall apart. To soften. To not know. To wait... without filling in the time. To acknowledge the season you are living now, in your life, your body, your career.. and understand it's not permanent. Not good, nor bad.
I took a grieving dad, having lost a young child, to be with this outside. We are allowed to lose control in the wild. No truth in denying it, it's displayed everywhere you look. And grief is a big loss of control.
Actually no one controls their world. Of course right? It doesn't even sound possible. But we hold ourselves to the attempt. When we try, we create misery; disappointment, despair, drama, denial, frustration.. and always feel a victim. And if your mind thinks it can, it's simply enthusiastic ego.
We do die. Unfortunately for this very moment, it's within a framework that denies death. That's actually the scary part, the disappearing act we have created. Souls don't linger in graveyards at night. When your soul unleashes itself, it is much bigger, more whole, and it knows belonging, far beyond a graveyard.
Have you noticed the gift that can come in missing? Saying goodbye, closing something familiar, endings. It opens something up in you.
Endings, yearning, missing someone or something, pulls on your heart. Like a physical yanking, it hurts. However if we take one moment, one breath without judging it - it feels nice to have... to have experienced it... And if we sit with it longer, it brings tremendous gifts, ground and wisdom directly into your hands and heart.
Can we liberate our grieving process? I'm suggesting we do this in the small moments. Today when something isn't as you envisioned it would be, let it die, fall away, fall apart.
It doesn't go into a locked up box. No! It's recycled. It might come back and be a better fit. It might be growing elsewhere, making love with that other idea of yours.. Watch what else emerges moment to moment. The greatest aliveness (more alive than the expectation) can fruit; naturally, effortlessly, and you can handle it, better actually.
And just give me over to the earth of my body, now! Today, in my living, I invite my senses in full, the pleasure we study, to exist as me.
And later, don't preserve me in a pretty parcel. Please give everything that I am to the vivid and sensual life of the outback, or the forests, or the ocean.
So life itself, can swarm around me and take me into its tendrils, and
devour me with the romance we love to read about in books. The romance that is very alive simply by the butt resting in my chair, and the flutter of colour and light outside my window.
A question for you
What aspect, part of you or your life has been hiding? Afraid of dying before it's even started?
Share your response below.
Then in your own process, acknowledge it, listen to it. Give it the space and time to really breathe. And open to what comes next.
~ In dedication to joy, Haaweatea Bryson