There are many beautiful, beneficial ways to return to the earth! Human Composting “is an accelerated form of decomposition by which a corpse is placed in a vessel with wood chips, alfalfa, and straw. Oxygen is pumped in to increase thermophilic, or heat-loving microbial activity.”
As it is a relatively new method of experimentation, the cost runs around $5,500. In about 30 days time, the compost becomes a couple cubic yards of EPA approved soil.
Another green burial option is to become a Living Urn. This process uses ashes from cremation to be mixed in a potted tree of choice. Over time, the ashes nourish the tree and provide vital nutrients to it’s growth.
Acceptance is like bending as a reed in the wind. It is the state of remaining supple yet strong.
I think of a Pema Chodron quote: “remember the warrior- a peaceful person who is dedicating his or her life to the benefit of all- should always be a little broken hearted.” She speaks that the goal is to consistently live in alignment within the premise that tenderness keeps us humble and open. Not so much as we are damaged by it, but that we remain soft and vulnerable.
Sometimes I struggle to let my loved ones go, because releasing isn’t always passive and easy: it’s a radical, active love. It is furthering their best interests and nurturing their heart’s desires, hopes, and dreams….all the while retaining my own autonomy, knowing I may not be part of their future.
Romantic love can be messy sometimes, too. It doesn’t always carry the insurance of a parent/child relationship or any other familial or platonic bond.
When two energies choose to dance, they hold between them an exquisite fragility. This delicate creation is a chosen blending and movement of wills. At times, it seems to transcend space and time, and that’s where things can get fuzzy: blurry like being twirled around and around and everything becomes soft and heady. The surrounding world seems to become gentle and light— how it would feel to be immersed in an impressionistic painting.
It can be difficult to slow down to return to the dance after spinning. In these moments of changing pace, I am acutely aware my partner is leading and I must follow.
I will always choose him with open awareness. I will continually make the choice to support and back him no matter what— even if that means he leaves the dance.
My partner is teaching me to love unconditionally and stay open in growth and truth. Looking into his eyes—into his soul, gives me courage to trust his decisions and know my own heart.
I want you to feel free to go, but my heart is still shattering. I cry into the too fast-moving afternoon sunlight. I cry into the painted evening sky outlining the East mountain ridge.
The perfectly layered blues, purples, and pinks are gentle and accepting of this grief. These colors feel right; they are soft and enveloping.
Oh, what will I do without you, my mountain and unshakable force of a man? You say you think I need you to go. You say I must be pushed out of this warm nest. You’re probably right: you always are.
If I can’t see you, will you still be there? Or will you just be a memory for me- a file box to sort through to try to feel you? Will your scent fade? Will you forget me- whenever you get to where you’re going? Our time together was so short.
You surround me now: everything I love and use every day has been touched by you. I don’t have to be brave or fearful or uncomfortable because you’re here now. I cry for what is to come.
I am trying so hard to be strong. I don’t want you to sense how it hurts me to see you go.
Reiki Mantra: Just for today, do not worry. Just for today, do not anger. Just for today, honor your parents, teachers, and elders. Just for today, earn your living honestly. Just for today, show gratitude for every living thing.
Reiki is a healing touch therapy I find incredibly helpful to those who are open to it. Especially in the end stages of life, reiki can alleviate pain, move energy in the body, and help generate peace and calm.
Reiki teaches me to cultivate loving-kindness and live within a state of grace and openness. My personal practice and study of Tibetan and Zen Buddhism helps me understand and practice mindfulness and present awareness. To me, death is something be honored and understood rather than feared and avoided. My spiritual beliefs are deeply interconnected to my life’s work. I feel strongly called to death midwifery in this lifetime.
Someone once asked the Dalai Lama: “Is it possible for an ordinary person to transform his or her fear and despair?” He answered, “Oh yes, it is very possible.” For example when I was young I was always afraid of dark rooms. As time went by, the fear went. Also, with regard to meeting people, the more your mind is closed, the greater the possibility of developing fear or feeling uncomfortable. The more open you are, the less uncomfortable you will feel. That is my experience. If I meet anyone, whether a great man a beggar, or just an ordinary person, to me there is no difference. The most import thing is to smile and show a genuine human face. Different religions, different cultures, different languages, and different races – these are not important. Educated or uneducated, rich or poor, there is no difference. When I open my heart and open my mind, I consider people just like old friends. This is very useful. On the basis of that kind of attitude, if the situation is something different then I have the freedom to act according to the circumstances. But at the beginning, from my side, I must create the ground. Them often there is a positive response from the human level. So I think fear is one thing to clear away.”
I wasn’t going to be “that person.” No, I was going to rise above and be more evolved than the pandemic-fearing masses.
I rationalized a TV-free, meditation, vegan, and yogic lifestyle magically inoculated me against catching the fear.
It wasn’t until I sobbed beneath my duvet at 3 a.m. when I realized the “woke vaccine” failed me.
I thought of my small daughter, my aging parents, and other dear ones with compromised immune systems.
I thought of strangers’ knitted brows at the grocery store.
I thought of the baby chicks I’d recently procured in response to the markets and nearby farms being out of eggs. The sweet, little fluffs were a lot of work, but their tiny chirps during this bleak time sounded like hope and the newness of life and spring.
I floated between self-pity and empathy.
I thought of love and loss and aloneness.
I thought of losing clients and income.
I thought of how I feel too paralyzed to move forward with the business I’ve been creating.
I thought of the man coughing into his mask and latex gloves at the internet store.
I thought of how I was forced to get WiFi so my little one could do long-distance learning.
These major changes have hurt my pride and have alerted me to the possibility that it’s really just my own ego that’s suffering. Maybe I’m not as disciplined and as woke as I thought myself to be.
I’ve become complacent. I feel this as deeply as I feel the fascia tearing from my pelvis, hips and spine. I feel my tightness being forced to surrender: oh the pain….it’s enlightening…it tells me where I’ve gotten stuck and proud. It not-so-gently awakens me to my more recent reality.
I am thankful for muscle memory…my muscles and tissue tear easily; snapping and ripping from all the falseness and dis-ease they’ve been holding. My bones are strong and hold form while the rest of my body crumples and melts around them.
I smell the toxicity…it is metallic…pride has been masked as dignity, anger has been shrouded with pain….victimhood…helplessness… so much confusion and faux control: it’s all tearing away now.
The destruction is fast and burns like cured pine wood: hot and fast. I feel the refiner’s fire in my veins now….I feel the falsehoods and self-imposed lies under scrutiny.
For now I lay…I lay breathing heavily…sweat dripping… swathed in a state of awareness- no judgement…just observation.
I await the awakening: the awakening of grace replacing pride, peace in place of anger, acceptance for victimhood, strength for helplessness.
Clarity is coming….it bathes my body and mind like the cool mountain streams surrounding me.