Memento Mori

Vanitas Still Life, Pieter Claesz, 1630, Baroque period

Memento Mori is latin for “remember death”. Commonly used in art and literature during 17th century’s Dutch Golden Age ( Baroque period), it was to remind us that life is short and we all, eventually, die. Death is inevitable. It may sound a tad morbid, but I take it as a reminder to be present, because this moment is fleeting.

On this Memorial Day, I’m paying my respects to the parts of myself that have died the last couple years, the loss I’ve experienced and the grief I have survived. Divorce, death, ending friendships, family members addictions, infidelity. You name it. More often than not I am grateful for what I do have, but today, I’m pensive. Many, many things have changed and if I didn’t remind myself from time to time that life is short I may not appreciate things quite as much as I do. Most people are out celebrating an extended weekend enjoying a bit of a respite from the grind of work, kids, errands, life, etc. I’m at a friends, by the beach, acknowledging how far I’ve come, how I’ve changed and who I’ve become. The day is not about the sadness of death but moving, ever so slightly, from mourning to acceptance of times gone by.

A resolution to change…

I began this year wanting to challenge old stories and old belief systems that no longer served me. I wanted to surround myself with people who wanted to do the same. Subsequently, I was called to the mat. Every day I was challenged more and more to pick my battles, react to conflict with poise, fall on my face and rise back up. Sometimes I didn’t rise back up, sometimes I stayed on my knees. Sometimes I threw stones. Sometimes I begged someone to help me stand. Sometimes I convinced myself that being face down was fine and it just gave me a new perspective. Which is true, I have many new perspectives.

Shift is painful

Especially when your willing to let people walk out of your life in order to be true to yourself and your values. It requires new boundaries. It requires strength. It requires self love and shit ton of resilience. Some were unable to change with me. I had to choose them or my own transformation. It was me or them, and considering I spend more time with me than anyone else I’ve chosen me. In doing so, I’ve had to release alot of poison and toxicity, both in myself and in my relationships. Toxicity that was mostly present because boundaries were blurred, resentment set in and I felt taken advantage of. Only some were willing brave the journey with me.

Chocolate, carbs, hiking, the ocean, Jimmy Fallon lip-syncing battles, a giant trampoline, music, friends, consistently inappropriate humor, gratitude,  silky chickens and soooo much processing– these have been my coping mechanisms. It’s been fun. It’s been heartbreaking. It’s been hilarious. It’s been torrentially devastating. It’s been authentic.

When we live, always aware of our inevitable expiration, we look at life through a different lens. Death is loss. Loss is impermanence. Nothing is ever permanent. Therefore, live as though this is the only moment you have, because it is, and it is absolutely, positively, incredibly beautiful.

Memento Mori




10 thoughts on “Memento Mori

  1. Love reading things like this. Specially when in a darker time. Break ups yuh know. They totally are painful and get people down on a regular basis. Shift is okay- do it for me, for me for me i say to self!

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  2. I had the most wonderful comment and then came baby to play!
    Loss, for me, is harder to reconcile when I’ve been relishing in its emotional valley. It’s harder to let go of than the person or thing that started the feeling to begin with! *sigh*
    I’d love to use this post as a starting point for my own musings and perhaps toot your horn a little? With your permission of course….(no promise on when, just that it shall be!

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    1. Agreed. When we’re in it, sometimes its best to just let ourselves wallow and not judge our own pity party. Sometimes the self pity is totally justifiable, much of mine has been. I feel like I’m finally beginning to look back over my own emotional “death valley”. I haven’t made it to the best vantage point yet but atleast I’m out of the desert. Use it all you like! 🙂 I have been inspired by several only to forget where I read it lol. Alas, by the time your ready, if you remember to link over here that would be awesome. If you do forget where you were inspired, totally ok too 🙂 Glad to give you a starting point either way!

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  3. I almost didn’t look past the morbid photo (so gruesome) but I’m glad I did. What a fighter post. The sentence I love most is: “Sometimes I convinced myself that being face down was fine and it just gave me a new perspective.” It’s quotable, really 🙂 Reminds of something I read on failures once. I don’t recall where and how exactly, but it was something along the lines of: “don’t just quickly get up when fall, linger on the ground for a moment and you might just find a diamond.” I loved that because too often we just scramble up and try to pretend we never fell, missing out on the learning experience as painful as it might be. I still haven’t managed to integrate this fully in my life. Shame plays a major role. But I guess that’s why Brené Brown’s and other’s work on vulnerability is so timely and popular.

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    1. Thanks again for such kind words! 🙂 Oh, I go all out when I have a face down moment. I’ll cry like a little girl and then deconstruct why I cried. It has become incredibly useful for me. Ironically, the more I’ve allowed myself to do it, the less it happens and the faster I rise back up 🙂 Big hugs!

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      1. That’s fascinating. Maybe it’s because once we learn the lesson there is no reason for it to turn up again so soon in our life. Let’s just deconstruct while crying then 🙂

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