Memento Mori

vanitas
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