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Falling Away: Finding Right Relationship with Life & Death

October 16, 2014


I awoke this morning awestruck by the palette of golden leaves swirling through town, spiraling through the center of our lives. The miracle of this exquisite dying is happening right here, right now. The maples blaze like Roman Candles~flames we know are short-lived. Each day the swath of gold and scarlet sweeps wider and wider across the valley. We are being enveloped in this light~ a very particular medicine for the soul. I am drinking deeply. I can’t seem to get enough. I want to see the light touch every one of these treetops, to trace the change in color hour by hour, day by day. I want to know this dying intimately~to follow the trail of it on every street and all along the waterways where the willows and cottonwoods turn.

This radiant explosion of color is the song of what is falling away. It is lament and celebration. The life force moves from the periphery to the center, into the heart of the heart, into the bones. Sap returns to the core. Every year, I resist this turning. When I feel the light shifting, the days shortening, I dig my heels in and grieve the loss of the late light, the windows thrown wide, the expansiveness. I resist this rooting down and in. And yet, as soon as I turn to it, it nourishes something in me that is profoundly hungry for space, silence, the inner life, the radiant darkness.

Last year at this time, I was in San Miguel de Allende for Day of the Dead ceremonies. Marigolds and deep wine colored flowers line streets, windowsills, cemeteries. Families make ofrendas and call their dead back through the threshold of these thinning veils. Monarchs return. Death itself is remembered as being a most primary dance partner. And this dance with death is sexy and sensual, funny and tender, raw and gritty, beautiful and transcendent all at once. During Day of the Dead—the people recognize that the doorways between worlds are open and that it is our work in this life to be in right relationship with our ancestors and descendants~to be in right relationship with death itself.

And yet so often, we worship the solar gods of growth, expansion and manifestation and avoid the fertile territories of dreaming, darkness, space, gestation. So often, we hide from death—or see death as a nemesis to be conquered or eluded, not an ally to dance with. And when we avoid this primary contract and contact, we cut off the full knowing of our greater belonging to all that is—a belonging that includes falling away, contraction, formlessness, dis-memberment, stillness, interiority, the unknown. When we grasp onto old forms, when we insist on the solidity of the known world, when we do not allow what needs to die to die, we end up stifling the very creative life force we long for and find ourselves dangerously out of balance. Everywhere in our world, we see the cost of this desperate bargain~of holding on to old and familiar ways of being that no longer serve, in spite of the catastrophic costs to mind, body, spirit, human and more than worlds.

Yesterday, walking along the lake, I found a beautiful milkweed pod—its husk cracking to release downy seeds. In that early evening light, every one of the leaves of the cottonwoods lining the shore was translucent, ephemeral, shining with a gold that cannot stay~ but offers itself up nonetheless, holding nothing back. I am so humbled here. I want to fall to my knees before the wondrous beauty of this offering. We are this offering. We are this ofrenda on the altar of all that Is. I open my palm, lift the husk to the sky, watch as the seeds catch on the wind and fly far and wide.

©Laura Weaver

*this post first appeared on



One Comment leave one →
  1. Russell Bramlett permalink
    October 25, 2014 4:21 pm

    So beautiful, powerful, this, you(!) Thankyou!

    Sent from RB’s iPhone


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