Where Soul Meets Body

DSC_0158“You wasted life, why wouldn’t you waste death?”  – Modest Mouse

I had never thought about wasting death.  I had always thought of death as just the semi-colon between life and after-life. A moment when your spirit no longer exists in your skin.  I have pondered what happens after we die, thought about losing people I love,  thought about what it is like during the moment of death, and thought about living my life here to “earn” a certain after-life.  I understand what it means to waste life, but death?  How could we waste something that is simply a moment, simply an end?

I heard these lyrics when I was knee deep in trying to move through the grief of losing my brother.   I realized that this concept was giving words to a very important aspect of my grief experience that I was unable to conceptualize.

Part of me was grieving the absence, drowning in the void he left, and desperately longing for the tangible form of my brother.  The pain was/is horrific and devastating.   But the part that I was surprised by and even startled by, was the part of me that felt my brother more alive than ever, felt him closer than my own skin, felt him everywhere.  My brother had become expansive, dimensional and extremely close.  (And to be honest for someone who was sleep deprived and dealing with postpartum hormones, this was confusing and creepy… I told him this)

For the past two years, living in the wake of his death. I understand now the opportunity we have in death.  I understand that there is an actual element of “birth” in our death.  And I am not referring to our birth into afterlife or the memories or legend our physical life leaves behind.  There is an actual birth of “life” that occurs as our body releases our soul.  Our soul has a life here, not contained by our skin, not reliant on our organs, and no longer contending with our human nature.  And what i have learned knowing my brother is that if you live powerfully in your body, living as close to the conjunction of where “soul meets body” (Death Cab for Cutie) in this physical existence….the life of your death, is explosive and healing and magical.  You teach those you leave behind of God, of dimension, of hope.

My brother lived vibrantly.  He constantly sought to understand himself and his impact on others, negative and positive.  When he discovered some way he was being, thinking, using resources, believing, that caused hurt, harm, judgement, shame to another, he worked to change it.  He left no stone of his being unturned.  He pursued an existence of love and compassion like no one I have ever known.  In hindsight, I am surprised his body was able to contain his soul as long as it did.

What does it mean to live where your soul meets your body?

I believe it is living in reflection, having the courage to look at our attachments, our addictions and feel the vulnerability behind them.  Allowing them to create a genuine humility within ourselves and a deep compassion for others.  Understanding that we are breathtakingly unique and as commonplace as they come.  Knowing our unique gifts and allowing the unique gifts of others to teach us.  Seeing and resolving the judgement, hatred, wounds of our own hearts, not allowing the illusion of being “right” to protect us from confronting our “selves.”

I don’t know why I was given this particular soul or why you were given your particular soul…. but what makes sense to me is that we are called to live in this existence where our souls can just barely be contained by our skin.  So when our bodies are done, our souls live powerfully for good beyond our bones.

I have felt the impact of a life lived like this and…. Your death has been as a beautiful as your life.  My brother….. it was…is an honor.

“Your body may be gone… i’m going to carry you in, in my head, in my heart, in my soul.”  -Modest Mouse. 

Exchange of Wisdom


My child’s newest fascination is to climb up on a chair we have in our guest room, turn on the radio and dance, dance, dance.  And my girl…is tribal.  In between body rolls, head swerves and swanky footwork, she throws all of my books off the shelf.  I think it helps her to feel as though she is at a rave.

I was chaperoning her dance party and the “Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle was chunked at me.

He says two things that I find so powerful:

“enlightenment” is simply being close to God and

“prayer” is simply being present

I look up and see my daughter rockin’ out and something clicks.   My daughter does not know how not to pray, nor does she know separation from God.  She prays and moves with the Divine with every movement, in every moment.  She unconsciously expects this intimate connection.

I don’t believe it is coincidental that she is also the most loving, forgiving person I know.  And I don’t accept the simple explanation that she is this way because she is “JUST” a child.  It makes sense to me that if you are constantly in prayer and your mind cannot fathom separation from God, that unconditional love and forgiveness are simply by-products of this way of being.

And of course my child throws fits, and gets mad and swings and scowls at me.  To me, she is simply learning to navigate this world, setting her boundaries, acquiring what she needs/wants, protecting herself.  To me, this is not evidence of a sinful nature.  I must remember that just two short years ago, she was in soul form where she knew none of the rules of this world.  She didn’t know what it was like to be “in body”, had never felt need, want, fear, cold, hunger, loneliness, vulnerability.  All things that I thirty two years later still have trouble communicating pleasantly and politely.

Most of the parenting strategies I read are based on teaching our children the language and survival skills of our adult world.  And of course, I want my daughter to know how to navigate this world successfully.  But very few, are parenting strategies helping us as parents to help our children to hold onto their peaceful, creative, kind, forgiving, loving hearts that they came here with.  And I have find it ironic that all of the adults i know, myself included are desperate to be more peaceful, loving, kind, meditative, prayerful, creative, get out of our heads, feel, breathe, connect to God.

So I wonder….

Maybe if i quiet the urgency to move her along

Maybe if i silence the avalanche of milestones she needs to reach

Maybe if i allow her to be

Maybe if i allow myself to join

Maybe if i remind myself that despite the small frame, jumbled words and awkward movements, she is a soul with a spiritual depth that I can only hope to acquire before my time here is complete…

Maybe if I can preserve this in her, by SEEING it, NURTURING it, CULTIVATING this in myself…

Maybe we can CREATE adults that don’t SEARCH for God/Peace, but instinctually KNOW

Maybe we can BE adults that don’t SEARCH for God/Peace, but instinctually KNOW

I imagine this would change the world.

If our job as parents is to help our children acclimate to this world,maybe their job as children is to remind us of home, what is beyond.  Our children can remind us of the innate connection to God we all have, the ease and the depth that God moves through us. (if we allow them) They are little guides that show us by example, the simplicity of prayer and enlightenment. They are magnificent, full, complex beings.

Sweet angels, we cherish you.

*note: the use of “God”  above was used in a way to incorporate your own unique understanding of “what is beyond”