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  • Writer's pictureJulie Humphreys

Beauty for Ashes

Updated: May 31, 2022

When we die, our souls return to the One Source from which we all come. This is my belief. I’m not preaching dogma. I’m just sharing with you what I’m hearing right now. When we hear certain things in this lifetime that make us stop and think, or meet certain people in this lifetime, it is significant. Always. So learn to love and pay attention for gods-sake. Hear the person you get bored with. Listen to the annoying clerk who is distracted and rambling, because they need your smile of understanding. Say “I Appreciate You” to whomever will listen. It matters. It all matters.

We learn our lessons this way, by extending ourselves and our kindness. We learn to give, receive, forgive, love and we learn empathy. It doesn’t matter how late in life you learn or practice these, or experience these things. No matter who it is, or how you love, these lessons serve as a bridge to an opportunity to be who we truly are and who we can be.

I am one of those people who tries to put as much kindness as I can out into the world. Even now, when I feel the horrific beauty of the present moment. Or, to borrow from Yeats, I will say a “terrible beauty is born” on this day, in this year. 2020 or 2021, this is our collective “terrible beauty” which is born. We have been through struggles, we have witnessed others and their struggles, and have hopefully come to understand that we all suffer on some level, and it’s important to let others in so we don’t take up residence in our despair. We can remember it, honor it and know how it shapes us and forms us. The suffering is a lesson, a hurdle to be worked through, in the appropriate time.

In congruence with the struggle is the acceptance. The acceptance of death and transformation. Literally and figuratively. But when our time is up on this earth and we leave our physical body, in what capacity are we supposed to consider our loved ones left on earth? For instance, when I die, I know my soul flies free, goes home, and continues to evolve. But is that what we say to our living relatives, loved ones, children, that we leave behind? “I’m fine, don’t worry”? What exactly are our loved ones supposed to do with our ashes? Bury them? Honor them? Memorialize them? Pray to them? Kneel to them? Scream at them? Cry to them? Talk to them? I ask again, what in the world are the living meant to do with our ashes? The soul isn’t *there*. Rather, it’s *everywhere*. But they need something, don’t they? They need a place to go and do all of those things above. Let’s not leave them without a proper nest to mourn in. Let’s show them the beauty of our ashes.

Two months ago, my husband was told by a group of doctors that he is sick. Pretty damn sick. He could very well be dying. This moment. Right now. (But aren’t we all dying in this moment, right now?) However, I need to see the miracle instead. I need to see the gift of the opportunity that lies before us. We can heal and be propelled to the place where we both live together in our full truth and health, always, unabashedly, together, holding hands, as we always do. Call me foolish, delusional, the wife and mother in denial; the mystic shamanic witch that doesn’t live in this flat dimensional plane. You see, all of those things make me a realist. His cancer diagnosis has brought back to the surface all of that which matters most to us, thank goodness we have been gifted that chance. I watch him sleep and feel such deep rivers of love and light and darkness all at once. A terrible beauty is born.

Seeing the past, present and future all together, all at once, is a gift I embrace. I see the love of my life, the light in his eyes, the love in his soul, and feel the inexplicable soulful bond we’ve had since our first date almost 16 years ago. I see his love and feel his heart energy. And that’s all I need to believe in a miracle. And so it is.

Most of us have been touched by death. Death is a part of life, a beautiful transformation in many cases. I fully support and believe in a divine design for my life, for your life, for my husband’s life. We are all sacred. We are all loved. We all have at least one other who loves us, cherishes us, wants us to live and be around. How can this be anything but beautiful?

I listen to a meditation called Welcome Home. Each time I listen to this, I feel like I’m dying out of this life and ascending to the others- past and present and future all turn into one. But I still have to come back home, to here, to now, to my family with all of its imperfections and uncertainty and pain; and of course the love and the laughter, too. This is exactly where I want to be now, in this moment of time, because I could not feel or be any more loved. A terrible beauty is born.

How do you feel? Are you where you want to be, around the people you want to be around? Do you feel love? Do you have love? Do you see love? My wish for you is that you have love around you all the time, and if you don’t, find it. Radically transform your environment so you feel love around you. And accept that it can come in so many different forms and shapes and sizes, human or animal. If you feel like you can be you, authentic, beautiful, ugly, unforgiving and compassionate you in the presence of another, then you’ve found love. It really is that simple.

I am many things, as you are, too. I am love, faith, rage, hate, joy, god, goddess, compassion, fun, laughter… I will tell you unbelievable tales until you laugh, and then I’ll keep going… I will always tell you the truth in the most compassionate way I know how. I will always lead with my heart. And I will always tell you a story about the beauty of our ashes and how a terrible beauty was born.

Thanks for listening.

Love, Julie.

When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

~Wendell Berry

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