Tag Archives: Halloween

honouring the ancestors… and someday you’ll be one

halloween_feet
The wheel turns. As we sink into this darker half of the year, customs abound in all cultures on deeper contemplation, on honouring what has come before, on feeling gratitude for the fruits our of labours (and perhaps, in retrospect, at having been afforded the opportunity for this most recent revolution around the sun).

When my son was little, I wanted to compensate for the lack of fanfare of my own childhood during these holidays by making his a grand production.

We went to pumpkin patches and gutted and carved our share of large orange gourds.
We roasted salty pumpkin seeds once they were gleaned from the slimy guts.
We ordered costumes and went trick-or-treating.

I had never incorporated the idea of honouring the ancestors during this time even though I was well aware of the idea of the thinning of the veil between our worlds. It would have been an appropriate time to bring it up to him. Maybe I wanted him to rejoice in the fun parts of childhood without becoming morbid, or rather, without diminishing with sombreness the indefatigable vibrancy of youth.

After my mother’s passing, the last one of my two parents, there was a sort of severing of rootedness that took place. In some ways, I was anxious to be free of the constraints. In so many ways I’d tried to find happiness within the narrow parameters that they had set as their view of who I was, and I think we all walked away from the table mostly dissatisfied.

I keep thinking that human potential is limitless, if we are mentored beyond our perceived limitations. I don’t mean that we don’t individually have any, only that if we can picture what is beyond the area that we think is the greatest reach of our potential, we are able to somehow come up with a way to access the road that will bring us there. Mentors, advocates, are truly gifts to the world as they help lead the way there. Sometimes, ever on our fool’s journey, we are incapable of seeing the path on our own.

I suppose as parents the biggest task we are given is to help our offspring become skilled in discernment, to learn to know what and when to believe in the constant stream of incoming information, and what to do with it – to learn how to translate it all into some form of action that will lead us forward in a favourable manner.

I don’t know if I’ve accomplished this task, as a parent. I know mine failed at this, and I’ve had to learn by much trial and error how to guide myself onward. Maybe it’s something that can’t be taught because it is as individual as we are in how we approach it.

In any case – in my usual penchant to tangents – I return us to last night, the Eve of All Hallows or Souls Day.

candy_bowl
I went in to the neighbourhood grocery store to pick up a few things, particularly the candy I intended to hand out to trick or treaters. I had held out on purchasing it mostly to save me from myself. As I exited the store and started heading up the sidewalk towards home, I heard the unmistakeable sound of my native tongue. Because it is such a rare occasion to hear it spoken, I wheeled my cart back around and said hello. We chatted on the sidewalk for a while, and then, at the invitation of one of the women, we holed up in Starbucks for over an hour to continue the conversation.

I haven’t really spoken a whole lot of Hungarian since my mother passed in 2003. We would speak on the phone every couple of days (I was living in California and she was living on the outskirts of Montreal). The frequency of our calls kept up my language skills, although I never would have considered myself as fluent in the language as a native speaker. It’s not that I don’t understand or speak, only that the expressions, turns of phrase, vastness of vocabulary is something that would take time to get used to if I were to truly count myself among them. Within an hour my odd little accent began smoothing out. I began remembering words and how to use them during a discussion. We discussed getting together on a regular basis and inviting other Hungarians aching to chat in their mother tongue too.

When I got home last night I realized that what had transpired was the greatest homage that I had ever paid to my parents and ancestors. I had been ruminating, initially, on how I would set about doing just that. Last week I had spent some time watching Jo Rowling go about searching out her own roots. I had envisioned setting up a shrine of sorts, and spending some time in meditation, or perhaps journaling about what they had meant to me, and contemplating on the far reach of my own roots.

Last night I felt that perhaps, with this thinning of the veil, they had orchestrated this meeting to remind me that they are not so far away after all.

Sisters of the Soul – Completion

I’ve been tired… so tired. Working like mad at the office, but I finally feel like I’m climbing back out of my slump. A temp started this week and has begun to help with the backlog that I haven’t been able to attend to myself because there is so much other, more pressing, work to do.

I’ve finally completed my last contribution in the Sisters of the Soul round robin project… a piece in Bev Martini’s box of canvas sheets (above). The focal point is a portrait of my sister that I drew, imported into Photoshop, manipulated and printed out, transferred onto the canvas, which I then painted with acrylic paint.

I’ve been working at a snail’s pace… in fact, I’m amazed that I’m producing anything at all. I feel so flat! There is hope yet though…

During my last couple of visits to the book store, I picked up more books (tell me this does NOT surprise you!) and have begun reading One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer, which is part of Jill Badonsky’s (author of Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard)) curriculum for Kaisen-Muse Creativity Coaching training which I’ll be starting at the end of this month. This I am very much excited about. In fact, I have no doubt that I’ll be my own best (first) customer.

Another couple of things I’m looking forward to this upcoming week:

  • Attending Sidley’s Annual Museum Event – Dali: Painting & Film at LACMA
  • Getting more work done on the forget-me-not tattoo on my left wrist
  • I’m also in the throes of working on my Gothica collaboration project, having finally received the last of the contributions mid-week last week. I am tripod equipped and will start shooting the pieces, since they’ve overrun my living quarters and it is time to move them out. What I flub we’ll re-shoot this week with the master photographer of the household (not me), but at least I’ll be able to get started on laying out the book in InDesign.

    Last night Gabriel and I stopped off at South Coast where I made my habitual stop at the Paper Source but on my way there I was drawn in by the spooky candle displays at Illuminations, where I purchased a table runner and a ghostly candle (which is a hoot! …it flashes different colors as it burns… what will they come up with next?!). I think hallowe’en has got to be one of my favorite celebrations, right up there with yule.

    Oh, and speaking of baby steps… I’ve been slowly straightening out my stuff, de-cluttering… I’ve almost reached a point where I can potentially use the surface of my workbench with a few more organizational cullings.

    People often tell me “I don’t know how you have time to do everything that you do.” Well, quite frankly, I don’t… have time, that is. It’s the case of the small blanket for a large bed. I tug on one end and cover here, but it leaves the other part bare. That is how I manage to do what I do. I have to pick and chose what I spend my time on, and since I can’t do everything, I do what I can. So, it appears like I’m productive, but really, I’m just masterful at doing little bits of everything, here and there. What do they call it… multi-tasking?

    It rained last night… I know, it would seem to be a non-event but in Southern California it’s quite the novelty. Which is why I live here.