Inspiration comes in many forms, from many sources, but most often in my life it arises from personal connections. It seems that I have had a year of inspiration focused on joy and gratitude. My gratitude has been ever more focused on the gift of simply being alive. I'm frequently reminded of a song by one of my favorite groups, Reliant K, in which they sing, "It's funny how you find you enjoy your life when you're happy to be alive."

Most recently, I was inspired to create some art for a "Day of the Dead" art trade, for a wonderful on-line group that I belong to. This group, called the "Imagination Tribe", exists to support and inspire its members in their creative pursuits, and does it ever! Anyway, I started with a rough draft, which depicted a little view of what I think a Day of the Dead(DOTD) celebration might look like in Mexico. I never made the final piece of Art for the trade, however, because I was inspired to do something else.

The DOTD celebrations coincide with the Catholic church's celebrations of All Saint's Day (Nov.1) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2), so I decided to incorporate all the "celebrations" to create our own family tradition. We made small skulls out of clay and decorated them brightly, similar to the sugar skulls made in Mexico. There is one for each member of our family as a symbol of our own mortality; to remind us that life is precious. and that death is a part of life. Then I made a folio with a saint's story and picture for each person in our family. I chose a saint with the same or similar name to each person, and we read their stories on All Saints Day. My daughter said, "My saint rocks!" after hearing the story of Saint Angela de Merici. :)

On All Souls Day, I set up our own "altar" with the saint folios, the skulls, photos of deceased family members, and something memorable about the family members in the photos, as well as a candle for each person we were remembering. There was also an honored guest on the altar, Hannah. Hannah's mother, Diana, has so graciously shared herself and her daughter with so many. We did not know Hannah before, but I am blessed by the life that she lived and amazed by the joyous effect she continues to have in this world. I am so grateful to be a part of her continuing journey.

The altar was set up on our dining room buffet, so that during dinner, the candles were lit and we shared stories and memories about our loved ones who were gone from this life, but still with us in our hearts. We remembered how their lives inspired us to be, or not to be. ;) I found myself feeling thankful for the time we had with our family "back then", and even more grateful for this minute....with our family right here..... right now. It was a night of inspiration, connections, and gratitude.


Ren said...

How awesome!! Thanks for sharing your beautiful and inspirational night with us.

Heather said...

I have never really known anyone in real life who celebrates this holiday. I am always interested in learning about new things. I guess that's why we're unschoolers.

I bookmarked your blog. I'll have to check it out again soon.

Thanks for the Kool-aid tip for hair dye.