Things Die so that Other Things May Live: How We Hold It

Those of you who know me will have heard me say this before. Perhaps more than once. Bear with me. It’s important: the people, the place, the philosophy, and the work of Diana’s Grove, in a very real sense, delivered my life to me.

Everything about my life that I value, today, I learned how to do, or how to do better, during the years I spent as a part of that community.

I know that’s a big thing to say. I checked it out before I wrote it down. Here’s the thing, it’s absolutely true. How often do you get to say “everything” and mean it?

So. There’s that.

There’s also this: the place that shaped me into everything I most value about myself is gone now.  Oh, the land exists. And the people still live. And the stories and teachings spread and expand and shift in the telling. But the way all those things once came together – the form they took, that for me was the face I gave to the teacher I called The Grove – that form has died.

Those of you who know me will have heard me say this before too: Death talks to me. Leave it to an agnostic, I suppose, to have a force of nature as a patron deity. Call Her what you will, She is my Lady, and she tasks me severely, sometimes. She rides me hard. But she gives me great gifts as well.

“Things die so that other things may live,” she tells me. “You owe a debt to all that dies. You owe a debt to the dying. You pay that debt by living. You pay that debt with your life.”

Here’s the hard part. She’s not just talking about people. She means everything that dies. Every dream. Every hope. Every form. She means every death. Every loss. Every change. She means that pieces of our lives die around us, every day. Fall around us like rain. That this life that we live is a continual stripping away and in the face of all of that our obligation is to live harder. More fiercely. More fearlessly. To value Life more the more of it we lose.

She rides me hard. She’ll do the same to you, if you listen to her.

But. But. We live in a storm of loss, she tells me. And our duty to all that is lost is to throw ourselves into that storm with more and more abandon. Our duty, yes… but also our salvation. She reminds me what the plants know. And the animals. When we honor what is dead by turning it into the fuel that feeds our lives, then what is dead stays alive in us forever. This is how I hold, forever, everything that I have lost: by opening my hands and letting it all stream through my fingers… into yours.

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10 thoughts on “Things Die so that Other Things May Live: How We Hold It

  1. Shaun August 9, 2013

    This post is exceptional. It helps me to understand how very necessary it is to not ignore painful change, that “pain” as I often perceive it is not pain but fear. You inspire me, Laurie. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Laurie Dietrich August 9, 2013

      Thank YOU Shaun. You are such an inspiration to me in so many ways. Very happy to be able to return the favor. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Autumn August 9, 2013

    What a remarkable understanding you have of death, life and honoring the why . Thank you for such an enlightening piece.
    Autumn

    Reply
    • Laurie Dietrich August 9, 2013

      Thanks Autumn. Miss you!

      Reply
  3. Martha August 9, 2013

    Ah, thank you Laurie for this. It comes at a perfect convergent moment, almost to the hour, for conversations going on with & around me here in the mountains. Your “[o]ur duty, yes… but also our salvation. She reminds me what the plants know. And the animals. When we honor what is dead by turning it into the fuel that feeds our lives, then what is dead stays alive in us forever” expands Nora Barnacle’s “Yes!” to life by including death within our “yes” to include both rise & fall, the rhythm of everything. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Laurie Dietrich August 9, 2013

      Thanks Martha. Very glad for useful serendipities. Wishing you both peace, comfort and joy, as always.

      Reply
  4. pamela August 9, 2013

    So…this post reached out and grabbed me by the shoulders, forcing me to look hard and feel deeply. Exactly what I needed at this moment. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Laurie Dietrich August 10, 2013

      Thanks Pamela. Glad it came at the right time! And I really appreciate you letting me know that it did.

      Reply
  5. Corina August 11, 2013

    Ahhh…I have been immersed in the FEAR of death lately….I have lost so much, and yes, new life has grown from the fecund ground left behind, but there is still fear of the new and the unknown, and yes, the fear of facing death again and again. Thank you, Laurie, for bringing this message to the front of my consciousness.

    Reply
    • Laurie Dietrich August 15, 2013

      And… you live so close to Her. Birth and Death, they are so much the same thing. I suspect that you and I serve the same energy, and that fear is indeed what She asks us to face, again and again, until we become fearless – not in denial or bravado, but through familiarity. Next time you help bring a baby into the world, nod at Death, who I promise you will be right there as well. I bet you’re already better friends than you know.

      Reply

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