Have you ever spread someone's ashes before?
I hadn't until Thanksgiving evening.
It probably seems like an odd thing to do on the Thanksgiving holiday, but it actually felt completely appropriate in the process. I mean, what greater way to appreciate someone who so positively affected my life then on a day specifically set aside to give thanks?
After a walk at the beach (and an afternoon libation), we drove up to the cliffs on the backside of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
My mom's crown vic--the landspeeder, as we call it-- effortlessly piled all 6 of us grown adults inside to make the trek.
The 4 pm sun was low in the sky when we arrived.
Oranges and yellows sparked a vivid contrast to the dark blue ocean below.
It was quiet.
Only the sound of the crashing waves below, and the occasional passing car on the road above, served as our companions.
The mood was first somber as we exited the vehicle.
Like I said, I'd not done this before and I was secretly a bit nervous.
Nana's sense of humor soon enveloped the situation as the Neptune Society box, containing the ashes, was simply impossible to open. No instructions. No obvious point of entry. Nothing.
We each took turns trying to figure it out. Again, nothing.
Relief from a flat head screwdriver stored in the trunk of the Landspeeder did the trick. It still wasn't easy, though.
The contents of the clear plastic bag inside seemed to only hold about one and a half pounds of ashes--not much different than the looks of a bag of rice flour you'd pick up at the store.
This was somewhat of a shocker to me.
I thought instantly; how crazy is it that we live these big, grandiose lives, with unique personalities, experiences, and dreams .... and then we just end up as a small bag of dust?
Perhaps that's more of the Debbie downer response.
That immediate, reality check of our humanness was soon replaced with a more liberating sense of hope as we shared stories about Nana's life.
She let us jump on the bed, pick apricots from the tree out back, and make Skittle pancakes for breakfast.
Her adventuresome spirit of moving out to California from the Midwest, and traveling throughout the country, inspired me to take many trips of my own.
Her squishy hugs were just one of many ways that she imprinted her love on my heart.
And, her continuous support for my own growth fueled the confidence I have as an individual today.
Her spirit was--and is--much, MUCH larger than the bag we held in front of us.
This was a stunning revelation for me, as I'm right in the middle of this Awaken your Purpose Mastery Course.
The aim of this year-long journey is to expand my potential, live larger, and reach my dreams.
But, as we talked about the impact of Nana's life on each of us, I realized that this journey is not just about me. It's also about the meaningful connections I have with others.
- Can following my dreams be an example to others?
- Can my authentic nature encourage others to stand courageously in their own uniqueness?
- Can my vulnerability remind us all of the beauty of being human?
- Can my love for life inspire others to also live big and reach for the stars?
As we watched the sun set below the horizon, shooting the sky into bright orange, red and pink hues, my heart was calm.
I felt a deep stillness within, a connection with the spiritual side of myself that extends far beyond my 5'4" 34-year-old body.
The smile on my face expressed not only an incredible gratitude for my Nana's life, but an appreciation for the timeless and limitless aspects of us all.
Nana truly lived by the examples mentioned above.
Perhaps, that's the best gift she could have ever given me on a Thanksgiving day!