November. New Moon in Scorpio. Halloween. Samhein. Day of the Dead.
I love this time of year not because the trees are changing into their fiery last hurrahs, or that I get to wear scarves. I love this time of year because it is my Nana's birthday. She would have been 101 this past week. She passed when I was in high school. But every year at the end of October I build an altar in her honor. In past years I made a garland of flowers for the framed picture of her in my living room or collected maple leaves, her favorite, on an old platter of hers in my kitchen. I light a candle and think of what she sees of me as I walk through my life. This tradition has led me to other cultures and the ways they honor those that have passed. Why do we feel it is necessary to honor our ancestors who blazed trails for us to follow? How come we are so compelled to connect with loved ones that continue to walk with us in the shadows of our hearts after they have left this world? l believe it is because it makes us feel connected and in my experience when we feel connected to our people, we thrive.
Connection is such a vital part of our health. Being connected to our bodies is the first step to understanding how to love ourselves, and take care of ourselves. Being connected to activities that inspire us, being connected to the work we do, being connected to the people we live our lives with and the places we live our lives in are all imperative to our well being. We must nurture these connections and this is the time of year when we see that need manifest itself in the variety of traditions and costumes we see.
I believe that the physical nutrition we put in our bodies: food and nutrients, are only secondary for our health to the connections we make in our lives. These connections or relationships are things we cultivate, or don't. When we cultivate positive relationships with money, with work, with our family, chosen or not, we then get the sustenance we need to cultivate health for ourselves physically.
I am not advocating for anyone to go around believing everything is just hunky dory. I am not talking about quitting your job unprepared because you hate your boss. If something is off balance, then be honest. But begin to make shifts in your perception, in your actions in your life so that the friction can inform you and become a place of growth, of opportunity. When we begin to evaluate and be honest with ourselves about our connections, our relationships to the world around us, then we set the stage for our own personal success. We can begin to invest in ourselves so that we know we are worth our effort, energy and belief. We then realize where it is we do put our energy, and how we cultivate different aspects.
By listening to our need to communicate with those that have passed before us, to honor them with altars and costumes, flowers and offerings of food, by visiting graveyards and carving pumpkins, we are recognizing our need for connection, for understanding and so it is that we can learn from our ancestors. We can learn to love ourselves, honor ourselves, invest in our health.