Monday, July 6, 2009

Life, Death and Rebirth

Happy Monday!

I hope everyone had a great, long weekend! I know I did...spending time with my family always renews my spirit :-)

As the world prepares to say goodbye to Michael Jackson tomorrow with a Memorial Tribute at the Staples Center, I can’t help but think of all the high profile deaths that have occurred in the past couple weeks - Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Billy Mays, and now Steve McNair. The only difference between Steve McNair and the rest is that he was murdered. While we were shocked at the death of MJ, and perhaps Billy Mays, the others we could almost see coming. After all, Ed McMahon was 86 years old and lived a full life, and Farrah Fawcett put up a brave fight against cancer. MJ was the picture of health just 2 days before he died and the death of Billy Mays seemed to come out of nowhere. But Steve McNair was shot. Dead.

What is going on? This is turning out to be one of the saddest summers ever as far as celebrity death is concerned. It goes to show that death is the universal equalizer, no one can escape it. We will all die one day, one way or another.

Death is as natural as birth...as breathing in and breathing out. Yet we don’t deal very well with death. We think of it as the enemy, especially when it happens in a violent, unfair way. Even though it signals a life cycle completed, we look at all the deaths I mentioned above as those of people who were taken too soon. For our loved ones, it's always too soon. We simply cannot conceive of an end to ourselves or the people we love, which is a natural response. Some of us sense deeply that we are immortal, and death is a sinister, external force.

As sad as it is to say goodbye to loved ones, death ensures that the stream of life is not dammed up, but is allowed to flow. Knowing that we have a finite amount of time on this earth should infuse our existence with life, make us trust the impulses of our heart and spirit and allow us to LIVE life to the fullest. Anxiety over death comes from our confusion that we mistakenly identify our true self with our physical self – our opinions, associations, memories and illusions about ourselves and life itself. But within our lifetime, we have lived and died many little births and little deaths over and over again.

We are not who we were at 10 years old, or 10 years ago. In order to become adults, we had to say goodbye to our childhood and adolescence. For some, in order to be married, you had to give up your singlehood. In order to become a parent, you had to put someone else first. Pieces of us are dying all the time, and new experiences give birth to a new consciousness and identity - and new life. Where there is life, there’s change – an all encompassing theme of existence. Without it, there would be no growth, no life, no death – nothing.

God is change, and to become one with Him allows us to go with the flow, knowing our spirit will live on forever. God manifests in infinite variety, and He gives us the entire Kingdom...a boundless gift of life that cannot be contained to this earth alone. From Michael Jackson to Steve McNair – perhaps we don’t bury our dead, but simply plant them in the faith that their spirit is raised up into a new life.

Knowing this may not comfort those who are grieving and suffering here on earth, and it seems we’ve lost so many in warp speed over the past couple weeks. Loss is never easy to take, but it goes to show that we must do it up big while we’re here. We have to love hard, and hug our children a little tighter. We have to tell those we love how we feel about them everyday while they're alive, not just in memorial tributes after they're gone. The cycle of birth, death and rebirth repeats itself eternally, and we all will experience it in our lives. And as above so below, on earth as it is in heaven, we should love in the image and likeness of God so that we too, are life eternal.

-b

29 comments:

Pretty Ricky What Dey Call'em said...

This is a respectful one..so I'm just gonna say first.
I think?

Annamaria said...

I guess I can hold off on tasing out of respect!

Pretty Ricky What Dey Call'em said...

I'm with you on the view of death. Even though..it's easier to do when it's not someone who is extrememly close to you that passes. I get choked up just thinking about one of my immediate family passing, but that's just me being selfish, cuz I'm going to miss them so much. I try to comfort myself and say there's a better life on the other side.

Having said that... I am so down with the way they celebrate funerals in New Orleans. I know when I go, I'm setting a few dollars aside in my life insurance policy for a life celebration with lots of MJ playing! Y'all better hope I die before you so you don't miss the festivities!!!

BTW... Brooke...It's on again! August 29th is MJ's Birthday...sooooooo we are having an Ol Skool Jammy Jam...featuring the music of MJ. Should be off the chain..so stay tuned!!!

Brooke said...

B...I mean Pretty Rick, I am SO there. If it's ANYTHING like your birthday, it's gonna be "OFF THE WALL!" Don't stop til you get enough! Let's dance, let's shout, shake ya body down to the ground!

Glad to see the tasing has subsided, at least for a day :)

Little Girl Blue said...

I'm a new follower (thanks for the invite, cousin) and am one that generally likes to view for a bit before commenting, but I couldn't pass this one up.

B, I appreciate your view of life, death and the cycle we're in. Definitely a solid understanding. I too think that the here and now is just temporary (and frail at that) so I developed an understanding with death (so to speak) a while ago. Not to say that death and me are real tight and homies or anything, but we're cool. :) Of course, like Pretty Ricky commented, I will weep when someone in my immediate family passes, but that's to be expected. Then again, I think about the sadness, violence, anger, misunderstanding, etc. that they will no longer be subjected to and I find peace.

Now...on to Steve McNair. Yes, he died at age 36, and leaves behind a wife and four, count them, FOUR sons. And yet, he lost his life along with that of his 20 year old mistress. While it is sad that someone with so many accomplishments and such an impact died, my empathy is countered by the whole cheating thing. Maybe I'm just being critical, but dang...really? That was a true bummer for me...

Pretty Ricky What Dey Call'em said...

Yeah Little Girl... I gotta agree with you. I'm really feeling for the wife right now. Not only do you lose your husband, but on some old bull'ish too!!! Of course I don't know what was going on behind closed doors... but dam!!! And now they got pictures up too of them hanging out on trips...AND SHE'S 19...aww hell no.

Rameer said...

Let me just chime in here...

Steve McNair was said to have been seen with the young woman for 7 months. He was known to frequent places with her, they had a car in both their names, and may have had the condo together as well.

Do you REALLY think his wife had no idea?!?

Sounds more to me like a case of them being separated or having some type of understanding. I mean, even the police termed them as "dating".

While I don't defend it, all I'm saying is people have been to quick to throw Steve under the bus cuz he was "cheating". None of us know what went on in that man's household or what was or wasn't understood. Doesn't take away from the tragedy of the situation at all.

People are too quick to paint him as a cheater...it's common if people are separated (which we don't know for a fact that they were or weren't) to explore new relationships. For all we know, a divorce could've been in the works - or it could've been a Michael Jordan situation, where he stayed married to his wife for years, but had no romantic dealings with her and it was understood between the husband and wife.

R.I.P. Air McNair.

Annamaria said...

YUP leaving the tasing alone just for today.

I agree with the whole McNair thing. I find it hard to believe that his wife didn't know.

Life & death are such sensitive issues. We need to value life & each other more in life that way we don't have regrets in death.

Brooke said...

Little Girl Blue is my cousin everyone! Say hi and welcome!!

As for the whole Steve McNair/mistress thing, I'll save that for another blog. We don't know what was going on with that yet, but it's sad nonetheless that WHATEVER was going down, two people died - one DEFINITELY murdered - and no one deserves that, no matter what sin they may or may not have been committing.

I do feel for his wife and children...as well as the rest of his family. It's one thing to lose someone, but another to lose them in such a violent manner...to have them taken from you by someone other than God Himself. There is the tragedy.

Pretty Ricky What Dey Call'em said...

Agreed on all points. Life lost is life lost! And that young lady was someone's daughter. No smear on Steve McNair intended. But now with the Media all in your business... that has to put some extra hurt on it for Michele.

Brooke said...

I'm sure this is hurting his entire family - it's unimaginable.

When I first heard the story about a woman being with him, and that she wasn't his wife, I was like "oh no, this is gonna make it 10x worse." Can't say I was shocked he had a "mistress" or girlfriend or whatever, but it definitely adds to the sensationalism of it all.

Rameer said...

I think you should do a real music blog, Meryl. Cuz this new Maxwell album has me floating today...and that's all I keep thinking about: "this is REAL MUSIC". It's the same thought that pops in my head when I hear Sade Adu sing.

Of course, it's all subjective. But honestly - and I may be alone in this assessment - I view Maxwell the way I used to view Marvin Gaye as a little boy. Not putting him on the same level, just saying - my reaction is the same. A dude so smooth and effortless with his singing and impact of music...

Damn this is a dope CD...

Brooke said...

Rameer, I think you should write it. I love music just like anyone else out there, but I think you, DMoe, Ant and probably Dre have an understanding that far surpasses my expertise.

I'll be out Friday for a wedding, so I could use a guest blogger ;) Any takers?

Rameer said...

I can't write that blog either. Too opinionated. It would be me alienating the person on your blog who dared to describe Lil' Whoopi's music as "real".

And by alienating I mean LAMBASTING...

Pretty Ricky What Dey Call'em said...

I'm giving away a few Maxwell CD's through my fan page. "Together AsOne" (Oh shoot..am I giving away my secret identity!!)

Anyway... Rameer... I was just listening to it for the first time... I am mixed about it. I like it because of the originality, the uniqueness of it..the sound is definitely smooth. However it didn't hit me lake Urban hang Suite! Overall I give it 3 1/2 afros outta 5.

Brooke said...

LOL!! I gotta go to this site so I can get my free copy! I haven't heard the cd yet, looking forward to it. Nothing will top Urban Hang Suite! That joint was the shiznit!

Rameer said...

REALLY?!?

See - I don't do that with artists - compare albums. Most artists I REALLY like - Kanye, MJB, Outkast, Sade, Prince, 2pac, Mos Def, etc. - don't typically make similar sounding albums; there's always a progression in sound. Madonna is FAMOUS for it. So I take it on the merits of the individual project on it's own.

I think Maxwell's new album is INSANE. Like, I can't stop listening to it. It's just audio crack to me...it's beautiful! And no, I'm not one of those people who simply likes an artist so that makes me like their - I still don't know what the hell is the big deal about Beyonce's last album, and I think she's cool.

I don't think ANY of Maxwell's albums sound alike in the least bit. But they're all excellent to me. And hearing this album lets me know how long I've been suffering without really good Soul music.

John Legend and Raphael Saadiq are good, but they're just appetizers to stuff like this...

You tellin' me the melody and arrangement of "Help Somebody" doesn't just take you to church - albeit with Maxweel's subdued, rich smoothness?

Rameer said...

I meant makes me like their ALBUM...damned typos...

Pretty Ricky What Dey Call'em said...

Yeah Rameer... I absolutely agree with you. That is what makes them great. Like I'm not a big fan of Beyonce because all her music sounds the same to me.

So I'm definitely not knocking Maxwell at all... but the urban hang suite joint I couldn't stop listening to it. There are a few albums like that for me. This new album will definitely have a solid roster spot in the 10 CD Changer!

Rameer said...

I'm with you. I'm not a big Beyonce fan either, but I give her credit cuz she can ACTUALLY sing (though Jennifer Hudson blows her out the water). But her albums DO tend to sound very similar.

The Urban Hang Suite is nuts...but me and my family love his whole catalog. This dude is A BEAST musically.

So far, I can't stop listening to BLACKsummers' Night. It's literally stopped me from doing work today - I've been at my desk all day playing it since like 10am non-stop.

Maybe I'm the only one who will have this reaction...but I'm cool with that. Lol. I just wish he had more songs on it...it's so good it makes me want more.

I think it's just HIS VOICE...this dude can SAAAAAAANNNNGGGGG...

Brooke said...

Damn, I'm getting a lil tingly just listening to you rave about it :) I LOVE Maxwell, he just does something to me, so I'm sure I'll love this new cd :) Have to go see him again...real soon :)

Serena W. said...

Thanks for this blog Brooke. Death is a certain thing and I try to lean on the passage in Matthew 5:4 that says blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. When my sister Ayana died almost 2 years ago I was angry, sad and depressed. I even felt at that time that a piece of me died with her.

But as Little Girl Blue explained I know her life is everything she couldn't do while on this earth. Knowing that she was now whole made me accept her death. Although death is natural a lot of can't come to grips with it. I had to go to a grieving class for my own sanity and learned how to look at loss differently.

Although it was a class for those who lost a loved one it helped me heal all the open wounds from the bad break up that went down in 2007 to the loss of loved ones from years ago.

My heart goes out to McNair's kids. Yes we should bury our parents one day, but not so early in the game. Tragic.

Rameer said...

Meryl...you know how you can have chocolate...and then you can Ghirardelli's or Godiva?

Well...this ain't even THAT. This is that chocolate that your friend brings you back from Europe that you've never heard of, but costs like $20 a square and tastes like heaven just exploded in your mouth when you bite into it. Or that good stuff she brings straight from Latin America...

The stuff you see artisans in Montreal munching on while talking about traveling to Asia to "explore life".

That stuff so good you don't know if you should eat it or decorate around it.

Lol...can you tell I like it? Joint is soooooooooo smooth...

Brooke said...

Wow Rameer, it's like DAT?? :)

Serena, it's hard to look at loss the way you do, but it's such a blessing that you healed yourself from all your losses and can now have peace. That's the hardest part after a loss...finding peace.

I hope his family is comforted in the times to come - all of his family, and all of us and MJ's fans as well as everyone else I mentioned. I know MJ's death overshadows most to some people, but loss is loss, no matter how big or small or who feels it. Sometimes we wonder how the world goes on while we're hurting, and why no one is mourning with us... but life does go on...it has to.

Latinegro said...

This whole death thing over the last few weeks has got me all screwed up.

I am not sure I can even say more than that. Just live your life.

Pretty Ricky What Dey Call'em said...

Here's the one thing I noticed...not sure if it's good or bad. BROOKE HASN'T TALKED ABOUT SEX IN WEEKS!!!! LOL

Brooke said...

Tomorrow is TMI Tuesday... ;)

Georgia Peach said...

Just wanted to say Brooke thanks for always putting things in perspective. I also agree that you have a healthy & clear understanding of the relationship between life and death. For me personally I'm definitely shocked into making sure I'm living my life to the fullest when I hear about someone dying what seems like an untimely death.

Anonymous said...

another great BLOG Brooke.Death has taught me many things. By the time I was 16 years old I had already lost 12 people from my immediate family, including my Mother and Father. At the time I thought it was GOD's way of punishing me for something I did in a previous life.
What I learned is that there are two constants in life. The first is CHANGE.Life will change and move on whether you like it or not.And two death awaits us all.Death has taught me to always let the people I love know that they are loved. Sometimes I leave messages like "hey it's Stephanie and I just wanted you to know I'm thinking about you and that you are loved. You don't even have to call me back".Sometimes we take for granted that those we love will always be here.NEVER miss an opportunity to tell people how you feel. After loosing so many people at such a young age it has left me a little numb but life always keeps me hopeful.

Barriodiva

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