I’ve been working with death a lot lately.
Not literal, physical death, thankfully—but metaphorical ones.
Deaths of identity.
Deaths of relationships.
Deaths of career paths and old dreams.
I’ve been in a transition space for the past few years of my life and really evaluating what gets to come with me moving forward, versus what is ready to be pruned off so that new buds might have the necessary resources to sprout.
As a person who has built a lifestyle and career around backcountry guiding, non-profit work, and academia for the past 15+ years I have found an immense amount of stability and growth in these areas. They’ve been a beautiful alchemy of adventure, scientific curiosity, and activism.
While I still value all of these things, each of them in their current form has started to lose their juice. They’ve felt more like obligations than opportunities and I’ve found myself burning out and placing myself in other difficult situations to chase novelty.
I have found myself with more than enough stories to last a lifetime but a craving to identify the deep medicine that I suspect might be within them.
The moment I was brave enough to look these pillars of my life in the face and say “okay, these no longer are life-giving….how do I let them go? what is calling me in next?” I began to give more and more thought into how I could hospice these long-standing parts of me to their death in the hopes that they might compost themselves and give fertilization towards something new and more aligned.
I would be a fool and a liar to say that this process has been easy or pleasant. It has shaken me to my core in moments. I have been in the depths of winter wondering if anything will ever grow again looking around asking myself “what the fuck have I done?”
But as all seasons change, spring is finally beginning to peak her head into my world. I feel a deepening sense of peace that the death of what was once so dear to us was the necessary cycle of these particular aspects of my identity. I’m watching new life gather vibrancy.
Although the tale of how I got here is a saga a few ways I’ve worked with death lately look like this:
- An all women’s rites of passage ceremony over my 30th birthday (for those unfamiliar, this was a two week, wilderness experience where I intentionally brought with me questions about what I was ready to part with and questions about what in me was ready to grow)
- A daily practice of erasing my entire to-do list and starting from scratch each morning
- A renewed, in-depth practice with mythology, storytelling, and a specific deep dive on the work Women Who Runs with the Wolves with mythologist Maria Souza.
- The permission to change careers, both short and long term.
- Learning about ‘death-lodge’ practices from cultures all over the world
- Exploring, facilitating, and participating in various forms of dreamwork
- Looking at my sleep-science research as a form of a ‘tiny death’ each night
Nothing in our world is meant to last forever. The preciousness and uniqueness of each moment comes from the wisdom that it is impermanent.
Death—at least lately—is the biggest adventure to lean in, grieve, honor in endings, rest—and then wait in the mystery of what comes next.
To follow my personal adventures on death and rebirth head over to @a.dagny.rose
To follow my more intentional explorations of death and rebirth join me at @pomegranate.and.magpie
Artist – Educator – Guide – Movement Facilitator – Scientist
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Living and working on the lands of the Cayuse, Apsåaalooke, Salish, Cheyenne, and Blackfoot currently known as Bozeman, Montana.
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