Death and Life: A Memorial for Unmourned Animals

“Death and Life” is a memorial piece I completed this year for unmourned animals. The skull is from the remains of a horse I encountered apparently dumped in the desert with a pile of garbage. I wanted to offer the horse some care in death that it may not have received in life. Over last winter I cleaned the skull with great care. As spring came, I began to find newly-hatched bird eggs everywhere — swallow, robin, and dove. The mosaic on the skull is made from the eggshells. For me the new life symbolized by the eggs also reflects the hope that comes through lovingkindness and the ways all living things are interconnected. ⚠️**Content warning: the paper and video below contain a photo of the horse’s skeletal remains as found and references to other animal deaths and cruelty.**  I presented the story of Death and Life at the 2020 Quantum Storytelling Conference in December and the narrative will be published with the conference proceedings. This paper is currently available online here: davidboje.com/quantum under “Death and Life Storytelling.” The video below is a recorded version of the presentation, including the story of the discovery of the horse, the process of…

Integration

Sometimes when we share ourselves with someone, parts of us become hurt through painful relationship experiences or losses. Or in the course of life, we experience difficult or even tragic events that seem to shatter us. We are then faced with a choice (which is not always conscious). Do we cut off those hurt parts of our self, never to face them again? Or do we begin the slow, sometimes difficult, but ultimately rewarding process of reclaiming those parts, nurturing them, and inviting in healing? The latter can help us move towards wholeness. In addition to our inner world of thoughts and feelings, our physical surroundings and activities can give us clues about parts of self that need to heal. Are there places, spaces, activities, or belongings that have negative connotations? Are they triggers for anxiety, dread, sadness, or shame? When the time is right, with care and gentleness, these hurt places can be approached, allowing you to reclaim valuable parts of yourself and to let go of that which no longer has a place with you. In a similar way, do certain experiences, people, places make a forgotten part of you come alive? Follow that impulse. The work of…