As Meagen and Bill headed back to their home “under the third O in the Hollywood sign” from a Thanksgiving gathering in the Valley last month, they were stunned with the majestic beauty of the full moon. So Meagen, being the researcher she is, set out to learn more. She sent me some of what she found and it was absolutely intriguing. And ultimately challenging.
It seems the November full moon that came to its fullness just after Thanksgiving Day is known by several titles. Some call it the Beaver Moon, others the Full Frost Moon, and this one that set me puzzling: The Mourning Moon. I was mulling the word picture and lamenting the fact that our urban village doesn’t make it easy to see nature’s most dazzling shows in the sky. That’s probably one of the reasons that many of us connected with the iconic song from the charming movie Arthur,Christopher Cross’s “Somewhere between the Moon and New York City.” That is a title with a special resonance for city dwellers who can’t just walk out the back door and find a miracle on the horizon.
But when I read Meagen’s e-mail I realized that there was a strong but unlikely connection between mourning and gratitude. So, what does gratitude have to do with mourning? As I explored the idea, I began looking at mourning as the deeply human experience of saying goodbye to the past and simultaneously becoming open to the future.
As loss leads to mourning, it thereby leads to a place of liberation and of gratitude. Each time we are able to put away what we have, what we think we need, or what we think is an absolute requirement for happiness, we have a chance, at the same time, for liberation that can open the path to reaching a whole new level of freedom and, ultimately, happiness.
So here’s to a luminous moon that invites us to discover the connection between mourning and gratitude; to reexamine all our habitual patterns. We may find among them a surprising number of things that are habitual but not productive, things that are comfortable but not really life-giving. There is a difference. And perhaps the difference is best recognized by the light of the “Mourning Moon.”
Keep looking up, even in this crowded urban village.
Photo | Pixabay