• Taking Soulful Self Care Hints from the Ancients
  • Charla Jones
Taking Soulful Self Care Hints from the Ancients
Dia de los Muertos Puebla, Mexico

Okay, time to fess up — many of us are spending hours, click after click, vicariously communing with altar-like Instagram posts.

It’s hard not to idolize those impossibly gorgeous tableaux of exotic travel destinations, impeccable fashion and makeup, and carefully curated cabinets and shelves adorned with beautifully packaged cremes and potions.

We chat endlessly about the importance of “self-care” but are we really taking good care of ourselves?

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I think there’s a real, underlying malady that has to do with something deeper than bucket-list destinations, beauty and body obsessions, and pretty packaging. 

Sleep-Walking Past the Simple, Everyday Experiences That Enrich Our Lives.

Most of us believe that there’s more to life than just molecules, atoms and memes, and while not all of us are religious, a great many of us check the “spiritual but not religious” box, believing our spiritual beings live on in some way after death.

But we do little else if anything more about it, which is why the cultural traditions behind Dia de los Muertos show us an enriching opportunity for caring about the soul of life.

Dia de los Muertos altar in Puebla, Mexico

Whether or not you believe that the spirits of the departed come back and mingle with the living, it’s hard to dismiss the soulful care Mexico and its people engage to honor and remember those who had passed on.

Pathways paved in marigolds mark the Dia de los Muertos celebration

Vibrant marigolds pave the way for spirits and the living alike. Beautifully adorned altars and homemade shrines in homes and cemeteries are alight with candles, grinning sugar skulls and pan de muerto, the special bread made just for the day.

People return home from far away to be with family and friends — one becomes all, and we all become one united community, partaking in cultural feasts for all our senses.

Streets and churches are filled with parades and festivals and whole communities come together in celebration of our connection to one of life’s greatest thresholds.

In Mexico, everyone pauses for a day of remembrance — I consider it an art form — embodied in celebrated cultural tradition, and I think it’s a soulful practice with enriching benefits for all of us.   

The more we understand about cultural traditions like Dia de los Muertos, the more we can appreciate what the ancients knew:

Even if death profoundly reshapes our relationships and thinking, remembrance offers us hints to the secret alchemy of the soul.

More magical than Instagram, remembrance is a beautiful portal to what lives on within us, through us and because of us — proving that caring for the soul is perhaps the ultimate self-care quality of celebrating life’s depths and mysteries.

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  • Charla Jones

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