Annais:  Personal Empowerment Class UC Santa Cruz 2013

“I guess I should be pretty pissed of about what happened to me, but it’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much; my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst…And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it.  And then it flows through me like rain, and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life.  You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure.  But don’t worry – You will someday.”  -- American Beauty

Jonah and I were talking about death tonight.  We were talking about the existence of the soul, and how we feel that when the body dies, the soul continues in some form, conscious or unconscious of its previous existence.  Jonah was talking about cycles – how everything is a cycle – you wake up, and you go to sleep, the tide goes in and out, the leaves on the trees turn lush and green in the spring, and shrivel and die in the winter – your body is formed in the womb – are born and then you die.  And everything continues.  I like science, and I enjoy to think about life and death in that way sometimes – I would like my body to be returned to the ground in a way that it can be eaten by other organisms to provide food energy to power the trophic structures that fuel our earth.  I would like my body to decompose back into the ground, and hope that it gives nutrients to the soil so that new things can grow.  But where the soul goes is something completely different and mind boggling to me.  You could say that the soul can only exist in the body, if you think that the soul is formed through the same process of personality and cognition that are developed through receptors and reactors in our brain.  I feel that the soul is something deeper than just our genetic makeup – each person has a soul that drives them in certain directions – It is not something that is necessarily tangible.   Sometimes I look at something so beautiful in nature that I feel that it can’t just be explained through science – through the chemical composition of different molecules and compounds and light refraction that produces all these different colors.  When looking at a mountain, I can deduce that it formed by the crashing together of tectonic plates in our lithosphere, but somehow knowing exactly how something as awesome as a mountain came to be solely through scientific explanation is just not as fun.  I like to believe that souls power the beauty of this earth.  Something is behind the wind and the rain and the beauty of nature that can’t just be explained through hard science.  Death has been surrounding me a lot lately.  I had one of my closest childhood friend’s die in June of last year, followed by Camilla in September, and I came close to death not too long ago myself.   With each experience I have with death – from someone close to me dying to someone from my high school overdosing and dying in their sleep, I always go through these bouts of intense thinking about them.   I look their names up on the Internet to see if any articles have been written about them.  I find myself routinely going on their Facebook page, which I feel is my way of making time to remember them.   Once a person dies, their Facebook page kind of becomes this way to still stay connected to them.  You can see things that they wrote to you and others when they were alive – I’ve scrolled for hours through photos of them for so long that I forget they have died.  It is always shocking to see when their activity stopped on Facebook – the last thing they wrote on someone’s wall or the last time they commented on someone’s photograph – their last status update.