Every culture on our planet, past and present, has formed ideas about where we came from and what happens when we die. How do we know this?  The first (undisputed) human burial on record shows traces of red ochre and bee pollen. People not only dug a hole, but they decorated the body and placed it purposefully into the earth. Why go to the trouble?  It's impossible to know for certain what those actions meant to them, but it is clear that there was meaning. It turns out that looking for meaning is inherently human. Recent studies show that 37% of Americans regard themselves and "spiritual but not religious." Despite the shift away from organized religion, our search for meaning continues.

My personal spiritual beliefs are irrelevant in my work as a death midwife. I'm here to help you reflect on your beliefs, whatever they may be. The same goes for celebrancy. It's even written into our Code of Ethics. Still, it's natural to be curious about what those around us believe. We are social creatures after all. I know that there is great tension between the believers and the non-believers of the world, each certain that they are right. One example I find interesting is how some attribute near-death experiences to angels and others attribute them to a flood of chemicals in the brain. What I wonder is, what if it's both?

I'm often asked what I believe in and I rarely give a coherent answer. I'll try to do that here.

1) The universe is larger than human comprehension whether you believe in an afterlife or not. World without end? Nirvana? Also, have you seen this photo?

2) If the universe is infinite, then I am an unfathomable, miniscule being within it. A teeny-tiny collection of organic compounds held together by electric currents. An animated speck of dust. And whatever animates me does so for an infinitesimal length of time.

3) Being an animated, impossibly teeny-tiny speck of dust, even for a short time, is wonderful. This world is what I revel in. The way we can come together and make something more than the sum of our parts.  Marching bands? Kids choirs? Acrobats?  Wonders never cease.