★Rockn’ a Double Life with a Parallel Universe


Are you afraid of Death?

Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is right around the corner.  It’s a holiday I began observing when my sister Lisa passed away in 2003.  It was a beautiful, ceremonious and cathartic way to observe her passing.  Unlike my Catholic upbringing, which pits death as dark, depressive and dramatic, this Mexican holiday was a joyful, creative and fun way to put Lisa’s death in a different perspective.

This festive holiday offers one of the healthiest ways to honor loved one(s) who have passed on.   Recognizing death as a natural transcendence, Mexican and other Latin cultures celebrate life and honor their loved ones by creating offerings to welcome them back from their journey. 

Devoid of superstition, the Day of the Dead has more of a ‘laugh in the face of death’ energy – artistic, colorful and as zestful as life itself.  The message is clear:  live life to the fullest – it can end at any moment.  Parades, costumes and ofrendas (or altares) are festive and elaborate. 

Dig in.  Enjoy life – live it to it’s fullest.  Know it.  Feel it.  Live it.  Honor it.

Lisa’s Ofrenda
The main ofrenda I created was very traditional.  Marigolds lined the outer perimeters, copal incense burned, and candles flickered everywhere to guide Lisa’s way.  To refresh herself from her journey, a bowl of water and towel were left out.  Pictures of her family, friends and students were left out for her to see.  A bottle of water, mezcal and her favorite food, cheeseburgers and key lime pie, were waiting for her.  A sugar skull I made with Lisa’s name on it was dead center.

On the ground was the second altar – a beach, Lisa’s favorite place to be!  One of my friends brought back sand from Ventura to cover a 6’x6′ surface.  All of Lisa’s friends and my friends sent trinkets of shells, toys, candles.  ‘Hello Kitty!’, penguins and ‘Ozzy’ were well represented.  Jewelry, candles, marigolds, and everything Lisa glittered under the moonlight.  

We’re on the ride, embracing life, and embracing death.  Enjoy the ride.

The day opened with a parade and stream of visitors.  Friends of mine and strangers came by to pay tribute, take pictures and celebrate.  As darkness fell, the cemetery transformed to a magnificent illumination of candle light.  The performer that year was Lila Downs.  Her Oaxacan voice boomed over the stillness of the grounds.  Love captured my heart and pulled me forward.

As I approach another celebration of my sister’s life, I feel her presence evermore in parallel to mine, giving me power and strength every day.  Her energy is there to call upon to guide me to my levels and commitment to ‘be a better person’.

So here I am, Rockn’ a Double Life with a Parallel Universefull of life, bold and bodacious. 

Rock ya self out!

Paula D’Andrea is a Rock’n’Roll Alchemist who has overcome her
own ‘Screamn’ Demons’…….. Rockn’ 5 near death experiences,
3 knee surgeries, family loss and financial ruin, to come back on top
and work with some of the most entertaining people on the planet.

When you work with Paula, either as a client or business partner,
you can count on her having your back.  She is charismatic,
candid, bold & knows her shit – true Rock Star material herself.
For Speaking/JV/Production opportunities, click here to connect with Paula

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©Paula D’Andrea October 24, 2012. All rights reserved.  Rock Star Monday™ for Paula D’Andrea, pauladandrea.com.   Reprints allowed with permission and  full copy/credits intact.  Contact paula@pauladandrea.com for authorization.

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  • Your celebration for your sister Lisa is beautiful.
    I experienced my first traditional Mayan family ceremony on Nov 30, the last day of the month honouring the ancestors. We were invited to participate in the ritual which combined the maya spiritual practices and Roman catholic prayers honouring Maria, Madre de Dios, I enjoyed the traditional foods, cooked in a pit in the backyard. The young shaman who invited us to join his family passed a few years later, after a long illness in which he was performing multidimensional gaia and cosmic service. I honour his gift of life and know and connect with him now that he is no longer in form. Blessings to those who have gone before to prepare the way

    • Gina-Dianne, thank you so much for reading & commenting. It was a beautiful celebration and
      I look forward to Celebrating some time in Mexico!

      It is interesting to hear of traditions other than our own, and even better when we are able to
      experience them. ‘Life is an eternal flame’, and the Souls of our loved ones live on in a parallel plane
      where they are able to provide strength and power to our lives.
      Best always, Paula

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