All those grinning skulls and clackety skeletons you see for Day of the Dead celebrations are fun, to be sure, but they are meant to convey an important message, as well. In our post about the imagery associated with the Day of the Dead, we looked at the work of José Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913). A political cartoonist and printmaker during the reign of Porfirio Diaz, Posada frequently depicted politicians and other important figures as skeletons in his work.
Posada’s best known image is “Catrina,” an elegant and well-dressed female skeleton. She is said to have been inspired by a well-to-do French woman who fancied herself quite high and mighty. In drawing Catrina and other prominent figures as skeletons, Posada’s intention was to poke fun at the wealthy and to remind people that, in death, all souls are equal.
Deep down, we all know this is the truth. Yet it’s all too easy to forget amidst the frenzy of our daily lives. In his landmark book (honestly, this was a life-changing book for me. I can’t recommend it highly enough), The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey devotes an entire chapter to “Beginning with the End in Mind.”
The chapter starts with a powerful visualization exercise that you may want to try. It goes something like this (for the complete version, pick up a copy of the book):