Grief and Love are Conjoined

“My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her. That’s just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don’t get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy.”  Jandy Nelson ~ The Sky is Everywhere

rainbow sky web Jandy Nelson says, grief is forever – but we can still strive to live every day with “daring and spirit and joy.”  I took this from my back deck. The sky puts on a new show for me every day.

We only have this moment

“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand – and melting like a snowflake.”  Marie Beyon Ray

cemetaryOne might notice that a number of quotes I use have to do with living in the moment. I have experienced much loss in my life, including my 28 year old son, Zachary Christian Johnson almost 8 years ago. I believe that such losses give one a different perspective on life/living. I almost feel like an evangelist wanting to shake people into an awareness of how fleeting life can be, and to try to appreciate every moment as very precious.

A favorite author of mine, Anne Lamott recently wrote an article that included this: “Spirit zing ourselves awake. Taking a position of gratitude from which we meet the day. Gratitude as a verb–“Wow, I’m gratituding like crazy today, Dude. I was mewling and puking about the traffic, or how annoying my family is, but then, I changed channels, and now I’m gratituding, even though my back is killing me, and I got a head cold the same day as my gum surgery. But I got to get the gum surgery I needed. Now I’m healing. Thank you! Tomorrow I get to eat solid foods. Wow.”

Photo taken at a cemetery in Atascadero, Ca.

Stepping Away

“Going nowhere … isn’t about turning your back on the world; it’s about stepping away now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply.”  Leonard Cohen

IMG_0393 8x10 self port fbI love Leonard Cohen. Or I should say, I love his poetry and his music. I love the ability some people have to put thoughts/feelings into words that touch our hearts or cause us to think more deeply or even to help change our course when we didn’t realize we were drifting. So thank you, Leonard Cohen, for giving me your powerful insight.

Photo taken at a Rotta Winery vineyard in Templeton, Ca. with my fisheye lens.

the story of your life

“You can try to escape the story of your life. But you can’t. It happened. The baby died, the dog died. My heart broke. I knew you when you were young – your heart broke too.” Amy Jellicoe, the main character in Enlightened, to her now older estranged ex-husband.

264_6426 16x16 gazania web“Telling our stories is not an end in itself, but an attempt to release ourselves from them, to evolve and grow beyond them. We tell our stories to transform ourselves; to learn about our history and tell our experiences to transcend them; to use our stories to make a difference in our world; to broaden our perspective to see further than normal; to act beyond a story that may have imprisoned or enslaved us; to live more of our spiritual and earthly potential.” Rachel Freed

I took this photograph of the “lowly” gazania. They border walkways and we may glance down and notice the splashes of color. But up close, their blossoms are a work of art.