Sunday, May 31, 2015

You Can Find Her In Your Heart

One of my favorite local beach photos,
and a favorite exclamation of gratitude Joni and I shared - "We live here!"

How do you navigate through your grief when one of your best friends has passed away?

You allow yourself to experience the range of emotions you encounter with the sense that her enduring spirit will shine a bright light through your sadness and illuminate your path.

You draw strength from your admiration for the valiant warrior she proved to be during her 10-plus year battle with amyloidosis.

You continue to find inspiration and encouragement in her witty, determined, courageous, passionate, caring, loving qualities.

You are uplifted by gratitude for your 20-year friendship and find solace in the many fond memories you shared together, the carefree and humorous ones along with those which were deeply poignant.

You connect with mutual loved ones in a comforting circle of support.

You reminisce, cry, reflect, cry, smile, laugh, cry...remembering all the while that releasing your tears is healing.

You learn how to feel peace knowing she is at peace.  

You realize that just as she has always been there for you, she is and will always be here.  Although you have lost her in this physical world, love is everlasting, and you can find her in your heart.

This is what I tell myself as I miss my dear friend Joni who passed away ten days ago...I can find her in my heart.  

Please join me in healing wishes for Joni's husband, family and friends.  When making your donations to worthy causes and charities, perhaps you'll consider the Amyloidosis Foundation.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

When A Rose Is More Than A Rose

After our cat Misty's close call with a toxic lily last summer, I had nearly broken the habit entirely of bringing fresh flowers into our home except for makeshift bouquets of calendula, feverfew, borage and chive blossoms and rosemary and lavender sprigs plucked from our own garden, tucked into a small vase on our kitchen window sill, out of reach from our young prowling feline.  Although I realized I could still allow the pleasure of posies deemed safe for cats, like Gerbera daisies (a longtime favorite of mine) or roses (for which I developed a more recent appreciation in the past couple years), it wasn't until last week that I finally brought a bouquet home, spurred by spontaneity when rosebuds in the most luminous and gorgeous shade of pink caught my eye.  My purchase would have been, admittedly, far more admirable if it came from one of our local farmers markets, but this particular moment of beauty and grace happened to make its appearance as I entered Trader Joe's to shop for groceries!

Regardless of when and where they arise, whether in the midst of nature's magnificence during an outdoor adventure or while merely on a mundane errand of grocery shopping, moments of observing and appreciating the beauty and grace of simple things in our daily lives, like the loveliness of roses, are opportunities to hit the pause button and become fully present and centered.  When we take notice and treat ourselves to savoring life's sweet little treasures, an immensity of enjoyment and gratitude can be experienced in something so brief or seemingly inconsequential. 

As shared in a recent post, my concern for several friends and relatives with serious health situations has created much heaviness in my heart.  Some of that heaviness has eased as feelings of calm and centeredness have been restored in moments of becoming fully aware and appreciative of daily beauty and grace, so simple, subtle, perhaps easily overlooked or missed, yet always having the potential to be very powerful and positive.

On the same day the pink roses accompanied the groceries home, our daughter gifted me with a small pale pink rose from her class visit to Bobcat Garden, their elementary school garden.  What a wonderful bit of synchronicity!  Perhaps as I am cultivating a growing awareness of the loveliness in simple things, our daughter is learning to do the same?

A couple days later, I met a dear friend to enjoy the Monterey Museum of Art's "Art In Bloom" exhibit at La Mirada, and afterward, as we strolled through the rose garden there (shared in a past post), I felt truly present in that moment, and a wave of calm and serenity washed over me.  It was one of those experiences of sensing when a rose is more than a rose, when it becomes an "ambassador" of something greater, a reminder that beauty, grace and strength are always in bloom around us and within us. 

How are you inspired and uplifted by moments of beauty, grace and simplicity in your  daily life?