The Comfort of Symbols in Grief and Loss, My Mother’s Mustard Jar


1.  The Wonderful Comfort of Symbols.  When I was in  crisis in 2010 ((leaving medicine for a spiritual journey into writing and more..), it was the symbolic meaning of wild animals crossing my path that saved me from the sense that the floor was dropping out from under me.  After losing my mother in 2020, the power of the mustard jar she arranged her bouquets of lupine and coral colored peonies in took on a deep resonance for me.  The mustard jar now represents ALL of the love, patience and grace that my mother offered to me. I have a small wooden sailboat with cloth sail from my dad which reminds me of his love of freedom which he shared with me.   These symbols comfort me now in moments of darkness.  What are the powerful symbols that comfort you in this moment?

(SOLD this week “The Reckless Largesse of Peonies”- with mustard jar symbol)
See all art originals available here.

2.  Georgia O’Keefe was NOT an erotic painter.  There are so many misconceptions about Georgia O’Keefe, the artist, and the BIGGEST one was that her gorgeous floral paintings were sexual – this is a story that her husband (also her art dealer) promoted and she fought against this for the rest of her life.  I am going to visit her home with a group of other artists in August and just watched several short docs about her life and  I was struck by what a FORCE she was!

Helpful lessons from Georgia:

Paint (or create stuff about) what you LOVE (she loved old bones and cheap fake flowers from the drug store) …I love bears and peonies. What do YOU love?

-Claim your accomplishments “You get whatever accomplishment you are willing to declare.” and I could not agree more.  Want to be an artist- claim it! Want to be a TV stat- claim it! Want to be the more rad and unconventional grandma- claim it!.

What acomplishment do YOU want to claim?

-Use your irritation.  She was sick of men claiming everything to be the “Great American” version of ________  and she felt none of it reflected her beliefs.  So she created her own version of the “Great American Painting” (see below)  and it caught on.  She revered nature above all.

Georgia’s stuidio was so neat- like a MArie Kondo fever dream….it made me a little envious because my studio is wildly disordered.  I’m working on creating systems that help me,  AND recognizing- I need and long to be messy! I need to be able to slosh and spill paint.

I will never have a surgical suite of a studio like Georgia-and that’s OK:).

Here’s my studio this week!

Here’s one of the mini-docs about Georgia  I liked!

3.  We forget to focus on this one profound thing.  Inger shows us how to change all of that.   TREAT YOURSELF to this life altering workshop by my SHINE co-founder Inger Kenobi. 

4. Best Quote About Grief.  The longing turns less bitter with time from teh loss of both my mom and my dad in the last 4 years.  I miss them so.

‘How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?’
-A. A.Milne

5.  This week I created like a BANSHEE.  I promised myself I would share one new piece this week with you and here it is!
“Travel Lightly” 36″ x 48″ on canvas

I created this while a beloved was moving into the light from this world.  I had the sense that this movement was so, so beautiful and was listening to music Lux Arumque by Eric Whitacre as I painted.
There is gold paint illuminating the ground os this field of lupine…a glorious site that never fails to appear in June.  It is hard to capture the beauty of the colors,  please contact me if you’d like a video.  There is a reel here too.  

To learn more or purchase.

The title was inspired by this incredible poem of Lara Daciuk O’Connor

Prayer for the Dying:

Travel lightly.
Take only the blessings.
There will still be singing.
Everyone leaves things undone.
All of it is forgiven.
Your body knows what to do,the same as when you were born.
You will be loved and remembered.
You are held in the great web.
It’s ok that this wasn’t supposed to happen.
We are all learning.
You did enough if you did one thing good.
It’s ok to miss hugs and peaches.
It’s ok to be homesick for Earth.
You will hear your loved ones talk to you.
It’ll be beautiful when you touch them back.
You will be magic in their lives.
You’ll live on as hope.
You are now the passing torch.
With love that binds, in peace let go
by Lara Daciuk O’Connor.

Are you in need of more spiritual connection or simply feeling as if 2024 is your year to lean into healing?  You can find all the ways to work with me HERE. 

AND you can always work together with me (+ Inger Kenobi!) and other fabulous humans like YOU each week by joining SHINE and make serious progress on your creative journey!

with love,

This email is reader supported. This one was typed while I sat at my kitchen table with my pug warming my feet.  YOU are one of my sacred priorities dear reader!

The best ways to support me are to:

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I am also celebrating my SECOND SOLO Art Exhibition!  Save the date if you’ll be up in Northern Minnesota near Grand Marais! It will be June 1 to 30th at the Grand Marais Art Colony Store.  



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