Thursday, February 17, 2011

I'm Loving Angels Instead

by Gigi

I love hanging out in cemeteries.

No, I was never a Goth kid. But I've always felt a profound sense of beauty and peace in cemeteries.

One of the first plots that ever came to me was a ghost story about two teenagers who are drawn to an angel statue above a grave in a cemetery from California's Gold Rush days.

I'd still like to do something with that story someday, but I learned that writing YA is different than mystery, so I've got a lot more work to do before I can finish it. But you know what? I loved writing that story, regardless of what comes of it.

Based on that attitude, it was suggested by one of the Pens that I'm the most likely among us to become a Bodhisattva. I'm good at the Buddhist practice of calmly accepting the things around me. I accept that the cup is already broken; the things around me will all break at some point, but I'm not going to spend my life worrying.

Even when things go "wrong," it's all part of life. I've screwed up at a lot of things in my life -- being turned down for fellowships after college (which led to me taking off for London instead), getting myself on the wrong life path that I didn't quit until age 25 (which led to me meeting the love of my life a month later), not getting right that ghost story I love (which perhaps I'll find my way back to when I'm ready). By accepting these failures for what they were -- broken cups, not a broken life -- I was able to let them go and move on.

I think I'm good at that practice because most of the time I succeed in living in the moment, appreciating the people and experiences around me, instead of being focused on striving for some future payoff.

It's especially easy to appreciate the moment in beautiful spiritual places like cemeteries. You can feel the universe there. How can you worry about the petty problems in your life when surrounded by such serenity?

I've tried to capture the ethereal nature of cemetery angels through the lens of a camera. Below are a few of my photographs that show how I've experienced these peaceful places.

p.s. If anyone missed the reference in the title of this post, you're missing out on the highly entertaining Robbie Williams.

Addendum: Not five minutes after I wrote the original draft of this post, I was putting dishes away and broke one of my favorite martini glasses. Now that's a good lesson for practicing what I preach ;)


Juliet Blackwell said...

I share your love of cemeteries, Gigi. And like you, not for any ghoulish intent; rather, to me they tie us all together, our human lives and deaths throughout time. Haunting, and beautiful. I *adore* your photos!!!

Rachael Herron said...

Ha! Sorry about the glass.... And this is great -- a good reminder. Nothing is permanent, and maybe that's why a crumbling cemetery is so soothing. (Actually, that would seem to be counterintuitive, but it's not...)

L.G.C. Smith said...

I like cemeteries, too. They all seem to be hidden away where I live now, which is weird.

Lisa Hughey said...

Gigi--I heart your photographs **so** much. :) Cemetaries are lovely peaceful places. I love that we took our header picture in the local cemetary!

Shannon said...

Gigi, love the post, and the pictures. My parents have gotten me into old cemetaries...I need some of your "not worrying" and perspective on life. Thank you for the inspiration that you are--blessed to be able to call you my friend.

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