Shine the Divine:

Creativity IS a Spiritual Practice

When we see through our hearts, we recognize that every single one of us is infused with creativity. Divine Sparks are embedded in everyone and everything. It's up to us to be courageous, to look and listen deeply, to find the sparks, gather and release them back into the universe, transformed into something new. Join me as we wake up to the sacred-ordinary blessings waiting to greet us each and every day.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Creating Community, Loving our Brokenness, Inner Travels & Transformation

Broken Tailed Traveler

How can I respond to the kind things you have all said to me in comments here on this blog and privately through email, except to say that I am grateful that this wasn't about me? I say this with anavah (humility) in my fullest understanding of the word. I was taught through the study of middot (soul traits) that this word (at least in Hebrew) does not mean humble as in lowly, but instead it means knowing when to step forward and take ownership and recognizing when to step back and allow others to shine. Perhaps in this instance we have all stepped forward in unity, illuminating the world with our shared awareness of the blessings we have received, despite or even because of our brokenness, with full acceptance of joy, much like this broken-tailed butterfly appreciating the fragrant orange flowers upon which it is feasting. I may have had a seed of an idea that became the first stitch in this quilt but it grew from the wisdom of many individuals collaborating. For this word quilt is truly an ode to all of us who participated in creating community here in the blogasphere as well as the travelers who have stopped by to witness our gratitude and in turn have become part of this comforting blanket; a community of humanity far and wide. This whole experience has been an unfolding, blossoming, opening, song of souls, blessing life; each of our unique voices joining in to create a harmony that is complicated, textured, rich and sweet. Indeed a choir of love that I hope will continue to reverberate in our hearts for a very long time.

As you can probably tell by my improved vocabulary, the steroids are beginning to heal the swelling in my brain. Over the past two weeks I have traveled to many lands much like this blog entry, at least if you had heard the changing accents through which my brain has conveyed the English language through my voice, it would appear that I was quite the world traveler. It has been a fascinating journey for my family. Every morning I start the day sounding completely different from the day before. Even inside my mind I hear whatever voice will follow before I open my mouth to talk…certainly a clue of some kind to an aspect of the process of speech formation. When this all started two weeks ago, my pitch was higher, my English was halting and kind of “broken”. I could easily have been mistaken for a recent Chinese immigrant, just learning my own mother tongue, American English. Then my syntax would be confused and I sounded somewhat like Yoda from Star Wars. At other moments my r’s were completely gone as were unessential words like “a” and “the”; s’s were not present to indicate pluralality. Then I would go back and forth from this more toddler like formation in speech to a slightly southern sounding voice, a lilt to my voice as though I were from Georgia or South Carolina. Yesterday my pronunciation shifted so that I sounded like I was from somewhere in Northern Europe; an undisclosed country, but certainly not the Philadelphia accent I grew up with. Today the morning began with toddler speak and difficulty retrieving words but then for most of the day it has been a combination Irish brogue with a slightly Canadian flavor. Late this afternoon, around 3:30 or so, my normal voice, with proper syntax and most of my vocabulary returned. I did go back to Irish for a wee bit this evening and then found my natural voice again. Why this fluctuation and world travel is happening in my brain is a marvel; a mystery of misfiring neurons altering my speech patterns, I suppose. It has been a “long strange trip” (to quote the Grateful Dead) to be sure. It is as though I am an actor or perhaps channeling the voice of another being, and yet beneath all of this lies my “witness consciousness”; my own thoughts below the surface sometimes accessible through language and at other times just “watching”, unable to fully communicate all that I wish to convey. And so admittedly there is frustration, especially when I can’t remember the precise word I want or when I sound more like Elmer Fudd than a 44 year old woman…but my curiosity about this bizarre phenomenon has allowed me to once again discover the blessing through the humor of this situation. Yes this time around it is the gift of laughter at the surprising nature of MS that is sustaining my family and me. My eldest daughter is sorely missing my brogue this evening. This was her hands-down favorite. I must say we all enjoyed a moment the other night when I exclaimed while viewing a movie: “This is weally, weally, cweepy!”

Who knew I’d feel a loss as my completely uncontrollable speech patterns began to disappear?! But tonight as I’m writing this, even I’m a little bummed out that I just sound like ordinary me again. And to think, when this all started I cried! I don’t know how I’ll sound tomorrow morning, of course…the hour is late, before I know it day will break and a new adventure will be revealed.


  1. what a journey you are on Laura
    the weally weally cweepy statement made me laugh

    reading of your struggle with language brings me to tears and reminds me of when I had a stroke and suffered language comprehension and expression problems

    it was a scary and frustrating time

    I admire your humour and strength in facing this challenge

  2. Wow. What a journey of language you've described! Thanks for telling about what has happened as well as your reaction and interpretation. It has opened the door to understanding something I wouldn't have otherwise. Thank you. Blessings.

  3. Kel I imagine it is much like a stroke in some ways. Last winter and spring when I had the exacerbation that caused vertigo and a feeling of being out of body for 5 months I lost the ability to understand people when in a noisy room (a form of aphasia)...I would recognize that someone was talking to me, but I couldn't understand a word they said...they could have been speaking any language but English as far as my brain could tell! I'm glad that you have recovered from your stroke. The brain is truly an awesome all that it does and in it's ability to relearn/heal!

    Thanks Brooks, I hope when I am stronger I will be able to teach yoga again with greater sensitivity and compassion for each individual student and their mysterious life journeys.

  4. What an amazing description of what your witness consciousness has been witnessing! Wow! I loved your descriptions about Elmer Fudd and an Irish brogue or Chinese immigrant. "Receive what you are given." I'm happy that you've been able to get to a place where you can just accept it and go with the flow, noting the changes, the difficulties, the differences. I can understand your even missing it all a little, too. Funny/sad/happy at the same time. When I'm overly tired, my brain goes into a fibro fog and I can't think worth a darn. Rather than struggle and get frustrated, I just let it go and know that I'm gonna be a little stupid until the fog lifts. It's OK. It gives my brain a rest. It weally, weally does! Big hugs to you, Laura!

  5. Well, my latest vocal identity seems to be latino...I had my normal voice first thing this morning, then toddler for a good portion of the day-morphing into a latino this evening....can't wait until tomorrow!

  6. Hi Laura,

    I loved how you describe your awareness of what was happening as you observed your speech. Kind of amazing how different sounds can conjure up different images.

    And as for sounding like your usual self, please know that you are not some ordinary being. You are extraordinary.

    With love and blessings,
    Nadia - The Happy Lotus

  7. Laura,

    I am learning so much about the different aspects of MS from reading your entries. You are a courageous woman, a beautiful soul and thank you for opening your heart to us and sharing those intimate parts of yourself so that we can all learn about this illness but also rejoice when you are having a good day and offer strength when you're not. We are blessed to know you.

    Blessings to you my dear Irish/Chinese/Southern friend... :) ((hugs))

  8. Laura,
    I'm with Kel. What an amazing journey you are on! I continue to marvel at how you do see it (well, most days) as an adventure. Sometimes your posts remind me of entries I have read from Tibetan monks who have endured such difficulty. Somehow there is this subtle joy at simply being alive and able to appreciate everything that comes forth. Truly, spiritual practice in action.

    And thank you for the mobius quilt. It was stunning! I hope you have a good week ahead of you. xo

  9. Thank you all for your kind words...I maintain though, that I am truly an ordinary person living with some extraordinary circumstances...doing the best I can each day to stay sane, emotionally and spiritually healthy.

    gentle steps,


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