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.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Gift of Fear and Grieving

Recently I was offered a special award for being an Honest Blogger. Today as day 5 of my participation in the 29 Gifts Challenge, I decided I needed to receive a gift. I spent time meditating early this morning and then made a SoulCollage® card. The first one I have felt called to create in many months. I just completed a reading on the card about an hour ago. It is brutally honest. For all of you who have grown to expect my sunny disposition...Surprise!

This image revealed a part of me I had tucked away for safe keeping. Who was I protecting? Mostly kids, my husband, my parents, siblings, friends. I try very hard to keep this part of me under wraps, because it's the really dark part of me. FEAR and GRIEVING.

I'm not so much afraid of the new drug's nasty side effects anymore (you know the big one, PML-the brain infection that could potentially kill me...I do understand that the possibility of that happening is really, really low-I'm willing to risk it.)

No. These are the questions that are plaguing me in the rare moments I let my guard down:

*How do I know Tysabri is going to slow down the disease process?
*How do I know if it will improve my symptoms?
*How do I know that I'm not going to become progressively more incapacitated and end up in a nursing home before I'm 50?

The truth is, I can't know any of this right now. It's all about faith.

My doctor has seen Tysabri work for other patients. I like her, she's smart and kind...
and, I just met her Tuesday.

*I have to have faith in my doctor...this lovely, intelligent stranger.

*I have to have faith in the drug manufacturer...that they mixed everything properly.
*I have to have faith in the nurses who will administe
r the infusion to me...all of this still assumes that the system won't fail me and I will be given the drug and our insurance will cover the largest burden of the expense.
*I have to have faith in my body to respond well to this body could reject it, that happens sometimes.

*I have to have faith that God will be beside me, inside me, every minute of every day.
(OK, this one I really do believe.)

The other questions will remain questions for a while...perhaps a long while. If all goes as planned I'll be on this drug for a year. And then....
And then we cross that bridge.

Faith will have to sustain me for now. Finally something I do know, because it always has.

Here's my SoulCollage® card followed by the reading:

Who are you?
I am one who has sad eyes.
I am one who is tired, exhausted.
I am one who has fought this battle for so long.
I am one who feels lonely and frightened.
I am one who is still standing but needs support.
I am one who aches for change, for healing for renewal.

What do you have to give me?
I offer you an opportunity to admit that you are frightened, to say how tired you really are.
I give you permission to be sad sometimes, to grieve for fights that are un-win-able.
I give you permission to go to the dark places that scare you.

What do you want from me?
I want you to open your heart compassionately to that grieving part of your soul.
I want you to say that you are scared some days, that you feel lonely and weak.
I want you to be "ok" with sharing the sad feelings.
I want you to know that you don’t always have to be sunny for every body else.

Is there anything else you want to tell me?
Sometimes the light is tiny in the vastness of the sky, in the vastness of your being, but the light is still there. You can feel
all of this. Stop trying to protect others, yourself, from your fears. They are real. They are ok. You are ok

What is your name?
Bruised But Still Standing

So my friends, do you see how this is a gift?
I gave myself permission to be honest. Now this card does not negate my sunny, "What's the blessing in this" nature. Not at all. It allows those dominant moments to glow even brighter and to shine love and compassion on and into the wounded, Bruised But Still Standing part of me. Yes, I am an honest blogger. And that means fessing up to all of my feelings openly, so that others will know that it's "ok" for them to love and accept all the different voices within their own expansive selves.

Fear and Grieving are gifts
is like an arrow pointing the way to what needs attention.
is the arrow tearing a hole in my bound up heart...allowing more love and healing to flow.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from the Kotzker Rebbe:

"There is nothing so whole as a broken heart."

In other words, it is precisely our brokenness that allows us to comprehend our wholeness.


  1. Laura your posts are always so very touching, i feel your words. such strength here in your honesty.. a healing light.. you've created, not just for yourself, but for all :) thank you for sharing this x

  2. Laura,
    I love the quote at the end, and your interpretation of it. How true.

    And Laura, I want you to know how much I value your honesty here. It's not all roses and sunshine. And maybe just hearing you say that, show your fear - you give me permission to let my own fears out a little more.

    Know also that you are not alone, that you are never alone - our God loves you. And know too that I care very much, that you are in my prayers, and that I will stand by you...

    With love,

  3. Hi Laura, Thank you for sharing that with us. I was in a very similar place when I started drug treatment for my eye condition in 1997, at best it would save my sight and at worst….well with steroids I would end up in a wheel chair and the Cyclosporin (normally given to transplant patients) my kidneys packing up. At the end of the day I had to outweigh the risks against the benefits. Do I ‘know’ for sure that the treatment lessened the sight loss? No. I was on research protocol and all I DO know is that my ‘faith’ gives me the power to believe that whatever happens it happens for a reason and I am a different person because of it. I also ‘know’ that because of the treatment and being on research that if the treatment wasn’t as successful as the hospital expected it to be, then perhaps the development of another drug or adjusting the dosage would perhaps prevent someone else loosing his or her sight. The fear is natural, for without the fear we would not have the ability to ‘fight’ and focus on our desired outcome. It gives us the drive to be the Warrior Women we truly are.
    Thank you for being an Honest Blogger!

    Brightest Blessings Laura,
    Love Sue xxx

  4. Thank you for you kind words.

    Good's a new day and it's sunny outside...that always lifts my spirits. So we'll see what emotions decide to emerge as the day unfurls.

    I will do my best to be present to all of them, one by one, breath by breath.

  5. Laura, loved following along with you during the process of uncovering what needed to be said. You give us wonderful permissions--such a big word for women--for me "permission." Like you, like so many of us, we were taught to keep a stiff upper lip (I had very stoic parents!) and to allow ourselves to feel all the feelings is so important. Like in the Kotzker Rebbe quote, it's the only way we repair ourselves and restore wholeness. I love "Bruised But Still Standing." Wouldn't many of us feel that way if we fessed up to it? I know I would....and do....

    Life is hard these days on so many levels. It takes raw courage on some days just to navigate them. That stance alone carries a lot of sadness with it. May we all be kinder and gentler with ourselves. Metta, more metta. I am having a session this morning of big metta for myself and 3 dear loved ones who are struggling so....I am using my prayer beads to allow my fingers to feel the fear and release it to the All that tenderly holds everything, even when we can't. :-)

    Laura, I continue to love your sign off--Gentle Steps. It touches me more than you know...

    Hugs to you today.

  6. Thank you Jan for your kind words and insight about the struggles we all must fess up to. I have an appt. with my Spiritual Director this morning (via phone-b/c we live 2 hours apart) I think this will be a perfect day to sit with all of this in gentle, generous company.

    may this be a day of healing for you and your 3 dear ones.

    and of course,
    gentle steps for all of us,

  7. Such a beautiful and honest post, Laura. C'mere ... I'm wrapping my arms around you in a big, warm, gentle hug. A long one cuz those are the best, aren't they? One of my favorite mantras is "Receive what you are given." Feel every emotion that is present, embrace all that life gives us, the good and the bad. Your SoulCollage card is a loving lesson in receiving the gifts of Fear and Grief. Instead of fighting against them (sometimes, resistance really is futile), you accept them and receive them and then you work them. So honest and divine.

  8. I'm loving all these virtual hugs of late! And I cannot pass up commenting on your nod to the Borg...One of the things we do on weekends as a family lately is watch Star Trek Next Gen episodes. The girls don't remember them from their babyhood, and they love them now. There's a lot of social and spiritual commentary built into those shows. When Belin, my eldest was an infant STNG was on TV as my husband Gordon and I took turns walking her up and down the stairs to comfort her (this was in the middle of her 4 hour colicky fret phase every late afternoon into evening for her first 4 months of life) We jokingly called her the "stair Master" and believe me with a colicky infant...resistance is futile! So here we have a lesson from a newborn...feel what you are feeling...cry when you are overwhelmed and seek the comfort you need in the arms of the ones who love you. And then...all will be well.

    Blessings to you Rose on this November evening.

  9. Hi Laura,

    One of the many things that I enjoy about reading your posts is that you are so open about your journey with faith.

    It is wonderful that you did find a new doctor that you like and that you are able to try Tysabri. So those are blessings which are happening for a reason. We all have to struggle with faith and each of us struggle with it in the context of our reality.

    As for being bruised but still standing....I know exactly how you feel. My bruises are not from MS but from pains in my journey. I know how it is when you feel beaten down but therein lies the mercy of are still standing.

    Love and blessings,
    Nadia - Happy Lotus

  10. Such courage and kindness you all share here in this sacred space...I really feel that that's what this blog is...A Safe and Sacred Space, where travelers along the way can stop and rest, exchange stories and encouragement; nourish one another with compassion and love.

    Blessings upon all who enter and all who go on to their way!

  11. My dear sister, Laura...
    For sharing your insights on fear and grieving..and their gifts, I thank you. I thank you for allowing yourself to spill open, and let us be with you on this winding journey. Thank you for reminding us about the power of faith, and that all it takes is a mustard seed-size. I thought of that this week as I viewd the jar of mustard seed in my spice rack; and your faith (and mine) is indeed larger than that mustard seed.

    You are surrounded by SO much LOVE: your husband, your children, your creative family, your online family. You my dear are in a womb of love that is infinite. Please feel that and let that love vibration be with you, radiating, creating an aura that stokes the healing love that surrounds you.

    Thank you for so generously sharing yourself.. xxoo, Blessings, Cheryl

  12. ahh cheryl...I feel the love around me through me flowing out of me too!
    so lets just breath in and out planet...breathing love, compassion, healing all that exists past present future...In Hebrew one name for God perhaps the most sacred name, is YHVH (some times mispronounced as YAWEH or Jahova-by non-Jews)-in reality this name cannot be pronounced it only comes out sounding like breath) is a VERB...not a noun at means IS/WAS/WILL BE...pretty cool right? and so this breath of God that is passed through us (as God breathed life into Adam-all humanity), connects us to each other, all of life, all of the universe throughout time eternal...we are part of eternity -through our breath when we are embodied and then as pure energy before we come here and after we move on to a new existence.

    so much love to you my friend...hope you are feeling better these days and these words I shared just now give you soulice, (I think I just made up that word)

    gentle steps,


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