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, January 21, 2010

Drive By Beauty's the thing, if you don't stop, you miss the beauty.

Ok, another "freedom-ride". It was clear and sunny. We were totally out of stamps. Someone had to go to the post office and well, Gord was working. This felt like a task I could handle. The post office is only about 7 minutes from our house and the walk from the parking lot to the clerks desk inside is not very far. No problem. I completed my assignment, book of stamps in my purse and three letters sent off. I was feeling kind of giddy and mischievous with the blue, blue sky urging me on. So I did exactly what the kind-hearted, neuro-psychologist I visited last week for cognitive testing said not to do. I took what felt like a small risk and went down a couple of roads I've never been down before. He recommended I only go on roads I know well to avoid getting lost and overly tired, thus risking an accident especially if I get confused with too many things to think about at once; this was his "MS patient still in the process of healing from back to back exacerbations" safety tip. Actually very good advice, that I have been sticking too. (except this perfectly, perfect day) Honestly, I couldn't help it. It was just such a beautiful day, plus I had my GPS and like I said the sky was clear and the roads (for the most part) too. How much trouble could I get in on a sunny Thursday afternoon on country lanes that have hardly any traffic?

I saw this enormous, glorious tree up ahead. My heart fluttered, I slowed down the car with an audible intake of breath. Yirah. Awe. A God conscious moment. There were no cars behind me. I had to stop, because here's the thing, if you don't stop, you miss the beauty. I couldn't risk that. Again my heart spoke up and I knew this magnificent tree, clothed in sunshine, needed to be viewed by more people than the few who drive down the country road it lives on. Good news. I had my camera! (Well you never know when a perfect photo op might arise.) I was very safe...I pulled into the tiny driveway of the farmhouse across the street.

I took a few photographs of this majestic tree, (inner smile expanding), clicking away blissfully while sitting in some random person's driveway. An elderly woman (ahh, the random person) with a lovely scarlet hat slows down to stop and retrieve mail at the mailbox. She looks at me somewhat quizzically through the open window of her car, wondering, (I imagine) if she knows me. She aligns her car adjacent to mine. I roll down my window (and I'm thinking Gordon and the girls would be wicked embarrassed...well actually they wouldn't be, because they would
never have let me stop the car in the first place!) I call out to her (another humiliating habit that would have made my family cringe)..."The's so gorgeous, I had to stop and take a picture." She smiles (as this is HER tree)..."Oh yes," she gleefully replies, "That's a's not indigenous and people stop all the time to admire it!" She looks at the tree, beaming with delight. Me too. She turns back to me. I smile. She smiles. It didn't seem to matter that we were strangers seconds before. The tree was a conduit for the flow of sacred connection. It was a brief encounter, but holy none-the-less. We rolled up our windows. Off I went back toward home, toward familiar streets and trees and people I know well. I now picture her in my mind's eye. She is sitting down for a warm cup of tea, maybe noshing on a cookie or two, gazing out her kitchen window at the stately sycamore and vast sky beyond.

Please join me at Awake is Good Friday, 1/22/10, where I have the honor of sharing a meditation practice based on a traditional Jewish gratitude prayer with you as part of Jan's still on-going 28 day meditation challenge. (Plus if you do stop at Jan's and click on the mp3 you get to hear me chant a prayer-I don't do too many public singing engagements, so please, no snickering, I'm not exactly a diva.)


  1. wonderful story my dear. I have these kind of meetings all the time, often over trees, sometimes about antiques, once over the pavement as I was photographing it for textures on my blog. I had to get out of the way for a man and his daughter to drive by. He said ..what are you doing? and I said ...oh... I'm and artist and he nodded and drove on...
    crazy pixilated, happy connected and blissed out artist!!!
    Aren't you glad you followed your heart and took a small risk? xooxoxo

  2. What an inspiring way to begin my day! Thanks for the the reminder and sharing your beautiful experience with us.
    Love and light,

  3. What a lovely chant you shared at Awake is Good! And you have a beautiful singing voice! You wrote that you remember your Grandmother greeting each new day with this chant -- what a wonderful connection across the generations.

  4. Hi Caterina...yes, yes, happy to be impulsive, creative, ME.

    Hi Jill, thought you'd like this post in particular:)

  5. Hi Debra, thank you for your comments about my singing. My Nana was such a deeply spiritual woman, she and my Aunt Bebe and Aunt Rosie gifted me so much with their presence and connection to Presence. I miss them. They are still with me in my heart.

  6. it makes me sad to know i drive/walk past beauty every day without seeing it...

  7. Sweet Shadow,
    I think you see much more than you realize...this is so clear to me when I read your poetry. You take life in with your breath and release magical, mystical, enchanting beauty with your words.

  8. A beautiful picture.

    Reminds me of the the Davies poem leisure;

    What is this life if full of care
    We have no time to Stand and stare

  9. Laura, Thank you for admiring trees! I love trees! I used to have two sycamores in my yard when I lived in Iowa. Wow, did their leaves get BIG!! Now there is a large cottonwood tree that I visit sometimes. I've seen people sitting near it at different times. It has a wonderful spirit and I believe people are intuitively attracted to that. I've called it my(the?) Wisdom Tree. :)

  10. Ah Jasmine...standing and staring...listening and looking...touching, tasting, breathing in the fragrance of life. Why don't they teach this in school?

    Lisa, sounds like a perfect sanctuary, sitting beneath the sheltering branches of that Wisdom Tree...I hope you go there often!!!

  11. I am always so amazed at how natures encourages divine connections! I remember my girlhood summer nights watching sunsets with strangers on the shores of Lake Erie. I remember once a man clapped as the sun went down. It was so beautiful. It is great to share beauty with another and great to notice God's grandeur.

    Wanting to tell you that my four year old son was taken with your chant this morning. He wanted to hear it again and again. And I have heard him throughout the day trying those Hebrew sounds that can be so difficult to pronounce. I smiled. What a gift of beauty today.

    Peace, Nicki

  12. Hi Laura,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier today! I love yours. I need to spend a little more time reading it! I'm really loving the soul collage!!

  13. Nicki I love this about your little boy! My girls used to chant fake Hebrew when they were really's so sweet. There is a restaurant we go to in Ocean City MD every summer...they play the 1812 Overture as the sun sets over the is timed so the end of the music comes exactly as the sun appears to sink into the water...and often people applaud. AS WE ALL SHOULD! The world is indeed magnificent.

    Hi Manon, any time you want to learn more about SoulCollage send me an email...It has been a powerful blessing in my life.

  14. You captured a beautiful moment, in more ways than one. I am glad you went off the beaten path. I look forward to reading your post at Awake is Good.

  15. What a lovely story and beautiful photo, Laura -- thanks for sharing both. Some of my most meaningful conversations are momentary ones with random strangers.

    --Sandy Ackers
    Strangling My Muse: Struggling to Live a Creative Life in a Stressful World

  16. I'm reading this experience and it reminds me of many of my own. I tend to become mesmerized by the beauty nature has to offer, especially if I don't go looking for them, they just sort of find me. Thanks for sharing your story and great photos.

  17. Hi Sharon,
    Thanks for thanking by. Off the beaten path is my favorite place to be, but not always doable to get there. Thank God for the days I can!

    Hi Sandy I'm so glad you found your way to my site. I was just reading a bit of Martin Buber before bed last night and this was such a clear "I-THOU" moment. These are indeed dearly precious experiences.

    Terie, So true! These moments do just come to us. They cannot be forced, yet we must be open and awake to the possibility of deep listening, seeing, presence in order to notice that such a moment is upon us.

    blessings all

  18. Love this story, Laura. I am a tree lover too and marvel at their presence. They speak to me so. :-) A moment of connection from one soul to another—even about something as simple as a tree—is a sacred touchpoint. This story reminds me of how we ARE all the same. We want to be happy, we love beauty, we can appreciate and cherish the simple things. Thank you for sharing this...

  19. Your so welcome Jan, and thank you for allowing me to be a presence on your blog this weekend. What a joy to meet so many loving souls in your sacred blog home.

  20. Oh Laura, this is a glorious photo of the trees with the sunshine sparking through.. indeed something to capture; I'm so glad you did and that you shared it with us. My relationship with trees has deepened the last 7-10 days... They've beckoned me to stop, I see them holding their arm-like and hand-like branches toward me.. shining their radiant love upon me... and all who walk that way. NOw, I feel this radian love whenever I am among them...seeing their graceful structure holding their palms toward me --beaming their love. Thak you dear friend for taking this beautiful photo, and sharing your moment with the trees.. love to you.. Cheryl

  21. Thank you, thank you for that tree.

  22. Lovely. Sometimes I get off work during the summer time just as the sun is setting. The route we take leads outside of town and the sun sets over the Great Salt Lake. I don't know how many times my wife Lois and I have chased the sunset. We get on the phone and call the girls and tell them what we are doing and ask if they want us to pick them up. Generally they say yes. We keep a tripod in the trunk of the car all the time. The pulling into driveways and off the side of the road is also something we do quite frequently.

  23. ..just beautiful! I love the sky ..always changing and giving us new insight and dreams! Your blogs are warm and inspiring..I love to add this to my bloglist.

  24. Now here's a weird thing! I belong to a writer's group and our homework this week is `chaos'. Yesterday I jotted some notes in my journal and thought hmmm - tomorrow I will go online to find out more about what `chaos' means. This morning I found your comment on my blog, read your profile, thought you looked like an interesting person and so chose this blog to look at out of your list...and...found your piece about chaos!! Isn't it utterly amazing how the universe responds to our thoughts?

  25. Well..I loved your words and the photo is devine. What a peaceful feel there is to your writing!! I love how open you are about your MS! Thank you for sharing!
    LOL I loved your interview with Jan..wonderful and facinating! Something that I have wondered about for a long time..thank you for sharing!
    As for your voice..there will be no snickering is stunning! Take it from a trained have a beautiful clear voice! I saved it to my player so I could hear it again!
    Wonderful hon! Namaste, Sarah

  26. Oh my goodness, so many kind comments!
    Cheryl my dear SoulCollage sister...I think there is something about the pure nakedness of trees in winter (until they are bedecked in ice and snow) that perhaps mirrors our own vulnerability? I don't know, but they do seem to be reaching out their arms to us don't they?

    You are most welcome MamaZen!

    Our favorite sunset spot is an overlook in the White Mountains...we have to go there at least once every summer (since we moved to NH) to stand in awe and attempt to capture the beauty in a snapshot.

    Hi Kyungme,
    Thanks for stopping by I will do the same with your blog.

    Synchronicity and Chaos maybe two sides of the same coin! Thanks for sharing my art and thoughts up in your post today!

    Awww, Thanks Sarah...It was a delight to share my morning practice with so many loving souls on Jan's blog. Now, don't tell,top secret, but I studied voice too, but a really long time ago (like 25 years ago?) so I feel pretty rusty and had too much stage fright to perform and ended up persuing visual arts instead...texture is texture, color is color, composition, form...these things carry over from one kind of artistic expression to another...prayer and meditation...also forms of creative expression. All part of the wholeness of who we are and humans.

  27. Beautifully poetic post :) What struck me was that you listened to your internal 'Yes'! :)

    Beautiful winter pics in your previous post too! I do miss New England snow!

    Heart Smiles - Christine

  28. Hi Christine,
    Thanks for MeAnDering by! YES. I listened to my YES. Such a joy to be able to do that in a slightly bigger way than I could, say a month ago! Even little yeses feel Right on though. It is beautiful here, I love the way the snow looks...but I am not so crazy about the cold...fortunately this has been a strangely warm winter for round here this year. Again, gratitude for even the small yeses.

  29. Hi Laura. Wanted to thank you so much for stopping by. I enjoyed your comments. And wow, you have a beautiful voice! Really! Very soft, very soothing. Good for you for following your heart and venturing on those unknown roads. The tree and sky are lovely...maybe they were waiting for you! :o)

  30. Thanks you Holly, I like what you said about the tree and sky waiting for me. I think this is just so, that this happens all the time for all of us, we just don't realize it.


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