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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.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Freedom-Ride

Freedom-Ride 1. For the past four and a half months the word wheelchair has been synonymous with the phrase "freedom ride" for me. It still is the best way for me to be out and about with my family. It helps prevent fatigue and lets me to go places I couldn't without it; like clothes shopping with the girls (Three times since the the last two ms exacerbations started), to a museum (We've been to two since, well, you know.) or (ick, sigh) a large medical facility. (I don't get out much.) The first time I used it that was not how I was expecting to feel, but ultimately the first trip to the mall turned out to be a valuable and joyful experience. A few hours ago I was able to take another kind of "freedom-ride". The school nurse called to say Belin needed to be picked up early. Her arm/shoulder/back/neck injury has been really causing her pain again this week. Gordon was on the phone in a work meeting.

I had driven with him on a maiden voyage in the car one day last week during vacation to see if I could make it back and forth to the schools if need be. My right foot/ankle is not as strong as it used to be and I fatigue easily. Also if there is a lot going on around me (motion/noise) my "circuits" become overloaded and it is hard for me to focus or make decisions...my reaction time and coordination are affected and I fatigue even more rapidly...so you can imagine why driving has been an off limits activity for the past months. Not an official decree from my doctor, but a personal choice for the safety of my fellow humans as well as myself. Gordon agreed that I could handle this short 5 minute ride to the school and 5 minutes back if the girls waited at the front door of their schools and I didn't have to walk in...that would be too much. So Mom to the rescue.


Freedom-Ride 2.
Me being a rebellious artist type... I took my camera in the car, just in case. Belin got into the car, kind of dazed from pain. I noticed a lovely arbor of trees right next to the parking lot.

"Belinny, I know you are hurting...is it ok if I snap a photo of those trees. I'm driving. I'm free. Please?"

"Um, sure Mom".

"Thanks sweetie. This is my freedom ride!...Do you mind if we take the dirt road home? It's so pretty back there."

Somewhat spacey from pain reply: "Yeah, whatever".

(Ok, maybe I was being a bit selfish, but it would only add a couple of extra minutes and maybe the beauty would lift her spirits and make her feel better too...)

(Bingo) "Mom pull over...look at the light on the snow on that branch!...Give me the camera!" So I did. And here's her shot:

Then there was a car behind us...definitely on his way somewhere important (I know this because he was very close to my rear bumper!) We had to find a side road to turn off on.

I'm so glad we did,
'cause we also saw this...

and this...

and then returning up our driveway
back home again
this...

Freedom-Ride 3. My meditation today has been a chesed practice. Chesed means kindness so basically a metta practice for my Buddhist friends out there. I began this particular practice last night after having expressed some fiery words toward the afore mentioned daughter; a reaction to something she really should have done but didn't...it's a long story. Once she went to bed and I calmed down, I was able to receive the valuable parenting lesson I was foolishly trying to protect us both from learning: Letting Go. By compassionately letting go of my need to fix/control her actions- mind you my child is no longer a little girl but a 16 year old teenager- we could both taste freedom.

Belin: freedom to make mistakes and live with the consequences and eventually learn from them.

Me: freedom from the anxiety born of wanting to prevent her from making those (have to acknowledge this) valuable mistakes.


Deeper compassion can grow from this kind of realization. I'm not talking about complete eradication of anxious thoughts or the desire to make everything right for my girls. Thoughts and desires will show up; as long as I live, I'll be a mother and these concerns about my daughters will definitely arise. Not surprisingly, I had a conversation about this with my Mom this morning. The freedom-ride I'm talking about here is one in which I choose not to hop aboard a particular train of thought: the "what if express" bound for...feeling more BOUND. When I choose to watch the anxiety rolling on by instead, I am free to compassionately glide back to the present on my own breath. This morning my chesed mantra practice was a gentle catalyst that allowed me to calmly and courageously get in the car, pick up this occasionally frustrating but always precious daughter of mine, playfully re-discover the snowy landscape outside our Gnome Mound together and enjoy this brief and slightly winding freedom-ride home with her, where she could cuddle up in bed and rest her achy shoulder and I could continue to take photos of the shifting shadows and light on the snow through the windows of our home.

Looking for meditation support and an on-line sacred community?
Check out my friend Jan Lundy's 28 day meditation challenge @ www.awakeisgood.com
I also offer one-on-one meditation support and creativity coaching services @

21 comments:

  1. you just blow my mind . . . the words . . . the pictures . . . the whole deal. thank you, thank you, dear, dear laura.

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  2. Such beautiful photos.

    I've been lying around all day with flu-like symptoms, bemoaning the fact that I haven't felt up to leaving the apartment all day, and hoping it'll only last a day or two, and was just talking to my mom on the phone a couple of hours ago about my older brother who broke his leg skiing over the weekend and is really miserable about his lack of mobility, bringing to mind my experience with a broken hand five years ago (at which time I would've given up writing this comment by now in frustration at how long it takes to type with one hand)...and, as such, your post, with the thought getting out in a wheelchair as a "freedom ride" certainly provides an important shift in perspective....

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  3. Great post! I love your characterization of all 3 Freedom Rides!

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  4. Your touching post reminds me about how we take for granted the most simple things in our daily life, like walking in nature...
    Your picture are stunning and show a sensitivity for your surroundings, which appeals to me, as that is what I look for too.
    xoxo
    Zuzana

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  5. Oh Sweet Audrey,
    YOU know how I feel about YOU! If it weren't for YJS, I know we would have still found our way to each other...it was totally beshert the we become spirit gate-openers for one another in this world!
    xoxo

    Dr. Jay,
    I'm so sorry you feel sick ;( Misarable with fluish sensations is, well, just MISERABLE! The wheelchair, being out of body for 5 months last year, a month of salvadore dali vision, my interesting speech patterns (this morning I woke up to my old buddy Elmer Fudd again) have all contributed to shifting my perspective in incredible ways! Blessings come in such mysterious disguises...any time any of us are ill or lose someone we love to disease or age, lose a job, a house, the ability to write because of a broken hand...all are opportunities to shift perspective and GROW! May this time of resting in bed (even though your feel like sh*t) be a pause for nurturing and strengthening your own awareness and growing your perspective. Lots of fluids!!!

    Thanks Debra...have you taken any surprising freedom-rides lately? Love to hear about them!

    Zuzana I so agree, a walk in nature is such a pure gift when we allow ourselves to soak in the awesomeness of it...for me simply looking our the windows of my house can have the same impact. I love looking at the photos on your site...I do think there is something about the way we see things that is similar.

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  6. What a beautiful way to start my morning, Laura. Your post is the first thing I read, even before my e-mail! I felt like I was riding into greater freedom with you. You remind me that sometimes we have to risk a bit to access another level of freedom. That when we do, bountiful benefits arrive. In your case, stunning scenery, a memorable moment with your daughter, new found awarenesses inside you.

    Your attention to your inner "messages" is so important--as it is for all of us--and to realize that they are just that-"Messages". They keep us from experiencing our freedom, our breath, our gift of the present moment. May we return again and again to the gift of the moment where all is well...

    I'm writing on "messages" today at the Meditation Challenge because I had my share last night. Listening to them certainly keeps me "house bound." I'd rather be out riding around in the Freedom Chair, snapping life photos like you. xo

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  7. thanks AA!

    Jan, I can't wait to read about your incoming messages later today your writing always inspires me and encourages me to grow.

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  8. In my childhood religious tradition, one of the most powerful spiritual activities was "to give testimony." It's what you have done here. Through this beautifully drawn parable you have led us into deep truths from which everyone, whether with MS or not, can benefit. Thank you.
    Judy

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  9. Thank you Judy my wise friend...you offer the same through your elegant Haiku's...you are a gifted teacher who graces the blogosphere with brief words that pierce the heart with depth and exquisite accuracy.

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  10. Earlier today your stories made me smile ~ freedom rides and letting go. I am still learning lessons of letting go with my fully grown children. The photos of the trees and the sky are beautiful. The photos of the light on the snow left me speechless. I had to come back to let you know.

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  11. Beautiful pictures and I loved reading about your freedom-rides.
    Thanks for your visit to my blog.It has lead me to a inspiring place.
    I do a meditation practice similar to chesed meditation.Jan has been wonderful in motivating us.
    take care,
    Blessings for abundance,
    sema

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  12. Thanks for the beautiful message and images.

    A few years ago I broke my foot while climbing a waterfall in Jamaica. It shifted my vacation in remarkable ways. I slowed down and enjoyed everybody more. I also remember a limping, slow walk where I stopped about every couple steps to snap another picture of the incredible beauty I was seeing in every direction!

    I appreciate your perspective so much!

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  13. Sharon,
    This "Momming" thing is a continuously unfolding process (sounds a bit like meditation, lol) No matter what age our children happen to be! I'm so happy you enjoyed the photos...the snow shots are my favorites...the shifting peaks and valleys formed by the wind are continuously creating a new canvas for the shadows and light to paint anew hour to hour, day by day.

    Sema, welcome to my blog! It's always so exciting for me to meet a new kindred spirit, especially one from so far away. How blessed we are to be sharing this worldwide meditation journey together with so many other shining souls through Jan's 28 day challenge.

    Brooks,
    Isn't amazing how slowing down changes our view point in such profound ways? As a yogini I know this is something you get to play with every day.

    gentle steps everyone

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  14. Hi Laura,

    As I read your descriptions of each of the rides, I felt that I was there along with you. It was wonderful. And I love the pictures too! Just lovely! :)

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  15. Dearest Laura,

    I read your post with tears in my eyes. I understand how the things that we used to take for granted and assumed we could do, become so much more monumental when we are chronically ill. It was meant to be, this ride you were able to take on your own, and then shared with your daughter. Gordon was on the phone at precisely the correct moment. You and I both know that.

    Beautiful pictures and thoughtful words. I pray that there will be many more Freedom-rides to come! I am so glad that you grabbed your camera! I can almost smell the snow in your gorgeous photos. And those "arguments" that we tend to have with our girls when they are teens do seem to get better when they hit their 20's. Having 2 of each right now, I can testify, my friend!

    Love you,
    Deb

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  16. Nadia, You are with me...every time you read one of my posts or I read one of yours...that wacky time space continuum through memories and memoirs thing...well that's my scientific explanation for this sacred phenomenon!

    Debbie, oh Debbie. What can I say? I know, you know. I appreciate your gentle support always, my friend.

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  17. Laura, thank you for visiting. I am inspired by your observations, your tenderness to be open to everything as best you can, especially the difficulties in parenting and the MS.

    May you still find beauty in pain.
    May you let go especially when you are holding on so tight that your hands hurt!

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  18. laura thanks for sharing your freedom ride(s) with us. i so love bare trees, so vulnerable. so beautiful. i am glad you were able to get out and enjoy yourself - if only for a brief time. thanks for keeping us grounded in what truely matters!!

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  19. I give you so much credit; I'm not sure how I would react if faced with anything other than my normal known routine. Sounds silly, and I wonder if you ever felt that way before being diagnosed with MS?
    I love how your daughter got in on the fun and creativity, though, when you were driving home that day. And the pictures are beautiful! I live in snow-central, too, and when I'm outside in it, I just marvel at the beauty. There is such perfection in nature, in all of its often times wild displays. It reminds me to be more free, myself.
    Love, strength & joy to you!

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  20. Your explorations of freedom, and how it manifests, are very thought provoking - and there is incredible beauty gathered during those freedom rides Laura!! I see and feel strength, beauty, expansiveness, awe, and quiet...
    Thank you for the reiki :)
    xxoo K

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