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.

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Transformed Over Night

This is what I woke up to this morning. The woods outside my bedroom window, a frequently photographed guest on my blog, were transformed to a fairy tale wonderland while I had been sleeping. How often this has been my experience in life. I'm sleeping (aka: not paying attention) and then I eventually wake up to discover that something in my life has shifted, transformed into a kind of mysterious beauty I might not have even been able to imagine moments, hours, days, years before. Notice here that transformation can sometimes take years...and, and, and...it is not an end...the snow will melt and the woods will be changed again. As I laid in my husband's arms this morning it occurred to me that I was only 2 years older than our daughter Belin (she will be 16 in two days!) when we met and he kissed me for the first time. Oh how we have changed as individuals, as a couple in these moments, hours, days and years. A gorgeous continuous transformation that I could never have imagined when I was 18. One day at the end of August I woke up and could only see clearly out of my right eye. I was diagnosed with MS a few days later and my vision of myself, my life, was transformed. First there was fear, then a short bit of anger. Impatience became patience. Fear and anger became acceptance. Acceptance became compassion. The slowing down of my life because of the gift of MS has taught me that compassion grows and shrinks then grows again to embrace a little bit more of whatever unfolds moment to moment, hour to hour, day to day, week to week, year to year and will continue until I am no longer aware that that is what is happening.

I awoke to another lovely surprise today. My friend Jan at Awake is Good has begun a 28 day meditation challenge...an online supportive sacred community for those who wish to meditate together...beginners...all of us are beginners again and again and again, no matter how long we have meditated (or haven't meditated) in the past. Discovering Jan's loving offer would have been dayenu (enough) but then she quoted something I wrote to her about her vow to practice some form of meditation everyday this year, right above a quote from ALAN WATTS! If you are going to be a warm up band that's a pretty awesome gig! (I had no idea what I wrote in a comment had made such an impact on her, wow! I feel deeply honored, thank you Jan.) One of the first books I ever tried to read on the subject of consciousness and reality was way back in college. My dear friend Art Baner handed me a book by Alan Watts. I don't remember the title. I don't even remember what was written in that book (this is what I mean by tried to read)...it was beyond my level of philosophical, theological and psycho-spiritual comprehension at that time (now too, probably!)...but I knew it was powerful and something about it resonated for me. It was a subtle (subtle only because I didn't "get it") nudge to wake up, pay attention, step inside myself in order to move beyond myself...I wasn't ready then...I had a lot of suffering and unconsciousness to experience first before I could begin to see the gifts held in suffering and unconsciousness (yes, I think there are blessings in these seemingly unhelpful states of being too!) This brings me back to Jan's blog post and supportive sacred community. Delving into the present moment, not trying to change it, hold it, control it in any way...just noticing what IS...that for me has been the key to unlocking the door to the room of hidden treasures that my life has been all along. You might discover this for yourself too if you choose to accept Jan's challenge (a vow to meditate in some form everyday for the next 28 days). Transformation happens. It is not always grand transformation. It is not always enjoyable transformation. It is not always clear transformation (at least not at first). But if you pay attention you might notice that you are noticing more...while sitting, breathing, walking, listening, painting, dancing, photographing, writing, singing, chanting, eating, laughing, working, living. You might. Maybe 28 days will become 56 or 112, 224, 488 or the rest of your life. You will gradually notice that time has passed...that your body feels different, that your viewpoint has shifted...that what you thought was true was true, but now it isn't. Jan will be our gentle guide on this adventure for the next 28 days (starting Sunday, January 3rd)...offering her observations about her own practice, meditation suggestions, a free conference call, guest interviews...and we, any of us, from anywhere in the world can jump on this meditation magic school bus and learn together as we traverse this short journey to who knows where? Hop over to Awake is Good find out more about the 28 Day Meditation Challenge.

Remember this is about awareness...not the form of your meditation practice. This is meditation in a broadest definition possible-you get to make up that definition for yourself. So it might look like a cup of tea sipped silently but with dedicated attention to the color of the tea, the fragrance arising from the steam, the warmth of the cup in your hands, the taste of the tea on your togue, the sound of swallowing the first sip, the weight of the cup as you take it from your lips back to the table. Your meditation practice doesn't have to be sitting completely still for 45 minutes...it could be...but it doesn't have to be. The only thing to lose (I think) by giving this a try is a belief that we can't meditate...or meditate "right". And that's just silly. Of course we can. By the way, 5 minutes of paying attention to your breath a day totally counts (at least in my book!)...more is great if you can commit to more. Be compassionate and accept that 5 minutes might just be enough for you in your life right now. (I don't know if Jan would agree with this, 5 minutes deal, but my Kaizen Muse training tells me it's OK.)

I look forward to reading about your meditation journeys on your blogs, Jan's blog, or via e-mails...this is so cool!
blessings to all,

Laura

24 comments:

  1. Beautiful photo...must confess, when I wake up to see a sight like that out the window, my mind tends to skip right over the wonder in the present to grousing about what a mess the roads are gonna be...

    Reading Alan Watts, more than twenty years ago now, was a significant step for me, as well. I really ought to dust him off...perhaps some morning this winter when the snow causes me to stay off the roads...

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  2. When I read Jan's 28 day meditation challenge, I thought "Oh, I could never do that." But reading your post about mindful attentiveness has changed my mind! I will give it a try now. Thanks!

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  3. what a lovely picture :) Happy New Year!

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  4. Hi Dr Jay...I think that is in alignment with my husband's experience. Is it a guy thing? or a person who is responsible for cleaning off the driveway thing? Understandable if you saw the length of our driveway! NOT being the person responsible for the driveway makes it easier to have a childlike interpretation of densely snow covered branches. I bet reading Alan Watts now (at least for me-also like 20+ years later) would still be mind blowing/expanding...I wonder what I would grasp (if anything) reading his words now? This feels like a challenge at foot too!

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  5. Yay Debra!!! Now that's what I'm talkin' about! Simple awareness. 5 minutes a day is a really good start...no judgment...no seeking out bliss or wild impossible expectations...just being with what is. YOU can totally do this!

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  6. Happy New Year to you!

    You are blessed indeed to wake up to such changing visions of beauty each day.

    Thank you for visiting my blog in 2009. I've been intending to return the visits for a while. Is this the blog you use most? There are 5 to choose from.

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  7. Hello Eco Yogini and Jasmine, welcome and thank you for your kind comments. I decided when I became very ill this past autumn that posting on one blog was enough...the others might call out for attention again as I continue to heal, for now this one feels like plenty! Happy New Year, gentle steps along the way.

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  8. Laura, your snow-covered landscape looks like lace. Beautiful. I too meditate and have learned to be forgiving of the ebbs and flows in my meditative practice. The ultimate goal for me is a constant state of mindfulness. Sometimes I'm there; sometimes, not. Happy New Year!
    Judy

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  9. Jan,

    What wonderful inspiration and the perfect reminder for the New Year.

    I love the idea of meditation as attentiveness via whatever means speaks to our soul ~ writing, walking, tea . . .

    Many Blessings!

    Lola

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  10. your trees look gorgeous laura & your thoughts about transformation too... agree 5 minutes awareness/meditation counts... it soon creeps up & becomes natural... for those who reckon they're too busy, practice at the sink washing up! shall pop over to Jans next.... all the best for 2010 xx

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  11. Dearest Laura,
    Thank you for this beautiful blessing. I had no idea you would post on my post and take us deeper into the challenge already. You framed this so well. I need to send people back here tomorrow! It is ALL about deepening our awareness and understanding of self, no matter what form we choose, hour by hour. Onward, inward we go!

    As for Alan Watts, this is too funny. One of the very first books I was handed in college as freshman (by a professor) was Alan Watts: The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are. I don't remember much about it...I was so green, naive, and unworldly. But I know for a fact that something of what I read there rocked me. Within that year, I chose Comparative Religions as my major and the rest is personal history. I do love how the Universe works, inviting us ever so gently to wake up and be who we are meant to be.

    'till tomorrow...with love...

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  12. Judy thanks for stopping by, this is the dance...we are all welcome to join in, tune in, drift away, return again and again. I know it helps me too, and the forgiveness piece is essential, thanks for mentioning this, because drifting isn't bad or wrong it's just drifting and returning to the moment is simply that...returning. It's all good, all helpful, all nurturing.

    Lola,
    I'm so glad this speaks expansive view of meditation speaks to your soul. I hope it will allow you to ease into a practice this month that suits your daily needs.

    Suzi,
    yes exactly...when we create a compassionate space for our practice, a space of even 5 minutes it is bound to grow...and if it doesn't that's ok too!

    Jan,
    Our lives have clearly been intersecting for years...we just didn't know it!!!! You are an inspiration to me.

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  13. you make change and awareness sound like a delightful journey... as it should be.

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  14. Absolutely beautiful. What a wonderfully inspiring post. I hope everyone takes the 28 day challenge, a challenge to simply be in the present moment.

    Thank you and blessings to you!
    Shirley

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  15. Happy New Year! Thank you for visiting my blog, and for reminding us to be HERE, present, fully alive no matter where or when--the biggest challenge of all.

    --aa.

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  16. What a magical photo, and wonderful post Laura! Something about about the winter, and especially a blanketing of snow, instantly quiets me. I take myself into the hush that a deep snow brings, with it's muffling of sound and the pure light that it reflects... This season is always, for me, the perfect time for deepening my meditative practice. Joining with others would be a way to increase that deepening and to meld our energies in such a positive way. I'm going to go and visit Jan's blog now- thank you!!
    xxoo Karin

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  17. Hi Laura,

    Happy New Year! I love the photo that you shared with us. Something about snow is very peaceful and very silent. I notice that with every snowstorm, there is a silence that comes with it which is just profound.

    As for what you wrote about the meditation challenge, I have been meditating for 12 years and highly recommend it. I am taking part in the challenge because no matter how long a person has meditated, there is always so much more to learn.

    Love and blessings to you!

    Nadia - Happy Lotus

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  18. This is so exciting...so much compassionate energy is going to rise up in the world because we are all making this commitment! I started my day with Modah ani a gratitude prayer that flows into mindfulness meditation this morning. Tonight my plan is for 20 minutes of a chesed (kindness) practice...very much like a metta meditation before I go to bed...that's the plan, we'll see what unfolds.

    gentle steps everyone!

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  19. Love the photo and the thought about how things are transformed over night while we are sleeping. We are too, in a way, every night. So much healing takes place while we are sleeping and at rest. Hope this new year will be a year of healing and rest for you too.

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  20. "compassion grows and shrinks then grows again to embrace a little bit more of whatever unfolds moment to moment, hour to hour, day to day, week to week, year to year and will continue until I am no longer aware that that is what is happening."

    this is something i wake up to everyday - thank you for saying it so beautifully*

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  21. I am learning so much from your gentle sharing. Thank you.

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  22. I am learning so much from your gentle sharing. Thank you.

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  23. Beautiful post... your writing is so natural and relaxed -- like talking to a friend. Thank you for your insights and the time you've spent creating here. Love & light.

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  24. Lovely post Laura. You probably know Goodlife Zen but if not go and check it out. The 3 breath meditation is great for fitting in here and there. Just one minute!
    http://goodlifezen.com/three-breath-meditation/

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