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, February 5, 2010

Rainy Day Abstracts & Angels

I do not have a macro lens on my simple little digital Kodak Easy Share camera, so when I try to zoom in on small objects like garden stones and decaying leaves, the results are blurry, grainy, abstract images. I don't have Photoshop...just the enhancement effects that come with the Easy Share software to play with. Ok, not particularly good photos as photos go. Maybe it's me, and only me, I don't know, but I find these miniature still life abstractions pleasing nonetheless. Mysterious, organic forms intrigue me.

These out of focus photos call attention to something that is crystal clear... even the simplest of things in this world, filler rocks and bits of torn leaves glazed in melting snow and unseasonable rain, hold their own intrinsic beauty.

I wrote the above portion of this post Friday afternoon, after a full week of sore throat and not quite a fevered temperature hovering between 99.4 and 99.9, just enough to slow me down a little more and leave me feeling icky. My non-fever "broke" by late afternoon and I was finally at 98.6, my accent was very slight, I was feeling better, finally. I even facilitated a heart opening one on one SoulCollage® session with fellow blogger Carolynn at A Glowing Ember. I thought, ok, I'm fine now. All is well; I’ll be able to catch up on undone household tasks over the weekend. Without warning, I was plunged back into MS land. By Friday night I needed assistance from Gordon in climbing the steps. And I do mean climb. It felt like my own personal Monadnock, not a huge mountain, but still more than a mere staircase to the second floor. Saturday morning my limbs felt leaden, so heavy; that Kryptonite beneath the bed sensation. When these unforeseen shifts in my energy and mobility occur after several weeks of significant improvement the anxiety starts to rise. I get scared. Oh no, not another exacerbation. Now what? What if, what if, what if...and then I breathe with consciousness, still frightened but with awareness around the fear. As with any chronic medical condition...for that matter life in a healthy is a sea of unpredictable tides...waves rising high then suddenly slamming me down, crashing toward the sandy bottom. In the midst of feeling overwhelmed, grasping for a hand, gasping for breath, a new wave gathers beneath me lifting me back to the surface supporting me, cradling me rocking me back into feeling safety and wellbeing in my life again.

I have a print by artist
Brian Andreas where he has written his words of wisdom: "Most people don't know there are angels whose only job is to make sure you don't get too comfortable & fall asleep & miss your life." MS is that angel for me right now. It prompts me to pay attention, to slow down, to notice the beauty of sunlit snowy branches, bird song making an early return at the tail end of a mild winter, wet stones and leaf stems just outside my back door. This unusual angel reminds me to be grateful. It makes no difference if I am feeling strong and steady, ready to take on the laundry or like a rag doll slumped on the couch dropping articles when I speak aloud…the wonders of Creation are always near to uplift my heart in a moment of attentiveness.

This "angel" photo was taken a few days before the rain melted the ice, in the same small area just outside the sliding glass doors as the other pictures above. It is simply the remnants of a torn leaf encased in ice.

Even with the ultimate macro lens of direct experience, the organic form that is my body remains a mystery to me. When I am too close, in the middle of a stressful physical or emotional drama, the entire world seems to be veiled in rain and fog. These moments in time feel abstract from the wholeness of who I am. Yet there is beauty to be found in and around these snapshots of my life, just like the fuzzy photos above. And so this heavy-weight of an angel grabs onto my legs, anchors me to stillness and whispers, “Slow down. Notice the cracks in the pavement where wildflowers will be blooming soon enough. Pay attention to the simple loveliness of puddles and pebbles on the ground. Laugh at the silliness of your ever-joyful dog as she greets you with a toy dangling from her mouth. Enjoy your teenage daughters’ giggles and smiles; they are growing into young women before your eyes. Lean into your husband’s hands, one on your arm and the other on your back as he gently guides you up the steps, supporting you with love as he always has. Cherish your family and friends, be a listening heart for each of them when they need you, especially when you don't know what to say…’don’t get too comfortable & fall asleep & miss your life.’


  1. Thanks for the inspiration, and for delivering the angelic message!

  2. very inspirational as always!
    i have the same camera ...use, scn on the black dial and there is a close up setting, it is the flower icon in the center of the line up when you push the middle button!

  3. I've never heard of that particular angel before, but I'm glad to make her acquaintance! Hope you're feeling back to yourself soon.

  4. Hi Brooks you are quite welcome.

    Cat, sometimes that setting works well for me and other times it doesn't...I suppose having a stand of some kind to steady the camera would help too...Thank you though I do appreciate all and any photography tips anyone has to offer as I am the ultimate in amateur. I love to take pix but have no idea what I am doing on the technical front. It's just so much fun...I should really take a class one day and learn how to make the most of my little camera.

    She's not typically recognized as an angel...many would more likely consider her a demon (myself included some days)...but I like to befriend even my foes...and MS angel has a great deal to teach I am listening.

  5. Hi Laura,

    Nature is just so lovely. I loved the image of the angel that you shared with us.

    We just had a blizzard here and everything looks so beautiful.

    As for what you wrote about how MS has been like an angel, that is what I felt about my mom's cancer. It changed my life around on so many levels. And even though my mother did not survive, I became a better person because of that experience.

    God works in interesting you know.

  6. Hi Nadia,
    Thanks for opening your heart and sharing that your Mom's cancer was and angel/messenger for you. I know this is not at all everyone's experience of MS, or cancer or any painful, uncomfortable circumstance. And I was not sure if I should post this because I do not wish to make light of anyone else's experience. It does not feel angelic and wonderful a lot of the time. But there are moments when it is clear that this happened to me as a way of elevating my soul learning, if you know what I mean. God does indeed work in interesting ways!

  7. Amen. What a lovely post. I hope you feel better soon. Wouldn't it be nice if we could be attentive without the reminders? :-).

  8. Thanks Annie,
    I am feeling better today, whew. And yes it would be nice...if the reminders weren't such difficult ones...but there are plenty of happy reminders to pay attention to...the trick I think is to notice enough of those and allow that to balance out the more complicated ones.

  9. Laura, the abstract shapes you photographed are lovely. Abstraction lets us use our imaginations, becoming collaborators in the art process. thanks for sharing these.

  10. Laura, your photos are beautiful abstract art that illustrate your angel message: Don't get too comfortable & fall asleep & miss your life. Oh so important to remember.

  11. how beautiful! between you and me, I prefer photos without all the "modifications".LOL! You captured the essence of nature very lovely.

  12. Way to wrap a post together! Love it! Loved the photos. MS---I was very aware before MS, no change. I have always been one to take nothing for granted. MS is just me. I embrace.

  13. What a beautiful post. Every time I visits here, I know I will read something infinitely profound. You are an inspiration. I love the way you turn something incredibly devastating and make it something positive. When I think about you, it puts me to shame they way I carry on complaining about parts of my life...
    I love the way you have pictured the leaves too, they look like abstract paintings to me.
    You have an uncanny beautiful mind.

  14. Beautiful words and photos. Thank you for sharing and I do pray for some relief for you.

  15. hugs... i like those out of focus shots.... textural arn't they? havn't been able to check in for a while, but reading back a few posts at once... er, cough... has someone pushed their physical limits more than once or twice lately? (not mentioning any names, or saying not to, lol) Love the river flows post & pics too xx

  16. Sharmon, I agree totally with what you said about abstract shapes allowing us to use our imaginations and be collaborators with the art making thinks art is pretty darn magical!

    Sharon, don't you love it when something completely out of focus allows clarity to be unveiled?

    Elisa, thank you for stopping by and for appreciating this tiny bit of nature just outside my door.

    Hi Diane...I know what you mean, when you say "MS is just me"...I am slowly wrapping my heart around that/ is certainly an important part of me now. My diagnosis is still fairly recent, only 5 months so I'm getting there/here. I too have always been pretty aware of my surroundings, of life...but I think the fact that MS has physically slowed me down so much makes awareness even easier (who knew?)

    Hi Zuzana,
    I suppose I'm fortunate, MS is so different for every person, for many people it truly is devastating...this is not how I am experiencing it...but I can still get around pretty well even if my energy is severely limited...guess what I still complain about all kinds of irritating things too. This is human nature. It is MY nature to seek out the beauty, to find the blessings in every situation. If I didn't, I would be pretty miserable all the time, instead of just some of the time.

    Elena, Thank you...I'm feeling much better today.

    Hey Suzi, so good to hear from you...pushing? Me? Know what's so funny...well, not actually funny,, I'm feeling much better and the girls and Gordon are not feeling guess who's taking care of the family for a change...And this is as it should be...I am the wife and mommy after all! I'm a little whiny about trips up and down the steps for juice refills, but they are surviving.

  17. Hi Laura,
    I'm so pleased that we had the time together that we did and that we got to meet through the magic of airwaves.

    On the one hand, I'm sorry to hear that you experienced such a drop in energy. On the other, I'm glad for you that you were given the opportunity to see beauty in the 'ordinary' and experience the love that surrounds you in the shape & form of your family & dog.

    I love Brian's words of wisdom. I'm adding that to my collection of quotes. :o)


  18. I see the beauty in these pictures Laura - ghostly, soft abstract paintings. Lately my vision becomes blurred very easily - a side effect of the chemo, so I'm trying to appreciate the softened edges, though more often than not I find them frustrating! you remind me to appreciate the color, light and shapes I can see.
    Sending you healing love and angel guides t o guide you far from the MS flair...
    xox K

  19. I truly hope you are feeling better, and that you will continue to do so. This post is such a beautiful and generous reminder to us all to appreciate every moment. And the quote about missing your life if you're too comfortable really rings so true to me. Thank you.

  20. Carolynn, truly it was my pleasure to have spent that special time with you and your SoulCollage cards.

    I'm sorry that your vision is blurry at times from the chemo...I remember how odd and frustrating it was at times when I had the 3rd cranial nerve palsy a few months back and everything looked like a Salvador Dali painting...bodies are odd encasements for our souls sometimes. I don't think this is a true flair...thank goodness, just an energy drop. You are always in my prayers dear one.

    Thank you so much for stopping by. We all need reminders (or angels) from time to time. Glad I could be one for you through this post.

  21. I'm so moved by all the readers of your blog, all those who appreciate the particular and exquisite pieces of the world that you see with such clarity and appreciation. This is your calling and your art and it is beautiful.

  22. I too like the "abstract" look of blurry pictures.
    ...unless i'm trying to get a shot of a bird and then it's arghhhhhh. :))

    Another blogger pointed me to website where you can edit your photos. I liked it enough to go ahead and pay for a year (although you can do a lot for free). And no, i don't work for them so i'm not selling them. You mentioned you didn't have photo imagining software (neither do i) so i though i would pass it along.

    Thanks for commenting on my WW post.

    Have a great weekend!


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