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.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Rutted Road

Muddy tracks, ruts that we have left behind, relief (or is it intaglio?) for what we have moved through…survived, accomplished, experienced, created, shared, bared; ahh the visual metaphor. There are plenty of “dirt” roads in and around the town where I live in NH. They fascinate me, each one an engraved and sculpted account of all who have journeyed upon it. I see myself this way too. Every day I am a living record of what I have learned, remembered, forgotten. I am slightly more textured than the day before because of the people who have crossed my path, the events, the thoughts, the smiles, tears, confusion.

I think this rough road image is surprisingly apt for metta
practice (lovingkindness meditation). It isn't always easy to turn our hearts in a friendly direction. We might set an intention to be kind, but disappointments, anger, judgment, sadness can distract us from our compassionate course. The mind is a bumpy road, no doubt about it. Meditation offers an opportunity to see each tire pattern (tired pattern?), each stone and puddle with clarity. Metta practice gently guides us as we navigate the trenches and ridges on our way to befriending ourselves and all beings.

Sylvia Boorstein is offering a Lovingkindness e-course through Spirituality and Practice starting today. There were still some openings this morning. If you are interested, click on the S&P link above. I feel so blessed to be able to learn from a gifted teacher such as Sylvia in this way. I need the support and structure of a class but can’t get out to a local one these days and this is an excellent opportunity to study with a master teacher. I will be sharing some of what unfolds for me here on my blog over the next four weeks.

Sylvia asked us to set an intention for our practice during the e-course. Here is mine: I hope to find more moments of ease in my body, mind and life- to allow myself to dwell and be nurtured in these sacred "time" sanctuaries.

I was surprised this morning when I did my first sit with these four seemingly innocuous and typically uplifting phrases.

May I feel safe
May I feel happy
May I feel strong
May I live with ease

I am not new to metta...but today as I repeated this mantra tears started to well up and fall from the corners of my eyes. And that is new for me during metta. I thought about what those tears might mean for quite a while, and then I decided that for now I will simply "be" with the tears or heart smile or whatever shows up and not analyze too much. It will certainly be interesting to watch what happens this evening when I sit again after I post this.

That's what I mean about the rutted road photo being more appropriate for metta than one might first imagine.


  1. I do hope that on your journey, you often find those grooves set just right in the road, moving us along easily, in sync with all around us, peaceful, calming.

  2. I will never look at the tracks in a road the same way again. Thank you for this deep reflection, Laura. You have awakened me to a new awareness.

  3. Hi Joanne,
    Thanks for your comment. As a onetime musician I have to say, it really is all about the 'groove'....that's what keeps the music flowing and is the same with life.

    Audrey, thanks so much for leaving a comment today, it's always good to hear from you and see your face in the tiny photo too! May we all awaken to knew ways of seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, understanding the world outside and the worlds within a little bit more each day!

  4. Jan told me about this course. I decided to abstain since my family will be vacationing next week, and I hate missing any part and then catching up. I will enjoy what you share here!

    For me the tears are often tears of sadness and regret at how mean and unkind I have often been with myself. Yet, forgiveness allows me to come back to the softness of metta, and fell deeply loved. I often think compassion or metta practice is actually about accepting our enemy mind and balancing it with our friendly heart.

    It's so easy to hurt ourselves, and much harder to heal. I like your word choice of 'textured'. Life isn't smooth, it's textured, and thorny!

  5. I love your photo of the rutted roads, true performance art and the patterns are splendid!

  6. That was beautiful Laura and I did the meditation on the spot..I do not know what metta is..? Your blog can be very healing as you are talking about deeper things and important things. Your words and photos are beautiful.. You have an important gift and talent.

  7. Hello my sweet Mermaid is hard to be kind to ourselves...harder (for me and I suspect you too) than being compassionate toward others...but as we know that compassion flows more smoothly to the people we love and people we meet (even over the bumpy road of our minds) if we are able to open that channel toward ourselves just as deeply.

    Cat...I love your comment..."true performance art"...doesn't get more real.

    Dearest 'Heart thank you for your kind words...Metta means lovingkindness or the practice is about cultivating lovingkindness toward ourselves and toward all beings through meditation...the words are used/repeated (a mantra) as a point of the breath or a candle. Great question.

  8. Hello Laura

    I liked your rutted road analogy because the road ahead and the road behind are always going to be rutted...if we look closely we can see where we have walked and if we walk mindfully now into the future we can choose where we place our feet and leave our the ruts or on the ridges or on the verge...

    Happy days

  9. Gosh, that metaphor really is wonderful, isn't it? And as I think about traversing the rutted road of my mind - and life - I can see how there are times when I feel like I've "got it" and things are going smoothly. I've placed my tires just so, and can negotiate the road easily: with people, experiences, myself. And then WHAM! I'm in a rut and BUMP-bump-BUMPING along. Suddenly I've forgotten how to see God in everyone, or how to just "be" without the suffering of mind.

    Laura, I just love what you've shared here and look forward to reading more about your online experience with Sylvia. She's a pretty phenomenal woman, too.

  10. Hi Delwyn...I love what you said about choosing where we place our feet when we pay attention. This doesn't guarantee that the next step will be easy rather it reminds us that even within the parameters of whatever the universe throws at us we always have a choice about how we stand/sit/behave within that next footfall.

    Hi Megan that's such an important distinction...and connected to what Delwyn circumstances can be difficult at times but it's when we forget to seek/see the Divine in the people/places or events that enter our lived experiences, that suffering grips us. So if we can remember to look and listen deeply (and forgive ourselves when that doesn't happen) then -safety-happiness-strength-ease are all possible.

  11. Visiting your blog is always like a meditation in and of itself! This post is no different. These four phrases spoke right to my heart. Thank you!! Love, Silke

  12. oh, silke, such high praise...thank YOU. The way Sylvia phrased the blessing with May I feel________ as opposed to May I be________is significant for me. Really cuts through to my core.

  13. beautiful reflections, Laura... i am short of words but am simply loving my immersion in the image and your thoughts...

    living with more ease... yes... for you... for me... for all of us...

  14. The rutted road is a excellent metaphor. You have done an eloquent job explaining your thoughts. You choice to simply allow the tears or whatever emotion rises is a wise move.

  15. Many roads, many threads, many tapestries ... sometimes the right path opens right in front of us, if only we can see it.

  16. Hi Laura, Before I read any of your words I took in your image. I thought, wow, what a beautiful photo of an earth road, with hues of greens and reds - then I read "muddy tracks" and I felt myself shift, a little discomforted. It was so funny - just those two words!! Of course I could relate so fully with your intention - as I read it I thought yeah, that could be my intention. I love this post, the practice of metta, your example of allowing, just being with yourself, with it all. that's grace, yes, that's the rutted road indeed. Much love, and may we feel all we feel, fully! Karin

  17. Greetings Laura,

    I am sorry I am not around as often as I would like to be. There is always so much depth to your writings and I find your eloquence also reassuring.

    There was a line in your post whose single word stood out as a reminder of our faults. You said 'what I have learned, remembered, forgotten' and what struck me was what we have forgotten.

    We do forget so many things, that it is rather sad.

    Thank you for sharing,

  18. wonderful capture and text. here in greece we say that every road has its own story to tell


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