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.


Saturday, July 17, 2010


Click on the link below to go to Hey Harriet to find a list of other shadow shot posts around the world!

I have returned from our summer vacation and we are gently settling in to a slow summer rhythm. I will be posting from time to time this summer, but focusing more attention on my kids than blogging since they are home all day. I am the kind of Mom who LOVES this aspect of summer...we are not big on summer camp...but lazy days hanging out, enjoying each others company. I have a zillion photos to share...many (maybe too many?) of the gorgeous skies I observed between NH and MD.

This week, however my attention is divided and part of the focus is on Tisha b'Av (the ninth of the Hebrew month of Av) as we remember the destruction of the Temple...and many other terrible losses throughout the ages. Jews around the world read Eicha, the book of Lamentations...we fast. It is a time of mourning for what has been lost... it is a time to come together as a community to grieve. I will not offer a history lesson here...just my-story. The simple pleasures of summer living are interrupted by sadness. This is the way of living is it not? Joy and grieving co-mingling, each informing the other, opening us to gratitude in equally important ways.

I cannot but think of my own personal losses...the destruction of myelin that once protected my nerves and allowed my body to function as it should...the desecration of my body through the disease process of Multiple Sclerosis. In between the heights of love and joy I have been spending significant time grieving this past year and a half...awakening more and more to the fullness of my the engaged experience of living.
I uploaded my photos from our family vacation and over and over again I am drawn to a series I captured at around 5am...(one of the oddities of MS for me is that I wake up very early-sometimes 4, or 4:30 even though I'm always tired!!!) The first photo reminds me of the story of the second day of creation as recorded in the Torah-the separation of the waters from the waters...I can imagine the first Divine viewing of the seas below and sky above.

In my immediate experience, rolling clouds and waves became more distinct with the continuous emergence of light filling the sky, a blush of pink illuminating the ocean, the water and light kissing the shore.

What I see above/beneath/through each image is a powerful force beyond my small self that certainly can destroy, like a wave erasing what had moments before been etched into the sand, yet with each braking wave a new line, (a new story?) is carved into the beach. Destruction becomes Creation.

And so it is with my life...a loss opens me to new ways of being, of seeing, of listening...deepens love and appreciation for friends, for family, for the beauty of Creation, for Divine presence. I am walking more now each day in the mornings when the temperature is relatively cool. I can successfully walk about a mile now...It is an amazing feeling! My voice is mostly back to normal, except when I am hot or fatigued. Gordon and I keep wondering how much of my improved health is medication? How much is simply time? Or is it the blessing of summer light stimulating my brain? Probably a combination of all of the above... but I really love the thought that light has the capacity to heal. I was not able to go on the beach at our was way too hot and far for me to walk the width of the beach to the waters edge. I truly enjoyed our balcony for the first time in 30 years.

Not that I hadn't always admired the view, but it was so different for me this time. I was fully present to the experience of seeing from the height of the eighteenth floor, with and without my camera, because that was my connection to sea, sky and sand. I did not think my feet would have an opportunity to sink into the sand and water. (Until this very moment as I am writing this entry, I never thought about the significance of our apartment being on the 18th floor...the number 18 is written with the letters chet and yod in spells Wow!)

On a slightly cooler and gently breezy day, we took a little boat ride out to Assateague...and I was able to step carefully off the gangplank and onto the sand...a joy I did not believe to be attainable for me this summer...but it was!

I leave you with this last image...perhaps not an aesthetically pleasing photo, but one of deep significance for me.

This is a valuable lesson I am receiving from Tisha b'Av...rising again through the destruction, the grieving, I find myself still able to stand with my feet upon the shore (and though there are tremendous gains in understanding and treating MS, perhaps even a cure down the line one day, at this time losing my ability to walk is a real possibility)...I recognize the strong metaphor standing on the edge of the sea offers and trust completely that if at some point I can no longer physically get up again on my own, I will be shown another way to understand the beauty of living. Destruction of one thing will become the creation of something else.

Gentle steps my friends,


  1. You are such a blessing, Laura. Thank you.

  2. Hope everything is getting better at your end.

    Shadow Shot Sunday

  3. message relayed very well and beautifully.

    sometimes it can be scary how in an instance so much is conveyed


  4. I do understand where you are coming from and I hold good and loving thoughts for you. Your courage is a wonderful example for all of us. Peace.


  5. Like your photos! :)

  6. Just a beautiful blog..Wishing you all the best..Happy SSS.

  7. First time at your blog, but not the last.

  8. This is my first time visiting your blog, but definately not the last.

  9. Psa 103:1 [By David:] Bless Adonai, my soul! Everything in me, bless his holy name!
    2 Bless Adonai, my soul, and forget none of his benefits!
    3 He forgives all your offenses, he heals all your diseases,
    4 he redeems your life from the pit, he surrounds you with grace and compassion,
    5 he contents you with good as long as you live, so that your youth is renewed like an eagle's.

    Thanks for coming by Laura. I'm glad God is blessing you with improved health, and I pray that He continue to heal you.

  10. I'm so glad you had a wonderful vacation and are enjoying a terrific summer with your children.

    The sky never fails to amaze me, too. The ever changing skyscape is always thrilling. Look forward to more of your beautiful words and images, Laura.

  11. Your beautiful soul and remarkable courage are an inspiration to all who see this. May your week be filled with peace and happiness.

  12. oh my
    your feet did find a way to get sand between their toes
    happy tears shed for you across the other side of the globe

  13. Understanding the beauty of living in each and every second of every day, makes life pretty full with a true sense of accomplishment and well being, at almost 61, I try to remember...

    Be well...

  14. This is a very inspiring post with some lovely photos. Enjoy your summer spent with your children!

  15. It is nice to know you had a wonderful holiday.
    You always take good photos. Love your pictures.

    Have a wonderful week.

    Happy Shadow Shot Sunday.

  16. "...look at our own stories, without getting caught up in them." (your quote-) Your gift is allowing each one of us to come to ourselves with gentleness. Blessings and thank you.

  17. Welcome home, Laura. This post is a beautiful summary of the wonders of your vacation. I'm so glad your toes touched the sand.

    I like your perspective on how life changes. I am learning that as I grow as a person I am going to lose some things along the way ~ what I no longer need or what will make room for what's next. What I lose is not always my choice, and that's part of the growth process, too.

    I enjoyed summers with my children for the same reason you do. Savor these days ~

  18. powerful & moving... you & the ocean!
    welcome home & enjoy the summer with G & the girls x

  19. Laura, the photo of your legs/feet on the sand touched me the most. The destruction of your old views does create new ones. And I am an honored guest witnessing this new creation.

  20. I'm glad you are enjoying the summer with your childrenn.

    Yes, I do believe that when we lose something we gain something else.

  21. Dear Laura, excellent it all of them
    I am solving many things before Africa it will occur in september.
    Thanks for your post(u are right,...the same happens here...At the summer we dont have lots free time...we wat to be together with our relatives)
    nice weekend, sweetheart

  22. So glad to hear that you are doing well and welcoming the blessings that are available to each of us even when it seems least likely. You are an inspiration.

    Love the shots of the clouds - isn't it amazing how the sky can look so very different from one moment to the next?

    I didn't know that about the number 18. Very cool!


  23. 一棵樹除非在春天開了花,否則難望在秋天結果。..................................................

  24. This is such a celebration of life Laura!! I am smiling deeply at the beauty of those toes in the sea weedy sand
    :-). There is such a rich, full sense of wonder and appreciation for the Allness in your words and images. It's a grand thing, and I thank you for sharing it. Love ot you, and joyful summer days, sprinkled with the occasional rain drops of tears, keeping the balance and wonder of it all. xox K

  25. This is a very touching post with lovely photos to complement them. I hope you enjoy your summer with your children :o)

  26. Wishing you peace and comfort and thinking of you dear one.
    Your words are always so nice and comforting to me.
    I hope you had a wonderful time on your trip.

    For all times and seasons, Beaux

  27. I thought to myself, I have not read a Laura post in a long time so I came here and discovered this post which I had somehow missed before. I am glad you are enjoying your summer with your family and that your MS seems more quiescent. I too was at the shore with family and spent it on the balcony. The ocean was still beautiful and it was lovely to see my family interact in joy. A different experience to be sure compared to previous visits but still a good one. Thank you for reminding us always of the awesomeness of life.

  28. Dearest Laura,

    You have been on my mind today. I sent you some gentle healing prayers across the many miles. I hope that your "silence" has only been because you have been enjoying the summer breezes and extra vitamin D doses.

    As always, I hold you very close in my heart and in my prayers. Such a blessing to know that you are feeling a bit better.

    Much love always,

  29. Laura, thank you for sharing your gentle, powerful words and images. I'm so happy that you've been feeling better this summer, able to enjoy being outside, walking, and even standing in the sand! Yay! I hope the improvement continues; I always visualize it so in my prayers and thoughts of you. xxoo

  30. so sorry I missed this,
    I am stunned by how you write such beauty.
    the photos only add to the depth to which you see so well.
    thank you for sharing this.
    thank you

  31. Dear Laura,
    As odd as this may sound, I often find great comfort at the synagogue. My wife is Jewish, and I have been warmly welcomed into the local Conservative congregation. As a First Nations person, share with the other congregants the desecration and destruction of my holy places, and the genocide of my people.

    Many massacres occurred in the late summer, when the people gathered together to prepare for the winter, and to celebrate the harvest. So this time of year is both a joy and a time of sorrow.
    With the rising tide of racism in our country, it is also, increasingly, a time of fear for many peoples.

    On a lighter note, congratulations on your gathering strength, your courage, and your determination. I have gone out twice in recent weeks in a kayak. We went out last night, and today I am feeling the absence of those lost motor neurons (I have Post-Polio Syndrome. I am truly dragging!

    Finally, I continue to take great pleasure in your writing and photography. What a blessing!


  32. Laura,

    You share so beautifully and poignantly a very difficult circumstance. I admire your openness, acceptance and presence.

    I hope you are enjoying your summer and am glad you had the opportunity to feel the sand with your toes... a wonderful experience to celebrate.

    Showering you with blessings...


  33. You awaken my heart to new learnings, Laura. Such a gift you have; in the midst of disease you find new ways to experience each moment. Your body may be ill, but your spirit soars with abundant beauty. I love the pic of your feet in the sand; such joy! I pray that you will be given many more summers to do so.

    Blessings on all you do and experience. Enjoy these lazy days.


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