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.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Transformation, Growth & Healing

"Out of the clear blue"

On Friday, September 3rd, it will be exactly one year since I was officially, diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. In reality, my life has been changing on a continuum since the day I was born (true for all of us). Chronic pain, fatigue and a wide variety of other symptoms have been weaving in and out of my world for many years, and yet, psycho-spiritually, the compassionately uttered words, "I'm sorry to have to tell you dear, your spinal fluid and MRI results confirm that, you have Multiple Sclerosis..." from my doctor, felt as though they had fallen out of the clear blue sky. Needless to say, allowing those words to sink in and take root in my heart and mind this year, has had as profound an effect on my life (and my family's) as the physical impairments I am learning to adapt to moment by moment.

If you have been following my blog over the past year or so, I thank you with my whole heart for bearing witness to this journey and for your loving support through blog comments, personal emails and companionable silence. (I know I say "thank you" a lot on my blog, but gratitude is part of my spiritual practice, so please accept my repetition with sincere intent.) Attempting to distill the mysteries, awakenings, gleanings; essentially the GIFTS that have been offered to me through the strangeness of living with MS, in this single post would be impossible. And so, if you are new to Shine the Divine: Creativity Is a Spiritual Practice, I invite you to get cozy on a comfortable chair, perhaps with a cup of tea, and prepare to hang out for awhile reading through old posts starting here.

Random heart discovered! ...cleverly disguised as a "smooshed" crab apple.

In the Jewish calendar, Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the year, (technically there are other "New Year" celebrations in our calendar too like Tu b'Shvat and Pesach-but this is the BIG one, most people think of). For anyone with school age children this might feel like the beginning of the year to you too. Here's another way to think about this time as a new year beginning for everyone (in the northern hemisphere). Although one might imagine late summer/early autumn to be an ending: grasses, flowers, and leaves appear to be dying as they brown and crumble, keen observation into the rhythm of nature unveils another understanding. The leaves are starting to turn color, the remaining petals of Black-Eyed-Susan's gently float to the earth leaving behind dark brown seed heads, nuts roll about beneath our feet, pods are drying out, this is all true, and while we bid farewell to summer's particular form, we might also recognize that t
his dying is not simply an end, but also a beginning. The dying-drying process allows seeds to be released. Fall rains will soon assist the little seeds as they nestle into the soil. This "death" is the start of next year's green birth. Intensely disabling exacerbations (especially at the start of each of the 3 documented episodes) and a diagnosis of MS was a kind of "dying" for me. My physically active life as I knew it before is gone. That is not to say that I cannot/will not do some of the things I have enjoyed in the past, but the way I engage, the way I feel is very different in all four worlds of my lived experience (body, mind, heart, soul). I am forever changed. I have become "new" to myself. I have been birthed into a new form of "Me-ness".

And so while it might seem incongruous to some, publicly announcing the anniversary date for the diagnosis of a life altering, chronic, completely unpredictable and at times quite disabling disease, I'm choosing to do so as a way to celebrate transformation, growth and healing. Not MS!

Last year my rabbi and I had planned to co-facilitate a healing service for our community at at the end of Elul; a gentle entry into the High Holidays. Unfortunately, I was far too ill myself at that point to assist or even be present. (I understand from others that Rabbi Jon created a beautiful service!) And so, with humility and gratitude I am pleased to say that as long as my voice behaves this evening, September 2, 2010, I will celebrate a year of healing with my community by leading guided meditation, prayer, silence and song.

Here is a healing prayer I wrote for the service. I hope it resonates for you.

Shifchi kamayim libech
Hear our prayer,

We call out to You when we are frightened.

Listening deeply, we feel your Presence as a reply.

There are days when pain and illness seem endless.

Nights when our thoughts spin in anxious circles.

Yet, with a single sigh, an exhalation, we turn to You Holy Blessed One, and

You open our hearts to courage, awakening in us strength we did not know we possessed.

Breathing in we are reminded that we are not alone, were never alone,

For You are Nishmat Chayyim, the Breath of Life that fills us.

Shifchi kamayim libech v'zachor
We pour out our hearts like water...and remember.

Remembering eases our suffering; a wave of gratitude enfolds us.

is healing. Amen.

Change is at the core of healing; healing on a continuum we cannot easily put into words of explanation or ever completely understand...and so we are left with faith.

*Shifchi kamayim libech translates from Hebrew to mean "we pour out our hearts like water" *v'zachor..."and remember". The words are taken from a verse in the book of Lamentations 2:19

I encourage you to take a moment to listen to a beautifully haunting interpretation of this verse through song by VOCOLOT (Linda Hirschorn, Abbe Lyons and Judy Frankel) click here


To view some truly spectacular SkyWatch photos and discover more hearts in surprising places spotted by beautiful people around the world, please click the buttons below. Why not commit a random act of kindness and leave a comment for someone you've never visited before? Spread the love.
A random heart found in the very first photo above.
Take another look, how many more do you see?

Skywatch Friday


  1. The Vocolot sound clip is so beautiful! What an amazing year of growth and transformation you have had. I honour your anniversary.

  2. Laura.

    this made me cry. a year? oh the grace humbles me.
    I will take time to read and listen to where you've nudged . absolutely.

    and what you said to me. thank you. that was whispered. because I am still learning. because I am always afraid of what I haven't studied, done, where I haven't gone, what I haven't done. and yet,
    we need to just touch each other, no? thank you.
    you touch me.

  3. Thank you Debra and Deb for dropping by this morning with well wishes and wisdom...Yes Deb, "we need to just touch each other"...what could possibly be more healing than personal connection, heart to heart? I will be by to visit you both soon...learning from you and your unique journeys.

  4. Hi Laura,

    What a beautiful prayer! Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us.

    As for your one year anniversary of your official diagnosis, it is obvious from all of your writings that your ability to love and learn has only blossomed in the course of this journey. I commend you for that because not many people have the ability to see beauty in a situation that is very uncertain.

    You are a beautiful soul and an example to all of us.

    Sending you lots of love, hugs and blessings!


  5. Dear Laura,
    you always have something wonderful and kind to say when you stop by my place. Your life is a struggle, yet you find a way of seeing it with an uncanny optimism that is very contagious.
    Your upcoming anniversary must be one full of bittersweet recollection and perhaps contemplations and reflections.
    I love the way you view change.
    Beautiful post...

  6. Nadia, Zuzanna,

    Thank you dear ones for dropping by and for your abiding support throughout this year of healing. I will visit you both soon!

  7. Beautiful post Laura and uplifting prayer."But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings..."

    Have a wonderful SWF.

    " ♥ Regina ♥ "

  8. Regina!!! Thank you for the healing words (psalm?) I haven't heard from you in a while, I'm so glad you stopped by, I'm looking forward to viewing your skywatch photos later:)

  9. What a fun Random Heart this is! I'm so glad you joined up for Guest Heart Thursday!

    Thank you for your wonderful comments! Happy GHT!

  10. Ah my friend. This is why I admire you. The words you share, the openness and honesty ... you are an inspiration to me. Your words resonated deep within my heart - my own life altering experience (severe stroke on Dec. 4, 2009) is less than a year in the past. I hope and pray that when that anniversary rolls 'round I will be as thankful and gracious to God as you are. Bless you.

    And thank you for sharing your WONDERFUL random hearts on Guest Heart Thursday. I am honored.

  11. Clytie, I remember well reading about your stroke on Nina's led me to begin to read your blogs...I too have been most inspired by you, your courage, strength and unique way of viewing the world! I imagine that gratitude arises for you daily-perhaps each time you see a heart greeting you? Visual reminders of the gift of life, and love to be experienced each moment we open to it.

  12. Laura, I am so pleased I found you.
    Your poem - brings tears to my eyes and touches my heart and spirit.
    You share so beautifully.
    I send forth healing thoughts and blessings to you over the miles.

  13. Thank you Ernestine...returning the blessings to you. I hope you are feeling well today.

  14. "...and so we are left with faith." That is the most important part as well as the sum of all parts. That is what is left as well as where we begin. Thank you, Laura, for all that you share and the light that shines from this space.


    A Healing Prayer ~
    You are mighty, Lord, who brings healing to the sick,
    You are great in granting salvation, providing the living with sustenance, with lovingkindness,
    caring for the sick with great mercies, supporting the fallen, healing the sick, releasing the captive,and keeping faith with those who are lost among the living,Who is like you, Master of mighty acts, and who compares to you, King who restores health, and causes salvation to sprout,
    You who are faithful, comforting the ill among us,
    Blessed are You, Lord who heals the sick.

  16. dear Sharon, somehow, I knew that line would touch you, I'm not sure why, but I knew. Thank you for your gentle, generous support throughout this year.

  17. Welcome to my blog Jann, thank you for this beautiful healing prayer!!!

  18. Hi Laura,
    I really like the first one photo, for the contrast of colors.
    Thanks for stopping by.
    Have a great weekend!

  19. Lovely prayer, Laura. I always think of September as the beginning of a new year, which may be the reason I do not see autumn as being a sad time but as a time for renewal.

  20. Wonderful pictures! Looks like autum.. You are so strong Laura, God bless you!

  21. A beautiful prayer and you are indeed a wonderful example of courage. Thanks for sharing with us. I hold good thoughts for you and for your family.


  22. I have my cuppa tea and hand and I did read your post. Wishing you well.

  23. The music from Roots & Wing is beautiful. I found your site from Random hearts you have such courage, your prayer is beautiful. Thank you for sharing from your depths.

    Your crabapple is certainly a heart... at first looking at the leaves you might miss the hearts... then they appear... oh so many of them.

    Happy GHT! Love to you!

  24. This was a beautiful post. I love the tree against the sky and your fist photo that you ended with is great. Wonderful prayer too.

  25. Your outlook is always inspiring to me. My best wishes and prayers go for you.

  26. Love the openness of this post. A very uplifting prayer.

    The colors of the leaves against the blue backdrop of the sky is so lovely!

  27. Beautiful SkyWatch photo

    Happy SWF! Have a nice weekend,

    Regards, Bram

    My SkyWatch on WordPress

    Seen on Sky Watch Friday

  28. You are so inspiring and BEAUTIFUL!

  29. Thank you everyone for stopping by...for all of your supportive comments and well wishes. I feel blessed by all of YOU inspiring humans!!!

  30. A beautiful and inspiring post. May this year be the one that you are inscribed for healing and growth, full of love and a deep sense of peace.

    Shana tova u'metuka. A happy and sweet new year.

    My photography is available for purchase - visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!

  31. ~Laura,
    Thank you so much for checking up on me.
    I am doing well. My MELD score is at 21 and the doctors want me to hit 22. This will put me in a good range where I could receive the Call. I am very close.
    I think of you often and I pray that you are doing well. You are always in my thoughts, I hope you know that.
    With love and admiration. -Beaux

  32. You are transformed, you have grown & you are healing your inner self. I celebrate your beginning of this new year with you.

    I love the heart tree & your 'smooshed' crab apple! I will look for a heart especially for you. Thanks for your visit, for getting me back to visit you!

  33. Laura,
    Forgive me, I did not know that you had only been diagnosed a year ago. I thought you had been living with MS for a long while now. Why? Because you have such grace and faith and fortitude for its navigation. Yo are no typical "newly diagnosed" person, that is for sure. Your soul shines so bright that I had no clue...And, yet, you travel with such transparency and heart. You are quite remarkable and I am so glad we are walking together...xo

  34. I haven't been around in a while and thoroughly enjoyed getting caught up with your blog. your posts are always so deep and touching and I love all your different heart photos. Your spiritual take on things is always so uplifting and such a gift to read :o)

  35. I too honour this anniversary & share the feeling of new beginnings & re-birth... and i would like to thank YOU... for opening your heart & sharing your soul that has touched us all... i feel privileged to *know* you. And thank YOU for graciously accepting comfort as it is offered and for allowing us to draw comfort from you too... your moebius quilt enfolds us all in connectedness & gratitude for the breath that flows through us all... much love xx

  36. My thoughts and words are all in a jumble; there are several thoughts I want to share with you. As Jan said, your spirit shines so brightly. Such abiding faith and trust; such gratitude in your re-birth into a new phase of your life journey. Such courage in determining the path of your life; not a victim, but a warrior, forging your way, in your own way. Your healing prayer has the strength and faith of Psalm 23; it it is filled with beauty and grace.
    I'm so pleased that you celebrated with your community. I'm so pleased just to know you. Peace and all good to you, Laura.

  37. Thank you for making contact:) Every day is a blessing and a success xx


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