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, October 25, 2010

Leaning Into Kindness

 Today I felt like these falling down fence posts, gravity drawing me to the soft field that is kindness.

 Yet there was  a twisted sensation within my heart, wanting so much to be a straight, strong post. 

And in all honesty, I don't mind the weathered appearance, the deep grooves of life's winds, rains, deep freeze and relentless sun. What I mind is not supporting my own weight in the world.

A friend from the synagogue came early to pick me up for pt. She offered to wash our sheets and do anything else I needed help with. So I allowed her into my "inner sanctum," my bedroom, which is a horrid mess. And I cried, because I was embarrassed for her to see the mess and because she was so kind and because I felt so tired and powerless. She exchanged my clothes from the summer ones in my drawers  with the winter ones in my storage bin. It is so very humbling to have someone you consider a friend, but don't  yet know well do such a task, to see the disaster that you call home and the disaster that is your body that has kept you from caring for your home; yet someone you know well enough to feel ashamed, not  the way you might feel if this person was a complete stranger. Maybe this will open a path to deeper friendship.  Or the opposite, because she is so disgusted from seeing this part of my life that so few are allowed to see. Of course I feel tremendous gratitude, but it was really, really hard. I'm betting on deepening friendship, she's a sweet soul.

Another friend, whom I have known longer and have spent more time with over the years, the one who actually does our laundry, arranged for a woman who is a stranger to come pick up our dirty stuff and deliver it to her (my friend's house) on a day that is  convenient, so she has more time to get it done. This same kind stranger will then pick it up later in the week and deliver the clean folded laundry to our house so Gordon doesn't have to deal with it at all. Our freezer (the one generously donated last year when I was first diagnosed with MS) is stocked full with frozen meals from generous people in the community and Gordon's big Costco and Trader Joe's runs recently. The cleaning ladies came today (they come once a month) and do the parts of the house "other people" see, and the upstairs bathroom. I had arguments about various things with each of my girls today. And we worked it out...talked later. But the tension is so thick in the house right now. 

PT was better today...I was a little steadier in my walking with the cane. So that was good news. But I am completely depleted of energy.

I don't feel so filled with grace today. Just wiped out. Maybe 'cause I have my period. That's always a good excuse for having a bad day, right? So many tears. Such a tender place I am in right now.

But tomorrow will be a new day...

Anything is possible in the dawning of a new day.... leaves this brilliant and renewed joy.

With a practiced eye, I am able to see the form of the Hebrew letter "shin" in the topmost branches of the tree in the foreground. "Shin" is the first letter of the word "shema"...listen. So I am listening to my mantra, the words I have chosen to repeat to myself since Sunday. 


  1. A line in “Fiddler on the Roof” made a big impression on me. Perchik refuses Tevye’s offer of milk and Tevye says “as a blessing on me, take it”. One can only perform a mitzvah if another is willing to accept. You gave your friend a blessing by allowing her to help.

  2. gentle hugs... and deep admiration for your open heart, for your honest heart, and for letting others help you. It takes more strength than you realize to open that wide. Dependency can be one of the most beautiful gifts you ever give to another human being. Thank you for letting others help you regardless of these kinds of days when you feel less than strong inside.


    p.s. hormones are teachers :)

  3. Yes Laura, anything is possible. I hope each day for you, for all of us, opens with enormous possibilities.

  4. "I don't feel so filled with grace today."

    And yet you are.

    A big hug, Laura.



  5. Laura, the photos you chose illustrate this post so well
    and reading of your tears bought them to my eyes also
    how hard it is to let others into our inner sanctum, but mostly when we do it is a strengthening act, both for ourselves and the one we allow in
    may your heart be strengthened

    on an aside, how interesting that this month we share a cycle time
    i've heard that communities of women who live and work in close proximity end up with a sync in their cycles, i wonder if this might also be so for online communities?

    now, shall we share a block of virtual chocolate :)

  6. We support our weight in the world when we love and share and listen, when we are authentic, and when we accept others where they are. Laura, you support your weight in the world, which does not mean you have to carry the weight of the world. It is your time to rest in the care of others.

  7. "Shin" is the Japanese name for the tallest main branch in an Ikebana arrangement. In the traditional arrangements there are three main branches, shin, soe, and hikae. Shin represents the heavens, soe represents man, and hikae the earth. Each arrangement is made by balancing these main branches/flowers and their companion flowers/branches. I love the connection here between the shin that you observed and the shin that I've been working with in the last year. Listening and heaven. hmmmm.

    I'm happy to read that you have a lot of support.

  8. When I read here, I can feel the enormous transformation you are undergoing in every area of your life. And you do it with so much grace and honesty! You have no idea how much I admire you!! You inspire even in your moments of not feeling filled with grace... Sending a big hug and much love, Silke

  9. sending many hugs. again, you are eloquent in describing what you are going through, and through that eloquence and sharing you help others, we readers, to not exactly understand as we are not experiencing it personally, but to hear and sense this other way of being you are going through. That is big. That along with all else that you do, is holding your weight.

    Your eye for metaphor is wonderful. Blessings, Suki

  10. Dear sweet Laura, I read these last two posts with tears in my eyes. I am so glad you have such loving and kind people to help you and your family.

    That simple statement - all is welcome - is so powerful. I will be thinking about this wisdom all day today - the wisdom of simply welcoming every shadow and every bit of light that life brings.

    Please be gentle with yourself today. I hold you in my heart today and always.

    Love and hugs,

  11. Feeling upset about things beyond our control are always exacerbated by those dang hormones.

    I often think that when we feel helpless, it's a true gift to someone else to ask for help.

  12. This resinates and hits home... I've been dwelling on the leaning in my own life this week. Leaning on an understanding which is greater then my own.

  13. "Today I felt like these falling down fence posts, gravity drawing me to the soft field that is kindness.

    Yet there was a twisted sensation within my heart, wanting so much to be a straight, strong post.

    And in all honesty, I don't mind the weathered appearance, the deep grooves of life's winds, rains, deep freeze and relentless sun. What I mind is not supporting my own weight in the world."

    I want to be a straight, strong post, too. Yet these words, and the story that follows, are so powerful. So much more powerful than the ability to accomplish household tasks (although that is also a gift.)

    So much here. So much. You've expressed it so very well. The longing for physical wholeness and strength to contribute, the humility of allowing a friend into your "messy" sanctum (reminds me of the Christian story of Peter saying to his master, Jesus, "No - you shall never wash my feet!" and Jesus replying,"Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." - it's so hard not to be the one giving.) The family tensions inevitable and exacerbated by illness. And the tears, of course, the tears. I know you didn't feel any grace when you wrote this, yet it is filled with such grace. That, I think, is the gift of God.

    To take a "falling down fence post" and make of it a pillar.

  14. Dear Laura, I have just finished reading your last 2 posts. Because of much going on in my life I missed reading daily.
    Let other's into your private life.
    All is Welcome - you need help and when it arrives - it is a gift.
    If we could just sometimes "turn our minds off" - it would help.
    God Bless You!!!

  15. you are such a beautiful writer

    these images really speak to me, evoke childhood. Love the yellow gold leaves shining proud up high.

    PS. your own inner strength is propping up my gently leaning fence posts.

    We don't ever know what we are about, now do we?

  16. you again inspire me with your open hearted vulnerability and deep humility. Two characteristics I aspire to, though not even close to your example. Your words heal all those who read them. Thank you, dear Laura

  17. A beautiful blog post. Thank you for being so vulnerable and so open in talking about what is moving through you. The aspiration of uprightness has such amazing poignancy, but I think we all come to a deeper connection when we see that how we are is already okay. And in that acceptance, tremendous healing can become possible.

    With kindness,


  18. oh, Laura this brought tears.
    I can't imagine... and yet in some ways we are the same.
    when I hurt myself this summer I made my husband carry me downstairs in case we had to call an ambulance because I didn't want anyone to see my room. and that was just regular mess, let alone trying to chose your minutes wisely mess. There were only a few friends my best friend trusted when she was rushed to the hospital near death, and later in her long long recovery, and then when she passed her husband followed suit. To allow the ones who truly love past the unimportant to the soul. I would gladly rummage through her rat's nest of a closet again in a heartbeat to have a second with her beautiful face and heart.
    And she taught me to worry less about housework and live my life.

  19. I can so understand the place you are in right now because I saw my mom be in the same place a few weeks ago. She, too, had some serious health issues but is slowly starting to get better and I went in and cleaned her house as well...and she cried. She felt to so horrible for my doing things for her that were as simple as vacuuming and repotting a tumbled over house plant because she felt like she was losing control of her life by my doing for her...and yet I felt so wonderful for helping. What a confused situation it was...Asking for help is one thing, but actually truly needing it is something else entirely, it can make you feel so vulnerable and as if you are bother people with your needs when in fact most people are just crying out to be able to help you in any way they can...

  20. Thanks for writing with such candor about the different parts of your house. It may seem trivial but it isn't. I understood everything you were saying: the public places, the private places; the frustration that your illness keeps you from taking care of it the way you want to; the reluctance to let others into certain parts of the house and yet the need to let them help.

    Sometimes being sick is exhausting even discounting all the symptoms of the illness (if that makes any sense). I guess I mean it's exhausting to the mind -- having to figure out so many "work arounds."

    Just know that your post helped me a lot. It was like reading about my own relationship to my living space.

    Rest well tonight.

  21. I love the pictures and the fence metaphor. Allowing help, being vulnerable - both so hard, and you are such a great teacher for both. I watch you travel this path and breathe wonder. You are a wonder.

  22. Your woods are very beautiful. They are autumn color all of them.

  23. that last photo is absolutely stunning. i'm unfamiliar with that Hebrew letter, but i imagine that that makes this pic even more meaningful... im sorry that you felt embarrassed about your visitor.. but im betting on the latter, too. there are little angels among us, and she was there to help you!


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