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.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

I'm BACK: Beginning Again

Isn't that always how it is? Beginning again and again...what a blessing to know, to trust, that we can  begin again. Of course that means we must release other things, other dreams, other ways of doing and being, old conceptions, misconceptions all to make room for new growth, allowing for more space, more light to shine through. And this somehow reminds me of trees, (it always comes back to trees, for me...) and their deep roots...trunks grow thick, wide and tall...branches spread...buds blossom...leaves develop...they turn and change color...they drop exposing the bones of the tree...yet far below the surface the roots are continuously seeking nutrients for growth...growth that continues.

bare bones heart, kancamagus hwy, nh november 2010
I took a photo of this same tree last summer and was delighted to find it again when Gordon and I took a short trip to the White Mountains the weekend before Thanksgiving; two quiet days and nights without the kids, the cats, the dog. These mountains have always felt incredibly holy to me. They feel like home. Not like "house-home," or "family-home," but when I am up there, I feel like I am at home within mySelf. One of my favorite names for God in Hebrew is haMakom, the Place. I guess that's what I'm trying to say. I feel God's Presence...I know that I am in haMakom and haMakom is within me when I am surrounded by the majesty of these glorious mountains. Not that I don't have the same feeling at other times or in other spaces, but there is just something about the White Mountains that expands my heart and opens me to Spirit the moment I see the landscape rise to the first peaks that greet us from the highway as we begin our ascent.

I was thrilled to see that the structure of the tree was the same, that the heart was still visible without the leaves filling it out. Yes, vrksasana is still my favorite yoga/life pose!

This blog is quite often like the tree above, or rather, the way I present myself here is. I offer my bare bones heart up to anyone who passes by. My heart is open; light, rain, snow, mist, darkness all are visible through my writing and photos. For me this is a healing practice, this honest way of being  and expressing my wholeness to the world. It is risky, of course to expose one's heart in this way, and yet what I have found is that my transparency has created a sacred space where others feel safe and free to speak from their own hearts either in comments directly on this blog or through private emails. To me the risk of being truly seen is well worth the beauty that pours back to me from all of you, a flowing river of love. It is a privilege, an honor, a gift; thank you for your trust.

During the past month of amazing posts from the many guests who have graced this blog with their wise and grateful hearts, I have been working hard at relearning to walk in physical therapy, strengthening my muscles and retraining my neurons. Almost literally re-Membering, so that I can begin again to move with more ease. We are still trying to determine the cause for my downslide in abilities since August. The working theory at the moment is that one of the medications I have been on for more than a year is creating a toxic reaction in my body (and not the BIG scary one either!) We will be more certain in a couple of weeks as the medicine is gradually weaned from my system. I am hopeful that this is the case, of course, as it is a pretty easy fix, but I am not clinging to hope. Therefore, I am simultaneously practicing the art of being with what is. Right now I still need a walker for stability,  but not all the time. I am thankful that I am not falling down every few foot steps as I had been a month ago when "mr. walker" moved into our home. I cannot walk very far before fatigue sets in and I do still need a wheelchair or to be carried in order to get to a  "destination" beyond whatever the fatigue point of the moment happens to be. Yesterday for the first time in a over a month I walked down a full flight of stairs and later in the day  after pt, back up very slowly. Going down the second time to light Chanukah candles was slower still and back up was labored and on my tush, powering myself up with my arms...but I  made it to the top and Gordon helped me stand and get to the bed to rest a bit. On Monday I could only master three  stairs up and three down. This is progress, wonderful progress. Yet, my body still has very real limitations. This morning, dare devil that I am, I tried to get up out of bed without my walker, took two steps and "bam," found myself down on the floor looking up. This is the bare bones truth of my physical experience right now. Perhaps I pushed myself too far yesterday in my joy for being able to accomplish more, and today's morning tumble is a result of that. This is such a mysterious disease. I am starting to see gradual changes and I pray that more of my strength, energy, balance and coordination will return. I will be ever so grateful if this is so, but if not, if I plateau or deteriorate again soon, then I, (my family and I) will continue to find new ways of doing things, spreading our creative wings, opening our hearts to new possibilities for making our home more accessible so that I can be downstairs with my family and have more independence, and everyone else can too! I'm not loving this princess in the bedroom treatment anymore that the rest of the family, truly!

Another thing I've been working on throughout the month of November is my website. I was planning to re-launch an updated version on December 1st to more accurately depict services I now offer from home as a Kaizen-Muse® Creativity Coach, Spiritual Director and Lev b'Lev SoulCollage® Guide, but we've had some technical difficulties, including chipmunk back-up singers throughout a guided healing meditation podcast that needed to be EQ'd out of the recording, and a few other minor but annoying tech issues. I have complete confidence in my CTO (Gordon) to have it all working smoothly soon. I'll let you know as soon as it is up and running. 

We are very excited that my parents will be here visiting from Florida for the next few days during Chanukah, so expect my blog to be quiet for their stay, while we enjoy our special time together.

I cannot thank all of you, my faithful readers, enough for your beautiful comments. I'm sorry that I cannot respond to everyone, with every message. Just know that I read them all and appreciate your compassion from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet. YOUR words heal me as much as the practice of sharing my own with you!!!

gentle steps,

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You might also want to check out Imperfect Prose, where bloggers recognize the cracks in our broken hearts are blessings that allow light and healing to flow!

Skywatch Friday


  1. Hi Laura, I feel my heart leaping and expanding with joyful whoops at the thought of your moving and walking, no matter how gradually - the progress is truly worth celebrating!! I am so incredibly happy for you that there may be a real answer to part of your past year's deterioration. My prayers continue that progress flows and bumps on the bumm are fewer and fewer :) I look forward to seeing your new web site and send out a big congrats for your new offerings, knowing you will offer great healing and creative inspiration to many others through this vehicle. Enjoy your family time and I wish you a happy Chanukah. much love, Karin

  2. Your success yesterday was tied with celebrating the first night of Chanukah with my family for the highlight of my day. See you next week. Chag Smaeach.

  3. Oh Laura...sweet progress that you're making, makes me glow with gratitude. Prayers are indeed heard.

    And the tree.. so good to see in bare as well as in bloom.. those pics are worth a thousand words in regard to the heart. When you think of what our heart goes thru along our life journey - I wonder what that tree (both versions) would have to say to each one of us... Hmm..looks like it's time for me to have a heart to heart with that tree.

    love and hugs and prayers to you and yours...always,

  4. You are progressing. I know it will continue. Just slow and easy (not my personality either :) Enjoy your parents visit.
    Your sharing is very special to me and you help me along my journey more then you will ever know. You are a special gift to me.

  5. i love that you and your husband left everything to find God in the mountains. this reminds me of Moses, who came back down shining. you shine, dear laura. thank you for sharing yourself, bare, in this place. e.

  6. I held my breath as I began reading ... the ups and downs ... the progress made ... the beauty of your heart and soul that leaks out of your fingertips ... the way your words wind their way around my heart with their amazing truth and genuine feeling. You said one thing that captured my attention - "practicing the art of being with what is" - this is what I will take into my day today.

    Thank you for sharing your bare bones heart - both the tree and your life - on Guest Heart Thursday. My prayers are with you, my friend.

  7. Slow and steady "wins" the race, so your progress every day is cause for celebration. You have the courage of a lion and the grace of a gazelle, a mighty combination. We are all here cheering you on as your journey continues ~

  8. Molto bella questa immagine....
    grande effetto.
    Buona serata :)

  9. Happy Hanukkah, Laura!

    I hope the doctor is correct that your problem is with the medication you were taking. That would be a true blessing.

    Learning to walk again is not easy. I know because I had to do that in 1999 after a benign tumor was removed from my spinal cord. It had nearly strangled it.

    Learning to walk gave me so much appreciation for babies when they take their first steps. It takes so much concentration!

    Hang in there! All the best!

  10. You are so loved, dear one, so very loved.


  11. smiles. i hope that the medication is the issue and that as it gets out of your system you are able to begin again...sounds like some positive steps as...keep moving forward...

  12. I have unwanted chipmunk backup singers too, except they are me. have to work on my vocal harmony chops!

    You are a sweet blessing.

    Maybe your legs be filled with as much angel energy as I always feel from your heart.


  13. Never too much great news Laura!
    Big hug to you:)

  14. Happy Chanukah, friend! I hope your visit with your parents is full of blessings. And no more falling, okay? I, too, am so happy to see the "heart tree" still bearing its message of love, even in its "bare-bones" state. Somehow it encourages me that though outwardly I might be "wasting away," yet inwardly I am being renewed... hoping with you that these little improvements you've been experiencing will continue and grow...

  15. lovely that you got away to a place that feels so good to you, that helps you be intimate within.

    I love this:
    One of my favorite names for God in Hebrew is haMakom, the Place.

  16. Nice to see you back and finding amazing images like this to share with Sky Watch fans. Have a great weekend.

  17. keep on moving, little things grow.

    Happy Chanukha and continued blessings

  18. That is a beautiful photo. I wish you the best of luck with your health.

  19. Very uplifting post and a beautiful shot. Good to read about your progress in what I know has been a difficult journey. Happy Chanukah.

  20. beautiful skywatch. have a blessed day. big hugs to you Laura.

  21. Have a wonderful holiday, many blessings to you!! :)

  22. i love that heart-shaped tree. It's poignant in its bare state. I'm glad to know that you're improving and will be having some get-together time with your family. happy weekend!

  23. I wish you the peace and strength to continue your walk!

  24. I truly enjoyed reading this post. You write from the heart. Your tree and tree thoughts are wonderful ... somehow I can relate because my trunk has also grown thick! :)

  25. What a lovely moody sky, with a lonely tree.

  26. Beautiful bare heart tree... continue with your amazing progress. May your inner strength carry you as you remember!

  27. Enjoy your small achievements! And have a lovely time with your family.

    I think that the bare branches of the heart or the tree are beautiful!

  28. Nice shot.
    Everything will be fine again.

  29. Dear laura

    your sucess suceed why you are a nice person and have a good heart.
    I love to visit you and moer than say you. THANK U VERY MUCH FOR YOU TO BE MY FRI8END

  30. Hola Laura,

    The picture is beautiful.
    I'm touched by your post. Thanks for sharing your open heart, that is the best gift you can give anyone.
    I enjoyed reading your post, and will make sure I read the rest too.
    Glad to know you are recovering, take a step at a time, enjoy the process, and in harmony with "what is"
    At your blog I do have that feeling of haMakom :)


  31. Such a lovely capture of the moody sky!

    Have a lovely weekend!

  32. Thank you for your lovely greeting.
    Wonderful picture and thought-provoking words.
    Life has many choices

  33. happy chanukah! i can relate to a body that doesn't want to co-operate. may you find much grace for yourself during this time. blessings to you during this celebration of light.

  34. It's so nice to have you back. I love the tree photo - love trees in the same way you do - and had to search for the heart there, which made me happy to find. I hope your time with your family is blessed and full of love. I continue to pray for your healing and to be grateful for your presence in my life.

  35. oh laura - i was just overwhelmed by what you shared with us - allowing us a deep look into your life with all the struggle and joy. hope your healing continues quickly, i'll be praying for you

  36. Your post is beautiful and touching.
    I wish you a happy weekend.

  37. That's a beautiful tree, both with and without leaves; you have a good eye.
    Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog :-)
    Blessings :-)

  38. dear laura,

    you are blessed indeed with the assurance of your inner man. that everything will be well soon. continue sharing your gift of Godliness.

  39. tree tell a story of their own, just have to listen

  40. To be honest, I hate all those new beginnings. If one can not continue, whats the point?
    Sorry about that!

  41. I have several talented friends whose blogs are about decorating or photography; wonderful eye candy to enjoy. I'm drawn primarily, though, to writers who are exploring their sacredness, their centers, their intimate interaction with the Divine. It's safe to write about tablescapes; it's much riskier, as you note, to be transparent and expose one's heart, and all the light, rain, mist and darkness that we experience in living.
    I so treasure your transparency. Indeed, it does make me feel safe and not so odd. You epitomize one of my favorite mantras: Receive what you are given. Each day, Laura, you receive what abilities that day brings - whether it's a climb or a fall - and you receive with grace, love, beauty, dignity and honor. Blessings, love and healing wishes for you each day.

  42. incredibly wise and honest post. just thought i was popping over for another look at the tree. the regenerative heart you are photographing may be the perfect symbol.


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