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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.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Standing at the Foot of the Mountain


Mt. Washington, NH



I stand at the foot of a metaphoric mountain. Steady in this moment, with a wall to grab hold of if I start to loose my balance. I stand gazing upward, ensouled in a body with a brain and spinal cord increasingly riddled with, MS, eMeS, my truth, my own personal Mt Sinai- Multiple Sclerosis.

Looking up and out and in and down I sing the words of my poem/prayer below. Not even a prayer for refuah sheleima, complete healing of my body, mind, heart and soul. I don't expect this. But I pray for strength, for courage, for peace, at least a little bit each day. This feels reasonable to me within the limits of modern medicine, this I believe I can experience, for I do.  I trust that Shekhinah, She Who Dwells Within heals my brokenness on many levels in ways I don’t understand but sense. I cannot define the Divine, no one can. I cannot and need not prove why I have faith. It nourishes me, holds me steady. For me, that is enough.

To listen to me sing Esso Eini For Healing, (words written below as my One Shot Wednesday Entry for this week), please click here.
Music and Lyrics Copyright © 2011 Laura Hegfield All rights reserved.

From the frailest flower to the soaring forest trees
Rolling oceans wide and deep
I place my faith in the womb of Rachamim
Compassionate Essence of all being.

Esso einai el heharim,
me'ayin yavo ezri
I lift my eyes to the mountain above
Yes I know from where my strength will come.

Ezri me'im Hashem,
Oseh shamayim va'aretz
With all my heart I trust the One
I trust the One   
Creator of heaven and earth

(Hebrew translation inspired by Psalm 121:1-2)


With each moment of awe I feel looking up at a blue-black sky spangled with glittering stars, or a heart shaped stone that captivates my attention on the ground near my feet, with each inhalation of joy for companionship shared with my beloveds, with every sigh of sadness and tears of compassion for those whose suffering is far greater than my own, with lovingkindness toward myself as well, yes, with all my heart I trust the One, Creator of heaven and earth as I live my life as fully as possible with a disease that has taken much from me and is bound to take more as time goes on. One day perhaps some brilliant researchers will indeed find a way to reverse and cure Multiple Sclerosis. Perhaps in my lifetime, before it is too late for me, and if not for me and my 2.5 million companions around the world living with this disease, then for the generations to come.

I pray for all beings to find something, some-One to support them in times of darkness, grief and fear. Perhaps for you this is an experience of the Divine, or maybe a devoted connection to a flesh and blood friend or partner who never lets you down...maybe all of the above. For we all have these moments of longing for our lives to be "other than this", easier, safer, more secure, no matter what our struggles may be. Yet often it is in the midst of the heavy thunderous, fiery clouds, the moments when sound and sight become one unified, terrifying garment of awe, that the greatest gift of our life is offered; faith. Faith that all we have to do is survive this one moment. Just this one, for right now this is all that truly exists.

For some there is a single defining event in which we feel the powerful Presence of that which is greater than ourselves. We feel it alone, or we feel it while deeply connected to another person or many people during a cataclysmic event, like a raging storm or earth-shattering quake. For others a meeting of grace unfolds time and again when new obstacles arise in our lives. As mysteriously as the cloak of terror seems to overtake us, the dense smoke and dust lifts. The sunlight beams through again, and our spirits emanate radiance too; we feel different, fuller, enlivened, for we have been enveloped by the great Mystery and are transformed in the process.

This evening Jews around the world will celebrate Shavuot. Receiving Torah, a living teaching that expands and deepens with each generation as we grow in our understanding of what it means to be human, to be fallible, to try again to make the world a better place for all beings. To me this is the great gift of Torah. The knowledge that we are responsible for doing all we can as partners of the ineffable force of Creation to bring healing to this planet and all of its inhabitants, the knowledge that in our own unique way, we DO make a difference; Tikun Olam, for the tiniest and the largest, weakest and strongest, richest and poorest. This is why we are here. To do good, to be good, to reach out in whatever ways we can, even if that reaching out comes from the simple writings of a woman home in her bed that uplift even a single person's heart on a day when they were feeling a little low.

I am limited. We all are, and yet within the bounds of our lives, still we can bring healing into this world, we can participate, educate, offer kindness and encouragement to others. I am having a hard time keeping up with responding to all the beautiful people who leave comments on my blog. I just don't have the energy right now to do as much visiting and commenting on your blogs as I would like to, and haven't for quite some time now. I am so sorry for this. I know you understand and I feel blessed by your compassion toward me. I deeply appreciate that you return to visit me when I do not do the same for you. I want so much for blogging to be a call and response, a reciprocal community of connection. I have met so many articulate, exquisite souls on this journey since 2008 when I started blogging. I hope to be able to visit again more in the future. For now, the best I can do is offer my words of encouragement right here, and visit a few of you occasionally. For now this will have to be enough.

All went well during my steroid infusions last week. Fabulous nurse Darcy, got the port in on the first try...a mini-miracle for me. And "Nurse Gordon" removed it with his now practically professional nursing skills. (I must confess however that l had some seriously out of control mood swings on Saturday and Sunday. My  poor family! It was a high dose steroid induced temporary "invasion of the body snatchers...who is this shrieking woman and where did I go?" experience, but I'm just tired now, whew! And mostly back to being me. Yikes!) I have an eye exam and MRI's at the end of this week, an EKG that the doctor's office still needs to be scheduled, and I'm  waiting for other test results too. If all is well, I will hopefully receive an OK from my insurance company to start the Gilenya, very soon. I pray for patience and contentment in this time of waiting. I pray that this new medication will slow down the disease in my body and maybe even make me feel a little more energized in the process. (Maybe?)

May we all be blessed with chesed, lovingkindness.
May we all be blessed with rachamim, compassion.
May we all be blessed with simcha, joy.
May we all be blessed with shalom, peace.
May it be so for all beings everywhere. 

Thank you to my beloved teacher Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg for teaching me this Hebrew infused version of metta (lovingkindness) meditation.

As a special treat, here is a link to a podcast from one of my sweet, wise Yoga & Jewish Spirituality teachers Rabbi Myriam Klotz recorded in 2009 for Shavuot. For friends who have difficulty with standing and balance, an adaptation to standing mountain can be experienced from either a seated posture with a rolled towel or cushion beneath your bottom, allowing your hips to relax and tilt slightly down. This will assist you in gently lengthening your spine and give you a wide base of support, just like the "foot" of a mountain. The essence of this asana can even be achieved laying flat on your bed with your feet flexed or relaxed as they fall to either side of your body, pretending that that they are set upon the earth while your head is reaching upward toward the heavens (the top of your bed); this horizontal or recumbent version of mountain can illicit the same basic sensation of standing with imagination and intention. (These are my recommended adaptations to the pose, as a yogini and teacher for many years.) Don't let physical challenges prevent you from experiencing the joy of being an embodied soul fully engaged in a moment of revelation as Myriam guides us through this kinetic connection with the Divine.

Mountain Pose: A Posture for Revelation

 

(If this podcast was meaningful to you, please consider a donation to IJS for making these beautiful resources available online.)

In offering this lengthy post I am feeling a wave of gratitude wash through me for all of my family and friends far away and in my home community  (I won't name names for I would not wish to slight someone with my forgetfulness, but you all know who you are and I love you.) I offer gratitude toward my friends around the world who have become so dear to me through blogging  and to the many gifted people who join in the memes in which I often join each week. I thank all of you for your ever-present encouragement. A special thanks to my soul sisters at Dharma Sister's Circle, for your gentle prayers in the Blessing Place, and all that you teach me in our online conversations, through the gift of moderating Khanti: a Healing Circle, through our poetry at the Nirvana Cafe, our Art Walk and in the classroom. Thank you to my anam cara Jan Lundy for creating this sacred online sanctuary for women! Thank you to Toni Bernhard our wise guide and my close friend and confidant on matters of healing mindfully through our Khanti Circle. And of course with deep, deep gratitude for my many teachers through the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, particularly Rabbi Nancy Flam, my Spiritual Director, I add a hardy yasher koach; may you be strengthened for the wisdom and kindness you pass on to your students and to our students through you.

I offer a special thanks to my partner, best friend and lover for his companionship and devotion, an extraordinary musician, Gordon Hegfield, for recording this song for me  acappella Monday evening. Happy  23rd anniversary my love! (We hope to do a fuller arrangement and recording of this in the future with layers of keyboards, but for now you have a sense of how it goes. I wrote the words and music on Friday morning while lying in bed with medicine filling my veins, I don't suppose a prayer gets much more authentic than that.)
 

 

45 comments:

  1. Hi Laura

    I didn´t find your post long at all. It was a pleasure and an inspiration to read it. I will continue to send healing to you and my prayers join with yours.

    John

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  2. I think this Mountain analogy is exactly right. We do have mountains but they can be conquered. Congrats on 23rd.

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  3. Laura, Your words are always so positive,so full of kindness and thankfulness, and so uplifting. My thoughts are with you, hoping you feel better and get better. Have a lovely week. Mickie:)

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  4. A beautiful post, from your heart and soul. I admire your faith and patience. As always Laura, you are an inspiration.

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  5. thinking of you today... your words reminded me of this psalm:

    "It is God who arms me with strength
    and makes my way perfect.
    He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
    he enables me to stand on the heights.
    He trains my hands for battle;
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
    You give me your shield of victory,
    and your right hand sustains me;
    you stoop down to make me great."

    Ps 18:32-35

    sending you love.

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  6. you are truly a woman of immeasurable grace.

    sending love.

    (and be at peace with all things blog ... )

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  7. You write so beautifully, and with such courage and compassion, Laura. No worries re visiting - it is enough for you now, to simply Be, and your offering here is rich with goodness for us to take away with us.......the photo of the mountain is stunning. Take good care.

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  8. May you be blessed and may you be blessed.

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  9. You are a blessing in my life. So glad I found you. I admire your generosity of spirit and your trust and faith. Thank you Laura for modeling what a giving life is like. I enjoyed reading this, all of this.

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  10. it's a beautiful post filled with love and peace. I hope you will be well Laura. your photo is a mix of two perspectives -looking up and looking down. in other words...balanced. I hope your week is filled with wonder and awe.

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  11. my thoughts and prayers are with you, as always my friend. xoxox

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  12. i love your prayer...it brings comfort and reminds us humbly where the true power resides...as always my prayers are with you...

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  13. honest and strong words to go with a beautiful majestic picture..love the hebrew woven into your poem..i used to sing a hebrew song..esa einai - el he harim - me ain - me aim ...not sure how it's written exactly - but it's the same topic...they eyes fixed on the mountain where help comes from

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  14. I wish to share your words with every able bodied person who is sinking in misery. They have every reason to be happy and a much smaller mountain to climb and yet they do not pour forth the peace and beauty that you do. Laura, you are an inspirational.

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  15. I can tell that you find such strength and healing and humanity in your faith.. you start with the metaphor of the mountain and anchor it with your spirituality.

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  16. Wow your words inspire and ring true
    Such a great write by you
    I like the peace they aspire too
    Bringing things into view

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  17. Laura...
    I was mesmerized by the prayer and your Angelic voice.
    It's probably in the top ONE of the most touching and beautiful Moments of Blogging.
    Thank You for your wisdom and compassion. I've just been blown away......Shalom.
    Galen

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  18. You voice is absolutely beautiful, Laura. Thank you for this beautiful, hope filled post.

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  19. Laura, your voice is transcendental...that was simply gorgeous. It made me weep with gratitude for having heard it. Thank you.

    And Happy Anniversary to you and Gordon - may you have many many many more.

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  20. Laura,
    your faith and hope in the midst of your pain and suffering is the Divine, in my humble opinion. I will bookmark and return to your podcast often as it is a beautiful medition piece. You have the voice of an angel which filled me with peace and great comfort (some tears and goose-bumps, too.)

    Thank you for sharing your God-given talent with us. Please let me know if/when you post more recordings or where I can purchase your first CD :)

    The gratitude that "shines" throughout your entire post is inspirational.

    love and prayers to you.
    sheila

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  21. Congratulations to you and your love :)

    Really beautiful and my prayers are with you...

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  22. Oh laura... so powerfully written... and to hear your singing...that in itself is a blessing... truly moving... so much love my friend, i know you live your song xo

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  23. Laura...wow! Do I need to say more? Brilliant, touching, heart filled, LIFE filled...YOU GO GIRL! :) You've inspired this soul today...and I'm sure I'm not the first...Thank you!

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  24. Oh god! Laura, ive always thought you had a beautiful voice..your soul shines out from your writing. but to hear it.... wow.
    beautiful sounds so small in comparision.

    xx

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  25. Laura,

    Your voice and poem lifted and opened my soul.

    Thank you. My blessings on your head and in your heart.

    Lady Nyo (Jane)

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  26. Oh, yes. I remember visiting your blog before and finding such a sense of spiritual at-one-ness. So glad you commented on mine and brought me back here. I will subscribe. This is a beautiful post. Blessings to you.

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  27. Beautiful and inspiring post..full of light, harmony and healing and magic...gorgeous voice you have..shine on!
    THanks for sharing the gift of you
    Victoria

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  28. So beautiful Laura, the writing and the singing. You, broken? That is the last word I think of when I read and hear you.

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  29. no, not over the top, my dear.
    every word meant sincere.

    listen to your voice... :)

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  30. Hi Laura; thank you so much for visiting and your kind comment. I have had a long, lovely holiday that's why I have not been around.
    I wish you well and happiness, Titania.

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  31. I think you are amazing, Laura, a true inspiration. I'm so glad that you have found sources of strength to help you through. Sending you healing thoughts, my friend. Stay strong.

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  32. Thanks for showing us the view from the mount, Sister-




    Aloha from Waikiki :)

    Comfort Spiral

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  33. you have an amazing gift for seeing reflections, inspiration and gifts in the world around you. thank you for your inspiration!

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  34. Beautiful and inspirational - as is your voice, it could have been you I was talking about on my latest post on Joy Frequencies. :-)

    I add my love and good wishes to your prayers.

    This post has become number 15 on my list... http://thestreamingnow.blogspot.com/p/exploring-beauty-101-things-challenge.html

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  35. I have to agree with a lot of the others here that this piece and the background to it are inspiring to say the least. Thank you for sharing both!

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  36. I'm so glad for you that you had the energy to share these amazing words with us all. As always I'm in awe of your courage and optimism and loving spirit. As always, sending love, light and prayers your way.

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  37. If there was nothing else in this post but your gift of song, it would be a gift from an angel.
    You have been blessed with an ethereal voice, a true talent for song, and I cannot find words to describe it.
    Be well my friend.....♥

    XXOO~~
    Anne

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  38. You have a lovely voice! The words are beautiful too. Thank you for sharing both.

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  39. Wow, beautiful gorgeous singing. Thank you for sharing it with us this week.

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  40. oh laura.

    you remind me where my focus needs to be... on he, who is holding the world in his hands. there is such peace in you. thank you for sharing your life with us. xo

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  41. Peace. That is the word that came to mind as I reflected on what you have written here. May peace always be yours ~

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  42. I love the frame in the pictures of that mountain. A very interesting words. I wish you a happy weekend.

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  43. A beautiful voice, a beautiful message, Laura. I wish I had your brilliance to return the love and give you strength and courage to deal with the physical, emotional and spiritual challenges coming your way. Your path is not an easy one, yet I see you are giving it your best... and your best is awesome.

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  44. Love you from all the way over here:)

    Healing hugs,
    Deb

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