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.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Vulnerabilty: An Attractive Quality

Here are more photos from a recent drive with my friend Barbara, the same location featured in yesterday's post. After visiting with another friend, we stopped at a little cafe for a bite to eat. B lives in Boston now so it is a wonderful treat when she comes back to NH for a visit. I so miss hanging out on the fly like we used to. Life changes, we all know that. On the way out the door of the restaurant, I noticed some nature photos on the wall that were clearly local. I wondered aloud if they were for sale. The underlying question being would they be interested in selling any of my photos there. Barbara asked the waitress...the waitress asked the owner of the place...Barbara stepped out to take a call on her cell phone...this man proceeded to tell me a story of miracles surrounding his purchase of the restaurant, about his mother who had blessed the place before she passed away, his home in Estonia, the grapes he brought over and planted here, how he believes that things are meant to be-connected-sacred, a special linden tree on the property, something about planting roses and how he loves the apple orchards that surround his new home, how the artist who took the photos was dying of cancer, and many, many details that at that point in the day I was so tired, I have to admit I cannot remember. Eventually, (20 minutes later) he mentioned that maybe someday he would be interested in selling some of my photos. Not now. And he wished us a Merry Christmas. We returned the greeting without mentioning that we don't celebrate Christmas, we're Jewish--it was offered from a place of love for humanity in both directions.  (This is something that used to drive my kids crazy when they were little. They had to tell everyone! "We don't celebrate Christmas, except when we go to Grandma's, our Daddy's mother...we're Jewish, we celebrate Chanukah" followed by "Mom why does everyone tell us 'Merry Christmas'?" I grew up in times and a place where you just returned the greeting with a wasn't worth the prostelyzation that might follow from a stranger concerned about my soul if I bothered to explain. I'm glad people are generally more hip to diversity now-a-days for the sake of my kids...for the sake of ALL kids! Not everyone celebrates Christmas. If you do, I wish you a very happy one though.)

Anyway, this kind of thing happens to me fairly often when I go out in public, which is pretty rare these days; I tire so easily. People talk to me about miracles, about God...strangers in restaurants, waiting rooms at doctor’s offices, taxi drivers, people of all different religions. They don't know anything about me, except that I need to use a wheelchair sometimes, or that I have a bit of a limp when I'm not in the chair, I shake a little and look like I could topple, that my voice is unusual, sometimes dysarthric, sometimes accented. They don't know that I felt called to offer spiritual direction and that my teachers blessed me and said, "yes, you are ready"...yet somehow these individuals must sense something, because I sit and listen as they pour out their hearts to me. Maybe they talk this way to everyone? I'm not so special really, but I do find it fascinating that since I was diagnosed with MS, this happens with greater frequency than at any other time in my life. (And this has happened for years intermittently!) Maybe there is something about being visibly broken that draws out this longing to open up and talk about loneliness, miracles, holiness. Maybe my illness makes it safe? I'm clearly vulnerable now, it is pretty obvious as soon as I start to move. Perhaps this is a signal that it is ok to soften, and allow their pain wrapped in sacred mystery to flow? When we were younger, my husband used to tease me, calling me a "weirdo magnet" because I have often seemed to attract people with all kinds of troubles...and I have a hard time ending a conversation (the one sided kind in which a stranger corners me and talks for 20 minutes about their troubles or their deeply held spiritual views) I just sit there and listen. I always have. Anyway, these photos were taken after listening to this man from Estonia's very personal story of pain, faith, survival and miracles.

It is an honor to simply be a listening presence...exhausting sometimes, but an honor. Afterwards I always feel blessed. Something precious has happened that there are no words for. Finding this beautiful marsh to photograph in the waning light on our drive back to my house allowed for inner silence as cars rushed past. I am grateful to my dear friend Barbara, for her patience as I balanced against the side rail on the road to capture what I was feeling in these photos. Blessed by friends, blessed by strangers. Blessed.

I had an MRI this morning. It has been six months since I started on Gilenya. Time to get some images and see what my CNS is up to. Hopefully if there are any visible changes, they will be of shrinking inactive scars, and not new ones. I pray the blessings continue. I trust that they will, one way or another.
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Close your eyes. Exhale. Inhale. Open your eyes. What are you grateful for in THIS moment? Open the link to my email and type in your message of gratitude. I will add it to this year's Gratitude Word Quilt. Come back and visit my blog on December 31, 2011 to experience the fullness of gratitude so many people are feeling. I currently have 106 quilt squares gathered from thankful people around the world, and would love to hear from YOU too!


  1. This was such a beautiful, touching read. It hit home with me, because I am a 'weirdo magnet' as well...and so is my Sweetheart at times. What a pair we make :o)

  2. Beautiful photos!!! Kids do grow up with a lot of questions:)
    Hope the MRI is good!

  3. I so loved this story, Laura. Like you, I LOVE the stories people carry inside them.....always amazing. I know, too, how tired one gets. I have chronic fatigue and a host of other syndromes and talking is taxing. Bless you for giving the gift of listening to that man, who likely felt wonderful the rest of the day! The photos or beautiful and deeply peaceful.

  4. Dear Laura,
    Your photos are as lovely as your words, and it's always a great pleasure to visit your blog!
    I've already sent you my message of gratitude (signed Joanna), but would like to add one more thing - I'm grateful for possibility to visit you site.

  5. Delightful B & W, gorgeous images with superb gray. Greetings

  6. Beautiful scenery and you captured it so well. Very peaceful.

  7. You've captured a peaceful, serene atmosphere. You're a very special lady.

  8. Your reflections in black and white are absolutely beautiful. What wonderful captures. I think of you often and hope you are ok. Have a happy holiday and a blessed Christmas. genie

  9. stunning shots! have a happy Christmas!

  10. especially soft and pretty images laura.

    i hope you are well!! xo

  11. You are vulnerable yet strong. I have moments of this and it is indeed a magnet for those looking for a how to balance the seeming contrasts and miracles of life. Carry on as a blessing, taking time to rest and photograph. Prayers and hug in this season that celebrates light in the midst of darkness. xo teri

  12. LauraX,

    I am thinking of you this evening and sending you healing thoughts and prayers.

  13. What a great gift you have--to be a good listener is a priceless quality. Your B&W photos are lovely. Mickie :)

  14. Very serene and peaceful view, Laura.
    Hope the MRI result is good. I always think that you're a strong woman :)

  15. Dear Laura, not sure you celebrate Christmas, but though I would stop by and wish you lovely Holidays and thank you for your kindness and attention in the past year,

  16. Thank you for the Christmas wish and a Happy Chanukah to you and your family!

    I'm not an outwardly philosophical person, but I believe that vulnerability in one area brings strength to another.

    I wish you well and to a stronger 2012.

  17. Beautiful photographs Laura. And a great gift that you have.

  18. Happy Hanukkah, Laura!

    This isn't an email, I know, but I am grateful for friends and family: those who accept us despite our quirks and foibles, and love us anyway.

    The word verification is "abides." 1Co 13:13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (ESV)

  19. Beautiful captures Laura!
    A Blessed Holidays.
    Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukkah.

    Warm regards.
    ★ Regina ★

  20. Beautiful photos! You are wonderful. Happy Chanukkah.

  21. Hi Laura,
    Thanks for commenting on my entry and I hope you are well.
    What a beautiful river taken in beautiful monochrome image!
    Happy Chanukkah.


  22. Laura, have you ever thought of an Etsy store on your blog? You could sell prints, originals, even note cards. I'll place he first order. Seriously. I am always looking for original art for gifting.

  23. Lovely images Laura -- the photos and the words.

  24. Thank you for sharing such beauty and wisdom, Laura. I do believe that is "an honor to simply be a listening presence" and that others sense this "listening presence" no matter in what form or from whom it is gifted. All of us treasure being truly heard, don't we? Blessings to you and yours!


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