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, April 5, 2012

Free To Choose Gratitude

everything changes

embracing this is freedom
gratitude follows


All of it shimmering in the sun, as the light of awareness dawns: utterly inseparable. We all know this, of course, but it is during spring, this time of birth, that death feels most near to me. The co-mingling of withered cinereal stalks through which ruby branches rise, verdant leaves tenderly unfolding; and so I remember this eternal, exquisitely raw truth: birth and death are entwined, one brushstroke on God’s canvas.

I scan the yard looking for evidence of birth and death, sit on the damp grass, recording what I discover in photographs. The neighbors must think me mad, the way I just plop down on the ground, graceless to the untrained eye (yet filled with it on the inside), my face so close to the earth, the ungainly way I get back up to walk again. Who knows, maybe they think I'm drunk, and so early in the day! This crosses my mind, but I'm an artist, morning light is magical. It crosses my mind, yes, but does not stay. I have to sit, I'm tired and how else can I get close to the tiny treasures scattered everywhere? 

My legs begin to tremble, I've walked further from the house than I should, a short distance into the woods. I sit on a boulder; imagine  *Yitzchak, the Baal Shem Tov and Rebbe Nachman doing the same. I listen to the sounds of the forRest. I am quiet like the granite beneath my frail body. A single tear rolls down my cheek, a silent salty prayer. Gratitude for the beauty of impermanence, for the ability to see, to hear, to walk outside again, slowly, though there is an underlying urgency in each step.  I do not want to miss a second of this glory; each meeting of sole kissing earth is a gift; or more accurately a generous loan. I recognize this too, for within the very next breath, mine, yours, the gentle breeze of early morning, as I continue to search the ground, the sky, the trees, bundled in winter clothes (because it is still cold), perpetual transformation is impossible to ignore, in my heart, impossible not to embrace. 

Pesach, Passover, Z’man Chiruteinu, the season of our freedom, is rapidly approaching, and with it my ability to walk a little while with my camera outdoors, before retiring back to bed.

Freedom is understood in myriad ways, unique to every individual. For me this year, it is blossoming from an appreciation of change. While it was (and often is) disappointing to experience ongoing weeks surrounded by walls, windows and closed doors, opening those doors to step through, fills me with immense joy. On two chilly mornings last week during my period of silence, I was able to meander about the yard mindfully, each footfall a meditation, each observation of light, shadow, decay and renewal a blessing. Every moment of seated silence compassion for this precious vessel that cradles my soul.

Everything changes. I am gradually emerging from this exacerbation in alignment with fresh fuchsia buds on weather worn branches. I am not free from MS, I am still experiencing residual side effects from this last flare, yet I am free to enjoy these precious moments of movement, while I have the energy, strength, balance and neural connectivity to love this life. Free also to love my life on days when I cannot move smoothly or speak clearly. Free to choose gratitude. Free.

We'll be traveling to Pennsylvania to be with family this afternoon. To all of my Jewish friends and family I wish you a...

Pesach Sameach
Happy Passover

....and to all beings everywhere, may we each embrace our freedom, however we experience it, with joy and gratitude.
Happy Easter to my Christian Friends


PS. The April issue of Buddha Chick Life is up; a beautiful selection of articles this month devoted to the ONENESS of all beings. So fitting, I think, as Passover approaches.

Skywatch Friday

haiku my heart at recuerda mi corazon
*Yitzchak (Isaac, son of Abraham) went out to meditate in the field…
(Genesis 24: 63)

Both the Baal Shem Tov and Rebbe Nachman practiced hitbodedut; going out into the forest, field or a room of one's own in solitude to meditate and pour out one's heart to the Holy ONE of Blessing.
meditate in the field towards the evening


  1. Beautiful macros! Lovin that heart!

  2. Wow, beautiful pic´s!
    Happy Easter.

  3. What glorious pictures this week. They are all beautiful. Awesome macro shots and some wonderful bokeh. You are so talented. Happy Passover. genie

  4. Wonderful photos! Have a nice and happy Easter!:)

  5. Such heartfelt and true words you write.
    Thank you for sharing and reminding all your readers
    of just how much each of us is blessed by the smallest of things.
    (Love the 11th photo, the colorful bud; it's perfect.)

  6. also...
    wonderful, wonderful video.

  7. Laura, this is so pure. We can't change the things that befall us, but we can choose to expand through joy and gratitude. May you go safely to your family, may you come come safe and blessed.

  8. What you wrote is so powerful it brought me to tears. Again you have touched the very depth of my soul. I will have to read your words again and again, and hope I will be able to absorb some of your gentle wisdom, patience and love. But first I have to find a tissue.

    P.S. The heart becomes even more precious when I see it through your eyes - birth and death together ...

    Love and Peace, dear Laura.

  9. So very gorgeous - the photos and the thoughts. Once we appreciate what we have, the world really does become a better place.

  10. Oh Laura... You are truly a gift and a blessing. Reading your reflections and insights always bring my conscious awareness into my heart, and present to the moment -- and yes, heightened awareness of my gratitude for you, generously sharing your radiant, ever-giving spirit. Thank you for awakening so much love and gratitude and presence in me... whicch is stirred awake even more, by yours.

    I love you deeply...and for ever, my friend. ~Cheryl

  11. Laura, blessings on your travels and joy and peace to you and your family as you celebrate with love and deep rooted rituals of soul and spirit.

    A beautiful reminder how we can take each moment that we choose and make it a gift unto us no matter what our circumstance, especially with a Chronic illness. What an open wise heart you have. I am grateful for you!

  12. You can find me prostrate to the earth too, the magic can't be missed for it is like a shadow passing too quickly. Your words and pics are inspirational!

    Enjoy you holiday. xx

  13. What a gorgeous post Laura, full of heart and life and breath. During these days as we celebrate freedom and liberation from whatever bonds we have experienced, I wish you too a Pesach Sameach.

  14. Free to choose gratitude - such a lovely way to say it! And so true. Wonderful photos too :-)

  15. great photography . . . it is definite spring!

  16. When there is apparently so little choice there is always the choice of gratitude - for what is -rather than truly crippling grief for what is not...the woman who realizes this and can feel a tear wet her face is both enobled. and profoundly wise. When the connection between birth and death is also seen as the connection between death and birth ...comfort and joy blossom. ( then again what do I know? Only what I feel) Happy Passover Laurie....

  17. BEAUTIFUL thoughts and feelings expressed, Laura... Taking one step at a time on this Earth is like a little prayer of gratitude in itself, isn't it? Wishing you & yours a lovely holiday weekend :o) ((HUGS))

  18. Thank You. Thank You for sharing this with me. (I say me, I know it should be "Us", but there is no one around me as I read and understand.) I relate, as I know how it is to not be able to do with my own body. I am aware of death being a part of life and it sounds as if you are as well. This is a fabulous sharing. I am humbles and honored to pass this way. Your photographs and words are most fantastic and a gift to us all.
    Mitakwe Oyasin

    Much Peace in your heart and all you hold dear.

  19. I do like the first shot best. - Margy

  20. some lovely macro shots...I especially like the first one!

  21. Love them all, so much color and amazing close-ups!

  22. Great series with wonderful textures! I really like the first shot!

  23. so beautifully captured, your tiny treasures!

  24. Laura, I love your beautiful images and your amazing story.

    I have chosen your blog for the Liebster Blog Ward

  25. spectacular capture of the cycle of natural life with beautiful soothing words to go along with the visual. wishing you a lovely weekend. take care.

  26. I'm in the middle of a significant life change right now, so your words resonate with me. Thank you.

    Will She Forgive Us?

  27. beautiful photos, Laura. and the forRest - I love that! Now I know why I love the woods more than anything else in this world.


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