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.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How To Wake Up





As the light pours in
gently open your heart, THIS
is how to wake up.

Soft kind attention,
listening to each bird and word,
patiently discern

seeds and songs, then sow
the ones that may blossom joy
in sorrow’s presence.




Each leaf a small sun
reaching towards heaven’s blue door
falls with grace,
content.




Today, enveloped by a dense gray sky, leaves falling like enormous snowflakes; I sense the weight of winter approaching. I’m still dealing with very real functional deficits and my body feels as though the heaviness of the clouds is pinning me to the bed. I am so tired, and oh so tired of being tired. I looked through my calendar, realized that this recent MS flare only started three weeks ago. Sometimes an exacerbation or pseudo exacerbation can last for weeks or more often, in my experience, several months. I had been in such a long remission before this hit that I temporarily forgot that this is so. Sometimes when the desire for "other than this" is strong, we are briefly blinded to what we already know. I started berating myself (in my mind) for not being better already, as if I could will my body well. It doesn’t work like that. Seeing the dates on the calendar helped me recalibrate my heart and mind. My neurons need time to heal, and my precious body deserves the same kindness and compassion I would offer to anyone else who is ill and needs a lot of bed rest and care.

My friend, Toni Bernhard, author of How To Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers, just released her second book, How to Wake Up:A Buddhist-Inspired Guide To Navigating Joy And Sorrow. Toni, who has lived with chronic illness for more than twelve years, understands well what it means to cultivate patience, as a patient. In this new book, intended for a wide audience including and beyond those of us living with on going health issues, she takes us on a compassionate journey into the fullness of what it means to be human. Offering wisdom from the Buddha and her own lived experience, Toni invites us to be more present, accepting, loving and kind. She reminds us that while we don't always have a choice about the circumstances we arrive in, (in fact that is OFTEN the case), we do have free will in how to be with what is, waking up again and again no matter how many times we fall asleep to the wonder, the gifts, the blessings available moment by moment.

Toni generously sent me the link below to a recent dialogue she had with Sylvia Boorstein to share with you. The interaction between these two women is particularly dear to me because Sylvia introduced us three years ago via email, and Toni and I became fast friends and have been e-pen-pals ever since.




So yes I’m tired and would like to have more energy, BUT right now I just don’t. Yes it is a gray October day, not sunny and pretty like the morning I took the photos at the top of the page AND there are birds singing lovely tunes as they migrate through our back yard and woods. Like the flocks passing through and the leaves falling like snow, everything is changing. Perhaps not on the schedule I/we would prefer, but changing nonetheless. You and I will notice pleasant and unpleasant experiences. That’s just true. While we cannot choose what happens to us, we may recalibrate our hearts to attend to and hear the music of birds, see the colorful leaves punctuating the pale canvas of sky as they make their descent, appreciate the gifts of rest when something takes us out of our planned routine, inviting us to slow down and wake up to what simply is, in this moment; to observe what shifts over time, because it will, everything changes.

I am grateful to everyone for your many kind comments and emails in regard to my health. I know some people are uncomfortable with vulnerability, their own and witnessing it in others. I firmly believe that it is in acknowledging our brokenness that we learn how much we share in common. From this, compassion wakes up and the web of connection supports us all. 

Ps. This is my 700th post!



linking to:



Don't forget to share the love up close with I Heart Macro, the linky opens @ 8pm EST Saturday evening.

Shine the Divine

66 comments:

  1. Interesting Post !!!

    Best regards

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  2. Congratulations on your 700. It is testimony to your endurance. Sometimes, when things aren't going the way we want, time seems to stretch and we feel it so much longer. I am so grateful that you still take the time to write such inspirational thoughts and post such beautiful pictures. When my knees don't work the way I want them to i think of you, your words and your modeling. Thank you Laura. May healing be happening now.

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  3. Something's wrong. I wrote a long, drawn out, supportive comment and it didn't post. So sorry Laura. I must have pressed the wrong thing.
    I won't repeat all my thoughts, but please know that I think of you often, and send you prayers for your healing. And me, I have to wake up a bunch of times each day.

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  4. Wonderful haiku... love them -- especially the autumn one.

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  5. first - congrats on 700 posts..this is awesome... and recalibrating our hearts...think that's something we all have to do on a regular base as things tend to go out of balance...and yes...be patient with your body... take the rest and time you need... you have such an eye for beauty...the visible and invisible..

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  6. sew the ones that will blossom joy...and we will reap what we sew...so what better than joy....smiles...i like...and love the pics!

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  7. gorgeous amazing - how come all I can ever do is pile a bunch of adjectives together to express how much I love you and your work? You are a gift to this universe. So grateful I know you.

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  8. How come all I can do is just write adjectives to all my comments to your posts? Beautiful, life-giving, gorgeous, amazing, moving, heart-filled, loving. from my heart to yours. so grateful to know you. you are a gift to the universe my dear sweet friend

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  9. Congratulations on your 700th post! Beautiful haiku. Hope you soon begin to feel better.

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  10. There is a serenity encompassing your words. Those are some beautiful photographs.
    And I do wish that you feel better soon. Take care! :-)
    -HA

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  11. So sorry to hear about the MS = hard to keep the faith in pain. Keep up attention to the moment and thanks for spreading these beautiful images. This is Karin of Manicddaily. k .

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  12. Thank you so much Laura for sharing my conversation with Sylvia here. Yes, it was she who introduced us three years ago. I remember the moment that she wrote your name on a slip of paper and, handing it to me, said, "She has a wonderful blog named Shine the Divine." I Googled it immediately!

    I love how you wrote about equanimity (without always using the word), expressing it in the same way that Sylvia does: holding both our joys and our sorrows in an ease-filled balance. I tell a story in "How to Wake Up" about a moment when I learned to do that (a short tale, but one to long to relate here). I mention it because, in my experience, so often, I hear a wise teaching but it doesn't enter my heart until I have an experience in my own life that brings the teaching alive.

    You have so much love and support here. We'll support you through this tough time. I know you can feel us lifting you in the same way that you continually give so selflessly to us and lift our sprits.

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  13. Congrats on the milestone ~ Beautiful message & pictures ~ A beautiful day to wake up ~

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  14. Like others I have met with chronic illness, you are a true inspiration. Thank you for the info on this book, and congratulations on your 700th post. Your photos and words are outstanding :)

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  15. Beautiful photos, wonderful haiku verses.Sending you healing thoughts - I've been told it takes calmness, peace and care to come through these episodes. I have a friend who has coped for 22 years with it and she is stronger today than when it began..lived to raise her daughter and welcome her granddaughter. Sending angels to hold you up!

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  16. Laura, I think you are brave and strong and share much beauty here, the beauty of your photos , the beauty of your words and the beauty of your heart.
    Thank you.

    I am keeping you, as always in my good thoughts and prayers.

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  17. Splendidi scatti e messaggio d'amore!
    Buona giornata e un abbraccio da Beatris

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  18. Hallo Laura,

    erst mal vielen Dank für Deine Worte auf meinem Blog, ich habe mich sehr gefreut.
    Auch herzlichen Glückwunsch zum 700. Beitrag.
    Ich wünsche Dir viel Kraft.

    Viele liebe Grüße von Nadelmasche

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  19. Thank you so much for the inspiration that you are sharing, and also for the lead to the books. I will be checking in there as well.
    Wonderful insight and beauty here.

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  20. that petal is a perfect share with clytie. :) thanks for the dewy sparkles, too.

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  21. I'm seeing hearts everywhere and thinking of you...
    thank you!

    Happy Thursday,
    Ruby

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  22. 700 posts ! Wow ! What a document you have created !Congratulations !

    Practicing self-compassion seems so hard sometimes, and yet it where all compassion must begin, isn't it ? Wishing you gentle joys, tender loving and healing light.

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  23. Yes, some nice pictures! I like these beautiful flowers of beautiful colors! I love the quality of details!

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  24. Wonderful photos and post,Laura!

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  25. The books sound wonderful and all your photos are gorgeous!

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  26. Grateful for your beautiful words and pictures. Will come back when I can to follow the links. Do keep taking care of your precious body and life!

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  27. Laura, I'm so sorry to hear that you are not doing as well as we all would like. I love your indomitable attitude and spirit--we could all learn so much from you. Despite our illnesses and troubles, the world is still a beautiful place. Hugs. Mickie :)

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  28. Sending lots of distant healing reiki energy to help with the healing ~ Beautiful photography and especially love the heart ~ carol xx

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  29. Extra pretty pictures this week. I am going to order the books tonight. Maybe they will help me be more positive. I am spending much of my time in bed, too. I really looked forward to begin my reading, genie

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  30. Laura....I just ordered both books for my Kindle. Maybe tomorrow will be a brighter day. Thanks for sharing the titles with us. genie

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  31. I love that clear blue sky! Congrats on your 700th post - wow!

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  32. Greatful Post and a fantastic Sky
    Cheers by Heidrun from Bavaria

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  33. This is a beautiful post. I love all of what you have to say. I pray you will treat yourself with the love, patience and kindness you deserve. I find so many are on the path to learning to allow themselves to be treated well by others and also by themselves. It is so hard sometimes. Your poignant words and beautiful images serve to really illustrate what is on your heart. I pray you will be in remission sooner than you know though if not, be kind to yourself. Hugs. xx

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  34. I'm hoping your tiredness passes quickly! Your photos are so beautiful, otherworldly!

    And congrats on your 700th post!

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  35. Inspiring words and lovely shots, Laura.
    Hope you'll feel better each day.
    700th post is a great achievement!

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  36. Interesting post with beautiful photos!!

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  37. We all continue to wish you well - thanks as always for sharing your lovely photos! 700 posts - wowee!
    :)

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  38. ein schöner Himmel im sonnigen Oktober

    einen LG vom katerchen der viel Kraft wünscht..

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  39. Happy 700th! Thats a lot of posts.

    My final "central australia" post will be up soon - the last in a trilogy!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  40. Wonderful pictures and wonderful words. All my best wishes to you from Germany!
    Christiane

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  41. Beautiful captures! Love the way you composed them.

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  42. Hello, Laura.

      It is my joy to share your wonderful work.
      And sweet message charms my heart.

      I pray for your happiness and world peace.
      Thank you World-wide LOVE, and your Support.

    Have a good weekend. From Japan, ruma ❃

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  43. each leaf a small sun, is amazing. Thank you for the seeds you have sown.

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  44. First of all congratulations with your 700th post!
    I love the combination of the flowers and the autumn leaves.
    Having MS myself, I recognize your lack of energy and your ever lasting being tired of being tired ... I have the same feeling since two weeks. In recent years I have learned there's only one option: wait for better times to come. I hope for you and me they'll come soon. Have a nice weekend!

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  45. Good morning sweet Laura. How I love waking up here... your words and images and haiku wash over me, a prayer, a blessing, an awakening to life, all around me. Sending you love and prayers for gentle energy to soothe your body and soul. Much love to you sweet crafter of beauty... XO

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  46. Beautiful post. And congratulations on your 700th post. That is amazing.

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  47. This touched me ... such a beautiful and poignant post, Laura ... gentle reminders to our spirit, heart, mind and body! Thank you for sharing.

    Congratulations on your milestone of posts as well.

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  48. Beautiful images . especially the White flower with the misty drops - just lovely!

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  49. What a beautiful post! I do wish you well! Your images are always a treat to see. Have a happy weekend!

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  50. Laura, on a rainy day when I was unable to get out and find peace with Mother Nature I so enjoyed your beautiful photos, hope to call by more often now I am getting back to blogging.

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  51. Um lindo post
    lindas palavras que chegam ao coração!
    Zizi

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  52. Interestingly emotional post with a touch of inspiration. The pictures are wonderful! Wishing you good health and happiness.

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  53. Congratulations on your 700th post! Keep up the positive work!

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  54. Beautiful photos! Strength and patience to you while your body heals.

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  55. Such beautiful images Laura, and the last one is just so inspiring. I also agree with everything you say, it is pain in any of its formats which can open up our hearts to great levels of understanding and compassion. Bless you.

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  56. love the rose petal :) happy 700th post. and much love to you dear lady. I always leave this space feeling like I've been touched somewhere deep inside by grace. thank you for sharing your kindness and insight. sue (greenwhisper)

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