Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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The long trail of The Munich Girl

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Photo provided by Ed Fusco

I’ve twice donned a pair of white cotton gloves and pored over Eva Braun’s nearly three dozen photograph albums at the National Archives.

Each visit had its own rhythm and pace. The first, in the spring of 2010, was a kind of mad-rush count-down to get through them all before the Archives’ five o’clock closing time. This involved leaving at least 15-20 extra minutes on each end for passing through security, checking in or out, and depositing or retrieving my belongings from a locker.

I couldn’t take so much as my own pencil into the resource room where her albums are housed in several piles of volumes hard-bound in dark blue. Overwhelmed as I encountered them for the first time, I was attempting to encompass 33 years of one life in the equivalent of two afternoons.

EB pix Germany and more 191Years of reading and research later, including interviews with some of those who met the subject of my search, my approach on the second visit was more like forensics. I was watching, amidst those several dozen books of her photos, most arranged quite haphazardly with little attention to chronological order, for patterns and connections that form a larger picture.

There are many photos whose settings and significance I could spot more readily, based on who was present, clues in the background of interiors and landscapes, even the clothes people were wearing.

But it was that most-elusive quarry that I was watching for — the evidence of the emotional side of things.

I couldn’t help but zero in on the externals on my first visit, when I felt time rushing past me so quickly as each album opened on an unknown world. EB pix Germany and more 197

By the time I made the second visit, the years that I’ve spent following the trail of this life, as my novel’s protagonist does, have led somewhere deeper. In much the way I can with photos of those whom I know, I can tell when a day was a joy, or a strain; when a smile was a spontaneous response, or a tight, forced mask.

“May I always stay this way” one typewritten caption proclaims of her 18- or 19-year-old self, who had already met her famous lover, 23 years her senior. She is sitting outside over coffee with friends on what was likely a lovely day in Munich.

Her expression seems guileless, innocent. Those who remember her from this time call her vivacious and effervescent.

In time, a kind of golden-cage captivity muted that, some have observed – and she, herself, kept the tightest lock on that cage, denying her own freedom and possibilities. EB pix Germany and more 382

Seven years onto this trail, I troll these hundreds of images again where many are now stored on my computer, watching for the signs of where the shifts came.

Watching for those large and little junctures at which a life was repeatedly bartered away in the shadow of another, to the detriment of its self.

Phyllis Edgerly Ring’s forthcoming The Munich Girl, A Novel of the Legacies That Outlast War, follows a similar trail when its protagonist discovers that her mother had a secret friendship with Hitler’s mistress, Eva Braun.

Find more from the book’s research trail at:

https://www.pinterest.com/phyllisedgerlyr/along-the-research-trail-of-an-ordinary-girl/

Join the mailing list for information about release date and related activities by sending a message with “EB” in the subject line to: info@phyllisring.com.


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Every plant has its fragrance

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

 

Regard thou faith as a tree. 

Its fruits, leaves, boughs and branches are, and have ever been,

trustworthiness, truthfulness, uprightness and forbearance.

~ Baha’u’lláh

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Photo: David Campbell / http://www.gbctours.com/

 

What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves?

This is the most important of all voyages of discovery.

~ Thomas Merton

 

Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

The herb is not without its fruit, although it seemeth so, for in this garden of God every plant exerteth its own influence and hath its own properties, and every plant can even match the laughing, hundred-petalled rose in rejoicing the sense with fragrance.

Be thou assured of this.

Although the pages of a book know nothing of the words and the meanings traced upon them, even so, because of their connection with these words, friends pass them reverently from hand to hand.

This connection, furthermore, is purest bounty.

 ~ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá


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The rugged road to blessings

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

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Photo: Lara Kearns

We are all of us searching for love, for the intimacy, closeness, tenderness we may remember from when we were in our mother’s arms or may have glimpsed in a lover’s embrace. Or we may know it just as a sense of something we always wanted, something missing from our life.

This love is at the core of our being, and yet we search for it everywhere, so often causing our self pain in the process, losing our way, becoming entangled in our desires and all our images of love.

Then, one day, something makes us turn away from the outer world to seek this truth within us.

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Photo: Lara Kearns

~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter.

It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow.

Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.

~ Rumi

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Photo: Lara Kearns

The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time.

… To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle. Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace.

Wilderness lives by this same grace. Wild mercy is in our hands.

 ~ Terry Tempest Williams


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The glorious leap awaiting us

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Image: EnochsVision.com

Humanity is on the verge of a spiritual evolutionary leap into a future where lasting global peace is not only possible but inevitable.

The human family is moving toward this stage of spiritual maturity through a dawning recognition of the oneness and interrelatedness in which it has been created, together with all of creation, and through the release of the gems of spiritual potential that await expression in every human heart.

As human beings, we’re held back in this process to the degree that we lack understanding about our true identity and purpose.

11800190_10155878221225385_4242285263363148219_nAll around us, we can see the ways in which this lack of understanding has reached a state of desperation that is reflected in disastrous consequences at every level of human relationship.

As souls gain awareness and understanding of our truest identity and purpose, humanity will come to understand that the forces at work in human life are impelling us away from a centuries-old preoccupation with survival and “fighting evil” towards our highest destiny: a creative, collaborative and potentially limitless building of the good, in which every individual has a part to play and every culture its unique contributions to make. WTOEimage.php

Explore these and related themes in With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality?

Learn more at:

http://www.amazon.com/With-Thine-Own-Eyes-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=pd_sim_kstore_11?ie=UTF8&refRID=0TQC490J7FVBRTJWM70H

Print version at: http://www.bahairesources.com/with-thine-own-eyes.html


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Beneath and between the facts

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Photo: Suzanne Birdsall-Stone

As I’ve been pondering the power and effectiveness of wholeness in healing, and in living, I find these words of writer Ian Lawton’s instructive:

“Your body’s wisdom is instinct. Your heart’s wisdom is emotion. Your mind’s wisdom is knowledge. Your higher self’s wisdom is intuition. Intuition works with, beneath and between the facts.”

I’ve appreciated his Soulseeds blog for some time now. He describes there how the multiple kinds of knowing with which we’re endowed work most effectively when they are used together.

He notes: “Being informed is necessary. Being intelligent is helpful. Being wise is essential. Wisdom is a deft combination of multiple intelligences.

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Photo: Suzanne Birdsall-Stone

“IQ is head smart. Emotional intelligence (EQ) understands the feelings behind facts. This is heart smart. Spiritual intelligence (SQ) is the mind’s meaning maker. It connects IQ and EQ by discerning what is significant and why. This is where moral intelligence comes from, as well as a sense of purpose. Another name for SQ is wisdom. Wisdom is street smart. It has its own way of knowing that combines all your years of experience and marshals the best team of feelings, skills and knowledge for each occasion.”

I encourage reading the rest of this post, and exploring the resource of Ian’s thoughtful blog at: http://www.soulseeds.com/grapevine/2012/06/from-knowledge-to-wisdom/

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Photo: Suzanne Birdsall-Stone

My reflections on these topics that Ian points to are also complemented by thoughts from a favorite catalyst of deep discourse, writer Christine DeLorey:

“… people have been talking about a great ‘awakening’ for a very long time now, but few envisaged the gut-level emotional route it would take to evolve as a species. We have often equated spirituality with the mind and consciousness – our electrical masculine energy – but maligned and ignored our magnetic feminine energy, without which we cannot be whole. The strategy of ‘divide and conquer’ starts right there!

“And as we seek balance and peace, the ‘wholeness’ dynamic is changing now, and we see how this inner battle between our masculine and feminine is reflected in all of our outer wars and atrocities.

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Photo: Suzanne Birdsall-Stone

“The war on women begins with the suppression of emotion, the feminine energy within all of us. Self-expression is our greatest power, but it depends on our ability to FEEL as well as think. Everything in life moves and grows through its ability to communicate – to take reality in – and respond outwardly to it.”

Although it is in subtle ways (and what else could it be?) my forthcoming book, The Munich Girl: A novel of the legacies that outlast war, is steeped directly in these realities.

Find more from Christine Delorey here: https://creativenumerology.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/eight-eight-eight-week-32/

 

 

 

 


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The pathway to the sacred gift

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Photo: Suzanne Birdsall-Stone

I’m reminded daily that faithfulness to any kind of creating process involves being present to discover what is ready to be revealed, rather than trying to impose anything.

Like all creative endeavor, writing is an invitation to authenticity — a powerful and liberating experience of investigation and discovery, as life itself is meant to be.

Creative process’s greatest gift may be the way that it leads quite naturally to the harmonizing of heart and mind as collaborators in a journey of learning and expression, in service to truth. In fact, it requires this harmonizing and partnership, this dynamic balance.

3454_10151125875427031_932845487_nAnd isn’t our world in great need of that dynamic balance — coherence — too?

I find that while my focus and intent must train in like a camera in order to make any progress with writing work, they must also merge in a kind of surrender that my mind can’t ever fully grasp or encompass, but my spirit can recognize, and respond to.

Indeed, my mind must become a servant to that surrender, and whatever it is that spirit can draw from and impart to it.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant,” Albert Einstein said, adding, “We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

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Photo: Lara Kearns

I am writing out of my own search. Authenticity comes from keeping the commitment, while not knowing, something I consider sacred practice.

I keep watch, and bide, in all the faithful presence I can muster, for what that “sacred gift” will bestow.

Coming soon: The Munich Girl: A novel of the legacies that outlast war.

To receive info. about release date and related events, please email:

info@phyllisring.com


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From the smallest seeds

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

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PHOTO: Lara Kearns

Love is a light that never dwelleth in a heart possessed by fear.

~ Bahá’u’lláh

See the LIGHT in others, and treat them as if that is ALL you SEE.

~ Wayne Dyer

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PHOTO: Nelson Ashberger

You may consider yourself an individual, but as a cell biologist, I can tell you that you are in truth a cooperative community of approximately fifty trillion single-celled citizens.

~ Bruce Lipton

Look ye not upon the present, fix your gaze upon the times to come.

In the beginning, how small is the seed, yet in the end it is a mighty tree.

Look ye not upon the seed, look ye upon the tree, and its blossoms and its leaves and its fruits.

~ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

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