Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details

The divine art of living



Photo courtesy Thomas Tufts


Sixty years ago today, during a brief 24-hour lull between two hurricanes, my mother-in-law delivered her first child at the hospital of the Kittery Naval (not to be confused with navel) Shipyard in Maine. (I’d make my own appearance in the world at another Navy hospital in Queens, NY, 15 months later.

The photo to the right, taken on the roof of my husband’s childhood home (one of them, anyway) embodies his spirit, for me. Second from the right, he’s facing the photographer almost completely, in a stance that suggests balance, and ease. I seldom write about him — go out of my way to avoid it, more likely, as a means of respecting both sanctity and privacy.

photo-1But on this day that marks six decades of life for him, I’ll go out on a limb (or a peak) and suggest that while he may not always feel balance and ease within himself, (and who of us does?) I can say with certainty that it is his heart’s desire for everyone else.

On one of many journal-writing days, he captured (photo left) some of the feel of that as he contemplated words of writer Anne Lamott’s about being part of the tapestry of life and of relationships and the pathway by which souls learn and grow and evolve.

It reminded me of this: “Heirloom is a compound word, with its roots in heredity + looming. Weaving, writing and painting our stories into the things we create is a way of feeding the Holy in Nature, which has kept us fed and alive. And as we put all of our lostness and longing into the beauty we make, we do so knowing that we may never hope for more than to pass on these heirlooms to the young ones so they may find their way home across the songlines, as we have been found by those who made beautiful things before us. If even one generation is denied their inheritance, the story and the way home may be lost. As it is said in West Africa, ‘When an elder dies, a library burns to the ground.’” ~ Toko-paWertturm1913314_10152219867207641_1323240910_o

After nearly six decades of my own life, I’m finding more and more each day that the most pervading art form and inheritance we leave in the world may be summed up in the following questions, for which I thank author Ronnie Tomanio — and my husband, for years of willingness to live them together:

At this moment in time, what is the act of service that I am capable of giving that will build up the good in in this relationship?

At this moment in time, what is the act of service that I am capable of receiving that will build up the good in this relationship?
The title of this post is borrowed from that of a wonderful compilation of guidance and reflection about the living of our one wild, precious, sacred gift of a life. Find the book here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Divine-Art-Living-Selections/dp/1931847185/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1409243358&sr=8-1&keywords=divine+art+of+living

3 thoughts on “The divine art of living

  1. What a heartfelt gift to your husband on his birthday! Thank you Phyllis for showing a beautiful and meaningful way to honor the essence of those closest to us. Wishing your husband a very Happy Birthday today.

  2. Our world is blessed to have both of you in it. Thank you for sharing personal information from your heart. Birthday wishes sent.

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