Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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Writing’s invitation to wholeness

Eva Braun taking her love of animals to an extreme.

I’m very grateful to share a guest post at the creative blog of writer Nicola Auckland.

Nicola was one of the very first to read and review my novel, The Munich Girl, and offer insightful feedback about it.

Her Sometimes Stellar Storyteller blog features delightful Six Word Story challenges, and explores one of my favorite things — creative process.

As she hosts me this week, I’ve done my best to address some of my own experience with it:

“Nine years ago, I made a bid on an eBay item that would change my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined at the time.

“Something within me was strongly drawn to it, though I didn’t yet understand why. It was a portrait of Eva Braun drawn by an artist who never gained acclaim for his work — though his infamous name is branded on history forever. Eva Braun chose to die with him 72 years ago this spring.

“That portrait is at the heart of everything that became a part of my latest novel’s story, set largely in the Germany of World War II. The experience of writing The Munich Girl showed me that, rather than being something I ‘do,’ writing is a process that acts upon me, strengthening my sense of connection with my own wholeness.

“My responsibility, I feel, is to listen and watch, rather than impose ideas or plans of my own on what comes forth as a story.

“Albert Einstein described the intuitive mind as ‘a sacred gift’ and the rational mind as ‘a faithful servant.’ We have, he said, ‘created a society that honors the servant, and has forgotten the gift.’ ”

READ THE WHOLE POST AT:

Stellar Guest Post from Phyllis Ring

 

 


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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.

More about The Munich Girl: A novel of the legacies that outlast war:

http://www.amazon.com/Munich-Girl-Novel-Legacies-Outlast/dp/0996546987/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1448266057&sr=8-1&keywords=the+munich+girl

To receive info. about book-related events, please email:

info@phyllisring.com


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Devotee to the delight of discovery

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Artwork: Judy Hughey Wright

The greatest gift in creative process may be the way in which it leads so naturally — and enjoyably — to the harmonizing of heart and mind.

Show up for any blank page, canvas, or other creative endeavor and it quickly becomes obvious just how much our heart and mind are designed to be collaborators on a journey of learning, and expression, in service to truth. A lot of cultural influences set heart and mind against each other as adversaries, which may explain a lot of anguish in human experience.

In reality, the process of creating anything requires the harmonizing and partnership of these aspects of ourselves in a dynamic coherence and balance. And — the paradoxical bonus, if we’re brave enough to step onto the high wire of creating, which often has so much of the unknown looming underneath — is that it feels good. And so do we, when we experience it. Because wholeness is what we’re made for, and, mercifully, we can’t do it wrong.

Immersed in a book’s writing process again, I’m reminded that faithfulness to this process involves being present to discover what is ready to be revealed, and what I am ready to receive, rather than trying to force or impose anything. There is an invitation here, which, like any invitation, asks me to accept and receive it on its terms, rather than any agenda or desired outcome of mine.

When I’m able to comply, what comes to meet me feels powerful and also mysteriously subtle; encircling, and, at the same time, wholly liberating. It feels something like what life is meant to be, rather than what so much unhelpful information tries to convince us that it is.

A recent study that’s getting a lot of mileage right now describes how the experience of writing (and we could substitute any creative experience that attracts us) can lead to a greater sense of happiness and personal meaning. When the study engaged participants in writing activities, it found that they were shifted “from a self-defeating way of thinking into a more optimistic cycle that reinforces itself,” according to Timothy D. Wilson, University of Virginia psychology professor and lead author of the study.

Creative process apparently not only helps us feel better, but also broadens and elevates our worldview. The title of Wilson’s book, based on the study, seems to catch the gist of why and how this matters: Redirect: Changing the Stories We Live By. Perhaps an important question is: just who or what is creating those stories?

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Image: D. Kirkup Designs

On my own path of creative experience, I find that in order for a story to take its fullest shape, which necessarily involves my coming to know what I haven’t seemed to know before, my mind must surrender. As it does this, almost like an observing dreamer, it seems to merge with, and serve, something else. I’ve yet to find words that describe this more completely than Albert Einstein’s:

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

Just what would our world, and our lives, be like if we did remember that sacred gift, and the rational mind became able and willing, to serve it?

Perhaps that surrender that I experience, an easing up of the rational mind, with its “certainties” and limits, is what helped those study participants break through to a better-feeling place as they engaged in creative process.

What if the creative process itself is what helps us to remember that gift, and to treasure it, and remember just how it is meant to be served?


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The gift of holy curiosity

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Photo: D. Kirkup Designs

Gleanings found here and there:

I live with the people I create and it has always made my essential loneliness less keen.

~ Carson McCullers

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.

~ Albert Einstein

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

Resting in the spacious flow of loving awareness — which some call God — we discover that we already have, right now within us, everything we could possibly be looking for. This is what the Hindus call ananda, and what Jesus called ‘the peace that passeth understanding.’ Our needs and wants are the illusions …

~ Russell Targ

How can we live the generosity that the Earth continues to teach us?

~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee


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With our own eyes, and our own hearts

the soul ajar_congdon2

Art by Lisa Congdon from “Whatever You Are, Be a Good One.” Learn more about her work here: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/04/01/whatever-you-are-be-a-good-one-lisa-congdon/

 

Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.

~ Carl Jung

Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.

~ Albert Einstein

If you desire faith, then you have faith enough.

~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Would it surprise you to learn that optimism is not a synonym for positivity, nor an opposite of negativity? Optimism transcends both. … Being optimistic ultimately means that an individual expects the best possible outcome from any situation. Such a person’s mindset and heart-set responds to whatever arises in the moment—uplifting or challenging—knowing that within it is a grace, an opportunity for their soul’s evolutionary progress.

Have you caught it yet?

~ Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith 

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What is the freedom and power of seeing and understanding with our own eyes?

Learn more about the gifts of this divine possibility at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thine-Own-Eyes-Imitate-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=la_B00IS9LEZA_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404764134&sr=1-4


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Optical delusions on perception’s changing path

 

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Photo: David Campbell / GBCTours.com

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.

This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. 

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Photo: Saffron Moser

~ Albert Einstein 

What mindfulness slowly brings to our understanding is how much our experience is shaped by our minds.

To have that insight as a personal experience rather than something one reads in the growing body of scientific literature on the subject is transformational.

It loosens that reactivity which can trap us in a limiting loop, and allows for very different responses which can manifest in all kinds of ways – greater creativity, more empathy, more patience, less judgment.

~ Madeleine Bunting

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Photo: Nelson Ashberger

 

If the doors of perception were cleansed,

everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.

 ~ William Blake


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The blessed way of not knowing

EB pix Germany and more 069Immersed in a book’s writing process once again, I’m reminded daily that faithfulness to this process involves being present to discover what is ready to be revealed, rather than trying to impose anything.

In addition to the pages it generates, writing, like all creative endeavor, 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. EB pix Germany and more 619

I find that while my focus and intent must train in like a camera, 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. Diedenbergen_signs

“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.”

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

I am devotee to the experience of the discovery, on its own terms. What that “sacred gift” will bestow.