Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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To forgive the very world

Photo courtesy of N. Augusta Vincent.

 

After both of my parents had died, I put off sorting through the boxes of their belongings that had accumulated like small mountains in our house.

Then I woke one day with the urge to explore them.

I was plunged into stirred-up memories and stored-up feelings.

As if whispered into my thoughts, an idea I’d encountered years ago in the work of psychologist Erik Blumenthal reminded:

“The person who comes to understand his parents can forgive the world.”

Photo courtesy D. Kirkup Designs / https://www.etsy.com/shop/DKirkupDesigns.

The writer, who grew up Jewish in Nazi Germany, knew firsthand how painful experience often makes forgiveness seem impossible.

Yet he emphasized two needs that he believed eventually call to each of us: to become more understanding, beyond our rigid “certainties”, and to accept the freedom that forgiveness bestows.

As I unpacked my parents’ things, I gained a deeper view of what they had faced and the weight of the efforts and decisions they made. When they met, they were two people in their 20s entering a cross-cultural marriage at a time when no one knew what the next day would bring, who would live or die, or even what language everyone would be speaking, depending on the outcome of the biggest war the world had known.

A bird’s-eye view of the German town where I lived with my military family.

I can now see, and appreciate even more fully, that whatever their circumstances, troubles, and significant mistakes or missteps, they made a place for me in this world, and stuck with that commitment.

I’m reminded of words of Rumi’s:

“When you eventually see through the veils to how things really are, you will keep saying again and again, this is certainly not like we thought it was.”

As I uncovered a broader view of my parents’ lives, I could see that most of my own resistance to forgiveness was forged at a stage when the imprint of my parents’ perceived omnipotence led me to believe that they were always in charge, in the know, in control of all situations.

I now share with them the certainty that that was never true, and the humbling realization that, whatever the hurts, it is not, indeed, as I thought it was.

It’s been observed that many people hold back from forgiveness because they believe it might go against the grain of justice, might excuse a wrong or deny its occurrence.

But when we find a willingness to see beyond our own view about any situation, especially the actions and choices of others, it disarms that tendency our perception has to keep us wedded to beliefs that not only make us feel bad, but impede our healing and progress, too.

Adapted from Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details.


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The warmth of others

I am so thankful to share this heart-sustaining Guest Post from writer and blogger Jane Bullock.

Sketch by Kathy Gilman

Her blog, luluopolis, provides daily inspiration (and often delightfully humorous company). Today, these thoughts of hers took my breath away.

 

Bird Wisdom

By Jane Bullock

Ever notice how some birds fly in a sort of formation? They wheel and dip and soar together, and when they are tired of that, they all roost on telephone poles and wires. They also like to cluster in trees together, gossiping and scolding each other. They remind me of old women who love to cluck and complain about the youth of each generation.

Photo: N. Augusta Vincent

When I lived in Texas, I became very fond of the birds who liked to perch in the trees next to my apartment. It would be just about the time when the sun started descending into the hills, and the moon would show her shining face to us. It was just as if the birds knew that it was time to settle in for the night, and have their last bit of chatter before sleep.

There was a sweet story I heard long ago about birds in the winter. When the days grew cold and there was little shelter for the birds, the little birds would ask the larger birds if they could cuddle up under one of their wings. The body heat of the big bird would keep a little bird warm and safe during a cold night.

Artwork: Jeannie Hunt

While many of the big birds allowed this, some did not. When an extremely cold night came, the birds sheltered up together to stay warm. However, there were a few of the big birds who refused to shelter the little ones.

When morning came, the sun came out and the air began to warm a bit. All the big birds and the little birds that they sheltered made it through the cold night. But all the big birds who refused to shelter the little ones died of the cold.

Even as little as the birds were who sheltered under the wings of larger birds, their tiny warmth kept the big birds alive. And of course, the warmth of the big birds kept the little ones alive. But those who wouldn’t share died cold and alone.

This little story always reminds me how of important it is to reach out to others, to share what warmth we have to give, and to cherish the warmth of others. We need each other, not just to weather a hard time, but to remember that we are all in this life together.

Find Jane’s blog, luluopolis, here: https://luluopolis.com


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Perceptions, beliefs, truth – oh, my!

“Love and appreciation are identical vibrations,” a passage from Abraham-Hicks reminds.

“Appreciation is the vibration of alignment with who-you-are … When you tell the story of how you want your life to be, you will come closer and closer to the vicinity of appreciation, and when you reach it, it will pull you toward all things that you consider to be good in a very powerful way.”

That certainly leads me to breathe more deeply, and say, “Yes.”

Then, of course, there’s what I “consider to be good”, and why it is that I do — and how open I am about the possibility of that expanding and changing.

This really is a culture of learning I’m invited into, where life continues to show me each day how important the presence of contrast is for observing, discovering, recognizing, and learning. We are not able to see without it, either in the outer world or the inner one.

Even as Thomas Merton said: “The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God’s mercy to me.”

Finally, thanks to The Oneness Model and Becoming the Self Beyond Lore for the reminder about how beneficial it is to “uncover historic perceptions hidden in our belief codes, tucked away and bound to every modality of human experience … all disguised as truth”.

Phew!

We always do well to investigate, ask, ponder, and reflect, every single day. And, of course, with as whole a heart as possible, to then take action.

Blessings to every one as another week begins.


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The miracle of being here

Gleanings appreciated here and there:

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Image: Cary Enoch Reinstein /

 

Our heart knows what our mind has forgotten – it knows the sacred that is within all that exists, and through a depth of feeling we can once again experience this connection, this belonging.
~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

It is a strange and wonderful fact to be here, walking around in a body, to have a whole world within you and a world at your fingertips outside you. It is an immense privilege, and it is incredible that humans manage to forget the miracle of being here.

Rilke said, “Being here is so much,” and it is uncanny how social reality can deaden and numb us so that the mystical wonder of our lives goes totally unnoticed. We are here. We are wildly and dangerously free.

Rogue River Adventure

“Rogue River Adventure” by Judy Wright

~ John O’Donohue

All humans have the capacity to drop the past – and change in an instant. Any other viewpoint is coming from fear, and not truth.

We only limit others by believing that they can’t change. We limit ourselves by believing we can’t change.

Holding the light of consciousness means we must continually envision a new, and higher, level of expression for ourselves and for others, and allowing this to manifest.

~ Jaime Tanna


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Eulogy for a tree of Life

 

"Green" by digital artist Lauren Chuslo -Shur

“Greens” by digital artist Lauren Chuslo-Shur

Last week, I spent time with the big, old, now-dead ash tree, a towering skeleton in our yard, its bark sloughing off in sheets.

If ever there was a physical metaphor for vanquished life, embodied sorrow, this was it.

Yet how deceiving appearances can be. There was so much more here.

Since it would be gone by the time we returned a few days later, I wanted to make my goodbyes, express my appreciation.

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Photo: Nelson Ashberger

For all of those years of shade, all of the homes it has provided for so many living things. For how its leaves have nourished the soil, and for not once creating any damage to property, or others, despite the great number of intense storms it has endured; the weight of snow and ice it has borne.

Yes, my petty thoughts noted, it was difficult to grow tomatoes out there under all that shade.

But the blessings this relation of ours from the plant kingdom has showered are not only numerous but, more humbling, so often taken for granted, day by day.

In a way, as the stage of its death has played out over a span of time, it feels that there is sadness and grief, former burdens carried by hearts like mine, that this decades-long companion is bearing away with it when the workers and their equipment take it down and haul it away. Israel 139

Even its final act is service: heat for our neighbors in some future wintry days.

I read recently that the denizens of the natural world, the trees and their brothers, streams and their sisters, all expend their energy to offer up what benefits others, yet never make use of it themselves.

This reality is the most timeless of the gifts my Ash brother leaves behind him.

 

 

 


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The alms of our own kindness

Gleanings found here and there:

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Ramsau
Photo: David Campbell / GBC Tours
http://www.gbctours.com/

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Bernhard Kretschmar’s “Tram”, part of collection of art cache recently uncovered in Munich.

That I feed the hungry, forgive an insult, and love my enemy…. these are great virtues! But what if I should discover that the poorest of the beggars and the most impudent of offenders are all within me, and that I stand in need of the alms of my own kindness; that I myself am the enemy who must be loved? What then?

 ~ Carl Jung

 


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The mercy of contradictions

LKwildrose1233503_10153153069260181_16652540_n

A phrase in a passage from Abraham Hicks stands out this week: “the vicinity of appreciation”.

“Love and appreciation are identical vibrations,” it says. “Appreciation is the vibration of alignment with who-you-are … When you tell the story of how you want your life to be, you will come closer and closer to the vicinity of appreciation, and when you reach it, it will pull you toward all things that you consider to be good in a very powerful way.”

That certainly leads me to breathe more deeply, and say, “Yes.” LKsun1017013_10153159510445181_1548356812_n

Then, of course, there’s what I “consider to be good”, and why that is, and how open I am about the possibility of its changing. For life continues to show me each day how important – vital — contrast is for observing, discovering, recognizing, and learning. LKsun1017013_10153159510445181_1548356812_n

Even as Thomas Merton said: “The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God’s mercy to me.”

Finally, thanks to The Oneness Model and Becoming the Self Beyond Lore for the reminder about how beneficial it is to “uncover historic perceptions hidden in our belief codes, tucked away and bound to every modality of human experience … all disguised as truth”. LKred1378708_10153325447095181_1254542515_n

Phew!

We always do well to investigate, ask, ponder, and reflect, every single day.

And, of course, with as whole a heart as possible, to then take action.

Blessings to every one as another week comes to its close.

Photos courtesy Lara Kearns