Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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The unknown’s hidden kinship

When I was young, I had to choose between the life of being and the life of doing. And I leapt at the latter like a trout to a fly.

But each deed you do, each act, binds you to itself and to its consequences, and makes you act again and yet again.

Then very seldom do you come upon a space, a time like this, between act and act, when you may stop and simply be.

Or wonder who, after all, you are.

~ Ursula K. Le Guin

Wise insight from experienced writers like Ursula K. LeGuin helps shift my inner compass toward that grace of the space and time between, so I can discover, yet again, what it holds. Without exception, the mystery of this unknown offers me, like the source of a stream, the place from which creative expression flows.

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Photo: David Campbell / GBC Tours

“I have been a storyteller since the beginning of my life, rearranging facts in order to make them more significant,” John Cheever said. My own earliest play involved arranging miniature objects on the floor of my childhood bedroom to create scenes, often like the ones I saw around me in Germany, then adding the characters and conversations I knew somewhere inside me. I’m told that some of these exchanges were occasionally audible when I was 3, 4, or 5. After that, I probably grew too self-conscious to allow that to happen.

For me, Cheever’s “more significant” would, initially, have meant interesting for me. Today, it has grown to mean significant for my heart, with evidence of a soul’s transcendence over the small side of human being. That’s the only way that story — either others’ or my own — can ever attract me, and is the treasure I’m always searching for. It’s what I believe story, in its highest purpose, has always been for.

This makes the bringing forth of story a sacred thing for me, as well as a search that requires the surrender Le Guin points to, one woven with a willing sense of wonder.

“Wonder makes the unknown interesting, attractive, and miraculous. A sense of wonder helps awaken the hidden affinity and kinship which the unknown has with us,” John O’Donohue describes in Eternal Echoes.

““What we write today slipped into our soul some other day when we were alone and doing nothing,” writer Brenda Ueland has reminded.

Ah, the sweetness of this truth, whose admission price is that space and time between — beyond the insistent, nonstop doing that life — and we — so often try to impose. The experience of writing requires that I seek refuge from that clamor and feel my inner life slow down to presence once more.

In an interview with Karen Bouris of Original Story, novelist Elizabeth Gilbert said:

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Image: EnochVision.com

“I think creativity is entirely a spiritual practice. It has defined my entire life to think of it that way. When I hear the way some people speak about their work, people who are in creative fields who either attack themselves, or attack their work, or treat it as a burden rather than a blessing, or treat it as something that needs to be fought and defeated and beaten. . . . There is a war that people go to with their creative path that is very unfamiliar to me. To me, it feels like a holy calling and one that I am grateful for.

… I was given a contract, and the contract is: ‘We are not going to tell you why, but we gave you this capacity. Your side of the contract is that you must devote yourself to this in the highest possible manner, you must approach it with the greatest respect, and you must give your whole self to this. And then we will work with you on making progress.’ That’s sort of what it feels like for me.”

What good companionship I find here, as she speaks for my own heart.

The entire interview can be seen at http://www.dailygood.org/view.php?sid=413


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The trees of our hearts

Berries

Photo: Eric Olson

May you become as growing plants.

May the trees of your hearts bring forth new leaves and variegated blossoms.”  ~ ‘Abdu’l-Baha

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Photo: Nelson Ashberger

Arguably, the most important question in the entire process of engaging our spiritual intelligence is this:

What sort of person do I wish to be?

It is a question most of us seldom call to mind, yet which we answer many times every day in the decisions and choices we make.

It literally shapes our life, so it is worth pausing occasionally to give it some conscious thought.  ~ Dave Tomlinson

The spirit, I think, is a stream, a fountain, and must be continually poured out, for only if it is poured out will more and clearer streams come.  ~ Brenda Ueland


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Receiving the grace – willingly

Rivulet

Painting: “Rivulet” by Judy Wright

Writing about people helps us to understand them, and understanding them helps us to accept them as part of ourselves. ~ Alice Walker

What we write today slipped into our soul some other day when we were alone and doing nothing. ~ Brenda Ueland‪

Rogue River Adventure

Painting: “Rogue River Adventure” by Judy Wright

The beauty of spirit will be visible in the presence and actions of souls all around me today. Focusing on and recognizing this is a choice that will be accessible to me throughout the day and help me feel happier, and more hopeful.

Today I remember that real happiness arises from a heart ready to receive – and recognize – the divine grace that’s the source of all life. It offers itself to me in every moment, but requires my willingness to meet it on its own terms.

My yearning for it underlies all my desires, yet a thousand worldly things can distract me from it.

312q7DGYsbL._SL110_~ from Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details