Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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It’s always right now

Photo courtesy of Tamela Rich.

When the web site It’s Write Now ran a feature for my novel last week, I reconnected with the very enjoyable interview the site offered me last year.

In its timely way, my revisiting of those questions is helping me reflect on my current writing project, a sort of spiritual memoir, as I look back on the process of writing The Munich Girl.

It’s another powerful reminder that right now has what’s just right for right now. 🙂

 

The experiences of Germany through this period is really told through the characters that the readers meet during the book. How you breathe life into these characters?

Eva Braun, left, with her younger cousin, foreground, and friend, right.

The dynamic that each of the three women in the book experiences, of never feeling that she can be fully herself – of having to choose between things, based on others’ views of her — is conditioning that overshadowed my own life for a long time.

Today, I know that I experience my own power of choice more deeply as a result of the process of letting myself explore a potentially controversial or volatile subject like Hitler’s mistress in as neutral a way as possible, to see what sort of larger picture might emerge as this story unfolded for me.

You really are tackling a controversial or volatile subject in The Munich Girl. What did you want to give readers who were brave enough to explore this subject with you?

Initially, it was to give a glimpse into the experience of Germans during the war, and show how varied it was. Though they lived in a very dangerous place they could not necessarily escape, many Germans took risks to help and protect others, but many of these stories got lost once they were seen as part of the “losing enemy” country.

Within the first year of writing, I also began to accept that the goal, to the best of my ability, was to convey themes that the story was suggesting.

These include that any good we seek to do will always have an enduring effect, sometimes for successive generations.

Another is that it is our willingness to build what is good, together, that is the legacy of love that always outlasts war, destruction, and violence.

What are lessons you learned during this glimpse into wartime Germany that have endured in your mind?

One paradox that I think could tell us a lot about our present imbalances of inequality in our world is that the very sorts of caring, nurturing qualities that the Nazis sought to demean and suppress were exactly what Hitler came home to Eva Braun for.

With sister writer and International Women’s Writing Guild member Kelly DuMar at the IWWG’s summer conference.

One question for me is, when, and how, will we find the collective will to value and honor these qualities in both genders, and all situations? It is the devaluing of them that has allowed, and continues to allow, violence and atrocities like the Holocaust to happen.

I admire your desire to explore and present things like this paradox in terms that people can understand and learn from, but I am curious to find how working in this sensitive situation has impacted your writing. Do you feel energized or exhausted working to ensure that you present this period well?

Sometimes the struggle is in making peace with the inescapable fact that every writing work has its own timetable. It’s directly related to the one connected with my own development, and it’s wise not to try to force or speed that up. What never fails to delight me is that I’m always happy when I let myself be absorbed in a project that attracts me, and it’s something I can pursue anywhere I am in the world.

Find the rest of the interview at: https://itswritenow.com/84433/author-interview-with-phyllis-edgerly-ring-of-the-munich-girl/

Find The Munich Girl at: ‘The Munich Girl ( ASIN: B01AC4FHI8 )‘.

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Living in an eternal kind of way

 

How does coming to understand who it is we are created to be change the way we see ourselves, each other, and our world?

Perhaps this understanding welcomes in a new way of thinking and perceiving that flows out of love and attraction toward the latent spiritual gifts in myself and others that are waiting to be revealed.

Do I remember that I can always choose this love and attraction over the kind of near-instinctual reactions that arise from a fear that’s rooted in the mind’s preoccupation with mortality and physical survival? That crippling fear has kept humanity, human thinking, and our greatest possibilities entrapped for eons.

I’m not going to survive physically forever, nor is anyone else. I wonder why that aspect of life receives so very much attention? Might it be that some believe that’s all there is? All that we are here for?

12694774_1101434059887387_3146455513196508987_oVery possibly, however, we may have the chance to begin living in an eternal kind of way as we invite and employ what lasts forever – those gifts and qualities within us that await discovery, like gems in a mine. The ones that we uncover during presence, and awareness.

“Only our spiritual nature can look beyond outward appearances, first impressions and personality flaws to see `all the virtues of the world of humanity latent within’ ourselves and each other,” I’m reminded. It’s this core part of my self that has the capacity to “perceive honor and nobility in every human being”, including this one who looks back from the mirror each day.

For the first time, the realization of human oneness, in reality, is within our grasp. And each of us is invited to discover our unique, true identity as a soul, as well as our unique purpose, and our unique way of solving problems as a part of what is one reality, whatever kinds of separations we  may dream up or imagine.

“Happy are those who spend their days in gaining knowledge, in discovering the secrets of nature, and in penetrating the subtleties of pure truth,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has reminded in a book called Some Answered Questions. WTOEimage.php

Happy indeed.

 

Excerpted from With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality?

More information: 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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Art and the elixir of life

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Landscape 2 by artist Honnie Goode

 

It’s an honor to have an excerpt from my novel, The Munich Girl, included as the fiction offering of the latest issue of the arts journal,  e*lix*ir.

The publication is designed to “showcase the work of artists who find inspiration in the Bahá’í revelation and to foster an aesthetic whose key ingredient is the conviction that the mission of art is to inspire, transform, and uplift individuals and communities.”

Editor Sandra Hutchison offers soul-stirring reflection in the issue’s editorial, “Art at the Intersection of the Worlds.”

The words from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that she includes from The Promulgation of Universal Peace embody this theme, and the intent behind the creative efforts that many of us attempt:

“For material civilization is like unto a beautiful body, and spiritual civilization is like unto the spirit of life. If that wondrous spirit of life enters this beautiful body, the body will become a channel for the distribution and development of the perfections of humanity.”

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Photo: Wertheim.de

Sandra writes, “Through the experience of creating art, the artist becomes acquainted with that invisible plane of existence that is just as real and necessary to our survival as the earth on which we plant our feet.”

It’s this sort of inner vision that I attempt to describe in the artist’s statement I was invited to provide:

I seek to uncover the noblest possibilities in the human heart and to discover how history, culture, spirituality, and the natural world shape the journey of the human family.

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Image: Diane Kirkup

The vision of the future that the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh evoke, is one of prosperity and hope, so as a writer of stories, I am alert to every evidence of these I can find, even, perhaps especially, when circumstances may appear dark or chaotic.

More than any other kind of writing I’ve done, book-length fiction requires an absorption that leads me to what must be realized in a story. For me, this is an utterly spiritual experience–to weave together mysterious unseen threads into a reality that the emotions and spirit can recognize as true.

To encounter truth in this way is an experience that transcends this earthly life.”

Find the latest issue of e*lix*ir here: http://www.elixir-journal.org/issue2/


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The “radical” remedy works at the roots

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

What underlies the root of all our ills?

Blind imitation of the past.

What is the remedy that reaches those roots?

The independent investigation of Reality.

The root cause of prejudice is blind imitation of the past – imitation in religion, in racial attitudes, in national bias, in politics.

bruisenot10628403_896653373691808_2232318852909161472_nImitations of ancestral beliefs have hindered progress for thousands of years. Imitation emphasizes points of disagreement and division, when the real foundation is oneness.

Imitation obstructs the way to divine knowledge and bounty.

So long as imitations remain, the oneness of the world of humanity is impossible. As long as imitation persists, humanity will find neither happiness nor rest nor composure. Without true investigation of Reality, the realization of unity is also impossible.

HOWEVER – All signs indicate that a sea change in human consciousness is under way.

It involves an indwelling attraction beyond and away from blind imitation of the past toward independent investigation of Reality.

There is great cause for hope and faith, confidence and happy determination.WTOEimage.php

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

http://www.amazon.com/Thine-Own-Eyes-Imitate-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=asap_B00IS9LEZA_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416933494&sr=1-3h


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Receiving the gifts that await within

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

 

For the first time, the realization of human oneness is within our grasp. And each of us is invited to discover our unique, true identity as a soul, as well as our unique purpose, and our unique way of solving problems.

How does coming to understand who it is we are created to be change the way we see ourselves, each other, and our world?

Perhaps this understanding welcomes in a new way of thinking that evolves out of love and attraction toward the latent spiritual gifts in myself and others that are waiting to be revealed. Do I remember that I can always choose this love and attraction over the kind of near-instinctual reactions that arise from a fear that’s rooted in preoccupation with physical survival?

That crippling fear has kept humanity, human thinking, and our greatest possibilities entrapped for eons. I might have the chance to begin living in an eternal kind of way, however, as I welcome and apply what lasts forever – those gifts waiting within, like gems in a mine.

WTOEimage.phpOnly our spiritual nature can look beyond outward appearances, first impressions, and personality flaws to see all the virtues of the world of humanity latent within ourselves and each other, I remind myself. It’s this core part of my self that has the capacity to perceive honor and nobility in every human being, including the one who looks back from the mirror each day.

Adapted from With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past, When We Can Investigate Reality?

http://www.amazon.com/Thine-Own-Eyes-Imitate-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410352058&sr=8-1&keywords=with+thine+own+eyes