Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


4 Comments

Following the spiritual breadcrumbs

As I revisit themes from my novel, The Munich Girl, during my travels in Europe over these next weeks, I am mining, inwardly, for facets of my experience in writing that book that have been calling –and loudly — for quite some time now.

Doesn’t matter whether I’m awake or asleep, they mean business, and they’re not going away. What they want even appeared like a sign on a wall in a dream: memoir.

This is always the point at which I hear a voice in my head, with a mild British accent, asking, “Whatever bloody for?” It chimed in frequently over the nearly nine years that The Munich Girl came into being. The process of that book showed me that if I didn’t flinch or back away from that question but met it head-on, that voice frequently shifted to something like, “Oh, right, then,” and actually became a helpful ally.

As a writer, I have actively avoided the prospect of memoir for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is public embarrassment. (“Who cares?” is an effective deterrent, too.) Some might argue that I’ve already gotten the embarrassment part out of the way, perhaps more than once, and I wouldn’t disagree.

When I finally understood enough about the purpose of memoir as focusing in and reflecting about a specific stage or aspect of personal experience, I had a humbling recognition. The fact is, in much the way creative process, in all its mystery, delivered every part of the novel’s story when I was willing to let it lead, it offered up, at the same time, a cache of memoir material. It was like those dual-action machines gaining popularity in Europe that both wash and dry your clothes — it had practically outlined the next book for me.

If I had the heart, and will, to follow the trail again. “Spiritual breadcrumbs,” one friend calls this, adding boldly, “Are you going to be so ungrateful as to let them go to waste?”

I hadn’t planned to write a memoir any more than I had a novel that includes Hitler’s wife . But just as the environs of that story did, something is acting on me in a way I’ve given up trying to explain, but absolutely cannot deny.  As I have more conversations with readers of The Munich Girl, encounter the deep questions they ask and the observations they make after living in the book for a time, the following passage, which played a big part in the emotional themes of the novel, is right back in front of me for re-examination.

Without a doubt, I’ll let it lead again, whatever the outcome, because my heart knows it’s too big a piece of our current dilemmas in this world — too universal a one — not to heed, and honor.

We are all of us searching for love, for the intimacy, closeness, tenderness we may remember from when we were in our mother’s arms or may have glimpsed in a lover’s embrace.

Or we may know it just as a sense of something we always wanted, something missing from our life.

This love is at the core of our being, and yet we search for it everywhere, so often causing our self pain in the process, losing our way, becoming entangled in our desires and all our images of love.

Then, one day, something makes us turn away from the outer world to seek this truth within us.

~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Advertisements


2 Comments

The grace of wild mercy

photo 2

Quilt: Joan Haskell

As I share themes from my new novel The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies That Outlast War during my travels in Europe this month, the following two passages of inspiring thought seem especially relevant:

We are all of us searching for love, for the intimacy, closeness, tenderness we may remember from when we were in our mother’s arms or may have glimpsed in a lover’s embrace.

Or we may know it just as a sense of something we always wanted, something missing from our life.

This love is at the core of our being, and yet we search for it everywhere, so often causing our self pain in the process, losing our way, becoming entangled in our desires and all our images of love.

Then, one day, something makes us turn away from the outer world to seek this truth within us.

~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

photo 1

Quilt: Joan Haskell

The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time. …

To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle.

Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace.

Wilderness lives by this same grace. Wild mercy is in our hands.

 ~ Terry Tempest Williams

 

Find more about The Munich Girl, available again soon, at:

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

 

 


1 Comment

The rugged road to blessings

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

11787405_10155840074970181_873867119_n

Photo: Lara Kearns

We are all of us searching for love, for the intimacy, closeness, tenderness we may remember from when we were in our mother’s arms or may have glimpsed in a lover’s embrace. Or we may know it just as a sense of something we always wanted, something missing from our life.

This love is at the core of our being, and yet we search for it everywhere, so often causing our self pain in the process, losing our way, becoming entangled in our desires and all our images of love.

Then, one day, something makes us turn away from the outer world to seek this truth within us.

11798178_10155840072870181_1562789834_n

Photo: Lara Kearns

~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter.

It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow.

Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.

~ Rumi

11805699_10155840072640181_725430136_n

Photo: Lara Kearns

The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time.

… To protect what is wild is to protect what is gentle. Perhaps the wilderness we fear is the pause between our own heartbeats, the silent space that says we live only by grace.

Wilderness lives by this same grace. Wild mercy is in our hands.

 ~ Terry Tempest Williams


4 Comments

In the same garden

Gleanings found here and there:

11703213_500214473466906_1217310649054824175_n

Photo: Nelson Ashberger

If we open our hearts, we will also find open hearts – it is always mutual.

~ Abbot Leo von Rudloff

… love is at the core of our being, and yet we search for it everywhere, so often causing our self pain in the process, losing our way, becoming entangled in our desires and all our images of love. Then, one day, something makes us turn away from the outer world to seek this truth within us…..

~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

11755222_500214640133556_3724257152046255205_n

Photo: Nelson Ashberger

At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done — then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.

~ Frances Hodgson Burnett

That’s what causes all the pain on this earth, including the fact that the ecosystem is turned upside down. All of that comes from people not making friends with themselves and never being willing to communicate with the one they consider to be the troublemaker. That’s how we stay caught in this battleground, this war zone.

 ~ Pema Chödrön

We are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we are so deeply interconnected with one another.

~ Ram Dass

 


Leave a comment

Creativity’s invitation to reunion

My deepest thanks to Ruthz SB, creator of delightful literature for the souls of children, and the child in all of us. Your review of Snow Fence Road captures the essence of why my writing heart kept it company until it came full circle as the book’s story:

a very pure intuitive love is beautiful and emotional.” SFR4ab79a8a-8a51-4e54-b19c-bc0bbaeca160_zpsc2bd263b

“Our heart knows what our mind has forgotten,”  Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee has written of the beauty of this subtle and powerful mystery. “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.”

I suppose that every work of writing I accompany to its ending, whether nonfiction or novel, will have this theme at its heart.

IMG_5655

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

As spring’s atmosphere of renewal finally reaches New England, I’m returning to Maine, where the book’s settings will surround me.

The days will also lead inward, as all creating hours need to do. The mere act of withdrawing in order to be present for creative process will draw me nearer to discoveries I can’t possibly predict (or try to control) but that I know from repeated experience will arrive. They’ll not only help bring a growing story into being, but reunite me, mysteriously, with my own depths.

“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,” John O’Donohue observes. “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.” IMG_6021

Ponderings that will travel with me:

How does creativity require faith in the way that spiritual life does?

How does creativity hone my abilities as a participant on the path of life?

How does creativity help me adjust as information or circumstances change?

How does creativity act as a remedy for mental tests?

How does engaging with creative process help me learn more about my truest self?

Find more about Snow Fence Road at: http://www.amazon.com/Snow-Fence-Road-Phyllis-Edgerly/dp/1934912549/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1372083362&sr=8-2&keywords=Snow+Fence+Road+Phyllis+Ring


6 Comments

The miracle of being here

Gleanings appreciated here and there:

PJ0E460703RES4DS124603Img5472PJ0E222610RES4DS127502Flowers5204New

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


3 Comments

Questions asked the wrong way

mtcrown12078_10152279314206802_178581679_n

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

Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.
~ Alan Watts

The feminine is the matrix of creation.

The choice is simple. Can we remember the wholeness that is within us, the wholeness that unites spirit and matter?

Or will we continue walking down this road that has abandoned the divine feminine, that has cut women off from their sacred power and knowledge?intuition

If we choose the former we can begin to reclaim the world, not with masculine plans, but with the wisdom of the feminine, the wisdom that belongs to life itself.

If we choose the latter we may attempt some surface solutions with new technology. We may combat global warming and pollution with scientific plans.

But there will be no real change. A world that is not connected to its soul cannot heal. Without the participation of the divine feminine nothing new can be born.

leaflet

Photo: Eric Olson

~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

The feminine is the love of nature, and a belief in the body as a part of nature as we see it outside in the woods or rivers.

The feminine takes time for spontaneity and slow time, honors inner reality, and gives values to feelings without brutally repressing them as “sissy” or meaningless.

Rivulet

“Rivulet” by Judy Hughey Wright

Those living the feminine way choose to do something because it’s of genuine worth, and because they love it, and can therefore put their energy into something honestly.

Whether a man or a woman, they’re guided by the question: Is this of value to me personally? Is this worth putting my energy and effort into it? Is this who I really am?

This path is different from hammering through something, even though one’s heart isn’t in it. But living from the heart in this culture takes courage.

  ~ Marion Woodman

… the soul of this world is the subtle growth of spirituality, heavenly morals, divine favors and sacred powers.

~ ‘Abdul’-Baha