Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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The foundation of all learning

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

“We need mystery. Creator in her wisdom knew this.

Mystery fills us with awe and wonder. They are the foundations of humility, and humility is the foundation of all learning.

So we do not seek to unravel this. We honour it by letting it be that way forever.”

Quote of a grandmother explaining The Great Mystery of the universe to her grandson.

~ Richard Wagamese, Indian Horse

The unexpected and the incredible belong in this world.

Only then is life whole.

 ~ Carl Jung

 

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.

 ~ G. K. Chesterton 

The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.

 ~ William James

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Winning reader words

IMG_4540It’s fun to see the response that both the novel and the little giveaway contest I ran for Eva Braun’s birthday received over this past week.

Thanks to all who participated, and  to winners Nancy Vincent Zinke and Kathy Gilman.

Nancy wrote:

“I’d like to buy a copy for all my book-loving friends, but I think that might turn into hundreds of books. So I’m officially recommending it here and now. I love this book. It reminds me of why I fell in love with books and reading in the first place. It’s practically perfect. Thank you, Phyllis Edgerly Ring.”

And thank you, Nancy, for these words, and our glimpse into the The Munich Girl‘s visit to your cozy kitchen.

Reader Kathy Gilman, an intrepid hiker, sent a view from the part of the world my British mother came from. Thanks, too, Kathy, for these thoughts about the story:

IMG_0094“Who am I? Where do I belong? Where is home?

“These themes run through The Munich Girl, a book about women and their relationships with men, family, and themselves.

“It is a book about secrets – family secrets …  secrets kept by Hitler from Eva (and the world) …  a mystery story that begins with an old journal.

Even though this book is about ordinary relationships between people, Eva Braun and Hitler are no ordinary people. And this is no ordinary book. ” munichgirl_card_front

Find more about The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies that Outlast War here:

 

 


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Leaps ahead of thinking

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

 

I am often, in my writing, great leaps ahead of where I am in my thinking …

~ Madeleine L’Engle, A Circle of Quiet

This insight is one of the things I love most about creative process.The author shares it in a book that’s a longtime favorite of mine, the first of her Crosswicks Journal works.

I experienced a serendipitous example of what she describes while researching my current novel during a visit to Munich. A portrait of Eva Braun is a key element in the book’s story — a real portrait with a 1936 framer’s label on the back that says “Promenade Platz 7, Muenchen (Munich)”, together with an August date. I’d tried for some time to locate this address without success and figured that whatever building had been there on that day was long gone since the bombing damage from the war.

Spontaneously one afternoon, my ever-patient husband asked whether I’d like to go see the Hotel Bayerischer Hof, one of Munich’s historic hotels. It just so happened that a scene set there had “arrived” on the page that very week, not that I’d told him anything about that.

It was still a bit of a surprise to me, as these often are. It had also somehow “connected itself” with a scene in that framer’s shop whose address I couldn’t find.

When we reached the Bayerischer Hof, I looked up and saw a street sign that said: “Promenade Platz” And there, on a stone building directly across from the hotel, was a blue address sign with the number 7 — !

munichgirl_card_frontBut more, the setting outside it – a long, slender park between it and hotel – was exactly what I had “visualized” as I’d imagined the framer’s shop. So were the two sets of tram tracks on either side of it. Although I hadn’t yet known where Promenade Platz was, the scene that includes it had already taken shape on the page – and here it was right before me, just as my inner eye had seen it. Yet it wasn’t until that scene had been captured down that – without trying – I was led to discover exactly where that address is.

I also learned that day during a tour of the hotel that its dining salon/lounge, where my writing’s process had just sketched a new scene – a huge, elegant space with a beautiful stained-glass dome overhead — is the only part of that massive hotel to survive bombing damage in the war.

These sorts of impromptu research discoveries leave me speechless. Indeed, in creative process, as L’Engle describes, mind lags far behind, like the slowest hiker on the climb.

Find more about The Munich Girl at:

http://www.amazon.com/Munich-Girl-Novel-Legacies-Outlast/dp/0996546987/


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Mysteries of grace

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Painting, “Wild and Free” by Judy Wright

Gleanings found here and there:

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. 

~ Celia Laighton Thaxter

For most of us, enlightenment isn’t a sudden awakening, but a slow process of shining the light of consciousness onto those rejected, forgotten and denied impulses within. Most extraordinarily in this work, we discover that the lion’s share of the shadow is pure gold. Hidden in the dark we find our creative endowments – those things which make us most uniquely beautiful – and little by little, our divine inheritance can be fully claimed.

~ Toko-pa 

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Photo: Saffron Moser

The mystery of God touches us — or does not — in the smallest details: giving a strawberry, with love; receiving a touch, with love; sharing the snapdragon red of an autumn sunset, with love.

 ~ Marion Woodman


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Nourished by the Mystery

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Image: Lauren Chuslo Shur

When the spring equinox arrives, a very special time of year comes to an end, for me.

Over these last 19 days, I’ve been more conscious than usual of the sun’s rising and setting, since between those demarcations of the day, I’m pursuing the fast I make each year at this time.

Fasting from “the appetites of the self” has made me more aware, again, of immortal words of Wordsworth’s: “The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers …”

The hours have also reminded, as author Thomas Moore suggests: “We usually try to explain the mysterious. It would be better to cultivate wonder and reflection.”

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Photo: Nelson Ashberger

It seems easier to feel the truth of this when the day has the added space in it that fasting can provide.

Sometimes, within that space, things can arise that might otherwise stay masked in our busy lives, things that can confuse and baffle.

After several decades of this particular blessing of the Fast, I know what Rumi says is true: “Don’t worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?” IMG_3375

The end of the Fast brings Naw Ruz, literally “New Day”, as spring arrives and along with it, a new year in the Baha’i calendar.

At the threshold of that year, 19 blessed days have also reminded me of what ever-inspirational Flora Whittemore pointed out so wisely:

“The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.”