Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


Making room for the new, and the good


“Taz,” courtesy of Jon Ring.


When you suffer because of discrimination, there’s always an urge to speak out. But even if you spend a thousand years speaking out, your suffering won’t be relieved.

Only through deep understanding and liberation from ignorance can you be liberated from your suffering.

When you break through to the truth, compassion springs up like a stream of water. With that compassion, you can embrace even the people who have persecuted you.

When you’re motivated by desire to help those who are victims of ignorance, only then are you free from your suffering and feelings of violation. 

Don’t wait for things to change around you. You have to practice liberating yourself. Then you will be equipped with the power of compassion and understanding, the only kind of power that can help transform an environment full of injustice and discrimination.

You have to become such a person — one who can embody tolerance, understanding, and compassion. You transform yourself into an instrument for social change and change in the collective consciousness of mankind.

 ~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Answers from the Heart: Practical Responses To Life’s Burning Questions

No matter how it seems out there, humanity IS evolving from war-like competitiveness to peaceful and loving connectedness and CO-existence.

… the chaos we are experiencing in the outer world is nothing more than our own resistance to freedom and peace.

And notice that the deeper “resistance to change” digs in its heels, the more irrational it becomes.

~ Christine DeLorey

I do believe in simplicity. It is astonishing as well as sad, how many trivial affairs even the wisest thinks he must attend to in a day; how singular an affair he thinks he must omit.

When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, he first frees the equation of all incumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Your life situation may be full of problems — most life situations are — but find out if you have any problem at this moment.

Not tomorrow or in ten minutes, but now. Do you have a problem now?

When you are full of problems, there is no room for anything new to enter, no room for a solution.

So whenever you can, make some room, create some space, so that you find the life underneath your life situation.

~ Eckhart Tolle




Coming home to oneness

Deep in each of our hearts, we already know oneness, because we are created in it. Every atom of existence embodies and reflects this truth.

Sending love and prayerful blessings to all as celebrations unfold worldwide on this 200th anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah.

“The incomparable Friend saith:

“The path to freedom hath been outstretched; hasten ye thereunto.

“The wellspring of wisdom is overflowing; quaff ye therefrom.

“Say: O well-beloved ones! The tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers.

Courtesy of Lara Kearns

“Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.

“Verily I say, whatsoever leadeth to the decline of ignorance and the increase of knowledge hath been, and will ever remain, approved in the sight of the Lord of creation.

“Say: O people! Walk ye neath the shadow of justice and truthfulness and seek ye shelter within the tabernacle of unity.”

~ Baha’u’llah, The Tabernacle of Unity


Courtesy of Diane Kirkup

“Through the power of Baha’u’llah all will be united.

“He upraised this standard of the oneness of humanity in prison.
“When subjected to banishment by two kings, while a refugee from enemies of all nations and during the days of His long imprisonment He wrote to the kings and rulers of the world in words of wonderful eloquence, arraigning them severely and summoning them to the divine standard of unity and justice.
“He exhorted them to peace and international agreement, making it incumbent upon them to establish a board of international arbitration — that from all nations and governments of the world there should be delegates selected for a congress of nations which should constitute a universal arbitral court of justice to settle international disputes.
“He wrote to Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, the Czar of Russia, the Emperor of Germany, Napoleon III of France and others, inviting them to world unity and peace.
Through a heavenly power He was enabled to promulgate these ideals in the Orient. Kings could not withstand Him. They endeavored to extinguish His light but served only to increase its intensity and illumination.”
~ Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace (Wilmette: Baha’i Publishing Trust, 1982 Edition) pp. 202-203.


A season of renewal and hope

Wassily Kandinsky, Murnau: Top of the Johannisstrasse, 1908

Author and friend Reiner Lomb once shared a story about how surprising – and kind – the human heart can be.

Toward the end of World War 2, on Good Friday, some of his ancestors were expecting their tiny village to be overrun at any moment by U.S. soldiers. The German troops were retreating, and my friend’s family members, six adults and two children, were trying to decide whether they should stay put or hide in hills above the village.

In a previous war, their village had been wiped out in a similar situation, with every single person killed, so they were quite fearful.

They also had a family member who was a prisoner of war overseas, one with whom they would later be reunited, and who would become my friend’s father.

All they wanted to do was to be able to live their simple life in terrible times, during a war they’d just as soon had never happened.

They decided to stay in their home, and within hours, several vehicles pulled into their farmyard and U.S. soldiers climbed out and ordered them upstairs while the soldiers took over the lower floor of the house.

Photo: Nelson Ashberger

What my friend’s aunt, who was among those present, most remembers is how young these soldiers looked to her at the time. As she and her sister peeked down from upstairs, she saw that the soldiers were having trouble figuring out how to light the cook stove, and so, to her family’s horror, she bounded down to help them. (Her sister would later tease her that the only reason she’d done this was because those soldiers were so handsome.)

That weekend, they all eventually feasted together on the farm’s fresh eggs and the soldiers’ rations in a shared meal around that kitchen table. On Easter Sunday morning, the family came downstairs to find the soldiers gone, along with a basket of hard-boiled eggs that the family had colored earlier that week. In the basket’s place was a huge stash of chocolate.

“My family hadn’t seen chocolate for years,” my friend says, “and this, combined with how carefully the soldiers had left everything in its place when my family had expected them to ransack the house, gave everyone great heart, and the possibility of believing that maybe things would be all right after all.”

The miracle of his father’s return a short while later was the very best evidence of that, of course, and soon spring bulbs were blooming in the yard and, despite the ravages of the war, his family knew that they’d see green fields again.

It’s no coincidence that the essence of Easter – resurrection — is about restoration and renewal.

Whatever our faith, or lack of it, spring brings that glorious reminder that, no matter what has happened, no matter how long our personal winters may have been, the spiritual pulse of springtime always offers us a new beginning.


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


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Let’s set our inner GPS toward spiritual maturity

1234182_629095923807906_1626840960_nHumanity is on the verge of a spiritual evolutionary leap into a future where lasting global peace is not only possible but inevitable.

The human family is moving toward this stage of spiritual maturity through a dawning recognition of the oneness and interrelatedness in which it has been created, together with all of creation — and through the release of the gems of spiritual potential that await expression in every human heart.

10273504_10153952761900815_8632154846483842611_nAs human beings, we’re held back in this process to the degree that we lack understanding about our true identity and purpose.

All around us, we can see the ways in which this lack of understanding has reached a state of desperation that is reflected in disastrous consequences at every level of human relationship.

As souls gain awareness and understanding of our truest identity and purpose, humanity will come to understand that the forces at work in human life are impelling us away from a centuries-old preoccupation with survival and “fighting evil” towards our highest destiny: a creative, collaborative and potentially limitless building of the good, in which every individual has a part to play and every culture its unique contributions to make. WTOEimage.php


Explore these and related themes in

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

Find more about the book at:



The atmosphere in which peace emerges

Words from Richard Bach came up this week as a deep reminder:

“You don’t want a million answers as much as you want a few forever questions. The questions are diamonds you hold in the light. Study a lifetime and you see different colors from the same jewel. The same questions, asked again, bring you just the answers you need just the minute you need them.”                                                                                                                

This prompted a few forever questions as one month draws to its close and another begins:


How does my willingness to let go serve my highest purpose?

What freedom does it offer me from the erroneous notions and tyranny of my own thoughts?

What appears when I relinquish something lesser for something greater?

In what ways does its atmosphere and perspective always feel better?

Might it be the atmosphere in which peace emerges? LAFS6377506


Floral images courtesy of D. Kirkup Jewelry Designs:



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

Find more about the book here:


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We’re finding our way, beyond war


Book Club Mom Barb Vitelli – don’t miss her Read this, not that! blog

Book Club Mom Barb Vitelli had already been kind enough to feature me as an indie author at her blog last month.

Then she surprised me by fitting The Munich Girl into her busy reading schedule, and sharing very thoughtful reflections about it.

Barb has her own special connection with German culture, in a family history that includes relatives from the region of the Black Forest. They owned and operated a small hotel, restaurant, and bakery there, in a building that was bombed by Allied forces and then rebuilt after the war.

broetchen-verschIn her review of the book, Barb writes, “People choose their life paths for many reasons and their decisions are sometimes hard to figure. During wartime, many ordinary people become trapped on these paths, in situations that are bigger than themselves.”

In these tumultuous days of our own, much of life can begin to feel something like wartime.

Yet our hearts can help each other remember there is so much more — real and enduring goodness — waiting for us to bring it forth into our world together. There is an important reality, what has been called “an atmosphere in which peace can emerge,” that begins with each one of us. 424

Overall, the intent of The Munich Girl is less about Eva Braun and what we may or may not think about her life and choices than it is about the very themes that Barb draws out. These invite us toward better prospects and possibilities, if we can find the collective will to work and learn our way toward them.

I thank every reader who is reading, sharing, responding to, reviewing, and introducing the novel to book groups, readers’ networks, and so many others.

So much is changing so fast in Europe, and our world. Yet you help me continue to trust that stories are a vital part of our connection, and our healing, our hope, and our power.

Find Barb’s review here: https://bvitelli2002.wordpress.com/2016/03/23/the-munich-girl-by-phyllis-edgerly-ring/

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The inner shapes the outer

4246fbb0b47db3620a87f203817e338c We cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved.

Man is organic with the world. His inner life molds the environment and is itself also deeply affected by it.

The one acts upon the other and every abiding change in the life of man is the result of these mutual reactions.


Courtesy: The Heirloom Gardener, John Forti / http://www.jforti.com/

~ Shoghi Effendi 

If an active, actual peace is brought about, the human world will attain to the utmost serenity and composure; wolves will be transformed into lambs … and terrors into divine splendors in less than the twinkling of an eye. 


Photo: David Campbell / http://www.GBCTours.com

~ ‘Abdu’l-Baha

If you want to change the fruits, you will first have to change the roots.

If you want to change the visible, you must first change the invisible.

~ T. Harv Eker