Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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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:

https://www.amazon.com/Life-First-Sight-Finding-Details-ebook/dp/B00B5MR9B0


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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:

http://www.amazon.com/Thine-Own-Eyes-Ronald-Tomanio/dp/0853985782/


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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:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DKirkupDesigns

 

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

Find more about the book here:

https://www.amazon.com/Life-First-Sight-Finding-Details-ebook/dp/B00B5MR9B0


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We’re finding our way, beyond war

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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.

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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. 

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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

 


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Lighting the way

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE

Love is a light that never dwelleth in a heart possessed by fear.

 ~ Bahá’u’lláh

Look ye not upon the present, fix your gaze upon the times to come.

In the beginning, how small is the seed, yet in the end it is a mighty tree.

Look ye not upon the seed, look ye upon the tree, and its blossoms and its leaves and its fruits.

 ~ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Do everything with a mind that lets go.

Don’t accept praise or gain or anything else.

If you let go a little you will have a little peace; if you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace; if you let go completely you will have complete peace.

~ Ajahn Chah


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Entering the soul of things

It [the struggle with evil] makes us strong, patient, helpful men and women. It lets us into the soul of things and teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.

My optimism, then, does not rest on the absence of evil, but on a glad belief in the preponderance of good and a willing effort always to cooperate with the good, that it may prevail.

~ Helen Keller

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Photo: Saffron Moser

Become subtle enough
To hear a tree breathe.

Succumb to warmth in the heart
Where divine fire glows.

~ John O’Donohue

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Photo: Nelson Ashberger

When you live at the periphery of your being, your thoughts are often scattered, pulling you in different directions, and draining your energy. Too much mental activity leads to overload and, oftentimes, burnout.

When you take the time to ‘go within’ each day, by breathing deeply and fully, feeling the ‘space’ inside yourself, and witnessing your thoughts and emotions without judgment, you return to a very natural, deep sense of aliveness, which is actually your true nature; then your thoughts naturally slow down, and simultaneously gain more power and cohesiveness.

Think of the small, choppy waves that dance across the surface of the ocean; these represent your scattered thoughts. Then visualize the huge waves that rise up from underneath, much like the giants the pro surfers ride. Note the difference in power.

~ Jaime Tanna