Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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Fanning the tiny sparks

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.

Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely.

It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.

~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Artwork: Judy Wright

I like the idea of dreaming the big dream and making small steps.

I’d like to think that you reach your hand, just a little bit further than your reach, not enough so that you’ll be frustrated, not enough so that you’ll give up, but just enough so that you’ll stretch yourself.

~ Maya Angelou

Trust yourself.

Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life.

Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.

 ~ Golda Meir

Photo: Suzanne Birdsall-Stone

Sometimes we forget that we must bring presence to the as yet unmanifest dream which wants to come alive around us.

By presence I don’t just mean attention, but a certain quality of attentiveness which holds the anticipation of being met.

It doesn’t require the world to act first, to prove itself, or miraculously appear.

Instead it behaves as if the thing one is becoming is guaranteed and moves as if it carries that secret in its step. Life isn’t only happening to us, we are happening to life.

~ Excerpted from  Belonging,

by Toko-pa Turner

 


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How do we make room – for Life?

MDB105028-zuganzeige_4zu1_704x176Five years ago this week, as I followed the chapters of my novel — and the trail of Eva Braun’s life — to their conclusion, I faced a long day of train travel. It would take me from the southern edge of Germany’s border with Austria nearly to the top of Germany.

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Photo: David Campbell

The night before – the entire day before – I’d been riddled with anxiety. I had four train connections to make, and my mind was unhelpfully cataloging every single thing that could possibly go wrong.

This kind of turmoil eventually arises every time I travel alone for extended periods of time, and always for the same reason. After the dreamy honeymoon of my first few days, just the fact that I’m on my own in a place that’s out of my element triggers an inner myth that’s as unkind as it is false: I need to find some way to be in control, in order to be safe.

Since, deep down at the heart of truth, I recognize that I’m never going to be able to do that, this leads inevitably to a separated sense of aloneness that feels eternity-sized. I also know it’s an experience that’s universal, not one of us escapes it. Surely, this is what any addictive tendency seeks to squelch and suppress – anything but have to face it.Tollebooks

Reading a wonderful manuscript from a writer friend reminded me of the power question I’ll have ready next time this happens: “Is control something I ultimately even WANT?”

The night before that trip, I finally stumbled on some steadying words from Eckhart Tolle:

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.”Lenggriesexterior-view

In that cozy Bavarian hotel room, I hadn’t a problem worth noting, other than my monkey mind. It was the eve of a holiday in Germany called St. Niklaus Tag, Dec. 6, and every aspect of the setting in which I found myself was idyllic, supportive, friendly and inviting. Yet I was depriving myself of the experience with every anxious moment.

So, relaxing into Tolle’s invitation, I remembered the spirit of this holiday, one of the first I experienced in my childhood, filled with warm, lovely memories.

Suddenly the thought popped up, as brightly and boldly as a child’s would: “I wonder whether, if I put my boots outside the door, they’ll be filled for St. Niklaus Tag?” It seemed silly, and it made me happy, and for the rest of the night, I enjoyed my hours and had a restful sleep.Weihnsort4013900850022-gdcom

The next morning, when I opened the door of my hotel room to wheel my luggage out and head for that first train, there in the middle of the floor outside was a red gift bag festooned with stars. Inside were a variety of seasonal treats, including a tall chocolate “Christmas Man”, an orange, apple, tiny ginger star cookies with icing, and 2 each in the shell of walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts.

Exactly the contents that might fill a child’s shoes on St. Niklaus Tag.

I was so stunned, I wondered whether I’d only dreamed waking up and bundling myself out that door.

Surely they did this for all the guests? (There was a conference-worth of them staying.) But the bag outside my door was the only one I saw waiting in that hallway.

zimtsterneWhen I asked the woman at the desk about it as she checked me out, Bavarian-friendly but completely non-committal, she told me, “Oh, aren’t there always all kinds of nice surprises that can happen in a day? Have a good trip.”

As I munched my treats from south-to-north, I had so much fun watching the scenery, visiting with fellow travelers, and enjoying the journey, I forgot to worry about anything at all.

“ …make some room, create some space, so that you find the life underneath your life situation.” So that you can LIVE it.

Find more about The Munich Girl here:

The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring

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


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Like clocks in a thunderstorm

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Photo: David Campbell / gbctours.com

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

 

Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

 

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Photo: David Campbell / gbctours.com

If we are in a negative state, we have to realize that we have allowed the lower forces of nature to gain dominance over the light of God in our own character, and we have to do something about it.

We cannot blame some outside power. We have to examine ourselves and perceive the dark forces that may have affected us.

It is possible for a person’s character to be dominated by prejudices or passion, by suspicion or hatred or, again, by self-righteousness.

 ~  Hooper Dunbar, Forces of Our Time

 

We had a bunch of different sunflowers pop up in the garden before we planted anything - so I moved them to the edges of the garden and we got a bunch of different ones!  (Some from our garden last year and some I think from the compost we bo

Photo: Saffron Moser

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


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Presence dissolves the past

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Painting: “Ice Flow” by Diane Kirkup / https://www.etsy.com/shop/DKirkupDesigns

As you become more conscious of your present reality, you may suddenly get certain insights as to why your conditioning functions in those particular ways; for example, why your relationships follow certain patterns, and you may remember things that happened in the past or see them more clearly.

That is fine and can be helpful, but it is not essential.

What is essential is your conscious presence. That dissolves the past. That is the transformative agent.

So don’t seek to understand the past, but be as present as you can. The past cannot survive in your presence. It can only survive in your absence.

~ Eckhart Tolle

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The minute you say, ‘My memory isn’t what it used to be’ or ‘I can’t remember a thing today,’ you are actually training your brain to live up to your diminished expectations.

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Photo: Fran Berman

Low expectations mean low results …

But what if you do the opposite? What if you teach your brain to be unlimited?

Think of your brain as being like a Steinway grand piano. All the keys are in place, ready to work at the touch of a finger.  Whether a beginner sits down at the keyboard or a world-renowned virtuoso like Vladimir Horowitz or Arthur Rubinstein, the instrument is physically the same. But the music that comes out will be vastly different.

The beginner uses less than 1 percent of the piano’s potential; the virtuoso is pushing the limits of the instrument.”

~ Deepak Chopra


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The treasures in the moments

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Image: Judy Hughey Wright

GLEANINGS FROM HERE AND THERE:

You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.

~ Thomas Merton

The Universe does not know whether the vibration that you’re offering is because of something you’re observing or something you’re remembering or something that you are imagining. It just receives the vibration and answers it with things that match it.

~ Abraham-Hicks

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Image: Judy Hughey Wright

Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world. 

~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

photo 1

Image: Judy Hughey Wright

O God
Whenever I listen
to the voice of anything you have made —
The rustling of the trees
The trickling of water
The cries of the birds
The flickering of shadow
The roar of the wind
The song of the thunder,
I hear it saying:
God is One!
Nothing can be compared with God!

~ Rabi’a  717–801, Sufi saint, woman mystic


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My side of the contract

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

 

My days, and my mind, are awash in scenes from 75 years ago as I navigate through my current fiction-in-progress.

Once again, I’ve been pondering that curious energetic contrast between those I see everywhere talking on phones and looking at their screens, and the mood of a time when people actually left a room when someone received a call, as a sign of respect and courtesy. EB pix Germany and more 499

No one could have imagined overhearing something so private — so singular, even. Because people only used a telephone when what they needed to share was of significance. I imagine people back then would have found it hard to imagine using one to distract yourself, or to try not to be alone with your own company. 

How can I miss a time I was never actually part of? And yet, I do; my soul does.

I love to linger in its slower, gentler rhythms as I attempt to shape story out of what I encounter within history and my self. I imagine many writers of historic fiction and nonfiction must do the same.

I appreciate anew the thoughts novelist Elizabeth Gilbert shared in an interview with Karen Bouris in Original Story:

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Photo: Nelson Ashberger

“I think creativity is entirely a spiritual practice. It has defined my entire life to think of it that way. When I hear the way some people speak about their work, people who are in creative fields who either attack themselves, or attack their work, or treat it as a burden rather than a blessing, or treat it as something that needs to be fought and defeated and beaten. . . . There is a war that people go to with their creative path that is very unfamiliar to me. To me, it feels like a holy calling and one that I am grateful for.

… I was given a contract, and the contract is: ‘We are not going to tell you why, but we gave you this capacity. Your side of the contract is that you must devote yourself to this in the highest possible manner, you must approach it with the greatest respect, and you must give your whole self to this. And then we will work with you on making progress.’ That’s sort of what it feels like for me.”

The entire interview can be seen at http://www.dailygood.org/view.php?sid=413

 

 


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Our innermost happenings

Gleanings found here and there:

KaffeeKannephotoThink, dear friend, reflect on the world that you carry within yourself. And name this thinking what you wish … Just be sure that you observe carefully what wells up within you and place that above everything that you notice around you. Your innermost happening is worth all your love. You must somehow work on that.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome. Since the present moment is life itself, it is an insane way to live.

~ Eckhart Tolle EB pix Germany and more 017

Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over the dunes, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over a pond and a stand of pines.

Get a life in which you pay attention to the baby as she scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and first finger.

~ Anna Quindlen