Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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The mustache we’d know anywhere

On a recent visit with young friend, Anya, one of the first readers of my newest book.

Sixty-three years ago today, during a brief 24-hour lull between two hurricanes, my mother-in-law delivered her first child at the hospital of the Kittery Naval Shipyard in Maine.

The photo on the left below, taken on the roof of my husband’s childhood home (one of them, anyway) embodies his spirit, for me.

Lord knows what this experience was about — probably an expedition to tackle all of that plant growth around the chimney. But knowing my husband, he was among the first in this little family group to volunteer for it.

Photo courtesy Thomas Tufts

Second from the right, he’s facing the photographer almost completely, in a stance that suggests balance, and ease. These two qualities are not only a part of who he is essentially, but what he often offers to the situations around him.

My true life companion, he is my fellow traveler in the most meaningful of ways. Many of our adventures lately have been ones that retrace family history, in Ireland, Britain, and Europe.

With an artifact from family history during a recent visit to the village where my mother grew up in England.

On one of his journal-writing days, he captured down some thoughts as he contemplated words of writer Anne Lamott’s about being part of the tapestry of life and of relationships, and the pathway by which souls learn and grow and evolve.

His words on the page reminded me of this: “Heirloom is a compound word, with its roots in heredity and looming. Weaving, writing and painting our stories into the things we create is a way of feeding the Holy in Nature, which has kept us fed and alive.

“And as we put all of our lostness and longing into the beauty we make, we do so knowing that we may never hope for more than to pass on these heirlooms to the young ones so they may find their way home across the songlines, as we have been found by those who made beautiful things before us. If even one generation is denied their inheritance, the story and the way home may be lost. As it is said in West Africa, ‘When an elder dies, a library burns to the ground.’” ~ Toko-pa

Artwork: Joan Haskell

After six-plus decades of my own life, I’m finding more and more each day that the most pervading art form and inheritance we leave in the world may be summed up in the following questions, for which I thank author Ronnie Tomanio — and my husband, for years of willingness to live them together:

At this moment in time, what is the act of service I am capable of giving that will build up the good in this relationship?

At this moment in time, what is the act of service I am capable of receiving that will build up the good in this relationship?

 

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Unlocking the prison of the past

IMG_6521Our spiritual nature has a value system that places priceless relationships above any object or hoped-for outcome.

But our human nature, unassisted by the spiritual nature’s vision and perception, does not.

The sign that we’re in a situation that requires a shift from the eyes of our human nature to the vision of our spiritual one is when we find ourselves focusing on the imperfections of others to such an extent that we experience an increasing intensity of negative emotions that, in turn, causes deterioration in personal relationships.

The only escape from this vicious cycle is to change what we see and elevate our perception and to begin looking at others with the sin (imperfection)-covering eye of the spiritual nature. The spiritual nature doesn’t dwell on perceived imperfections but instead seeks the missing spiritual attributes that the situation is calling for and creates an act of service designed to release those latent virtues, which exist within the heart of every servant of God. IMG_0608

When that happens, the destructive negative emotions and imperfections begin to dissipate. They are, after all, merely perceptions and “decisions” of the mind or human nature, and the resulting emotion is the energy of those thoughts in motion.

However, in the survival-motivated blind imitation that is the lower nature’s customary behaviour, our mind and emotions can liken the current experience to one that has registered as negative in the past. In order to truly investigate the reality of the matter, we need the spiritual nature and its vision to come into the driver’s seat, to interrupt this reflexive imitating of what happened — or what we perceive to have happened — in the past. If we are unwilling to do this, we will remain prisoners of that past, and of what, in essence, is actually an imagined past, the perspective of the mind alone.

A sign that we’re progressing away from imitation towards investigation is that we will feel negative emotions being replaced by positive ones. Then we can experience  a noticeable improvement both in the way we ourselves feel and within the tone of our relationships, most especially the one we have with the various aspects of our own selves. WTOEimage.php

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

Find the book at: http://www.amazon.com/With-Thine-Own-Eyes-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=pd_sim_kstore_11?ie=UTF8&refRID=0TQC490J7FVBRTJWM70H

Also available in print version from: http://www.bahairesources.com/with-thine-own-eyes.html

 

 

 

 


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A story of pure gold

The golden answer to all that we seek, resides eternally

in the Golden Rule.

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Now a beautiful book for readers 3-8 – and hearts of all ages – explores its power in The Golden Friendship. This bright, colorfully illustrated story by New Hampshire writer and artist Lauren Chuslo-Shur follows the bumps that test the friendship between a Brazilian muriqui monkey and red-eyed tree frog and reveals the rewarding freedoms that acceptance and understanding always bring.

The story is supplemented with a list of thoughtful questions to maximize teachable moments about character and consequences, lively facts about the Brazilian rainforest and its animals, and instructions for how to craft the tissue-paper materials used to create the book’s delightful illustrations. 5withfurrilr

The Golden Friendship, published in hardcover, sells for $28 plus shipping and handling.

To order, E-mail author Lauren Chuslo-Shur at lcshur@comcast.net, or visit her Kensington Arts web site at: http://www.kensingtonartandcards.com/golden.html.