Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


Biding at the center of the circle


Photo: Nelson Ashberger

A friend described the rapid, often overnight changes appearing in the garden he and his wife have tended so carefully. Just days ago, there was limitless, burgeoning life in summer’s relentless sun and heat and rainfall.

Then, like a puff of breath on a dandelion gone to seed, it is spent and gone; fading away, or into decay.

In New England especially, these changes arrive as abruptly as the night chill that turns the leaves from green to scarlet.

“Stay at the center of the circle, and let all things take their course,” urges the Tao Te Ching.

Out at the sharp edges of the periphery, our very human selves can feel small and overcome, overwhelmed, in the inevitable enormity of change. The mind, confounded, struggles for purchase it can’t find.


Photo: Nancy Vincent Zinke

It’s then that a way is opened through which feelings, those unexpected guests left waiting so long in a side room, can emerge.

Autumn, in particular, with its cycles of death and harvest, seems well-suited for inviting forth the grief and pain that so much effort has tried so long to avoid, or contain.

Those seeds of unclaimed treasure found only in a heart broken open.

The center of the circle, that trustworthy core, can hold these, and us, as it holds all, and remind of what Rumi saw with such kind wisdom:


Photo: Nancy Vincent Zinke

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and scared.

Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do. 
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the earth.

What is the beauty we love?

What are those hundreds of ways?


Learning to see With Thine Own Eyes

“We are here to mirror to each other the attributes of the Creator.” As each new day arrives, that is the awareness I want uppermost in my mind, and my heart.

After George Ronald Publisher released With Thine Own Eyes last month, I remembered that this first collaborative writing experience has deep roots in my spiritual family tree.WTOEimage.php

My first glance at the publisher’s listing for the book transported me back 38 years to a cozy little apartment in York, Maine. That’s where two of the kindest people I’ve known, Ted and Marian Lippitt, welcomed me with such love that my soul could finally recognize exactly where its home always is.

They helped me, young as I was, understand – and come to believe – that the very fact that we live in an imperfect world is a Divinely inspired invitation to turn toward what is of God, especially within our own hearts, as our best remedy, and response. And to treasure it as dearly as our own sight and life.

Thank you to George Ronald Publisher for helping us share this work, and my enduring thanks to co-authors Diane Iverson and Ron Tomanio whose company on life’s path is in my heart forever. With hearts full of love, and hope, we offer this invitation to explore these life-giving possibilities in such times of burgeoning change:


Photo: Nelson Ashberger

 ~ setting aside blind imitation of the past

~ learning to build the good rather than fighting evil

~ choosing acts of service out of our spiritual understanding

~ listening carefully to our intuitive voice

~ knowing our purpose

~ regarding our fears as illusory

~ acquiring a sin-covering eye.

GRlogo150994_10151639928471124_2036423772_nLearn more and find ordering information for With Thine Own Eyes from George Ronald Publisher at:


Or find the KINDLE Version at: http://www.amazon.com/Thine-Own-Eyes-Imitate-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1391286164&sr=1-1&keywords=With+Thine


The beginning in the endings


“Evolution is transformation. And transformation is happening all the time. It happens as we learn new things …

“Evolution is not an automatic ever-ascending spiritual conveyor-belt, but the result of our ability to face reality, adjust, adapt, and change,” says Christine DeLorey, author of Life Cycles: Your Emotional Journey To Freedom And Happiness. I also highly recommend her http://creativenumerology.com/ site.

Fall is that time when so many endings seem to arrive at once, as the summer skies in which our dreams have soared in days of endless light grow overcast, like the darker mornings that are pointing us toward winter.

The intensity of contrast can be shocking when it appears; perhaps even disheartening. It reminds us of all that we do not yet know, and of the freedom in embracing that.

greens1374978_233813396773683_648730168_nEvery autumn, a part of me feels sad, as well as reminded, and also — like those spiked hulls from which such bright shiny chestnuts emerge — freshly broken open, once again.

“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable,” urges poet Mary Oliver. Theologian Paul Tillich reminds,“The first duty of love is to listen.”

colortip1383238_233814043440285_366268116_n“ … if you are willing to let your heart break completely open, with no internal narrative controlling the opening, you will discover the pure, innocent love that is alive in the core of every emotion, every feeling, everybody,” writes Gangaji. “It remains pure and spacious regardless of change or loss.”

Once this happens, then perhaps we are equipped at last for what these words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s invite:

rotetry1379621_233814693440220_853513411_n“Make ready thy soul that thou mayest be like the light which shineth forth from the loftiest heights on the coast, by means of which guidance may be given to the timid ships amid the darkness of fog …”

Including those often-timid ships of our own small selves.

Photos courtesy Nelson Ashberger.


Awareness unwraps the gift

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Imagine we are desert-bound souls desperately seeking water. If we are offered anything but water we will turn away. We might be offered a change of clothes, food, shelter — all good things. But the desperate nature of life-threatening thirst will cause the thirsty one to reject what is offered as if the offering were poison.

September 2007 227When we experience intense suffering personally, our world seems to narrow dramatically and become very small. Imagine the intense pain we feel when we sustain a deep burn or when we sustain a loss. Do we really care at that moment about any other needs in our life, no matter how legitimate they are? The need that seems most desperate can crowd out of our consciousness all other needs until that need is met, whether it is removing our hand from a heat source, healing from grief or quenching our thirst with life-giving water.

Israel 139If it is our desperate need to discover our authentic self and purpose, then once we know that true identity and purpose and understand the most beneficial ways to act, we’ll be ready for other things.

Without the awareness and involvement of our spiritual nature — who we truly are — our life is rather like a gift we can never unwrap nor fully receive.

Excerpted from With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate the Past When We Can Investigate Reality?, coming soon from George Ronald Publisher.