Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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Let’s talk – about what unites rather than divides

As The Munich Girl’s second anniversary rolled around last month, life brought me many opportunities for reflection. And some lovely surprises for an author.

It brought what never fails to astonish me, what a friend calls “living into a dream realized.”

I’m reminded of words from author Norton Juster that I first encountered in grade school when I read The Phantom Tollbooth:

“So many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.

“Expect everything, I always say, and the unexpected never happens.”

As I looked ahead toward 2018, I realized that my heart’s goal for the novel is that it serve as a tool for discussion about some of the vital issues facing us on humanity’s path. These certainly include gender equality, and how we build what unites us rather than feed the things that divide us — and demean us.

My hope for this story has always been that it can raise the sort of questions that invite reaching deeper into ourselves for the vision that sees beyond the misperceptions that veil us from the living reality of oneness in which, and for which we’ve been created

Then I heard from author Arlene Bice, who read and reviewed The Munich Girl very thoughtfully a year ago. She had decided to have a follow-up discussion about the novel with some book group friends, and was generous enough to share a blog post about it afterward so that I could “listen in.”

“We particularly discussed the many relationships in the book,” Arlene noted. “The intricacies of a friendship, even one that is only renewed every four years and holds secrets. … The discussion spread to our political situation today, with many comparisons made about what we, as Americans, are facing today.

“We talked about how the women of today have so much more power and the avenue to use it than in the ’30s and ’40s. Hopefully, more women will go into the political arena and truly change our country for the better.

“We spoke of how the brave women of today will no longer tolerate sexual coercion from powerful men and put shame on the shoulders of those who have taken advantage of their power.”

As I reviewed Arlene’s words, I realized that back in November of 2015 when this book published, I couldn’t have imagined all that would be current before us in these days, and the parallels readers would draw between that and themes in the book’s story. Certainly, it is set in a very tumultuous time for both Germany and the world, a time I’d venture to say we may not have explored quite deeply enough yet.

So let’s keep talking.

If you’d like me to join in, I’m happy to, via Facetime, or in-person if it’s geographically feasible. If you or anyone you know has interest in this, just let me know in the comments or at info@phyllisring.com. I also offer discounts on the book’s price for those who’d like to read and discuss it together (with or without my looming presence 🙂 .)

You can find Arlene’s post about the discussion here: https://purplestoneblog.com/2017/11/21/the-munich-girl-by-phyllis-edgerly-ring-revisited/

 

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Synchronicity’s “results” are always best

munichgirl_card_frontA recent experience with a review of The Munich Girl reminded me, once again, of the beautiful synchronicity with which Life works — perhaps in spite of our “best planning” — and the delicious surprises that result. It was another sweet affirmation that the desires of our hearts aren’t lost, though the way in which they come into reality is often far beyond what we imagine.

When the novel’s print version came out almost a year ago, I dearly hoped that the book might receive coverage at the Story Circle Book Reviews network, a very thoughtful place where readers connect.

I was grateful when they agreed to receive a copy for potential review, since the world of books has become, now, a seemingly infinite universe of them. 11800190_10155878221225385_4242285263363148219_n

I was advised that the book might or might not be requested. And, indeed, the available copy sat there, unrequested, over these many long months.

Then last week, reader (and fine writer) Margaret Dubay Mikus delivered the lovely surprise: she had read the book, shows real understanding of both the story and its themes, had been kind enough to write a wonderful review — and Story Circle Network had accepted and published it!

Margaret writes:

“The [Munich Girl] also looks at the role of women in different cultures and periods in a way that is quite relevant right now.65675077782_000161_2

“Do women choose to play the lead in their own lives or do they sacrifice themselves for others?

“Ring also leads us to ask what we know of our parents’ lives. How might their experiences or traumas be passed down to us? How open are we to the changes that can come from deep healing? EB pix Germany and more 672

“You will want to cheer for Anna as she is drawn into the discovery of her past, re-creating her present, releasing her to soar into a future of possibilities. Engrossing and engaging with surprises and plot twists. I wanted to keep reading to find out what happens next.”

Find Margaret’s full review at: http://www.storycirclebookreviews.org/reviews/munichgirl.shtml


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Plenty of time and seclusion

DCRothen69673_10151484470081802_1069344063_nI received a writer’s perfect storm this past week.

It wasn’t the one that dumped 6+ inches of snow in our yard, though that contributed, in its way. My jackpot arrived when my husband took some time off as he recovered from surgery, and the weather and the holiday turned it all into an unplanned island of seclusion.

And many good hours of writing time.

DCclouds10491100_10152666649626802_3431092671284712017_nFew have expressed the power of such a windfall better than poet Robert Frost, speaking of the years he spent in my home state of New Hampshire:

“I might say the core of all my writing was probably the five free years I had on the farm down the road a mile or two from Derry Village toward Lawrence. The only thing we had was plenty of time and seclusion. I couldn’t have figured on it in advance. I hadn’t that kind of foresight. But it turned out as right as a doctor’s prescription.” (Robert Frost, Selected Letters)

A right prescription, indeed; a writer’s Thanksgiving-week horn of plenty.

EB pix Germany and more 679This unanticipated largesse mushroomed when a kind photographer friend I met in the course of my novel’s research sent a hefty stash of historic photos from my book’s world, dozens of shots of its best-known character. For good measure, he also enclosed a book, long out of print, that I’d despaired of ever finding.

Turns out that those photos, and that book, carried the “next piece” for where the book wanted to go.

EB pix Germany and more 696Sometimes, I almost feel embarrassed as I recognize that through its nearly 400 pages, this is exactly how the elements of the book have arrived, or, I should say, presented themselves. It may not be the way a lot of people go about this. It’s certainly not the rhythm or style of NaNoWriMo. But it’s how it works for me.

The kind friend who gathered those lovely surprises and sent them to me told me that he needed things to do as he recovers from surgery. What a wavelength of synchronicity life has us both on – and, as Frost said, we “couldn’t have figured on it in advance”.

Maybe that’s the magic of it. When I know that I’ll have the time and space to write, I often swing between unhelpful extremes. I get all “important” about it, shoveling on a mountain of expectations so that I feel buried under before I even start. (And I’m plenty creative about ways not to start.) Or, like those who win lotteries or receive a big inheritance, I start giving my resources away as though it’s somehow unseemly to find myself with so much of them.

Eva_Braun_by_PrinzessinHeinrikeLife tricked me perfectly this time. I didn’t—couldn’t—plan for it. Only walk right into wonderful hours of a surprise immersion I never saw coming.

“I hadn’t that kind of foresight.”

In Phyllis Edgerly Ring’s novel-in-progress, Anna Dahlberg is about to discover that her mother shared a secret friendship with Hitler’s mistress, and its trail leads straight to her own destiny.

Find more images at: http://pinterest.com/phyllisedgerlyr/


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Every true gift has eternity in it

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United Baptist Church, Lakeport, NH

My friend, Carol, gave me a wonderful surprise at about the last place I’d have expected it — her funeral.

She received the devastating news about her cancer the same day her employer told her that she would soon be out of a job.

Things happened even faster for Carol, after that – fast especially for someone who, like most of us at this stage of life, was never looking to include life-threatening illness in her life experience. By early September, she’d been given three months to live. Her goal was to make it through all three of them, which, God willing, would be just enough time to see her first grandchild.

I made a trip to see Carol that week and brought a small CD player I’d picked up. She’d been feeling so terrible that even reading and watching TV were impossible, but she could still enjoy listening to music. However, her own CD player had broken.

CD playerThere was so much I couldn’t do for her. This, at least, seemed like one small thing I could offer. Knowing how weak she was, I searched for a little machine that was lightweight and, hopefully, something she’d be able to move herself.

The day I saw her, despite the fact that she was essentially drifting between worlds, she, as always, received my gift graciously.

But my heart was saddened by two things that were clear from the moment I watched the home-health nurse call for an ambulance to take her to the hospital: Carol was never going to use that CD player, and she wasn’t going to live to see her grandchild born.

A week later, I sat in a small Victorian church whose beautiful stained-glass windows flooded its pews with rosy light. Waiting for Carol’s funeral service to begin, I was thinking about her life, and all of the things that would never be, when I noticed that among the vases of cut flowers and the pretty candles that had been set out on a small table up front, there was something familiar.

Read the rest at BoomerCafe, kind enough to include my thoughts about Carol this week:

DSCF3564http://www.boomercafe.com/2014/07/14/touching-story-love-friendship/

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

http://www.amazon.com/Life-First-Sight-Finding-Details-ebook/dp/B00B5MR9B0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

 


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With our own eyes, and our own hearts

the soul ajar_congdon2

Art by Lisa Congdon from “Whatever You Are, Be a Good One.” Learn more about her work here: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2014/04/01/whatever-you-are-be-a-good-one-lisa-congdon/

 

Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.

~ Carl Jung

Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.

~ Albert Einstein

If you desire faith, then you have faith enough.

~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Would it surprise you to learn that optimism is not a synonym for positivity, nor an opposite of negativity? Optimism transcends both. … Being optimistic ultimately means that an individual expects the best possible outcome from any situation. Such a person’s mindset and heart-set responds to whatever arises in the moment—uplifting or challenging—knowing that within it is a grace, an opportunity for their soul’s evolutionary progress.

Have you caught it yet?

~ Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith 

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What is the freedom and power of seeing and understanding with our own eyes?

Learn more about the gifts of this divine possibility at:

http://www.amazon.com/Thine-Own-Eyes-Imitate-Investigate-ebook/dp/B00I1JPC7I/ref=la_B00IS9LEZA_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404764134&sr=1-4