AWAKENING TO (WHAT WORD YOU SUGGEST)

DEAR READERS,

Wednesday, when I sent out my blog post, I forgot to ask you again for words starting with “d” that I might use as the topic for next week’s post.  So if you have suggestions, please leave them under comment.

Thanks for your ideas,

Georganne

AWAKENING TO CONSEQUENCES

“Nothing happens in a vacuum in life; every action has a series of consequences, and sometimes it takes a long time to fully understand the consequences of our actions.”  Khaled Hosseini

When you realize you have created a problem, how do you feel about it?  What do you do to try to solve it?  Do you ever choose to ignore it?

When I asked my readers to offer topics that correspond to letters of the alphabet, I thought only of the positive consequences.  I wanted readers to know I take an interest in their concerns, and  I thought that this process would also help me find new topics.  The reality was that this month, I received so many interesting words that I couldn’t decide which to choose, but the first word I received was consequences.  A timely word.

Just as I thought that was a good topic, I also thought, “Oh, dear, what if those who suggested words I don’t use feel hurt?”  Clearly, when I set up this situation I had not thought it through.  So, dear readers please know I appreciate every word you send and I will keep this list for the future.  If your word wasn’t chosen, please continue to offer me new ideas each week.

Doing the Unexpected May Be Enlightening

In life, one thing leads to another.  Until I made the choice to connect with a man on an online dating service, I had thought that was really a stupid thing to do.  I was frustrated by not meeting men with whom I had much in common and with whom I connected in a meaningful way.  So I decided to try it.  That’s how I met the man to whom I am married, and he’s a perfect, caring partner for me.

Our Choices Create Consequences

On the other hand, one of the worst decisions I ever had made, created consequences that never end.  Being a drama major in college, I was in a play where I played a seductive woman who sat at a table with a man and smoked.  I had to fake the smoking and afterwards took extensive teasing about how I clearly I had no idea how to smoke.

Well, I didn’t want to experience that again, so I bought a pack and learned to smoke.  I got hooked.  Over the years I tried to stop many times and finally succeeded when I was around 50 years old.  The result of my poor choice has been bladder cancer that reappears every few years.  Fortunately, it was discovered before it caused serious damage and I am now on a schedule for regular check-ups.

The consequences of our actions may be positive or negative, and are not always about taking action.  The result of inaction also affects us.  At this time, wearing masks has been proven to help prevent getting the virus; yet, some people still ignore the scientific advice that could protect them because they see this protection as a sign of weakness.

Some people also ignore the help that the medical profession may give them for other reasons.  Years ago, I had a very creative friend who had cancer but she refused to see a doctor.  She didn’t want to know the truth.  By the time her daughter convinced her to get help, she was in stage four.  She died in a few months.  I was angry at her for a long time for refusing help.  Choosing a state of denial rarely leads us to a good outcome.

Our Responses to Consequences May Vary

Many people find the life they want to live in one place and stay there their whole lives.  I can see so many advantages to this, but it has not been my path.  While some may feel that my living in eleven different states led to a sad life or showed my inability to commit to one place, I believe it has made my life richer in many ways.

Living in different areas exposed me to various kinds of people and expanded my ability to understand and accept those who are different from me.  Teaching teenagers stretched my ability to help them make good choices and understand the consequences of their choices.

Being a person of the mountains, both in Arkansas where I grew up and now living in the beautiful Blue Ridge area, I would never have chosen to live in the desert.  I nevertheless moved there because I needed to live in a dry climate to get well.  I was surprised by the beauty I found:  the stunning red sunsets, the colorful cactus blooming, the fantastic art on the sides of buildings, and the beauty and community of Native American tribes.  By learning to meditate, I found a peace I had never known.

We are often in situations where we have to guess at a wise response.  The result of our choice will lead us to the next choice we have to make.  And so life goes on.  We do the best we can in the moment and consider the possible consequences, then live and grow with them.

May your choices lead to the best moments of your life.  Wishing you peace and joy!

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Blogs:

AWAKENING TO ACCEPT REALITY

AWAKENING TO OUR MISDIRECTED PASSION

AWAKENING TO GOOD DECISIONS

 

 

 

AWAKENING TO THE BEAUTY OF BALANCE

“The ingredients of both darkness and light are equally present in all of us, …The madness of this planet is largely a result of the human being’s difficulty in coming to virtuous balance with himself.”  Elizabeth Gilbert

Where do you find beauty and balance in your life?  Is it difficult to create?  How do you do that?  What does it add to your life?

I want to thank Bill for suggesting “beauty” as the B topic this week.  As I thought about it, the word “balance” came to mind and is especially appropriate in a world that feels terribly unbalanced and certainly not beautiful in many people’s actions.

The Beauty Of Nature Has Balance

Of course when I think of beauty and balance, nature always comes to mind, especially what I experience at Owen Lake, the small lake around which my husband and I often walk in the late afternoon.  The geese, their large oval bodies balanced on one thin leg, seem magical .  Often, they awake, tiptoe to the water, skip across the lake’s glistening surface, and soar into the blue sky with wings spread on the updraft.

For a moment they are suspended in space before dropping smoothly onto the other side of the lake. There they quack at other ducks and geese and flirt with their floating partner, all balancing on the wings of the disappearing day.

Dance Creates Beautiful Artistic Balance

But then…another picture surfaces.  I remember those diamond moments when, as a dancer, I balanced on one leg, arms spread, lifted by the light, breath, and muscles growing out of the earth like a palm.  Dropping back to earth, I ran, leapt into the air, legs and arms spread to balance, magically suspended, like the geese, in perfect balance before I returned to earth.

While the beauty of this balance and suspension may take your breath away, especially if Baryshnikov is the dancer, there are other moments of balance in our lives that are beautiful.  There is the moment when the person you love, a partner or a child, turns to you and says, “I love you,” and the craziness of life suddenly, peacefully balances.

Finding The Beauty Of Balance As A Challenge

Anger may often take us off balance and cause us to do or say ugly things.  In the middle of an argument with a spouse or dear friend, we suddenly realize the issue at hand is about to break our precious connection.  In that moment, we see that if we win, we lose, so we find the words that will stop the disruption and hopefully, beautifully, heal the wound.

It is a pleasure to see balance in others.  To create it in ourselves may be challenging.  We must find the beauty within that can create the balance.  Often, we need help to see beyond the negative messages we received in childhood that we are somehow not good enough.  We have to find a good therapist, learn new ways of communicating, or heal our negative thinking. When we are at peace with ourselves, and our mind is in balance, we can see the non-physical beauty in others.

How To Balance Our Lives

I am so grateful for the years I learned to meditate and for the teacher who taught me to release my fears.  These approaches have often helped me see the best direction to take in life, including letting go or walking away when necessary. Even now when anger or fear arise in my life, I have the tools that I need to find balance.

While balance is a beautiful experience, our outer world is out of balance and often a challenge that we feel we have no way to change.  But we need to ask ourselves what can we each do in our way, in our own lives, to create more balance.  We all have the option to vote to change the people who don’t make the choices we prefer in the government.  If we feel lonely, there are groups that we now may Zoom with to discuss topics that interest us and at least see other human faces.  Leaving space between ourselves and others, we can walk across the land as it transforms into a colorful spring that brings us joy.  Making quiet time to go within and love oneself and connect with Spirit may bring the balance we need.

If we want the beauty of balance in our lives, we have to seek ways to create it, and that may be a gift not only for ourselves, but for all the other lives we touch.

May you find the light of beauty and balance in your life this week.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

***Please add to the conversation with a comment.  Also, what word would you like me to write about next week that starts with a C ?  You can place that in comment too.

Related Blog Posts:

AWAKENING TO SEE THE BEAUTY OF LIFE

AWAKENING TO BALANCE THE MIND

AWAKENING TO LIGHT THE DARKNESS

AWAKENING TO TRUST YOURSELF

 

AWAKENING TO AWE

“The moments that I feel the most imbued with a sense of awe are always the moments when I am outdoors.  I can’t help but feel a certain sense of wonder –I become almost filled with it.” Kathi Appelt

Photo: Georganne Spruce

How do you feel in the out-of-doors?  Are uplifted by nature?  Does it make you fearful?  How important is it to you?

Help Write The Blog

It is often a challenge to find a topic for each weekly blog because I have been writing them for years, so I’ve decided to take a different approach.  I’ll use the alphabet as a guide, choosing a word that starts with that week’s letter as my subject.  In addition, I invite you to suggest a word starting with the next letter that you want me to use as my next subject.  Place the word in the comment section at the end of the current blog.  So the topic for next week will start with a “B.”

Evolution of Words

I find it interesting that words we use may evolve and change over the years.  The archaic version of “awe” was “dread” or “terror.”  Now, however, we use it to mean “wonder” or “sublime.”  The quote that I chose today often uses the current meaning in reference to nature.

The Wonder of Spring

We may experience wonder, especially this time of year, when nature is showering us with blossoms and color.  I live in the mountains, which have been mostly brown through the winter, but now the green is beginning to sneak into the landscape.

Every day as I walk outside, a new flower appears in a neighbor’s yard.  This week the yellow jonquils  are prolific on the block.  In my yard, hiding under a shrub, is a purple crocus I almost missed seeing.  Sometimes awe is like that.  An awesome being is right before us but we cannot see it.

It’s far too easy to curl up inside and limit our lives even more than the pandemic restricts us, especially if we aren’t particularly a nature lover.  We can surround ourselves with books, watching television, or playing cards and avoid one of the most awesome times of year.

Releasing Our Fear With Awe

When I saw that “awe” used to mean “dread,” I immediately thought of nature.  Do any of you avoid walking through the forest or desert because you fear the wild bears or coyotes?  Where I live, the bears that have been hibernating awaken in spring and often visit us looking for food.  We have to be careful of them although we may also be entertained by their actions like the time three cubs tried to learn how to climb a tree in the front yard.

As a child growing up and hiking in the Arkansas mountains, I learned to watch out for snakes.  We often saw them crossing our paths.  My parents taught my brother and me to keep our distance and taught us which ones were the most dangerous, but we also learned they were just a part of nature, not anything evil.

If one has never been taught how to stay safe in a forest, I can understand why it would be fearful to go there, but one can always join hiking groups who know the terrain well.  Nature is unpredictable, but it is one of our most awesome natural gifts.  Standing among the beauty of nature touches my soul in a way little else can, for I don’t only see the beauty of nature, I feel it as well.  I feel the breeze flow through my hair, the sun caress my face, the earth touching my feet on hard rocks and spongy soil.

The Stillness of Nature Is A Gift

There is often a stillness in nature, as deep as the stillness of meditation, that reminds us to take time to be in touch with Spirit and our deepest selves.  In that place, we can experience “the peace that passes all understanding.”   Experiencing that awe may bring us answers to problems or make us aware of wiser ways to deal with challenges. This spiritual and energetic experience is as beautiful as the visual one.

Experiencing awe requires us to let go of the expected fear and be open to whatever possibilities appear.  Awe strikes us with a deep connection, not only to nature, but to all that is.  May you have an awesome week!

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Blogs:

AWAKENING TO THE SPRING OF LIFE

AWAKENING TO WALK IN BEAUTY

AWAKENING TO NATURE’S SURPRISES

 

 

 

 

AWAKENING TO OUR HISTORIES

“I’m also fascinated by the interplay between personal history and the larger forces that form the context of our lives.”  Julie Salamon

What was your family like?  Did you receive love or were you ignored?  How did your family’s treatment toward you affect whom you have become?

A few days ago, my past spoke to me in an unusual way.  I woke up in the morning and the first thing that popped up in my mind was the name of my best friend during junior and senior high school.  We hadn’t spoken since we were young women and I suddenly started remembering all the fun we had.

Since her first name is rather unusual, I searched online and found a person I suspected was her.  My husband who had been doing family research became curious and found her daughter’s site on Facebook with a picture of a woman holding a baby.  When I saw it, there was no doubt she was my friend.

Searching further, I found her telephone number, and gearing up my courage, I called her.  She recognized my name immediately and sounded very excited to hear from me.  We had a wonderful visit reminiscing about our fun times together and discussing our current lives.  It took me back to a time when I struggled with self-confidence but had loving friends who supported me and whom I supported.

Following Family Ways

I was always an introvert, but my mother was an extrovert who was always pushing me.  In high school she had pushed me to take speech and drama.  My friend and I had both moved away just before our senior years, but not to the same place.  Despite my reluctance, I took a course and became a part of the drama program at my new school.  It changed my life.

Despite being shy, my mother had also pushed me to learn to sing and accompanied me on the piano, encouraging me to sing in the church choir.  So learning to sing helped me gain more confidence.  I may have been shy about expressing myself but I always knew I looked good.  My mother made sure of that.

She was a phenomenal seamstress.  We had little money when I was growing up so she made all my clothes from remnants she purchased in a department store basement and adapted with simple patterns, making the dress look like the latest fashion.  Looking through my pictures, I found one of me about age five wearing a cute sundress and leaning against a tree as if I were a model.

When I was growing up, sewing, like cooking, was one of those things a woman had to learn.  Until well into adulthood, I sewed my own clothes and took care of my own hair and make-up.  While I paid less attention to cooking, which bored me, I did learn some essentials.

Being Loved and Loving Others

In addition to all the attention paid to my appearance as I grew up, I was very fortunate to have loving parents, two grandparents and a great aunt living next door for the first ten years of my life.  I was sick a great deal as a child, but there was always a loving person to take care of me.  From them I learned what being a loving person involved.  It wasn’t just about what you feel – it was about what you do.

My mother had been a teacher before and after she raised my brother and me. When I first decided to become a teacher, it was a practical decision.  I could earn a living and perhaps teach what I loved: literature, drama, speech, and dance.  It also gave me time to take classes, teach dance or be in plays at the community theater.  I didn’t need a lot of sleep in those days.

Finding Who We Are

I was rebelling against the limits placed on women at that time, but working made me feel freer even though I married right after college.  My husband and I had both agreed not to have children.  It was the 1960’s and women were stepping out of confining roles.

As a teacher, though, I was following in my mother’s footsteps.  At first, it was mainly a way to make money when my husband was in school.  But with time, teaching became about much more than money.  I became deeply concerned about the problems facing my students and saw that helping people was what had drawn my mother to this profession too.

Learning to Love

Teaching gave me the opportunity to love and support students who did not have a loving home life.  Many only had one parent who was working most of the time or a parent who was emotionally distant or abusive.  Others lived in dangerous or poor neighborhoods.  Too many dropped out or found no way to go to college and prepare for well-paying jobs.  Helping them see their own personal value was part of my job.

After seeing more clearly the challenges many people face–the parents as well as their children–I became even more thankful for my loving family.  Little did I know as a child, that not only was I loved, but I was being shown how to love.

Now as I learn about the children struggling at the border who are still separated from parents, I know only too well the damage done to their lives.  Those early years must include loving nurturance as well as food and a home.  Early experiences form the adults they become.


I worry too about those in prison, many of whom are young people who joined gangs as the only way they could see to protect themselves and their families and become strong.  Drugs may also have driven them to make bad choices even if they were fortunate enough to have good families.

Creating Our Own History  

We all need a milieu in which we are loved, taught how to treat each other with respect, and take good care of ourselves and those near us.  When our family histories do not include those skills, we struggle with life, and hopefully find others who will mentor us.

While there are parts of our history, such as our genetics, that we cannot change, there are many areas we can change.  It’s important to evaluate who we are and ask, “Is this who I want to be?”  If the answer is “yes,” we are very fortunate. If the answer is “no,” then it’s time we revise the course of our lives, so that in the future, “yes” will become our answer.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO IMPROVISE OUR LIVES

AWAKENING TO REHEARSE OUR LIVES

AWAKENING TO THE GIFT OF SURPRISE

 

AWAKENING TO THE GIFT OF SURPRISE

“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.”  Boris Pasternak

Do you like surprises?  If not, why not?  How do you usually respond to them?

A couple of weeks ago when we had some occasional days of snow, I was quietly writing on my computer.  My desk faces a front window.  I became distracted by the chirping and fluttering of a large group of Robins.  Outside to my right was a holly bush full of red berries.  Having this bush there was a treat in the winter when there is no color from flowers or other growing things.

Seeing What Was Always There

I finally stopped to pay attention to the birds and realized at least a dozen or more were flying back and forth from the brush to the bare branches of the trees nearby.  Landing on the bush, each ate several berries, then flew back to a tree.  Resting a moment, or maybe waiting his turn, each bird watched, then flew to the bush, fluttered about, noisily landed, and gobbled again.

The Robins were so entertaining with their flight patterns, chirping and fussing, and careful selection of which berry to eat that I watched them for quite a while.  What a surprise!  I’ve lived with that holly bush for years and never seen this before.  What a pleasure! Had it been happening for years but I never noticed?

Surprises Show Us Who We Really Are

The wonderful thing about surprises is that they may open our hearts and minds in ways we had never expected and lead us in a direction we may not have previously chosen.

When I was a high school senior, my family had just moved to Memphis and I was facing my senior year not knowing a soul.  I had become interested in theater so I took a drama class that created a new group of friends for me.  At the end of the year, we performed a musical in which I had a major role.  I was thrilled!  Previously, I had always had tiny roles.

I also became a member of the Thespian Society and it gave out awards at the end of the year.  Sitting at the banquet, I was sure the girl who had played the largest lead role would win the Best Actress Award.  So when my name was called, I was so surprised I couldn’t move.  I looked at the friend next to me who motioned for me to get up.

This award made me realize what others were trying to tell me.  I was talented.  Because of this, I followed my desire and majored in theater in college.  This training was a tremendous gift for life, especially since I  was naturally an introvert.  By the time I finished college, I felt confident about expressing myself orally and also about writing speeches or poetry that could then be read aloud.

Negative Surprises May Have Hidden Gifts

While I have mentioned only happy surprises, even unhappy ones may be a gift.  When my father died suddenly from a burst blood vessel in his lung, it shocked us all.   For him, however, it was better than the painful misery of fighting to breathe.

When my first husband was having an affair, I was unaware of it until he told me he wanted a divorce.  I was shocked! Then he explained what had been going on.  Learning about his betrayal made me face the fact that we really were not a good match.  He could never be the kind of partner with whom I wanted to share my life.  Clearly, I was not his ideal.  This was a gift to me in disguise.

We Prefer Happy Surprises

Of course the surprises we all like the most are the happy ones:  the partner we love asking us to marry, getting the promotion we thought would go to someone else, or receiving the gift of roses or sweets that reminds us we are loved.

However, the most valuable aspect of a surprise is that it often opens our minds to see what we need to see, when we have been unable or unwilling.  Those surprises may move us forward in life, show us how we are limiting ourselves and need to change, or reveal what we most need to know.  These surprises are the gifts we most need to receive.

2020 © Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO SURPRISES

AWAKENING TO NATURE’S SURPRISES

AWAKENING TO CREATE HAPPINESS

AWAKENING TO ON-GOING CHANGE

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.  We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.  We are the change we seek.”  Barack Obama

How do you feel about change?  What are you doing to adapt to the Pandemic and other changes?  Are the changes you’ve made working well?

I chose this quotation because Barack Obama was the change he wanted and the change many of us hoped we would live long enough to see – the first Black person to be president of our country.  We continue to see changes like this in the new current Biden administration.  Many more positions are being filled by those who are not white men, and this diversity represents the reality of the country.

Change will not stop.  Even the 25-year-old car I drive keeps changing.  It’s rusting in spots, the seats continue to fade, the pebble dent in the front window spread across the glass and the windshield had to be replaced.  Even what seems rock-solid, changes.

Changes Out of Our Control

Our country has experienced many changes, both positive and negative, in the last few years, so that nothing feels stable.  Many of us never envisioned the Nine Eleven disaster or the recent riot at the capital.  We never dreamed of losing a loved one in a pandemic.  That only happened in the Middle Ages.

While many of the changes around and in our lives seem out of our control, many are not.  Many are appearing in order to awaken us to changes that need to be made in the world, our country, and in our personal lives.

In my own life, I am having to face the fact that my aging body will not remain pain-free unless I do certain exercises every day.  I’ve walked daily for years and like doing that, but as time has passed, I’ve had to add more exercises to my plan. I’m not happy with that.  Unfortunately, my physical therapist, who is very competent, is not a magician.  If I want to continue to be pain free, I have no choice but to keep doing the required routine.

Look For The Good In Changes

Wayne Dyer said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  It’s so easy to slip into our comfortable lives and think unpleasant change will never touch us, but there are few of us who have not been affected by the pandemic in some way.  Everything changes.  We have to be willing to see the good in the changes we need to make.

We all need to take climate change seriously.  The scientific reality of it is right in our faces with the fires out west and the snows down south.  We are the only ones who can, at least, somewhat return our planet to normal by planting the right flowers to feed bees.  We can help keep streams clean by reducing the use of plastic.  We are “the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

We have recently elected a president who is seriously trying to make changes that will save people from starvation, illness, and the loss of their homes in this difficult time.  By voting for him, we hoped he was the change needed to help people suffering from the pandemic and loss of work and income.  So far, it appears we made the right choice.

Helping Others Helps Us

On a personal level, there is much we can do to help others with the challenges of the pandemic.  I have a friend who made masks for many people and delivered food to the elderly.  Others offer rides to doctors or deliver medications or walk dogs.  Some people are gathering virtually to discover ways to improve police departments, handle addiction problems, or address racial equity.

Change is often frightening when we have had a stable life that was working well and we were surrounded by people who were like us.  But life does not stop changing regardless of what we do. We cannot control everything in life.  If we want the changes in our lives to be wise ones, we need to share our wisdom and take the steps we can to improve our lives and the world.

Remember—you are the change you’ve been waiting for.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Blogs:

TRANSFORMING THE FEAR OF CHANGE

AWAKENING TO THE VALUE OF CHANGE

RELEASING OUR FEAR TO AWAKEN

 

AWAKENING TO REHEARSE OUR LIVES

“The rehearsal process is an opportunity to work through things collaboratively.”  Liz Lerman

How do you work through things in your life?  Does that approach usually work?  How you make your best contact with other people?

In the 1970’s when I was a dancer, I was fortunate to study improvisation with Liz Lerman in Washington, DC and to perform a dance she created for Choreo 18, the modern dance company of which I was a member.

Recently, I watched a video interview with her Many good memories flooded my head, especially learning how to creatively explore my movement in more depth.  But what struck me most profoundly was when she asked, “Do you use rehearsals in your life?’

The Value of Rehearsing

She pointed out that in rehearsals you try out different movements, analyze what you are doing, and look for the right movement to create what you want others to see or what you want to communicate.  She then suggested that perhaps we could do this to discover how we can be in a “better way together.”

When a problem arises, how do we attempt to solve it?  It may be a recurring problem to which  we found a workable solution in the past, so we do what we have always done.  But if  the challenge is a new issue or complex, we may have to improvise by considering and trying out several possibilities in order to find a solution that is workable.

Rehearsals Show Us New Options

Certainly the pandemic has challenged us to find new ways to entertain or enrich ourselves without being face to face with others.  Liz and the members of her walking group have adapted to the quarantine by using their phones as they walk through the streets or forests.  Some of them live in different countries, but can still connect and walk “together.”

My rehearsals with words continue every day as I write, exchanging words and tenses to say exactly what I want to say.  It’s rare that I’m happy with the first version of any sentence, so I must rehearse various ways to describe the perfect moment or spoken sentence.  I may change the character who speaks or let the verbal statement become a thought.

Rehearsals Can Improve Relationships

In relationships we have to develop ways to communicate, especially when conflict arises.  A rehearsal may be needed to develop a satisfactory approach to discuss our differences.  Shouting never leads us to an effective conclusion so we need to ask, as Liz does, how can we be together in a better way?

Perhaps sitting down, each with a cup of tea or coffee, is a good start to the conversation. We may need to Zoom with the people with whom we don’t live.  Being face to face always improves communication.

When we have discerned a way to talk respectfully with each other, we will probably have more than one rehearsal before we have created the perfect solution for the two of us.  Even then our plan may often need a few adjustments.

The show that is our lives must go on.  Rehearsals always bring our creativity to the surface and hopefully help us find the best solution to our challenges.  During this dance of life,  may you rehearse what is the best in all areas of your life.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO IMPROVISE OUR LIVES

AWAKENING TO OUR MYSTERIES

AWAKENING TO THE DANCE OF THE HEART

AWAKENING TO YOUR IMAGINATION

 

AWAKENING TO NOURISHMENT

“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”  Jean Shinoda Bolen

What nourishes you the most?  How did you discover it?  What place does it have in your life?

When I think of nourishment, four things come to mind:  eating dinner, reading books, the forest and a spiritual practice.  While we need food to survive physically, we also need nourishment for the mind and soul.  Hopefully, we do more than just care for our bodies.

Food As Nourishment

I have a friend for whom cooking is an art form.  Entering her house, I feel like I’ve walked into a New Orleans restaurant, for the aroma as well as the taste of the food is delicious.  For her, cooking is about more than feeding the body to survive.  It nourishes her soul as well.

Food often brings family or friends together.  Around the table we share what we think about current events, our on-going activities, issues we need to work out with others, and hopes for the future.  While this experience is less possible for some right now, my husband and I have used Zoom on holidays to eat together with family members.  Seeing faces and hearing voices helps us feel more of the nourishment our mutual love brings to the table.

Reading As Nourishment

Most of my friends and I love to read books.  Nonfiction books teach us about history and the reality of times we have not lived through.  At times, this nourishment may not feel joyful as was the case when I read Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns.  It is the story of the Black people’s migration from the south to the north.  Some found their lives improved; others did not.  But this information expanded my understanding of others’ experiences in a profound way.

Such stories allow us to understand life better even when we don’t like what the stories tell us.  In that sense, opening our minds is a way of nourishing them and enriching our intellectual awareness.  Reading fiction, on the other hand, may enrich our emotions.  We empathize with the characters’ challenges, their loves and losses, and what they learn from these experiences.  It may even help us to see events in our own lives in new and helpful ways.

Nature As Nourishment

Walking through a forest full of autumn leaves or empty branches opening to a winter sun nourishes my soul and calms my mind.  In the spring, the abundance of beautiful green leaves and an array of colorful flowers feed all my senses with pleasure.  In the forest I often feel I’m in heaven and the energy of Spirit is connecting with my spirit, feeding it with peace and understanding.

While I always feel spiritually nourished in the forest, I also feel sensually fed walking over rocky paths, tracking through grassy soil, enjoying the rush of a nearby stream, and being entertained by the melodies of bird song.  In the spring with flowering trees and bushes all around, the color is visually nourishing and the mountain views and sunsets take my breath away.

Spiritual Practices As Nourishment

While the experiences I’ve mentioned require us to connect with something outside ourselves, some form of meditation or meditative movement nourishes the center of who we are.  These experiences take us to the deepest parts of ourselves.  Here, regardless of the mess we may think we have made of our lives, we are loved by the Spirit who loves us all.

Getting in touch with this peace within assists us in seeing the truth of what is happening in the life we live.  Many times after meditation, a prayer time, or a quiet walk, I let the darkness clinging to my life drop away and allow the light of Spirit to cleanse and fill me with new spiritual nourishment.

In these moments, peace and joy may feed us with what we need most, so we need to remember how expansive the menu of life really is and allow all of it to nourish us.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO DEEPEN OURSELVES

ART: A FEAST TO AWAKEN THE SOUL

AWAKENING TO SPIRITUAL GARDENING

 

AWAKENING TO THE LIGHT WITHIN

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”  Leonard Cohen

Is there light in your life?  What is its source?  How does it affect your life?

At this time of year, the crack in the darkness slowly enlarges until months later we find ourselves in the long daily light of summer.  As the rain and snow fall, we dream of the days when we can walk and play outside without a heavy coat or rain jacket.  We long for what we used to called normal before the pandemic and onset of winter.

This week the light has come into my life from two specific sources.  One occurred on Sunday as I listened to Laura Collins’ message at Jubilee Community.  This community is based on the theology of Creation Spirituality, and this period of the year is called the Via Creativa, a time when the light gradually increases and prepares for living things to awaken and grow again.

Being Present With Ourselves

Sunday’s theme was “Rooted and Grounded in Presence.” One of the ideas presented was that being present is being in our bodies, and when we are, we can be in touch with who we really  are.  When we are present, the light of our being allows us to be seen and to see ourselves.

We have to remember that darkness is not always bad.  It allows us to rest, to dream, to refresh, and when we reawaken in the light, a new day, a new thought, a new awareness may brighten our lives.  We cannot run around out in the world every day.  The darkness presents an opportunity to sit quietly and look within.

Returning To Our True Selves

The other experience I had was viewing a movie called, “Time of Sixth Sun.”  It was about the belief of indigenous people, that we are entering a time when we must come back to who we truly are.  It is a time to remember, to hear the voice inside and allow the parts of ourselves that are asleep to awaken.

It is a time to remember and listen to the voice within.  For centuries we have focused outside ourselves.  We have let the left brain control life, putting the emphasis on acquiring things and money and power.  It is the world of the masculine, the energy of the sun, but we must now move into the right brain awareness of the feminine, the moon energy.  There we can hear the part of ourselves that wishes to awaken.  By doing so, we will find who we truly are.

In that inner darkness, we will find the light within – our divinity, our soul.  We must create the quiet and solitude we need for ourselves and with others who travel a similar path. When we are able to see more deeply, we will no longer be afraid of letting our light shine through the crack this awakening creates.

A Future Designed For All People

We already see ways that the young people in the world are rejecting the old ways.  They want to save the planet, create equality for all, make racial justice a reality, and insure that no one goes hungry.  We have seen the beginning of this new vibration in our country since the recent election.  The changes the Biden administration seeks to make are not merely political.  They are in response to the actual needs of the country’s citizens.

The old crack in our world has widened to allow more light to flow into our lives.  This world will expand through the diversity that is now part of our government.  Just as the indigenous people have predicted, we see women, life nurturers, rising to create the new earth we all need.  Let us awaken to the dream of the ancient ones, and allow our light to create a new society bringing together all people.

The indigenous people in “The Time of the Sixth Sun” believe that in seven years we will have a “perfect” world, a more cooperative and wholistic society.  I hope they are right.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

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AWAKENING TO LIGHT THE DARKNESS

LIGHTING OUR DARKNESS