AWAKENING TO BE QUIET

“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

Do you enjoy the quiet in your life?  How do you use your quiet time or do you avoid it as much as possible?

(Thank you, Katherine and Mike for suggesting this topic.  Thank you to so many more of you who gave me other great ideas for today’s topic.  It wasn’t easy to decide which one to use, but this is the word that spoke to me. Next week the topic will start with an “R” so please leave me some words for topics in Comment.  Thanks so much)

We all experience two types of quiet: the outer and the inner.  Some people are uncomfortable with the outer quiet because it forces them inward and they prefer not to think too deeply about what they are feeling.  They have music or the TV on most of the time, are on the phone talking to friends, interacting on Facebook, or participating in groups online.  The pandemic has stifled what they consider a normal life with its restrictions on being face to face with groups.

Those of us who are introverts enjoy quiet time alone to think, reflect, rest, or read.  It isn’t that we don’t want a social life, it’s just that we need our time alone to deal with our inner selves.  This may include a spiritual quest that requires meditation, prayer, and reflecting on the path we are following.  While it is important to care for our physical body, it is equally important to take care of our emotional, mental, and spiritual selves.

We Are Healthiest When Inner and Outer Meet

The healthiest and perhaps the most satisfying way to live is for all these parts of ourselves to be integrated.  That requires us to take time to work with our inner being, to explore the parts of ourselves that prefer to hide or the parts of ourselves we don’t really like.

When I reflect on my life, I have to admit there have been many times, especially in the past, when I just blurted out what I thought or felt in a tense situation.  That was definitely an unwise choice in a work place and is probably why I was asked to leave or chose to leave in a couple of situations.  I was not going to squash my feelings!

Looking back on those incidents and even some current ones and while working with my inner self, I realize I acted that way for several reasons.  As a woman growing up when I did, I resented being treated as if my opinion had no value.  I also grew up with an extroverted mother who had been a prom queen and who made me feel there was something wrong with my quietness and my not being popular.

Reading self-help books and going to therapy led me to become more aware of expressing myself in a more appropriate way.  It also taught me that being quiet in some confrontational situations was more powerful than arguing.  Allowing some silence in the moment could shift the conversation to a more reasonable place.  Action was not always the best solution.

Learn How To Be Quiet

Valuing our inner quiet and making time to feed it will enrich us.  Physical strength alone is not enough to help us lead a good life.  When misfortune occurs, it requires us to adjust to the new situation.  When I was divorced years ago, I was used to living with another person.  At first, I felt very lonely and heart-broken, but as a child I had often been alone and learned how to make that time feel good.  When my mind wanted to stay attached to negative ideas, I learned to direct it to let go, take a deep breath, and release the thought.  At times, it took many deep breaths to let it go, but with time I became friends with the quietness again.

Being Quiet With An Activity

People experience quietness in many ways.  When I walk around a lake nearby, I feel inner and outer quiet.  There are always people fishing and they remind me of times during my childhood when  I watched my father fish.  We had to be quiet if we were nearby, so Mother helped us play in quiet ways or took us to another area to romp around.  What I didn’t realize until later in life is that, for many, fishing is a form of meditation, a time to go within and be at peace.

We Must Care For Ourselves

We live in such a busy world and are taught it’s a bad thing to “waste time.”  But cleaning out our inner mental garbage also helps keep our body healthy as well.  We have to take the time to care for ourselves, our minds and bodies, and it requires that we take the time to be quiet and to listen.

As our country and the world faces frightening challenges, perhaps the worst in our lifetime, we must learn to take care of ourselves and make wise choices.  In order to do that, we must listen to our inner selves.  Finding that inner quiet may provide us with the strength we need in order to wisely meet the challenges that face us.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Blog Posts:

BEING THE RIGHT ONE, Part 3, Meditation

AWAKENING TO OUR LONELINESS

AWAKENING TO SILENCE CHAOS

AWAKENING TO STILLNESS

 

AWAKENING TO PATIENCE

“Sometimes things aren’t clear right away.  That’s where you need to be patient and persevere and see where things lead.”  Mary Pierce.

Are you a patient person or is patience a challenge for you?  How do you stay patient when it is difficult for you?  What is the advantage of being patient?

(Thanks to Joanne for today’s topic.  Next week will be a topic starting with “Q” so please leave some words that I can use for the next blog topic.  Thanks for all your help!)

We are certainly living in a time that requires patience, but even without the pandemic and its restrictions, life always challenges us.  Unlike most of life, when we have those moments when we are physically threatened, we have to act quickly without thinking in order to protect ourselves or others.  We may not even have time to take a deep breath.

But most of life is not like that.  Being patient doesn’t mean waiting forever to see what will happen or tolerating what is harmful or unacceptable.  But it does mean taking the time to truly examine a situation in order to make the best decision about the action we should take.

As a young child I had to be patient for years.  In a way it really wasn’t an issue because my illnesses kept me in bed or limited my ability to be physically active.  By the time I reached junior high school,  I was able to do some physical activity.  I played tennis, danced, and went swimming at the local pool.  It was such a joy!

Needing to Control Makes Us Impatient

Throughout high school and college I was involved with many activities and became more impatient with life when things didn’t move along as I desired.  But at times I was forced to be patient.  I majored in drama and it’s impossible to perform in a play without considerable preparation.  You have to memorize your lines, attend many rehearsals, and learn specifically how to act and move.

Despite learning the value of patience in school, I found being patient in a work environment more challenging.  I worked in schools as a teacher and in offices in various positions.  Every situation required a period of learning what was acceptable behavior, what was quality work, and how to adjust to difficult co-workers or managers.

Determining When to Be Patience

Too much patience could be interpreted as laziness.  Too little patience could create conflicts that would lead to being fired or demoted.  But sufficient patience, at times, allowed me to eventually determine that a position or company was clearly not where I should be or that it was best to stay where I was and adjust my behavior to what was required.

When I first started teaching at a Catholic girl’s high school, I loved the disciplined atmosphere because I could really concentrate on the teaching.  However, an assistant principal observed me every week.  It made me very nervous and I was afraid she came so often because she didn’t think I was teaching very well.

With time, I realized that she was helping me become a better teacher.  She was gently teaching me more effective techniques like using group discussions and projects rather than relying on lecturing.  Her perseverance as well as mine made me a much more effective teacher in her school, but also give me the tools I would need when I went to work in inner city New Orleans.

Patience Is of Value Personally and At Work

Most of us feel unsettled when we are in a new situation, but being exposed to new situations offers us an opportunity to learn.  When I look back on my life, I can see how my lack of patience in social and work situations often hindered me in being successful.  There were times when I knew that what I wanted to say would create a problem, but I said it anyway.  No one was going to control me.

As I matured, I came to realize that at times I would say or do something that did not work for people who were close to me.  I had to take the time to evaluate the situation and perhaps discuss it with others.  While it may take time and patience to work out what I want to achieve, but having the patience to consider others is a requirement for healthy relationships.

Besides, exercising the patience to see where things will lead may lead us to unexpected joys.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Blog Posts:

AWAKENING TO BALANCE THE MIND

AWAKENING TO THE BEAUTY OF BALANCE

DANCING TO CHALLENGING EXPERIENCE

 

AWAKENING TO YOUR ODYSSEY

“The odyssey is not going out and seeing the world:  it’s about trying to get home.”  Pete Hamill

Does your life feel like an odyssey?  What makes it such a journey?  Does it work well for you or are there aspects that you need to change? What have you learned form it?

(Thanks to so many of you for such great “O” suggestions.  Especially thanks to Marguerite for this topic.  As a former English teacher, I couldn’t resist it.  In the Comment area please leave me some topic suggestions for next week starting with “P.”  Thanks!)

Most of us read “The Odyssey” in high school or college.  Written by Homer, it was an epic poem about Odysseus wandering for ten years after the Trojan War, trying to get home.  While most of us are not warriors, although some are, we all are traveling on the adventure of life.

An odyssey is defined as an intellectual or spiritual quest or an extended adventurous voyage or trip marked by many changes of fortune.  Do any of these describe your path through life?

I found Pete Hamill’s quote very interesting because we often have to wander from the path we intended to live in order to discover our true selves.

Changes Offer Positive and Negative Experiences

In the 1970’s I was living in the Washington, D.C. area teaching dance part-time when a friend of mine told me that a college in the middle of Nebraska was hiring a dance teacher to set up a dance program.  I knew nothing about Nebraska, but I needed a better income due to my divorce and was excited by the idea of creating a modern dance minor.

I accepted the position when they offered it to me.  After the interview, an art teacher on the dance committee took me out to a bar in town where I discovered he was charming, funny, and a great dancer.  I looked forward to getting to know him.

When I moved to Nebraska, I shared a house with community arts organizer and made two other wonderful women friends very quickly.  I expected everyone to be as friendly as the few people I had originally met, but I soon discovered that people generally were very distant and rarely shared their feelings.  No matter what I did I couldn’t break through those barriers.

The art teacher and I had become very close. I fell in love with him.  Although he said he loved me, he said he needed to get out of the small town and move to Oregon.  He needed to be alone to find himself.  I continued to teach at the college, but I felt stifled in such a small place.  I missed the diversity of a city.  I knew Nebraska was not my true home.

New Experiences Help Us Grow

I moved to Denver because I could easily teach my own dance classes there and it appeared I might be able to get a part-time job at a college.  Besides, the man I loved had to fly through Denver in order to see his parents in a small town near the state line, not far from Denver.  It would be easy for him to stop and visit with me.

To some it may seem I wandered too much in the west, but the wandering was beneficial. As it turned out, making it convenient for my lover to see me never led to a commitment. However, Denver became a true home where I grew in many ways.

During my odyssey in Nebraska and Denver, places I would previously not have considered living, I grew enormously as a teacher and person.  Especially in Denver, I felt I became more of who I truly was.  Because of a Buddhist friend’s influence and a quarter  of a semester teaching dance at the Naropa Institute, I decided to learn to meditate, a practice that expanded my spiritual life and benefitted my health.

I also made hiking friends and climbed to the top of huge mountains to be awed by God’s magnificent creations.  I attended a Science of Mind church and studied its teachings.  They helped me to pay more attention to the negative thoughts I allowed to control my thinking, and I learned how to release them.

These years were a time when my odyssey led me through trials and tribulations, taught me what I needed to let go of and what must become a part of me.  This journey brought me home to who I truly am.

Unexpected Gifts Help Us Grow

 Isn’t that what happens to so many of us?  On our odyssey through life we come upon the unexpected many times.  The world around us continues to change regardless of our choices and that often affects how we live and may force us to change.  Each experience is an opportunity to learn a better way to live or to define clearly what we don’t want. We may have to change the path or destination we had planned, or the experience may reassure us that we are on the right path.

I’ve often moved to take a new job, be close to a friend or family, or be in a healthier location.  There are negative and positive aspects to that, but there is one constant.  Every situation is an opportunity to learn, to experience new people and cultures, and I am grateful because it has helped me understand my journey and other people’s life quests.

Now as I move into the last decades of my life, I feel at home, living as my true self in a place that is my soul’s home, with a man who is the partner for whom I always searched.  My life isn’t perfect but it’s been a fascinating journey that has allowed me to become who I want to be.

May your odyssey guide you home.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Blogs:

WHERE THE JOURNEY LEAD

AWAKENING TO JOURNEY WITH GRATITUDE

AWAKENING TO THE JOURNEY THAT IS

 

 

AWAKENING TO THE NEW NORMAL

“We sense that ‘normal’ isn’t coming back, that we are being born into a new normal:  a new kind of society, a new relationship to earth, a new experience of being human.”  Charles Eisenstein

How do you feel about your new normal?  Has it been good for you in some way?  Has it created new challenges that you don’t know how to meet?

(Thanks to Joanne for today’s topic.  Please leave me some topic words that start with “O” for next week.  I greatly value the ideas you, my readers, suggest.  Thanks so much!)

Anything new that occurs in our lives may challenge us in terms of understanding its value.  The same thing may occur to two different people, but how they see that event or action may vary widely.  For one, it may be an opportunity to  move on in a new beneficial direction.  For another, the change may feel negative and overwhelming.

Many Have Lost Basic Necessities

The employment situation has changed for many.  For some people, the loss of income has caused a loss of housing and money for food.  For others, it has allowed them to move on to a better paying job that will make life less stressful.  Still some people have used this time to create their own business and work from home.

When so many people are in need, it is shameful to allow people making enormous amounts of money not to pay taxes.  It is outrageous that such a situation exists, for the amount that they should contribute would provide enormous support for those who are in desperate need, not because they have been foolish, but because they have genuine needs.

I am one of those retired people with a small income.  I live in a house because my brother was able to make it available for me and because I am now married.  With our combined income, my husband and I live comfortably.  However, my income would no longer be sufficient for me to live alone because the cost of every thing is so much higher than when I first retired.

In the area where I live, within the last few years, the rent for a one-bedroom apartment is twice what I used to pay for a two-bedroom apartment.  The cost of food is much greater.  These are the basics and yet many people’s salaries have remained low and stagnant for years.

We Are In Transition

This is a time of transition.  The changes in the environment have pushed us to a point when we need to transform the use of fossil fuel into solar.  We need to require affordable housing.  We need to raise wages for those at the lowest end of the economy and raise taxes for those at the highest end.  We need to revamp our laws to provide care for those caught in drug addiction.

Change Requires New Solutions

Our government is grappling with all these issues, as we are individually.  The right changes could transform our lives into a new normal that actually meets everyone’s needs.  No one should be going without health care, housing, or food.  It has never been more critical than it is now to vote for people who want to make positive changes for especially the poorest.

Recently, I talked on Zoom with a woman whom I’ve known casually for a few years.  I was shocked to discover that she believes all the lies being told about the value of the virus vaccines.  I wasn’t able to have a conversation with her because as soon as the topic came up she went into a rant.  Well, my new normal will definitely include keeping my distance from her.

We all need to respect others who still need to wear masks or keep social distance.  There is no way for us to know what health challenges another may face.  So hopefully, our new normal will include respect for each other’s well-being, even when it is somewhat uncomfortable for us.

Think Creatively About The Future

When challenges arise, we need to look beyond the obvious. We must become creative thinkers, considering ways of living and relating in ways that we never considered before the pandemic.  Even if what we try doesn’t work, we have eliminated one option and can move on to the next possibility.   And what we learn on the way may change our lives for the better.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Blog Posts:

AWAKENING TO TRANSITIONS

TRANSFORMING THE FEAR OF CHANGE

AWAKENING TO EFFECT CHANGE

AWAKENING TO GOOD DECISIONS

 

 

AWAKENING TO LIFE’S MOVEMENT

“Consciousness is only possible through change; change is only possible through movement.”  Aldous Huxley

How do you feel about movement in your life?  Do you enjoy new experiences or do they make you nervous?

(Thank you, Mike, for today’s “M” word.  It definitely moved my thinking!  For next week, I need a topic that begins with “N” so please share your ideas with me in the comment box.  Thanks so much!)

At this time of year the movement of nature is almost overwhelming.  The trees are lush and full, gardens are abundant with flowers and vegetables, and where I live, the rains frequently replenish the earth.  Then, when fall and winter come, these gifts disappear.  Under the colorful leaves of autumn, acorns grow and fall to feed the bears and the arriving cold weather pushes us to get out our sweaters and coats.

Our Lives Change Like The Seasons

Aside from our need to adapt to nature’s changing seasons, the seasons of our personal lives may change too.  Couples are married, babies are born, friends and relatives pass away.  We experience accidents or illness that force us to live differently by resting more often, spending less time with friends, or helping care for those who are ill while we’re still trying to work.

How we deal with the movement in our lives may determine how much we grow.  Every change presents us with an opportunity to make new choices.  If we are afraid of change, we may miss the chance to try something new that could be a true gift.  Fear of change may also prevent us from healing wounds that have given us pain for years.

Chance Movement May Bring Gifts

A number of years ago, I felt very frustrated with my dating experiences with men.  I had been in a few relationships over the years but seemed always to be drawn to men who wouldn’t or couldn’t make a commitment to me.  Since trying to meet guys in person wasn’t working, I considered going online, but I didn’t think that was a wise approach.  How could I know if the guy was telling me the truth when I couldn’t see him in person?

Because I couldn’t think of other options, I decided to try it.  Most of the men didn’t live anywhere near me and the last thing I wanted was another long-distance relationship.  Then, one day I got an email from a man who had seen me online, was interested, but said I had disappeared from the website where he found my profile.

As it turns out, I had accidently gotten on that site and when I discovered it, I deleted my account.  But this guy didn’t give up.  He searched and found my blog and an email address.  He seemed rather interesting and we began emailing.  He was planning soon to move to a town near me.  When he did, we started dating.

This week we joyously celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary.  My true soul mate had found me accidently!  Life can be beautifully surprising!

Movement Helps Understand Others

It’s also true that some ideas we have may lead us in the wrong direction, so we have to look at the possible consequences and weed out what is dangerous or unwise.  But when the change could lead us to a better job or a better life or friendship, it is good to explore the possibilities further. The key is to keep moving instead of remaining stagnant.

Unlike many people, I don’t have a life-long connection to one place and the people living there.  Even my family has lived in different cities.  But making my home in a variety of locations has increased my consciousness of different cultures.

When I taught Native American high school students in New Mexico, some students attended school but didn’t do the work.  I learned that they had decided to follow their native culture as opposed to the “white man’s way” and attended school only until they could legally quit. While this made them more acceptable to their culture, it was difficult for them to find work and earn money to feed their families.

Often, when we have difficulty understanding the choices people make, it is because we are stuck in our own beliefs and judge the differences we see in others.  To understand the differences, we must move beyond the surface.  We must allow our minds and emotions to travel to new places.

Seeing a situation from another point of view may reveal the solution to a problem that we thought had no solution.  At the very least it will move our consciousness to a better understanding of the human condition and increase our empathy for others.

The movement of the mind is unlimited, so enjoy the universe through which it travels.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related blog Posts:

AWAKENING TO THE VALUE OF CHANGE

TRANSFORMING THE FEAR OF CHANGE

AWAKENING TO EFFECT CHANGE

 

 

 

 

 

AWAKENING TO OUR LONELINESS

“At the innermost core of all loneliness is a deep and powerful yearning for union with one’s lost self.”  Brendan Behan

Do you often experience loneliness?  How do you react to it?  Is it always a negative experience or is it sometimes positive?

(Next week my topic will start with “M” so please give me some suggestions for a word beginning with that letter.  I want to know what interests you.  Leave your idea in comment)

The fear of loneliness and the actual experience of loneliness have been a huge part of many people’s lives during the pandemic.  This is often because many are not comfortable being alone and need frequent face-to-face companionship.

Fortunately we have had Zoom which has allowed us to see others’ faces.  Although it isn’t a substitute for face-to-face communication, it is better than an email, text, or just a voice over the phone.

Loneliness Can Support Creativity

However, there are those who experience loneliness often, although they might prefer to call it solitude.  Writers and artists require alone time to do their work, to concentrate and create, using their inner skills of thinking, feeling, and imagining to create a work of art that reflects personal feelings, thoughts, or experiences.  In these situations, being alone is not loneliness.  It is a connection with a deeper part of one’s self.

When we feel alone how can we make that sense of loneliness a positive thing?  I know one person who likes to experiment making bread.  Another experiments with cooking creative dinners.  Others plant extensive gardens in their back yards.  Doing these things fills a need to express oneself and reach out to others.

Loneliness May Depress Us

Beneath the desire to abate loneliness is the need to be in touch with our deepest self or as Behan states, “one’s lost self.”  When aloneness feels depressive or frightening, it is because we are not in touch with that deeper self.  There is some part of ourselves we do not know that feels lost to us.

For most of my life, I lived alone.  Loneliness was a frequent companion, a good friend when I wanted to write.  However, most of my meals were eaten alone, except perhaps accompanied by a book or television program.  When I had an occasional dinner with friends, it was always a pleasure and filled part of that lonely spot within.

During much of my alone time as a younger person, I felt something was missing within me.  There was an unfilled space expressed as loneliness and depression.  It was a dark space that could pull me down if I let it.  Like so many, those were the times I felt sorry for myself,  curled up in a ball on the bed and cried or went to sleep.

Finding Our Lost Soul In Spirituality

I had always been a person who thought deeply and was very emotional.  I needed to find a way to bring light to that inner darkness.  I felt in touch with God but not in the deepest way until I learned to meditate.  In those deep quiet moments I found my “lost self” and I opened to the mystical warmth and love of my new relationship with God who was both masculine and feminine.

Alone time became healing time, loving-myself-time, learning time.  I no longer felt oneness with all of life just when I walked in the woods or was with friends. I learned I had become one with my “lost self” and could love myself even when no one else did.  As a result, life became rich in ways I could not have imagined before I found that missing part of myself.

May you each find your “lost self” and become best friends.  Namaste.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Posts

AWAKENING TO THE ONENESS WITHIN

AWAKENING TO YOUR TRUE SELF

AWAKENING TO BEFRIEND OURSELVES

 

AWAKENING TO EXPRESS KINDNESS

“This is my simple religion.  There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy.  Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”  Dalai Lama

Do you consider yourself a kind person?  Are you surrounded by kind people?  How do you express your kindness?

(Thank you Charlie for our topic this week.  Next week, the topic will start with “L,” so please leave your suggestions for a topic in the comment section.  I always appreciate your suggestions.)

Qualities of Kind People

I am always deeply touched by kind people, and there are several things that I notice about them.  They are people who are at peace with themselves.  They look for what is positive in others and in situations.  They are empathetic and compassionate.

These are the kind of people I want in my life, the people I can trust, who when there is conflict will talk respectfully about our differences and work things out.  I can look back on my life and see the many times when I tolerated behavior in relationships and friendships that was less than respectful of who I was and my needs.  Now I find that I am less willing to ignore such disrespect and that more of the people I draw into my life are kind.

What has changed and why is kindness so important to me now?

Kindness Is Based On Loving Ourselves

I read an article “The Magic of Unconditional Love:  An Interview with Don Miguel Ruiz” by Diane Marie Bishop in Science of Mind Magazine.  In the article, Ruiz talks about how we cannot love others unconditionally unless we unconditionally love ourselves.  Over the years, my ability to love myself has grown.  I have let go of my need to be perfect or to fit someone else’s standard.  This acceptance has given me more peace, and I have learned to be kinder to myself and others.

It is all connected.  When we love ourselves, peace and joy automatically become part of our lives and the expression of kindness becomes a natural thing.  We are less reactive and more aware of how our words and actions affect others.  We are also more flexible and able to adapt to the needs of others when it is appropriate.  But we also are at peace with who we are and can say “no” when we must and do it in a way that is kind.

Negative Thinking Blocks Kindness

It was a challenging week last week with many every day difficulties arising.  It was a week of important teachings, a reminder that, instead of getting caught up in another’s negativity, I need to tap into my inner peace and stay there.  I wasn’t always able to do that, but I will continue to pursue that path.  Experiencing peace and love is my priority and that is what I want to share with others.

When we love ourselves, we are more likely to see life as positive.  When we are feeling positive, we are more likely to respond to life in a positive manner and act kindly.  But seeing the same situation from a negative point of view may completely change how one experiences an event.  Negative thinking can be a powerful block that supports our egos worst choices and keeps us from acting kindly from the heart.

Once, I offered to loan a friend a library book I’d finished so she could also read it before it was due.  With a long waiting list, it was hard to get.  She emailed me to leave it in her mailbox, but I wasn’t comfortable with that due to the torrential rains we were having, and it belonged to the library so I didn’t want to risk its getting damaged.  Since we lived close to each other, I asked her to give me a call when she was home, and I would bring it to her or she could pick it up.  She thought my concern was foolish, and she became angry that I wouldn’t do this the way she wanted, rejected my offer, and refused to return my phone call so we could work it out.

I was rather shocked by the whole situation.  Her response to the situation seemed harsh and out of proportion to the reality although, in the past, she had been disturbed about situations she viewed as negative when I didn’t see them that way.  Still, what created this problem?  Had I been unkind without realizing it?  Was she stressed about something or angry at me for another reason?  I didn’t know.  By focusing on the negative rather than the positive aspect of the situation and refusing to communicate, my friend created a problem that didn’t need to exist and eroded the trust I felt for her.

Positive Thinking Supports Kindness

An experience with a sales person when I had a problem with a new cell phone also illustrated the consequences of positive and negative approaches to situations.  This man made it clear that he only had time for people who were there to buy something although I had been required to trade out my phone for a new one due to network changes.

Because of his lack of customer service, I decided not to do business there again.  Instead I went to another store where a kind young man showed concern for my problems and took the time to show me how to use the new phone.  Perhaps he was just a kind person or perhaps he understood making a customer happy might mean more sales in the long run.  Either way he took the higher road.

Kindness May Be Expressed With Empathy and Compassion

Two other ways we can express kindness are through empathy and compassion.  They are beautiful expressions of our love and peace.  With empathy we are able to put ourselves in the other person’s place and feel what they are feeling.  We may make this connection because we’ve experienced a similar situation or because we use our imagination to envision what they are feeling.  Compassion takes us one step further emotionally to a place where we want to help.

To share our feelings of concern through either of these expressions is an act of kindness.  We care if another person is in pain or difficulty and want life to be better for him/her.  I have another friend who frequently expresses these qualities.  The trust I feel toward him because of this is huge.  Whether he thinks my feelings are foolish or not is irrelevant.  What he offers me is concern and empathy first.  If we argue, it becomes a respectful conversation that allows us to understand each other and helps our relationship grow deeper.  As a result, I feel loved and at peace with him.   I can always trust that he cares about what is best for me.

Allowing kindness to become an important part of our lives can truly change them for the better, for kindness is part of the holy within us.  It’s just another aspect of treating others as we wish to be treated.  Perhaps it is also another way of changing our own little worlds and contributing positively to the larger one.

What kindness have you expressed or experienced lately?

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO WHERE KINDNESS HAS GONE

AWAKENING TO A PEACEFUL HEART

AWAKENING TO COMPASSIONATE COMMUNICATION

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR PERFECTIONISM

 

AWAKENING TO OUR JUDGEMENTS

“We should not pretend to understand the world only by the intellect.  The judgement of the intellect is only part of the truth.”  Carl JunG

When do you most often make judgements about others?  What are those judgements based on?  Do they reflect how you feel as well as how you think?

(Thank you, Joanne for the word “judgement” for today’s topic.  My next blog will be based on a word that begins with “K” so please leave some suggestions in the Comment box.  Thanks for your help!)

When you notice yourself making a judgement about a person’s opinion or behavior, do you know where that judgment originates?  Is it based on what you think, what you feel, or your spiritual or political beliefs?

Webster’s definition of judgement is “the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing.” This definition supports the process that includes an intellectual activity in which we recognize patterns of details, noticing their similarities or differences, and draw conclusions based on this information.

This describes a good process, a wise way of evaluating a situation and deciding the best course of action to follow.  But is this the process we often use to make a decision?  Not always.  We all have different tendencies when it comes to decision making and we all have an emotional and a spiritual self in addition to our intellect.

We Fear Being Different

Many of the racist attitudes we see in others are clearly not formed from the intellect.  Often people accept their parents’ or friends’ attitudes because that’s what one does to fit in.  We don’t want to feel separate because that feels lonely and is scary.  It may also put us in danger if we don’t follow the same path.

Last week I asked this question about integrity:  What if a woman can’t feed her children and steals food from a store so they have something to eat?  When you read that, what judgement did you make?  Your intellect might have said, “She broke the law and she should have been arrested.”  Emotionally, you may have felt sorry for her and hoped she got away with it.  Your spiritual self may have forgiven her wrong doing and prayed that she could find a way to safely feed her children.

Notice The Source Of Our Decisions

When we make a judgement, we need to be aware of the source of our decision.  Our best decisions usually come from a wholistic awareness.  We notice the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual aspects of a situation to determine what we need to do.  In this case, our whole selves are making the best decision possible.

Hopefully over time, our experiences teach us the best way to determine the basis of our actions.  That doesn’t mean we always get to do what we “want” to do.  Sometimes I’m prediabetic – just barely.  But I don’t want to be diabetic, although my mother was and my brother is.  Every day I have to  put my emotions in my pocket and choose, not the food I’m craving filled with sugar, but the food that is healthy for me.

This decision is intellectual in the sense that it is reasoned.  I am aware of the scientific evidence of the effect of sugar on people like me, but it is also emotional.  How much do I care about myself?  If I choose to harm myself, I certainly won’t feel better.  When I do what’s best for me, it becomes easier to do what’s right because I feel good about myself and want to keep feeling better.

When we care enough about our well-being to make wise and healthy decisions, we not only can accept our friends and family making their best choices, but it is easier for us to accept and support them.  If their choices are different from ours, we simply accept they have different desires and needs and don’t view their decisions as actions taken against us.

When we can see ourselves and others as a whole, we are more likely to make the wisest choices, and are more able to accept the diversity in life.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Blog Posts:

AWAKENING TO OUR PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS

AWAKENING TO WHO YOU ARE

AWAKENING TO GOOD DECISIONS

AWAKENING TO INTEGRITY

 

AWAKENING TO INTEGRITY

“With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide.  With integrity, you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt.”  Zig Ziglar

What does integrity mean to you?  Is it integral to your life?  Does it often challenge you, and how do you handle those challenges?

(Thanks to Jeran who offered today’s topic. It was difficult to make a choice with so many good suggestions, but please keep the words coming.  Next week I need a topic that starts  with “J.”  Leave your ideas under Comment)

We often think of integrity as an adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.  But the other definition of it is the condition of being whole or undivided.  We create that wholeness throughout our lives, deciding what we believe and who we are, for what we believe and act on reflects who we are.

If we don’t feel whole, it is probably because parts of ourselves are at war and conflicted.  When we discuss a community issue with one friend, we express what we really think because we know that person will accept our point of view, but when we discuss this with another friend whose concept of what should happen is the opposite, we may agree with that person but sacrifice our own integrity.

Fear of Conflict

When we are afraid of conflict, we may often go against our true beliefs.  When we are unable to be true to ourselves, it is often because we are wounded.  For example, children who are not treated lovingly, may feel they are not good enough or worthwhile as adults and constantly try to please others rather than take care of themselves and remain faithful to what is most important.

Finding Peace Within

As we go through life, hopefully we continue to learn who we truly are.  What we learn may also change our sense of integrity.  The two most important things that have helped me maintain my integrity are learning to release my fears and meditating.

When I began practicing a technique to release my fear, I found that my relationships improved.  I felt more comfortable expressing my true feelings to family members and friends.  I accepted the fact that my ideas might not be accepted, but I wanted them to know who I am and what I stand for.  Meditation helped me experience inner peace and feeling whole.  It gave me an inner security about being truthful.

Years ago when I first learned I shouldn’t eat diary or gluten, one family member made it clear that she thought I was doing this just to get attention.  She had never encountered someone with gluten and dairy intolerance, so for her, it didn’t seem true.

My condition also made for some awkward moments when I ate out with friends.  In those days, most restaurants were unaware of the problem.  I had to ask in detail about ingredients.  It took time. It was awkward.  Sometimes I had to settle for very little food because there was little I could eat, and this occasionally upset friends, but I chose not to harm myself, and my good friends understood.

Choosing Integrity May Be Challenging

Life always brings changes that may challenge our integrity.  What if a mother has no money to feed her children so she steals food from a store?  Is that acting with integrity?  If you can’t afford to lose your job and are asked by your boss to do something that is illegal and you do it, does that compromise your integrity?  If you give money to an organization that your spouse doesn’t approve of and you don’t tell him, does that demonstrate a lack of integrity in the marriage?

Where is the integrity of a country that allows corporations to make billions of dollars in profit, pay no taxes, and pay workers less than a living wage?  We live in a world where there is a rampant lack of integrity in governments and businesses.  When we demand equality we are expressing our desire for integrity.

Caring for others, not just ourselves, is a test of integrity.  The good energy we put out into the world can change things and make life better for all.  Black Lives Matter is a perfect example of how people acting together with integrity can force change.  The change may be slower than we wish, but it is in motion.

What moral or ethical code of values do we choose to live by?  Does living by it make us feel whole?  How do we integrate it into our daily lives?  Those are the real challenges today and we each have to find our own answers.  We can’t buy integrity.  We have to live it.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Blog Posts:

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

AWAKENING TO LIVE WITHOUT FEAR

AWAKENING TO THE ONENESS WITHIN

 

AWAKENING TO HEAL WITH HUMOR

“When you awaken love and laughter in your life, your mind lets go of fear and anxiety, and your happy spirit becomes the healing balm that transforms every aspect of your human experience.” Jesse Dylan

Do you laugh often?  How does it make you feel?  Do you like making others laugh?  Does it make a significant difference in your life?

(Thanks to Eleanore for “healing” and Sherry for “humor.”  I wouldn’t have thought to put these two together without your suggestions.  Next week I need a word starting with “I” so leave your ideas in Comments.)

We often think of humor as a “light” element in life.  It’s fun to laugh but it’s nothing to take seriously.  We watch a comic movie or a comedian and laugh, lifting our energy up and into a positive place.  It feels good, so we do it without ever paying attention to what is going on deep within us.  We just like the good feeling it gives us.

Laughter Can Stop Arguments

Have you ever had an intense argument with someone you love and watched it escalate into a degree of anger and unkind words that could rip the relationship apart?  Then suddenly the other person takes a breath and says something very funny and you both start laughing.  The anger spills away and your love comes rushing back.  Laughter can change a relationship and turn it into what really matters.

Laughter Changes The Body’s Chemistry

When we are stressed, and anger is certainly stressful, laughter reduces the level of stress hormones and causes the body to release endorphins which make us feel good.  It’s also a healthy cardiovascular exercise because it makes the heart beat stronger.  Blood flows better, and delivers oxygen to the cells.

Laughter Can Relieve Depression and Stress

All of these physical responses rejuvenate us.  If we are feeling depressed, it’s a good time to read a funny book or watch a comedy show on TV.  Humor lures us to push aside the fear that is causing the depression, giving our mind and body an opportunity to release the constriction and begin healing.

The other day it seemed that everything I did on the computer was a mess.  I tried to find the results of a recent medical test.  It wasn’t there.  The lab had no record of it.  Another website failed to come up, and I couldn’t find the place on a particular site to respond and correct a problem that had arisen with another doctor.

Finally, I had had enough!  I took deep breaths to calm down, but still felt tense, so I just sat and looked out the window at the trees.  Two squirrels were chasing each other all over the yard and up and down the trees, flying from limb to limb.  I couldn’t help laughing at them.  It was a comedy show.

When the squirrels disappeared, I checked out how I felt.  Much better and I laughed at myself.  Why do I let technical things stress me so much?  It isn’t good for my mind or body.  The problem is that I feel inadequate in a world where nearly every aspect of life has a technical element.  I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have a husband who is technically savvy to help me and who has a good sense of humor.

Humor Is Healing

The humor we often share, especially corny jokes, is very healing.  We both love words so our humor often comes from playing off the word or phrase the other has spoken.  I love making him laugh and I think he enjoys my laughing at his jokes.

Perhaps instead of feeling bad about  inabilities, we need to laugh at them first, forgive ourselves for not being perfect, and seriously get those endorphins flowing quickly.  Any time we can lighten fear and anxiety, it is beneficial.  It doesn’t mean we need to ignore things that are complicated and require patience. It simply means humor can transform what we feel at the moment, and allow us to let go of the fear and anxiety that get in the way of  what’s staring us in the face at the moment.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Blog Posts:

AWAKENING TO LAUGH AT SIMPLE THINGS

AWAKENING TO THE LAUGHTER WITHIN

AWAKENING TO THE HEALING DANCE

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR