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

 

AWAKENING TO GOODNESS

“The fragrance of flowers spread only in the direction of the wind.  But the goodness of a person spreads in all directions.”  Chanakya

Do you believe you are a good person?  What do you do that makes you think that?  If you don’t think you’re a good person, what do you need to change?

This time of year the fragrance of flowers graces us whenever we are outside.  Their blossoms fill the sky and are scattered across the lawn especially after high winds or rain.  The very sight of them is uplifting and touches my heart.  They remind me of the people who have also touched my life and those who have made the world better for all of us.

I don’t have to define goodness.  We all know what it is although some of us may disagree about the people we consider to be good.  Division is rampant in our country right now in politics.  As a result it is also dividing some families.  When we are staunch-believers and build walls around us, letting only those who believe like we do connect with us, we severely limit our lives.

Improving The Planet and People’s Lives

Despite the division and negative attitudes rampant in our society, there are still people whose goodness fills the air like the fragrance of spring flowers.  Greta Thunberg, the Swedish environmental activist has moved the world to pay more attention to climate change and to do what we need to do to save the planet.  Her goodness has spread over the world.

In Asheville, the homeless situation is dire, but there is a movement to provide the homeless with decent housing.  Some hotels have allowed them to occupy rooms without having to pay.  Others are proposing building shelters that will allow those who want to live outdoors to have the facilities they need.  Through our good actions, we may change others’ lives for the better.

Basis of Goodness Is Love

Goodness usually refers to what we think will be positive or beneficial in a thought or action.  Often the basis of it is love.  We act in a good way because we care about the environment, or our family and friends.

Before my husband and I were married, we each lived in our own houses.  On a hike one day, I slipped and fell, badly breaking my ankle.  It required surgery and the doctor put a plate and pin in it.  My greatest fear was that I wouldn’t be able to walk down the aisle for our June wedding.  I was afraid my only choice was going into a facility to care for me, but my past experience with rehab was not good.

I was thrilled when my husband decided to move in early to care for me.  His act of goodness only further confirmed that I had definitely chosen the right man, but I did feel badly that our life together was starting that way.  Because of his love and caring, I was able to walk down the aisle on our wedding day.

The Goodness of Friendship

Friendships are valuable. They often allow us to share our thoughts freely without the other’s judgement.  A good friend listens, expresses empathy, and if asked, ventures an opinion.  Sharing ideas from a loving perspective often helps us see answers to problems we can’t see alone.  The value of a good friend is priceless.

Years ago, when I moved to the middle of Nebraska to teach, I immediately became friends with two good women.  I think they were drawn to me because I was different – a dancer and from “the big city.”  I was thrilled because they were warm and open and made me feel at home despite the culture gap that I experienced.

These warm friendships helped me be more upbeat with my students, especially in the midst of a freezing winter in a strange place.  I tried to be not only the students’ teacher, but also a caring person with whom they could share their concerns when they were struggling.  My friends’ goodness spread through me to others.

When we think about people like Mother Theresa or Martin Luther King, Jr. we have to acknowledge their influence was gigantic and their goodness spread throughout the world. But we don’t have to be famous to make a difference.  We just have to be willing to share our own goodness wherever and whenever we can.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Thank you, Nina, for today’s topic.  If anyone wants to contribute to next week’s topic, please offer a word starting with “H” and leave it in “Comment” at the end.  Thanks!

Related Blog Posts:

AWAKENING TO THE NEXT GOOD THING

AWAKENING TO DISCOVER THE LIGHT

AWAKENING TO LOVE THE WORLD, PART 1

 

AWAKENING TO FOCUS

“The focus is what is right before you – to give it your best.  It sows the seeds of tomorrow.”  Kiran Bedit

How focused are you?  On what do you focus most days?  How do you stay focused in order to complete what you started?

(Thanks to Eleanore for suggesting today’s topic and to Joanne for seconding it as relevant.  Next week I need a word starting with “G” so please leave me some words in Comment at the end of the post.  If you don’t want me to use your name if I choose your word as the topic, please just write “no name” after your suggestion.  Thanks for participating in this venture.)

* * *

Oh, my gosh! That beautiful bluebird just landed in the shrubbery outside the window.  I can’t decide if that’s my favorite or the red-winged blackbird I saw at the lake?

Isn’t that cute! The little girl from the next block has a new pink helmet – she needs to be careful riding her little bike so fast.

Oh, gee! I forgot to put out some protein to defrost for supper.

Now where was I going with this blog?

Can anyone relate to this?  I know it would be smart of me not to have my desk facing a front window, but on the other hand, the beauty of my neighborhood often inspires me.  What’s a gal to do?  Clearly, I need to focus on the task at hand.

How To Use Our Time

Do you ever experience this challenge?  With the pandemic, some people have more time on their hands than they like, so the question is how it is best to use it.  With others of us, the day is already too full of things that have to be done and we have to prioritize.

Wednesdays are the day I focus on writing this blog post, but the other days are not so focused.  Over the years, I’ve learned that the best way for me to get things done is to make a list each day of what I need to do.  As I complete each activity, I check it off the list.  At the end of the day, if I’ve completed them all, I throw away the list and tell myself – “well-done!”  If anything is still on the list, it is moved to the next day.

The Value of Long Term Lists

I also have a list that is not attached to a completion date.  These are items that need to be done in the next few days or week, and I can fit them into my schedule whenever it’s convenient.  While I can probably remember the things I need to do on a certain day without a list, other items can easily slip out of mind for days.  When I have completed the daily chores, the list reminds me of other productive ways to use my time.

A list doesn’t have to contain only work we need to do.  It may also remind us of social events as well.  Now that so much socializing takes place on Zoom, I place events on my calendar so I won’t forget when one is to occur.  I don’t attend them all, but this helps me remember options, so I can choose what I’m in the mood for that day.

Present Choices Affect the Future

Much of what we do today prepares us for tomorrow.  A champion baseball player didn’t become great over night; neither did a ballet dancer with the New York Ballet Company.  Becoming a doctor takes years, and getting a teaching certificate requires a college degree.

Especially as we age, how we focus on taking care of ourselves determines how active and healthy we can be for the present and the future.  We may have more restrictions in our diet, trying to avoid or maintain a low level of diabetes or other disease.  We may need to follow an exercise program to avoid back problems or just to keep us strong enough to go hiking.  Caring for ourselves requires doing the best we can right now, by focusing.

To meet any long-term goal, we have to focus on the moment and stay on track.  That requires commitment, discipline, and the willingness to avoid tantalizing distractions.  (Darn, there’s that blue bird again!)  What we do right now affects tomorrow.

It is probably a good thing I was at the lake yesterday watching the birds or I would be even more distracted today.  However, writing is also a major pleasure for me and creating this post is the goal I focus on right now.

What’s on your list for today?

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

RELATED POSTS:

AWAKENING TO AN OPEN MIND

AWAKENING TO WHAT IS BETTER

DANCE THE TRANSFORMATION

AWAKENING TO EVOLVEMENT

“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.”  Oprah Winfrey

Do you feel you are evolving in a good direction?  What do you do to keep growing as a person?  Do you like who you are becoming?

Thank you, Eleanore, for today’s topic.

Spring is a time when we joyfully watch nature evolving.  Trees with grayish brown trunks and branches slowly evolve into leafy green umbrellas.  Their branches become covered with greenish yellow or dark green leaves, depending on their growth stage.  Others suddenly burst full of white or pink flowers.  Stubby little shrubs like Azaleas blossom intensely red, calling attention to their beauty amid their flowerless neighbors.

Heredity and Family Affect Who We Are

While the evolvement of nature is seasonal, our evolvement follows many different paths.  Heredity may predetermine what we look like or what medical problems may arise during our years on this earth, but who we become depends on the choices we make and who we decide to be.

The family or environment in which we grow up forms much of who we are.  Some people choose to conform to their family’s way of life: doing the same work, following the same religion, voting for the same party, socializing in the same way.  For some, this is a good fit; for others, change is required to become an authentic person.  We may begin with one goal only to discover as we mature that we need to head in a different direction

Books About Finding Ourselves

As we evolve, the world around us changes as well.  Recently I read two books that have expanded my understanding of what being Black has meant in this country.  The first is the classic by Zora Neale Hurston, “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” published in 1937.

It is the story of Janie, a Black woman, who is searching for her true self.  She marries twice to men who want to control her every word and movement.  It is only with her third husband, Tea Cake, who doesn’t want to make her “one man’s mule,” that she is able to be authentic.  Like she says, “two things everybody’s got tuh do fuh theyselves.  They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh theyselves.”

The other novel is “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett.  It’s the story of light-skinned twin sisters who are growing up in a southern Black community.  They run away from home at sixteen, but each eventually chooses a different path for dealing with her racial identity.  One “becomes” a white woman, disappearing from her family, never revealing who she really is, while the other accepts her reality, marries a Black man and has a daughter with him who is black-skinned and thereby lives an authentic life.

Being True To Myself

Both of these books made it even clearer to me how privileged I am to be White and to have been raised in a middle-class environment, but they also reminded me how glad I am that I followed paths that even my parents and my former husband thought  foolish. Eventually, he divorced me because of the path I chose as a dancer.

I remember sitting up in our apartment at night where my former husband and I lived in a steel mill town, watching the light from the factories flow through the window.  It was obvious to me that I could never be who I wanted to be in that place.  I was teaching mostly gym in junior high, not the English or drama for which I had trained.  As a southerner, most of the other teachers ignored me.  I had only one “sort of” friend.

Fortunately, I was able to convince my husband to move back south to the town where my parents lived.  He found an excellent job in a nearby town and I worked with the National Endowment for the Arts program teaching dance in the schools and community.  I was able to be who I truly was, a teacher and dancer.   This experience gave me the background I needed to keep moving for many years in the artistic direction I had chosen for my life.

To evolve, we must decide what serves us well and what needs to change.  We have to explore how to do that, perhaps by getting help from family or friends, seeing a therapist, reading more widely, or thinking in a different way to expose ourselves to new possibilities.

Every choice we make in life defines us in some way.  When we can see who we want to become, we can more easily see the next step in our evolution.

©2021 Georganne Spruce

Next week the topic I will choose must start with an “F” so please give me some ideas of words for that blog.  Just leave your ideas under Comments.  Thanks to all of you who read these posts.

Related Blogs:

AWAKENING TO GROW

AWAKENING TO OUR HISTORIES

AWAKENING TO YOUR TRUE SELF

 

AWAKENING TO DEVOTION

“When devotion arises, life becomes profound.”  Sadhguru

To what are you most devoted?  How is it a part of your life?  Is it easy to stay devoted or difficult?

Thanks to Bill and Susan for this topic.

Devotion is a word that is often descriptive of a religious practice, but it also may refer to any idea or activity to which we are loyal or dedicated.  Most of all it indicates a practice that is a regular part of our lives because it is very meaningful for us.

Profound Work Requires Commitment

In fact, what we are most devoted to may define who we are.  People I know who have been devoted to helping children with special needs, do work that is profound.  One teacher I know cares deeply about her students and is very creative in a way that makes it possible for them to learn despite their learning disabilities.  For example, she teaches forensics, setting up a crime scene for students to analyze as a way of learning science.  I suspect that if my high school science classes had been that creative, I might have been much more interested.

I have another friend who is a wonderful artist.  She quit her regular job and let go of other activities in order to devote her time to painting.  As a result her work is now in galleries and she frequently sells her paintings.  The work she does is beautiful and her devotion to her love of it has deepened her life.

Another friend was dedicated to teaching students with special needs for years.  Now she, too, is devoted to her painting which is beautiful.  She makes cards for every occasion and I have never been able to throw one away.  Her love brings beauty and joy into my life, and I have placed her cards in my dining room where I see them often.

When we create anything profound, we bring profundity to others’ lives and that is a gift to the Universe.

Helping Others May Be Based On One’s Spirituality

For many people, their desire to make a difference originates in their religious or spiritual belief.  I know a man whose religious beliefs are different from mine, but his have led him in a profound direction.  He is devoted to counseling men in prison and also does grief counseling because he wants to help others become stronger and able to lead their lives in a positive way.

In my own life, the years I was devoted to learning who I really was in the deepest sense led me in various directions studying Jungian psychology, eastern religions, going to Unity Church of Christianity and Science of Mind churches.  But my life has always centered around learning, for as a teacher, I had to keep learning in order give my students what they truly needed.

While I am no longer a teacher, I am devoted to writing my blog every Wednesday.  I need that time to stop and think about life in a deep way and to share my thoughts with others.  I hope what I say is at least sometimes profound for those who read my posts.  I may repeat what I already know, but there are days when a topic speaks to me and I explore that idea, hoping to discover a new and profound understanding.

We Each Have Our Own Path

No two paths in life are alike even when they appear to be.  What may be profound to one person may be meaningless to another.  We all are in our own state of growing and learning, and to keep moving toward the profound we must be willing to devote ourselves to that special journey.

May devotion to your journey lead you to what is most profound for you.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Next week’s topic will start with an “E.”  Please leave your suggestions for the topic under comment below.  I’d love to have ideas that interest you.

Related Posts:

AWAKENING TO OUR STRENGTH

AWAKENING TO THE BEAUTY OF BALANCE

AWAKENING TO TEACH OURSELVES

 

 

 

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

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AWAKENING TO THE GIFT OF SURPRISE