Category Archives: Inspirational Posts


“Change your thoughts and change your world.” Norman Vincent Peale


How do your thoughts affect how you feel? Do you feel threatened when you are exposed to new ideas? How do you deal with that?

One of the most startling moments of my life was when I attended a Unity church many years ago. Amid other points a workshop speaker was making, he emphasized the point that our thoughts create our emotions, not the other way around.

Our Thoughts Create Emotions

Having always been a rather emotional person, I thought, “Wait a minute. That can’t be right.” But over the next few days as I contemplated this idea, I realized that behind every fear or angry feeling I had there was a thought related to it. What I had heard at the workshop began to make sense.

After choosing to practice this idea that changing my thinking could change my emotions, I discovered that I could let go of many fears. Instead of focusing on all the things that could go wrong in a situation, I could focus on what I wanted to happen. I learned to expect the best. As a result, my life seemed to go better.

That doesn’t mean that what we envision will always happen, it just means it’s more likely to manifest. Expecting the worst in life doesn’t help or move us ahead. If we expect things to go badly, we probably won’t make as much effort to create what we really want.

Expressing Negativity Puts Negative Energy Into the World

The U.S. election his year is a perfect example of how powerful our thoughts can be. The negative thoughts flying through the air from candidate to candidate are increasingly creating fear and more anger. That kind of negativity damages those who speak it and those who receive it. Can you imagine how much damage will be done if those with the most violent and disrespectful attitudes win?

Respect Creates Positive Energy

How can we use our thoughts to benefit and change our world for the better? Shall we start with simple respect? There are so many opportunities to practice respect every day even when we come into contact with ideas and people we don’t like. Being respectful doesn’t mean we have to agree or accept situations we don’t like; it simply means we treat each other like worthwhile human beings.

Our actions, as well as our thoughts, create energy in our lives. We can choose the quality of that by taking control of what we think, by not acting only out of emotion, but by examining the situation and deciding what we think first. What are the pros and cons of making a certain decision? Is there fear involved? Why?


Fearing Those Who Are Different Doesn’t Help Us

A member of my family once told me that he feared Muslims; however, he had never known one. In contrast, another family member had the opportunity to get to know a young Muslim woman, became friends with her, and learned a great deal about her that she respected. So often, it is what we don’t know that frightens us, and the only way to change that is to educate ourselves and be willing to open our minds to visit with people who are different.

When I began teaching high school in the New Orleans Public Schools in the 1990’s, my greatest fear was that I would say or do something that would offend someone. Most of the teachers and all but one of my students were African-American.

That fear came from an experience I had had in college. Eating dinner one night with an African-American friend, I had made a “stupid” comment as I tried to empathize with her. I was not a prejudiced person, but I had rarely had an opportunity to know an African-American person, and I focused on our similarities, not our differences.

As a result of my misstep, when I went to teach in NOPS, I was afraid that I might say something insensitive without really knowing it. Fortunately, I seemed to get along with everyone and I was never accused of being insensitive. The longer I worked in that situation and got to know individuals, the more I learned about the culture, and the less fear I felt.


Changing Our Thoughts May Create Peace

Learning to change our thoughts and choose what we think is a powerful lesson. Experience with what we fear may help us, but ultimately we need to find ways to let go of the psychological fears that keep us living in narrow spaces. Diversity is a reality in the modern world and it’s not going to change. If we are to live happily and at peace, we have to learn to respect our differences.

The current election is just one opportunity we have to change our thoughts and our world. We need to educate ourselves about the candidates, observe their behavior, and know that if they do not treat each other respectfully, they certainly are not going to treat us with respect. In a democracy, our right to vote is a powerful tool we all need to use.

Change Our Thoughts To Help Others

But our respect also includes being aware of those in need in our society and caring what happens to them. Most people in need are not in that situation because they have been irresponsible, but because they haven’t had the opportunity to do better. In fact, many may have been taught that they can’t succeed, and they believe what they have been told. How we treat others can help change their thinking too.

How we think is our choice. Let us begin to choose compassion, love, and respect for one another, sending positive energy out into the world. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

What thoughts do you need to change to make your life better?

© 2016 Georganne Spruce                                                         ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Posts:  Awakening to the World, Part 2, Diversity, Awakening to Live without Fear, Transforming the Fear of Change


“For we have not come here to take prisoners or to confine our wondrous spirits, but to experience ever and ever more deeply our divine courage, freedom and light!” Hafiz

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

What choices have you made recently that have lifted your spirits? Do you create unnecessary limitations in your life? How can you release those and free your spirit?

In winter the light in our lives falters, especially in the mountains where fog may surround us or the evening sun may disappear quickly behind even the lowest peaks. It seems like the gray days with rain and clouds are endless alternating with only a few days of bright sunlight.

But this winter, the lack of light is about more than the weather. Around the world, violence and the deep need of people cry out haunting the days of our lives. In our own country, the negative and destructive promises of some of the presidential candidates go beyond anything we have ever seen, and the way some congressional leaders refuse to do what the people elected them to do is barbarous.

Share Our Light

At a time like this, where can we find the light? Only within. Last night I listened to the story of a friend’s journey as she hiked the El Camino de Santiago, and what struck me most was the way her inner light shone throughout her story. She was so excited and appreciative of the way other people helped her: of finally getting a meal with lots of vegetables, of finding coffee on the trail when there had been none to start her day at the hostel, getting her cell phone fixed by a man she’d just met.


It wasn’t that she never complained, because there were definitely challenges, but what impressed me was the way she chose to focus on every little thing that was good. That light energy radiated to everyone she met along the trail. As Maya Angelou said, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

We Must Free Ourselves From Limitations

Not only do we need to avoid taking others prisoners, as the Congress is trying to do, we need to avoid making prisoners of ourselves. When we give up, lose our courage, believe we can’t change what is, we imprison our spirit. The reality is that our spirit is always free if we are willing to go deep within and find that quiet place where loving guidance appears. By going deeper, we may find better solutions to the problems we need to solve.

We need to ask, “What can I do to enlighten my life?” Do we need to meditate more? Do we need to spend more time with friends? Do we need to develop a gratitude practice? Do we need a support group of some kind? What will bring more positive thoughts and feelings into our lives?


Create Your Own Light

We may have a lot of excuses, but not all of them matter. Many are just excuses for taking the line of least resistance, but they confine and keep us from experiencing what may light up our lives. We have to choose to leave the darkness behind and step into the light even when we aren’t sure what will happen. We need to find the courage to create the light that we need in our lives, regardless of the season.

© 2016 Georganne Spruce                                                     ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

How do you bring light into your life?  Please comment.

READING AT MALAPROPS IN ASHEVILLE: Sunday, February 28 at 3:00 I will be reading my poem “Soul Mate” along with several other NC women writers published in It’s All Relative: Tales From the Tree.

Related Posts:    Awaken to Love the Light, Lighting Our Darkness, Awakening to the Dance of Light


“Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, Mutual confidence, sharing, and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weakness.” Ann Landers


I haven’t always had good luck with men. The first time I was married I didn’t know until after the divorce that there had been another woman or maybe several. The second time the man was afraid of commitment, and for eight years he vacillated between commitment and non-commitment, frequently being distracted by other women. Finally, I gave him the boot.

Meeting My Soul Mate

Many years passed and I swore I’d never get involved with a man who was so attached to another woman. Then I met my soul mate. There was another woman in his life and her living with us was not negotiable, but in this case, the other woman was a dog. No, literally, she was a dog. 019 (2)Now, I’ve always been a cat person. They’re so cuddly and small like a baby,and they eat when they feel like it without overdoing it and don’t have to be taken out to do their business or to walk. If they want to exercise, they just run around the house jumping on beds and hiding under couches. They entertain themselves and are simple to care for.

Commitment Was Important

I wasn’t so sure about a dog, but my soul mate was too good to pass up. He was the most loving man, a real helper in many ways. He was brilliant and educated and a writer. And he was clearly a guy who took commitments seriously. So I married him and the dog Susie.


I lucked out on both counts. Not only do I have a funny, bright, and loving husband, I have a dog friend that always looks out for me. In this case, the other woman is a welcome addition to my life. When I’m sad or upset, she cuddles up to me or sits on my foot to let me know she’s concerned. When I’m writing at my computer, she hangs out by the window to be sure no UPS trucks show up without my knowing about it. And when I eat, she recovers any dropped food so I don’t have to clean up after myself. She takes her responsibilities seriously.

Embracing the Love

When either my husband or I am gone, Susie sits and watches for us at the front window. I’m not surprised she does this for him, with whom she has lived for eleven years, but I am pleasantly surprised she does it for me. I guess I really am part of her family now and it concerns her when I’m gone. The cats certainly never did that. They usually took naps or scratched the corner off the couch when I was away.

Love takes many forms. Having a dog sit on my foot was never an affection I sought, but when Susie does that, I know she’s saying, “I’ve got your back.” It’s like when my husband puts his arms around me and gives me a hug. I feel his love. I know he’s there for me. I don’t ever have to worry about that again.

This Valentine’s Day, I had two Valentines. One is tall and handsome. The other one barks. I’m lucky to have both.

What is your best Valentine memory? Please comment.

© 2016 Georganne Spruce                                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Posts:  Awakening to True Love, Awakening to Love All We Are, Awakening to All the Love


“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” Mother Theresa

4-730_Silence_hdWhen do you make a point of being kind? Do you consider yourself a kind person? What helps you the most to be kind?

Enjoying the Silence

Today is a day when I am enjoying the silence. Off and on, snow flurries distract me. My husband is away working much of the day. The multiple dogs that walk down our street are staying home so my vocal dog is bored and sleeping. At lunch I read rather than watch the news.

I’ve started reading the Science of Mind magazine’s daily readings and meditations and this month’s theme is “silence.” Perfect. These readings help me start the day with more attention to quieting my mind, and that has not been an easy thing to do lately.

In fact, in order to preserve a healthy state of mind, I may have to give up Facebook. I like what my friends say and post, but the political comments that others, some of their friends I guess, are simply tasteless and mean. When did we exchange respectful debate for vicious attacks? Where has the kindness gone?

Disagreement Can Be Civil

In high school I learned to debate. We faced each other respectfully, armed with information and specific ideas to support our point of view on the subject of the debate. We took turns presenting our viewpoint and listened as the other side spoke so that we could respond to the points they made. The language was informed and civil.


Our Negativity Spills Out Into the World

Now, I realize not everyone has been trained in debate, and some have not been trained to use kindness when faced with different ideas. As Mother Theresa points out, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” When we express hate or anger when we are faced with differences, we infect ourselves with negative energy and it spills out into the world.

The consequences of this are not good. We now live in such a diverse world and country that it is almost impossible to avoid different ways of thinking and unique cultural attitudes. We do not need to agree with everyone, but if we want a peaceful world, we need to find a kind way to disagree. As Samuel Johnson once said, “Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.”

Turn to the Silence

It’s a choice. As a nation, we have chosen to focus on competition, always winning, always achieving. We are obsessed with football despite the mental damage the impacts do to the players. We have to be the winner. We have to have the most money, the biggest house. And we pay a huge price.

2015 006

If we want a peaceful world, we have to practice peace in our own lives and create positive energy that embraces those around us. We have to encourage cooperation and understanding and not see ourselves as the winners or losers. When a conflict arises, what do we do when confronted with another’s anger? Be still. Listen. Do not allow that anger to engulf us. I often imagine a globe of light or love surrounding me so that the negative energy will bounce off and I will feel centered.

We must also try to remember: this is not about me even when it appears to be. We resist the temptation to defend ourselves or the presidential candidate we support or the friend who is being attacked.   We try to show compassion or empathy for the other person’s distress. “I understand you’re upset with me (or Hillary or Bernie or Donald, etc.).” We might even say, “I understand your concern” or say kindly, “I’m sorry, I have to go now.” Then when the person calms down, it may be possible to have a conversation with them.

Photo: penspen

Mother Theresa & Princess Diana Photo: penspen

How Do We Live With Unkindness?

As Mother Theresa points out, we have the power to choose to respond with kindness in many situations and the choices we make echo into the future. I often think about the presidential candidates that are congress people or work with the president. When they have viciously attacked each other in a campaign, how do they go back to working with each other after that? How do they let go of the hateful things their colleagues have said and done?

Not only do we need kindness in our personal lives, we need kindness as a part of politics. We can be kind and still disagree, but what will it take to change a government that feeds on undermining the other side at the expense of the public they are supposed to serve? I have no answer. I just know that I will vote for the sanest person who represents what I believe the country needs. Hopefully, that will also be someone who knows how to create peace and has the courage to be kind.

With all the chaos in the world, I am meditating again. Each day I must have some moments of silence to remind me that I don’t have to be part of the chaos. I have to remember to be kind to others and myself.

How do you express kindness during a conflict in your life? Please comment.

© 2016 Georganne Spruce                                                                ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Ernest Holmes, founder of Religious Science, Let’s Not Fight, Six Steps for Resolving Conflicts


“We don’t even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward. In times of tragedy, of war, of necessity, people do amazing things. The human capacity for survival and renewal is awesome.” Isabel Allende

Photo:Georganne Spruce

Photo:Georganne Spruce

I have been away for a while, resting and healing my body. After two years of a variety of symptoms and visiting various doctors whose tests revealed nothing, I returned to a wholistic doctor I saw when I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. At that time, I had spent several years becoming more exhausted and unable to sleep, but my doctors insisted I had an anxiety disorder.

Now I sleep throughout most of the night and have good energy each day. Most of the symptoms that were a result of inflammation are gone. Life almost feels normal, and the healing is taking place without harmful drugs.

I am blessed to have found the help I need. It has been worth it to discipline myself to not eat many foods that I like, to take numerous supplements at specific times, to keep a schedule that sometimes has felt very stressful. This was what was required for my healing to take place. I had no choice if I wanted to be well again.

Life May Be Very Challenging

Life is like that sometimes. We have to do what is uncomfortable or challenging in order to get what we want. We have to stretch our resources, patience, or abilities beyond what we believe is possible. We have to dig deep for a strength we are not even sure we have.

As a nation, I believe we are in a similar place. We are being tested to see “what stuff we are made of.” Solving the problems that require urgent care means that we have to reach deep within to find the place where we are willing to partner with those who are different from us.

Only Change Can Bring Us Renewal

We are facing a new year, so the question is: Will we make it a new year, a time of renewal, a step forward, or will we continue to wallow in the mud of insults, sexism, and racism and ignore the desperate needs of so many people? What do we need to do to renew the basic principles of a democratic nation? How do we begin to make the changes in our own lives?

At the base of our resistance to do what we need to do is fear. It is always lurking there behind the excuses we use not to change. It may be that we have our lives so organized that changing anything feels like chaos, and we wonder if the change really will make things better. Unfortunately, most of us can’t see into the future so we have to take the leap and hope for the best.

We Need To Release Our Fear and Have Faith

Not only do we need to release our fear, we need to have faith, and the following quote always helps me go on when things are not going well. “When you have come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen; there will be something to stand on or you will be taught how to fly.”

Jumping Over the 3rd Largest Pyramid in the World

We Also Need To Take Action

This is a powerful guide on the spiritual level just as releasing our fear is. But in addition to this, we need to take action. For example, if we don’t like the way our political system is working, we need to get out and vote, but first we need to research what is really the truth. Presidential candidates tend to twist the truth so that their opponents look like poor choices. We have to research the details of situations so that we can make meaningful choices based on reality. Does the person we choose have a background that indicates he/she will be able to make the changes we want made?

What if our first choice doesn’t become the candidate? Are we going to throw our hands up and let others make the choice for us? But if we are willing to shift a bit and vote for our next best choice, we still will have a voice in the process, and we can still make a difference.


Life Changes

Life changes whether we want it to or not. The seasons bring us the beauty of snow, flowers, brightly-colored leaves, and warm sunny days. Each season has its delights and challenges and we have no choice but to adjust. Each time we adjust or change, we learn something new. We may have dreaded the change, but in the end, it may have brought us something better.

Do I like the rigid schedule of taking multiple supplements seven times a day? No, I don’t, but if I want to be well, I have to do it. Do I like not having tomatoes, coffee, chocolate, or spicy foods? No, I love them all, but they cause acid reflux that damages my throat and esophagus. Do I want to be healthy and energetic? Of course, so I have no choice but to do these things.

When I see the difficulties that the immigrants flooding so many countries have, the changes I’ve made seem minor. I’m still in my house. My husband is alive. I have plenty of food and heat. My home is in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. My health is so much better.   I’ve had to make many changes in order to have this life, but all the work has been worth it, and I’ve learned to do things I never thought I could do. Life is good, and that’s the choice I’ve made.

What have you done that you never thought you could do? Please Comment.

© Georganne Spruce

Related Articles: Awakening to Live Without Fear, Releasing Our Fear to Awaken, Transforming the Fear of Change


“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.”  Thomas Paine

Opened hands offering assorted multicolored pills and capsules. Close up.

Dear readers, I apologize for disappearing. Each week since writing my last blog, I have intended to write a weekly blog, but somehow life and health issues have been overwhelming. We are all aware of the violence in our society and the energy from that is creating great anger and despair and it has often worn me down.

This emotional energy has been depressing because it makes it no longer possible to delude ourselves that real equality exists in this country. Like many people my age who lived through the changes of the sixties and seventies, I can hardly believe how far we still are from true racial and gender equality.

Recently, however, I became aware of a new move toward women’s equality.

Drugs Can Make Us Equal?

While congress is fighting over whether Planned Parenthood should be shut down because only 3% of their activities are abortions and the rest give poor women the medical care and contraception they need, a pharmaceutical company is rabidly marketing a new drug flibanserin, Addyi, that now creates sexual equality—so they say.

Viagra and its pals have been around for awhile but there supposedly has been no equivalent for women. How outrageous! Women’s desire for sexual pleasure has been ignored all this time. But now the FDA has approved a drug for women with low sex drives. Isn’t that grand?

Well, maybe not. This amazing drug was twice rejected by the FDA because of its numerous side effects, especially in relation to alcohol, and its dangers are a longer list than the one you listen to in Viagra commercials. So, ladies, we now have an equal opportunity to make ourselves ill while jacking up our libido.


Side Effects Outweigh Benefits

Among its least harmful side effects is that it may make us sleepy, so it is best to take it just before bedtime. Does anyone else see a basic problem here? But I guess this does make things more equal. We fall asleep before sex and the guys fall asleep afterwards. Maybe this could work as a good contraceptive.

It’s hard not to be suspicious of a drug that the FDA has rejected twice because of its serious side effects, but which the FDA approved after the drug company Sprout launched a massive campaign to get it approved. The drug was rejected because it is dangerous to mix this drug with alcohol. Large numbers of people drink alcohol and 30% of pre-menopausal women are binge drinkers. Could this be an example of the FDA’s priority to get in bed with the drug companies rather than getting in bed with us?


Focus on Sex and Money Betrays Us

In this country we have become obsessed with sex and money. Why doesn’t the FDA approve natural remedies as well as drugs? For example, I’ve taken natural hormones for years. They work beautifully to balance my hormones after menopause set in, unlike the FDA approved drugs for the same purpose. The side effects of those drugs created other health problems. But the FDA has not and will not approve natural solutions that lack a long list of side effects. What’s it about? Not health, but corporate money.

We Need Healthy, Natural Remedies

There are many ways to make love and activate the libido, but we are so addicted to drugs that we think they are the solution to any difficult problem. Popping a pill is so much easier than making an herbal brew, taking a tantric yoga class, or using an estrogen cream. Eastern cultures are very aware of natural alternatives, but western doctors rarely suggest anything but a pill.

The reality is that we are living longer, so we experience a time when we can no longer function as we did at twenty-five, and that’s okay and natural. A creative, loving couple will always find a way to make love unless they are obsessed with youth.

Let’s face it—most people don’t research a drug that’s given them to see if it’s a good choice. Many people pay no attention to what they eat or check to see if there are harmful ingredients in the products they use, but if we aren’t willing to take care of ourselves by becoming informed, we risk serious repercussions.

Equal Rights 1970 March (Public Domain)

Equal Rights 1970 March (Public Domain)

We are the only ones who can experience our whole selves. The medical profession has become so specialized that we cannot depend on most doctors to cure rather than treat symptoms because symptoms are the basis of western medicine.   It is always easier to prescribe a drug for a symptom than find the cause of the problem, but more than once, the drug a doctor prescribed to me did not solve the problem; it only created more.

Of course, it’s just easier to take a drug than change our diet or exercise or learn some yoga poses that will set us afire. But we can be fairly sure that if we take this new “equalizing” drug and also have those few glasses of wine before we have sex, there will be unpleasant consequences, and they may not be the kind we can fix.

Drugs Don’t Create Equality

Unlike Viagra which increases the blood flow to the genital area so that the penis can function naturally, flibanserin performs a pharmaceutical masturbation on our brains. Unlike Viagra, it isn’t taken just when we need it, but it must be taken every day, increasing the opportunity for serious side effects.

So does this sound like equality to you? I think the drug companies just want more guinea pigs, but I’ll decline and live with this inequity. I’ll spend my time trying to create real equity in the work place, with housing and medical issues, and voting equality. Those are the equality issues that really matter.

For more information:





“In the midst of winter, I found there was within me, an invincible summer.” Albert Camus

After years of teaching, summer always feels like a vacation to me although I’ve been retired for years. I think of summer as a time to go swimming, hike through the forest, plant flowers, and wake up feeling happy and energetic. It’s just a joyous, free time when I don’t have to work hard at anything.

But this summer feels more like winter than summer. The intensive rain or extreme heat keeps me indoors and that intensive summer energy vibrates within like it is ready to explode. Then there was last Wednesday and the shooting in Charleston and the darkness descended like a shadow of winter.

Public Shootings Create Grief For Many

My soul has lost its joy. It feels like the middle of winter when there’s little to do and the cold makes going outside miserable. It feels like the 60’s all over again with the endless murders of anyone who tried to change things for the better and stood up against racism.

Congress of Racail Equality

Congress of Racail Equality

To say that the death of nine people in Charleston was tragic is an understatement. It is a turning point and we cannot ignore it.   What real progress, if any, has been made is merely a shadow of what we still need to accomplish.

We Must Take Action Against Hate

It’s true we are grieving for many reasons, and we have to grieve and feel, but soon we need to move beyond that and find that “invincible summer” within ourselves—that part of us that will take action, that understands we are all human and must be treated humanely. We must harness our energy and take action this time in a way that permanently changes the face of racism in this country.

For one thing, I want to know how we can keep other young people from developing the hatred that motivated Dylann Roof. What really pushed him over the edge? I believe it was more than what he read on the internet. He said the people in the Bible class were so nice he thought about not killing them—but he did it anyway.


For a moment he felt the light but it didn’t matter because he was already lost in the darkness of hatred. And yet those who lost their loved ones refused to let him take away their love, so they forgave him. When you’ve been the victim of hate, to return it only expands it. They understood that. They found their “invincible summer.” I am deeply touched by their choice to love.

Only Love Can Heal Racial Equality

Is there an invincible summer within me? Maybe. I felt it for a while as we attended a solidarity gathering at St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church on Friday. The message was given by the minister there who grew up in the Charleston church where the shooting occurred. He lost dear friends. He was grieving deeply, but that “invincible summer” shown brightly through him.

He urged us all to action—white and black. It’s time to stop fooling around and look at the issues that create the kind of hate that creates violence. It’s time to improve education and employment opportunities for everyone. It’s time to regulate the sale of guns so that the mentally unstable cannot get them. It’s time to stop incarcerating young people for minor crimes. It’s time to fix what is terribly broken.

Urban-News Photo

Urban-News Photo

Racial Equality Creates Opportunity for All

In every city there needs to be serious conversations about how to make life better for everyone. Perhaps this shooting haunts me deeply, not only because of its tragedy, but because it reminds me of so much of what I saw in New Orleans during the years I taught there. In five years I only had one white student. Most were African-American or mixed race.

I saw poverty, hunger, and children with parents who could not function, usually because of drug addictions or because they held down multiple jobs to feed the family. They went to school in buildings smelling of mold and urine. In one school the bathrooms were so filthy, students wouldn’t use them. They would cut class and go home. And my highly intelligent students were harassed by some teachers who were incompetent. This was all before Katrina.

We Need to Release Our Obsession With Always Winning

In this country we are obsessed with a competitive, hierarchical mentality that creates a need for being the one who wins despite our democratic foundations that state we are all equal. Our equality is an illusion. Two of the things that have happened during my lifetime that have been detrimental to society and contribute to the rash of public shootings have been the loosening of gun sale regulations and the ease with which young people can find sites online that encourage racist attitudes.

When we need to always win, to always be superior, even if violence is the only way we know to win, it is always rooted in fear and often those that act on this impulse are not mentally stable. For those who need mental health services, there are fewer choices because so many are being cut. Couple that with the ease to obtain guns and we have a serious problem.

Public Media Needs to Create Shows That Show Our Humanity

In addition, the kind of films and television shows that are commonly watched are very violent, and even the nonviolent programs, the characters are often despicable. One of the most popular is “House of Cards,” but the main character will stab anyone in the back to get what he wants. I’ve heard people say they are addicted to it. That’s because our dark side is drawn to the darkness in others.

If we are stable adults, we have the strength to resist this, but a child or teenager who is vulnerable, particularly one who is a loner longing for attention may see those powerful, negative personalities as heroes. That dark one becomes a role model for becoming a hero.

There was a time when entertainment as a whole was pretty harmless. In the beginning of television there were high quality dramas written by major writers. There were funny, harmless comedies. It’s true that the characters were often idealized, but there were few really evil characters around. It was a more positive world that we as young people were exposed to.

War Veterans Working Together

War Veterans Working Together

People Need Positive Role Models in Life and the Media

So why do we continue to tolerate this? It all comes down to money. If it makes money, it is tolerated. Hollywood knows that stimulating people’s fears will draw them into the dark stories. The image of becoming a hero by killing people has pulled many a young person into committing horrendous acts. Dylann Roof wanted to do what he thought no one else was willing to do—be a hero and get rid of “those people” whom he perceived as trying to take over his world.

So we are left with a dilemma. One of our basic rights in this country is free speech and our constitution gives us the right to bear arms. In “the winter of our discontent” we must find a way for these freedoms to co-exist and to create an “invincible summer. What are we going to do about it?

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                                                            ZQT4pQ5ZN7F5

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