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“We focus so much on our differences, and that is creating, I think, a lot of chaos, negativity, and bullying in the world.  And I think if everybody focused on what we all have in common – which is – we all want to be happy.”  Ellen DeGeneres

Snow Bird Lodge 063What do you do when confronted with an angry person?  How do you find peace when confronted with chaos?  How do you find happiness when there is too much negativity in your life?


It is a time when keeping chaos at a distance is more difficult than usual.  The news is filled with natural disasters like the fires in California or the floods in Louisiana, with the insults Trump and Clinton hurl at one another, and with the wars in the Middle East that are making normal lives impossible for millions of people.  In addition, racism and misogyny have raised their ugly heads in a way that makes them impossible to ignore.

How do we find happiness in the midst of this without totally withdrawing from society?  The secret lies in how we experience our minds and emotions because the thoughts and comments we hear lodge in our mental spaces and become part of memory.  The more negative ones feed the ego that is always ready for more drama.

Because this is a presidential election year, we have a particular challenge.  We want to learn about the candidates so that we can make good choices about whom we vote for, but the particularly negative nature of the race this year makes that a challenge.  Whether or not we believe what the candidates say, their words and emotions, especially Donald Trump’s, affect our “pain body,” an aspect of the ego.


Eckhart Tolle, in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose defines the “pain body” in this way: “The remnants of pain left behind by every strong negative emotion that is not fully faced, accepted, and let go of join together to form an energy field that lives in the very cells of your body.” (p. 142) He also points out that people who have active pain bodies tend to attract hostility and conflict. Others can feel the negative energy that is so strong in them and will react to it by lashing out or avoiding that person.

So the pain body is that part of the ego where we store the emotional pain we have suffered throughout life.  It is always hungry and feeds on drama, so negative feelings and ideas activate it easily.  We start to feel angry, hurt, or offended in some way.  We want to react quickly without thinking, and so we easily find ourselves embroiled in conflict or self-pity and at odds with the person offending us.



What is at the core of these unhappy feelings?  Tolle says, “Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness.”  For example, why are so many people attracted to Trump’s negative remarks?  Because he activates and supports their unhappy stories.  He feeds the pain body.  So instead of speaking to what is good in us and our society, he convinces us that our lives are awful (and some truly are) and only he can fix that.  Like many politicians, he speaks to people’s emotions and ignores any contradictory facts.


The reality is that no candidates can fix us.  We can only fix ourselves by not attaching to the negative stories they perpetuate.  We must find peace in the midst of chaos by going within and centering ourselves.  Then we are able to see healthy solutions to the problems that haunt us and are able to differentiate between the candidate who has real solutions to the country’s problems and the one whose ego promises whatever will make him look powerful.

Becoming aware of the pain body, releasing our unhappy stories, and learning to be present and accept what we are feeling will allow us to be happier because we can then feel who we truly are.

By observing our own reactions, we can become aware of the kinds of events or comments that set us off.  When we are more conscious, we can choose a different path of behavior.



In those moments when the pain body is activated, we need to be in the moment, feel what we are feeling, and release our need to react.  Having practiced meditation, I know how peace feels and I try to release any need to react.  I want to simply be in the moment and observe the story that is emerging.  If I can choose not to attach to the negative emotions and ideas being expressed, I can choose not to experience the unhappiness inherent in the reaction of the pain body.

Every time I feel my pain body activate, I ask, “Do I really think this?  Do I really feel this?  Do I really need to respond to this?  Should I just let it go?  Then I affirm only what I believe is true. Each time I learn more about who I am.  Whether we like it or not, working with the pain body and letting go of our unhappy stories, can change our lives—and maybe our country.

Space with No Name 004

As Ellen DeGeneres said, “We all want to be happy.”  So, in addition to learning to live in a healthy way with our pain body and not letting it run our lives, we need to focus on what is good in our lives.  What do we have to be grateful for?


Personally, in this divisive time in our country, I am grateful that Hillary, a well-qualified woman, is running for president and has a good chance of winning.  I wasn’t sure I would ever see that in my lifetime.  Despite all the negative things that are said about her, the fact is that she has worked to help others, especially women and children, all her life.  She has demonstrated she knows how to get things done that help people, and she doesn’t segregate people by race or gender.

When we focus on gratitude, we support what is good in our lives, what we have together and in community as well as in our individual lives.  That is our greatest source of happiness.

©2016 Georganne Spruce






“Passion is a positive obsession.  Obsession is a negative passion.”  Paul Carvel

statue of liberty

How good are you at compromise?  If you can’t get exactly what you want, do you refuse to act at all?  What are the consequences of your choices?

I may be crossing the line today, but I need to.  I always want what I write to be inspirational and uplifting, but with the current political situation, I can’t ignore what I’m feeling, and I am concerned about the passion I see in both candidates and voters.

I think passion is a good thing, and I am a very passionate person.  I always have been, and I followed my passion to become a dancer years ago against my family’s wishes.  Despite the physical and economic challenges, I made my dream become a reality and I have never regretted it.

Two Kinds of Passion

Currently, I see two kinds of passion expressed in the current presidential race.  On one hand, there is the nasty, dark passion or obsession of Donald Trump.  His passion takes the form of misogynistic, discriminatory, and violent comments against the people he wants to hurt, ostensibly in order to make America great. This is misdirected in a democratic country where we are a vastly diverse group.

On the other hand, Bernie Sanders expresses his passion primarily by talking positively about what he wants to do to help those who feel the government has neglected their needs.  Until lately, he avoided even criticizing his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton and merely pointed out their differences. However, as the campaign has become more competitive, he has focused more on what is wrong with his opponent.

Passion Expressed Through Action


Hillary, on the other hand, has been criticized because some feel she doesn’t show enough passion, yet she has worked passionately to help women and children all her life.  Her actions more than words express her passion.  But Hillary’s passion or expressed lack of it doesn’t concern me.

Dangers of Misdirected Passion

What concerns me is the dark offensive passion of Trump and the uncompromising passion of those Sanders’ followers who say they will not vote for Hillary if she is the Democratic candidate.

Now that Cruz has left the race, it is pretty clear that Trump will be the Republican nominee unless something radical occurs at the convention.  Trump talks about making America great, but there is nothing great about what he plans to do because it involves, among other things, discriminating against Latinos, Muslims, and women.


Despite his lack of integrity and apparently shady business dealings, there is still a huge number of people who support him passionately, who do not seem to be bothered by his negativity.  It is frightening to think that many people support his dark and overly simplistic approach to problem-solving and the dangers it could create in the whole world.

So what do you do if you are a devoted Republican, appalled by Trump, and he becomes the Republican candidate?  Can you cross party lines?  Can you compromise and vote for a Democrat?  Or do you sit out the election?

That’s what many of Bernie’s supporters say they will do if he isn’t the Democratic candidate.  They feel so passionate about Bernie that they are unwilling to compromise, regardless of the consequences.

I appreciate their being passionate about wanting to change the system, and Bernie does focus on what he would do to help the people whose needs have been neglected.  He does not exclude anyone.  He wants to meet the needs of all who feel abandoned, and he has years of experience within the system to convince us that he is capable of implementing his ideas.


As the contest has become more tenuous for him, his passion now includes a negativity that I hoped he would avoid.  He is even talking about a “contested” convention.

If enough Democrats stay home, could that help Trump win the election?  And if they are convinced they could never vote for Hillary, is it because they have researched what she has done in politics or are they simply believing anything negative that they hear?

There Are Serious Consequences to Our Choices

With any candidate, it is important to get the facts.  Unfortunately, the mainstream media is not helpful, for they offer us one-minute sound bites on any topic without substantial information.  That’s why I watch PBS News.  At least I get more information there.

And are we so influenced by the entertainment quality of a candidate that we can’t see beyond that to the facts and issues that really matter?  Or are we only concerned with how they appear?

Passion is entertaining so, of course, we are drawn to the more dynamic characters in the story.  But passionate characters do not necessarily make the best choices.

The consequences of our choices as voters in this next election are monumental.  We need to think very carefully about the consequences of our action or lack of action and consider if our passion is leading us in the best direction for the nation.

© 2016 Georganne Spruce


“We cannot stop the winter or summer from coming. We cannot stop the spring or the fall or stop them from being other than they are. They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.” Gary Zukav

Iris at Beaver Lake

What does spring mean to you? How do you change your life in the spring? How do you enliven your life or your community at this time of year?

Spring is about new life. Each year it awakens in many ways, distracting us from the winter blahs with flowers we haven’t seen for a year springing to life. Yesterday as I walked through the botanical gardens with a friend, trillium, buttercups, trout lily and a dozen colorful flowers peeked through the brown leaves that had blanketed the ground all winter. Continue reading


This Saturday I will be participating with other area authors in the Sixth Annual Asheville Bookfest at the Haywood Park Hotel in the Atrium from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.   For the schedule see

Four other authors and I will be reading at 4:30 followed by Thomas Rain Crowe, the featured speaker.






“Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions.”  Edgar Cayce

Starry Night by Van Gogh

Starry Night by Van Gogh

” I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”  Vincent Van Gogh

Do you remember your dreams? What do you learn from them? How have they helped guide your life?

Years ago, I was working as an employment assistance counselor for an art school.  There was an undercurrent of turbulence in the office, and although I felt it, I knew little about it.  Then I had nightmares for two nights that included people from the office.

One night I awoke about 1:00 am from a dream in which people were struggling and flailing their arms. I was hit in the mouth and my teeth were broken and my mouth was bleeding. As I walked away, my teeth started crumbling and falling out as blood gushed from my mouth. It seemed so real that, as I rose to consciousness, I put my hand to my mouth and was shocked to find my teeth were still there. My breathing was fast and my heart raced. It took at least a half an hour for me to relax and go back to sleep.

Dreams May Warn Us Of The Future


The dream felt like a warning, but at the time, my manager seemed pleased with my work.  That September I found jobs for the largest number of students that had ever been hired.  My newly hired assistant had not been available when I most needed her and began breaking rules that my manager had insisted we follow.  When I complained, he became angry with me.  When he asked if I could work with her, I foolishly said, “No.”

He fired me.  Her flirtation had won him over.  It was then that I remembered the dream which seemed like a warning.  Had I been arrogant to assume he would not fire me because I had performed so well?  Perhaps I had just been foolish to underestimate how much he needed the attention he got from her.  And for a moment before I answered his question, my intuition urged me to say “yes.”

Intuition May Guide Us On How To Act

So I had a dream that warned me of impending harm, and my intuition sent a warning, but I ignored them both.  Not very wise.

The Archetypes In Dreams Take Us Deeper

In order to really understand our dreams, it is helpful to know something about archetypes.  These are characters, symbols, settings, or themes that recur often enough to have universal significance.  Their roots are in the collective unconscious.  For example, most people have some fear of the dark.  We can’t see what is there and it’s a mystery.  It’s a place to hide when we don’t want to be discovered.



We find archetypes in dreams, literature, advertising, and other areas of life, and the obvious ones trigger an emotional or intellectual response that suggests something deeper.  When I dreamed that someone bloodied my nose, it didn’t mean that would literally happen, but it did suggest that dramatic harm might come to me.

Dreams May Guide Us To Solve Problems

Dreams may also provide us with deep guidance to solve problems in life.  One of the most meaningful dreams I ever had appeared during the year after my divorce in 1977.  In it, there appeared a blond-haired woman in a red dress who had previously appeared in another dream.  To make the situation even stranger (or synchronistic), I had recently worn a red dress when I danced in a modern dance choreographed by Liz Lerman.  I played the role of a woman who rejected the limiting traditional roles of women.



In the dream, I stood in a huge plaza with a large pool in the middle. On the far side of the pool was a several-story building that was a home for older people. Near me was a green ladder that curved over the pool and merged into an upper story of the building.

When I arrived at the base of the arch, a blonde-haired girl and a young man stood there. We all broke the bread she had baked, taking part in a ritual of communion. The man left. I knew I had to go across the arch but was afraid. The girl represented some part of me so I had to follow her, but I had to make the crossing on my own. The beginning was straight like a ladder and easy to climb, but as the ladder curved into an arch, I became frightened and had to crawl across on all fours.

Dreams May Guide Our Spiritual Journey

It seemed to me that this blonde-haired woman in the red dress was my passion and that the dream was telling me to follow my passion, but move on. It suggested that if I followed the higher road, I would reach old age or a level of security that the building represented. Climbing the green ladder was a sacred act, part of my spiritual journey, a path through life leading me to a higher consciousness.

Because the arch led over the water, which symbolized emotion, it was also telling me to move beyond just reacting out of emotion, which I did all the time, and it created problems in my relationships. I believed the dream was a sign I was healing, and the message in the dream was exactly what I needed to know at that time.  (Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness by Georganne Spruce, pp. 49-50)

Dreams Guide Us To Deeper Answers

With this dream I began a journey to understand my emotions and gain control of them so that I could let go of the reactive emotional responses I had developed in childhood.  They no longer served me well.  That became a central theme in my spiritual journey leading me to learn to meditate, release my fear, and use my mind to create more positive thoughts.

Our dreams are rich with answers to our deepest questions.  Exploring our dreams is one way to begin to value and respect the wisdom that can be found in the dark.  One of the best sources to learn about symbols which may appear in our dreams is Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols.  May you dream well tonight.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                               ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Carl Jung- Man and His Symbols, Part I (video),  Dream Interpretation: What Do Dreams Mean?





“Listen to your life.  See it for the fathomless mystery it is.  In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”  Frederick Buechner

Arboretum 2013 013

What is grace?  How has it appeared in your life?  Where do you believe it comes from?

This year, more than ever, I am aware of how precious life is.  Two women I knew well died of cancer.  A man whom we all deeply admired in my spiritual community died suddenly of a heart attack.  We have also lost public figures like the beloved Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall.

No matter what difficulties arise, I am always reminded how fortunate I am to have the life I live, to have only medical problems that are not life-threatening, to have a loving husband, plenty of food, a home where I can live peacefully, and friends who are conscious and loving.  I am blessed.

Grace Is A Mystery

As far as experiencing grace, I’ve often felt like Anne Lamott who said, “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”  I am always drawn to mysteries without needing to solve them.  They always make me ponder and question aspects of life I wouldn’t have noticed if the mystery had not arisen.  In the pondering, a new awareness often arises that enriches my life.

Grace Enriches Our Lives

One of the most profound examples of grace in my life is how I met my husband.  We were both on different online dating sites, and I accidently clicked on something that put me on his site.  He was taking one last look before shutting down his account, saw me, and sent an email. But I never received it.  I had taken myself off that site, but the picture he saw of me included a poster of the Release Your Fear workshops that I facilitate, and that helped him search and locate me.

He could have given up when I didn’t return his original email, but he listened to his heart.   He was in the middle of one of those mysteries life throws our way, one of those key moments when, if we listen inside we will be guided by grace.

Arboretum 2013 007

We Don’t Have To Earn Grace Or Deserve It

A friend defined grace as “undeserved, unearned, unexpected, and life-giving.”   It just happens.  We don’t do anything to cause it.  We don’t have to earn it.  It isn’t a reward.  It just is—like our lives.  Grace and the other mysteries of life may teach us we don’t always need to know why something happens.  We just need to be grateful and accept the gift we are offered.

I am not suggesting that we always need to be passive, but I know that some things are beyond our abilities to fix.  When there is a problem, it is wise to try to solve it.  Many times when we have done all we know how to do, it is the acceptance that we don’t know the answer that opens the way for grace to enter and bless us with its wisdom.

We Need To Make Room For The Holy

Buechner says, “…touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it (life) because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” When we can wake each morning, grateful to live life, we fill the day with love and excitement, and we spread that energy to all around us.  Even in the midst of chaos and challenges, we need to find that moment to go within and listen, to make room for the holy, however we define it, to enter and bless us.

We Must Listen To Our Inner Selves

One time when I was in distress about how to solve a problem, I had a friend do a psychic reading for me.  She informed me that my spiritual guides were trying to speak to me, but I wasn’t listening.  She was right.  I was so focused on fixing what was “out there” that I wasn’t listening to my inner self.

We Must Be Open To Grace

Grace may visit us without our noticing it unless we are listening.  When difficulties arise and we shut down emotionally, we build a wall that closes us off from the mysteries and spiritual gifts of life.   We stop listening, and to listen, we have to risk hearing what we may not want to hear.  That is sometimes exactly what we need to hear.



Living close to nature, even in a city, confronts us with the mysteries of life every day.  I have done nothing to earn the frequent visits of the turkeys that live in my subdivision, nor do I have any idea why my yard has become a playground for a couple of youthful rabbits.  But when I watch them wandering through my yard, I feel I have been touched with grace.  The pleasure that I receive by watching them is a gift from the Divine, and I am eternally grateful.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Anne Lamott on Robin Williams – Stories Worth Telling


Grateful Steps Book Signing

Grateful Steps Book Signing

For several years, I was a member of a spiritual group that met once a month to share our spiritual journeys and to participate in programs that would teach us new spiritual techniques and expose us to a wide variety of spiritual beliefs.  It was one of the most enriching and inspiring experiences I’ve ever had, and I learned so much from what others shared.

I’m very excited about participating in the Interfaith Dialogue series on Thursday, June 19 at Grateful Steps Bookshop in Asheville, NC at 159 So. Lexington Ave.  I will present short readings from my memoir Awakening to the Dance:  A Journey to Wholeness.   As I read excerpts related to my spiritual journey, we will discuss the concepts presented and share experiences.  The event is free.

 My memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness is the story of a my search to find an authentic identity, creative expression, and a spirituality apart from traditional religion.  Although this spiritual journey began with attending a traditional church, I soon found that it was my love of dance and drama that really touched my spirit.  Through modern dance, I discovered the oneness of the mind body connection, and later began to explore other spiritual practices.  One by one, I enthusiastically explored techniques to release my fear, Buddhist teachings and meditation, Jungian dream interpretation, and Science of Mind manifestation techniques.  Each led me more closely to an authentic identity and a wholeness that transformed my life.

This is an opportunity to share and explore our beliefs, so please join us.