AWAKENING TO LIFE’S MOVEMENT

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

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

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

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

Our Lives Change Like The Seasons

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

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

Chance Movement May Bring Gifts

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

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

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

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

Movement Helps Understand Others

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related blog Posts:

AWAKENING TO THE VALUE OF CHANGE

TRANSFORMING THE FEAR OF CHANGE

AWAKENING TO EFFECT CHANGE

 

 

 

 

 

AWAKENING TO OUR LONELINESS

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

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

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

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

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

Loneliness Can Support Creativity

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

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

Loneliness May Depress Us

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

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

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

Finding Our Lost Soul In Spirituality

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

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

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

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Posts

AWAKENING TO THE ONENESS WITHIN

AWAKENING TO YOUR TRUE SELF

AWAKENING TO BEFRIEND OURSELVES

 

AWAKENING TO EXPRESS KINDNESS

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

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

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

Qualities of Kind People

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

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

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

Kindness Is Based On Loving Ourselves

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

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

Negative Thinking Blocks Kindness

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

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

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

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

Positive Thinking Supports Kindness

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

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

Kindness May Be Expressed With Empathy and Compassion

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

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

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

What kindness have you expressed or experienced lately?

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO WHERE KINDNESS HAS GONE

AWAKENING TO A PEACEFUL HEART

AWAKENING TO COMPASSIONATE COMMUNICATION

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR PERFECTIONISM

 

AWAKENING TO OUR JUDGEMENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Fear Being Different

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

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

Notice The Source Of Our Decisions

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

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

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

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

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

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Blog Posts:

AWAKENING TO OUR PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS

AWAKENING TO WHO YOU ARE

AWAKENING TO GOOD DECISIONS

AWAKENING TO INTEGRITY

 

AWAKENING TO INTEGRITY

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

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

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

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

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

Fear of Conflict

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

Finding Peace Within

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

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

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

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

Choosing Integrity May Be Challenging

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

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

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

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

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Blog Posts:

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

AWAKENING TO LIVE WITHOUT FEAR

AWAKENING TO THE ONENESS WITHIN

 

AWAKENING TO HEAL WITH HUMOR

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

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

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

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

Laughter Can Stop Arguments

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

Laughter Changes The Body’s Chemistry

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

Laughter Can Relieve Depression and Stress

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

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

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

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

Humor Is Healing

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

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

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Blog Posts:

AWAKENING TO LAUGH AT SIMPLE THINGS

AWAKENING TO THE LAUGHTER WITHIN

AWAKENING TO THE HEALING DANCE

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

 

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

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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.

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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.

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