AWAKENING TO WHAT IS BETTER

“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.”  Peter Marshall

When you have a large project to complete, how do you approach it?  Does that approach always help you get the work done?

Being at home has forced me to pay more attention to the condition of the inside of my house.  The kitchen is the most challenging room to clean and I have intended to wash certain areas for a long time, especially the outside of the refrigerator.

Facing Reality

When I looked at the frig door I thought, “That is a mess.  Where did all these stains come from?  We didn’t throw food at it.”  Many of the splotches on the outside were probably mold of some kind.  Other places looked like large bugs had committed suicide there.

In addition, there were photos and yellow crispy quotes I had cut from the newspaper or typed to post there.  The largest one reads:  “Dakota Tribal Wisdom:  When you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.”  Those words had once led me to make a painful but wise decision to end a relationship that was not meant to be, so I kept them there as a reminder to make wise decisions.

Using a Plan to Create Action

Last week, I finally decided I had to face this problem head on and come up with a specific plan to clean the entire kitchen.  Every time I had planned to do it all in one day I found an excuse not to, so I decided to take it in steps, a half day at a time.

The first morning I started with the easiest task: cleaning the tile wall above the sink and counter and the spots on the nearby walls.  That went so quickly that I expanded the work to include wiping off the separate cabinets.  Afterwards, I felt very proud of myself.

Motivated by my success on the first day, the next day I decided to clean the inside of the refrigerator.  It was rather difficult because the door only opened to a ninety-degree angle and it was impossible to remove one of the vegetable bins that had numerous scraps of greens under it. To reach that area and clean it, I had to dismantle two shelves which were heavy and awkward to remove. That activity wore me out, but I was delighted that the inside glistened brightly.

On the third day, I stuck with the plan although I dreaded facing the mess on the outside of the frig.  I removed the magnets, pictures, and quotes from the door, sorted them, and threw some away.  Using the Lysol bleach, I scrubbed some areas over and over again, starting at the top and working my way down.  When I took a rest break, I reluctantly kept my cleaning gloves on.

As I was finishing, my husband walked into the room, surveyed my work, and said, “I’ve never seen this frig so white.  It’s looks great, honey.”  I laughed.  “I know!” I said.  Looking around the room, I smiled at the sunlight bouncing off all the clean white areas.  It was a lot of work, but it was worth it.


 

Enjoying the Success

This experience reminded me of all the things I hadn’t done in life because the task seemed overwhelming.  What I had accomplished, I had taken step by step, one task, one day at a time. That had certainly been true when I was in school and during the years I learned to be a modern dancer.  But it is so easy to forget the hard work that takes us to a place where the activity becomes easy and gives us joy.

So today I’m writing the rough draft of this blog post.  The next day I’ll polish it, and the next day, I’ll post it.

We can use this sheltering in place time to catch up on things we have avoided and delayed, and when we have completed one of them, we must remember to compliment ourselves on what we have accomplished. Now, every time I pass that white refrigerator shining in the light, I smile.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

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AWAKENING TO ACCEPT REALITY

AWAKENING TO OUR RESPONSES

AWAKENING TO THE GIFTS OF SOLITUDE

 

AWAKENING TO CIRCLE DEEP

“We bring about change when we circle into the deepest place within and circle out again.”  Byron Ballard

How deep do you go? What do you learn there? What do you bring out from your depths to help with daily life?

First, I have to say that the quote I’m using is a paraphrase of Ballard’s words.  I recently heard her speak and was moved by the way she connects our lives with nature’s cycles.  She is a ritualist and teacher for Mother Grove Temple and lives in Asheville.

Much of what I’ve said in my blog posts is about how much we need to go within to meditate or calm ourselves, but we need to do more.  It’s so easy to go to that deeper, calm place and let it simply be a break from the bluster outside and on the news, but that deep calmer place is also where many answers lie.

We all need guidance in these challenging times.  We may find it within, talking with friends or family, reading a spiritual book, participating in online gatherings, or just sitting on the deck listening to the birds sing.  But when we have these experiences, it is important to notice not just what we feel when we are there, but what new thoughts and feelings come to us afterwards.

The Heart of the Universe

This awareness may suggest ways to change areas of our lives.  Last night I listened to an online talk by Dr. Rollin McCraty on “The Heart and the Field of Collective Consciousness.” It was part of the program “Attuning to the Voice of Mother Nature.”  What he described was how the energy of the universe and our energy interact.  While the universal energies affect our heart, our heart’s energy affects so much around us.

When we are acting from the heart, others will feel our love and compassion.  When we do good for others, but are acting from the head, not the heart, other people will feel the difference.  When our leaders are acting from political gain only, we can sense that it is not genuine caring that motivates them despite what they say.

The Most Powerful Energy Is Group Energy

Group energy can be powerful.  For example, science states that when a group meditates together, their energies connect and expand beyond the individual energies.  So if we want to create change, it is clear that group energy is more powerful than individual energy, especially when the group intention comes from the heart.

This energetic experience comes from a deep place within.  To complete the circle, we must circle out again. When we do that, where does the energy take us?

Living From the Heart Brings Us Closer

Living from the heart, not the head, will help us choose to act from compassion, empathy, love, and concern for the other as well as ourselves.  When we are connected from the heart, we are able to connect with others in a deeper and more meaningful way.

I met one of my dearest friends when I broke an elbow and cracked my pelvis several years ago.  We attended the same spiritual community and she was in a group that helped people like me.  I wasn’t married at that time and lived alone, so I needed a ride to the doctor’s office because I couldn’t drive.

I immediately liked her.  We both were teachers, loved nature, and she was clearly someone who lived from the heart.  Years later, we are still close friends who care about each other and can share deeply,  truly a gift from the heart.

During two of my teaching experiences, in inner city New Orleans and in New Mexico, I taught high school students who lived in dysfunctional and precarious situations.  Some were gifted, others very talented, but their abilities to achieve in school were limited by difficult home situations and sometimes by the limitations at the school.

I didn’t always act from my head in those situations.  I had small classes and got to know students more than when I had taught a large group.  When I acted from the heart to help the students solve their problems and stay in school, my compassionate approach created difficulty for me and in two situations led to my forced resignation.  I learned that acting in the student’s best interest often went against the administration’s determination to pretend there were no problems.

Acting From the Heart Helps Ourselves and Others

But I’ve never been sorry that I did all I could to help my students.  My heart would not allow me to make other choices.  Today, we have many people acting from the heart taking care of coronavirus patients in precarious situations.  We also have some leaders who are making the difficult decisions to keep state populations safe despite political fallout.

Surely, when we circle to the deepest part of ourselves during this pandemic, we understand that we need to pay attention to the scientific facts and act wisely as we circle out again.  Isolating ourselves may seem extreme, but in this case, acting from the heart includes doing what is safe to protect ourselves and others.  Stay safe and well!

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

RELEASING OUR FEAR TO AWAKEN

AWAKENING TO KINDNESS

AWAKENING FROM THE HEART

AWAKENING TO OUR STRENGTH

“Strength does not come from winning.  Your struggles develop your strengths.  When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”  Arnold Schwarzenegger

What part of you is the strongest? The Inner? The Outer? Which helps you to face what appears to be the impossible?

All the children of my nephews and niece are active in sports: soccer, gymnastics, basketball, and anything else that catches their eyes.  I’m so happy for them because physical activity was absent from most of my childhood due to many illnesses and a heart murmur.  When I began to play a little baseball, it was a huge challenge.

We Win When We Don’t give Up

I suspect most sports participants know what Arnold means about struggles and hardships.  It isn’t always easy to become good enough to be on a team, especially a professional one.  It requires years of dedication, losing many times, and struggling to overcome our weaknesses.  It isn’t the physical strength that always makes us the winners.  We win when we don’t give up.

This is certainly one of those times when we are experiencing many struggles: how to survive without a job and income, how to work and stay safe from the virus, how to keep the right distance when we shop for food even when others don’t do so.  It’s a long list and dealing with all these challenges may depress us and make us want to stop trying to take care of ourselves.

But as Arnold reminds us, when we decide not to surrender, we struggle to go on and find our strength and that is what sustains us through this pandemic and the major challenges of life.  The only winner we need to be in this situation is the one that goes on making our lives the best we can under the circumstances, letting our struggles feed us with resolve.

How To Deal With Our Challenges

So how do we do this?  I think Francis of Assisi has some good advice.  “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

Now, just doing what’s necessary can be challenging because so many stores are closed and even food markets don’t always have what we need.  This week, two of the vegetables we get every week were so bad they weren’t worth taking home, but they were the only ones the grocery could get.  To stay healthy, we need to eat vegetables every day, so if the fresh aren’t available, we’ll have to eat the canned or frozen ones.

If we have a problem with our backs and need acupuncture or massage, we’re taking a risk even if we find a practioner who will do the work.  Otherwise, we pull out the heating pad or massager at home.  If we need to see a doctor, it will probably be a telehealth connection, definitely not the normal experience.

When what we usually do can’t be done, we have to consider what is possible and perhaps be more creative like some of the people who are creating vegetable gardens in their yards.  It’s more challenging for those who aren’t urban farmers or who live in a high-rise although some apartments do have gardens on the building’s roof.

In some instances, it simply isn’t possible to get what we want or need, so obtaining the impossible isn’t always about doing.  Just accepting the reality can make us stronger, and not letting disappointment become depression that takes over our lives.

We Must Rely On Inner Strength

The strength that will sustain us through difficult times lies within us.  When we face a disappointment, it is wise to take a deep breath, meditate, find the stillness within, and remind ourselves that essentially we are fine.  In that stillness we find the light within that allows us to accept the situation or that presents a solution that has not occurred to us.

Years ago when I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatique Syndrome and told I had to stop eating gluten and dairy, that seemed impossible.  There was virtually no prepared food like that and anything baked had to be made from scratch. Despite the challenge, that diet became my norm. Because I chose to do what was difficult,  that decision  resulted in good health.

Many necessary changes in life are not easy, but when we find we can make those changes, other changes seem more possible.  We simply need to embrace the seemingly impossible and refuse to surrender.  Therein lies our strength.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO THE POWER WITHIN

AWAKENING TO ACCEPTANCE

AWAKENING TO STILLNESS

AWAKENING TO STILLNESS

“Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen—that stillness becomes a radiance.” Morgan Freeman

What effect does constant activity or noise have on you?  Are you able to find any stillness in your day?  How does a time of stillness  help you?

I’m always amazed by the thoughts that appear when I find a new quote to use for my blog post.  Of course, the first thing that came to mind as I read this quote was meditation and how, as the meditation deepens, it feels like my energy is expanding radiantly.

But the second image that appeared this morning was a medieval castle surrounded by a moat.  What could that possibly have to do with life now?  The answer appeared quickly.  The castles were surrounded by moats in order to make it more difficult for the enemies of the people who lived there to attack them.

Living there was also a kind of isolation from the world around them.  There may have been many people who lived there, including perhaps a king and queen, but the walls defined a limited area where they could be active.  I also suspect that the coronavirus is less predictable than the medieval enemies who could be seen from the high towers approaching from miles away.

How Confinement Affects Us

While most of us don’t live in a castle, we are confined to our houses and apartments, most of which are not huge or built on a large expanse of land.  These spaces can feel very confining. At least here in the mountains, those people who live close to forest trails where they can walk are fortunate, and the trails are certainly more inspiring than the paved street in front of my house.

Being isolated isn’t always pleasant but it does have some advantages if we choose to acknowledge them.  A friend on Facebook recently posted a picture of herself and her husband smiling and looking extremely happy.  She pointed out that she had been afraid that in the isolation they would be uncomfortable and argue with each other, but in reality, they are more loving than before.

I must admit I had the same fears about my husband and me.  But we have been very loving and peaceful with each other.  Even the amount of corny jokes we share has increased.  We’ve also been busier than we expected with work we have created for ourselves or which is a result of the limit on business because of the virus.

Because we are retired, there is more time to be still, and in that stillness, we may let the anxieties of the day slip away for a while.  Meditation is always a good way to calm ourselves or listening to soothing music.  I often just sit and watch the squirrels in the yard chase each other and fly from tree to tree or walk through the yard to see what new wild flowers have popped up.

The Unknown Makes Us Fearful

It is impossible to know how long our isolation will last so we have to live in the moment.  When we start feeling fearful or angry about it, we could make some bad decisions because these negative emotions lead us to negative thoughts.  Some people think we don’t still need to keep our distance, but going out of our homes is foolish and endangers us and anyone who comes in contact with us because this virus’s symptoms can be very hidden or misleading.

Finding Our Hearts

When we feel fearful, angry, or just frustrated, we most need to take a deep breath, find the stillness, and sit with it until we can release our negative feelings.  In the stillness we can ask for spiritual guidance and the wisdom peace can bring.  This wisdom that comes from deep inside when we are quiet nourishes us in a way nothing else will, for it is not just an activity of the mind.  It is also from the heart.

Finding the stillness within transforms us.  Mary Oliver reminds us of the beauty of   transformation in nature—a transformation that may occur in us as well.

“When the praying mantis opens its wings

it becomes a green flower.”

By opening its wings, the praying mantis becomes more beautiful.  By opening our minds and releasing our fears, we are able to understand how to act from the heart not the head.  When we are in touch with our hearts, we may flower into a stronger person and find a better path through the stillness of isolation.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO SPIRITUAL SURRENDER

AWAKENING TO RELEASE ILLUSIONS

AWAKENING TO NOW

AWAKENING TO HOPE

“At the end of the day, we must go forward with hope and not backward by fear and division.” Jesse Jackson


 

How are you feeling about the pandemic?  Are you always fearful?  Do you feel hopeful?

In this time when our lives are so disrupted and flung apart in many ways, we feel chaos around us each day.  If it’s not the chaos of taking care of a house full of children and trying to work, it may be the chaos caused by not having the money to pay bills or buy the medication we need.  Most of what we are feeling is based on fear and it is difficult to hope things will get better when they seem to be getting worse.

Without hope that life will improve, it is difficult to face the next day or the next challenge and make good choices.  Always staying rooted in the darkness of the moment prevents us from seeing possibilities that might improve or solve our problems.  Even when we hope for what is impossible, we are moving in the right direction.

Hope May Help Solve Problems

What is hope for you? When we hope for a positive solution to a problem, we are forced to elevate our thinking and step away from our fears.  We have to ask, “Is there some way I can improve this situation?”

At the moment, our lives are so restricted that it is a challenge to expand our thinking to do what is safe and sensible and be hopeful.  But how we look at the situation also affects how we deal with it.  Can we see anything positive in the current situation?

Having the family all together instead of each running in a different direction may allow us to really talk to one another, to connect in ways we’re often too busy to experience.  It may be an opportunity to cook together, clean out stuffed closets, or play games we often don’t have time for.  If we live alone, it may give us more time to communicate with friends, electronically and otherwise.

If we are creative, this may be a time to create more paintings or sculptures, write that novel we’ve been putting off, or sew new curtains for the bedroom.  We may do more meditation and reading than we have time to do when we are working.  It may even be a time to create a vision for a new business or a new life style.

Hope Is the Light That Transforms Life

As Jesse Jackson implies, we can only truly move forward if we have hope.  Allowing fear and division to become dominant in our lives will only take us backward away from the light that may show us how to transform our current difficulties into a life that will sustain us through this challenging time.

Hope creates in us the belief that this pandemic will end if we all do our part in protecting ourselves and helping others.  A simple kindness may make a huge difference to those who feel overwhelmed or lack the basic needs of life.  Hope leads us to persevere and be the light that overwhelms the darkness, creating a new and better life for the world.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

RELEASING OUR FEAR TO AWAKEN

AWAKENING TO GOOD DECISIONS

 

AWAKENING TO LAUGH AT SIMPLE THINGS

“Laughter is the sunbeam of the soul.” Thomas Man

How are you spending your time indoors?  Does it feel confining or like a vacation?  How do you feel about the solitude if you are alone?

Life is relatively simple now.  I’m able to ease my way through the day, not willing to set a schedule yet, although I may need to do that in the future.  Yesterday morning I was out running necessary errands and was amazed by how few cars were on the highway.  It reminded me of the Asheville I knew many years ago before the tourist trade exploded.

While life may seem boring as we are confined to our homes, fortunately spring is approaching, and I’m delighted each day as I see the azalea blossoms quickly growing in size.  When I walk in the neighborhood, people are keeping their distance but always wave and smile.  And of course there are also those moments we don’t expect that may awe us or bring us laughter.

Comedy  Shows

A couple of sunny days ago, my husband and I took Susie our dog out for a walk on our street.  I was so glad to get out because I had been spending too much time on Facebook and reading emails.  Too much sitting time!

When we are ready to walk Susie, we try to get her to poop in our yard.  But no matter how much we try to get her to do this, she usually saves it and drops it next to the curb on the street in front of one our neighbors’ yards.

But this time as we walked to the center of the intersection close to our house, Susie stopped in the middle of the intersection and pooped just as a neighbor stopped at the nearby stop sign.  We were all surprised and laughed.  As Charlie gathered up the poop, he was laughing so hard I was afraid he would fall over.  Susie strutted off with her head held high, as if she had just shit diamonds.

We couldn’t stop laughing as we continued to walk up the street thinking how grateful we were for a good laugh that day.  This was not the end of it however.  In the distance, we heard several people yelling and laughing.  As we approached the house two people were hanging off their balcony laughing hysterically.  Everyone was at a good distance, so we stopped to see what was so funny.

It was a dog.  A little boy with a hose in hand was spewing water in circles around the yard. The dog chased the water like he was chasing a cat, barking and jumping around, pouncing on the water as it hit the ground. What we thought would be a quiet walk had turned into a comedy show.

The Healing Power of Laughter

Isn’t it amazing how unexpected things can suddenly appear to spark our laughter?  To say Charlie and I felt uplifted after these experiences would be an understatement!  Positive energy flooded our bodies and brightened our souls.  William James was right when he said, “We don’t laugh because we are happy, we’re happy because we laugh.”

We all need humor in our lives as we must now for safety keep our distance and avoid friends.  It’s true that technology has made connection easier.  Although I always prefer face to face contact, I do truly appreciate the funny posts people put on Facebook.  It gives me many opportunities to laugh or at least smile as I read them.

These simple things in life can lift us up even if only for the moment, and for that moment the sun shines in our souls.  The burdens and challenges drop away and we feel freer, ready to go on to the next challenge.  Sometimes,  simple things take us the deepest, and then we feel like we’ve discovered the diamonds.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Readings : AWAKENING TO THE LAUGHTER WITHIN

AWAKENING TO THE HOME WITHIN

AWAKENING TO LOVE ALL WE ARE

 

AWAKENING TO REALITY NOW

“I’ve always believed that you can think positive just as well as you can think negative.” James Baldwin

How do you see the current situation?  Does it depress you every day?  Do you ignore what is happening outside your house?  How does it affect your thinking?

The thought comes up several times a day – Is this really happening?  It’s like a bad dream from which I keep hoping I will awaken.  It’s a sunny day, a rarity among the many rainy ones, and I want to walk around the lake, either of the two nearby, but there’s a ban on going to the public parks that surround them.  I feel angry about that.  Isn’t that too extreme?

FACING REALITY

Then I remember.  A public park is where my brother caught polio when he was two years old.  The family was at a church picnic in a large crowd.  Lots of little kids were playing together.  His experience with polio was a tragedy and a miracle.  He was in an iron lung for many weeks and died three times but came back to life each time.  Despite having many surgeries as a child, he grew up to live a productive life, working and doing good in the world.

But not all tragedies are followed by a miracle.  Many children died from polio or were seriously handicapped.  It is always easier to believe bad things will not happen to us.  I suspect at least some of the people who have died from the coronavirus have thought so.

It is always a good thing to be able to think positively, but it’s not good to ignore reality.  So when reality is unpleasant, how can we think positively about it?  Is there something we can learn?  I think so.

FACING INDIVIDUAL REALITY

Perhaps it is easier for me to accept staying at home right now because I’m an introvert and I have a husband who is an interesting companion.  I love to read.  I love to write and that requires staying in.  But staying in may push us to face the need to start spring cleaning early, get back in touch with an old friend, learn to use more technology, communicate with family and friends, meditate to calm our overactive minds, or play more Scrabble with family members.

Of course, if we have been laid off or the business where we work has been closed, we have much more to worry about.  There are far too many people in this country who make little money for full-time work or have to work several part-time jobs to survive.  They are the ones hardest hit by this pandemic.

FINDING ANSWERS WITHIN

So, what can we do to manage the fears that come with this hardship?  We can take time each day to sit quietly, breathe deeply, direct our minds to release our fear, and choose to let it go, flowing outward with each breath.  Sit until the mind is clear, then ask “What do I need to do today?”

Our inner selves know the answer to that question and it may take some time and more than one sitting to hear the answer.  Sometimes we need to be quiet and take the time to find something positive about a situation that we would never notice if we stay “in action” all the time. And when we are dealing with many negatives, the silence may help us see what we need to do given limited circumstances.

Perhaps this event can be the opportunity to deepen and enrich our lives, to look for and experience a positive way of thinking about change that we have rejected in the past.  One thing already clear about this pandemic is how unprepared the country was.  It has brought to light much that needs to be changed.  Perhaps it has also brought things to light that need to be changed in our own lives.  And that is good.  While changing them may be extremely difficult in some instances, we may now have the time to evaluate what we need to do.

Blessings to you all.  Stay safe.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO ACCEPT REALITY

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

AWAKENING TO BEFRIEND OURSELVES

 

Awakening to Our Challenges

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”  Maya Angelou

What has happened to you recently that was disturbing?  What did you think about it?  How did you handle the situation?

We all have times in our lives when things don’t go the way we want.  When that happens, how do we handle it?  What we do can make all the difference in how we experience the situation.  More than once I’ve lost a job.  The reasons varied.  When I was young I thought I could speak honestly with my boss, but I quickly learned that bosses often only want to hear what they want to hear.  You play the game or you lose, but I was too naïve to understand this.

Being Shocked By The Challenge

For two years, I worked as an employment counselor at a fine arts school.  My boss had helped found the school and had developed very specific procedures for my job.  I loved the work and I was very successful helping students find employment while in school.

We were doing so well that we needed another counselor and the boss hired a second woman to fill the gap.  After a while, I realized she wasn’t following the boss’s guidelines.  As a result, her actions created conflict and affected my work, and she often flirted with him and behaved unprofessionally.

I became very upset and every day there was a new challenge that wore me down.  The only other “adult” in the office refused to become involved, and when things reached the breaking point for me and I talked again with my boss, he fired me despite the fact I was the one getting the students the most jobs.

How could I be fired for doing the best job?  The unfairness stunned me, and when I complained to the president, she apologized but did nothing.  Being fair was a basic part of my moral values and I was devastated by this experience. How could I trust any school or business?

Looking At the Source of the Challenge

I was angry for a long time and deeply sad because I had loved the job and nothing else like it was available in the area.  I didn’t understand why this could happen, but when I stopped feeling sorry for myself and analyzed the situation, I realized the attention my boss received from the other woman made him feel good and that was more important than production.

He was a hugely overweight single man whom I suspected lived a rather solitary life.  Suddenly, every day he had this attractive woman fawning over him, getting him coffee, making him laugh, behaving like his girlfriend despite the fact that she lived with a boyfriend.  While I was pleasant interacting with him, I had maintained  professional behavior.

Letting Our Negative Thoughts Feelings Go

Accepting that some situations are not fair is difficult.  One feels helpless.  While it is important to examine the situation and try to understand what, if anything, we did wrong, it is also important to let go and move on.  I had to accept the fact that I did my best, and that I did the right thing by continuing to behave professionally.

So, what can we do when these negative experiences overwhelm us?  I’ve always found that quiet time is very valuable and helps to release the negative thoughts that keep circling through my mind.  Some people may “run-off” the stress through exercise, talk to a best friend, meditate or go hiking through the woods.

Releasing the Fear

Regardless of the practice we use, we must release the fear beneath our feelings of anger or inadequacy.  My method is to quietly breath deeply and when I feel the tension releasing, I direct my mind “Release this fear (name it), it has no power over me.”  I take another deep breath and feel positive energy rising through my body, and I repeat the phrase until I feel my mind release the fear.

Using Affirmations

The validation that we are good must come from within.  Self-affirmations may also help heal for they remind us who we really are.  Regardless of what others say, I accept that “I am a loving and competent person.”  Repeating this positive message helps us to remember there is much good about us; we don’t need to believe in the negativity that limits us.  The exact words we use must be fashioned to fit our particular situation.

After this experience at the art school, I had another negative experience in the business world.  This was very scary because I was barely supporting myself on low wages and needed reliable employment.  I had thought I could make better wages in the business world, but in the end  I returned to teaching, my first love.  While the wages were low there, I was doing work that really mattered to my teenage students, and that lifted me up regardless of the challenges.

What self-affirmations work for you?

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

DANCING TO CHALLENGING EXPERIENCES

AWAKENING TO BE IN THE MOMENT

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

 

AWAKENING TO OUR DANCE OF LIFE

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.”  Martha Graham

What is your dance of life?  Does it resemble a rumba, waltz, cha-cha, jitter bug or improvisation?

Whatever name you give to your dance, there is only one person like you, and your life is a dance only you can do.  As you dance this life, it may change, redefining who you are on the inside and who you are in the world.

As Graham suggests, we are created by an inner force that is natural and vital, but if we are to create our earthly life from it, we have to become acquainted with it.  It is not always easy to look inside because we are often afraid of what we may find there,some part of ourselves we do not like.

Graham clearly looked inside as she began to create dances for her own company after leaving the Denishawn Company.  The new dances were intense and emotional, as she was, taking this element to a depth never before seen in modern dance.  In the beginning, some people found her work offensive, but her courage to be true to her creative self transformed and broadened modern dance.

Following Our Own Paths

We each follow our own path.  Externally, it may involve working for a corporation, a hospital, a school, or creating our own business, and what we do there may be an expression of our deepest self or it may only be a place to earn money.  When we can combine the two, we are most fortunate.

When I was young, my parents saw my desire to become a modern dancer as foolish.  How could I possibly support myself doing that? Because of my mother’s insistence, I got the credits needed for teacher certification, and I became a teacher while pursuing dance.

As a high school teacher, I discovered I wanted to help empower those students who were not in the main stream.  Looking back on that years later, I realized I was drawn to them because I did not feel I was part of the main stream, so I was not “good enough.”  But when I taught them, this incredible energy within me bubbled up, and helping them empowered me as well.

I also usually danced the dancer’s life along with the teaching life.  I loved the feeling of never knowing what might show up as I began to choreograph a dance because my experience had taught me that when moving or writing creatively, the most amazing and unexpected ideas could show up, ones I would never think of.

Finding Inner Peace and Vitality

The silence of creativity or meditative practices opens us to that place within where our life force can speak to us and lead us to choreograph a new life or expand the one we have to include new steps. Being with nature can also offer us a place where the outer can create peace within.

I know a group of birdwatchers.  Some of them are retired, but some still work and participate in the walks that take them through the forest to observe and name our flying friends.  At other times some of them also participate in slow hikes identifying trees or flowers in order to connect more deeply with nature because this connection with nature is an integral part of who they are.  The dance of nature is their dance.

I know how they feel.  Nature is also a place where I experience deep peace.  Upon entering a forest, I almost immediately drop into a meditative state.  I grew up hiking through the mountains and forests, learning to name the rocks and trees, but while the naming was not my focus, it helped me connect with their energy and beautiful presence.  After I began dancing, the energy of nature stirred up new ideas for dances.

Finding Your Dance Beyond the External

While dance was a huge part of my dance of life for many years, there came a time when the physical demands of the art began to harm my body.  I was frightened.  Who would I be without dance? It was the core of my identity!

It became clear that I needed to go deeper.  Fortunately, before I stopped teaching dance, I had learned to meditate.  It became a regular practice that took me deeper into the heart of my soul, where I discovered the real source of my creativity, not only for dance, but for living.

As I began to visit non-traditional spiritual groups like Science of Mind and Unity churches, I began to learn other ways of connecting with my spirituality and growing my inner life.  I learned, for example, how to release my fear so that it did not control my mind. This exploration led me to a sense of wholeness I had never known.  My dance of life became deeper and richer, undefined by what I did, defined by who I was.

What Is the Core of Your Dance of Life?

Where has your dance of life taken you? How is your life force expressed?  If you remove all the things you have, the titles you hold, the money and work that defines you, your political persuasion, your religious beliefs, what is at the core of your dance of life?

When we are expressing who we truly are, there is a vitality to it.  We’ve all met people whose vitality surrounds them and energizes those who come near them; while their energy enlivens us, we also feel the serenity at their core.  And that is a peace we all need to find in our own dance of life.

© Georganne Spruce

The Martha Graham Company

READINGS:  AWAKENING TO THE LIGHT

AWAKENING TO THE HOME WITHIN

AWAKENING TO THE ONENESS WITHIN

 

LETTING GO OF THE BAGGAGE

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”  Steve Maraboli

Who have you forgiven lately or who do you need to forgive and haven’t?

One Sunday morning I woke from a dream.  It had been lengthy but I only remembered the last moment.  I was walking through an airport on the way to catch a flight that was leaving soon and I stopped, suddenly realizing I had left my luggage at home.  After I got out of bed and unsuccessfully tried for a few minutes to remember more, I walked over to my husband and said, “I just dreamed that I was in an airport about to catch a flight when I realized I had left my baggage at home.”

Why did I say baggage?  Then it hit me – that’s what the dream was about!  My husband who is a retired therapist began asking me questions about what I thought my emotional/psychological baggage was.  I gave it serious thought but nothing came up.  In fact, other than being disturbed by our president’s behavior and dealing with some back problems that have greatly improved, I’ve been feeling very peaceful.

Baggage I Needed to Release

Later that morning, I remembered a very significant time in the past when it had taken me a long time to forgive and when I finally did, it was transforming.

During college, I had fallen in love with a man six months before he went to the Vietnam War.  We became engaged and when he returned a year later, we married rather quickly and lived together for the next ten years before divorcing.  During those years, I taught in high school and taught some modern dance when I could.  Eventually I was able to dance with a small company fulfilling one of my life’s dreams.

But this didn’t work well for my husband who wanted a divorce.  He later admitted he had had affairs while we were married.  My love of dance angered him because he felt I loved dance more than I loved him.  

“But,” I said, “I told you before we married that I had to dance, that it was part of me, and you said that was okay.”

“Well, I thought you’d get tired of it – outgrow it.”

I was stunned by that revelation, and the pain of his betrayals haunted me for years.

Learning to Forgive

Then one day, many years after the divorce, I finally understood how I had not understood his needs.  Of course he needed a partner totally devoted to him.  His mother had been single, working a job that left him alone most of the day and evening, even when he was in elementary school. He had to fix his own dinner, which often involved opening a can of food and heating it.   He didn’t know his father who had left when his mother became pregnant.  

When his mother married, it was to a man who was untrustworthy and whose mother treated  my ex like he was a nuisance.  These were the only relatives he had to live with as he completed high school.  No wonder he joined the Marines!

Compassion Leads to Forgiveness

Reflecting on his early years, I was suddenly filled with a deep sadness.  On an emotional level for the first time, I understood how deeply he had needed a wife who was motherly, and I was not.  I was an independent woman on her own path when that was not an acceptable way for a woman to be.  For the first time, I truly forgave him for the hurt he caused me, and I forgave myself for being so blind to his needs.  Finally, I was able to leave that baggage behind.

But why was this dream coming up now?  I don’t know.  But I suspect there may be more baggage lurking in my mental closet.  Only time will tell.  

Whom do you need to forgive today?

© Georganne Spruce

Readings:  My Memoir:  Awakening to the Dance: a Journey to Wholeness

AWAKENING TO ACCEPTANCE

AWAKENING TO COMPASSION