Tag Archives: Awakening

AWAKENING TO OUR MYSTERIES

“I think on some level, you do your best things when you’re a little off-balance, a little scared.  You’ve got to work from mystery, from wonder, from not knowing.”  Daniel Dafoe

How do you feel about a mystery in your life?  Does it frighten you?  Does it ever reveal a new way to see your life?

Fall is always a reminder that times are changing.  For a while it is lovely with the colorful flowers and multicolored leaves on the trees.  The intense heat of summer has subsided and the air is cool and perfect for outdoor hikes with just a sweater or light coat.  For a while the mountains startle us with vivid colors like a Van Gogh painting.

And then – things drop away.  The flowers and leaves turn brown and fall.  The squirrels stuff themselves with acorns and pack more up for winter.  All of nature prepares for rest during the winter in order to return in the spring renewed.

Not only is nature in transition, humans are as well.  We are living through a mysterious time, daily discovering that our country is not what we thought it was, that our government may no longer be “for the people.”  Our health is threatened by a mysterious illness that infects equally and we have no cure.

A Time of Letting Go

Creation Spirituality, a spiritual community created by Matthew Fox, divides the year into four areas.  This time of year is known as the Via Negativa, a time of mystery, of letting go, of emptying, of sitting in the shadow, and experiencing the dark night of the soul.

Like the trees and flowers, it is a time to rest and renew our lives for the coming of spring and new life.  It is a time to explore who we really are in this time of change.  We may take the time to let the mysteries of our lives open to us.

What do we need to let go of?  Many people are cleaning out their closets and garages, letting go of things they no longer need:  books they’ll never read again, clothes they’ve outgrown, furniture that is broken, or tools they never use.  In my community there is a website where people post the free things they want to give away and the list is endless and surprising at times.

Looking Within

But letting go of physical things is the easy part.  Looking at our inner mysteries is more challenging.  Who are we really?  Even before the pandemic, were we living the life we really wanted?  Are we uncomfortable having to stay home most of the time because our family relationships are difficult?

When we experience a dark night of the soul, we often feel we are trapped in a shadow and have no idea how to find the light.  But this is the time when we must look inside and ask, “Who am I?”  Are we living who we really are?  While that may feel terribly uncomfortable at times, it may also lead us to discover parts of ourselves that are shut down and what we need to do to become more complete.

When I had to move from New Orleans, away from the rest of my family, it was not a choice I really wanted to make.  If I wanted to heal my Chronic Fatique Syndrome, I had to go to a dry climate, so I chose Albuquerque where I did have one New Orleans friend who had moved there.

We Are One With Spirit

During my time there, I discovered Religious Science church that became my spiritual home.  It was based on the science of mind philosophy, the belief that God is one with us and all that is.  The energy we create and express affects others, and what we express comes back to us.  Being part of a loving community and practicing this spiritual belief helped heal more than my body.

There have been many moments in my life when I felt depressed or confined by my circumstances.  As a single woman, making enough money to pay the bills was also a challenge.  Not being in a relationship for many years was a challenge.  Dealing with continuing health challenges that limited what I could eat was a challenge.

Lighting the Dark Within

Learning to adjust my thinking and meditate taught me that closing my eyes, moving into the darkness, could open me to the light within.  In that place, I could find peace and let the negative thinking and feelings drop away.  Clearing space within for the light to appear often brought solutions to problems I would never have “thought” of.

Many times, as I sit quietly, lie in bed dozing off, or just as I wake, a new thought presents itself.  What it means may be a total mystery.  Thinking about it may or may not reveal its meaning.  When I’m mystified, I write the thought down just as I do if I wake remembering a dream, knowing that if it is important, its relevance will be revealed later.

While we learn who we are by being with other people, by working or playing, it is our alone time when the deepest mysteries can open us to the deepest solutions.  Spirit is with us in those moments if we are willing to sit with the mystery.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

DANCING TO THE MYSTERY OF LIFE

AWAKENING TO LIGHT THE DARKNESS

AWAKENING TO THE LIGHT

 

AWAKENING TO NATURE’S SURPRISES

“Perhaps the safest prediction we can make about the future is that it will surprise us.”  George Leonard

Are you a nature lover?  How do you spend rainy days? When nature surprises you, does it irritate or delight you?

Sunday was rainy, as is today, and it’s probable that we will have a rainy week.  While I appreciate the rain nourishing the earth and aiding the growth of beautiful spring flowers, it may be a challenge at times.

Floods and the subsequent devastation are the worst problems, but even the lack of rain I experienced when I lived in New Mexico was a challenge when the dryness required us to shower only every other day.  While there are many things we can control in life, the timing of when it rains is not one of them.

Unpredictable Weather

Sunday, as my husband and I attempted to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary, Mother Nature was not our friend.  The rain’s behavior throughout the day was unpredictable.

After treating ourselves to a delicious breakfast, we headed for a walk around our favorite lake, a home for ducks and geese, before the clouds darkened and the rain fell.  It was cloudy at the lake but bits of blue sky showed through the clouds and the darker ones were at a distance so we thought we were safe and didn’t carry our umbrellas.

Walking from the car to the path, we sauntered through a large flock of geese as the males hissed at us for invading their space and bringing our dog along.  About three-fourths of the way around, it started to rain and we rushed to the car hoping it would pass quickly, but it didn’t.  Resigned to having only a short walk, but grateful we had some time there, we drove home.

At home it wasn’t raining.  So when the mail arrived, my husband and our dog went out to retrieve it.  Just as they reached the mailbox at the end of the driveway the heavens opened and the rain poured.  Fortunately with trees overhead, they made it back to the house without getting soaked.  Resigned that it would be a rainy afternoon, we curled up in the family room with our books.

Hope May Lead To Wise Decisions

But hope never dies, and we continued to hope that the rain would clear before dinnertime.  We had plans to eat on the terrace of our favorite restaurant, but thirty minutes before our reservation a torrent of rain continued decimating any possibility of an outdoor dinner.  I set the table with our nicest silverware and plates and my husband picked up the food at the restaurant.

While the rain replenished the earth, we replenished our bodies with Chicken Marsala, mashed potatoes and spinach, watched an episode of “Poldark,” and confirmed how lucky we were to have each other to love.  After all, it’s the love that really matters.  It can fill us in any weather.

Our special day was not perfect, but the nourishing rain certainly entertained us with surprises, and afterward more Black-eyed Susan’s bloomed in the garden off the deck.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO SURPRISES

AWAKENING TO REALITY NOW

AWAKENING TO EFFECT CHANGE

 

AWAKENING TO DISCOVER THE LIGHT

“We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future.” John F. Kennedy

 

Does the darkness feel overpowering to you? Is there light in your life? If so, where do you find it? How do you keep the darkness from overwhelming you?

When I was a child lying on the grass, looking at the stars, I was awed by their beauty.  I wondered what caused them to flicker like a candle. Why could I see them only at night if they were there all the time?  As I relaxed into the earth, I always felt a quiet peace flow through my body.  With only a tiny flicker of light, I felt safe enough to sleep outside if my parents had let me.  Being close to the earth, sheltered by the sky, I felt at home.

Darkness may allow us to rest and to escape the challenges of the day, but it may also allow us to hide from reality.  When challenges we don’t want to deal with appear in our lives, we may ignore them, often creating a greater problem than the original challenge.  We may also become angry, cursing this annoyance that has appeared and allowing the anger to lead us to an unwise solution.

How To Light The Darkness

What candles may we light in these dark moments to guide us? Meditation is one way to find the quiet that allows our minds to relax.  Sitting and breathing deeply releases tension in the whole body and the mind expands and becomes more peaceful.  When I meditate, I feel light energy flow up my spine into my head, releasing the negative thoughts and opening a space for more sane and loving thoughts.

Another way to light the candle within and remove the mental darkness is to release our fear.  Fears create the negative emotions we experience and often lead us to make poor decisions.  Again, we need to sit quietly, breathe deeply, and direct the mind to release the fear in whatever emotional form it is taking.  As in meditation, when the fear is released, a sense of light and clearness will appear within.

Benefits of Releasing the Darkness

Meditation and releasing the fear are both powerful practices.  The meditation allows you to see life from a centered and loving place.  Releasing the fear removes the mental darkness to allow beneficial thoughts to flow in.  Experiencing even a little light allows us to find the light in our own lives so that we may be unafraid in the outer world.

When we find peace within, it allows us to see clearly what we need to do in our lives and outside them.  At a time when our country and the world need to make enormous changes in order to create real equality, we need not just have reactions to the problems, but make decisions that will create positive change. We each have to decide what helpful role we can play at this time.

Let The Light Guide You

The candle of equality requires that we shed our prejudiced conceptions, our unhealthy habits, our destructive relationships, and the belief systems that separate us from others.  Who will we be in this new world and what part will we play in healing it?

Despite the challenges of staying safe during the virus, it does not help us to curse it.  Instead we must ask, “What can I do to help and still be safe?”  Only you can answer that question for yourself.  May the light guide you.

©2020 Georganne Spruce

Additional Reading:

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

AWAKEN TO LOVE THE LIGHT

TRANSFORMING THE FEAR OF CHANGE

 

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

 

AWAKENING TO THE FIRE WITHIN

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” Ferdinand Foch

Never has a moment in my life been filled with more fire, both within and without.  Living in the mountains of North Carolina, many days have been cloudy, filled with smoke from the wild fires burning all around us.  A couple of weeks ago, the tourist town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, not far away, went up in flames.

As did many of our dreams when Hillary lost the election and Donald won, fueled by hate, racism and misogyny.  Civility did not rein during this election, and the consequences are still fueling the fire.

Fire Can Be Positive Or Negative

Fire can be destructive when it goes out of control, but it also has a positive side.  Fire keeps us warm in the winter and cooks the food that nourishes us.  The fire within often gives us the courage to do what we think we cannot do and enlivens us to trust the fire in our souls to guide us toward positive action.

How To Face the Challenge

At the current time, we face a challenge.  This election was not as clear as it appeared to be at first.  The number of citizens who voted for Hillary now surpasses Donald’s popular vote, so there is anger on both sides.  Trump is being investigated concerning his relationship to Russia. What should be done?  What decision will the electoral college make on December 19?

Our fire within has come close to the burning point.  Threats and bullying toward those Donald degraded with his comments have increased.  It is now more dangerous to live in this country if you are an immigrant, a woman, or of any race other than white.  The foundation of our democracy is crumbling, and yet….

Around me, many whose souls are on fire are reaching out to those in need, protecting those who are being debased, protesting and speaking for the values we have always seen as the basis of this country, respect for all.  When the fire within grows, it can motivate us to do what we need to do.

Yes, we need to love one another.  We need to find peace.  But that does not mean, we do not need to act.  Expressing love and peace is not always passive.  Martin Luther King taught us that in the 1960’s.

What Can We Change?

Donald Trump won for a reason.  Some may have been drawn to his rhetoric because he supported their racist or misogynistic views, but some clearly were drawn to him because he was not part of the establishment they felt neglected them.  They clearly did not believe Hillary would help create more jobs with better pay despite her long history of helping people who need help.  They believed the lies rather than the facts.

So when our fire within heats up, let’s look around and see what needs to change and devote ourselves to participating in that change.  Some things can’t be changed.  For example, we live in a primarily technological society and we have fewer industrial jobs, so those who have had those jobs will have to choose to retrain and find another kind of work.  Life keeps changing and we have to be willing to change with it.

Some Cultures Resist Change

Recently I read Hillbilly Elegies: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance.  While I live in the North Carolina mountains and had a father who was raised in the Arkansas mountains, I was not aware that some of the qualities I had noticed in certain people were typical of a particular culture, in this case, the Appalachian white culture.

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According to Vance, these people find change devastating, especially having to move from their birth place, because it separates them from their culture.  Some people like Vance are willing to make the required changes to move because it is the only way they can get more education and find new jobs to support their families. Others refuse to make that choice and live on welfare or are so limited financially that they feel defeated before they start.

Among many of us, the fire within is focused on keeping life from changing; it is not focused on transformation as a positive possibility.  Despite all the good Obama has done during his years in office by reducing the debt and increasing jobs, there are many who have not been directly affected by this.

Transform Anger Into Positive Action

When that fire within expresses as anger, we need to see how we can transform it into positive action.  It is not easy for me to say this because I am not an activist.  I am a regular voter, but I do not like politics.  I am a teacher and creative person, but I know that if I want things to change, I have to be willing to participate in that change.

I am especially moved by what has happened at Standing Rock, North Dakota.  The peaceful protest of Native Americans and their supporters has resulted in some change.  The U. S. Corps of Engineers will look for another route for the pipeline so that it does not cross their land although the energy company is still resisting.  We still don’t know for sure if their sacred sites will be respected.

sept-4th-500-folks-after-sacred-site-bulldozing_125_orig

I know several people who took supplies and money to the protesters at Standing Rock.  I know others who worked tirelessly on the election last month and who now focus their energy on the next local and state elections.  Living in a red state where the governor resisted conceding to the man who had beaten him in the election until last week, I have made some phone calls locally and nationally expressing my displeasure for what is going on with him and with Donald.

Change May Lead To A Better Life

In my own life, I have had to make many changes over the years, so I can understand why change is difficult for many.  All I know is that if I had not made those changes my life would not be as good as it is today.  I am grateful for those who encouraged me to look beyond my comfort zone.

When the fire within us erupts, we need to remember that allowing it to become a violent reaction will only destroy our society and lives, but channeling it into social or political action will warm our souls and save our nation.

© 2016 Georganne Spruce

RELATED ARTICLES:  Awakening to Live Without Fear, Transforming the Fear of Change, Awakening to Shadow’s Treasure

AWAKENING TO WHAT IS HUMANE

“You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.”  Marianne Williamson

meditating in park

 Do you always think before you act?  How often are your actions based on your need to be right?  What do you do when being right conflicts with being humane?

What most often guides your actions—being right or being humane?  As I sat listening to the comments on what it means to be right during a group discussion the other night, I discovered I didn’t know what to say about my own concept of being right.  I kept thinking about all the destruction created in the world by those who believe they are so right that they have the right to destroy those whose beliefs differ from theirs.

Fear Is At the Core of Needing To Be Right

As the discussion progressed, I reflected on the past and times when I thought I knew what was right and how I tried to impose it on others.  Of course, fear was at the root of that.  I was afraid something bad would happen to me if I did the wrong thing or expressed an idea that would upset my parents, teachers, or friends.

But I’ve come a long way since then, realizing that, in some areas, it is clear to me what the right thing to do is because I have enough life experience to know what the possible outcome of certain actions are.  I think more often now before I speak or act and try to act in a conscious manner.

It Is Better To So What Is Humane Than What Is Right

Finally, toward the end of the discussion the other night, I realized that my intense discomfort with trying to decide what I thought was right was because it really is relative.  Several people had pointed this out quite vividly.  One action may be a good one in one sense but not in another.  Then I realized that instead of trying to do the right thing, perhaps doing the humane thing was a clearer guide.

Snow Bird Lodge 066

It appears that too many people in this world believe it’s all right to kill anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs.  So I have to ask, “Is it humane to kill innocent civilians who have had nothing to do with the political conflict that provoked this violence?  Why have we not developed a more humane way to resolve differences?”  Mahatma Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

Needing To Be Right May Make Us Blind

Unfortunately, much of the world seems to be blind.  As I follow the actions of the leadership of my state, North Carolina, I often wonder why they are unwilling or unable to find solutions to problems that are respectful of all people and their basic needs.  Where is their compassion?

To be humane means that we believe everyone’s basic needs are met by creating an economy that provides jobs for those who can work with salaries that allow even the most basic workers to make a reasonable living.  When middle and lower class workers pay a higher percentage in taxes than the most wealthy, there is a lack of conscience among those who allow such laws to exist.

Snow Bird Lodge 063

To Be Humane, We Must Find Inner Peace

When did we forget how to share as a nation?  How did we forget that democracy is about all the people?   Doing what is humane is always right because it is doing what will help or heal or support another who is in need. When we do that, we are expressing positive energy that flows out into the world, inspiring or helping others.  Every action we take affects those around us.

But our actions reflect our thinking, and until we can find peace and love in our own hearts, we cannot share it with others.  We must learn to accept different points of view and embrace those that are humane.  After all, the Spirit, of which we are all a part, has throughout time sent many holy ones into our world to teach us better ways to live with love and peace.

Shifting Our Thinking Can Change the World

When we look at the heart of the world’s main religions, there are few differences although each may emphasize different aspects of spirituality.  We would have a much more humane world if we would focus our efforts on seeing how alike we are rather than how different.  Shifting our thinking can literally change the world.  So how far are you willing to stretch out of your comfort zone to explore thinking that is different from yours?

I am always reminded of what my dear spiritual teacher Gladys taught me—that when I release my fear, my mind is free to find solutions to my problems rather than reasons to continue being afraid.  What would happen if we released our fear and allowed our most humane thoughts to direct our lives?  We could become the peace which we desire in the world.

©2014 Georganne Spruce                                          ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  A Human Approach to World Peace,  Peace Summit with Dalai Lama,Eckhart Tolle, and Nobel, 10 Eckhart Tolle Take-a-Ways for a Peaceful 2014

AWAKENING TO WHAT IS NEXT

“Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected.  Sustainability is about survival.  The goal of resilience is to thrive.”  Jamais Cascio

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

The problem with an accident is that there is no warning and afterwards the shock overtakes us for protection.  When reality finally sets in, it is hard not to analyze how it happened and why.

I’ve replayed many times that moment before I fell on the hike a couple of weeks ago.  There was a moment I hesitated before I stepped onto the spot where I fell.  If only I had hesitated a little longer and decided not to take that step.

We Cannot Change the Past

But we can’t change the past.  What’s done is done.  I have a broken ankle.  I won’t be able to walk for several weeks, so what am I going to do in the meantime.  I’ve done “angry,” “blaming self for being foolish” and “you should have warned me.”  So now it’s time to move on and make something good out of this.

 We Can Make Something Good Out Of Negative Experiences

It’s forcing me to rest more, which is good.  I kept saying I needed to make the time to meditate – well, now I have it.  I have the time to rest and think.   And I have to be more creative.  How will we take that trip we planned to celebrate a special time in a relative’s life?  How will I teach the class I was supposed to teach?

I wrote the first three paragraphs two weeks ago, and during the last weekend in April, I taught “How to Make Your Story Come Alive” at the Blue Ridge Bookfest in my wheel chair.  Somehow I had managed to finish preparing the workshop between severe coughing bouts (oh yeah, I developed a bad allergic reaction to the oak tassels falling in my yard) and insomnia.

Despite my limited movement, the class was very responsive and asked good questions and I enjoyed teaching despite the fact that I am used to moving around and writing on the white board.  It was a different experience, but I do prefer to be on my feet.

Photo: Charles Davidson

Photo: Charles Davidson

I also discovered that my fiancé is totally dedicated to my well-being.  He has become my home health care professional 24 hours a day and I feel extremely well cared for.  I don’t have to call on strangers as I did several years ago when I broke my elbow, nor do I have to go to a rehab facility where I am treated as senile although at the time I was there, I was fully in charge of my faculties.

 We Have to Adapt to the Changes

Over all, things have been going well despite my fiancé’s car dying the day we headed out for the bookfest.  Fortunately, mine was working well and we were able to reload the car quickly and arrive on time.  That same week the toaster oven I use to cook everything died.  Oh yes, and after living here ten years, for the first time, I’ve been called to jury duty—a couple of weeks before my wedding.

Of course this is all happening in the middle of our making final plans for our wedding.  Well, at least it hasn’t been boring.  Who knows what will happen next.  I’m at the laughing stage now, and can say, “We’ll deal with it.”

Most of the time, when the unexpected and not so pleasant things occur in life, all we can do is adapt.  No matter how hard we plan, life will create obstacles, and hopefully we can circumvent or overcome them, accepting that reality and perhaps learning from them.

Great Hungrey river 028

Photo: Georganne Spruce

We Can Learn Important Lessons From Negative Experiences

What have I learned from this experience?  That when I’m on a slippery slope, I need to weigh the options more carefully than usual.  My first concern must be my own safety regardless of what anyone else is doing.   I need to balance my daring and passion with thought and wisdom. I need to slow down and be sure my next step is on safe ground.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

AWAKENING TO NEW BEGINNINGS

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language

And next year’s words await another voice.

And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

T. S. Eliot

Photo: Charles Davidson

Photo: Charles Davidson

Are you pleased with the direction your life took in 2013? Do you have any regrets about last year or any hopes for change for the New Year?  Will this year be a new beginning in some way?

A peace always falls over me at the beginning of a new year.  It’s like stepping through a portal that will provide me with new experiences and broaden my awareness.  I know that each year I grow—sometimes from positive experiences and sometimes from negative ones. If I haven’t been pleased with the year, I can choose to let go of my displeasure and reorganize and rethink my life so that in this New Year I will be more of the person I want to be.

Much of what I experienced in 2013 was good.  I did book signings, workshops, and sold books.  I made new friends.  I went on many wonderful hikes.  Most important of all, I began a deeply meaningful relationship that I never expected would happen at this time in my life.

But that was last year, and I wonder what voice will emerge from within me and through my writing for this year.  I’ve already started putting together a book of poetry, and within my own poems are many voices.  I have changed.

There is the voice of isolation that speaks through my poems about winter in Nebraska years ago.  There is voice of new found strength and recovery from a previously failed relationship.  There is the joy and exhilaration of connecting with nature and the flight of birds, and the mystical, spiritual experiences of deeply relating with others.

Although many voices may appear in my writing, they all emerge from my core, and the journey continues.  Last year was last year with its surprises and lessons.  It has ended, but now there is a new year and I have to reflect on what I want it to be.

I don’t make resolutions, but I do reflect on some of the things I hope will be a part of next year.  I begin to create some plans to make those desires manifest.  I envision what succeeding to get what I desire will feel like, and I begin to feel those goals will be reached even when I have no idea of the mechanics that will make them happen.

So I begin to create a year of new beginnings, always with joy at the center, and the ability to accept whatever the New Year brings.  I tingle with excitement over what may be possible as I continue to dance this dance of life.  And above all, I commit to choreographing a New Year filled with love, peace, and joy.

May this be a joyful year for you all!

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                             ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

AWAKENING TO A PEACEFUL HEART

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.  It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”  E. F. SchumacheR

Denver 008

A few months ago, my life was so full I felt I was in constant motion.  I was promoting my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholenesswith book signings, and I met a wonderful man and began a relationship with him.  Combined with the usual things one has to take care of in life, I was fairly overwhelmed.  As a result, I stopped going to the spiritual celebration I often attend on Sundays because I needed time for myself.

When We Feel Anger, We Need To Take A Breath

Then one day, I did attend the Sunday celebration, and as I entered the building, I ran into a young man I hardly knew who greeted me.  “Good to see you.  We haven’t seen you in a long time.  You did your presentation and sold your books; then you disappeared.”

Wow! I’m sure my face was red with the anger I felt.  How dare he suggest I just used my community in this way!  I’d been there nearly every Sunday for eight years!  I hardly knew this person and he knew nothing about my personal life.  A dozen angry responses flashed through my mind—but I took a deep breath, decided to be direct, and said, “Well, I was really exhausted after I finished the book.  Then I had to do all the promotional stuff, and I’m now in a relationship.   I just needed time to take care of myself.”

Another person walked up to us and I was able to slip away, thankful that I’d been able to respond with an explanation that would perhaps make him realize his assumption had been wrong.  I was also pleased with the restraint I’d shown.  When I calmed down and thought about what he had said, I realized it reflected some issue he was struggling with.

Two people in a heated argument about religion...

Two people in a heated argument about religion when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia University. Click the audio button found above and to the left to listen to them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our Issues Are About The Ego

We all have our issues and when those buttons get punched, it is so easy to act in a way we will regret later.  Inevitably, if we just react emotionally, without taking a deep breath first, we create more of a problem, making the problem “bigger, more complex, and more violent” as Schumacher suggests.  Pausing to take that breath before responding reminds us we are in the moment and need to respond in the moment from the heart, not in response to our injured ego that wants revenge, attention or is responding to our past negative experiences.

In taking that breath, we are also affirming we want peace, and it may allow us to see the source of the discomfort for the other person.  Taking a breath allows us to notice the tone of his voice or the expression on his face and that may guide us to respond in a positive way.  I realized instantly that the young man who spoke to me knew nothing about my personal life, and that being open to him might create a bridge of understanding.

It Takes Courage To Be Peaceful When Others Are Not

I don’t agree with Schumacher that choosing the more peaceful path requires genius.  I think it’s just common sense, but in a world where we’re still fighting wars and most television shows are about violence, it does sometimes take courage to take a different path.  It takes courage in order to go against what those around us believe, especially if they are friends or family.

I taught high school English for years and was often appalled by the hateful things teens said to each other, even to their friends.  When students chose not to engage in that disrespectful behavior, they were often ostracized, so the penalty for nonconformity was huge.

I once had a student ask me if I thought most people were good.  I answered that, yes, I thought most people were basically good.  She responded that she didn’t agree—she thought most people were mean.  With that as the basis of her thinking, it is not surprising that she often responded hatefully to others.  She wanted to hurt them before they hurt her.

Our Responses Reflect Who We Are

In the end, though, it doesn’t matter whether others are good or hateful.  How we respond in every situation is our choice and we have to live with it.  We have to decide who we want to be.  Do we want to be the one who comes back with a more hateful remark or do we want to be the one who creates a bridge or lets the emotional charge from our opponent die because we choose not to feed their negativity with ours?

Courage Comes From The Heart

When we are in doubt about how to respond to a negative situation, it is always wise to take a breath and consult the heart.  Responding out of love and peace is never a bad choice, and it doesn’t mean that we are weak by not confronting the anger or hatefulness in another.  We can still hold to our point of view, but when we do that from a peaceful base, it is more likely to be heard by others.  It may then be possible to turn an argument into a conversation or a misunderstanding into friendship.  Courage is most powerful when it comes from the heart.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                  ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Don’t Run From Anger – Use It to Heal and Evolve, Video: S.T.O.P. – A Conversation with Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra, What’s Your Reaction to Conflict

AWAKENING TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”  Wayne Dyer

How do you respond to challenging events that block what you want?  When you feel overwhelmed, how do you manage to move forward?  How do you know what the next step is?

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It seems that some months flow by so smoothly that it is hard to remember they were here, like a river rapidly flowing unimpeded over the rocks.  Other months seem to attract problems like obstacles and debris that become caught between the rocks of the river, blocking the flow of life and creating barriers to progress.  August was like that, full of distractions and problems to be solved that stole precious hours from my writing time and time with loved ones.

When We Are Stressed With Problems, Take One Step At A Time

Because more powerful cell towers were being built where I live that would give me better service, I had to trade in my old phone for a new one.  I did that, except the new phone did not work well.  It had less coverage, and I spent hours trying to work out the problems.  In addition, problems with medical and dental insurance plans arose.  Then, one side of the yard had to be dug up in order to replace a drainage pipe.  The seeding that was done afterwards was terribly inadequate, and we discovered that area, once covered with English Ivy, had an underground spring that had surfaced due to the excessive rains we’ve had.

So how do we negotiate the rocks and debris that appear unexpectedly in our paths?  I felt overwhelmed and anxious most of the month and often had to remember to breathe deeply. I had to remind myself that when I’m hiking and have to cross a stream there is only one way to do it—one step at a time.  I place a foot on a rock with a little weight to test how stable it is.  Then I step to put my whole weight onto it.

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The Best Choice Is The Heart Choice

So with all these unexpected problems appearing, I had to constantly stop and consider what would be the best way to proceed in each case.  I had to explore and research to understand the choices and sometimes the best choice wasn’t obvious.  Over time, I’ve learned that when I am ready to make a choice, it is best to turn inward and ask what feels right in my heart because my mind often holds on to comfortable, old ideas that may not serve me well.

Clearing away the debris and blockage in life requires us to let go of what is no longer of value and be open to something new.  We become attached to ideas, people and things, and it is especially difficult to let go of them when they have been meaningful or useful to us.  When we find ourselves resisting, it is important to take the time to explore what we feel we will lose if we let go.

We May Need To Do Mental Spring Cleaning

We often need to do some mental spring cleaning.  Growing up, spring cleaning was the time we cleared out old clothes or toys from the closet—sometimes reluctantly, cleaned the windows and inside the kitchen cabinets, and waxed the hardwood floors.  We made space for new things, gave order to the disorder, and found that looking through clean windows always made the world brighter.

When we feel blocked in moving forward, it’s a good time to stop and think, “Why am I afraid to let go of the things I no longer need?”  Even if we don’t like where we are, it feels more secure than stepping into the unknown, or we may be afraid we will make the wrong choice.  When our minds are cluttered with too many possibilities, it is also difficult to truly focus and see clearly the pros and cons of each choice.

Quiet May Bring Us Peace

However, when we are in meditation or in a quiet moment, all seems well.  We can just be.  We can choose not to resist.  We can be the observers of our own lives, and may be able to see how the blocks that have appeared have led us to better situations.  We remember the peacefulness of flowing with the breath.  We can let go of our fear and know that if we are in touch with our inner selves, the solutions to problems will appear as we explore the possibilities. We will be guided to the best choices and the next step.

Challenges May Lead To Better Solutions

Not all the challenges that arose last month have been solved the way I expected, but the ones that have been solved led to something better.  Because I had been given inaccurate information about the phone and cell tower activation, I was given a nice credit and an opportunity to choose a new phone of my choice.  I found a better insurance policy at a much better rate.  As for the yard, there’s still work to be done, but if the yard hadn’t been dug up to fix the drain pipe, I would never have had the ivy in that area removed, and I’m so glad it’s gone and will be replaced with grass.

This is all a reminder that when we trust the flow of life even the difficulties tend to lead us to something better.  The next step may not be what we expected, but that could be a good thing.  It’s all in how we look at it.

Have you changed your way of looking at an event or person lately?  Please Comment.

Related Articles: Change Your Thinking (Wayne Dyer Video Interview), Trust Is Shorthand for Going with the Flow (Marianne Williamson), How to Develop a Deep Trust in Life, Letting Go of Your Old Ideas

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5