Tag Archives: Awakening

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.

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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

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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

AWAKENING TO GET UNSTUCK

“Life can only be understood backward; but it must be lived forwards.”  Soren Kierkegaard

2012 Catawba Falls 002 Do you ever feel you’re stuck in a perspective, job, or relationship that no longer serves you?  How can you release what’s stuck and move on?

When I look back over the many years of my life, I’m amazed at how much has changed in our society and in my life.  I went to school in segregated schools until the Sixties when I entered college.  I knew the first black woman to live in the college dorm.  In those days when I was majoring in theater, the gay guys who were my friends didn’t want me to know they were gay.  Although we all knew they were gay, it was never discussed openly.

Society Changes Only When We Change

The Sixties opened up my generation as nothing else could.  As a result of the turmoil of that time, our society began a process of opening to new ideas about equality for all Americans.  While many attitudes and laws have changed in our society, there are still people who are racist, sexist, or against anyone who is not like them.

The society can become unstuck and move forward only when we do.  So how do we do that when we feel so attached to a belief or stuck in a life style that makes our change challenging?  How do we learn to live forward as Kierkegaard suggests?

We Must Release Limiting Beliefs

Living attached to limiting beliefs about the past can stymie us.  When I married at twenty-one, I believed that marriage lasted forever, no matter what.  I still think it’s the ideal, but after dealing with my former husband, who kept trying to leave for ten years, I finally decided I had to let him go—there was little value in his remaining for either of us.

Resistance Is A Sign We’re Stuck

How do we know when we’re stuck?  We usually encounter repeated resistance in some way.  It feels like no matter what we do, nothing changes.  Problems don’t get solved.  We aren’t getting what we want.  Every attempt to get what we want is blocked in some way.  The frustration level rises because what used to work no longer does.

When we feel this way, something needs to change, and it’s usually our thinking.  When I moved to New Mexico years ago, I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a result of stress and exposure to chemicals and mold in the New Orleans environment and the schools where I taught.  I needed to move to a dry climate to heal.  But it was more than that.  I had felt an attraction to New Mexico and had subscribed to the New Mexico Magazine for years.  I found the landscape and art beautiful and felt deeply connected to the Native American Culture.

I did heal my illness there, but my high school teaching experiences were a nightmare.   Administrators who wanted to replace me with people they knew wrote evaluations full of lies, and others refused to give me any support with a terribly-behaved class that had been a serious problem long before I arrived.  I became a scapegoat for the problems administrators couldn’t solve.

New Mexico Sunset

New Mexico Sunset (Photo credit: courtfkizer)

Still, I refused to face the facts.  My arrival in New Mexico had been magical, and my first job was perfect for me—teaching a humanities class in a fine arts academy.  But it didn’t last because I was the last teacher hired and when they discovered they had too many teachers for students, I was the first to be transferred.  Unfortunately, by this time, I had fallen in love with the Land of Enchantment.

We Have To See How Illusions Keep Us Stuck

You know how it is when you fall in love.  It’s impossible to see your lover’s negative qualities.  You make excuses for him.  I refused to give up my belief that this beautiful place was my soul’s home.  I ignored the real meaning of enchantment.  The lure of its beauty had bewitched me.

Despite being stuck on staying where I was physically, I did begin to be unstuck in other ways.  I had been writing a novel, but was blocked and frustrated.  Then I started writing my memoir instead just to keep writing and that began to feel like a good change.  Eventually, I let go of my attachment to the desert, realizing it was a metaphor for my experience, and moved to North Carolina, a place that truly is my soul’s home.

We Have To Release Our Fear of Change

So often we resist what is obvious because we’re so afraid of change.  It’s the unknown and we choose to remain unhappy rather than take a risk, but staying stuck only buries us deeper under more unhappiness.  It is only after making the change that we can look back and see whether it was a good choice.  That’s reality, and to live life forward means to summon our courage and take the risk.

When I’m at this point, I always think of this saying, “When you come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen:  there will be something to stand on or you will be taught how to fly.”  Unless you are willing to take the step forward, you will never know what possibilities await you.

Through Change We Find Our True Path

In New Mexico and in North Carolina, I kept clinging to the feeling of security that teaching gave me, but that was an illusion.  It has all worked out.  Just at the time I was running out of money, I reached the age to collect Social Security.  Then, I published my memoir and created workshops on how to release fear.  The chaos led me to my true life path and whatever I have needed has shown up.  It was all in Divine Order.

May you find the courage to live your life forward.

What have you let go of over the years that has allowed you to understand the past and move forward?  Please comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:    Getting Unstuck – Pema Chodron (audio), What is Stopping You?Getting Unstuck

RELEASING OUR FEAR TO AWAKEN

“Love is what we were born with.  Fear is what we learned here.”  Marianne Williamson

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How often do you avoid doing something you need to do because of fear?  How often do you feel fearful?  How do you let go of fear in order to move forward?

We Are Divine Beings With Worth

When we awaken in the morning, the rest of our lives are before us, and the decisions we make each day determine the quality of that life and how we will experience it.  We were born in love, a divine being with worth, but often the living of this life takes its toll.  If our childhood was filled with love and we had nurturing parents, we have the best chance to create that kind of adult life for ourselves.  However, if our childhood was filled with conflict or abuse, we had to learn coping mechanisms for survival, and while they may have helped us survive, they may have caused us to shut down parts of ourselves.

Fear Blocks Our Spiritual Awakening

The process of awakening is never ending.  In Oneness, awakening is described as “ascension” but one never arrives at a destination; one always continues growing.  In this earthly life, the one thing that limits our awakening more than any other is psychological fear.  It is the source of all dysfunctional behavior and every fear we experience is either a fear of rejection or a fear of inadequacy.  Our response to the problems that stimulate these fears is blocked by the fear unless we release it.

The fear that causes us to fight or flee when we are physically threatened is a different kind of fear; it is natural fear and one that we want to respect.  It causes the adrenaline to flow when we need the strength to out run a physical threat.  It causes that chill down the back or the intuitive knowing when harm is near, and it directs our mind to avoid the threat.

Thoughts Full of Fear Do Not Support Our Best

Psychological fears are different.  They may prevent us from pursuing the profession that is our passion or cause us to settle for less than what we need in relationships.  We may have internalized negative ideas about ourselves from an unloving childhood or from failures in our lives and feel that we are not worthy of happiness.  How we experience life depends so much on how we think, and if our thoughts are often filled with fear, our thoughts will not support the best in us.

We Must Embrace the Pain Of Growth

Our society has taught us to deal with pain by taking some kind of painkiller:  pills, drugs, sex, food, anything to stop the pain without having to go deeper to look at the emotional source of the distress because going deeper would be painful.  Marianne Williamson says, “It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.”

We need to shift our thinking to understand that sometimes pain is good, especially when it raises our consciousness.  Recently, a part of my foot started hurting like the beginning of plantar fasciitis, which I previously had for several years.   It was a signal that my foot wasn’t supported properly.  I visited the podiatrist and discovered that the orthotics I wear in my shoes needed more support in a certain area.  Emotional pain is also a warning—something is wrong and needs to be fixed or the pain will increase.

The method of releasing fear that I teach clears the mind of the block created by fear so that the mind can pull through information that will help us solve the problem that created the fear to begin with.  First, we direct the mind to release the fear and allow it to leave.  With the fear gone, we can access memory, past lives, spiritual, and psychic areas of the mind where there is information that will help us solve the current problem.

Trust That the Mind Free of Fear Will Serve Us

When we ask Source or Spirit for the answer, we have to believe we will receive it.  The problem is that it may not come when we expect it or look like we wanted it to.  Abundance is a good example in my life.  It appears in the form of money gifts, service exchanges, love, friendship, sharing information, free classes on a skill I need to learn, and work for which I’m paid.  The abundance in my life appears in a multitude of forms.

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How does this happen?  Because I believe that I will receive whatever I need when I need it and am ready to receive it.  The best way to attract abundance is to feel abundant and be grateful for every little good thing that happens.  Most of all, I no longer fear not having enough.  Having released that fear provides an unobstructed channel of energy through which good things can come to me.

The Awakening Path Is Endless

Marianne Williamson points out that it takes courage to face the pain of discovery.  We also have to release the fear that going into our muck won’t make things better.  We were created in love and to love we must return.  Love is what we are at our core, but “fear is what we learned here.”  What we have learned, we can unlearn when it does not serve us.  The reality of awakening is that we do outgrow certain ideas or circumstances in our lives.  We have to be willing to move on when the time comes.  The path of ascension is always there.  How quickly we awaken is our choice.

Please share your experience with fear and awakening.

 My next “Release Your Fear” workshop is Saturday, April 27, 10:00 am to 12:00 at Jubilee Community, 46 Wall St., Asheville, NC, $15 at the door.  If you want more information, see this link or email me at lifedancer33@charter.net.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                            ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  What is Spiritual Awakening, The Mind-Body Connection: Fear Manifests in Many Diseases Fear: Your Worst Enemy

AWAKENING TO OUR JOY WITHIN

“Find the place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”  Joseph Campbell

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How do you create joy in your life? Do you feel it because something good happens to you or does it well up inside because of something you do?

External events Create Joy

For years, I experienced joy as a mysterious feeling that burst forth from within me because of an event in the outer world.  When I was in a play in college, I was given a role where I was the center of attention for a few minutes delivering a very funny monologue.  I was ecstatic when I discovered I could make an audience laugh.  Generally, I wasn’t a very funny person in my real life.

When I was chosen to dance with a modern dance company, I was filled with joy.  My dream had come true.  It’s true that my hard work took me to the place where I was good enough to be accepted, but it was someone else’s decision that stimulated my feeling of joy.

A man and a woman performing a modern dance.

A man and a woman performing a modern dance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What if we could feel joy whenever we wanted to?  What would that feel like?

Internal Joy

It’s wonderful that we can feel joy about the good things that happen in life.  But there is a deeper practice and a deeper joy to be found within.  There are some days when I have no idea why I feel joy.  I just do.  Some mornings it just wells up from within the moment I rise to consciousness.  I don’t remember having a particularly good dream, and I don’t have any exciting plans for the day.  In fact, it may happen on days when I have to clean house and that isn’t a task I particularly enjoy.

Following Our Passion Creates Inner Joy

So, what causes the joy to appear?  I think there are two answers.  For some time now, I have been following my passion for writing.  When we are doing what we love to do on a regular basis, it raises our vibration and energy level.  We have something to look forward to.  We are doing something that is satisfying at the soul level and it connects our deeper self with our outer life.  We feel whole, we feel complete.  We feel confident we are on the right path.  Even ego feels peaceful.

If, despite the fact that we are following our passion, we are consumed with worry about whether we will succeed at this venture or doubt whether we deserve such good fortune, we need to understand that our negative thoughts will, no doubt, sabotage our success.  They will lower our energetic vibration.

Passion flower

Passion flower (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Creating Temporary Joy

We can temporarily lift our vibration by doing things that make us feel better.  A little dark chocolate will usually give me a lift or going outside and listening to the birds sing.  Reading some inspirational quotes may help or reading from Oneness by Rasha.  Sometimes cooking a nice meal will do it because I’ve reached the point where eating healthy is an expression of self love.  But when we become mired in these negative feelings despite the good that is present in our lives, there is something missing at our core that we need to repair.

Creating Joy At Our Core

There is a deeper joy we can experience.  The joy that seems to well up from nowhere or for no reason comes from our connection with Spirit.  Only in the last few years have I come to understand this.  There were many steps on my journey to this place of comfort and wholeness.  First, I learned to release my psychological fears.  Through learning to meditate, I started to learn about mindfulness.  After I learned that our thoughts create our emotions, I learned I could decide what I wanted to feel about my experiences.

The Joy of Acceptance

But the greatest lesson was learning acceptance—to accept what is, to accept not knowing the answer, to accept that Spirit will guide me to my highest good.  I had to learn to surrender to Spirit what I could not solve, knowing that I would be guided to what was best.  And out of releasing my need to control everything, joy emerged.  It often wasn’t the joy of exuberance I felt at twenty-five or even at fifty-five.  But it was a soft, sweet, calm joy and it felt like love, and I realized that, in surrendering, I was stepping into a level of trust with Spirit and my deepest self that I had never known before.  This time, the joy I felt originated within me.  I could choose to feel joy regardless of the external events of my life.

It is this deeper joy that can heal all pain and create security when we feel uncertain.  It is part of the core of our spiritual selves.  May you find the path that will lead you to this place of joy.  It is within you.

What is the source of your joy today?

© 2013 Georganne Spruce

RELATED ARTICLES:  You Were Born for Joy – Wayne Dyer, 9 Tips For Finding Joy WithinPower of Positive Thinking: How to Find Joy Within

AWAKENING TO AN OPEN MIND

“Let yourself be open and life will be easier.  A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable.  A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.”  Buddha Siddhartha Gautama Shakyamuni

English: Henry_Ossawa_Tanner_-_The_Annunciation

English: Henry_Ossawa_Tanner_-_The_Annunciation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do you feel about new ideas that appear in your life?  Do they frighten you?  Do they offer you a new perspective that broadens your thinking?

Re-evaluating Your Life

As I mentioned last week, I don’t make resolutions any more, but I do think about the New Year and what I hope will happen during it.  I try to notice what I may be hanging onto that I really need to release.  As I evaluated all of this last week, I realized that I mainly want to continue on the track I’m on now—writing and promoting my book and speaking.  I feel a real passion for it, but I also realize each year offers its own challenges, and I want to be open-minded about what comes my way so I can learn the lessons and expand.

New Information Opens the Mind

I had an experience during Christmas week that really brought home the need to be open.  My brother showed me a painting by Henry Ossawa Tanner called “The Annunciation.”  I was drawn to it because Mary was depicted in a way that grabbed my attention.  As the angel Gabriel appears to her, she looks like an ordinary young woman, sitting on her bed, pondering an important decision.  Virtually all the pictures of Mary I’ve seen depict her looking angelic and other worldly.  Perhaps this is why I never felt drawn to her when I was growing up and attending a traditional Christian church.

When I commented on how different this Mary looked, my brother pointed out that this was the moment when she had to decide if she were willing to become the mother of Christ.  I was surprised.  “You mean she had a choice?” I asked.  “I never knew that.”  Perhaps I’d just forgotten after all these years or maybe I had never been presented with this version of the story, but it made a huge difference to me.

Spiritual Awareness Inspires and Expands Us

As I stared at this painting, for the first time, I sensed Mary’s humanity.  She was no longer a mythical character to me, but a vital, intelligent being who had to make an unprecedented choice, one that would take her on a very challenging journey.  “There’s a story there,” I thought, feeling chills run up my spine.  I don’t know what the story is that I will write, but this experience opened a new door for me.

I immediately thought of a friend of mine who is a devout follower of Mary although she isn’t Catholic.  Perhaps I had glimpsed part of what has always drawn her to Mary.  But most importantly, I have a new perspective on this subject that has opened my mind in a way it was never open before.

Art Offers A New Perspective

That’s the beauty of art too.  As Edgar Degas said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”  When I look at a painting or experience any of the fine arts, I am taken out of my own mind for awhile and into the heart and mind of another, and that allows me to see in ways I never have before.  At a deep level, it changes my perspective if I give myself totally to the experience.

The Class of Dance by Edgar Degas (1874)

The Class of Dance by Edgar Degas (1874) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Frankly, I was very surprised by my reaction to the painting of Mary.  I don’t usually feel moved by religious art.  I often admire the artist’s technique, but again the subjects are often so ethereal that my mind, not my heart, is moved.  Maybe I’ve been missing something and my lack of interest in organized religion has created a block I don’t know is there.  But I think one of my intentions for the New Year will definitely be paying more attention when I catch myself quickly dismissing something or someone.  A second look never hurts.

Just a reminder:  I’ll be reading and signing Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness at Malaprops Bookstore, Asheville, NC on Thursday, January 17 at 7:00.

Have you gained any new perspective lately?  Please comment.

Notes on comments:  I’m getting huge numbers of spam and don’t have time to check through them all to look for  legitimate comments.  But if you comment from a business site that sells a product (other than books or service related to my blog post), you are automatically put in the spam folder.  I have to approve people who comment for the first time, and I only approve comments that relate specifically to a post. It may take me as much as a day to approve a comment.  I welcome all genuine comments.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                    ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Own Your Spirituality:  Your Own Mind is a Beautiful Thing, What Do You Believe: The Power of an Open Mind (Deepak Chopra), Spirituality and the Power of Being Open-minded

AWAKENING TO WILDNESS, ONE WITH NATURE, Part 2

“In wildness is the preservation of the world.”               Thoreau  – thoreau’s Birthday is today

What is your relationship to nature?  Are you a hiker, fisherman, gardener?  What part of you comes alive when you are in touch with nature?

The Soul Is Wild

“The soul is like a wild animal – tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient, and yet exceedingly shy.  If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out.  But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of a tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek.”  Parker Palmer

What is it about wildness that touches so many of us deeply?  For my friend Jerry, it is nature’s inability to be domesticated.  Even at four years of age, he was allowed to go into the forest where he created fantasy games, often related to the stories he was reading.  The woods were his playground.  As a young man, he ran a program similar to Outward Bound.  He was a woodsman first and later became a psychologist.

Wildness Is Central To Spirituality

Jerry often quotes William Blake or Thoreau, both writers who embody wildness.  When I asked him how wildness relates to his spirituality, he said, “It is central to it.  I’m part of the natural—part and parcel of the fauna—I’m not outside looking in.  I can’t think of spirituality without wildness.  I’m not sure I could be wild if I lived in the city all the time because that environment is so domesticated.”

The Space With No Name

During my twenties, I was enthralled with the Romanic writers, the transcendentalists like Emerson and Thoreau, who saw a deep, but wild connection between nature and spirituality.  So, when I was first invited to visit Jerry’s “Space With No Name,” I was truly awed by its natural beauty and felt as if I had stepped into another world.

After Jerry and his wife Jane moved to their cabin in the woods, he needed a space to put his parents who had passed away and been buried on someone else’s land.  After one plan fell through, he found a beautiful rhododendron area.  As he wandered through it, he thought, “This is not a graveyard, the old burial ground; this is a wilderness space that will sanctify my parents.”

Gathering wood off the ground, he created a little container and using the contours of the hill as paths, he created this special space.  He put creatures on the fence posts and before long, he says, “The space over ran itself.” Every day he walked the paths, very attentive to what was there, then the next day in the very space that had been empty, a creature would appear—branches with knarled ends or pine knots, stumps with interesting configurations, or rocks with faces.  Things began to show up on their own, and he swears they also moved around, sometimes falling off perches or appearing mysteriously in new places. He insists, “I swear, it became alive.”

I have no doubt this is a sacred space.  The last time I was there, I glanced toward a small metal sculpture of a dancing earth mother and was stunned by what I saw next to it.  In the same area was a knarled wooden creature that looked like a samurai warrior that had once appeared in a vision I had while meditating.  For a moment, all time and space was one, and my unconscious become conscious—which is what this space does to one.

In “The Space With No Name” there are around a thousand creatures, natural and ones created from several natural forms.  I asked Jerry, “Aren’t these composite creatures art?”

“I don’t want to claim it as art,” he said.  “It’s fine with me if people say, ‘You’re not a caretaker, you’re an artist.  It may be one and the same thing.  I was never a painter, poet, or composer.  I didn’t and don’t do Art, yet living so close to Art, I recognize and appreciate her presence, practice, and performance, and her Wildness, and She has surprised me with a gift of animistic sensibility in the “Space With No Name,” where I am in close communion with the living, breathing woods and hundreds of wild creatures, including rocks, roots, stumps, pine knots.  There are hawks, bugs and birds; trees, red fox, wild turkey, bob cat, bear, raccoons and possum; stealthy presence of coyotes.  Neither owner nor creator of this space, I am lucky to be its caretaker.

Being One With All That Is

His animism permeates Jerry’s whole life.  “This rock, in my space, that I sit on has an eternity I don’t have.  I wouldn’t take all this as seriously as I do if I weren’t animistic.  I’d say, ‘That’s just a tree stump.’  But it’s so much more.  One day, Jane was working on a sculpture, a mask.  I was walking around and saw something sticking out of a tree stump.  I was curious so I pulled it out—it looked like a mask.”  He pointed to the mask-like image sitting on the tree stump in front of us.  When we are in touch with our core of wildness and Oneness, these things often happen.

As I listened to Jerry, I realized his relationship to nature exemplifies Oneness.  We are all a part of Oneness—one with each other, nature, and the Universe, but we are not all conscious of it.  It is only when we become aware of it, that it enriches our lives. The wildness of Oneness is at the core of what Jerry experiences each day when he enters the “Space With No Name.”  He is truly blessed by that experience, and I am truly blessed to know him and his wife Jane who shares his sensibilities.

What part of yourself do you find in nature?

©2012 Georganne Spruce                                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Awakening to Wildness, Being Authentic, Part 1, John Muir, Zen Buddhism in John Muir