Tag Archives: Change


“In the game of life, less diversity means fewer options for change.  Wild or domesticated, panda or pea, adaptation is the requirement for survival.”  Cary Fowler 

Photo: Geroganne Spruce

Photo: Geroganne Spruce

Do you adapt easily to change?  Do you dislike and resist change?  Can you see value in change?

Change is inevitable.  What we do with it is what matters.  Lately, my life is an experiment in finding the best way to adapt to being in a wheel chair and performing the daily duties that I need to perform.  I’ve experimented with a wheel walker, which can move through the house more quickly than the chair, but it hurts the knee that it supports.  Crutches are helpful except when I’m feeling dizzy.

Now all simple normal actions require more strength and have to be approached in a new way.  I can’t just stand up.  I have to pull up or push up.  I will definitely have more strength when this situation is over.

There Is Value In Change

All in all, this experience is just another reminder that there is value in change.  I’ve been forced to slow down.  I’ve had to let other people help, which is always difficult for me, but I simply don’t have the energy I had or the actual physical ability to do it all.  I have to accept certain limitations.

I know these limitations are essential, but temporary.  I can’t bear weight if I want to heal.  I have to frequently elevate my leg in order to prevent blood clots.  This has become my reading or napping time.  Before the accident, I rarely allowed myself to nap—I had too much to do!  What I needed to do before is now a requirement.

Change May Force Us To Do What We Need To Do

So, I am learning to adapt in order to survive—creating a new dance for my life that in some ways feels like an improvement and in others like a regression.  It’s a bit more sedate than I prefer, especially in spring when all the trails have opened up and the ice melted.  My feet are itching for another hike and I’m missing the best time to take nature photos for my blog.

Relationships Adapt To Individual Changes

But this is a very nurturing dance and is not just about healing.  It’s a challenge for me and my fiancé.  Can we, as a couple, adapt?  Can he become my caretaker for a few weeks?  How do we negotiate these challenges?

To some extent, we would have to adapt to change any way to learn to live together.  With my broken ankle, we simply have additional aspects of the relationship to which we must adapt.  While it may stretch our abilities, the outcome has been good.  This is the real thing.  We are committed.  The relationship will survive and we will eventually return to our normal pattern of being equally participating partners.

Change May Be A Spiritual Gift

On a spiritual level, I am enjoying more peace and quiet.  We all need some, and I used to tell myself several times a day to stop and rest or meditate, but I didn’t.  I kept going, and so in that moment when I needed to be totally in the moment and carefully consider the option of stepping onto the rock where I fell, I was thinking more about where I wanted to be.

Now I pay attention to every moment that I move.  I am aware of where I place my hand and foot for each move I make.  When I don’t, I risk falling again.  I am learning to be more creative with my adaptation and so it becomes easier.  It is a much more complex dance than the one I was doing.

Much Good May Come From Adaptation

Adaptation is often like that.  Difficult and uncomfortable at first.  Our resistance may kick in to make it more challenging.  It may be difficult in the beginning to learn a new dance, but as we practice it becomes easier.  Before we know it, we may be waltzing around the floor like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers, loving life despite the complex foot work.

© 20124 Georganne Spruce                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5


“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”  Nelson Mandela

Arboretum 2013 017

The holidays are a time when we often return to where we grew up or to our parents’ home.  It can be a wonderful and joyous occasion or one where we tread lightly around certain topics, but if we have grown over the years and become our own person, it may be a time when we see clearly the contrast between who we were and who we are now.

We All Change with Time

We all grow in some way as the years pass.  Even those who ferociously resist change and try to force their ways on others change—usually becoming more angry and brittle.  But most of us try to learn from our mistakes and be open to learning new ways of doing things that will benefit us and our families.  Besides, when we don’t think our way is the only way, we can connect more easily with those who are different.

Mandela Is A Model for Forgiveness

This week we have mourned the death of Nelson Mandela and celebrated his extraordinary life.  Living in a country of extreme contrasts, he was able to unite the people by demonstrating that we can choose to forgive our enemies, no matter how horrendous their behavior was, and in doing so, we free ourselves from bitterness and hate.  Certainly his life was full of contrasts.

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gaute...

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 1998 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Contrast Show Us What We Want and What We Don’t Want

In the Law of Attraction literature, contrast is the word that is used to describe negative events, the things that happen that we don’t want to attract.  It’s true that life is filled with experiences we like and others we don’t, and each contrast is an opportunity to re-examine what we did to create it.  Abraham, channeled by Esther Hicks, states, “When you have lived an experience that helps you understand in an exaggerated way, the very thing you do not want, you also understand in an exaggerated way, what you do want.”

Few of us will ever have the kind of profound influence that Nelson Mandela had on other human beings.  But we each, in our own way, may choose to learn from the contrast in our lives, and accept the choices other people make that are different from ours.  If we can create just a little peace in our own environment, we are contributing to world peace.

As We Grow, Our Past Is Illuminated

Years after leaving the town where I grew up, I returned to visit and was startled by how small the house was.  It seemed spacious to me as a child as I lay on the dining room floor, my books spilling out of the bureau, and read or colored.  The external reality was small, but my internal experience was large as I explored life through literature.


Books (Photo credit: henry…)

Let Us Embrace Our Differences

This often happens to us.  As our world grows larger, what we used to know seems smaller or more confined.  Until I attended college in the 1960s, I had never attended school with any children who were not white.  Fortunately, I was reared by a mother who believed that all people were equal and deserved equal rights so that when I did met people of other races I was curious.  Despite some initial discomfort, I made a real effort to understand our differences and to relate respectfully.

Over the years, I taught students from many cultures and doing so has enriched my life experience with many contrasts.  As a result, I have learned and grown from these experiences.  My spiritual journey has also been filled with experiences and practices that differ from my family’s traditional spiritual path.  They attend Catholic and Protestant churches, and I attend meetings of a spiritual community that prefers not to be called a “church.”  My path seems strange to them, but it brings me peace and happiness, and their path is very meaningful to them.  We think differently, but we accept our differences.

When I wrote my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, I traveled back into time as I read through the journals I’d kept for many years and was able to see all the ways I had changed over the years.  Some of it was inspiring and I could feel proud of how I had expanded my thinking, but there were also times when I was appalled by the way I mangled a situation.  Still, the contrasts were steps I had to take on my way to become a more peaceful and caring person.

So this holiday, as we visit with family and old friends, let us appreciate the contrasts that appear and  let us honor the sometimes challenging spiritual path through life that we each travel.


If you are looking for an inspiring gift for a friend, please consider my memoir Awakening to the Dance:  A Journey to Wholeness.  It is available through Amazon.com, Kindle, Nook, and CreateSpace ID#1002950.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                       ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: The Secret and Law of Attraction – Wayne Dyer ( video), Contrasting ValuesRussian/American Cultural Contrasts


“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

English: A group of drummers in Accra, Ghana, ...

English: A group of drummers in Accra, Ghana, wearing dashiki shirts and knitted kufi caps. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you often try out new activities or ideas?  Or do you feel the most content when things remain the same?  Have you ever learned anything important from doing something new?

Unlike many people who have one vocation, marriage, or passion in life, I’ve always been interested in many things.  During the time I was a dancer, I was also a teacher, receptionist, employment counselor, and lawyer’s assistant, doing whatever I needed to do to pay the rent.  Of course, teaching has been my primary profession, but I taught English, dance, drama, and exceptional children.

Curiosity Can Motivate Exploration

After being somewhat of a recluse as a child because of illnesses, as an adult I was always hungry for new experiences.  After I started to really explore life, I couldn’t stop.  Each experience created a curiosity that motivated me to try something else that was new.  At times, I was fearful, but I chose not to let that stop me.  As a result, I have had a full and rich life.

2011 002

When we open our minds, many new opportunities present themselves.  We can expand our lives simply by being present in these situations.  Do we take the time to listen when someone expresses an idea with which we disagree?  It’s possible that understanding that person’s beliefs may expand our thinking so that we are better able to understand people who don’t share our beliefs.

Release Fear of Differences

Many of us are afraid of people who are different from us.  This cultural disconnect creates many problems that don’t need to exist.  If we could put aside our fear of what is different and embrace what is similar among us, we could create bridges instead of wars.

Experiencing Other Cultures Expands Our Understanding

In 1994, I was privileged to travel and study in West Africa.  It was one of the richest experiences of my life because, for a time, I was immersed in a culture very different from the one where I grew up.  It touched me deeply because I saw that it was possible to live a life where art and spirituality were integrated into daily life and where family was of supreme importance.  I also saw the ways that stereotypes disregarded the depth and beauty of the people whose lives were rich in ways many westerners’ lives were not.

On the daily level, the trip also taught me to appreciate the regularity with which my phone worked, hot water always flowed from the faucet, and a prescription was filled from a pharmacy whenever I needed it.  These were not sure things in Africa.  But most of all, the trip taught me not to accept others’ concepts of people or ideas without doing my own research.

 New Experiences Can Deepen Our Spiritual Lives

New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian

New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because I lived in New Orleans when I traveled to Africa, learning about the historical origins of the city helped me value aspects of the culture I had not appreciated before, such as the origins of Voodoo as a religion, the call and response aspect of Mardi Gras Indian music, and the source of many New Orleans dishes.

My way of dealing with life changed after this trip.  I explored my spiritual beliefs more deeply and worked to integrate them into my daily life, believing that this would be a path to greater wholeness, and it was.

Adventures Broaden Our Understanding

When we see life as an adventure, we welcome what is unknown or unfamiliar.  Adventure is about going where we have never gone before.  (Yes, I was a “Star Trek” fan.)  I loved where I grew up in the hills of Arkansas, but when we moved to Tulsa, I learned about the Cherokee’s Trail of Tears and the plight of Native Americans elsewhere.  When we moved to Memphis in the early 1960s, I experienced the civil rights movement. In every place I lived, I learned and grew in significant ways because each place was different.

The Inner Journey Is As Important As the Outer Journey

When I hear people say they’re bored, I’m always puzzled.  There are so many things we can do to make life interesting if we are willing to make the effort.  Are we willing to take on this responsibility?  There are books to read, movies to see, and conversations to initiate.  And in this culture, we often think we have to do something all the time.  Perhaps we need to learn that just being may be the most interesting thing we can do.

It is not just the outer adventure that can excite us, but the inner one as well.  What led me to a point where I felt my life and spirituality were integrated and I felt whole was a spiritual journey where I explored several spiritual practices and stayed open to see whatever showed up as a possible teacher.  The journey inward has been as rich and expansive as the outer one.

Adventures Expand Our Human Awareness

Adventures are what we make them.  To one person, eating Indian food may be an adventure.  To another, living in India is an adventure.  But what they all have in common is our willingness to try something new, to open a door that wasn’t open before, and peek in or step into a new experience.  Even if it isn’t a particularly pleasant experience, we learn something we didn’t know before and that expands our lives because that’s why we’re here—to learn all we can about being human.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                         ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: Re-awakening Joy, Trying New Things, 7 Benefits of Being Open-Minded


“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I needed to be.”  Douglas Adams

2013 002 (2)

Is your life the life you envisioned ten or twenty years ago?  How have your dreams and ambitions changed?  Are you at peace with the life you have now?

I had a lovely evening of conversation with good friends the other night.  All three of them had academic careers in colleges and universities and could share stories of this time with each other.  There was a time when I had aspired to such a life and had taken a position in the middle of Nebraska thinking that would give me the experience I would need to move on.

Dealing With Life Can Be Challenging

Very quickly, the cold in Nebraska caused on-going joint pain that made it impossible for me to stay.  I moved to Denver where there were more opportunities and I found part-time work at several studios and colleges.  However, the full-time position I desired never developed.  For years, this was a source of disappointment and grief.  Why was I not good enough?

In talking later with one of my friends about that night’s conversation, he complimented me on how courageous I was to continue following my dream to teach dance even when I lacked the security of a stable position.  As I thought back on those years, I never thought I was courageous.  I just did what I had to do to keep teaching dance because I loved it so much.  I followed the journey where it took me, and I’ve never been sorry I did.

Life’s Surprises May Open New Opportunities

When life doesn’t take us where we want to go, we can see it as our failure or blame it on others, or we can assume that what we thought we should be doing isn’t what we should be doing if we look at the situation from another perspective.  Life’s unpleasant surprises may actually open us to opportunities that will benefit us more than the ones we chose.

A Spiritual Perspective Comes From the Heart

When we see our journey through life from a spiritual perspective, how we need to live may be quite different from what we imagined.  After a difficult time teaching in New Mexico high schools, unable to find the next job, I turned again to writing, and soon it became clear that was what I was supposed to be doing.  Eventually this path led to publishing my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness and fulfillment of my dream to be a writer and to inspire others to use the challenging experiences of their lives to learn and grow.


Clearly, in this life, my heart has taken me in a direction different from the one my head wants me to follow.  Perhaps the lesson I most needed to learn was not how to have the security of a stable job, but to learn to have courage and follow my heart.  What if all the things that have happened that seemed negative were only lessons that had to be learned to arrive at a better place?

So often in this society, we have been taught that the things we have or the position we have defines our level of success.  We focus on the outer and feel we are failures if we don’t have those things, but our humanity is not measured by things.  It is measured by our ability to love, share, and find a deep and peaceful connection within that makes us aware that we are all One.

We Can Find Joy Being In The Moment

This morning, about ten turkeys nibbled across my lawn—some adults and some the youngsters that were born in the spring.  I was thrilled to see them again, and I realized how little it takes to make me happy now.  I am in the moment more, connected to the nature around me, and on most days I take the time to listen to the birds or notice a new flower blooming.  The simplest thing brings me joy.


When I think about the past, I remember so many times when nothing made me happy, when I resisted changes I didn’t want and judged myself and others constantly with my perfectionist-programmed mind.  Although dancing taught me the beauty of being in the moment, it took me much longer to discover the value of being in the moment in my daily life and going with the flow of life.

If my life had been the perfect life I envisioned, would I have learned what I most needed to learn?  Who knows?  But what I know is that I’ve learned about courage and perseverance and this journey taught me to trust the flow of life.  Earlier, I could never have imagined feeling the peace and confidence I feel now.  I am grateful for whatever it took to bring me to this place, for I have found so much of what I need by following my journey’s circuitous route.

Follow The Journey Wherever It Leads

We are living in a time when we must be creative to survive.  As any artist, composer or choreographer knows, you may begin the art work with a specific idea of how it will look or sound, but when you begin creating it, it will have a mind of its own and may easily lead you down a different path.  Our lives are like that.  We may follow our intentions, but our entire universe is changing.  Holding on to the way things were will not serve us well.  We must trust that the journey will lead us where we need to go.

What are the surprises you have experienced in your journey lately?  Please comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                               ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Accepting Life’s Challenges with Gratitude, 5 Ways to Masterfully Navigate Life’s Challenges, Wayne Dyer/How God Tells You It’s Time for a Change


“What is a weed?  A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

2012 004

 Do you feel that others see your virtues and value them?  Do you know people whom you feel are wasting their lives?  Have you seen anyone transform from a weed to a beautiful plant?

Last night I watched a movie, Freedom Writers, which came out several years ago.  It’s the story of a first year teacher who takes a job in an inner city Los Angeles school teaching the students others have decided can’t learn.  Her students are the “weeds” growing in that garden.  They’re minorities and members of various gangs, and having them in the same classroom creates a potentially volatile situation.

Cover of "Freedom Writers (Full Screen Ed...

Cover of Freedom Writers (Full Screen Edition)

We Are More Alike Than Different

Other members of the faculty see these students as weeds that need to be plucked and discarded.  They have been integrated into the school and “ruined” it.  But the new teacher just sees them as kids she can teach and even when her first approach doesn’t work, she tries something new.  Then one day, she plays a game.  She tapes a line down the center of the room, and she asks a series of questions, such as “How many of you have lost a friend to gang violence?”  If they can answer yes, they step onto the line.  By the end of the exercise, they can see that they have more significant events in common than the differences that have made them enemies.

As the year goes on, the teacher exposes them to more experiences that show them they are of value as human beings and that what connects them is greater than what separates them.  They begin to bond as a group, they do their homework, they become engaged with learning, and they blossom as they discover their own virtues.

The “Weeds” of Our Society Need Us To Respect Their Virtues

Having taught high school in inner city New Orleans and in towns near Albuquerque, I worked with minority students in environments that did not encourage their growth or success.  I’ll never know how much difference I made except in a few cases, and I certainly never created a transformation like the one in the movie, but I do know this.  The “weeds” of this world are just waiting to blossom, and they need to be fed with respect, love, and kindness.  They need someone in their lives who can look deeper, see their virtues and help them develop their strengths.

There Is Always Inner Beauty Within Those Who Are Challenged

But the kids who need help don’t always come from the inner city or poverty.  There are young people from the middle class and wealthy families who lose their way.  I know one who became involved with drugs in an attempt to self-medicate an undiagnosed medical condition.  The addiction lasted years despite having parents who loved him and had the resources to get him help.  He was talented, intelligent, and yet….

Celebrating Survival and Growth

I don’t know what haunted him so much, but we all loved him.  This past week, when he married a wonderful young woman and the mother of his child, we celebrated much more than a wedding, for many of us feared he would be dead long before now.  So, we celebrated his survival and the blossoming of a new life.   We all had seen his virtues long ago.  It just took him much longer to discover and develop the best of who he is.  He is learning how to go deeper and live his life from a spiritual base.  And he is an inspiration to others who have despaired.

Self Love Is the Basis of Empowerment

One reason this young man survived is because he had many loving people who supported him, but too many young people don’t.  Many have parents who don’t parent, who are addicts themselves or who don’t know how to nurture because they have never been nurtured.  As a society, we need to remember that all human beings have value.  One of the most profound questions facing us is how do we transform our systems, health, prison, and educational, so that they heal and empower people, especially young people, to learn to love and value themselves, for self love is the basis of empowerment.  It is hard to love oneself when those around us see us as “weeds.”

We Must Be Able to Imagine a New Life

Napoleon Hill offers a wise approach to transformation when he says, “First comes thought; then organization of that thought into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality.  The beginning, you will observe, is in your imagination.”  But if you don’t feel you are worthwhile, you will not dare to imagine you can accomplish what you desire.


Imagine (Photo credit: Javier Q.)

Education Must Teach How to Creative Thinking

So many young people do not know where to begin, and if their desires don’t fit with family values or society’s values, but yet are worthwhile, they face a dilemma.  They don’t know how to fill their needs.  That is why our educational system needs to be revised to teach young people how to think because it is their thinking that will allow them to create plans that can transform dreams into reality.  Most importantly, we need to move beyond just valuing logical thinking and become more creative with our thinking so that all possibilities to meet our deeper needs can be considered.

Imagine What You Desire

Imagine how wonderful life would be if we could all imagine being the people we truly wish to be and have the courage and strength to become that person.  May you find the path that will lead you to fulfill your deepest needs.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                       ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Freedom Writer’s Foundation, Napoleon Hill: Think and Grow Rich (video), A Thin Line Between Silence and Voice, Today’s Schools Lack Creative Teaching and Learning, Study Says


“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


“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”  Mae West



Does your life feel complete?  Is it satisfying and fun?  If not, what is missing and what can you do about it?

Unlike Mae West, I believe we live more than one life, but I like the spirit of her quote.  Just because I believe I may have another shot at this earthly life doesn’t mean I don’t want this time to be great or that I’m willing to stop trying to create the life I want.  Right now, what I’m experiencing is what matters and I want to feel good about it.

A Full Life Is Based On Spiritual Values

What is a full life?  I think of it as a life that is satisfying and full of peace, love, and joy, my three favorite spiritual qualities.  It means I have good friends with whom I can share art, nature and good conversations and know there is a deep connection of love and respect.  It also means that I am following my passion in the work I do, and the activities I engage in bring me joy.

However, we are each on an individual journey and have individual desires and needs.  For example, I would feel deprived if I couldn’t view fine art often.  It touches my soul and lets me see into the soul of the artist.  But there are some people who never view it, who consider it frivolous or uninteresting, and feel no need to have it in their lives.

A Full Life Includes Love

To have a full life, we have to be connected to someone or something that we love, for the things we love feed our souls and expand who we are.  When I am around my nephews and niece and their children, I feel such joy because, not having children of my own, I had the privilege of seeing them become adults and now parents.  I’ve laughed and cried over them through the years and counseled and encouraged.  There is no doubt that my life would be less full without their love and my love for them.  So instead of feeling sorry for myself because I didn’t have children, I created relationships with them.


We Must Fill Our Own Lives

We are the only ones who can fill our lives.  We decide what we will let into our lives and what we will reject.  To most people, having a full life is about what we have in terms of security, family, friends, or work, but it is also about how deeply we are willing to live.  What are we willing to do to make our life full?  Are we willing to be the hero or heroine in our own life and take full responsibility for creating the life we want? Or do we choose to be the victim of circumstances?

If your life does not feel full, what is lacking?  What are you ignoring that is too painful to look at?  Over the years, I’ve seen many people who are educated, financially secure, and intelligent who have ignored aspects of their lives that make their lives less than desirable.  I always wonder why they choose not to change what can clearly be changed. Perhaps they feel hopeless or are afraid that making the change would also have negative consequences in other areas of their lives.  There is always a reason why we are not the best we can be, and understanding the root of the problem may require us to look deeper with the help of a therapist or counselor.  It is important that, regardless of what limitations we feel exist, we are willing to take that first small step.

Good Change Requires a Shift in Thinking

Every good thing that has come to me has come after I made a shift in my thinking It is how we think about a situation that makes it possible for us to change.  When I was in high school I was fairly shy, despite my involvement in speech and drama.  In my senior year, the Thespian Society members gave me a Best Actress Award.  That was a huge boost to my confidence and led me to believe later, that if I could be that good, maybe I could also be good enough to become a modern dancer and dance with a company.

A few years ago, as a relationship was ending, I suddenly became aware of the fact that this man was so much like my father in his stubbornness and his inability to understand how his unwillingness to compromise created problems between us.  Like my father, he was emotionally shut down.  As I looked at him from this perspective, I saw more negative points of comparison.  It was startling!  How could I be so blind!  I thought I had worked through these issues.

We Can Learn From Positive and Negative Experiences

While winning the Best Actress Award was a positive event that motivated me, the ending of a relationship was a negative event, and yet, it motivated me to heal and let go of an old pattern that was limiting my life.  We can learn from the positive and negative.  Taking the time to heal these old patterns has allowed me to attract a man into my life who has none of my father’s negative characteristics.  The work that I’ve done in the last two years cleared out past issues and opened a space for a more fulfilling love to appear.

Wherever we are in this spiritual journey to experience fullness of life, we must know that we are meant to live in peace, love, and joy.  Our purpose here is to expand our lives through experiencing these qualities, and it is our responsibility to do the work that will take us to a fuller life.  May whatever you need for your journey, show up.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: Nora Ephron’s Advice – Be the Heroine in Your Own Life, Be A Hero: Save Your Own Life, Make Now Count:  How to Live a Fun Life Full of Possibilities, How to Be At Peace:  Eckhart Tolle Seeing the Good in Life 


“They must often change, who would be constant in happiness and wisdom.”  Confucius

What do you feel about autumn?  Does it depress or invigorate you?  What is good about this change?

Living in the Midst of Nature

My yard is almost completely covered with oak leaves, and walking down the driveway is very tricky with the abundance of acorns and the slippery leaves.  When I walk down to get the mail, I have to be in the present giving full attention to where I step.  No matter how fast I’ve been moving through the day, I am forced to slow down.

Yesterday it was in the mid-seventies and I had the back door open while I ate lunch.  A strange sound like a light sprinkle of rain arose.  I looked up from the book I was reading, but it was dry outside.  The sound continued sparking my curiosity, so I walked to the door and looked up into the old trees in the yard.  A wind was blowing, visible only at the very top of the trees, and as it increased, a shower of golden leaves blanketed the deck and yard.

Some mourn the loss of summer and find the autumn depressing, but the changes in nature are so dramatic that I continue to be awed by them and am reminded that these changes are natural.  We can accept the change or be unhappy about it.  It really is our choice, and much of life is like that.

Awakening to the Wisdom of Change

Confucius’ quote reminds us that resisting change won’t bring us happiness or wisdom.  Change is a natural element of life.  In order to experience happiness, we must be flexible, accept the fact we can’t control everything or everyone in our lives.  When things aren’t going our way, we need to see what we can learn from the experience or how we can reframe our response to a more positive assessment of the situation.

Wisdom is also about change and growth.  The wise elders are the ones who can see the depth and meaning in life as it changes and evolves.  They are in touch with the eternal.  They see that, although we experience physical changes through the seasons, birth and death, moving out into the world and finding new environments, these are all physical experiences.  What really matters is how we see and deal with the change and our willingness to look deeper.

Limitations of Resistance

The unwise among us are the ones who resist any and all change.  They create a safe cocoon in which anyone and anything that does not fit is rejected.  They defend their way of doing things to the death—the death of the relationships they have or to literal death.  When we have been close to nature and attentive to its cycles, we know how futile this is.

Finding Happiness in Change

I am much happier than I’ve ever been.  Do I have everything I want?  No.  But over the years I have learned to be more flexible and that has reduced the stress in my life.  I am more accepting of the things I cannot change.  I love Alan Watts’ comment:  “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”

This year I am definitely dancing with autumn, hiking up and down the mountains, sliding down slopes of dry leaves, looking up into the blue sky to be dazzled by the brilliant red leaves waving over head.  Like autumn, my life is in great flux, learning to promote my books, flooded with new ideas like the shower of leaves blanketing my yard.  I hardly know which way to turn, but it’s all good because it is taking me some place I want to go.

Nurturing Our Spiritual Selves

Now the weather is beautiful and I can be outside, but soon the winter will come with cold and snow and unpredictable weather.  Then it will be time to go inside, literally and figuratively.  I’ll spend more time promoting my book online, finding more silence and time for thinking about what to do next, snuggling under the blanket in front of the fire, going deeper.  What’s nice about winter is that if we have nurtured our own interiors, we have no need to fear this time.  And if we haven’t, it’s a good time to start clearing up our “stuff” without the distractions of sunshine and flowers blooming.

So, this week I’m going to plunge into the leaves, dance through them with my rake and move them into the plastic bags the city insists I use (okay, I’m still not happy about this, but I’m moving on).  And once it becomes too cold for pleasant hiking, I’ll just turn on the music and dance inside.

What do you like most about the autumn?  What does it mean to you?

© 2012 Georganne Spruce                                                       ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related articles: What if Money Was No Object – Alan Watts


“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”  Pema Chödrön 

Do you know who you really are?  Do you like who you really are?  Are you willing to take responsibility and look honestly at the changes you need to make?

Self-analysis is a difficult process.  When we look closely at ourselves we want to see the positive: the good we do, our loving qualities, and our accomplishments.  That, of course, is the easy part.  When we start to look at our less than sterling qualities, we usually experience anxiety and may shut down before we even have the courage to open the door.

We Must Look At Ourselves Honestly in Order to Grow

It isn’t very helpful to beat up on ourselves for all the mistakes we’ve made and all the things we don’t like about ourselves, but if we are to grow and become more the person we want to be, we must find the courage to look honestly at ourselves.  Doing this with gentleness, as Pema Chödrön suggests, is the most effective way.

The moment when we are forced to look at ourselves honestly may very well be the most important moment of our lives.  If we are unable to be honest with ourselves, we will not be able to be honest with others because there will always be something we need to hide.   If we are willing to look at the dark and unpleasant side of who we are, then we have opened a door to changing and healing.

It Takes Courage to Make Changes

It takes courage to walk through that door.  Our greatest fear is that, if we change, the people we care about in our lives may stop loving us.  But if we are hiding who we really are, those people can’t love who we truly are; they can only love who we pretend to be.  The idea that we are being loved for who we are is a sham.

Many people in our culture take drugs to hide the pain of not living honestly.  Drugs mask our anxiety or depression and give us the illusion that we are all right.  I once had a friend who was always in conflict with her family; they had very different values.  She took medication for depression and would periodically stop taking it, but she would soon become depressed.  Having spent time being depressed myself, I shared with her the things I did to combat it.  My diet was healthy, balanced, low in sugar and alcohol, and I ate at regular intervals to keep the blood sugar balanced.  I also exercised every day.  I meditated frequently and monitored my negative thinking, reframing thoughts that did not need to be negative ones into positive thoughts to lift my vibration.  Was my friend willing to try any of this?  No? She thought the spiritual stuff was silly, and she tried to eat healthy, but…  In fact, I saw virtually no evidence that she was willing to do anything to change her life.

Love All of Who You Are

The truth is that all the negative aspects of ourselves that we stuff down and hide away cause anxiety, disease and fear.  How can we ever really feel good about ourselves if there are parts of us we must always hide?  Religion has taught many people that they are worthless unless they follow certain rules or that loving oneself is selfish, but in Christianity, the great teacher was Jesus who said, “Love others as you love yourself.”  So, how can we love others if we cannot love ourselves?  If we cannot forgive ourselves our shortcomings, how can we forgive others theirs?

Nurture the Child Within

Healthy parents love their children even when they misbehave.  They encourage their children to tell them the truth, and those children learn that there may be consequences when they admit they’ve behaved badly, but they will still be loved if they tell the truth.  We need to accept ourselves in the same way and tell ourselves the truth.  We cannot grow emotionally unless we are willing to take full responsibility for who we are.  We must nurture that wounded child within who is so afraid no one will love it if they learn who she/he really is.

Change Can Bring a New and Better Life

What I know for sure is that life changes.  As we change and grow, life adapts.  Sometimes, the greatest heartbreak turns out to be the most profound lesson we could ever learn.  Then that lesson leads us in a new direction where we are able to find new friends and a new life that support who we really are.  It is even possible that some of the people who love us now may still love us through the changes.

Steve Marboli said, “There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a person being themselves.  Imagine going through your day being unapologetically you.”

What are you willing to do today to become more of who you truly are?

© 2012 Georganne Spruce                                                ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5


“Mind is like the wood or stone from which a person carves an image.  If he carves a tiger or dragon, and seeing it fears it, he is like a stupid person creating a picture of hell and then afraid to face it.  If he does not fear it, then his unnecessary thoughts will vanish.  Part of the mind produces sight, sound, taste, odor and sensibility, and from them raises greed, anger and ignorance with all their accompanying likes and dislikes.”  Bodhidharma


Responding to Change

How much responsibility are you willing to take for what happens in your life?  Are you creating your life or do you always defer to the ones around you?  What guides your choices?

This has been a very wet year where I live, and I am grateful I don’t live in the drought-ridden part of the country.  As a result of the dampness, a large number of large mushrooms have sprung up in my front yard which is very shady most of the day.  One of them was huge, eight inches across, and several others of two varieties were almost as large.  I’d never seen these before and had no idea if either the squirrels or I could eat them, but I don’t know mushrooms, so I thought it wiser to just admire them.  The squirrels weren’t interested either.

The appearance of the mushrooms, which I think are lovely in their own way, is just one example of how conditions to which we are accustomed may change and surprise us with their uniqueness or beauty.  But change can also be disconcerting, and how we experience it depends on what we think about the change.  We create our perception of what is occurring.  Instead of being afraid that poisonous mushrooms were appearing in my yard, I chose to appreciate their beauty and the opportunity to learn about something new.

Being in Charge of Your Own Thoughts

So many things influence how we think:  our social environment, religious or spiritual beliefs, family or cultural codes of behavior, and past experience.  In some way, we have all been programmed that certain things are good and others are bad.  But as we become adults, we have the opportunity to reprogram our minds.  We can make the decision to be the one who is in charge.

In order to truly be in charge of our lives, we must choose to be in charge of our thinking, for our thinking creates our emotions and together they determine what we create.  The quote from Bohdidharma makes this very clear.  You create what is in your mind and have a choice to hold on to that thought or to release it.  The question you must answer is:  What is the best for you or others affected by your decision?

Release the Resistance Fear Creates

Often we feel fear in our response to something new in our lives.  Will that new boss value the work we do?  Will a parent’s death destroy the family togetherness?  Will marriage take away our independence or bring us more love?  It is always best to release the psychological fears we have before we make a decision.  Fear creates resistance and blocks our ability to see what is best for us.

So, when that tiger or dragon first appears in our thoughts, we need to center ourselves, find that place of quiet in our hearts, and say to our minds, “Release this fear.”  Name it if you can, breathe deeply, and let it go.  These psychological fears have no value for us.  Repeat this gently until the negative image you have created releases.  It is yours to reject.  Then, in the quiet, ask Spirit or the Universe to fill your need and be willing to wait, knowing that what you need will appear, if not then, later when the time is right.

Releasing Your Fear Workshop

This process for releasing fear is what I teach each year in a workshop, “Releasing Your Fear.”  In the workshop, we delve more deeply into the mind and how it works and how to practice this technique so that it is truly useful to you.  If you want to learn more about the September 9 workshop, click here.

Creating Your Joyful Dance of Life

Dancing to our own creation means that we choose to be the choreographer of our dance of life.  We can choose the steps we like best, improvise until the right phrase appears, and practice what flows best until the dance that truly brings us joy appears out of our own creative mental process.  It is not some creator out there who is in charge of our dance, we are.

When we get stuck, instead of creating tigers and dragons, we can envision the positive outcome we want and take the steps to go there.  If one step doesn’t work, we can try another, and eventually the right one shows up. We only have to have the courage to release our fear of what is new, unfamiliar and unknown, focus on what we truly want, and believe we are capable of creating it.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce                                                            ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: The Answers Are WithinLaw of Attraction Journals, Abraham: Accept What I’m Feeling (video), Abraham Hicks: Thoughts (video)