Tag Archives: Courage

AWAKENING TO DEVOTION

“When devotion arises, life becomes profound.”  Sadhguru

To what are you most devoted?  How is it a part of your life?  Is it easy to stay devoted or difficult?

Thanks to Bill and Susan for this topic.

Devotion is a word that is often descriptive of a religious practice, but it also may refer to any idea or activity to which we are loyal or dedicated.  Most of all it indicates a practice that is a regular part of our lives because it is very meaningful for us.

Profound Work Requires Commitment

In fact, what we are most devoted to may define who we are.  People I know who have been devoted to helping children with special needs, do work that is profound.  One teacher I know cares deeply about her students and is very creative in a way that makes it possible for them to learn despite their learning disabilities.  For example, she teaches forensics, setting up a crime scene for students to analyze as a way of learning science.  I suspect that if my high school science classes had been that creative, I might have been much more interested.

I have another friend who is a wonderful artist.  She quit her regular job and let go of other activities in order to devote her time to painting.  As a result her work is now in galleries and she frequently sells her paintings.  The work she does is beautiful and her devotion to her love of it has deepened her life.

Another friend was dedicated to teaching students with special needs for years.  Now she, too, is devoted to her painting which is beautiful.  She makes cards for every occasion and I have never been able to throw one away.  Her love brings beauty and joy into my life, and I have placed her cards in my dining room where I see them often.

When we create anything profound, we bring profundity to others’ lives and that is a gift to the Universe.

Helping Others May Be Based On One’s Spirituality

For many people, their desire to make a difference originates in their religious or spiritual belief.  I know a man whose religious beliefs are different from mine, but his have led him in a profound direction.  He is devoted to counseling men in prison and also does grief counseling because he wants to help others become stronger and able to lead their lives in a positive way.

In my own life, the years I was devoted to learning who I really was in the deepest sense led me in various directions studying Jungian psychology, eastern religions, going to Unity Church of Christianity and Science of Mind churches.  But my life has always centered around learning, for as a teacher, I had to keep learning in order give my students what they truly needed.

While I am no longer a teacher, I am devoted to writing my blog every Wednesday.  I need that time to stop and think about life in a deep way and to share my thoughts with others.  I hope what I say is at least sometimes profound for those who read my posts.  I may repeat what I already know, but there are days when a topic speaks to me and I explore that idea, hoping to discover a new and profound understanding.

We Each Have Our Own Path

No two paths in life are alike even when they appear to be.  What may be profound to one person may be meaningless to another.  We all are in our own state of growing and learning, and to keep moving toward the profound we must be willing to devote ourselves to that special journey.

May devotion to your journey lead you to what is most profound for you.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Next week’s topic will start with an “E.”  Please leave your suggestions for the topic under comment below.  I’d love to have ideas that interest you.

Related Posts:

AWAKENING TO OUR STRENGTH

AWAKENING TO THE BEAUTY OF BALANCE

AWAKENING TO TEACH OURSELVES

 

 

 

AWAKENING TO CONSEQUENCES

“Nothing happens in a vacuum in life; every action has a series of consequences, and sometimes it takes a long time to fully understand the consequences of our actions.”  Khaled Hosseini

When you realize you have created a problem, how do you feel about it?  What do you do to try to solve it?  Do you ever choose to ignore it?

When I asked my readers to offer topics that correspond to letters of the alphabet, I thought only of the positive consequences.  I wanted readers to know I take an interest in their concerns, and  I thought that this process would also help me find new topics.  The reality was that this month, I received so many interesting words that I couldn’t decide which to choose, but the first word I received was consequences.  A timely word.

Just as I thought that was a good topic, I also thought, “Oh, dear, what if those who suggested words I don’t use feel hurt?”  Clearly, when I set up this situation I had not thought it through.  So, dear readers please know I appreciate every word you send and I will keep this list for the future.  If your word wasn’t chosen, please continue to offer me new ideas each week.

Doing the Unexpected May Be Enlightening

In life, one thing leads to another.  Until I made the choice to connect with a man on an online dating service, I had thought that was really a stupid thing to do.  I was frustrated by not meeting men with whom I had much in common and with whom I connected in a meaningful way.  So I decided to try it.  That’s how I met the man to whom I am married, and he’s a perfect, caring partner for me.

Our Choices Create Consequences

On the other hand, one of the worst decisions I ever had made, created consequences that never end.  Being a drama major in college, I was in a play where I played a seductive woman who sat at a table with a man and smoked.  I had to fake the smoking and afterwards took extensive teasing about how I clearly I had no idea how to smoke.

Well, I didn’t want to experience that again, so I bought a pack and learned to smoke.  I got hooked.  Over the years I tried to stop many times and finally succeeded when I was around 50 years old.  The result of my poor choice has been bladder cancer that reappears every few years.  Fortunately, it was discovered before it caused serious damage and I am now on a schedule for regular check-ups.

The consequences of our actions may be positive or negative, and are not always about taking action.  The result of inaction also affects us.  At this time, wearing masks has been proven to help prevent getting the virus; yet, some people still ignore the scientific advice that could protect them because they see this protection as a sign of weakness.

Some people also ignore the help that the medical profession may give them for other reasons.  Years ago, I had a very creative friend who had cancer but she refused to see a doctor.  She didn’t want to know the truth.  By the time her daughter convinced her to get help, she was in stage four.  She died in a few months.  I was angry at her for a long time for refusing help.  Choosing a state of denial rarely leads us to a good outcome.

Our Responses to Consequences May Vary

Many people find the life they want to live in one place and stay there their whole lives.  I can see so many advantages to this, but it has not been my path.  While some may feel that my living in eleven different states led to a sad life or showed my inability to commit to one place, I believe it has made my life richer in many ways.

Living in different areas exposed me to various kinds of people and expanded my ability to understand and accept those who are different from me.  Teaching teenagers stretched my ability to help them make good choices and understand the consequences of their choices.

Being a person of the mountains, both in Arkansas where I grew up and now living in the beautiful Blue Ridge area, I would never have chosen to live in the desert.  I nevertheless moved there because I needed to live in a dry climate to get well.  I was surprised by the beauty I found:  the stunning red sunsets, the colorful cactus blooming, the fantastic art on the sides of buildings, and the beauty and community of Native American tribes.  By learning to meditate, I found a peace I had never known.

We are often in situations where we have to guess at a wise response.  The result of our choice will lead us to the next choice we have to make.  And so life goes on.  We do the best we can in the moment and consider the possible consequences, then live and grow with them.

May your choices lead to the best moments of your life.  Wishing you peace and joy!

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Blogs:

AWAKENING TO ACCEPT REALITY

AWAKENING TO OUR MISDIRECTED PASSION

AWAKENING TO GOOD DECISIONS

 

 

 

AWAKENING TO OUR HISTORIES

“I’m also fascinated by the interplay between personal history and the larger forces that form the context of our lives.”  Julie Salamon

What was your family like?  Did you receive love or were you ignored?  How did your family’s treatment toward you affect whom you have become?

A few days ago, my past spoke to me in an unusual way.  I woke up in the morning and the first thing that popped up in my mind was the name of my best friend during junior and senior high school.  We hadn’t spoken since we were young women and I suddenly started remembering all the fun we had.

Since her first name is rather unusual, I searched online and found a person I suspected was her.  My husband who had been doing family research became curious and found her daughter’s site on Facebook with a picture of a woman holding a baby.  When I saw it, there was no doubt she was my friend.

Searching further, I found her telephone number, and gearing up my courage, I called her.  She recognized my name immediately and sounded very excited to hear from me.  We had a wonderful visit reminiscing about our fun times together and discussing our current lives.  It took me back to a time when I struggled with self-confidence but had loving friends who supported me and whom I supported.

Following Family Ways

I was always an introvert, but my mother was an extrovert who was always pushing me.  In high school she had pushed me to take speech and drama.  My friend and I had both moved away just before our senior years, but not to the same place.  Despite my reluctance, I took a course and became a part of the drama program at my new school.  It changed my life.

Despite being shy, my mother had also pushed me to learn to sing and accompanied me on the piano, encouraging me to sing in the church choir.  So learning to sing helped me gain more confidence.  I may have been shy about expressing myself but I always knew I looked good.  My mother made sure of that.

She was a phenomenal seamstress.  We had little money when I was growing up so she made all my clothes from remnants she purchased in a department store basement and adapted with simple patterns, making the dress look like the latest fashion.  Looking through my pictures, I found one of me about age five wearing a cute sundress and leaning against a tree as if I were a model.

When I was growing up, sewing, like cooking, was one of those things a woman had to learn.  Until well into adulthood, I sewed my own clothes and took care of my own hair and make-up.  While I paid less attention to cooking, which bored me, I did learn some essentials.

Being Loved and Loving Others

In addition to all the attention paid to my appearance as I grew up, I was very fortunate to have loving parents, two grandparents and a great aunt living next door for the first ten years of my life.  I was sick a great deal as a child, but there was always a loving person to take care of me.  From them I learned what being a loving person involved.  It wasn’t just about what you feel – it was about what you do.

My mother had been a teacher before and after she raised my brother and me. When I first decided to become a teacher, it was a practical decision.  I could earn a living and perhaps teach what I loved: literature, drama, speech, and dance.  It also gave me time to take classes, teach dance or be in plays at the community theater.  I didn’t need a lot of sleep in those days.

Finding Who We Are

I was rebelling against the limits placed on women at that time, but working made me feel freer even though I married right after college.  My husband and I had both agreed not to have children.  It was the 1960’s and women were stepping out of confining roles.

As a teacher, though, I was following in my mother’s footsteps.  At first, it was mainly a way to make money when my husband was in school.  But with time, teaching became about much more than money.  I became deeply concerned about the problems facing my students and saw that helping people was what had drawn my mother to this profession too.

Learning to Love

Teaching gave me the opportunity to love and support students who did not have a loving home life.  Many only had one parent who was working most of the time or a parent who was emotionally distant or abusive.  Others lived in dangerous or poor neighborhoods.  Too many dropped out or found no way to go to college and prepare for well-paying jobs.  Helping them see their own personal value was part of my job.

After seeing more clearly the challenges many people face–the parents as well as their children–I became even more thankful for my loving family.  Little did I know as a child, that not only was I loved, but I was being shown how to love.

Now as I learn about the children struggling at the border who are still separated from parents, I know only too well the damage done to their lives.  Those early years must include loving nurturance as well as food and a home.  Early experiences form the adults they become.


I worry too about those in prison, many of whom are young people who joined gangs as the only way they could see to protect themselves and their families and become strong.  Drugs may also have driven them to make bad choices even if they were fortunate enough to have good families.

Creating Our Own History  

We all need a milieu in which we are loved, taught how to treat each other with respect, and take good care of ourselves and those near us.  When our family histories do not include those skills, we struggle with life, and hopefully find others who will mentor us.

While there are parts of our history, such as our genetics, that we cannot change, there are many areas we can change.  It’s important to evaluate who we are and ask, “Is this who I want to be?”  If the answer is “yes,” we are very fortunate. If the answer is “no,” then it’s time we revise the course of our lives, so that in the future, “yes” will become our answer.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO IMPROVISE OUR LIVES

AWAKENING TO REHEARSE OUR LIVES

AWAKENING TO THE GIFT OF SURPRISE

 

AWAKENING TO THE GIFT OF SURPRISE

“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.”  Boris Pasternak

Do you like surprises?  If not, why not?  How do you usually respond to them?

A couple of weeks ago when we had some occasional days of snow, I was quietly writing on my computer.  My desk faces a front window.  I became distracted by the chirping and fluttering of a large group of Robins.  Outside to my right was a holly bush full of red berries.  Having this bush there was a treat in the winter when there is no color from flowers or other growing things.

Seeing What Was Always There

I finally stopped to pay attention to the birds and realized at least a dozen or more were flying back and forth from the brush to the bare branches of the trees nearby.  Landing on the bush, each ate several berries, then flew back to a tree.  Resting a moment, or maybe waiting his turn, each bird watched, then flew to the bush, fluttered about, noisily landed, and gobbled again.

The Robins were so entertaining with their flight patterns, chirping and fussing, and careful selection of which berry to eat that I watched them for quite a while.  What a surprise!  I’ve lived with that holly bush for years and never seen this before.  What a pleasure! Had it been happening for years but I never noticed?

Surprises Show Us Who We Really Are

The wonderful thing about surprises is that they may open our hearts and minds in ways we had never expected and lead us in a direction we may not have previously chosen.

When I was a high school senior, my family had just moved to Memphis and I was facing my senior year not knowing a soul.  I had become interested in theater so I took a drama class that created a new group of friends for me.  At the end of the year, we performed a musical in which I had a major role.  I was thrilled!  Previously, I had always had tiny roles.

I also became a member of the Thespian Society and it gave out awards at the end of the year.  Sitting at the banquet, I was sure the girl who had played the largest lead role would win the Best Actress Award.  So when my name was called, I was so surprised I couldn’t move.  I looked at the friend next to me who motioned for me to get up.

This award made me realize what others were trying to tell me.  I was talented.  Because of this, I followed my desire and majored in theater in college.  This training was a tremendous gift for life, especially since I  was naturally an introvert.  By the time I finished college, I felt confident about expressing myself orally and also about writing speeches or poetry that could then be read aloud.

Negative Surprises May Have Hidden Gifts

While I have mentioned only happy surprises, even unhappy ones may be a gift.  When my father died suddenly from a burst blood vessel in his lung, it shocked us all.   For him, however, it was better than the painful misery of fighting to breathe.

When my first husband was having an affair, I was unaware of it until he told me he wanted a divorce.  I was shocked! Then he explained what had been going on.  Learning about his betrayal made me face the fact that we really were not a good match.  He could never be the kind of partner with whom I wanted to share my life.  Clearly, I was not his ideal.  This was a gift to me in disguise.

We Prefer Happy Surprises

Of course the surprises we all like the most are the happy ones:  the partner we love asking us to marry, getting the promotion we thought would go to someone else, or receiving the gift of roses or sweets that reminds us we are loved.

However, the most valuable aspect of a surprise is that it often opens our minds to see what we need to see, when we have been unable or unwilling.  Those surprises may move us forward in life, show us how we are limiting ourselves and need to change, or reveal what we most need to know.  These surprises are the gifts we most need to receive.

2020 © Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO SURPRISES

AWAKENING TO NATURE’S SURPRISES

AWAKENING TO CREATE HAPPINESS

AWAKENING TO HEAL

“Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.”  Tori Amos

How do you feel today?  Are you celebrating the change of power or mourning it?  How are you feeling about your own power?

Today is supposed to be a day of peace and hope – a day when we begin to heal our broken democracy.  We may accomplish some movement forward by learning to talk with those who do not share our beliefs, but real healing will take place only when we heal within us the pain that causes us to feel we have to push others away or turn to violence.

Healing Often Requires Change

Years ago, I had pain in my legs and back that wouldn’t go away, and drugs only dulled it for a limited time.  After visiting an integrative doctor who suggested that acupuncture might help, I recoiled.

The idea of letting someone stick needles in my body was jarring – create more pain?  Not a solution I wanted.  But I decided to trust this doctor because he had begun to heal aspects of my illness when other doctors had no clue about their cause.  So I needed to experience the discomfort required to relieve the pain and heal the inflammation beneath it.

As I result of my courage I was able to heal many physical problems.  Over time, I found that the pain of the needles was minor compared to the persistence of pain.  I didn’t like the moment that the needle was inserted, but I loved the peaceful feeling that came as the pain diminished.

I wish it were that simple to heal the inflammation in this country.  At the moment, many of us hope that the new president and his administration will erase all the problems that Trump  ignored or created.  Biden has announced that he will offer workable solutions.

Why Change Frightens Us

Regardless of what the new administration does, together we still have to face the divisions and challenges before us.  Some of the solutions are frightening or uncomfortable.  How willing are we to find the courage to do what it takes to heal?

We often fear that sharing our true feelings with a family member or friend will destroy the tenuous relationship we have.  I have had those feelings, and in some instances talking about the problem improved how we related.  In other situations it created a distance that couldn’t be bridged.  It’s the risk we must take.

Looking Within Helps Us To Heal

Often, the reasons for our divisions are mysterious.  Those are the most challenging to fix, for they may be so deeply hidden that we cannot see the source of our discomfort even in ourselves.  It may take therapy or a spiritual practice for us to truly understand why we feel like we do and why we sometimes act against our own self-interest.

 

Anytime we feel the need to hurt another person, physically or verbally, it is often because we feel powerless and are letting fear, not love, control our actions.  At that moment, we need to release the fear and try to understand why we feel so powerless that we want to dominate another person.

As President Biden and Vice President Harris find ways to heal the conflicts and divisions in this country, it is a good time for us to address what needs to be healed in our own lives.  Let’s all find the courage to dig a little deeper in search of the unity and peace we all need.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

AWAKENING TO THE HEALING DANCE

AWAKENING TO WHAT IS BETTER

 

 

AWAKENING TO THE LOSS OF OUR DOG

Have you ever lost a loving pet?  How long did you have the animal? How did you deal with the loss?

This morning was our last morning with our dear dog Susie Q.  She could hardly walk, fell down frequently and couldn’t get up.  She walked into walls or corners and stared.  She forgot that her business should be done outside.  She slept most of the time and when she was awake, the only time she barked was when someone delivered a package to the front porch.

I never had a dog before her, but she was definitely the right one to be my first dog.  My husband had her partnership for sixteen years and letting her go today was difficult; she had only been with me the last seven of those, but she was truly a gift.  Now I understand why people prefer dogs to cats, for her playfulness and affection converted me from a cat only lover.

This morning at the vet’s office, we let go of her physically and let her soul rise to Heaven, but her love will always be with us.  Perhaps we will meet again after we leave this earth.

I hope the following words were her thoughts as she transitioned.  We’ll love her in the next life too.

When I come to the end of the road

And the sun has set for me,

I want no rites in a gloom-filled room;

Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little – but not for too long

And not with your head bowed low.

Remember the love that we once shared.

Miss me – but let me go.

For this is a journey that we all must take

And each must go alone.

It’s all a part of the Master’s plan,

A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick of heart,

Go to the friends we know;

And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.

Miss me – but let me go…

 -Author Unknown

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO TODAY’S TRANSITION

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” Eckhart Tolle

How do you feel about the political transition we are all in?  Is there also a personal transition in your life?  How are you dealing with the changes that need to take place?

It’s a gray, rainy day and I wish I had a cat.  I used to have two cats and loved the way they snuggled with me in bed or when I sat on the couch reading.  Their warmth and fuzziness were comforting and it was difficult when both had passed.

Dogs can be comforting too, but our current dog Susie is on her last legs, literally, and spends most of the day sleeping on her bed.  There was a time too when she climbed onto a human bed to comfort my husband’s former wife when she was ill.  But now it is difficult to see Susie slipping away although we all have to make the ultimate transition sooner or later.

In some sense we are all in transition at this moment in our country.  Unfortunately, it isn’t looking like a smooth one.  We all have experiences in life when we need to move on, but the change may feel difficult and uncomfortable.  We may resist because it is disappointing to leave a good job, to lose the person we love, or see the candidate we supported lose an election.   Accepting the discomfort of this situation allows us the opportunity to recover and move on.

Changes Are Reality

When we refuse to accept the inevitable, we harm ourselves and often others.  President Trump’s refusal to concede ignores the value of a peaceful transition that benefits all citizens and himself.  But his attitude indicates that he values himself only when he has power over others.  To have one’s self-worth based on such an idea leads only to disaster.

At first, I was only angry when he refused to concede.  Now that he has proceeded with trying to change the election results, I’ve realized he is even more insecure than I suspected.  Despite his attempts to create difficulty for President-elect Biden, his aggressive behavior will only turn more people away from him.  This is a democracy.  The people have made a decision, and it’s time for Trump to move on.

There are always things we need to do to prepare for a transition when we are aware of it in advance.  If the transition is the result of losing a loved one, we may shed tears, reach out to friends who have hopefully reached out to us, and give ourselves time to see what changes we need to make in order to move on.

We Can Learn From Losses

My maternal grandmother was the one person in my life who totally accepted me.  She always expressed her love, accepted who and where I was, and supported me without judgement.  Losing her was devastating and I grieved for a long time.  But with time, I understood that her love would always be with me, that I truly was the good person she saw me to be, and after I grieved, I understood she would always be in my heart.

I’ve also made many transitions moving from place to place.  Naturally, the moves required much preparation:  physically packing, hiring a moving van, and finding a new place to live.  Although difficult at times and not always a desired transition, something good invariably came into my life.  I had a better paying job, made new and interesting friends, or lived in a healthier environment.

When we choose to stay stuck, we close our minds to new possibilities that may expand our lives.  We shrink our possibilities.  When we are forced into a transition that we do not desire, it is a rich time for reflection.  What have we been doing wrong? What have we been doing right?  Change presents an opportunity to learn, and we all need to be life-long learners.

Being president has made Trump feel more powerful than ever.  Anything else, he considers a loss.  Instead he needs to realize the opportunities that being an ex-president offer.  Having served in this office gives him influence that persists, but his inability to move on, his desire to destroy what he can to make the transition difficult for Biden only diminishes his own power.  Yet he cannot see that.  How sad.

As Trump leaves office, I have only these words for him:  the more you destroy our democracy, the more you are personally diminished.  Leave office with the elegance of the king you wish you were.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO TRANSITIONS

AWAKENING TO RELEASE ILLUSIONS

TRANSFORMING THE FEAR OF CHANGE

 

AWAKENING TO THE OTHER SIDE

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.  Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”  Marie Curie

How do you feel about the election?  Does the late counting disturb you?  How will you feel if your candidate doesn’t win?

This election has created heightened anxiety for many of us and it may be days before we really know the outcome.  Initially, Trump is doing better than I expected and some seats in Congress and the Senate aren’t going in the direction for which I had hoped.

I often walk around shaking my head.  How can so many people vote for a man whose words are often so demeaning?  How can they vote for a president who has refused to help people struggling during this pandemic?  How can women vote for him when he often acts so disrespectfully toward women?

I don’t understand.  Obviously, there are people who think like him, who have the money to do what they want and buy what they want, who don’t need government help even in this trying time.  Do they like him because they share his values?  Do they like him because he pushes people around and disrespects them to show he is powerful or to prove how manly he is?

Will they vote for anyone who attaches the label Republican to their campaign? Are they afraid that their family or community will reject them if they don’t vote for him, even if they don’t agree with him in all respects?  Or do they vote for him because they actually think he will help them in some way although his actions so far prove otherwise?

I often feel like I’m living on another planet although fortunately I live in a very caring and aware community that takes seriously police reform, affordable housing needs, and the goals of Black Lives Matter.

While some of the election results are not what I wanted to see, I have to be hopeful to the end.  I refuse to give in to the darkness that hovers over us and the fears that our democracy will soon be destroyed by a man who admires Putin and Hitler, who loves to create fear in people by threatening to eliminate Social Security and Medicare, the only income and medical insurance many older people have.

Years ago, I watched one episode of his reality television show The Apprentice.  The way he treated and manipulated people frankly grossed me out. It disturbed me to think that people actually enjoyed watching him act like this.  After seeing this program, why would anyone want him to run the country?  Perhaps many of our citizens have become so addicted to the characters on television that they have begun to believe that is real life.

I guess all we can do today and for the next few days is to take quite a few deep breaths, pray for peace, and love all those in our lives regardless of their voting choices.  Maybe one day, we will understand.  And by all means, remember to love yourself as well.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

To learn more about how to release your fears read the following:

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

AWAKENING TO UNEXPECTED FEAR

AWAKENING TO THE PEACE AND WHOLENESS BEYOND FEAR

 

AWAKENING TO OUR MYSTERIES

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

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

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

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

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

A Time of Letting Go

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

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

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

Looking Within

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

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

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

We Are One With Spirit

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

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

Lighting the Dark Within

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

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

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

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

DANCING TO THE MYSTERY OF LIFE

AWAKENING TO LIGHT THE DARKNESS

AWAKENING TO THE LIGHT

 

AWAKENING TO OUR REALITY

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”  William Arthur Ward

How do you usually react to new situations?  Do you tend to resist, ignore, or adjust to an event or condition you don’t like?  What works best for you?

I often think of myself as an optimist.  Years ago, I was very involved with the “think positive” movement, primarily because life was difficult and the many changes in my life often wore me down.  I also learned that much of the negative thinking I did could be released when I learned to release my fears because those fears created the negative thoughts.

All these experiences helped me to get my negative thinking under control, and by seeing life from a more positive perspective, I was a happier person.  But choosing to be an optimist about everything is not always the best choice.

Being A Realist Is Wise

The wisest approach to life is to be a realist and develop the ability to adjust to what is actually occurring because ignoring reality can be harmful.  I once had a friend who was very creative and with whom I did presentations that combined my poetry and her photography.  This was a very powerful creative connection I had not experienced since my earlier years in modern dance and theater and I deeply valued it.

When she became ill, she refused to see a doctor, insisting she would be fine. After many months, her daughter convinced her to face the source of her pain.  When she finally visited the doctor, she discovered she had very advanced cancer that could not be treated.  She died four months later.

I was stunned, heart-broken, and angry.  Having dealt with many illnesses over the years, I had always seen a doctor, even if I dreaded what I thought the answer would be.  I knew that whatever the sickness was, I needed to face it and treat it.  But my friend was not a realist.

Adjusting the Sails of Your Life

Life is not the perfect drama we would like it to be.  There are ups and downs and surprises, but what creates a good life for us is how we deal with the winds that blow through our lives.  None of us would choose to be experiencing a pandemic, especially one that is clearly not going away soon, but it is here, regardless of what we want.

So how can we be realistic and live well during this time?  I strongly suggest listening to the medical experts about wearing a mask, social distancing, and getting tested instead of to a president and his followers who deny these needs exist.  As George Bernard Shaw once said, “Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”

Be a realist and “adjust the sails of your life.”  My husband and I love to go to the movies.  Now we have discovered the PBS series “Poldark” and often watch it when we’re in the “movie” mood.  What is nice about this is that we don’t have to get dressed and spend money.  We can even watch it in our pajamas.

While it would be nice to eat in a restaurant, we can get a pick-up dinner and eat on our deck with a lovely view of the trees and the continual bird song.  For more outdoor pleasures we walk in the neighborhood and around a nearby lake.  We can visit and see friends faces on Zoom. These choices are not what we prefer, but they are the wise, realistic ones.

Being Realistic May Include Some Optimism

While being a realist makes sense and can safe-guard us during these particularly challenging days, being optimistic at times may also be helpful.  It’s better to hope than to become depressed about the worst.  It is worthwhile to consider what is needed for us to accomplish the goals we hope to pursue when restrictions ease.

What research might we undertake about the degree we want to get, the trip we desire to take, the job we hope to receive or the skills we wish to develop?  Even if we can’t pursue such things right now, we will learn what preparation we need and if we can begin any of that work now. We also may discover that there are other choices we overlooked which are more appealing.

With a willingness to adjust our sails, we may find the path we truly need to take to a destination where the sailing is smoother.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO GOOD DECISIONS

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

AWAKENING TO ACCEPT REALITY