Tag Archives: Courage

AWAKENING TO EFFECT CHANGE

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”  George Bernard Shaw

BostonZest.com

BostonZest.com

Jonquils are filling the yards with their bright yellow blossoms although it is still February and technically winter.  I want to enjoy them while I can because I am suspicious of how long they will last.  We still have March ahead, that crazy month that can’t decide if it is winter or spring, creating infinite frustration for those of us who want the winter to be over.

Much more than human nature, the nature around us has, in the past, been more predictable.  We could count on the seasons to appear at appropriate times, trees to leaf out, and flowers to bloom at approximately the same times every year.  But this predictability is less certain now with the extreme changes caused by climate change.

CHANGE IS OCCURRING

You don’t have to be a scientist to know that something different is occurring.  All you have to do is pay attention.  Perhaps those who have never been close to nature really don’t notice the changes.  It is hard to imagine that, but perhaps it’s true.  Still the scientists are the ones who have been paying the closest attention and have collected the data.

Unfortunately, we are now living in a world of “fake news” and “alternative facts.”  Still, if you take the time to pay attention to what is going on and have been living for at least 20 years, you cannot help but see some changes are real.  This winter where I live has had weather in the same week that varied from the 30’s to the 60’s.  This is not ordinary winter weather.

IGNORING CHANGE IS UNWISE

There is no value in ignoring change. When we refuse to accept change and keep believing we can recreate the same life despite enormous changes, we are dreaming.  At some point, we need to act.  For example, many people in the coal-mining parts of our country really believe that their coal mining jobs will come back.  Despite what Trump says, this is highly unlikely.  So, what are the choices?  They can move or live in poverty or live on welfare.  Those who have been able to get training in another field or have moved to areas where there are jobs have created new lives for themselves.

Since I’ve moved more than once in my life to get a better job or one I like better, I have had trouble understanding people who remain stuck to only one vision of what life can be.  But reading Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance helped me understand the dynamics of this situation, and I highly recommend the book.

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With Trump’s actions and threats, many of us feel fearful of how our lives will change.  After the election, I delusively hoped that somehow Hillary would become president particularly when it became clear that she had received three million more votes than Trump.  But at least I knew how the system worked and knew I was delusional.

But what we have seen in this election is that many people believe that Trump cares about them, and if they are white males, I guess that’s probably true.  But everyone else is clearly in jeopardy because of the changes he is making and wants to make.  Change is afoot like Bigfoot rampaging through the village.

CHANGE OFTEN REQUIRES WISE ACTION

So how are we reacting to this?  Some people are just throwing up their hands and saying they have to accept it.  This is the way it is.  Give him a chance.  But sometimes accepting change means acting.  It involves realizing that a change has occurred that has shifted the core of our lives.  Life is not the same, so we have to change if we want to see progress rather than stagnation.  We have to adapt to the change.

The question is always how do we do that?  Well, we have to take action, meaningful action.  Currently, huge numbers of people across the nation are protesting and communicating with their senators and representatives on the national and local level to protect their rights and the rights of others and to try to solve the problems that are burdening their communities.

womens-march

PRESERVING DEMOCRACY REQUIRES ACTION

As a democracy, people should be active.  We have to vote.  We have to educate ourselves about issues and candidates.  We have to participate in local issues.  What we are seeing now is that the populace, in many instances, will stand up for itself and that is a very good thing.

So, what can you do in your life?  With so many changes taking place, it can be intimidating.  But choose just one thing and begin to do that regularly.  Make it something that matters, and that will vary depending on where you live.  When that one action becomes a part of your life, if you have time, add another.

CHOOSE ONE ACTION A DAY

Although I’m still in the middle of trying to decide where to direct my action and integrate it into my life, I have become involved with a group working to end child poverty.  It breaks my heart to think any child is hungry, and I’m afraid there are many in my state.  We can’t always depend on the government to solve our community problems, so we have to be the ones to effect the change.  After all, that’s what a democracy is really about.

What change can you effect change this week?

©2017 Georganne Spruce

RELATED ARTICLES:

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR,   DANCING TO THE DANGER OF ASSUMPTIONS, AWAKENING TO TAKE THE NEXT STEPAWAKENING TO OUR MISDIRECTED PASSIONTRANSFORMING THE FEAR OF CHANGE

 

AWAKENING TO THE LIGHT

“For we have not come here to take prisoners or to confine our wondrous spirits, but to experience ever and ever more deeply our divine courage, freedom and light!” Hafiz

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

What choices have you made recently that have lifted your spirits? Do you create unnecessary limitations in your life? How can you release those and free your spirit?

In winter the light in our lives falters, especially in the mountains where fog may surround us or the evening sun may disappear quickly behind even the lowest peaks. It seems like the gray days with rain and clouds are endless alternating with only a few days of bright sunlight.

But this winter, the lack of light is about more than the weather. Around the world, violence and the deep need of people cry out haunting the days of our lives. In our own country, the negative and destructive promises of some of the presidential candidates go beyond anything we have ever seen, and the way some congressional leaders refuse to do what the people elected them to do is barbarous.

Share Our Light

At a time like this, where can we find the light? Only within. Last night I listened to the story of a friend’s journey as she hiked the El Camino de Santiago, and what struck me most was the way her inner light shone throughout her story. She was so excited and appreciative of the way other people helped her: of finally getting a meal with lots of vegetables, of finding coffee on the trail when there had been none to start her day at the hostel, getting her cell phone fixed by a man she’d just met.

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It wasn’t that she never complained, because there were definitely challenges, but what impressed me was the way she chose to focus on every little thing that was good. That light energy radiated to everyone she met along the trail. As Maya Angelou said, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

We Must Free Ourselves From Limitations

Not only do we need to avoid taking others prisoners, as the Congress is trying to do, we need to avoid making prisoners of ourselves. When we give up, lose our courage, believe we can’t change what is, we imprison our spirit. The reality is that our spirit is always free if we are willing to go deep within and find that quiet place where loving guidance appears. By going deeper, we may find better solutions to the problems we need to solve.

We need to ask, “What can I do to enlighten my life?” Do we need to meditate more? Do we need to spend more time with friends? Do we need to develop a gratitude practice? Do we need a support group of some kind? What will bring more positive thoughts and feelings into our lives?

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Create Your Own Light

We may have a lot of excuses, but not all of them matter. Many are just excuses for taking the line of least resistance, but they confine and keep us from experiencing what may light up our lives. We have to choose to leave the darkness behind and step into the light even when we aren’t sure what will happen. We need to find the courage to create the light that we need in our lives, regardless of the season.

© 2016 Georganne Spruce                                                     ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

How do you bring light into your life?  Please comment.

READING AT MALAPROPS IN ASHEVILLE: Sunday, February 28 at 3:00 I will be reading my poem “Soul Mate” along with several other NC women writers published in It’s All Relative: Tales From the Tree.

Related Posts:    Awaken to Love the Light, Lighting Our Darkness, Awakening to the Dance of Light

AWAKENING TO THE BLESSINGS OF RENEWAL

“We don’t even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward. In times of tragedy, of war, of necessity, people do amazing things. The human capacity for survival and renewal is awesome.” Isabel Allende

Photo:Georganne Spruce

Photo:Georganne Spruce

I have been away for a while, resting and healing my body. After two years of a variety of symptoms and visiting various doctors whose tests revealed nothing, I returned to a wholistic doctor I saw when I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. At that time, I had spent several years becoming more exhausted and unable to sleep, but my doctors insisted I had an anxiety disorder.

Now I sleep throughout most of the night and have good energy each day. Most of the symptoms that were a result of inflammation are gone. Life almost feels normal, and the healing is taking place without harmful drugs.

I am blessed to have found the help I need. It has been worth it to discipline myself to not eat many foods that I like, to take numerous supplements at specific times, to keep a schedule that sometimes has felt very stressful. This was what was required for my healing to take place. I had no choice if I wanted to be well again.

Life May Be Very Challenging

Life is like that sometimes. We have to do what is uncomfortable or challenging in order to get what we want. We have to stretch our resources, patience, or abilities beyond what we believe is possible. We have to dig deep for a strength we are not even sure we have.

As a nation, I believe we are in a similar place. We are being tested to see “what stuff we are made of.” Solving the problems that require urgent care means that we have to reach deep within to find the place where we are willing to partner with those who are different from us.

Only Change Can Bring Us Renewal

We are facing a new year, so the question is: Will we make it a new year, a time of renewal, a step forward, or will we continue to wallow in the mud of insults, sexism, and racism and ignore the desperate needs of so many people? What do we need to do to renew the basic principles of a democratic nation? How do we begin to make the changes in our own lives?

At the base of our resistance to do what we need to do is fear. It is always lurking there behind the excuses we use not to change. It may be that we have our lives so organized that changing anything feels like chaos, and we wonder if the change really will make things better. Unfortunately, most of us can’t see into the future so we have to take the leap and hope for the best.

We Need To Release Our Fear and Have Faith

Not only do we need to release our fear, we need to have faith, and the following quote always helps me go on when things are not going well. “When you have 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.”

Jumping Over the 3rd Largest Pyramid in the World

We Also Need To Take Action

This is a powerful guide on the spiritual level just as releasing our fear is. But in addition to this, we need to take action. For example, if we don’t like the way our political system is working, we need to get out and vote, but first we need to research what is really the truth. Presidential candidates tend to twist the truth so that their opponents look like poor choices. We have to research the details of situations so that we can make meaningful choices based on reality. Does the person we choose have a background that indicates he/she will be able to make the changes we want made?

What if our first choice doesn’t become the candidate? Are we going to throw our hands up and let others make the choice for us? But if we are willing to shift a bit and vote for our next best choice, we still will have a voice in the process, and we can still make a difference.

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Life Changes

Life changes whether we want it to or not. The seasons bring us the beauty of snow, flowers, brightly-colored leaves, and warm sunny days. Each season has its delights and challenges and we have no choice but to adjust. Each time we adjust or change, we learn something new. We may have dreaded the change, but in the end, it may have brought us something better.

Do I like the rigid schedule of taking multiple supplements seven times a day? No, I don’t, but if I want to be well, I have to do it. Do I like not having tomatoes, coffee, chocolate, or spicy foods? No, I love them all, but they cause acid reflux that damages my throat and esophagus. Do I want to be healthy and energetic? Of course, so I have no choice but to do these things.

When I see the difficulties that the immigrants flooding so many countries have, the changes I’ve made seem minor. I’m still in my house. My husband is alive. I have plenty of food and heat. My home is in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. My health is so much better.   I’ve had to make many changes in order to have this life, but all the work has been worth it, and I’ve learned to do things I never thought I could do. Life is good, and that’s the choice I’ve made.

What have you done that you never thought you could do? Please Comment.

© Georganne Spruce

Related Articles: Awakening to Live Without Fear, Releasing Our Fear to Awaken, Transforming the Fear of Change

AWAKENING TO UNEXPECTED FEAR

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” Joseph Campbell 

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What is your first reaction to an unpleasant surprise?  How much fear do you feel?  How do you deal with that fear?

When you suddenly get news you are not expecting, does it make you anxious or fearful?  When it’s bad news, you may often feel fear.  You don’t know what to expect.  You’re not sure how to solve this problem.  You are concerned it will cause other problems or create conflicts with the important people in your life.

Fear Always Tries To Control the Mind

We all have our coping mechanisms.  We may withdraw or try to avoid the challenge.  We may confront it.  We may analyze it thoroughly before choosing a course of action.  If the situation has stirred up a great deal of fear, the fear will take over our mind and lead us to deal with the fear rather than solve the problem.  So how can we embrace the unexpected and not allow the fear to control our course of action?

A few weeks ago, as I drove down a two lane street in a residential neighborhood, a woman in a car suddenly darted in front of me.  Stunned, I hit the brakes, skidded, and hit her back door.  As the pain surged through my chest as a result of being thrown against the steering wheel, fear flooded my mind.  How could this happen?  The seat belt didn’t hold.  She had a stop sign.  She looked right at me.  She must have seen me, but she hadn’t seen me, despite looking right at me.

Natural Fear Can Help Protect Us

Just before the accident, as I approached the intersection, my natural fear had kicked in and said, “Slow down, watch out.”  I did and saw the woman almost not stop at the stop sign.  Then she stopped, released her brake and stopped again.  I slowed down, but when she looked at me, I felt it was safe and kept going.  The natural fear I had felt was the body’s attempt to protect me.  This is the fear we all need.

Psychological Fears Create Negative Drama

But there was another fear that I experienced as soon as I realized I was conscious and could stand up.  I was then afraid that the pain I felt was a serious injury and I became very distressed.  As other people tried to help and I climbed into an ambulance to go to the emergency room, my fear ran wild.  The six and a half hours I spent in the emergency room gave me plenty of time to calm this fear.  I released every negative thought that came up because my mind was looking for all the worst scenarios.

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Releasing the Fear Calms the Mind

During this time, the fears that came up were the psychological fears that we don’t need.  They’re the ones that make things worse.  As the German proverb says, “Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.”  However, as each fear came up, I took a breath (which wasn’t easy because it hurt) and told my mind to release the fear.  As I exhaled, I felt the energy of that particular fear leave my mind and body.  The fear felt heavy and I was glad to let it go.

For a moment or more, I felt calm and peaceful.  Then another fear would surface and I repeated the release.  By the time I saw a doctor, I felt sure that the injury was only pulled muscles and bruising.  I was right—there were no broken bones.

A car accident is certainly an event that would frighten most people and the natural fear that pumps the adrenaline we need to respond is a positive thing, but the psychological fears that we experience afterwards or in any situation that creates discomfort for us are not healthy.  In fact, they often create obstacles to healing and solving problems, and learning to release these fears can empower us in dramatic ways.

Without Fear We Have Courage

The technique that I teach has changed my life and the lives of those who practice it. Without knowing a technique to release my fear, I would never have had the courage to try to publish the essays and articles I write or to publish my memoir.  My mother had taught me to “buck up” and do it anyway when I feared something.  When I was a modern dancer, trying to dance with fear did not make for a particularly pleasant experience.  I always loved rehearsing for a performance, but I didn’t like actually performing in front of people.

modern dancer

About the time I stopped dancing, I learned the technique for releasing fear that I now teach.  It made a huge difference in my life.  After practicing it for two years, I realized one day that some fears, especially social ones, didn’t appear anymore.  Others, such as starting new relationships, were less strong than they used to be.  Still, others that had seemed made of steel did sometimes release for a few moments.

Deep Fears Were Often Created in Childhood

But it is always the unexpected that catches us off guard and challenges us to not get pulled into the fear.  The fear is, at its base, the fear of being rejected or being inadequate and comes from some part of ourselves that was hurt or rejected.  Often these feelings originated in childhood.  They may have no relevance today; yet, we continue to feel them.  Learning to release our fear as soon as we feel it frees us from the problems it can create.

Free of Fear, We Can Be Who We Truly Are

When the mind is free of fear, we can move forward in our lives.  We can enter the cave we fear and find the treasure of which Joseph Campbell speaks.

Recently, I saw a magnificent multi-media production, Dreamtime.  It was based on the aboriginal concept of dreamtime.  The masks that the dancers wore were extremely detailed, beautiful, and haunting. They took my breath away, but what brought me to tears was knowing that just a couple of years earlier the woman who created them was filled with fear about making a transition from a teacher to an artist.

wedding reception

In her testimonial, Renee Ensley said, “I was pretending to myself and to others that I was ‘enjoying retirement’ but what I really was, was scared to death. I had been so confident that I could be an artist and I didn’t have a clue about how to go about it. I practiced that idea of identifying the fear, telling it to let me go and asking the universe for an answer. Through this process, I really heard what Georganne had to say and for me it worked.  She has a wonderful gift to give and I thank her so very much for giving it to me.”

Learn to Release Your Fear

Without the fear, we can see how to take the next step we wish to take and find the courage to become who we really are.  To learn more about how to release your fear using the technique I use, visit my website http://awakeningtothedance.com/workshops-2/, attend my next workshop in Asheville, NC on Saturday, November 1, 1:00-3:00 pm at Jubilee! Community, 46 Wall St., or read about it in my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness available at Amazon.  Contact information is available on my website.

May you learn to be free of fear and create the life you truly desire.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                         ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Eckhart Tolle (video)Eliminate Fear, Anxiety, Depression in Your Life, Move Back to Love (Wayne Dyer), Release Your Fears With Qigong Meditation

AWAKENING TO THE NEXT GOOD THING

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.”  Alexander Graham Bell

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Have you ever been offered the opportunity to do something new but turned it down because you had your mind set on something else?  Do you ever find it difficult to let go when it’s time to move on?  How open are you to new experiences?

Often Difficult To Let Go of Grief

When a door closes in our lives, the death of a friend or loved one, the end of a job, or bad knees end our tennis games, our tendency may be to hang onto this lost reality.  We can’t see that the end of one thing may be the beginning of something else that is equally or more meaningful because we are so submerged in the feelings of loss.

Recently, I lost a friend, a photographer, whose pictures of nature blended beautifully with my nature poetry.  Because of that, we created slide and reading presentations for our spiritual community’s weekly celebration.  I feel the loss of her as a friend, but I also am grieving the loss of our creative collaboration.  It is hard to accept the idea that she and those experiences are gone.

Photo by Elliott Brown

Photo by Elliott Brown

When I first stopped teaching full-time, I started writing more seriously, but I still spent years looking for another teaching job, even when it became apparent that no one was hiring someone with as many years experience as I had.  I was afraid not to have a full-time regular job, so I still didn’t commit myself totally to the writing or look for a writing job.  The door stood open for years before I was willing to walk through it.

New Opportunities May Lay Behind Open Doors

When I finally committed myself to finishing my memoir, everything I needed magically fell into place.  Once it was completed, other amazing things started happening.  Years earlier, a medium had told me that when I finished my book, I would meet the man of my dreams.  At the time, I thought that didn’t sound very realistic—what did those two things have in common?

I missed the point—following my passion allowed me to be who I truly was and attracted to me someone who could appreciate who I was because he was also a writer.  By completing the book and developing a blog, I opened a door.  I gained confidence in my abilities and felt I was finally doing what I was called to do.  But my love’s side of the story is also about closed and open doors.

His wife died after a long illness and his grief was so deep, he wasn’t sure he could go on.  Finally, he came to a point where he decided he could go on, knowing that was what she wanted for him.  Eventually, he stepped away from his former life and walked through the open door, not knowing what he would find.   Because he was willing to risk stepping into the unknown, we met each other and have created a lovely life together.

Love Birds

Photo by Skadi

There Is Always A Time To Move On

When we cling to the door that has closed, we stunt our own growth.  Our lives, like the life of the earth, must move through many seasons just as spring always follows after winter.  It is good that we spend time grieving when it is appropriate, but the time also must come when we are willing to look at that open door and walk through it to see what treasures lay on the other side.

We never know when the next good thing will come along, so it is wise to remain open to new experiences.  When we choose not to, it is usually because we are afraid of the unknown or feel inadequate.  If we learn to let go of those fears, we can better see if the opportunity truly has value for us.

Fear Blocks Us From Choosing New Experiences

Fear is the source of every block in our lives.  If we make it a habit to avoid open doors, we strengthen the resistance caused by fear.  When we feel fearful, we are reluctant to move forward because our minds focus on our former negative experiences instead of focusing on solving the current problem.  Releasing this fear will free us to move through that open door.

Releasing Our Fears Gives Us Courage and Joy

Without fear, we can more easily discern if the new option being presented to us is, in fact, a wise choice.  Without fear, we can discern what elements of the situation we need to explore more completely.  Without fear, we will be more in touch with our intuition and inner guidance and be open to experience more joy in life.

Open doors are always an opportunity to look at something we may never have considered or that is available because our life or thinking have shifted in some way.  It is the open door that lets the light through.   But we’ll never be able to experience its healing unless we step through it.

If you would like to know more about how to release your fears and you live in the Asheville/Flat Rock, NC area, consider taking my “Release Your Fears” class at Blue Ridge Community College, Center for Life Long Learning. Mondays March 3 & 10, 1-3 pm, $30.  Register ahead at the college or call 828-694-1740.  For more information and my video, see Workshops.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: How to Become Open to Life, Seven Secrets of a Joyful Life, 50 Ways to Open Your World to New Possibilities

AWAKENING TO TRUST LIFE

“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.”  Paulo Coelho

Father Tossing Daughter

Photo by Mike Baird

 How patient are you when things don’t go your way?  Are you often disappointed about life or do you find some pleasure in each day?

Lately, it seems that dealing with the mundane in life has become unnecessarily difficult and somewhat bizarre.  I spent an hour or more trying to discover why my phone would do nothing but “search” when it had worked fine the day before and the battery was charged.  Finally I unplugged the battery to read the numbers on it, thinking that maybe I needed a new one, and when I reconnected it, it worked just fine.

Then there was a problem with the water filter.  In order to have filtered water like reverse osmosis, I stack one water filtration dispenser on top of another so that the water from the top dispenser will drip through the second filter.  In the last month, the top dispenser has toppled onto the floor twice when a friend of mine walked into the kitchen.  At 6 foot 3 inches, he’s a big guy and his steps create a vibration, but he’s been walking into my kitchen frequently for months.  Why is this happening now?  The second time it happened, the filter shattered.

Lessons May Come From Negative Experiences

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.”  Each moment of each day offers us the opportunity to learn.  I’ve learned from experience that when a series of events, mundane or serious, occur I need to pay attention.  I need to calm down, go with the flow, and take time to trust that the Universe is trying to tell me something.

In addition to going inside for spiritual guidance, I also look at astrology or numerology to see if any messages resonate.  My number for this month is a 36/9 and part of the message is that any losses or endings will free me for the new cycle I am about to enter and that any losses I encounter are only those things I do not need.

Not Being Centered Creates Unnecessary Difficulty

When the phone incident occurred, I was already frustrated about a series of troublesome phone calls with my insurance company, and I wasn’t in a positive frame of mind.  I was so disappointed that another problem had arisen that I lacked the patience to solve the problem easily by doing the most obvious thing, checking the battery connection.  Instead, I assumed it was more complicated.

Remaining Positive Requires Courage

Paolo Coelho reminds us to have courage and not be disappointed when we encounter difficulties.  We have to trust that there is value in these life experiences.  When the negative experiences are more serious matters, the challenge to have courage is so much greater.  My challenges are nothing compared to the challenge my friend who has cancer faces.  She is nearing the end but insists on trying not to take drugs to “numb out.”  That’s real courage!

Years ago when I had chronic fatigue syndrome, I had to change my life style in order to heal naturally.  Having to go to bed early and be very strict about what I ate irritated friends and others close to me.  The medical profession had not yet accepted this diagnosis as a real one and many people just thought I was being dramatic about my needs.  Losing friends and not being respected made my life more difficult.  It took courage for me to remain devoted to what I knew was best for me.

Loss May Lead Us To Something Better

In the case of the cracked filter, I was surprised by what happened, but I wasn’t too upset.  Maybe the incident was telling me it was time to install a water filter in my water system.  As it turned out, the friend whose vibration caused the filter to crash had an extra filter that can be easily installed in my house.

Father on Beach

Photo by Lonny Paul

Learning “not to be disappointed by what we encounter” when we experience mundane disappointments prepares us to face the really difficult moments.  Staying calm and going with the flow gives us the patience “to wait for the right moment.”  We often see this in a relationship when we need to discuss a touchy subject with a partner or a manager at work.  If we take the time to consider when and what to say and release our anger or frustration first, we are more likely to communicate in a way so that the other person will hear us.

To Trust Life, We Must Trust Ourselves

We can trust life when we learn to trust ourselves.  We create our lives with our thoughts, emotions, and actions, and the more we learn about managing them in a spiritual and loving way, the more likely we are to create positive experiences.  In addition to the patience and courage, Coelho suggests, developing a practice of gratitude helps to shift us away from expecting the worst of a situation we don’t like.

Focusing on Gratitude Is A Positive Practice

Gratitude reminds us of all the good in our lives.  Even when it’s hard to see the good, it is important to hunt for it and look for a lesson in each experience.  My experience with the phone reminded me that I need to focus on the simplicity of life and assume the solution to a problem is simple unless it truly does become more complex.  I am thankful for that reminder.

The experience with the water filter offered a better alternative to my “slippery slope” solution and reminded me that when one thing stops working, it is often because there is something better in the future.  When we are grateful for the good we have and truly believe that basically life is good, despite the challenges, we are more likely to find our spiritual path filled with light.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                         ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:    Trust Yourself and How You Can Get Better at It, Trust Quiz – Do You Trust Yourself Enough?, Why You Do Not Trust Yourself, How to Develop a Deep Trust in Life

AWAKENING TO A PEACEFUL HEART

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

Denver 008

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

When We Feel Anger, We Need To Take A Breath

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

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

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

Two people in a heated argument about religion...

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

Our Issues Are About The Ego

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

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

It Takes Courage To Be Peaceful When Others Are Not

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

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

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

Our Responses Reflect Who We Are

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

Courage Comes From The Heart

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

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                  ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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