Tag Archives: Creativity

AWAKENING TO REHEARSE OUR LIVES

“The rehearsal process is an opportunity to work through things collaboratively.”  Liz Lerman

How do you work through things in your life?  Does that approach usually work?  How you make your best contact with other people?

In the 1970’s when I was a dancer, I was fortunate to study improvisation with Liz Lerman in Washington, DC and to perform a dance she created for Choreo 18, the modern dance company of which I was a member.

Recently, I watched a video interview with her Many good memories flooded my head, especially learning how to creatively explore my movement in more depth.  But what struck me most profoundly was when she asked, “Do you use rehearsals in your life?’

The Value of Rehearsing

She pointed out that in rehearsals you try out different movements, analyze what you are doing, and look for the right movement to create what you want others to see or what you want to communicate.  She then suggested that perhaps we could do this to discover how we can be in a “better way together.”

When a problem arises, how do we attempt to solve it?  It may be a recurring problem to which  we found a workable solution in the past, so we do what we have always done.  But if  the challenge is a new issue or complex, we may have to improvise by considering and trying out several possibilities in order to find a solution that is workable.

Rehearsals Show Us New Options

Certainly the pandemic has challenged us to find new ways to entertain or enrich ourselves without being face to face with others.  Liz and the members of her walking group have adapted to the quarantine by using their phones as they walk through the streets or forests.  Some of them live in different countries, but can still connect and walk “together.”

My rehearsals with words continue every day as I write, exchanging words and tenses to say exactly what I want to say.  It’s rare that I’m happy with the first version of any sentence, so I must rehearse various ways to describe the perfect moment or spoken sentence.  I may change the character who speaks or let the verbal statement become a thought.

Rehearsals Can Improve Relationships

In relationships we have to develop ways to communicate, especially when conflict arises.  A rehearsal may be needed to develop a satisfactory approach to discuss our differences.  Shouting never leads us to an effective conclusion so we need to ask, as Liz does, how can we be together in a better way?

Perhaps sitting down, each with a cup of tea or coffee, is a good start to the conversation. We may need to Zoom with the people with whom we don’t live.  Being face to face always improves communication.

When we have discerned a way to talk respectfully with each other, we will probably have more than one rehearsal before we have created the perfect solution for the two of us.  Even then our plan may often need a few adjustments.

The show that is our lives must go on.  Rehearsals always bring our creativity to the surface and hopefully help us find the best solution to our challenges.  During this dance of life,  may you rehearse what is the best in all areas of your life.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO IMPROVISE OUR LIVES

AWAKENING TO OUR MYSTERIES

AWAKENING TO THE DANCE OF THE HEART

AWAKENING TO YOUR IMAGINATION

 

AWAKENING TO YOUR IMAGINATION

“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man [or woman] contemplates it, bearing within him [her] the image of a cathedral.”  Antoine de Saint-Exupery

What are your wildest imaginations? Have your imaginings come true?  How did you make them happen?

During my growing up years, the only clothes I had, other than shoes and coats, my mother made for me.  We visited the remnant table in Blass’s basement and she would select remnants for the dress, skirt, blouse, or shorts she planned to make.  She would buy a pattern that I liked, then adapt it to fit her idea of the best design for my clothing.

I was a child who I didn’t want to stand out.  I liked the clothes my mother made me but sometimes they were too stylish. I felt uncomfortable, but never complained.  Sewing, for my mother, was not just about making clothes; it was also her creative expression.

I learned from Mother that you can take almost anything and change it into something different.  You just have to use your imagination.  For years as an adult, I made my own clothes using her approach, but when I could afford to buy them, I stopped sewing so often.  By then I had developed other ways to use my imagination, writing poetry and short stories and creating interesting lesson plans for the students I taught.

Imagination and Creativity

Our imagination is at the basis of all creativity and can be used in all areas of our lives.  Last week in the blog, I wrote about how what we see and the way we see creates a vision.  In order to put our vision in action, we must imagine the route to take.  We may imagine many routes, looking at each one, evaluating the possibilities and difficulties of each approach.

For example, many young people have to work while attending college or technical school.  This isn’t an easy path.  It will eventually lead them to becoming the lawyer or nurse they wish to be and allow them to make the money they need to live a good life.  But challenges also come with the plan: arranging child care, fitting hours together for school and work, or perhaps transportation issues.

Imagining to Reach A Goal

As we put our vision in action, we may discover that what we thought we wanted won’t work.  We have to find a better way to achieve our goal.  We have to stretch our thinking to find the most effective way to succeed.  The value of imagining and exploring many possibilities may push us to look at solutions we would never have considered until our imagination took us on this journey.

Even when our physical lives restrict what we experience, our imagination is unlimited if we allow it to be open.  Jean-Jacques Rousseau said, “The world of reality has its limits; the world of the imagination is boundless.”  This is why I love writing.  It allows my mind to flow, play with words, explore ideas that I couldn’t pursue in real life.  It also enriches what I do experience by pushing me to look beyond the physical aspect.

Understanding Differences

Imagination also helps us to understand those who are different from us.  I became a high school teacher in inner city New Orleans teaching mainly gifted black students. I was not racially biased and felt I could give them the support they deserved.  But I discovered there was much I didn’t understand about their lives.  It was an education for me and I felt compassion for their struggles.  Despite the challenges they all faced, I still pushed them to imagine how their exceptional intelligence could lead to a better life and what steps they needed to take.

It isn’t easy to break patterns that have been used to define us.  Parents, teachers, or employers may continue to support personal or cultural patterns that limit who they are and how they see those around them.  But when we allow ourselves to imagine life beyond the poverty, race, hate, or economic situations of others and imagine they could move beyond those limitations, we also open the world to ourselves.

Making Dreams Come True

 In our imagination, we all have dreams.  One of mine was writing a memoir.  A part of me said, “Why would anyone want to read about your life?  You’re not a celebrity.”  Another part of me said, “Others can learn from your experience.  It may help them to have the courage to become who they really are.”  Would anyone want to read my book?  I didn’t know, but I knew that writing it would help me grow, and it did.  My imagination led me through the process, around the curves, and helped me climb out of the ditches I fell into.

Writing was one thing, but creating the format and handling the technical aspect of self-publishing almost stopped my progress.  I barely understand what I needed to do.  So, I asked other writers, and to my astonishment, two people offered to format the e-book and help with the paperback.  Then I found a class with an incredible teacher who led me through many technical difficulties.  Eventually, the pile of papers I worked with every day became an actual book.

Awaken to your imagination.  Imagination is not just mental activity. It is also energy and that energy may draw to us exactly what we need when we allow ourselves to see, imagine, and visualize our desire.  A pile of rocks can become a cathedral and a pile of papers a published book.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

MY MEMOIR

AWAKENING TO THE DANCE: A JOURNEY TO WHOLENESS

RELATED ARTICLES

AWAKENING TO SEE

AWAKENING TO SPIRITUAL CREATIVITY

AWAKENING TO TODAY’S DREAMS

 

AWAKENING TO PLAY

“The one thing that nobody else has is you, your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.  So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” Neil Gaiman

What is your favorite way to play?  Is play a regular part of your life? How does it make you feel?

I love to play with words! Crossword puzzles delight me and I do one every morning even when I need to get help from my husband whose broad vocabulary includes sports terms I’ve never known.  Sports have never interested me except for gymnastic events.

About once a week I lure my husband into playing Scrabble with me.  Even if he didn’t play with me, I’d probably just play with myself because the challenge of trying to create the word combination with the most points is fun.  It’s a great distraction from ordinary daily activity.

Reading and Writing Create New Experiences

But the ultimate word game is writing.  Of course, it is about much more, but at a creative level each word counts more than in Scrabble.  My word choice describes an action, a thought, an emotion or physical aspect of a person or place.  One word can bring a scene or character to life.

During this quarantine, I’m especially grateful that I love to read and write because there is little I can do away from home.  While I can’t play with the words I read, I often admire the way an author uses them to create images and actions that draw the reader into the story.  Reading also makes me think and there’s plenty of time for that – to allow my mind to wander and explore the best solution for a challenge in my life.

Exploring Ways to Play

As adults it’s not unusual for us to have forgotten how to play unless we have children who will be only too happy to demonstrate for us.  For those of us without young children, we have to find our own ways to play in order to lighten our mood and give us joy.

Where I live we can hike or drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway although it is sometimes crowded and hard to find a safe place to get out.  We also have three small lakes nearby to walk around and watch the ducks and geese.  Near us is a golf course where people play, keeping their distance.  Walking in the neighborhood with plenty of trees and dogs is very pleasant.

Playing Together On The Internet

I’m grateful for Zoom because it allows us to see others at meetings or book groups even when they are states or countries away.  If the time conflicts with dinner, we can still attend the event, eat, and participate at the same time.  This can also be helpful for parents who have to stay at home to watch their kids.

While I’m not always happy with Facebook, it is another way to play with life.  I am grateful because it allows me to see photos and videos of my grandnieces and grandnephews playing sports or cheering.  Friends make me laugh with their posts of amusing animal photos or humorous quotes or cartoons.  Others love the outdoors and share sunsets over the mountains, paths through the forest, and brightly-colored flowers and leaves.  Song writers even post their latest compositions or even offer a concert on line.

Playing With Inner Peace

While it is important to find ways to play when life is so restricted, there is also a need to play with inner peace.  None of us remain happy all the time, but how we interpret any experience is affected by our mental and emotional condition.  When we do activities that we consider fun, the positive energy uplifts us.  But there are times when we do not find an experience to be fun because our negative mental energy pulls us down.  When that happens, we need to take the time to “play” with our minds by sitting quietly in a meditative way, take a deep breath and exhale, letting the negative energy leave us.

What we feel at this time may be a form of anger, depression, or boredom, but at the core of all negative emotions is fear.  Sit quietly and see yourself surrounded with light.  As you inhale, breath the light into your body and on the exhale allow the darkness of your negative thoughts to leave your body.  If you are feeling many different things, focus on one at a time until you feel it release.

When we are able to spend some time in this peaceful place, we are more able to “play” with the restrictions of our lives.  With time and practice, this experience of meditation can bring us the peace to experience life in a more positive way.  Wishing you a safe, joyful, and playful week!

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO OUR COMFORT

AWAKENING TO DEEPEN OURSELVES

LIGHTING OUR DARKNESS

 

AWAKENING TO OUR COMFORT

“People need to rediscover the ability to find comfort amidst discomfort.  It is only while enduring discomfort that we find solutions.”  Hanno Langenhoven

Have you found any comfort during this discomforting time?  How did you look for it?  What form did it take?

Most of us are definitely looking for comfort during this crazy, scary time.  The things that may usually have made us feel good like going to the movies, seeing a play, or shopping downtown in the crowds aren’t possible in many places.  In other ways, they aren’t wise things to do even if they are still possible.

Creating New Events

I definitely had to adjust my birthday celebration this week to be safe during the pandemic.  No eating out at an elegant restaurant with friends or attending some kind of entertainment event.  Even hiking in the woods was taken off the list because of problems with my hip joint.  Instead my husband and I drove up to Mt. Mitchell to see the fall leaves at many stages on the mountains.  Near the top, the leaves had already dropped, leaving only the dark green fir.

We took a little walk outside in the sun at the top of the mountain with a light cool breeze blowing.  There were no tables around and too many people so we ate lunch in the car, enjoying chicken salad, vegetable salad, and cookies.  Simple and delicious.  After coming down the mountain, we picked up gluten free crab cakes for dinner.

My husband cooked the meal and did the dishes.  Then we watched  two episodes of “Everwood” on Amazon Prime, laughing about how crazy the two main characters are who are doctors.  When we crawled into bed, I felt flooded with love for my dear partner.  Just being with him had made it the best birthday ever.

Creating Comfort From Discomfort

We had just done simple things during the day that gave us pleasure.  It’s true of course that we have had to rediscover what gives us pleasure. We’ve also had to adjust what we consider comfortable in relation to the virus.  In other words, “to find comfort amidst discomfort.”

We don’t like living with limitations but they push us to be more creative.  I have a friend who is an artist and is taking an online painting class rather than the face-to-face class she usually takes.  The paintings she is creating are amazing and beautiful! Every day when I go on Facebook she has posted another beauty.  Isolation has certainly not restricted her creativity.

Artist: Carol Czeczot – www.blackmountainartist.com

In order to find the comfort hiding beneath the limitations, we may have to decide to find pleasure in the simple things of life that we often overlook.  When I was single and living alone, I often was not with friends on Saturday nights.  Many of my friends were married and spending Saturday with their mates or family.

Without family nearby, I had to comfort myself.  When I felt lonely, I would take a hot shower, fix a hot cup of tea or cocoa, put on my pajamas and crawl in bed with a good book.  Pampering myself was nurturing and a way to love myself.

Circumstances force us to look beyond the obvious and become more creative with solutions to problems that have had us stuck in one frame of mind.  Being open to unexpected and unusual possibilities may well be the key to turning our discomforts into satisfying outcomes.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO LIGHT THE DARKNESS

AWAKENING TO IMPROVISE OUR LIVES

AWAKENING TO THE VALUE OF CHANGE

 

 

 

AWAKENING TO TODAY’S DREAMS

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities.  Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”  Gloria Steinem

What dreams do you have for today or next week? Do you have to postpone some dreams because of the pandemic? Has this situation pushed you to create new dreams?

These are certainly days that challenge the dreams we used to have during “normal” times.  Depending on the nature of the dream, there may be some we have to put aside or release completely.  I won’t be traveling on an airplane halfway across the country to see the rest of my family.  My husband and I won’t be traveling to Ireland or Scotland this year.

Having to put aside our dreams may depress us.  Langston Hughes describes the situation very dramatically, “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”  While his statement is more poetic and I may sometimes feel like the “broken-winged bird, I prefer Steinem’s approach.

If We Begin, Others May Help Us Complete the Plan

For a number of years, I attended writing workshops and developed on-going relationships with more experienced writers.  I dreamed about writing a memoir, hoping that the story of  my spiritual journey would encourage others to follow their dreams.  However, my fears of the publishing process kept me from completing the book.  No publishing company was going to publish a memoir by an unknown person.  Finally, I decided to do one thing at a time and the first thing was to simply complete the writing.

After the memoir  was written, I was delightedly surprised by two experienced writers in my critique group who offered to help.  They guided me through the technical details to self-publish a paperback book and one actually did the technical work on the e-book.  Without the dream, this book would never have been created.

Overcoming Roadblocks

Dreaming is actually the first step in planning, for we have to imagine what we want to do before we can take any steps to get there.  But even in the dreaming stage we may come across roadblocks, such as fear or limited time.  What internal or external blocks do we have to overcome?

Self-doubt is often a major roadblock.  If we feel we’re not good enough to achieve our desire, we may not even make the effort.  I dreamed of being a dancer from a young age, but I was weak and my parents couldn’t afford classes.  Still, I kept imagining what it felt like and improvised in my own ways.  It wasn’t until I was in high school and had regular modern dance classes that my dream became a possibility.

As I gained strength and continued to train, I knew I was behind most dancers in those two areas, but what had once seemed totally impossible became a planned attempt to accomplish the goal of becoming a dancer.  In the 1970’s the dream became reality when I was chosen to dance in a modern company.

What roadblocks do you have to overcome to make your dreams come true?  Are they internal or external?  It is not unusual to have both.  Sometimes there is a roadblock because we have not taken the time to explore and imagine the many ways we could make a dream become a reality.

Explore A Dream Like A Detective

Why not approach the problem we wish to change as if we are detectives?  What is really involved?  Is what we need available?  If not, is there another way to approach the challenge?  Whose help do we need? What steps need to be taken?  Do we have the ability to take these steps?  If not, do we need to change our goal or find other steps to take?

During this challenging time of the pandemic, I am impressed by the way that people who have time on their hands are filling it.  Some musicians are playing online daily and poets are presenting a poem every day.  Those with carpentry skills are enlarging windows or making porches into bedrooms.  Friends often mention they are cleaning or fixing parts of the house they had put off in the past.  Since it’s warm weather, many are growing vegetables or sprucing up their simple yard with flowers and creating a beautiful garden.

Others who have lost jobs are creating new ones by sewing masks and clothing and selling them online.  Restaurants and grocery stores have increased delivery service. Writing teachers are creating virtual classes as are many schools.  These creations began with dreaming that became a plan and then reality.

Dreaming allows us to open our minds to a wider understanding than what the logical part of our minds can envision and to move forward in ways we may never have anticipated.  Dreaming is creative and creativity is magical.  It can open doors to amazing places.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness

AWAKENING TO THE POWER WITHIN

AWAKENING TO EXPERIMENT WITH LIFE

 

AWAKENING TO OUR DANCE OF LIFE

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.”  Martha Graham

What is your dance of life?  Does it resemble a rumba, waltz, cha-cha, jitter bug or improvisation?

Whatever name you give to your dance, there is only one person like you, and your life is a dance only you can do.  As you dance this life, it may change, redefining who you are on the inside and who you are in the world.

As Graham suggests, we are created by an inner force that is natural and vital, but if we are to create our earthly life from it, we have to become acquainted with it.  It is not always easy to look inside because we are often afraid of what we may find there,some part of ourselves we do not like.

Graham clearly looked inside as she began to create dances for her own company after leaving the Denishawn Company.  The new dances were intense and emotional, as she was, taking this element to a depth never before seen in modern dance.  In the beginning, some people found her work offensive, but her courage to be true to her creative self transformed and broadened modern dance.

Following Our Own Paths

We each follow our own path.  Externally, it may involve working for a corporation, a hospital, a school, or creating our own business, and what we do there may be an expression of our deepest self or it may only be a place to earn money.  When we can combine the two, we are most fortunate.

When I was young, my parents saw my desire to become a modern dancer as foolish.  How could I possibly support myself doing that? Because of my mother’s insistence, I got the credits needed for teacher certification, and I became a teacher while pursuing dance.

As a high school teacher, I discovered I wanted to help empower those students who were not in the main stream.  Looking back on that years later, I realized I was drawn to them because I did not feel I was part of the main stream, so I was not “good enough.”  But when I taught them, this incredible energy within me bubbled up, and helping them empowered me as well.

I also usually danced the dancer’s life along with the teaching life.  I loved the feeling of never knowing what might show up as I began to choreograph a dance because my experience had taught me that when moving or writing creatively, the most amazing and unexpected ideas could show up, ones I would never think of.

Finding Inner Peace and Vitality

The silence of creativity or meditative practices opens us to that place within where our life force can speak to us and lead us to choreograph a new life or expand the one we have to include new steps. Being with nature can also offer us a place where the outer can create peace within.

I know a group of birdwatchers.  Some of them are retired, but some still work and participate in the walks that take them through the forest to observe and name our flying friends.  At other times some of them also participate in slow hikes identifying trees or flowers in order to connect more deeply with nature because this connection with nature is an integral part of who they are.  The dance of nature is their dance.

I know how they feel.  Nature is also a place where I experience deep peace.  Upon entering a forest, I almost immediately drop into a meditative state.  I grew up hiking through the mountains and forests, learning to name the rocks and trees, but while the naming was not my focus, it helped me connect with their energy and beautiful presence.  After I began dancing, the energy of nature stirred up new ideas for dances.

Finding Your Dance Beyond the External

While dance was a huge part of my dance of life for many years, there came a time when the physical demands of the art began to harm my body.  I was frightened.  Who would I be without dance? It was the core of my identity!

It became clear that I needed to go deeper.  Fortunately, before I stopped teaching dance, I had learned to meditate.  It became a regular practice that took me deeper into the heart of my soul, where I discovered the real source of my creativity, not only for dance, but for living.

As I began to visit non-traditional spiritual groups like Science of Mind and Unity churches, I began to learn other ways of connecting with my spirituality and growing my inner life.  I learned, for example, how to release my fear so that it did not control my mind. This exploration led me to a sense of wholeness I had never known.  My dance of life became deeper and richer, undefined by what I did, defined by who I was.

What Is the Core of Your Dance of Life?

Where has your dance of life taken you? How is your life force expressed?  If you remove all the things you have, the titles you hold, the money and work that defines you, your political persuasion, your religious beliefs, what is at the core of your dance of life?

When we are expressing who we truly are, there is a vitality to it.  We’ve all met people whose vitality surrounds them and energizes those who come near them; while their energy enlivens us, we also feel the serenity at their core.  And that is a peace we all need to find in our own dance of life.

© Georganne Spruce

The Martha Graham Company

READINGS:  AWAKENING TO THE LIGHT

AWAKENING TO THE HOME WITHIN

AWAKENING TO THE ONENESS WITHIN

 

AWAKENING TO THE GIFTS OF SOLITUDE

“Creative work needs solitude. It needs concentration, without interruptions.  It needs the whole sky to fly in ….  A place apart—to pace, to chew pencils, to scribble and erase and scribble again.” Mary Oliver

Do you find any value in meditation or writing?  Are they similar in some way?  What does quiet time mean for you?

The Challenge of Distractions

I keep planning to do daily meditation again.  The life in this country seems so chaotic and crazy that it’s too easy to get upset and distracted and I know meditation will help me find the peace for which I long and clear my head and heart.  It will also help me get back to writing, quieting my mind so new ideas may rise to the surface.

But I don’t.  I need to check my email.  See if I have enough left-overs for lunch.  Make another doctor’s appointment.  Check next week’s meeting time.  It never ends – because I don’t end it.

I’m old enough to remember the time when we all communicated only with phones.  We didn’t have the distractions of Facebook or even email.   I also was unmarried most of my life.  Now I’m married but to a man who is very disciplined about doing his writing work in his home office.  While we do have a life together, I can’t blame him for my inability to find time alone. He respects whatever I need.

Sitting in Silence

In some way, I think I’ve forgotten how rich the aloneness of meditation is, but I was reminded in a very dynamic way last week at the Jung meetup we attended.  The topic was “projections.”  After the speaker gave us a meaningful introduction to the topic, we sat in silence in the dark to get in touch with our inner Selves.

At first, I was just grateful that this quiet time was structured into the event.  I had no excuse not to do it.  I was so involved with the evening’s topic that I had already let go of the day’s annoyances.  Taking a few deep breaths, my mind cleared and kundalini energy raced up my spine and opened my mind to the universe.  I was so surprised by this that I dropped back into my body.

Wisdom of the Inner Self

Slowly, I moved back into a meditative space to ask, “What do I need to release?”  The quiet settled in.  The answer came—“jealousy and anger.” The anger didn’t surprise me, but the jealousy did.  “I’m not jealous of anyone,” I thought.  “I have everything I need.”  But that wasn’t what my deeper Self was saying.

Then a picture formed in my head.  I was sitting and listening to a person talk about his years growing up and all the advantages he had, and I was overcome with a deep sadness that he had opportunities I never had growing up as a child whose family had little money.  There were many things we didn’t have or couldn’t afford that others I went to school with had.  I couldn’t buy a dress because we could only afford what my mother made for me.  I couldn’t take dance lessons or buy the best dolls.  We couldn’t afford to go to Disney World.

As the meaning of this message became clear, I took a deep breath, I smiled and sent love to the child within me, letting go of the feelings of lack that accompanied the message. I’m an adult now and have more than I need.

Our time was up, but I felt peaceful.  I would look more closely at my anger issues another time.  We wrote in our journals then left in silence.  I wrote, “The Universe is there for me with its gifts of silence and love.  Within it, I am One and all creativity connects and flows through me.”

Loving Our Inner Selves

Today, after many months of not writing my blog, I have written. It feels good.  I love writing because my inner Self is good company.  She thinks a lot and feels many emotions.  She perceives life in interesting ways.  She reveals insights that my mind alone would never conjure up. She can also be outrageous and crazy, but she’s never boring.

And perhaps this is the greatest gift that solitude affords us even if we aren’t writers:  to like whoever we are in that solitude and to be a friend to ourselves.  We may be different out in the world where so many challenges press upon us.  We may not always handle them well.  We may not always find the best solution to a problem, but whoever we are in that solitude is the self we must love.  By doing so we can become the person we truly desire to be.

Footnote: On the day I started writing this blog, Mary Oliver died.  I love her poetry and am very connected with nature.  I feel a tremendous loss as, I’m sure, many of you do. That day my husband sent me the following piece written by Mary Oliver.  Please read it.  It is beautiful as always and applies to any creative endeavor.

https://voxpopulisphere.com/2016/10/23/mary-oliver-the-artists-task/

 

 

 

 

 

AWAKENING TO TRUST YOURSELF

“TRUST IN WHAT YOU LOVE, CONTINUE TO DO IT, AND IT WILL TAKE YOU WHERE YOU NEED TO GO.” NATALIE GOLDBERG

University of Nebraska at Kearney dance students 1979

Do you trust yourself to make good decisions? Do you listen to yourself? Do you trust life to guide you where you need to go?

Last night I watched a video of dance performances that I choreographed when I taught dance at University of Nebraska at Kearney. I had forgotten how good the students were, considering that most of them had never studied dance. I also felt rather proud of myself for creating choreography that made them look graceful and talented, rather than like beginning dancers.

Watching the tapes was a joyful experience. It reminded me of a time when I loved the work I was doing and of the wonderful lessons that I learned from dance. Having been often sick as a child, I grew up not trusting my own body because of its weakness.  I felt insecure doing physical activity except for the hikes my family took when I always had someone to help and guide me.

Strengthening the Body Develops Confidence

In high school, I had modern dance one day a week, and as my body changed, my confidence improved. I developed muscles and strength. I felt stronger. I liked my body which I had previously not liked because I thought it was too skinny.  I began to trust myself more socially.

Dance Can Be A Spiritual Practice

The more I trusted myself, the more I loved studying dance and dancing.  As I matured, dance became a spiritual practice.  It took me where I needed to go, to a place where I learned to trust my body and my creativity, to moments of silence, to a balance between opposites, and to the expression and moderation of boundless energy.

Silence Takes Us Deeper

I learned to trust silence, to stand quietly, to be okay with doing nothing, to use silence to mindfully prepare for action. I no longer saw silence as time wasted. It allowed me to explore my inner richness and value what deeper thoughts rose to the surface to guide my life and movement.

Balance Requires Being Open

Learning to balance was a basic aspect of movement.  In class one day with Jenny Scanlon, a member of the Jose Limon company, teaching, we practiced balancing on our toes with our feet apart in second position. I was struggling, trying to decide what muscles to contract to keep my rocking body in position when Jenny said, “To balance you have to stretch – reach out into space.”

At that moment, I suddenly realized why I was struggling. I was contracting inward toward my center. I took a breath, lifted and opened my chest, stretched out into the space with my arms, lifting my spine toward the sky as I pressed my feet into the ground. Balance! Perfect balance!  I had to open in order to balance.

Confidence Allows Us To Take Risks

Most of all dance changed me from being a person who was afraid to take a risk to one who was often fearless.  Like all risk-takers, I had to learn when it was wise to take the risk and when not, but even trying to take a risk was a huge change for me.  If I could run across the stage, jump into the air and trust that my partner would catch me, which he usually did, I could learn to do other things in life that scared me.  And in those times when I jumped and my partner and I both fell from the force, I learned how to survive the fall without injury.

This taught me to put more energy into what I wanted in life—to go for it! I learned to choreograph my life.  To create moments of silence between my energetic expressions, organize what activities were most important, and venture into areas where I was a novice all took me to new experiences that broadened my life.  I learned to trust my intuition, my instincts, and my desire to live life more fully.

Dance Connects Us With Nature and Trust

It was never the applause or costumes that I loved about dancing—it was the earthiness.  I was a modern dancer and loved the feeling of my bare feet on the wooden stage.  It grounded me. Eartha Kitt once said, “I’m a dirt person.  I trust the dirt.  I don’t trust diamonds and gold.”  After all, the earth is our home, our foundation, the abundance that feeds us. After loving nature all my life and spending my childhood hiking and swimming in lakes and streams, despite my infirmities, I needed to feel in touch with nature.

As I became more in touch with my own body, I also became more aware of the earth on which I danced. When we dance, we interact with gravity.  We rebound from the earth.  We suspend in the air. The physical activity is basic to life.  Dance nourishes the body and soul.

Instead of being fearful of life, I learned to trust myself and life’s twists, turns and detours.  I learned to trust that whatever happened, I could handle it, and I learned to risk moving on when I eventually needed to stop dancing.  I risked becoming a writer and sharing my voice.  I learned that trusting what I love would take me where I needed to go.

What will you do today to become more trusting of yourself?

© 2017 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  Limon Company – Psalm (excerpt), Awakening to Release Our Fear, Three Ways to Develop Self-Trust

AWAKENING TO POETRY

The following poem just won first place in the 2015 Writer’s Workshop Poetry Contest

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Soul Mate

by

Georganne Spruce

 

*The Grandmothers were hot,

Glowing in the dusky light

Like globes of gold hung by firelight.

No one dared speak,

Even the children, awed,

Mouths open halfway between

Fear and delight, waiting…

Our hands, feet and body shook

Impaled upon hooks of vibration

We could not escape

As we lost all consciousness,

Awakening in the other land.

 

What would we have wanted

The sphere of Oneness to look like?

A cloud of blue perhaps

Silhouetted against fading pink light

In the west or crisp and white

Like first morning light washed clean

By dark night.

But it is a meadow of tulips

Where wise women sleep

Among the grassy knolls

And dream of the next earthly life.

 

We were infused with light

As we passed through the portal

Created by the Grandmothers,

Floating through what is no longer time.

Now weary from this wisdom journey

We find paths to take us

Into the forest of this other world

Where all we’ve known resides.

And he will be there—

The one I’ve loved through all time,

He will be there glowing like gold

In the dusky light,

Waiting to follow me

Wherever I go.

 *The Grandmothers refers to the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers who came together in 2004 to save Mother Earth.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce

13 Indigenous Grandmothers

13 Indigenous Grandmothers

A friend who recently read this poem asked me where it came from.  I don’t know.  It just appeared in my mind one day a couple of years ago, long after I had seen a film on the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers.  The first line threw me.  I thought, “What in the world is this about?”  But I’ve learned over time, not to question it but to just let the words flow until they stop.

Awakening to the Poetic Message

The ending was the most surprising of all, but it gave me hope.  A serious relationship had ended because we both realized we were not a good fit.  Until the last few lines, I just thought the poem was about me growing spiritually and experiencing another, higher dimension, but it was also telling me how to find my soul mate.

Months later, I met the man who is now my husband.  Our meeting was very synchronistic and surprising.  He is by far the deepest and most loving man I’ve been in a relationship with and a gift beyond my imagination.

So, I am delighted to receive a first prize for this poem for many reasons.  It is the first poetry prize I’ve ever won, and I couldn’t be happier.

What blessings have come to you unexpectedly in creative or human forms?

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                                            ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Awakening to Love All We Are, Awakening to the Wisdom of Dreams, Awakening to Be In the Moment

AWAKENING TO SPIRITUAL CREATIVITY

“First one seeks to become an artist by training the hand. Then one finds it is the eye that needs improving. Later one learns it is the mind that wants developing, only to find that the ultimate quest of the artist is in the spirit.” Larry Brullo

Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Olijfbomen_(Minneapolis)

Vincent Van Gogh’s Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun

Are you creative in any way? Do you feel a need to express your creativity? How do you express it? How does this connect to your spirituality?

Creativity is not a simple subject. In this time when rationality is still valued in the dominant culture, the non-physical aspects of creativity and spirituality are not always considered important. In this country, arts programs are the first to be cut in the public schools despite numerous studies that indicate how artistic activity is significantly valuable to the development of young minds.

The Spiritual and Creative Are One

Despite that, the creative and the spiritual often intermingle, for they both come from an internal, non-physical connection. On the non-physical level, I cannot tell them apart for they both seem to come from an inner knowing. The idea for a poem appears any time of the day or night and is streamed to me from an inner source. It flows onto the paper. I do not think about it initially. I may edit it later, deciding what to keep, but I never interfere with the original flow.

As Julia Cameron says, “Creativity requires faith. Faith requires that we relinquish control.” We have to trust that inner part of ourselves. Not only does creating require faith, but it requires us to experiment, to play, and to explore the unknown. Even the most realistic painting is not just a pastoral scene, it is also the reflection of the artist’s vision and skill.

Sean

Sean Hedges-Quinn

Recently, I attended the Marsha Powell Festival of Religion and the Arts at VCU in Richmond, Virginia. I spent three days immersed in lectures and activities including a wide range of artistic expression and theory on how art and spirituality are intertwined in various settings and in the artistic mind.

Understanding the Creative Mind

My husband Charles Davidson, a Van Gogh scholar, was on the first panel along with Cliff Edwards, another Van Gogh scholar, and Laura Kreiselmaier whose presentation was on the concept of transliminality in art. They provided a fascinating look at Van Gogh.

Anyone who has read about Van Gogh knows that he had a volatile temperament, so the concept of transliminality that Laura introduced was intriguing. Transliminality is the tendency for thoughts, feelings, perceptions, sensations, images, ideas and intuitions to move in and out of one’s consciousness. This happens more frequently with artistic people than with those who are not, and it certainly describes my experience with art.

Artists Awaken to Spiritual Creativity

Because I spent many years as a modern dancer and choreographer, it is virtually impossible for me to hear music without dance images coming into mind. A part of me always wants to move to music and so my mind does the choreography even when I’m sitting still. I also feel a sensual response to any music I find pleasurable.

Speaking about her art, Georgia O’Keefe said, “I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—the things I had no words for.” So what was the source of this knowing? How did she or any artist know what color or shape to use?

Georgia

Georgia O’Keefe – Cala Lillies with Red Anenome

Certainly training contributes to an artist’s expression, but there is a deeper, spiritual source that also guides what is created. Vincent Van Gogh was a deeply spiritual man. At one point he even wanted to be a minister. This intertwining of spirituality and art is deeply explored in Charles Davidson’s wonderful book Bone Dead and Rising: Vincent Van Gogh and the Self Before God.

The Spiritual Dimension Awakens Art

Van Gogh’s paintings are vibrant and alive with energy and light, especially the flowers and landscapes. The artist clearly sees more than what the average person sees. His pictures tell us about what he feels when he looks at the scene, person, or object. Because he is so intently connected to nature and sees beyond the surface of life, he offers us more than what we see, he pictures a spiritual dimension as well.

What was so wonderful about the conference I attended was that I saw many ways that artists are touched by their religious and spiritual awareness. One artist, Ernesto Pujol, creates silent performances in public places, recognizing that our endless chatter and doing distracts us from our spiritual and creative centers deep within. His work was inspired by Buddhist mindfulness.

Ernesto Pujol's Walking Ground

Ernesto Pujol’s Walking Ground

Fleming Jeffries’ sees drawing as a way to slow the mind and get in touch with the unconscious. Much of her art is about connecting deeply with nature or her environment. Currently living in Qatar, she must navigate with empathy the complexities of living and creating art as a non-Muslim woman in a Muslim society.

In a world that is still so attached to rational thinking, we need to develop our creativity, in whatever area suits us, in order to develop our whole selves. One does not have to be an artist to be creative. Business people, technicians, doctors, teachers and all people have opportunities that arise where they have to use creative thinking to solve a problem.

But it is perhaps art—dance, visual, theater, or music—that touches our hearts most deeply and is a place where we can all experience the Divine and our own spiritual creativity.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                                     ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Transliminality,  Awakening to Wildness: One With Nature, The Relationship Between Spirituality and Artistic Expression: Cultivating the Capacity for Imagining