Tag Archives: Family

AWAKENING TO SEE

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”  Helen Keller

How do you see yourself?  How do you feel about that? What is your vision of life?

Seeing is about more than viewing the person in front of you or the brown leaves falling from the trees.  Our sight pulls the tangible world into our brains to be processed.  We also describe “seeing” as vision.  The word “vision” is about much more than gazing at the things around us.  Even the blind possess vision.  What we value determines our vision.

The environment in which we grow up has a powerful effect upon us and forms the way we see the world when we are young.  As we develop we may be exposed to new ideas about life, what is good and what is bad, and how we are supposed to act in various situations.  How we respond to such ideas, rejecting or accepting them, may be determined by our family’s values.

Learning From Our Families

I grew up with a mother and father who valued the fine arts.  My father often played classical music on the record player and took us to art galleries.  My mother played the piano and taught me to sing.  She also pushed me into taking drama and dance classes because she felt I was too shy.  Although it was scary at first, I learned to love creatively expressing myself through the arts even when other people thought those pursuits were foolish.

As a result of being involved with the fine arts, I learned to appreciate a variety of people and how their different visions of life had value.  When analyzing a character in order to act the part in a play, I developed a deeper understanding of psychology that flowed into my life with friends and family.

Through this experience, my vision of humanity expanded.  I came to accept and value people who were very different from the community where I grew up.  However, part of the reason I became more open-minded than typical Southerners of that time was that my mother also taught me that all people were of value.  From her Baptist background she learned to love everyone.  She and my grandparents were good role models.

Some Family Values Are Unbending

In other families there is little room to explore and develop oneself.  The family vision of life must be followed or one is excluded from the group.  In these situations there is no room to develop one’s own vision.  The primary value is “don’t rock the ship.”  If you do, you will be “thrown overboard.”

These rigid ways of viewing life have a vision, but it is one that leaves no room to be who one truly is.  Tara Westover’s book “Educated” is about an extreme vision of a rigid life.  It tells the sad story of a woman who leaves the cult to which her family is devoted.  Not surprisingly, she is rejected by them.  Despite her loss, she searches for who she really is, finds her own vision, and creates the life she wants to live.

Learning to Value Ourselves

The experiences we have in life offer us opportunities to ponder our values and determine our vision of life.  Have our experiences taught us to value ourselves, to believe we are intelligent, loving, or wise?  Or do we believe we are stupid, unloving, and foolish?  If it is the latter, it is probably because we have grown up with people who are blind to their own value.

When we do not have a positive vision of ourselves, it is crucial that we find help through counseling or spiritual means to discover who we truly are, to see our value, to change what we need to change in order to value ourselves.  This internal work will strengthen our internal vision of ourselves in a positive way and allow us to become who we truly are.

When we can see ourselves as worthwhile, we can see others as valuable human beings.  This positive vision takes us beyond seeing.  It allows us to connect in deep, often spiritual ways, and to value what is best for us individually and for us all.  When we can awaken to a vision of love and acceptance, even with those who see the world differently, we have an opportunity to uplift us all and save the world.  Namaste.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

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AWAKENING TO OUR FREEDOM

“You will never be free until you free yourself from the prison of your own false thoughts.” Phillip Arnold

Are there thoughts that restrict your life? Why do you think this way? What has happened in your life that helped you let go of these thoughts?

What we think and the ideas we believe form who we are.  If the source of the information beneath our ideas is reliable, it can allow us to make reasonable choices and take sensible action.  If the information is flawed, we may make decisions that lead us down the wrong path.

During this pandemic, getting the correct information about the virus has been a challenge because  of conflicting viewpoints.  Who is more likely to understand a disease than a medical doctor or researcher despite what some politicians tell us?

If we want to eat healthy food, who is most likely to give us the most accurate information about the best vegetables and fruits to buy?  The producer who grows organic products or the farmer who uses banned pesticides on his crop?  When we understand the source, we can make the wisest choice.

Why Do We Ignore Facts?

But, what if our conclusions about a subject are based on something other than facts? At times, we ignore facts because we have already developed prejudicial attitudes.  For example, if we have grown up in a cult or a strict religious environment that taught us that only our way is right, we may reject others whose beliefs are different and consider them “unholy.”

We may also have political or racial biases because of the way we were raised.  In my family, I grew up with a mother who taught me that all people were created equal and deserved respect.  Her attitude came from her Christian upbringing.  My father, on the other hand, often made racist remarks.  Fortunately, I chose to think like my mother.

My parents were both Democrats and I’ve always been politically liberal partly as a result of being at college in the 1960’s when I became further aware of the nation’s inequities. But again, how I was raised without luxury contributed to my thinking.  My family never went without food, clothing, or shelter but we never experienced material abundance.

However, if I had grown up surrounded by luxury, attended a prestigious school, had a new car to drive to college across town, I might not have noticed those who did not share my wealth.  If my parents had taught me that poor people were just lazy, I might have closed my mind to their actual situations.

Releasing Our False Thoughts

So how do we release thoughts that are not based on reality—thoughts that limit our thinking and create an inaccurate picture of the world around us?

To free ourselves, we have to accept the possibility that there is another viable way to see a person or situation.  While some people care about others because they are Christian and have been taught to do that as a core part of their belief, there are others who care about other people because they have chosen to place love at the center of their lives.

Learning From Diversity

One reason for being boxed in by limited ideas is that we simply haven’t been exposed to sufficient diversity.  In a country that is rapidly becoming more diverse, it is very helpful to join a group in which we interact with people who have different views.  It is easier to understand another point of view when we get to know the person who holds it.  By learning how and why they think differently, we learn to respect them and their differences.

By freeing our thinking, we free ourselves to love and respect all human beings, for it is love that heals all wounds, personal and societal.  Love to you all!

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO NEW THOUGHTS

AWAKENING TO OUR PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS

AWAKENING TO RACIAL EQUALITY

AWAKENING TO MY VALENTINE

“Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, Mutual confidence, sharing, and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weakness.” Ann Landers

Susie

I haven’t always had good luck with men. The first time I was married I didn’t know until after the divorce that there had been another woman or maybe several. The second time the man was afraid of commitment, and for eight years he vacillated between commitment and non-commitment, frequently being distracted by other women. Finally, I gave him the boot.

Meeting My Soul Mate

Many years passed and I swore I’d never get involved with a man who was so attached to another woman. Then I met my soul mate. There was another woman in his life and her living with us was not negotiable, but in this case, the other woman was a dog. No, literally, she was a dog. 019 (2)Now, I’ve always been a cat person. They’re so cuddly and small like a baby,and they eat when they feel like it without overdoing it and don’t have to be taken out to do their business or to walk. If they want to exercise, they just run around the house jumping on beds and hiding under couches. They entertain themselves and are simple to care for.

Commitment Was Important

I wasn’t so sure about a dog, but my soul mate was too good to pass up. He was the most loving man, a real helper in many ways. He was brilliant and educated and a writer. And he was clearly a guy who took commitments seriously. So I married him and the dog Susie.

wedding

I lucked out on both counts. Not only do I have a funny, bright, and loving husband, I have a dog friend that always looks out for me. In this case, the other woman is a welcome addition to my life. When I’m sad or upset, she cuddles up to me or sits on my foot to let me know she’s concerned. When I’m writing at my computer, she hangs out by the window to be sure no UPS trucks show up without my knowing about it. And when I eat, she recovers any dropped food so I don’t have to clean up after myself. She takes her responsibilities seriously.

Embracing the Love

When either my husband or I am gone, Susie sits and watches for us at the front window. I’m not surprised she does this for him, with whom she has lived for eleven years, but I am pleasantly surprised she does it for me. I guess I really am part of her family now and it concerns her when I’m gone. The cats certainly never did that. They usually took naps or scratched the corner off the couch when I was away.

Love takes many forms. Having a dog sit on my foot was never an affection I sought, but when Susie does that, I know she’s saying, “I’ve got your back.” It’s like when my husband puts his arms around me and gives me a hug. I feel his love. I know he’s there for me. I don’t ever have to worry about that again.

This Valentine’s Day, I had two Valentines. One is tall and handsome. The other one barks. I’m lucky to have both.

What is your best Valentine memory? Please comment.

© 2016 Georganne Spruce                                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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