Tag Archives: Fear

AWAKENING TO HEAL

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

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

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

Healing Often Requires Change

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

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

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

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

Why Change Frightens Us

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

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

Looking Within Helps Us To Heal

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

 

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

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

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

AWAKENING TO THE HEALING DANCE

AWAKENING TO WHAT IS BETTER

 

 

AWAKENING TO 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

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO NEW THOUGHTS

AWAKENING TO HOPE

AWAKENING TO WHAT YOU SEE

 

AWAKENING TO THE OTHER SIDE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

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

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

AWAKENING TO UNEXPECTED FEAR

AWAKENING TO THE PEACE AND WHOLENESS BEYOND FEAR

 

AWAKENING TO OUR 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 THE LOVE OF AN OLD DOG

“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before the rest of us.” Robert Louis Stevenson

What experiences have you had with a dog?  Would you want another one?  Did you ever feel it was your best friend?

It’s not fun to be an old dog or an old woman, but our age is the main thing Susie and I have in common.  We can’t climb steep mountains anymore and we both have to eat a special diet although I don’t throw mine around on the floor like she does.  We need more sleep than we used to, but she naps most of the day.  I slip one in on an occasional afternoon.

I don’t chase guys anymore because I’m married to a great guy and couldn’t be happier.  Susie doesn’t chase rabbits anymore, just stares and lets them run away.  She goes out to do her business, finds sniffing every inch of the ground more interesting, and finally pees.  Then she returns to the house only to leave “the remains” of her day in the middle of the hardwood floor.  At least I don’t have to worry about that kind of confusion yet.

At times, she walks around in circles looking for something but can’t remember what it is.  She  stares at the wall, hoping the answer will be written there.  Like Susie, it’s not unusual for me to head to a cabinet or my desk and find I haven’t a clue as to why I’m there.  Words that disappear in the middle of my speaking a sentence take five minutes to appear.  I need to do a crossword puzzle every morning to awaken my mental dictionary.

Every Day Holds Surprises

Fortunately, due to two years of physical therapy after an injury to my back, I’m doing a thirty-minute walk every day and have gained strength so that I feel like myself again, energetic and curious about life.  Others talk about being bored during the pandemic, but I look forward to a boring day and having more time to read and write.

Surprises arise every day.  They test my patience.  I discover I am out of an item that requires placing an order on an unfamiliar website, which in turn requires learning a new technical trick.  Many items we use often have recently died: the iron, the toaster and my printer’s toner.  As for ordering food, it’s almost impossible to get good broccoli with a delivery, and we can’t live without that.  While I’m struggling with these challenges, Susie is snoring, asleep on her bed.

Age Brings Physical Limitations

But all these challenges are easier to deal with than Susie’s issues.  It’s tough to be an old dog when your back legs start giving out.  You slip when you try to climb the stairs or fall when you charge up them, forgetting your legs don’t support you anymore.

It’s confusing when you can’t hear the orders your caretakers give.  You look at them and dash in the opposite direction.  They fuss at you, but of course it’s nice not to hear them when you don’t want to obey.  Looking at them with eyes that still see well, you grin and continue sniffing the grass.

As a female, it’s not surprising that Susie is very fashion conscious.  Every morning when I’ve put on my jeans she sniffs my leg.  Her approval is important to me, and if she knows how I smell that day, since she’s only knee-high tall, she’ll be able to find me easily in a crowd and identify me apart from my husband who is more likely to feed her.

A Dog’s Love Is Always There

While her nose may carry her into the wrong bushes or into the deep ivy beneath the trees, cold and wet, it bumps mine when I’m sitting and lean down close to her face.  It’s her version of a kiss that says she loves me – a moment I always treasure.

Susie and I may not be able to hike the steep trails of the Appalachians anymore or race around the block, but we both still know how to love and hang out on the deck together.

Milan Kundera said it best:  “Dogs are our link to paradise.  They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent.  To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.”

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO GRATITUDE

DANCING TO DIVINE ORDER

AWAKENING TO WALK IN BEAUTY

AWAKENING TO WALK IN BEAUTY

 How do you create beauty in your life?  Is it external or internal?  How does it make you feel?

Navajo Prayer

In beauty may I walk.

All day long may I walk.

Through the returning seasons may I walk.

Beautifully will I possess again

Beautiful birds …

Beautiful joyful birds …

On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.

With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.

With dew about my feet may I walk.

With beauty before me, behind me,

   above me, all around me may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty lively, may I walk

It is finished in beauty.

It is finished in beauty.

In the mountains of North Carolina, walking in beauty is the simplest thing one can do.  Surrounded by luscious green trees and abundant colorful flowers, nature is vibrant in the spring, summer, and fall.  Even when those of us who live here feel bored or depressed, a walk in the forest can lift us up.

The Physical Gifts Of Nature

We have become a culture surrounded by things.  We fill our homes with paintings, nick-knacks, computers, and lovely objects so that we feel at home with the memories they invoke and they communicate to others who we are and what our status is.

Years ago, when I was living alone and making little money as a teacher, I couldn’t afford anything I didn’t absolutely need.  Despite that, I needed to make my apartment feel like my home, so I decorated it with the only things I could afford – items from nature and cheap containers.  I found bird feathers in the yard.  At the beach, there were piles of colorful shells, and as I hiked in the mountains, I gathered small rocks and quartz.

Although my home is now a house full of purchased items, paintings, posters, and artsy clay bowls, I use the baskets I bought in Africa to display my rocks and shells, pine cones and bird feathers.  I especially appreciate these beauties on a winter day when there is snow on the ground and I’ve been cooped up too long.  Their beauty and the remembrance of the joy I felt in finding them brightens my day.

When spring and summer come, they offer us more natural beauties, such as the brilliant blue hydrangeas, golden black-eyed Susan’s, vivid purple iris, and multiple colors of roses.  Not only may we enjoy these when we are out-of-doors, we can pick them and liven the house with their fragrance and beauty.

Many people also plant flowers and vegetables this time of year, but what else are we planting, especially in our minds?

When life becomes especially challenging, we can become rooted in its negative aspects to the point that we become depressed or unable to function well.  At this time, we need to remember that this pain can be relieved to some extent like physical pain.  When our body aches, we may do the easy thing and take a medication or supplement that soothes the discomfort, but nature can be a healing remedy too.

The Healing Gift of Mother Nature

When life becomes a mental or emotional burden, we may lift that burden or at least lessen it by walking in beauty and taking in the gifts it offers.  We may step outside to let bright sun warm and wash us with it’s golden light.  At sunset, we can drive to the parkway and watch the sun splash brilliant orange and red behind the darkening mountains.  Or we may choose to walk barefoot over the grass in the yard or a park and feel the precious earth supporting us from below.

By feeding our senses with beauty and being in the moment to see, smell, and feel the gifts of nature, it becomes easier to return to caring for a sick child or parent, struggling with low finances, or settling for only virtual access to our friends and relatives.  Walking in nature’s beauty can help heal the insecurity we feel and restore the joy we have momentarily lost.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  

The first article here is about my dear friend Jerry who passed away in 2018.  Of all the people I’ve know he was the one who lived closest with nature.

AWAKENING TO WILDNESS, ONE WITH NATURE, Part 2

AWAKENING FROM THE HEART

DANCING FROM OUR CENTERS

 

 

AWAKENING TO IMPROVISE OUR LIVES

“Life we all know is of course completely unpredictable and is constantly changing, and the way we navigate through life is simply by improvising.”  Niels Lan Doky

When you don’t know what to do, how do you approach that situation?  Do you create a plan or improvise?

When we don’t know what to do, we often improvise.  Sometimes that works out well, sometimes it doesn’t, but at least we may have learned from the experience.

This pandemic time is especially stressful for those who want life to stay the same and have a set plan to live by, but it requires some change for virtually all of us, and that can lead us to do things that we don’t usually do.

We can create new games for our children, bake bread, work on the novel we’d put away, zoom with friends we rarely have coffee with, and we wear masks when we go out rather than just wearing them at Halloween.

We Can Learn About Life From Jazz

While changes in life create some discomfort for us all, the ability to improvise can make all the difference in what comes next.  In Niels Lan Doky’s wonderful video How Jazz Wisdom Will Change Your Life,” he says, “You can always create something out of anything.”  Really? Why not?

I hope you will watch  Doky’s video because it is profound.  He states that you can apply the principles of jazz technique to your life.  They are the ability to adapt to change, the ability to be creative on demand, and the ability to treat your life as a work of art.

Following the Unknown Path

When I look at my own life, I can honestly say it has not followed a planned path.  I’ve had to improvise.  As a result, I’ve been exposed to situations that helped me grow.  I would not have thought to create them.  For example, I’ve moved many times, each for a different reason.  Things just happened.

I was living in Denver working at an art school and teaching modern dance part-time when the economy in the 1980’s bottomed out.  I lost my full-time job and couldn’t live on part-time work.  I didn’t know what to do.  I loved being close to artsy Boulder,  was exploring Buddhism, and had a meditation community that supported my spiritual growth.

Making Changes

At the same time, my brother, my only sibling, lived in New Orleans, with his wife and kids.  Since I didn’t have kids, I liked the idea of being near him and experiencing his children going up.  My parents also lived there.  There was much I didn’t like about New Orleans, especially the humid weather, but it was also an artsy place, so I thought, “Why not?”

During the twelve years I lived in New Orleans, my world greatly expanded.  I loved knowing my brother’s children as they grew up, being close to family, and enjoying the arts.  I worked as a full-time high school teacher in two excellent situations. I taught multicultural literature in a private Catholic girl’s school and later taught in a public school in the African-American community.  As a result of this second position, I was one of several teachers who traveled in West Africa for six weeks on a grant.

The Value of Choices We Prefer Not to Make

Unfortunately, after twelve years in New Orleans, I became ill with Chronic Fatique Syndrome.  My doctor was adamant that I needed to live in a dry environment in order to get well.  I had no idea what to do.   Then, that summer, a close woman friend of mine decided to move to Albuquerque to be near her family.  After she moved, she invited me to visit.

During that visit, I fell in love with the colorful art I saw throughout the city and in Santa Fe.  For the first time, I saw art on the side of buildings.  Art and brilliant colors were everywhere!  Amazingly, when I applied for a teaching job for the new school year, I was hired.

Although I never felt at home living in the desert, I liked being near mountains, and the sunsets were stunning.  Teaching in one school with mostly Native American students taught me about the reality of their culture, its beauty and its challenges.   Again my cultural awareness was expanded.  After four years in New Mexico, I was cured of the Chronic Fatigue and ready to move on.

By this time,  two of my friends from New Orleans had moved to Asheville.  I had previously visited them several times and loved being among the mountains and forests.  It felt like my soul’s home and similar to the land in Arkansas where I grew up.   So I improvised again.

The Values of Improvisation

Perhaps I could consider these changes because I had learned the value of improvising when I was a modern dancer.  When  a dancer improvises, she never knows where the dance will go or what the outcome will be.  Each moment, the movement changes.  The interaction of the dancers shifts.  Often the result is a beautiful phrase of movement one could not have imagined.

Life can be like that too.  When we are confronted with a new situation, how we choose to respond may take us to places we never dreamed we could go and awaken us to a new dance of life.  I am grateful that I found the courage to improvise, for that decision has led me to a richer life.  May you find the courage to improvise too.

Be sure to watch Doky’s video and see how your life is like jazz.  Cool!

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

TRANSFORMING THE FEAR OF CHANGE

AWAKENING TO THE POWER WITHIN

AWAKENING TO UNEXPECTED FEAR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

DANCING TO THE DANGER OF ASSUMPTIONS

“Begin challenging your assumptions. Your assumptions are your window to the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile or the light won’t come in.” Alan Alda

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Have you made any assumptions lately that turned out to be wrong? Are you quick to make assumptions or do you explore a situation before deciding what you believe?

We all make assumptions every day and many of our beliefs about life are based on assumptions. We may make judgments about people based on little evidence and proceed to take action based on those judgments. If our assumptions are wrong, they can lead to disaster.

Assumptions May Hide Lies

When I was teaching in high school, I had a student who frequently told dramatic stories about her parents. Having taught for many years by that time, I retained my skepticism because I knew teenagers often embellish the truth to their advantage. When I met the parents and talked to other teachers, it was clear that her parents were not the people she described.

I have to admit this student was very convincing and I had sometimes assumed a story was true. It isn’t always easy to sort out the truth or to even be clear that we are making an assumption. For example, I recently made an assumption about outdoor mural artists that I discovered was incorrect when I attended a religion and arts conference a few weeks ago.

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We May Not Realize We Have Made An Assumption

I have always assumed that most artists who paint on buildings are basically graffiti artists, often talented but untrained, but I wasn’t consciously aware that I made this assumption. At the conference, when Ed Trask, a very successful, talented and well-trained outdoor mural artist spoke to us about the people who do this art, I realized how ignorant I really was about the subject.

Based on Ed’s presentation and our tour around Richmond that day, I learned that most of these artists have studied art like any other artist and are often well-paid for their work. Looking closely at the murals, I began to appreciate the detail and artistry of these paintings. With accurate information, my assumptions about mural artists changed.

The Danger of Assumptions

Unlike these two examples, there are other places in our lives where making assumptions may be dangerous. Sherman Alexie points out his concern: “In the middle of the night when you are ambiguously ethnic, like me, when you’re brown, beige, mauve, sienna, one of those lighter browns in the Crayola box, you have to be careful of the cops and robbers, because nobody’s quite sure what you are, but everybody has assumptions.”

What we are seeing right now is how deeply assumptions around race permeate our culture. The number of recent murders of black men by police is staggering, and I suspect they are based on any number of assumptions. One assumption is that whatever the police do, they will not be held accountable, even if they kill an unarmed, non-violent person.

Another assumption is that if a person runs away from the police that means he is guilty of something illegal, and it’s okay to shoot or harm him physically. It never seems to occur to the police that a young black man may run away from them simply because he fears them. Our assumptions are often based on such stereotypes that are not truths; they are distortions. But the problem is that we may not always know the truth, and we often have to dance around it, hoping for the best rather than ask the questions that needs to be asked and assume the suspicious person is innocent unless we have proof the opposite is true.

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The Danger of Assumptions Is That They May Be Lies

As a woman born at the end of World War II, I’ve seen many changes take place in the treatment of women. It is hard for me to even grasp that for part of my grandmother’s life, it was not legal for her to vote. When I was 27 years old, the Supreme Court struck down the laws that prohibited blacks and whites from marrying. A few years later, when I was divorced, the credit my husband and I had both worked to earn belonged to him only.

All these laws were based on the assumption that one group of people is inferior to another so that the “superior” group can retain control over the other. But this assumption is a lie. The reality is that we are all supposed to be treated equally in this country and the law is supposed to support that. Clearly we have still not reached a time when this theory is a reality because many people still cling to these lies of inferiority as truth.

We Believe In Lies Because We’re Afraid

Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The FourAgreements says, “When we believe in lies, we cannot see the truth, so we make thousands of assumptions and take them for truth. One of the biggest assumptions we make is that the lies we believe are the truth.” So why do we choose to believe these lies? Because they serve a useful purpose for us or simply because we are afraid of the truth.

Fear is at the base of all negative emotion and behavior. When we can release it and look beyond it, we can come to a place where that emotion does not color our experiences. When we find ourselves believing without a doubt that something is true, it is worthwhile to question what information this is based on. We must learn to challenge our own assumptions.

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Our Intuition May Help Us Avoid the Danger of Assumptions

There are two times when I know I need to challenge my assumptions. First if I start defending my view point and “digging my feet in” I know I need to stop and question why I am being so insistent. That leads me to the second awareness. In that case, I feel an uneasiness or a sense that something isn’t quite right and my intuition is suggesting I reconsider my assumption.

In the areas of our lives and society that are not working, we need to examine what is at the core of the issue and challenge ourselves to explore it until we are sure the path we are taking is the best one. It may require learning some new steps in this dance of life. As Alda suggests, we need to be open so that there is room in our thinking for the light to come through.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                                      ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: The Dangers of Your Unconscious Assumptions About OthersExploring the Psychological Motives of Racism

AWAKENING TO TEACH OURSELVES

“Life isn’t about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”  George Bernard Shaw

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Do you ever teach yourself a new skill?  Are you satisfied with your life and resist exploring new ideas?  Or are you always open to new perspectives on your life?

For many years, I taught in high schools and universities, and what I liked most about teaching were those moments when a student suddenly “got it.”  A new idea or perspective suddenly entered their life and shifted their attention to that moment when it all came together.  That’s what I saw as my purpose as a teacher—to awaken the students to think and explore their view of life and expand their thinking.

Learning Awakens Us

Hopefully, we’ve all had at least one teacher who helped us untangle the confusion of our lives or urged us to step into the unknown and discover talents we never realized we had.  Those moments when something shifted were significant because we had to make a decision.  Were we willing to explore this new idea or did its newness frighten us into retreating?  When we chose to explore the unknown, we chose to let life and our participation in it become our teacher.

Our Choices Determine Who We Are

Every teacher must first learn the material that is to be taught, assimilate it, and decide on what is important to present to others.  These steps are also useful in living life.  They help us decide who we want to be, and the choices we make determine how we develop spiritually, emotionally, or intellectually.

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Reflection Connects Us With Our Spiritual Core

If we want to truly understand ourselves, others, and our world, we must be willing to reflect.  At our core is a spiritual essence that is unique.  When we talk about finding ourselves, we usually are referring to being in touch with that depth in ourselves, but how we connect this to our external selves is how we create the whole of who we are.

So, how much are we willing to expand?  Becoming our own most important teacher means that we accept full responsibility for our lives.  We choose a set of values to guide us, and we see each challenge as an opportunity for learning.  We make the best decisions we can, and then we reflect on our behavior.  Did we accomplish what we hoped?  Did we do it without harming anyone?  Are we comfortable with the consequences of our choices?

Spiritual Solutions to Problems Are More Lasting

When things don’t work out the way we wish, it is often difficult to admit our mistakes and get help solving our problems.  Our egos don’t like to admit our choices weren’t good, so we may choose to resist any suggestion we made poor choices.  The more we resist, the greater the problem becomes, and the more we block valuable intuitive and inner guidance.

When we’re willing to reflect honestly and look at the situation from our hearts, we then open ourselves to the spiritual guidance that is always there for us, through prayer or meditation, from Spirit.  Developing our relationship to Spirit will offer a new dimension to our decision-making abilities.  Solving problems at this level can give us more substantial and lasting solutions to problems.

Being Our Own Best Teacher Requires Self-discipline

Teaching ourselves is a life-long process, and like the classroom teacher, hopefully we share what we learn on this journey.  Over the years, dealing with fears of inadequacy and rejections was a major challenge for me.  I explored many techniques for releasing it.  In each case, I had to teach myself to use the technique.  I had to choose to work with it every day, month after month, until I could see if it was beneficial or not.

Others can teach us about a technique we can use, but we have to teach ourselves to use it, and that requires self-discipline.  While I often heard that it was natural to experience fear, I saw too many examples of the way psychological fears controlled people’s lives in negative ways.  I decided to teach myself how to live without those fears.  From my modern dance career, I had learned that I had to practice if I wanted to achieve a skill level that would allow me to perform.  So, I applied that same persistence to learn the technique to release my fear.  As a result, those old fears no longer dominate my life.  I decided to become who I wanted to be.

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Because learning to release my fear has been so valuable to me, I teach workshops on this technique several times a year and share with others what I have learned.  Since I live in a community of conscious people, I am grateful for the things they have learned and share with me.  I am particularly grateful for the way people have shared their technical knowledge with me, many of whom, like me have chosen to be their own teachers.

Teaching Ourselves Expands Us

Today, especially with the internet, there is an endless opportunity to learn.  As our minds expand, our lives expand, our spirit expands and we become so much more than we ever dreamed we could be.  What will you teach yourself tomorrow?

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                              ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5             Related Articles:  10 Tips for Becoming Your Own Teacher, You Are Your Own Spiritual Teacher, Teaching as A Spiritual Practice