Tag Archives: Fear

AWAKENING TO AWE

“The moments that I feel the most imbued with a sense of awe are always the moments when I am outdoors.  I can’t help but feel a certain sense of wonder –I become almost filled with it.” Kathi Appelt

Photo: Georganne Spruce

How do you feel in the out-of-doors?  Are uplifted by nature?  Does it make you fearful?  How important is it to you?

Help Write The Blog

It is often a challenge to find a topic for each weekly blog because I have been writing them for years, so I’ve decided to take a different approach.  I’ll use the alphabet as a guide, choosing a word that starts with that week’s letter as my subject.  In addition, I invite you to suggest a word starting with the next letter that you want me to use as my next subject.  Place the word in the comment section at the end of the current blog.  So the topic for next week will start with a “B.”

Evolution of Words

I find it interesting that words we use may evolve and change over the years.  The archaic version of “awe” was “dread” or “terror.”  Now, however, we use it to mean “wonder” or “sublime.”  The quote that I chose today often uses the current meaning in reference to nature.

The Wonder of Spring

We may experience wonder, especially this time of year, when nature is showering us with blossoms and color.  I live in the mountains, which have been mostly brown through the winter, but now the green is beginning to sneak into the landscape.

Every day as I walk outside, a new flower appears in a neighbor’s yard.  This week the yellow jonquils  are prolific on the block.  In my yard, hiding under a shrub, is a purple crocus I almost missed seeing.  Sometimes awe is like that.  An awesome being is right before us but we cannot see it.

It’s far too easy to curl up inside and limit our lives even more than the pandemic restricts us, especially if we aren’t particularly a nature lover.  We can surround ourselves with books, watching television, or playing cards and avoid one of the most awesome times of year.

Releasing Our Fear With Awe

When I saw that “awe” used to mean “dread,” I immediately thought of nature.  Do any of you avoid walking through the forest or desert because you fear the wild bears or coyotes?  Where I live, the bears that have been hibernating awaken in spring and often visit us looking for food.  We have to be careful of them although we may also be entertained by their actions like the time three cubs tried to learn how to climb a tree in the front yard.

As a child growing up and hiking in the Arkansas mountains, I learned to watch out for snakes.  We often saw them crossing our paths.  My parents taught my brother and me to keep our distance and taught us which ones were the most dangerous, but we also learned they were just a part of nature, not anything evil.

If one has never been taught how to stay safe in a forest, I can understand why it would be fearful to go there, but one can always join hiking groups who know the terrain well.  Nature is unpredictable, but it is one of our most awesome natural gifts.  Standing among the beauty of nature touches my soul in a way little else can, for I don’t only see the beauty of nature, I feel it as well.  I feel the breeze flow through my hair, the sun caress my face, the earth touching my feet on hard rocks and spongy soil.

The Stillness of Nature Is A Gift

There is often a stillness in nature, as deep as the stillness of meditation, that reminds us to take time to be in touch with Spirit and our deepest selves.  In that place, we can experience “the peace that passes all understanding.”   Experiencing that awe may bring us answers to problems or make us aware of wiser ways to deal with challenges. This spiritual and energetic experience is as beautiful as the visual one.

Experiencing awe requires us to let go of the expected fear and be open to whatever possibilities appear.  Awe strikes us with a deep connection, not only to nature, but to all that is.  May you have an awesome week!

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Blogs:

AWAKENING TO THE SPRING OF LIFE

AWAKENING TO WALK IN BEAUTY

AWAKENING TO NATURE’S SURPRISES

 

 

 

 

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 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

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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