Tag Archives: 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.

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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

 

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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 

AWAKENING TO LET GO

“Holding on is believing there is only a past; letting go is knowing there is a future.” Daphne Rose Kingma

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Do you find it easy to let go of old ways of doing things?  Do you often resist change?  Are you excited by frequent change?

Every autumn as the leaves fall, I am in awe of how easily and naturally nature moves toward winter.  At first, the leaves turn brilliant red, yellow, and orange—a gift that makes us forget how much we loved the lush green of spring and summer.  Then, as we revel in this display, the leaves begin to gently drop, showering our yards with color and providing the material to mulch and feed our lawns and gardens. When finally the trees are bare, we discover vistas that were obscured by their leaves, and the sky opens, displaying clouds and stars we couldn’t see before.

Letting Go Is a Natural Part of Nature

As we drift into winter, we remember that in the spring the leaves, flowers, and warmth will return, but now is the time for going inward, to light fires, and snuggle up with lovers and books. It is a time of reevaluation, thinking, and contemplation.  Letting go of the past is part of the cycle of life.  Each change and each new cycle opens us to a new experience that may enrich our lives and expand our awareness.

Letting Go Creates New Space for New Ideas

Wouldn’t it be nice if letting go were as easy for us as it is for nature?  We would experience much less anxiety if we could accept this aspect of change as a natural part of living and understand that letting go creates the space for new growth.  As long as we keep the doors of our mind closed, nothing new or beneficial can enter.

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We Fear the Unknown

Our reluctance to let go is usually related to our fear of the unknown.  Although we may become bored with life always following the same pattern, at least we know what to expect and that feels comforting.  The irony is that despite our determination to keep things the same, they change anyway and impact our lives.  When we are forced to change by circumstance rather than choice, the more we resist, the more the difficulties persist.

The Unknown May Be Filled With Gifts

On the other hand, some people are always looking for new adventure and find venturing into the unknown exciting.  Most of us fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, experiencing both fear of the unknown, but also being willing to embrace change when necessary.  When we believe that, although we can’t predict the future, life often brings us unexpected gifts, we are more likely to let go of the aspects of our lives that aren’t serving us well.

Years ago, when I was divorced in Washington, D. C., I loved living there, but I wanted to teach dance in college, and most of the positions for which I applied were filled by people who had danced with major New York companies.  When I was offered a position to teach at a college in central Nebraska, I decided to take a chance.  I loved Washington, but I needed an income and didn’t want to give up dance.  I had to let go of my life in the east and move on.

It wasn’t easy leaving what I knew—my spiritual and artistic community and friends, but up to this point, my life had been strongly influenced by my parents and then my husband’s needs.  I had only visited Nebraska once for the interview, but the opportunity I wanted was there.  Like the pioneers who inhabited those plains, I headed out for the unknown land feeling fear and excitement.

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Letting Go May Be Transformative

The most important thing I learned from my time in Nebraska was not to judge what I do not know.  I loved the students and made some of the best friends I’ve ever had.  I learned to not accept appearances but to look deeper to find the subtle beauty of the plains.  Most of all, I learned I could adapt to a new environment and that gave me the confidence to believe that letting go of what was comfortable, but limiting, was not so frightening.

Letting go of what no longer serves us can transform our lives.  On the personality level, we often become very attached to the work we do for a living.  I’ve seen too many people retire and let their lives just slip away because they are not in touch with who they really are.  I understand this.  It took me a long time to disconnect from identifying myself as a dancer to seeing I was so much more as a person.

My father never made the transition, and unlike many people who use their retirement to become involved with helping others and following their true passions, he seemed to feel his life was over.  He became a grandfather and enjoyed that, but still he never completely engaged life again.  He just drifted through each day, reminisced about his past achievements, and watched television.

Being Authentic Frees Us

When we are conscious of our interior life as well as our exterior life, we can discover what we need to do in order to live an authentic life.  We are able to let go of the persona we developed to please our family or employer and find the courage to reveal who we really are.  We shed the superficialities and find the courage to be honest and real.  We let go of others expectations and follow our own path into the unknown, finding the future path that will lead us to a meaningful life.  Letting go of what limits us is a powerful gift to give ourselves and others.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:   Ten Tips to Let Go of the Past and Embrace the Future,   8 Effective Ways to Let Go and Move On, Releasing Fear and Limiting Beliefs,  The Ultimate Letting Go:  Release Your Fear and Be Free

AWAKENING TO UNUSUAL DELIGHTS

“If man is to survive, he will have learned to take delight in the essential differences between men and cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, a part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear.”  Gene Roddenberry

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A village pushing our truck out of a sand dune in Senegal

Are you generally open to new experiences or do you avoid people and situations that are different from what you are comfortable with?  How do you react to people with a different point of view?

The Delight of A Sacred Toast

When I traveled to Africa on a Fulbright-Hays Travel Abroad Grant in 1994 with 12 other teachers from Louisiana, one of the events that stood out in my mind was drinking a toast with palm wine.  Because it spoils easily, it is rarely exported, but it was a drink that frequently appeared in the African novels we read in a Teaching the African Novel course we had taken the year before. It seemed exotic and rare, and I was very excited to know how it actually tasted. The experience was quite special because we drank it as a good-bye toast as we left a sacred space where we had witnessed a sacred ceremony performed by a water goddess.  It was a toast to the connection and friendship we had experienced that day with the Africans.

The wine tasted like fermented pineapple juice and I never tasted it again, not even at the West African restaurant I frequented in New Orleans where the fried plantains were perfect and the greens hot and spicy compared to the mild ham and greens of my southern childhood. But the wine was merely a symbol for the extraordinary experience of living in a different culture for five weeks.  And yet it wasn’t so different, for much of the New Orleans food had its roots in West African, just as other New Orleans traditions were translations of West African ritual.  The whole experience made the world seem smaller and more connected for me.

Appreciating Nature’s Surprises

When I lived in the middle of Nebraska among the flatlands where trees were scarce, I remembered all the stories I had read about those who settled the west. Actually, living there amid the blizzards of winter and the high winds taught me to appreciate the stoic nature of those who ventured into the unknown.  Seeing the Sandhill Cranes landing by the hundreds on their yearly migration reminded me that nature presents us with unusual delights even where its beauty is usually so subtle we may easily overlook it.

The Beauty of Humility

There was nothing subtle about the beauty I saw in New Mexico where color and art enliven the beige expanses of desert.  I have always been drawn to the Native American culture’s connection with nature, but it was an act of humility that touched me most deeply.  When a Native American child is spoken to by an adult, they gaze downward and do not make eye contact.  After dealing with many “in your face” teenagers over the years, I was deeply touched by this expression of respect and humility.  I was most grateful for this unusual delight.

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Dancing in New Mexico

New Experiences Teach Us Spiritual Lessons

When we avoid anything that is unfamiliar, we miss many of life’s delights.  Each point of view that we encounter is an opportunity to learn about another and to find a place where our beliefs and experiences connect.  We will change our world one person and one encounter at a time.  The time of separation is ending, and to resist it only creates difficulties.  Our greatest lesson is to be who we truly are and to accept others as they truly are.

I’ve learned that when I really resist something, it’s usually a sign I really need to look at it more closely.  There’s a lesson hidden in the issue or in the person I avoid.  Recently, I experimented  by deliberately sitting next to a person who usually irritates me.  My intention was to be at peace no matter what the other person said or did.  Several times I had to remind myself of that intention, but I was able to release my attachment to resistance, and as a result, my experience was pleasant.

Choose Peace Rather Than Judgment

When we cling so desperately to our religious or political dogma that we are unable to see any value in other points of view, we usually do that out of insecurity.  We are afraid of what is different, but the irony is that our only real security in this world is to understand each other and respect different points of view.  This doesn’t mean we have to choose another’s lifestyle as our own; it simply means we respect their right to make different choices, and when our lives intersect, we choose peace rather than judgment.

What is something different that you have learned to respect in another person?  Please comment.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles: Nebraska’s Annual Sandhill Crane MigrationWhy We Fear the UnknownPersonality:  Why We Fear Doing Things Differently

AWAKENING TO SEE OURSELVES HONESTLY

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”  Pema Chödrön 

Do you know who you really are?  Do you like who you really are?  Are you willing to take responsibility and look honestly at the changes you need to make?

Self-analysis is a difficult process.  When we look closely at ourselves we want to see the positive: the good we do, our loving qualities, and our accomplishments.  That, of course, is the easy part.  When we start to look at our less than sterling qualities, we usually experience anxiety and may shut down before we even have the courage to open the door.

We Must Look At Ourselves Honestly in Order to Grow

It isn’t very helpful to beat up on ourselves for all the mistakes we’ve made and all the things we don’t like about ourselves, but if we are to grow and become more the person we want to be, we must find the courage to look honestly at ourselves.  Doing this with gentleness, as Pema Chödrön suggests, is the most effective way.

The moment when we are forced to look at ourselves honestly may very well be the most important moment of our lives.  If we are unable to be honest with ourselves, we will not be able to be honest with others because there will always be something we need to hide.   If we are willing to look at the dark and unpleasant side of who we are, then we have opened a door to changing and healing.

It Takes Courage to Make Changes

It takes courage to walk through that door.  Our greatest fear is that, if we change, the people we care about in our lives may stop loving us.  But if we are hiding who we really are, those people can’t love who we truly are; they can only love who we pretend to be.  The idea that we are being loved for who we are is a sham.

Many people in our culture take drugs to hide the pain of not living honestly.  Drugs mask our anxiety or depression and give us the illusion that we are all right.  I once had a friend who was always in conflict with her family; they had very different values.  She took medication for depression and would periodically stop taking it, but she would soon become depressed.  Having spent time being depressed myself, I shared with her the things I did to combat it.  My diet was healthy, balanced, low in sugar and alcohol, and I ate at regular intervals to keep the blood sugar balanced.  I also exercised every day.  I meditated frequently and monitored my negative thinking, reframing thoughts that did not need to be negative ones into positive thoughts to lift my vibration.  Was my friend willing to try any of this?  No? She thought the spiritual stuff was silly, and she tried to eat healthy, but…  In fact, I saw virtually no evidence that she was willing to do anything to change her life.

Love All of Who You Are

The truth is that all the negative aspects of ourselves that we stuff down and hide away cause anxiety, disease and fear.  How can we ever really feel good about ourselves if there are parts of us we must always hide?  Religion has taught many people that they are worthless unless they follow certain rules or that loving oneself is selfish, but in Christianity, the great teacher was Jesus who said, “Love others as you love yourself.”  So, how can we love others if we cannot love ourselves?  If we cannot forgive ourselves our shortcomings, how can we forgive others theirs?

Nurture the Child Within

Healthy parents love their children even when they misbehave.  They encourage their children to tell them the truth, and those children learn that there may be consequences when they admit they’ve behaved badly, but they will still be loved if they tell the truth.  We need to accept ourselves in the same way and tell ourselves the truth.  We cannot grow emotionally unless we are willing to take full responsibility for who we are.  We must nurture that wounded child within who is so afraid no one will love it if they learn who she/he really is.

Change Can Bring a New and Better Life

What I know for sure is that life changes.  As we change and grow, life adapts.  Sometimes, the greatest heartbreak turns out to be the most profound lesson we could ever learn.  Then that lesson leads us in a new direction where we are able to find new friends and a new life that support who we really are.  It is even possible that some of the people who love us now may still love us through the changes.

Steve Marboli said, “There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a person being themselves.  Imagine going through your day being unapologetically you.”

What are you willing to do today to become more of who you truly are?

© 2012 Georganne Spruce                                                ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

DANCING WITH OUR IMPERFECTIONS

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”  Anna Quindlen

I’m a recovering perfectionist.  I say, “recovering,” because I still often find myself attached to wanting a creation of mine or my own action to be perfect and have trouble deciding when it is good enough to reveal to others.  Editing my own writing can become an endless task.  I can always find a better way to phrase a sentence or a more expressive word to use.

The Illness of Perfection

About fifteen years ago, when I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I visited my doctor’s clinic where I interacted with a wide variety of health care professionals.  I saw nothing wrong with my perfectionism until, repeatedly, the people there, one by one, told me the same thing: “Don’t be so hard on yourself.”  I remember sitting in the therapist office with tears streaming down my face.  They were right.  I was just too exhausted to continue living this way.

What the people at this clinic gave me was permission to be imperfect, something I had been unable to do for myself.  With the fatigue I suffered at that time, I began to understand that it was impossible for me to do everything I thought I needed to do if I wanted to heal.  I had to learn to love myself and my imperfection.  Accepting my limitations became a spiritual practice, and as a result, I began to let go of other’s expectations of me.  It allowed me to become more of who I really was.

Living From the Soul Level

When we can strip away other’s expectations from our lives and clearly look at who we want to be, we begin the authentic spiritual journey.  All that we discover about ourselves will show us who we truly are.  By discovering at the soul level who we are, it becomes easier to identify our true calling in life, and living with that at the center of our lives, can bring us tremendous joy.

Spiritual teachings tell us that we are perfect just the way we are, but we have all come to this lifetime with certain issues to resolve.  We see the repetition of particular themes and judge ourselves as failures instead of seeing how each repetition offers us the opportunity to further solve the problems those themes create.  The earth is a school where we are able to grow and learn, and all these “problems” that arise are part of the curriculum.  Spirit, our teacher, does not judge us, it only guides us.

Blocks to Going Deeper

Many people live in denial, blaming others for negative experiences.  By being unwilling to go deeper and by choosing to feed the ego’s desire to be right, they shut themselves off from that spiritual core through which Spirit guides us.  Being unwilling to examine our lives and understand our own motivations creates an extremely limited life.

These patterns are often created in childhood.  Because my parents argued, I always tried to be the perfect child so I would not create more dissention.  I believed that I would be loved only if I were good enough. And so these patterns continued into adulthood, stunting me in ways I was unable to see until a powerful event pushed it in my face.

 Living from Our Spiritual Core

 When a powerful event occurs, we face the real test.  Are we willing to do the work we need to do in order to grow beyond our childhood neurosis?  Only when we are willing to find that spiritual core inside that guides us to a higher path will we be able to let go of these negative patterns that made us feel secure in some way.  In touch with our spiritual selves, we can find the security that will allow us to let go and move on. When we truly accept that we are spiritual beings, then we can accept that everything that comes into our lives is in Divine Order.

Accepting what is, without judgment, allows us to accept that all our imperfections are in Divine Order.  In fact, the irony is—we are already perfect.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce                                                   ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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