Tag Archives: Hiking

AWAKENING TO WHAT IS NEXT

“Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected.  Sustainability is about survival.  The goal of resilience is to thrive.”  Jamais Cascio

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

The problem with an accident is that there is no warning and afterwards the shock overtakes us for protection.  When reality finally sets in, it is hard not to analyze how it happened and why.

I’ve replayed many times that moment before I fell on the hike a couple of weeks ago.  There was a moment I hesitated before I stepped onto the spot where I fell.  If only I had hesitated a little longer and decided not to take that step.

We Cannot Change the Past

But we can’t change the past.  What’s done is done.  I have a broken ankle.  I won’t be able to walk for several weeks, so what am I going to do in the meantime.  I’ve done “angry,” “blaming self for being foolish” and “you should have warned me.”  So now it’s time to move on and make something good out of this.

 We Can Make Something Good Out Of Negative Experiences

It’s forcing me to rest more, which is good.  I kept saying I needed to make the time to meditate – well, now I have it.  I have the time to rest and think.   And I have to be more creative.  How will we take that trip we planned to celebrate a special time in a relative’s life?  How will I teach the class I was supposed to teach?

I wrote the first three paragraphs two weeks ago, and during the last weekend in April, I taught “How to Make Your Story Come Alive” at the Blue Ridge Bookfest in my wheel chair.  Somehow I had managed to finish preparing the workshop between severe coughing bouts (oh yeah, I developed a bad allergic reaction to the oak tassels falling in my yard) and insomnia.

Despite my limited movement, the class was very responsive and asked good questions and I enjoyed teaching despite the fact that I am used to moving around and writing on the white board.  It was a different experience, but I do prefer to be on my feet.

Photo: Charles Davidson

Photo: Charles Davidson

I also discovered that my fiancé is totally dedicated to my well-being.  He has become my home health care professional 24 hours a day and I feel extremely well cared for.  I don’t have to call on strangers as I did several years ago when I broke my elbow, nor do I have to go to a rehab facility where I am treated as senile although at the time I was there, I was fully in charge of my faculties.

 We Have to Adapt to the Changes

Over all, things have been going well despite my fiancé’s car dying the day we headed out for the bookfest.  Fortunately, mine was working well and we were able to reload the car quickly and arrive on time.  That same week the toaster oven I use to cook everything died.  Oh yes, and after living here ten years, for the first time, I’ve been called to jury duty—a couple of weeks before my wedding.

Of course this is all happening in the middle of our making final plans for our wedding.  Well, at least it hasn’t been boring.  Who knows what will happen next.  I’m at the laughing stage now, and can say, “We’ll deal with it.”

Most of the time, when the unexpected and not so pleasant things occur in life, all we can do is adapt.  No matter how hard we plan, life will create obstacles, and hopefully we can circumvent or overcome them, accepting that reality and perhaps learning from them.

Great Hungrey river 028

Photo: Georganne Spruce

We Can Learn Important Lessons From Negative Experiences

What have I learned from this experience?  That when I’m on a slippery slope, I need to weigh the options more carefully than usual.  My first concern must be my own safety regardless of what anyone else is doing.   I need to balance my daring and passion with thought and wisdom. I need to slow down and be sure my next step is on safe ground.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

AWAKENING TO SURPRISES

Great Hungrey river 007

Not All Surprises Are Welcome

It was a rocky slope with enough texture that I was sure I wouldn’t slip, but suddenly I was airborne about to fall face down the slope.  I jerked my body backward and to the side as a large “pop” and searing pain in my ankle assured me that I had taken a wrong step. It was April 13, a beautiful sunny day for a hike along the Big Hungry River. Through fields of Trillium, we shot pictures and “ohhed” and “ahhd” and loved each moment of the hike.  When we returned to the cars, we decided to go down to the river and shoot a waterfall some distance away.  It was then, that it happened. Great Hungrey river 020 I was fortunate.  One of the hikers had been an emergency room nurse and was prepared with ice and a bandage.  Fortunately, the hike leader and my fiance are big guys and with the help of two others were able to carry me back to the car.  My fiance was lovingly with me every step of the way – through the endless emergency room wait, surgery, and the aftermath.  Last Tuesday I came home from the hospital.

Time For Contempation

So this is why I didn’t write a blog last week.  I was learning to live with one leg immobile.  When I’ve had time to process all this, I’m sure it will be a blog post.  Somehow this weekend, I will teach a memoir workshop from a wheelchair at the Blue Ridge Book Fest and talk to people about my book Awakening to the Dance:  A Journey to Wholeness. I guess I need to learn a new dance for slippery slopes.   Thank you all for following my story.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                              ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

DANCING ON THE SUMMIT

“Each and every master, regardless of the era or place, heard the call and attained harmony with heaven and earth.  There are many paths leading to the top of Mt. Fuji, but there is only one summit – love.”  Morihei Ueshiba

 Craggy Gardens & Pinnacle 2013 002

What is the pinnacle of your success?  How do you know when you have reached the summit of your journey?  Was it what you expected it to be?

Last weekend, a friend and I drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the autumn colors at their peak.  With trees covering the roadway much of the way, we traveled through a tunnel that at times glowed with the yellow of tulip poplar and the bronze of beech.  At another turn in the road, the light was transformed by the red of maples and sourwood.  Like crystal sparkling, the light played through leaves and branches luring us into another world inhabited only by nature.

Our Expectations May Lead to Disappointment

We were seduced by its beauty into believing that, at our destination, the colors would be at perfect peak.  When we arrived at Craggy Gardens, the mountains were, for the most part, a lovely array of the usual red, orange, and yellow that we expected, but not as intense as I had seen them in the past, and on some hillsides the trees were already stripped of their leaves.  It was beautiful—just not as brilliant as I had hoped.  I was disappointed.

We hiked up the side of the mountain to 5,500 feet to a bald, a treeless area at the summit where there is only low-growing vegetation.  At other times of the year, blueberries and rhododendron grow there, but at this time of year there is little colorful vegetation and the grass is mostly brown; however if one looked beyond what was in the immediate foreground, a beautiful and breath-taking vista opened.

A Higher Perspective May Open Our Minds to the Beauty of Life

The sky was clear and intensely blue with wisps of cirrus clouds streaming over the mountains.  Meandering streams and roadways danced through the hills, creating a patch work of light, shadow and color.  Beyond the bald, where most of nature was sleeping, we looked out on a vibrant world.  When we focused on the broader perspective from this higher place, we saw beauty, not desolation, and above our heads, silhouetted against the blue sky, were the bright red berries of a mountain ash.

Craggy Gardens & Pinnacle 2013 010

In life, as in nature, we experience the beautiful with the mundane or disappointing.  Even when we reach the summit of our careers and live out our greatest dreams, they may not be what we expected.  In my twenties I thought that my life would be perfect if I could only dance with a modern dance company.  I felt I had reached the pinnacle of my success when, finally, that dream came true.

It was a beautiful and inspiring experience, but I experienced a great deal of physical pain and had far more stage fright than I’d ever had acting.  The physical aspect of performing was a great disappointment, but from a spiritual and higher perspective, it was very rewarding.  At times, dancing was transcendent, and as I taught and choreographed more, I realized it was not the performing I loved most—it was the teaching and making dances.

With time, I became more whole and able to see how the mind and body interacted.  This broadened what I could teach others and helped me to improve my health.  When I let go of my ego’s need to be a performer, I was able to see the value of dance from a higher perspective.

Nature May Remind Us That We Are All One

When my friend and I were hiking, we also went to Craggy Pinnacle, the highest spot in the area where we could see those magnificent mountains from a 360 degree view.  There was something about standing in such place that allowed all expectations and focus on self to drop away.  We were one with the world that surrounded us.  From that place, there were no piles of trash or run down houses or torn up roadways or contentious neighbors.  All the details blended with the beauty of nature.

Craggy Gardens & Pinnacle 2013 038

In those moments at the top of the mountain, I forgot about the hillsides that were bare or that the red leaves weren’t as red this year as before.  I forgot about the aching toe I’d stubbed on the way up or the hours of raking leaves ahead of me as the leaves blanketed my yard.  I no longer mattered, for I was not separate from the beauty around me.

Love Opens Us to the Dance of Life

When we can view life from the summit, from a spiritual perspective, we are able to see the wholeness of a situation and love what is there.  While my pursuit of dance was originally very ego based, as my mind opened, it became not only a spiritually-enlivening experience, but one that led me to share insights with others so that they could be helped by what I had learned.  Reaching the pinnacle was really only the beginning of a life-long journey of learning to love my whole self and others and to discover there is so much more to the dance of life.

If you want to learn more about my journey, my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness is available at Amazon and Create Space.

Have you reached the pinnacle in some area of your life?  What did you learn from it?  Please share your thoughts.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                     ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  (video) Akido – Way of Harmony, The Spiritual Inspiration of Nature, Nature Mysticism, Photo Nature Blog

AWAKENING TO SEE THE BEAUTY OF LIFE AGAIN

i‘m taking my own advice today and reblogging.  I will have a new post and new photos next week.  Namaste

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  Thornton Wilder

Do you often feel overwhelmed by what you need to do?  Do you run your life or does your life run you?  Are you giving attention to those people or activities you most value?

Nature Enriches Our Spirits

I try to schedule a hike once a week during the summer because I feel such a strong need to be out in nature.  It calms and connects me with Spirit in a deep way.  It’s also a great way to connect with people who also love nature, and since my main hiking buddy was away most of the summer, I enjoyed meeting more hikers.

It’s taken a while to find the right group.  When I first moved to the mountains, the first group I hiked with used hiking as an aerobic activity and went so fast it was impossible to enjoy the scenery and plant life.  Another group only went on lengthy, challenging hikes.  Finally I found a group that fit my needs, but these hikers also move too fast for me at times.

When I hike, I want to be able to see what is along the trail:  the flowers, mushrooms, moss, knarled branches, bright leaves, and small crawling creatures (as long as they don’t rattle).  I want to be engaged with what is around me:  feel the moisture, smell the scents, examine the textures.  The stimulation of hiking through such an extremely bio-diverse area can be intoxicating.  I love getting drunk on its beauty.

Missing Pleasure Through Haste

Soren Kierkegaard said, “Most people pursue pleasure with such breathless haste they hurry right past it.”  Have you ever been walking briskly past an art gallery or clothing store, saw a flash of something colorful, but you were half a block away before you could stop yourself to go back and see what it was that you only partly saw?  Think about how much time we could save if we would slow down and see what was before us without having to backtrack.

In our society, it isn’t just the speed with which we pursue pleasure that limits the pleasure in our lives; it’s the speed with which we do everything.  In many instances, we have committed to more than we can handle well.  We want to please everyone, help everyone, experience everything, and on top of that, time is literally speeding up.  We are now experiencing in one year what we used to experience in five years.  We think the solution to this problem is to hurry more.  It isn’t.

The Pleasure of Being in the Moment

How would we feel if we each took fifteen minutes a day to immerse ourselves in something we found truly pleasurable?  What if we took the time to really touch our partners fully aware of that touch?  What if we focused on the pleasurable taste, color and texture of each bite we eat?   What if, instead of rushing through the book we’re reading, we let ourselves merge with the delicious cadence and imagery of the words?

Rushing all the time doesn’t feel like living to me, and I’m not alone because several friends have made the same comment lately—they just need more time to be and less time to do.  It’s pretty clear that Spirit is trying to teach me how to do this because invariably when I start whizzing around the house at a high speed, I always trip over a chair, stab my thigh on the corner of a table, or spill a pitcher of water.  If I don’t have sense enough to slow down, life will do it for me.

Finding Spiritual Treasures in Our Hearts

To become more conscious, we need to notice when we feel stressed, angry, overwhelmed, or exhausted.  We need to simply stop, take a breath, go to our heart centers and feel who we are.  We need to look around us for the beauty we may have missed.  What’s more important, seeing your child’s smile or cleaning the house?  When we move too fast all the time, we become insensitive.  Anything that gets in the way of our getting the “work” done gets pushed aside, and if that includes people we love, that’s a tragedy.

As Thornton Wilder reminds us, we aren’t really alive unless, at the heart level, we are conscious of our “treasures.”  We have to pay attention and strip away the distractions.  It means we have to leave the party or race track, stop using the alcohol and drugs to give us the high our pleasure-loving selves pursue, and get in touch with what is deep and worthwhile where the deepest pleasures of love, peace and joy reside.  It means we have to give up our obsession with achievement, our need to always be right, and our desire to please everyone.  We have to take time to find our centers, linger in the heart to see what our real treasure is, and prioritize our lives so we have the time to see what really matters.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce                                                                   ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Wake Up, and You Can Help the World AwakenAwakening the Mysterious Feminine Goddess, How can I Be In the Present Moment – Eckhart Tolle  (video)

AWAKENING TO SEE THE BEAUTY OF LIFE

 

 

NEED TO “RELEASE YOUR FEAR” AND MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE?  ATTEND MY WORKSHOP ON SEPTEMBER 9 IN ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA.  CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

 

AWAKENING TO SEE THE BEAUTY OF LIFE

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  Thornton Wilder

Do you often feel overwhelmed by what you need to do?  Do you run your life or does your life run you?  Are you giving attention to those people or activities you most value?

Nature Enriches Our Spirits

I try to schedule a hike once a week during the summer because I feel such a strong need to be out in nature.  It calms and connects me with Spirit in a deep way.  It’s also a great way to connect with people who also love nature, and since my main hiking buddy was away most of the summer, I enjoyed meeting more hikers.

It’s taken a while to find the right group.  When I first moved to the mountains, the first group I hiked with used hiking as an aerobic activity and went so fast it was impossible to enjoy the scenery and plant life.  Another group only went on lengthy, challenging hikes.  Finally I found a group that fit my needs, but these hikers also move too fast for me at times.

When I hike, I want to be able to see what is along the trail:  the flowers, mushrooms, moss, knarled branches, bright leaves, and small crawling creatures (as long as they don’t rattle).  I want to be engaged with what is around me:  feel the moisture, smell the scents, examine the textures.  The stimulation of hiking through such an extremely bio-diverse area can be intoxicating.  I love getting drunk on its beauty.

Missing Pleasure Through Haste

Soren Kierkegaard said, “Most people pursue pleasure with such breathless haste they hurry right past it.”  Have you ever been walking briskly past an art gallery or clothing store, saw a flash of something colorful, but you were half a block away before you could stop yourself to go back and see what it was that you only partly saw?  Think about how much time we could save if we would slow down and see what was before us without having to backtrack.

In our society, it isn’t just the speed with which we pursue pleasure that limits the pleasure in our lives; it’s the speed with which we do everything.  In many instances, we have committed to more than we can handle well.  We want to please everyone, help everyone, experience everything, and on top of that, time is literally speeding up.  We are now experiencing in one year what we used to experience in five years.  We think the solution to this problem is to hurry more.  It isn’t.

The Pleasure of Being in the Moment

How would we feel if we each took fifteen minutes a day to immerse ourselves in something we found truly pleasurable?  What if we took the time to really touch our partners fully aware of that touch?  What if we focused on the pleasurable taste, color and texture of each bite we eat?   What if, instead of rushing through the book we’re reading, we let ourselves merge with the delicious cadence and imagery of the words?

Rushing all the time doesn’t feel like living to me, and I’m not alone because several friends have made the same comment lately—they just need more time to be and less time to do.  It’s pretty clear that Spirit is trying to teach me how to do this because invariably when I start whizzing around the house at a high speed, I always trip over a chair, stab my thigh on the corner of a table, or spill a pitcher of water.  If I don’t have sense enough to slow down, life will do it for me.

Finding Spiritual Treasures in Our Hearts

To become more conscious, we need to notice when we feel stressed, angry, overwhelmed, or exhausted.  We need to simply stop, take a breath, go to our heart centers and feel who we are.  We need to look around us for the beauty we may have missed.  What’s more important, seeing your child’s smile or cleaning the house?  When we move too fast all the time, we become insensitive.  Anything that gets in the way of our getting the “work” done gets pushed aside, and if that includes people we love, that’s a tragedy.

As Thornton Wilder reminds us, we aren’t really alive unless, at the heart level, we are conscious of our “treasures.”  We have to pay attention and strip away the distractions.  It means we have to leave the party or race track, stop using the alcohol and drugs to give us the high our pleasure-loving selves pursue, and get in touch with what is deep and worthwhile where the deepest pleasures of love, peace and joy reside.  It means we have to give up our obsession with achievement, our need to always be right, and our desire to please everyone.  We have to take time to find our centers, linger in the heart to see what our real treasure is, and prioritize our lives so we have the time to see what really matters.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce                                                                   ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Wake Up, and You Can Help the World AwakenAwakening the Mysterious Feminine Goddess, How can I Be In the Present Moment – Eckhart Tolle  (video)