Tag Archives: Inner Peace

AWAKENING TO EXPRESS KINDNESS

“This is my simple religion.  There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy.  Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”  Dalai Lama

Do you consider yourself a kind person?  Are you surrounded by kind people?  How do you express your kindness?

(Thank you Charlie for our topic this week.  Next week, the topic will start with “L,” so please leave your suggestions for a topic in the comment section.  I always appreciate your suggestions.)

Qualities of Kind People

I am always deeply touched by kind people, and there are several things that I notice about them.  They are people who are at peace with themselves.  They look for what is positive in others and in situations.  They are empathetic and compassionate.

These are the kind of people I want in my life, the people I can trust, who when there is conflict will talk respectfully about our differences and work things out.  I can look back on my life and see the many times when I tolerated behavior in relationships and friendships that was less than respectful of who I was and my needs.  Now I find that I am less willing to ignore such disrespect and that more of the people I draw into my life are kind.

What has changed and why is kindness so important to me now?

Kindness Is Based On Loving Ourselves

I read an article “The Magic of Unconditional Love:  An Interview with Don Miguel Ruiz” by Diane Marie Bishop in Science of Mind Magazine.  In the article, Ruiz talks about how we cannot love others unconditionally unless we unconditionally love ourselves.  Over the years, my ability to love myself has grown.  I have let go of my need to be perfect or to fit someone else’s standard.  This acceptance has given me more peace, and I have learned to be kinder to myself and others.

It is all connected.  When we love ourselves, peace and joy automatically become part of our lives and the expression of kindness becomes a natural thing.  We are less reactive and more aware of how our words and actions affect others.  We are also more flexible and able to adapt to the needs of others when it is appropriate.  But we also are at peace with who we are and can say “no” when we must and do it in a way that is kind.

Negative Thinking Blocks Kindness

It was a challenging week last week with many every day difficulties arising.  It was a week of important teachings, a reminder that, instead of getting caught up in another’s negativity, I need to tap into my inner peace and stay there.  I wasn’t always able to do that, but I will continue to pursue that path.  Experiencing peace and love is my priority and that is what I want to share with others.

When we love ourselves, we are more likely to see life as positive.  When we are feeling positive, we are more likely to respond to life in a positive manner and act kindly.  But seeing the same situation from a negative point of view may completely change how one experiences an event.  Negative thinking can be a powerful block that supports our egos worst choices and keeps us from acting kindly from the heart.

Once, I offered to loan a friend a library book I’d finished so she could also read it before it was due.  With a long waiting list, it was hard to get.  She emailed me to leave it in her mailbox, but I wasn’t comfortable with that due to the torrential rains we were having, and it belonged to the library so I didn’t want to risk its getting damaged.  Since we lived close to each other, I asked her to give me a call when she was home, and I would bring it to her or she could pick it up.  She thought my concern was foolish, and she became angry that I wouldn’t do this the way she wanted, rejected my offer, and refused to return my phone call so we could work it out.

I was rather shocked by the whole situation.  Her response to the situation seemed harsh and out of proportion to the reality although, in the past, she had been disturbed about situations she viewed as negative when I didn’t see them that way.  Still, what created this problem?  Had I been unkind without realizing it?  Was she stressed about something or angry at me for another reason?  I didn’t know.  By focusing on the negative rather than the positive aspect of the situation and refusing to communicate, my friend created a problem that didn’t need to exist and eroded the trust I felt for her.

Positive Thinking Supports Kindness

An experience with a sales person when I had a problem with a new cell phone also illustrated the consequences of positive and negative approaches to situations.  This man made it clear that he only had time for people who were there to buy something although I had been required to trade out my phone for a new one due to network changes.

Because of his lack of customer service, I decided not to do business there again.  Instead I went to another store where a kind young man showed concern for my problems and took the time to show me how to use the new phone.  Perhaps he was just a kind person or perhaps he understood making a customer happy might mean more sales in the long run.  Either way he took the higher road.

Kindness May Be Expressed With Empathy and Compassion

Two other ways we can express kindness are through empathy and compassion.  They are beautiful expressions of our love and peace.  With empathy we are able to put ourselves in the other person’s place and feel what they are feeling.  We may make this connection because we’ve experienced a similar situation or because we use our imagination to envision what they are feeling.  Compassion takes us one step further emotionally to a place where we want to help.

To share our feelings of concern through either of these expressions is an act of kindness.  We care if another person is in pain or difficulty and want life to be better for him/her.  I have another friend who frequently expresses these qualities.  The trust I feel toward him because of this is huge.  Whether he thinks my feelings are foolish or not is irrelevant.  What he offers me is concern and empathy first.  If we argue, it becomes a respectful conversation that allows us to understand each other and helps our relationship grow deeper.  As a result, I feel loved and at peace with him.   I can always trust that he cares about what is best for me.

Allowing kindness to become an important part of our lives can truly change them for the better, for kindness is part of the holy within us.  It’s just another aspect of treating others as we wish to be treated.  Perhaps it is also another way of changing our own little worlds and contributing positively to the larger one.

What kindness have you expressed or experienced lately?

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO WHERE KINDNESS HAS GONE

AWAKENING TO A PEACEFUL HEART

AWAKENING TO COMPASSIONATE COMMUNICATION

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR PERFECTIONISM

 

AWAKENING TO INTEGRITY

“With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide.  With integrity, you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt.”  Zig Ziglar

What does integrity mean to you?  Is it integral to your life?  Does it often challenge you, and how do you handle those challenges?

(Thanks to Jeran who offered today’s topic. It was difficult to make a choice with so many good suggestions, but please keep the words coming.  Next week I need a topic that starts  with “J.”  Leave your ideas under Comment)

We often think of integrity as an adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.  But the other definition of it is the condition of being whole or undivided.  We create that wholeness throughout our lives, deciding what we believe and who we are, for what we believe and act on reflects who we are.

If we don’t feel whole, it is probably because parts of ourselves are at war and conflicted.  When we discuss a community issue with one friend, we express what we really think because we know that person will accept our point of view, but when we discuss this with another friend whose concept of what should happen is the opposite, we may agree with that person but sacrifice our own integrity.

Fear of Conflict

When we are afraid of conflict, we may often go against our true beliefs.  When we are unable to be true to ourselves, it is often because we are wounded.  For example, children who are not treated lovingly, may feel they are not good enough or worthwhile as adults and constantly try to please others rather than take care of themselves and remain faithful to what is most important.

Finding Peace Within

As we go through life, hopefully we continue to learn who we truly are.  What we learn may also change our sense of integrity.  The two most important things that have helped me maintain my integrity are learning to release my fears and meditating.

When I began practicing a technique to release my fear, I found that my relationships improved.  I felt more comfortable expressing my true feelings to family members and friends.  I accepted the fact that my ideas might not be accepted, but I wanted them to know who I am and what I stand for.  Meditation helped me experience inner peace and feeling whole.  It gave me an inner security about being truthful.

Years ago when I first learned I shouldn’t eat diary or gluten, one family member made it clear that she thought I was doing this just to get attention.  She had never encountered someone with gluten and dairy intolerance, so for her, it didn’t seem true.

My condition also made for some awkward moments when I ate out with friends.  In those days, most restaurants were unaware of the problem.  I had to ask in detail about ingredients.  It took time. It was awkward.  Sometimes I had to settle for very little food because there was little I could eat, and this occasionally upset friends, but I chose not to harm myself, and my good friends understood.

Choosing Integrity May Be Challenging

Life always brings changes that may challenge our integrity.  What if a mother has no money to feed her children so she steals food from a store?  Is that acting with integrity?  If you can’t afford to lose your job and are asked by your boss to do something that is illegal and you do it, does that compromise your integrity?  If you give money to an organization that your spouse doesn’t approve of and you don’t tell him, does that demonstrate a lack of integrity in the marriage?

Where is the integrity of a country that allows corporations to make billions of dollars in profit, pay no taxes, and pay workers less than a living wage?  We live in a world where there is a rampant lack of integrity in governments and businesses.  When we demand equality we are expressing our desire for integrity.

Caring for others, not just ourselves, is a test of integrity.  The good energy we put out into the world can change things and make life better for all.  Black Lives Matter is a perfect example of how people acting together with integrity can force change.  The change may be slower than we wish, but it is in motion.

What moral or ethical code of values do we choose to live by?  Does living by it make us feel whole?  How do we integrate it into our daily lives?  Those are the real challenges today and we each have to find our own answers.  We can’t buy integrity.  We have to live it.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Blog Posts:

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

AWAKENING TO LIVE WITHOUT FEAR

AWAKENING TO THE ONENESS WITHIN

 

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 SILENCE CHAOS

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”  Deepak Chopra

How do you deal with external chaos?  How do you deal with internal chaos? Which is the most effective way to become calm?

When I started writing this blog last week, it was January sixth and I was too upset by the violence at the Capital to finish and publish it.  Then my husband and I decided that evening that the next day we needed to put down our dear dog Susie Q.  Emotionally, I had  no choice but to write a blog about her that I published on January seventh.

Now that I have seen more videos of the carnage in Washington, DC and the danger inflicted on our representatives and senators, my perspective on chaos has not changed.  While I am stunned by the extreme event, I’ve attempted to stay calm inside as Copra recommends.  That does not mean I approve of the violence in any way and I’m appalled by the lack of safety in the Capital.  Voting and peaceful protest are two ways we can speak our minds in a democracy and in the long run are more effective.

So far this year, I have not made a list of new year’s resolutions, but I have intended to start each day with a meditation.  I managed to do that only one day so far.  Creating a consistent pattern requires quieting my mind more than I have been able to do so far.

Difficulties Are Upsetting  

Doing things that were never a problem before have become difficult.  I’ve already been upset a number of times dealing with technical changes when my computer updated its main system.  Symbols on the computer page look different or they are in a different place, so I have to hunt for what I used to find and click quickly.  Processes changed and I have to search for a new series of steps.

Even before the violence in D.C., when I combined the technical challenges with the difficulty of ordering groceries and everything else I order online, life felt chaotic.  I was frustrated with how difficult it was to do the simplest thing.  In this upset state, I tend to create more mental chaos by getting upset over problems that can be easily solved.  It just gets to be too much!

Many people turn to alcohol or drugs not prescribed by a doctor at times like this.  That seems like an easy answer to calming the chaos, but that solution may have very negative consequences.  We each tend to create our own style of avoidance to hide from the chaos, but we need to choose a healthy approach or we will complicate the challenges.

Calming Our Minds Is Simple

The best approach that I have found is basically very simple.  Sit still.  Take deep breaths. Stop reacting. I can’t always change the external chaos, but I can detach from the inner turmoil.

When we sit quietly, close our eyes, and breath quietly, in time, peace will surround and move through us.  This is one way to silence the chaos.  It may warm the chill we feel or cool the heat.  When we take the time to detach from what is upsetting us, the solution we need may come to us in the stillness.

Tom Barrett says, “Chaos in the world brings uneasiness, but it also allows the opportunity for creativity and growth.”

I have found that one way to encourage this expansion of ideas is to write in a journal.  When I do that, I’m totally unconcerned with grammar or word usage.  I record whatever flows through my mind without judging its value.  Often, these messages are flowing from the heart and soul, not just the mind, and they take me to a deeper place than when I consciously think about the situation that has alarmed me.

Chaos Hides Positive Solutions

Recently I became very upset when Amazon lost track of a shipment of granola. The order included several packages because the product was not available in small amounts. Other companies were out of it. Customer Service was very nice about replacing it, shipping another order to me immediately, and not charging me for both.  They said if the original shipment reached me, I could just keep it.

I told Amazon that two orders would be too much for me to keep and I didn’t want them to leave it.  After many excuses about why they couldn’t return it, they decided they would tell the driver to just keep the extra order on the truck.

After I hung up, my husband said, “But couldn’t we give the extra to some place like Manna Food Bank?”

I was stunned that I had been so self-centered.  The granola would be a perfect donation, especially for the homeless.  I was so sad that I had gotten upset and let my chaotic mind rule my heart.  When I calmed down, I prayed that the extra shipment would arrive, and it did, two days later.  The driver delivered it to the door and we will deliver it to a group that serves the homeless.

When we let our mental chaos be in control, it will not take us to a good place.  It is wise to listen to the stillness within and allow the best part of ourselves to make our decisions.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

RELATED ARTICLES:

AWAKENING TO THE POWER OF PEACE

AWAKENING TO UNEXPECTED FEAR

AWAKENING TO THE POWER WITHIN

 

AWAKENING TO CHRISTMAS

“Christmas is, of course, the time to be home – in heart as well as body.” Garry Moore

Will your Christmas be different this year?  Many of us may not be able to visit with family and friends because of the dangers of the virus.  Instead of thinking of it as a family time, let’s remember that Mary and Joseph were also away from family when Jesus was born, when his love came into the world.

Regardless of where we are, we can experience Love, the real meaning of Christmas.  We can reach out in many ways.  A few years ago, my brother and sister-in-law sent my husband and me a Christmas Cactus.  It was blooming beautifully, but then it stopped blooming the rest of the year.

I was disappointed, but I kept it around.  Then in December when it bloomed again, I realized it only boomed near Christmas!

Unlike many gifts which disappear in one way or another, this is a gift that keeps giving,  every year, blooming to remind us at Christmas that love is a gift that keeps giving.

As I lounge by the fire in the evening, I often read, but lately, the fire reminds me of the warmth I’ve experienced in my life when I have been with loved ones.  Memories, as well as reality, may warm us, keep us safe, and remind us, God loves us and is aways with us, whether we notice or not.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND LOVE AND PEACE TO YOU ALL!

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO THE DANCE OF LIGHT

AWAKEN TO LOVE THE LIGHT

 

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 OUR MYSTERIES

“I think on some level, you do your best things when you’re a little off-balance, a little scared.  You’ve got to work from mystery, from wonder, from not knowing.”  Daniel Dafoe

How do you feel about a mystery in your life?  Does it frighten you?  Does it ever reveal a new way to see your life?

Fall is always a reminder that times are changing.  For a while it is lovely with the colorful flowers and multicolored leaves on the trees.  The intense heat of summer has subsided and the air is cool and perfect for outdoor hikes with just a sweater or light coat.  For a while the mountains startle us with vivid colors like a Van Gogh painting.

And then – things drop away.  The flowers and leaves turn brown and fall.  The squirrels stuff themselves with acorns and pack more up for winter.  All of nature prepares for rest during the winter in order to return in the spring renewed.

Not only is nature in transition, humans are as well.  We are living through a mysterious time, daily discovering that our country is not what we thought it was, that our government may no longer be “for the people.”  Our health is threatened by a mysterious illness that infects equally and we have no cure.

A Time of Letting Go

Creation Spirituality, a spiritual community created by Matthew Fox, divides the year into four areas.  This time of year is known as the Via Negativa, a time of mystery, of letting go, of emptying, of sitting in the shadow, and experiencing the dark night of the soul.

Like the trees and flowers, it is a time to rest and renew our lives for the coming of spring and new life.  It is a time to explore who we really are in this time of change.  We may take the time to let the mysteries of our lives open to us.

What do we need to let go of?  Many people are cleaning out their closets and garages, letting go of things they no longer need:  books they’ll never read again, clothes they’ve outgrown, furniture that is broken, or tools they never use.  In my community there is a website where people post the free things they want to give away and the list is endless and surprising at times.

Looking Within

But letting go of physical things is the easy part.  Looking at our inner mysteries is more challenging.  Who are we really?  Even before the pandemic, were we living the life we really wanted?  Are we uncomfortable having to stay home most of the time because our family relationships are difficult?

When we experience a dark night of the soul, we often feel we are trapped in a shadow and have no idea how to find the light.  But this is the time when we must look inside and ask, “Who am I?”  Are we living who we really are?  While that may feel terribly uncomfortable at times, it may also lead us to discover parts of ourselves that are shut down and what we need to do to become more complete.

When I had to move from New Orleans, away from the rest of my family, it was not a choice I really wanted to make.  If I wanted to heal my Chronic Fatique Syndrome, I had to go to a dry climate, so I chose Albuquerque where I did have one New Orleans friend who had moved there.

We Are One With Spirit

During my time there, I discovered Religious Science church that became my spiritual home.  It was based on the science of mind philosophy, the belief that God is one with us and all that is.  The energy we create and express affects others, and what we express comes back to us.  Being part of a loving community and practicing this spiritual belief helped heal more than my body.

There have been many moments in my life when I felt depressed or confined by my circumstances.  As a single woman, making enough money to pay the bills was also a challenge.  Not being in a relationship for many years was a challenge.  Dealing with continuing health challenges that limited what I could eat was a challenge.

Lighting the Dark Within

Learning to adjust my thinking and meditate taught me that closing my eyes, moving into the darkness, could open me to the light within.  In that place, I could find peace and let the negative thinking and feelings drop away.  Clearing space within for the light to appear often brought solutions to problems I would never have “thought” of.

Many times, as I sit quietly, lie in bed dozing off, or just as I wake, a new thought presents itself.  What it means may be a total mystery.  Thinking about it may or may not reveal its meaning.  When I’m mystified, I write the thought down just as I do if I wake remembering a dream, knowing that if it is important, its relevance will be revealed later.

While we learn who we are by being with other people, by working or playing, it is our alone time when the deepest mysteries can open us to the deepest solutions.  Spirit is with us in those moments if we are willing to sit with the mystery.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

DANCING TO THE MYSTERY OF LIFE

AWAKENING TO LIGHT THE DARKNESS

AWAKENING TO THE LIGHT

 

AWAKENING TO LEARN FROM NATURE

      “Adopt the pace of nature.  Her secret    is patience.”  Emerson

How often are you in nature?  How do you feel there?  What do you most love about nature?

We are not currently living in a time when it is easy to be patient.  We all want things to return to normal.  We want to work again, visit friends and relatives, eat out for dinner, or visit an art festival.  When we are feeling irritable or anxious, nature can offer us some peace and help us find the patience we need to slow down.

Once I’m in nature, tension drops away.  It’s affected me that way as long as I can remember because I spent a lot of time in the forests of Arkansas as I grew up.  Hiking and swimming in streams were two of my family’s favorite outings and as a kid I thought this activity was fun.

Now, stepping into the forest or my shady backyard takes me to a peaceful place immediately.  So today, I’m offering you a different kind of blog post—one with photos of natural scenes I’ve observed, and I do include animals as a part of nature.  I hope this experience will bring you peace and laughter.

What is Suz hunting for?

Suz is snoozing. “Don’t bother me!”

Owen Lake

Ducks at Owen Lake

The beauty of nature

Neighborhood bear family enjoying our dinner of acorns.

Very rude squirrel eating dinner on St. Francis’s head.

Giant mushroom tent

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO WILDNESS, ONE WITH NATURE, Part 2

AWAKENING TO THE GIFTS OF SOLITUDE

AWAKENING TO STILLNESS

 

 

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 OUR REALITY

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”  William Arthur Ward

How do you usually react to new situations?  Do you tend to resist, ignore, or adjust to an event or condition you don’t like?  What works best for you?

I often think of myself as an optimist.  Years ago, I was very involved with the “think positive” movement, primarily because life was difficult and the many changes in my life often wore me down.  I also learned that much of the negative thinking I did could be released when I learned to release my fears because those fears created the negative thoughts.

All these experiences helped me to get my negative thinking under control, and by seeing life from a more positive perspective, I was a happier person.  But choosing to be an optimist about everything is not always the best choice.

Being A Realist Is Wise

The wisest approach to life is to be a realist and develop the ability to adjust to what is actually occurring because ignoring reality can be harmful.  I once had a friend who was very creative and with whom I did presentations that combined my poetry and her photography.  This was a very powerful creative connection I had not experienced since my earlier years in modern dance and theater and I deeply valued it.

When she became ill, she refused to see a doctor, insisting she would be fine. After many months, her daughter convinced her to face the source of her pain.  When she finally visited the doctor, she discovered she had very advanced cancer that could not be treated.  She died four months later.

I was stunned, heart-broken, and angry.  Having dealt with many illnesses over the years, I had always seen a doctor, even if I dreaded what I thought the answer would be.  I knew that whatever the sickness was, I needed to face it and treat it.  But my friend was not a realist.

Adjusting the Sails of Your Life

Life is not the perfect drama we would like it to be.  There are ups and downs and surprises, but what creates a good life for us is how we deal with the winds that blow through our lives.  None of us would choose to be experiencing a pandemic, especially one that is clearly not going away soon, but it is here, regardless of what we want.

So how can we be realistic and live well during this time?  I strongly suggest listening to the medical experts about wearing a mask, social distancing, and getting tested instead of to a president and his followers who deny these needs exist.  As George Bernard Shaw once said, “Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”

Be a realist and “adjust the sails of your life.”  My husband and I love to go to the movies.  Now we have discovered the PBS series “Poldark” and often watch it when we’re in the “movie” mood.  What is nice about this is that we don’t have to get dressed and spend money.  We can even watch it in our pajamas.

While it would be nice to eat in a restaurant, we can get a pick-up dinner and eat on our deck with a lovely view of the trees and the continual bird song.  For more outdoor pleasures we walk in the neighborhood and around a nearby lake.  We can visit and see friends faces on Zoom. These choices are not what we prefer, but they are the wise, realistic ones.

Being Realistic May Include Some Optimism

While being a realist makes sense and can safe-guard us during these particularly challenging days, being optimistic at times may also be helpful.  It’s better to hope than to become depressed about the worst.  It is worthwhile to consider what is needed for us to accomplish the goals we hope to pursue when restrictions ease.

What research might we undertake about the degree we want to get, the trip we desire to take, the job we hope to receive or the skills we wish to develop?  Even if we can’t pursue such things right now, we will learn what preparation we need and if we can begin any of that work now. We also may discover that there are other choices we overlooked which are more appealing.

With a willingness to adjust our sails, we may find the path we truly need to take to a destination where the sailing is smoother.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO GOOD DECISIONS

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

AWAKENING TO ACCEPT REALITY