Tag Archives: Inner Strength

TRANSFORMING THE FEAR OF CHANGE

“People can’t live with change if there’s not a changeless core inside them.  The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about and what you value.”  Stephen R. Covey

Fearing Change

We always have more than one choice in life.  Will we give into our fears in a situation or will we find that core within us that will give us the strength and guidance to go beyond the negative choices that fear dictates?  Carlos Castaneda said about difficulties, “We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong.  The amount of work is the same.”

We live in a time of enormous change and fear.  The Universe, our lives, the structures of nature and government are changing and evolving.  Even Facebook has just made some changes.  Every time I go to the grocery store, I have to hunt for a product I have bought for years because its container has been redesigned.  Our DNA is changing.  Everything is evolving toward an experience of Oneness that will create a new and more cooperative world, but it sure is a pain sometimes.

At our best, we just give up and flow with what we can’t change.  At our worst, we fight the change every inch of the way building a wall of useless resistance.  We wonder if we will survive this.  We fear the consequences because the unknown is always a scary place, unless….

Finding the Spiritual Gift of Change

How often do you consider the possibility that the changes in your life may be good?  When I had to give up being a dancer, I thought, “Who am I, if not a dancer?  As the years passed and I looked at who I was more deeply, I realized what a narrow definition I had given myself.  I was much more than a dancer.  Now, if you ask me who, I will say, “I’m a creative and spiritual person.”  These aspects are part of my core.

When we choose to feel miserable about the changes in our lives, we choose to be less and see ourselves as the victim without any power.  Although this may seem like the easy way out, it isn’t.  Our most powerful strength is not the strength we use to fight against change; that will only defeat us.  What we resist, persists.  The strength that we need to develop in these changing times is unrelated to the exterior.

Awakening to the Strength of Our Spiritual Core

When we meditate or sit with Nature and escape from the external worries of our lives, we find that quiet, centered place where we connect with Spirit and our own soul, for they are One. When life is raging around us, being able to stand in a place that is peaceful allows us to make wise choices.  From this place, we can release our fears, separate ourselves from the outer discord, and look within our hearts and souls for the best answers.  When we choose to stand in our own inner power, we empower ourselves.

While I can’t say change never bothers me, I have learned not to fear most of it.  Many times I don’t know the answer to my most current challenge, but I know that if I stay in touch with who I really am, I will find the answer.  I know there are lessons in all experiences, and I know a significant experience may appear out of nowhere.  I have learned to see life as a wonderful mystery and I’m willing to take the ride, even when it gets bumpy.  I have had many challenging experiences in life, but whenever I have chosen to be strong rather than miserable, amazing opportunities and lessons have appeared.

What path do you choose today?  What do you think about Castaneda’s comment?

© 2011 Georganne Spruce

Related Readings:  How Simple Thinking Leads to a Brilliant MindThe Change Paradox:  Transforming Fear into Excitement and Opportunity

INTUITION – THE VOICE OF OUR SPIRITUAL CORE

“It is always with excitement that I wake up in the morning wondering what my intuition will toss up to me, like gifts from the sea. I work with it and rely on it. It’s my partner.”  Jonas Salk

Listening for Intuition’s Wisdom

 The longer I live, the more I rely on my intuition.  My journals are full of entries describing how I ignored it and the unfortunate consequences I experienced as a result.  The most difficult times to follow it are when it advises me to do what I don’t want to do.

In February 2011, writing and working intensely on the computer to set up a blog and learn to use Facebook, I foolishly ignored the warning my intuition was sending me verbally and through the tension building up in my back.  I woke up one morning with sciatica down the right side of my body. It was the most intense pain I’d ever experienced. It took about six months to recover with acupuncture to relieve the pain and physical therapy to correct my posture and strengthen my core.

In this case and in an accident four years earlier, my physical core was weak and out of balance despite the regular exercises I did.  The key to my physical recovery was building strength in the core muscles of the abdomen with daily exercises, and taking the stress off the lower back where the latest injury originated.

Strengthening Our Spiritual Core

 But more importantly, I needed to correct my spiritual core.  In both instances, I had allowed ego’s fears and needs to override my intuition’s advice.  In January, I had set a goal to have certain things done by the end of the month, no matter what! My ego, so much noisier than my intuition kept reminding me of this.

We have to remember that ego loves to feed off of what is negative.  It demands our attention.  So how can we develop the discipline and awareness to stay in touch with our core intuition?

 Ways to Stay in Touch With Intuition

Sitting in the silence is an important first step.  When we are centered in silence, we are most likely to hear Spirit speaking to us through intuition.  In those moments we are connected to Source, our loving partner, and its words are gentle.  When something starts pushing, it is ego.  When we feel fear, it is ego.  When we are being pushed toward an extreme or to the edge of endurance, that is ego.  The practice of listening in the silence teaches us to discern if the voice we hear or the physical response we feel is ego or intuition.

Secondly, we have to release our fear for it only feeds ego.  We can sit quietly and direct our minds to release whatever fearful thought has arisen.  As we make the statement, “I release this fear,” it is helpful to take a deep breath and in the body feel the tension of the fear release.  With the fear gone, there is space for our spiritual guidance to come through and for us to hear it.

I also believe intuition speaks to us in other ways: through the words of others, the ideas we encounter through reading spiritual books, through experiences in workshops and spiritual gatherings.  When we feel that “Ah, ha,” intuition is saying, “Listen, this is for you.”

So, during this next week, let’s find moments to listen to that partner inside that loves us enough to say, “This is for you.”  And let’s have the good sense to follow its advice.  Like Jonas Salk, let’s remember that what our intuition brings to us is a gift that is always good.

© 2011 Georganne Spruce

Related Readings:

What is Spiritual Guidance?

What is Intuition? Eckhart Tolle

PRACTICING THE SPIRITUAL DANCE – BALANCING

“We learn by practice.  Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same.  One becomes in some area an athlete of God.”  Martha Graham

Awakening To Balance the Mind And Body

Finding balance was one of the great gifts I received from studying modern dance for many years.  Imagine, balancing on the toes of one foot, your spine stretching to its full length, your energy flowing from your pelvis, reaching down into the earth and upward to the sky, a perfectly balanced tension. 

Surry Celebration Team Dance, Flickr.com

To find balance requires strength, practicing pliés (knee bends) and relevés(balancing on the ball of the foot) daily for years until one day, it is easy and one rises miraculously into a moment of perfect balance.

I learned early that in order to perform a movement well, my mind and body had to work together.  This was long before I learned to meditate, so I didn’t’ have the advantage of knowing how to center my mind.  At first, when I tried to balance, I concentrated on contracting the right muscles in order to balance on my toes or one foot.  Then one day, I heard a teacher say, “Stretch, stretch your spine, stretch toward the ceiling, stretch out of the floor.”  I got it – balance was about expansion, not contraction.

We Need A Strong Spiritual Core For Life

Balancing requires stretching and strengthening.  In traditional modern dance, all movement is motivated from the center of the body, the pelvis.  Dancers need a strong core or else we find ourselves foundering, too weak to control leg and arm movement or unable to control our movement as we move out into space.  The same is true in life.  We need a strong, core spiritual belief that guides us.  We may believe that we are all One or we live from a spirit of Love that connects us to others in a meaningful way.  Whatever this belief is, when it resides at the center of our lives, it comforts and guides our actions and choices, acting as the core that holds the rest of our lives together.

Balance Opens Us To Wisdom

We also need a balance between the mind, body, emotions and soul.  If we can see the world only in emotional or rational terms, we have a limited awareness and may not be able to see the whole picture in a situation.  As we stretch, we allow the mind to open, expand, and move into new space.  We consider the possibility that ideas we have previously rejected may have value.  We learn to listen to another’s truth considering the possibility we may learn from them.  We learn to corral the part of our unruly ego that wants to reject whatever is not known and comfortable.

With balance comes wisdom, for balance teaches us to sit in the midst of chaos and remain centered.  When we feel balanced, we may choose not to respond to conflict.  We may choose to take a few deep breaths rather than honk our horn at the slowly moving person in front of us in traffic.  We may be able to stop ourselves from rushing out the door to a meeting when our child needs us to sit and listen.  When we are balanced, we are more aware.  We are living in that perfect tension between earth and sky.  We are an “athlete of God.”

 View the first in this series on “Practicing the Spiritual Dance – Developing Strength.”  

© 2011 Georganne Spruce

Related Readings:

Is Balance Possible in This Lifetime

How to Find That Elusive Balance Between Work and Life

 

 

PRACTICING THE SPIRITUAL DANCE – DEVELOPING STRENGTH

“We learn by practice.  Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same.  One becomes in some area an athlete of God.”  Martha Graham

Dance As A Physical And Spiritual Practice

The practice of dance is one of the most rigorous and spiritual disciplines that exists.  Like all practices, the more one learns, the more expansive are the results.  Each step along the way yields riches of the physical and spiritual kind that not only strengthen one’s dance skills, but which enhance all aspects of life.  Beginning with this post, I want to use the practice of dance as an analogy to the practices that can enhance our lives spiritually.

From 1960 to the mid-1980’s, I trained, performed for four years, and taught modern dance.  Its gifts were abundant!  Dance taught me about inner and outer strength, how to balance and center my body and mind, and the value of flexibility.  Learning the value of daily dance practice and seeing that it could result in my accomplishing something I thought I couldn’t do taught me why it is so important not to give up when life becomes difficult.

Learning modern dance was enormously challenging for me.  As a child, stricken by rheumatic fever and a heart murmur at four years of age, I was not allowed normal physical exercise, nor was I able to study ballet, which was my dream.  Fortunately, I out grew the heart murmur and at sixteen, my high school offered a modern dance class which I quickly embraced.  It was tough for a weakling like me, but with time I developed muscles that gave me strength and some shape to my skinny body. This was the time of Marilyn Monroe and years before Twiggy’s shape became the ideal.

Choosing Physical and Spiritual Health

Without physical strength, we cannot enjoy the activity of life, but we also need inner strength.  A few years ago when I fell on the ice and sustained a broken elbow and two pelvic fractures, I went through months of physical therapy determined to return to my former state of activity.  What I found shocking was that, according to my physical therapist, most people stop doing their exercises as soon as they leave the rehab facility.  As a result, they never fully recover, choosing to remain disabled rather than be disciplined and committed to their healing.

Empowering Ourselves

With any injury or challenge, we need the inner strength to persevere and take responsibility for doing all we can do to overcome the challengeThis is how we grow in confidence.  What dance taught me was that even when a new dance phrase was difficult and I struggled to perform it smoothly, if I kept going, it would eventually get easier, and one day it would flow effortlessly.  There is always some challenge in learning something new.  If we avoid everything that is difficult in life, we miss wonderful opportunities that, through our perseverance, will empower us. We all feel more confident when we have successfully overcome a daunting obstacle. 

Both inner and outer strength require practice in life as in dance.  By practicing, we develop experience, find new ways to solve problems, feel more confident, and grow in awareness.  We can’t learn to dance without dancing.  When we choose to develop strength, we are choosing to become an “athlete of God.”

 When have you been an “athlete of God” lately?  How do you practice?

 In 1960 Martha Graham, choreographed a dance called “Acrobats of God” in which she celebrated and made fun of dancers and choreographers.   Look here if you’d like to see a video.   

 © 2011 Georganne Spruce