Tag Archives: Open-Mindedness


“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”  Nelson Mandela

Arboretum 2013 017

The holidays are a time when we often return to where we grew up or to our parents’ home.  It can be a wonderful and joyous occasion or one where we tread lightly around certain topics, but if we have grown over the years and become our own person, it may be a time when we see clearly the contrast between who we were and who we are now.

We All Change with Time

We all grow in some way as the years pass.  Even those who ferociously resist change and try to force their ways on others change—usually becoming more angry and brittle.  But most of us try to learn from our mistakes and be open to learning new ways of doing things that will benefit us and our families.  Besides, when we don’t think our way is the only way, we can connect more easily with those who are different.

Mandela Is A Model for Forgiveness

This week we have mourned the death of Nelson Mandela and celebrated his extraordinary life.  Living in a country of extreme contrasts, he was able to unite the people by demonstrating that we can choose to forgive our enemies, no matter how horrendous their behavior was, and in doing so, we free ourselves from bitterness and hate.  Certainly his life was full of contrasts.

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gaute...

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 1998 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Contrast Show Us What We Want and What We Don’t Want

In the Law of Attraction literature, contrast is the word that is used to describe negative events, the things that happen that we don’t want to attract.  It’s true that life is filled with experiences we like and others we don’t, and each contrast is an opportunity to re-examine what we did to create it.  Abraham, channeled by Esther Hicks, states, “When you have lived an experience that helps you understand in an exaggerated way, the very thing you do not want, you also understand in an exaggerated way, what you do want.”

Few of us will ever have the kind of profound influence that Nelson Mandela had on other human beings.  But we each, in our own way, may choose to learn from the contrast in our lives, and accept the choices other people make that are different from ours.  If we can create just a little peace in our own environment, we are contributing to world peace.

As We Grow, Our Past Is Illuminated

Years after leaving the town where I grew up, I returned to visit and was startled by how small the house was.  It seemed spacious to me as a child as I lay on the dining room floor, my books spilling out of the bureau, and read or colored.  The external reality was small, but my internal experience was large as I explored life through literature.


Books (Photo credit: henry…)

Let Us Embrace Our Differences

This often happens to us.  As our world grows larger, what we used to know seems smaller or more confined.  Until I attended college in the 1960s, I had never attended school with any children who were not white.  Fortunately, I was reared by a mother who believed that all people were equal and deserved equal rights so that when I did met people of other races I was curious.  Despite some initial discomfort, I made a real effort to understand our differences and to relate respectfully.

Over the years, I taught students from many cultures and doing so has enriched my life experience with many contrasts.  As a result, I have learned and grown from these experiences.  My spiritual journey has also been filled with experiences and practices that differ from my family’s traditional spiritual path.  They attend Catholic and Protestant churches, and I attend meetings of a spiritual community that prefers not to be called a “church.”  My path seems strange to them, but it brings me peace and happiness, and their path is very meaningful to them.  We think differently, but we accept our differences.

When I wrote my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, I traveled back into time as I read through the journals I’d kept for many years and was able to see all the ways I had changed over the years.  Some of it was inspiring and I could feel proud of how I had expanded my thinking, but there were also times when I was appalled by the way I mangled a situation.  Still, the contrasts were steps I had to take on my way to become a more peaceful and caring person.

So this holiday, as we visit with family and old friends, let us appreciate the contrasts that appear and  let us honor the sometimes challenging spiritual path through life that we each travel.


If you are looking for an inspiring gift for a friend, please consider my memoir Awakening to the Dance:  A Journey to Wholeness.  It is available through Amazon.com, Kindle, Nook, and CreateSpace ID#1002950.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                       ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: The Secret and Law of Attraction – Wayne Dyer ( video), Contrasting ValuesRussian/American Cultural Contrasts


 “The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.”  William Bragg, Sr.

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 How open are you to new ways of thinking?  When you discuss differences with another, are you sharing what you believe or debating to prove you are right?

There was a time when all thinking that was valued was rational.  Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am,” and the western world came to value rationality over all other ways of thinking.  Information became the basis for all decisions and anything not rational was considered rubbish.

Living By the Rational Or the Intuitive

As a woman with a few years of experience in life, I experienced many years when my “womanly opinions” were ridiculed and ignored.  In other words, if I responded to a situation with emotion or made a choice based on intuition, my idea wasn’t considered valid because it wasn’t arrived at through reason.  Even if my response proved to be accurate, it was discounted.

Dangers of Ignoring Intuition

In the last few years, I’ve had some pretty dramatic experiences that have led me to place great value on my intuition.  In one instance, all the evidence, the weather report and television reports and what I could see outside, indicated to me that it was safe to travel in the city after a snow storm.  I was looking for a new apartment, and I’d lost several good ones by not acting quickly enough. But my intuition told me very clearly not to go out.

At this point in time, the attention I paid to my intuition was inconsistent.  I usually listened to it, but in this case, I decided it must be my fear talking although it didn’t feel like fear.  I just decided to do what I wanted regardless of the warning.

Sure enough, the roads had been cleared and I arrived safely at the apartment.  The sidewalk in front had also been cleared so I stepped across it and peered in the window.  It looked good.  A neighbor came out of his apartment to warm up his truck and asked me if I’d like to look at his apartment.  I stepped back onto the sidewalk that appeared to be cleared.  For a moment I was in shock, suspended in the air, then I crashed onto the concrete.  I broke my left elbow, had two pelvic fractures, spent a month in the hospital and rehab, and nine months becoming fully mobile again.  There was a small sliver of ice on the sidewalk that I didn’t see—or I think there was.

Learning to Live More Deeply

After the accident I had a lot of time to think.  Why had I ignored my intuition when it had felt so strong?  I discovered that a part of me still didn’t trust that inner knowing so much.  So, I decided to test it out.  Part of the test was to practice becoming more mindful so that I could really hear that inner voice all the time.  I also made a commitment to follow my intuition unless I had concrete evidence that it was leading me astray.

With time, I discovered that my intuition didn’t mislead me and that, by following it, life went well.  Over the last four years, I have lived more in harmony with my inner self, and knowing I have that guidance to draw on has been very empowering.  I now not only have my rational mind to process concrete information, I have the inner resources of intuition which I consider part of spiritual guidance.  I have learned a whole new way of being.

Being Open to New Ideas

There are many experiences in life that offer us an opportunity to embrace a new way of thinking or acting.  Most are not as dramatic as my accident, but when we are set in our ways and stubbornly refuse to consider an alternative to what we think is right, we may be missing out on the opportunity to open our minds and change our lives in positive ways.

If we want to create peace in our lives and in the world, we have to be open to new ways of thinking.  We have to listen to others respectfully and not make every encounter with a different point of view a debate, for in a debate, there is a winner and a loser.  When we choose to share our thoughts and beliefs and listen respectfully to another, we create a bridge that may allow us to find some commonality.  But bridging these differences requires us to suspend our need to be right.

Learning to Respect Others Ideas

Last night I attended a very interesting discussion group where we discussed the aspects of quantifiable facts and intuition in making decisions and guiding our lives.  Some members of the group seemed to need to be right more than to understand.  It was, at times, very uncomfortable because some individuals began debating and discounting any ideas that were presented with what they considered insufficient data.  They presented their facts, insisting that only quantifiable information was useful and legitimate.

Not surprisingly, most of the women were pretty quiet.  Someone commented on this, and when they were called on to speak, most indicated that intuition was the main thing that guided their lives.  They all experienced an inner knowing.  They did not need data to support that guidance.  And I suspect the reason many were quiet was because they had had experiences similar to mine where their decisions were discounted.

In fact, during the discussion I commented that all things change, even facts.  Many of the ideas that quantum physics is proving to be true were once thought to be crazy.  A woman who is a biologist made a comment that supported my statement and added to it.  During the break, a man came up to me and pointed out that he’d read an article by a scientist that said there were no physicists who believe in quantum physics.  I’m sure he thought he was helping to correct my erroneous thinking, but the attitude that he needed to correct my thinking and that my beliefs couldn’t possibly be based on science was disrespectful.  He never bothered to even ask on what information I based that belief.

Unfortunately, that experience wasn’t the only time during the discussion that words were used in a disrespectful manner.  One person’s comment referred to people turning to spiritual guidance as a regression.  Language is a powerful tool.  I was shocked by this, but then had to laugh inside.  My spiritual development has only led me to rich and expansive thinking.

Creating a Bridge of Peace

If we can’t compassionately bridge our differences in small groups with people of a similar culture, how can we possibly create that bridge of peace with people who are ethnically very different?  Yet, that’s what we have to do.  Debating won’t work.  We have to learn a new way to communicate and be and release our fear of change.  Next week I will write about how we can communicate more compassionately.

May you all listen gently to one another.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                     ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Women’s Inner Knowing: Intuition, The Intuitive Leader, Honoring Your Intuition Through the Teachings of Eckhart Tolle


“Let yourself be open and life will be easier.  A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable.  A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.”  Buddha Siddhartha Gautama Shakyamuni

English: Henry_Ossawa_Tanner_-_The_Annunciation

English: Henry_Ossawa_Tanner_-_The_Annunciation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do you feel about new ideas that appear in your life?  Do they frighten you?  Do they offer you a new perspective that broadens your thinking?

Re-evaluating Your Life

As I mentioned last week, I don’t make resolutions any more, but I do think about the New Year and what I hope will happen during it.  I try to notice what I may be hanging onto that I really need to release.  As I evaluated all of this last week, I realized that I mainly want to continue on the track I’m on now—writing and promoting my book and speaking.  I feel a real passion for it, but I also realize each year offers its own challenges, and I want to be open-minded about what comes my way so I can learn the lessons and expand.

New Information Opens the Mind

I had an experience during Christmas week that really brought home the need to be open.  My brother showed me a painting by Henry Ossawa Tanner called “The Annunciation.”  I was drawn to it because Mary was depicted in a way that grabbed my attention.  As the angel Gabriel appears to her, she looks like an ordinary young woman, sitting on her bed, pondering an important decision.  Virtually all the pictures of Mary I’ve seen depict her looking angelic and other worldly.  Perhaps this is why I never felt drawn to her when I was growing up and attending a traditional Christian church.

When I commented on how different this Mary looked, my brother pointed out that this was the moment when she had to decide if she were willing to become the mother of Christ.  I was surprised.  “You mean she had a choice?” I asked.  “I never knew that.”  Perhaps I’d just forgotten after all these years or maybe I had never been presented with this version of the story, but it made a huge difference to me.

Spiritual Awareness Inspires and Expands Us

As I stared at this painting, for the first time, I sensed Mary’s humanity.  She was no longer a mythical character to me, but a vital, intelligent being who had to make an unprecedented choice, one that would take her on a very challenging journey.  “There’s a story there,” I thought, feeling chills run up my spine.  I don’t know what the story is that I will write, but this experience opened a new door for me.

I immediately thought of a friend of mine who is a devout follower of Mary although she isn’t Catholic.  Perhaps I had glimpsed part of what has always drawn her to Mary.  But most importantly, I have a new perspective on this subject that has opened my mind in a way it was never open before.

Art Offers A New Perspective

That’s the beauty of art too.  As Edgar Degas said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”  When I look at a painting or experience any of the fine arts, I am taken out of my own mind for awhile and into the heart and mind of another, and that allows me to see in ways I never have before.  At a deep level, it changes my perspective if I give myself totally to the experience.

The Class of Dance by Edgar Degas (1874)

The Class of Dance by Edgar Degas (1874) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Frankly, I was very surprised by my reaction to the painting of Mary.  I don’t usually feel moved by religious art.  I often admire the artist’s technique, but again the subjects are often so ethereal that my mind, not my heart, is moved.  Maybe I’ve been missing something and my lack of interest in organized religion has created a block I don’t know is there.  But I think one of my intentions for the New Year will definitely be paying more attention when I catch myself quickly dismissing something or someone.  A second look never hurts.

Just a reminder:  I’ll be reading and signing Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness at Malaprops Bookstore, Asheville, NC on Thursday, January 17 at 7:00.

Have you gained any new perspective lately?  Please comment.

Notes on comments:  I’m getting huge numbers of spam and don’t have time to check through them all to look for  legitimate comments.  But if you comment from a business site that sells a product (other than books or service related to my blog post), you are automatically put in the spam folder.  I have to approve people who comment for the first time, and I only approve comments that relate specifically to a post. It may take me as much as a day to approve a comment.  I welcome all genuine comments.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                    ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Own Your Spirituality:  Your Own Mind is a Beautiful Thing, What Do You Believe: The Power of an Open Mind (Deepak Chopra), Spirituality and the Power of Being Open-minded