Tag Archives: Peace

AWAKENING TO SHARE

“Democracy must be built through open societies that share information.  When there is information, there is enlightenment. When there is debate, there are solutions. When there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability, there is abuse, corruption, subjugation and indignation.” Atifete Jahjaga

A few days ago, I had a remarkable dream.  Several women were on a panel to give a young girl an award.  The prize was three dolls.  Three girls had been selected for the first, second, and third places, but only the girl who was in first place would receive the three dolls.  One woman in the group suggested that instead of giving only one girl a prize, they should give each of the three girls a doll.

The other women weren’t so sure that was a good idea. Some were afraid that the first prize girl would be disappointed.  They discussed the issue back and forth without really agreeing, so the person who had suggested it said, “Let’s try it and see what happens.” The rest reluctantly agreed.

They brought the first prize winner in and handing her the doll, the woman said, “We’ve decided to give the second doll to Mary. We hope you don’t mind.”  The girl’s face brightened with a huge smile.  “That’s wonderful,” she said, “then Mary and I can be friends and play with our dolls together!”

DREAMS CARRY SIGNIFICANT MESSAGES

I was rather dumbfounded as I quickly recorded the dream, especially since I rarely remember anything of my dreams these days, much less, the whole thing.  But I was also amazed by how timely the message was.  Isn’t this what so much of the political debate is about these days?  Just how much are we going to share and help everyone, particularly those in the most need?

Habitat For Humanity

As a former teacher who retired several years ago, I made a very small salary compared to what men made; therefore, my social security and retirement are very small.  And they have grown so little over the years compared to the growth of basic expenses like utilities that if I were not married, I could not even survive on my income.  Many woman and some men are in a similar situation and share that same fear.

INEQUITY DOESN’T SUPPORT DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES

The inequity in all areas that has existed for many years has increased because of the continued movement in this country to support the top 1% at the expense of everyone else.  Now we are dealing with Congress, many of whom depend on the wealthiest to run their campaigns, and a president who is worth billions (if what he says is true) who wants to cut any programs that help the middle and lower classes survive, much less flourish.

There is nothing wrong with making large amounts of money if it is not made at another’s expense, and people like Melinda and Bill Gates and Warren Buffett give generously to those in need. They believe in sharing their good fortune. But with the system the way it currently is set up, those making the most money don’t pay their fair share of taxes. I always thought that democracy was about sharing and being sure everyone has an equal chance to succeed.

Now we are faced with a president who has lied repeatedly, ran a university that was a scam, and failed to pay people who worked for him what he had promised to pay them.  Now he is planning to destroy many programs that help the very people he swore to help.  His often outrageous comments are meant to deflect attention away from unpleasant truths about himself and lead his followers down a false path.  He is a master manipulator.

Our president is not a role model any of us need.  We have to be our own role models and to share in every way that we can in our own lives.  We also need to observe what our representatives and senators support.  Are they supporting the middle and lower classes which are the bedrock of a democracy?  Are they standing up for truth? Do they believe our democracy should be based on sharing? Many clearly are not.

SHARING MEANS HELPING

Not everyone has an equal chance in life, but many of the programs Trump wants to cut are there to help those who are not born into privilege.  They help provide education for those whose jobs have been eliminated by the move from industry to technology.  They provide food for children that come from homes where the parents do not have the means to feed them properly.  They provide school systems with the teachers who can meet the needs of those with various disabilities.  They provide arts programs that help develop young brains in beneficial ways.

These needs are not theoretical to me.  They are very real.  I have taught in private schools and some of the poorest areas in this country, including inner city New Orleans, where 99% of my students were African-American, and a school serving Hispanic and Native-American students in New Mexico.  I have had students who did not get enough to eat, who were afraid of being killed by gangs, who had parents who were addicts or who worked two jobs and were rarely at home except to sleep. I always believed they deserved the guidance to create a better life for themselves.

When I was very young, we only had the necessities, no frills, but I was loved.  Growing up, I was taught to share what I had even when it wasn’t very much because there was always someone who had less.  But we now live in a society where we base our worth on the things we have and enact laws that support only those who are making millions.

What I love most about my dream is the delight the prize winner feels when she can share her good fortune. She doesn’t need three dolls.  She’d rather have a friend.  I believe that is what democracy is about—connecting with others, sharing what we have so we all have enough.

What can you share today?

© 2017 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  Awakening to Effect Change, Where Kindness Has Gone, Awakening to Accept Reality

 

AWAKENING TO LIVE WITH CHAOS

“We focus so much on our differences, and that is creating, I think, a lot of chaos, negativity, and bullying in the world.  And I think if everybody focused on what we all have in common – which is – we all want to be happy.”  Ellen DeGeneres

Snow Bird Lodge 063What do you do when confronted with an angry person?  How do you find peace when confronted with chaos?  How do you find happiness when there is too much negativity in your life?

CHAOS SEEMS TO SURROUND US

It is a time when keeping chaos at a distance is more difficult than usual.  The news is filled with natural disasters like the fires in California or the floods in Louisiana, with the insults Trump and Clinton hurl at one another, and with the wars in the Middle East that are making normal lives impossible for millions of people.  In addition, racism and misogyny have raised their ugly heads in a way that makes them impossible to ignore.

How do we find happiness in the midst of this without totally withdrawing from society?  The secret lies in how we experience our minds and emotions because the thoughts and comments we hear lodge in our mental spaces and become part of memory.  The more negative ones feed the ego that is always ready for more drama.

Because this is a presidential election year, we have a particular challenge.  We want to learn about the candidates so that we can make good choices about whom we vote for, but the particularly negative nature of the race this year makes that a challenge.  Whether or not we believe what the candidates say, their words and emotions, especially Donald Trump’s, affect our “pain body,” an aspect of the ego.

LEARN TO CALM THE “PAIN BODY”

Eckhart Tolle, in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose defines the “pain body” in this way: “The remnants of pain left behind by every strong negative emotion that is not fully faced, accepted, and let go of join together to form an energy field that lives in the very cells of your body.” (p. 142) He also points out that people who have active pain bodies tend to attract hostility and conflict. Others can feel the negative energy that is so strong in them and will react to it by lashing out or avoiding that person.

So the pain body is that part of the ego where we store the emotional pain we have suffered throughout life.  It is always hungry and feeds on drama, so negative feelings and ideas activate it easily.  We start to feel angry, hurt, or offended in some way.  We want to react quickly without thinking, and so we easily find ourselves embroiled in conflict or self-pity and at odds with the person offending us.

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DO WE ALWAYS CHOOSE UNHAPPY STORIES?

What is at the core of these unhappy feelings?  Tolle says, “Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness.”  For example, why are so many people attracted to Trump’s negative remarks?  Because he activates and supports their unhappy stories.  He feeds the pain body.  So instead of speaking to what is good in us and our society, he convinces us that our lives are awful (and some truly are) and only he can fix that.  Like many politicians, he speaks to people’s emotions and ignores any contradictory facts.

ONLY WE CAN FIX OURSELVES

The reality is that no candidates can fix us.  We can only fix ourselves by not attaching to the negative stories they perpetuate.  We must find peace in the midst of chaos by going within and centering ourselves.  Then we are able to see healthy solutions to the problems that haunt us and are able to differentiate between the candidate who has real solutions to the country’s problems and the one whose ego promises whatever will make him look powerful.

Becoming aware of the pain body, releasing our unhappy stories, and learning to be present and accept what we are feeling will allow us to be happier because we can then feel who we truly are.

By observing our own reactions, we can become aware of the kinds of events or comments that set us off.  When we are more conscious, we can choose a different path of behavior.

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BE CENTERED IN THE MOMENT

In those moments when the pain body is activated, we need to be in the moment, feel what we are feeling, and release our need to react.  Having practiced meditation, I know how peace feels and I try to release any need to react.  I want to simply be in the moment and observe the story that is emerging.  If I can choose not to attach to the negative emotions and ideas being expressed, I can choose not to experience the unhappiness inherent in the reaction of the pain body.

Every time I feel my pain body activate, I ask, “Do I really think this?  Do I really feel this?  Do I really need to respond to this?  Should I just let it go?  Then I affirm only what I believe is true. Each time I learn more about who I am.  Whether we like it or not, working with the pain body and letting go of our unhappy stories, can change our lives—and maybe our country.

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As Ellen DeGeneres said, “We all want to be happy.”  So, in addition to learning to live in a healthy way with our pain body and not letting it run our lives, we need to focus on what is good in our lives.  What do we have to be grateful for?

GRATITUDE ALSO LEADS TO HAPPINESS

Personally, in this divisive time in our country, I am grateful that Hillary, a well-qualified woman, is running for president and has a good chance of winning.  I wasn’t sure I would ever see that in my lifetime.  Despite all the negative things that are said about her, the fact is that she has worked to help others, especially women and children, all her life.  She has demonstrated she knows how to get things done that help people, and she doesn’t segregate people by race or gender.

When we focus on gratitude, we support what is good in our lives, what we have together and in community as well as in our individual lives.  That is our greatest source of happiness.

©2016 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  AWAKENING TO OUR MISDIRECTED PASSIONAWAKENING TO WHERE KINDNESS HAS GONE

 

 

 

AWAKENING TO THE SPRING OF LIFE

“We cannot stop the winter or summer from coming. We cannot stop the spring or the fall or stop them from being other than they are. They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.” Gary Zukav

Iris at Beaver Lake

What does spring mean to you? How do you change your life in the spring? How do you enliven your life or your community at this time of year?

Spring is about new life. Each year it awakens in many ways, distracting us from the winter blahs with flowers we haven’t seen for a year springing to life. Yesterday as I walked through the botanical gardens with a friend, trillium, buttercups, trout lily and a dozen colorful flowers peeked through the brown leaves that had blanketed the ground all winter. Continue reading

AWAKENING TO UNDERSTAND

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” Marie Curie

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Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

When you fear something, do you try to understand it? If you understand it, are you able to release the fear?

I’m not sure I agree with Marie Curie that there is “nothing in life to be feared,” but I often find that my fear goes away when I am able to understand a person or situation. Feeling fearful is often our first response when something new confronts us, especially if it appears to be negative.

Years ago when I first discovered I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I had many tests run to determine exactly what the problem was. It was a tense moment when I picked up the phone and heard my doctor’s voice. What was he going to tell me? Was this curable?

Understanding May Guide Us To New Solutions

“Well, Georganne, the bad news is that you have nine things wrong with you, but the good news is that we can cure them all.” I was surprised and relieved at the same time. There were chemical imbalances, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and absorption problems, but this doctor knew how to heal it all naturally.

By lavender3457

By lavender3457

As I learned more about what I needed to do, I understood it was within my ability to get well. My fear diminished, and the process of healing taught me how I needed to live in order to stay healthy when I was healed. It was a wonderful gift in disguise.

Awakening to Understand

Understanding may be the solution to releasing our fear, but how do we find that understanding? When we have a conflict with another person, we can resolve it only if we are willing to consider the other’s point of view and treat it with respect. We don’t have to agree with it or decide to do things another way, but sometimes we can release the fear in the conflict simply by knowing the other side of the issue. Usually, the unknown is what we fear most, but as long as we are afraid of an honest conversation, we will never discover the truth.

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Fear Blocks Understanding

The reality is that the natural fear that protects us from physical harm is the only kind of fear that is positive and helps us. The psychological fears that underlie so much of our behavior often need to be released before we can understand. When we release our fear first, before trying to understand a different point of view, we release the block that impairs our vision of the other’s way of looking at the situation. To learn more about the technique I teach to release fear, see this link.

At the moment, I’m very concerned about the state of Congress because I know that the amount of anger that seems to control decisions there is fear-based. All anger is. I often wonder if any time is spent in bi-partisan groups trying to understand what all the options and consequences are when a decision needs to be made. They seem so caught up in trying to prove they are right that they forget to focus on want is most needed by the people they serve.

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Awakening To Understand Leads To Solutions

When we find ourselves feeling fearful, it is perhaps wise to ask, “What don’t I understand here? What is the whole picture?” Going beyond our feelings and perceptions and trying to imagine what the other related ideas are may help us expand our understanding and adjust our own point of view when necessary, offering us new and better solutions.

Each time we have a new understanding, we widen our ability to perceive. We increase our experiences so that the next time a similar situation arises, we are better able to cope with it. That’s how we grow in life. If we are unwilling to do this, our ability to understand others will simply shrink and diminish our relationships. Growth is always preferable.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                                   ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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Wayne Dyer – the Ego Illusion

AWAKENING TO THE POWER OF PEACE

“Peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Is there peace within you and in your life? How do you create it? If it is not there, what are you willing to do to have it?

The recent violent events in France have been horrifying, especially now that we know some attacks were connected but planned to appear random. This kind of violence and death always create fear around the world as we wonder when this will happen near us.

Peaceful Protest Is Powerful

But what is astounding is the way the French and many others have reacted with peaceful protests supporting the freedom of speech that was vilified by the attackers. To see millions of people willing to expose themselves to possible violence in order to stand up peacefully for those who were killed brought me to tears. I suddenly realized this is how we defeat those who use violence in an attempt to destroy anyone who disagrees with them.

Peace Creates Peace

Martin Luther King, Jr. was right. Peace is the means by which we create peace. In the 60s he demonstrated the power of this. In our own lives, we may have done the same by remaining peaceful when others rail against us. Being peaceful in contentious situations creates a situation where the other person’s anger is dissipated by our unwillingness to participate.

Violence Does Not Solve Problems

The most obvious reason why violence does not solve problems is to look at the multiple wars taking place in our world now. Are they solving the problems that exist in these regions? Clearly not. The fighting continues because all sides want power over the other, and that desire will perpetuate the conflict. The only real solution is to learn to respect the ways we are different and work peacefully together.

We Must learn to See How We Are All One

In 1994 I traveled to West Africa on a Fulbright-Hays Grant for teachers. After a long, sleepless night on an airplane, we landed at 7:00 am in Dakar, Senegal. As I stepped from the plane, I expected to feel the uniqueness of being in a foreign country. What I felt was the opposite. I was overwhelmed with the feeling of Oneness—that we were all part of the same world, regardless of our ethnicity, religion, or language.

That was the gift I received from living in New Orleans, a unique culture very different from the one where I was reared or I had lived. I was not Catholic. I didn’t drink much alcohol or like to party. Most people I met had not gone to college and had never lived anywhere else. Worst of all, I couldn’t eat most of the popular food because of dietary intolerances. I just didn’t fit in.

Even in my work, I was different. I taught in a girls’ Catholic high school for five years and then in the New Orleans public schools for another five years where all my students, except for one, were African-American. I traveled to two or three schools a day teaching gifted students who lived in the inner city, some of the worst poverty-stricken parts of the city.

During those years, I was constantly challenged to expand my thinking and to have my opinions challenged. I had to get along daily with people who were very different from me and who saw life in a totally different way. Ironically, those differences were what enriched my life and made me a more tolerant and accepting person.

We All Need To Feel Powerful

We all want to have a certain amount of power in our lives. We need to have more than the necessities of life to enjoy life, but when peace is at the center of our lives, we don’t need to control others. We don’t need them to be like us in every way. It is this peace that the people who do violence lack. Ironically, it is the feeling of powerlessness that motivates their actions, for if our sense of personal power is strong, we don’t need to harm or control others.

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Inner peace is tremendously powerful, for it allows us to accept what is and not react in ways that would create a negative situation. This is the peace that will change the world, for it allows us to accept the way in which others are different from us without judging or feeling the need to change them.

When I was in Africa, for example, the importance of family was paramount, and it reminded me of the closeness I experienced growing up with many members of the family living in the neighborhood. I was also very touched by religious practices that were intertwined with nature, for my closeness to nature has always been at the core of my spirituality. I was surprised by all the ways I felt connected to this culture which on the surface seemed so different.

Controlling Others Is an Illusion Of Power

This is why it is so important that we be willing to learn what is true about other cultures. It is also why we need to look more closely at our own culture and repair what is damaged. There is a reason why some young people are drawn to violence in the inner city or choose to join radical groups in the Middle East. They feel powerless, and by destroying others, they feel they are winners.

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But they have won nothing worth having, for that power is an illusion. Lack of a loving family or mental illness is usually what creates this need for power, yet our government wants to cut the funds that support those with the greatest need. If we want to stop violence, we have to give people the support they need to create meaningful lives. No one in this country should have to go hungry.

As this year begins, let us each in our own community find a way to empower those in need and practice peace in our own lives. Each life matters. We don’t want any more of our children growing up to become terrorists. We need to love them and teach them to find peace within.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Environments of Love – Wayne Dyer, Creating A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle

AWAKENING TO JOY

“Find the place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” Joseph Campbell

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

The excitement and celebration of the holidays often creates a crescendo of energy only to be followed by a period when our lives suddenly feel empty, especially if we depend on external events to make us happy. But the quiet and silence that follows in the midst of this winter may be the richest time of year. With cold weather keeping us inside and perhaps reducing our social activities, we may turn within more often than usual.

If we use this time to make New Year’s resolutions and take stock of what we accomplished during the past year, this time may be very beneficial. If we have accomplished what we hoped to accomplish, we have reason to celebrate and feel joyous. If we have failed to live up to our expectations, we may feel we are failures in some way and become depressed.

The Greatest Treasure is Within, Not Outside Us

But if we can look beyond the external and tangible and return to our core, we may find that what lies there is a treasure much greater than anything we have created in the world. If we meditate, pray, or do any spiritual work, we have probably already learned that the true joy that enlightens and uplifts us comes from within and it has nothing to do with what we achieve in the external world.

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Feeling We Have Failed Is A Choice

For the last few days, there have been things in my life that were upsetting and I became depressed. I became focused on what was wrong, worrying that these difficulties might never be resolved. Despite my tendency to expect the best in life, I began to let fear settle in and create anxiety and a feeling that I have failed.

I kept thinking, “How can I fix this?” It soon became clear that I couldn’t. So what were my choices? I needed some guidance and turned to Oneness by Rasha. I began to reread Chapter 8 because it focuses on how negative events in our lives may actually be opportunities to raise our awareness and shift into a more loving place. And even the most difficult advice is given with great love.

Experiencing Negative Events Is Not A Sign of Failure

What I’ve experienced recently is a negative, recurring theme. I was deeply touched by the words of Oneness on this subject. It said, “Do not feel, as these powerful episodes present themselves, that the experience is evidence of spiritual backsliding on your part. Quite the contrary. By virtue of the fact that you have manifested extremes of experience, despite being in a space of heart-centered clarity with the issue in question, you can feel confident that you are at a completion with it. You will wish to respond in ways that will not re-escalate the energy charge that is being released in the process of drawing certain chapters to a close.” (p. 72)

What is Good For All Is Good For Us

As Oneness continued on the subject two things stood out for me. First it was the question we need to ask in these circumstances: “What is it that one wants to experience as one’s reality?” (p. 73) What I wanted was peace, understanding, and love. So what did I need to do? The answer was to look beyond myself and see what was best for everyone in this situation. “When one expects and anticipates the optimum outcome for all concerned, that outcome cannot help but be manifested as reality.” (p.73)

“Of course!” I thought. I needed to let go of my fear or as Oneness suggests, surrender to it. When I did, the sadness left, and I knew that I must also surrender to the situation, knowing that surrendering to my inner journey, accepting what is, and getting in touch with the joy within would lead me where I needed to go.

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Joy Is Healing

As I began to meditate and welcome the silence, the fear and depression dropped away. I felt the very joy of being flood over and fill me. The external events in my life did not matter. I knew, as I have known many times before that the answers to problems will come when I go deeply within and find that joy, for it changes everything.

It is not some new age adage that all answers lie within—it is truth. When we ask the Universe for guidance and have the patience to listen for its reply, we will receive what we need. And that joy Joseph Campbell writes about will overcome and heal the pain we feel. Joy is the greatest healing power we can experience.

As I sat quietly and allowed the joy and peace to fill me, those dark and negative conclusions I had reached disappeared. The joy healed my emotional pain, cleaned out the mental rubbish, and even nourished my body. I don’t know what the final answer is; I only know that by living in the joy, I am most likely to find positive solutions to any problem that arises.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                             ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

May this year bring all you desire and especially peace, love, and joy!

St Francis under a blanket of snow. Photo:Georganne Spruce

St Francis under a blanket of snow.
Photo:Georganne Spruce