Tag Archives: Positive thinking

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

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AWAKENING TO THE NEW YEAR

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”  Oprah Winfrey

How do you usually celebrate the New Year?  How will you live this year?  What changes do you need to make to find what you need?

We usually think of New Year’s Day and its eve as a time for rowdy celebration.  Parties, drinking, feasts, balloons, fireworks and parades exhaust us so we arise late on the first day of the year, yawning and worn out, ready for a quiet day.

But this year, many of those gatherings will not take place.  We need to keep our distances, wear our masks, and do whatever is safe rather than what is fun.  As we make our New Year’s resolutions, we will have to consider the possibilities that the restrictions we live under may continue.

We certainly welcome a new year this year for many reasons, most of all the hope that it will be better.  But when there is so much that we have little control over, we have no choice but to take the responsibility to do what we can do to make our lives better.

If we don’t feel good about how we handled things last year, we can evaluate what happened and how we responded and consider a better response for the future.  Most of all we need to celebrate what was good about our choices and the way we lived our lives.  We should make a list of all the good decisions we made and all the good responses we received.

Hal Borland has said, “Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”  It is experience, after all, that helps us “to get it right.”

Learning From Experience

Over the years, each relationship I was in taught me more about being with a partner.  I learned how to communicate what I wanted more clearly.  I learned how to be a better listener.  I learned what I could tolerate in another person’s behavior and what was intolerable.

These experiences gradually taught me what I really wanted in a relationship.  When I finally met the man to whom I am now married, I saw why we would make a good pair.  He had the main qualities that I wanted in a partner.  The lack of these specific behaviors and attitudes in other relationships had made them impossible to continue.  But this loving partnership felt like the one for which I had been searching.  After a few years of marriage, it is clear that I did make the right decision.

So as we imagine this next year, let’s make a list of all the experiences we most desire, even if they aren’t practical.  Then we can weave through them and begin to live out the ones that are the easiest to experience successfully.  This success will strengthen our belief that we can “get it right” this year and give us courage to create a good life.  Limitations are only roadblocks we have to discover how to climb over.

May you have the best year ever!

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO THE BLESSINGS OF RENEWAL

AWAKENING TO NEW INTENTIONS

 

 

 

AWAKENING TO YOUR IMAGINATION

“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man [or woman] contemplates it, bearing within him [her] the image of a cathedral.”  Antoine de Saint-Exupery

What are your wildest imaginations? Have your imaginings come true?  How did you make them happen?

During my growing up years, the only clothes I had, other than shoes and coats, my mother made for me.  We visited the remnant table in Blass’s basement and she would select remnants for the dress, skirt, blouse, or shorts she planned to make.  She would buy a pattern that I liked, then adapt it to fit her idea of the best design for my clothing.

I was a child who I didn’t want to stand out.  I liked the clothes my mother made me but sometimes they were too stylish. I felt uncomfortable, but never complained.  Sewing, for my mother, was not just about making clothes; it was also her creative expression.

I learned from Mother that you can take almost anything and change it into something different.  You just have to use your imagination.  For years as an adult, I made my own clothes using her approach, but when I could afford to buy them, I stopped sewing so often.  By then I had developed other ways to use my imagination, writing poetry and short stories and creating interesting lesson plans for the students I taught.

Imagination and Creativity

Our imagination is at the basis of all creativity and can be used in all areas of our lives.  Last week in the blog, I wrote about how what we see and the way we see creates a vision.  In order to put our vision in action, we must imagine the route to take.  We may imagine many routes, looking at each one, evaluating the possibilities and difficulties of each approach.

For example, many young people have to work while attending college or technical school.  This isn’t an easy path.  It will eventually lead them to becoming the lawyer or nurse they wish to be and allow them to make the money they need to live a good life.  But challenges also come with the plan: arranging child care, fitting hours together for school and work, or perhaps transportation issues.

Imagining to Reach A Goal

As we put our vision in action, we may discover that what we thought we wanted won’t work.  We have to find a better way to achieve our goal.  We have to stretch our thinking to find the most effective way to succeed.  The value of imagining and exploring many possibilities may push us to look at solutions we would never have considered until our imagination took us on this journey.

Even when our physical lives restrict what we experience, our imagination is unlimited if we allow it to be open.  Jean-Jacques Rousseau said, “The world of reality has its limits; the world of the imagination is boundless.”  This is why I love writing.  It allows my mind to flow, play with words, explore ideas that I couldn’t pursue in real life.  It also enriches what I do experience by pushing me to look beyond the physical aspect.

Understanding Differences

Imagination also helps us to understand those who are different from us.  I became a high school teacher in inner city New Orleans teaching mainly gifted black students. I was not racially biased and felt I could give them the support they deserved.  But I discovered there was much I didn’t understand about their lives.  It was an education for me and I felt compassion for their struggles.  Despite the challenges they all faced, I still pushed them to imagine how their exceptional intelligence could lead to a better life and what steps they needed to take.

It isn’t easy to break patterns that have been used to define us.  Parents, teachers, or employers may continue to support personal or cultural patterns that limit who they are and how they see those around them.  But when we allow ourselves to imagine life beyond the poverty, race, hate, or economic situations of others and imagine they could move beyond those limitations, we also open the world to ourselves.

Making Dreams Come True

 In our imagination, we all have dreams.  One of mine was writing a memoir.  A part of me said, “Why would anyone want to read about your life?  You’re not a celebrity.”  Another part of me said, “Others can learn from your experience.  It may help them to have the courage to become who they really are.”  Would anyone want to read my book?  I didn’t know, but I knew that writing it would help me grow, and it did.  My imagination led me through the process, around the curves, and helped me climb out of the ditches I fell into.

Writing was one thing, but creating the format and handling the technical aspect of self-publishing almost stopped my progress.  I barely understand what I needed to do.  So, I asked other writers, and to my astonishment, two people offered to format the e-book and help with the paperback.  Then I found a class with an incredible teacher who led me through many technical difficulties.  Eventually, the pile of papers I worked with every day became an actual book.

Awaken to your imagination.  Imagination is not just mental activity. It is also energy and that energy may draw to us exactly what we need when we allow ourselves to see, imagine, and visualize our desire.  A pile of rocks can become a cathedral and a pile of papers a published book.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

MY MEMOIR

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AWAKENING TO GIVE THANKS

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”  Oprah Winfrey

Susie Q

Susie Q

I hope you enjoy this post from a few years ago.  It says so much that I think is relevant during these times and any others.  This honors Thanksgiving but also Susie who has aged considerably and may not be around as long as we would like.  So Happy Thanksgiving to you All!

For the last several years, I have focused on the philosophy that Oprah espouses, and it has served me well.  It has reprogrammed my previous disappointment with the specific aspects of my life with a belief that there is more good than bad in the challenges I’ve encountered.   I have grown in many ways that have made me a wiser person because I have often been forced to change the way I see things.

Pets Offer Us to Love

I know that most people prefer dogs, but I’ve always preferred cats.  They’re so cuddly like holding a baby in your arms, and they take care of their own cleaning, eat when they feel like it, and use a litter box so you don’t have to walk them on rainy days.  They are much easier to live with than a dog if you live in apartments as I usually have, and their need for some “private time” works nicely with my need for time alone.  While many people see them as indifferent, I have always felt very loved by my cats.

Cats0001

I never wanted a dog.  You have to walk them, bathe them, give them lots of attention, and they are rather scary if they don’t like you, especially if they are large.  However, I’ve been around many dogs because I live in a dog-loving city where many people have bumper stickers that read “Dog is Love” and take their dogs into stores and out to dinner with them.  Asheville has been called “The Paris of the South” partly because it has so many restaurants with outdoor dining areas.  Personally, I believe these areas were created for the customers who refuse to be separated from their dogs even for a meal.

Receiving Two Gifts, Not One

I never expected to have a dog in my life on a daily basis, but here I am, the adopted mother of a dog named Susie Q.  She is in my life because one of the great gifts I’ve received this year is a relationship with a loving man, her “daddy,” a man who has all the qualities I had on my list for the perfect partner. I didn’t realize when I started seeing him that I had received two treasures, not just one.

Dogs Can Teach Us to Be Thankful for Small Things

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t choose to be involved with a man who deeply loves another woman, but I decided to make an exception in this case, and I’m glad I did because Susie Q is a wise woman dog.  She has taught me so much about love and thankfulness.  In a time when people often don’t say thank you when you open the door for them, I truly appreciate how thankful Susie is.

Each time we meet, she is so excited she comes running up to me with her tail wagging, barking, and jumping around like a happy little kid.  When I pet her, she looks at me with her dreamy brown eyes like I’m the most wonderful person in the world.  She shows her affection for me by sitting on my foot, or if I’m sitting, she sweetly lays her head on my shoe.  If I would let her, I’m sure she would crawl into my lap, but she’s a little large for that.

dog3

Animals Demonstrate the Love They Are Shown

With a tail that wags “thank you” for each good thing she experiences, no matter how small, she reminds me to appreciate all that I experience in life.  She accepts me when I am joyful, and when I am sad, she is nearby looking for an opportunity to show her concern.  It is clear to me that she is able to love so much because she has been loved and that says a lot about her “daddy” –a man who knows a great deal about giving and receiving love.  Susie Q and I are very lucky women.

Be Open to Unexpected Gifts

So, on this day before Thanksgiving, with the first snow of the year falling, I am reminded that some of our greatest gifts come from unexpected places in unexpected ways.  If we are willing to keep an open mind, we will be present to accept them.

Thanks to each and every one of you who read and follow my blog.

May you have an abundant Thanksgiving!

© 2013 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:   Staying Thankful by Wayne DyerGratitude by Wayne DyerA Dose of Gratitude: How Being Grateful Can Keep You Happy, Being Thankful Is Good for Your Heart

AWAKENING TO TODAY’S TRANSITION

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” Eckhart Tolle

How do you feel about the political transition we are all in?  Is there also a personal transition in your life?  How are you dealing with the changes that need to take place?

It’s a gray, rainy day and I wish I had a cat.  I used to have two cats and loved the way they snuggled with me in bed or when I sat on the couch reading.  Their warmth and fuzziness were comforting and it was difficult when both had passed.

Dogs can be comforting too, but our current dog Susie is on her last legs, literally, and spends most of the day sleeping on her bed.  There was a time too when she climbed onto a human bed to comfort my husband’s former wife when she was ill.  But now it is difficult to see Susie slipping away although we all have to make the ultimate transition sooner or later.

In some sense we are all in transition at this moment in our country.  Unfortunately, it isn’t looking like a smooth one.  We all have experiences in life when we need to move on, but the change may feel difficult and uncomfortable.  We may resist because it is disappointing to leave a good job, to lose the person we love, or see the candidate we supported lose an election.   Accepting the discomfort of this situation allows us the opportunity to recover and move on.

Changes Are Reality

When we refuse to accept the inevitable, we harm ourselves and often others.  President Trump’s refusal to concede ignores the value of a peaceful transition that benefits all citizens and himself.  But his attitude indicates that he values himself only when he has power over others.  To have one’s self-worth based on such an idea leads only to disaster.

At first, I was only angry when he refused to concede.  Now that he has proceeded with trying to change the election results, I’ve realized he is even more insecure than I suspected.  Despite his attempts to create difficulty for President-elect Biden, his aggressive behavior will only turn more people away from him.  This is a democracy.  The people have made a decision, and it’s time for Trump to move on.

There are always things we need to do to prepare for a transition when we are aware of it in advance.  If the transition is the result of losing a loved one, we may shed tears, reach out to friends who have hopefully reached out to us, and give ourselves time to see what changes we need to make in order to move on.

We Can Learn From Losses

My maternal grandmother was the one person in my life who totally accepted me.  She always expressed her love, accepted who and where I was, and supported me without judgement.  Losing her was devastating and I grieved for a long time.  But with time, I understood that her love would always be with me, that I truly was the good person she saw me to be, and after I grieved, I understood she would always be in my heart.

I’ve also made many transitions moving from place to place.  Naturally, the moves required much preparation:  physically packing, hiring a moving van, and finding a new place to live.  Although difficult at times and not always a desired transition, something good invariably came into my life.  I had a better paying job, made new and interesting friends, or lived in a healthier environment.

When we choose to stay stuck, we close our minds to new possibilities that may expand our lives.  We shrink our possibilities.  When we are forced into a transition that we do not desire, it is a rich time for reflection.  What have we been doing wrong? What have we been doing right?  Change presents an opportunity to learn, and we all need to be life-long learners.

Being president has made Trump feel more powerful than ever.  Anything else, he considers a loss.  Instead he needs to realize the opportunities that being an ex-president offer.  Having served in this office gives him influence that persists, but his inability to move on, his desire to destroy what he can to make the transition difficult for Biden only diminishes his own power.  Yet he cannot see that.  How sad.

As Trump leaves office, I have only these words for him:  the more you destroy our democracy, the more you are personally diminished.  Leave office with the elegance of the king you wish you were.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

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AWAKENING TO OUR SOUL’S GARDEN

“Our uniqueness is God’s garden and God calls us to walk in this garden in love…for one another.” Reverend Naomi Tutu

Does your spiritual belief allow you to love all people? Does your life include diversity?  How are you able to accept those who are different?

On Sunday, August 16, I was very moved by the main message Rev. Naomi Tutu gave at the online Jubilee Community service in Asheville, NC.  Related to her statement that I have quoted, she talked about how diverse her mother’s garden was and how much she loved that diversity in nature. I was very moved by the metaphor of the garden.  Although I have rarely grown gardens, I love the natural gardens of the forest.

Most of us would find a garden with a wide variety of blossoms to be very beautiful.  Around here, the Biltmore Estate has a popular flower garden filled with color especially in the spring and summer where people love to walk and relax.

My husband and I recently wandered off a hiking path to discover a lovely community garden.  We were amazed by the wide diversity of colorful fruits and vegetables that lusciously feed those who cultivate the field.

We are blessed to live in this Appalachian area around Asheville because the natural environment is the most diverse in the world.  It is a gold mine for those who wish to explore the diversity of the natural environment and we frequently find flowers or mushrooms we’ve never before seen.

Most of us appreciate the diversity in our natural garden, but what about our human garden?  Are we comfortable walking among its diversity?  Does the variety of humanity feed us in some way?

What Diversity Can Teach Us

Our ability to be comfortable with human diversity is deeply rooted in our background, experiences, and open mindedness. As a child I was taught to respect all people, but for many years the only people I was around were white like me.  In high school and college, I had minor contacts with people of African descent but did not really know anyone until I acted alongside a black student in a theatrical performance. It was the first time I realized I really had no idea what it was like not to be white.

Later, living in Washington, D. C., I encountered few people in the suburbs unlike me except when I was teaching at a Catholic girls’ school.  I’d grown up Protestant so I had to get used to the culture of nuns, dress more conservatively, and adjust to attending the school’s religious masses.

It was not until I lived in Denver in the eighties that I experienced an even more diverse spiritual environment.  I had always been searching for something without knowing what it was that was missing in my Christian spiritual life.  I had long ago stopped attending services, and because of a deep friendship with a man who was a Buddhist, I became curious about his faith.  I studied eastern religion, learned to meditate, and taught dance for a short time at the Naropa Institute in Boulder.

From this new experience, my understanding of God’s love expanded.  I dealt with life’s challenges in a calmer, more centered manner.  As I moved through this new spiritual garden, I enjoyed its diversity because it opened my mind to an expanded understanding of humanity.  I felt connected to people from Eastern countries in a way I had never before experienced.

Differences May Teach Us

Diversity is easier to accept when we understand the nature of our differences.  Except for the gender prejudice I had experienced as a woman, I had never been treated differently because I was white until I lived in New Orleans where, in some areas, whites did not feel welcome.

It is hard to imagine any place on earth that is more unique than New Orleans.  It is a multicultural city with a large black population, where most of all families are Catholic, and the food is unique, based on French and African influences.  I moved there to be with my family.

Having previously taught in a Catholic school helped me understand those I met who were dedicated to Catholicism.  Teaching multiracial gifted students in the inner city helped me understand their challenges and I felt compassion for the difficulties they faced trapped in poverty. I still remember the girl with a dysfunctional mother who got pregnant so someone would love her and the boy who feared his brother would be shot by a gang member.

Accepting Diversity Opens Hearts

It is so easy to judge people at a distance because we cannot see who they truly are.  It is much easier to simply dismiss them as different, but when we take the time to know them, they can potentially enrich our lives.

The diversity in my life experiences has taught me that we must learn to love those who are different from us and to respect all humanity.  When we focus on what we share in common rather than only on what is different, we plant seeds of love that will grow into a garden of understanding and respect.  Anais Nin has said, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

The more we open our eyes and our hearts and come to understand that we are all God’s children, the more our soul’s garden will expand and feed us abundantly.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO LOVE THE WORLD Part 2, DIVERSITY

AWAKENING TO COMPASSION

AWAKENING TO OUR WORLD COMMUNITY

 

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

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AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

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AWAKENING TO LAUGH AT SIMPLE THINGS

“Laughter is the sunbeam of the soul.” Thomas Man

How are you spending your time indoors?  Does it feel confining or like a vacation?  How do you feel about the solitude if you are alone?

Life is relatively simple now.  I’m able to ease my way through the day, not willing to set a schedule yet, although I may need to do that in the future.  Yesterday morning I was out running necessary errands and was amazed by how few cars were on the highway.  It reminded me of the Asheville I knew many years ago before the tourist trade exploded.

While life may seem boring as we are confined to our homes, fortunately spring is approaching, and I’m delighted each day as I see the azalea blossoms quickly growing in size.  When I walk in the neighborhood, people are keeping their distance but always wave and smile.  And of course there are also those moments we don’t expect that may awe us or bring us laughter.

Comedy  Shows

A couple of sunny days ago, my husband and I took Susie our dog out for a walk on our street.  I was so glad to get out because I had been spending too much time on Facebook and reading emails.  Too much sitting time!

When we are ready to walk Susie, we try to get her to poop in our yard.  But no matter how much we try to get her to do this, she usually saves it and drops it next to the curb on the street in front of one our neighbors’ yards.

But this time as we walked to the center of the intersection close to our house, Susie stopped in the middle of the intersection and pooped just as a neighbor stopped at the nearby stop sign.  We were all surprised and laughed.  As Charlie gathered up the poop, he was laughing so hard I was afraid he would fall over.  Susie strutted off with her head held high, as if she had just shit diamonds.

We couldn’t stop laughing as we continued to walk up the street thinking how grateful we were for a good laugh that day.  This was not the end of it however.  In the distance, we heard several people yelling and laughing.  As we approached the house two people were hanging off their balcony laughing hysterically.  Everyone was at a good distance, so we stopped to see what was so funny.

It was a dog.  A little boy with a hose in hand was spewing water in circles around the yard. The dog chased the water like he was chasing a cat, barking and jumping around, pouncing on the water as it hit the ground. What we thought would be a quiet walk had turned into a comedy show.

The Healing Power of Laughter

Isn’t it amazing how unexpected things can suddenly appear to spark our laughter?  To say Charlie and I felt uplifted after these experiences would be an understatement!  Positive energy flooded our bodies and brightened our souls.  William James was right when he said, “We don’t laugh because we are happy, we’re happy because we laugh.”

We all need humor in our lives as we must now for safety keep our distance and avoid friends.  It’s true that technology has made connection easier.  Although I always prefer face to face contact, I do truly appreciate the funny posts people put on Facebook.  It gives me many opportunities to laugh or at least smile as I read them.

These simple things in life can lift us up even if only for the moment, and for that moment the sun shines in our souls.  The burdens and challenges drop away and we feel freer, ready to go on to the next challenge.  Sometimes,  simple things take us the deepest, and then we feel like we’ve discovered the diamonds.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Readings : AWAKENING TO THE LAUGHTER WITHIN

AWAKENING TO THE HOME WITHIN

AWAKENING TO LOVE ALL WE ARE

 

AWAKENING TO NEW THOUGHTS

“Change your thoughts and change your world.” Norman Vincent Peale

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How do your thoughts affect how you feel? Do you feel threatened when you are exposed to new ideas? How do you deal with that?

One of the most startling moments of my life was when I attended a Unity church many years ago. Amid other points a workshop speaker was making, he emphasized the point that our thoughts create our emotions, not the other way around.

Our Thoughts Create Emotions

Having always been a rather emotional person, I thought, “Wait a minute. That can’t be right.” But over the next few days as I contemplated this idea, I realized that behind every fear or angry feeling I had there was a thought related to it. What I had heard at the workshop began to make sense.

After choosing to practice this idea that changing my thinking could change my emotions, I discovered that I could let go of many fears. Instead of focusing on all the things that could go wrong in a situation, I could focus on what I wanted to happen. I learned to expect the best. As a result, my life seemed to go better.

That doesn’t mean that what we envision will always happen, it just means it’s more likely to manifest. Expecting the worst in life doesn’t help or move us ahead. If we expect things to go badly, we probably won’t make as much effort to create what we really want.

Expressing Negativity Puts Negative Energy Into the World

The U.S. election his year is a perfect example of how powerful our thoughts can be. The negative thoughts flying through the air from candidate to candidate are increasingly creating fear and more anger. That kind of negativity damages those who speak it and those who receive it. Can you imagine how much damage will be done if those with the most violent and disrespectful attitudes win?

Respect Creates Positive Energy

How can we use our thoughts to benefit and change our world for the better? Shall we start with simple respect? There are so many opportunities to practice respect every day even when we come into contact with ideas and people we don’t like. Being respectful doesn’t mean we have to agree or accept situations we don’t like; it simply means we treat each other like worthwhile human beings.

Our actions, as well as our thoughts, create energy in our lives. We can choose the quality of that by taking control of what we think, by not acting only out of emotion, but by examining the situation and deciding what we think first. What are the pros and cons of making a certain decision? Is there fear involved? Why?

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Fearing Those Who Are Different Doesn’t Help Us

A member of my family once told me that he feared Muslims; however, he had never known one. In contrast, another family member had the opportunity to get to know a young Muslim woman, became friends with her, and learned a great deal about her that she respected. So often, it is what we don’t know that frightens us, and the only way to change that is to educate ourselves and be willing to open our minds to visit with people who are different.

When I began teaching high school in the New Orleans Public Schools in the 1990’s, my greatest fear was that I would say or do something that would offend someone. Most of the teachers and all but one of my students were African-American.

That fear came from an experience I had had in college. Eating dinner one night with an African-American friend, I had made a “stupid” comment as I tried to empathize with her. I was not a prejudiced person, but I had rarely had an opportunity to know an African-American person, and I focused on our similarities, not our differences.

As a result of my misstep, when I went to teach in NOPS, I was afraid that I might say something insensitive without really knowing it. Fortunately, I seemed to get along with everyone and I was never accused of being insensitive. The longer I worked in that situation and got to know individuals, the more I learned about the culture, and the less fear I felt.

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Changing Our Thoughts May Create Peace

Learning to change our thoughts and choose what we think is a powerful lesson. Experience with what we fear may help us, but ultimately we need to find ways to let go of the psychological fears that keep us living in narrow spaces. Diversity is a reality in the modern world and it’s not going to change. If we are to live happily and at peace, we have to learn to respect our differences.

The current election is just one opportunity we have to change our thoughts and our world. We need to educate ourselves about the candidates, observe their behavior, and know that if they do not treat each other respectfully, they certainly are not going to treat us with respect. In a democracy, our right to vote is a powerful tool we all need to use.

Change Our Thoughts To Help Others

But our respect also includes being aware of those in need in our society and caring what happens to them. Most people in need are not in that situation because they have been irresponsible, but because they haven’t had the opportunity to do better. In fact, many may have been taught that they can’t succeed, and they believe what they have been told. How we treat others can help change their thinking too.

How we think is our choice. Let us begin to choose compassion, love, and respect for one another, sending positive energy out into the world. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

What thoughts do you need to change to make your life better?

© 2016 Georganne Spruce                                                         ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Posts:  Awakening to the World, Part 2, Diversity, Awakening to Live without Fear, Transforming the Fear of Change

AWAKENING TO SYNCHRONICITY

“According to Vedanta, there are only two symptoms of enlightenment, just two indications that a transformation is taking place within you toward a higher consciousness. The first symptom is that you stop worrying….The second symptom is that you encounter more and more meaningful coincidences in your life, more and more synchronicities. And this accelerates to the point where you actually experience the miraculous.” Deepak Chopra

enlightenment imageDo you see enlightenment as a destination or journey? Where are you on that path? Do you worry a great deal? How often do you experience synchronicities? What do they mean to you?

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in the Asheville Bookfest, selling my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, and visiting with an array of interesting people. I always enjoy these events because I have interesting conversations with other writers as well as with the people who attend.

Synchronicity Initiates Sharing

At this event, sponsored by Grateful Steps Publishing and Bookstore, I experienced some synchronicities that were interesting. In one instance, a man who bought the book was drawn to it initially because, although he wasn’t a professional dancer, he had danced in a dance production choreographed by Liz Lerman whose choreography often included non-trained dancers. What he had experienced was very meaningful to him.

 

What was interesting was that when I danced with a modern company in Washington, DC in the 70s, Liz choreographed a dance for the company. The man had connected with her elsewhere. As a result of this synchronicity, the man and I shared the deep meaning dance had for us both and the wonderful experience of working with Liz.

Highland Books with Georganne Spruce, Celia Miles and Nancy Cash Photo: Jenny Munro

Highland Books with Celia Miles and Nancy Cash
Photo: Jenny Munro

Art May Create Synchronicities In Life

He bought the book and I smiled as he walked away because I knew there was a surprise waiting for him in the book. There was more synchronicity to my connection with Liz Lerman. In the dance Liz created for the company, I danced a role that was a reflection of what I was experiencing in my life and dreams. In the dance I wore a red dress just like my self who was appearing in my dreams at the time. Both in the dance and in real life and in the dream, I was the woman in the red dress, rejecting traditional feminine choices.

Then yesterday as I signed books at Highland Books in  Brevard, NC with two other authors, Celia Miles and Nancy Cash, I met a young woman who had studied with many of the same teachers with whom I had studied when I was a modern dancer.  It was delightful to share these experiences.

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Silence Helps Us See Deeper Connections

We all may experience synchronicities, but we may not be aware of it. If we are constantly rushing around without time to experience silence, we simply may not notice the new idea that pops up in our heads or the person who wants a moment of our time who may offer us a wonderful opportunity.

I can remember a time, after my divorce many years ago, that I was so determined to learn to be independent that I often rejected the help people offered me that would have been valuable. My unconscious had called for the help, but my conscious mind ignored it. I have often seen others do this as well, not only because they don’t want to appear weak, but also because the idea may seem strange and they are unwilling to pursue it to understand if it could be valuable.

I have been on a spiritual journey for as long as I can remember and have experienced many synchronicities so I suppose that’s a sign I am continuing to become more aware, for enlightenment is a journey, not a destination. When I was young, I looked at these unexpected connections and pleasant happenings as nice surprises. It felt like I had nothing to do with creating them.

Focusing On Positive Thoughts Creates Positive Experiences

When we are aware that we are all energy, our energy around a certain issue or need may help manifest what we want. Our thoughts are energy too, and as Chopra points out, we are more enlightened when we learn not to worry. At the root of worry is fear, negative energy, and that may attract to us exactly what we don’t want. When we ask the Universe to fill our needs and don’t worry about what happens, we help clear the way for what we need to manifest.

When we are more aware, we don’t miss out on as many opportunities. We are open to the synchronistic events that arrive unconnected to any rational choice. Certainly the most amazing synchronicity I’ve experienced in recent years was the way my husband and I met online in the very few hours that we were on the same sight. You can read about this at Awakening to True Love. There were many synchronicities including the fact that he was preparing to move to the area where I live and that I was teaching a workshop on how to release your fear a few days after he arrived in the area.

As a result of the many positive synchronicities I’ve experienced in life, I expect surprises to be good ones. When I can’t solve a problem, I trust the answer will appear when needed or I do the best I can, knowing that guidance will come at the right time. But I’ve also noticed that the more positive my general attitude toward life has become, the more I am drawing good experiences into my life. Spirit and I are One now and that’s the greatest miracle of all.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                             ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Deepak Chopra–Video on Synchronicity, Wayne Dyer: Faith, Synchronicity,Consciousness – video