Tag Archives: Responsibility


“Life isn’t about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”  George Bernard Shaw

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Do you ever teach yourself a new skill?  Are you satisfied with your life and resist exploring new ideas?  Or are you always open to new perspectives on your life?

For many years, I taught in high schools and universities, and what I liked most about teaching were those moments when a student suddenly “got it.”  A new idea or perspective suddenly entered their life and shifted their attention to that moment when it all came together.  That’s what I saw as my purpose as a teacher—to awaken the students to think and explore their view of life and expand their thinking.

Learning Awakens Us

Hopefully, we’ve all had at least one teacher who helped us untangle the confusion of our lives or urged us to step into the unknown and discover talents we never realized we had.  Those moments when something shifted were significant because we had to make a decision.  Were we willing to explore this new idea or did its newness frighten us into retreating?  When we chose to explore the unknown, we chose to let life and our participation in it become our teacher.

Our Choices Determine Who We Are

Every teacher must first learn the material that is to be taught, assimilate it, and decide on what is important to present to others.  These steps are also useful in living life.  They help us decide who we want to be, and the choices we make determine how we develop spiritually, emotionally, or intellectually.

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Reflection Connects Us With Our Spiritual Core

If we want to truly understand ourselves, others, and our world, we must be willing to reflect.  At our core is a spiritual essence that is unique.  When we talk about finding ourselves, we usually are referring to being in touch with that depth in ourselves, but how we connect this to our external selves is how we create the whole of who we are.

So, how much are we willing to expand?  Becoming our own most important teacher means that we accept full responsibility for our lives.  We choose a set of values to guide us, and we see each challenge as an opportunity for learning.  We make the best decisions we can, and then we reflect on our behavior.  Did we accomplish what we hoped?  Did we do it without harming anyone?  Are we comfortable with the consequences of our choices?

Spiritual Solutions to Problems Are More Lasting

When things don’t work out the way we wish, it is often difficult to admit our mistakes and get help solving our problems.  Our egos don’t like to admit our choices weren’t good, so we may choose to resist any suggestion we made poor choices.  The more we resist, the greater the problem becomes, and the more we block valuable intuitive and inner guidance.

When we’re willing to reflect honestly and look at the situation from our hearts, we then open ourselves to the spiritual guidance that is always there for us, through prayer or meditation, from Spirit.  Developing our relationship to Spirit will offer a new dimension to our decision-making abilities.  Solving problems at this level can give us more substantial and lasting solutions to problems.

Being Our Own Best Teacher Requires Self-discipline

Teaching ourselves is a life-long process, and like the classroom teacher, hopefully we share what we learn on this journey.  Over the years, dealing with fears of inadequacy and rejections was a major challenge for me.  I explored many techniques for releasing it.  In each case, I had to teach myself to use the technique.  I had to choose to work with it every day, month after month, until I could see if it was beneficial or not.

Others can teach us about a technique we can use, but we have to teach ourselves to use it, and that requires self-discipline.  While I often heard that it was natural to experience fear, I saw too many examples of the way psychological fears controlled people’s lives in negative ways.  I decided to teach myself how to live without those fears.  From my modern dance career, I had learned that I had to practice if I wanted to achieve a skill level that would allow me to perform.  So, I applied that same persistence to learn the technique to release my fear.  As a result, those old fears no longer dominate my life.  I decided to become who I wanted to be.

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Because learning to release my fear has been so valuable to me, I teach workshops on this technique several times a year and share with others what I have learned.  Since I live in a community of conscious people, I am grateful for the things they have learned and share with me.  I am particularly grateful for the way people have shared their technical knowledge with me, many of whom, like me have chosen to be their own teachers.

Teaching Ourselves Expands Us

Today, especially with the internet, there is an endless opportunity to learn.  As our minds expand, our lives expand, our spirit expands and we become so much more than we ever dreamed we could be.  What will you teach yourself tomorrow?

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                              ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5             Related Articles:  10 Tips for Becoming Your Own Teacher, You Are Your Own Spiritual Teacher, Teaching as A Spiritual Practice 


“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”  Arthur Schopenhauer

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What do you do when you are offended by what someone says to you?  How often do you stop and think about your response before speaking?  How can you create peace in a conflicted situation?

We can only see what we can see.  When I was four, my world consisted of the house where my parents and I lived, my great aunt’s and great grandmother’s house next door, my grandparents’ garage apartment and my grandfather’s carpentry shop below, and the yard in between.  It was a rich, loving world filled with cats, birds, a boxer dog, and a bureau full of books.

Life Experience Can Broaden Our Vision

Many years later, my world is quite different.  I have lived in urban environments in all four parts of the United States and spent several weeks studying in West Africa.  All those loving people who surrounded me at four have passed.  I am now surrounded by the mountains I love, but the world I know stretches far beyond this hollow.

The more I have been exposed to people who are different from me, the more I have grown in my understanding of human nature.  Part of this is related to my own curious mind.  I love learning about almost anything.  I have always been curious about views that are different from mine and I don’t feel threatened at all by being exposed to new ideas.  I read, explore, and if I feel the idea or practice may be useful, I work with it for a while to determine if it has value for me.

Communication Is The Key To Understanding

Because of my exposure to different cultures, I have become more aware that the way we communicate is the key to understanding each other.  There are many practices that relate to compassionate communication, but I want to look at one specific aspect of communication today.  What is our intention when we speak?

Having tended a number of discussion groups over the last few years, I have observed that there are some people who just want to let off steam.  Others want to prove they are right and turn any discussion into a debate.  Many people want to connect with others in a way that builds community and deep connections.  These are all very different ways of communicating.

Personally, I want to connect in a way that allows me to understand others and that they understand me, for understanding helps me respect the views with which I disagree.  I don’t have to agree with what another believes, but I need to respect it and be compassionate because this can create peace where otherwise there may be conflict.  I want peace in the world and this is one way I can help create it.

Check Within Before We Speak

We can’t control how another person acts, but we can choose to take responsibility for ourselves.  Self-monitoring helps us become more conscious.  For example, a discussion becomes heated and we feel ourselves becoming offended by what is being said.  Before we speak, it is wise to check within.  Are we feeling defensive or angry?  Are we feeling disrespected?  Can we offer our perspective in a way that may calm tempers and shift the tone of the discussion?  When we speak, what is our intention?

Our Choices Reflect Our Intention

 Our intention is reflected in our choice of words.  It is amazing how powerful this choice is.  For example, consider the difference between chatter and rant used as words to describe a comment you’ve made.  Chatter is defined as trivial or idle talk.  Rant is defined as pompous or overblown speech.  Neither word is a compliment.  So, it is important to be mindful enough to choose words that will not insult the other person if what we want is a meaningful dialogue.

The Outer Reflects the Inner

Our choice of words is a reflection of our intention.  The outer expresses the inner and that is why we need to be willing to examine our intention and we need to be willing to listen carefully to the other person and observe their body language and tone of voice.  What they are expressing reflects their inner selves as well.  If we are compassionate, we will try to put aside our ego needs and listen with love.

If what the other person is expressing is negative, we need to remember that behind all negative attitudes, there is fear.  Where there is fear, there is pain.  Perhaps they cling to certain beliefs because their whole world would fall apart if they even considered an alternative. We all experience this, so the question is:  When we are listening to someone who is expressing a view we find irritating or offensive, can we remember that we are hearing their pain and can we also consider that our negative response may be coming from our pain.

Be Open To Learning

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Schopenhauer portrait1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Schopenhauer said, “Truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed; Second it is violently opposed; Third, it is accepted as self-evident.”  There was a time when mankind laughed at anyone who suggested the earth was round.  We all evolve and our understanding of life hopefully evolves too. When we find ourselves quickly dismissing another’s ideas, it may be a good idea to explore the possibility that a truth lies hidden beneath what we consider the chatter or the rant.

Setting the intention to listen and speak compassionately primes us to be more mindful and respectful.  Who knows—maybe the next outrageous idea we hear, in six month’s time, will be the answer to a major dilemma in our lives.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                         ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Compassion Is Not Optional, Make Love Your Habit (Wayne Dyer), Compassion Is the Key (audio – Wayne Dyer), Living Peacefully


“Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.  Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.”  Miquel Ruiz

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Are you a responsible person?  How do you define responsibility?  Do you communicate compassionately and take responsibility for what you express?

Responsibility Comes From Within

The theme of responsibility seems to be surfacing in my life this week.  We often think of responsibility in terms of the exterior life: supporting ourselves financially, not telling lies, or doing what we say we will do.  That’s all very important because what we do externally is a sign of who we are at a deeper level.

I attend a couple of discussion groups and the topic for the one I attended recently was the second of Don Miquel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom.  This book is a wonderful guide to living our lives and I highly recommend it.  The second agreement is “Don’t take anything personally.”  Needless to say, this aroused a lively discussion.

The Emotional Source of Our Conflicts

It also reminded me of so many experiences in my life when, at the time an event was occurring, I could not see how I was part of creating a conflict.  For example, a friend and I, who are members of group, had a very unpleasant disagreement over whether a particular meeting with a guest speaker would take place at his house or mine.  The event had been scheduled weeks in advance for my house.

Then my friend informed me that he was changing the location to his house because he had invited the speaker and felt his place would work better.  I was upset because I love having this group in my home and I knew it would be months before I could host the meeting again.  I explained this to him, but he remained firm in his decision and I felt he was saying my house was inadequate for this event.  I’ve hosted many of these events and I was rather offended by his attitude.  Finally he said, “This isn’t personal.”


Communication (Photo credit: P Shanks)

When It Really Isn’t Personal

Well, it sure felt personal to me!  I was looking forward to that warm, fuzzy feeling I get when people I like are in my house, and I didn’t want to put off this opportunity until spring when I would have time to host again.  On the other hand, my friend is a very conscientious person who also likes to have things set up a certain way.  He was the one who invited the guest speaker and he wanted to be able to control the environment in which she did her demonstration and talk.  So, his decision really wasn’t about me.  It was about his needs.

He and I are good friends and we talked about our feelings later and found peace about the issue.  It was a learning experience for us both.  But these situations often arise in life, and I’ve come to realize that when someone does something that hurts me, it’s an opportunity for me to look at why I’m upset.  Is this person being unkind or am I reading something into their words or actions because they have touched on my deep wounds?  Either way, I have a choice about my response.

Acting Out Of Love Is Acting Impeccably

By nature, we are all spiritual beings and capable of being loving.  However, if we have been abused or unloved, we may not know how to be loving.  Because I know this, when someone is mean or unkind to me, I know that it is about them, and I have a choice.  I can walk away or I can try to discuss what has caused this response to understand if I have been insensitive in some way.  Of course, my response will be different depending on whether this negative response is a one-time thing or on-going attitude.

Communicate With Compassion

If we accept Ruiz’s statement to not take anything personally as a guide for our behavior, we can most effectively use it to monitor our own communication with others.  His first agreement is to speak and act impeccably, to be concerned about the effects of our words and actions on others.  These first two agreements work well together.  I think he is telling us to be responsible, think before we act, and care about the consequences of our actions, but to be aware that other’s actions are more about their feelings and ideas than ours.   When we do this, I think we usually make better choices because we become aware of the whole communication circle. We can show them compassion, but we don’t have to become entangled with the drama.

This week I also attended a group that is practicing compassionate communication.  We did an exercise where we listened to one person’s story and tried to hear the facts, feelings, needs, and values expressed in it, then we reflected back to the person what we heard.  It seems to me that this practice fits beautifully with what Ruiz is suggesting.  If we learn to listen and speak with compassion, we are acting impeccably and we are also honoring the third agreement—don’t make assumptions.  We listen to what the other person is truly saying, and we try to become more conscious of how our own inner story may distort our perception of another’s story.

What Do You Put Into the Energy Around You?

Regardless of our spiritual beliefs, we are responsible for what we put out into the world, and if we accept the Law of Attraction as part of our belief systems, as I do, we know the energy of our words and actions affects the energy of those around us.  How we approach a touchy subject with another can make a huge difference.  If we connect with empathy and love, we can often create an understanding out of chaos.  When we learn not to take everything personally, it doesn’t mean we don’t care.

How do you handle difficult communication?  How does your attitude make a difference?    Please Comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                               ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Responsible Communication,  Living the Four Agreements: A Life changing Journey,  Law of Attraction, Receiving Love


“…you can choose to become aware—to become truly conscious—and to see yourself as both the perpetrator and the target of your creation.  You are not a victim of your addictions, or your cravings, or your unbridled desires.  You are a fully responsible participant in your reaction to the choices presented.”  Oneness by Rasha, p. (319)

Do you trust yourself to make wise decisions? Do you trust those around you? What is it that allows you to be trustworthy or untrustworthy?

The Role of Trust in Our Lives

What is the real nature of trust?  Sometimes in my life I have trusted others too much, ignoring the obvious signs that this wasn’t wise; sometimes I’ve trusted too little.  Basically, I’ve lived my life based on the philosophy that I will trust other people until they prove to be untrustworthy.  That’s a very altruistic path and has often served me well, but not always.

When we expect the best from others, they often live up to our expectations.  When we expect the worse, they often meet those expectations too.  Our energy influences others more than we realize.  So what causes some people to go through life feeling paranoid and sure they may be the victim of another scam, while others expect life to treat them well most of the time?

Trusting Others is Based on Trusting Ourselves

I believe how much we trust life and others is based on how much we trust ourselves.  Do you think you make good choices most of the time?  If you do, I suspect that you have developed a way of making choices that is based on your connection to your spiritual core.  You have probably developed a decision-making process that produces positive results most of the time.

I’ve refined my process over the years, learning different strategies from experience and study.  I know that if I feel fearful, I need to clear my mind by releasing the fear so I can see what the issue really is.  Then I listen.  What is my intuition telling me?  I ask Spirit for guidance.  I look at my own value system.  Is this situation asking me to violate what I consider ethical?

Awakening to Higher Choices

Oneness says, “There are no definitive laws of right and wrong, beyond those you create and set for yourself.  There are higher choices or lesser choices, in terms of the predictable consequence of certain actions.” (Page 318) When I taught high school in New Mexico, I taught a drama class, and among my students was a young man who was a senior and failing.  His attendance had been poor, and he had completed only about half the required assignments.  His parents asked for a conference with me and the principal.  After I explained why he was failing, the principal said, “Now Ms. Spruce, what extra work can you give this young man so that he can pass?”

The parents of this student were members of the founding family of this small town, and I knew the principal felt pressured by this.  On the other hand, school had already ended for all the seniors.  Was it fair for me to create a means for this student to pass when I couldn’t make it available to other failing seniors?  Should I save a student who had repeatedly ignored opportunities to make up missing work and who had chosen, for no legitimate reason, not to attend many classes?  After thinking for a moment, I said, “No, there is nothing I can do.  He’s made his choice and he has to live with it.”  The principal’s face turned bright red.  He was furious.

I knew that, by saying “no,” I would not be invited back the next year.  Since it was my first year in that school district, I was on probation as are all teachers during their first year.  As a result, if a negative evaluation were sent to the state, I could lose my teaching license.  To cut my loses, I resigned, and fortunately found a position in another district.

Choosing the Spiritual Path

I have never, for a moment, regretted that decision.  I knew then and know now that I chose the higher path.  I could not offer this student a second chance unless I offered it to all my failing students.  Did I feel like a victim?  No, what I did was my choice.  Was I angry and upset about the situation? Of course, I thought it was outrageous.  But that’s life, isn’t it.  It can be difficult and feel unfair, but we always have the choice to do what we want to do with what it offers us.

That’s why this partnership with Spirit is so important.  Not every situation is something we can clearly accept or reject.  When it’s unclear what to do, can you trust yourself?  Can you trust your process?  Can you trust Spirit?  You feel you are a victim only when you don’t accept responsibility for your choices.  When you accept that responsibility, you are empowered and trustworthy and following a more conscious dance.

How have you trusted yourself lately in a difficult situation?  Please comment.

©2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  Trust and Acceptance of Yourself and Your Power, Trusting the Tao, How to Learn to Trust Yourself, Have Faith? Try Trust