Tag Archives: Self-awareness

AWAKENING TO TRUST YOURSELF

“TRUST IN WHAT YOU LOVE, CONTINUE TO DO IT, AND IT WILL TAKE YOU WHERE YOU NEED TO GO.” NATALIE GOLDBERG

University of Nebraska at Kearney dance students 1979

Do you trust yourself to make good decisions? Do you listen to yourself? Do you trust life to guide you where you need to go?

Last night I watched a video of dance performances that I choreographed when I taught dance at University of Nebraska at Kearney. I had forgotten how good the students were, considering that most of them had never studied dance. I also felt rather proud of myself for creating choreography that made them look graceful and talented, rather than like beginning dancers.

Watching the tapes was a joyful experience. It reminded me of a time when I loved the work I was doing and of the wonderful lessons that I learned from dance. Having been often sick as a child, I grew up not trusting my own body because of its weakness.  I felt insecure doing physical activity except for the hikes my family took when I always had someone to help and guide me.

Strengthening the Body Develops Confidence

In high school, I had modern dance one day a week, and as my body changed, my confidence improved. I developed muscles and strength. I felt stronger. I liked my body which I had previously not liked because I thought it was too skinny.  I began to trust myself more socially.

Dance Can Be A Spiritual Practice

The more I trusted myself, the more I loved studying dance and dancing.  As I matured, dance became a spiritual practice.  It took me where I needed to go, to a place where I learned to trust my body and my creativity, to moments of silence, to a balance between opposites, and to the expression and moderation of boundless energy.

Silence Takes Us Deeper

I learned to trust silence, to stand quietly, to be okay with doing nothing, to use silence to mindfully prepare for action. I no longer saw silence as time wasted. It allowed me to explore my inner richness and value what deeper thoughts rose to the surface to guide my life and movement.

Balance Requires Being Open

Learning to balance was a basic aspect of movement.  In class one day with Jenny Scanlon, a member of the Jose Limon company, teaching, we practiced balancing on our toes with our feet apart in second position. I was struggling, trying to decide what muscles to contract to keep my rocking body in position when Jenny said, “To balance you have to stretch – reach out into space.”

At that moment, I suddenly realized why I was struggling. I was contracting inward toward my center. I took a breath, lifted and opened my chest, stretched out into the space with my arms, lifting my spine toward the sky as I pressed my feet into the ground. Balance! Perfect balance!  I had to open in order to balance.

Confidence Allows Us To Take Risks

Most of all dance changed me from being a person who was afraid to take a risk to one who was often fearless.  Like all risk-takers, I had to learn when it was wise to take the risk and when not, but even trying to take a risk was a huge change for me.  If I could run across the stage, jump into the air and trust that my partner would catch me, which he usually did, I could learn to do other things in life that scared me.  And in those times when I jumped and my partner and I both fell from the force, I learned how to survive the fall without injury.

This taught me to put more energy into what I wanted in life—to go for it! I learned to choreograph my life.  To create moments of silence between my energetic expressions, organize what activities were most important, and venture into areas where I was a novice all took me to new experiences that broadened my life.  I learned to trust my intuition, my instincts, and my desire to live life more fully.

Dance Connects Us With Nature and Trust

It was never the applause or costumes that I loved about dancing—it was the earthiness.  I was a modern dancer and loved the feeling of my bare feet on the wooden stage.  It grounded me. Eartha Kitt once said, “I’m a dirt person.  I trust the dirt.  I don’t trust diamonds and gold.”  After all, the earth is our home, our foundation, the abundance that feeds us. After loving nature all my life and spending my childhood hiking and swimming in lakes and streams, despite my infirmities, I needed to feel in touch with nature.

As I became more in touch with my own body, I also became more aware of the earth on which I danced. When we dance, we interact with gravity.  We rebound from the earth.  We suspend in the air. The physical activity is basic to life.  Dance nourishes the body and soul.

Instead of being fearful of life, I learned to trust myself and life’s twists, turns and detours.  I learned to trust that whatever happened, I could handle it, and I learned to risk moving on when I eventually needed to stop dancing.  I risked becoming a writer and sharing my voice.  I learned that trusting what I love would take me where I needed to go.

What will you do today to become more trusting of yourself?

© 2017 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  Limon Company – Psalm (excerpt), Awakening to Release Our Fear, Three Ways to Develop Self-Trust

AWAKENING TO WHAT YOU SEE

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Henry David Thoreau

Do you see what is front of you or do you see what you want to see?  How accurate is your perception of things?  Do you seek out information on a topic before forming a judgement?

Look at the picture above.  What do you see?  It appears that the woman is balanced on the edge of a log, but living intimately with gravity, as we all do, is what we see here really possible?  What is really happening?  Did the camera simply catch her in the split second she touched the log before falling forward to the ground?

My first perception is that she is off balance and will fall.  On the other hand, maybe she is leaning back far enough to balance on the edge.  Or perhaps the picture was photo shopped. What do you see?

We Constantly Interpret What We See

On a daily basis, we are faced with situations that are not clear, and we have to interpret what we see or hear. The conclusion we reach is very much based on our previous life experience.  For example, my first response to the above pictures is based on having been a dancer and dealt with balance, weight, and movement.  As a result, I believe that the picture was taken a split-second before she would fall.

Gustave Flaubert said, “There is no truth.  There is only perception.”  We can collect facts about any topic, but what we experience usually affects how we think and feel about that experience.  For example, since the last U.S. election, we never know when we can trust the president’s comments because they are often his emotional response to a situation not based on facts or reality.

He sees virtually everything in relation to how it makes him look powerful or weak and ignores the way his actions affect many of the people who voted for him.  Twisting facts to support one’s political agenda is not unusual, but it is clear he cannot see beyond his own emotional needs, and they are based in his fear of not being powerful.

Negative Thinking Is the Result of Fear

Negative thinking is created by underlying fears and may cause us to think that we are facing a problem when it is simply a challenge that can be easily solved.  If we choose to see it as a serious problem, we create an emotional block that may prevent us from seeing a simple or easy solution.  Realizing that fear is getting in the way and letting it go will help us see the solution.

Look at this the picture above:  rose petals on a keyboard.  What do you think has happened here?  When I first saw it, I thought of the roses I’ve received from my love on Valentine’s Day and how reluctant I often am to throw them out even when the dry petals begin to fall.

As I continued to gaze at the picture, I thought of other scenarios.  A couple had a fit and someone threw a rose at the other and it hit the piano instead.  Or the couple has broken up and the roses have been left to die like the relationship.  Or the rose is lying there because it fell from the vase on the piano and no one has picked it up because the pianist is no longer in that house.

What We See Is Based On How Carefully We Look

How we see a situation is often based on our past experiences.  It is also based on how carefully we explore what has happened.  Look at the following nature photo.  Glance at it quickly, then away.

Now go back and study it for a moment.  Do you see more than you did with a glance?

This is a bit like reading articles on Facebook.  If you only skim the titles of articles, you may have missed the real point of the writing because most titles on Facebook are created to catch attention, not to inform. So the topic that you see in the title may have little resemblance to the information in the article.  This is why it is important to fact check our own perceptions.  Is what we see at first really the story?

Informing ourselves about major issues that affect us can shift our perceptions to what is real rather than just what feels good. For example, why did people think Trump would help those most in need just because he said it.  There was no history to support these promises, but so many people trusted what he said without looking further. They never looked beyond the surface.

Knowing Ourselves Helps Us See More Clearly

When we develop the consciousness to look at our own perceptions and prejudices and be aware of what they are, we are able to make better choices. If a friend makes a comment that reminds us of our mother’s criticism when we were young, we can think, “Ah ha,” and choose not to lash out at that person because we know the anger we feel arises from the past, not the moment.

So, were there moments in your day when the past or your predictable thoughts side-tracked an exchange with another?  Did you “blow off” reading an article because it was written by a journalist you label as too liberal or too conservative?  Did you discount your teenagers ranting about the unfairness of a teacher because the kid is always too emotional?

Getting more information and looking deeper helps us see more clearly.  What have you seen today in a new way?

© 2017 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles: Awakening to Peace and Wholeness Beyond Fear, Awakening to Where Kindness Has GoneThe Destruction of Hillary Clinton: Sexism, Sanders, and the Millennial Feminists

 

 

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 BLESSINGS OF RENEWAL

“We don’t even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward. In times of tragedy, of war, of necessity, people do amazing things. The human capacity for survival and renewal is awesome.” Isabel Allende

Photo:Georganne Spruce

Photo:Georganne Spruce

I have been away for a while, resting and healing my body. After two years of a variety of symptoms and visiting various doctors whose tests revealed nothing, I returned to a wholistic doctor I saw when I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. At that time, I had spent several years becoming more exhausted and unable to sleep, but my doctors insisted I had an anxiety disorder.

Now I sleep throughout most of the night and have good energy each day. Most of the symptoms that were a result of inflammation are gone. Life almost feels normal, and the healing is taking place without harmful drugs.

I am blessed to have found the help I need. It has been worth it to discipline myself to not eat many foods that I like, to take numerous supplements at specific times, to keep a schedule that sometimes has felt very stressful. This was what was required for my healing to take place. I had no choice if I wanted to be well again.

Life May Be Very Challenging

Life is like that sometimes. We have to do what is uncomfortable or challenging in order to get what we want. We have to stretch our resources, patience, or abilities beyond what we believe is possible. We have to dig deep for a strength we are not even sure we have.

As a nation, I believe we are in a similar place. We are being tested to see “what stuff we are made of.” Solving the problems that require urgent care means that we have to reach deep within to find the place where we are willing to partner with those who are different from us.

Only Change Can Bring Us Renewal

We are facing a new year, so the question is: Will we make it a new year, a time of renewal, a step forward, or will we continue to wallow in the mud of insults, sexism, and racism and ignore the desperate needs of so many people? What do we need to do to renew the basic principles of a democratic nation? How do we begin to make the changes in our own lives?

At the base of our resistance to do what we need to do is fear. It is always lurking there behind the excuses we use not to change. It may be that we have our lives so organized that changing anything feels like chaos, and we wonder if the change really will make things better. Unfortunately, most of us can’t see into the future so we have to take the leap and hope for the best.

We Need To Release Our Fear and Have Faith

Not only do we need to release our fear, we need to have faith, and the following quote always helps me go on when things are not going well. “When you have come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen; there will be something to stand on or you will be taught how to fly.”

Jumping Over the 3rd Largest Pyramid in the World

We Also Need To Take Action

This is a powerful guide on the spiritual level just as releasing our fear is. But in addition to this, we need to take action. For example, if we don’t like the way our political system is working, we need to get out and vote, but first we need to research what is really the truth. Presidential candidates tend to twist the truth so that their opponents look like poor choices. We have to research the details of situations so that we can make meaningful choices based on reality. Does the person we choose have a background that indicates he/she will be able to make the changes we want made?

What if our first choice doesn’t become the candidate? Are we going to throw our hands up and let others make the choice for us? But if we are willing to shift a bit and vote for our next best choice, we still will have a voice in the process, and we can still make a difference.

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Life Changes

Life changes whether we want it to or not. The seasons bring us the beauty of snow, flowers, brightly-colored leaves, and warm sunny days. Each season has its delights and challenges and we have no choice but to adjust. Each time we adjust or change, we learn something new. We may have dreaded the change, but in the end, it may have brought us something better.

Do I like the rigid schedule of taking multiple supplements seven times a day? No, I don’t, but if I want to be well, I have to do it. Do I like not having tomatoes, coffee, chocolate, or spicy foods? No, I love them all, but they cause acid reflux that damages my throat and esophagus. Do I want to be healthy and energetic? Of course, so I have no choice but to do these things.

When I see the difficulties that the immigrants flooding so many countries have, the changes I’ve made seem minor. I’m still in my house. My husband is alive. I have plenty of food and heat. My home is in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. My health is so much better.   I’ve had to make many changes in order to have this life, but all the work has been worth it, and I’ve learned to do things I never thought I could do. Life is good, and that’s the choice I’ve made.

What have you done that you never thought you could do? Please Comment.

© Georganne Spruce

Related Articles: Awakening to Live Without Fear, Releasing Our Fear to Awaken, Transforming the Fear of Change

AWAKENING TO THE REAL YOU

“Awakening is not changing who you are but discarding who you are not.” Deepak Chopra

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Who are you really? Do you answer this question by looking at your appearance, defining what you have accomplished, or evaluating your spiritual life?

For many years, I primarily saw myself in terms of what I did for a living as a teacher or dancer. Growing up at the time when the women’s movement was very vocal, I was influenced by that and chose not to describe myself as a wife although I was one. I wasn’t a mother either so I felt that what I did in the world and how well I did it was most important.

Looking for the Real You

During those years, I was also exploring various spiritual disciplines, looking for a way to understand who I was at a deeper level. I cared about how I looked, but I didn’t rate my value based on appearance alone although I was still attached to the external value of how I earned my income.

When it came time to stop dancing and later to stop teaching it, I realized my identity was still strongly connected to being a dancer. As a skinny teen in the time of Marilyn Monroe, I had felt my body wasn’t womanly enough. But as a dancer, I was beautiful because all dancers were beautiful. Becoming a dancer fed my weak ego and empowered me, especially after skinny Twiggy became the icon of beauty.

Ballet East Dance Company

Ballet East Dance Company

There was another part of the dancer image to which I related. When I first studied modern dance, I was physically weak from childhood illnesses.   Modern dance built muscles that made me feel physically strong and it connected my body and mind. Experiencing that connection was empowering because it connected me with my inner strength.

Who You Are At the Heart Level

So, it was difficult to let go of this aspect of my life and look for the real source of who I was. Over time, I discovered I was truly a teacher at heart. I love to share what I know, discuss and question. I like to learn new things and search for answers in many ways and places, and it doesn’t matter anymore if I have an actual teaching position. My curiosity will lead me onto new paths, and I share what I learn with anyone who wants to listen.

If we ask the question, “Would I do this if I were retired?” it is likely that if “yes” is the answer, the core of that activity comes from the heart and soul. It is connected to a deeper part of us that sees how that activity has value for us and those with whom we interact.

After giving up dance, I turned to writing, a passion I had as a child, but my parents had not encouraged me so I never considered it a possibility for making a living. Much like teaching, it was a way for me to share what I had learned with others, but it led me to a greater realization. I had never given up my desire to be a healer despite having given up my desire to be a doctor when I was a child.

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Healing Yourself Will Reveal the Real You

I first had to learn to heal myself. For years I had searched for a way to strengthen and heal the still-lingering aspects of earlier illnesses. I worked with the body and mind to eat a healthy diet and develop a happy balanced mind. By working with positive thinking and manifestation techniques, I felt more powerful. I finally had a new inner strength that was opening my spiritual self to many possibilities.

In 2002 I began to write Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages because I was having trouble writing and meditating but needed some way to go deeper. Each day as I wrote, a new awareness came to the surface and opened my mind. Old concepts and grievances fell away. In my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, the chapter that describes this experience is titled, “Breaking the Block.” But there was more than one block.

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We Must Listen to the Heart

I often prayed and meditated, leaving space for Spirit to speak to me, but at one point I realized I wasn’t listening. I was listening with my head but not my heart.   Then I discovered that I didn’t trust my own decisions because I didn’t trust the Creator (Spirit) so if I didn’t trust the Creator how could I expect my requests to be answered.

I learned that sometimes we can’t move forward because we haven’t let go of the past, and we continue to hold on to the fear that limited us in a previous situation. Nothing will change until the fear is released, but we have to acknowledge we have fear, rather than suppressing it, if we want to heal the wound caused by the fear.

Working through the Morning Pages, I sloughed off old thinking and resentments one by one. I shed many thoughts I did not need that stood in the way of my growth. Also working with transformational kinesiology helped energetically to release unhelpful thoughts and created a community with other women who had similar issues.

Awakening to the Real You

This process of going deeper is like the snake shedding its skin. By letting go of what we think we need, we find a great freedom and grow a new skin. Without all the old ideas and negative emotions that have kept us stuck, we awaken to who we are not and who we truly are.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                       ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  (video)Tarcher Talks:  Julia Cameron – Morning Pages,  Eckhart Tolle on Being Yourself (video),  Do Your Have An Inner Critic – Tolle and Deepak Chopra (video)

DANCING TO THE DANGER OF ASSUMPTIONS

“Begin challenging your assumptions. Your assumptions are your window to the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile or the light won’t come in.” Alan Alda

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Have you made any assumptions lately that turned out to be wrong? Are you quick to make assumptions or do you explore a situation before deciding what you believe?

We all make assumptions every day and many of our beliefs about life are based on assumptions. We may make judgments about people based on little evidence and proceed to take action based on those judgments. If our assumptions are wrong, they can lead to disaster.

Assumptions May Hide Lies

When I was teaching in high school, I had a student who frequently told dramatic stories about her parents. Having taught for many years by that time, I retained my skepticism because I knew teenagers often embellish the truth to their advantage. When I met the parents and talked to other teachers, it was clear that her parents were not the people she described.

I have to admit this student was very convincing and I had sometimes assumed a story was true. It isn’t always easy to sort out the truth or to even be clear that we are making an assumption. For example, I recently made an assumption about outdoor mural artists that I discovered was incorrect when I attended a religion and arts conference a few weeks ago.

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styleweekly.com

We May Not Realize We Have Made An Assumption

I have always assumed that most artists who paint on buildings are basically graffiti artists, often talented but untrained, but I wasn’t consciously aware that I made this assumption. At the conference, when Ed Trask, a very successful, talented and well-trained outdoor mural artist spoke to us about the people who do this art, I realized how ignorant I really was about the subject.

Based on Ed’s presentation and our tour around Richmond that day, I learned that most of these artists have studied art like any other artist and are often well-paid for their work. Looking closely at the murals, I began to appreciate the detail and artistry of these paintings. With accurate information, my assumptions about mural artists changed.

The Danger of Assumptions

Unlike these two examples, there are other places in our lives where making assumptions may be dangerous. Sherman Alexie points out his concern: “In the middle of the night when you are ambiguously ethnic, like me, when you’re brown, beige, mauve, sienna, one of those lighter browns in the Crayola box, you have to be careful of the cops and robbers, because nobody’s quite sure what you are, but everybody has assumptions.”

What we are seeing right now is how deeply assumptions around race permeate our culture. The number of recent murders of black men by police is staggering, and I suspect they are based on any number of assumptions. One assumption is that whatever the police do, they will not be held accountable, even if they kill an unarmed, non-violent person.

Another assumption is that if a person runs away from the police that means he is guilty of something illegal, and it’s okay to shoot or harm him physically. It never seems to occur to the police that a young black man may run away from them simply because he fears them. Our assumptions are often based on such stereotypes that are not truths; they are distortions. But the problem is that we may not always know the truth, and we often have to dance around it, hoping for the best rather than ask the questions that needs to be asked and assume the suspicious person is innocent unless we have proof the opposite is true.

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The Danger of Assumptions Is That They May Be Lies

As a woman born at the end of World War II, I’ve seen many changes take place in the treatment of women. It is hard for me to even grasp that for part of my grandmother’s life, it was not legal for her to vote. When I was 27 years old, the Supreme Court struck down the laws that prohibited blacks and whites from marrying. A few years later, when I was divorced, the credit my husband and I had both worked to earn belonged to him only.

All these laws were based on the assumption that one group of people is inferior to another so that the “superior” group can retain control over the other. But this assumption is a lie. The reality is that we are all supposed to be treated equally in this country and the law is supposed to support that. Clearly we have still not reached a time when this theory is a reality because many people still cling to these lies of inferiority as truth.

We Believe In Lies Because We’re Afraid

Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The FourAgreements says, “When we believe in lies, we cannot see the truth, so we make thousands of assumptions and take them for truth. One of the biggest assumptions we make is that the lies we believe are the truth.” So why do we choose to believe these lies? Because they serve a useful purpose for us or simply because we are afraid of the truth.

Fear is at the base of all negative emotion and behavior. When we can release it and look beyond it, we can come to a place where that emotion does not color our experiences. When we find ourselves believing without a doubt that something is true, it is worthwhile to question what information this is based on. We must learn to challenge our own assumptions.

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Our Intuition May Help Us Avoid the Danger of Assumptions

There are two times when I know I need to challenge my assumptions. First if I start defending my view point and “digging my feet in” I know I need to stop and question why I am being so insistent. That leads me to the second awareness. In that case, I feel an uneasiness or a sense that something isn’t quite right and my intuition is suggesting I reconsider my assumption.

In the areas of our lives and society that are not working, we need to examine what is at the core of the issue and challenge ourselves to explore it until we are sure the path we are taking is the best one. It may require learning some new steps in this dance of life. As Alda suggests, we need to be open so that there is room in our thinking for the light to come through.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                                      ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: The Dangers of Your Unconscious Assumptions About OthersExploring the Psychological Motives of Racism

AWAKENING TO THE FEMININE

“The world will be saved by the western woman.” Dalai Lama

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When did you learn to love yourself? love others?  Do you feel accepted for who you truly are?  If not, how can you change that?

This week I attended a reading by Massimilla Harris and Bud Harris of their latest book Into the Heart of the Feminine: An Archetypal Journey to Renew Strength, Love, and Creativity. They are both Jungian analysts, and although the book is about the feminine, it was written for men and women, for we all have both feminine and masculine aspects to our psyche.

The book explores the harm that is done to us when we have not had a loving nurturing mother and the deficiencies that exist in our society as a result of not honoring the feminine. The authors explore these negative situations but also describe how we can heal them. I was deeply moved by their stories and insights.

Women’s Lives Have Changed Dramatically

Having lived for seventy years now, I have seen many changes in our society. When I was born, women had been allowed to vote for only 24 years. My mother was born in 1919, a year before women in the US voted for the first time. Although woman in other countries have served in the government at the highest level, we have yet to elect a woman as president in this country.

Recently, when a young man read my memoir, he was shocked by some of my experiences. When I was divorced in 1977, I had a master’s degree while my husband had not completed undergraduate school; however, as a high school teacher I made $7,000 less than he made as a policeman. Because of my higher degree, his lawyer was able to keep him from having to pay alimony. Although we had both worked all those years, our credit was his. I could not get a credit card until I established my separate credit and that wasn’t easy.

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One of the reasons that so many older women who have always worked have such dire needs when they retire is that they have so much less Social Security than most men because they have earned lower wages for so many years. The lack of equity isn’t over when the laws change. It lives on in the consequences of former discrimination.

Awakening to the Feminine Will Take Us Deeper

The lack of respect for the feminine also affects men and women in much deeper ways. The most obvious is the effect it has had on our mothers and the effect they have had on us. It is in that relationship that we are first nurtured and loved or first experience the lack of love, and those experiences have a profound effect on our emotional development. This topic is explored extensively in Into the Heart of the Feminine.

Mary Cassett

What were you taught by your mother and father about who you should be and how you should behave? How much of that was based on society’s expectations of your sex?

Feminine Values Can Heal Patriarchal Extremes

The patriarchal values of power, achievement, and competition have dominated our society and helped create the value of separation that exists in its extreme with our uncompromising current Congress. In contrast, the feminine values community, respect, love, and cooperation. If we have not learned these in the homes where we grew up, we are unlikely to learn them in the business world that is now too often focused on money at the expense of the welfare of their employees, especially women.

Awakening to the Feminine Teaches Us To Love

The truth is that every child needs to grow up with parents who love themselves so that they can love their children. Loving ourselves means we accept and respect all aspects of ourselves, do the best we can each day, and don’t belittle ourselves when we fail. We need to be able to test, explore, and experiment with who we are in our quest to find our deepest, truest selves.

To do that requires the belief that we are all right, that who we are is good. As Masimilla and Bud Harris remind us, life is a journey in which we can choose to grow and heal ourselves so we can be our best selves. If we can change ourselves, we can change our society to embrace the best of masculine and feminine qualities. If we can do that, we will have a society that meets the needs of all its people.

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Awakening to the Feminine Can Save the World

When the Dalai Lama stated that the world will be saved by the western woman, I was surprised, but compared to the restrictions on women in the rest of the world, we may be the very ones with the power to do that. We just have to heal ourselves and know that is our destiny, for it is the feminine spirit whose time has come. If we don’t do it, who will?

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                                     ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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