Tag Archives: Soul

AWAKENING TO GOOD HEALTH

“To enjoy true health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind.  If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will come to him.”  Buddha

English: Holistic health, body, mind, heart, soul

I wanted to write today about the connection between body and mind and good health, but when I read back over a previous post, “Body and Soul As One,” I decided to repost it because, at the moment, I feel it says everything I want to say.  When we love ourselves, we take care of all parts of ourselves:  body, mind and soul.  And when we are ill, we need to take care of the mind, body, and soul.  Even science is now proving this connection exists.

The Body As Container For The Soul

One of the problems I’ve often had with traditional religion is the way it describes the body as a lesser part of our being.  The body is, after all, the container for our soul.  If we didn’t need it in some cosmic sense, we wouldn’t have it.  At this stage in our spiritual journey, we are experiencing a physical life because we need to learn lessons we can only learn by being in a physical body.

If we embrace the idea of wholeness or oneness, then we have to acknowledge that all parts of ourselves are sacred.  Living in a body offers us infinite opportunities to learn.  As a child, I had many illnesses including one that left me with a heart murmur which I out grew by the time I was twelve.  I missed those early carefree years of life that others remember with joy.  What I remember is lying in bed alone reading and designing paper doll dresses, feeling weak and shy and inadequate when we played softball at school and never learning to ride a bicycle.  I remember having a friend or two but never feeling part of a group because so many group activities were too strenuous.

 Awakening The Body And Soul

As a result of this childhood experience, I developed two interests: good health and creativity which I later developed through dance and writing.  Staying healthy became a priority in my life.  As a young adult I began to search for the answers that would allow me to become stronger and stay in good health My love of dance was not just about expressing myself creatively.  It was about building muscles on my skinny frame to become strong.  It was also about the mind/body connection.  Having rejected traditional religion by this time, I found that dancing brought me joy and touched my spirit.  At times, dancing was transcendent, my body seemed to fall away and I was all spirit.

Each physical challenge has been a teacher.  Around 1976, I studied with an amazing dancer, Erick Hawkins during a summer dance program at American University.  Having studied Eastern philosophy and anatomy and kinesiology, he had created a modern dance technique that trained the body gently, working with the pelvis as the center of the body, and teaching us to respect our own bodies.

Hawkins in El Penitente, 1930s

Hawkins in El Penitente, 1930s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But that summer, I was in distress, and despite Hawkins’ peaceful way, I made a decision I would regret.  I injured one foot simply walking across campus, adding more pain to the tendinitis slowly healing in the other foot.  I was in a dance company and had a performance coming up.  We were short on dancers; I couldn’t disappoint the director.  So, I demanded that my doctor give me cortisone shots which he did, going against his own better judgment.

When I danced, my feet were numb; I couldn’t feel the floor, but somehow I got through the performance.  Afterwards, as I rested and healed over several weeks, I realized I had committed a terrible act of aggression against myself.  I’d somehow crossed a line I’d never crossed before and was willing to abuse myself in order not to disappoint others. This was clearly a signal that something was very wrong with my thinking.  I realized at that moment that I couldn’t stop thinking about the reverence with which Hawkins treated the body even in training.  As I thought about Hawkins and the reverence he had taught us to have for our own bodies, I realized he had been my spiritual teacher that summer.

 Loving Ourselves With Good Health

This experience made me realize that I needed to learn to love myself.  I had created unnecessary suffering and my soul ached. Dance taught me about one aspect of taking care of my body, but other experiences taught me about a healthy diet.  When I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I found a doctor of integrated medicine who taught me how to use food and supplements to heal. What I learned from him has continued to serve me well over the years to support my immune system, keep my blood sugar level, and sustain a level of energy that creates a feeling of well-being.

It is difficult to enjoy life when we don’t feel well, and while it is important to take care of our minds and soul, taking care of the body is sacred work too.  To deny the body’s needs is just as detrimental to our well-being as ignoring our spiritual or emotional needs.  Although I am middle aged, I’m actually healthier than I’ve ever been, and I believe that is because, in addition to taking care of my spiritual life, I have cared for my body, this precious container for my precious soul.

2012 009 (2)

 Do you want life to be a dance or a drag?

We have a choice and it’s an important one.  Caring for our bodies makes it possible to do things that feed the soul like walking in the forest, dancing until dawn or jogging through the early morning air with your daughter.  What are you willing to do to make your body and soul one?

© 2011 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  Erick Hawkins, Dancing to Our Imperfections, The Mind Body Connection –  Health is a State of MindMind Body Connection: How Your Emotions Affect Your Health

AWAKENING TO HIGHER CHOICES

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” Rumi

How do you make decisions?  From the ego or from your higher self?  How do you know when you’ve made the best decision?

Which Way is San Jose?

 Do you remember the song, “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?”  Recently, as it floated through my mind as old songs often do, I decided to look at the lyrics, most of which I didn’t remember.  I discovered that the narrator in the song is longing to return to San Jose because she wants to leave Los Angeles and return to a place where she can find peace of mind, space to live, and reconnect with friends.  She wants to return home where she has what she really needs because her Hollywood dream has fallen apart.

Becoming Aware of Wrong Choices

Like so many, the narrator of this song was pursuing a dream that evaporated in the midst of the noise, intensity, and superficial environment of L. A.  How many of us have experienced something similar?  How many times do we have to make the wrong choice in order to see what the right choice would be?  Hind sight is always a valuable evaluator.

When the path takes us to places that are the wrong places for us, how we respond to these situations is very important.  We often blame ourselves for being foolish or blind to the reality we can later see clearly.  But what if these twists in our spiritual path are simply other ways to get to the place we need to go?

We are not all infallible.  We can only see what is possible based on the level of our consciousness.  More than once in my life, I have chosen to stay in a job, friendship or relationship because I was afraid of the consequences of leaving or because I thought I could fix what was wrong with the situation.  Sometimes we can resolve the challenges that face us, so knowing when to leave is a huge decision.

Higher Choices Come From the Soul Level

In order to make the highest decisions, we need to consult our soul, go deeper, meditate, and take the time to evaluate the spiritual value of the situation.  When we do this, and out of this contemplation, we discover an answer, we then need to look closely at that answer.  Could ego have slipped in there to derail our best intentions?  Will the way we decide to handle a situation hurt someone?  I test myself by asking this question: “What choice can I make that is for the highest good of all?”

If we live in love for other humans, the decisions that are the most difficult are the ones where we know others will be hurt by our decisions, but sometimes walking away from a situation is for the highest good of all although it hurts.  It may be the higher choice. We not only need to love others, we need to love ourselves as well and choose not to allow others to undermine and abuse us.

I once met a woman who stayed with a man who abused her.  When I asked why she did that, she replied that she believed showing him unconditional love helped him to finally see that what he was doing was wrong and that it motivated him to change.  Did she make a decision that was for the highest good of all?  I don’t know.  I wouldn’t make a similar choice, but I do not know the details of her journey or the lessons of her lifetime.

Soul Choices Expand Our Lives and Free Us

The choices we make from the soul level are the highest choices no matter how they look to others.  They always serve us well even when the path is difficult.  They take us deeper.  They expand our understanding.  When I had to walk away from a relationship I’d been in for eight years, I was terrified, and yet, the moment after I said good-bye I was flooded with peace and joy. I never expected this response; I just wanted to be free of the irresolvable conflicts.  But no matter what doubts I’d had before that, I knew in that moment, I had made the highest choice.

Although we may sometimes feel we are overwhelmed by that river moving within us that Rumi refers to, it will lead us to moments of joy, confirming we have chosen the best way.  It is all part of the dance of life, and the more we awaken to our higher choices, the more we will love our lives.

What higher choices have you made lately?  Please share your thoughts.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  Every Choice Is A Spiritual ChoiceKeep an Open Heart in All of Your Relationships,

MYSTICAL MUSIC FROM SPIRIT

Sunday morning I awoke with the words of a James Taylor song ringing in my head.  “Just shower the people you love with love/Show them the way that you feel/Things are gonna work out fine if you only will….”

Listening For Spiritual Answers

This happens fairly often.  It has probably been happening all my life, but it was only a few years ago that I realized I needed to pay attention to it.  At a spiritual retreat on how to create the life you want, the facilitator told us to notice what song was in our heads when we awakened the next morning.  I don’t remember what song I heard, but it was one that spoke to me.

Sometimes the song in my head is one that I recently sang at a gathering, but sometimes it’s one I haven’t heard for a long time.   Either way it always answers a question that has been gnawing at me.  Regardless of the question, the advice given in Sunday’s song was good advice.  In this case, some anxiety about a couple of people had surfaced, but so slightly that I had not turned inward to ask for guidance.  Despite that, the answer arrived before the question.

I also occasionally hear an answer before I finish asking the question.  Before I noticed this happening and started paying more attention to my inner life, I probably missed many answers. I was negligent about taking the time to listen to my inner guidance.  I was told many times by spiritual counselors or by my own guides that I wasn’t listening.  As I became more aware and consciously tried to slow down, I occasionally asked my inner guidance, “Guides, am I listening better?”  For much too long, the answer was usually “no!”

Staying Connected With Our Inner Life

Functioning in the world at a job or just dealing with daily chores like changing the oil in the car, cooking supper for the family, or taking care of health issues can easily consume our energy and fill our minds.  But what I’ve realized is that I get messages all day to slow down.  When I drop three things in a row, start tripping over furniture or spill a glass of water, perhaps I need to slow down.

When these things start happening, they usually continue until I do stop.  For example, I use two water filters that sit one on top of the other so that I get a result similar to remote osmosis.  One day just before I was expecting a house full of people, I hurriedly filled the top one and quickly placed it on top of the other.  As I rushed from the room to do the next task, a crash and the sound of water flooding the kitchen stopped me.  The top filter had slipped off and fallen to the floor.  Luckily my friend and her husband had arrived early and helped me stem the deluge and mop the floor before other guests arrived.

Being in the Moment

It all comes back to being in the moment.  Only then are we really conscious so that our energy flows in a way that allows us to easily direct it to the task at hand and to open that space where we can actually hear our inner voice advising us.  And sometimes that inner voice may reach us singing in that holy moment each morning just before we realize we’re conscious and our mind presents us with its list of things to do.

I love that moment and always try to sing along.  It’s always good to start the day with a little mystic music, even if you have to make it up.

© 2011 Georganne Spruce

How do you stay in the moment?

Related Readings: Expand Into the Place of Inspired Mind

How Meditation May Change the Mind

ART: A FEAST TO AWAKEN THE SOUL

Art is a shadow of what a person is thinking…a small glimpse of what they hold inside.  Little secrets, regrets, joys…every line has its own meaning. ~Sarah, Los Cerros Middle School, 1999

A Glimpse of Artist’s Visions

This past weekend I gorged on a feast for the soul, a series of the most tasty fine arts dishes that I’ve consumed in quite a while. The feast began on Thursday night with a unique event at the art museum, a PechaKucha Night where several artists each showed 20 slides of their work, making a 20 second comment on each piece.  These were the hors d’oeuvres.  Each was a small delicious sampling of the artistic vision of each artist, and like all art, each vision was a glimpse into the soul of the artist.

Art Awakens the Soul

That is why I love art: music, dance, visual art, literature and theatre.  I am uplifted by this soul connection and by seeing the interior of another human being expressed through art. Twyla Tharp, the wonderfully innovative choreographer, once said, “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.”  We can leave our rational minds and the mundane aspects of our lives and attend the dance of life, exercising our mental, emotional, and spiritual selves in new ways. Art awakens us to a different point of view, one we might never have experienced had we not seen a particular piece of art.  Art may take us to a depth of knowing beyond words.

The main course of my feast each day was the arts walk in the River District, a buffet of sensory delight.  Overloaded by color, texture, and design, I could only embrace what was there. I let it seep through my pores and become a joyful energy that awakened me to the diversity and uniqueness of human expression.

Having looked at art all my life, I have long since giving up the need to attach meaning to what I see.  It is interesting to talk to artists about why they use a certain color or image, but often the artist doesn’t have a rational explanation.  Images for a sculpture or painting may arise in the artist’s mind mysteriously just as the ideas I receive for my writing are frequently surprising gifts from Spirit.

Going Deeper Unites

My soul was further awakened on Saturday evening, when I ended the day with a dessert even more satisfying than chocolate.  While I enjoy the intensity and brief pleasure of dark chocolate, the flavor of Anam Cara’s music has lasted for days.  Listening to Mary Davis’ soulful ballads, especially “Life Moves,” reminded me of the depth and width of human emotion taking me to deeper places within myself.  Listening to her sing of challenges in her own life reminded me we are all One and how our love for one another can heal so many wounds.

Dancing With the Divine

On Sunday evening, my feast of the soul ended with the Dances of Universal Peace based on a cycle of seasonal invocations to the Goddess.  Like strawberry shortcake, there were many divine layers to these dances.  We learned basic steps, then layered on symbolic gestures and ancient chants, each enriching the experience in some way.  As we danced, our individual energies created a community connection that carried us all along, blending with the chanting.  As I moved, there were moments when I was lost in the energy of the dance, imagining the goddess presence in our midst and being in touch with my own Divine Feminine and the source of my creativity.

Since the weekend, I have felt renewed in some deep way.  Spiritually sated by the wide range of sensory experiences spiced by innovation and originality, I feel grateful for the abundance of soul awakening experiences that stretched and opened my perceptions.  Today I feel like there is more of me to express and share and give.  I am more awakened to the dance of life.  That’s what art can do if we are willing to take it in.

How will you dance with the Divine and feed your soul this week? 

© 2011 Georganne Spruce

BODY AND SOUL AS ONE

The Body As Container For The Soul

One of the problems I’ve often had with traditional religion is the way it describes the body as a lesser part of our being.  The body is, after all, the container for our soul.  If we didn’t need it in some cosmic sense, we wouldn’t have it.  At this stage in our spiritual journey, we are experiencing a physical life because we need to learn lessons we can only learn by being in a physical body.

If we embrace the idea of wholeness or oneness, then we have to acknowledge that all parts of ourselves are sacred.  Living in a body offers us infinite opportunities to learn.  As a child, I had many illnesses including one that left me with a heart murmur which I out grew by the time I was twelve.  I missed those early carefree years of life that others remember with joy.  What I remember is lying in bed alone reading and designing paper doll dresses, feeling weak and shy and inadequate when we played softball at school and never learning to ride a bicycle.  I remember having a friend or two but never feeling part of a group because so many group activities were too strenuous.

 Awakening The Body And Soul

As a result of this childhood experience, I developed two interests: good health and creativity which I later developed through dance and writing.  Staying healthy became a priority in my life.  As a young adult I began to search for the answers that would allow me to become stronger and stay in good health.  My love of dance was not just about expressing myself creatively.  It was about building muscles on my skinny frame to become strong.  It was also about the mind/body connection.  Having rejected traditional religion by this time, I found that dancing brought me joy and touched my spirit.  At times, dancing was transcendent, my body seemed to fall away and I was all spirit.

Each physical challenge has been a teacher.  Around 1976, I studied with an amazing dancer, Erick Hawkins during a summer dance program at American University.  Having studied Eastern philosophy and anatomy and kinesiology, he had created a modern dance technique that trained the body gently, working with the pelvis as the center of the body, and teaching us to respect our own bodies.

But that summer, I was in distress, and despite Hawkins’ peaceful way, I made a decision I would regret.  I injured one foot simply walking across campus, adding more pain to the tendinitis slowly healing in the other foot.  I was in a dance company and had a performance coming up.  We were short on dancers; I couldn’t disappoint the director.  So, I demanded that my doctor give me cortisone shots which he did going against his own better judgment.

When I danced, my feet were numb; I couldn’t feel the floor, but somehow I got through the performance.  Afterwards, as I rested and healed over several weeks, I realized I had committed a terrible act of aggression against myself.  I’d somehow crossed a line I’d never crossed before and was willing to abuse myself in order not to disappoint others. This was clearly a signal that something was very wrong with my thinking.  I realized at that moment that I couldn’t stop thinking about the reverence with which Hawkins treated the body even in training.  As I thought about Hawkins and the reverence he had taught us to have for our own bodies, I realized he had been my spiritual teacher that summer.

 Loving Ourselves With Good Health

This experience made me realize that I needed to learn to love myself.  I had created unnecessary suffering and my soul ached. Dance taught me about one aspect of taking care of my body, but other experiences taught me about a healthy diet.  When I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I found a doctor of integrated medicine who taught me how to use food and supplements to heal. What I learned from him has continued to serve me well over the years to support my immune system, keep my blood sugar level, and sustain a level of energy that creates a feeling of well-being.

It is difficult to enjoy life when we don’t feel well, and while it is important to take care of our minds and soul, taking care of the body is sacred work too.  To deny the body’s needs is just as detrimental to our well-being as ignoring our spiritual or emotional needs.  Although I am middle aged, I’m actually healthier than I’ve ever been, and I believe that is because, in addition to taking care of my spiritual life, I have cared for my body, this precious container for my precious soul.

 Do you want life to be a dance or a drag?

We have a choice and it’s an important one.  Caring for our bodies makes it possible to do things that feed the soul like walking in the forest, dancing until dawn or jogging through the early morning air with your daughter.  What are you willing to do to make your body and soul one?

© 2011 Georganne Spruce