Tag Archives: Spiritual Awakening

AWAKENING TO GOODNESS

“The fragrance of flowers spread only in the direction of the wind.  But the goodness of a person spreads in all directions.”  Chanakya

Do you believe you are a good person?  What do you do that makes you think that?  If you don’t think you’re a good person, what do you need to change?

This time of year the fragrance of flowers graces us whenever we are outside.  Their blossoms fill the sky and are scattered across the lawn especially after high winds or rain.  The very sight of them is uplifting and touches my heart.  They remind me of the people who have also touched my life and those who have made the world better for all of us.

I don’t have to define goodness.  We all know what it is although some of us may disagree about the people we consider to be good.  Division is rampant in our country right now in politics.  As a result it is also dividing some families.  When we are staunch-believers and build walls around us, letting only those who believe like we do connect with us, we severely limit our lives.

Improving The Planet and People’s Lives

Despite the division and negative attitudes rampant in our society, there are still people whose goodness fills the air like the fragrance of spring flowers.  Greta Thunberg, the Swedish environmental activist has moved the world to pay more attention to climate change and to do what we need to do to save the planet.  Her goodness has spread over the world.

In Asheville, the homeless situation is dire, but there is a movement to provide the homeless with decent housing.  Some hotels have allowed them to occupy rooms without having to pay.  Others are proposing building shelters that will allow those who want to live outdoors to have the facilities they need.  Through our good actions, we may change others’ lives for the better.

Basis of Goodness Is Love

Goodness usually refers to what we think will be positive or beneficial in a thought or action.  Often the basis of it is love.  We act in a good way because we care about the environment, or our family and friends.

Before my husband and I were married, we each lived in our own houses.  On a hike one day, I slipped and fell, badly breaking my ankle.  It required surgery and the doctor put a plate and pin in it.  My greatest fear was that I wouldn’t be able to walk down the aisle for our June wedding.  I was afraid my only choice was going into a facility to care for me, but my past experience with rehab was not good.

I was thrilled when my husband decided to move in early to care for me.  His act of goodness only further confirmed that I had definitely chosen the right man, but I did feel badly that our life together was starting that way.  Because of his love and caring, I was able to walk down the aisle on our wedding day.

The Goodness of Friendship

Friendships are valuable. They often allow us to share our thoughts freely without the other’s judgement.  A good friend listens, expresses empathy, and if asked, ventures an opinion.  Sharing ideas from a loving perspective often helps us see answers to problems we can’t see alone.  The value of a good friend is priceless.

Years ago, when I moved to the middle of Nebraska to teach, I immediately became friends with two good women.  I think they were drawn to me because I was different – a dancer and from “the big city.”  I was thrilled because they were warm and open and made me feel at home despite the culture gap that I experienced.

These warm friendships helped me be more upbeat with my students, especially in the midst of a freezing winter in a strange place.  I tried to be not only the students’ teacher, but also a caring person with whom they could share their concerns when they were struggling.  My friends’ goodness spread through me to others.

When we think about people like Mother Theresa or Martin Luther King, Jr. we have to acknowledge their influence was gigantic and their goodness spread throughout the world. But we don’t have to be famous to make a difference.  We just have to be willing to share our own goodness wherever and whenever we can.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Thank you, Nina, for today’s topic.  If anyone wants to contribute to next week’s topic, please offer a word starting with “H” and leave it in “Comment” at the end.  Thanks!

Related Blog Posts:

AWAKENING TO THE NEXT GOOD THING

AWAKENING TO DISCOVER THE LIGHT

AWAKENING TO LOVE THE WORLD, PART 1

 

AWAKENING TO EVOLVEMENT

“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.”  Oprah Winfrey

Do you feel you are evolving in a good direction?  What do you do to keep growing as a person?  Do you like who you are becoming?

Thank you, Eleanore, for today’s topic.

Spring is a time when we joyfully watch nature evolving.  Trees with grayish brown trunks and branches slowly evolve into leafy green umbrellas.  Their branches become covered with greenish yellow or dark green leaves, depending on their growth stage.  Others suddenly burst full of white or pink flowers.  Stubby little shrubs like Azaleas blossom intensely red, calling attention to their beauty amid their flowerless neighbors.

Heredity and Family Affect Who We Are

While the evolvement of nature is seasonal, our evolvement follows many different paths.  Heredity may predetermine what we look like or what medical problems may arise during our years on this earth, but who we become depends on the choices we make and who we decide to be.

The family or environment in which we grow up forms much of who we are.  Some people choose to conform to their family’s way of life: doing the same work, following the same religion, voting for the same party, socializing in the same way.  For some, this is a good fit; for others, change is required to become an authentic person.  We may begin with one goal only to discover as we mature that we need to head in a different direction

Books About Finding Ourselves

As we evolve, the world around us changes as well.  Recently I read two books that have expanded my understanding of what being Black has meant in this country.  The first is the classic by Zora Neale Hurston, “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” published in 1937.

It is the story of Janie, a Black woman, who is searching for her true self.  She marries twice to men who want to control her every word and movement.  It is only with her third husband, Tea Cake, who doesn’t want to make her “one man’s mule,” that she is able to be authentic.  Like she says, “two things everybody’s got tuh do fuh theyselves.  They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin’ fuh theyselves.”

The other novel is “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett.  It’s the story of light-skinned twin sisters who are growing up in a southern Black community.  They run away from home at sixteen, but each eventually chooses a different path for dealing with her racial identity.  One “becomes” a white woman, disappearing from her family, never revealing who she really is, while the other accepts her reality, marries a Black man and has a daughter with him who is black-skinned and thereby lives an authentic life.

Being True To Myself

Both of these books made it even clearer to me how privileged I am to be White and to have been raised in a middle-class environment, but they also reminded me how glad I am that I followed paths that even my parents and my former husband thought  foolish. Eventually, he divorced me because of the path I chose as a dancer.

I remember sitting up in our apartment at night where my former husband and I lived in a steel mill town, watching the light from the factories flow through the window.  It was obvious to me that I could never be who I wanted to be in that place.  I was teaching mostly gym in junior high, not the English or drama for which I had trained.  As a southerner, most of the other teachers ignored me.  I had only one “sort of” friend.

Fortunately, I was able to convince my husband to move back south to the town where my parents lived.  He found an excellent job in a nearby town and I worked with the National Endowment for the Arts program teaching dance in the schools and community.  I was able to be who I truly was, a teacher and dancer.   This experience gave me the background I needed to keep moving for many years in the artistic direction I had chosen for my life.

To evolve, we must decide what serves us well and what needs to change.  We have to explore how to do that, perhaps by getting help from family or friends, seeing a therapist, reading more widely, or thinking in a different way to expose ourselves to new possibilities.

Every choice we make in life defines us in some way.  When we can see who we want to become, we can more easily see the next step in our evolution.

©2021 Georganne Spruce

Next week the topic I will choose must start with an “F” so please give me some ideas of words for that blog.  Just leave your ideas under Comments.  Thanks to all of you who read these posts.

Related Blogs:

AWAKENING TO GROW

AWAKENING TO OUR HISTORIES

AWAKENING TO YOUR TRUE SELF

 

AWAKENING TO CONSEQUENCES

“Nothing happens in a vacuum in life; every action has a series of consequences, and sometimes it takes a long time to fully understand the consequences of our actions.”  Khaled Hosseini

When you realize you have created a problem, how do you feel about it?  What do you do to try to solve it?  Do you ever choose to ignore it?

When I asked my readers to offer topics that correspond to letters of the alphabet, I thought only of the positive consequences.  I wanted readers to know I take an interest in their concerns, and  I thought that this process would also help me find new topics.  The reality was that this month, I received so many interesting words that I couldn’t decide which to choose, but the first word I received was consequences.  A timely word.

Just as I thought that was a good topic, I also thought, “Oh, dear, what if those who suggested words I don’t use feel hurt?”  Clearly, when I set up this situation I had not thought it through.  So, dear readers please know I appreciate every word you send and I will keep this list for the future.  If your word wasn’t chosen, please continue to offer me new ideas each week.

Doing the Unexpected May Be Enlightening

In life, one thing leads to another.  Until I made the choice to connect with a man on an online dating service, I had thought that was really a stupid thing to do.  I was frustrated by not meeting men with whom I had much in common and with whom I connected in a meaningful way.  So I decided to try it.  That’s how I met the man to whom I am married, and he’s a perfect, caring partner for me.

Our Choices Create Consequences

On the other hand, one of the worst decisions I ever had made, created consequences that never end.  Being a drama major in college, I was in a play where I played a seductive woman who sat at a table with a man and smoked.  I had to fake the smoking and afterwards took extensive teasing about how I clearly I had no idea how to smoke.

Well, I didn’t want to experience that again, so I bought a pack and learned to smoke.  I got hooked.  Over the years I tried to stop many times and finally succeeded when I was around 50 years old.  The result of my poor choice has been bladder cancer that reappears every few years.  Fortunately, it was discovered before it caused serious damage and I am now on a schedule for regular check-ups.

The consequences of our actions may be positive or negative, and are not always about taking action.  The result of inaction also affects us.  At this time, wearing masks has been proven to help prevent getting the virus; yet, some people still ignore the scientific advice that could protect them because they see this protection as a sign of weakness.

Some people also ignore the help that the medical profession may give them for other reasons.  Years ago, I had a very creative friend who had cancer but she refused to see a doctor.  She didn’t want to know the truth.  By the time her daughter convinced her to get help, she was in stage four.  She died in a few months.  I was angry at her for a long time for refusing help.  Choosing a state of denial rarely leads us to a good outcome.

Our Responses to Consequences May Vary

Many people find the life they want to live in one place and stay there their whole lives.  I can see so many advantages to this, but it has not been my path.  While some may feel that my living in eleven different states led to a sad life or showed my inability to commit to one place, I believe it has made my life richer in many ways.

Living in different areas exposed me to various kinds of people and expanded my ability to understand and accept those who are different from me.  Teaching teenagers stretched my ability to help them make good choices and understand the consequences of their choices.

Being a person of the mountains, both in Arkansas where I grew up and now living in the beautiful Blue Ridge area, I would never have chosen to live in the desert.  I nevertheless moved there because I needed to live in a dry climate to get well.  I was surprised by the beauty I found:  the stunning red sunsets, the colorful cactus blooming, the fantastic art on the sides of buildings, and the beauty and community of Native American tribes.  By learning to meditate, I found a peace I had never known.

We are often in situations where we have to guess at a wise response.  The result of our choice will lead us to the next choice we have to make.  And so life goes on.  We do the best we can in the moment and consider the possible consequences, then live and grow with them.

May your choices lead to the best moments of your life.  Wishing you peace and joy!

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Blogs:

AWAKENING TO ACCEPT REALITY

AWAKENING TO OUR MISDIRECTED PASSION

AWAKENING TO GOOD DECISIONS

 

 

 

AWAKENING TO THE BEAUTY OF BALANCE

“The ingredients of both darkness and light are equally present in all of us, …The madness of this planet is largely a result of the human being’s difficulty in coming to virtuous balance with himself.”  Elizabeth Gilbert

Where do you find beauty and balance in your life?  Is it difficult to create?  How do you do that?  What does it add to your life?

I want to thank Bill for suggesting “beauty” as the B topic this week.  As I thought about it, the word “balance” came to mind and is especially appropriate in a world that feels terribly unbalanced and certainly not beautiful in many people’s actions.

The Beauty Of Nature Has Balance

Of course when I think of beauty and balance, nature always comes to mind, especially what I experience at Owen Lake, the small lake around which my husband and I often walk in the late afternoon.  The geese, their large oval bodies balanced on one thin leg, seem magical .  Often, they awake, tiptoe to the water, skip across the lake’s glistening surface, and soar into the blue sky with wings spread on the updraft.

For a moment they are suspended in space before dropping smoothly onto the other side of the lake. There they quack at other ducks and geese and flirt with their floating partner, all balancing on the wings of the disappearing day.

Dance Creates Beautiful Artistic Balance

But then…another picture surfaces.  I remember those diamond moments when, as a dancer, I balanced on one leg, arms spread, lifted by the light, breath, and muscles growing out of the earth like a palm.  Dropping back to earth, I ran, leapt into the air, legs and arms spread to balance, magically suspended, like the geese, in perfect balance before I returned to earth.

While the beauty of this balance and suspension may take your breath away, especially if Baryshnikov is the dancer, there are other moments of balance in our lives that are beautiful.  There is the moment when the person you love, a partner or a child, turns to you and says, “I love you,” and the craziness of life suddenly, peacefully balances.

Finding The Beauty Of Balance As A Challenge

Anger may often take us off balance and cause us to do or say ugly things.  In the middle of an argument with a spouse or dear friend, we suddenly realize the issue at hand is about to break our precious connection.  In that moment, we see that if we win, we lose, so we find the words that will stop the disruption and hopefully, beautifully, heal the wound.

It is a pleasure to see balance in others.  To create it in ourselves may be challenging.  We must find the beauty within that can create the balance.  Often, we need help to see beyond the negative messages we received in childhood that we are somehow not good enough.  We have to find a good therapist, learn new ways of communicating, or heal our negative thinking. When we are at peace with ourselves, and our mind is in balance, we can see the non-physical beauty in others.

How To Balance Our Lives

I am so grateful for the years I learned to meditate and for the teacher who taught me to release my fears.  These approaches have often helped me see the best direction to take in life, including letting go or walking away when necessary. Even now when anger or fear arise in my life, I have the tools that I need to find balance.

While balance is a beautiful experience, our outer world is out of balance and often a challenge that we feel we have no way to change.  But we need to ask ourselves what can we each do in our way, in our own lives, to create more balance.  We all have the option to vote to change the people who don’t make the choices we prefer in the government.  If we feel lonely, there are groups that we now may Zoom with to discuss topics that interest us and at least see other human faces.  Leaving space between ourselves and others, we can walk across the land as it transforms into a colorful spring that brings us joy.  Making quiet time to go within and love oneself and connect with Spirit may bring the balance we need.

If we want the beauty of balance in our lives, we have to seek ways to create it, and that may be a gift not only for ourselves, but for all the other lives we touch.

May you find the light of beauty and balance in your life this week.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

***Please add to the conversation with a comment.  Also, what word would you like me to write about next week that starts with a C ?  You can place that in comment too.

Related Blog Posts:

AWAKENING TO SEE THE BEAUTY OF LIFE

AWAKENING TO BALANCE THE MIND

AWAKENING TO LIGHT THE DARKNESS

AWAKENING TO TRUST YOURSELF

 

AWAKENING TO AWE

“The moments that I feel the most imbued with a sense of awe are always the moments when I am outdoors.  I can’t help but feel a certain sense of wonder –I become almost filled with it.” Kathi Appelt

Photo: Georganne Spruce

How do you feel in the out-of-doors?  Are uplifted by nature?  Does it make you fearful?  How important is it to you?

Help Write The Blog

It is often a challenge to find a topic for each weekly blog because I have been writing them for years, so I’ve decided to take a different approach.  I’ll use the alphabet as a guide, choosing a word that starts with that week’s letter as my subject.  In addition, I invite you to suggest a word starting with the next letter that you want me to use as my next subject.  Place the word in the comment section at the end of the current blog.  So the topic for next week will start with a “B.”

Evolution of Words

I find it interesting that words we use may evolve and change over the years.  The archaic version of “awe” was “dread” or “terror.”  Now, however, we use it to mean “wonder” or “sublime.”  The quote that I chose today often uses the current meaning in reference to nature.

The Wonder of Spring

We may experience wonder, especially this time of year, when nature is showering us with blossoms and color.  I live in the mountains, which have been mostly brown through the winter, but now the green is beginning to sneak into the landscape.

Every day as I walk outside, a new flower appears in a neighbor’s yard.  This week the yellow jonquils  are prolific on the block.  In my yard, hiding under a shrub, is a purple crocus I almost missed seeing.  Sometimes awe is like that.  An awesome being is right before us but we cannot see it.

It’s far too easy to curl up inside and limit our lives even more than the pandemic restricts us, especially if we aren’t particularly a nature lover.  We can surround ourselves with books, watching television, or playing cards and avoid one of the most awesome times of year.

Releasing Our Fear With Awe

When I saw that “awe” used to mean “dread,” I immediately thought of nature.  Do any of you avoid walking through the forest or desert because you fear the wild bears or coyotes?  Where I live, the bears that have been hibernating awaken in spring and often visit us looking for food.  We have to be careful of them although we may also be entertained by their actions like the time three cubs tried to learn how to climb a tree in the front yard.

As a child growing up and hiking in the Arkansas mountains, I learned to watch out for snakes.  We often saw them crossing our paths.  My parents taught my brother and me to keep our distance and taught us which ones were the most dangerous, but we also learned they were just a part of nature, not anything evil.

If one has never been taught how to stay safe in a forest, I can understand why it would be fearful to go there, but one can always join hiking groups who know the terrain well.  Nature is unpredictable, but it is one of our most awesome natural gifts.  Standing among the beauty of nature touches my soul in a way little else can, for I don’t only see the beauty of nature, I feel it as well.  I feel the breeze flow through my hair, the sun caress my face, the earth touching my feet on hard rocks and spongy soil.

The Stillness of Nature Is A Gift

There is often a stillness in nature, as deep as the stillness of meditation, that reminds us to take time to be in touch with Spirit and our deepest selves.  In that place, we can experience “the peace that passes all understanding.”   Experiencing that awe may bring us answers to problems or make us aware of wiser ways to deal with challenges. This spiritual and energetic experience is as beautiful as the visual one.

Experiencing awe requires us to let go of the expected fear and be open to whatever possibilities appear.  Awe strikes us with a deep connection, not only to nature, but to all that is.  May you have an awesome week!

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Blogs:

AWAKENING TO THE SPRING OF LIFE

AWAKENING TO WALK IN BEAUTY

AWAKENING TO NATURE’S SURPRISES

 

 

 

 

AWAKENING TO THE LIGHT WITHIN

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”  Leonard Cohen

Is there light in your life?  What is its source?  How does it affect your life?

At this time of year, the crack in the darkness slowly enlarges until months later we find ourselves in the long daily light of summer.  As the rain and snow fall, we dream of the days when we can walk and play outside without a heavy coat or rain jacket.  We long for what we used to called normal before the pandemic and onset of winter.

This week the light has come into my life from two specific sources.  One occurred on Sunday as I listened to Laura Collins’ message at Jubilee Community.  This community is based on the theology of Creation Spirituality, and this period of the year is called the Via Creativa, a time when the light gradually increases and prepares for living things to awaken and grow again.

Being Present With Ourselves

Sunday’s theme was “Rooted and Grounded in Presence.” One of the ideas presented was that being present is being in our bodies, and when we are, we can be in touch with who we really  are.  When we are present, the light of our being allows us to be seen and to see ourselves.

We have to remember that darkness is not always bad.  It allows us to rest, to dream, to refresh, and when we reawaken in the light, a new day, a new thought, a new awareness may brighten our lives.  We cannot run around out in the world every day.  The darkness presents an opportunity to sit quietly and look within.

Returning To Our True Selves

The other experience I had was viewing a movie called, “Time of Sixth Sun.”  It was about the belief of indigenous people, that we are entering a time when we must come back to who we truly are.  It is a time to remember, to hear the voice inside and allow the parts of ourselves that are asleep to awaken.

It is a time to remember and listen to the voice within.  For centuries we have focused outside ourselves.  We have let the left brain control life, putting the emphasis on acquiring things and money and power.  It is the world of the masculine, the energy of the sun, but we must now move into the right brain awareness of the feminine, the moon energy.  There we can hear the part of ourselves that wishes to awaken.  By doing so, we will find who we truly are.

In that inner darkness, we will find the light within – our divinity, our soul.  We must create the quiet and solitude we need for ourselves and with others who travel a similar path. When we are able to see more deeply, we will no longer be afraid of letting our light shine through the crack this awakening creates.

A Future Designed For All People

We already see ways that the young people in the world are rejecting the old ways.  They want to save the planet, create equality for all, make racial justice a reality, and insure that no one goes hungry.  We have seen the beginning of this new vibration in our country since the recent election.  The changes the Biden administration seeks to make are not merely political.  They are in response to the actual needs of the country’s citizens.

The old crack in our world has widened to allow more light to flow into our lives.  This world will expand through the diversity that is now part of our government.  Just as the indigenous people have predicted, we see women, life nurturers, rising to create the new earth we all need.  Let us awaken to the dream of the ancient ones, and allow our light to create a new society bringing together all people.

The indigenous people in “The Time of the Sixth Sun” believe that in seven years we will have a “perfect” world, a more cooperative and wholistic society.  I hope they are right.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO DISCOVER THE LIGHT

AWAKENING TO LIGHT THE DARKNESS

LIGHTING OUR DARKNESS

 

 

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

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO TRANSITIONS

AWAKENING TO RELEASE ILLUSIONS

TRANSFORMING THE FEAR OF CHANGE

 

AWAKENING TO OUR COMFORT

“People need to rediscover the ability to find comfort amidst discomfort.  It is only while enduring discomfort that we find solutions.”  Hanno Langenhoven

Have you found any comfort during this discomforting time?  How did you look for it?  What form did it take?

Most of us are definitely looking for comfort during this crazy, scary time.  The things that may usually have made us feel good like going to the movies, seeing a play, or shopping downtown in the crowds aren’t possible in many places.  In other ways, they aren’t wise things to do even if they are still possible.

Creating New Events

I definitely had to adjust my birthday celebration this week to be safe during the pandemic.  No eating out at an elegant restaurant with friends or attending some kind of entertainment event.  Even hiking in the woods was taken off the list because of problems with my hip joint.  Instead my husband and I drove up to Mt. Mitchell to see the fall leaves at many stages on the mountains.  Near the top, the leaves had already dropped, leaving only the dark green fir.

We took a little walk outside in the sun at the top of the mountain with a light cool breeze blowing.  There were no tables around and too many people so we ate lunch in the car, enjoying chicken salad, vegetable salad, and cookies.  Simple and delicious.  After coming down the mountain, we picked up gluten free crab cakes for dinner.

My husband cooked the meal and did the dishes.  Then we watched  two episodes of “Everwood” on Amazon Prime, laughing about how crazy the two main characters are who are doctors.  When we crawled into bed, I felt flooded with love for my dear partner.  Just being with him had made it the best birthday ever.

Creating Comfort From Discomfort

We had just done simple things during the day that gave us pleasure.  It’s true of course that we have had to rediscover what gives us pleasure. We’ve also had to adjust what we consider comfortable in relation to the virus.  In other words, “to find comfort amidst discomfort.”

We don’t like living with limitations but they push us to be more creative.  I have a friend who is an artist and is taking an online painting class rather than the face-to-face class she usually takes.  The paintings she is creating are amazing and beautiful! Every day when I go on Facebook she has posted another beauty.  Isolation has certainly not restricted her creativity.

Artist: Carol Czeczot – www.blackmountainartist.com

In order to find the comfort hiding beneath the limitations, we may have to decide to find pleasure in the simple things of life that we often overlook.  When I was single and living alone, I often was not with friends on Saturday nights.  Many of my friends were married and spending Saturday with their mates or family.

Without family nearby, I had to comfort myself.  When I felt lonely, I would take a hot shower, fix a hot cup of tea or cocoa, put on my pajamas and crawl in bed with a good book.  Pampering myself was nurturing and a way to love myself.

Circumstances force us to look beyond the obvious and become more creative with solutions to problems that have had us stuck in one frame of mind.  Being open to unexpected and unusual possibilities may well be the key to turning our discomforts into satisfying outcomes.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

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AWAKENING TO OUR MYSTERIES

“I think on some level, you do your best things when you’re a little off-balance, a little scared.  You’ve got to work from mystery, from wonder, from not knowing.”  Daniel Dafoe

How do you feel about a mystery in your life?  Does it frighten you?  Does it ever reveal a new way to see your life?

Fall is always a reminder that times are changing.  For a while it is lovely with the colorful flowers and multicolored leaves on the trees.  The intense heat of summer has subsided and the air is cool and perfect for outdoor hikes with just a sweater or light coat.  For a while the mountains startle us with vivid colors like a Van Gogh painting.

And then – things drop away.  The flowers and leaves turn brown and fall.  The squirrels stuff themselves with acorns and pack more up for winter.  All of nature prepares for rest during the winter in order to return in the spring renewed.

Not only is nature in transition, humans are as well.  We are living through a mysterious time, daily discovering that our country is not what we thought it was, that our government may no longer be “for the people.”  Our health is threatened by a mysterious illness that infects equally and we have no cure.

A Time of Letting Go

Creation Spirituality, a spiritual community created by Matthew Fox, divides the year into four areas.  This time of year is known as the Via Negativa, a time of mystery, of letting go, of emptying, of sitting in the shadow, and experiencing the dark night of the soul.

Like the trees and flowers, it is a time to rest and renew our lives for the coming of spring and new life.  It is a time to explore who we really are in this time of change.  We may take the time to let the mysteries of our lives open to us.

What do we need to let go of?  Many people are cleaning out their closets and garages, letting go of things they no longer need:  books they’ll never read again, clothes they’ve outgrown, furniture that is broken, or tools they never use.  In my community there is a website where people post the free things they want to give away and the list is endless and surprising at times.

Looking Within

But letting go of physical things is the easy part.  Looking at our inner mysteries is more challenging.  Who are we really?  Even before the pandemic, were we living the life we really wanted?  Are we uncomfortable having to stay home most of the time because our family relationships are difficult?

When we experience a dark night of the soul, we often feel we are trapped in a shadow and have no idea how to find the light.  But this is the time when we must look inside and ask, “Who am I?”  Are we living who we really are?  While that may feel terribly uncomfortable at times, it may also lead us to discover parts of ourselves that are shut down and what we need to do to become more complete.

When I had to move from New Orleans, away from the rest of my family, it was not a choice I really wanted to make.  If I wanted to heal my Chronic Fatique Syndrome, I had to go to a dry climate, so I chose Albuquerque where I did have one New Orleans friend who had moved there.

We Are One With Spirit

During my time there, I discovered Religious Science church that became my spiritual home.  It was based on the science of mind philosophy, the belief that God is one with us and all that is.  The energy we create and express affects others, and what we express comes back to us.  Being part of a loving community and practicing this spiritual belief helped heal more than my body.

There have been many moments in my life when I felt depressed or confined by my circumstances.  As a single woman, making enough money to pay the bills was also a challenge.  Not being in a relationship for many years was a challenge.  Dealing with continuing health challenges that limited what I could eat was a challenge.

Lighting the Dark Within

Learning to adjust my thinking and meditate taught me that closing my eyes, moving into the darkness, could open me to the light within.  In that place, I could find peace and let the negative thinking and feelings drop away.  Clearing space within for the light to appear often brought solutions to problems I would never have “thought” of.

Many times, as I sit quietly, lie in bed dozing off, or just as I wake, a new thought presents itself.  What it means may be a total mystery.  Thinking about it may or may not reveal its meaning.  When I’m mystified, I write the thought down just as I do if I wake remembering a dream, knowing that if it is important, its relevance will be revealed later.

While we learn who we are by being with other people, by working or playing, it is our alone time when the deepest mysteries can open us to the deepest solutions.  Spirit is with us in those moments if we are willing to sit with the mystery.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

DANCING TO THE MYSTERY OF LIFE

AWAKENING TO LIGHT THE DARKNESS

AWAKENING TO THE LIGHT

 

AWAKENING TO YOUR TRUE SELF

“Find out who you are and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this Earth to be.  Find that truth, live that truth and everything else will come.”  Ellen De Generes

Are you who you want to be? If not, how do you need to change? Are you willing to make that change?

I recently finished reading “Ellie and the Harp Maker” by Hazel Prior.  It is certainly one of my year’s favorites, a story about a woman who discovers who she really is when she learns to play a harp.  The sound of the harp and the joy of playing it opens a part of herself that she had closed off to please her husband.  He didn’t like the sound of the harp and thought her wanting a harp was foolish.

While learning to play the harp and keeping it secret from her husband created many problems, her choice eventually led her to a life that allowed her to love herself and be loved for who she truly was.  It was truly an uplifting story and a joy to read.

Challenging the Norms

Growing up in the 1940’s and 1950’s, I often lived with the conflict between who society thought I should be as a woman and who I thought I was.  In a way, hitting adulthood in the 1960’s did lighten the load and offer more possibilities on the surface.  But the reality was that I was still expected to be a devoted wife and mother and put my interests in second place.  My desire to be a modern dancer did not please anyone.

Those were the expectation’s Ellie’s husband had for her, so it was easy for me to relate to this story.  But how many of us – men or woman – are not being who we truly are?

How do we find who we truly are?  How do we feel about the work we do?  Do we enjoy it or do it only because it’s the only way we can find to make money?

Going Deeper

When we feel drawn to something like music, art, or running long distance races, or any pursuit that goes against our family or society’s concept of who we should be, it is a challenge.  Often, we begin to do it as something “on the side.”  With time, it may become more than a hobby.

When this activity or desire comes from deep within and nourishes us in more than an external way, it may very well be an expression of our soul.  Our soul is our core.  It is the deepest part of us and when we do not feed it, we are only a part of who we are.

While religious beliefs and activity may be at the core of our spiritual being, feeding the soul may also be experienced in many ways.  I suspect the runner, at some point, feels totally in the moment, allowing all worries to drop away, and being at one with all that is.

As a dancer I certainly experienced the feeling of going beyond just the pleasure of physical activity.  When I am writing, the room often drops away.  Words and ideas flow through my hands into the computer.  Many of them are not expressions I would have “thought of.”

A similar experience may also be experienced by mathematicians and scientists looking for a new solution to a problem or inventing a new device.  A new idea appears that the logical mind may have missed.

Seeing the Soul Beneath the Surface

When we are being who we truly are, we still have challenges, but we solve them based on who we are, not on who others expect us to be.  As we age, our challenges may make it impossible to continue a physical activity. There came a point where I had to stop dancing or undergo knee surgery.  I realized that without the stress of dance, I could live normally with my knees and repair the problem with physical therapy.  I had seen many other dancers go through the surgery, not once, but many times because it did not permanently solve the issue.

Fortunately, by this time, I had come to realize that I was not just a dancer. I was a creative, spiritual person.  I could express who I was in many ways.  I had already learned to be creative as a high school teacher and as a writer and found pleasure in helping others explore their creativity.  Having the surgery was unnecessary.  I was fine as I was.

Many years later, I now possess the energy and strength to ballroom dance, write, and walk through the forest.  That’s all I need.

Like Ellie, when we become who we truly are, we will make “music” from the soul.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

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