Tag Archives: Spiritual Journey

AWAKENING TO PATIENCE

“Sometimes things aren’t clear right away.  That’s where you need to be patient and persevere and see where things lead.”  Mary Pierce.

Are you a patient person or is patience a challenge for you?  How do you stay patient when it is difficult for you?  What is the advantage of being patient?

(Thanks to Joanne for today’s topic.  Next week will be a topic starting with “Q” so please leave some words that I can use for the next blog topic.  Thanks for all your help!)

We are certainly living in a time that requires patience, but even without the pandemic and its restrictions, life always challenges us.  Unlike most of life, when we have those moments when we are physically threatened, we have to act quickly without thinking in order to protect ourselves or others.  We may not even have time to take a deep breath.

But most of life is not like that.  Being patient doesn’t mean waiting forever to see what will happen or tolerating what is harmful or unacceptable.  But it does mean taking the time to truly examine a situation in order to make the best decision about the action we should take.

As a young child I had to be patient for years.  In a way it really wasn’t an issue because my illnesses kept me in bed or limited my ability to be physically active.  By the time I reached junior high school,  I was able to do some physical activity.  I played tennis, danced, and went swimming at the local pool.  It was such a joy!

Needing to Control Makes Us Impatient

Throughout high school and college I was involved with many activities and became more impatient with life when things didn’t move along as I desired.  But at times I was forced to be patient.  I majored in drama and it’s impossible to perform in a play without considerable preparation.  You have to memorize your lines, attend many rehearsals, and learn specifically how to act and move.

Despite learning the value of patience in school, I found being patient in a work environment more challenging.  I worked in schools as a teacher and in offices in various positions.  Every situation required a period of learning what was acceptable behavior, what was quality work, and how to adjust to difficult co-workers or managers.

Determining When to Be Patience

Too much patience could be interpreted as laziness.  Too little patience could create conflicts that would lead to being fired or demoted.  But sufficient patience, at times, allowed me to eventually determine that a position or company was clearly not where I should be or that it was best to stay where I was and adjust my behavior to what was required.

When I first started teaching at a Catholic girl’s high school, I loved the disciplined atmosphere because I could really concentrate on the teaching.  However, an assistant principal observed me every week.  It made me very nervous and I was afraid she came so often because she didn’t think I was teaching very well.

With time, I realized that she was helping me become a better teacher.  She was gently teaching me more effective techniques like using group discussions and projects rather than relying on lecturing.  Her perseverance as well as mine made me a much more effective teacher in her school, but also give me the tools I would need when I went to work in inner city New Orleans.

Patience Is of Value Personally and At Work

Most of us feel unsettled when we are in a new situation, but being exposed to new situations offers us an opportunity to learn.  When I look back on my life, I can see how my lack of patience in social and work situations often hindered me in being successful.  There were times when I knew that what I wanted to say would create a problem, but I said it anyway.  No one was going to control me.

As I matured, I came to realize that at times I would say or do something that did not work for people who were close to me.  I had to take the time to evaluate the situation and perhaps discuss it with others.  While it may take time and patience to work out what I want to achieve, but having the patience to consider others is a requirement for healthy relationships.

Besides, exercising the patience to see where things will lead may lead us to unexpected joys.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Blog Posts:

AWAKENING TO BALANCE THE MIND

AWAKENING TO THE BEAUTY OF BALANCE

DANCING TO CHALLENGING EXPERIENCE

 

AWAKENING TO YOUR ODYSSEY

“The odyssey is not going out and seeing the world:  it’s about trying to get home.”  Pete Hamill

Does your life feel like an odyssey?  What makes it such a journey?  Does it work well for you or are there aspects that you need to change? What have you learned form it?

(Thanks to so many of you for such great “O” suggestions.  Especially thanks to Marguerite for this topic.  As a former English teacher, I couldn’t resist it.  In the Comment area please leave me some topic suggestions for next week starting with “P.”  Thanks!)

Most of us read “The Odyssey” in high school or college.  Written by Homer, it was an epic poem about Odysseus wandering for ten years after the Trojan War, trying to get home.  While most of us are not warriors, although some are, we all are traveling on the adventure of life.

An odyssey is defined as an intellectual or spiritual quest or an extended adventurous voyage or trip marked by many changes of fortune.  Do any of these describe your path through life?

I found Pete Hamill’s quote very interesting because we often have to wander from the path we intended to live in order to discover our true selves.

Changes Offer Positive and Negative Experiences

In the 1970’s I was living in the Washington, D.C. area teaching dance part-time when a friend of mine told me that a college in the middle of Nebraska was hiring a dance teacher to set up a dance program.  I knew nothing about Nebraska, but I needed a better income due to my divorce and was excited by the idea of creating a modern dance minor.

I accepted the position when they offered it to me.  After the interview, an art teacher on the dance committee took me out to a bar in town where I discovered he was charming, funny, and a great dancer.  I looked forward to getting to know him.

When I moved to Nebraska, I shared a house with community arts organizer and made two other wonderful women friends very quickly.  I expected everyone to be as friendly as the few people I had originally met, but I soon discovered that people generally were very distant and rarely shared their feelings.  No matter what I did I couldn’t break through those barriers.

The art teacher and I had become very close. I fell in love with him.  Although he said he loved me, he said he needed to get out of the small town and move to Oregon.  He needed to be alone to find himself.  I continued to teach at the college, but I felt stifled in such a small place.  I missed the diversity of a city.  I knew Nebraska was not my true home.

New Experiences Help Us Grow

I moved to Denver because I could easily teach my own dance classes there and it appeared I might be able to get a part-time job at a college.  Besides, the man I loved had to fly through Denver in order to see his parents in a small town near the state line, not far from Denver.  It would be easy for him to stop and visit with me.

To some it may seem I wandered too much in the west, but the wandering was beneficial. As it turned out, making it convenient for my lover to see me never led to a commitment. However, Denver became a true home where I grew in many ways.

During my odyssey in Nebraska and Denver, places I would previously not have considered living, I grew enormously as a teacher and person.  Especially in Denver, I felt I became more of who I truly was.  Because of a Buddhist friend’s influence and a quarter  of a semester teaching dance at the Naropa Institute, I decided to learn to meditate, a practice that expanded my spiritual life and benefitted my health.

I also made hiking friends and climbed to the top of huge mountains to be awed by God’s magnificent creations.  I attended a Science of Mind church and studied its teachings.  They helped me to pay more attention to the negative thoughts I allowed to control my thinking, and I learned how to release them.

These years were a time when my odyssey led me through trials and tribulations, taught me what I needed to let go of and what must become a part of me.  This journey brought me home to who I truly am.

Unexpected Gifts Help Us Grow

 Isn’t that what happens to so many of us?  On our odyssey through life we come upon the unexpected many times.  The world around us continues to change regardless of our choices and that often affects how we live and may force us to change.  Each experience is an opportunity to learn a better way to live or to define clearly what we don’t want. We may have to change the path or destination we had planned, or the experience may reassure us that we are on the right path.

I’ve often moved to take a new job, be close to a friend or family, or be in a healthier location.  There are negative and positive aspects to that, but there is one constant.  Every situation is an opportunity to learn, to experience new people and cultures, and I am grateful because it has helped me understand my journey and other people’s life quests.

Now as I move into the last decades of my life, I feel at home, living as my true self in a place that is my soul’s home, with a man who is the partner for whom I always searched.  My life isn’t perfect but it’s been a fascinating journey that has allowed me to become who I want to be.

May your odyssey guide you home.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Blogs:

WHERE THE JOURNEY LEAD

AWAKENING TO JOURNEY WITH GRATITUDE

AWAKENING TO THE JOURNEY THAT IS

 

 

AWAKENING TO OUR LONELINESS

“At the innermost core of all loneliness is a deep and powerful yearning for union with one’s lost self.”  Brendan Behan

Do you often experience loneliness?  How do you react to it?  Is it always a negative experience or is it sometimes positive?

(Next week my topic will start with “M” so please give me some suggestions for a word beginning with that letter.  I want to know what interests you.  Leave your idea in comment)

The fear of loneliness and the actual experience of loneliness have been a huge part of many people’s lives during the pandemic.  This is often because many are not comfortable being alone and need frequent face-to-face companionship.

Fortunately we have had Zoom which has allowed us to see others’ faces.  Although it isn’t a substitute for face-to-face communication, it is better than an email, text, or just a voice over the phone.

Loneliness Can Support Creativity

However, there are those who experience loneliness often, although they might prefer to call it solitude.  Writers and artists require alone time to do their work, to concentrate and create, using their inner skills of thinking, feeling, and imagining to create a work of art that reflects personal feelings, thoughts, or experiences.  In these situations, being alone is not loneliness.  It is a connection with a deeper part of one’s self.

When we feel alone how can we make that sense of loneliness a positive thing?  I know one person who likes to experiment making bread.  Another experiments with cooking creative dinners.  Others plant extensive gardens in their back yards.  Doing these things fills a need to express oneself and reach out to others.

Loneliness May Depress Us

Beneath the desire to abate loneliness is the need to be in touch with our deepest self or as Behan states, “one’s lost self.”  When aloneness feels depressive or frightening, it is because we are not in touch with that deeper self.  There is some part of ourselves we do not know that feels lost to us.

For most of my life, I lived alone.  Loneliness was a frequent companion, a good friend when I wanted to write.  However, most of my meals were eaten alone, except perhaps accompanied by a book or television program.  When I had an occasional dinner with friends, it was always a pleasure and filled part of that lonely spot within.

During much of my alone time as a younger person, I felt something was missing within me.  There was an unfilled space expressed as loneliness and depression.  It was a dark space that could pull me down if I let it.  Like so many, those were the times I felt sorry for myself,  curled up in a ball on the bed and cried or went to sleep.

Finding Our Lost Soul In Spirituality

I had always been a person who thought deeply and was very emotional.  I needed to find a way to bring light to that inner darkness.  I felt in touch with God but not in the deepest way until I learned to meditate.  In those deep quiet moments I found my “lost self” and I opened to the mystical warmth and love of my new relationship with God who was both masculine and feminine.

Alone time became healing time, loving-myself-time, learning time.  I no longer felt oneness with all of life just when I walked in the woods or was with friends. I learned I had become one with my “lost self” and could love myself even when no one else did.  As a result, life became rich in ways I could not have imagined before I found that missing part of myself.

May you each find your “lost self” and become best friends.  Namaste.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Posts

AWAKENING TO THE ONENESS WITHIN

AWAKENING TO YOUR TRUE SELF

AWAKENING TO BEFRIEND OURSELVES

 

AWAKENING TO EXPRESS KINDNESS

“This is my simple religion.  There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy.  Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”  Dalai Lama

Do you consider yourself a kind person?  Are you surrounded by kind people?  How do you express your kindness?

(Thank you Charlie for our topic this week.  Next week, the topic will start with “L,” so please leave your suggestions for a topic in the comment section.  I always appreciate your suggestions.)

Qualities of Kind People

I am always deeply touched by kind people, and there are several things that I notice about them.  They are people who are at peace with themselves.  They look for what is positive in others and in situations.  They are empathetic and compassionate.

These are the kind of people I want in my life, the people I can trust, who when there is conflict will talk respectfully about our differences and work things out.  I can look back on my life and see the many times when I tolerated behavior in relationships and friendships that was less than respectful of who I was and my needs.  Now I find that I am less willing to ignore such disrespect and that more of the people I draw into my life are kind.

What has changed and why is kindness so important to me now?

Kindness Is Based On Loving Ourselves

I read an article “The Magic of Unconditional Love:  An Interview with Don Miguel Ruiz” by Diane Marie Bishop in Science of Mind Magazine.  In the article, Ruiz talks about how we cannot love others unconditionally unless we unconditionally love ourselves.  Over the years, my ability to love myself has grown.  I have let go of my need to be perfect or to fit someone else’s standard.  This acceptance has given me more peace, and I have learned to be kinder to myself and others.

It is all connected.  When we love ourselves, peace and joy automatically become part of our lives and the expression of kindness becomes a natural thing.  We are less reactive and more aware of how our words and actions affect others.  We are also more flexible and able to adapt to the needs of others when it is appropriate.  But we also are at peace with who we are and can say “no” when we must and do it in a way that is kind.

Negative Thinking Blocks Kindness

It was a challenging week last week with many every day difficulties arising.  It was a week of important teachings, a reminder that, instead of getting caught up in another’s negativity, I need to tap into my inner peace and stay there.  I wasn’t always able to do that, but I will continue to pursue that path.  Experiencing peace and love is my priority and that is what I want to share with others.

When we love ourselves, we are more likely to see life as positive.  When we are feeling positive, we are more likely to respond to life in a positive manner and act kindly.  But seeing the same situation from a negative point of view may completely change how one experiences an event.  Negative thinking can be a powerful block that supports our egos worst choices and keeps us from acting kindly from the heart.

Once, I offered to loan a friend a library book I’d finished so she could also read it before it was due.  With a long waiting list, it was hard to get.  She emailed me to leave it in her mailbox, but I wasn’t comfortable with that due to the torrential rains we were having, and it belonged to the library so I didn’t want to risk its getting damaged.  Since we lived close to each other, I asked her to give me a call when she was home, and I would bring it to her or she could pick it up.  She thought my concern was foolish, and she became angry that I wouldn’t do this the way she wanted, rejected my offer, and refused to return my phone call so we could work it out.

I was rather shocked by the whole situation.  Her response to the situation seemed harsh and out of proportion to the reality although, in the past, she had been disturbed about situations she viewed as negative when I didn’t see them that way.  Still, what created this problem?  Had I been unkind without realizing it?  Was she stressed about something or angry at me for another reason?  I didn’t know.  By focusing on the negative rather than the positive aspect of the situation and refusing to communicate, my friend created a problem that didn’t need to exist and eroded the trust I felt for her.

Positive Thinking Supports Kindness

An experience with a sales person when I had a problem with a new cell phone also illustrated the consequences of positive and negative approaches to situations.  This man made it clear that he only had time for people who were there to buy something although I had been required to trade out my phone for a new one due to network changes.

Because of his lack of customer service, I decided not to do business there again.  Instead I went to another store where a kind young man showed concern for my problems and took the time to show me how to use the new phone.  Perhaps he was just a kind person or perhaps he understood making a customer happy might mean more sales in the long run.  Either way he took the higher road.

Kindness May Be Expressed With Empathy and Compassion

Two other ways we can express kindness are through empathy and compassion.  They are beautiful expressions of our love and peace.  With empathy we are able to put ourselves in the other person’s place and feel what they are feeling.  We may make this connection because we’ve experienced a similar situation or because we use our imagination to envision what they are feeling.  Compassion takes us one step further emotionally to a place where we want to help.

To share our feelings of concern through either of these expressions is an act of kindness.  We care if another person is in pain or difficulty and want life to be better for him/her.  I have another friend who frequently expresses these qualities.  The trust I feel toward him because of this is huge.  Whether he thinks my feelings are foolish or not is irrelevant.  What he offers me is concern and empathy first.  If we argue, it becomes a respectful conversation that allows us to understand each other and helps our relationship grow deeper.  As a result, I feel loved and at peace with him.   I can always trust that he cares about what is best for me.

Allowing kindness to become an important part of our lives can truly change them for the better, for kindness is part of the holy within us.  It’s just another aspect of treating others as we wish to be treated.  Perhaps it is also another way of changing our own little worlds and contributing positively to the larger one.

What kindness have you expressed or experienced lately?

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO WHERE KINDNESS HAS GONE

AWAKENING TO A PEACEFUL HEART

AWAKENING TO COMPASSIONATE COMMUNICATION

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR PERFECTIONISM

 

AWAKENING TO INTEGRITY

“With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide.  With integrity, you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt.”  Zig Ziglar

What does integrity mean to you?  Is it integral to your life?  Does it often challenge you, and how do you handle those challenges?

(Thanks to Jeran who offered today’s topic. It was difficult to make a choice with so many good suggestions, but please keep the words coming.  Next week I need a topic that starts  with “J.”  Leave your ideas under Comment)

We often think of integrity as an adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.  But the other definition of it is the condition of being whole or undivided.  We create that wholeness throughout our lives, deciding what we believe and who we are, for what we believe and act on reflects who we are.

If we don’t feel whole, it is probably because parts of ourselves are at war and conflicted.  When we discuss a community issue with one friend, we express what we really think because we know that person will accept our point of view, but when we discuss this with another friend whose concept of what should happen is the opposite, we may agree with that person but sacrifice our own integrity.

Fear of Conflict

When we are afraid of conflict, we may often go against our true beliefs.  When we are unable to be true to ourselves, it is often because we are wounded.  For example, children who are not treated lovingly, may feel they are not good enough or worthwhile as adults and constantly try to please others rather than take care of themselves and remain faithful to what is most important.

Finding Peace Within

As we go through life, hopefully we continue to learn who we truly are.  What we learn may also change our sense of integrity.  The two most important things that have helped me maintain my integrity are learning to release my fears and meditating.

When I began practicing a technique to release my fear, I found that my relationships improved.  I felt more comfortable expressing my true feelings to family members and friends.  I accepted the fact that my ideas might not be accepted, but I wanted them to know who I am and what I stand for.  Meditation helped me experience inner peace and feeling whole.  It gave me an inner security about being truthful.

Years ago when I first learned I shouldn’t eat diary or gluten, one family member made it clear that she thought I was doing this just to get attention.  She had never encountered someone with gluten and dairy intolerance, so for her, it didn’t seem true.

My condition also made for some awkward moments when I ate out with friends.  In those days, most restaurants were unaware of the problem.  I had to ask in detail about ingredients.  It took time. It was awkward.  Sometimes I had to settle for very little food because there was little I could eat, and this occasionally upset friends, but I chose not to harm myself, and my good friends understood.

Choosing Integrity May Be Challenging

Life always brings changes that may challenge our integrity.  What if a mother has no money to feed her children so she steals food from a store?  Is that acting with integrity?  If you can’t afford to lose your job and are asked by your boss to do something that is illegal and you do it, does that compromise your integrity?  If you give money to an organization that your spouse doesn’t approve of and you don’t tell him, does that demonstrate a lack of integrity in the marriage?

Where is the integrity of a country that allows corporations to make billions of dollars in profit, pay no taxes, and pay workers less than a living wage?  We live in a world where there is a rampant lack of integrity in governments and businesses.  When we demand equality we are expressing our desire for integrity.

Caring for others, not just ourselves, is a test of integrity.  The good energy we put out into the world can change things and make life better for all.  Black Lives Matter is a perfect example of how people acting together with integrity can force change.  The change may be slower than we wish, but it is in motion.

What moral or ethical code of values do we choose to live by?  Does living by it make us feel whole?  How do we integrate it into our daily lives?  Those are the real challenges today and we each have to find our own answers.  We can’t buy integrity.  We have to live it.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Blog Posts:

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

AWAKENING TO LIVE WITHOUT FEAR

AWAKENING TO THE ONENESS WITHIN

 

AWAKENING TO HEAL WITH HUMOR

“When you awaken love and laughter in your life, your mind lets go of fear and anxiety, and your happy spirit becomes the healing balm that transforms every aspect of your human experience.” Jesse Dylan

Do you laugh often?  How does it make you feel?  Do you like making others laugh?  Does it make a significant difference in your life?

(Thanks to Eleanore for “healing” and Sherry for “humor.”  I wouldn’t have thought to put these two together without your suggestions.  Next week I need a word starting with “I” so leave your ideas in Comments.)

We often think of humor as a “light” element in life.  It’s fun to laugh but it’s nothing to take seriously.  We watch a comic movie or a comedian and laugh, lifting our energy up and into a positive place.  It feels good, so we do it without ever paying attention to what is going on deep within us.  We just like the good feeling it gives us.

Laughter Can Stop Arguments

Have you ever had an intense argument with someone you love and watched it escalate into a degree of anger and unkind words that could rip the relationship apart?  Then suddenly the other person takes a breath and says something very funny and you both start laughing.  The anger spills away and your love comes rushing back.  Laughter can change a relationship and turn it into what really matters.

Laughter Changes The Body’s Chemistry

When we are stressed, and anger is certainly stressful, laughter reduces the level of stress hormones and causes the body to release endorphins which make us feel good.  It’s also a healthy cardiovascular exercise because it makes the heart beat stronger.  Blood flows better, and delivers oxygen to the cells.

Laughter Can Relieve Depression and Stress

All of these physical responses rejuvenate us.  If we are feeling depressed, it’s a good time to read a funny book or watch a comedy show on TV.  Humor lures us to push aside the fear that is causing the depression, giving our mind and body an opportunity to release the constriction and begin healing.

The other day it seemed that everything I did on the computer was a mess.  I tried to find the results of a recent medical test.  It wasn’t there.  The lab had no record of it.  Another website failed to come up, and I couldn’t find the place on a particular site to respond and correct a problem that had arisen with another doctor.

Finally, I had had enough!  I took deep breaths to calm down, but still felt tense, so I just sat and looked out the window at the trees.  Two squirrels were chasing each other all over the yard and up and down the trees, flying from limb to limb.  I couldn’t help laughing at them.  It was a comedy show.

When the squirrels disappeared, I checked out how I felt.  Much better and I laughed at myself.  Why do I let technical things stress me so much?  It isn’t good for my mind or body.  The problem is that I feel inadequate in a world where nearly every aspect of life has a technical element.  I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have a husband who is technically savvy to help me and who has a good sense of humor.

Humor Is Healing

The humor we often share, especially corny jokes, is very healing.  We both love words so our humor often comes from playing off the word or phrase the other has spoken.  I love making him laugh and I think he enjoys my laughing at his jokes.

Perhaps instead of feeling bad about  inabilities, we need to laugh at them first, forgive ourselves for not being perfect, and seriously get those endorphins flowing quickly.  Any time we can lighten fear and anxiety, it is beneficial.  It doesn’t mean we need to ignore things that are complicated and require patience. It simply means humor can transform what we feel at the moment, and allow us to let go of the fear and anxiety that get in the way of  what’s staring us in the face at the moment.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Blog Posts:

AWAKENING TO LAUGH AT SIMPLE THINGS

AWAKENING TO THE LAUGHTER WITHIN

AWAKENING TO THE HEALING DANCE

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

 

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 FOCUS

“The focus is what is right before you – to give it your best.  It sows the seeds of tomorrow.”  Kiran Bedit

How focused are you?  On what do you focus most days?  How do you stay focused in order to complete what you started?

(Thanks to Eleanore for suggesting today’s topic and to Joanne for seconding it as relevant.  Next week I need a word starting with “G” so please leave me some words in Comment at the end of the post.  If you don’t want me to use your name if I choose your word as the topic, please just write “no name” after your suggestion.  Thanks for participating in this venture.)

* * *

Oh, my gosh! That beautiful bluebird just landed in the shrubbery outside the window.  I can’t decide if that’s my favorite or the red-winged blackbird I saw at the lake?

Isn’t that cute! The little girl from the next block has a new pink helmet – she needs to be careful riding her little bike so fast.

Oh, gee! I forgot to put out some protein to defrost for supper.

Now where was I going with this blog?

Can anyone relate to this?  I know it would be smart of me not to have my desk facing a front window, but on the other hand, the beauty of my neighborhood often inspires me.  What’s a gal to do?  Clearly, I need to focus on the task at hand.

How To Use Our Time

Do you ever experience this challenge?  With the pandemic, some people have more time on their hands than they like, so the question is how it is best to use it.  With others of us, the day is already too full of things that have to be done and we have to prioritize.

Wednesdays are the day I focus on writing this blog post, but the other days are not so focused.  Over the years, I’ve learned that the best way for me to get things done is to make a list each day of what I need to do.  As I complete each activity, I check it off the list.  At the end of the day, if I’ve completed them all, I throw away the list and tell myself – “well-done!”  If anything is still on the list, it is moved to the next day.

The Value of Long Term Lists

I also have a list that is not attached to a completion date.  These are items that need to be done in the next few days or week, and I can fit them into my schedule whenever it’s convenient.  While I can probably remember the things I need to do on a certain day without a list, other items can easily slip out of mind for days.  When I have completed the daily chores, the list reminds me of other productive ways to use my time.

A list doesn’t have to contain only work we need to do.  It may also remind us of social events as well.  Now that so much socializing takes place on Zoom, I place events on my calendar so I won’t forget when one is to occur.  I don’t attend them all, but this helps me remember options, so I can choose what I’m in the mood for that day.

Present Choices Affect the Future

Much of what we do today prepares us for tomorrow.  A champion baseball player didn’t become great over night; neither did a ballet dancer with the New York Ballet Company.  Becoming a doctor takes years, and getting a teaching certificate requires a college degree.

Especially as we age, how we focus on taking care of ourselves determines how active and healthy we can be for the present and the future.  We may have more restrictions in our diet, trying to avoid or maintain a low level of diabetes or other disease.  We may need to follow an exercise program to avoid back problems or just to keep us strong enough to go hiking.  Caring for ourselves requires doing the best we can right now, by focusing.

To meet any long-term goal, we have to focus on the moment and stay on track.  That requires commitment, discipline, and the willingness to avoid tantalizing distractions.  (Darn, there’s that blue bird again!)  What we do right now affects tomorrow.

It is probably a good thing I was at the lake yesterday watching the birds or I would be even more distracted today.  However, writing is also a major pleasure for me and creating this post is the goal I focus on right now.

What’s on your list for today?

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

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AWAKENING TO DEVOTION

“When devotion arises, life becomes profound.”  Sadhguru

To what are you most devoted?  How is it a part of your life?  Is it easy to stay devoted or difficult?

Thanks to Bill and Susan for this topic.

Devotion is a word that is often descriptive of a religious practice, but it also may refer to any idea or activity to which we are loyal or dedicated.  Most of all it indicates a practice that is a regular part of our lives because it is very meaningful for us.

Profound Work Requires Commitment

In fact, what we are most devoted to may define who we are.  People I know who have been devoted to helping children with special needs, do work that is profound.  One teacher I know cares deeply about her students and is very creative in a way that makes it possible for them to learn despite their learning disabilities.  For example, she teaches forensics, setting up a crime scene for students to analyze as a way of learning science.  I suspect that if my high school science classes had been that creative, I might have been much more interested.

I have another friend who is a wonderful artist.  She quit her regular job and let go of other activities in order to devote her time to painting.  As a result her work is now in galleries and she frequently sells her paintings.  The work she does is beautiful and her devotion to her love of it has deepened her life.

Another friend was dedicated to teaching students with special needs for years.  Now she, too, is devoted to her painting which is beautiful.  She makes cards for every occasion and I have never been able to throw one away.  Her love brings beauty and joy into my life, and I have placed her cards in my dining room where I see them often.

When we create anything profound, we bring profundity to others’ lives and that is a gift to the Universe.

Helping Others May Be Based On One’s Spirituality

For many people, their desire to make a difference originates in their religious or spiritual belief.  I know a man whose religious beliefs are different from mine, but his have led him in a profound direction.  He is devoted to counseling men in prison and also does grief counseling because he wants to help others become stronger and able to lead their lives in a positive way.

In my own life, the years I was devoted to learning who I really was in the deepest sense led me in various directions studying Jungian psychology, eastern religions, going to Unity Church of Christianity and Science of Mind churches.  But my life has always centered around learning, for as a teacher, I had to keep learning in order give my students what they truly needed.

While I am no longer a teacher, I am devoted to writing my blog every Wednesday.  I need that time to stop and think about life in a deep way and to share my thoughts with others.  I hope what I say is at least sometimes profound for those who read my posts.  I may repeat what I already know, but there are days when a topic speaks to me and I explore that idea, hoping to discover a new and profound understanding.

We Each Have Our Own Path

No two paths in life are alike even when they appear to be.  What may be profound to one person may be meaningless to another.  We all are in our own state of growing and learning, and to keep moving toward the profound we must be willing to devote ourselves to that special journey.

May devotion to your journey lead you to what is most profound for you.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Next week’s topic will start with an “E.”  Please leave your suggestions for the topic under comment below.  I’d love to have ideas that interest you.

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AWAKENING TO OUR HISTORIES

“I’m also fascinated by the interplay between personal history and the larger forces that form the context of our lives.”  Julie Salamon

What was your family like?  Did you receive love or were you ignored?  How did your family’s treatment toward you affect whom you have become?

A few days ago, my past spoke to me in an unusual way.  I woke up in the morning and the first thing that popped up in my mind was the name of my best friend during junior and senior high school.  We hadn’t spoken since we were young women and I suddenly started remembering all the fun we had.

Since her first name is rather unusual, I searched online and found a person I suspected was her.  My husband who had been doing family research became curious and found her daughter’s site on Facebook with a picture of a woman holding a baby.  When I saw it, there was no doubt she was my friend.

Searching further, I found her telephone number, and gearing up my courage, I called her.  She recognized my name immediately and sounded very excited to hear from me.  We had a wonderful visit reminiscing about our fun times together and discussing our current lives.  It took me back to a time when I struggled with self-confidence but had loving friends who supported me and whom I supported.

Following Family Ways

I was always an introvert, but my mother was an extrovert who was always pushing me.  In high school she had pushed me to take speech and drama.  My friend and I had both moved away just before our senior years, but not to the same place.  Despite my reluctance, I took a course and became a part of the drama program at my new school.  It changed my life.

Despite being shy, my mother had also pushed me to learn to sing and accompanied me on the piano, encouraging me to sing in the church choir.  So learning to sing helped me gain more confidence.  I may have been shy about expressing myself but I always knew I looked good.  My mother made sure of that.

She was a phenomenal seamstress.  We had little money when I was growing up so she made all my clothes from remnants she purchased in a department store basement and adapted with simple patterns, making the dress look like the latest fashion.  Looking through my pictures, I found one of me about age five wearing a cute sundress and leaning against a tree as if I were a model.

When I was growing up, sewing, like cooking, was one of those things a woman had to learn.  Until well into adulthood, I sewed my own clothes and took care of my own hair and make-up.  While I paid less attention to cooking, which bored me, I did learn some essentials.

Being Loved and Loving Others

In addition to all the attention paid to my appearance as I grew up, I was very fortunate to have loving parents, two grandparents and a great aunt living next door for the first ten years of my life.  I was sick a great deal as a child, but there was always a loving person to take care of me.  From them I learned what being a loving person involved.  It wasn’t just about what you feel – it was about what you do.

My mother had been a teacher before and after she raised my brother and me. When I first decided to become a teacher, it was a practical decision.  I could earn a living and perhaps teach what I loved: literature, drama, speech, and dance.  It also gave me time to take classes, teach dance or be in plays at the community theater.  I didn’t need a lot of sleep in those days.

Finding Who We Are

I was rebelling against the limits placed on women at that time, but working made me feel freer even though I married right after college.  My husband and I had both agreed not to have children.  It was the 1960’s and women were stepping out of confining roles.

As a teacher, though, I was following in my mother’s footsteps.  At first, it was mainly a way to make money when my husband was in school.  But with time, teaching became about much more than money.  I became deeply concerned about the problems facing my students and saw that helping people was what had drawn my mother to this profession too.

Learning to Love

Teaching gave me the opportunity to love and support students who did not have a loving home life.  Many only had one parent who was working most of the time or a parent who was emotionally distant or abusive.  Others lived in dangerous or poor neighborhoods.  Too many dropped out or found no way to go to college and prepare for well-paying jobs.  Helping them see their own personal value was part of my job.

After seeing more clearly the challenges many people face–the parents as well as their children–I became even more thankful for my loving family.  Little did I know as a child, that not only was I loved, but I was being shown how to love.

Now as I learn about the children struggling at the border who are still separated from parents, I know only too well the damage done to their lives.  Those early years must include loving nurturance as well as food and a home.  Early experiences form the adults they become.


I worry too about those in prison, many of whom are young people who joined gangs as the only way they could see to protect themselves and their families and become strong.  Drugs may also have driven them to make bad choices even if they were fortunate enough to have good families.

Creating Our Own History  

We all need a milieu in which we are loved, taught how to treat each other with respect, and take good care of ourselves and those near us.  When our family histories do not include those skills, we struggle with life, and hopefully find others who will mentor us.

While there are parts of our history, such as our genetics, that we cannot change, there are many areas we can change.  It’s important to evaluate who we are and ask, “Is this who I want to be?”  If the answer is “yes,” we are very fortunate. If the answer is “no,” then it’s time we revise the course of our lives, so that in the future, “yes” will become our answer.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

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