Tag Archives: Spiritual Journey

AWAKENING TO THE GIFT OF SURPRISE

“Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.”  Boris Pasternak

Do you like surprises?  If not, why not?  How do you usually respond to them?

A couple of weeks ago when we had some occasional days of snow, I was quietly writing on my computer.  My desk faces a front window.  I became distracted by the chirping and fluttering of a large group of Robins.  Outside to my right was a holly bush full of red berries.  Having this bush there was a treat in the winter when there is no color from flowers or other growing things.

Seeing What Was Always There

I finally stopped to pay attention to the birds and realized at least a dozen or more were flying back and forth from the brush to the bare branches of the trees nearby.  Landing on the bush, each ate several berries, then flew back to a tree.  Resting a moment, or maybe waiting his turn, each bird watched, then flew to the bush, fluttered about, noisily landed, and gobbled again.

The Robins were so entertaining with their flight patterns, chirping and fussing, and careful selection of which berry to eat that I watched them for quite a while.  What a surprise!  I’ve lived with that holly bush for years and never seen this before.  What a pleasure! Had it been happening for years but I never noticed?

Surprises Show Us Who We Really Are

The wonderful thing about surprises is that they may open our hearts and minds in ways we had never expected and lead us in a direction we may not have previously chosen.

When I was a high school senior, my family had just moved to Memphis and I was facing my senior year not knowing a soul.  I had become interested in theater so I took a drama class that created a new group of friends for me.  At the end of the year, we performed a musical in which I had a major role.  I was thrilled!  Previously, I had always had tiny roles.

I also became a member of the Thespian Society and it gave out awards at the end of the year.  Sitting at the banquet, I was sure the girl who had played the largest lead role would win the Best Actress Award.  So when my name was called, I was so surprised I couldn’t move.  I looked at the friend next to me who motioned for me to get up.

This award made me realize what others were trying to tell me.  I was talented.  Because of this, I followed my desire and majored in theater in college.  This training was a tremendous gift for life, especially since I  was naturally an introvert.  By the time I finished college, I felt confident about expressing myself orally and also about writing speeches or poetry that could then be read aloud.

Negative Surprises May Have Hidden Gifts

While I have mentioned only happy surprises, even unhappy ones may be a gift.  When my father died suddenly from a burst blood vessel in his lung, it shocked us all.   For him, however, it was better than the painful misery of fighting to breathe.

When my first husband was having an affair, I was unaware of it until he told me he wanted a divorce.  I was shocked! Then he explained what had been going on.  Learning about his betrayal made me face the fact that we really were not a good match.  He could never be the kind of partner with whom I wanted to share my life.  Clearly, I was not his ideal.  This was a gift to me in disguise.

We Prefer Happy Surprises

Of course the surprises we all like the most are the happy ones:  the partner we love asking us to marry, getting the promotion we thought would go to someone else, or receiving the gift of roses or sweets that reminds us we are loved.

However, the most valuable aspect of a surprise is that it often opens our minds to see what we need to see, when we have been unable or unwilling.  Those surprises may move us forward in life, show us how we are limiting ourselves and need to change, or reveal what we most need to know.  These surprises are the gifts we most need to receive.

2020 © Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO SURPRISES

AWAKENING TO NATURE’S SURPRISES

AWAKENING TO CREATE HAPPINESS

AWAKENING TO REHEARSE OUR LIVES

“The rehearsal process is an opportunity to work through things collaboratively.”  Liz Lerman

How do you work through things in your life?  Does that approach usually work?  How you make your best contact with other people?

In the 1970’s when I was a dancer, I was fortunate to study improvisation with Liz Lerman in Washington, DC and to perform a dance she created for Choreo 18, the modern dance company of which I was a member.

Recently, I watched a video interview with her Many good memories flooded my head, especially learning how to creatively explore my movement in more depth.  But what struck me most profoundly was when she asked, “Do you use rehearsals in your life?’

The Value of Rehearsing

She pointed out that in rehearsals you try out different movements, analyze what you are doing, and look for the right movement to create what you want others to see or what you want to communicate.  She then suggested that perhaps we could do this to discover how we can be in a “better way together.”

When a problem arises, how do we attempt to solve it?  It may be a recurring problem to which  we found a workable solution in the past, so we do what we have always done.  But if  the challenge is a new issue or complex, we may have to improvise by considering and trying out several possibilities in order to find a solution that is workable.

Rehearsals Show Us New Options

Certainly the pandemic has challenged us to find new ways to entertain or enrich ourselves without being face to face with others.  Liz and the members of her walking group have adapted to the quarantine by using their phones as they walk through the streets or forests.  Some of them live in different countries, but can still connect and walk “together.”

My rehearsals with words continue every day as I write, exchanging words and tenses to say exactly what I want to say.  It’s rare that I’m happy with the first version of any sentence, so I must rehearse various ways to describe the perfect moment or spoken sentence.  I may change the character who speaks or let the verbal statement become a thought.

Rehearsals Can Improve Relationships

In relationships we have to develop ways to communicate, especially when conflict arises.  A rehearsal may be needed to develop a satisfactory approach to discuss our differences.  Shouting never leads us to an effective conclusion so we need to ask, as Liz does, how can we be together in a better way?

Perhaps sitting down, each with a cup of tea or coffee, is a good start to the conversation. We may need to Zoom with the people with whom we don’t live.  Being face to face always improves communication.

When we have discerned a way to talk respectfully with each other, we will probably have more than one rehearsal before we have created the perfect solution for the two of us.  Even then our plan may often need a few adjustments.

The show that is our lives must go on.  Rehearsals always bring our creativity to the surface and hopefully help us find the best solution to our challenges.  During this dance of life,  may you rehearse what is the best in all areas of your life.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO IMPROVISE OUR LIVES

AWAKENING TO OUR MYSTERIES

AWAKENING TO THE DANCE OF THE HEART

AWAKENING TO YOUR IMAGINATION

 

AWAKENING TO HEAL

“Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.”  Tori Amos

How do you feel today?  Are you celebrating the change of power or mourning it?  How are you feeling about your own power?

Today is supposed to be a day of peace and hope – a day when we begin to heal our broken democracy.  We may accomplish some movement forward by learning to talk with those who do not share our beliefs, but real healing will take place only when we heal within us the pain that causes us to feel we have to push others away or turn to violence.

Healing Often Requires Change

Years ago, I had pain in my legs and back that wouldn’t go away, and drugs only dulled it for a limited time.  After visiting an integrative doctor who suggested that acupuncture might help, I recoiled.

The idea of letting someone stick needles in my body was jarring – create more pain?  Not a solution I wanted.  But I decided to trust this doctor because he had begun to heal aspects of my illness when other doctors had no clue about their cause.  So I needed to experience the discomfort required to relieve the pain and heal the inflammation beneath it.

As I result of my courage I was able to heal many physical problems.  Over time, I found that the pain of the needles was minor compared to the persistence of pain.  I didn’t like the moment that the needle was inserted, but I loved the peaceful feeling that came as the pain diminished.

I wish it were that simple to heal the inflammation in this country.  At the moment, many of us hope that the new president and his administration will erase all the problems that Trump  ignored or created.  Biden has announced that he will offer workable solutions.

Why Change Frightens Us

Regardless of what the new administration does, together we still have to face the divisions and challenges before us.  Some of the solutions are frightening or uncomfortable.  How willing are we to find the courage to do what it takes to heal?

We often fear that sharing our true feelings with a family member or friend will destroy the tenuous relationship we have.  I have had those feelings, and in some instances talking about the problem improved how we related.  In other situations it created a distance that couldn’t be bridged.  It’s the risk we must take.

Looking Within Helps Us To Heal

Often, the reasons for our divisions are mysterious.  Those are the most challenging to fix, for they may be so deeply hidden that we cannot see the source of our discomfort even in ourselves.  It may take therapy or a spiritual practice for us to truly understand why we feel like we do and why we sometimes act against our own self-interest.

 

Anytime we feel the need to hurt another person, physically or verbally, it is often because we feel powerless and are letting fear, not love, control our actions.  At that moment, we need to release the fear and try to understand why we feel so powerless that we want to dominate another person.

As President Biden and Vice President Harris find ways to heal the conflicts and divisions in this country, it is a good time for us to address what needs to be healed in our own lives.  Let’s all find the courage to dig a little deeper in search of the unity and peace we all need.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

AWAKENING TO THE HEALING DANCE

AWAKENING TO WHAT IS BETTER

 

 

AWAKENING TO THE LOSS OF OUR DOG

Have you ever lost a loving pet?  How long did you have the animal? How did you deal with the loss?

This morning was our last morning with our dear dog Susie Q.  She could hardly walk, fell down frequently and couldn’t get up.  She walked into walls or corners and stared.  She forgot that her business should be done outside.  She slept most of the time and when she was awake, the only time she barked was when someone delivered a package to the front porch.

I never had a dog before her, but she was definitely the right one to be my first dog.  My husband had her partnership for sixteen years and letting her go today was difficult; she had only been with me the last seven of those, but she was truly a gift.  Now I understand why people prefer dogs to cats, for her playfulness and affection converted me from a cat only lover.

This morning at the vet’s office, we let go of her physically and let her soul rise to Heaven, but her love will always be with us.  Perhaps we will meet again after we leave this earth.

I hope the following words were her thoughts as she transitioned.  We’ll love her in the next life too.

When I come to the end of the road

And the sun has set for me,

I want no rites in a gloom-filled room;

Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little – but not for too long

And not with your head bowed low.

Remember the love that we once shared.

Miss me – but let me go.

For this is a journey that we all must take

And each must go alone.

It’s all a part of the Master’s plan,

A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick of heart,

Go to the friends we know;

And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.

Miss me – but let me go…

 -Author Unknown

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO CHRISTMAS

“Christmas is, of course, the time to be home – in heart as well as body.” Garry Moore

Will your Christmas be different this year?  Many of us may not be able to visit with family and friends because of the dangers of the virus.  Instead of thinking of it as a family time, let’s remember that Mary and Joseph were also away from family when Jesus was born, when his love came into the world.

Regardless of where we are, we can experience Love, the real meaning of Christmas.  We can reach out in many ways.  A few years ago, my brother and sister-in-law sent my husband and me a Christmas Cactus.  It was blooming beautifully, but then it stopped blooming the rest of the year.

I was disappointed, but I kept it around.  Then in December when it bloomed again, I realized it only boomed near Christmas!

Unlike many gifts which disappear in one way or another, this is a gift that keeps giving,  every year, blooming to remind us at Christmas that love is a gift that keeps giving.

As I lounge by the fire in the evening, I often read, but lately, the fire reminds me of the warmth I’ve experienced in my life when I have been with loved ones.  Memories, as well as reality, may warm us, keep us safe, and remind us, God loves us and is aways with us, whether we notice or not.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND LOVE AND PEACE TO YOU ALL!

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO THE DANCE OF LIGHT

AWAKEN TO LOVE THE LIGHT

 

AWAKENING TO PLAY

“The one thing that nobody else has is you, your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.  So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” Neil Gaiman

What is your favorite way to play?  Is play a regular part of your life? How does it make you feel?

I love to play with words! Crossword puzzles delight me and I do one every morning even when I need to get help from my husband whose broad vocabulary includes sports terms I’ve never known.  Sports have never interested me except for gymnastic events.

About once a week I lure my husband into playing Scrabble with me.  Even if he didn’t play with me, I’d probably just play with myself because the challenge of trying to create the word combination with the most points is fun.  It’s a great distraction from ordinary daily activity.

Reading and Writing Create New Experiences

But the ultimate word game is writing.  Of course, it is about much more, but at a creative level each word counts more than in Scrabble.  My word choice describes an action, a thought, an emotion or physical aspect of a person or place.  One word can bring a scene or character to life.

During this quarantine, I’m especially grateful that I love to read and write because there is little I can do away from home.  While I can’t play with the words I read, I often admire the way an author uses them to create images and actions that draw the reader into the story.  Reading also makes me think and there’s plenty of time for that – to allow my mind to wander and explore the best solution for a challenge in my life.

Exploring Ways to Play

As adults it’s not unusual for us to have forgotten how to play unless we have children who will be only too happy to demonstrate for us.  For those of us without young children, we have to find our own ways to play in order to lighten our mood and give us joy.

Where I live we can hike or drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway although it is sometimes crowded and hard to find a safe place to get out.  We also have three small lakes nearby to walk around and watch the ducks and geese.  Near us is a golf course where people play, keeping their distance.  Walking in the neighborhood with plenty of trees and dogs is very pleasant.

Playing Together On The Internet

I’m grateful for Zoom because it allows us to see others at meetings or book groups even when they are states or countries away.  If the time conflicts with dinner, we can still attend the event, eat, and participate at the same time.  This can also be helpful for parents who have to stay at home to watch their kids.

While I’m not always happy with Facebook, it is another way to play with life.  I am grateful because it allows me to see photos and videos of my grandnieces and grandnephews playing sports or cheering.  Friends make me laugh with their posts of amusing animal photos or humorous quotes or cartoons.  Others love the outdoors and share sunsets over the mountains, paths through the forest, and brightly-colored flowers and leaves.  Song writers even post their latest compositions or even offer a concert on line.

Playing With Inner Peace

While it is important to find ways to play when life is so restricted, there is also a need to play with inner peace.  None of us remain happy all the time, but how we interpret any experience is affected by our mental and emotional condition.  When we do activities that we consider fun, the positive energy uplifts us.  But there are times when we do not find an experience to be fun because our negative mental energy pulls us down.  When that happens, we need to take the time to “play” with our minds by sitting quietly in a meditative way, take a deep breath and exhale, letting the negative energy leave us.

What we feel at this time may be a form of anger, depression, or boredom, but at the core of all negative emotions is fear.  Sit quietly and see yourself surrounded with light.  As you inhale, breath the light into your body and on the exhale allow the darkness of your negative thoughts to leave your body.  If you are feeling many different things, focus on one at a time until you feel it release.

When we are able to spend some time in this peaceful place, we are more able to “play” with the restrictions of our lives.  With time and practice, this experience of meditation can bring us the peace to experience life in a more positive way.  Wishing you a safe, joyful, and playful week!

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO OUR COMFORT

AWAKENING TO DEEPEN OURSELVES

LIGHTING OUR DARKNESS

 

AWAKENING TO THE OTHER SIDE

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.  Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”  Marie Curie

How do you feel about the election?  Does the late counting disturb you?  How will you feel if your candidate doesn’t win?

This election has created heightened anxiety for many of us and it may be days before we really know the outcome.  Initially, Trump is doing better than I expected and some seats in Congress and the Senate aren’t going in the direction for which I had hoped.

I often walk around shaking my head.  How can so many people vote for a man whose words are often so demeaning?  How can they vote for a president who has refused to help people struggling during this pandemic?  How can women vote for him when he often acts so disrespectfully toward women?

I don’t understand.  Obviously, there are people who think like him, who have the money to do what they want and buy what they want, who don’t need government help even in this trying time.  Do they like him because they share his values?  Do they like him because he pushes people around and disrespects them to show he is powerful or to prove how manly he is?

Will they vote for anyone who attaches the label Republican to their campaign? Are they afraid that their family or community will reject them if they don’t vote for him, even if they don’t agree with him in all respects?  Or do they vote for him because they actually think he will help them in some way although his actions so far prove otherwise?

I often feel like I’m living on another planet although fortunately I live in a very caring and aware community that takes seriously police reform, affordable housing needs, and the goals of Black Lives Matter.

While some of the election results are not what I wanted to see, I have to be hopeful to the end.  I refuse to give in to the darkness that hovers over us and the fears that our democracy will soon be destroyed by a man who admires Putin and Hitler, who loves to create fear in people by threatening to eliminate Social Security and Medicare, the only income and medical insurance many older people have.

Years ago, I watched one episode of his reality television show The Apprentice.  The way he treated and manipulated people frankly grossed me out. It disturbed me to think that people actually enjoyed watching him act like this.  After seeing this program, why would anyone want him to run the country?  Perhaps many of our citizens have become so addicted to the characters on television that they have begun to believe that is real life.

I guess all we can do today and for the next few days is to take quite a few deep breaths, pray for peace, and love all those in our lives regardless of their voting choices.  Maybe one day, we will understand.  And by all means, remember to love yourself as well.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

To learn more about how to release your fears read the following:

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

AWAKENING TO UNEXPECTED FEAR

AWAKENING TO THE PEACE AND WHOLENESS BEYOND FEAR

 

AWAKENING TO TODAY’S DREAMS

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities.  Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”  Gloria Steinem

What dreams do you have for today or next week? Do you have to postpone some dreams because of the pandemic? Has this situation pushed you to create new dreams?

These are certainly days that challenge the dreams we used to have during “normal” times.  Depending on the nature of the dream, there may be some we have to put aside or release completely.  I won’t be traveling on an airplane halfway across the country to see the rest of my family.  My husband and I won’t be traveling to Ireland or Scotland this year.

Having to put aside our dreams may depress us.  Langston Hughes describes the situation very dramatically, “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”  While his statement is more poetic and I may sometimes feel like the “broken-winged bird, I prefer Steinem’s approach.

If We Begin, Others May Help Us Complete the Plan

For a number of years, I attended writing workshops and developed on-going relationships with more experienced writers.  I dreamed about writing a memoir, hoping that the story of  my spiritual journey would encourage others to follow their dreams.  However, my fears of the publishing process kept me from completing the book.  No publishing company was going to publish a memoir by an unknown person.  Finally, I decided to do one thing at a time and the first thing was to simply complete the writing.

After the memoir  was written, I was delightedly surprised by two experienced writers in my critique group who offered to help.  They guided me through the technical details to self-publish a paperback book and one actually did the technical work on the e-book.  Without the dream, this book would never have been created.

Overcoming Roadblocks

Dreaming is actually the first step in planning, for we have to imagine what we want to do before we can take any steps to get there.  But even in the dreaming stage we may come across roadblocks, such as fear or limited time.  What internal or external blocks do we have to overcome?

Self-doubt is often a major roadblock.  If we feel we’re not good enough to achieve our desire, we may not even make the effort.  I dreamed of being a dancer from a young age, but I was weak and my parents couldn’t afford classes.  Still, I kept imagining what it felt like and improvised in my own ways.  It wasn’t until I was in high school and had regular modern dance classes that my dream became a possibility.

As I gained strength and continued to train, I knew I was behind most dancers in those two areas, but what had once seemed totally impossible became a planned attempt to accomplish the goal of becoming a dancer.  In the 1970’s the dream became reality when I was chosen to dance in a modern company.

What roadblocks do you have to overcome to make your dreams come true?  Are they internal or external?  It is not unusual to have both.  Sometimes there is a roadblock because we have not taken the time to explore and imagine the many ways we could make a dream become a reality.

Explore A Dream Like A Detective

Why not approach the problem we wish to change as if we are detectives?  What is really involved?  Is what we need available?  If not, is there another way to approach the challenge?  Whose help do we need? What steps need to be taken?  Do we have the ability to take these steps?  If not, do we need to change our goal or find other steps to take?

During this challenging time of the pandemic, I am impressed by the way that people who have time on their hands are filling it.  Some musicians are playing online daily and poets are presenting a poem every day.  Those with carpentry skills are enlarging windows or making porches into bedrooms.  Friends often mention they are cleaning or fixing parts of the house they had put off in the past.  Since it’s warm weather, many are growing vegetables or sprucing up their simple yard with flowers and creating a beautiful garden.

Others who have lost jobs are creating new ones by sewing masks and clothing and selling them online.  Restaurants and grocery stores have increased delivery service. Writing teachers are creating virtual classes as are many schools.  These creations began with dreaming that became a plan and then reality.

Dreaming allows us to open our minds to a wider understanding than what the logical part of our minds can envision and to move forward in ways we may never have anticipated.  Dreaming is creative and creativity is magical.  It can open doors to amazing places.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness

AWAKENING TO THE POWER WITHIN

AWAKENING TO EXPERIMENT WITH LIFE

 

AWAKENING TO THE LOVE OF AN OLD DOG

“You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before the rest of us.” Robert Louis Stevenson

What experiences have you had with a dog?  Would you want another one?  Did you ever feel it was your best friend?

It’s not fun to be an old dog or an old woman, but our age is the main thing Susie and I have in common.  We can’t climb steep mountains anymore and we both have to eat a special diet although I don’t throw mine around on the floor like she does.  We need more sleep than we used to, but she naps most of the day.  I slip one in on an occasional afternoon.

I don’t chase guys anymore because I’m married to a great guy and couldn’t be happier.  Susie doesn’t chase rabbits anymore, just stares and lets them run away.  She goes out to do her business, finds sniffing every inch of the ground more interesting, and finally pees.  Then she returns to the house only to leave “the remains” of her day in the middle of the hardwood floor.  At least I don’t have to worry about that kind of confusion yet.

At times, she walks around in circles looking for something but can’t remember what it is.  She  stares at the wall, hoping the answer will be written there.  Like Susie, it’s not unusual for me to head to a cabinet or my desk and find I haven’t a clue as to why I’m there.  Words that disappear in the middle of my speaking a sentence take five minutes to appear.  I need to do a crossword puzzle every morning to awaken my mental dictionary.

Every Day Holds Surprises

Fortunately, due to two years of physical therapy after an injury to my back, I’m doing a thirty-minute walk every day and have gained strength so that I feel like myself again, energetic and curious about life.  Others talk about being bored during the pandemic, but I look forward to a boring day and having more time to read and write.

Surprises arise every day.  They test my patience.  I discover I am out of an item that requires placing an order on an unfamiliar website, which in turn requires learning a new technical trick.  Many items we use often have recently died: the iron, the toaster and my printer’s toner.  As for ordering food, it’s almost impossible to get good broccoli with a delivery, and we can’t live without that.  While I’m struggling with these challenges, Susie is snoring, asleep on her bed.

Age Brings Physical Limitations

But all these challenges are easier to deal with than Susie’s issues.  It’s tough to be an old dog when your back legs start giving out.  You slip when you try to climb the stairs or fall when you charge up them, forgetting your legs don’t support you anymore.

It’s confusing when you can’t hear the orders your caretakers give.  You look at them and dash in the opposite direction.  They fuss at you, but of course it’s nice not to hear them when you don’t want to obey.  Looking at them with eyes that still see well, you grin and continue sniffing the grass.

As a female, it’s not surprising that Susie is very fashion conscious.  Every morning when I’ve put on my jeans she sniffs my leg.  Her approval is important to me, and if she knows how I smell that day, since she’s only knee-high tall, she’ll be able to find me easily in a crowd and identify me apart from my husband who is more likely to feed her.

A Dog’s Love Is Always There

While her nose may carry her into the wrong bushes or into the deep ivy beneath the trees, cold and wet, it bumps mine when I’m sitting and lean down close to her face.  It’s her version of a kiss that says she loves me – a moment I always treasure.

Susie and I may not be able to hike the steep trails of the Appalachians anymore or race around the block, but we both still know how to love and hang out on the deck together.

Milan Kundera said it best:  “Dogs are our link to paradise.  They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent.  To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.”

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO GRATITUDE

DANCING TO DIVINE ORDER

AWAKENING TO WALK IN BEAUTY

AWAKENING TO OUR REALITY

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”  William Arthur Ward

How do you usually react to new situations?  Do you tend to resist, ignore, or adjust to an event or condition you don’t like?  What works best for you?

I often think of myself as an optimist.  Years ago, I was very involved with the “think positive” movement, primarily because life was difficult and the many changes in my life often wore me down.  I also learned that much of the negative thinking I did could be released when I learned to release my fears because those fears created the negative thoughts.

All these experiences helped me to get my negative thinking under control, and by seeing life from a more positive perspective, I was a happier person.  But choosing to be an optimist about everything is not always the best choice.

Being A Realist Is Wise

The wisest approach to life is to be a realist and develop the ability to adjust to what is actually occurring because ignoring reality can be harmful.  I once had a friend who was very creative and with whom I did presentations that combined my poetry and her photography.  This was a very powerful creative connection I had not experienced since my earlier years in modern dance and theater and I deeply valued it.

When she became ill, she refused to see a doctor, insisting she would be fine. After many months, her daughter convinced her to face the source of her pain.  When she finally visited the doctor, she discovered she had very advanced cancer that could not be treated.  She died four months later.

I was stunned, heart-broken, and angry.  Having dealt with many illnesses over the years, I had always seen a doctor, even if I dreaded what I thought the answer would be.  I knew that whatever the sickness was, I needed to face it and treat it.  But my friend was not a realist.

Adjusting the Sails of Your Life

Life is not the perfect drama we would like it to be.  There are ups and downs and surprises, but what creates a good life for us is how we deal with the winds that blow through our lives.  None of us would choose to be experiencing a pandemic, especially one that is clearly not going away soon, but it is here, regardless of what we want.

So how can we be realistic and live well during this time?  I strongly suggest listening to the medical experts about wearing a mask, social distancing, and getting tested instead of to a president and his followers who deny these needs exist.  As George Bernard Shaw once said, “Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”

Be a realist and “adjust the sails of your life.”  My husband and I love to go to the movies.  Now we have discovered the PBS series “Poldark” and often watch it when we’re in the “movie” mood.  What is nice about this is that we don’t have to get dressed and spend money.  We can even watch it in our pajamas.

While it would be nice to eat in a restaurant, we can get a pick-up dinner and eat on our deck with a lovely view of the trees and the continual bird song.  For more outdoor pleasures we walk in the neighborhood and around a nearby lake.  We can visit and see friends faces on Zoom. These choices are not what we prefer, but they are the wise, realistic ones.

Being Realistic May Include Some Optimism

While being a realist makes sense and can safe-guard us during these particularly challenging days, being optimistic at times may also be helpful.  It’s better to hope than to become depressed about the worst.  It is worthwhile to consider what is needed for us to accomplish the goals we hope to pursue when restrictions ease.

What research might we undertake about the degree we want to get, the trip we desire to take, the job we hope to receive or the skills we wish to develop?  Even if we can’t pursue such things right now, we will learn what preparation we need and if we can begin any of that work now. We also may discover that there are other choices we overlooked which are more appealing.

With a willingness to adjust our sails, we may find the path we truly need to take to a destination where the sailing is smoother.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO GOOD DECISIONS

AWAKENING TO RELEASE OUR FEAR

AWAKENING TO ACCEPT REALITY