Tag Archives: Transformation

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.

Related Posts:

AWAKENING TO OUR STRENGTH

AWAKENING TO THE BEAUTY OF BALANCE

AWAKENING TO TEACH OURSELVES

 

 

 

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 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

AWAKENING TO IMPROVISE OUR LIVES

AWAKENING TO REHEARSE OUR LIVES

AWAKENING TO THE GIFT OF SURPRISE

 

AWAKENING TO SILENCE CHAOS

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”  Deepak Chopra

How do you deal with external chaos?  How do you deal with internal chaos? Which is the most effective way to become calm?

When I started writing this blog last week, it was January sixth and I was too upset by the violence at the Capital to finish and publish it.  Then my husband and I decided that evening that the next day we needed to put down our dear dog Susie Q.  Emotionally, I had  no choice but to write a blog about her that I published on January seventh.

Now that I have seen more videos of the carnage in Washington, DC and the danger inflicted on our representatives and senators, my perspective on chaos has not changed.  While I am stunned by the extreme event, I’ve attempted to stay calm inside as Copra recommends.  That does not mean I approve of the violence in any way and I’m appalled by the lack of safety in the Capital.  Voting and peaceful protest are two ways we can speak our minds in a democracy and in the long run are more effective.

So far this year, I have not made a list of new year’s resolutions, but I have intended to start each day with a meditation.  I managed to do that only one day so far.  Creating a consistent pattern requires quieting my mind more than I have been able to do so far.

Difficulties Are Upsetting  

Doing things that were never a problem before have become difficult.  I’ve already been upset a number of times dealing with technical changes when my computer updated its main system.  Symbols on the computer page look different or they are in a different place, so I have to hunt for what I used to find and click quickly.  Processes changed and I have to search for a new series of steps.

Even before the violence in D.C., when I combined the technical challenges with the difficulty of ordering groceries and everything else I order online, life felt chaotic.  I was frustrated with how difficult it was to do the simplest thing.  In this upset state, I tend to create more mental chaos by getting upset over problems that can be easily solved.  It just gets to be too much!

Many people turn to alcohol or drugs not prescribed by a doctor at times like this.  That seems like an easy answer to calming the chaos, but that solution may have very negative consequences.  We each tend to create our own style of avoidance to hide from the chaos, but we need to choose a healthy approach or we will complicate the challenges.

Calming Our Minds Is Simple

The best approach that I have found is basically very simple.  Sit still.  Take deep breaths. Stop reacting. I can’t always change the external chaos, but I can detach from the inner turmoil.

When we sit quietly, close our eyes, and breath quietly, in time, peace will surround and move through us.  This is one way to silence the chaos.  It may warm the chill we feel or cool the heat.  When we take the time to detach from what is upsetting us, the solution we need may come to us in the stillness.

Tom Barrett says, “Chaos in the world brings uneasiness, but it also allows the opportunity for creativity and growth.”

I have found that one way to encourage this expansion of ideas is to write in a journal.  When I do that, I’m totally unconcerned with grammar or word usage.  I record whatever flows through my mind without judging its value.  Often, these messages are flowing from the heart and soul, not just the mind, and they take me to a deeper place than when I consciously think about the situation that has alarmed me.

Chaos Hides Positive Solutions

Recently I became very upset when Amazon lost track of a shipment of granola. The order included several packages because the product was not available in small amounts. Other companies were out of it. Customer Service was very nice about replacing it, shipping another order to me immediately, and not charging me for both.  They said if the original shipment reached me, I could just keep it.

I told Amazon that two orders would be too much for me to keep and I didn’t want them to leave it.  After many excuses about why they couldn’t return it, they decided they would tell the driver to just keep the extra order on the truck.

After I hung up, my husband said, “But couldn’t we give the extra to some place like Manna Food Bank?”

I was stunned that I had been so self-centered.  The granola would be a perfect donation, especially for the homeless.  I was so sad that I had gotten upset and let my chaotic mind rule my heart.  When I calmed down, I prayed that the extra shipment would arrive, and it did, two days later.  The driver delivered it to the door and we will deliver it to a group that serves the homeless.

When we let our mental chaos be in control, it will not take us to a good place.  It is wise to listen to the stillness within and allow the best part of ourselves to make our decisions.

© 2021 Georganne Spruce

RELATED ARTICLES:

AWAKENING TO THE POWER OF PEACE

AWAKENING TO UNEXPECTED FEAR

AWAKENING TO THE POWER WITHIN

 

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 THE NEW YEAR

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”  Oprah Winfrey

How do you usually celebrate the New Year?  How will you live this year?  What changes do you need to make to find what you need?

We usually think of New Year’s Day and its eve as a time for rowdy celebration.  Parties, drinking, feasts, balloons, fireworks and parades exhaust us so we arise late on the first day of the year, yawning and worn out, ready for a quiet day.

But this year, many of those gatherings will not take place.  We need to keep our distances, wear our masks, and do whatever is safe rather than what is fun.  As we make our New Year’s resolutions, we will have to consider the possibilities that the restrictions we live under may continue.

We certainly welcome a new year this year for many reasons, most of all the hope that it will be better.  But when there is so much that we have little control over, we have no choice but to take the responsibility to do what we can do to make our lives better.

If we don’t feel good about how we handled things last year, we can evaluate what happened and how we responded and consider a better response for the future.  Most of all we need to celebrate what was good about our choices and the way we lived our lives.  We should make a list of all the good decisions we made and all the good responses we received.

Hal Borland has said, “Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”  It is experience, after all, that helps us “to get it right.”

Learning From Experience

Over the years, each relationship I was in taught me more about being with a partner.  I learned how to communicate what I wanted more clearly.  I learned how to be a better listener.  I learned what I could tolerate in another person’s behavior and what was intolerable.

These experiences gradually taught me what I really wanted in a relationship.  When I finally met the man to whom I am now married, I saw why we would make a good pair.  He had the main qualities that I wanted in a partner.  The lack of these specific behaviors and attitudes in other relationships had made them impossible to continue.  But this loving partnership felt like the one for which I had been searching.  After a few years of marriage, it is clear that I did make the right decision.

So as we imagine this next year, let’s make a list of all the experiences we most desire, even if they aren’t practical.  Then we can weave through them and begin to live out the ones that are the easiest to experience successfully.  This success will strengthen our belief that we can “get it right” this year and give us courage to create a good life.  Limitations are only roadblocks we have to discover how to climb over.

May you have the best year ever!

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO THE BLESSINGS OF RENEWAL

AWAKENING TO NEW INTENTIONS

 

 

 

AWAKENING TO SEE

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”  Helen Keller

How do you see yourself?  How do you feel about that? What is your vision of life?

Seeing is about more than viewing the person in front of you or the brown leaves falling from the trees.  Our sight pulls the tangible world into our brains to be processed.  We also describe “seeing” as vision.  The word “vision” is about much more than gazing at the things around us.  Even the blind possess vision.  What we value determines our vision.

The environment in which we grow up has a powerful effect upon us and forms the way we see the world when we are young.  As we develop we may be exposed to new ideas about life, what is good and what is bad, and how we are supposed to act in various situations.  How we respond to such ideas, rejecting or accepting them, may be determined by our family’s values.

Learning From Our Families

I grew up with a mother and father who valued the fine arts.  My father often played classical music on the record player and took us to art galleries.  My mother played the piano and taught me to sing.  She also pushed me into taking drama and dance classes because she felt I was too shy.  Although it was scary at first, I learned to love creatively expressing myself through the arts even when other people thought those pursuits were foolish.

As a result of being involved with the fine arts, I learned to appreciate a variety of people and how their different visions of life had value.  When analyzing a character in order to act the part in a play, I developed a deeper understanding of psychology that flowed into my life with friends and family.

Through this experience, my vision of humanity expanded.  I came to accept and value people who were very different from the community where I grew up.  However, part of the reason I became more open-minded than typical Southerners of that time was that my mother also taught me that all people were of value.  From her Baptist background she learned to love everyone.  She and my grandparents were good role models.

Some Family Values Are Unbending

In other families there is little room to explore and develop oneself.  The family vision of life must be followed or one is excluded from the group.  In these situations there is no room to develop one’s own vision.  The primary value is “don’t rock the ship.”  If you do, you will be “thrown overboard.”

These rigid ways of viewing life have a vision, but it is one that leaves no room to be who one truly is.  Tara Westover’s book “Educated” is about an extreme vision of a rigid life.  It tells the sad story of a woman who leaves the cult to which her family is devoted.  Not surprisingly, she is rejected by them.  Despite her loss, she searches for who she really is, finds her own vision, and creates the life she wants to live.

Learning to Value Ourselves

The experiences we have in life offer us opportunities to ponder our values and determine our vision of life.  Have our experiences taught us to value ourselves, to believe we are intelligent, loving, or wise?  Or do we believe we are stupid, unloving, and foolish?  If it is the latter, it is probably because we have grown up with people who are blind to their own value.

When we do not have a positive vision of ourselves, it is crucial that we find help through counseling or spiritual means to discover who we truly are, to see our value, to change what we need to change in order to value ourselves.  This internal work will strengthen our internal vision of ourselves in a positive way and allow us to become who we truly are.

When we can see ourselves as worthwhile, we can see others as valuable human beings.  This positive vision takes us beyond seeing.  It allows us to connect in deep, often spiritual ways, and to value what is best for us individually and for us all.  When we can awaken to a vision of love and acceptance, even with those who see the world differently, we have an opportunity to uplift us all and save the world.  Namaste.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:

AWAKENING TO NEW THOUGHTS

AWAKENING TO HOPE

AWAKENING TO WHAT YOU SEE

 

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 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

RELATED ARTICLES:

AWAKENING TO DEEPEN OURSELVES

ART: A FEAST TO AWAKEN THE SOUL

AWAKENING TO SPIRITUAL CREATIVITY

 

AWAKENING TO OUR SOUL’S GARDEN

“Our uniqueness is God’s garden and God calls us to walk in this garden in love…for one another.” Reverend Naomi Tutu

Does your spiritual belief allow you to love all people? Does your life include diversity?  How are you able to accept those who are different?

On Sunday, August 16, I was very moved by the main message Rev. Naomi Tutu gave at the online Jubilee Community service in Asheville, NC.  Related to her statement that I have quoted, she talked about how diverse her mother’s garden was and how much she loved that diversity in nature. I was very moved by the metaphor of the garden.  Although I have rarely grown gardens, I love the natural gardens of the forest.

Most of us would find a garden with a wide variety of blossoms to be very beautiful.  Around here, the Biltmore Estate has a popular flower garden filled with color especially in the spring and summer where people love to walk and relax.

My husband and I recently wandered off a hiking path to discover a lovely community garden.  We were amazed by the wide diversity of colorful fruits and vegetables that lusciously feed those who cultivate the field.

We are blessed to live in this Appalachian area around Asheville because the natural environment is the most diverse in the world.  It is a gold mine for those who wish to explore the diversity of the natural environment and we frequently find flowers or mushrooms we’ve never before seen.

Most of us appreciate the diversity in our natural garden, but what about our human garden?  Are we comfortable walking among its diversity?  Does the variety of humanity feed us in some way?

What Diversity Can Teach Us

Our ability to be comfortable with human diversity is deeply rooted in our background, experiences, and open mindedness. As a child I was taught to respect all people, but for many years the only people I was around were white like me.  In high school and college, I had minor contacts with people of African descent but did not really know anyone until I acted alongside a black student in a theatrical performance. It was the first time I realized I really had no idea what it was like not to be white.

Later, living in Washington, D. C., I encountered few people in the suburbs unlike me except when I was teaching at a Catholic girls’ school.  I’d grown up Protestant so I had to get used to the culture of nuns, dress more conservatively, and adjust to attending the school’s religious masses.

It was not until I lived in Denver in the eighties that I experienced an even more diverse spiritual environment.  I had always been searching for something without knowing what it was that was missing in my Christian spiritual life.  I had long ago stopped attending services, and because of a deep friendship with a man who was a Buddhist, I became curious about his faith.  I studied eastern religion, learned to meditate, and taught dance for a short time at the Naropa Institute in Boulder.

From this new experience, my understanding of God’s love expanded.  I dealt with life’s challenges in a calmer, more centered manner.  As I moved through this new spiritual garden, I enjoyed its diversity because it opened my mind to an expanded understanding of humanity.  I felt connected to people from Eastern countries in a way I had never before experienced.

Differences May Teach Us

Diversity is easier to accept when we understand the nature of our differences.  Except for the gender prejudice I had experienced as a woman, I had never been treated differently because I was white until I lived in New Orleans where, in some areas, whites did not feel welcome.

It is hard to imagine any place on earth that is more unique than New Orleans.  It is a multicultural city with a large black population, where most of all families are Catholic, and the food is unique, based on French and African influences.  I moved there to be with my family.

Having previously taught in a Catholic school helped me understand those I met who were dedicated to Catholicism.  Teaching multiracial gifted students in the inner city helped me understand their challenges and I felt compassion for the difficulties they faced trapped in poverty. I still remember the girl with a dysfunctional mother who got pregnant so someone would love her and the boy who feared his brother would be shot by a gang member.

Accepting Diversity Opens Hearts

It is so easy to judge people at a distance because we cannot see who they truly are.  It is much easier to simply dismiss them as different, but when we take the time to know them, they can potentially enrich our lives.

The diversity in my life experiences has taught me that we must learn to love those who are different from us and to respect all humanity.  When we focus on what we share in common rather than only on what is different, we plant seeds of love that will grow into a garden of understanding and respect.  Anais Nin has said, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

The more we open our eyes and our hearts and come to understand that we are all God’s children, the more our soul’s garden will expand and feed us abundantly.

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO LOVE THE WORLD Part 2, DIVERSITY

AWAKENING TO COMPASSION

AWAKENING TO OUR WORLD COMMUNITY