Tag Archives: Transformation

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 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

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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