Tag Archives: Trust

AWAKENING TO TRUST YOURSELF

“TRUST IN WHAT YOU LOVE, CONTINUE TO DO IT, AND IT WILL TAKE YOU WHERE YOU NEED TO GO.” NATALIE GOLDBERG

University of Nebraska at Kearney dance students 1979

Do you trust yourself to make good decisions? Do you listen to yourself? Do you trust life to guide you where you need to go?

Last night I watched a video of dance performances that I choreographed when I taught dance at University of Nebraska at Kearney. I had forgotten how good the students were, considering that most of them had never studied dance. I also felt rather proud of myself for creating choreography that made them look graceful and talented, rather than like beginning dancers.

Watching the tapes was a joyful experience. It reminded me of a time when I loved the work I was doing and of the wonderful lessons that I learned from dance. Having been often sick as a child, I grew up not trusting my own body because of its weakness.  I felt insecure doing physical activity except for the hikes my family took when I always had someone to help and guide me.

Strengthening the Body Develops Confidence

In high school, I had modern dance one day a week, and as my body changed, my confidence improved. I developed muscles and strength. I felt stronger. I liked my body which I had previously not liked because I thought it was too skinny.  I began to trust myself more socially.

Dance Can Be A Spiritual Practice

The more I trusted myself, the more I loved studying dance and dancing.  As I matured, dance became a spiritual practice.  It took me where I needed to go, to a place where I learned to trust my body and my creativity, to moments of silence, to a balance between opposites, and to the expression and moderation of boundless energy.

Silence Takes Us Deeper

I learned to trust silence, to stand quietly, to be okay with doing nothing, to use silence to mindfully prepare for action. I no longer saw silence as time wasted. It allowed me to explore my inner richness and value what deeper thoughts rose to the surface to guide my life and movement.

Balance Requires Being Open

Learning to balance was a basic aspect of movement.  In class one day with Jenny Scanlon, a member of the Jose Limon company, teaching, we practiced balancing on our toes with our feet apart in second position. I was struggling, trying to decide what muscles to contract to keep my rocking body in position when Jenny said, “To balance you have to stretch – reach out into space.”

At that moment, I suddenly realized why I was struggling. I was contracting inward toward my center. I took a breath, lifted and opened my chest, stretched out into the space with my arms, lifting my spine toward the sky as I pressed my feet into the ground. Balance! Perfect balance!  I had to open in order to balance.

Confidence Allows Us To Take Risks

Most of all dance changed me from being a person who was afraid to take a risk to one who was often fearless.  Like all risk-takers, I had to learn when it was wise to take the risk and when not, but even trying to take a risk was a huge change for me.  If I could run across the stage, jump into the air and trust that my partner would catch me, which he usually did, I could learn to do other things in life that scared me.  And in those times when I jumped and my partner and I both fell from the force, I learned how to survive the fall without injury.

This taught me to put more energy into what I wanted in life—to go for it! I learned to choreograph my life.  To create moments of silence between my energetic expressions, organize what activities were most important, and venture into areas where I was a novice all took me to new experiences that broadened my life.  I learned to trust my intuition, my instincts, and my desire to live life more fully.

Dance Connects Us With Nature and Trust

It was never the applause or costumes that I loved about dancing—it was the earthiness.  I was a modern dancer and loved the feeling of my bare feet on the wooden stage.  It grounded me. Eartha Kitt once said, “I’m a dirt person.  I trust the dirt.  I don’t trust diamonds and gold.”  After all, the earth is our home, our foundation, the abundance that feeds us. After loving nature all my life and spending my childhood hiking and swimming in lakes and streams, despite my infirmities, I needed to feel in touch with nature.

As I became more in touch with my own body, I also became more aware of the earth on which I danced. When we dance, we interact with gravity.  We rebound from the earth.  We suspend in the air. The physical activity is basic to life.  Dance nourishes the body and soul.

Instead of being fearful of life, I learned to trust myself and life’s twists, turns and detours.  I learned to trust that whatever happened, I could handle it, and I learned to risk moving on when I eventually needed to stop dancing.  I risked becoming a writer and sharing my voice.  I learned that trusting what I love would take me where I needed to go.

What will you do today to become more trusting of yourself?

© 2017 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  Limon Company – Psalm (excerpt), Awakening to Release Our Fear, Three Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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AWAKENING TO GOOD DECISIONS

“I am not a product of my circumstances.  I am a product of my decisions.”  Steve Covey

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

On what do you base most decisions?  Do you consider the consequences of your actions before you act?  Are you often conflicted about whether to please another person or yourself?  Are most of your decisions good ones?

This week I’ve been particularly aware of the consequences of decisions people make and the effect they have on others.  In the news, the most obviously bad decision was GM’s decision not to fix accelerators that were sticking and making cars uncontrollable.  This has resulted in many deaths.  The only excuse they’ve given so far is a lack of communication between departments related to the cost of fixing the problem.

Fear Is the Source of Bad Decisions

Bad decisions, the ones that hurt us or others, are often a result of fear.  We fear we won’t get what we want or need.  No doubt the GM employees responsible for the ongoing problem with the cars were more afraid of others knowing they had failed than they were afraid of being held responsible for many deaths.  Did they really believe that they would get by with this indefinitely?

In GM’s case, the consequences of their decision are obvious.  Often, though, we make decisions without being aware of the consequences or exploring what those might be.  I was once in a relationship with a man who lied to me about his relationship with another woman.  I sensed he was hiding something from me, and when he told me the truth, I was amazed.  His lie was disturbing but the truth wasn’t.  For some reason, he was afraid the truth would upset me.  It didn’t, but his lying made it impossible for me to trust him.

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

We Must Consider Consequences

It is always important to consider the consequences of actions that affect others.  Sometimes the difficulties that appear in our lives are opportunities for us to grow and examine our values.  We must always ask what is more important in this situation: doing what we want by asserting ourselves or pleasing the other person?  Is there a way to please ourselves and the other person?

Decisions Are Often Based on Values From Childhood

Growing up in a traditional family, what was good or moral behavior was clearly defined.  I was taught to be honest, respectful, loving, kind, to always consider others, and to do well in school.  It was not difficult to live by these rules as a child and teenager because most of my friends lived by the same values.  As an adult, though, following the rules became more challenging.

As a southern woman, I had been taught not to be outspoken, always be pleasant, and always put others’ needs ahead of my own.  There was a huge clash between this image and the person I felt I really was.  What was wrong with putting my own needs ahead of others when I needed to do that to take care of myself?  Why wasn’t it okay for me to have a career just as the men did?  Why should I always give up what I need for others?  My mother had done that and she was not a happy person.  She had given away too much of herself.

We May Have to Displease Others In Order to Be Ourselves

Over time, I stayed true to myself, following my desire to be a modern dancer.  Although my decision to be true to myself created tension with my parents and eventually with my ex-husband, I know I made the right decision.  That decision led me to find a life I loved instead of just doing what everyone else expected me to do.  It also helped me develop confidence because I discovered I could survive having others not accept who I was.

 Being True to Self Leads to Good Decisions

Ironically, my selfish decision to follow my own path helped me develop the strength I needed to meet life’s challenges, especially in health and relationships.  As a teacher, it gave me an understanding of life that enhanced my ability to help students find their true paths in life and to guide them on how to meet difficult challenges.  I hope that I helped them to have the courage to face their fears and become who they wanted to be.  As Les Brown commented, “Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”

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The most important thing that I’ve learned in this life is that it doesn’t always have to be an either/or situation.  We can take care of ourselves and help others.  We can be who we truly are and support others because we don’t need everyone to think like us or act like us.  We can support who they truly are without wanting to force conformity onto them.

Nor are we required to do what someone else wants if it is unwise or unhealthy for us.  We can be of help only when we are well, and any relationship that requires us to harm ourselves is abusive, and we need to let it go.

Our Decisions Transform Us

In one way or another, the decisions we make transform who we are, even when the consequences of our decisions are negative.  We learn what works and what doesn’t.  The circumstances of our lives, particularly our childhood, are only one aspect of our lives.  Although it is a powerful one, it does not have to define us totally.

The challenge is perhaps more difficult for those people who have grown up in abusive or alcoholic homes.  Their challenges to find a healthy life are so much greater than those of us who grew up in relatively healthy environments.  Many continue the pattern of abuse because that is all they know.  Others find the courage to separate themselves from the dysfunction and become healthy.  There is always a choice and the decisions we make are reflections of who we are at the moment we make the decision.

Good Decisions Improve Life

When the decisions we make create a healthy and happy life, even some of the time, we are clearly on the right path.  It sometimes takes many small steps to take us to our goal and each decision we make is another step for which we must be thankful.  Being thankful for each good decision is a wonderful way to develop our confidence and create the good energy that will draw to us what we need.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                          ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Why People Fail (Les Brown- video), You are the World – Wayne Dyer, Decisions and Consequences

AWAKENING TO TRUST LIFE

“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.”  Paulo Coelho

Father Tossing Daughter

Photo by Mike Baird

 How patient are you when things don’t go your way?  Are you often disappointed about life or do you find some pleasure in each day?

Lately, it seems that dealing with the mundane in life has become unnecessarily difficult and somewhat bizarre.  I spent an hour or more trying to discover why my phone would do nothing but “search” when it had worked fine the day before and the battery was charged.  Finally I unplugged the battery to read the numbers on it, thinking that maybe I needed a new one, and when I reconnected it, it worked just fine.

Then there was a problem with the water filter.  In order to have filtered water like reverse osmosis, I stack one water filtration dispenser on top of another so that the water from the top dispenser will drip through the second filter.  In the last month, the top dispenser has toppled onto the floor twice when a friend of mine walked into the kitchen.  At 6 foot 3 inches, he’s a big guy and his steps create a vibration, but he’s been walking into my kitchen frequently for months.  Why is this happening now?  The second time it happened, the filter shattered.

Lessons May Come From Negative Experiences

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.”  Each moment of each day offers us the opportunity to learn.  I’ve learned from experience that when a series of events, mundane or serious, occur I need to pay attention.  I need to calm down, go with the flow, and take time to trust that the Universe is trying to tell me something.

In addition to going inside for spiritual guidance, I also look at astrology or numerology to see if any messages resonate.  My number for this month is a 36/9 and part of the message is that any losses or endings will free me for the new cycle I am about to enter and that any losses I encounter are only those things I do not need.

Not Being Centered Creates Unnecessary Difficulty

When the phone incident occurred, I was already frustrated about a series of troublesome phone calls with my insurance company, and I wasn’t in a positive frame of mind.  I was so disappointed that another problem had arisen that I lacked the patience to solve the problem easily by doing the most obvious thing, checking the battery connection.  Instead, I assumed it was more complicated.

Remaining Positive Requires Courage

Paolo Coelho reminds us to have courage and not be disappointed when we encounter difficulties.  We have to trust that there is value in these life experiences.  When the negative experiences are more serious matters, the challenge to have courage is so much greater.  My challenges are nothing compared to the challenge my friend who has cancer faces.  She is nearing the end but insists on trying not to take drugs to “numb out.”  That’s real courage!

Years ago when I had chronic fatigue syndrome, I had to change my life style in order to heal naturally.  Having to go to bed early and be very strict about what I ate irritated friends and others close to me.  The medical profession had not yet accepted this diagnosis as a real one and many people just thought I was being dramatic about my needs.  Losing friends and not being respected made my life more difficult.  It took courage for me to remain devoted to what I knew was best for me.

Loss May Lead Us To Something Better

In the case of the cracked filter, I was surprised by what happened, but I wasn’t too upset.  Maybe the incident was telling me it was time to install a water filter in my water system.  As it turned out, the friend whose vibration caused the filter to crash had an extra filter that can be easily installed in my house.

Father on Beach

Photo by Lonny Paul

Learning “not to be disappointed by what we encounter” when we experience mundane disappointments prepares us to face the really difficult moments.  Staying calm and going with the flow gives us the patience “to wait for the right moment.”  We often see this in a relationship when we need to discuss a touchy subject with a partner or a manager at work.  If we take the time to consider when and what to say and release our anger or frustration first, we are more likely to communicate in a way so that the other person will hear us.

To Trust Life, We Must Trust Ourselves

We can trust life when we learn to trust ourselves.  We create our lives with our thoughts, emotions, and actions, and the more we learn about managing them in a spiritual and loving way, the more likely we are to create positive experiences.  In addition to the patience and courage, Coelho suggests, developing a practice of gratitude helps to shift us away from expecting the worst of a situation we don’t like.

Focusing on Gratitude Is A Positive Practice

Gratitude reminds us of all the good in our lives.  Even when it’s hard to see the good, it is important to hunt for it and look for a lesson in each experience.  My experience with the phone reminded me that I need to focus on the simplicity of life and assume the solution to a problem is simple unless it truly does become more complex.  I am thankful for that reminder.

The experience with the water filter offered a better alternative to my “slippery slope” solution and reminded me that when one thing stops working, it is often because there is something better in the future.  When we are grateful for the good we have and truly believe that basically life is good, despite the challenges, we are more likely to find our spiritual path filled with light.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                         ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:    Trust Yourself and How You Can Get Better at It, Trust Quiz – Do You Trust Yourself Enough?, Why You Do Not Trust Yourself, How to Develop a Deep Trust in Life

AWAKENING TO OPENNESS

“It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.”  Erma Bombeck

How much of yourself do you share with other people?  If you don’t share much, what fear prevents you from doing that? Why do you feel you must hide a part of yourself?

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Hiding or Not Hiding

I met a woman some time ago who seems to be a very nice person.  We’ve been in several discussions; yet I know nothing really personal about her except for her political beliefs.  Her emotional life remains hidden.

I have also recently met a man who is so open that I continue to be amazed by the depth of what he is willing to share.  Instead of practically pulling teeth like I’m used to doing with many men, communication with him is so easy.  He just says what he thinks and goes deeper without my asking him to.

Trust Is at the Core of Openness

There are so many things that affect our willingness to be open.  At the core of it is trust, the two-fold kind.  We have to feel we can trust the person with whom we are sharing our stories, and we also have to trust ourselves and believe we have something of value to share.

While it is true that we must use discretion in what we reveal to others, our ability to share deeply with others enriches our lives.  There have been times in my life when I felt no one understood me and no one really wanted to know what was going on inside me.  Those were barren, lonely times because I was surrounded by people who were not comfortable sharing much of themselves, so they really didn’t want to hear about my deeper thoughts and struggles.

However, most of my life I have had at least one best friend with whom I could share anything and who would share anything with me.  Sometimes what one of us thought or did shocked the other, but we were always there for each other whether we approved of the other’s choices or not.  Our trust in each other created an incredible intimacy and richness to our lives.

openness

Openness Requires Discretion

Of course there are times when it isn’t wise to be open.  Sharing too much about one’s personal life in the work place can be distracting and inappropriate.  If a friend or partner has misused the information we have shared, we need to reconsider the wisdom of sharing so much with that person.  Sometimes we just have to set boundaries in order to feel safe enough to be open.

Once, when my relationship with a man I loved was breaking up, I shared this with a friend, never dreaming she would pass the information on to two women I hardly knew.  They then shared with a neighbor.  Soon afterwards, I walked into the ladies restroom at my spiritual community and a woman I barely knew told me how sorry she was that this man and I were splitting.

I was shocked.  I had told only my closest friends who I thought would be discrete.  When I tracked this back to the source, I told that friend how upset I was, and she was very sorry.  Her perception of how close I felt to her two woman friends was different than what I felt, and when we sorted it out, she agreed not to share my relationship information with anyone without asking my permission.  With this understanding in place, I felt comfortable sharing with her in the future.

Being Who We Are Creates Connections With Others

While we have to be wise about our openness, we also miss so much in life when we are afraid to show others who we truly are.  As I’ve said many times, when I decided to publish my memoir, I had to overcome the fear of being open.  Being that open felt vulnerable, but I couldn’t tell my story in a way that would benefit those who read it unless I was transparent.  It took quite a while to find the courage to do that.

I’m glad I made that decision because my being open has allowed others to open up to me, to share their deepest thoughts and tragedies, to share things with me that they would never have shared with me had we not had the book to connect us.  When we understand that others have had similar experiences, it often helps us to stop judging ourselves and just know that our “failures” are only human.

I like what Tony Schwartz says:  “Let go of certainty.  The opposite isn’t uncertainty.  It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides.  The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.”

Openness Enriches Us Spiritually

When we truly accept who we are and love ourselves, we can also accept that we make mistakes.  To be open to living life at its fullness, we have to interact with others, explore our thoughts and lives together.  We have to be open to the idea that it is often our mistakes that teach us the lessons we really need to learn in order to grow and become who we truly are.

When we show our dreams to someone else, they may know exactly what we need to make those dreams come true. Openness allows us to connect, explore, and discover “the buried treasure” within each of us. When we do that and open our hearts to each other, life can be oh, so sweet.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                          ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:   Love:  It’s Not Where You Look But Who You Are – Wayne Dyer,  Do You Worry About What Others Think of YouInitiating Relationships With Honesty, Openness and Directness

AWAKENING TO THE FULLNESS OF LIFE

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”     Melody Beattie

When life is difficult, do you take the time to express thanks for what is good in your life?  Do you focus on what you don’t have or what you do have?  How does being grateful enhance your life?

Expanding Life Through Love and Joy

It seems to me that my life has expanded this year.  So much good has come to me.  I’ve been more regular than ever about my gratitude practice, and I’ve felt my heart open and expand.

My dear spiritual teacher Gladys used to say that the reason we are in this physical life is to expand our energy through experiencing love and joy.

So, on this day before Thanksgiving, I want to thank everyone who has helped make my journey rich and rewarding this year.

I Am Thankful For Family

First, I want to thank my brother who has been so supportive in many ways.  Before I published my memoir this year, I sent it to him to read.  I have to admit I was rather nervous about his response.  We may have grown up in the same family, but everyone’s experience is unique.  I was relieved that he accepted what I had written as my story and shared his point of view about it.  Since he is also writing a book, we have become closer as a result of sharing this experience.

I also want to thank my niece for reading the book and sharing her thoughts and feelings about it.  I have valued our discussions so much and they have taken us to a deeper level of understanding our family and relating to each other.

I Am Thankful For Spiritual Friends

Secondly, I want to thank the personal friends who have encouraged me when I was down, celebrated with me when I succeeded, and bought my memoir, Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, the moment it came out.  I also want to thank you for spiritual discussions and hikes in the woods that have calmed my soul.  I am also grateful for those I’ve met through the Jubilee Spiritual Journey Team and the Open Table Discussion Group and the discussions we’ve shared on deep and spiritual topics.  You’ve been an inspiration.

I Am Grateful For Writing Friends and Technical Guides

Thirdly, I want to thank again the members of the networking group, Freelance Fridays, especially Joe D’Agnese and Brad Swift for your wonderful support through every step of the publishing process.  The exchange of ideas about publishing, promoting, and the business of book selling has educated me in ways no books can do.  Thank you for sharing your real life experience.

Fourthly, I want to thank two technical teachers, Sarah Benoit and James Imes, for their wonderful classes in social media marketing, blogging, and ebook publishing.  Their classes were part of AB Tech’s Small Business Incubator headed by the supportive Duane Adams.  Andrew Plyler has also been a great help leading me through the quagmire of computer challenges I’ve faced, and I understand 90% of what he tells me the first time because he knows how to talk to nontechnical people.

I Am Grateful For Readers And Workshop Attendees

Last, but definitely not least, I want to thank everyone who has bought a book, and I’m especially thankful for reviews you’ve put on Amazon.  I also am very grateful to everyone who attended my “Release Your Fear” workshops.  Each time I teach it, I learn more from those who share their fears and concerns.  You are my teachers too and I have learned so much from you.

And of course, I am most grateful for my wonderful blog followers and readers.  Your comments and support and your wonderful blogs have been a source of inspiration to me.

I Am Grateful For the Abundance of Community

With all these gifts coming into my life, my ability to experience love and joy has expanded.  I have released so much fear and learned I can trust the Universe and Spirit to guide me down the right path.  Something huge has shifted too. There was a time when I would have been extremely uncomfortable accepting so much help. I had to do it all myself.  I was afraid of depending on someone else. Now I’m grateful for the community of generous people in my life and have learned that accepting what is given lovingly is as important as giving.

Was it the gratitude practice that made a difference?  I don’t know, but I will continue it for sure. I like what Eckhart Tolle says in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, “Acknowledging the good you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

May you have an abundant Thanksgiving.   What are you thankful for this year?  Please comment.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce                                                          ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Eckhart Tolle Quotes, Key to A Happy Life,  The science of being thankful (mnn.com), Eckhart Tolle on Gratitude

AWAKENING TO OUR CHOICES

“If we really want to be full and generous in spirit, we have no choice but to trust at some level.” Rita Dove

When you make a choice, do you think about the consequences?  Do you think about how your choices will impact those around you?  What do you expect our country’s leaders to base their choices on?

The Balance of Power Has Shifted

Yesterday was a game-changing day for the United States.  Barack Obama was re-elected as president, but who elected him is as significant as the victory itself.  Something is shifting in this country.  Ninety-three percent of African-American voters voted for him.  Seventy-one percent of Hispanic voters voted for him, and fifty-five percent of women voted for Obama.

These groups of people, who during my lifetime have struggled for equality in the system, are finally stepping into their own power.  Now the numbers are great enough to influence change in this country, and I think that’s a good thing.  Their choices count in a way they never have before.

We are fortunate to live in a country where we have a system that allows us to choose the people who run the country.  The choices we make on Election Day are significant, but the choices we make each day of our lives can also bring about huge changes.  The diversity in this country will not go away.  We have only one choice—learn to live with people who are different from us.

We Must Choose To Trust One Another

To be the spiritual beings we truly are, we must be willing to trust.  To do that, we have to give up the need to be “right” all the time.  Our need to be “right” keeps us attached to issues that need to be released.  In Rasha’s Oneness, Oneness says “When you are able to let go of the need for ego validation on the issues that help define the history of this lifetime, you have taken the tentative first steps toward liberation from those patterns.”  This is how we become unstuck.

Fear Beneath the Need To Be Right

Have you ever made a decision to prove you were right only to have it blow up in your face?  When we let our egos run our lives, we often miss making the wisest choices.  When we feel the urge to prove we are right, we need to look for the fear beneath that need and deal with that first.  Releasing the fear frees us to act from a deeper place and calms the ego.

Likewise, our leaders need to stop worrying about whether the vote on an issue is won by the Republicans or the Democrats.  This isn’t a football game.  The only thing that matters is did they do what is best for the majority of the people?  Will this decision help people to live better lives?  Our leaders must choose to be trustworthy so that they can trust each other and the people can trust them.  Too often, good ideas have been dropped because one side couldn’t stand to see the other “win” and blocked the law’s passage.

Act For the Highest Good Of All

The question then is not “Am I right?  Did I win?”  The only question we ever need to ask when making a decision is “Is this for the highest good of all?”  If it isn’t, the decision isn’t the right one.  Our decisions are energy flowing into the cosmic ocean to support its life or to pollute it.  When we act out of love and generosity, our spiritual energy feeds the whole.  We should expect no less from our leaders.

As Oneness says, “All the rules are changing now.  Your world, as you have been schooled to understand it, has already ceased to be.  The cellular structure of every life form on your planet has been altered.  The resonant vibration of every living thing has been augmented.  And the attunement of all consciousness to heightened levels has been achieved.  As a race, the human population has opened itself to receive the gift of Grace.  And even though precious few are aware of that shift, all are manifesting the result, in one form or another.” (Page 104)  One result of this shift is that we are no longer in control.  Resistance to the change taking place is pointless.

Those who are creating the positive changes in our society are the ones who are aware and are leading the way for the rest of us.  Because of these changes, we need to make better choices in our own lives and insist that our leaders make better choices that will create a life that will uplift and enrich us all.  We all deserve a life that is “full and generous in spirit.”

© 2012 Georganne Spruce                                                                  ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Is Being Compassionate Healthy? Freedom Is Accepting Our ConsequencesLeaders Who Work Most Effectively

AWAKENING TO DEEPER FRIENDSHIPS

“Let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.”  Khalil Gibran

What is the most important thing you have to give others? Are your friends people who support the best or worst in you?  What do you share that makes a friendship meaningful?

There have been times in my life when I have had friends with whom I shared only superficial interests because they were not people who had an interest in anything deeper.  Any time I would start a conversation about the underlying meaning in a situation they would make a joke about it or ask me why I had to bring up that unpleasant stuff.  Not surprisingly, as time passed we drifted away from one another, looking for others who shared our values.

Connecting With Friends

However, for most of my life, I have often been blessed by having friends who share my values.  While we have fun and enjoy sharing superficial experiences, what makes our connection meaningful is that we have the need to go deeper, to understand the spiritual and psychological aspects of life.  We love to discuss books and movies and art.  We share the ups and downs of our lives.  We share a love of nature.  We listen deeply and speak from the heart.

Being a good friend requires the ability to give and receive.  What we need to give is often obvious.  A friend recovering from surgery needs us to run errands or cook food.  A friend going through a divorce needs us to listen and empathize with her feelings.  An elder needs help with yard work.  These are all tangible and important ways to help, but what is one of the greatest gifts we can give a friend?

Helping Others See the Good in Themselves

Disraeli once said, “The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own.”  As a teacher, my most joyous moments were when I could help a student see how talented he was, or accept that his ideas were insightful, or develop the confidence to tackle a difficult problem or assignment.  This kind of caring is a gift that lasts forever, for it changes the other person’s belief about their own capabilities.

Helping another person to see her own inner riches empowers that person.  This is a huge gift—to help another see they are more loving, beautiful, caring, strong, insightful, sensible than they realized.  Deep friendships are about opening doors as well as listening with love. Over the last few years as I wrote my spiritual memoir, the support of my friends has been invaluable.  When I doubted my ability to write, they would point out a passage that really moved them.  They inspired me with their own stories of overcoming fears and obstacles.  They cheered me when I found the courage to overcome my fears and move ahead.

The Gift of Being a Loving Mirror for Our Friends

But there is another side to friendship too.  In order to open a door or allow our friend to open that door to areas we may not find comfortable, requires trust.  When we share our deeper feelings through time and they are received with love and acceptance, not judgment, we learn to trust that friend wants what is best for us.  It is easier then to approach subjects that are not particularly comfortable.

At a point in my life when I was having many challenges in my work, I noticed that it seemed people were avoiding me.  Puzzled by this, I asked a close and trusted friend to please tell me what she thought was happening.  She began by reminding me that she loved me, then she gently explained that I was very reactive and defensive, and often snapped at people for what appeared to be no reason.  I could feel my face turn red with embarrassment.  Was that really true?

As I sat with this idea, I knew it was.  I was constantly being criticized at work, so I was primed to defend myself, and this had spilled over into my personal life.  I loved my friend even more for her courage in telling me the truth.  As a result, I returned to my meditation and monitored my behavior so that I stopped alienating people.

We all need mirrors in our lives—people who will reflect back to us our best qualities as well as those behaviors we prefer to ignore.  Most of the important changes we need to make are at deeper levels, and only friends with whom we share true relationships will be able to go there with us.  Going deeper with a friend is the greatest gift of friendship that we can give.

How have you gone deeper with a friend lately?

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

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