Tag Archives: Wholeness

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 LEARN FROM NATURE

      “Adopt the pace of nature.  Her secret    is patience.”  Emerson

How often are you in nature?  How do you feel there?  What do you most love about nature?

We are not currently living in a time when it is easy to be patient.  We all want things to return to normal.  We want to work again, visit friends and relatives, eat out for dinner, or visit an art festival.  When we are feeling irritable or anxious, nature can offer us some peace and help us find the patience we need to slow down.

Once I’m in nature, tension drops away.  It’s affected me that way as long as I can remember because I spent a lot of time in the forests of Arkansas as I grew up.  Hiking and swimming in streams were two of my family’s favorite outings and as a kid I thought this activity was fun.

Now, stepping into the forest or my shady backyard takes me to a peaceful place immediately.  So today, I’m offering you a different kind of blog post—one with photos of natural scenes I’ve observed, and I do include animals as a part of nature.  I hope this experience will bring you peace and laughter.

What is Suz hunting for?

Suz is snoozing. “Don’t bother me!”

Owen Lake

Ducks at Owen Lake

The beauty of nature

Neighborhood bear family enjoying our dinner of acorns.

Very rude squirrel eating dinner on St. Francis’s head.

Giant mushroom tent

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO WILDNESS, ONE WITH NATURE, Part 2

AWAKENING TO THE GIFTS OF SOLITUDE

AWAKENING TO STILLNESS

 

 

AWAKENING TO TODAY’S DREAMS

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

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

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

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

If We Begin, Others May Help Us Complete the Plan

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

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

Overcoming Roadblocks

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

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

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

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

Explore A Dream Like A Detective

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

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

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

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

© 2020 Georganne Spruce

Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness

AWAKENING TO THE POWER WITHIN

AWAKENING TO EXPERIMENT WITH LIFE

 

AWAKENING TO OUR DANCE OF LIFE

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.”  Martha Graham

What is your dance of life?  Does it resemble a rumba, waltz, cha-cha, jitter bug or improvisation?

Whatever name you give to your dance, there is only one person like you, and your life is a dance only you can do.  As you dance this life, it may change, redefining who you are on the inside and who you are in the world.

As Graham suggests, we are created by an inner force that is natural and vital, but if we are to create our earthly life from it, we have to become acquainted with it.  It is not always easy to look inside because we are often afraid of what we may find there,some part of ourselves we do not like.

Graham clearly looked inside as she began to create dances for her own company after leaving the Denishawn Company.  The new dances were intense and emotional, as she was, taking this element to a depth never before seen in modern dance.  In the beginning, some people found her work offensive, but her courage to be true to her creative self transformed and broadened modern dance.

Following Our Own Paths

We each follow our own path.  Externally, it may involve working for a corporation, a hospital, a school, or creating our own business, and what we do there may be an expression of our deepest self or it may only be a place to earn money.  When we can combine the two, we are most fortunate.

When I was young, my parents saw my desire to become a modern dancer as foolish.  How could I possibly support myself doing that? Because of my mother’s insistence, I got the credits needed for teacher certification, and I became a teacher while pursuing dance.

As a high school teacher, I discovered I wanted to help empower those students who were not in the main stream.  Looking back on that years later, I realized I was drawn to them because I did not feel I was part of the main stream, so I was not “good enough.”  But when I taught them, this incredible energy within me bubbled up, and helping them empowered me as well.

I also usually danced the dancer’s life along with the teaching life.  I loved the feeling of never knowing what might show up as I began to choreograph a dance because my experience had taught me that when moving or writing creatively, the most amazing and unexpected ideas could show up, ones I would never think of.

Finding Inner Peace and Vitality

The silence of creativity or meditative practices opens us to that place within where our life force can speak to us and lead us to choreograph a new life or expand the one we have to include new steps. Being with nature can also offer us a place where the outer can create peace within.

I know a group of birdwatchers.  Some of them are retired, but some still work and participate in the walks that take them through the forest to observe and name our flying friends.  At other times some of them also participate in slow hikes identifying trees or flowers in order to connect more deeply with nature because this connection with nature is an integral part of who they are.  The dance of nature is their dance.

I know how they feel.  Nature is also a place where I experience deep peace.  Upon entering a forest, I almost immediately drop into a meditative state.  I grew up hiking through the mountains and forests, learning to name the rocks and trees, but while the naming was not my focus, it helped me connect with their energy and beautiful presence.  After I began dancing, the energy of nature stirred up new ideas for dances.

Finding Your Dance Beyond the External

While dance was a huge part of my dance of life for many years, there came a time when the physical demands of the art began to harm my body.  I was frightened.  Who would I be without dance? It was the core of my identity!

It became clear that I needed to go deeper.  Fortunately, before I stopped teaching dance, I had learned to meditate.  It became a regular practice that took me deeper into the heart of my soul, where I discovered the real source of my creativity, not only for dance, but for living.

As I began to visit non-traditional spiritual groups like Science of Mind and Unity churches, I began to learn other ways of connecting with my spirituality and growing my inner life.  I learned, for example, how to release my fear so that it did not control my mind. This exploration led me to a sense of wholeness I had never known.  My dance of life became deeper and richer, undefined by what I did, defined by who I was.

What Is the Core of Your Dance of Life?

Where has your dance of life taken you? How is your life force expressed?  If you remove all the things you have, the titles you hold, the money and work that defines you, your political persuasion, your religious beliefs, what is at the core of your dance of life?

When we are expressing who we truly are, there is a vitality to it.  We’ve all met people whose vitality surrounds them and energizes those who come near them; while their energy enlivens us, we also feel the serenity at their core.  And that is a peace we all need to find in our own dance of life.

© Georganne Spruce

The Martha Graham Company

READINGS:  AWAKENING TO THE LIGHT

AWAKENING TO THE HOME WITHIN

AWAKENING TO THE ONENESS WITHIN

 

AWAKENING TO THE GIFTS OF SOLITUDE

“Creative work needs solitude. It needs concentration, without interruptions.  It needs the whole sky to fly in ….  A place apart—to pace, to chew pencils, to scribble and erase and scribble again.” Mary Oliver

Do you find any value in meditation or writing?  Are they similar in some way?  What does quiet time mean for you?

The Challenge of Distractions

I keep planning to do daily meditation again.  The life in this country seems so chaotic and crazy that it’s too easy to get upset and distracted and I know meditation will help me find the peace for which I long and clear my head and heart.  It will also help me get back to writing, quieting my mind so new ideas may rise to the surface.

But I don’t.  I need to check my email.  See if I have enough left-overs for lunch.  Make another doctor’s appointment.  Check next week’s meeting time.  It never ends – because I don’t end it.

I’m old enough to remember the time when we all communicated only with phones.  We didn’t have the distractions of Facebook or even email.   I also was unmarried most of my life.  Now I’m married but to a man who is very disciplined about doing his writing work in his home office.  While we do have a life together, I can’t blame him for my inability to find time alone. He respects whatever I need.

Sitting in Silence

In some way, I think I’ve forgotten how rich the aloneness of meditation is, but I was reminded in a very dynamic way last week at the Jung meetup we attended.  The topic was “projections.”  After the speaker gave us a meaningful introduction to the topic, we sat in silence in the dark to get in touch with our inner Selves.

At first, I was just grateful that this quiet time was structured into the event.  I had no excuse not to do it.  I was so involved with the evening’s topic that I had already let go of the day’s annoyances.  Taking a few deep breaths, my mind cleared and kundalini energy raced up my spine and opened my mind to the universe.  I was so surprised by this that I dropped back into my body.

Wisdom of the Inner Self

Slowly, I moved back into a meditative space to ask, “What do I need to release?”  The quiet settled in.  The answer came—“jealousy and anger.” The anger didn’t surprise me, but the jealousy did.  “I’m not jealous of anyone,” I thought.  “I have everything I need.”  But that wasn’t what my deeper Self was saying.

Then a picture formed in my head.  I was sitting and listening to a person talk about his years growing up and all the advantages he had, and I was overcome with a deep sadness that he had opportunities I never had growing up as a child whose family had little money.  There were many things we didn’t have or couldn’t afford that others I went to school with had.  I couldn’t buy a dress because we could only afford what my mother made for me.  I couldn’t take dance lessons or buy the best dolls.  We couldn’t afford to go to Disney World.

As the meaning of this message became clear, I took a deep breath, I smiled and sent love to the child within me, letting go of the feelings of lack that accompanied the message. I’m an adult now and have more than I need.

Our time was up, but I felt peaceful.  I would look more closely at my anger issues another time.  We wrote in our journals then left in silence.  I wrote, “The Universe is there for me with its gifts of silence and love.  Within it, I am One and all creativity connects and flows through me.”

Loving Our Inner Selves

Today, after many months of not writing my blog, I have written. It feels good.  I love writing because my inner Self is good company.  She thinks a lot and feels many emotions.  She perceives life in interesting ways.  She reveals insights that my mind alone would never conjure up. She can also be outrageous and crazy, but she’s never boring.

And perhaps this is the greatest gift that solitude affords us even if we aren’t writers:  to like whoever we are in that solitude and to be a friend to ourselves.  We may be different out in the world where so many challenges press upon us.  We may not always handle them well.  We may not always find the best solution to a problem, but whoever we are in that solitude is the self we must love.  By doing so we can become the person we truly desire to be.

Footnote: On the day I started writing this blog, Mary Oliver died.  I love her poetry and am very connected with nature.  I feel a tremendous loss as, I’m sure, many of you do. That day my husband sent me the following piece written by Mary Oliver.  Please read it.  It is beautiful as always and applies to any creative endeavor.

https://voxpopulisphere.com/2016/10/23/mary-oliver-the-artists-task/

 

 

 

 

 

MORE THAN MOTHER’S DAY

“Look deep into Nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein

What does Nature mean to you?  Is it part of your spiritual life?  What has it taught you?

This year Mother’s Day fell on a Sunday.  Knowing that would be the sermon topic at church that day, I decided to spend the morning with the only mother I still have, Mother Nature.  I was longing to be with her after days of torrential rains, and it was unlikely to rain that morning, so I headed to Beaver Dam Lake and the Bird Sanctuary to meditate.

It was lovely.  A gentle breeze blew through the warm air and caressed me.  My soul opened letting the concerns of the day drop away. I started walking through the Bird Sanctuary at one end of the lake and followed a rough path around a small pond where I used to see beautiful egrets balancing on one leg. I was startled.  Something had changed.  The pond was perfectly still and covered with scum and debris.  Just beyond it, the lake it fed into sparked blue and green in the morning light.  “How strange, “I thought, “they usually take excellent care of this place.”

As the path led away from the pond, I followed it along the far side of the lake, and after a while, realized I was on an old path.  The new path was above me.  “Oh well,” I decided, “if this ends and I have to back-track, that’s okay. All I care about is being here.”

Finding a Higher Path

Eventually the path ended in a pile of logs, but as soon as I stepped over them, I was on the higher main path.  Not having been to this side of the lake in a couple of years, I realized I was already a long way from where I started.  Something was different.  The lake seemed larger and I couldn’t see the bridge across the end of the lake.  Did they move it?  Had it been near where the boats were docked?  I couldn’t remember.

Before long, the path moved out from under the trees, and as the sunlight flooded over me, I felt such a joy being in nature.  But again, I was confused as I walked down the street because it took me further than before past houses that I had never seen.  The path below the houses’ backyards that bordered the lake at this end had always been private, but now a dirt path led from the street to the path along the water.  It appeared to be public, so while I followed it to be closer to the water, I also felt a bit like a trespasser.  Besides, at this point I felt adventurous and was beginning to enjoy Mother Nature’s surprises.

The path wound around the lake bringing me to the bridge I had imagined was closer to the Sanctuary.  I stopped and took in the immense beauty of the lake, shining clean and bright in the morning light.  I smiled, delighted that what I thought would be a routine hike had been a bit of an adventure.

The Other Side

The walkway leading back to the parking lot and Bird Sanctuary was clearer and more formal, winding around the side of the lake near the street where traffic noise invaded the silent beauty of nature.  By the time I reached the Bird Sanctuary, I was sweating and thankful for the cooling shade of the trees.  Resting at one of the overlooks on the water I could see the full view of the lake.

A young boy with his parents were there, insistent that he could climb a tree with only vertical branches.  Wedging his feet against opposite branches, he made some progress, but eventually gave up. As I turned to leave, a woman I knew who was a nature lover and birder appeared and we shared stories for a few minutes.  Then she went her way and I walked in the opposite direction to my favorite ancient tree. I hugged it as I always do, then sat on the nearby bench scanning the water-filled cove for ducks or turtles. A Tiger Swallowtail flitted around the cove and what may have been a Monarch butterfly surveyed the area.

We Are All One

Another mother with a young boy appeared on the path and she and I visited as the boy climbed the ancient tree whose branches were perfectly placed for climbing.  At a limb half-way up, the boy settled in.

“Aren’t you going further?” his mother asked surprised.

“No,” he replied smiling.  “I’m good.”

The mother looked at me as if to say, “that’s a first.”  Then she asked me, “Are you a mother?”

“No, I’m not.” I replied.

She continued, “Do you have a mother who is still alive?”

“No, I don’t.”

By this time the boy had come down from the tree.  “Well, Happy Sunday then,” she said smiling as they turned to continue down the path.

Until the woman posed her questions, I had forgotten it was Mother’s Day.  When I’m with Mother Nature, all of life, past and present, is One.  While I miss my mother and grandmother, they have been gone a long time and without them, it made perfect sense to be with the only other mother I still have.

All Is Well

After a while, I returned to the entrance of the Sanctuary and discovered why the small pond there was such a mess.  There was a sign explaining that it was an ecofilter wetland.  In other words, it was the place where the water coming from the stream that fed the lake was cleansed, filtering out toxins naturally so only clean water could feed the lake.  “Brilliant!” I thought, greatly relieved that the area was not being neglected.

As I turned toward the parking lot nearby, my phone rang and it was my husband letting me know he was heading home from church.  The timing was perfect.  Filled with happiness and peace, I took one last look at the sanctuary – the perfect place for me that morning, as well as for the birds.

© 2018 Georganne Spruce

Where is your perfect place?

Related Articles:  AWAKENING TO WILDNESS, ONE WITH NATURE, Part 2

DANCING WITH NATURE’S CYCLES,

AWAKENING TO THE BLESSINGS OF RENEWAL

“We don’t even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward. In times of tragedy, of war, of necessity, people do amazing things. The human capacity for survival and renewal is awesome.” Isabel Allende

Photo:Georganne Spruce

Photo:Georganne Spruce

I have been away for a while, resting and healing my body. After two years of a variety of symptoms and visiting various doctors whose tests revealed nothing, I returned to a wholistic doctor I saw when I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. At that time, I had spent several years becoming more exhausted and unable to sleep, but my doctors insisted I had an anxiety disorder.

Now I sleep throughout most of the night and have good energy each day. Most of the symptoms that were a result of inflammation are gone. Life almost feels normal, and the healing is taking place without harmful drugs.

I am blessed to have found the help I need. It has been worth it to discipline myself to not eat many foods that I like, to take numerous supplements at specific times, to keep a schedule that sometimes has felt very stressful. This was what was required for my healing to take place. I had no choice if I wanted to be well again.

Life May Be Very Challenging

Life is like that sometimes. We have to do what is uncomfortable or challenging in order to get what we want. We have to stretch our resources, patience, or abilities beyond what we believe is possible. We have to dig deep for a strength we are not even sure we have.

As a nation, I believe we are in a similar place. We are being tested to see “what stuff we are made of.” Solving the problems that require urgent care means that we have to reach deep within to find the place where we are willing to partner with those who are different from us.

Only Change Can Bring Us Renewal

We are facing a new year, so the question is: Will we make it a new year, a time of renewal, a step forward, or will we continue to wallow in the mud of insults, sexism, and racism and ignore the desperate needs of so many people? What do we need to do to renew the basic principles of a democratic nation? How do we begin to make the changes in our own lives?

At the base of our resistance to do what we need to do is fear. It is always lurking there behind the excuses we use not to change. It may be that we have our lives so organized that changing anything feels like chaos, and we wonder if the change really will make things better. Unfortunately, most of us can’t see into the future so we have to take the leap and hope for the best.

We Need To Release Our Fear and Have Faith

Not only do we need to release our fear, we need to have faith, and the following quote always helps me go on when things are not going well. “When you have come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen; there will be something to stand on or you will be taught how to fly.”

Jumping Over the 3rd Largest Pyramid in the World

We Also Need To Take Action

This is a powerful guide on the spiritual level just as releasing our fear is. But in addition to this, we need to take action. For example, if we don’t like the way our political system is working, we need to get out and vote, but first we need to research what is really the truth. Presidential candidates tend to twist the truth so that their opponents look like poor choices. We have to research the details of situations so that we can make meaningful choices based on reality. Does the person we choose have a background that indicates he/she will be able to make the changes we want made?

What if our first choice doesn’t become the candidate? Are we going to throw our hands up and let others make the choice for us? But if we are willing to shift a bit and vote for our next best choice, we still will have a voice in the process, and we can still make a difference.

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Life Changes

Life changes whether we want it to or not. The seasons bring us the beauty of snow, flowers, brightly-colored leaves, and warm sunny days. Each season has its delights and challenges and we have no choice but to adjust. Each time we adjust or change, we learn something new. We may have dreaded the change, but in the end, it may have brought us something better.

Do I like the rigid schedule of taking multiple supplements seven times a day? No, I don’t, but if I want to be well, I have to do it. Do I like not having tomatoes, coffee, chocolate, or spicy foods? No, I love them all, but they cause acid reflux that damages my throat and esophagus. Do I want to be healthy and energetic? Of course, so I have no choice but to do these things.

When I see the difficulties that the immigrants flooding so many countries have, the changes I’ve made seem minor. I’m still in my house. My husband is alive. I have plenty of food and heat. My home is in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. My health is so much better.   I’ve had to make many changes in order to have this life, but all the work has been worth it, and I’ve learned to do things I never thought I could do. Life is good, and that’s the choice I’ve made.

What have you done that you never thought you could do? Please Comment.

© Georganne Spruce

Related Articles: Awakening to Live Without Fear, Releasing Our Fear to Awaken, Transforming the Fear of Change

AWAKENING TO RISING LIBIDO AND SUPERFICIAL EQUALITY

“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.”  Thomas Paine

Opened hands offering assorted multicolored pills and capsules. Close up.

Dear readers, I apologize for disappearing. Each week since writing my last blog, I have intended to write a weekly blog, but somehow life and health issues have been overwhelming. We are all aware of the violence in our society and the energy from that is creating great anger and despair and it has often worn me down.

This emotional energy has been depressing because it makes it no longer possible to delude ourselves that real equality exists in this country. Like many people my age who lived through the changes of the sixties and seventies, I can hardly believe how far we still are from true racial and gender equality.

Recently, however, I became aware of a new move toward women’s equality.

Drugs Can Make Us Equal?

While congress is fighting over whether Planned Parenthood should be shut down because only 3% of their activities are abortions and the rest give poor women the medical care and contraception they need, a pharmaceutical company is rabidly marketing a new drug flibanserin, Addyi, that now creates sexual equality—so they say.

Viagra and its pals have been around for awhile but there supposedly has been no equivalent for women. How outrageous! Women’s desire for sexual pleasure has been ignored all this time. But now the FDA has approved a drug for women with low sex drives. Isn’t that grand?

Well, maybe not. This amazing drug was twice rejected by the FDA because of its numerous side effects, especially in relation to alcohol, and its dangers are a longer list than the one you listen to in Viagra commercials. So, ladies, we now have an equal opportunity to make ourselves ill while jacking up our libido.

sad-women06

Side Effects Outweigh Benefits

Among its least harmful side effects is that it may make us sleepy, so it is best to take it just before bedtime. Does anyone else see a basic problem here? But I guess this does make things more equal. We fall asleep before sex and the guys fall asleep afterwards. Maybe this could work as a good contraceptive.

It’s hard not to be suspicious of a drug that the FDA has rejected twice because of its serious side effects, but which the FDA approved after the drug company Sprout launched a massive campaign to get it approved. The drug was rejected because it is dangerous to mix this drug with alcohol. Large numbers of people drink alcohol and 30% of pre-menopausal women are binge drinkers. Could this be an example of the FDA’s priority to get in bed with the drug companies rather than getting in bed with us?

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Focus on Sex and Money Betrays Us

In this country we have become obsessed with sex and money. Why doesn’t the FDA approve natural remedies as well as drugs? For example, I’ve taken natural hormones for years. They work beautifully to balance my hormones after menopause set in, unlike the FDA approved drugs for the same purpose. The side effects of those drugs created other health problems. But the FDA has not and will not approve natural solutions that lack a long list of side effects. What’s it about? Not health, but corporate money.

We Need Healthy, Natural Remedies

There are many ways to make love and activate the libido, but we are so addicted to drugs that we think they are the solution to any difficult problem. Popping a pill is so much easier than making an herbal brew, taking a tantric yoga class, or using an estrogen cream. Eastern cultures are very aware of natural alternatives, but western doctors rarely suggest anything but a pill.

The reality is that we are living longer, so we experience a time when we can no longer function as we did at twenty-five, and that’s okay and natural. A creative, loving couple will always find a way to make love unless they are obsessed with youth.

Let’s face it—most people don’t research a drug that’s given them to see if it’s a good choice. Many people pay no attention to what they eat or check to see if there are harmful ingredients in the products they use, but if we aren’t willing to take care of ourselves by becoming informed, we risk serious repercussions.

Equal Rights 1970 March (Public Domain)

Equal Rights 1970 March (Public Domain)

We are the only ones who can experience our whole selves. The medical profession has become so specialized that we cannot depend on most doctors to cure rather than treat symptoms because symptoms are the basis of western medicine.   It is always easier to prescribe a drug for a symptom than find the cause of the problem, but more than once, the drug a doctor prescribed to me did not solve the problem; it only created more.

Of course, it’s just easier to take a drug than change our diet or exercise or learn some yoga poses that will set us afire. But we can be fairly sure that if we take this new “equalizing” drug and also have those few glasses of wine before we have sex, there will be unpleasant consequences, and they may not be the kind we can fix.

Drugs Don’t Create Equality

Unlike Viagra which increases the blood flow to the genital area so that the penis can function naturally, flibanserin performs a pharmaceutical masturbation on our brains. Unlike Viagra, it isn’t taken just when we need it, but it must be taken every day, increasing the opportunity for serious side effects.

So does this sound like equality to you? I think the drug companies just want more guinea pigs, but I’ll decline and live with this inequity. I’ll spend my time trying to create real equity in the work place, with housing and medical issues, and voting equality. Those are the equality issues that really matter.

For more information:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/fda-approves-controversial-female-viagra-drug/2015/08/18/68d34eca-45f6-11e5-8e7d-9c033e6745d8_story.html

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/10-best-herbs-boosting-female-sex-drive/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/18/boost-libido_n_3454936.html

 

 

 

AWAKENING TO THE REAL YOU

“Awakening is not changing who you are but discarding who you are not.” Deepak Chopra

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Who are you really? Do you answer this question by looking at your appearance, defining what you have accomplished, or evaluating your spiritual life?

For many years, I primarily saw myself in terms of what I did for a living as a teacher or dancer. Growing up at the time when the women’s movement was very vocal, I was influenced by that and chose not to describe myself as a wife although I was one. I wasn’t a mother either so I felt that what I did in the world and how well I did it was most important.

Looking for the Real You

During those years, I was also exploring various spiritual disciplines, looking for a way to understand who I was at a deeper level. I cared about how I looked, but I didn’t rate my value based on appearance alone although I was still attached to the external value of how I earned my income.

When it came time to stop dancing and later to stop teaching it, I realized my identity was still strongly connected to being a dancer. As a skinny teen in the time of Marilyn Monroe, I had felt my body wasn’t womanly enough. But as a dancer, I was beautiful because all dancers were beautiful. Becoming a dancer fed my weak ego and empowered me, especially after skinny Twiggy became the icon of beauty.

Ballet East Dance Company

Ballet East Dance Company

There was another part of the dancer image to which I related. When I first studied modern dance, I was physically weak from childhood illnesses.   Modern dance built muscles that made me feel physically strong and it connected my body and mind. Experiencing that connection was empowering because it connected me with my inner strength.

Who You Are At the Heart Level

So, it was difficult to let go of this aspect of my life and look for the real source of who I was. Over time, I discovered I was truly a teacher at heart. I love to share what I know, discuss and question. I like to learn new things and search for answers in many ways and places, and it doesn’t matter anymore if I have an actual teaching position. My curiosity will lead me onto new paths, and I share what I learn with anyone who wants to listen.

If we ask the question, “Would I do this if I were retired?” it is likely that if “yes” is the answer, the core of that activity comes from the heart and soul. It is connected to a deeper part of us that sees how that activity has value for us and those with whom we interact.

After giving up dance, I turned to writing, a passion I had as a child, but my parents had not encouraged me so I never considered it a possibility for making a living. Much like teaching, it was a way for me to share what I had learned with others, but it led me to a greater realization. I had never given up my desire to be a healer despite having given up my desire to be a doctor when I was a child.

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Healing Yourself Will Reveal the Real You

I first had to learn to heal myself. For years I had searched for a way to strengthen and heal the still-lingering aspects of earlier illnesses. I worked with the body and mind to eat a healthy diet and develop a happy balanced mind. By working with positive thinking and manifestation techniques, I felt more powerful. I finally had a new inner strength that was opening my spiritual self to many possibilities.

In 2002 I began to write Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages because I was having trouble writing and meditating but needed some way to go deeper. Each day as I wrote, a new awareness came to the surface and opened my mind. Old concepts and grievances fell away. In my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, the chapter that describes this experience is titled, “Breaking the Block.” But there was more than one block.

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We Must Listen to the Heart

I often prayed and meditated, leaving space for Spirit to speak to me, but at one point I realized I wasn’t listening. I was listening with my head but not my heart.   Then I discovered that I didn’t trust my own decisions because I didn’t trust the Creator (Spirit) so if I didn’t trust the Creator how could I expect my requests to be answered.

I learned that sometimes we can’t move forward because we haven’t let go of the past, and we continue to hold on to the fear that limited us in a previous situation. Nothing will change until the fear is released, but we have to acknowledge we have fear, rather than suppressing it, if we want to heal the wound caused by the fear.

Working through the Morning Pages, I sloughed off old thinking and resentments one by one. I shed many thoughts I did not need that stood in the way of my growth. Also working with transformational kinesiology helped energetically to release unhelpful thoughts and created a community with other women who had similar issues.

Awakening to the Real You

This process of going deeper is like the snake shedding its skin. By letting go of what we think we need, we find a great freedom and grow a new skin. Without all the old ideas and negative emotions that have kept us stuck, we awaken to who we are not and who we truly are.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                       ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  (video)Tarcher Talks:  Julia Cameron – Morning Pages,  Eckhart Tolle on Being Yourself (video),  Do Your Have An Inner Critic – Tolle and Deepak Chopra (video)

AWAKENING TO THE POWER OF PEACE

“Peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Is there peace within you and in your life? How do you create it? If it is not there, what are you willing to do to have it?

The recent violent events in France have been horrifying, especially now that we know some attacks were connected but planned to appear random. This kind of violence and death always create fear around the world as we wonder when this will happen near us.

Peaceful Protest Is Powerful

But what is astounding is the way the French and many others have reacted with peaceful protests supporting the freedom of speech that was vilified by the attackers. To see millions of people willing to expose themselves to possible violence in order to stand up peacefully for those who were killed brought me to tears. I suddenly realized this is how we defeat those who use violence in an attempt to destroy anyone who disagrees with them.

Peace Creates Peace

Martin Luther King, Jr. was right. Peace is the means by which we create peace. In the 60s he demonstrated the power of this. In our own lives, we may have done the same by remaining peaceful when others rail against us. Being peaceful in contentious situations creates a situation where the other person’s anger is dissipated by our unwillingness to participate.

Violence Does Not Solve Problems

The most obvious reason why violence does not solve problems is to look at the multiple wars taking place in our world now. Are they solving the problems that exist in these regions? Clearly not. The fighting continues because all sides want power over the other, and that desire will perpetuate the conflict. The only real solution is to learn to respect the ways we are different and work peacefully together.

We Must learn to See How We Are All One

In 1994 I traveled to West Africa on a Fulbright-Hays Grant for teachers. After a long, sleepless night on an airplane, we landed at 7:00 am in Dakar, Senegal. As I stepped from the plane, I expected to feel the uniqueness of being in a foreign country. What I felt was the opposite. I was overwhelmed with the feeling of Oneness—that we were all part of the same world, regardless of our ethnicity, religion, or language.

That was the gift I received from living in New Orleans, a unique culture very different from the one where I was reared or I had lived. I was not Catholic. I didn’t drink much alcohol or like to party. Most people I met had not gone to college and had never lived anywhere else. Worst of all, I couldn’t eat most of the popular food because of dietary intolerances. I just didn’t fit in.

Even in my work, I was different. I taught in a girls’ Catholic high school for five years and then in the New Orleans public schools for another five years where all my students, except for one, were African-American. I traveled to two or three schools a day teaching gifted students who lived in the inner city, some of the worst poverty-stricken parts of the city.

During those years, I was constantly challenged to expand my thinking and to have my opinions challenged. I had to get along daily with people who were very different from me and who saw life in a totally different way. Ironically, those differences were what enriched my life and made me a more tolerant and accepting person.

We All Need To Feel Powerful

We all want to have a certain amount of power in our lives. We need to have more than the necessities of life to enjoy life, but when peace is at the center of our lives, we don’t need to control others. We don’t need them to be like us in every way. It is this peace that the people who do violence lack. Ironically, it is the feeling of powerlessness that motivates their actions, for if our sense of personal power is strong, we don’t need to harm or control others.

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Inner peace is tremendously powerful, for it allows us to accept what is and not react in ways that would create a negative situation. This is the peace that will change the world, for it allows us to accept the way in which others are different from us without judging or feeling the need to change them.

When I was in Africa, for example, the importance of family was paramount, and it reminded me of the closeness I experienced growing up with many members of the family living in the neighborhood. I was also very touched by religious practices that were intertwined with nature, for my closeness to nature has always been at the core of my spirituality. I was surprised by all the ways I felt connected to this culture which on the surface seemed so different.

Controlling Others Is an Illusion Of Power

This is why it is so important that we be willing to learn what is true about other cultures. It is also why we need to look more closely at our own culture and repair what is damaged. There is a reason why some young people are drawn to violence in the inner city or choose to join radical groups in the Middle East. They feel powerless, and by destroying others, they feel they are winners.

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But they have won nothing worth having, for that power is an illusion. Lack of a loving family or mental illness is usually what creates this need for power, yet our government wants to cut the funds that support those with the greatest need. If we want to stop violence, we have to give people the support they need to create meaningful lives. No one in this country should have to go hungry.

As this year begins, let us each in our own community find a way to empower those in need and practice peace in our own lives. Each life matters. We don’t want any more of our children growing up to become terrorists. We need to love them and teach them to find peace within.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Environments of Love – Wayne Dyer, Creating A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle