Tag Archives: #WPLongform

AWAKENING TO OUR WILD CREATIVITY

“Without wildness we have no creativity. No species does.” Matthew Fox

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Is your wildness alive in you? How does it express itself? Is it part of your creativity?

Recently, when I watched the film Marion Woodman: Dancing in the Flames, I was moved by her comments about integrating her perfectionist and wild aspects. I definitely related to her comments and challenges because, as I explained in last week’s blog Awakening to Release Our Perfectionism, these aspects are parts of my personality.

We Can Express Our Wildness Through Creativity

I remember only too well playing in the mud, climbing trees and hiking in the forest where I had so much freedom, but like Marion, on Sunday I had to dress up in a dress and patent-leather shoes and move in a very lady-like fashion. It didn’t help that I was often ill as a child and confined to my bed.

Instead of experiencing my wildness by running around the yard, I spent many hours in bed designing paper doll clothes, reading, or sewing. It was then that my mind learned to run wild even when my body couldn’t. There was no teacher there to critique my artistic work and my mother never criticized it. In fact, she always encouraged my creative expression.

Perhaps I didn’t need to run wild so much because we lived close to nature with chickens and rabbits in the back yard pen and a garden that produced corn, potatoes, green beans, and lettuce. The chinaberry tree in the back yard produced leaves, flowers, and berries that we used to spice up our mud pies. When the family did something together it was usually outdoors in a park or by a stream where my brother and I swam and our parents fished for bass or catfish.

Wildness Is A Natural Aspect Of Nature

Living so close to nature, its cycles seemed natural just as it seemed natural, although not pleasant, that during tornado season when the sirens sang, we hid in the safest part of the house. We knew the chaos of nature as well as its serenity. We accepted it as part of life.

When we create a work of art or any creative thing, it appears first within us. It may be only a glimmer of an idea, swimming around in our mental fog, and we may not be quite clear what it wants to be: a project, a poem, a song, or a new way to cook chicken.

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Creativity Comes From Chaos

Matthew Fox says, “Creativity happens at the border between chaos and order. Chaos is a prelude to creativity. We need to learn, as every artist needs to learn, to live with chaos and, indeed, to dance with it as we listen to it and attempt some ordering.” This learning to create order from chaos may well be one of the most useful aspects of being creative, regardless of what activity we embrace.

We Discover Who We Are Through Creativity

It is in these creative moments, trying to create form from chaos, that we use our minds in ways that benefit us mentally and emotionally. Through this process we also express who we are, allowing our wildness to take us into unknown territory and express and create in the way that only we can. What we create may surprise us as well as those around us.

In the ninth grade, I drew a charcoal picture one day in art class that totally mystified my teacher. “Different,” she said to my parents who visited the class on parents’ night. In the foreground was a phoenix and in the background were dark clouds and fallen Greek columns from the front of what was probably a Greek temple.

Neither the teacher, nor I, nor my parents had any idea of the symbolism contained in the picture. It was only years later when I studied mythology and symbolism that I understood. In Greek mythology, the phoenix is a bird that dies and is reborn, a symbol of immortality. I don’t know what the storm was in my life at the time, but clearly, I survived it for, in some sense, I was the phoenix. There was life in the midst of destruction.

Nature Teaches Us About Natural Wildness

Because my life has been so enriched by my closeness to nature and the seasons and I see the cycles as opportunities to explore various aspects of myself, I have found peace with my wildness. I understand that the best way to tame it is through loving it and expressing it through creative activity, just as the earth cycles through its version of death and rebirth.

2014 012On her website, Jennifer Currie interprets the meaning of the Tarot cards and she speaks about wildness as it is expressed by the Strength card where a woman usually embraces a lion. “You don’t tame the beast by beating it down—you tame it through love and acceptance.” And I would add—by using it to create.

Being Close To Nature Reduces Stress and Violence

Too often when we are children, our wildness is squelched without a creative alternative being offered that allows us to tame our own wildness with love. Perhaps one of the reasons inner city youth become violent is that they do not have a place where they can “run wild” without causing harm or being harmed. Instead of encouraging them to express that wildness creatively, the environment models being “lawless.”

I am thankful that there are now many programs that take youth out into the wilderness and introduce them to authentic wildness. Scientific studies are beginning to show that the time we spend in the forest or on the mountain have a calming effect on the brain and help to release stress. Therefore, it is very beneficial for adults and children to find time when we can just be with the natural world.

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Creativity Connects Us With All That Is

While we need to be able to live with the wildness that comes as a normal part of life, we also need to learn how to find peace with it and allow it to feed our creativity in ways that will bring new awareness and expression into our lives. It is in our creative moments that we often connect with Spirit and become One with all that is.

Are you in touch with your wildness?  How do you express it in your life?  Please share and comment. 

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                                   ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet by Matthew Fox(video)Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning Through Emersion in Natural Settings, Does Nature Make Us Happy?

AWAKENING TO UNEXPECTED FEAR

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” Joseph Campbell 

Cave_hole

What is your first reaction to an unpleasant surprise?  How much fear do you feel?  How do you deal with that fear?

When you suddenly get news you are not expecting, does it make you anxious or fearful?  When it’s bad news, you may often feel fear.  You don’t know what to expect.  You’re not sure how to solve this problem.  You are concerned it will cause other problems or create conflicts with the important people in your life.

Fear Always Tries To Control the Mind

We all have our coping mechanisms.  We may withdraw or try to avoid the challenge.  We may confront it.  We may analyze it thoroughly before choosing a course of action.  If the situation has stirred up a great deal of fear, the fear will take over our mind and lead us to deal with the fear rather than solve the problem.  So how can we embrace the unexpected and not allow the fear to control our course of action?

A few weeks ago, as I drove down a two lane street in a residential neighborhood, a woman in a car suddenly darted in front of me.  Stunned, I hit the brakes, skidded, and hit her back door.  As the pain surged through my chest as a result of being thrown against the steering wheel, fear flooded my mind.  How could this happen?  The seat belt didn’t hold.  She had a stop sign.  She looked right at me.  She must have seen me, but she hadn’t seen me, despite looking right at me.

Natural Fear Can Help Protect Us

Just before the accident, as I approached the intersection, my natural fear had kicked in and said, “Slow down, watch out.”  I did and saw the woman almost not stop at the stop sign.  Then she stopped, released her brake and stopped again.  I slowed down, but when she looked at me, I felt it was safe and kept going.  The natural fear I had felt was the body’s attempt to protect me.  This is the fear we all need.

Psychological Fears Create Negative Drama

But there was another fear that I experienced as soon as I realized I was conscious and could stand up.  I was then afraid that the pain I felt was a serious injury and I became very distressed.  As other people tried to help and I climbed into an ambulance to go to the emergency room, my fear ran wild.  The six and a half hours I spent in the emergency room gave me plenty of time to calm this fear.  I released every negative thought that came up because my mind was looking for all the worst scenarios.

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Releasing the Fear Calms the Mind

During this time, the fears that came up were the psychological fears that we don’t need.  They’re the ones that make things worse.  As the German proverb says, “Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.”  However, as each fear came up, I took a breath (which wasn’t easy because it hurt) and told my mind to release the fear.  As I exhaled, I felt the energy of that particular fear leave my mind and body.  The fear felt heavy and I was glad to let it go.

For a moment or more, I felt calm and peaceful.  Then another fear would surface and I repeated the release.  By the time I saw a doctor, I felt sure that the injury was only pulled muscles and bruising.  I was right—there were no broken bones.

A car accident is certainly an event that would frighten most people and the natural fear that pumps the adrenaline we need to respond is a positive thing, but the psychological fears that we experience afterwards or in any situation that creates discomfort for us are not healthy.  In fact, they often create obstacles to healing and solving problems, and learning to release these fears can empower us in dramatic ways.

Without Fear We Have Courage

The technique that I teach has changed my life and the lives of those who practice it. Without knowing a technique to release my fear, I would never have had the courage to try to publish the essays and articles I write or to publish my memoir.  My mother had taught me to “buck up” and do it anyway when I feared something.  When I was a modern dancer, trying to dance with fear did not make for a particularly pleasant experience.  I always loved rehearsing for a performance, but I didn’t like actually performing in front of people.

modern dancer

About the time I stopped dancing, I learned the technique for releasing fear that I now teach.  It made a huge difference in my life.  After practicing it for two years, I realized one day that some fears, especially social ones, didn’t appear anymore.  Others, such as starting new relationships, were less strong than they used to be.  Still, others that had seemed made of steel did sometimes release for a few moments.

Deep Fears Were Often Created in Childhood

But it is always the unexpected that catches us off guard and challenges us to not get pulled into the fear.  The fear is, at its base, the fear of being rejected or being inadequate and comes from some part of ourselves that was hurt or rejected.  Often these feelings originated in childhood.  They may have no relevance today; yet, we continue to feel them.  Learning to release our fear as soon as we feel it frees us from the problems it can create.

Free of Fear, We Can Be Who We Truly Are

When the mind is free of fear, we can move forward in our lives.  We can enter the cave we fear and find the treasure of which Joseph Campbell speaks.

Recently, I saw a magnificent multi-media production, Dreamtime.  It was based on the aboriginal concept of dreamtime.  The masks that the dancers wore were extremely detailed, beautiful, and haunting. They took my breath away, but what brought me to tears was knowing that just a couple of years earlier the woman who created them was filled with fear about making a transition from a teacher to an artist.

wedding reception

In her testimonial, Renee Ensley said, “I was pretending to myself and to others that I was ‘enjoying retirement’ but what I really was, was scared to death. I had been so confident that I could be an artist and I didn’t have a clue about how to go about it. I practiced that idea of identifying the fear, telling it to let me go and asking the universe for an answer. Through this process, I really heard what Georganne had to say and for me it worked.  She has a wonderful gift to give and I thank her so very much for giving it to me.”

Learn to Release Your Fear

Without the fear, we can see how to take the next step we wish to take and find the courage to become who we really are.  To learn more about how to release your fear using the technique I use, visit my website http://awakeningtothedance.com/workshops-2/, attend my next workshop in Asheville, NC on Saturday, November 1, 1:00-3:00 pm at Jubilee! Community, 46 Wall St., or read about it in my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness available at Amazon.  Contact information is available on my website.

May you learn to be free of fear and create the life you truly desire.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                         ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Eckhart Tolle (video)Eliminate Fear, Anxiety, Depression in Your Life, Move Back to Love (Wayne Dyer), Release Your Fears With Qigong Meditation

AWAKENING TO THE HOME WITHIN

“Home is oneness, home is my original nature.  It is right here, simply in what is.  There is nowhere else I have to go, and nothing else I have to become.”  Tony Parsons

Home at Ocean

Is home a place for you or an experience?  What are the qualities you associate with home?  How do the experiences you have in a place affect your concept of home?

I didn’t grow up in one place and know it intimately as people do when they’ve lived forever in a town.  Not having experienced that, I can only fantasize about the security it must give one, a place where one truly belongs. But I’ve always been attracted to a wider field, to the infinite variety of cultures and perspectives of people who have risked and fallen over the edges where safety begins.

I’ve lived outside the box, often longing to want what is in it so that I would fit into the world around me more easily.  But whenever I’ve crawled inside and tried to stay there, I’ve been discovered as a fraud and turned away, rejected as unsuited for that particular mold.  Although it was painful at the time, I’m grateful for the circumstances that pushed me out into places where I learned things I would never have learned otherwise.

Cold Winters Develop Resilience

For example, living in Nebraska, I learned that many farmers (even those with mechanized farms) still planted by the phases of the moon although they never admitted it.  These were the descendents of pioneers who had survived the harsh cold deprivation of every kind and the unrelenting winds that howled so high and long that some went mad trying to settle this unforgiving land.

NE Snow

After my first winter there, facing over 30 straight days below 0, locked in a land of ice, I developed a new respect for my neighbors.   It took strength and perseverance just to walk across the street in winter.  The joke was that if the wind stopped blowing everyone would fall down.  But behind all that ice, I found plenty of warm hearts and prairie humor.

What We Resist May Persist

After my brother, his family and my parents all moved to New Orleans, I used to say I loved to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.  I wasn’t a party person, didn’t drink much, and ate healthy food; besides, it was sweltering all year round.  But, despite my original protests, I moved there because I wanted to see my nephews and niece grow up.  Seduced by New Orleans’ unique culture, I stayed for 12 years.

Ferns-in-New-Orleans-French-Quarter-Balconies

It was a love-hate relationship from the start, like trying to love a faithless man who, nevertheless, touches the romance in your soul and makes you laugh like Dionysus himself.  How could any writer not be enchanted with the French Quarter, standing on St. Peter beneath the apartment where Tennessee Williams completed “Streetcar Named Desire” or wandering through the dark, ancient alleys that inspired Anne Rice’s vampires?

In New Orleans I learned that punctuality wasn’t always a virtue, Mama was always Queen, a little lagniappe adds spice to life, and how to play like I was going to die tomorrow.

 Joy May Sometimes Hide Despair

I also learned about aching poverty, that some high school restrooms were so filthy kids cut class to run home and use a clean toilet, that school administrators had virtually no resources except hearts large enough to embrace the world.  I taught a crack baby turned 14 who could never sit still and saw the price everyone pays for allowing there to be a large, poorly educated underclass.  I taught kids whose fathers and brothers had been murdered and who mourned with despair when their favorite music teacher was gunned down.  I learned about anger and compassion.

All People Are One

Then I went to West Africa, traveling with other teachers on a Fulbright-Hays Travel Abroad Grant to study the literature and culture.  After flying all night, we landed with the sunrise in Dakar, Senegal on the edge of the Sahara Desert, and as I stepped onto the ground, I was overwhelmed with the feeling I was home in the deepest sense.

senegal women

Of course, the food was similar to the gumbos and jambalaya of New Orleans—most slaves brought to New Orleans had come from there—and I could hear the beginnings of jazz in the syncopated rhythms of the drums. But, it was more than that and more than the fact that humans originated in Africa.

Living Close to Nature Makes Us One

In that land, people still lived close to nature, the way I had as a child, eating from a garden and talking to the spirits of trees.  There, even Christians and Muslims integrated their traditional animistic spirituality into their daily lives.  These were people who offered the tea of friendship before they asked why you were there, whose lives were vibrant with the celebrations of rituals that gave meaning to each passage in life.

What Feels Like Home May Be An Illusion

Years later when I moved from New Orleans to New Mexico, I felt I had found my soul’s home at last.  Sunsets spread across the sky—hot pink turning to burgundy and orange melting into violet, indigo and deep space black.  On New Year’s Day, cold and crisp, the air was filled with the songs of the Corn Dance at Santa Domingo Pueblo, where the whole community danced together in sacred harmony.

adobenido.com

adobenido.com

But despite my love for this natural world and the indigenous culture there, in the world of my people there was no harmony for me.  Along with the beauty existed the reality of an earth blood-soaked with genocide, the energy of hate, and a need to protect lies.  Trying to speak the truth in my life and about the students I taught, I lost my friends, my spiritual community and my work.  The desert stripped me; my bones were burned bare by the sun.

Wholeness May Be Born From Pain

One night, in the midst of this pain and darkness, I dreamed that as I wandered through a new apartment, I found a darkened cave-like room with a high domed ceiling and rock floor.  Turning on the light, there stood before me a towering ancient cathedral, a holy place at the center of my being.  I learned I was finally whole.

I still sometimes envy those who live where their ancestors settled decades ago. But I know that if I had enjoyed such comfort all my life that security would have become a place for me to hide from the unknown.  Instead I have learned that we are all One, and I have a freedom I never dreamed possible because—everywhere I go, I’m home.

What is home to you?  Please Comment.

© 2006 Georganne Spruce                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: Home Is Not A Place, Finding Home Within You, We Take Ourselves With Us Wherever We Go

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 LOVE LIFE

“True, we love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving.  There is always some madness in love, but there is always some reason in madness.”  Petrarch

Valentine's flowers

Photo by Ralph Daily

 Do you love life?  Or do you find it a burden filled with negative experiences?  What do you do to create a life you can love?

There was a time in my life when nothing I planned seemed to work out.  Each project came to an end before it was completed.  Each relationship, which in the beginning held such promise, involved obstacles that we couldn’t surmount.  I often thought, “If I just had that one true love, life would be a joy.  It would be worth living.”

I think that this belief was connected to my mother’s unhappiness.  She and my father were opposites, and he was a rather emotionally withdraw person, but she was outgoing and easily showed her warmth and love.  But living with a man who couldn’t show his love in the way she needed him to wore her down.  She once commented that the reason my grandmother was so happy was because she had always had someone to love her.  My grandfather was always a very expressive, loving person.

Love Includes Respect

For years, I tried to find that perfect one.  Once I was married and at another time I was in a long distance relationship for eight years.  I really tried, but there was always some respect for me that was missing.  My ex-husband thought that my passion for modern dance was a childish interest that I would eventually grow tired of.  The other man wanted a relationship where he only had to spend ten percent of his time with me and could do whatever he wanted, regardless of how his choices affected me.

Trash Cans

Photo by Joel Bombardier

A Spiritual Journey Connects Us to the Divine

Fortunately, as various aspects of my physical life fell apart or refused to materialize, I gave some attention to my spiritual journey.  Some of the things I learned as I explored this divine connection helped me see that I did not need to stay attached to the negative feelings created when things didn’t work out the way I planned.  I began to sense that I could feel happy about life even when its events didn’t please me.

Positive Energy Helps Us Manifest What We Want

Perhaps pursuing a career in dance was sheer madness, but dancing fed my life with constant joy, just as writing or walking in the forest does now.  I began to understand that what I had planned didn’t work out because, sometimes, something better was around the corner.  When I decided to complete my memoir and publish it, I had reached the point in my journey where I knew how to use positive energy to manifest what I wanted.

To Be Loved, We Must Love Life

What I had learned over those years was that if I wanted love in my life, I had to love life.  I had to always find a moment, a thought, an experience, or a friendship that was uplifting and I had to embrace it with gratitude.  Even when things didn’t work out, I could at least feel good that I had the courage to try.  I learned how to turn the negative into a learning experience.  Instead of seeing myself as a failure, I chose to applaud myself for the attempt.

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Photo by coolal2111

Loving life is a decision we make.  It is easy when we have all we need, are well-loved, and are doing what we love to do.  My own life is so much easier now than it used to be.  With some retirement money, I can afford to write, and with a loving partner, it is so much easier to feel and express love in the world, but long before either of these things happened, I had awakened to loving life.  It was only after I truly learned to love life that my perfect partner appeared, drawn to me by what I wrote in my memoir and blog.

Loving Life Draws More Love to Us

When we learn to love life every day and be grateful for the good in it, we will draw more love to us.  So how do we do this?  Learning to meditate will teach us to be in the moment and to go deeper into our emotions to discover what lies at our core and the cause of any fears that are limiting us.  Learning to release our psychological fears will free our minds of the blocks the fear creates and allow truly helpful information to come true.

We Love More Easily When We Are Balanced

We also need to learn techniques that balance our energy, such as chakra balancing, Reiki, or Emotional Freedom Technique.  These techniques also help heal the body as well as the mind, for true balance includes both.  Balancing our energy brings us to a more centered place emotionally so that we can more easily see our wisest choices.

Knowing how to work with our bodies and minds empowers us, and feeling more empowered makes it easier for us to love ourselves.  In order to love our lives, we must love ourselves, and thinking positively about the chances we take.  Seeing value even in our failures reminds us we are basically worthwhile and good.  To love life, we must believe in ourselves.

We Must Love Ourselves In Order To Truly Love Others and Life

No matter how many people love us, if we don’t love ourselves, we are lost.  Loving ourselves is the most powerful aspect of life.  My mother didn’t love herself; she thought that was selfish.  She thought she had value only if she helped others.  I rebelled against that because I saw how unhappy she was.  At first, my rebellion was very selfish, but as time went by and I discovered that loving and taking care of myself made me a more confident person, I also began to understand how to give to others from a place of love, not obligation.

Loving the sheer wonder of life and reveling in our spiritual connection to it makes life truly worth living.  It connects us with All That Is.  Please comment.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Relationships-True Love and the Transcendence of Duality (Eckhart Tolle), Loving Awareness: Jack Kornfield and Eckhart Tolle, Accepting Who Your Are and Learning to Love Being Alone Are Essential to A Happy Life, Learning to Love When Life gets Hard

AWAKENING TO LIFE’S GIFTS

“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.”  Tony Robbins

Auroa Borealis

Photo: Beverly & Pack

How do you feel about good things that come from a negative experience?  What gifts has life given you?  How much do you love yourself?

I love the change of seasons.  They keep life interesting, even winter with its storms, snow, and extreme chill, for unlike spring when I can hardly stay inside, staying warm inside during winter is a pleasure.  I curl up on the couch with a good book or sit at my computer writing for hours totally absorbed with a story and new ideas.

Many Gifts Are Unexpected

For example, I was looking for a file the other day, thinking how I seriously needed to clear out a lot of old folders, when I came across a folder marked “Affirmation Project.”  To my surprise, I found a mock-up of a self-made book of affirmations that I had written.  A few years ago, I gave it as a gift or was selling it at a bazaar—I honestly don’t remember, but I had forgotten about it.

I read through the book and liked what I had written, and now that I know about independent publishing, it occurred to me that I could easily publish it.  I was so excited and immediately thanked Spirit for guiding me to this.  “What a gift,” I thought.

Two Friends

Photo: Guido Stein

Only We Can Choose to Live Well

Voltaire said, “God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.”  So what does that mean to live well?  I think it means to be the best person we can be: to love ourselves and others, to develop our talents so that we can contribute to the world and give back in response to the gifts that come to us.

Life’s Gifts May Be Hidden Beneath the Surface

Life’s gifts come in many forms, sometimes hiding beneath the surface of an experience that isn’t so positive.  We may feel that the experience is dragging us down is certainly not a gift.  It is only in retrospect that we can see the chain of events leading to a precious gift or an opportunity to become more.

A few years ago, I slipped and fell on ice and broke an elbow and pelvis.  I was in the hospital and rehab for an entire month and still needed help after that.  It was an awful experience that included a lot of pain.  Without family in the area, I was very fortunate to belong to a spiritual community that had just formed a Circle of Care group that became my family and helped and nurtured me.  In fact, so many people wanted to help that I had more help than I needed.  Their love and attention healed me as surely as the medical care I received.

Among the people who helped was a woman who has since become a very close friend.  Her kindness and generosity of spirit always inspire me.  In addition, I learned that I could always call on my community in a time of need.  That gave me a security I didn’t have before, and I made more room in my life to be active in that community.  Recently, when a member I knew had cancer, I gladly drove her to chemotherapy.  Again, there was a hidden gift as she revealed more of herself to me and our conversations created a deeper friendship.

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Photo: asenat 29

To Live Well, We Must Love Ourselves

Part of living well or giving back requires that we love ourselves enough to value our talents and put them out into the world.  I once had a friend who told me she didn’t have any talents.  I knew that wasn’t true.  She was a teacher, so every day she was giving to her students a gift that was most valuable to them.  Sadly, she couldn’t see this value because she just didn’t love herself enough to value her own strengths.

Growing up in a family that saw life in a very concrete way, my desire to live a creative life was treated as frivolous although it was my parents that exposed me to the beauty of all the fine arts.  They felt that the arts were inspiring to view, but impractical to do.

Our Greatest Gift Is Being Who We Truly Are

But at a very early age, both dance and writing seemed to be part of who I was.  When I wasn’t doing either, I was fantasizing about doing them.  At some point, I realized that these talents were spiritual gifts that I could not ignore.  I became a dancer first because I needed a young body to do that, and in the process, I healed my weak body and developed a valuable mind/body connection.

Later, when I needed to give up the strenuous physical demands of dance, I turned to my second gift, writing.  I realized then that my mother’s insistence that I always speak and write with grammatical correctness had been a gift I could now truly appreciate.  Through writing I healed many issues and areas of emotional distress as well as expanding my ability to express myself intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.

The More We Are Ourselves, The More We Have To Give

There is a beautiful freedom that comes with expressing who we really are.  By becoming more of who we are, we have more to give others.  And the more we become who we truly are, the more we have to contribute, in a positive way, to the life around us.

Love and Joy Expand Our Energy

My dearest spiritual teacher said that our purpose in this life is to expand our energy by experiencing love and joy.  One way we can do that is to develop the spiritual being that we are, to experience gratitude for life’s many gifts, and by appreciating the opportunities that life offers for our growth and awareness.  What can you do today to give something back to this life by becoming more?

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                       ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: The Secret to Happiness, Appreciation Appreciates Into Love, Ten Ways to Be Who You Truly Are

AWAKENING TO A PURE MIND

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.  When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”  Buddha

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How do you feel about the New Year?  Do you feel anxious or at peace?  What creates this feeling that you have?  If you don’t like it, what do you do to change it?

After two days of below freezing temperatures and some snow that intensified the light coming into my dining room to the point of almost blinding me, I’m reveling in the easy blend of light and shadow coming through the trees into the room where I work.  It is soft and balanced.

Begin the Year With Gratitude

I am beginning this year with much gratitude.  I do not live where the worst of the winter storms are occurring although our temperatures have been the lowest since the 1800s.  I have a warm house, plenty of food, and love.  I am blessed.

I am also grateful for the time I was able to spend with my brother and his family, especially the time with my grand nieces and grand nephew, three of who are two years old, and one who is four.  There were also three dogs in attendance on Christmas.  It was wild and lovely.  Just being with them was a joy.  Their excitement was contagious.

How we Think Changes Our Vibration

But after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, a profound quiet and a bit of depression enveloped me.  It was time to rebalance and contemplate my plans for the New Year.  During the holidays, the joy I felt was created primarily by external circumstances, but now, living hundreds of miles from the rest of my family, I have had to return to my own resources.  The joy I felt has slipped away.

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As I thought about what I needed to do in the New Year, especially with my writing, I first saw all the things I had hoped to accomplish last year and didn’t.  Well, what was done, was done.  I reminded myself that I could only change the future, not the past.  On the other hand, the new relationship in my life has been a great joy and given me the kind of companionship I haven’t had for years.  As I began to focus on the good things in my life, I began to feel my vibration rise.

As my vibration rose, a joy began to well up inside.  I was following my greatest passion by writing and just thinking about continuing to do that brought me joy.  When I began to clean up my lists of things to do and develop a plan for this year, I let go of the self-judgment that had depressed me and I began to feel more peaceful.

What We Think Affects How We Feel

And that is how it works.  What we think determines how we feel.  As the Buddha points out, joy comes from a pure heart.  So how do we create a pure heart?  I know that meditation has always helped or writing in my journal, exploring the meaning behind the events or ideas moving through my life.  Doing this regularly clears the emotional and mental clutter that distracts me from a natural peace and joy.

Still, life is full of challenges.  Before the holidays, I had signed up for a prescription drug plan. This week I talked to them about covering two custom compounded drugs I take.  After two and a half hours of talking with several people who were unable to grasp that one drug consists of a combination of two drugs, they sent a fax to my doctor for approval with the drugs inaccurately named and spelled.  I had spelled slowly the names of the drugs several times for two people, but they did not record them accurately.  This experience tested my patience to the limit.  It seemed ridiculous.  I kept taking a lot of deep breaths, reminding myself that getting upset would not help the situation.

At the end of the day, the problem with the insurance company was still not resolved, but at least I had been able to constantly adjust my mind and center myself throughout the experience.  I was able to move on to other things and relax that evening knowing that I did all I could do.

Return to Your Spiritual Center for Guidance

Many of our challenges appear because we are living in a time of great change.  The political and economic structures we have depended upon are changing.  Remaining flexible and centered is the most effective way of dealing with change.  Oneness tells us that when our lives seem to “veer off course” and we feel we are “without a compass,” “All that remains, are the clues that begin to emerge from within” (p. 110).

In order to recognize those clues, we must return to our spiritual center and listen to our inner guidance where all answers reside.  We must clear the mind of judgment and resistance and reside in peace.  As we continue this journey, the way will not always be clear or kind, but it can lead us to a better place.  How we experience each event is largely our choice, and when things happen that we don’t like, it is our choice how much we invest in positive or negative thinking about them.

Developing a pure heart by changing our thinking will always take us to a better place where joy becomes a part of who we are.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                        ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  The Pure Mind, How to Create Joy for Today: 7 Tips for a Happy Life, Eckhart Tolle: Embodying Stillness – A Guided Meditation