Tag Archives: writing

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/

 

 

 

 

 

AWAKENING TO AN EARLY THANKSGIVING

“Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”  Oprah Winfrey 

Photo: devouringfire.com

Photo: devouringfire.com

I’m celebrating Thanksgiving a few days early this year.  Next week I’ll write more about hidden gifts that come to us, but today I want to celebrate some good news.

One of the hardest things to do as a writer (unless you are well-known or a celebrity) is to get good publicity for a book, especially your first one.  This year, I entered two writing contests hoping I would win, but I didn’t.  However, I did receive a wonderful review by a judge who understood the theme of finding an authentic identity and described the book as “immediately engrossing.”

attd_kindle

 

How To Win When You Haven’t Won

That was the 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-published Book contest.  I received a 5 (the top score) on all five areas that were evaluated and the judge wrote the following review.

Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”. This scale is strictly to provide a point of reference, it is not a cumulative score and does not reflect ranking.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5

Production Quality and Cover Design: 5

Plot and Story Appeal: 5

Character Appeal and Development: 5

Voice and Writing Style: 5

Judge’s Commentary*:

AWAKENING TO THE DANCE: A JOURNEY TO WHOLENESS, a memoir by Georganne Spruce, is an inspiring book that will appeal to those, especially women, who struggle yet are determined to find their authentic selves in spite of what society wants them to be. This memoir will hold special appeal to readers interested in how Buddhism and Jungian dream interpretation can improve one’s life.

The cover is appropriate and eye-catching. The woman looks joyful and limber. I like the green and yellow colors and how the woman’s dance pants contrast with the colors. The back cover copy is very good. I like the summary and the fact that the author has secured two enthusiastic endorsements. I also like the author photo.

The book is immediately engrossing. Baby boomers on the early end of the spectrum will be able to relate, and younger women who have no idea what life for many women was like before the progress feminism has made will find much to learn here. Feminism aside, anyone who wants to live life on a different path than the expected will find much to inspire her (or even him) in this book. The author is authentic about her journey, and that fact alone shows us how much she has learned. This is an insightful, encouraging memoir sure to be appreciated by Spruce’s readers.”

Then a few days later, I received an email from IndieReader, where I had also entered their IndieReader Discovery Awards contest,  congratulating me because they had recommended my book to the Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/indiereader/lena-dunham-book-recommendations_b_6134968.html?utm_hp_ref=books   They also posted their recommendation on their website.

happy woman

Expect What Is Best

When I first learned that I had not won in either contest, I was very disappointed, but I thought, “At least I had the courage to enter.”  It took a while to let go of the disappointment, but I finally did and stopped thinking about it.  Then these lovely surprises came, and I realized, as I have often in my life, good things can come when you least expect it and from sources that surprise you.

Gratitude Creates A Higher Vibration

So this is another example of how we need to try to remember to be thankful for some aspect of a situation, even when it doesn’t turn out the way we want.  Expressing that gratitude, even if it is simply in the mind, does emit positive vibrations and that is always a good thing.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                          ZTQ4PQ5ZN7F5

AWAKENING TO COMMUNITY

Writer's Stop

Writer’s Stop (Photo credit: Stephh922)

“Some people think they are in community, but they are only in proximity.  True community requires commitment and openness.  It is a willingness to extend yourself to encounter and know the other.”  David Spangler

Are you part of a community, personally or professionally?  What does it offer you that you value?

My blog post today is a bit different.  Recently, Brad Swift, a member of my writing community, tagged me for a blog tour, The Next Big Thing—my very first!  The way it works is that a writer answers questions about her/his next book (or one recently published), tags five other writers and passes it on.  The next week those writers do the same thing, so it’s a great way for writers to connect with a larger audience.

I love this idea because it’s about community.  As I’ve often written, one of the major world shifts we need to make is from competition to community.  That’s why I’m grateful to be living in a town where writers are a community and the writers I’ve tagged below are a part of that.  We’re here to support and help each other so that we are all successful.  It’s a great way to live, so check out these special people at the bottom of my answers.

What is the title of your latest book?  Awakening to the Dance:  A  Journey to Wholeness which I published in June 2012.  

Where did the idea come from for the book?  I never planned to write a memoir, but ten years ago when I was out of work and had reached a point with a novel that I couldn’t get past, a woman suggested to me that I’d lived an interesting life in an interesting time and should write about it.  Desperately needing a new project, I began reading my journals from the 1960’s to the present.  As I began writing, the process of exploring my past was spiritually transforming and became part of the story.

What genre does your book fall under?  It’s a memoir.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?  I’d love for Kiera Knightley to play me.  Kevin Costner would be perfect for Neal.  Judy Dench would be perfect for my mother.  Of course the book spans about 40 years, but I’ll let the director solve that problem.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness is the inspirational story of a woman’s search for her true identity apart from society’s expectations, her commitment to following her passions of dance and writing, her desire to find a soul mate, and the gift she receives by integrating spirituality into her life.

Was your book self-published or represented by an agency?  I published the ebook through  Kindle and Pubit and the paperback through Create Space.  It’s available on all three and on Amazon.com.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?  I took almost ten years to write the book.  I was teaching full-time, and I have no idea how long it took to complete the first draft.  I probably spent at least two years just picking and choosing the most important stories.  Then I had to pare those down and focus the story more on the main theme.  I did extensive rewriting for several years because the book was originally too long.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Every story is unique, but my guess is that any memoir written by a woman who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s would have similar themes.  It’s not about abuse or alcohol and drug addictions as many memoirs are. Of course, part of it could be called a “dance memoir” but even that part focuses on how dance increased my mind/body connection and contributed to my spiritual awareness that we are all One.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?  I realized that I had used many practices, such as meditation, affirmations, chakra balancing, and releasing my fear, that dramatically changed my life for the better.  When I was younger, I had no idea it was possible to live mostly free from fear, so I wanted to inspire others so that they could create the lives they desire and be free from fear.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?  During the 1960s and 1970s when I was a modern dancer, the entire art world was experimental, breaking all the old rules and supporting authentic expression.  It was a fascinating time.

In everyday life, men and women were struggling with the male and female stereotypes that no longer served us.

The book also has a strong love theme. I write about several major relationships with men all of whom were very powerful forces in my life.  In one way or another, each helped me grow and explore the nature of love.  But loving oneself and spiritual love are also themes that run throughout my story.

Please take a look at these fascinating writer friends:

Debra LloydTrey CarlandJohn Waterman ,Celia Miles

What does your community mean to you?  Please comment.

 ©2012 Georganne Spruce                                                                         ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

AWAKENING TO THE POWER OF PLEASANT THOUGHTS

“The pleasantest things in the world are pleasant thoughts and the great art of life is to have as many of them as possible.”   Montaigne

Do you often think pleasant thoughts?  What do you do to create them?  Does your feeling good depend on external events or internal ones?

A website from which I received a newsletter sent an over-the-top marketing piece on a book on abundance.  In the audio presentation, it made a statement that the advice the book had to offer was not new age, airy-fairy stuff.  I turned it off.

Over the years, I’ve explored many spiritual techniques.  Some worked for me; some didn’t.  Many would probably fall into the classification of new age stuff.  Over time, I’ve found that two approaches to making my life better always work—releasing my fear and expecting the best from all circumstances, one version of positive thinking.  I also believe in that airy-fairy idea that our thoughts create our reality.

Awakening to Pleasant Thoughts When We Have Challenges

Recently, I published my book Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness in e-book form on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  Today, I excitedly ordered the proof copy of the paperback edition.  Reaching this point with the paperback was not an easy task.  I definitely had to practice what I preach because obstacles constantly arose along the way, particularly in getting it formatted attractively.

So, I practiced my stuff.  Even after the first two technically astute people were unable to solve the formatting problems, I continued to affirm that the person who could solve the problems would appear.  I asked Spirit to help me accept that this was all in Divine Order.  I continued to network, letting people know what I needed.  After all, the first two people who tried to help had appeared unexpectedly and were well-qualified.  Then, of course, the right person showed up.

Clearly, something was wrong with the document, but when Brad Swift began working with it, I kept sending him positive energy and pleasant thoughts, believing that the problem would be solved. Now, Brad is a Life on Purpose coach and visionary writer who also maintained the attitude that we could solve these problems.  By converting my manuscript into a special software program, Scrivener, he was able to create the interior for my book that was exactly what I wanted.

Combining Positive Thinking With Action

Thinking only happy thoughts and not doing what needed to be done wouldn’t have solved the problem.  It took both.  Montaigne says that the great art of life is to have as many happy thoughts as possible.  It’s a matter of choice.  Once again, we can focus on what isn’t working or we can envision what could be better and take steps in that direction.  No art is created spontaneously.  The painter has to put brush and paint to the canvass.  The dancer has to put her  visions into movement.  The musician has to put notes on a staff in order to create a sonata.

Still, I am often amazed at how quickly what I need manifests when I trust that it will come to me.  Having pleasant thoughts requires us to trust.  As we take the steps to improve or expand our life, we also need to express gratitude for each good thing that happens.  I mean every little thing—no matter how small the event, your gratitude creates positive energy.  It only takes a moment to say “thank you” to a friend or to Spirit.  Let it become a conscious habit.  As that energy uplifts you, that energy radiates into the world around you drawing more good to you.

Having a Spiritual Back-up

This is why it is so important to develop a spiritual life that is integrated with our everyday lives. We are spiritual beings whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.  I know that much of my happiness comes from my connection with Spirit because it is a loving source to which I can always turn for guidance.  With this kind of back-up, it’s easy to think pleasant thoughts.

With spring appearing early all over the country, how can we not feel more positive?  Nature is awakening and blooming.  The migratory birds are back.  The sound of children playing outside echoes through the neighborhood.  Even the economy is doing better.  We could easily be singing a chorus of thank you’s every day.

What are your most pleasant thoughts today?

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  How to Attract Positive Energy and Dispel Negative Energy, The Power of Positive Thinking