AWAKENING TO LIVE WITHOUT FEAR

“I must not fear.  Fear is the mind-killer.  Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.  I will face my fear.  I will permit it to pass over me and through me.  And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.  Where fear has gone, there will be nothing.  Only I will remain.”  Frank Herbert, Dune

Dune-by-Frank-Herbert

How do you feel when you’re free of fear?  How do you find that mental place?  How does it affect your life?

I’ve never read much science fiction, but a few years ago when I read Dune, it motivated me to explore that genre, and for a couple of years, that was all I read.  I was awed by the authors whose imaginations could conjure up whole new worlds—a talent that I hadn’t explored in my own writing.

To Release Fear, We Must Admit We Feel It

What really hooked me was the above quote about fear.  It resonated because it was so similar to the experience I had when I learned to release my fear using the technique that I teach in my workshops.  In order to release your fear, you must first be willing to admit it’s there.

At one of my workshops last year, a man came in with his wife, and when they introduced themselves, he said, “I don’t have any fears.  I’m just here with my wife.”  I tried not to smile too broadly and said, “Well that’s very nice of you to do that.”  Afterwards, he came up to me with a puzzled look on his face and said, “I guess I do have some fears.”

Fear May Be Disguised As Other Feelings

It isn’t always obvious to us when we are experiencing fear.  It may appear as resistance, anxiety, anger, withdrawal or other feelings that create problems in our lives.  So, we need to remember that all negative thoughts and emotions are based on fear—either the fear of being inadequate or of being rejected.  Releasing our fear when these discomforts come up is the best way to start dealing with the difficulties that fear creates.

We need to release fear as soon as it comes up because, as long as it is there, it blocks the mind from focusing on solving the problem.  But what do we do after we’ve directed the mind to release the fear and we’ve let go of the fear?  This leaves a space in the mind for helpful information to come through from the unconscious, such as our memories, the knowledge we have stored, or our spiritual source.

photo (38)

With A Clear Mind, We Can Receive Guidance from the Subconscious

When we have cleared the mind, we ask for guidance.  We ask the mind to fill our current need.  Recently, there was a conflict in a group to which I belong.  It seemed like unnecessary drama to me and my first inclination was to walk away.  Then, I realized that I was feeling afraid that this conflict would become an on-going thing.  I released the fear and asked my mind, “What do I need to do—create peace or walk away?”

The answer was to create peace so I asked how I could do that.  The guidance I received, which was not so much a thought as an intuitive feeling, was to write an email message to the leader of the group.  I did that and so did others in the group.  The result was that the conflicted parties talked and all is now well.  I feel very happy that I took the high road.  If I had listened to my fear, I would have walked away angry from something I enjoy.

Mustafa Ozer Statue of Peace & Brotherhood by Mehmet Aksy Kars (Turkey)

Mustafa Ozer Statue of Peace & Brotherhood by Mehmet Aksy Kars (Turkey)

Release Expectations about How You Will Receive Guidance

It is important to be aware that when we ask for a solution to a problem that we may be offered only the next step rather than the total solution.  In fact, we may not receive an answer at that moment.  We may be given guidance on where to find the solution, or we may be told to do nothing.  Trust that when the time is right, we will receive the answer we need.  Be at peace with that and continue to listen to your inner voice.

Clearing the Mind Allows Us to Experience Peace, Love & Joy

When we have learned to work with our minds in this way, we can trust that we will receive the information we need when we need it.  This gives us a wonderful peace of mind.  It allows us to trust ourselves, knowing that when difficulties arise, we are capable of finding good solutions.  Without the fear dominating our lives, we are also able to love and become who we truly wish to be.

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This practice of releasing our fears puts us more in touch with our deeper selves where peace, love and joy reside.  When we can experience these feelings often, our lives feel rich and satisfying, but only we can create these feelings so that they are lasting experiences.  When we rely on external things to make us happy, our happiness is fleeting.  But going deeper allows us to be in touch with what is eternal and beautiful within.

If you would like to learn more about my November 1 Release Your Fear Workshop, visit my website and click on workshops.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: 6 Steps to Release Your Fear and Feel Peaceful, Eckhart Tolle: The Origin of Fear,  What If Syndrome: Why You Need to Live Your Life Without Fear of the Possibilities

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.

Tiger-wikimedia-commons-public-domain-665x385

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 GRATITUDE

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”  Gilbert Chesterton

spring flowers

Do you have a gratitude practice?  Do you take the time to feel grateful each day? How does it make you feel when you feel grateful?

I’m a lucky person.  If I made a list of all the things for which I’m thankful, it would be a long list.  I’ve always had most of what I needed, but I haven’t always recognized how much I should be grateful.

As a younger person, I took so much for granted.  I always assumed my parents would be there to help me.  I always assumed I could find another job if I wanted to leave the one I had.  I always assumed that my boss would appreciate my “helpful” perspective.  I always assumed the man I was dating would appreciate my bold and honest comments.

Everything Changes

But with time, I came to realize I could not take anything for granted.  Time passes.  People and circumstances change, and it’s hard to be thankful when relationships, jobs, health, and security come crashing down.  And yet….

Feeling Gratitude Lifts Our Energy

Focusing at some point in each day on gratitude lifts our energy and spirits.  That one thought can make a difference so I try to start each day with a moment of gratitude before I even get out of bed.  Each day when I see something that pleases me—the dog curling up next to me, my husband giving my neck a little massage as he walks by, a package arriving sooner than I expected, the song of a bird that is especially sweet—I say a thank you.  It’s the little things that make a difference.

butterflies

Gratitude Can Be A Blessing When Negative Things Happen

It’s much harder, of course, to be thankful for the unpleasant things in life, but they often have hidden blessings.  When my father passed away many years ago, it was shocking.  Except for his emphysema, he was fairly healthy for 81.  One day a blood vessel broke in his lungs and he was dead in ten minutes.  I wasn’t prepared for this.  I had thought there would be some warning and an opportunity to say good-bye.

After recovering from my shock, I was grateful he didn’t have to suffer.  It was a blessing after all, and regardless of how he passed, I would have had to adjust to his being gone.  I hope that when I pass, it will also be quickly.  I don’t want my loved ones to see me suffer any more than I want to suffer.

Negative Experiences May Have Hidden Gifts

In the last few years, I’ve broken an elbow and an ankle.  Both were very painful and unpleasant experiences, and none of my family could come here to care for me when I broke my elbow, so I went to a rehab facility.  It was not a pleasant experience.  However, people in my spiritual community were there often.  When I returned home, a woman whom I did not know helped me shop for groceries and became one of the best friends I’ve ever had.

In the second instance, I discovered how very deep my fiancé’s love for me was because he became my primary caretaker.  He cooked, cleaned, and did anything else I needed so that I could stay at home and recover.  I had never felt so secure knowing that he would do the loving thing—no matter what it was.  I was deeply grateful.

Have Gratitude For Pleasant Surprises

One of the things for which I am always grateful is my closeness to nature because the animals that come to my yard delight and surprise me.  I can never be sure of what they will do next.  For example, I was sitting at my computer the other day, bored as I cleaned off deleted messages, and I glanced out of the window.  Just outside the window were a few flowers and a statue of St. Francis.  On St. Francis’ head sat a squirrel eating a mushroom.  I couldn’t help laughing.  I guess the squirrel wanted some company for dinner.

squirrel

When we make gratitude a daily practice in our lives, it can shift what is negative so that it becomes more bearable or reveals lessons we need to learn.   Melody Beattie says, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

May you start each day with the blessing of gratitude.

© 2914 Georganne Spruce                                                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: How Gratitude can Change Your Life, Raising Children With An Attitude of Gratitude, Gratitude With Wayne Dyer (video)

AWAKENING TO THE WISDOM OF DREAMS

“Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions.”  Edgar Cayce

Starry Night by Van Gogh

Starry Night by Van Gogh

” I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”  Vincent Van Gogh

Do you remember your dreams? What do you learn from them? How have they helped guide your life?

Years ago, I was working as an employment assistance counselor for an art school.  There was an undercurrent of turbulence in the office, and although I felt it, I knew little about it.  Then I had nightmares for two nights that included people from the office.

One night I awoke about 1:00 am from a dream in which people were struggling and flailing their arms. I was hit in the mouth and my teeth were broken and my mouth was bleeding. As I walked away, my teeth started crumbling and falling out as blood gushed from my mouth. It seemed so real that, as I rose to consciousness, I put my hand to my mouth and was shocked to find my teeth were still there. My breathing was fast and my heart raced. It took at least a half an hour for me to relax and go back to sleep.

Dreams May Warn Us Of The Future

stressed20out_23

The dream felt like a warning, but at the time, my manager seemed pleased with my work.  That September I found jobs for the largest number of students that had ever been hired.  My newly hired assistant had not been available when I most needed her and began breaking rules that my manager had insisted we follow.  When I complained, he became angry with me.  When he asked if I could work with her, I foolishly said, “No.”

He fired me.  Her flirtation had won him over.  It was then that I remembered the dream which seemed like a warning.  Had I been arrogant to assume he would not fire me because I had performed so well?  Perhaps I had just been foolish to underestimate how much he needed the attention he got from her.  And for a moment before I answered his question, my intuition urged me to say “yes.”

Intuition May Guide Us On How To Act

So I had a dream that warned me of impending harm, and my intuition sent a warning, but I ignored them both.  Not very wise.

The Archetypes In Dreams Take Us Deeper

In order to really understand our dreams, it is helpful to know something about archetypes.  These are characters, symbols, settings, or themes that recur often enough to have universal significance.  Their roots are in the collective unconscious.  For example, most people have some fear of the dark.  We can’t see what is there and it’s a mystery.  It’s a place to hide when we don’t want to be discovered.

Vishuddha

Vishuddha

We find archetypes in dreams, literature, advertising, and other areas of life, and the obvious ones trigger an emotional or intellectual response that suggests something deeper.  When I dreamed that someone bloodied my nose, it didn’t mean that would literally happen, but it did suggest that dramatic harm might come to me.

Dreams May Guide Us To Solve Problems

Dreams may also provide us with deep guidance to solve problems in life.  One of the most meaningful dreams I ever had appeared during the year after my divorce in 1977.  In it, there appeared a blond-haired woman in a red dress who had previously appeared in another dream.  To make the situation even stranger (or synchronistic), I had recently worn a red dress when I danced in a modern dance choreographed by Liz Lerman.  I played the role of a woman who rejected the limiting traditional roles of women.

Photo: pensieve.me

Photo: pensieve.me

In the dream, I stood in a huge plaza with a large pool in the middle. On the far side of the pool was a several-story building that was a home for older people. Near me was a green ladder that curved over the pool and merged into an upper story of the building.

When I arrived at the base of the arch, a blonde-haired girl and a young man stood there. We all broke the bread she had baked, taking part in a ritual of communion. The man left. I knew I had to go across the arch but was afraid. The girl represented some part of me so I had to follow her, but I had to make the crossing on my own. The beginning was straight like a ladder and easy to climb, but as the ladder curved into an arch, I became frightened and had to crawl across on all fours.

Dreams May Guide Our Spiritual Journey

It seemed to me that this blonde-haired woman in the red dress was my passion and that the dream was telling me to follow my passion, but move on. It suggested that if I followed the higher road, I would reach old age or a level of security that the building represented. Climbing the green ladder was a sacred act, part of my spiritual journey, a path through life leading me to a higher consciousness.

Because the arch led over the water, which symbolized emotion, it was also telling me to move beyond just reacting out of emotion, which I did all the time, and it created problems in my relationships. I believed the dream was a sign I was healing, and the message in the dream was exactly what I needed to know at that time.  (Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness by Georganne Spruce, pp. 49-50)

Dreams Guide Us To Deeper Answers

With this dream I began a journey to understand my emotions and gain control of them so that I could let go of the reactive emotional responses I had developed in childhood.  They no longer served me well.  That became a central theme in my spiritual journey leading me to learn to meditate, release my fear, and use my mind to create more positive thoughts.

Our dreams are rich with answers to our deepest questions.  Exploring our dreams is one way to begin to value and respect the wisdom that can be found in the dark.  One of the best sources to learn about symbols which may appear in our dreams is Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols.  May you dream well tonight.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                               ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Carl Jung- Man and His Symbols, Part I (video),  Dream Interpretation: What Do Dreams Mean?

 

 

 

AWAKENING TO RITUAL

“The purpose of ritual is to change the mind of the human being.  It’s sacred drama in which you are the audience as well as the participant and the purpose of it is to activate parts of the mind that are not activated by everyday activity.”  Sharon Devlin

chaco-canyon-new-mexico-mountains-ruins

Do you like to participate in rituals?  Do you ever create your own?  What do they mean to you?

When people suggest I might do a ritual of some kind to heal a problem, I usually resist.  It isn’t that I don’t like ritual, but I often find that I can’t seem to get involved with it to the degree that it becomes meaningful.  Despite that, I have had several very meaningful experiences with it where the ritual took me to a very spiritual place.

Chanting May Create A Loving Feeling

Chanting is a perfect example.  When I try to chant by myself, it seems to go nowhere—not even to the nowhere it is supposed to go.  When I am with a group and singing a chant, I am carried away into a warm, fuzzy centered place where I am one with the group and it feels like the love of the holy is flowing within us.  But creating one’s own ritual can also create deep meaning and connections.

One of my first experiences of creating a ritual took place in Nebraska when my two dear women friends and I were parting ways.  One was heading to Omaha, another to Texas, and I was moving to Denver.  The thought of leaving each other was painful and we found ourselves withdrawing because we didn’t know how we could say “goodbye.”

Creating Our Own Rituals May Be Very Meaningful

Then we realized that we needed to create a “goodbye” ritual.  The following is a description of the ritual from my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness.

“When the moon was full, we went to the sand pits where we used to swim. We brought with us tokens of the life we had shared: flowers, tea, rocks, shells, dryer lint, unfinished pot holders, orange water, herbs, a fan, and a feather. We played instruments, and Carolyn, with bells around her ankles, and I danced. Donna, with her curly, sandy hair, watched, looking like a wild lion with a morning trumpet rising like a horn from her head. In this sacred space, the moon goddess blessed us, shining clear and bright in the darkness. The water was cool and serene, and the sand was soft beneath our feet. Our burning candles were hidden from the road by a small dune, and while we were there for two hours, no one disturbed us. My friends were like two sides of myself: the daring beast and the mystic. Speaking, I honored them.

North Platte river

The Nature Conservancy

‘Donna, the Leo, you give me strength to speak my own name, to believe in my beauty; you are laughter in my life; you are the fire of anger that sets me in motion; my defender, sister traveler, my comforter, my equal, my loving friend. You are the flower of celebration.’

‘Carolyn, the Sagittarian, you make the cycles of nature sing in my soul; you help me see the beauty, the humor in simple things; you are constancy, you are calm, you show me humility and forgiveness, my sister traveler, my equal, my loving friend. You are the simmering fire that warms the tea we drink together.’

I would never forget the peace of that night when all good forces in the universe came together to protect us, when we brought the ancient into the present and transformed it with our love.”

Rituals May Connect Us At The Heart Level

Many years before I visited New Mexico for the first time, I subscribed to New Mexico Magazine.  I was fascinated with the landscape and the Native American culture and art.  I don’t know why I felt such a deep connection to a place I had never seen.  When I finally moved there, it was for my health, but while I was there I experienced a deep heart-level connection with its original people, and some need that I cannot explain was filled.

One day a friend and I drove to see Chaco Canyon.  We spent the night nearby and drove into the canyon well before the sun was up.   It was the morning of the summer solstice and we stood at the edge of Casa Rinconada, a giant kiva, waiting for the first light of day to flow through an opening and strike a small window within on the opposite side.  The black sky sparkled with stars and slowly lightened along the horizon.  Time seem suspended as the light flowed across the sky and through the window into the center of the kiva, gradually moving its spear of light  through the dark opening of the window and illuminating it.

Rituals May Feel Timeless

I was flooded with the sense that I was connected to the many generations of people who have witnessed this coming of the light on the first day of summer.  This site was the ancestral home of the people now known as the Pueblos, 19 groups of which reside in New Mexico.  They were also the ancestors of many of the students I taught from the various pueblos.  What I felt was more than the sense of connection with the people and land but also a connection with time as a timeless concept.

chaco Ruins

Rituals Connect Different Cultures

In 1994 I traveled to West Africa with a group of teachers, and while we were there, we visited a village where the chief was away.  It is a tradition in Africa to greet visitors with a particular tea ceremony.  Because the chief was away, his teenage son welcomed us and led us to a domed structure build from tree branches where we sat on the floor, and he performed the ceremony.  The tea was brewed three times and passed around the circle.  The first time it is bitter like life.  The second time it is sweet like friendship.  The third time it is syrupy like love.

St. Louis, Senegal

St. Louis, Senegal

This was the second time we had experienced this ceremony, and both times we felt the warm, welcoming greeting of those performing it, but it was the chief’s son who impressed me so much.  He was a teenager much like those I taught at the time.  I thought how lucky he was to be trusted with such an important ritual so young.  It was another step in his learning to be a man.

While I felt a sense of Oneness with the Africans we met on the trip, I also felt honored when they shared their rituals with us, and wondered if the lack of ritual in most of our lives was part of what separated us within a community.  These rituals, like the other rituals I’ve experienced, are ways to put us in touch with earth, sky and humanity without us needing to find words spoken in the same language.

Like my other experiences with ritual, this one brought people together in a simple way.  Sitting in that domed hut, I was amazed at how cool it was on a hot day with us crowded closely to each other, an experience not everyone in our group was comfortable with.  Although this village had just gotten its first electric-driven well, the community relationships in this village were what mattered most, not the things they had.  I was reminded of my own childhood where we played in many yards watched over by many parents while the parents performed their evening ritual, talking to each other on the front steps of our homes.

Rituals Take Us To A Deep Spiritual Place

Perhaps because rituals are predictable, we are able to slip away and experience the deeper connections with one another that we may not share in the business of our day.  Somehow, we each have to find the experience that will connect us meaningfully and allow us to activate the spiritual nature that lies beneath our surface.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  (video) Summer Solstice Ushered at Ancient Sites, Senegalese Tea Culture, Create Your Own Ritual

AWAKENING TO GRACE

“Listen to your life.  See it for the fathomless mystery it is.  In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”  Frederick Buechner

Arboretum 2013 013

What is grace?  How has it appeared in your life?  Where do you believe it comes from?

This year, more than ever, I am aware of how precious life is.  Two women I knew well died of cancer.  A man whom we all deeply admired in my spiritual community died suddenly of a heart attack.  We have also lost public figures like the beloved Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall.

No matter what difficulties arise, I am always reminded how fortunate I am to have the life I live, to have only medical problems that are not life-threatening, to have a loving husband, plenty of food, a home where I can live peacefully, and friends who are conscious and loving.  I am blessed.

Grace Is A Mystery

As far as experiencing grace, I’ve often felt like Anne Lamott who said, “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”  I am always drawn to mysteries without needing to solve them.  They always make me ponder and question aspects of life I wouldn’t have noticed if the mystery had not arisen.  In the pondering, a new awareness often arises that enriches my life.

Grace Enriches Our Lives

One of the most profound examples of grace in my life is how I met my husband.  We were both on different online dating sites, and I accidently clicked on something that put me on his site.  He was taking one last look before shutting down his account, saw me, and sent an email. But I never received it.  I had taken myself off that site, but the picture he saw of me included a poster of the Release Your Fear workshops that I facilitate, and that helped him search and locate me.

He could have given up when I didn’t return his original email, but he listened to his heart.   He was in the middle of one of those mysteries life throws our way, one of those key moments when, if we listen inside we will be guided by grace.

Arboretum 2013 007

We Don’t Have To Earn Grace Or Deserve It

A friend defined grace as “undeserved, unearned, unexpected, and life-giving.”   It just happens.  We don’t do anything to cause it.  We don’t have to earn it.  It isn’t a reward.  It just is—like our lives.  Grace and the other mysteries of life may teach us we don’t always need to know why something happens.  We just need to be grateful and accept the gift we are offered.

I am not suggesting that we always need to be passive, but I know that some things are beyond our abilities to fix.  When there is a problem, it is wise to try to solve it.  Many times when we have done all we know how to do, it is the acceptance that we don’t know the answer that opens the way for grace to enter and bless us with its wisdom.

We Need To Make Room For The Holy

Buechner says, “…touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it (life) because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” When we can wake each morning, grateful to live life, we fill the day with love and excitement, and we spread that energy to all around us.  Even in the midst of chaos and challenges, we need to find that moment to go within and listen, to make room for the holy, however we define it, to enter and bless us.

We Must Listen To Our Inner Selves

One time when I was in distress about how to solve a problem, I had a friend do a psychic reading for me.  She informed me that my spiritual guides were trying to speak to me, but I wasn’t listening.  She was right.  I was so focused on fixing what was “out there” that I wasn’t listening to my inner self.

We Must Be Open To Grace

Grace may visit us without our noticing it unless we are listening.  When difficulties arise and we shut down emotionally, we build a wall that closes us off from the mysteries and spiritual gifts of life.   We stop listening, and to listen, we have to risk hearing what we may not want to hear.  That is sometimes exactly what we need to hear.

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Living close to nature, even in a city, confronts us with the mysteries of life every day.  I have done nothing to earn the frequent visits of the turkeys that live in my subdivision, nor do I have any idea why my yard has become a playground for a couple of youthful rabbits.  But when I watch them wandering through my yard, I feel I have been touched with grace.  The pleasure that I receive by watching them is a gift from the Divine, and I am eternally grateful.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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AWAKENING TO BALANCE THE MIND

“No person, no place, no thing has power over us, for ‘we’ are the only thinkers in our mind.  When we create peace and harmony and balance in our minds, we will find it in our lives.” Louise L. Hay

coast What happens when we give in to bouts of irritation and mental chaos?  Why do we get out of balance?  How do we bring ourselves back to balance?

Over the last week, I was struggling with multiple computer problems.  Even with my husband’s help, it seemed that when one problem was solved, the solution created another problem.  We talked repeatedly with our email company and with Microsoft who created the email program I use to manage my email.  There were constant error messages.  The challenge seemed endless, and I was not happy these problems kept me from writing.

Resistance Always Blocks Solutions

Over the last two months, I have found it difficult to write the blog because of the attention I needed to give to my ankle when I broke it and preparing for our wedding.  Even thought the latter was a delight, it still took time, so when the computer problems arose and kept me from writing for over a week, I lost my patience with it.

I resisted admitting that these were serious problems and that, of course, was a mistake because resistance always blocks solutions.  Then I let them take control of me and I became a pathetic, complaining, angry person.  Despite that, I did attempt to calm myself through positive thinking, meditation, finally hiring a technical person to fix the problems.

Reflecting on all this, I am reminded again that getting upset never helps and it rarely feels good.  It’s about returning to my immature self who felt helpless and did not activate the part of me that is a strong problem-solver and takes full responsibility to find the solution.

resisance

Positive Thinking Is Most Likely To Create Positive Results

Louise Hay is so right.  It is all about the way we chose to think.  The reason I have been so drawn to Science of Mind principles and the Law of Attraction is that they empower me to create in my life whatever I want.  How I think determines my experience.  When there is a crisis, like this week, I want to know I have the capability to solve it or to get the help I need to solve it.

At times, we just need to take a leap of faith.  We need to expect the problem to get solved, maintain a positive attitude toward it, and do whatever we can to fix it.  We can’t know ahead that the choice we make will work, but we have to have the courage to try.  If it doesn’t work, we simply need to try again, further analyzing the situation and experimenting.

Going within

The Answers Are Within Our Quiet Core

Allowing ourselves to be angry, to feel like a failure, or allow the problem to take over our lives has no benefit.  In that still, quiet place within, we have available to us information from our experiences in this life and information from our current and past spiritual life.  Or as in my case, we look around us and find someone who is more knowledgeable to solve the problem.

Without Fear, Our Minds Can Solve the Problems 

Feeling inadequate doesn’t help.  We all have different talents, and mine is definitely not computers; yet to some people who have never written a blog I seem accomplished.  It’s all in the mind, and operating from a peaceful place without fear is the place where we are most likely to find success.  What is going on in our minds has a ripple effect.  That energy can limit us or expand us.  We can choose.  As Louise Hay reminds us, “We are the only thinkers in our mind.”

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                         ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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