AWAKENING TO SURPRISES

Great Hungrey river 007

Not All Surprises Are Welcome

It was a rocky slope with enough texture that I was sure I wouldn’t slip, but suddenly I was airborne about to fall face down the slope.  I jerked my body backward and to the side as a large “pop” and searing pain in my ankle assured me that I taken a wrong step. It was April 13, a beautiful sunny day for a hike along the Big Hungry River. Through fields of Trillium, we shot pictures and “ohhed” and “ahhd” and loved each moment of the hike.  When we returned to the cars, we decided to go down to the river and shoot a waterfall some distance away.  It was then, that it happened. Great Hungrey river 020 I was fortunate.  One of the hikers had been an emergency room nurse and was prepared with ice and a bandage.  Fortunately, the hike leader and my fiance are big guys and with the help of two others were able to carry me back to the car.  My fiance was lovingly with me every step of the way – through the endless emergency room wait, surgery, and the aftermath.  Last Tuesday I came home from the hospital.

Time For Contempation

So this is why I didn’t write a blog last week.  I was learning to live with one leg immobile.  When I’ve had time to process all this, I’m sure it will be a blog post.  Somehow this weekend, I will teach a memoir workshop from a wheelchair at the Blue Ridge Book Fest and talk to people about my book Awakening to the Dance:  A Journey to Wholeness. I guess I need to learn a new dance for slippery slopes.   Thank you all for following my story.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                              ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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.”

photo (2)

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 THE POWER OF WORDS

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing, and rightdoing, there is a field.  I will meet you there.”  Rumi

Simon_Glücklich_Paar_im_Gespräch

Painting by Simon Glucklich

Do you think before you speak?  Are you comfortable communicating your feelings with those close to you?  How has the quality of communication in your relationships helped or hurt them?

Over the years, the thing that I remember most about past relationships is the way the other person and I communicated and how that style of communication helped or hurt the relationship.

Many People Fear Expressing Their Feelings

For example, my ex-husband did not reveal his feelings—it wasn’t manly.  Another man was warm and romantic when he needed to be close to me, but when he didn’t want to be bothered, he became distant and irritable.  Still another could not handle conflict or what he perceived to be conflict, and he distanced himself by literally leaving or shutting down emotionally so that no real conversation could take place.

None of those relationships lasted although I managed to stay married for ten years.  My father had been a man of few words who rarely showed his feelings, so I didn’t expect much.  In contrast, I had grown up with a grandfather who expressed his love in many ways, and I longed for that.

Book conversation

Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin.

Conflicts Require Us To Choose Wise Words

We all find moments in a relationship when we need to express our hurt feelings or clarify what we or our partner has said to avoid misunderstanding.  These moments may be very touchy.  We worry about how the other person will react.  Will this separate us further or bring us closer together?  Will we choose the right words without upsetting the other person? After one of these moments in a former relationship, I wrote the following poem.

Tapestry
by
Georganne Spruce

We talk –
Our words weave webs
To trap us,
Entangling syntax and emotion
Until we catch a thread
That unravels the pattern
Or unsnags the snare
Our egos have woven.

This tapestry we weave
Is precious and rich
With dangerous detours
Like silken strands
And designs that rise
To its shimmering surface
Only after the hum of our loom
Finds silence.

We sit surprised
By the shape it has taken,
Not the form we intended
But the one we created.

 

FEMA_-_21662_-_Photograph_by_Greg_Henshall_taken_on_01-21-2006_in_Louisiana

Photo: Greg Henshall for FEMA

We Can Learn To Communicate Better

We are fortunate today because there are so many opportunities to improve how we communicate.  Harville Hendrix’s Imago Relationship Therapy offers training in this area and includes learning a mirroring technique that helps us to truly hear one another.  Nonviolent Communication teaches us to speak with compassion from the heart.

Let Go of the Ego and Speak From the Heart

How we communicate may determine our success or failure in a large range of activities because we are interacting with others in almost every aspect of life.  When we are able to let go of ego’s needs and center ourselves, we are more likely to be able to hear what the other person is saying.  When we release our fear and communicate with love, we help the other person to feel safe, and hopefully this will allow him to speak with honesty.

Now that I am in a relationship with a man who communicates well and isn’t afraid to show his feelings, I feel such freedom.  I know him on a deeper level than I knew most of the other men with whom I’ve had relationships, and that makes all the difference.  We share so much more of who we are because we trust each other to be honest and kind at the same time.  Sometimes our words do surprise us, but we choose to ask for clarification before we react.

Release Fear and Be in the Moment

We all benefit when we find that field, about which Rumi speaks, where judgment is suspended, where we can be heard, where we can speak without fear, and where we can untangle the web we have woven. Whether written or spoken, our words have power to enrich our lives or to harm them.  Developing the consciousness to be in the moment so that we think before we speak or send an impulsive email is a wise practice.

What have you learned lately about the power of your words?  Please Comment.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                     ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: Zero Negativity (Harville Hendrix), Seven Pointers for Couples to Prevent and Resolve Misunderstandings, Conflict Resolution Skills

AWAKENING TO CREATE HAPPINESS

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.”  Jim Rohn

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Are there any little things in your life that make you happy?  Are you always looking for something better or bigger?  What is the smallest thing that ever brought you happiness?

We are all different I know, but I learned a long time ago that the world, particularly the natural world, is an interesting place.  There’s nothing I enjoy more than walking through a forest and discovering something I’ve never seen before or a pattern of flowers or bark on a tree that is unique or particularly aesthetically pleasing.

Nature Can Provide Us With Delightful Moments

I remember when I was at the Botanical Gardens in Denver and saw the trees in the picture above.  The knots on the trees looked like eyes, as if the inner tree were looking out at me and smiling.  I was delighted and even laughed out loud as I imagined the conversation the two might have been having and how they were teasing me with their look.

I’ve always felt One with nature, having spent a childhood outdoors a great deal.  These little experiences like finding trees with eyes create happiness for me.  Just a little thing can change my mood quickly:  the song of a bird, the gobble of the turkeys nibbling on my lawn, or the neighborhood cat rolling around on the deck.

Photo: G. Spruce

Photo: G. Spruce

Little Things Can Make Us Happy

No matter what is going on in my life when these things occur I experience a moment of happiness.  I think I’ve learned a really important thing.  Many little things can bring us happiness if we are fully present and open to letting life interrupt our focus for just a moment.

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

When we are always focused on our accomplishments or achievement in our society, finding happiness can be challenging.  We usually set standards for ourselves and judge our actions as successful or not.  If we fail to live up to the standards we set, we are unhappy and disappointed.  We feel inadequate and the fear that we won’t be good enough grows.

Of course, it is important that we are able to do what is expected of us as parents or workers in order fulfill the responsibilities we have accepted, but too often, instead of enjoying the little successes each day, we keep expecting more before we are willing to feel good about what we do.  The tragedy is, though, if we keep putting off feeling good about ourselves or taking the time to lift ourselves up, we may never take the time to be happy at all.

Photo: G. Spruce

Photo: G. Spruce

We Can Choose to Experience Happiness

We can create happiness whenever we want.  It’s about how we choose to feel and that relates to what we are thinking.  Some people think my delight with little things is silly.  Maybe it is, but at times, silly makes me happy.  Maybe doing a crossword puzzle delights you.  Maybe trimming the shrubs enlivens you.  Maybe listening to a particular piece of music inspires you.

Make a commitment to allow something each day to make you happy by taking a moment to appreciate something that appears in your life.  Start your day with meditation, reading something inspirational, a piece of chocolate, or a hearty breakfast.  Savor it, and think how fortunate you are.  That few moments of creating happiness can radically change your day.

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I’m sharing with you today several pictures of things that have delighted me.  I hope you enjoy them and become more aware of the interesting images that appear throughout your day.

What has made you happy today?  Please share a comment.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                              ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  What is Happiness?, The Source of True Happiness, The Source of Happiness from The Richest Man in Town

AWAKENING TO DEEP BLESSINGS

“The seed now begins its time of gestation in the rich dark earth.  It is the great cold of night; not the negative images of darkness, but the dark richness of that unknown, fertile, deep part in each of us where our intuitive creative forces abide.  Elizabeth Roberts and Elisa Amidon, Earth Prayers

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Our Deepest Blessings Come From Within

We live in a culture that focuses on the external and its rewards for success, often ignoring the richness of our internal lives where the true heart of life exists.  Who we are is who we are inside at our deepest level, the truest part of ourselves.  When we have brought some of that to the surface, we can then see how blessed we are, for our deepest blessings come from that “dark richness” within.

When I was a child, I was very shy, but I had an extroverted mother who pushed me into speech and drama classes hoping it would make me more extroverted.  I did take the classes and for years felt extremely nervous speaking or acting, but underneath my resistance to being who my mother wanted me to be was a stronger desire—to be able to express who I truly was.

It was easy to write what I felt.  I didn’t have to get up in front of people and risk making a fool of myself, but my mother’s insistence that I learn to speak publically was a blessing in disguise.  Now as an adult, I am comfortable teaching classes and workshops, doing readings for my book, and networking with others.  These experiences are exhilarating, and I truly enjoy interacting with others.  I always hope that sharing what is most important to me will be valuable to them.

Creative Work Comes From Deep Within

One of the blessings of any creative work is that we must go into that “unknown, fertile” part of us and discover the phrase of movement, words, or music that we had no idea was there.  In the quiet when we are receptive to the unknown, we discover a seed that becomes a dance, poem, or symphony when we bring it into the light.  The same is true also for the creative scientist or business person.  Many treasures lie deep within.

When I taught modern dance in college, I often choreographed dances for the students.  When I was looking for ideas or was ready to create a dance, my favorite time to work was between 10:00 pm and midnight.  I loved the quiet and lack of distraction.  Problems of the day fell away.  New movements came so easily, and I accepted whatever came without judgment.  Later I would shape and rearrange the movement, but at this early stage, I learned that the wise thing to do was to let it flow.  I always felt blessed by the richness of what came to the surface.

Pilgrimage 2012 022

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Great Beauty Emerges From the Dark Earth

We are now only a few days away from the beginning of spring when the earth bursts open with her magnificent beauty.  Here in the Blue Ridge Mountains, jonquils are blooming, tulips are popping up through the earth, and some of the 80 kinds of migratory birds are stopping here on their journey and sing to us each morning.  New life is always a reminder that the darkness of the earth is what nurtures the seeds that become this blessing.

We Must Be Present To Recognize Our Blessings

We are surrounded by blessings every day, but are often not aware of them because we are not present.   When we take time each day to be present and are able to easily become present, we are more likely to notice the good that comes to us in its many varied forms.  The mail with a check in it arrives a day early when we need to pay a bill.  A friend we have missed and haven’t seen in years suddenly appears on Facebook.  A change in plans disappoints us until we realize it enables us to join friends for a more interesting evening.  Being conscious of our blessings reminds us of the abundance of our lives, creates an experience of positive energy, and raises our energetic vibration.

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Can you find the butterfly?
Photo: Georganne Spruce

Blessings Are Of the Heart

Caren Goldman in Healing Words asks the question, “When, I wonder, does a blessing become a blessing?  Is it when it’s thought of?  When it’s spoken?  When it’s heard, or when it’s acknowledged – not just in the head but in the heart?”

We are blessed every day.  Let us make a practice of noticing even the tiniest good thing that comes into our lives and feel that appreciation at the heart level.  When we feel blessed, we act blessed, and sharing that good feeling with others will be a blessing to them.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                      ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Learn to Live in the NOW with Eckhart Tolle (video), Are You Grateful for Your Life? 13 Blessings You May Be Overlooking, Do You See Blessings in Your Challenges?

 

AWAKENING TO OUR AUTHENTICITY

“That inner voice has both gentleness and clarity.  So to get to authenticity, you really keep going down to the bone, to the honesty, and the inevitability of something.”  Meredith Monk

Merredith Monk's Dance

Photo by chncpa.org

I am sometimes shocked by the extent to which people will go in order to please others at the expense of destroying who they really are.  I watched an hour of the Academy Awards the other night and was absolutely shocked when I saw Kim Novak who was presenting an award.  I kept staring at her because I could not find one detail about her face that looked the way she used to look.  In addition, parts of her face looked frozen. 

kIM nOVAK The next day on Facebook, I saw a picture of Goldie Hawn and had the same reaction.  I stared for a long time and could see only hints of the face she used to have.  I’ve always thought of Goldie as being very genuine, more so than most Hollywood actresses, and I would never have dreamed she would do this to herself.

Aging Can Be Empowering

I understand the competition for roles in Hollywood is fierce, but the truth is that as I age I enjoy seeing actresses who have aged naturally.  I can relate to them more.  Judy Dench is a wonderful example.  She has wrinkles and gray hair, but this seems to work to her advantage because she is frequently cast in roles with depth that tap the wisdom of her years rather than focus on her appearance.  She has lived long enough to know how to go deeper, and I can always count on her performances to have substance.

Photo by wallpaperzoo.com

Photo by wallpaperzoo.com

Unfortunately, it isn’t just the entertainment industry that is obsessed with youth.  Most of the people who have plastic surgery for cosmetic purposes are women, but ten percent of the people in the United States who have plastic surgery are men.  We are so obsessed with appearance that many feel they need to look younger in order to succeed in their careers even when appearance has nothing to do with performance.

Changing Our Appearance to Gain Confidence Is Superficial

In researching this topic, I came across the story of a young woman who had plastic surgery to change her body shape to a sexier one and was delighted with the attention she received and how it enhanced her career opportunities.  All this positive attention from others made her more confident, but I wonder how long that confidence will last when she starts aging and drooping.  Will she simply turn to surgery again or will she realize it’s time to heal her insecurity.

Fear Is the Basis of All Insecurity

When we live authentically, we accept who we.  We accept our flat chests, large noses, big ears or gray hair.  We don’t let the external define us.  We want to change our appearance only if we feel we aren’t good enough or that we must please others in some way.  Hiding beneath those insecurities is the fear that we are inadequate or that we will be rejected, so the root of the problem is our fear, not our appearance.

When we allow these fears to persist, we may not say no when we need to, so we continue to live with dysfunctional relationships that only reinforce our fears.  We are more afraid of the unknown than we are of remaining miserable and hiding our true selves.  When we live in fear, we never know joy, for it comes from deep within and comes from a deep feeling of freedom, unfettered by concerns for what others think of us.  We never know peace because we are always looking around us to see if we have pleased another.

To Be Our True Selves, We Must Get In Touch With Our Core

Relying on anything external to define us is risky.  The core of our being lies deep within us, so that the only way to truly know ourselves is to “keep going down to the bone” where we will find the inner voice that will guide us through all life’s experiences.  We must be willing to let go of society’s expectations in order to discover what we want for our lives, and when it is different from what others want for us, we must have the courage to follow our inner guidance and let go of what will no longer serve us.

Authenticity Expresses What Is Unique About Us

One of the reasons I chose the quote by Meredith Monk is because I saw her perform in the 1970s.  It was clear from the moment her modern dance company began the performance that this would be unlike anything I had ever seen.  The dance was performed with the dancers singing, much like an opera.  She created a landscape of movement, sound, and lighting that was exceptional.  Clearly she expressed herself in an authentic way and she inspired me to do the same.

Meredith Monk

Photo by chncpa.org

What I produced wasn’t always so good; sometimes it was silly; sometimes it didn’t work.  But after seeing her work, I knew I had to experiment.  I had to have the courage to find out what I could do and that was a greater motivation than the fear of failing. It is difficult to have courage if our personas are not genuine.  In that case, our real selves are hidden beneath many layers that we must peel away.  As we let go of what is artificial about our lives, what is authentic will emerge.  As we face our fears and release them, knowing we are strong enough to survive whatever change occurs, what and who we no longer need will drop away, and our real selves will emerge.

Being Authentic Gives Us Freedom

This is why having a meditation or contemplative practice is so important.  These practices clear away the mental debris so that we can hear the inner voice that will guide us.  Until we become who we truly are, we may not even see the true gifts life has given us because they do not fit into the inauthentic life we created, but these may be gifts the world deeply needs.  Finding love and joy and the freedom to express ourselves is a gift, not only to ourselves, but to the other people as well, and we can only do that when we are authentic. © 2014 Georganne Spruce                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Meredith Monk: Songs of Ascension (video), What Being Authentic Means…And What Gets in the Way, Becoming More Authentic: Accept Yourself and Stop Seeking Approval