Category Archives: Inspirational Posts

AWAKENING TO THE POWER OF PEACE

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

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

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

Peaceful Protest Is Powerful

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

Peace Creates Peace

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

Violence Does Not Solve Problems

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

We Must learn to See How We Are All One

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

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

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

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

We All Need To Feel Powerful

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

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

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

Controlling Others Is an Illusion Of Power

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

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

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

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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

AWAKENING TO JOY

“Find the place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” Joseph Campbell

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

The excitement and celebration of the holidays often creates a crescendo of energy only to be followed by a period when our lives suddenly feel empty, especially if we depend on external events to make us happy. But the quiet and silence that follows in the midst of this winter may be the richest time of year. With cold weather keeping us inside and perhaps reducing our social activities, we may turn within more often than usual.

If we use this time to make New Year’s resolutions and take stock of what we accomplished during the past year, this time may be very beneficial. If we have accomplished what we hoped to accomplish, we have reason to celebrate and feel joyous. If we have failed to live up to our expectations, we may feel we are failures in some way and become depressed.

The Greatest Treasure is Within, Not Outside Us

But if we can look beyond the external and tangible and return to our core, we may find that what lies there is a treasure much greater than anything we have created in the world. If we meditate, pray, or do any spiritual work, we have probably already learned that the true joy that enlightens and uplifts us comes from within and it has nothing to do with what we achieve in the external world.

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Feeling We Have Failed Is A Choice

For the last few days, there have been things in my life that were upsetting and I became depressed. I became focused on what was wrong, worrying that these difficulties might never be resolved. Despite my tendency to expect the best in life, I began to let fear settle in and create anxiety and a feeling that I have failed.

I kept thinking, “How can I fix this?” It soon became clear that I couldn’t. So what were my choices? I needed some guidance and turned to Oneness by Rasha. I began to reread Chapter 8 because it focuses on how negative events in our lives may actually be opportunities to raise our awareness and shift into a more loving place. And even the most difficult advice is given with great love.

Experiencing Negative Events Is Not A Sign of Failure

What I’ve experienced recently is a negative, recurring theme. I was deeply touched by the words of Oneness on this subject. It said, “Do not feel, as these powerful episodes present themselves, that the experience is evidence of spiritual backsliding on your part. Quite the contrary. By virtue of the fact that you have manifested extremes of experience, despite being in a space of heart-centered clarity with the issue in question, you can feel confident that you are at a completion with it. You will wish to respond in ways that will not re-escalate the energy charge that is being released in the process of drawing certain chapters to a close.” (p. 72)

What is Good For All Is Good For Us

As Oneness continued on the subject two things stood out for me. First it was the question we need to ask in these circumstances: “What is it that one wants to experience as one’s reality?” (p. 73) What I wanted was peace, understanding, and love. So what did I need to do? The answer was to look beyond myself and see what was best for everyone in this situation. “When one expects and anticipates the optimum outcome for all concerned, that outcome cannot help but be manifested as reality.” (p.73)

“Of course!” I thought. I needed to let go of my fear or as Oneness suggests, surrender to it. When I did, the sadness left, and I knew that I must also surrender to the situation, knowing that surrendering to my inner journey, accepting what is, and getting in touch with the joy within would lead me where I needed to go.

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Joy Is Healing

As I began to meditate and welcome the silence, the fear and depression dropped away. I felt the very joy of being flood over and fill me. The external events in my life did not matter. I knew, as I have known many times before that the answers to problems will come when I go deeply within and find that joy, for it changes everything.

It is not some new age adage that all answers lie within—it is truth. When we ask the Universe for guidance and have the patience to listen for its reply, we will receive what we need. And that joy Joseph Campbell writes about will overcome and heal the pain we feel. Joy is the greatest healing power we can experience.

As I sat quietly and allowed the joy and peace to fill me, those dark and negative conclusions I had reached disappeared. The joy healed my emotional pain, cleaned out the mental rubbish, and even nourished my body. I don’t know what the final answer is; I only know that by living in the joy, I am most likely to find positive solutions to any problem that arises.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                             ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

May this year bring all you desire and especially peace, love, and joy!

St Francis under a blanket of snow. Photo:Georganne Spruce

St Francis under a blanket of snow.
Photo:Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO SYNCHRONICITY

“According to Vedanta, there are only two symptoms of enlightenment, just two indications that a transformation is taking place within you toward a higher consciousness. The first symptom is that you stop worrying….The second symptom is that you encounter more and more meaningful coincidences in your life, more and more synchronicities. And this accelerates to the point where you actually experience the miraculous.” Deepak Chopra

enlightenment imageDo you see enlightenment as a destination or journey? Where are you on that path? Do you worry a great deal? How often do you experience synchronicities? What do they mean to you?

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in the Asheville Bookfest, selling my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, and visiting with an array of interesting people. I always enjoy these events because I have interesting conversations with other writers as well as with the people who attend.

Synchronicity Initiates Sharing

At this event, sponsored by Grateful Steps Publishing and Bookstore, I experienced some synchronicities that were interesting. In one instance, a man who bought the book was drawn to it initially because, although he wasn’t a professional dancer, he had danced in a dance production choreographed by Liz Lerman whose choreography often included non-trained dancers. What he had experienced was very meaningful to him.

 

What was interesting was that when I danced with a modern company in Washington, DC in the 70s, Liz choreographed a dance for the company. The man had connected with her elsewhere. As a result of this synchronicity, the man and I shared the deep meaning dance had for us both and the wonderful experience of working with Liz.

Highland Books with Georganne Spruce, Celia Miles and Nancy Cash Photo: Jenny Munro

Highland Books with Celia Miles and Nancy Cash
Photo: Jenny Munro

Art May Create Synchronicities In Life

He bought the book and I smiled as he walked away because I knew there was a surprise waiting for him in the book. There was more synchronicity to my connection with Liz Lerman. In the dance Liz created for the company, I danced a role that was a reflection of what I was experiencing in my life and dreams. In the dance I wore a red dress just like my self who was appearing in my dreams at the time. Both in the dance and in real life and in the dream, I was the woman in the red dress, rejecting traditional feminine choices.

Then yesterday as I signed books at Highland Books in  Brevard, NC with two other authors, Celia Miles and Nancy Cash, I met a young woman who had studied with many of the same teachers with whom I had studied when I was a modern dancer.  It was delightful to share these experiences.

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Silence Helps Us See Deeper Connections

We all may experience synchronicities, but we may not be aware of it. If we are constantly rushing around without time to experience silence, we simply may not notice the new idea that pops up in our heads or the person who wants a moment of our time who may offer us a wonderful opportunity.

I can remember a time, after my divorce many years ago, that I was so determined to learn to be independent that I often rejected the help people offered me that would have been valuable. My unconscious had called for the help, but my conscious mind ignored it. I have often seen others do this as well, not only because they don’t want to appear weak, but also because the idea may seem strange and they are unwilling to pursue it to understand if it could be valuable.

I have been on a spiritual journey for as long as I can remember and have experienced many synchronicities so I suppose that’s a sign I am continuing to become more aware, for enlightenment is a journey, not a destination. When I was young, I looked at these unexpected connections and pleasant happenings as nice surprises. It felt like I had nothing to do with creating them.

Focusing On Positive Thoughts Creates Positive Experiences

When we are aware that we are all energy, our energy around a certain issue or need may help manifest what we want. Our thoughts are energy too, and as Chopra points out, we are more enlightened when we learn not to worry. At the root of worry is fear, negative energy, and that may attract to us exactly what we don’t want. When we ask the Universe to fill our needs and don’t worry about what happens, we help clear the way for what we need to manifest.

When we are more aware, we don’t miss out on as many opportunities. We are open to the synchronistic events that arrive unconnected to any rational choice. Certainly the most amazing synchronicity I’ve experienced in recent years was the way my husband and I met online in the very few hours that we were on the same sight. You can read about this at Awakening to True Love. There were many synchronicities including the fact that he was preparing to move to the area where I live and that I was teaching a workshop on how to release your fear a few days after he arrived in the area.

As a result of the many positive synchronicities I’ve experienced in life, I expect surprises to be good ones. When I can’t solve a problem, I trust the answer will appear when needed or I do the best I can, knowing that guidance will come at the right time. But I’ve also noticed that the more positive my general attitude toward life has become, the more I am drawing good experiences into my life. Spirit and I are One now and that’s the greatest miracle of all.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                             ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Deepak Chopra–Video on Synchronicity, Wayne Dyer: Faith, Synchronicity,Consciousness – video

JOIN ME AT THE ASHEVILLE BOOKFEST

This Saturday I will be participating with other area authors in the Sixth Annual Asheville Bookfest at the Haywood Park Hotel in the Atrium from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.   For the schedule see http://www.ashevillebookfest.com/bookfest-events.html.

Four other authors and I will be reading at 4:30 followed by Thomas Rain Crowe, the featured speaker.

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AWAKENING TO HIDDEN GIFTS

“Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.”  Rene Magritte

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Do you live your life on the surface or do you look within for answers and guidance?  Do you tend to hide unpleasant feelings?  Do you make a point to get in touch with all your feelings?

Life is full of hidden gifts.  In the summer, leaves are green and then they begin to turn a multitude of colors in autumn—colors hidden from us until the season shifts into a new one.  They fall away and we find silhouetted in the winter sky branches curling and twisting against the deep blue of the approaching night, revealing what was hidden the rest of the year.

Good Can Come From What Appears To Be Negative

We’ve all had experiences where something disappointing happened, but what came out of it was positive.  When it first happened, we could only see the negative and couldn’t imagine anything good could spring from it.

Last week, I wrote about the two writing contests I had entered and how I didn’t win a prize in either one, but my book was recommended on the Huffington Post, and I received a high evaluation and good review from the other.  So, what initially was a disappointment resulted in a positive outcome.

Negative Experiences Can Be Learning Opportunities

There have been other times that a loss or disappointment has opened the way to something new.  When I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I connected with a wholistic doctor who taught me almost everything I would ever need to know to become healthy and stay healthy.  He taught me that there was so much more I needed to learn that went beyond what western medicine recognized and introduced me to acupuncture and herbs, among other things.

Since that time, I have never had the flu or a cold and I never get “bugs.”  I’m gluten and dairy intolerant and can’t handle preservatives or artificial anything, so I eat organic food.  If I don’t know what an ingredient is in a food, I don’t eat it.  Now, some people would say this is extreme and just not worth doing.  I guess it depends on what you are willing to do to stay healthy, and for me, not being sick is a priority.

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 We Can Grow By Being Open To Learn From Disappointments

So, when these hidden gifts appear, we may not always see them as gifts at first.  I was in a relationship with a man for two years, thinking we would marry, so I was devastated when we broke up.  Before that, I had not been in a long-term relationship since 1986.  I had experienced short ones and then a long period of many years when I never really dated.  I just didn’t seem to click with anyone.

However, I learned so much about being in a relationship, what would work and what wouldn’t, that despite the original grief I felt, the experience prepared me for meeting the man to whom I am now married.  Since I had made a lot of compromises in that two year relationship that didn’t work for me, I realized afterwards more clearly what I needed in a relationship.  No doubt that helped draw into my life the man who is my perfect mate.

A Loss May Make Room For A New, Beneficial Experience 

Then there was the time I lost my teaching job.  I was put on administrative leave because I was unable to control a belligerent class that had been a problem long before I was given the class.  The principal offered no support and the students received little punishment when I wrote discipline referrals on them.  I was absolutely devastated.

Photo: nyul/Fotolia

Photo: nyul/Fotolia

However, with time on my hands while still receiving a pay check, I had the time to write and I decided to write my memoir.  As I read through the journals I’d written since 1962, something very profound happened.  I cried often, and through the process, I relived and healed so much that needed healing.  It took ten years for me to finish and publish the book, but that initial commitment to do it led me down a new path that opened my life in many ways.

Because so much time had passed since many of the events in the journals happened, I was able to see some situations in a more mature way.  I could see, for example, that my ex-husband behaved the way he did because he had never had guidance from parents who taught him a way to live with integrity.  With that insight, I was able to forgive him more deeply and to feel compassion for him.

He was a man who had been taught never to show his hurt feelings.  He’d had to be tough because, even as a child, his mother often worked at night and he came home from school to an empty house. In addition, his stepfather was not an honest man, so without his real father, he had no one to guide him.  I came to the point where I realized it was somewhat of a miracle he was as good a person as he was, and I not only forgave him, but I felt at peace with all that happened.

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We Can Only Know Ourselves When We Go Within

When we are unable to look beneath our surface, we not only miss the gifts hidden there, but we are unable to know who we truly are.  Living a purely external life means we are only feeding our egos and ignoring our deeper selves where we will find love and a spiritual connection that will guide us to be the best we can be.

So often the best solutions to problems are not the obvious ones.  They also may be hidden deeper if we look beneath the surface.  The principal who let me go because I couldn’t manage a troublesome group of teenagers never really dealt with the problem.  Getting rid of me solved nothing; in fact, he taught the students that their negative behavior would get them what they wanted.

Often like that principal, we are unwilling to do what is difficult because it is risky.  But it’s been my experience that when I go deeper and ask for spiritual guidance, the solution that will work arises, and over time, I’ve learned to trust that.  What’s hidden is often the buried treasure we seek—the solution that will enrich our lives.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                              ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: Learning to Let Go of Past Hurts, 10 Tips to Overcoming Negative Thoughts, Positive Thinking  Made Easy

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.”

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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.

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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