Category Archives: Inspirational Posts

AWAKENING TO ABUNDANCE

“The key to abundance is meeting limited circumstances with unlimited thoughts.”  Marianne Williamson

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Is abundance based on what you have or how you perceive what you have?  Do you ever feel abundant?  Do you feel lacking no matter how much you have?

During the years I was teaching dance in Denver, I lived in a one-room apartment most of the time.  It contained a kitchen in one wall, one table, a single bed, a small closet, one chest of drawers, and one window.  Most people would consider that an extremely limited space, but for several years I was very happy there.

Abundance Isn’t About Quantity

The apartment was in a beautiful old Victorian house two blocks from Cheesman Park where there were walking trails and I could experience nature within the city.  The bay window covered one entire end of the apartment and filled the room with light and framed the upper branches of a large, beautiful oak.  It was a five minute drive from my part-time job on the edge of downtown.  With rent that was well within my meager means, I felt I had everything I needed.

Our Feelings of Lack Come From Inside Us

Our society has been so focused on money and things that people often feel poor if they don’t have much more than they need.  When we have plenty, yet feel lacking, we need to look within because what we are missing isn’t a thing; it’s what is inside of us.

What Makes Us Feel Abundant May Be Spiritual

What made me feel abundant during those years in Denver was that I was following my passion, teaching modern dance, and I had friends who shared my passion for dance and also my dedication to a spiritual journey.  Sharing their spiritual practices, my friends were also teachers who enriched my journey.  They introduced me to meditation, Eastern thinking, and Science of Mind philosophy.

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Charlie Davidson

Work That Doesn’t Offer Satisfaction May Feel Like Lack

There have also been times when I felt my life lacked abundance, when something significant was missing.  In New Orleans, I tried to work in sales because I wanted more money.  I had a larger, spacious apartment and newer car than in Denver, but my job took so much time and the contention in the office drained my energy.  Although I had more on the physical level, I didn’t feel abundant.  I felt drained and deprived of what made my life feel full.

When we at least have the basics that all people need, our definitions of abundance may vary widely, but it really comes down to how we see what we have.  For example, most people would feel very lacking without a smart phone and having the ability to text and use the internet.  If they can’t keep in constant contact with friends, they feel something is lacking.  I find that distracting.

When We Love Ourselves, We Feel Abundant

But at the base of our concept of abundance is the question:  Am I enough?  If we love ourselves, we more easily love others and share without feeling that sharing involves a loss.  In fact, sharing will make us feel richer.  When we love ourselves, we feel loved even without a romantic partner, and when we feel connected to Spirit, we feel loved in a deep spiritual way.

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Photo: Georganne Spruce

Thinking Positively Enriches Us

When we have our basic needs met, but still feel no abundance, what do we need to change?  Often we get caught up in negative thinking so that we are always seeing what is wrong with life rather than focusing on what is good.  Reality isn’t always smooth and peaceful, but if we focus on solving problems and maintain a positive attitude that most problems can be solved, we are more likely to find solutions.

Having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome many years ago was a gift.  Working with a wonderful holistic doctor, I learned how to use supplements, food, and alternative methods like acupuncture to attain and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  During that time, I had so little energy that everything I did seemed like a burden.  I also had to continue working in order to pay the bills.

I had to hunt for things to lift my spirits.  Sometimes it was simply the song of a bird or a cool breeze blowing through the window. (I lived in New Orleans)  I was always grateful when a friend came to visit, my mother brought me dinner, or I had more energy than usual.  But whatever I chose to focus on, I gave thanks for it as a form of abundance.

Enjoying the Moment Enriches Us

Making the time in each day to relax allows us time to be in the moment.  Just being in the moment can feel luxurious and special.  It is only then that we can take the time to truly look at our day and be thankful for what it has offered us.  At times, I start my day, before I even get out of bed with five minutes of meditation.  I welcome the silence and am thankful for that and then offer thanks for not only what I have but what I expect to experience that day.

Abundance is not only about what we have or our attitude about what we have; it is also about what we expect to have.  Positive expectations may draw to us what is most abundant in any area of our lives.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                       ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  How to Attract Abundance (Wayne Dyer), Manifesting What You Want – Pt. 1- with Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer (video), Exude an Attitude of Abundance

 

AWAKENING TO EXPERIMENT WITH LIFE

“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions.  All life is an experiment.  The more experiments you make the better.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Does everything happen exactly as you want it?  If it doesn’t, do you give up or try again?Is there any value in experimenting with your life even if you fail to reach your goal?

If I made a list of all the things I’ve tried to do, but failed, I think it might be a long list.  Despite that, I’m very happy I attempted most of those things because at least I can say I tried.  That makes me feel good.  My mother would be proud too because, despite her failed attempt to make me into a Southern Lady (of the 50’s variety), she always taught me to do the best I could, and I did.

Failures Are Just Steps To Success

One of the things I heard as a young person that motivated me to work at the things I loved was that Edison had 10,000 failed experiments before he created a workable light bulb.  He didn’t think they were failures; they were simply steps he had to take to succeed.  I didn’t feel so bad after that and I got the message:  if you give up too soon you may never reach your goal.

If I’d given up too soon and not kept experimenting, I would never have become a dancer, danced with a company, published a book, or married again.  If I had given up, it would have been a tragedy because I would have missed the joy of accomplishing what I wasn’t quite sure I could do.

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You Have To Experiment To Succeed

Each success required experimentation.   I had to stretch, bend, jump, and learn to lie still, not only physically, but emotionally and mentally as well.  I like what Robert Frost said, “In three words I can sum up everything I learned about life: it goes on.”  It went on despite the pulled muscles, torn up chapters, and a divorce.

But if we are willing to experiment as we live life, we may find the answers to remove the road- blocks that stand in our way.  For example, in dance, we perform the same movements over and over.  Through time, we learn just where our weight has to be placed in order to perform a pirouette or to leap and land in perfect balance.

A chef experiments with preparing Chicken Marsala until his creation fits his idea of perfection.  A teacher uses different methods for teaching writing until she finds the one that helps students succeed with the assignment.  A salesperson creates different pitches to sell his product to a variety of people.  Each successful accomplishment is preceded by experimentation.

Experimenting Teaches Us How To Find What Is Best

Every writer knows that the first draft isn’t the one that will be published.  It’s just the beginning and will be followed by editing and rewriting on every level.  We shift words around and rearrange the structure of sentences as well as the order of events.  The pattern we follow is the one that emerges as we begin to tell the story and often takes us to a place we never anticipated would be the ending.

Relationships are the same, although after my first marriage, I wondered how my life could go on.  I felt ill-equipped to take care of myself, especially when I quit my teaching job because I thought my husband would support me while I developed dance classes.  That was when he left.  I had never lived by myself or been on my own.  But had I not lost that relationship, I wouldn’t have been available for my current husband who is everything I ever wanted in a man.

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Experimenting Reveals New Viewpoints

In a relationship, even with friends, we often experiment in order to find the right words to discuss a delicate subject.  We have to find the best way to handle conflict.  We have to learn that the timing of a discussion is important.   We have to learn to express empathy and be open to shift our own thinking to solve problems and grow together.  We have to be willing to let go of the way we thought things would be to accept the way things are.

When something in life isn’t working, we can run, hide, or experiment with new possibilities.  There are no guarantees that we will make the right decision, but we’ll never know if we don’t try to find a solution to the problem or a way to adapt.

Like the plants in our gardens, we may not be planted in the perfect soil or get the right amount of rain, but as a part of nature, we are capable of adapting.  Like the plants, it’s in our nature to do the best we can.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                              ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: Experimenting with Life, Keep Moving Forward and Let Go of Failure, Three Simple Steps to Turn Failure Into Success

AWAKENING TO WHAT IS HUMANE

“You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.”  Marianne Williamson

meditating in park

 Do you always think before you act?  How often are your actions based on your need to be right?  What do you do when being right conflicts with being humane?

What most often guides your actions—being right or being humane?  As I sat listening to the comments on what it means to be right during a group discussion the other night, I discovered I didn’t know what to say about my own concept of being right.  I kept thinking about all the destruction created in the world by those who believe they are so right that they have the right to destroy those whose beliefs differ from theirs.

Fear Is At the Core of Needing To Be Right

As the discussion progressed, I reflected on the past and times when I thought I knew what was right and how I tried to impose it on others.  Of course, fear was at the root of that.  I was afraid something bad would happen to me if I did the wrong thing or expressed an idea that would upset my parents, teachers, or friends.

But I’ve come a long way since then, realizing that, in some areas, it is clear to me what the right thing to do is because I have enough life experience to know what the possible outcome of certain actions are.  I think more often now before I speak or act and try to act in a conscious manner.

It Is Better To So What Is Humane Than What Is Right

Finally, toward the end of the discussion the other night, I realized that my intense discomfort with trying to decide what I thought was right was because it really is relative.  Several people had pointed this out quite vividly.  One action may be a good one in one sense but not in another.  Then I realized that instead of trying to do the right thing, perhaps doing the humane thing was a clearer guide.

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It appears that too many people in this world believe it’s all right to kill anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs.  So I have to ask, “Is it humane to kill innocent civilians who have had nothing to do with the political conflict that provoked this violence?  Why have we not developed a more humane way to resolve differences?”  Mahatma Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

Needing To Be Right May Make Us Blind

Unfortunately, much of the world seems to be blind.  As I follow the actions of the leadership of my state, North Carolina, I often wonder why they are unwilling or unable to find solutions to problems that are respectful of all people and their basic needs.  Where is their compassion?

To be humane means that we believe everyone’s basic needs are met by creating an economy that provides jobs for those who can work with salaries that allow even the most basic workers to make a reasonable living.  When middle and lower class workers pay a higher percentage in taxes than the most wealthy, there is a lack of conscience among those who allow such laws to exist.

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To Be Humane, We Must Find Inner Peace

When did we forget how to share as a nation?  How did we forget that democracy is about all the people?   Doing what is humane is always right because it is doing what will help or heal or support another who is in need. When we do that, we are expressing positive energy that flows out into the world, inspiring or helping others.  Every action we take affects those around us.

But our actions reflect our thinking, and until we can find peace and love in our own hearts, we cannot share it with others.  We must learn to accept different points of view and embrace those that are humane.  After all, the Spirit, of which we are all a part, has throughout time sent many holy ones into our world to teach us better ways to live with love and peace.

Shifting Our Thinking Can Change the World

When we look at the heart of the world’s main religions, there are few differences although each may emphasize different aspects of spirituality.  We would have a much more humane world if we would focus our efforts on seeing how alike we are rather than how different.  Shifting our thinking can literally change the world.  So how far are you willing to stretch out of your comfort zone to explore thinking that is different from yours?

I am always reminded of what my dear spiritual teacher Gladys taught me—that when I release my fear, my mind is free to find solutions to my problems rather than reasons to continue being afraid.  What would happen if we released our fear and allowed our most humane thoughts to direct our lives?  We could become the peace which we desire in the world.

©2014 Georganne Spruce                                          ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  A Human Approach to World Peace,  Peace Summit with Dalai Lama,Eckhart Tolle, and Nobel, 10 Eckhart Tolle Take-a-Ways for a Peaceful 2014

AWAKENING TO TRUE LOVE

“True Love is born from understanding.”  Buddha

Snow Bird Lodge

Snow Bird Lodge

For several weeks, I have not written a new post for the blog.  Life has become the priority—a mixture of joyous happenings and challenging struggles.  Dreams have come true and pleasures have been dashed.

Life Was Good

I was married in late June.  A year and a half ago, I wouldn’t have thought it was possible.  I had created a life, without a partner, that made me happy most of the time.  I had met a couple of nice men, but we weren’t really a fit.  I was promoting my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness and beginning to explore a way to publish some poetry.  I had found a stimulating discussion group where I was making new friends and was hiking with a nice group of people.  Life was good.

I Met the Love of My Life

Then I met my Love.  It was an accident.  I was on an online dating site and made the mistake of clicking on something that took me to a site I didn’t want to be on.  There he saw me with one of the posters beside me for the Releasing the Fear classes that I teach.  He said it was my eyes that attracted him.  When he later returned to the site, I was gone, but he didn’t give up.  He googled “releasing your fear” and information appeared that led him to my email address.

I’m glad he is a curious and sensitive man.  His email was thoughtful, letting me know he was not stalking me despite the search he had made, so I responded.  Of course, before doing so, I googled him as well and discovered he was a spiritual person and a writer.

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This was all a switch for me because in the past I had often been the one who made the most effort to get together with the men I met.  I liked being pursued, but I was cautious.  We used email and the phone to communicate and that went well, but I knew meeting him in person would tell me the most, especially since I am very sensitive to another person’s energy.

Spiritual Compatibility Is Important

The rest of the story is too long to tell here, but he came to a workshop and liked my work.  We read each others’ books and liked what we read.  Although our spiritual backgrounds are very different, we are very spiritually compatible and he has become a part of my spiritual community.  Still there are differences, and most conflicts came from not understanding one another.

Conflicts Often Result From Making Assumptions

So we learned along the way and will always be learning how to understand one another.  It is so easy to make assumptions and draw inaccurate conclusions about another’s behavior.  Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements advises us not to make assumptions, and that’s some of the best advice I’ve ever received.  Our assumptions are always about us and rarely offer us truths about the other person.

Part of my journey in this relationship has been learning how to live with another person because, with the exception of one year with a roommate years ago, I have lived alone since 1977.  I never realized how set in my ways I am.  Fortunately, my Love has had more experience, but he’s also flexible.  Together we’ve learned what to do to make this work.

There were some challenges, especially when I fell hiking in mid-April and broke my ankle.  My Love moved in to take care of me so that I would not have to go to a rehab facility.  It stretched us both, but his love and care were wonderful.  We joke about him earning his nursing degree during this time.  What I saw was a man who simply does what he needs to do to care for those he loves even when it’s difficult.  I learned I could trust him and depend on him.  He had inner strength.

Understanding One Another Leads to a Deep Love

But here’s the bottom line.  Many of us want relationships and marriage.  I’ve wanted it all my life but was never willing to settle for a relationship with a man who was uncommitted or controlling or not on a compatible path.  I just knew it wouldn’t work.  The truth is that the most wonderful thing about this marriage relationship is something I had never felt—a feeling so wonderful that it still seems quite unreal.

It isn’t the illusion of “being in love.”  It is something so much deeper.  It is knowing that on a spiritual level you are a match, that your love is a healthy love that supports you both.  It is a feeling of deep peace and joy, knowing you are loved for who you truly are, and that you share the same kind of commitment.  It is knowing that the other person will be there for you, and that you, without a doubt, will be there for him.

We Cannot Truly Love Another Until We Love Ourselves

I thought I knew what True Love was, but I didn’t.  What I had felt once in the past doesn’t even come close to this, but I also realize that I can experience this True Love because I have spent many years learning to understand and love myself and created a life I liked.  With these two things in place I was energetically ready to attract my perfect mate and had become the person who could be his perfect partner.

I’m now back on my feet, walking almost normally, but still doing physical therapy so I can return to my former hiking strength.  Life never feels quite complete without my time on the forest trails.  I feel most grateful for this healing and also for the partner I now have who shares all the paths I follow.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                       ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Dr. Wayne Dyer:  Dating, Desire, and Attracting Love, Deeper Dating – Finding A New Approach to Love, Relationships: True Love and the Transcendence of Duality (interview with Eckhart Tolle)

 

 

DANCING FOOTLOOSE AND FANCY FREE

“When you are joyous, look deeply into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.  When you are sorrowful, look again into your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”  Khalil Gibran

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Photo: Georganne Spruce

How do you handle disappointment?  Does it plunge you into depression or are you able to learn from it and still expect the best from life?

Yesterday I sat in the doctor’s office nervously waiting for him to appear.  The silence calmed me a bit as did the smile from my fiancé who was there with me.  The doctor came in smiling after having seen the x-rays of the ankle I had broken.  “A good sign,” I thought, waiting for him to speak.

We Share Joy Simply By Expressing It

His words were exactly what I wanted to hear.  The boot was booted, and I could bear weight again.  We were all smiling and I was so happy I forgot to ask the questions I should have asked.  He could tell from the smile on my face that he needed to add, “But no jumping or running.”  And he laughed joyfully with me.

I may have been seated but I was jumping for joy, and so were the nurse and my fiancé.  It was contagious.  But that is often the way joy is—it radiates and infects those around us, and before they know it, they are dancing the dance with us.

It’s the small things on this journey that sometimes give the greatest joy—being able to climb up six stairs without falling, being able to sleep with my foot free of the heavy boot, my fiancé bringing me a vase of Gerber daisies, having two hours to sit and talk with my best friend.  Even the ice cream I frequently get seemed tastier.

We Experience Sadness Only When We Lose What We Value

When we are forced to focus, we may actually realize that we become sad only when we lose or feel we will lose what we care about.  For an independent active person like me, not being able to walk for six weeks was huge.  For someone who is sedentary, it might be just an inconvenience.  For someone who follows a particular football team, the loss of a game is upsetting.  Not being a fan, I wouldn’t even notice.

I value freedom, and I need a lot of it in terms of making my own decisions, following my spiritual path, and writing.  None of these were affected by the restrictions I have had recently, but the physical restriction weighed me down so much that I began to get depressed about growing older, and I worried about the time when I would be permanently restricted.

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Even When Negative Experiences Occur, We Can Still Expect the Best From Life

At that point, I stopped and thought, “Wait a minute.  I never think like this.  I always assume I’ll be active until the day I die.”  I took a deep breath, did a little meditation, and let the fear go.  My sense of well-being returned.  What happens, happens, but I’ll always take the best care of myself that I can, so there is no reason to dwell on the worst that could happen.  It’s not unreasonable for me to expect all will be well even when, once in a while, negative things happen.

Because I was a dancer for many years, just being able to walk feels like an incredible freedom.  I feel like I’m dancing just because I can look other adults in the eye now instead of seeing the world from a knee-level perspective.  Everyone is my dancing partner and I’m feeling footloose and fancy free.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                             ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Allowing What Is, Worried? How Not to Let It Get the Best of You – Wayne Dyer

AWAKENING TO ACCEPTANCE

“Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world.  That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness.”  Eckhart Tolle

Photo:  Charles Davidson

Photo: Charles Davidson

Are you able to accept circumstances that displease you and move on, or do you stay stuck wishing the thing had never happened?  Do you resist accepting and letting go because you believe that validates what happened?  Are you able to accept what you can’t change?

Forgiveness Releases Negative Emotions

One of the most profound shifts in my thinking came years ago when I was taking a class in the fundamentals of Religious Science philosophy.  We were discussing forgiveness, and the minister pointed out that forgiveness releases you from your attachment to a hurtful situation and frees you to move on.  It doesn’t mean that you think what was done to you was acceptable; it means you aren’t going to hang on to your anger or hurt anymore.

Explore the Themes in Each Conflict

Often, we feel hurt in situations because we don’t understand why the other person has done the thing that hurts us.  At the time I heard these wise words, a friend of mine had dropped out of my life and just wasn’t available after she started living with a man.  I understood her life had changed, but I felt she had handled some things related to me in a very insensitive way. In our interactions with others, there are themes that run throughout our lives, often based on childhood experiences.  An abandoned child or one whose parent was not emotionally there much of the time may feel abandoned when a friend moves away.  Because this is a major theme, this event may be experienced in an intense way.  What is merely a sad event to one may be devastating to another.

Understanding Emotional Themes Helps Us Release the Drama

The intensity of what we feel may also motivate us to create drama around the situation or we may simply shut down emotionally, refusing to deal with it at all.  But unless we are willing to look closely at the underlying theme in these situations, we will repeat them again.  When we look at them closely and are able to understand what the situation is about at a deeper level, we release some of our attachment to the drama.  Then, we can more easily detach from it and accept the situation for what it is. According to Oneness, “Acceptance, unconditionally, of whatever has been presented, without the need to try to change, and without the need to fit it into the context of one’s own system of values, constitutes the recipe for release from whatever contractual arrangement may have been in place with certain beings.” (pp. 166-167) As Oneness points out, the intensity of our feelings may also be related to karmic connections with other people or karmic themes.  When we are able to release ourselves from these and even lesser drama, we are able to accept what is and release the other person with love.  As long as we hang on to the anger or hurt, the drama thickens within us even if we have no physical contact with the other person.

Frederick Leighton - Solitude

Frederick Leighton – Solitude

Release Fears and Allow Solitude to Heal

But how can we let go of those negative feelings?  Choosing solitude offers us the opportunity to go within.  Meditation may be very helpful in detaching from emotional turmoil, and along with that, I use the releasing fear practice that I teach because at the root of all negative emotions is fear.  I explore the fear beneath the anger and hurt.  What am I afraid of?  In the case of my friend, was I afraid I wouldn’t find another friend?  Was I afraid I’d never find a man who would love me? Then I direct my mind to release the fear, naming it specifically if I can identify it.  I breathe deeply and as I exhale, I feel the fear leave my body.   If negative emotions keep coming up, I continue the practice for each one, allowing quiet space to settle over me between each release. Another helpful technique based on acupressure points is the Emotional Freedom Technique of tapping.  I find it particularly helpful for the deeper issues that are more difficult to release with the release the fear technique.  After all, our emotions are energy, and this healing requires that we learn to release what is not healthy for us.

EFT

Tapping Points for Emotional Freedom Technique

Acceptance Includes Loving Detachment

When we have released our fears, we will be able to accept what is and move on even when acceptance may mean leaving those we love.  Oneness says, “Walking away with loving detachment is the lesson here to be mastered.”  Eventually, I was able to see my friend with more objectivity, understanding that the man with whom she lived gave her so much she had never had.  I could also see that I had always invested more in our relationship than she had—an indication that it had never meant as much to her as it did to me. Being able to see the themes in our relationship eventually allowed me to accept its end.  I was also moving into a new phase of my life that eventually would have separated us when I moved to North Carolina.  The end had just come sooner than I expected.  Accepting that as Divine Order was the key and I was grateful for the peace that followed. © 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                       ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5 Related Articles:  Basic Steps to Your Emotional Freedom, Acceptance is Vital – Eckhart Tolle (video), Acceptance and Surrender – Eckhart Tolle (video)

AWAKENING TO WHAT IS NEXT

“Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected.  Sustainability is about survival.  The goal of resilience is to thrive.”  Jamais Cascio

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

The problem with an accident is that there is no warning and afterwards the shock overtakes us for protection.  When reality finally sets in, it is hard not to analyze how it happened and why.

I’ve replayed many times that moment before I fell on the hike a couple of weeks ago.  There was a moment I hesitated before I stepped onto the spot where I fell.  If only I had hesitated a little longer and decided not to take that step.

We Cannot Change the Past

But we can’t change the past.  What’s done is done.  I have a broken ankle.  I won’t be able to walk for several weeks, so what am I going to do in the meantime.  I’ve done “angry,” “blaming self for being foolish” and “you should have warned me.”  So now it’s time to move on and make something good out of this.

 We Can Make Something Good Out Of Negative Experiences

It’s forcing me to rest more, which is good.  I kept saying I needed to make the time to meditate – well, now I have it.  I have the time to rest and think.   And I have to be more creative.  How will we take that trip we planned to celebrate a special time in a relative’s life?  How will I teach the class I was supposed to teach?

I wrote the first three paragraphs two weeks ago, and during the last weekend in April, I taught “How to Make Your Story Come Alive” at the Blue Ridge Bookfest in my wheel chair.  Somehow I had managed to finish preparing the workshop between severe coughing bouts (oh yeah, I developed a bad allergic reaction to the oak tassels falling in my yard) and insomnia.

Despite my limited movement, the class was very responsive and asked good questions and I enjoyed teaching despite the fact that I am used to moving around and writing on the white board.  It was a different experience, but I do prefer to be on my feet.

Photo: Charles Davidson

Photo: Charles Davidson

I also discovered that my fiancé is totally dedicated to my well-being.  He has become my home health care professional 24 hours a day and I feel extremely well cared for.  I don’t have to call on strangers as I did several years ago when I broke my elbow, nor do I have to go to a rehab facility where I am treated as senile although at the time I was there, I was fully in charge of my faculties.

 We Have to Adapt to the Changes

Over all, things have been going well despite my fiancé’s car dying the day we headed out for the bookfest.  Fortunately, mine was working well and we were able to reload the car quickly and arrive on time.  That same week the toaster oven I use to cook everything died.  Oh yes, and after living here ten years, for the first time, I’ve been called to jury duty—a couple of weeks before my wedding.

Of course this is all happening in the middle of our making final plans for our wedding.  Well, at least it hasn’t been boring.  Who knows what will happen next.  I’m at the laughing stage now, and can say, “We’ll deal with it.”

Most of the time, when the unexpected and not so pleasant things occur in life, all we can do is adapt.  No matter how hard we plan, life will create obstacles, and hopefully we can circumvent or overcome them, accepting that reality and perhaps learning from them.

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Photo: Georganne Spruce

We Can Learn Important Lessons From Negative Experiences

What have I learned from this experience?  That when I’m on a slippery slope, I need to weigh the options more carefully than usual.  My first concern must be my own safety regardless of what anyone else is doing.   I need to balance my daring and passion with thought and wisdom. I need to slow down and be sure my next step is on safe ground.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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 had 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 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