Category Archives: Inspirational Posts

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.”

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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

AWAKENING TO COMPASSION

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.  Without them humanity can’t survive.” Dalai Lama 

Photo by superhua

Photo by superhua

Do you have compassion for those who are suffering in the world or only for the people you personally know?  Do you have compassion for yourself? 

Only Fear Separates Us From Others

We are living in a world deeply troubled by fear and separation, so how do we live with that day by day?  It is so easy to believe that our thoughts and actions have no consequence, but they do.

We are all energy—our actions, words, and thoughts are energy that we put out into the world.  If what we offer is loving and compassionate, that energy will help heal those who live in fear.  After all, fear is the only thing that separates us.

Differences Can Teach Us What We Need To Learn

I am very grateful that, in my life, I have lived in unique environments where I was always rather different from those who were born and raised there.  Because of this, I’ve learned to look beyond what is different in others to see what it is we have in common.  Even the differences have been valuable because they taught me new things about life and made me stretch and learn to adjust to a new environment.

I was fortunate to travel to West Africa on a Fulbright-Hays Travel Abroad Grant in the 1990s.  I was living in New Orleans, a place where the culture was deeply influenced by West African culture.  I saw the roots of its music, food, and the commonality of emphasis on family and community.

As for living in New Orleans itself, I learned to let go, have fun, and take life less seriously.  Those were lessons I needed to learn at that point in life.  The rest of my immediate family lived there, and it was a joy to be close to family after years of living far away.

During the time I lived in Nebraska, I learned that at a distance the landscape looked bare to a mountain-loving person like me, but in reality, there was a much more subtle beauty to that land.  You just had to pay more attention to see it.  The same was true of the people who tended to be not very emotionally expressive.

Photo by Wicker Paradise

Photo by Wicker Paradise

We Need To Look Beyond Political and Cultural Differences

I’ve also lived in New Mexico where the art and Native-American relationship to the land touched me deeply.  And I’ve lived in Washington, DC and its political climate.  But in each case, I learned something new that helped me understand that we are all different and yet all alike.  Our humanity binds us together despite the cultural or political differences, and it is our humanity that matters.

Compassion Heals Us

The Dalai Lama reminds us that we will not survive without love and compassion.  When we love our neighbor, we care about him or her.  We are concerned for his struggles.   The definition of compassion that I like the most is “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”  So compassion is not just about our feelings, it is also about what we do.

When we express compassion, we help others to heal by sharing our love with them.  We can bridge gaps caused by religious or political differences by focusing on our human needs.  By expressing this aspect of our humanity, we are saying we are all One, and that is what matters the most.  Healing ourselves and our society can only happen when we put aside the fears that separate us.

Fear Separates Us

On the national and international level, it seems that all the focus is on what separates us, and at the source of that is one thing—fear.   A spiritual teacher of mine also mentioned in the 1980s that unless we learn to release our fears, we will destroy ourselves.  But she also said that 1986 was a turning point when 6% of the population reached an awareness level that would allow us to heal our lives and survive as a species.

As wars rage, especially in the Middle East, her words are haunting because the need to control others has taken over our ability to relate to those who are different.  We are only concerned with being the person or country that has power over others.  But in most of these wars, a group that has been oppressed is fighting for freedom, and in some instances what they are doing may be the only way a correction can be made at this time.

Loving elephants

We Must Release Our Fears

One of the reasons, I teach workshops on how to release your fear is that releasing our fears is the only way to free us from the confines of insecurity.  It is only when we feel insecure that we need to control others.  When we feel secure within ourselves, it is natural to love and feel compassion and we reach out to others who are in need.  When we express this positive energy, we begin to change our world, person by person.

We may not be able to stop the international wars, but we can stop the wars in our own lives by learning to let go of the fears that create problems.  Letting go of those fears helps free us to love ourselves and others, and when love is in our hearts, we do feel sympathy for others’ difficulties and will choose to reach out to help in any way we can.

By Practicing Compassion, We Become Peacemakers

In this world we have allowed power and fear to control life.  What if we chose love and compassion instead?  We could save not only our own lives, but the world as well.  We have to be the heroes in our own journeys.

Current Release Your Fear Workshops – click Here

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                    ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Small Acts of Compassion Can Save the World, Compassion Can Change the World, You can Change the World – ComPASSion Project (video) 

AWAKENING TO THE NEXT GOOD THING

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.”  Alexander Graham Bell

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Have you ever been offered the opportunity to do something new but turned it down because you had your mind set on something else?  Do you ever find it difficult to let go when it’s time to move on?  How open are you to new experiences?

Often Difficult To Let Go of Grief

When a door closes in our lives, the death of a friend or loved one, the end of a job, or bad knees end our tennis games, our tendency may be to hang onto this lost reality.  We can’t see that the end of one thing may be the beginning of something else that is equally or more meaningful because we are so submerged in the feelings of loss.

Recently, I lost a friend, a photographer, whose pictures of nature blended beautifully with my nature poetry.  Because of that, we created slide and reading presentations for our spiritual community’s weekly celebration.  I feel the loss of her as a friend, but I also am grieving the loss of our creative collaboration.  It is hard to accept the idea that she and those experiences are gone.

Photo by Elliott Brown

Photo by Elliott Brown

When I first stopped teaching full-time, I started writing more seriously, but I still spent years looking for another teaching job, even when it became apparent that no one was hiring someone with as many years experience as I had.  I was afraid not to have a full-time regular job, so I still didn’t commit myself totally to the writing or look for a writing job.  The door stood open for years before I was willing to walk through it.

New Opportunities May Lay Behind Open Doors

When I finally committed myself to finishing my memoir, everything I needed magically fell into place.  Once it was completed, other amazing things started happening.  Years earlier, a medium had told me that when I finished my book, I would meet the man of my dreams.  At the time, I thought that didn’t sound very realistic—what did those two things have in common?

I missed the point—following my passion allowed me to be who I truly was and attracted to me someone who could appreciate who I was because he was also a writer.  By completing the book and developing a blog, I opened a door.  I gained confidence in my abilities and felt I was finally doing what I was called to do.  But my love’s side of the story is also about closed and open doors.

His wife died after a long illness and his grief was so deep, he wasn’t sure he could go on.  Finally, he came to a point where he decided he could go on, knowing that was what she wanted for him.  Eventually, he stepped away from his former life and walked through the open door, not knowing what he would find.   Because he was willing to risk stepping into the unknown, we met each other and have created a lovely life together.

Love Birds

Photo by Skadi

There Is Always A Time To Move On

When we cling to the door that has closed, we stunt our own growth.  Our lives, like the life of the earth, must move through many seasons just as spring always follows after winter.  It is good that we spend time grieving when it is appropriate, but the time also must come when we are willing to look at that open door and walk through it to see what treasures lay on the other side.

We never know when the next good thing will come along, so it is wise to remain open to new experiences.  When we choose not to, it is usually because we are afraid of the unknown or feel inadequate.  If we learn to let go of those fears, we can better see if the opportunity truly has value for us.

Fear Blocks Us From Choosing New Experiences

Fear is the source of every block in our lives.  If we make it a habit to avoid open doors, we strengthen the resistance caused by fear.  When we feel fearful, we are reluctant to move forward because our minds focus on our former negative experiences instead of focusing on solving the current problem.  Releasing this fear will free us to move through that open door.

Releasing Our Fears Gives Us Courage and Joy

Without fear, we can more easily discern if the new option being presented to us is, in fact, a wise choice.  Without fear, we can discern what elements of the situation we need to explore more completely.  Without fear, we will be more in touch with our intuition and inner guidance and be open to experience more joy in life.

Open doors are always an opportunity to look at something we may never have considered or that is available because our life or thinking have shifted in some way.  It is the open door that lets the light through.   But we’ll never be able to experience its healing unless we step through it.

If you would like to know more about how to release your fears and you live in the Asheville/Flat Rock, NC area, consider taking my “Release Your Fears” class at Blue Ridge Community College, Center for Life Long Learning. Mondays March 3 & 10, 1-3 pm, $30.  Register ahead at the college or call 828-694-1740.  For more information and my video, see Workshops.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: How to Become Open to Life, Seven Secrets of a Joyful Life, 50 Ways to Open Your World to New Possibilities

AWAKENING TO LOVE LIFE

“True, we love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving.  There is always some madness in love, but there is always some reason in madness.”  Petrarch

Valentine's flowers

Photo by Ralph Daily

 Do you love life?  Or do you find it a burden filled with negative experiences?  What do you do to create a life you can love?

There was a time in my life when nothing I planned seemed to work out.  Each project came to an end before it was completed.  Each relationship, which in the beginning held such promise, involved obstacles that we couldn’t surmount.  I often thought, “If I just had that one true love, life would be a joy.  It would be worth living.”

I think that this belief was connected to my mother’s unhappiness.  She and my father were opposites, and he was a rather emotionally withdraw person, but she was outgoing and easily showed her warmth and love.  But living with a man who couldn’t show his love in the way she needed him to wore her down.  She once commented that the reason my grandmother was so happy was because she had always had someone to love her.  My grandfather was always a very expressive, loving person.

Love Includes Respect

For years, I tried to find that perfect one.  Once I was married and at another time I was in a long distance relationship for eight years.  I really tried, but there was always some respect for me that was missing.  My ex-husband thought that my passion for modern dance was a childish interest that I would eventually grow tired of.  The other man wanted a relationship where he only had to spend ten percent of his time with me and could do whatever he wanted, regardless of how his choices affected me.

Trash Cans

Photo by Joel Bombardier

A Spiritual Journey Connects Us to the Divine

Fortunately, as various aspects of my physical life fell apart or refused to materialize, I gave some attention to my spiritual journey.  Some of the things I learned as I explored this divine connection helped me see that I did not need to stay attached to the negative feelings created when things didn’t work out the way I planned.  I began to sense that I could feel happy about life even when its events didn’t please me.

Positive Energy Helps Us Manifest What We Want

Perhaps pursuing a career in dance was sheer madness, but dancing fed my life with constant joy, just as writing or walking in the forest does now.  I began to understand that what I had planned didn’t work out because, sometimes, something better was around the corner.  When I decided to complete my memoir and publish it, I had reached the point in my journey where I knew how to use positive energy to manifest what I wanted.

To Be Loved, We Must Love Life

What I had learned over those years was that if I wanted love in my life, I had to love life.  I had to always find a moment, a thought, an experience, or a friendship that was uplifting and I had to embrace it with gratitude.  Even when things didn’t work out, I could at least feel good that I had the courage to try.  I learned how to turn the negative into a learning experience.  Instead of seeing myself as a failure, I chose to applaud myself for the attempt.

2014

Photo by coolal2111

Loving life is a decision we make.  It is easy when we have all we need, are well-loved, and are doing what we love to do.  My own life is so much easier now than it used to be.  With some retirement money, I can afford to write, and with a loving partner, it is so much easier to feel and express love in the world, but long before either of these things happened, I had awakened to loving life.  It was only after I truly learned to love life that my perfect partner appeared, drawn to me by what I wrote in my memoir and blog.

Loving Life Draws More Love to Us

When we learn to love life every day and be grateful for the good in it, we will draw more love to us.  So how do we do this?  Learning to meditate will teach us to be in the moment and to go deeper into our emotions to discover what lies at our core and the cause of any fears that are limiting us.  Learning to release our psychological fears will free our minds of the blocks the fear creates and allow truly helpful information to come true.

We Love More Easily When We Are Balanced

We also need to learn techniques that balance our energy, such as chakra balancing, Reiki, or Emotional Freedom Technique.  These techniques also help heal the body as well as the mind, for true balance includes both.  Balancing our energy brings us to a more centered place emotionally so that we can more easily see our wisest choices.

Knowing how to work with our bodies and minds empowers us, and feeling more empowered makes it easier for us to love ourselves.  In order to love our lives, we must love ourselves, and thinking positively about the chances we take.  Seeing value even in our failures reminds us we are basically worthwhile and good.  To love life, we must believe in ourselves.

We Must Love Ourselves In Order To Truly Love Others and Life

No matter how many people love us, if we don’t love ourselves, we are lost.  Loving ourselves is the most powerful aspect of life.  My mother didn’t love herself; she thought that was selfish.  She thought she had value only if she helped others.  I rebelled against that because I saw how unhappy she was.  At first, my rebellion was very selfish, but as time went by and I discovered that loving and taking care of myself made me a more confident person, I also began to understand how to give to others from a place of love, not obligation.

Loving the sheer wonder of life and reveling in our spiritual connection to it makes life truly worth living.  It connects us with All That Is.  Please comment.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Relationships-True Love and the Transcendence of Duality (Eckhart Tolle), Loving Awareness: Jack Kornfield and Eckhart Tolle, Accepting Who Your Are and Learning to Love Being Alone Are Essential to A Happy Life, Learning to Love When Life gets Hard

DANCING TO LIFE

“Dance when you’re broken open.  Dance if you’ve torn the bandage off.  Dance in the middle of the fighting.  Dance in your blood.  Dance when you’re perfectly free.”  Rumi

Photo by Sandy Jones

Photo by Sandy Jones

Does your dance of life include the dirges as well as the waltzes?  Can you find some peace or joy in the really challenging parts of life?  Are you able to let go when it’s time to let go?

It has been a tough few days.  My dear friend Sandy passed on this week although I hoped somehow she would survive cancer.  Whenever I think of Sandy, I think of her beautiful photography and her eternal dance with nature.  She invited me to join her one day to take pictures and I learned so much.  She had a magical eye and each picture she took showed me some aspect of the subject that I would have overlooked without seeing it through her eyes.

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Challenges May Often Change Us For The Better

Sandy was such an inspiration to me as I sometimes took her to chemotherapy.  During our rides, we began to talk deeper in ways we never had before.  She shared more of her life, and she opened like a blooming red rose.  I won’t try to describe the change that took place—I’ll let her speak for herself, so please take a moment to listen to this video, and meet my dear friend.

When I heard a week ago that she would make her transition soon, I began to really feel the loss.  I couldn’t bear the thought that we would never dance together again as artists as we had when she created a slide show to match the poetry I read.  Our exciting creative collaboration was really the center of our friendship, and it had been a long time since I had created work with another person.

Soon after hearing the news, I walked into my bedroom where one of her photos hung on the wall, a picture of a bridge over part of a stream with dogwood framing the scene.  And there she was standing on the bridge waving good-bye to me smiling, and every time in the last week that I have passed that picture, her image was there in my mind’s eye.  I felt such peace knowing she was ready.

Photo:  Sandy Swanson copied from the original

Photo: Sandy Swanson copied from the original

We Can Always Choose How We Respond To Life

Sandy reminds me that the dance of life is so varied and we can’t always make it be what we want it to be.  I am starting a new life with the most loving partner I could ever imagine; Sandy has passed from this life.  It doesn’t seem fair.  Life—it just is.  Someday I’ll be crossing that bridge too—we all will.  And it will be my final dance, but in the meantime I’m going to dance to all of life and feel each moment completely.

Dancing to life is about engaging with whatever is happening and feeling it fully.  We can kick up our heels joyfully or we can drag our feet remorsefully.  We can jump start new projects or we can slowly waltz around them.  It’s okay if the dancing hurts sometimes because life isn’t always good to us, but if we learn to cultivate joy, it can lift the quality of life immensely.

We Can Dance With Our Bodies And Minds

There’s no better way to find joy than to dance with our bodies or our minds. When I write I dance with words.  Others make preparing food a dance.  This week, the Olympic skaters will be dancing on ice.  When we hike in the forest, we dance among the trees.  A good dinner and conversation with friends is like a dance.  When we sleep, we may dance with our dreams.

When I feel sad about Sandy, I remember that she’s now with Oneness and she is well—dancing with the stars, I suspect, and of course taking their pictures.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                                   ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Finding Peace in Death, Navigating Loss and Dealing with the Pain of Letting Go

AWAKENING TO LIFE’S GIFTS

“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.”  Tony Robbins

Auroa Borealis

Photo: Beverly & Pack

How do you feel about good things that come from a negative experience?  What gifts has life given you?  How much do you love yourself?

I love the change of seasons.  They keep life interesting, even winter with its storms, snow, and extreme chill, for unlike spring when I can hardly stay inside, staying warm inside during winter is a pleasure.  I curl up on the couch with a good book or sit at my computer writing for hours totally absorbed with a story and new ideas.

Many Gifts Are Unexpected

For example, I was looking for a file the other day, thinking how I seriously needed to clear out a lot of old folders, when I came across a folder marked “Affirmation Project.”  To my surprise, I found a mock-up of a self-made book of affirmations that I had written.  A few years ago, I gave it as a gift or was selling it at a bazaar—I honestly don’t remember, but I had forgotten about it.

I read through the book and liked what I had written, and now that I know about independent publishing, it occurred to me that I could easily publish it.  I was so excited and immediately thanked Spirit for guiding me to this.  “What a gift,” I thought.

Two Friends

Photo: Guido Stein

Only We Can Choose to Live Well

Voltaire said, “God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.”  So what does that mean to live well?  I think it means to be the best person we can be: to love ourselves and others, to develop our talents so that we can contribute to the world and give back in response to the gifts that come to us.

Life’s Gifts May Be Hidden Beneath the Surface

Life’s gifts come in many forms, sometimes hiding beneath the surface of an experience that isn’t so positive.  We may feel that the experience is dragging us down is certainly not a gift.  It is only in retrospect that we can see the chain of events leading to a precious gift or an opportunity to become more.

A few years ago, I slipped and fell on ice and broke an elbow and pelvis.  I was in the hospital and rehab for an entire month and still needed help after that.  It was an awful experience that included a lot of pain.  Without family in the area, I was very fortunate to belong to a spiritual community that had just formed a Circle of Care group that became my family and helped and nurtured me.  In fact, so many people wanted to help that I had more help than I needed.  Their love and attention healed me as surely as the medical care I received.

Among the people who helped was a woman who has since become a very close friend.  Her kindness and generosity of spirit always inspire me.  In addition, I learned that I could always call on my community in a time of need.  That gave me a security I didn’t have before, and I made more room in my life to be active in that community.  Recently, when a member I knew had cancer, I gladly drove her to chemotherapy.  Again, there was a hidden gift as she revealed more of herself to me and our conversations created a deeper friendship.

Gift

Photo: asenat 29

To Live Well, We Must Love Ourselves

Part of living well or giving back requires that we love ourselves enough to value our talents and put them out into the world.  I once had a friend who told me she didn’t have any talents.  I knew that wasn’t true.  She was a teacher, so every day she was giving to her students a gift that was most valuable to them.  Sadly, she couldn’t see this value because she just didn’t love herself enough to value her own strengths.

Growing up in a family that saw life in a very concrete way, my desire to live a creative life was treated as frivolous although it was my parents that exposed me to the beauty of all the fine arts.  They felt that the arts were inspiring to view, but impractical to do.

Our Greatest Gift Is Being Who We Truly Are

But at a very early age, both dance and writing seemed to be part of who I was.  When I wasn’t doing either, I was fantasizing about doing them.  At some point, I realized that these talents were spiritual gifts that I could not ignore.  I became a dancer first because I needed a young body to do that, and in the process, I healed my weak body and developed a valuable mind/body connection.

Later, when I needed to give up the strenuous physical demands of dance, I turned to my second gift, writing.  I realized then that my mother’s insistence that I always speak and write with grammatical correctness had been a gift I could now truly appreciate.  Through writing I healed many issues and areas of emotional distress as well as expanding my ability to express myself intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.

The More We Are Ourselves, The More We Have To Give

There is a beautiful freedom that comes with expressing who we really are.  By becoming more of who we are, we have more to give others.  And the more we become who we truly are, the more we have to contribute, in a positive way, to the life around us.

Love and Joy Expand Our Energy

My dearest spiritual teacher said that our purpose in this life is to expand our energy by experiencing love and joy.  One way we can do that is to develop the spiritual being that we are, to experience gratitude for life’s many gifts, and by appreciating the opportunities that life offers for our growth and awareness.  What can you do today to give something back to this life by becoming more?

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                       ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: The Secret to Happiness, Appreciation Appreciates Into Love, Ten Ways to Be Who You Truly Are