Category Archives: Uncategorized

AWAKENING TO THE HOME WITHIN

“Home is oneness, home is my original nature.  It is right here, simply in what is.  There is nowhere else I have to go, and nothing else I have to become.”  Tony Parsons

Home at Ocean

Is home a place for you or an experience?  What are the qualities you associate with home?  How do the experiences you have in a place affect your concept of home?

I didn’t grow up in one place and know it intimately as people do when they’ve lived forever in a town.  Not having experienced that, I can only fantasize about the security it must give one, a place where one truly belongs. But I’ve always been attracted to a wider field, to the infinite variety of cultures and perspectives of people who have risked and fallen over the edges where safety begins.

I’ve lived outside the box, often longing to want what is in it so that I would fit into the world around me more easily.  But whenever I’ve crawled inside and tried to stay there, I’ve been discovered as a fraud and turned away, rejected as unsuited for that particular mold.  Although it was painful at the time, I’m grateful for the circumstances that pushed me out into places where I learned things I would never have learned otherwise.

Cold Winters Develop Resilience

For example, living in Nebraska, I learned that many farmers (even those with mechanized farms) still planted by the phases of the moon although they never admitted it.  These were the descendents of pioneers who had survived the harsh cold deprivation of every kind and the unrelenting winds that howled so high and long that some went mad trying to settle this unforgiving land.

NE Snow

After my first winter there, facing over 30 straight days below 0, locked in a land of ice, I developed a new respect for my neighbors.   It took strength and perseverance just to walk across the street in winter.  The joke was that if the wind stopped blowing everyone would fall down.  But behind all that ice, I found plenty of warm hearts and prairie humor.

What We Resist May Persist

After my brother, his family and my parents all moved to New Orleans, I used to say I loved to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.  I wasn’t a party person, didn’t drink much, and ate healthy food; besides, it was sweltering all year round.  But, despite my original protests, I moved there because I wanted to see my nephews and niece grow up.  Seduced by New Orleans’ unique culture, I stayed for 12 years.

Ferns-in-New-Orleans-French-Quarter-Balconies

It was a love-hate relationship from the start, like trying to love a faithless man who, nevertheless, touches the romance in your soul and makes you laugh like Dionysus himself.  How could any writer not be enchanted with the French Quarter, standing on St. Peter beneath the apartment where Tennessee Williams completed “Streetcar Named Desire” or wandering through the dark, ancient alleys that inspired Anne Rice’s vampires?

In New Orleans I learned that punctuality wasn’t always a virtue, Mama was always Queen, a little lagniappe adds spice to life, and how to play like I was going to die tomorrow.

 Joy May Sometimes Hide Despair

I also learned about aching poverty, that some high school restrooms were so filthy kids cut class to run home and use a clean toilet, that school administrators had virtually no resources except hearts large enough to embrace the world.  I taught a crack baby turned 14 who could never sit still and saw the price everyone pays for allowing there to be a large, poorly educated underclass.  I taught kids whose fathers and brothers had been murdered and who mourned with despair when their favorite music teacher was gunned down.  I learned about anger and compassion.

All People Are One

Then I went to West Africa, traveling with other teachers on a Fulbright-Hays Travel Abroad Grant to study the literature and culture.  After flying all night, we landed with the sunrise in Dakar, Senegal on the edge of the Sahara Desert, and as I stepped onto the ground, I was overwhelmed with the feeling I was home in the deepest sense.

senegal women

Of course, the food was similar to the gumbos and jambalaya of New Orleans—most slaves brought to New Orleans had come from there—and I could hear the beginnings of jazz in the syncopated rhythms of the drums. But, it was more than that and more than the fact that humans originated in Africa.

Living Close to Nature Makes Us One

In that land, people still lived close to nature, the way I had as a child, eating from a garden and talking to the spirits of trees.  There, even Christians and Muslims integrated their traditional animistic spirituality into their daily lives.  These were people who offered the tea of friendship before they asked why you were there, whose lives were vibrant with the celebrations of rituals that gave meaning to each passage in life.

What Feels Like Home May Be An Illusion

Years later when I moved from New Orleans to New Mexico, I felt I had found my soul’s home at last.  Sunsets spread across the sky—hot pink turning to burgundy and orange melting into violet, indigo and deep space black.  On New Year’s Day, cold and crisp, the air was filled with the songs of the Corn Dance at Santa Domingo Pueblo, where the whole community danced together in sacred harmony.

adobenido.com

adobenido.com

But despite my love for this natural world and the indigenous culture there, in the world of my people there was no harmony for me.  Along with the beauty existed the reality of an earth blood-soaked with genocide, the energy of hate, and a need to protect lies.  Trying to speak the truth in my life and about the students I taught, I lost my friends, my spiritual community and my work.  The desert stripped me; my bones were burned bare by the sun.

Wholeness May Be Born From Pain

One night, in the midst of this pain and darkness, I dreamed that as I wandered through a new apartment, I found a darkened cave-like room with a high domed ceiling and rock floor.  Turning on the light, there stood before me a towering ancient cathedral, a holy place at the center of my being.  I learned I was finally whole.

I still sometimes envy those who live where their ancestors settled decades ago. But I know that if I had enjoyed such comfort all my life that security would have become a place for me to hide from the unknown.  Instead I have learned that we are all One, and I have a freedom I never dreamed possible because—everywhere I go, I’m home.

What is home to you?  Please Comment.

© 2006 Georganne Spruce                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: Home Is Not A Place, Finding Home Within You, We Take Ourselves With Us Wherever We Go

AWAKENING TO 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?

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

MAY PEACE, LOVE, AND JOY FILL YOUR HEARTS DURING THIS HOLY SEASON!

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I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR EACH OF YOU WHO READ MY BLOG – YOU ARE MY INSPIRATION.

BLESSINGS TO ALL,

Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO LIVE HONESTLY

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted in important matters.”  Albert Einstein

2011 003 (2)

Do you always tell the truth?  How do you feel about little white lies?  Are you the same person on the outside that you are on the inside?

Our Society Focuses on the External Self

Living in a world that focuses on the external rewards of achievement tends to influence us to think that how we appear is the most important aspect of self.  Our image sells products and sells who we are.  When I started learning about marketing for my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, I was startled to discover my name was my brand.  With that concept, it seemed to me that the business aspect of writing separated me from the artistic aspect of me that came from deep within my core.

Writing inspirational material and poetry comes from a very spiritual aspect of my being.  To quantify it and box it up into a presentation that would sell seems very unauthentic; yet, every writer wants to connect with the readers who will buy, appreciate, and perhaps benefit from her work.  The question then became:  How do I sell myself and my book with integrity?

Design by Leslie Shaw Design

Design by Leslie Shaw Design

This is not just a question for writers.  Many people are daily faced with this question in business and in relationships.  How can I be who I truly am and be appreciated and loved?  At the core of the question is the issue of honesty.

We Are Often Dishonest To Protect Ourselves

Growing up in a family where my mother and father often argued, I became the child who wanted to keep the peace, but I was also taught that it was a very bad thing to be dishonest.  Despite that, there were times when I pretended to agree with my parents or presented a situation as being slightly different from the reality just to keep them from getting upset.  I didn’t feel good about it, but it was part of the survival pattern I developed.

One day when I was a young adult, I thought about my impending marriage and decided I would stop telling “little white lies” to keep the peace.  It wasn’t right and I wanted an honest relationship with my husband.  I knew I could be a better person than I had been and vowed to make this change.  Putting a priority on communicating honestly greatly improved my self-esteem.

Being Honest May Be Challenging

But being honest isn’t always as easy as it sounds because the other person, a spouse, boss or colleague may not like our truth.  There are times when being honest can create huge problems for us.  It may jeopardize a career or relationship.  It may displease people we need to support us in various ways, so we weigh the benefit against the loss.

As Einstein suggests, if we are careless in small matters about being honest, we are most likely to be careless with important issues, and when we have stepped over that line, it may be very difficult to return.  We’ve seen this often in politics.  Richard Nixon is one of the outstanding examples.  Once you know someone has lied to you, it is difficult to trust them after this.

Honesty

Honesty (Photo credit: basswulf)

Honesty Is Basic to Our Spirituality and Wisdom

At the spiritual level, the damage we do to our souls is great when we lie or deceive others.  Thomas Jefferson once said, “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”  When we live honestly, there is a joy and energy that permeates our lives because we have no fear that our secrets will be revealed, for there are no secrets.  We have nothing to hide.  When we make a mistake, we acknowledge and take responsibility for it.  We act with integrity so that our words and actions match.

When we model a life built on honesty, we inspire others who may be drowning in the lies and secrets of which they are ashamed.  With these burdens weighing people down, how can they like themselves?  The fear that these secrets will be discovered will always be the shadow that hides who they really are and separates them from the sense of being one with All.

Honesty Frees Us to Love Ourselves

When we accept our deep, spiritual self and feel connected with Spirit, we know that we are worthy of love and learn to love ourselves.  When we love ourselves, we know we are worth more than living a life underground, and we have the courage to reveal our true selves, and clean up the messes in our lives.  As we discard our camouflage, we find a freedom and joy that is authentic.  We gradually learn to simply be who we are, and with the confidence that gives us, we no longer need lie or mislead.

What we put out comes back to us.  When we are honest and have integrity, we will draw to us people and circumstances who will relish our honesty.  Whatever falls away was an obstruction to our growth, no matter how painful that loss may be.  It is all a part of the path we follow to wisdom.

©2013 Georganne Spruce                                                   ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Wayne Dyer: Trust Your Inner SelfWorldly and Spiritual Values:  Humankind May Depend on Rediscovering a Natural Balance, Are You Being Honest With Yourself, Debbie Ford:  Honesty and Integrity (video)

AWAKENING TO LOVE THE SILENCE

“Keep silent, because the world of silence is a vast fullness.”  Rumi

Denver 015

Do you enjoy the silence or does it make you uncomfortable?  Do you avoid silence or embrace it?  What have you learned from the silence in your life?

What Is Silence?

We often think of silence as the absence of something: the absence of noise or conversation or the space between actions, but Rumi suggests it is much more than that.  When I think of the silence in my childhood, I remember the many days when I lay in bed ill.  I did listen to the radio sometimes, but often I read or drew paper doll dresses, or watched the birds or our pregnant cat trying to balance on the thin branches of the chinaberry tree.  For me, silence was creative or thoughtful time.  I had a lot of time to think about life at a young age.

At that time in my life, I rarely felt lonely in the silence because my mother or grandmother was always in the next room.  It was only later as an adult after a divorce or losing a friend that the silence became a lonely place.  Of course, as an introvert, I always needed some silence for rejuvenation, but for years, I experienced had mixed feelings about silence.

Silence Can Stimulate Creativity

At times, when silence appeared, I welcomed it, especially when I was a high school teacher.  It was such a relief, for a little while, to be away from the noise of a classroom full of spirited teenagers, and have the space and time to do my own thinking.  Silence was creative time too, and out of that silence arose poems, essays, and dances.  When I needed to think or plan, I welcomed the silence and lack of distractions so I could focus on the task at hand.

Silence May Create Discomfort

However, when I had nothing to do, I often felt uncomfortable with the silence, like something was missing.  I was uncomfortable doing nothing.  Only when I was near Nature did the silence feel comfortable.  But living in a city for years surrounded by noise, rarely walking through the forest as I did as a child, I lost touch with what I had valued so much in childhood.

It wasn’t until I started to meditate that I began to love the silence again.  At first my monkey mind seemed impossible to still, but with time, the practice worked and led me to other spiritual practices that improved my life, like learning to release my fear and envisioning what I wanted to manifest.  They all had one thing in common – I had to sit in the silence and find the silence within in order for a change to occur.

Silence Is A Way To Go Deeper and Love Oneself

In the silence, I found a deep peace simply by being there.  I let go of my need to always be doing.  I began to experience just being, and let go of any judgments my ego tried to create to distract me.  In the silence, I became more connected to Spirit and the spiritual guidance we can all hear only when we are willing to be an open channel.

In the silence, where I did not need to prove anything or do anything, I learned to love myself, for I could feel Spirit’s love for me and knew I was lovable.  Feeling this peaceful love allowed me to let go of all the ways I felt I was inadequate and understand I needed to learn to love others more and release my  judgments of them.

In Silence We Become One With All

Now, I am able to experience all the richness of silence without any discomfort.  Sitting in the silence gives me the same pleasure as soaking in a warm bath. When my life becomes too busy, I long for the silence, especially the silence of not thinking.  In the silence, the interruption of bird songs, breezes, sweet thoughts, physical relaxation, and the release of whatever I do not need at that moment all heal the rough edges of my soul, and they remind me that what is out there in the world pressuring me is not what is important.

What is important is that I remember I am One with All, and from this place of peace, in the silence, what I need to know will come to me, and what I need to know to heal, will be revealed when it is time to heal.   As Ram Dass says, “The quieter you become, the more you hear.”

What is your experience with silence?  Please comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                    ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

RELATED ARTICLES:  Eckhart Tolle – Silence and Stillness (video), Dive Into the Silence Between Your Thoughts, Awakening to Our Wildness, Being Authentic, Part 1,  Quiet Spirituality

DANCING TO AWARDS

(Please look in the side bar for the image awards.  They disappeared today from this space due to technical problems beyond my comprehension)

Over the last year, I received three blogger awards which I haven’t posted or followed through with.  I apologize for taking so long to reach this point, but I had to make finishing my book and publishing it the priority in my life.  I just didn’t have time to answer the questions and find so many other bloggers to link with.  So, in order to avoid delaying any further, today I will respond to all three.

I was excited to receive these awards and each time this recognition really gave me a lift.  I still don’t have a huge number of followers, but the ones I have are so inspiring, and I love their comments.  Some are close friends here in the mountains; others are hundreds of miles or continents away, but we are connected in a spiritual way and learn from each other.

First, I want to thank Dimitie Kendall who is a coach and writer with many positive thoughts.  She nominated me for both the Liebster and Sunshine Awards. Secondly,Yoga Leigh at Notes from the Bluegrass, who nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award, is a constant inspiration because she is so good at going deeply into major themes. Thank you both for thinking of me.

The Sunshine Award is given to blogs that positively and creatively inspire others.  As a winner one has to:

  1. Thank the person who gave you the award and write a post about it.
  2. Answer the questions on favorites.
  3. Pass the award to 10 inspiring bloggers, link their blogs, and let them know you awarded them.

Favorite Color – Green

Favorite Animal – Cats of all kinds

Favorite Number – 6

Favorite Drink – Mango juice

I’m on Facebook, but not Twitter yet

My Passion – anything that is creative

Getting or Giving Presents – I like both

Favorite Day – Saturday

Flowers – Daisies (I like their smiling faces)

In addition I am passing on the award to the following 10 bloggers.  Here are their links so you can visit and enjoy.  In addition to spirituality, I’m also interested in mythology, psychology and health.  You’ll see them all reflected in my choices.

1. Jeremiah, http://knowthesphere.wordpress.com/

2. Debbie, http://dailymuse.spiritlightinsight.com/

3. It’s A Jung World http://sycofx.wordpress.com/

4. Hand in Hand With Spirit  http://handinhandwithspirit.com/

5. Yvonne Serocki,  http://newheavenonearth.wordpress.com/

6. Alpha Miguel-Sanford, Aspire, Motivate, Succeed  http://amsdaily.net/

7. Artist of the Everyday http://artistoftheeveryday.wordpress.com/

8. Michael Clark, Earthpages  http://epages.wordpress.com/

9. Nadine Marie, Aligning with Truth, http://mytruthsetsmefree.wordpress.com/

10. SSHenry, Redefining Reality: A Metaphysical Odyssey  http://sshenry.com/

Now, on to the Liebster Award which is give to bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  I have no idea how to determine this, so I’m just choosing to award 5 more sites that I like.

1. I am to thank the person who gave me the award and link back to her blog

2. Copy and paste the award icon onto my post (at beginning of post

3. Pass the award on to 5 fellow bloggers and notify them

I will forward this award to:

1. Enlightened Living  http://iiriaa.wordpress.com/

2. Juanita, The Oneness Channeling, http://theonenesschannelings.wordpress.com/

3. Sara Morgan, http://workonmyterms.com/

4. Working Purposely, http://workingpurposely.wordpress.com/

5. Coaching Mary, http://coachingmary.wordpress.com/

And now to the third award, The Versatile Blogger, given to me by Leigh at Notes from the Bluegrass.  Thank you so much.  I have already linked to her site at the beginning of the blog.

The requirements for this award are similar to the others: thank the person who nominated me and link to them and tell the person who nominated me 7 things about myself:

I love to read Michael Connelly mysteries, my favorite fiction writer is Barbara Kingsolver, I rarely listen to music except for birdsongs, my favorite nuts are almonds, I like the daily readings in Science of Mind Magazine, my favorite vegetable is broccoli, I always wear earrings.

I must nominate 15 bloggers and link to them.  I’m sorry I can’t come up with 15 new ones so some will be repeats from other awards, but there are many good blogs.  Nominees:

  1. Health Demystified, http://healthdemystified.wordpress.com/about/
  2. Lori Deschene, Tiny Buddha http://tinybuddha.com/
  3. Muse Vault, http://musevault.wordpress.com/
  4. Hand in Hand With Spirit http://handinhandwithspirit.com/
  5. Three Well Beings, http://breathelighter.wordpress.com/
  6. Walter Smith, Newdigitalscapes , http://walterwsmith.wordpress.com/
  7. Yvonne Serocki, http://newheavenonearth.wordpress.com/
  8. Steffini Lum, Meta Body Mind http://newheavenonearth.wordpress.com/
  9. Enlightened Living  http://iiriaa.wordpress.com/
  10. Artist of the Everyday http://artistoftheeveryday.wordpress.com/
  11. Michael Clark, Earthpages http://epages.wordpress.com/
  12. Trish, Absolute Awareness, http://absoluteawareness.wordpress.com/
  13. The Inner Revolution, http://khatijadadabhoy.wordpress.com/
  14. Juanita, The Oneness Channeling, http://theonenesschannelings.wordpress.com/
  15. It’s A Jung World http://sycofx.wordpress.com/

I know this is a lot to absorb at once, but please try to take a look at some of the sites and save the page to look at more later.  I’ve learned so much from all these writers and I hope you will find them helpful too.  Again, many thanks to Leigh and Dimitie for this recognition.  Next week I’ll be back to my usual musings.  Namaste.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce                                                        ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

AWAKENING TO THE GUIDES IN OUR LIVES

“Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”    Rumi

Who have been the major guides in your life?  What have you learned from them?

Throughout the last year and a half, as I edited and prepared Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, I became more aware of the many transformations that took place in my life because of the influence of other people.  Some were pleasant experiences; some were not; some were lovely and disappointing. 

I’m not sure I believe the old saying, “Time heals all wounds,” but I do believe time gives us the ability to see those old experiences in a more enlightened way.  As we grow and learn, we hopefully come to a deeper understanding of our lives and the lessons we’ve learned from our life challenges.  At this point in my life, I have a whole basket of thank yous to hand out that I would never have viewed as good things at the time they happened.


Being Thankful For the Chaos

The summer after my divorce many years ago, I studied dance with Erick Hawkins. His gentle classes were just what I needed, and I learned more than one life lesson from him.  I wrote about the first awareness, concerning an injury, in the post “Body and Soul As One.”  The second awareness occurred as a result of a comment.

Hawkins in El Penitente, 1930s

Hawkins in El Penitente, 1930s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Hawkins.  

“That summer, Erick Hawkins was my spiritual teacher. One day, he said that in Zen one said, ‘Thank you’ when things were at their worst. The idea was profound—that we should be thankful for all experiences because we could learn from them and become more aware. Although I learned to have more respect for myself after the injury, I wasn’t yet able to see what positive things I had learned from my divorce. So I thanked Erick Hawkins for opening my heart and showing me how to have compassion and respect for myself as well as for others. I could even say, ‘Thank you for the chaos of my life,’ having faith that someday I would know what good sprang from it.”

Forgiving Ourselves and Others

Now, many years later, I can see how badly matched my ex-husband and I were, and how we were so unprepared, at that stage in our lives, to give each other what we needed in a relationship.  I no longer blame him or me for the hurtful choices we made, but I did learn how a good relationship requires the kind of communication we didn’t have.

Feeling Gratitude For What Is Good

It was many years before I really embraced Hawkins advice, but now part of my daily gratitude practice is being thankful for the difficulties that arise in my life.  I say, “Thank you for this difficulty and the valuable lesson I will learn from this.”  I have learned that nothing is meaningless and trust that the opportunity to learn lessons is everywhere.

The next relationship I was in, I chose a man who was an artist and whose spiritual life was entwined with art like mine.  I wrote about this relationship in the book as well.

“In the quiet of an early Sunday morning, I reread the letter from Neal that had arrived the day before. Embracing me with his words, he said I was very dear to him and that he found pleasure in my mind, smile, laughter, and movement. How lucky I was to have found a fairly liberated man, but a part of me was afraid to surrender and love him completely because losing him would then be unbearable. The spiritual bond that our art created between us was deep, for sometimes he thought he was me—that was the only way he knew to describe it, as if we had developed from the same root. We hurt in similar ways, we grieved in similar ways, and we celebrated in similar ways. When we danced or made love, a sheer, pure pleasure flowed through us. We could appreciate silence, share it, and not feel ill at ease. Even with hundreds of miles between us, I felt his touch.”

The relationship lasted for eight years.  At times we were just friends; at other times, we were lovers considering marriage.  There was joy, laughter, and tears, but despite our powerful connection, we parted.  Although we loved each other, he didn’t really want what I would call a relationship, and I could not live the way he wanted us to live. Despite that, the list of positive things I learned from that relationship is endless, not the least of which was that I could be loved for who I truly was.

Letting Go And Finding A Better Life

These are only two examples of the many guides who have passed through my life and taught me who I am and how to live with more joy and meaning.  When I began to write my memoir I was searching to understand why I was experiencing so many negative things.  Now I can look back and say, “It was time for me to move on and I wasn’t moving,” so the Universe made it impossible for me to stay where I was, and I am so grateful.  Without that push I might not have come to North Carolina, I might not be writing, I might not have the life I love.

What is one of the important lessons you’ve learned from a guide in your life?

I hope you will want to read more of my story and how I used my spirituality to grow and change. Awakening to the Dance: a Journey of Wholeness is now available as a paperback at Create Space and as an ebook on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  The paperback is also available on Amazon in this country and some European countries.

I will continue to the Wildness Series as I have time to interview some wonderfully wild people I know.

©2012 Georganne Spruce                              ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

AWAKENING TO WILDNESS, ONE WITH NATURE, Part 2

“In wildness is the preservation of the world.”               Thoreau  - thoreau’s Birthday is today

What is your relationship to nature?  Are you a hiker, fisherman, gardener?  What part of you comes alive when you are in touch with nature?

The Soul Is Wild

“The soul is like a wild animal – tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient, and yet exceedingly shy.  If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out.  But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of a tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek.”  Parker Palmer

What is it about wildness that touches so many of us deeply?  For my friend Jerry, it is nature’s inability to be domesticated.  Even at four years of age, he was allowed to go into the forest where he created fantasy games, often related to the stories he was reading.  The woods were his playground.  As a young man, he ran a program similar to Outward Bound.  He was a woodsman first and later became a psychologist.

Wildness Is Central To Spirituality

Jerry often quotes William Blake or Thoreau, both writers who embody wildness.  When I asked him how wildness relates to his spirituality, he said, “It is central to it.  I’m part of the natural—part and parcel of the fauna—I’m not outside looking in.  I can’t think of spirituality without wildness.  I’m not sure I could be wild if I lived in the city all the time because that environment is so domesticated.”

The Space With No Name

During my twenties, I was enthralled with the Romanic writers, the transcendentalists like Emerson and Thoreau, who saw a deep, but wild connection between nature and spirituality.  So, when I was first invited to visit Jerry’s “Space With No Name,” I was truly awed by its natural beauty and felt as if I had stepped into another world.

After Jerry and his wife Jane moved to their cabin in the woods, he needed a space to put his parents who had passed away and been buried on someone else’s land.  After one plan fell through, he found a beautiful rhododendron area.  As he wandered through it, he thought, “This is not a graveyard, the old burial ground; this is a wilderness space that will sanctify my parents.”

Gathering wood off the ground, he created a little container and using the contours of the hill as paths, he created this special space.  He put creatures on the fence posts and before long, he says, “The space over ran itself.” Every day he walked the paths, very attentive to what was there, then the next day in the very space that had been empty, a creature would appear—branches with knarled ends or pine knots, stumps with interesting configurations, or rocks with faces.  Things began to show up on their own, and he swears they also moved around, sometimes falling off perches or appearing mysteriously in new places. He insists, “I swear, it became alive.”

I have no doubt this is a sacred space.  The last time I was there, I glanced toward a small metal sculpture of a dancing earth mother and was stunned by what I saw next to it.  In the same area was a knarled wooden creature that looked like a samurai warrior that had once appeared in a vision I had while meditating.  For a moment, all time and space was one, and my unconscious become conscious—which is what this space does to one.

In “The Space With No Name” there are around a thousand creatures, natural and ones created from several natural forms.  I asked Jerry, “Aren’t these composite creatures art?”

“I don’t want to claim it as art,” he said.  “It’s fine with me if people say, ‘You’re not a caretaker, you’re an artist.  It may be one and the same thing.  I was never a painter, poet, or composer.  I didn’t and don’t do Art, yet living so close to Art, I recognize and appreciate her presence, practice, and performance, and her Wildness, and She has surprised me with a gift of animistic sensibility in the “Space With No Name,” where I am in close communion with the living, breathing woods and hundreds of wild creatures, including rocks, roots, stumps, pine knots.  There are hawks, bugs and birds; trees, red fox, wild turkey, bob cat, bear, raccoons and possum; stealthy presence of coyotes.  Neither owner nor creator of this space, I am lucky to be its caretaker.

Being One With All That Is

His animism permeates Jerry’s whole life.  “This rock, in my space, that I sit on has an eternity I don’t have.  I wouldn’t take all this as seriously as I do if I weren’t animistic.  I’d say, ‘That’s just a tree stump.’  But it’s so much more.  One day, Jane was working on a sculpture, a mask.  I was walking around and saw something sticking out of a tree stump.  I was curious so I pulled it out—it looked like a mask.”  He pointed to the mask-like image sitting on the tree stump in front of us.  When we are in touch with our core of wildness and Oneness, these things often happen.

As I listened to Jerry, I realized his relationship to nature exemplifies Oneness.  We are all a part of Oneness—one with each other, nature, and the Universe, but we are not all conscious of it.  It is only when we become aware of it, that it enriches our lives. The wildness of Oneness is at the core of what Jerry experiences each day when he enters the “Space With No Name.”  He is truly blessed by that experience, and I am truly blessed to know him and his wife Jane who shares his sensibilities.

What part of yourself do you find in nature?

©2012 Georganne Spruce                                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Awakening to Wildness, Being Authentic, Part 1, John Muir, Zen Buddhism in John Muir

AWAKENING TO THE DANCE – THE BOOK IS HERE!

Design by Leslie Shaw Design

Is there some project you keep planning to do that will ignite your passion?  Are you willing to share what you’ve learned in life with others?  What has inspired you lately or who have you inspired?  How are you part of the One?

As many of you know from reading this blog, I’ve been working on a spiritual memoir for ten years.  Finally, I have completed it and it is available as an eBook on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  A paperback will be available in a few weeks.

What a journey this has been! I spent years going through the journals I’d kept since the 1960s.  I cried, laughed, relived events, pondered how I had changed through the years, and healed in many ways.  In addition to the personal healing that occurred, I started learning to write.  I took classes, joined writer’s critique groups, and asked endless questions of every writer I met.

The Real Story

What is the content of the book?  Basically, it’s about what it was like to be a woman trying to find an authentic identity in a time when women were narrowly defined by society’s stereotypes.  It’s about the years when I was a dancer and taught dance.  It’s about relationships and how the men I knew also struggled with society’s male stereotypes.  It’s about trying to balance creativity and practicality.  It’s about the challenges of working in school systems that were inadequate and the contrast between them and private schools.  It’s about the spiritual journey at the core of all of this and all the spiritual practices that helped me become the person I wanted to be.

Why Me?

I never thought I would write a memoir.  After all, I’m not a celebrity.  I haven’t been addicted to drugs or alcohol or been a victim of abuse—the subject of so many memoirs.  But at a very critical moment in my life, a woman suggested to me that there was value in sharing my journey—that other’s might benefit from it.  At that moment, I needed to believe something positive would come from my suffering.

I’ve also experienced great joy in life, and I wanted to share that too.  For me, there is nothing quite as transcendent as dance or love.  I experienced healing and growth through my career and personal life.  I accomplished my greatest dream.  I found my way to a wonderful life in the mountains of western North Carolina.  If sharing my journey with you will guide, entertain or enlighten you, then I know the years of work were worth it.  I guess I won’t ever really give up being a teacher.  Now, rather than being in a classroom, I teach through sharing my thoughts.

We Are All One

We’re all One, but each journey is unique.  I’ve learned so much from every person who has ever been in my life, and I’m eternally grateful for the lessons I’ve learned.  It is my greatest hope that this book will be inspiring or helpful to my readers in some way.  May you be blessed.

For more information on the book, click here or visit Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Next week, I will return to the theme of “Awakening to the World,” including some experiences from my trip to West Africa.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

May Peace, Love, and Joy be yours!  My next post will be on January 4, 2012.  Have a Happy New Year!

Tamay Drinking From the Lotus Fountain