Tag Archives: Flexible Thinking

DANCING TO CHALLENGING EXPERIENCES

“Experience is not what happens to a man (or woman); it is what a man (or woman) does with what happens to him (or her).”  Aldous Huxley

Denver 006

Do you enjoy having new experiences?  Have you had any unpleasant experiences lately that taught you something you needed to learn?  Can you see any experience as a door to deeper understanding? 

Last week I traveled to Denver where I had lived in the 1980’s.  Needless to say, it is huge compared to the Denver I knew, the one with only three skyscrapers, the one without a huge botanic garden, the one where trees did not completely overshadow my apartment building.

What I remember the most about the time I lived in Denver was that I found a spiritual path that has served me well, one that does not keep me attached to one set of ideas, but one which has taught me to trust all possibilities and be open to new experiences.

Enjoying New Experiences

I had several new experiences on this trip:  deep meaningful conversations with new friends, a wonderful day in the Denver Botanic Gardens, the exposure to “Soundsuits” created by Nick Cave in an exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, a trip to Vail through the magnificent and enormous Rocky Mountains, and four dry days of beautiful sunshine—something we haven’t seen in Asheville in months.  I felt I was dancing with delight all week.

Denver 001

Despite this philosophy at the core of my life of being open to new experiences, I like the comfort of routine:  regular meals with healthy, organic food, a similar bedtime each night and a good eight hours of sleep, and some meditation time.  For the most part, these comforts were easily integrated within the vacation time because my friend and I were staying with very accommodating friends.

Events Are Spiritually Challenging When Unexpected

However, our actual trips to and from Denver were the most irritating experiences I’ve had in years like the early days of learning to dance when every step was stumbling and awkward and rarely flowed with grace.  These red-eye flights left very late in the evening around 12:00 or 1:00 am and took me way beyond my comfort zone.  They totally disrupted my eating and sleeping routines.  The trip to Denver included the flight to our major airport being cancelled close to the time we planned to leave for the local airport, so we had to drive for two hours to get the flight which was then delayed for an hour.  We had been unable to choose our own seats and the ones assigned to us were the last seats which do not tip back.  The last time I had been forced to sit in such seats, I deplaned with serious back pain.  In this case, there were no pillows available to support my back and no extra seat to which I could move.   In addition, when we tried to relax and sleep as most people around us were trying to do, a stewardess behind us chattered loudly and incessantly.

So, what was I to do with this?  It was impossible to relax physically.  This was a three hour flight.  I was accepting of the need to drive rather than fly to our major connective city.  I was relatively patient when the flight was delayed.  But by the time we boarded the plane, I was feeling that this was too much, and my patience had run out.  I felt frustrated and angry at everyone who had contributed to this problem.  All I wanted was to go to sleep, but this was impossible because of the discomfort.  I hate to admit it, but I think I snapped and glared a lot.

Frustration Is the Result of Not Letting Go of Expectations

But what upset me the most about this experience was that I was unable to reach a place of peace that would have allowed me to accept the situation, go within and let go of my attachment to the discomfort.  I have done this in other situations.  Why not this one?  Probably because of my expectations.

My expectations were that I would have a comfortable seat where I could lean back and sleep.  I thought I would have a pillow available.  I didn’t realize they were no longer available except in first class.  If I couldn’t sleep, I thought I would just read, but I was so upset, I couldn’t focus on reading.  Most of all, I hated being in an environment where I had no control over my personal physical comfort, and I was unable to adjust my mind to accommodate the reality.  I was stuck mentally, unable to take the next step.

Fortunately, I was able to let go of my frustration about the trip as soon as I arrived in Denver.  I was so grateful to be able to sleep on a comfortable bed and immediately plunged into the joy of being there.  By the time we left for home at the end of our visit, my friend and I knew what to expect.  Although the trip home was also in the middle of the night, our plane left on time.  This time I had no expectations and was able to be in the moment each step of the way.

Releasing Expectations Creates Inner Peace

There were still no pillows available, but the seat back tilted a little.  I took a lot of deep breaths, reminded myself to be patient, read a little, did something close to meditation, and reflected on how grateful I was to be traveling with a dear friend, to have had a few days of sunshine, and enjoy the wonderful uplifting energy of a city where my life had been transformed.  Although I was still physically uncomfortable, I was able to be in the moment more.

Would I choose to take another red-eye flight?  Probably not, but if I did, I’d emulate some of the smart teenagers I saw traveling.  They brought their own pillows and sometimes a blanket, curled up in their window seats, and slept like babies.

Choose the Dance of Peace

It’s all about how we deal with the challenges because they won’t stop appearing in our lives, but we can use them to grow and expand our practice of our spiritual principles.  We can always choose the dance of peace.

How do you deal with uncomfortable situations you can’t change?  Please comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                  ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Nick Cave’s Art (scroll down and watch the first video), Why You Aren’t At Peace Right Now – Eckhart Tolle,    Eckhart Tolle – From Beng Upset to Being Peace (video)

DANCING TO THE MUSIC OF YOUR HEART

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”    Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Do you ever feel that you don’t belong? Or that the people around you at work or home don’t understand who you are?  Are you searching for more meaningful experiences with others?

Tina Turner Chickens - Biltmore Estate

Is Our Inner Music Positive or Negative?

If you can answer yes, to any of these questions, perhaps you are dancing to the music that others don’t hear. And that’s okay as long as you like the music within. Is it a song of joy and love of life or of depression and sadness?  If you don’t like the song vibrating within you, then it’s time to change it.  If you do like it, then it’s important to just accept you are in a different place than those around you and that’s okay.

It is not surprising that we sometimes feel we are dancing to different music than the people around us.  When we are rooted in Spirit, we often do not share the values of our society at large.  We may try to explain to others who we are, but often they are not ready to hear this, for our different point of view threatens them.  In this situation, we experience discomfort because we feel separate.

But we are the only ones who can release feelings of separation by choosing to raise our vibration.  For example, I have a tendency to sing when I’m drying my hair.  It distracts me from the discomfort I feel holding the much too large hair dryer over my head.  Lately, I’ve been singing “Summertime” from “Porgy and Bess.”  I suppose it’s wishful thinking.  When I finish drying my hair, instead of thinking the usual, “Thank goodness that’s over,” I feel cheerful and in touch with my passion for life.  Throughout my day, I dance to the energetic music I created from the heart.

Awakening to the Highest Response For All

We feel good when we feel One with All that Is.  When we meditate or walk by the seashore, we become One with the beautiful energy of Spirit.  In less peaceful situations, we need to allow that core energy to resonate within us.  We do not need to repress our feelings.  We need to feel them, then go within to take the time to choose a wise response.  We need to ask our inner selves, “What is the highest response for all concerned?”  That response will also be the best response for us as well.  We need to learn to be responsive rather than reactive.

The highest response does not always guarantee that the other person will agree or understand our perspective, but it is an opportunity to influence others.  Oneness says, “Those of you who have chosen to experience your awakening amongst the masses are planting the seeds of that heightened perspective in plain view, right where the world needs them most.  The lives of those you touch, even in passing, or teach by example, as you follow your own inner path in their presence, will be transformed by it.” (Pages192-193) Being different is often a blessing.

As with many things, we may not be present to see that transformation in our adversaries.  It will first be internal and invisible.  It may take place years from now.  We need not become attached to knowing what happens.  This was a lesson I had to learn as a teacher.  Over the years, so many students came through my classroom, and I never knew what influence I had on all of them.  I could only do my best and know that those who needed to learn the nonacademic lessons and were ready to learn, would learn.

Dancing With Others to the Music of Our Hearts

When others can hear the music to which we dance, we are energetically drawn to one another.  The more I concentrate on keeping my own vibration up through dancing and exercise, meditation, good food, mental stimulation, and positive thinking, the more I draw  like-minded people into my life.  After all, we are responsible for the song our heart sings.  Although it may be tempting, betraying the song within in order to connect to what is around us is never wise.

If you continue to dance to the beautiful music within you, others will begin to hear the music of your heart and soul.  Blessings for the New Year.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  Beyond the Beyond (how music and prayer transformed Tina Turner), Heart Chakra Meditation, Conflict Resolution or Heart-Centered Communication

AWAKENING TO DANCE IN THE RAIN

“Some men (and women) have thousands of reasons why they cannot do what they want to, when all they need is one reason why they can.”  Martha Graham

Are you living the life you desire? What are your reasons for not doing that? Does every day flow peacefully as you easily move from one difficulty to another?  Or do you find your progress stymied by irritating and distracting events and issues?  What changes do you need to make?

Being Spiritually and Emotionally Stuck

Last week, I listened to a friend explain that she had not used the Emotional Freedom Technique I taught her to release negative mental blocks.  She was still thinking and processing the information.  We were in public so I listened politely, but I was surprised.  This was energy work not mental work.  I wanted to say, “It doesn’t matter what you think about it.  If you don’t try it, you’ll never know if it works.”  If thinking hasn’t caused her to become unstuck by this time, it isn’t the solution.

Only action can dig us out of our emotional ruts.  There is no perfect moment.  There is only the moment when we decide to act.  Thinking in a new way may bring us to this moment and help us see a new path, but until we act, we have not experienced the value of a new choice.  It is the experience that creates a new life for us.  Instant manifestation does occur, but most of the time what we want to manifest requires us to take at least one active step in the direction of what we want.

Only Thinking About Change Doesn’t Create It

Many years ago, I knew a man who wanted to get a job.  He was very spiritual and spent a great deal of time doing positive affirmations, but no job appeared.  When I asked him what jobs he had applied for, he answered that he hadn’t applied for any.  He just knew the right thing would come along if he kept affirming.  Finally, in desperation, he applied for one and got it.

It’s relatively easy to find reasons for not pursuing our dreams or making changes.  Our fear always gets in the way, and we camouflage it with practical excuses.  We can’t take the job we really want because it won’t pay enough or we’re sure we wouldn’t get it because we don’t have enough experience.  We create endless resistance.  We convince ourselves that making the change is impossible and come to a point where we feel good about not acting.  Accepting the status quo calms our fear, and it goes underground.

Taking the Risk to Dance in the Rain

But of course, the longing for something more does not go away and eats at us from time to time.  We find a good reason to change, but we convince ourselves it isn’t the right time.  Life is too complicated right now.  We don’t have enough money or support.  A wonderful unknown author once said, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to be over, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Dancing in the rain, especially without an umbrella like Gene Kelley used, is a crazy fun thing to do.  We laugh, we sing, we let all that rain we were afraid would ruin our hairdo pour over us and we feel free like a child.  For one moment, we forget all the negatives and live life.  Without even realizing it, we have taken that blind leap of faith and are doing what we feared.

Taking the Blind Leap and Aligning with Godself

 So I wonder, what is my friend waiting for?  She has plenty of excuses not to act, but she needs only one reason to take that leap.  Oneness says that it is not courage we need to make this leap, but total detachment to outcome.  “That blind leap is one that is taken not within the confines of your mind, but is sourced within the depths of your heart of hearts.” (Page 76) By aligning with one’s Godself, one is able to know that “the outcome will reflect your highest possible good…” and “that there is nothing to fear.” (Page 77)

In the coming days, in the midst of the holiday bustle, let us be in touch with our heart of hearts, move lovingly through the storms, and take time to dance in the rain where we are open to all good things and cleansed of the fears that limit our joy.  Peace, Love, and Joy to you all!

©2011 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  How We Get Hooked and How We Get Unhooked – Pema Chodron; Letting Go

ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

ACCEPTING THE RHYTHMS OF LIFE

“Not everything that is faced can be changed.  But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”  James Baldwin

Accepting Divine Order

When I first heard the term divine order, I latched onto it as way of describing the fluctuations in life that I didn’t always understand.  If a wonderful synchronistic event occurred, I labeled it divine order.  If something thoroughly unpleasant or tragic occurred, I labeled it divine order.  Divine order became the way I described all the mysteries in life.  It explained the unexplainable and helped me to accept what I couldn’t understand.

Learning to accept what is, whether we like what is happening or not, helps us to find peace and erases the resistance that may prevent us from understanding what is occurring.  At times, it may not be clear if what is occurring is a good or bad thing, but by accepting that it is in divine order, we acknowledge it is part of our reality.

Denial Undermines Our Power

People have a tendency to deny the negative experiences of life.  By doing so, we prevent ourselves from growing.  We need to acknowledge all experiences so that, if we are able to improve a situation, we don’t let the opportunity pass by.  Some things can’t be changed, but ignoring the ones that can only makes us feel less empowered or victimized.

The recent events at Penn State are a perfect example.  Many who were aware of the child abuse there chose to do nothing.  They denied and hid what they knew.  They refused to face the horrific effect their lack of action had on many young children.  Being unwilling to face their responsibility to stop this abuse, in the end, led to their disgrace.  Denial only delays the day we have to face the thing we fear.

Accepting What We Cannot Change

Unlike the Penn State disaster, there are events that occur over which we have no control.  The only thing we can control is our response.  A loved one becomes addicted to drugs.  Time after time they make foolish and dangerous choices, and time after time, we talk to them, and love them.  We may pay for them to see a counselor or go through a drug rehab program, but nothing we do changes their behavior.  We have faced the situation and are unable to change it, so we must accept it as it is.

Is the self-destruction of our loved one in divine order?  It is very difficult to believe it is, yet it may be the very experience that will eventually transform this person in a truly positive way.  In the middle of it, we have no way to know.  We can only accept what is and have faith that there is a karmic or spiritual reason for our loved one’s behavior.

Our society has encouraged us not to express negative feelings.  We’re supposed to be positive all the time, and in one sense, our society has encouraged us to deny what we really feel.  There’s nothing healthy about this although it is best for us to be aware of expressing those feelings appropriately.  But denying that we feel what we feel makes it impossible for us to resolve those problems and the issues around them.  We have to face it, if we want to change it.

The Divine Gift of Acceptance

Every year in January, a spiritual group to which I belong has a gift exchange.  We each bring an item that has meant a great deal to us, but one that we are ready to release.  The items are placed on a table and each person gets to choose.  Then, that person explains why they have chosen the gift and the person to whom it belonged explains what it meant to them.  Several years ago, I chose a stone a friend had originally bought at a Deepak Chopra seminar.  Across the stone is written “Acceptance,” and it lies on a table in my family room where I see it often to remind me that I need to accept what I cannot change.  Every year, I think, “I’m ready to let go of this.  I’ve learned about acceptance,” but inevitably life presents me with another lesson to illustrate that I still have more to learn.  I guess I have to accept the fact that I need to keep the stone for at least one more year.  How do you find acceptance with the difficult areas of your life?

© 2011 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles: Acceptance and Surrender, 12 Practical Steps for Learning to Go With the Flow, Dangers of Denial

THE SPIRITUAL TREASURE OF MOVING ON

“How do geese know when to fly to the sun?  Who tells them the seasons?  How do we humans know when it is time to move on?  With the migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within if only we would listen to it, that tells us certainly when to go forth into the unknown.” Elisabeth Kubler Ross

Letting Go and Moving On

The first red and yellow leaves of autumn fall in my yard, and it begins: the dropping away of what is not needed, the extraneous, the extra weight of burdens, the sadness we kept hidden while the light of the summer sun lured us into denial.  Tears surface for no apparent reason, feeling like toxic waste that our cells and minds have finally released.  Autumn reminds us that in our own lives, it is the season to let go and move on.

The towering oaks shed their acorns, and the squirrels, filled with delight, fly from tree to tree like circus acrobats on speed and gorge on the nuts, becoming plump.  Some things will die, while others come alive, gathering the rich harvests before the first freeze like the bears preparing for their winter hibernation.  The Spirit in all of nature whispers guidance for this transition, where to find the best blueberries or the best migratory path to warmer lands.

Choosing Wise Paths

That voice whispers to us as well.  Walking in the forest after several days of rain, I turn my face to the patches of sunshine filtering through the trees, drinking it in as if it were water in a desert.  My friend and I start to take a different hiking path and have no idea where it will take us.  We have to be home at a certain time, but when the trail starts to curve away from the stream we know will lead us back to our car, a quiet voice inside whispers.  We reluctantly turn back, agreeing we will explore this path another time.

During autumn, here in the Appalachians, the variety of color and the length of time it lasts, gently and sensually eases us into the introversion of winter.  It gives us time to think about where we need to go in our migration through life.  It gives us time to explore what changes we need to make and what habits, thoughts, or attachments we need to release. We are gently reminded there are some things we cannot control.  Change is inevitable.  Parts of our lives will fall away. But deep inside there is a voice that will tell us when to let go.

Spiritual Gifts of Accepting Change

Now in the autumn of my days, I have learned to quiet my mind and listen to that voice.  I love the richness of this time.  Like autumn shedding her leaves, I must shed some attitudes.  If I expect my body to perform as it did twenty years ago, I will incur injury; yet, by scaling back the intensity of the activity, I can do almost everything I used to enjoy.  I can be the squirrel running up and around the tree if not the squirrel flying from branch to branch.

Just like the beauty of autumn leaves, being willing to transform and move into a new mind-set, relationship or job, even if they are not what we envisioned, can bring beauty and wisdom to our lives.  Without the change of seasons we live a boring existence.  We would become so attached to our limited ideas of what a life can be that we would never move on and venture into the unknown where treasures we cannot even imagine lay buried, waiting for us to unearth them and become transformed.

As the cool breezes blow and the brilliant autumn sun shines through the branches of the trees it is time for us to reevaluate our lives.  Where do we need to be in our own hearts and minds when winter arrives?  What path do we need to take on our journey to reach an abundant and warmer land?

As a reader, what topics would you like for me to write about?  What issues concern you?  I appreciate so much the comments you all share, so let me know how I can be more helpful to you.  You may leave your suggestions in the comment box.

© 2011 Georganne Spruce

Related Readings: How to Let Go of Negative Feelings – Abraham Hicks (video), Graceful Exits: Knowing When to Move On, Moving Through Change

TRANSFORMING THE FEAR OF CHANGE

“People can’t live with change if there’s not a changeless core inside them.  The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about and what you value.”  Stephen R. Covey

Fearing Change

We always have more than one choice in life.  Will we give into our fears in a situation or will we find that core within us that will give us the strength and guidance to go beyond the negative choices that fear dictates?  Carlos Castaneda said about difficulties, “We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong.  The amount of work is the same.”

We live in a time of enormous change and fear.  The Universe, our lives, the structures of nature and government are changing and evolving.  Even Facebook has just made some changes.  Every time I go to the grocery store, I have to hunt for a product I have bought for years because its container has been redesigned.  Our DNA is changing.  Everything is evolving toward an experience of Oneness that will create a new and more cooperative world, but it sure is a pain sometimes.

At our best, we just give up and flow with what we can’t change.  At our worst, we fight the change every inch of the way building a wall of useless resistance.  We wonder if we will survive this.  We fear the consequences because the unknown is always a scary place, unless….

Finding the Spiritual Gift of Change

How often do you consider the possibility that the changes in your life may be good?  When I had to give up being a dancer, I thought, “Who am I, if not a dancer?  As the years passed and I looked at who I was more deeply, I realized what a narrow definition I had given myself.  I was much more than a dancer.  Now, if you ask me who, I will say, “I’m a creative and spiritual person.”  These aspects are part of my core.

When we choose to feel miserable about the changes in our lives, we choose to be less and see ourselves as the victim without any power.  Although this may seem like the easy way out, it isn’t.  Our most powerful strength is not the strength we use to fight against change; that will only defeat us.  What we resist, persists.  The strength that we need to develop in these changing times is unrelated to the exterior.

Awakening to the Strength of Our Spiritual Core

When we meditate or sit with Nature and escape from the external worries of our lives, we find that quiet, centered place where we connect with Spirit and our own soul, for they are One. When life is raging around us, being able to stand in a place that is peaceful allows us to make wise choices.  From this place, we can release our fears, separate ourselves from the outer discord, and look within our hearts and souls for the best answers.  When we choose to stand in our own inner power, we empower ourselves.

While I can’t say change never bothers me, I have learned not to fear most of it.  Many times I don’t know the answer to my most current challenge, but I know that if I stay in touch with who I really am, I will find the answer.  I know there are lessons in all experiences, and I know a significant experience may appear out of nowhere.  I have learned to see life as a wonderful mystery and I’m willing to take the ride, even when it gets bumpy.  I have had many challenging experiences in life, but whenever I have chosen to be strong rather than miserable, amazing opportunities and lessons have appeared.

What path do you choose today?  What do you think about Castaneda’s comment?

© 2011 Georganne Spruce

Related Readings:  How Simple Thinking Leads to a Brilliant MindThe Change Paradox:  Transforming Fear into Excitement and Opportunity

AWAKENING TO THE DANCE OF THE HEART

“Out beyond right-thinking and wrong-thinking there is a field.  I’ll meet you there.” Rumi

Dancing As One

Today let’s talk from the heart, for only the heart can take us to that place beyond the rational mind where we can let go of ego’s need to be right.  When we live and dance from the heart, we are not limited to dancing with one partner; we dance the circle dance that includes us all.  The man doesn’t always lead, nor does the woman, because there is no leader.  There is room for all in the circle, for we dance as One.

As we dance, we may pull and stumble, but after a while, the movement begins to flow, all individuals moving in harmony as if the circle were only one body.  It’s not hard to see why circle dances have been a part of spiritual ritual since the beginning of humanity. They were powerful dances of community where all came together for the good of the whole.

The Dance of Cooperation

In many aspects of modern life we have forgotten what our ancestors knew.  We cannot survive without cooperating.  I’ve lived all around the country and been exposed to many cultures.  In some places, community is about conforming.  Everyone has to think and act alike. New solutions to problems are not welcome. In those places, I felt I was suffocating.   But now I live in a community that embraces individuality and revels in new ideas and innovative businesses.  Here we have found a way to cooperate and honor what is unique about each of us while we find solutions to meet the needs of the community.

Dancing from the heart as we live life takes us to that field to which Rumi refers.  There is no competition there, only cooperation, a field where we can act from the heart, a place where we come together and release our need to be right and feed our egos, a place where love of humanity is sincere.

In all aspects of our lives, we need to shift our focus from competition to cooperation.  Competition teaches us that someone always has to lose, but in reality, the only time we really win is when we cooperate.  Then we all win.  Working together creates healthy, wholesome bonds.  In this atmosphere, we are not afraid to think creatively and to consider the possibility of solving problems in a totally different way.  With this thinking, we move beyond what is a right or wrong idea and focus only on what works and enhances our lives.

Finding “The Field”

What would the world look like if we all lived from our hearts, our seat of wisdom?  What if our leaders created coalitions instead of blocks?  What if we embraced our differences instead of fearing them?  What if we could accept and love our partner’s eccentricities.

Where there is love there is peace.  With our hearts open, let us find “the field.”

© 2011 Georganne Spruce

Related Links:

Young@Heart, Heart-Centered Leadership