Tag Archives: Going Deeper


“First one seeks to become an artist by training the hand. Then one finds it is the eye that needs improving. Later one learns it is the mind that wants developing, only to find that the ultimate quest of the artist is in the spirit.” Larry Brullo


Vincent Van Gogh’s Olive Trees with Yellow Sky and Sun

Are you creative in any way? Do you feel a need to express your creativity? How do you express it? How does this connect to your spirituality?

Creativity is not a simple subject. In this time when rationality is still valued in the dominant culture, the non-physical aspects of creativity and spirituality are not always considered important. In this country, arts programs are the first to be cut in the public schools despite numerous studies that indicate how artistic activity is significantly valuable to the development of young minds.

The Spiritual and Creative Are One

Despite that, the creative and the spiritual often intermingle, for they both come from an internal, non-physical connection. On the non-physical level, I cannot tell them apart for they both seem to come from an inner knowing. The idea for a poem appears any time of the day or night and is streamed to me from an inner source. It flows onto the paper. I do not think about it initially. I may edit it later, deciding what to keep, but I never interfere with the original flow.

As Julia Cameron says, “Creativity requires faith. Faith requires that we relinquish control.” We have to trust that inner part of ourselves. Not only does creating require faith, but it requires us to experiment, to play, and to explore the unknown. Even the most realistic painting is not just a pastoral scene, it is also the reflection of the artist’s vision and skill.


Sean Hedges-Quinn

Recently, I attended the Marsha Powell Festival of Religion and the Arts at VCU in Richmond, Virginia. I spent three days immersed in lectures and activities including a wide range of artistic expression and theory on how art and spirituality are intertwined in various settings and in the artistic mind.

Understanding the Creative Mind

My husband Charles Davidson, a Van Gogh scholar, was on the first panel along with Cliff Edwards, another Van Gogh scholar, and Laura Kreiselmaier whose presentation was on the concept of transliminality in art. They provided a fascinating look at Van Gogh.

Anyone who has read about Van Gogh knows that he had a volatile temperament, so the concept of transliminality that Laura introduced was intriguing. Transliminality is the tendency for thoughts, feelings, perceptions, sensations, images, ideas and intuitions to move in and out of one’s consciousness. This happens more frequently with artistic people than with those who are not, and it certainly describes my experience with art.

Artists Awaken to Spiritual Creativity

Because I spent many years as a modern dancer and choreographer, it is virtually impossible for me to hear music without dance images coming into mind. A part of me always wants to move to music and so my mind does the choreography even when I’m sitting still. I also feel a sensual response to any music I find pleasurable.

Speaking about her art, Georgia O’Keefe said, “I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—the things I had no words for.” So what was the source of this knowing? How did she or any artist know what color or shape to use?


Georgia O’Keefe – Cala Lillies with Red Anenome

Certainly training contributes to an artist’s expression, but there is a deeper, spiritual source that also guides what is created. Vincent Van Gogh was a deeply spiritual man. At one point he even wanted to be a minister. This intertwining of spirituality and art is deeply explored in Charles Davidson’s wonderful book Bone Dead and Rising: Vincent Van Gogh and the Self Before God.

The Spiritual Dimension Awakens Art

Van Gogh’s paintings are vibrant and alive with energy and light, especially the flowers and landscapes. The artist clearly sees more than what the average person sees. His pictures tell us about what he feels when he looks at the scene, person, or object. Because he is so intently connected to nature and sees beyond the surface of life, he offers us more than what we see, he pictures a spiritual dimension as well.

What was so wonderful about the conference I attended was that I saw many ways that artists are touched by their religious and spiritual awareness. One artist, Ernesto Pujol, creates silent performances in public places, recognizing that our endless chatter and doing distracts us from our spiritual and creative centers deep within. His work was inspired by Buddhist mindfulness.

Ernesto Pujol's Walking Ground

Ernesto Pujol’s Walking Ground

Fleming Jeffries’ sees drawing as a way to slow the mind and get in touch with the unconscious. Much of her art is about connecting deeply with nature or her environment. Currently living in Qatar, she must navigate with empathy the complexities of living and creating art as a non-Muslim woman in a Muslim society.

In a world that is still so attached to rational thinking, we need to develop our creativity, in whatever area suits us, in order to develop our whole selves. One does not have to be an artist to be creative. Business people, technicians, doctors, teachers and all people have opportunities that arise where they have to use creative thinking to solve a problem.

But it is perhaps art—dance, visual, theater, or music—that touches our hearts most deeply and is a place where we can all experience the Divine and our own spiritual creativity.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                                     ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Transliminality,  Awakening to Wildness: One With Nature, The Relationship Between Spirituality and Artistic Expression: Cultivating the Capacity for Imagining









“We cannot stop the winter or summer from coming. We cannot stop the spring or the fall or stop them from being other than they are. They are gifts from the universe that we cannot refuse. But we can choose what we will contribute to life when each arrives.” Gary Zukav

Iris at Beaver Lake

What does spring mean to you? How do you change your life in the spring? How do you enliven your life or your community at this time of year?

Spring is about new life. Each year it awakens in many ways, distracting us from the winter blahs with flowers we haven’t seen for a year springing to life. Yesterday as I walked through the botanical gardens with a friend, trillium, buttercups, trout lily and a dozen colorful flowers peeked through the brown leaves that had blanketed the ground all winter. Continue reading


“Give me the splendid, silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling.” Walt Whitman


Do you enjoy winter and its snowy days? Do you like the glint of the sun on ice? Or do you love to curl up near a fire and disappear into a book or write poems about a lost love?

Quiet Winter Days May Be Creative

I have to admit I am rather excited by snowy days when I don’t have to go out and can use the weather as an excuse to just read and nap while the winds whip around the house and spill branches into the yard. And yes, I build a fire in the fireplace and sometimes poems rise to the surface as I sit, not needing to do anything.

I lived in Nebraska for two years when I taught dance in the university and winter lasted most of the year. The first thirty days I was there in December and January the temperature was below zero. It wasn’t unusual to walk around in snow up to my knees.

On one of those days I wrote this poem. No doubt many of you can relate to this picture today.


 Ice bends the trees of this arid land

So that woods appear like shrub forests,

Locked in a white crystal blanket.

The sun sparkles, shatters, plays

Off the hills like a melody of mirrors

Playing songs through the air.

The land flies by as we drive,

Like silver plates skipped on a stream.

Gray deer dart across our path,

Flying shapes connected to the land

By color and vibrance,

Alive in this frozen world

Where ice has stopped the flow of human life.

Only what is close to the land

Survives, vibrantly, through the ice.

Unlike most days in Nebraska, the sun has come out today and melted the icy streets in this North Carolina mountain town, but it has been a lovely contemplative day. I’ve been sifting through my poetry, deciding it is time to publish some and trying to decide where.

Winter, A Time To Turn Within

Winter is the perfect time to turn within and contemplate our lives and evaluate what is working and what is not. When spring arrives, we will be too distracted by the beauty it showers upon us to stay inside ourselves to do this work. But when the cold frosts the windows and makes the stairs treacherous, it feels safe to go inside, to do winter’s version of spring cleaning and decide how we want to change our lives during this year. So, I guess the decision I’ve made is to get busy sharing my poetry, make a book, get it published, and publish some poems on the internet.


Poetry Is A Very Personal Form

Poetry is so personal, and I feel nervous about putting it out there. Silly, isn’t it, when I’ve already published a memoir that is very personal. So today, I’ll share another poem which really is a silly poem I wrote as I imagined being a tree. We poets do things like that. Of course, maybe I was a Druid in another life.


Mountains hold up the snow,

While cedars talk of rumors

In the wind,

Shaking their heads as if to say:

“Mother Earth better watch out

For those wily hunters of fortune.”


 Wishing all my readers a lovely warm day!

How do you like to spend a cold winter day? Is it a good time for you to turn inward? Please share and comment.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                               ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  13 Ways of Making Poetry a Spiritual Practice,
Sanity: A Dialogue with Echkhart Tolle


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

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






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

2011 006

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

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

Good Can Come From What Appears To Be Negative

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

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

Negative Experiences Can Be Learning Opportunities

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

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


 We Can Grow By Being Open To Learn From Disappointments

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

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

A Loss May Make Room For A New, Beneficial Experience 

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

Photo: nyul/Fotolia

Photo: nyul/Fotolia

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

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

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

2011 027

We Can Only Know Ourselves When We Go Within

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

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

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

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                              ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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


“I must not fear.  Fear is the mind-killer.  Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.  I will face my fear.  I will permit it to pass over me and through me.  And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.  Where fear has gone, there will be nothing.  Only I will remain.”  Frank Herbert, Dune


How do you feel when you’re free of fear?  How do you find that mental place?  How does it affect your life?

I’ve never read much science fiction, but a few years ago when I read Dune, it motivated me to explore that genre, and for a couple of years, that was all I read.  I was awed by the authors whose imaginations could conjure up whole new worlds—a talent that I hadn’t explored in my own writing.

To Release Fear, We Must Admit We Feel It

What really hooked me was the above quote about fear.  It resonated because it was so similar to the experience I had when I learned to release my fear using the technique that I teach in my workshops.  In order to release your fear, you must first be willing to admit it’s there.

At one of my workshops last year, a man came in with his wife, and when they introduced themselves, he said, “I don’t have any fears.  I’m just here with my wife.”  I tried not to smile too broadly and said, “Well that’s very nice of you to do that.”  Afterwards, he came up to me with a puzzled look on his face and said, “I guess I do have some fears.”

Fear May Be Disguised As Other Feelings

It isn’t always obvious to us when we are experiencing fear.  It may appear as resistance, anxiety, anger, withdrawal or other feelings that create problems in our lives.  So, we need to remember that all negative thoughts and emotions are based on fear—either the fear of being inadequate or of being rejected.  Releasing our fear when these discomforts come up is the best way to start dealing with the difficulties that fear creates.

We need to release fear as soon as it comes up because, as long as it is there, it blocks the mind from focusing on solving the problem.  But what do we do after we’ve directed the mind to release the fear and we’ve let go of the fear?  This leaves a space in the mind for helpful information to come through from the unconscious, such as our memories, the knowledge we have stored, or our spiritual source.

photo (38)

With A Clear Mind, We Can Receive Guidance from the Subconscious

When we have cleared the mind, we ask for guidance.  We ask the mind to fill our current need.  Recently, there was a conflict in a group to which I belong.  It seemed like unnecessary drama to me and my first inclination was to walk away.  Then, I realized that I was feeling afraid that this conflict would become an on-going thing.  I released the fear and asked my mind, “What do I need to do—create peace or walk away?”

The answer was to create peace so I asked how I could do that.  The guidance I received, which was not so much a thought as an intuitive feeling, was to write an email message to the leader of the group.  I did that and so did others in the group.  The result was that the conflicted parties talked and all is now well.  I feel very happy that I took the high road.  If I had listened to my fear, I would have walked away angry from something I enjoy.

Mustafa Ozer Statue of Peace & Brotherhood by Mehmet Aksy Kars (Turkey)

Mustafa Ozer Statue of Peace & Brotherhood by Mehmet Aksy Kars (Turkey)

Release Expectations about How You Will Receive Guidance

It is important to be aware that when we ask for a solution to a problem that we may be offered only the next step rather than the total solution.  In fact, we may not receive an answer at that moment.  We may be given guidance on where to find the solution, or we may be told to do nothing.  Trust that when the time is right, we will receive the answer we need.  Be at peace with that and continue to listen to your inner voice.

Clearing the Mind Allows Us to Experience Peace, Love & Joy

When we have learned to work with our minds in this way, we can trust that we will receive the information we need when we need it.  This gives us a wonderful peace of mind.  It allows us to trust ourselves, knowing that when difficulties arise, we are capable of finding good solutions.  Without the fear dominating our lives, we are also able to love and become who we truly wish to be.


This practice of releasing our fears puts us more in touch with our deeper selves where peace, love and joy reside.  When we can experience these feelings often, our lives feel rich and satisfying, but only we can create these feelings so that they are lasting experiences.  When we rely on external things to make us happy, our happiness is fleeting.  But going deeper allows us to be in touch with what is eternal and beautiful within.

If you would like to learn more about my November 1 Release Your Fear Workshop, visit my website and click on workshops.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: 6 Steps to Release Your Fear and Feel Peaceful, Eckhart Tolle: The Origin of Fear,  What If Syndrome: Why You Need to Live Your Life Without Fear of the Possibilities


“Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions.”  Edgar Cayce

Starry Night by Van Gogh

Starry Night by Van Gogh

” I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”  Vincent Van Gogh

Do you remember your dreams? What do you learn from them? How have they helped guide your life?

Years ago, I was working as an employment assistance counselor for an art school.  There was an undercurrent of turbulence in the office, and although I felt it, I knew little about it.  Then I had nightmares for two nights that included people from the office.

One night I awoke about 1:00 am from a dream in which people were struggling and flailing their arms. I was hit in the mouth and my teeth were broken and my mouth was bleeding. As I walked away, my teeth started crumbling and falling out as blood gushed from my mouth. It seemed so real that, as I rose to consciousness, I put my hand to my mouth and was shocked to find my teeth were still there. My breathing was fast and my heart raced. It took at least a half an hour for me to relax and go back to sleep.

Dreams May Warn Us Of The Future


The dream felt like a warning, but at the time, my manager seemed pleased with my work.  That September I found jobs for the largest number of students that had ever been hired.  My newly hired assistant had not been available when I most needed her and began breaking rules that my manager had insisted we follow.  When I complained, he became angry with me.  When he asked if I could work with her, I foolishly said, “No.”

He fired me.  Her flirtation had won him over.  It was then that I remembered the dream which seemed like a warning.  Had I been arrogant to assume he would not fire me because I had performed so well?  Perhaps I had just been foolish to underestimate how much he needed the attention he got from her.  And for a moment before I answered his question, my intuition urged me to say “yes.”

Intuition May Guide Us On How To Act

So I had a dream that warned me of impending harm, and my intuition sent a warning, but I ignored them both.  Not very wise.

The Archetypes In Dreams Take Us Deeper

In order to really understand our dreams, it is helpful to know something about archetypes.  These are characters, symbols, settings, or themes that recur often enough to have universal significance.  Their roots are in the collective unconscious.  For example, most people have some fear of the dark.  We can’t see what is there and it’s a mystery.  It’s a place to hide when we don’t want to be discovered.



We find archetypes in dreams, literature, advertising, and other areas of life, and the obvious ones trigger an emotional or intellectual response that suggests something deeper.  When I dreamed that someone bloodied my nose, it didn’t mean that would literally happen, but it did suggest that dramatic harm might come to me.

Dreams May Guide Us To Solve Problems

Dreams may also provide us with deep guidance to solve problems in life.  One of the most meaningful dreams I ever had appeared during the year after my divorce in 1977.  In it, there appeared a blond-haired woman in a red dress who had previously appeared in another dream.  To make the situation even stranger (or synchronistic), I had recently worn a red dress when I danced in a modern dance choreographed by Liz Lerman.  I played the role of a woman who rejected the limiting traditional roles of women.

Photo: pensieve.me

Photo: pensieve.me

In the dream, I stood in a huge plaza with a large pool in the middle. On the far side of the pool was a several-story building that was a home for older people. Near me was a green ladder that curved over the pool and merged into an upper story of the building.

When I arrived at the base of the arch, a blonde-haired girl and a young man stood there. We all broke the bread she had baked, taking part in a ritual of communion. The man left. I knew I had to go across the arch but was afraid. The girl represented some part of me so I had to follow her, but I had to make the crossing on my own. The beginning was straight like a ladder and easy to climb, but as the ladder curved into an arch, I became frightened and had to crawl across on all fours.

Dreams May Guide Our Spiritual Journey

It seemed to me that this blonde-haired woman in the red dress was my passion and that the dream was telling me to follow my passion, but move on. It suggested that if I followed the higher road, I would reach old age or a level of security that the building represented. Climbing the green ladder was a sacred act, part of my spiritual journey, a path through life leading me to a higher consciousness.

Because the arch led over the water, which symbolized emotion, it was also telling me to move beyond just reacting out of emotion, which I did all the time, and it created problems in my relationships. I believed the dream was a sign I was healing, and the message in the dream was exactly what I needed to know at that time.  (Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness by Georganne Spruce, pp. 49-50)

Dreams Guide Us To Deeper Answers

With this dream I began a journey to understand my emotions and gain control of them so that I could let go of the reactive emotional responses I had developed in childhood.  They no longer served me well.  That became a central theme in my spiritual journey leading me to learn to meditate, release my fear, and use my mind to create more positive thoughts.

Our dreams are rich with answers to our deepest questions.  Exploring our dreams is one way to begin to value and respect the wisdom that can be found in the dark.  One of the best sources to learn about symbols which may appear in our dreams is Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols.  May you dream well tonight.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                               ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Carl Jung- Man and His Symbols, Part I (video),  Dream Interpretation: What Do Dreams Mean?