Tag Archives: Going Deeper

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.

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Photo: Georganne Spruce

Great Beauty Emerges From the Dark Earth

We are now only a few days away from the beginning of spring when the earth bursts open with her magnificent beauty.  Here in the Blue Ridge Mountains, jonquils are blooming, tulips are popping up through the earth, and some of the 80 kinds of migratory birds are stopping here on their journey and sing to us each morning.  New life is always a reminder that the darkness of the earth is what nurtures the seeds that become this blessing.

We Must Be Present To Recognize Our Blessings

We are surrounded by blessings every day, but are often not aware of them because we are not present.   When we take time each day to be present and are able to easily become present, we are more likely to notice the good that comes to us in its many varied forms.  The mail with a check in it arrives a day early when we need to pay a bill.  A friend we have missed and haven’t seen in years suddenly appears on Facebook.  A change in plans disappoints us until we realize it enables us to join friends for a more interesting evening.  Being conscious of our blessings reminds us of the abundance of our lives, creates an experience of positive energy, and raises our energetic vibration.

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Can you find the butterfly?
Photo: Georganne Spruce

Blessings Are Of the Heart

Caren Goldman in Healing Words asks the question, “When, I wonder, does a blessing become a blessing?  Is it when it’s thought of?  When it’s spoken?  When it’s heard, or when it’s acknowledged – not just in the head but in the heart?”

We are blessed every day.  Let us make a practice of noticing even the tiniest good thing that comes into our lives and feel that appreciation at the heart level.  When we feel blessed, we act blessed, and sharing that good feeling with others will be a blessing to them.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                      ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Learn to Live in the NOW with Eckhart Tolle (video), Are You Grateful for Your Life? 13 Blessings You May Be Overlooking, Do You See Blessings in Your Challenges?

 

AWAKENING TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”  Wayne Dyer

How do you respond to challenging events that block what you want?  When you feel overwhelmed, how do you manage to move forward?  How do you know what the next step is?

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It seems that some months flow by so smoothly that it is hard to remember they were here, like a river rapidly flowing unimpeded over the rocks.  Other months seem to attract problems like obstacles and debris that become caught between the rocks of the river, blocking the flow of life and creating barriers to progress.  August was like that, full of distractions and problems to be solved that stole precious hours from my writing time and time with loved ones.

When We Are Stressed With Problems, Take One Step At A Time

Because more powerful cell towers were being built where I live that would give me better service, I had to trade in my old phone for a new one.  I did that, except the new phone did not work well.  It had less coverage, and I spent hours trying to work out the problems.  In addition, problems with medical and dental insurance plans arose.  Then, one side of the yard had to be dug up in order to replace a drainage pipe.  The seeding that was done afterwards was terribly inadequate, and we discovered that area, once covered with English Ivy, had an underground spring that had surfaced due to the excessive rains we’ve had.

So how do we negotiate the rocks and debris that appear unexpectedly in our paths?  I felt overwhelmed and anxious most of the month and often had to remember to breathe deeply. I had to remind myself that when I’m hiking and have to cross a stream there is only one way to do it—one step at a time.  I place a foot on a rock with a little weight to test how stable it is.  Then I step to put my whole weight onto it.

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The Best Choice Is The Heart Choice

So with all these unexpected problems appearing, I had to constantly stop and consider what would be the best way to proceed in each case.  I had to explore and research to understand the choices and sometimes the best choice wasn’t obvious.  Over time, I’ve learned that when I am ready to make a choice, it is best to turn inward and ask what feels right in my heart because my mind often holds on to comfortable, old ideas that may not serve me well.

Clearing away the debris and blockage in life requires us to let go of what is no longer of value and be open to something new.  We become attached to ideas, people and things, and it is especially difficult to let go of them when they have been meaningful or useful to us.  When we find ourselves resisting, it is important to take the time to explore what we feel we will lose if we let go.

We May Need To Do Mental Spring Cleaning

We often need to do some mental spring cleaning.  Growing up, spring cleaning was the time we cleared out old clothes or toys from the closet—sometimes reluctantly, cleaned the windows and inside the kitchen cabinets, and waxed the hardwood floors.  We made space for new things, gave order to the disorder, and found that looking through clean windows always made the world brighter.

When we feel blocked in moving forward, it’s a good time to stop and think, “Why am I afraid to let go of the things I no longer need?”  Even if we don’t like where we are, it feels more secure than stepping into the unknown, or we may be afraid we will make the wrong choice.  When our minds are cluttered with too many possibilities, it is also difficult to truly focus and see clearly the pros and cons of each choice.

Quiet May Bring Us Peace

However, when we are in meditation or in a quiet moment, all seems well.  We can just be.  We can choose not to resist.  We can be the observers of our own lives, and may be able to see how the blocks that have appeared have led us to better situations.  We remember the peacefulness of flowing with the breath.  We can let go of our fear and know that if we are in touch with our inner selves, the solutions to problems will appear as we explore the possibilities. We will be guided to the best choices and the next step.

Challenges May Lead To Better Solutions

Not all the challenges that arose last month have been solved the way I expected, but the ones that have been solved led to something better.  Because I had been given inaccurate information about the phone and cell tower activation, I was given a nice credit and an opportunity to choose a new phone of my choice.  I found a better insurance policy at a much better rate.  As for the yard, there’s still work to be done, but if the yard hadn’t been dug up to fix the drain pipe, I would never have had the ivy in that area removed, and I’m so glad it’s gone and will be replaced with grass.

This is all a reminder that when we trust the flow of life even the difficulties tend to lead us to something better.  The next step may not be what we expected, but that could be a good thing.  It’s all in how we look at it.

Have you changed your way of looking at an event or person lately?  Please Comment.

Related Articles: Change Your Thinking (Wayne Dyer Video Interview), Trust Is Shorthand for Going with the Flow (Marianne Williamson), How to Develop a Deep Trust in Life, Letting Go of Your Old Ideas

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

AWAKENING TO THE JOURNEY OF ONENESS

“The process of awakening is not one in which a definitive threshold is crossed and one is then enlightened, transformed, or ascended.  Spiritual growth is not focused on a destination, but rather, on the journey itself.”  Oneness, Rasha

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Do you feel you are enlightened?  Do you believe that your spiritual journey is on-going or that there is a goal you hope to reach?  How do you stay connected to your spiritual self?

I’m the sort of person who keeps lists and enjoys checking items off when I complete them.  It reinforces my sense that I have accomplished something.  I often wish that my spiritual journey were that neat – that there were various levels at which I could clearly see what I’ve accomplished.  But it just isn’t like that.

Remain Open to New Experiences

Enjoying the on-going journey of life requires us to remain flexible and open to new ideas and new experiences.  The reality is that even driving across country following a plan and a map we may have to make adjustments and take detours.  A rock slide, sink hole or flooded river may force us to find another route – to try to drive through this disaster would be insane.  So why do we think that our lives and spiritual journeys must follow a neat, unchanging pattern?

Many Practices Can Awaken Us To Oneness

If the journey is on-going, and by virtue of being a journey, it requires movement, how do we manage that?  Oneness states, “Know that the truth you seek is within you.”  Some find that connection through meditation, prayer, chanting, experiencing nature, or any number of spiritual practices.  All these practices can lead us inward to our own center where we are One with Oneness or Spirit.

Separation Is An Illusion

Of course, we never are separate from Spirit.  That separation is an illusion created by our egos when fear intrudes, and for the moment or for months we may lose our sense of connection unless we have a daily practice that keeps us tuned to the inner frequency.  But when we do lose that connection, finding it again is part of the journey too, and it is especially challenging in our busy world.

Looking down from the Blue Ridge Parkway near ...

Looking down from the Blue Ridge Parkway near Craggy Gardens. Photo taken with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 in Yancey County, North Carolina, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway, near my home, requires travelers to be flexible, especially this year with the torrential rains we’ve had.  Areas are often closed due to rock slides or portions of the mountain sliding onto the roadway.  There are often detours – the straight path is just not always available.   So, we have to travel alternative routes and eventually we are able to get back on the Parkway.  In the meantime, we see towns and landscapes we’ve never seen before.  We may find that those routes will lead us to other places we would like to go that we were not aware of before we took the detour.

A Spiritual Journey Leads Us Deeper

Our journey is like that too.  We have to be willing to embrace change when it appears in our lives.  If I were to draw a diagram of my journey, it would resemble a series of spirals intertwined.  I explored the mind/body connection through dance, meditation, how to release my fear, Unity and Science of Mind principles, and I’ve always been close to nature.  After exploring one area, practicing it, and finding the value in it, I would reach a point where there was still a longing for more or a question that could not be answered.

There were also moments of depression.  I would think, “I’m practicing the principles.  Why aren’t they working?”  But with time those principles became a part of me, contributing to my wholeness, becoming another piece in the puzzle.  There were many experiences of losing jobs, loved ones, and security.  Each experience forced me explore my core and go inward once again to the places where I knew I needed to do my deepest healing.  And when it seemed nothing could alleviate the sadness or disappointment, I would once again have to let go of my expectations and be willing to let go of what was not serving me and face the unknown.

Oneness Is Always At Our Core

But at our cores, Oneness is always there whether we are aware of it or not.  Because of that, we can always return to it.  We have to let go of our busy routines, our anger, our hurt—any resistance that keeps us from just being, because it is only when we are just being that we can truly find Oneness and heal ourselves in that silence and love.  These moments are the rest stops on the journey that renew us.  They are the moments when we are finally still enough to hear the guidance that has been trying to get through to us so that we know what path would be most beneficial.

Life is a process just like Nature.  The seasons change; each brings a different experience, and each experience brings us a new opportunity to learn, to explore, and to journey where we have never been before.  Where we are now is merely one experience of the journey, and there are many more to come that will bring us a broader and deeper understanding of our spiritual lives.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                          ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  How We Can Grow Through Spirit, Edgar Cayce and Oneness, Oneness by Rasha

AWAKENING TO LOVE THE SILENCE

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

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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

AWAKENING TO OUR SPIRITUAL HOME

“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”  Oliver Wendell Holmes

photo (2) Is home a place or a person for you?  Is it within or without?  Is your spiritual home different from your literal home?  Are you at home with yourself?

What is Home?

I live in the mountains of North Carolina where most people who live here are from someplace else.  Their stories of why they decided to move here are very similar.  They were drawn here.  They visited here and for the first time, they felt they were home.  Very rarely do I hear a story with any rational explanation.  Moving here was motivated by something deeper, something unexplainable and very spiritual. It isn’t just that they feel at home in a place; the home they feel is a community of like-minded people, the spiritual energy of these mountains, and the artistic and diverse people who live here.  It is a place that touches their hearts in many ways.

Home Is Not A Place

In 1999 when I moved to the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico, everything I needed to stay there fell into place.  There were many signs that it was where I belonged, and I was sure that it was my soul’s home.  But just as easily as things fell into place, things fell apart, and the five years I was there were extremely challenging.  On the other hand, I began writing seriously and found Southwest Writers, a wonderfully supportive organization where I met many successful writers.  The more I wrote, the more I felt at home in my own skin.

Make Your Home in Your Mind

Tad Williams has said, “Never make your home in a place.  Make a home for yourself inside your own head.  You’ll find what you need to furnish it—memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things.  That way it will go with you wherever you journey.” photo I spent much of my life looking for the place where I would feel at home.  I always seemed to have different ideas and values than the people around me.  I equated feeling at home to feeling I belonged.  The problem with all that was that I was looking outside for something I could only find within.

Edsel Ford, an Arkansas poet who was a family friend when I was growing up, once wrote:  “Love is to come home dying from the world and find life there.”  I often felt I was dying in New Mexico, but I learned to let go of my attachment to the outer and follow my inner guidance.  I learned to stand more firmly on my own two feet, and all that led me to understand, home was wherever I was and the life and light I sought was within me.

Our True Home Is Our Spiritual Core

What we feel inside at our spiritual core affects everything in our lives.  If we are at home in our own bodies and minds, we will experience peace.  If we love ourselves, we will love others and they will love us.  The physical place where we are won’t matter.  It will be just another experience in our spiritual journey.  We can be in Alaska, Africa, or Spain and feel at home because at the deepest level we are at home with ourselves and that connects us with all humanity on a deeper level.  We are all One.

Love Is the Center of Our Home

The physical place where we are may not give us the life we need, but the friends, the memories, the desires, the energy of love we find with others can make wherever we are home.  Growing up, my family lived in several places, but what made each house home was the presence of my family’s love for me.  Love is the place we feel safe and accepted.  It’s where we can be who we really are.  It’s the spiritual center within us that we allow to open and gather in all that is good and nourishing, and it’s the place where we connect with Spirit and experience the greatest love that is possible.

Even now that my dear poet friend and most of my family have passed on, their love still lives within me.  The love of friends far away and nearby feed the home within me, and I carry them with me wherever I go.

How do you experience home?  Please comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                            ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5 Related Links: What Does It Mean to Live Spiritual, Eckhart Tolle On Being Yourself, Accepting and Loving Ourselves in Ten Easy Steps, One Path, Many Mountains

AWAKENING TO A FULL LIFE

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”  Mae West

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Wamboldtopia

Does your life feel complete?  Is it satisfying and fun?  If not, what is missing and what can you do about it?

Unlike Mae West, I believe we live more than one life, but I like the spirit of her quote.  Just because I believe I may have another shot at this earthly life doesn’t mean I don’t want this time to be great or that I’m willing to stop trying to create the life I want.  Right now, what I’m experiencing is what matters and I want to feel good about it.

A Full Life Is Based On Spiritual Values

What is a full life?  I think of it as a life that is satisfying and full of peace, love, and joy, my three favorite spiritual qualities.  It means I have good friends with whom I can share art, nature and good conversations and know there is a deep connection of love and respect.  It also means that I am following my passion in the work I do, and the activities I engage in bring me joy.

However, we are each on an individual journey and have individual desires and needs.  For example, I would feel deprived if I couldn’t view fine art often.  It touches my soul and lets me see into the soul of the artist.  But there are some people who never view it, who consider it frivolous or uninteresting, and feel no need to have it in their lives.

A Full Life Includes Love

To have a full life, we have to be connected to someone or something that we love, for the things we love feed our souls and expand who we are.  When I am around my nephews and niece and their children, I feel such joy because, not having children of my own, I had the privilege of seeing them become adults and now parents.  I’ve laughed and cried over them through the years and counseled and encouraged.  There is no doubt that my life would be less full without their love and my love for them.  So instead of feeling sorry for myself because I didn’t have children, I created relationships with them.

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We Must Fill Our Own Lives

We are the only ones who can fill our lives.  We decide what we will let into our lives and what we will reject.  To most people, having a full life is about what we have in terms of security, family, friends, or work, but it is also about how deeply we are willing to live.  What are we willing to do to make our life full?  Are we willing to be the hero or heroine in our own life and take full responsibility for creating the life we want? Or do we choose to be the victim of circumstances?

If your life does not feel full, what is lacking?  What are you ignoring that is too painful to look at?  Over the years, I’ve seen many people who are educated, financially secure, and intelligent who have ignored aspects of their lives that make their lives less than desirable.  I always wonder why they choose not to change what can clearly be changed. Perhaps they feel hopeless or are afraid that making the change would also have negative consequences in other areas of their lives.  There is always a reason why we are not the best we can be, and understanding the root of the problem may require us to look deeper with the help of a therapist or counselor.  It is important that, regardless of what limitations we feel exist, we are willing to take that first small step.

Good Change Requires a Shift in Thinking

Every good thing that has come to me has come after I made a shift in my thinking It is how we think about a situation that makes it possible for us to change.  When I was in high school I was fairly shy, despite my involvement in speech and drama.  In my senior year, the Thespian Society members gave me a Best Actress Award.  That was a huge boost to my confidence and led me to believe later, that if I could be that good, maybe I could also be good enough to become a modern dancer and dance with a company.

A few years ago, as a relationship was ending, I suddenly became aware of the fact that this man was so much like my father in his stubbornness and his inability to understand how his unwillingness to compromise created problems between us.  Like my father, he was emotionally shut down.  As I looked at him from this perspective, I saw more negative points of comparison.  It was startling!  How could I be so blind!  I thought I had worked through these issues.

We Can Learn From Positive and Negative Experiences

While winning the Best Actress Award was a positive event that motivated me, the ending of a relationship was a negative event, and yet, it motivated me to heal and let go of an old pattern that was limiting my life.  We can learn from the positive and negative.  Taking the time to heal these old patterns has allowed me to attract a man into my life who has none of my father’s negative characteristics.  The work that I’ve done in the last two years cleared out past issues and opened a space for a more fulfilling love to appear.

Wherever we are in this spiritual journey to experience fullness of life, we must know that we are meant to live in peace, love, and joy.  Our purpose here is to expand our lives through experiencing these qualities, and it is our responsibility to do the work that will take us to a fuller life.  May whatever you need for your journey, show up.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: Nora Ephron’s Advice – Be the Heroine in Your Own Life, Be A Hero: Save Your Own Life, Make Now Count:  How to Live a Fun Life Full of Possibilities, How to Be At Peace:  Eckhart Tolle Seeing the Good in Life 

AWAKENING TO BEFRIEND OURSELVES

“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we will ever do.”  Brene Brown

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Are you as supportive of yourself as your best friend is supportive of you?  Do you have the courage to own your own story even if you don’t like it?  What are you willing to do to empower yourself?

I’m glad April is over because I don’t feel so guilty any more that I didn’t complete a project I promised to complete.  It wasn’t anything terribly important.  It certainly wasn’t earth shattering.  I doubt that anyone cared about it but me.  But I’m a person who values commitments and so I’m rather disappointed in myself.

I had joined the event called NoPoWriMo which meant that I committed to write a poem every day.  It didn’t have to be polished and it could be a first draft.  I only completed six poems.  Why?  Well, the rest of life intervened in ways I couldn’t ignore.

Opportunities to do events or publicize my book and preparation for a Release Your Fear workshop that I gave on Saturday took more time than I expected.  A wonderful new friend came into my life with whom I chose to spend some time.  Everything that pulled me away from writing the poetry was really good and more important.

Being More Conscious of Intuition

My error was apparent from the moment I made the decision to do this event.  My intuition said quite clearly, “This will put more pressure on you.  You don’t need to take on one more thing.  If you feel pressured, you won’t be able to write poetry.  You won’t be in the right frame of mind.”  Clearly, I should have listened, but my sometimes overly optimistic self said, “I’ll find time.  It will be a nice way to relax in the evening.”  Hah!

So, I failed to meet the goal I had created for myself.  Although this wasn’t anything that impacted my life in a negative way, it’s a good example of how I used to have too much of a tendency to over commit.  I would get so involved with so many activities and people that I would be exhausted all the time.  This felt like I was backsliding.  As an introvert, I must have my quiet time each day in order to recharge, but for years, I often didn’t leave enough room for it.

Loving Ourselves to Make Good Choices

The damage I’ve done to myself by pushing too hard or over committing is one of the stories I need to own.  I have a tendency in this area to make bad choices because there are so many interesting things I love to do.  But if I love myself, I have to be willing to say no, not only to myself, but to others as well.  Usually it’s easier to say no to myself; it’s much harder to say it to someone else.

Going Deeper to Awaken

Compared to many stories, my poetry experience is trivial.  For example, feeling we failed at relationships is a much harder one for most of us.  It is important that we take the time to understand why it didn’t work and the part we played.  When we can do that, we can learn to make better decisions and choices the next time.  But then, after the analysis and owning our part of the story, we need to love ourselves enough to forgive ourselves, knowing we did the best we could at the time.

At those moments when we are most disappointed in ourselves, can we give ourselves what our best friends would give us?  Elizabeth Gilbert once said, “Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a friend.”

Eat, Pray, Love

Eat, Pray, Love (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Experiencing Friendship With Yourself

As your friend, you will listen carefully to that voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough, and you will tell yourself about all the ways you are good enough.  You will have compassion for that hurt child within you who sometimes feels powerless to change what makes you unhappy.  You will empathize with your hurt self and reassure that self that things will be better and that you have the courage to seek out the hard answers.  You will remind yourself that you deserve the very best and that what you desire will come to you.

Our best friend

Empowering Ourselves On Our Spiritual Journey

When we hear these things from our best friends, it feels good to know someone cares so much, but when we can say these things to ourselves and believe them, we empower ourselves.  The bravest thing we can ever do is to look inside and openly observe our deepest self.  The next bravest thing we can do is begin the journey to fix what needs repairing.  These journeys may be challenging, but they will be more manageable if we learn to be our own best friend.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                         ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: Befriending OurselvesThe Art and Craft of Befriending Your ExperienceIs it Realistic to Befriend OurselvesBefriend Yourself 

AWAKENING TO OUR JOY WITHIN

“Find the place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”  Joseph Campbell

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How do you create joy in your life? Do you feel it because something good happens to you or does it well up inside because of something you do?

External events Create Joy

For years, I experienced joy as a mysterious feeling that burst forth from within me because of an event in the outer world.  When I was in a play in college, I was given a role where I was the center of attention for a few minutes delivering a very funny monologue.  I was ecstatic when I discovered I could make an audience laugh.  Generally, I wasn’t a very funny person in my real life.

When I was chosen to dance with a modern dance company, I was filled with joy.  My dream had come true.  It’s true that my hard work took me to the place where I was good enough to be accepted, but it was someone else’s decision that stimulated my feeling of joy.

A man and a woman performing a modern dance.

A man and a woman performing a modern dance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What if we could feel joy whenever we wanted to?  What would that feel like?

Internal Joy

It’s wonderful that we can feel joy about the good things that happen in life.  But there is a deeper practice and a deeper joy to be found within.  There are some days when I have no idea why I feel joy.  I just do.  Some mornings it just wells up from within the moment I rise to consciousness.  I don’t remember having a particularly good dream, and I don’t have any exciting plans for the day.  In fact, it may happen on days when I have to clean house and that isn’t a task I particularly enjoy.

Following Our Passion Creates Inner Joy

So, what causes the joy to appear?  I think there are two answers.  For some time now, I have been following my passion for writing.  When we are doing what we love to do on a regular basis, it raises our vibration and energy level.  We have something to look forward to.  We are doing something that is satisfying at the soul level and it connects our deeper self with our outer life.  We feel whole, we feel complete.  We feel confident we are on the right path.  Even ego feels peaceful.

If, despite the fact that we are following our passion, we are consumed with worry about whether we will succeed at this venture or doubt whether we deserve such good fortune, we need to understand that our negative thoughts will, no doubt, sabotage our success.  They will lower our energetic vibration.

Passion flower

Passion flower (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Creating Temporary Joy

We can temporarily lift our vibration by doing things that make us feel better.  A little dark chocolate will usually give me a lift or going outside and listening to the birds sing.  Reading some inspirational quotes may help or reading from Oneness by Rasha.  Sometimes cooking a nice meal will do it because I’ve reached the point where eating healthy is an expression of self love.  But when we become mired in these negative feelings despite the good that is present in our lives, there is something missing at our core that we need to repair.

Creating Joy At Our Core

There is a deeper joy we can experience.  The joy that seems to well up from nowhere or for no reason comes from our connection with Spirit.  Only in the last few years have I come to understand this.  There were many steps on my journey to this place of comfort and wholeness.  First, I learned to release my psychological fears.  Through learning to meditate, I started to learn about mindfulness.  After I learned that our thoughts create our emotions, I learned I could decide what I wanted to feel about my experiences.

The Joy of Acceptance

But the greatest lesson was learning acceptance—to accept what is, to accept not knowing the answer, to accept that Spirit will guide me to my highest good.  I had to learn to surrender to Spirit what I could not solve, knowing that I would be guided to what was best.  And out of releasing my need to control everything, joy emerged.  It often wasn’t the joy of exuberance I felt at twenty-five or even at fifty-five.  But it was a soft, sweet, calm joy and it felt like love, and I realized that, in surrendering, I was stepping into a level of trust with Spirit and my deepest self that I had never known before.  This time, the joy I felt originated within me.  I could choose to feel joy regardless of the external events of my life.

It is this deeper joy that can heal all pain and create security when we feel uncertain.  It is part of the core of our spiritual selves.  May you find the path that will lead you to this place of joy.  It is within you.

What is the source of your joy today?

© 2013 Georganne Spruce

RELATED ARTICLES:  You Were Born for Joy – Wayne Dyer, 9 Tips For Finding Joy WithinPower of Positive Thinking: How to Find Joy Within

AWAKENING TO SHADOW’S TREASURE

“It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are without any self-deception or illusion that a light will develop out of events by which the path of success may be recognized.”  I-Ching

Do you always avoid negative emotions and stuff them down inside?  Are you comfortable expressing all your concerns and emotions to those you love?  How much of who you really are do you keep hidden?

Finding Treasure in the Darkness

As we move deeper into winter, days grow longer and the darkness envelops us.  For many people, it is an uncomfortable time, but like every season, it may hold hidden treasure if we are willing to look for it.  Deep within our unconscious, we all have what Carl Jung called “the Shadow.”  As the weather pushes us indoors more and the light decreases, it is the perfect time for reflecting on what we need to heal and release.

Scorpio, the Transformer

Beyond the change of seasons, other influences are affecting us.  Scorpio, the astrological sign, urges us to dig deeply and explore the part of ourselves we prefer to deny.  It is a time when the changes we make can be transforming.  Visit www.astrodelight.com,  Belinda Dunn’s website, for some very interesting information on Scorpio’s influence.

Mercury Encourages Reevaluation

In addition, Mercury is in retrograde.  Okay now—don’t leave me.  Trust me—all these influences that appear so negative really are gold if we know what to do with them.  The good news is that Mercury goes direct again on the 26th.  I’ll be glad, believe me, because I’m tiring of all the phone calls it has taken to make one simple appointment.

Mercury is about communication.  When it’s in retrograde, it’s a good time to review and revise what we are doing with our lives.  It’s also a good time to clear out what is no longer useful.  It’s not a time to start something new, but it’s a good time to plan for the future.

Becoming Conscious of  Shadow Issues

While this period and its influences may make us uncomfortable, it’s a time when we can do some serious inner work.  When I read the I-Ching quote above, I immediately thought of Carl Jung whose thinking has always increased my understanding of human psychology.  In his book Psychology and Religion, he said, “Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.  If inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it.  Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications.  But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected.”

Let’s say that it makes you angry when people are disrespectful to you, but you’ve been taught it’s unacceptable to feel anger.  How do you deal with that?  Most people repress it and keep repressing it.  When we do that, we tend to project the anger onto others in situations that have nothing to do with the situation at hand.  Our reactions to situations become distorted.  The wife who feels her husband spoke disrespectfully one day but said nothing may lash out at him the next day for forgetting an item at the grocery store.

What is kept unconscious will come out in other unhealthy ways or will manifest as illness, for the mind and body connection is very powerful.  Over a long period of time, these repressed feelings poison our physical and mental health.

We Must Release Fear To Become Conscious

If this is true, why do we choose to live so unconsciously?  Because we are afraid.  When we live this way, fear rules our lives, and only when we allow that fear to surface, can we really begin to free ourselves from it and heal.  To do that, we sometimes have to go against cultural norms.

In our Western culture, we emphasize having a positive attitude to an extreme degree; therefore, we are discouraged from looking at our Shadow and its fear content.  But denying our darker side rather than dealing with the related issues only prolongs the damage this dysfunction can do in our lives.  When we allow our buried feelings to become conscious, we can see what is going on, we can heal and release what is limiting us.  We create an opening where the light can come through, where new ideas and ways of living can evolve.

After the Darkness Comes the Light

It took me many years of releasing my fears to come to a point where I could actually publish my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness.  But when I committed to that and faced all the fears that came up, I also committed to a healing journey.  It was very painful sometimes, but it led to a place where I am happier than I’ve ever been, where what is lurking deep inside isn’t scary any more.  And I know now that no matter how uncomfortable dealing with the fear is, releasing it will lead me to more light.

Be willing to go deeper and find the buried treasure within and transform your life.  Peace, Love, and Joy to you on this amazing journey.

If you are in the Asheville, NC area, join us for my “Release Your Fear” workshop at Crystal Visions Bookstore tomorrow night from 7-9:00 pm. $15 at the door.  Releasing your fear is a good way to begin retrieving your Shadow’s treasure.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce                                                     ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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AWAKENING TO SEE OURSELVES HONESTLY

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”  Pema Chödrön 

Do you know who you really are?  Do you like who you really are?  Are you willing to take responsibility and look honestly at the changes you need to make?

Self-analysis is a difficult process.  When we look closely at ourselves we want to see the positive: the good we do, our loving qualities, and our accomplishments.  That, of course, is the easy part.  When we start to look at our less than sterling qualities, we usually experience anxiety and may shut down before we even have the courage to open the door.

We Must Look At Ourselves Honestly in Order to Grow

It isn’t very helpful to beat up on ourselves for all the mistakes we’ve made and all the things we don’t like about ourselves, but if we are to grow and become more the person we want to be, we must find the courage to look honestly at ourselves.  Doing this with gentleness, as Pema Chödrön suggests, is the most effective way.

The moment when we are forced to look at ourselves honestly may very well be the most important moment of our lives.  If we are unable to be honest with ourselves, we will not be able to be honest with others because there will always be something we need to hide.   If we are willing to look at the dark and unpleasant side of who we are, then we have opened a door to changing and healing.

It Takes Courage to Make Changes

It takes courage to walk through that door.  Our greatest fear is that, if we change, the people we care about in our lives may stop loving us.  But if we are hiding who we really are, those people can’t love who we truly are; they can only love who we pretend to be.  The idea that we are being loved for who we are is a sham.

Many people in our culture take drugs to hide the pain of not living honestly.  Drugs mask our anxiety or depression and give us the illusion that we are all right.  I once had a friend who was always in conflict with her family; they had very different values.  She took medication for depression and would periodically stop taking it, but she would soon become depressed.  Having spent time being depressed myself, I shared with her the things I did to combat it.  My diet was healthy, balanced, low in sugar and alcohol, and I ate at regular intervals to keep the blood sugar balanced.  I also exercised every day.  I meditated frequently and monitored my negative thinking, reframing thoughts that did not need to be negative ones into positive thoughts to lift my vibration.  Was my friend willing to try any of this?  No? She thought the spiritual stuff was silly, and she tried to eat healthy, but…  In fact, I saw virtually no evidence that she was willing to do anything to change her life.

Love All of Who You Are

The truth is that all the negative aspects of ourselves that we stuff down and hide away cause anxiety, disease and fear.  How can we ever really feel good about ourselves if there are parts of us we must always hide?  Religion has taught many people that they are worthless unless they follow certain rules or that loving oneself is selfish, but in Christianity, the great teacher was Jesus who said, “Love others as you love yourself.”  So, how can we love others if we cannot love ourselves?  If we cannot forgive ourselves our shortcomings, how can we forgive others theirs?

Nurture the Child Within

Healthy parents love their children even when they misbehave.  They encourage their children to tell them the truth, and those children learn that there may be consequences when they admit they’ve behaved badly, but they will still be loved if they tell the truth.  We need to accept ourselves in the same way and tell ourselves the truth.  We cannot grow emotionally unless we are willing to take full responsibility for who we are.  We must nurture that wounded child within who is so afraid no one will love it if they learn who she/he really is.

Change Can Bring a New and Better Life

What I know for sure is that life changes.  As we change and grow, life adapts.  Sometimes, the greatest heartbreak turns out to be the most profound lesson we could ever learn.  Then that lesson leads us in a new direction where we are able to find new friends and a new life that support who we really are.  It is even possible that some of the people who love us now may still love us through the changes.

Steve Marboli said, “There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a person being themselves.  Imagine going through your day being unapologetically you.”

What are you willing to do today to become more of who you truly are?

© 2012 Georganne Spruce                                                ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5