Tag Archives: Inner Peace

AWAKENING TO THE HOME WITHIN

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

Home at Ocean

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

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

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

Cold Winters Develop Resilience

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

NE Snow

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

What We Resist May Persist

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

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

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

 Joy May Sometimes Hide Despair

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

All People Are One

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

senegal women

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

Living Close to Nature Makes Us One

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

What Feels Like Home May Be An Illusion

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

adobenido.com

adobenido.com

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

Wholeness May Be Born From Pain

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

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

What is home to you?  Please Comment.

© 2006 Georganne Spruce                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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

AWAKENING TO CREATE HAPPINESS

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.”  Jim Rohn

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Are there any little things in your life that make you happy?  Are you always looking for something better or bigger?  What is the smallest thing that ever brought you happiness?

We are all different I know, but I learned a long time ago that the world, particularly the natural world, is an interesting place.  There’s nothing I enjoy more than walking through a forest and discovering something I’ve never seen before or a pattern of flowers or bark on a tree that is unique or particularly aesthetically pleasing.

Nature Can Provide Us With Delightful Moments

I remember when I was at the Botanical Gardens in Denver and saw the trees in the picture above.  The knots on the trees looked like eyes, as if the inner tree were looking out at me and smiling.  I was delighted and even laughed out loud as I imagined the conversation the two might have been having and how they were teasing me with their look.

I’ve always felt One with nature, having spent a childhood outdoors a great deal.  These little experiences like finding trees with eyes create happiness for me.  Just a little thing can change my mood quickly:  the song of a bird, the gobble of the turkeys nibbling on my lawn, or the neighborhood cat rolling around on the deck.

Photo: G. Spruce

Photo: G. Spruce

Little Things Can Make Us Happy

No matter what is going on in my life when these things occur I experience a moment of happiness.  I think I’ve learned a really important thing.  Many little things can bring us happiness if we are fully present and open to letting life interrupt our focus for just a moment.

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

When we are always focused on our accomplishments or achievement in our society, finding happiness can be challenging.  We usually set standards for ourselves and judge our actions as successful or not.  If we fail to live up to the standards we set, we are unhappy and disappointed.  We feel inadequate and the fear that we won’t be good enough grows.

Of course, it is important that we are able to do what is expected of us as parents or workers in order fulfill the responsibilities we have accepted, but too often, instead of enjoying the little successes each day, we keep expecting more before we are willing to feel good about what we do.  The tragedy is, though, if we keep putting off feeling good about ourselves or taking the time to lift ourselves up, we may never take the time to be happy at all.

Photo: G. Spruce

Photo: G. Spruce

We Can Choose to Experience Happiness

We can create happiness whenever we want.  It’s about how we choose to feel and that relates to what we are thinking.  Some people think my delight with little things is silly.  Maybe it is, but at times, silly makes me happy.  Maybe doing a crossword puzzle delights you.  Maybe trimming the shrubs enlivens you.  Maybe listening to a particular piece of music inspires you.

Make a commitment to allow something each day to make you happy by taking a moment to appreciate something that appears in your life.  Start your day with meditation, reading something inspirational, a piece of chocolate, or a hearty breakfast.  Savor it, and think how fortunate you are.  That few moments of creating happiness can radically change your day.

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I’m sharing with you today several pictures of things that have delighted me.  I hope you enjoy them and become more aware of the interesting images that appear throughout your day.

What has made you happy today?  Please share a comment.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                              ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  What is Happiness?, The Source of True Happiness, The Source of Happiness from The Richest Man in Town

AWAKENING TO A PURE MIND

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.  When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”  Buddha

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How do you feel about the New Year?  Do you feel anxious or at peace?  What creates this feeling that you have?  If you don’t like it, what do you do to change it?

After two days of below freezing temperatures and some snow that intensified the light coming into my dining room to the point of almost blinding me, I’m reveling in the easy blend of light and shadow coming through the trees into the room where I work.  It is soft and balanced.

Begin the Year With Gratitude

I am beginning this year with much gratitude.  I do not live where the worst of the winter storms are occurring although our temperatures have been the lowest since the 1800s.  I have a warm house, plenty of food, and love.  I am blessed.

I am also grateful for the time I was able to spend with my brother and his family, especially the time with my grand nieces and grand nephew, three of who are two years old, and one who is four.  There were also three dogs in attendance on Christmas.  It was wild and lovely.  Just being with them was a joy.  Their excitement was contagious.

How we Think Changes Our Vibration

But after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, a profound quiet and a bit of depression enveloped me.  It was time to rebalance and contemplate my plans for the New Year.  During the holidays, the joy I felt was created primarily by external circumstances, but now, living hundreds of miles from the rest of my family, I have had to return to my own resources.  The joy I felt has slipped away.

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As I thought about what I needed to do in the New Year, especially with my writing, I first saw all the things I had hoped to accomplish last year and didn’t.  Well, what was done, was done.  I reminded myself that I could only change the future, not the past.  On the other hand, the new relationship in my life has been a great joy and given me the kind of companionship I haven’t had for years.  As I began to focus on the good things in my life, I began to feel my vibration rise.

As my vibration rose, a joy began to well up inside.  I was following my greatest passion by writing and just thinking about continuing to do that brought me joy.  When I began to clean up my lists of things to do and develop a plan for this year, I let go of the self-judgment that had depressed me and I began to feel more peaceful.

What We Think Affects How We Feel

And that is how it works.  What we think determines how we feel.  As the Buddha points out, joy comes from a pure heart.  So how do we create a pure heart?  I know that meditation has always helped or writing in my journal, exploring the meaning behind the events or ideas moving through my life.  Doing this regularly clears the emotional and mental clutter that distracts me from a natural peace and joy.

Still, life is full of challenges.  Before the holidays, I had signed up for a prescription drug plan. This week I talked to them about covering two custom compounded drugs I take.  After two and a half hours of talking with several people who were unable to grasp that one drug consists of a combination of two drugs, they sent a fax to my doctor for approval with the drugs inaccurately named and spelled.  I had spelled slowly the names of the drugs several times for two people, but they did not record them accurately.  This experience tested my patience to the limit.  It seemed ridiculous.  I kept taking a lot of deep breaths, reminding myself that getting upset would not help the situation.

At the end of the day, the problem with the insurance company was still not resolved, but at least I had been able to constantly adjust my mind and center myself throughout the experience.  I was able to move on to other things and relax that evening knowing that I did all I could do.

Return to Your Spiritual Center for Guidance

Many of our challenges appear because we are living in a time of great change.  The political and economic structures we have depended upon are changing.  Remaining flexible and centered is the most effective way of dealing with change.  Oneness tells us that when our lives seem to “veer off course” and we feel we are “without a compass,” “All that remains, are the clues that begin to emerge from within” (p. 110).

In order to recognize those clues, we must return to our spiritual center and listen to our inner guidance where all answers reside.  We must clear the mind of judgment and resistance and reside in peace.  As we continue this journey, the way will not always be clear or kind, but it can lead us to a better place.  How we experience each event is largely our choice, and when things happen that we don’t like, it is our choice how much we invest in positive or negative thinking about them.

Developing a pure heart by changing our thinking will always take us to a better place where joy becomes a part of who we are.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                        ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  The Pure Mind, How to Create Joy for Today: 7 Tips for a Happy Life, Eckhart Tolle: Embodying Stillness – A Guided Meditation

AWAKEN TO LOVE THE LIGHT

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  Martin Luther King

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Do you always look outside yourself for something to make you happy?  When things you don’t want to happen occur, do you get angry or try to learn from those experiences?  Do you take full responsibility for the good in your life?

The popular literature of our time seems to be obsessed with darkness—death, violence, vampires, a future world where life is not humane.  The same is true of television programs on the basic channels.  The stories are all based on police and detective stories or have main characters that are violent or vengeful even if they are the heroes of the stories.  The same is true of many movies that are based on dark stories.

Our Pain Bodies Addict Us To Negative Thoughts and Emotions

Why are we so obsessed with the dark side of life when it is the light of life that brings us joy?  The movie and television industry discovered at some point that it is much easier for us to become addicted to these negative influences than to the positive and that they could make money off that.  The reason for this is what Eckhart Tolle calls the pain body.

English: Head-shot of Eckhart Tolle from direc...

English: Head-shot of Eckhart Tolle from directly in front by Kyle Hoobin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The pain body is an energy form that lives within all of us, and in order for it to be active, it must be fed.  What it feeds on is negative energy, so negative thoughts and emotions trigger it and allow it to take control of our thinking and emotions to the point where we begin to see the negative in every thought or encounter.  But unless the pain body is stimulated in this way, it lies dormant.

The Pain Body Feeds On Negativity

It is this aspect of our emotions and psyche that the entertainment industry understands and uses to addict us to the negative stories they produce.  One of the things I’ve observed is that people who spend a great deal of time immersed in these stories often have a great deal of fear because, when they choose to expose themselves to this kind of negativity on a regular basis, the pain body gobbles it up and expands.

Just as too much fat and junk food harm our bodies, exposing ourselves to unhealthy thoughts and experiences is harmful.  Even the kind of violence present in video games can distort a child’s concept of reality, and with the amount of violence being committed by young people these days, parents need to closely monitor how their children spend their time.  In the case of the young people who have entered schools and killed teachers and classmates, it is clear their pain bodies are ravenous for the charge that only violence toward others can give them.

We Create Light and Love Within

As King says, only love and light can drive out the darkness and hate.  Only we can change what the entertainment industry insists on giving us by refusing to watch stories that feed us only the dark side of human nature.  I’m not suggesting we return to the days of “Leave It To Beaver,” but there are many human stories with positive themes that can be entertaining and uplifting.

Love tree

Love tree (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

In the coming year, let us commit to supporting only what is positive and learn to shift our negative thoughts to more positive ones.  By doing so, we will weaken the pain body and free ourselves from its grip.  We all have challenges, but we can choose to live them in the dark or the light.  The concept is so simple.  On a sunny day, don’t most of us feel more energetic? Even on a dark, rainy day we can choose to have grateful and joyful thoughts so that we feel the light inside us.

Gratitude Expands Our Inner Light

The pain body doesn’t want us to feel good, so a gratitude practice can be a wonderful way to counteract that negative energy.  I use breakfast as the time when I express thanks for my food as well as other things in my life.  Some people prefer to write a list.  Even on the days when it seems everything is going wrong, it is worth hunting to find something positive.

A couple of days ago, I sneezed and one side of my back went into painful spasms.  It was bizarre and probably an unexpected reaction to a fall I’d had a few days earlier.  Here I was, with Christmas approaching, and I had to be taken to the emergency room with severe pain unable to move.  I wanted to rant and rave and feel angry about this awful event, but instead, I just gave in, stayed in the moment, and focused on what I could be thankful for like the careful, kind paramedics who transported me, the doctor who talked with and treated me, and my loving partner who was there every moment, helping in every way possible.

We can always choose to look at the light rather than the darkness.  In this case, I knew this happened because there was an underlying problem in my back, and it was better that it came to the surface when I was able to easily get help.  I am most grateful that it didn’t happen on my trip to visit family or on Christmas Day.

Saying “thank you” is always a way to create light in our lives.  I once knew a woman who didn’t have a lot of money, but every time she wrote a check, even to pay a bill, she wrote “Thank you, God!” at the bottom of the check.  It might have been her last dollar, but rather than focusing on the negative, she chose to feel abundant by paying that bill.

Winter Is the Perfect Time to Find Our Inner Light

During this winter season, the hours of light are less, and yet it isn’t the literal light that matters the most; it is the light and love within our minds.  We can create light in the darkness.  What is more wonderful than snuggling with your loved one by the fire or filling a room with the warmth of friends?  What is more wonderful than the generosity we see this time of year when so many people give to organizations that feed, clothe, and warm those in need?  And we can create those loving feelings within by focusing on what is good in ourselves and life.

Be the Light of Your Own Life

What gives us warmth and light may be as simple as listening to the birds and their sweet songs each morning as we rise.  No matter what challenges may appear throughout the day, we can reflect on the light their song brings us at the beginning of each day, as they remind us to look for the good in every day and every experience.  May you warm the darkness within, deplete the power of the pain body, and create the light in your own life.  Thank you, Oneness, for this life.

HAPPY HOLIDAY TO YOU ALL!

©2013 Georganne Spruce                                                          ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  An Enlightening Evening With Eckhart Tolle and Deepok Chopra(video), How To Embrace Emotional Pain, The Pain body – Part 1(video)

AWAKENING TO A PEACEFUL HEART

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.  It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”  E. F. SchumacheR

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A few months ago, my life was so full I felt I was in constant motion.  I was promoting my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholenesswith book signings, and I met a wonderful man and began a relationship with him.  Combined with the usual things one has to take care of in life, I was fairly overwhelmed.  As a result, I stopped going to the spiritual celebration I often attend on Sundays because I needed time for myself.

When We Feel Anger, We Need To Take A Breath

Then one day, I did attend the Sunday celebration, and as I entered the building, I ran into a young man I hardly knew who greeted me.  “Good to see you.  We haven’t seen you in a long time.  You did your presentation and sold your books; then you disappeared.”

Wow! I’m sure my face was red with the anger I felt.  How dare he suggest I just used my community in this way!  I’d been there nearly every Sunday for eight years!  I hardly knew this person and he knew nothing about my personal life.  A dozen angry responses flashed through my mind—but I took a deep breath, decided to be direct, and said, “Well, I was really exhausted after I finished the book.  Then I had to do all the promotional stuff, and I’m now in a relationship.   I just needed time to take care of myself.”

Another person walked up to us and I was able to slip away, thankful that I’d been able to respond with an explanation that would perhaps make him realize his assumption had been wrong.  I was also pleased with the restraint I’d shown.  When I calmed down and thought about what he had said, I realized it reflected some issue he was struggling with.

Two people in a heated argument about religion...

Two people in a heated argument about religion when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia University. Click the audio button found above and to the left to listen to them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our Issues Are About The Ego

We all have our issues and when those buttons get punched, it is so easy to act in a way we will regret later.  Inevitably, if we just react emotionally, without taking a deep breath first, we create more of a problem, making the problem “bigger, more complex, and more violent” as Schumacher suggests.  Pausing to take that breath before responding reminds us we are in the moment and need to respond in the moment from the heart, not in response to our injured ego that wants revenge, attention or is responding to our past negative experiences.

In taking that breath, we are also affirming we want peace, and it may allow us to see the source of the discomfort for the other person.  Taking a breath allows us to notice the tone of his voice or the expression on his face and that may guide us to respond in a positive way.  I realized instantly that the young man who spoke to me knew nothing about my personal life, and that being open to him might create a bridge of understanding.

It Takes Courage To Be Peaceful When Others Are Not

I don’t agree with Schumacher that choosing the more peaceful path requires genius.  I think it’s just common sense, but in a world where we’re still fighting wars and most television shows are about violence, it does sometimes take courage to take a different path.  It takes courage in order to go against what those around us believe, especially if they are friends or family.

I taught high school English for years and was often appalled by the hateful things teens said to each other, even to their friends.  When students chose not to engage in that disrespectful behavior, they were often ostracized, so the penalty for nonconformity was huge.

I once had a student ask me if I thought most people were good.  I answered that, yes, I thought most people were basically good.  She responded that she didn’t agree—she thought most people were mean.  With that as the basis of her thinking, it is not surprising that she often responded hatefully to others.  She wanted to hurt them before they hurt her.

Our Responses Reflect Who We Are

In the end, though, it doesn’t matter whether others are good or hateful.  How we respond in every situation is our choice and we have to live with it.  We have to decide who we want to be.  Do we want to be the one who comes back with a more hateful remark or do we want to be the one who creates a bridge or lets the emotional charge from our opponent die because we choose not to feed their negativity with ours?

Courage Comes From The Heart

When we are in doubt about how to respond to a negative situation, it is always wise to take a breath and consult the heart.  Responding out of love and peace is never a bad choice, and it doesn’t mean that we are weak by not confronting the anger or hatefulness in another.  We can still hold to our point of view, but when we do that from a peaceful base, it is more likely to be heard by others.  It may then be possible to turn an argument into a conversation or a misunderstanding into friendship.  Courage is most powerful when it comes from the heart.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                  ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Don’t Run From Anger – Use It to Heal and Evolve, Video: S.T.O.P. – A Conversation with Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra, What’s Your Reaction to Conflict

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 THAT IS

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I needed to be.”  Douglas Adams

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Is your life the life you envisioned ten or twenty years ago?  How have your dreams and ambitions changed?  Are you at peace with the life you have now?

I had a lovely evening of conversation with good friends the other night.  All three of them had academic careers in colleges and universities and could share stories of this time with each other.  There was a time when I had aspired to such a life and had taken a position in the middle of Nebraska thinking that would give me the experience I would need to move on.

Dealing With Life Can Be Challenging

Very quickly, the cold in Nebraska caused on-going joint pain that made it impossible for me to stay.  I moved to Denver where there were more opportunities and I found part-time work at several studios and colleges.  However, the full-time position I desired never developed.  For years, this was a source of disappointment and grief.  Why was I not good enough?

In talking later with one of my friends about that night’s conversation, he complimented me on how courageous I was to continue following my dream to teach dance even when I lacked the security of a stable position.  As I thought back on those years, I never thought I was courageous.  I just did what I had to do to keep teaching dance because I loved it so much.  I followed the journey where it took me, and I’ve never been sorry I did.

Life’s Surprises May Open New Opportunities

When life doesn’t take us where we want to go, we can see it as our failure or blame it on others, or we can assume that what we thought we should be doing isn’t what we should be doing if we look at the situation from another perspective.  Life’s unpleasant surprises may actually open us to opportunities that will benefit us more than the ones we chose.

A Spiritual Perspective Comes From the Heart

When we see our journey through life from a spiritual perspective, how we need to live may be quite different from what we imagined.  After a difficult time teaching in New Mexico high schools, unable to find the next job, I turned again to writing, and soon it became clear that was what I was supposed to be doing.  Eventually this path led to publishing my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness and fulfillment of my dream to be a writer and to inspire others to use the challenging experiences of their lives to learn and grow.

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Clearly, in this life, my heart has taken me in a direction different from the one my head wants me to follow.  Perhaps the lesson I most needed to learn was not how to have the security of a stable job, but to learn to have courage and follow my heart.  What if all the things that have happened that seemed negative were only lessons that had to be learned to arrive at a better place?

So often in this society, we have been taught that the things we have or the position we have defines our level of success.  We focus on the outer and feel we are failures if we don’t have those things, but our humanity is not measured by things.  It is measured by our ability to love, share, and find a deep and peaceful connection within that makes us aware that we are all One.

We Can Find Joy Being In The Moment

This morning, about ten turkeys nibbled across my lawn—some adults and some the youngsters that were born in the spring.  I was thrilled to see them again, and I realized how little it takes to make me happy now.  I am in the moment more, connected to the nature around me, and on most days I take the time to listen to the birds or notice a new flower blooming.  The simplest thing brings me joy.

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When I think about the past, I remember so many times when nothing made me happy, when I resisted changes I didn’t want and judged myself and others constantly with my perfectionist-programmed mind.  Although dancing taught me the beauty of being in the moment, it took me much longer to discover the value of being in the moment in my daily life and going with the flow of life.

If my life had been the perfect life I envisioned, would I have learned what I most needed to learn?  Who knows?  But what I know is that I’ve learned about courage and perseverance and this journey taught me to trust the flow of life.  Earlier, I could never have imagined feeling the peace and confidence I feel now.  I am grateful for whatever it took to bring me to this place, for I have found so much of what I need by following my journey’s circuitous route.

Follow The Journey Wherever It Leads

We are living in a time when we must be creative to survive.  As any artist, composer or choreographer knows, you may begin the art work with a specific idea of how it will look or sound, but when you begin creating it, it will have a mind of its own and may easily lead you down a different path.  Our lives are like that.  We may follow our intentions, but our entire universe is changing.  Holding on to the way things were will not serve us well.  We must trust that the journey will lead us where we need to go.

What are the surprises you have experienced in your journey lately?  Please comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                               ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Accepting Life’s Challenges with Gratitude, 5 Ways to Masterfully Navigate Life’s Challenges, Wayne Dyer/How God Tells You It’s Time for a Change

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 SPIRITUAL SURRENDER

“When one approaches any effort with the energy of reluctance or half-heartedness, the result will not be satisfying.  When you choose a spiritual path because your mind tells you that you should, you can expect to be disappointed.  When you practice a spiritual discipline begrudgingly, enduring the repetitions, rather than savoring them, the method will prove fruitless.  For the vibrancy of any approach is based not on the mechanics of the practice but upon one’s total surrender to the direction in which the practice leads you.”  Oneness

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How do you deal with your frustration when your meditation or other spiritual practice does not give you the peace you seek?  What expectations do you have about the spiritual path you follow?

Has your spiritual practice always led you in the direction you expected?  Mine hasn’t.  In fact, I would describe my spiritual journey as a spiral dance, often changing direction and going where I least expected.  At times, my life has felt stuck in an uncomfortable and unpleasant place, and it has taken me many years to understand that, in most instances, my resistance was keeping me stuck because I wanted the experience to be what I wanted it to be, not what it actually was.

Living  With Traditional “Shoulds” and Should Nots”

Growing up, my family attended a traditional Protestant church and I learned many “shoulds” and “should nots.”  That, along with my perfectionist tendencies, made me a person who was comfortable with a situation only when it was the way I thought it should be.  But as time went by, it seemed that too many things happened that shouldn’t have.  My brother shouldn’t have had polio.  I shouldn’t have had rheumatic fever.  We were good kids and our parents were good people.  Why was this happening?

Eventually, as a young adult, I realized this spiritual path wasn’t working for me.  I knew I was supposed to be religious, but I gave up and allowed myself to find the inspiration I sought in the fine arts where each creation I experienced was a glimpse into the artist’s soul.

Perfectionism Limits Freedom

I was so conditioned with “shoulds” that they continued to haunt me.  Early in my modern dance training, I was so focused on not falling and doing every movement perfectly that I was always tense.  As I became more confident and skilled, I finally surrendered and let myself become one with the movement, choosing the exhilaration over the perfection.  I felt free for the first time. That’s when I really began to dance and dance began to feed me spiritually.

Learning to Savor the Moment

When I learned to meditate, I tried so hard to do it correctly.  I judged myself for not being able to be calmer more quickly until my teacher finally said, “You don’t have to do it perfectly, you just need to sit there.  Just notice your thoughts and let them go.”  Eventually, I learned to “savor” the stillness and quiet of sitting.  I saw it as a vacation from my busy life.  Like lying on the beach listening to the ocean waves brush the shore, I let my thoughts flow through my mind without judging them.

Exploring Spiritual Practices

Exploring Spiritual Practices (Photo credit: robinsan)

Surrender Opens Us To A Spiritual Connection

As Oneness points out, the only way we can move forward with our spiritual practice is to “surrender to the direction in which the practice leads you.”  As we practice, a feeling of peace may come over us with guidance that helps us take a step forward in our life process.  It may seem strange, but we have to learn not to pay attention in order to notice what really matters.

Having Courage To Follow The Path

When the direction the practice leads us is one we like, we look forward to practicing because we envision a positive and refreshing experience.  But if we truly practice, we do not control what appears and it may be darker rather than light.  It is human to want to avoid the unpleasant; yet we cannot grow and expand without acknowledging the negative aspects of our thoughts.  These are often the moments when our fears appear, flooding us with despair or anger, and we have to acknowledge them and then let them go.

Often, in being able to see and feel the fear, we are able to understand what to do about the problem that created it.  It’s not unusual for so much clutter to be cleared out during mediation or other practices that we can finally see a solution that comes from our spiritual self rather than the ego that is so busy trying to be right.  The solutions that include the deeper aspects of a problem are the most satisfying ones, for they don’t just gloss over the problem, they expose it so it can be solved.

Savoring each repetition and moment of silence in our practice centers us and raises our vibration, allowing Spirit to guide us to what we most need to experience.

What is your most meaningful spiritual practice?

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                            ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Yoga, A Spiritual Path, Enlightened Beings: Secrets to Walking A Spiritual Path, Wayne Dyer – There Is a Solution, What Is the Meaning of Surrender in Spiritual Practice

DANCING TO THE MYSTERY OF LIFE

“Dance is the essence of mystery.  Through dance we experience a dimension that the linear mind is not structured to perceive.  It may have been dance that enabled us to first conceive of experiences beyond our immediate physical experience, thereby creating the concept of spirituality, of ‘God.’” -Iris Stewart

Does the mystery of nature feed your spiritual life? Do you take the time to really experience the changing of the seasons?  What makes you come more alive when winter moves to spring?

Dancing With the Mysteries of Spring

The first blossom that appears in my yard is the Grape Hyacinth.  Clearly, no one planted them here because they are strewn all over the lawn just like the violets that appear about the same time.  It’s a mystery how their seeds got here—just one of the many mysteries that arrive with spring.

Yesterday, walking through the botanical gardens in the sunshine with a friend, I was so perfectly at peace in a joyful way, observing the many flowers that were blooming way ahead of schedule. Once again, nature has caught us off-guard, dancing in a delightful way.

It is this dance of energy that connects us all to joy.  No matter what is happening in our lives, no matter how challenging they are, it is important to take the time to dance this dance of life.  Open the windows and dance to the breeze.  Dance to the bird song in early morning.  Dance through a field of flowers or down a forest path.  Dance with your dog in the park and let it dance with the other dogs, which it is sure to do.  Allow yourself to feel that connection with the creativity of life.

Exploring the Mysteries

When I was a child growing up in Arkansas, my family hiked in the woods and mountains where we often came across caves.  Questions and images flooded my mind.  Did anyone ever live there? Who had been sheltered from rain there?  Who built a fire there?  What animals roamed through the cave or used it for shelter?

We also visited larger commercial caves with multiple rooms and water dripping from huge stalactites.  I had difficulty paying attention to the guides because I imagined myself exploring the cave for the first time, I envisioned ancient people dancing there, their silhouettes reflected upon the walls by the fire around which they danced.  I was hypnotized by the mystery of it all, and out of that mystery, I developed a curiosity to learn more and considered becoming an archeologist.

Awakening to the Mystery in the Dance

Many people are afraid of experiencing something that is different from what they are used to, but the unknown, the mysteries of life are there to lure us away from our complacency, to give us that nudge to answer the questions that arise in our lives.  Mysteries take us deeper to places we might never discover otherwise.  Had I never taken dance classes, I might never have come to understand the mind/body connection that stimulated my interest in further exploring psychology and spirituality.  Had I not pursued answers to questions that arose along this path, I might still see myself as a victim of my emotions and fear.  Instead, I explored the mysteries of the mind and found techniques that changed my life and empowered me.

If we dance with the mysteries of life, will we find all the answers?  Probably not.  But we will find the one answer that matters the most—the connection with Spirit—because it is the essence of all life and the greatest of the mysteries.  It is the energy of flowers blooming, caves forming, and people connecting.  When I look into the beautifully complicated center of a Columbine, I always ask, “Who thought of this design?”  This is like asking, “Why do people have five fingers, not six?” although some scientist probably knows that answer.

Live the Questions Now

One of my favorite books is Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters To A Young Poet.  Some of his advice is valuable for us at all ages, especially when we are frustrated by not finding answers.  “…be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.…the point is to live everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”  Or, as I would say, dance the questions.

What mysteries are you dancing with today?

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  Being in Your Flow ~ There’s an App for ThatSynchronicity, Living in the FlowThe Art of Uncertainty: How to Live in the Mystery of Life and Love It (click on the book cover and read the first couple of chapters)