Tag Archives: Inner Peace

AWAKENING TO LIVE WITHOUT FEAR

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

Dune-by-Frank-Herbert

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

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

To Release Fear, We Must Admit We Feel It

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

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

Fear May Be Disguised As Other Feelings

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

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

photo (38)

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

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

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

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

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

Release Expectations about How You Will Receive Guidance

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

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

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

meditation-by-the-lake-55721299753723Ly4

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

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

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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

AWAKENING TO GRACE

“Listen to your life.  See it for the fathomless mystery it is.  In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”  Frederick Buechner

Arboretum 2013 013

What is grace?  How has it appeared in your life?  Where do you believe it comes from?

This year, more than ever, I am aware of how precious life is.  Two women I knew well died of cancer.  A man whom we all deeply admired in my spiritual community died suddenly of a heart attack.  We have also lost public figures like the beloved Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall.

No matter what difficulties arise, I am always reminded how fortunate I am to have the life I live, to have only medical problems that are not life-threatening, to have a loving husband, plenty of food, a home where I can live peacefully, and friends who are conscious and loving.  I am blessed.

Grace Is A Mystery

As far as experiencing grace, I’ve often felt like Anne Lamott who said, “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”  I am always drawn to mysteries without needing to solve them.  They always make me ponder and question aspects of life I wouldn’t have noticed if the mystery had not arisen.  In the pondering, a new awareness often arises that enriches my life.

Grace Enriches Our Lives

One of the most profound examples of grace in my life is how I met my husband.  We were both on different online dating sites, and I accidently clicked on something that put me on his site.  He was taking one last look before shutting down his account, saw me, and sent an email. But I never received it.  I had taken myself off that site, but the picture he saw of me included a poster of the Release Your Fear workshops that I facilitate, and that helped him search and locate me.

He could have given up when I didn’t return his original email, but he listened to his heart.   He was in the middle of one of those mysteries life throws our way, one of those key moments when, if we listen inside we will be guided by grace.

Arboretum 2013 007

We Don’t Have To Earn Grace Or Deserve It

A friend defined grace as “undeserved, unearned, unexpected, and life-giving.”   It just happens.  We don’t do anything to cause it.  We don’t have to earn it.  It isn’t a reward.  It just is—like our lives.  Grace and the other mysteries of life may teach us we don’t always need to know why something happens.  We just need to be grateful and accept the gift we are offered.

I am not suggesting that we always need to be passive, but I know that some things are beyond our abilities to fix.  When there is a problem, it is wise to try to solve it.  Many times when we have done all we know how to do, it is the acceptance that we don’t know the answer that opens the way for grace to enter and bless us with its wisdom.

We Need To Make Room For The Holy

Buechner says, “…touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it (life) because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” When we can wake each morning, grateful to live life, we fill the day with love and excitement, and we spread that energy to all around us.  Even in the midst of chaos and challenges, we need to find that moment to go within and listen, to make room for the holy, however we define it, to enter and bless us.

We Must Listen To Our Inner Selves

One time when I was in distress about how to solve a problem, I had a friend do a psychic reading for me.  She informed me that my spiritual guides were trying to speak to me, but I wasn’t listening.  She was right.  I was so focused on fixing what was “out there” that I wasn’t listening to my inner self.

We Must Be Open To Grace

Grace may visit us without our noticing it unless we are listening.  When difficulties arise and we shut down emotionally, we build a wall that closes us off from the mysteries and spiritual gifts of life.   We stop listening, and to listen, we have to risk hearing what we may not want to hear.  That is sometimes exactly what we need to hear.

002

 

Living close to nature, even in a city, confronts us with the mysteries of life every day.  I have done nothing to earn the frequent visits of the turkeys that live in my subdivision, nor do I have any idea why my yard has become a playground for a couple of youthful rabbits.  But when I watch them wandering through my yard, I feel I have been touched with grace.  The pleasure that I receive by watching them is a gift from the Divine, and I am eternally grateful.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Anne Lamott on Robin Williams – Stories Worth Telling

AWAKENING TO BALANCE THE MIND

“No person, no place, no thing has power over us, for ‘we’ are the only thinkers in our mind.  When we create peace and harmony and balance in our minds, we will find it in our lives.” Louise L. Hay

coast What happens when we give in to bouts of irritation and mental chaos?  Why do we get out of balance?  How do we bring ourselves back to balance?

Over the last week, I was struggling with multiple computer problems.  Even with my husband’s help, it seemed that when one problem was solved, the solution created another problem.  We talked repeatedly with our email company and with Microsoft who created the email program I use to manage my email.  There were constant error messages.  The challenge seemed endless, and I was not happy these problems kept me from writing.

Resistance Always Blocks Solutions

Over the last two months, I have found it difficult to write the blog because of the attention I needed to give to my ankle when I broke it and preparing for our wedding.  Even thought the latter was a delight, it still took time, so when the computer problems arose and kept me from writing for over a week, I lost my patience with it.

I resisted admitting that these were serious problems and that, of course, was a mistake because resistance always blocks solutions.  Then I let them take control of me and I became a pathetic, complaining, angry person.  Despite that, I did attempt to calm myself through positive thinking, meditation, finally hiring a technical person to fix the problems.

Reflecting on all this, I am reminded again that getting upset never helps and it rarely feels good.  It’s about returning to my immature self who felt helpless and did not activate the part of me that is a strong problem-solver and takes full responsibility to find the solution.

resisance

Positive Thinking Is Most Likely To Create Positive Results

Louise Hay is so right.  It is all about the way we chose to think.  The reason I have been so drawn to Science of Mind principles and the Law of Attraction is that they empower me to create in my life whatever I want.  How I think determines my experience.  When there is a crisis, like this week, I want to know I have the capability to solve it or to get the help I need to solve it.

At times, we just need to take a leap of faith.  We need to expect the problem to get solved, maintain a positive attitude toward it, and do whatever we can to fix it.  We can’t know ahead that the choice we make will work, but we have to have the courage to try.  If it doesn’t work, we simply need to try again, further analyzing the situation and experimenting.

Going within

The Answers Are Within Our Quiet Core

Allowing ourselves to be angry, to feel like a failure, or allow the problem to take over our lives has no benefit.  In that still, quiet place within, we have available to us information from our experiences in this life and information from our current and past spiritual life.  Or as in my case, we look around us and find someone who is more knowledgeable to solve the problem.

Without Fear, Our Minds Can Solve the Problems 

Feeling inadequate doesn’t help.  We all have different talents, and mine is definitely not computers; yet to some people who have never written a blog I seem accomplished.  It’s all in the mind, and operating from a peaceful place without fear is the place where we are most likely to find success.  What is going on in our minds has a ripple effect.  That energy can limit us or expand us.  We can choose.  As Louise Hay reminds us, “We are the only thinkers in our mind.”

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                         ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Create A Balance Between Dreams and Habits (Wayne Dyer), Meditation Techniques for Balancing the Mind

AWAKENING TO WHAT IS HUMANE

“You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.”  Marianne Williamson

meditating in park

 Do you always think before you act?  How often are your actions based on your need to be right?  What do you do when being right conflicts with being humane?

What most often guides your actions—being right or being humane?  As I sat listening to the comments on what it means to be right during a group discussion the other night, I discovered I didn’t know what to say about my own concept of being right.  I kept thinking about all the destruction created in the world by those who believe they are so right that they have the right to destroy those whose beliefs differ from theirs.

Fear Is At the Core of Needing To Be Right

As the discussion progressed, I reflected on the past and times when I thought I knew what was right and how I tried to impose it on others.  Of course, fear was at the root of that.  I was afraid something bad would happen to me if I did the wrong thing or expressed an idea that would upset my parents, teachers, or friends.

But I’ve come a long way since then, realizing that, in some areas, it is clear to me what the right thing to do is because I have enough life experience to know what the possible outcome of certain actions are.  I think more often now before I speak or act and try to act in a conscious manner.

It Is Better To So What Is Humane Than What Is Right

Finally, toward the end of the discussion the other night, I realized that my intense discomfort with trying to decide what I thought was right was because it really is relative.  Several people had pointed this out quite vividly.  One action may be a good one in one sense but not in another.  Then I realized that instead of trying to do the right thing, perhaps doing the humane thing was a clearer guide.

Snow Bird Lodge 066

It appears that too many people in this world believe it’s all right to kill anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs.  So I have to ask, “Is it humane to kill innocent civilians who have had nothing to do with the political conflict that provoked this violence?  Why have we not developed a more humane way to resolve differences?”  Mahatma Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

Needing To Be Right May Make Us Blind

Unfortunately, much of the world seems to be blind.  As I follow the actions of the leadership of my state, North Carolina, I often wonder why they are unwilling or unable to find solutions to problems that are respectful of all people and their basic needs.  Where is their compassion?

To be humane means that we believe everyone’s basic needs are met by creating an economy that provides jobs for those who can work with salaries that allow even the most basic workers to make a reasonable living.  When middle and lower class workers pay a higher percentage in taxes than the most wealthy, there is a lack of conscience among those who allow such laws to exist.

Snow Bird Lodge 063

To Be Humane, We Must Find Inner Peace

When did we forget how to share as a nation?  How did we forget that democracy is about all the people?   Doing what is humane is always right because it is doing what will help or heal or support another who is in need. When we do that, we are expressing positive energy that flows out into the world, inspiring or helping others.  Every action we take affects those around us.

But our actions reflect our thinking, and until we can find peace and love in our own hearts, we cannot share it with others.  We must learn to accept different points of view and embrace those that are humane.  After all, the Spirit, of which we are all a part, has throughout time sent many holy ones into our world to teach us better ways to live with love and peace.

Shifting Our Thinking Can Change the World

When we look at the heart of the world’s main religions, there are few differences although each may emphasize different aspects of spirituality.  We would have a much more humane world if we would focus our efforts on seeing how alike we are rather than how different.  Shifting our thinking can literally change the world.  So how far are you willing to stretch out of your comfort zone to explore thinking that is different from yours?

I am always reminded of what my dear spiritual teacher Gladys taught me—that when I release my fear, my mind is free to find solutions to my problems rather than reasons to continue being afraid.  What would happen if we released our fear and allowed our most humane thoughts to direct our lives?  We could become the peace which we desire in the world.

©2014 Georganne Spruce                                          ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  A Human Approach to World Peace,  Peace Summit with Dalai Lama,Eckhart Tolle, and Nobel, 10 Eckhart Tolle Take-a-Ways for a Peaceful 2014

AWAKENING TO TRUE LOVE

“True Love is born from understanding.”  Buddha

Snow Bird Lodge

Snow Bird Lodge

For several weeks, I have not written a new post for the blog.  Life has become the priority—a mixture of joyous happenings and challenging struggles.  Dreams have come true and pleasures have been dashed.

Life Was Good

I was married in late June.  A year and a half ago, I wouldn’t have thought it was possible.  I had created a life, without a partner, that made me happy most of the time.  I had met a couple of nice men, but we weren’t really a fit.  I was promoting my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness and beginning to explore a way to publish some poetry.  I had found a stimulating discussion group where I was making new friends and was hiking with a nice group of people.  Life was good.

I Met the Love of My Life

Then I met my Love.  It was an accident.  I was on an online dating site and made the mistake of clicking on something that took me to a site I didn’t want to be on.  There he saw me with one of the posters beside me for the Releasing the Fear classes that I teach.  He said it was my eyes that attracted him.  When he later returned to the site, I was gone, but he didn’t give up.  He googled “releasing your fear” and information appeared that led him to my email address.

I’m glad he is a curious and sensitive man.  His email was thoughtful, letting me know he was not stalking me despite the search he had made, so I responded.  Of course, before doing so, I googled him as well and discovered he was a spiritual person and a writer.

photo (21)

This was all a switch for me because in the past I had often been the one who made the most effort to get together with the men I met.  I liked being pursued, but I was cautious.  We used email and the phone to communicate and that went well, but I knew meeting him in person would tell me the most, especially since I am very sensitive to another person’s energy.

Spiritual Compatibility Is Important

The rest of the story is too long to tell here, but he came to a workshop and liked my work.  We read each others’ books and liked what we read.  Although our spiritual backgrounds are very different, we are very spiritually compatible and he has become a part of my spiritual community.  Still there are differences, and most conflicts came from not understanding one another.

Conflicts Often Result From Making Assumptions

So we learned along the way and will always be learning how to understand one another.  It is so easy to make assumptions and draw inaccurate conclusions about another’s behavior.  Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements advises us not to make assumptions, and that’s some of the best advice I’ve ever received.  Our assumptions are always about us and rarely offer us truths about the other person.

Part of my journey in this relationship has been learning how to live with another person because, with the exception of one year with a roommate years ago, I have lived alone since 1977.  I never realized how set in my ways I am.  Fortunately, my Love has had more experience, but he’s also flexible.  Together we’ve learned what to do to make this work.

There were some challenges, especially when I fell hiking in mid-April and broke my ankle.  My Love moved in to take care of me so that I would not have to go to a rehab facility.  It stretched us both, but his love and care were wonderful.  We joke about him earning his nursing degree during this time.  What I saw was a man who simply does what he needs to do to care for those he loves even when it’s difficult.  I learned I could trust him and depend on him.  He had inner strength.

Understanding One Another Leads to a Deep Love

But here’s the bottom line.  Many of us want relationships and marriage.  I’ve wanted it all my life but was never willing to settle for a relationship with a man who was uncommitted or controlling or not on a compatible path.  I just knew it wouldn’t work.  The truth is that the most wonderful thing about this marriage relationship is something I had never felt—a feeling so wonderful that it still seems quite unreal.

It isn’t the illusion of “being in love.”  It is something so much deeper.  It is knowing that on a spiritual level you are a match, that your love is a healthy love that supports you both.  It is a feeling of deep peace and joy, knowing you are loved for who you truly are, and that you share the same kind of commitment.  It is knowing that the other person will be there for you, and that you, without a doubt, will be there for him.

We Cannot Truly Love Another Until We Love Ourselves

I thought I knew what True Love was, but I didn’t.  What I had felt once in the past doesn’t even come close to this, but I also realize that I can experience this True Love because I have spent many years learning to understand and love myself and created a life I liked.  With these two things in place I was energetically ready to attract my perfect mate and had become the person who could be his perfect partner.

I’m now back on my feet, walking almost normally, but still doing physical therapy so I can return to my former hiking strength.  Life never feels quite complete without my time on the forest trails.  I feel most grateful for this healing and also for the partner I now have who shares all the paths I follow.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                       ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Dr. Wayne Dyer:  Dating, Desire, and Attracting Love, Deeper Dating – Finding A New Approach to Love, Relationships: True Love and the Transcendence of Duality (interview with Eckhart Tolle)

 

 

DANCING FOOTLOOSE AND FANCY FREE

“When you are joyous, look deeply into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.  When you are sorrowful, look again into your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”  Khalil Gibran

2012 Botanical Garden 019

Photo: Georganne Spruce

How do you handle disappointment?  Does it plunge you into depression or are you able to learn from it and still expect the best from life?

Yesterday I sat in the doctor’s office nervously waiting for him to appear.  The silence calmed me a bit as did the smile from my fiancé who was there with me.  The doctor came in smiling after having seen the x-rays of the ankle I had broken.  “A good sign,” I thought, waiting for him to speak.

We Share Joy Simply By Expressing It

His words were exactly what I wanted to hear.  The boot was booted, and I could bear weight again.  We were all smiling and I was so happy I forgot to ask the questions I should have asked.  He could tell from the smile on my face that he needed to add, “But no jumping or running.”  And he laughed joyfully with me.

I may have been seated but I was jumping for joy, and so were the nurse and my fiancé.  It was contagious.  But that is often the way joy is—it radiates and infects those around us, and before they know it, they are dancing the dance with us.

It’s the small things on this journey that sometimes give the greatest joy—being able to climb up six stairs without falling, being able to sleep with my foot free of the heavy boot, my fiancé bringing me a vase of Gerber daisies, having two hours to sit and talk with my best friend.  Even the ice cream I frequently get seemed tastier.

We Experience Sadness Only When We Lose What We Value

When we are forced to focus, we may actually realize that we become sad only when we lose or feel we will lose what we care about.  For an independent active person like me, not being able to walk for six weeks was huge.  For someone who is sedentary, it might be just an inconvenience.  For someone who follows a particular football team, the loss of a game is upsetting.  Not being a fan, I wouldn’t even notice.

I value freedom, and I need a lot of it in terms of making my own decisions, following my spiritual path, and writing.  None of these were affected by the restrictions I have had recently, but the physical restriction weighed me down so much that I began to get depressed about growing older, and I worried about the time when I would be permanently restricted.

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Even When Negative Experiences Occur, We Can Still Expect the Best From Life

At that point, I stopped and thought, “Wait a minute.  I never think like this.  I always assume I’ll be active until the day I die.”  I took a deep breath, did a little meditation, and let the fear go.  My sense of well-being returned.  What happens, happens, but I’ll always take the best care of myself that I can, so there is no reason to dwell on the worst that could happen.  It’s not unreasonable for me to expect all will be well even when, once in a while, negative things happen.

Because I was a dancer for many years, just being able to walk feels like an incredible freedom.  I feel like I’m dancing just because I can look other adults in the eye now instead of seeing the world from a knee-level perspective.  Everyone is my dancing partner and I’m feeling footloose and fancy free.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                             ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Allowing What Is, Worried? How Not to Let It Get the Best of You – Wayne Dyer

AWAKENING TO THE HOME WITHIN

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

Home at Ocean

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

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

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

Cold Winters Develop Resilience

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

NE Snow

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

What We Resist May Persist

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

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

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

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

 Joy May Sometimes Hide Despair

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

All People Are One

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

senegal women

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

Living Close to Nature Makes Us One

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

What Feels Like Home May Be An Illusion

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

adobenido.com

adobenido.com

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

Wholeness May Be Born From Pain

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

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

What is home to you?  Please Comment.

© 2006 Georganne Spruce                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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