Tag Archives: Love

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.

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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)

 

 

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.

Pilgrimage 2012 022

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 COMPASSION

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.  Without them humanity can’t survive.” Dalai Lama 

Photo by superhua

Photo by superhua

Do you have compassion for those who are suffering in the world or only for the people you personally know?  Do you have compassion for yourself? 

Only Fear Separates Us From Others

We are living in a world deeply troubled by fear and separation, so how do we live with that day by day?  It is so easy to believe that our thoughts and actions have no consequence, but they do.

We are all energy—our actions, words, and thoughts are energy that we put out into the world.  If what we offer is loving and compassionate, that energy will help heal those who live in fear.  After all, fear is the only thing that separates us.

Differences Can Teach Us What We Need To Learn

I am very grateful that, in my life, I have lived in unique environments where I was always rather different from those who were born and raised there.  Because of this, I’ve learned to look beyond what is different in others to see what it is we have in common.  Even the differences have been valuable because they taught me new things about life and made me stretch and learn to adjust to a new environment.

I was fortunate to travel to West Africa on a Fulbright-Hays Travel Abroad Grant in the 1990s.  I was living in New Orleans, a place where the culture was deeply influenced by West African culture.  I saw the roots of its music, food, and the commonality of emphasis on family and community.

As for living in New Orleans itself, I learned to let go, have fun, and take life less seriously.  Those were lessons I needed to learn at that point in life.  The rest of my immediate family lived there, and it was a joy to be close to family after years of living far away.

During the time I lived in Nebraska, I learned that at a distance the landscape looked bare to a mountain-loving person like me, but in reality, there was a much more subtle beauty to that land.  You just had to pay more attention to see it.  The same was true of the people who tended to be not very emotionally expressive.

Photo by Wicker Paradise

Photo by Wicker Paradise

We Need To Look Beyond Political and Cultural Differences

I’ve also lived in New Mexico where the art and Native-American relationship to the land touched me deeply.  And I’ve lived in Washington, DC and its political climate.  But in each case, I learned something new that helped me understand that we are all different and yet all alike.  Our humanity binds us together despite the cultural or political differences, and it is our humanity that matters.

Compassion Heals Us

The Dalai Lama reminds us that we will not survive without love and compassion.  When we love our neighbor, we care about him or her.  We are concerned for his struggles.   The definition of compassion that I like the most is “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”  So compassion is not just about our feelings, it is also about what we do.

When we express compassion, we help others to heal by sharing our love with them.  We can bridge gaps caused by religious or political differences by focusing on our human needs.  By expressing this aspect of our humanity, we are saying we are all One, and that is what matters the most.  Healing ourselves and our society can only happen when we put aside the fears that separate us.

Fear Separates Us

On the national and international level, it seems that all the focus is on what separates us, and at the source of that is one thing—fear.   A spiritual teacher of mine also mentioned in the 1980s that unless we learn to release our fears, we will destroy ourselves.  But she also said that 1986 was a turning point when 6% of the population reached an awareness level that would allow us to heal our lives and survive as a species.

As wars rage, especially in the Middle East, her words are haunting because the need to control others has taken over our ability to relate to those who are different.  We are only concerned with being the person or country that has power over others.  But in most of these wars, a group that has been oppressed is fighting for freedom, and in some instances what they are doing may be the only way a correction can be made at this time.

Loving elephants

We Must Release Our Fears

One of the reasons, I teach workshops on how to release your fear is that releasing our fears is the only way to free us from the confines of insecurity.  It is only when we feel insecure that we need to control others.  When we feel secure within ourselves, it is natural to love and feel compassion and we reach out to others who are in need.  When we express this positive energy, we begin to change our world, person by person.

We may not be able to stop the international wars, but we can stop the wars in our own lives by learning to let go of the fears that create problems.  Letting go of those fears helps free us to love ourselves and others, and when love is in our hearts, we do feel sympathy for others’ difficulties and will choose to reach out to help in any way we can.

By Practicing Compassion, We Become Peacemakers

In this world we have allowed power and fear to control life.  What if we chose love and compassion instead?  We could save not only our own lives, but the world as well.  We have to be the heroes in our own journeys.

Current Release Your Fear Workshops – click Here

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                    ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Small Acts of Compassion Can Save the World, Compassion Can Change the World, You can Change the World – ComPASSion Project (video) 

AWAKENING TO LIFE’S GIFTS

“Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.”  Tony Robbins

Auroa Borealis

Photo: Beverly & Pack

How do you feel about good things that come from a negative experience?  What gifts has life given you?  How much do you love yourself?

I love the change of seasons.  They keep life interesting, even winter with its storms, snow, and extreme chill, for unlike spring when I can hardly stay inside, staying warm inside during winter is a pleasure.  I curl up on the couch with a good book or sit at my computer writing for hours totally absorbed with a story and new ideas.

Many Gifts Are Unexpected

For example, I was looking for a file the other day, thinking how I seriously needed to clear out a lot of old folders, when I came across a folder marked “Affirmation Project.”  To my surprise, I found a mock-up of a self-made book of affirmations that I had written.  A few years ago, I gave it as a gift or was selling it at a bazaar—I honestly don’t remember, but I had forgotten about it.

I read through the book and liked what I had written, and now that I know about independent publishing, it occurred to me that I could easily publish it.  I was so excited and immediately thanked Spirit for guiding me to this.  “What a gift,” I thought.

Two Friends

Photo: Guido Stein

Only We Can Choose to Live Well

Voltaire said, “God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.”  So what does that mean to live well?  I think it means to be the best person we can be: to love ourselves and others, to develop our talents so that we can contribute to the world and give back in response to the gifts that come to us.

Life’s Gifts May Be Hidden Beneath the Surface

Life’s gifts come in many forms, sometimes hiding beneath the surface of an experience that isn’t so positive.  We may feel that the experience is dragging us down is certainly not a gift.  It is only in retrospect that we can see the chain of events leading to a precious gift or an opportunity to become more.

A few years ago, I slipped and fell on ice and broke an elbow and pelvis.  I was in the hospital and rehab for an entire month and still needed help after that.  It was an awful experience that included a lot of pain.  Without family in the area, I was very fortunate to belong to a spiritual community that had just formed a Circle of Care group that became my family and helped and nurtured me.  In fact, so many people wanted to help that I had more help than I needed.  Their love and attention healed me as surely as the medical care I received.

Among the people who helped was a woman who has since become a very close friend.  Her kindness and generosity of spirit always inspire me.  In addition, I learned that I could always call on my community in a time of need.  That gave me a security I didn’t have before, and I made more room in my life to be active in that community.  Recently, when a member I knew had cancer, I gladly drove her to chemotherapy.  Again, there was a hidden gift as she revealed more of herself to me and our conversations created a deeper friendship.

Gift

Photo: asenat 29

To Live Well, We Must Love Ourselves

Part of living well or giving back requires that we love ourselves enough to value our talents and put them out into the world.  I once had a friend who told me she didn’t have any talents.  I knew that wasn’t true.  She was a teacher, so every day she was giving to her students a gift that was most valuable to them.  Sadly, she couldn’t see this value because she just didn’t love herself enough to value her own strengths.

Growing up in a family that saw life in a very concrete way, my desire to live a creative life was treated as frivolous although it was my parents that exposed me to the beauty of all the fine arts.  They felt that the arts were inspiring to view, but impractical to do.

Our Greatest Gift Is Being Who We Truly Are

But at a very early age, both dance and writing seemed to be part of who I was.  When I wasn’t doing either, I was fantasizing about doing them.  At some point, I realized that these talents were spiritual gifts that I could not ignore.  I became a dancer first because I needed a young body to do that, and in the process, I healed my weak body and developed a valuable mind/body connection.

Later, when I needed to give up the strenuous physical demands of dance, I turned to my second gift, writing.  I realized then that my mother’s insistence that I always speak and write with grammatical correctness had been a gift I could now truly appreciate.  Through writing I healed many issues and areas of emotional distress as well as expanding my ability to express myself intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.

The More We Are Ourselves, The More We Have To Give

There is a beautiful freedom that comes with expressing who we really are.  By becoming more of who we are, we have more to give others.  And the more we become who we truly are, the more we have to contribute, in a positive way, to the life around us.

Love and Joy Expand Our Energy

My dearest spiritual teacher said that our purpose in this life is to expand our energy by experiencing love and joy.  One way we can do that is to develop the spiritual being that we are, to experience gratitude for life’s many gifts, and by appreciating the opportunities that life offers for our growth and awareness.  What can you do today to give something back to this life by becoming more?

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                       ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: The Secret to Happiness, Appreciation Appreciates Into Love, Ten Ways to Be Who You Truly Are

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 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 KINDNESS

“This is my simple religion.  There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy.  Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”  Dalai Lama

Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth and current Dala...

Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth and current Dalai Lama, is the leader of the exiled Tibetan government in India. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you consider yourself a kind person?  Are you surrounded by kind people?  What has created your ideas about what kindness is?

Qualities of Kind People

I am always deeply touched by kind people, and there are several things that I notice about them.  They are people who are at peace with themselves.  They look for what is positive in others and in situations.  They are empathetic and compassionate.

These are the kind of people I want in my life, the people I can trust who, when there is conflict, will talk respectfully about our differences and work things out.  I can look back on my life and see the many times when I tolerated behavior in relationships and friendships that was less than respectful of who I was and my needs.  Now I find that I am less willing to ignore such disrespect and that more of the people I draw into my life are kind.

What has changed and why is kindness so important to me now?  Peace, love, and joy are now my priorities.

Kindness Is Based On Loving Ourselves

I recently read an article “The Magic of Unconditional Love:  An Interview with Don Miguel Ruiz” by Diane Marie Bishop in Science of Mind Magazine.  In the article, Ruiz talks about how we cannot love others unconditionally unless we unconditionally love ourselves.  Over the years, my ability to love myself has grown.  I have let go of my need to be perfect or to fit someone else’s standard.  This acceptance has given me more peace, and I have learned to be kinder to myself and others.

It is all connected.  When we love ourselves, peace and joy automatically become part of our lives and the expression of kindness becomes a natural thing.  We are less reactive and more aware of how our words and actions affect others.  We are also more flexible and able to adapt to the needs of others when it is appropriate.  But we also are at peace with who we are and can say “no” when we must and do it in a way that is kind.

Negative Thinking Blocks Kindness

It was a challenging week last week with many every day difficulties arising.  It was a week of important teachings, a reminder that, instead of getting caught up in another’s negativity, I need to tap into my inner peace and stay there.  I wasn’t always able to do that, but I will continue to pursue that path.  Experiencing peace and love is my priority and what I want to share with others.

When we love ourselves, we are more likely to see life as positive.  When we are feeling positive, we are more likely to respond to life in a positive manner and act kindly.  But seeing the same situation from a negative point of view may completely change how we experience an event.  Negative thinking can be a powerful block that supports our egos’ worst choices and keeps us from acting kindly from the heart.

Recently, I offered to loan a friend a library book I’d finished so she could also read it before it was due.  With a long waiting list, it was hard to get.  She emailed me to leave it in her mailbox, but I wasn’t comfortable with that due to the torrential rains we were having, and it belonged to the library so I didn’t want to risk its getting damaged.  Since we lived close to each other, I asked her to give me a call when she was home, and I would bring it to her or she could pick it up.  She thought my concern was foolish, and she became angry that I wouldn’t do this the way she wanted, rejected my offer, and refused to return my phone call so we could work it out.

I was rather shocked by the whole situation.  Her response to the situation seemed harsh and out of proportion to the reality although, in the past, she had been disturbed about situations she viewed as negative when I didn’t see them that way.  Still, what created this problem?  Had I been unkind without realizing it?  Was she stressed about something or angry at me for another reason?  I didn’t know.  By focusing on the negative rather than the positive aspect of the situation and refusing to communicate, my friend created a problem that didn’t need to exist and eroded the trust I felt for her.

Kindness

Kindness (Photo credit: -RejiK)

Positive Thinking Supports Kindness

An experience with a sales person last week when I had a problem with a new cell phone also illustrated the consequences of positive and negative approaches to situations.  This man made it clear that he only had time for people who were there to buy something although I had been required to trade out my phone for a new one due to network changes.

Because of his lack of customer service, I decided not to do business there again.  Instead I went to another store where a kind young man showed concern for my problems and took the time to show me how to use the new phone.  Perhaps he was just a kind person or perhaps he understood making a customer happy might mean more sales in the long run.  Either way he took the higher road.

Kindness May Be Expressed With Empathy and Compassion

Two other ways we can express kindness are through empathy and compassion.  They are beautiful expressions of our love and peace.  With empathy we are able to put ourselves in the other person’s place and feel what he is feeling.  We may make this connection because we’ve experience a similar situation or because we use our imagination to envision what he is feeling.  Compassion takes us one step further emotionally to a place where we want to help.

To share our feelings of concern through either of these expressions is an act of kindness.  We care if another person is in pain or difficulty and want life to be better for him/her.  I have another friend who frequently expresses these qualities.  The trust I feel toward him because of this is huge.  Whether he thinks my feelings are foolish or not is irrelevant.  What he offers me is concern and empathy first.  If we argue, it becomes a respectful conversation that allows us to understand each other and helps our relationship grow deeper.  As a result, I feel loved and at peace with him.   I can always trust that he cares about what is best for me.

Allowing kindness to become an important part of our lives can truly change them for the better, for kindness is part of the holy within us.  It’s just another aspect of treating others as we wish to be treated.  Perhaps it is also another way of changing our own little worlds and contributing positively to the larger one.

What kindness have you expressed or experienced lately?

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                                   ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Appropriate Compassion, Soul to Soul with Don Miguel Ruiz (video interview with Oprah), Are You Empathetic – 3 Types of Empathy and What they Mean, How to Fix the Broken Record in Your Head

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