Tag Archives: Oneness

AWAKENING TO RACIAL EQUALITY

“In the midst of winter, I found there was within me, an invincible summer.” Albert Camus

publicphoto.org

publicphoto.org

After years of teaching, summer always feels like a vacation to me although I’ve been retired for years. I think of summer as a time to go swimming, hike through the forest, plant flowers, and wake up feeling happy and energetic. It’s just a joyous, free time when I don’t have to work hard at anything.

But this summer feels more like winter than summer. The intensive rain or extreme heat keeps me indoors and that intensive summer energy vibrates within like it is ready to explode. Then there was last Wednesday and the shooting in Charleston and the darkness descended like a shadow of winter.

Public Shootings Create Grief For Many

My soul has lost its joy. It feels like the middle of winter when there’s little to do and the cold makes going outside miserable. It feels like the 60’s all over again with the endless murders of anyone who tried to change things for the better and stood up against racism.

Congress of Racail Equality

Congress of Racail Equality

To say that the death of nine people in Charleston was tragic is an understatement. It is a turning point and we cannot ignore it.   What real progress, if any, has been made is merely a shadow of what we still need to accomplish.

We Must Take Action Against Hate

It’s true we are grieving for many reasons, and we have to grieve and feel, but soon we need to move beyond that and find that “invincible summer” within ourselves—that part of us that will take action, that understands we are all human and must be treated humanely. We must harness our energy and take action this time in a way that permanently changes the face of racism in this country.

For one thing, I want to know how we can keep other young people from developing the hatred that motivated Dylann Roof. What really pushed him over the edge? I believe it was more than what he read on the internet. He said the people in the Bible class were so nice he thought about not killing them—but he did it anyway.

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For a moment he felt the light but it didn’t matter because he was already lost in the darkness of hatred. And yet those who lost their loved ones refused to let him take away their love, so they forgave him. When you’ve been the victim of hate, to return it only expands it. They understood that. They found their “invincible summer.” I am deeply touched by their choice to love.

Only Love Can Heal Racial Equality

Is there an invincible summer within me? Maybe. I felt it for a while as we attended a solidarity gathering at St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church on Friday. The message was given by the minister there who grew up in the Charleston church where the shooting occurred. He lost dear friends. He was grieving deeply, but that “invincible summer” shown brightly through him.

He urged us all to action—white and black. It’s time to stop fooling around and look at the issues that create the kind of hate that creates violence. It’s time to improve education and employment opportunities for everyone. It’s time to regulate the sale of guns so that the mentally unstable cannot get them. It’s time to stop incarcerating young people for minor crimes. It’s time to fix what is terribly broken.

Urban-News Photo

Urban-News Photo

Racial Equality Creates Opportunity for All

In every city there needs to be serious conversations about how to make life better for everyone. Perhaps this shooting haunts me deeply, not only because of its tragedy, but because it reminds me of so much of what I saw in New Orleans during the years I taught there. In five years I only had one white student. Most were African-American or mixed race.

I saw poverty, hunger, and children with parents who could not function, usually because of drug addictions or because they held down multiple jobs to feed the family. They went to school in buildings smelling of mold and urine. In one school the bathrooms were so filthy, students wouldn’t use them. They would cut class and go home. And my highly intelligent students were harassed by some teachers who were incompetent. This was all before Katrina.

We Need to Release Our Obsession With Always Winning

In this country we are obsessed with a competitive, hierarchical mentality that creates a need for being the one who wins despite our democratic foundations that state we are all equal. Our equality is an illusion. Two of the things that have happened during my lifetime that have been detrimental to society and contribute to the rash of public shootings have been the loosening of gun sale regulations and the ease with which young people can find sites online that encourage racist attitudes.

When we need to always win, to always be superior, even if violence is the only way we know to win, it is always rooted in fear and often those that act on this impulse are not mentally stable. For those who need mental health services, there are fewer choices because so many are being cut. Couple that with the ease to obtain guns and we have a serious problem.

Public Media Needs to Create Shows That Show Our Humanity

In addition, the kind of films and television shows that are commonly watched are very violent, and even the nonviolent programs, the characters are often despicable. One of the most popular is “House of Cards,” but the main character will stab anyone in the back to get what he wants. I’ve heard people say they are addicted to it. That’s because our dark side is drawn to the darkness in others.

If we are stable adults, we have the strength to resist this, but a child or teenager who is vulnerable, particularly one who is a loner longing for attention may see those powerful, negative personalities as heroes. That dark one becomes a role model for becoming a hero.

There was a time when entertainment as a whole was pretty harmless. In the beginning of television there were high quality dramas written by major writers. There were funny, harmless comedies. It’s true that the characters were often idealized, but there were few really evil characters around. It was a more positive world that we as young people were exposed to.

War Veterans Working Together

War Veterans Working Together

People Need Positive Role Models in Life and the Media

So why do we continue to tolerate this? It all comes down to money. If it makes money, it is tolerated. Hollywood knows that stimulating people’s fears will draw them into the dark stories. The image of becoming a hero by killing people has pulled many a young person into committing horrendous acts. Dylann Roof wanted to do what he thought no one else was willing to do—be a hero and get rid of “those people” whom he perceived as trying to take over his world.

So we are left with a dilemma. One of our basic rights in this country is free speech and our constitution gives us the right to bear arms. In “the winter of our discontent” we must find a way for these freedoms to co-exist and to create an “invincible summer. What are we going to do about it?

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                                                            ZQT4pQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: Eckhart Tolle: Holding onto Negativity (video), Charleston Shooting Opens Unhealed Wounds, What Solutions Are Commonly Proposed to Solve Racism

AWAKENING TO POETRY

The following poem just won first place in the 2015 Writer’s Workshop Poetry Contest

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Soul Mate

by

Georganne Spruce

 

*The Grandmothers were hot,

Glowing in the dusky light

Like globes of gold hung by firelight.

No one dared speak,

Even the children, awed,

Mouths open halfway between

Fear and delight, waiting…

Our hands, feet and body shook

Impaled upon hooks of vibration

We could not escape

As we lost all consciousness,

Awakening in the other land.

 

What would we have wanted

The sphere of Oneness to look like?

A cloud of blue perhaps

Silhouetted against fading pink light

In the west or crisp and white

Like first morning light washed clean

By dark night.

But it is a meadow of tulips

Where wise women sleep

Among the grassy knolls

And dream of the next earthly life.

 

We were infused with light

As we passed through the portal

Created by the Grandmothers,

Floating through what is no longer time.

Now weary from this wisdom journey

We find paths to take us

Into the forest of this other world

Where all we’ve known resides.

And he will be there—

The one I’ve loved through all time,

He will be there glowing like gold

In the dusky light,

Waiting to follow me

Wherever I go.

 *The Grandmothers refers to the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers who came together in 2004 to save Mother Earth.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce

13 Indigenous Grandmothers

13 Indigenous Grandmothers

A friend who recently read this poem asked me where it came from.  I don’t know.  It just appeared in my mind one day a couple of years ago, long after I had seen a film on the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers.  The first line threw me.  I thought, “What in the world is this about?”  But I’ve learned over time, not to question it but to just let the words flow until they stop.

Awakening to the Poetic Message

The ending was the most surprising of all, but it gave me hope.  A serious relationship had ended because we both realized we were not a good fit.  Until the last few lines, I just thought the poem was about me growing spiritually and experiencing another, higher dimension, but it was also telling me how to find my soul mate.

Months later, I met the man who is now my husband.  Our meeting was very synchronistic and surprising.  He is by far the deepest and most loving man I’ve been in a relationship with and a gift beyond my imagination.

So, I am delighted to receive a first prize for this poem for many reasons.  It is the first poetry prize I’ve ever won, and I couldn’t be happier.

What blessings have come to you unexpectedly in creative or human forms?

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                                            ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Awakening to Love All We Are, Awakening to the Wisdom of Dreams, Awakening to Be In the Moment

AWAKENING TO THE NEW STORY OF LOVE

“Some day after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

orion-nebula-space-galaxyHow in touch are you with the cosmos? Do you feel it’s important to understand how the Universe works? What, if anything, does this have to do with your life?

Brian Swimme’s documentary  Journey of the Universe is a powerful film. I recently watched it with a group of like-minded people who see themselves as part of All that is. What Swimme emphasized was that we need a new story about who we are and how we are part of the Universe. In fact, he pointed out that we are beginning to live in a way that is coherent with our actual knowledge of the Universe when we see ourselves as connected with all life.

The Universe and the Earth Are Aware

The Universe is aware and as we become more in touch with the earth and more concerned about its well-being, we tap into that awareness and connect with it. This is just another way of saying that we are all One. Continue reading

AWAKENING TO THE SILENCE OF SNOW

“A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky-unbidden-and seems like a thing of wonder.” Susan Orlean

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Back in the days when I taught full-time, a snow day was truly a gift from the Divine. To have the day off, I didn’t have to get permission, find a substitute, or prepare another lesson in advance, nor did I have to leave the house. It was a free vacation day, and I always felt that I could do anything I wanted that day, even when I had papers to grade.

Love the Silence of the Snow

Now, what I love is the silence. The way the snow wraps around the earth, the trees, and buildings. Bare brown branches become beautifully outlined in snow and silhouetted against a blue sky. The snow becomes a blanket of diamonds as it reflects the sun’s light.

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Snow Days Are For Snuggling

It is a snuggly morning, and now I have a snuggly partner, my husband. We linger under the warm covers until hunger hits and then we eat pancakes with eggs and oatmeal. The dog who is let out to “do her business” finds a lot more business to do than usual, sticking her nose into the snow up to her eyes, trying to find a scent that tells her this is her usual place.

Snow Is For Playing

The teenager across the street is trying to learn to ski on the small slope from the street to his house, but soon his friends arrive with an array of winter equipment, none of which they actually use. Before long, it becomes party-time and they disappear into the house.

The daily parade of dog walkers has begun thanks to the city that was well-prepared and cleared the street rather early this morning. The little dog that is of a strange mix and usually wears a sweater has on red shoes today. Our dog, which is out in the yard and usually barks loudly at this one, just sits and stares. I suspect the little dog’s outfit doesn’t fit with her fashion sense, but she’s too polite to express her dismay.

dog-wearing-booties

The Silence Of Snow Connects Us With Spirit

It is strange how something as cold and wet as snow can create the feeling of warmth, but then I am reminded that when I meditate, I often reach a point where I feel warm and protected, aware of that peace of being in touch with something greater than myself, that loving energy of Spirit.

It is not a day for deep mental meandering. It is a day just to be.

How do you like to spend a snow day? Please comment.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                               ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

AWAKENING TO THE POWER OF PEACE

“Peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Is there peace within you and in your life? How do you create it? If it is not there, what are you willing to do to have it?

The recent violent events in France have been horrifying, especially now that we know some attacks were connected but planned to appear random. This kind of violence and death always create fear around the world as we wonder when this will happen near us.

Peaceful Protest Is Powerful

But what is astounding is the way the French and many others have reacted with peaceful protests supporting the freedom of speech that was vilified by the attackers. To see millions of people willing to expose themselves to possible violence in order to stand up peacefully for those who were killed brought me to tears. I suddenly realized this is how we defeat those who use violence in an attempt to destroy anyone who disagrees with them.

Peace Creates Peace

Martin Luther King, Jr. was right. Peace is the means by which we create peace. In the 60s he demonstrated the power of this. In our own lives, we may have done the same by remaining peaceful when others rail against us. Being peaceful in contentious situations creates a situation where the other person’s anger is dissipated by our unwillingness to participate.

Violence Does Not Solve Problems

The most obvious reason why violence does not solve problems is to look at the multiple wars taking place in our world now. Are they solving the problems that exist in these regions? Clearly not. The fighting continues because all sides want power over the other, and that desire will perpetuate the conflict. The only real solution is to learn to respect the ways we are different and work peacefully together.

We Must learn to See How We Are All One

In 1994 I traveled to West Africa on a Fulbright-Hays Grant for teachers. After a long, sleepless night on an airplane, we landed at 7:00 am in Dakar, Senegal. As I stepped from the plane, I expected to feel the uniqueness of being in a foreign country. What I felt was the opposite. I was overwhelmed with the feeling of Oneness—that we were all part of the same world, regardless of our ethnicity, religion, or language.

That was the gift I received from living in New Orleans, a unique culture very different from the one where I was reared or I had lived. I was not Catholic. I didn’t drink much alcohol or like to party. Most people I met had not gone to college and had never lived anywhere else. Worst of all, I couldn’t eat most of the popular food because of dietary intolerances. I just didn’t fit in.

Even in my work, I was different. I taught in a girls’ Catholic high school for five years and then in the New Orleans public schools for another five years where all my students, except for one, were African-American. I traveled to two or three schools a day teaching gifted students who lived in the inner city, some of the worst poverty-stricken parts of the city.

During those years, I was constantly challenged to expand my thinking and to have my opinions challenged. I had to get along daily with people who were very different from me and who saw life in a totally different way. Ironically, those differences were what enriched my life and made me a more tolerant and accepting person.

We All Need To Feel Powerful

We all want to have a certain amount of power in our lives. We need to have more than the necessities of life to enjoy life, but when peace is at the center of our lives, we don’t need to control others. We don’t need them to be like us in every way. It is this peace that the people who do violence lack. Ironically, it is the feeling of powerlessness that motivates their actions, for if our sense of personal power is strong, we don’t need to harm or control others.

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Inner peace is tremendously powerful, for it allows us to accept what is and not react in ways that would create a negative situation. This is the peace that will change the world, for it allows us to accept the way in which others are different from us without judging or feeling the need to change them.

When I was in Africa, for example, the importance of family was paramount, and it reminded me of the closeness I experienced growing up with many members of the family living in the neighborhood. I was also very touched by religious practices that were intertwined with nature, for my closeness to nature has always been at the core of my spirituality. I was surprised by all the ways I felt connected to this culture which on the surface seemed so different.

Controlling Others Is an Illusion Of Power

This is why it is so important that we be willing to learn what is true about other cultures. It is also why we need to look more closely at our own culture and repair what is damaged. There is a reason why some young people are drawn to violence in the inner city or choose to join radical groups in the Middle East. They feel powerless, and by destroying others, they feel they are winners.

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But they have won nothing worth having, for that power is an illusion. Lack of a loving family or mental illness is usually what creates this need for power, yet our government wants to cut the funds that support those with the greatest need. If we want to stop violence, we have to give people the support they need to create meaningful lives. No one in this country should have to go hungry.

As this year begins, let us each in our own community find a way to empower those in need and practice peace in our own lives. Each life matters. We don’t want any more of our children growing up to become terrorists. We need to love them and teach them to find peace within.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Environments of Love – Wayne Dyer, Creating A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

May this year bring all you desire and especially peace, love, and joy!

St Francis under a blanket of snow. Photo:Georganne Spruce

St Francis under a blanket of snow.
Photo:Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO RITUAL

“The purpose of ritual is to change the mind of the human being.  It’s sacred drama in which you are the audience as well as the participant and the purpose of it is to activate parts of the mind that are not activated by everyday activity.”  Sharon Devlin

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Do you like to participate in rituals?  Do you ever create your own?  What do they mean to you?

When people suggest I might do a ritual of some kind to heal a problem, I usually resist.  It isn’t that I don’t like ritual, but I often find that I can’t seem to get involved with it to the degree that it becomes meaningful.  Despite that, I have had several very meaningful experiences with it where the ritual took me to a very spiritual place.

Chanting May Create A Loving Feeling

Chanting is a perfect example.  When I try to chant by myself, it seems to go nowhere—not even to the nowhere it is supposed to go.  When I am with a group and singing a chant, I am carried away into a warm, fuzzy centered place where I am one with the group and it feels like the love of the holy is flowing within us.  But creating one’s own ritual can also create deep meaning and connections.

One of my first experiences of creating a ritual took place in Nebraska when my two dear women friends and I were parting ways.  One was heading to Omaha, another to Texas, and I was moving to Denver.  The thought of leaving each other was painful and we found ourselves withdrawing because we didn’t know how we could say “goodbye.”

Creating Our Own Rituals May Be Very Meaningful

Then we realized that we needed to create a “goodbye” ritual.  The following is a description of the ritual from my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness.

“When the moon was full, we went to the sand pits where we used to swim. We brought with us tokens of the life we had shared: flowers, tea, rocks, shells, dryer lint, unfinished pot holders, orange water, herbs, a fan, and a feather. We played instruments, and Carolyn, with bells around her ankles, and I danced. Donna, with her curly, sandy hair, watched, looking like a wild lion with a morning trumpet rising like a horn from her head. In this sacred space, the moon goddess blessed us, shining clear and bright in the darkness. The water was cool and serene, and the sand was soft beneath our feet. Our burning candles were hidden from the road by a small dune, and while we were there for two hours, no one disturbed us. My friends were like two sides of myself: the daring beast and the mystic. Speaking, I honored them.

North Platte river

The Nature Conservancy

‘Donna, the Leo, you give me strength to speak my own name, to believe in my beauty; you are laughter in my life; you are the fire of anger that sets me in motion; my defender, sister traveler, my comforter, my equal, my loving friend. You are the flower of celebration.’

‘Carolyn, the Sagittarian, you make the cycles of nature sing in my soul; you help me see the beauty, the humor in simple things; you are constancy, you are calm, you show me humility and forgiveness, my sister traveler, my equal, my loving friend. You are the simmering fire that warms the tea we drink together.’

I would never forget the peace of that night when all good forces in the universe came together to protect us, when we brought the ancient into the present and transformed it with our love.”

Rituals May Connect Us At The Heart Level

Many years before I visited New Mexico for the first time, I subscribed to New Mexico Magazine.  I was fascinated with the landscape and the Native American culture and art.  I don’t know why I felt such a deep connection to a place I had never seen.  When I finally moved there, it was for my health, but while I was there I experienced a deep heart-level connection with its original people, and some need that I cannot explain was filled.

One day a friend and I drove to see Chaco Canyon.  We spent the night nearby and drove into the canyon well before the sun was up.   It was the morning of the summer solstice and we stood at the edge of Casa Rinconada, a giant kiva, waiting for the first light of day to flow through an opening and strike a small window within on the opposite side.  The black sky sparkled with stars and slowly lightened along the horizon.  Time seem suspended as the light flowed across the sky and through the window into the center of the kiva, gradually moving its spear of light  through the dark opening of the window and illuminating it.

Rituals May Feel Timeless

I was flooded with the sense that I was connected to the many generations of people who have witnessed this coming of the light on the first day of summer.  This site was the ancestral home of the people now known as the Pueblos, 19 groups of which reside in New Mexico.  They were also the ancestors of many of the students I taught from the various pueblos.  What I felt was more than the sense of connection with the people and land but also a connection with time as a timeless concept.

chaco Ruins

Rituals Connect Different Cultures

In 1994 I traveled to West Africa with a group of teachers, and while we were there, we visited a village where the chief was away.  It is a tradition in Africa to greet visitors with a particular tea ceremony.  Because the chief was away, his teenage son welcomed us and led us to a domed structure build from tree branches where we sat on the floor, and he performed the ceremony.  The tea was brewed three times and passed around the circle.  The first time it is bitter like life.  The second time it is sweet like friendship.  The third time it is syrupy like love.

St. Louis, Senegal

St. Louis, Senegal

This was the second time we had experienced this ceremony, and both times we felt the warm, welcoming greeting of those performing it, but it was the chief’s son who impressed me so much.  He was a teenager much like those I taught at the time.  I thought how lucky he was to be trusted with such an important ritual so young.  It was another step in his learning to be a man.

While I felt a sense of Oneness with the Africans we met on the trip, I also felt honored when they shared their rituals with us, and wondered if the lack of ritual in most of our lives was part of what separated us within a community.  These rituals, like the other rituals I’ve experienced, are ways to put us in touch with earth, sky and humanity without us needing to find words spoken in the same language.

Like my other experiences with ritual, this one brought people together in a simple way.  Sitting in that domed hut, I was amazed at how cool it was on a hot day with us crowded closely to each other, an experience not everyone in our group was comfortable with.  Although this village had just gotten its first electric-driven well, the community relationships in this village were what mattered most, not the things they had.  I was reminded of my own childhood where we played in many yards watched over by many parents while the parents performed their evening ritual, talking to each other on the front steps of our homes.

Rituals Take Us To A Deep Spiritual Place

Perhaps because rituals are predictable, we are able to slip away and experience the deeper connections with one another that we may not share in the business of our day.  Somehow, we each have to find the experience that will connect us meaningfully and allow us to activate the spiritual nature that lies beneath our surface.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  (video) Summer Solstice Ushered at Ancient Sites, Senegalese Tea Culture, Create Your Own Ritual