Tag Archives: Oneness

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

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) 

DANCING ON THE SUMMIT

“Each and every master, regardless of the era or place, heard the call and attained harmony with heaven and earth.  There are many paths leading to the top of Mt. Fuji, but there is only one summit – love.”  Morihei Ueshiba

 Craggy Gardens & Pinnacle 2013 002

What is the pinnacle of your success?  How do you know when you have reached the summit of your journey?  Was it what you expected it to be?

Last weekend, a friend and I drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the autumn colors at their peak.  With trees covering the roadway much of the way, we traveled through a tunnel that at times glowed with the yellow of tulip poplar and the bronze of beech.  At another turn in the road, the light was transformed by the red of maples and sourwood.  Like crystal sparkling, the light played through leaves and branches luring us into another world inhabited only by nature.

Our Expectations May Lead to Disappointment

We were seduced by its beauty into believing that, at our destination, the colors would be at perfect peak.  When we arrived at Craggy Gardens, the mountains were, for the most part, a lovely array of the usual red, orange, and yellow that we expected, but not as intense as I had seen them in the past, and on some hillsides the trees were already stripped of their leaves.  It was beautiful—just not as brilliant as I had hoped.  I was disappointed.

We hiked up the side of the mountain to 5,500 feet to a bald, a treeless area at the summit where there is only low-growing vegetation.  At other times of the year, blueberries and rhododendron grow there, but at this time of year there is little colorful vegetation and the grass is mostly brown; however if one looked beyond what was in the immediate foreground, a beautiful and breath-taking vista opened.

A Higher Perspective May Open Our Minds to the Beauty of Life

The sky was clear and intensely blue with wisps of cirrus clouds streaming over the mountains.  Meandering streams and roadways danced through the hills, creating a patch work of light, shadow and color.  Beyond the bald, where most of nature was sleeping, we looked out on a vibrant world.  When we focused on the broader perspective from this higher place, we saw beauty, not desolation, and above our heads, silhouetted against the blue sky, were the bright red berries of a mountain ash.

Craggy Gardens & Pinnacle 2013 010

In life, as in nature, we experience the beautiful with the mundane or disappointing.  Even when we reach the summit of our careers and live out our greatest dreams, they may not be what we expected.  In my twenties I thought that my life would be perfect if I could only dance with a modern dance company.  I felt I had reached the pinnacle of my success when, finally, that dream came true.

It was a beautiful and inspiring experience, but I experienced a great deal of physical pain and had far more stage fright than I’d ever had acting.  The physical aspect of performing was a great disappointment, but from a spiritual and higher perspective, it was very rewarding.  At times, dancing was transcendent, and as I taught and choreographed more, I realized it was not the performing I loved most—it was the teaching and making dances.

With time, I became more whole and able to see how the mind and body interacted.  This broadened what I could teach others and helped me to improve my health.  When I let go of my ego’s need to be a performer, I was able to see the value of dance from a higher perspective.

Nature May Remind Us That We Are All One

When my friend and I were hiking, we also went to Craggy Pinnacle, the highest spot in the area where we could see those magnificent mountains from a 360 degree view.  There was something about standing in such place that allowed all expectations and focus on self to drop away.  We were one with the world that surrounded us.  From that place, there were no piles of trash or run down houses or torn up roadways or contentious neighbors.  All the details blended with the beauty of nature.

Craggy Gardens & Pinnacle 2013 038

In those moments at the top of the mountain, I forgot about the hillsides that were bare or that the red leaves weren’t as red this year as before.  I forgot about the aching toe I’d stubbed on the way up or the hours of raking leaves ahead of me as the leaves blanketed my yard.  I no longer mattered, for I was not separate from the beauty around me.

Love Opens Us to the Dance of Life

When we can view life from the summit, from a spiritual perspective, we are able to see the wholeness of a situation and love what is there.  While my pursuit of dance was originally very ego based, as my mind opened, it became not only a spiritually-enlivening experience, but one that led me to share insights with others so that they could be helped by what I had learned.  Reaching the pinnacle was really only the beginning of a life-long journey of learning to love my whole self and others and to discover there is so much more to the dance of life.

If you want to learn more about my journey, my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness is available at Amazon and Create Space.

Have you reached the pinnacle in some area of your life?  What did you learn from it?  Please share your thoughts.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                     ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  (video) Akido – Way of Harmony, The Spiritual Inspiration of Nature, Nature Mysticism, Photo Nature Blog

AWAKENING TO POSITIVE COMPROMISE

 “We cannot change anything until we can accept it.  Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”  Carl Jung

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How often are you able to accept something you do not like, but which you cannot change?  Do you cling to your opinion regardless of its reality?  How often are you able to see things from another’s point of view?

Some would say that compromise in any form is a bad thing – like some members of the U. S. Congress.  No matter what the consequences for the people who elected them or the world economy, they only care about being right.  Needing to be right all the time is a very oppressive way to live.

Compromise Is the Basis of A Democratic Society

In a compromise, we all may get something we want, but we also accept that we may have to give up something.  It signals a willingness to keep life moving forward, to accomplish at least part of what we hoped to accomplish rather than accept a stalemate.  Compromise is the basis of working together to serve the common good.  As a humane and democratic society, I believe that serving the common good needs to be our objective because it contains an important spiritual aspect.

Carl Jung integrated psychology with spirituality

Carl Jung integrated psychology with spirituality (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We Are All One

If we believe that we are all One, what we all need is important, and we must be conscious of the way that our actions affect others.  The energy we put out draws to us the people and situations that resonate with that energy, so if we are stuck on being right, we will draw to us others who believe they are right.  When these two groups believe they are right but are in opposition, we have a problem.

We can have a firm belief about an issue and be true to it in our hearts without forcing it on others.  For example, I’m firmly committed to eating a healthy, organic diet, primarily to avoid the diabetes that runs in my family.  This means that I don’t eat fast food or eat excessive amounts of fat or sugar.

Compromise Suggests A Sense of Fairness

There have been times when I’ve had friends who didn’t take good care of their health and who wanted to eat at restaurants where the food wasn’t healthy.  Sometimes they resented my healthier choices, but when they were willing to accommodate my needs, I tried to give them the choice to choose the movie we went to see or the event we would attend.  I tried to find a compromise that would please us both.

The reality is that when we choose a healthy or spiritual path, we will find people who resent the peace and health we have found.  We choose not to deviate from our path because the consequences can be harmful and we simply have to accept others’ condemnation.  If the compromise we make cannot offer something good for each side, it won’t be a positive compromise.

The current situation in Washington, D. C. is a perfect example.  Combining very different issues in the same bill makes no sense, and I’d love to see a law passed forbidding these kinds of bills.   Having one topic in one bill would simplify the process and make compromise more likely, and it would make  it more difficult to hold the opposition hostage.

United States Capitol Building

United States Capitol Building (Photo credit: Jack in DC)

The Challenge of Compromise in Relationships

But how often do we do this in our personal lives.  I was once in a relationship with a man who invited a woman he said he didn’t know well to live with him indefinitely until she could find a job and a place to live.  I was very uncomfortable with this.  He was lying to me about how well he knew her, but I didn’t know that until later.  I didn’t think his choice was appropriate, but he made it clear that he had promised to do this for her and it was a matter of principle to keep his word.

I pointed out that his situation had changed since he had made her that promise and being in a relationship meant he needed to make a different choice.  I suggested he limit the time she could stay or find someone else she could stay with.  He refused any compromise I suggested.  He was just as adamant about this as the people in Washington who would prefer to ruin lives rather than find a compromise.  In the end, my partner’s inability to compromise in many situations destroyed the relationship.

Open Ourselves to What Is Beneficial

In order to be willing to make changes when we are challenged with difficult situations, we must be able to see the other point of view and accept it for what it is.  Hopefully we can find some good in it so that we can find the points where we can agree and preserve our relationships for the good of all.  Letting go of the ego and looking at the situation from the heart will often bring us in alignment with that sense of Oneness, and that sense can help us let go of what is not really important and liberates us from what is not beneficial.

It is disheartening to see the condemnation that is occurring in the U.S. Congress and the way that greed and politics have infected the people we elected.  But sometimes we have to see the worst before we are willing to change our ways.  Let’s hope this is the worst we ever see, and that somehow our leaders finally remember they were not elected to be right; they were elected to serve all the people.  Keeping our egos in check tends to lead us to better choices.

How do you feel about making compromises?

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                     ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Making Compromise Work BetterWhat You Should Never Compromise On While Building Your Career, 6 Steps for Resolving Conflicts 

AWAKENING TO THE SACRED DANCE

“Something opens our wings.  Something makes boredom and hurt disappear.  Someone fills the cup in front of us.  We taste only sacredness.”  Rumi

Sergey Yeliseev

Photographer: Sergey Yeliseev

What is sacred to you?  How important is it in your life?  What role does it play in helping you deal with challenges in life?

Accessing the Sacred Through Creativity

I begin to write a poem inspired by a thought created by something I see in nature or one that comes to me through Spirit.  I start writing, letting the thoughts and images flow without editing until they stop.  There is no rational thought here.  It feels like the words come from a sacred place filling the empty page, and if I am writing about nature, a tree or an animal, it feels as if I become one with it.

Any creation is sacred.  When I am creating, it doesn’t matter what is happening in my life.  The conflicts, aches, frustrations all drop away and I am floating in a clear sky, peaceful and full of potential.  Opening my wings, I open my mind.

THE RAVEN’S DANCE

by

Georganne Spruce

The breath of the wind

Rustling through the maples

Touches my cheek gently,

And I become the Raven

Coasting on an updraft.

Wings touching the clouds,

I bend backwards and stretch

Upon the cool fresh grass,

My wings becoming

Arms again.

The crickets sing in my ear,

Their chorus of ancient rhythms

Inspire me and I dance

On the breath of life

As I have never danced.

Like the cave artist, I draw

My ecstatic dance through space

Singing with the crickets,

Dancing on the earth

Where fires will glow at night

Welcoming sages.

I will dance for them

My truths,

I will dance for them

My joy,

I will dance for them

The Raven’s dance,

Wings flying through eternity,

Littering holy messages

At their feet,

I will dance life,

I will dance life,

I …will…dance…LIFE!

Finding Peace At Our Centers

But when our wings don’t open, and the boredom and hurt don’t disappear, and no one fills the cup, what can we do?  This morning I had to balance my chakras before I could do anything.  The challenges of mundane life became a burden this week, and every attempt I made to move forward was blocked.  I’ve felt emotionally exhausted from not being able to complete the changes I needed to make and finally realized I was neglecting my spiritual self, and that was what was creating the problem.  When I am centered, the challenges do not become burdens.

English: A dancer of Sri Devi Nrithyalaya perf...

English: A dancer of Sri Devi Nrithyalaya performing one of the Karanas (key poses) of Natya Yoga. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Releasing the Ego’s Concerns

Often, stepping into the spiritual realm by doing meditation, affirmations, yoga or chakra balancing will take us to a place where we can let go of our ego and emotional attachments to the things that burden us.  When we have released the attachment, we can often see the situation more objectively and open our minds to solutions we haven’t considered.  But most importantly, it reminds us that there is more to us than our physical lives.

Connect With Spirit Through Nature

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For me, connection with nature has a calming influence and reminds me I am connected to all living beings and that awareness expands my energy.  The sound of flowing water, the soaring bird, the playful squirrel all remind me of the beauty inherent in all of us and that we are all One, connected by the energy of Spirit and that there is a peace beneath the surface chaos.

Art May Take Us Deeper

But words, music, art, or dance may also take us to a deeper level and bathe our soul in peace or joy.  Athletes often speak of being in the flow.  Regardless of the activity, when we experience the Oneness of that flow or connect on the heart level to a piece of music, art, or poetry, we are in a sacred space and become a part of the dance of life.  We are uplifted in the deepest sense and strengthened by our connection to the sacred.

How do you experience the sacred in your life?  Please Comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                         ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  9 Practical and Spiritual Tips for Letting Go of Unhealthy Attachments, Eckhart Tolle – Acceptance and Surrender, 5 Ways to Find Your Center When Life Feels Overwhelming

AWAKENING TO THE JOURNEY OF ONENESS

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

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

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

Remain Open to New Experiences

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

Many Practices Can Awaken Us To Oneness

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

Separation Is An Illusion

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

Looking down from the Blue Ridge Parkway near ...

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

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

A Spiritual Journey Leads Us Deeper

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

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

Oneness Is Always At Our Core

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

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

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                          ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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

AWAKENING TO LOVE THE SILENCE

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

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Do you enjoy the silence or does it make you uncomfortable?  Do you avoid silence or embrace it?  What have you learned from the silence in your life?

What Is Silence?

We often think of silence as the absence of something: the absence of noise or conversation or the space between actions, but Rumi suggests it is much more than that.  When I think of the silence in my childhood, I remember the many days when I lay in bed ill.  I did listen to the radio sometimes, but often I read or drew paper doll dresses, or watched the birds or our pregnant cat trying to balance on the thin branches of the chinaberry tree.  For me, silence was creative or thoughtful time.  I had a lot of time to think about life at a young age.

At that time in my life, I rarely felt lonely in the silence because my mother or grandmother was always in the next room.  It was only later as an adult after a divorce or losing a friend that the silence became a lonely place.  Of course, as an introvert, I always needed some silence for rejuvenation, but for years, I experienced had mixed feelings about silence.

Silence Can Stimulate Creativity

At times, when silence appeared, I welcomed it, especially when I was a high school teacher.  It was such a relief, for a little while, to be away from the noise of a classroom full of spirited teenagers, and have the space and time to do my own thinking.  Silence was creative time too, and out of that silence arose poems, essays, and dances.  When I needed to think or plan, I welcomed the silence and lack of distractions so I could focus on the task at hand.

Silence May Create Discomfort

However, when I had nothing to do, I often felt uncomfortable with the silence, like something was missing.  I was uncomfortable doing nothing.  Only when I was near Nature did the silence feel comfortable.  But living in a city for years surrounded by noise, rarely walking through the forest as I did as a child, I lost touch with what I had valued so much in childhood.

It wasn’t until I started to meditate that I began to love the silence again.  At first my monkey mind seemed impossible to still, but with time, the practice worked and led me to other spiritual practices that improved my life, like learning to release my fear and envisioning what I wanted to manifest.  They all had one thing in common – I had to sit in the silence and find the silence within in order for a change to occur.

Silence Is A Way To Go Deeper and Love Oneself

In the silence, I found a deep peace simply by being there.  I let go of my need to always be doing.  I began to experience just being, and let go of any judgments my ego tried to create to distract me.  In the silence, I became more connected to Spirit and the spiritual guidance we can all hear only when we are willing to be an open channel.

In the silence, where I did not need to prove anything or do anything, I learned to love myself, for I could feel Spirit’s love for me and knew I was lovable.  Feeling this peaceful love allowed me to let go of all the ways I felt I was inadequate and understand I needed to learn to love others more and release my  judgments of them.

In Silence We Become One With All

Now, I am able to experience all the richness of silence without any discomfort.  Sitting in the silence gives me the same pleasure as soaking in a warm bath. When my life becomes too busy, I long for the silence, especially the silence of not thinking.  In the silence, the interruption of bird songs, breezes, sweet thoughts, physical relaxation, and the release of whatever I do not need at that moment all heal the rough edges of my soul, and they remind me that what is out there in the world pressuring me is not what is important.

What is important is that I remember I am One with All, and from this place of peace, in the silence, what I need to know will come to me, and what I need to know to heal, will be revealed when it is time to heal.   As Ram Dass says, “The quieter you become, the more you hear.”

What is your experience with silence?  Please comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                    ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

RELATED ARTICLES:  Eckhart Tolle – Silence and Stillness (video), Dive Into the Silence Between Your Thoughts, Awakening to Our Wildness, Being Authentic, Part 1,  Quiet Spirituality

DANCING TO CHALLENGING EXPERIENCES

“Experience is not what happens to a man (or woman); it is what a man (or woman) does with what happens to him (or her).”  Aldous Huxley

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Do you enjoy having new experiences?  Have you had any unpleasant experiences lately that taught you something you needed to learn?  Can you see any experience as a door to deeper understanding? 

Last week I traveled to Denver where I had lived in the 1980’s.  Needless to say, it is huge compared to the Denver I knew, the one with only three skyscrapers, the one without a huge botanic garden, the one where trees did not completely overshadow my apartment building.

What I remember the most about the time I lived in Denver was that I found a spiritual path that has served me well, one that does not keep me attached to one set of ideas, but one which has taught me to trust all possibilities and be open to new experiences.

Enjoying New Experiences

I had several new experiences on this trip:  deep meaningful conversations with new friends, a wonderful day in the Denver Botanic Gardens, the exposure to “Soundsuits” created by Nick Cave in an exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, a trip to Vail through the magnificent and enormous Rocky Mountains, and four dry days of beautiful sunshine—something we haven’t seen in Asheville in months.  I felt I was dancing with delight all week.

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Despite this philosophy at the core of my life of being open to new experiences, I like the comfort of routine:  regular meals with healthy, organic food, a similar bedtime each night and a good eight hours of sleep, and some meditation time.  For the most part, these comforts were easily integrated within the vacation time because my friend and I were staying with very accommodating friends.

Events Are Spiritually Challenging When Unexpected

However, our actual trips to and from Denver were the most irritating experiences I’ve had in years like the early days of learning to dance when every step was stumbling and awkward and rarely flowed with grace.  These red-eye flights left very late in the evening around 12:00 or 1:00 am and took me way beyond my comfort zone.  They totally disrupted my eating and sleeping routines.  The trip to Denver included the flight to our major airport being cancelled close to the time we planned to leave for the local airport, so we had to drive for two hours to get the flight which was then delayed for an hour.  We had been unable to choose our own seats and the ones assigned to us were the last seats which do not tip back.  The last time I had been forced to sit in such seats, I deplaned with serious back pain.  In this case, there were no pillows available to support my back and no extra seat to which I could move.   In addition, when we tried to relax and sleep as most people around us were trying to do, a stewardess behind us chattered loudly and incessantly.

So, what was I to do with this?  It was impossible to relax physically.  This was a three hour flight.  I was accepting of the need to drive rather than fly to our major connective city.  I was relatively patient when the flight was delayed.  But by the time we boarded the plane, I was feeling that this was too much, and my patience had run out.  I felt frustrated and angry at everyone who had contributed to this problem.  All I wanted was to go to sleep, but this was impossible because of the discomfort.  I hate to admit it, but I think I snapped and glared a lot.

Frustration Is the Result of Not Letting Go of Expectations

But what upset me the most about this experience was that I was unable to reach a place of peace that would have allowed me to accept the situation, go within and let go of my attachment to the discomfort.  I have done this in other situations.  Why not this one?  Probably because of my expectations.

My expectations were that I would have a comfortable seat where I could lean back and sleep.  I thought I would have a pillow available.  I didn’t realize they were no longer available except in first class.  If I couldn’t sleep, I thought I would just read, but I was so upset, I couldn’t focus on reading.  Most of all, I hated being in an environment where I had no control over my personal physical comfort, and I was unable to adjust my mind to accommodate the reality.  I was stuck mentally, unable to take the next step.

Fortunately, I was able to let go of my frustration about the trip as soon as I arrived in Denver.  I was so grateful to be able to sleep on a comfortable bed and immediately plunged into the joy of being there.  By the time we left for home at the end of our visit, my friend and I knew what to expect.  Although the trip home was also in the middle of the night, our plane left on time.  This time I had no expectations and was able to be in the moment each step of the way.

Releasing Expectations Creates Inner Peace

There were still no pillows available, but the seat back tilted a little.  I took a lot of deep breaths, reminded myself to be patient, read a little, did something close to meditation, and reflected on how grateful I was to be traveling with a dear friend, to have had a few days of sunshine, and enjoy the wonderful uplifting energy of a city where my life had been transformed.  Although I was still physically uncomfortable, I was able to be in the moment more.

Would I choose to take another red-eye flight?  Probably not, but if I did, I’d emulate some of the smart teenagers I saw traveling.  They brought their own pillows and sometimes a blanket, curled up in their window seats, and slept like babies.

Choose the Dance of Peace

It’s all about how we deal with the challenges because they won’t stop appearing in our lives, but we can use them to grow and expand our practice of our spiritual principles.  We can always choose the dance of peace.

How do you deal with uncomfortable situations you can’t change?  Please comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                  ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Nick Cave’s Art (scroll down and watch the first video), Why You Aren’t At Peace Right Now – Eckhart Tolle,    Eckhart Tolle – From Beng Upset to Being Peace (video)

AWAKENING TO NOW

“The destination toward which you assume you are traveling in your spiritual quest is not a destination at all.  For a destination, by definition, is somewhere other than where you are.  And where you are is all there is and ever can be—which is Nowhere.  All that can be changed is your perception of that blessed state.”  (Oneness, p. 342)

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How often are you in the moment?  What does that feel like?  Can you see the ways not being in the moment creates blocks for you to move forward?

Enlightenment As A Goal?

I once knew a man whose goal was to become enlightened.  I was puzzled by that because it seemed to me that enlightenment was something that came to us or didn’t.  Of course there are many spiritual practices that can take us to a consciousness level where enlightenment is more likely, but it seemed to me that making it a goal was self-defeating because enlightenment then became a destination.

George_Harrison_Chanting_Hare_Krishna in Vrind...

George_Harrison_Chanting_Hare_Krishna in Vrindavan, India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Time Is An Illusion

We earthly beings have created the concept of time.  It doesn’t actually exist.  Perhaps we created it so that we would know where we were in some sense because we have not yet developed the consciousness to just live in beingness.  In this physical body and physical plane we need concepts that ground us.  Time is one of those.

The older I get the more I am able to live in the moment.  I think it’s part of letting go of the need to control so much of life or perhaps it’s the result of having had so many experiences when I couldn’t control the situation.  As an adult, I reached a point where I was very depressed because it seemed I couldn’t get anything I really wanted.

Trying To Control Everything Creates Resistance

My parents wouldn’t send me to the school I wanted to attend, then my husband proved to be uncommitted to our marriage the way I was and he left, then I tried to get a full time teaching position after I left the one I had in Nebraska and couldn’t.  It seemed that there was nothing that was really important to me that I was able to create despite my determination.  I had been taught that if I worked really hard, I could get what I wanted in life, but it didn’t turn out that way.

What I didn’t understand then, that I do now, is how my determination created resistance and how resistance blocks the manifestation of what we want.  I was always so busy doing what I thought I needed to do to make things happen that there was no space for what I wanted to enter my life.  I was unaware of how my energetic vibration affected all of this.

A Positive Energetic Vibration Creates What We Need

While I was applying for a job or looking for a new friend or lover, my focus was out there on some destination, not in the moment, because in the moment I was unhappy with what I didn’t have and so that energy was the most influential.  Now I’ve learned to focus on the present.  If I’m filling out a job application, I do it with excitement and pleasure, relishing this first step.  I need to stop worrying about getting the job, and make this step and each following step pleasurable.

Our energy in the moment is what creates the future, but when we get to the future we are again in the present, and we were in the present as we journeyed to the future, so….how we experience the moment is the only thing that matters.  The more we visit the stillness within us where the moment resides, the more clarity we will experience.  It also allows thoughts and feelings from our deepest selves to emerge.

Answers Come To Us In the Spiritual Silence Of the Moment

Recently, I was sitting with much anxiety about why I was feeling anxious.  I knew there was no rational explanation, so I sat until I felt calmer and let go of my need to understand.  In the quiet I created a space for the answer to emerge, and when I calmed down, it did emerge.  I saw that the child within me was responding to how my mother’s overprotection used to make me feel smothered.  I reminded myself that this had nothing to do with this current situation, that I was projecting the past into the present.  When I saw what was going on, I let go of the anxiety that no longer served me.

When Oneness reminds us that in the moment, we are nowhere in relation to time, it also reminds us that being in the moment means we are also Everywhere.   In this state, there is no sense of “not having.”  “All That Is—is present.” (Oneness, p. 343) When we can slow down enough to experience this present moment, it allows us to experience peace, love, and joy—not because of what we have, but because we simply are.  In this spiritual state, we are all that we need to be.

Is practicing being in the moment a part of your life?  Please comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Awakening to New Life, Oneness Speaks (video), The art of Now: Six Steps to Living in the Moment, Learn to Live in the Now With Eckhart Tolle

New video: Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness

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