Tag Archives: Passion

AWAKENING TO OUR GENIUS

“Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them.”  Buckminster Fuller

How many times have you been told your brilliant idea was foolish?  How often are your child’s creative ideas disregarded at school?  How often is an innovative idea ignored by those in power?

Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I attended a play last week about Buckminster Fuller, the genius who created many structures based on the geodesic dome.  He was a man with fascinating ideas, including the idea that humanity would someday use renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar power, and the idea that we have the technology to feed all people on the planet.  Does this sound familiar?  He was a man dedicated to discovering what one individual could do to help humanity.  He died in 1983.

Genuises Follow Their Passion

I’ve always been drawn to Fuller although I don’t understand many of his theories, but like many geniuses he lived out his passion without succumbing to the pressures of being “normal.”  He also taught at Black Mountain College, near where I live, where the innovative choreographer Merce Cunningham spent some summers.  They both had a passion related to the use of space.

Monet, the Impressionist painter, was full of passion like Fuller.  Nothing could stop him.  Despite poverty, war, and the lost of his wife, his soulmate, he continued to paint, even in the bitter cold of winter, no matter how many times his paintings were rejected.  And because of that we now can experience the joy of viewing his paintings where light and shadow play in ways no painter before him had ever captured.

Monet Impression Soleil Levant

Monet Impression Soleil Levant (Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn)

Following Your Passion Leads to New Insights

So what really constitutes genius?  Fuller also said, “I’m not a genius.  I’m just a tremendous bundle of experience.”  There’s no doubt that experience makes it possible for us to understand and create more because we develop more skills.  But I think what constitutes a genius is one who has a vision and follows it relentlessly.  That passion to discover and understand pushes us beyond the normal limits of human curiosity, and it is there, beyond reality, that we discover what no one has seen before.

After seeing Fuller’s story, I was left with this thought.  How many of the young geniuses in our schools are we losing?  Does anyone notice the quiet kid doodling in the back of the room when we celebrate athleticism and extraversion above all else?

Do We Encourage the Geniuses in Our Schools?

For several years, I taught gifted high school students in the New Orleans Public Schools.  These students had IQ’s of 130 and above.  I also taught in a small town in New Mexico and in other school systems there.  I substituted in North Carolina schools as well.  What I observed in these schools in contrast to what I saw in the private schools where I had taught in my early teaching years was shocking.

The students in the public schools did not see themselves as being capable of meeting any but the lowest standards.  They often had difficulty getting into college or technical schools because, despite their intelligence, they didn’t believe they were capable of much or simply lacked basic skills.  In some instances, they were so bored that they made little effort, or they hid their intelligence in order to fit in with their peers.  And no teacher dared challenge the status quo because they were afraid of being fired by administrators who wanted to keep everything within the safety of “the box.”

We Need to Love Intelligence

Fuller believed that all children were born brilliant, but that education and society destroyed their creativity.  I’m afraid I tend to agree.  We are obsessed with conformity and were particularly obsessed with it in the 1950s when I was growing up.  I was told many times that the creative things I wanted to do were inappropriate for me.  I was supposed to get married and have kids, not have a career, not design dresses or become a doctor.

Although I hope we are past the sexist attitudes of an earlier time, I feel that extremely intelligent and “nerdy” kids are facing a huge challenge.  They are often the ones who are bullied.  They are often ignored or their unusual ideas are laughed at.  They are often not socially at ease.  But they are also the ones like Steve Wozniak who may create the technology we need to save the planet.

We are facing a critical point in our development as a human race.  We need everyone’s creative ideas to solve the problems that face us, and our educational system and attitudes need to change to respect those with innovative and unusual ideas.  The development of new technology that will allow us to save the planet and feed the hungry requires two things:  creative thinking and technical skill.  Learning these skills should be the priority in our schools, not learning how to give the right answers on standardized tests.

Spiritually Healing Ourselves Will Heal the Planet

So, what does this all have to do with spirituality?  Everything.  Unless we can be who we truly are, develop and experience the talents we bring to this earth, and share our talents with humanity, we cannot truly be whole.  Fuller was often ignored during his life and suffered many setbacks, but he always stayed true to who he was.

If we are to experience wholeness, we must not only heal the limitations in ourselves, but also heal what is wrong with our society.  We must learn to respect the diversity in each other, not just ethnically, but mentally as well.  Because, if we can learn to accept more diversity and new ideas, we may discover the geniuses who will save our world.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce                                     ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Happy Birthday, Buckminster Fuller, Interview with Buckminster Fuller (video), (PLEASE READ THIS - Are We Failing Our Geniuses?

AWAKENING TO LOVE THE WORLD, PART 1

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”  Rumi

How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Did you do something special for a loved one?  Did you perform a service for someone less fortunate than you?  Or did you feel depressed because you had no one to celebrate with?

It’s difficult sometimes not to get caught up in the mystique of Valentine’s Day or to want to ignore it completely because it is such a commercialized celebration, but the way we experience any holiday is a choice.  No one has to buy into the commercial version.  After all, this one is about love and that may take many forms.

Love Expressed Through Sharing

My Valentine’s Day was not romantic, but I felt showered with love.  The Universe has been good to me recently.  I will probably have my book Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness on Amazon as an eBook by the end of this week.  Yesterday, I spent the day working with Joseph D’Agnese who did my formatting and taught me how to use the Kindle Reader on my computer so I can proof the book.

This fellow writer loves to help other writers and overflows with enthusiasm and encouragement. Especially at times when I doubted that I could really complete this project, his positive attitude spurred me on.  He has answered my endless questions, even taken time from his own writing to format my book.  His generosity creates the kind of energy that makes competition obsolete and proves how powerful sharing can be.

Love Expressed Through Following Our Passion

This has been a long journey for me—almost ten years since I began the book.  But I always knew it was meant to be because every step of the way, what I needed showed up.  That hasn’t always been true for the rest of my life, so what was different about this venture?  Most of the time, when I think about the book, I feel excited, I feel love for it and for all those in the story who have been part of my journey.  This positive, uplifting energy expands out into the world and draws to me what I need.

Not only have I drawn the classes and assistance I need, I have drawn people into my life who support my success and share with loving and positive energy.  They have helped me to see my life and the world in a positive light and to learn to focus on what is good.  Wayne Dyer once said, “Loving people live in a loving world.  Hostile people live in a hostile world.  Same world.”  What we focus on can make all the difference.

Choosing Our Thoughts

My life is very different than it was many years ago before I learned this most basic truth:  our thoughts create our emotions.  At that time in my life, I often felt overwhelmed with sadness and negative emotions.  Although I had learned to meditate and that did help to calm me, it wasn’t enough.  Learning to control my own mind was the key.  I learned techniques to do that by attending a Unity church and later studying Science of Mind principles.  As a result, I felt better about myself and became a more loving person.

When we understand that we can control what we think and feel, it is very empowering.  This is significant in learning to love ourselves and therefore others.  When we feel empowered, we are less likely to let fear control us. We feel more peaceful. We are less afraid to step into new situations and learn new things.  We are less afraid to love and share.  Our very presence creates loving and positive energy all around us, uplifting and helping others and expanding our world.

Romantic love is a beautiful illusion, but the real deal is loving our humanity and that requires us to go much deeper.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will explore Rumi’s quote to further identify some of the barriers to loving and ways to open ourselves to love.

How do you express your love in the world?  Please comment.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles: Dr. Wayne Dyer–Emanating Love, What is Religious Science? 10 Core Concepts of Science of Mind

THE SPIRITUAL DANCE OF INSPIRATION

Who inspires you? Whom do you inspire? Where does your inspiration lead you?

“You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold.  That’s how important you are!”  Eckhart Tolle

You are unique. Live your life authentically, for only you can bring to the world what you were meant to bring.  If you do not live out your passion, it is not only your loss, but the world’s loss.  As the days grow longer and we spend more time inside, now is a good time to look deeper and explore whether you are living your true purpose.

I’ve been a dancer, teacher, and writer.  I love creating a new dance or piece of writing, but beneath all that is my real purpose—to inspire.  When I was first presented with this purpose, I thought, “How superficial.”  Compared to all the people who were feeding the hungry and curing the sick, it didn’t seem concrete enough to matter.  But then, I realized that I had done things I would never have done had I not been inspired by others.

As a teenager, I read about Isadora Duncan, the mother of modern dance.  She defied convention by living free from the constraints placed on the women of her time and created a new, freer form of dance.  She inspired me to become a modern dancer, but also to reject a conventional life that defined who I could be in terms too narrow for me to become who I truly was. As a result, dance became a powerful spiritual as well as creative practice, and in the process, my body which had been weakened by childhood diseases became strong.

In 1958, after living in the segregated South most of my life, I wrote an essay on prejudice for a ninth-grade English assignment.  My teacher’s comment was “With this objectivity, you would make a good journalist.”  She was the first person who encouraged my writing.  I was shy and introverted and couldn’t imagine interviewing people, but I thought, “Maybe people need to hear what I have to say.  Maybe my words matter.”  So I enrolled in speech classes and continued writing, knowing in my heart that someday I would write seriously.

By the time I had to make a choice about how to earn a living, another teacher had inspired me.  My eleventh grade history teacher had his students read and discuss classics like Utopia, The Prince, and 1984.  Instead of teaching wars, he used literature to teach the great ideas of each period and history came alive for the first time.

How Living Our Purpose May Inspire Others

As a result of these two teachers and the motivation that I could teach dance as well as teach English, I became a high school teacher dedicated to teaching students how to think.  I loved seeing their eyes light up as a concept became clear.  I loved seeing them become totally absorbed in creating a project.  I wanted to help them become lifelong learners and have the courage to become who they really were.

Find Your Calling to Live Fully

As my life has evolved and people have responded to my work, regardless of its form, I have come to understand inspiring others is my calling.  At the heart of each of us is a passion and purpose that enlivens us.  As it calls to us, we must find a way to answer the call or we will always wonder what could have been.  Sometimes the call comes from our interaction with others.  Sometimes it comes from that voice within whispering to us during the night when we lie awake.  Sometimes it slams into us because of loss and tragedy.  But it is our soul calling us back to ourselves and who we really are.  May you find your calling.

If you are searching for your calling, I highly recommend the classic book, Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life, by Gregg Levoy.  It speaks deeply and eloquently about this topic.  If you live your calling, what is it?  Please share what it means to you under comments.

©2011 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  What Oprah Knows for Sure About Your Calling, How to Find Your Calling

ART: A FEAST TO AWAKEN THE SOUL

Art is a shadow of what a person is thinking…a small glimpse of what they hold inside.  Little secrets, regrets, joys…every line has its own meaning. ~Sarah, Los Cerros Middle School, 1999

A Glimpse of Artist’s Visions

This past weekend I gorged on a feast for the soul, a series of the most tasty fine arts dishes that I’ve consumed in quite a while. The feast began on Thursday night with a unique event at the art museum, a PechaKucha Night where several artists each showed 20 slides of their work, making a 20 second comment on each piece.  These were the hors d’oeuvres.  Each was a small delicious sampling of the artistic vision of each artist, and like all art, each vision was a glimpse into the soul of the artist.

Art Awakens the Soul

That is why I love art: music, dance, visual art, literature and theatre.  I am uplifted by this soul connection and by seeing the interior of another human being expressed through art. Twyla Tharp, the wonderfully innovative choreographer, once said, “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.”  We can leave our rational minds and the mundane aspects of our lives and attend the dance of life, exercising our mental, emotional, and spiritual selves in new ways. Art awakens us to a different point of view, one we might never have experienced had we not seen a particular piece of art.  Art may take us to a depth of knowing beyond words.

The main course of my feast each day was the arts walk in the River District, a buffet of sensory delight.  Overloaded by color, texture, and design, I could only embrace what was there. I let it seep through my pores and become a joyful energy that awakened me to the diversity and uniqueness of human expression.

Having looked at art all my life, I have long since giving up the need to attach meaning to what I see.  It is interesting to talk to artists about why they use a certain color or image, but often the artist doesn’t have a rational explanation.  Images for a sculpture or painting may arise in the artist’s mind mysteriously just as the ideas I receive for my writing are frequently surprising gifts from Spirit.

Going Deeper Unites

My soul was further awakened on Saturday evening, when I ended the day with a dessert even more satisfying than chocolate.  While I enjoy the intensity and brief pleasure of dark chocolate, the flavor of Anam Cara’s music has lasted for days.  Listening to Mary Davis’ soulful ballads, especially “Life Moves,” reminded me of the depth and width of human emotion taking me to deeper places within myself.  Listening to her sing of challenges in her own life reminded me we are all One and how our love for one another can heal so many wounds.

Dancing With the Divine

On Sunday evening, my feast of the soul ended with the Dances of Universal Peace based on a cycle of seasonal invocations to the Goddess.  Like strawberry shortcake, there were many divine layers to these dances.  We learned basic steps, then layered on symbolic gestures and ancient chants, each enriching the experience in some way.  As we danced, our individual energies created a community connection that carried us all along, blending with the chanting.  As I moved, there were moments when I was lost in the energy of the dance, imagining the goddess presence in our midst and being in touch with my own Divine Feminine and the source of my creativity.

Since the weekend, I have felt renewed in some deep way.  Spiritually sated by the wide range of sensory experiences spiced by innovation and originality, I feel grateful for the abundance of soul awakening experiences that stretched and opened my perceptions.  Today I feel like there is more of me to express and share and give.  I am more awakened to the dance of life.  That’s what art can do if we are willing to take it in.

How will you dance with the Divine and feed your soul this week? 

© 2011 Georganne Spruce

FINDING THE FIRE

“I must find my way back to the central fire to be warmed.  I must find the Source, if I am to be supplied.”  Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes

A few years ago, I was reminiscing with a friend about my years performing and teaching modern dance and how much I loved what I was doing then.  It was impossible for me to talk about it without becoming very animated.  She commented that I obviously had a passion for what I did and added that she had never felt a passion for doing anything.  She had tried a few things but none of them really caught fire.

At the time I was dancing, I always felt inspired, invigorated, alive in the most complete sense.  I began to notice that dancing felt better than going to church ever had; it felt holy.  Where did my ideas for dances come from?  Of course, I consciously created some of the movement through thought or was inspired to move in a certain way by the music, but sometimes the most amazing ideas appeared like magic.  Was God helping me choreograph?  After all, ancient Greek theatre had been a celebration and worship honoring Dionysus, the god of wine and inspiration.  When I danced or choreographed, I felt connected to the Divine as if the altar candle had been lit inside me.  When I created, I burned with a joy and a hunger.  I dared to go places I had never dared to go before.

Doing any creative activity takes one to the edge of the unknown, even if the creation is a business or product.  Only the risk-takers go there.  Perhaps that’s why my friend had never found her passion.  She preferred the safe and secure paths. 

One year I was choreographing a concert and wanted to include a jazz piece.  I didn’t usually choreograph jazz and after creating a couple of minutes of movement, I had to admit the work was uninspired and boring.  I kept trying to think of a more entertaining concept that I could wrap around the dance.  Fortunately, by this time in my career, I had learned to be patient.  I trusted that something would show up. 

One night, about two weeks into rehearsals for the concert, I woke up laughing, knocked over the glass of water on the nightstand with my flailing arms, and like a movie, the dream I had just experienced flashed before me.  A group of vagabond actors were wondering across the countryside (rolling hills) laughing, singing and entertaining anyone they encountered, each trying to upstage the other with their comic antics.  The leader of the group was called Dr. Pepper.   So the dance became “Dr. Pepper and His Traveling Companions,” a fun piece with each of the dancers vying for the spotlight in comic ways.  Spirit has a sense of humor just as we do.

Allowing oneself to be a channel through which the Divine can express is what all artists and other creative people do whether we realize it or not.  Through this creativity, we find the way back to “the central fire to be warmed.”  As a result Source supplies our needs with ideas, insights and occasionally a supportive patron or free use of a studio.

I have a friend who loves to hunt and learn about mushrooms.  I love to eat them, but I’m probably not ever going to read about or hunt them.  I do like finding the really colorful, unusual ones on my walks through the forest and spending a moment examining them, but my friend has a real passion for them.  I really like the fact that she has a passion for something and that’s part of what draws us together as friends.  We are both people who allow ourselves to be passionate.

One way to find your way to the “central fire,” to Source, Spirit, God is to find your passion.  When you follow what you truly love, Source is always there.  Most of us have forgotten before childhood is over, what warmed us when we were too young to make judgments about it or see it as impractical, before a parent said, “What are you doing that silly thing for?” or “You don’t really want to do that, you just think you do.”  If you can remember what gave you joy before then, that will be your first clue.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to dance.  Paul Taylor, the famous modern dancer once said when asked why he danced, “Because I have to.”

The greatest tragedy for those who are taught young not to feel or express their passion is that this cuts them off from Source.   How can you find “the central fire” if you can’t find the fire within; they are the same.

What is your passion? Continue reading