Tag Archives: Release Fear

AWAKENING TO GOOD DECISIONS

“I am not a product of my circumstances.  I am a product of my decisions.”  Steve Covey

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

On what do you base most decisions?  Do you consider the consequences of your actions before you act?  Are you often conflicted about whether to please another person or yourself?  Are most of your decisions good ones?

This week I’ve been particularly aware of the consequences of decisions people make and the effect they have on others.  In the news, the most obviously bad decision was GM’s decision not to fix accelerators that were sticking and making cars uncontrollable.  This has resulted in many deaths.  The only excuse they’ve given so far is a lack of communication between departments related to the cost of fixing the problem.

Fear Is the Source of Bad Decisions

Bad decisions, the ones that hurt us or others, are often a result of fear.  We fear we won’t get what we want or need.  No doubt the GM employees responsible for the ongoing problem with the cars were more afraid of others knowing they had failed than they were afraid of being held responsible for many deaths.  Did they really believe that they would get by with this indefinitely?

In GM’s case, the consequences of their decision are obvious.  Often, though, we make decisions without being aware of the consequences or exploring what those might be.  I was once in a relationship with a man who lied to me about his relationship with another woman.  I sensed he was hiding something from me, and when he told me the truth, I was amazed.  His lie was disturbing but the truth wasn’t.  For some reason, he was afraid the truth would upset me.  It didn’t, but his lying made it impossible for me to trust him.

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

We Must Consider Consequences

It is always important to consider the consequences of actions that affect others.  Sometimes the difficulties that appear in our lives are opportunities for us to grow and examine our values.  We must always ask what is more important in this situation: doing what we want by asserting ourselves or pleasing the other person?  Is there a way to please ourselves and the other person?

Decisions Are Often Based on Values From Childhood

Growing up in a traditional family, what was good or moral behavior was clearly defined.  I was taught to be honest, respectful, loving, kind, to always consider others, and to do well in school.  It was not difficult to live by these rules as a child and teenager because most of my friends lived by the same values.  As an adult, though, following the rules became more challenging.

As a southern woman, I had been taught not to be outspoken, always be pleasant, and always put others’ needs ahead of my own.  There was a huge clash between this image and the person I felt I really was.  What was wrong with putting my own needs ahead of others when I needed to do that to take care of myself?  Why wasn’t it okay for me to have a career just as the men did?  Why should I always give up what I need for others?  My mother had done that and she was not a happy person.  She had given away too much of herself.

We May Have to Displease Others In Order to Be Ourselves

Over time, I stayed true to myself, following my desire to be a modern dancer.  Although my decision to be true to myself created tension with my parents and eventually with my ex-husband, I know I made the right decision.  That decision led me to find a life I loved instead of just doing what everyone else expected me to do.  It also helped me develop confidence because I discovered I could survive having others not accept who I was.

 Being True to Self Leads to Good Decisions

Ironically, my selfish decision to follow my own path helped me develop the strength I needed to meet life’s challenges, especially in health and relationships.  As a teacher, it gave me an understanding of life that enhanced my ability to help students find their true paths in life and to guide them on how to meet difficult challenges.  I hope that I helped them to have the courage to face their fears and become who they wanted to be.  As Les Brown commented, “Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”

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The most important thing that I’ve learned in this life is that it doesn’t always have to be an either/or situation.  We can take care of ourselves and help others.  We can be who we truly are and support others because we don’t need everyone to think like us or act like us.  We can support who they truly are without wanting to force conformity onto them.

Nor are we required to do what someone else wants if it is unwise or unhealthy for us.  We can be of help only when we are well, and any relationship that requires us to harm ourselves is abusive, and we need to let it go.

Our Decisions Transform Us

In one way or another, the decisions we make transform who we are, even when the consequences of our decisions are negative.  We learn what works and what doesn’t.  The circumstances of our lives, particularly our childhood, are only one aspect of our lives.  Although it is a powerful one, it does not have to define us totally.

The challenge is perhaps more difficult for those people who have grown up in abusive or alcoholic homes.  Their challenges to find a healthy life are so much greater than those of us who grew up in relatively healthy environments.  Many continue the pattern of abuse because that is all they know.  Others find the courage to separate themselves from the dysfunction and become healthy.  There is always a choice and the decisions we make are reflections of who we are at the moment we make the decision.

Good Decisions Improve Life

When the decisions we make create a healthy and happy life, even some of the time, we are clearly on the right path.  It sometimes takes many small steps to take us to our goal and each decision we make is another step for which we must be thankful.  Being thankful for each good decision is a wonderful way to develop our confidence and create the good energy that will draw to us what we need.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                          ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Why People Fail (Les Brown- video), You are the World – Wayne Dyer, Decisions and Consequences

AWAKENING TO OUR AUTHENTICITY

“That inner voice has both gentleness and clarity.  So to get to authenticity, you really keep going down to the bone, to the honesty, and the inevitability of something.”  Meredith Monk

Merredith Monk's Dance

Photo by chncpa.org

I am sometimes shocked by the extent to which people will go in order to please others at the expense of destroying who they really are.  I watched an hour of the Academy Awards the other night and was absolutely shocked when I saw Kim Novak who was presenting an award.  I kept staring at her because I could not find one detail about her face that looked the way she used to look.  In addition, parts of her face looked frozen. 

kIM nOVAK The next day on Facebook, I saw a picture of Goldie Hawn and had the same reaction.  I stared for a long time and could see only hints of the face she used to have.  I’ve always thought of Goldie as being very genuine, more so than most Hollywood actresses, and I would never have dreamed she would do this to herself.

Aging Can Be Empowering

I understand the competition for roles in Hollywood is fierce, but the truth is that as I age I enjoy seeing actresses who have aged naturally.  I can relate to them more.  Judy Dench is a wonderful example.  She has wrinkles and gray hair, but this seems to work to her advantage because she is frequently cast in roles with depth that tap the wisdom of her years rather than focus on her appearance.  She has lived long enough to know how to go deeper, and I can always count on her performances to have substance.

Photo by wallpaperzoo.com

Photo by wallpaperzoo.com

Unfortunately, it isn’t just the entertainment industry that is obsessed with youth.  Most of the people who have plastic surgery for cosmetic purposes are women, but ten percent of the people in the United States who have plastic surgery are men.  We are so obsessed with appearance that many feel they need to look younger in order to succeed in their careers even when appearance has nothing to do with performance.

Changing Our Appearance to Gain Confidence Is Superficial

In researching this topic, I came across the story of a young woman who had plastic surgery to change her body shape to a sexier one and was delighted with the attention she received and how it enhanced her career opportunities.  All this positive attention from others made her more confident, but I wonder how long that confidence will last when she starts aging and drooping.  Will she simply turn to surgery again or will she realize it’s time to heal her insecurity.

Fear Is the Basis of All Insecurity

When we live authentically, we accept who we.  We accept our flat chests, large noses, big ears or gray hair.  We don’t let the external define us.  We want to change our appearance only if we feel we aren’t good enough or that we must please others in some way.  Hiding beneath those insecurities is the fear that we are inadequate or that we will be rejected, so the root of the problem is our fear, not our appearance.

When we allow these fears to persist, we may not say no when we need to, so we continue to live with dysfunctional relationships that only reinforce our fears.  We are more afraid of the unknown than we are of remaining miserable and hiding our true selves.  When we live in fear, we never know joy, for it comes from deep within and comes from a deep feeling of freedom, unfettered by concerns for what others think of us.  We never know peace because we are always looking around us to see if we have pleased another.

To Be Our True Selves, We Must Get In Touch With Our Core

Relying on anything external to define us is risky.  The core of our being lies deep within us, so that the only way to truly know ourselves is to “keep going down to the bone” where we will find the inner voice that will guide us through all life’s experiences.  We must be willing to let go of society’s expectations in order to discover what we want for our lives, and when it is different from what others want for us, we must have the courage to follow our inner guidance and let go of what will no longer serve us.

Authenticity Expresses What Is Unique About Us

One of the reasons I chose the quote by Meredith Monk is because I saw her perform in the 1970s.  It was clear from the moment her modern dance company began the performance that this would be unlike anything I had ever seen.  The dance was performed with the dancers singing, much like an opera.  She created a landscape of movement, sound, and lighting that was exceptional.  Clearly she expressed herself in an authentic way and she inspired me to do the same.

Meredith Monk

Photo by chncpa.org

What I produced wasn’t always so good; sometimes it was silly; sometimes it didn’t work.  But after seeing her work, I knew I had to experiment.  I had to have the courage to find out what I could do and that was a greater motivation than the fear of failing. It is difficult to have courage if our personas are not genuine.  In that case, our real selves are hidden beneath many layers that we must peel away.  As we let go of what is artificial about our lives, what is authentic will emerge.  As we face our fears and release them, knowing we are strong enough to survive whatever change occurs, what and who we no longer need will drop away, and our real selves will emerge.

Being Authentic Gives Us Freedom

This is why having a meditation or contemplative practice is so important.  These practices clear away the mental debris so that we can hear the inner voice that will guide us.  Until we become who we truly are, we may not even see the true gifts life has given us because they do not fit into the inauthentic life we created, but these may be gifts the world deeply needs.  Finding love and joy and the freedom to express ourselves is a gift, not only to ourselves, but to the other people as well, and we can only do that when we are authentic. © 2014 Georganne Spruce                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Meredith Monk: Songs of Ascension (video), What Being Authentic Means…And What Gets in the Way, Becoming More Authentic: Accept Yourself and Stop Seeking Approval

AWAKENING TO COMPASSION

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

Photo by superhua

Photo by superhua

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

Only Fear Separates Us From Others

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

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

Differences Can Teach Us What We Need To Learn

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

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

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

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

Photo by Wicker Paradise

Photo by Wicker Paradise

We Need To Look Beyond Political and Cultural Differences

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

Compassion Heals Us

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

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

Fear Separates Us

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

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

Loving elephants

We Must Release Our Fears

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

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

By Practicing Compassion, We Become Peacemakers

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

Current Release Your Fear Workshops – click Here

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                    ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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

AWAKENING TO THE NEXT GOOD THING

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.”  Alexander Graham Bell

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Have you ever been offered the opportunity to do something new but turned it down because you had your mind set on something else?  Do you ever find it difficult to let go when it’s time to move on?  How open are you to new experiences?

Often Difficult To Let Go of Grief

When a door closes in our lives, the death of a friend or loved one, the end of a job, or bad knees end our tennis games, our tendency may be to hang onto this lost reality.  We can’t see that the end of one thing may be the beginning of something else that is equally or more meaningful because we are so submerged in the feelings of loss.

Recently, I lost a friend, a photographer, whose pictures of nature blended beautifully with my nature poetry.  Because of that, we created slide and reading presentations for our spiritual community’s weekly celebration.  I feel the loss of her as a friend, but I also am grieving the loss of our creative collaboration.  It is hard to accept the idea that she and those experiences are gone.

Photo by Elliott Brown

Photo by Elliott Brown

When I first stopped teaching full-time, I started writing more seriously, but I still spent years looking for another teaching job, even when it became apparent that no one was hiring someone with as many years experience as I had.  I was afraid not to have a full-time regular job, so I still didn’t commit myself totally to the writing or look for a writing job.  The door stood open for years before I was willing to walk through it.

New Opportunities May Lay Behind Open Doors

When I finally committed myself to finishing my memoir, everything I needed magically fell into place.  Once it was completed, other amazing things started happening.  Years earlier, a medium had told me that when I finished my book, I would meet the man of my dreams.  At the time, I thought that didn’t sound very realistic—what did those two things have in common?

I missed the point—following my passion allowed me to be who I truly was and attracted to me someone who could appreciate who I was because he was also a writer.  By completing the book and developing a blog, I opened a door.  I gained confidence in my abilities and felt I was finally doing what I was called to do.  But my love’s side of the story is also about closed and open doors.

His wife died after a long illness and his grief was so deep, he wasn’t sure he could go on.  Finally, he came to a point where he decided he could go on, knowing that was what she wanted for him.  Eventually, he stepped away from his former life and walked through the open door, not knowing what he would find.   Because he was willing to risk stepping into the unknown, we met each other and have created a lovely life together.

Love Birds

Photo by Skadi

There Is Always A Time To Move On

When we cling to the door that has closed, we stunt our own growth.  Our lives, like the life of the earth, must move through many seasons just as spring always follows after winter.  It is good that we spend time grieving when it is appropriate, but the time also must come when we are willing to look at that open door and walk through it to see what treasures lay on the other side.

We never know when the next good thing will come along, so it is wise to remain open to new experiences.  When we choose not to, it is usually because we are afraid of the unknown or feel inadequate.  If we learn to let go of those fears, we can better see if the opportunity truly has value for us.

Fear Blocks Us From Choosing New Experiences

Fear is the source of every block in our lives.  If we make it a habit to avoid open doors, we strengthen the resistance caused by fear.  When we feel fearful, we are reluctant to move forward because our minds focus on our former negative experiences instead of focusing on solving the current problem.  Releasing this fear will free us to move through that open door.

Releasing Our Fears Gives Us Courage and Joy

Without fear, we can more easily discern if the new option being presented to us is, in fact, a wise choice.  Without fear, we can discern what elements of the situation we need to explore more completely.  Without fear, we will be more in touch with our intuition and inner guidance and be open to experience more joy in life.

Open doors are always an opportunity to look at something we may never have considered or that is available because our life or thinking have shifted in some way.  It is the open door that lets the light through.   But we’ll never be able to experience its healing unless we step through it.

If you would like to know more about how to release your fears and you live in the Asheville/Flat Rock, NC area, consider taking my “Release Your Fears” class at Blue Ridge Community College, Center for Life Long Learning. Mondays March 3 & 10, 1-3 pm, $30.  Register ahead at the college or call 828-694-1740.  For more information and my video, see Workshops.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: How to Become Open to Life, Seven Secrets of a Joyful Life, 50 Ways to Open Your World to New Possibilities

AWAKENING TO LOVE LIFE

“True, we love life, not because we are used to living, but because we are used to loving.  There is always some madness in love, but there is always some reason in madness.”  Petrarch

Valentine's flowers

Photo by Ralph Daily

 Do you love life?  Or do you find it a burden filled with negative experiences?  What do you do to create a life you can love?

There was a time in my life when nothing I planned seemed to work out.  Each project came to an end before it was completed.  Each relationship, which in the beginning held such promise, involved obstacles that we couldn’t surmount.  I often thought, “If I just had that one true love, life would be a joy.  It would be worth living.”

I think that this belief was connected to my mother’s unhappiness.  She and my father were opposites, and he was a rather emotionally withdraw person, but she was outgoing and easily showed her warmth and love.  But living with a man who couldn’t show his love in the way she needed him to wore her down.  She once commented that the reason my grandmother was so happy was because she had always had someone to love her.  My grandfather was always a very expressive, loving person.

Love Includes Respect

For years, I tried to find that perfect one.  Once I was married and at another time I was in a long distance relationship for eight years.  I really tried, but there was always some respect for me that was missing.  My ex-husband thought that my passion for modern dance was a childish interest that I would eventually grow tired of.  The other man wanted a relationship where he only had to spend ten percent of his time with me and could do whatever he wanted, regardless of how his choices affected me.

Trash Cans

Photo by Joel Bombardier

A Spiritual Journey Connects Us to the Divine

Fortunately, as various aspects of my physical life fell apart or refused to materialize, I gave some attention to my spiritual journey.  Some of the things I learned as I explored this divine connection helped me see that I did not need to stay attached to the negative feelings created when things didn’t work out the way I planned.  I began to sense that I could feel happy about life even when its events didn’t please me.

Positive Energy Helps Us Manifest What We Want

Perhaps pursuing a career in dance was sheer madness, but dancing fed my life with constant joy, just as writing or walking in the forest does now.  I began to understand that what I had planned didn’t work out because, sometimes, something better was around the corner.  When I decided to complete my memoir and publish it, I had reached the point in my journey where I knew how to use positive energy to manifest what I wanted.

To Be Loved, We Must Love Life

What I had learned over those years was that if I wanted love in my life, I had to love life.  I had to always find a moment, a thought, an experience, or a friendship that was uplifting and I had to embrace it with gratitude.  Even when things didn’t work out, I could at least feel good that I had the courage to try.  I learned how to turn the negative into a learning experience.  Instead of seeing myself as a failure, I chose to applaud myself for the attempt.

2014

Photo by coolal2111

Loving life is a decision we make.  It is easy when we have all we need, are well-loved, and are doing what we love to do.  My own life is so much easier now than it used to be.  With some retirement money, I can afford to write, and with a loving partner, it is so much easier to feel and express love in the world, but long before either of these things happened, I had awakened to loving life.  It was only after I truly learned to love life that my perfect partner appeared, drawn to me by what I wrote in my memoir and blog.

Loving Life Draws More Love to Us

When we learn to love life every day and be grateful for the good in it, we will draw more love to us.  So how do we do this?  Learning to meditate will teach us to be in the moment and to go deeper into our emotions to discover what lies at our core and the cause of any fears that are limiting us.  Learning to release our psychological fears will free our minds of the blocks the fear creates and allow truly helpful information to come true.

We Love More Easily When We Are Balanced

We also need to learn techniques that balance our energy, such as chakra balancing, Reiki, or Emotional Freedom Technique.  These techniques also help heal the body as well as the mind, for true balance includes both.  Balancing our energy brings us to a more centered place emotionally so that we can more easily see our wisest choices.

Knowing how to work with our bodies and minds empowers us, and feeling more empowered makes it easier for us to love ourselves.  In order to love our lives, we must love ourselves, and thinking positively about the chances we take.  Seeing value even in our failures reminds us we are basically worthwhile and good.  To love life, we must believe in ourselves.

We Must Love Ourselves In Order To Truly Love Others and Life

No matter how many people love us, if we don’t love ourselves, we are lost.  Loving ourselves is the most powerful aspect of life.  My mother didn’t love herself; she thought that was selfish.  She thought she had value only if she helped others.  I rebelled against that because I saw how unhappy she was.  At first, my rebellion was very selfish, but as time went by and I discovered that loving and taking care of myself made me a more confident person, I also began to understand how to give to others from a place of love, not obligation.

Loving the sheer wonder of life and reveling in our spiritual connection to it makes life truly worth living.  It connects us with All That Is.  Please comment.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Relationships-True Love and the Transcendence of Duality (Eckhart Tolle), Loving Awareness: Jack Kornfield and Eckhart Tolle, Accepting Who Your Are and Learning to Love Being Alone Are Essential to A Happy Life, Learning to Love When Life gets Hard

AWAKEN TO LOVE THE LIGHT

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  Martin Luther King

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Do you always look outside yourself for something to make you happy?  When things you don’t want to happen occur, do you get angry or try to learn from those experiences?  Do you take full responsibility for the good in your life?

The popular literature of our time seems to be obsessed with darkness—death, violence, vampires, a future world where life is not humane.  The same is true of television programs on the basic channels.  The stories are all based on police and detective stories or have main characters that are violent or vengeful even if they are the heroes of the stories.  The same is true of many movies that are based on dark stories.

Our Pain Bodies Addict Us To Negative Thoughts and Emotions

Why are we so obsessed with the dark side of life when it is the light of life that brings us joy?  The movie and television industry discovered at some point that it is much easier for us to become addicted to these negative influences than to the positive and that they could make money off that.  The reason for this is what Eckhart Tolle calls the pain body.

English: Head-shot of Eckhart Tolle from direc...

English: Head-shot of Eckhart Tolle from directly in front by Kyle Hoobin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The pain body is an energy form that lives within all of us, and in order for it to be active, it must be fed.  What it feeds on is negative energy, so negative thoughts and emotions trigger it and allow it to take control of our thinking and emotions to the point where we begin to see the negative in every thought or encounter.  But unless the pain body is stimulated in this way, it lies dormant.

The Pain Body Feeds On Negativity

It is this aspect of our emotions and psyche that the entertainment industry understands and uses to addict us to the negative stories they produce.  One of the things I’ve observed is that people who spend a great deal of time immersed in these stories often have a great deal of fear because, when they choose to expose themselves to this kind of negativity on a regular basis, the pain body gobbles it up and expands.

Just as too much fat and junk food harm our bodies, exposing ourselves to unhealthy thoughts and experiences is harmful.  Even the kind of violence present in video games can distort a child’s concept of reality, and with the amount of violence being committed by young people these days, parents need to closely monitor how their children spend their time.  In the case of the young people who have entered schools and killed teachers and classmates, it is clear their pain bodies are ravenous for the charge that only violence toward others can give them.

We Create Light and Love Within

As King says, only love and light can drive out the darkness and hate.  Only we can change what the entertainment industry insists on giving us by refusing to watch stories that feed us only the dark side of human nature.  I’m not suggesting we return to the days of “Leave It To Beaver,” but there are many human stories with positive themes that can be entertaining and uplifting.

Love tree

Love tree (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

In the coming year, let us commit to supporting only what is positive and learn to shift our negative thoughts to more positive ones.  By doing so, we will weaken the pain body and free ourselves from its grip.  We all have challenges, but we can choose to live them in the dark or the light.  The concept is so simple.  On a sunny day, don’t most of us feel more energetic? Even on a dark, rainy day we can choose to have grateful and joyful thoughts so that we feel the light inside us.

Gratitude Expands Our Inner Light

The pain body doesn’t want us to feel good, so a gratitude practice can be a wonderful way to counteract that negative energy.  I use breakfast as the time when I express thanks for my food as well as other things in my life.  Some people prefer to write a list.  Even on the days when it seems everything is going wrong, it is worth hunting to find something positive.

A couple of days ago, I sneezed and one side of my back went into painful spasms.  It was bizarre and probably an unexpected reaction to a fall I’d had a few days earlier.  Here I was, with Christmas approaching, and I had to be taken to the emergency room with severe pain unable to move.  I wanted to rant and rave and feel angry about this awful event, but instead, I just gave in, stayed in the moment, and focused on what I could be thankful for like the careful, kind paramedics who transported me, the doctor who talked with and treated me, and my loving partner who was there every moment, helping in every way possible.

We can always choose to look at the light rather than the darkness.  In this case, I knew this happened because there was an underlying problem in my back, and it was better that it came to the surface when I was able to easily get help.  I am most grateful that it didn’t happen on my trip to visit family or on Christmas Day.

Saying “thank you” is always a way to create light in our lives.  I once knew a woman who didn’t have a lot of money, but every time she wrote a check, even to pay a bill, she wrote “Thank you, God!” at the bottom of the check.  It might have been her last dollar, but rather than focusing on the negative, she chose to feel abundant by paying that bill.

Winter Is the Perfect Time to Find Our Inner Light

During this winter season, the hours of light are less, and yet it isn’t the literal light that matters the most; it is the light and love within our minds.  We can create light in the darkness.  What is more wonderful than snuggling with your loved one by the fire or filling a room with the warmth of friends?  What is more wonderful than the generosity we see this time of year when so many people give to organizations that feed, clothe, and warm those in need?  And we can create those loving feelings within by focusing on what is good in ourselves and life.

Be the Light of Your Own Life

What gives us warmth and light may be as simple as listening to the birds and their sweet songs each morning as we rise.  No matter what challenges may appear throughout the day, we can reflect on the light their song brings us at the beginning of each day, as they remind us to look for the good in every day and every experience.  May you warm the darkness within, deplete the power of the pain body, and create the light in your own life.  Thank you, Oneness, for this life.

HAPPY HOLIDAY TO YOU ALL!

©2013 Georganne Spruce                                                          ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  An Enlightening Evening With Eckhart Tolle and Deepok Chopra(video), How To Embrace Emotional Pain, The Pain body – Part 1(video)

AWAKENING TO WINTER DREAMS

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”  Albert Camus

Winters Dream

Winters Dream (Photo credit: ~Brenda-Starr~)

During autumn, the highway landscape between my city and the next town was ablaze with the red, orange, and yellow fall leaves.  Each time I drove this route through the mountains, the beauty took my breath away, but last week I drove it again, and the utter bleakness of those same trees stripped of all color startled me.  The contrast was shocking despite the fact I had bagged too many leaves falling from my own trees and was certainly not unaware of what was happening.

Winter Is a Introspective Time

Some people may be inspired by the sparseness of winter, but not me.  Without nature’s colors or flowers inspiring me, I just want to go inside, and when I’m depressed by the bleakness, I visit my imagination for something more interesting.  Winter becomes a time to weigh things, to sort out ideas that are not beneficial and let them go.  It’s a good time to write because I’m not distracted by what is going on outside and it is a good time to just be, dreaming by the fire.

English: Photo of a stone fireplace.

English: Photo of a stone fireplace. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 WINTER DREAMS

In the midst of winter

We dream rose dreams.

The fragrance of flowers

Fills the inner landscape

Until we awake in the deep night.

Tulips, Dogwood and Jasmine

Invade the moment

Between sleeping and waking

And we long to wake in spring

And bloom like the flowers

In the garden

We will surely plant.

Winter flower

Winter flower (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

The fact is—I plant gardens in the winter—inside my own head.  I conjure up new ideas for classes, write poetry and essays, and have long stimulating talks with friends over cups of hot coffee.  With fewer distractions, I can commit to tasks that I’ve been avoiding.  Winter can be a most productive time.

Fear May Prevent Us From Looking Deep Inside

Andrew Wyeth says, “I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape.  Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn’t show.”  Perhaps it is the fear of what lies beneath our surface that makes us dread winter.  Confined inside by the cold, we cannot escape as easily those parts of ourselves we’d like to avoid—the ways we have disappointed others or failed to live up to the commitments we’ve made.  It is an excellent time to examine what we need to change and what is not working in our lives.

Over the last two years when I was completing my book Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, I ignored a number of things about my house that needed to be done.  I committed to completing the book above all else.  However, the rainy season was more intense than usual and mildew developed in closets and other places in the house.  Distracted during the spring and summer with many lovely distractions, I’ve promised myself I will clean this up this winter.  In fact, there are several “spring cleaning” kinds of tasks that I prefer to do in the winter.

attd_kindle

We Must Look Inside to See Who We Really Are

But these are superficial things.  It is the deeper aspects of our nature that we may find more difficult to face.  How can we repair the damage we have done to friendships or family?  How do we escape from a long term relationship that is abusive?  How do we find more confidence in our own abilities to make changes in the way we live?  While we may need help to solve these problems, we must begin by going inside and asking, “Who am I?” and “Who do I want to be?”

We Must Envision the Changes We Desire

We need to envision what we want in detail in the quiet of our own minds, stilled by meditation or prayer, opening ourselves to dream of how we want our lives to be and then be willing to search for the answers.  Only when we are clear about what we want will we be able to develop a plan to create the life we desire.  With this clarity, we will be able to take the first step.

Winter dreams may take many forms.  We may dream pleasant fantasies about the coming of spring, the birth of a child or new relationship, or a more fulfilling job.  But hopefully, like Albert Camus, we will be able to create an “invincible summer” within us, a hope and positive way to look at life even when everything is falling apart or frozen.  That “invincible summer,” a belief in ourselves, may help us believe we can make our winter dreams come true.

What are your winter dreams this year?  Please comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                             ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Finding an Invincible Summer, When Your Dreams Change, Let Your Values Guide You, Introspection Overload: The Value of Journaling, Neuroscientific Support for the Value of Introspection

AWAKENING TO THE HEALING DANCE AGAIN

Technology continues to be a challenge.  I apologize to my subscribers because they didn’t receive the blog post last week because I didn’t reblog correctly.  So, I’m adding another blog on healing first.  If you missed last week, please scroll to the second post and read it first.  Peace, Love, and Joy to you all, Georganne

“There is no coming to consciousness without pain.  People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul.  One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”  Carl Jung

How willing are you to be aware of your emotional pain?  Do you use pleasant experiences or material things to make you feel better or deaden the pain?  Do you have the courage to face and heal the deeper truth?

In the first blog of this series, I wrote about how our wounds often lead us to see what needs to be healed in our lives.  Although we see them as part of our emotional darkness, they are gifts.  In the second part of the series, I pointed out that we all need love in our lives and that it may come from many sources if we are open to seeing it.  Today, I want to write about the importance of letting go of our attachment to the pain we experience.

Fear of Letting go of Pain

Years ago, after a painful divorce, I began seeing a therapist to help me deal with the deep betrayal of my husband.  At the time, I was teaching modern dance and dancing with a company and choreographing.  As the therapy progressed, I began to feel better about myself and spent less time overwhelmed by negative emotions, but one day I became very upset during a session.

“Sometimes I’m afraid that getting ‘well’ will destroy my creativity. It’s changing something in me, and I don’t feel I need to create so much. I feel like I’m losing my creative edge.”

“How is it doing that?” my therapist asked.

“Because it’s the inner turmoil that makes me want to create. If I get well, I’ll have no reason to create!”

“What if being healthy makes you more creative?”

I only shrugged, but as I thought about this, I was unable to imagine how that could be so.

(Excerpted from Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness)

Why We Won’t Let Go

We all have belief systems that keep us trapped in unhealthy places.  That’s why many people refuse to get help for their problems.  They’re afraid to discover what lies in their darkness or are so insecure that they cannot handle the idea that they have done something wrong or are not all right.  My mother is a good example.  She could not let go of the idea that she wasn’t a good Christian if she loved herself.  Her entire sense of worth was based on what she did for others.  She was a loving person in many ways, but very unhappy and took care of herself only so she wouldn’t burden others.

Sometimes, though, we take the risk, and in our process of changing, we begin to feel better and hit another layer of fear that limits our consciousness.  We may cling to our negative feelings simply because they are so familiar, just as we cling to negative relationships because they are known and nothing scares us like the unknown. Letting go of these attachments is often a big step.

Becoming Conscious of Our Shadow

Fortunately, though, after my divorce, I liked feeling better more than being in pain and decided that my ideas for dances could come from many sources, even the past negative feelings, for I could remember them, even if I no longer felt them.  I filed them away as I would any reference material and took responsibility for making myself happier.

Through therapy and through reading and attending workshops as a member of the Carl Jung Society in New Orleans for ten years, I learned to understand my difficulties and how to resolve them.  I learned about the value of what Jung calls, “the Shadow.”  It is that dark part of ourselves that we don’t want to see, but the less conscious we are of it, the more it harms us.  Becoming enlightened or conscious requires that we examine and heal it, for when we become conscious of the thoughts or experiences that have caused our pain, we can heal them, then let go and move on.

All Spiritual Healing Requires the Journey Inward

This spiritual journey inward may seem eccentric to some people who have bought into our materialistic society.  Eventually, the materialism fails to solve the problems.  The drugs that seemed to make us feel better become a destructive addiction.  All of the “cures” for our pain only create an illusion of temporary healing.  The only true healing takes place when we go within, and that is often true of physical, as well as emotional pain.  We have to bring it to the surface, heal it, and let it go.

We can free ourselves only when we become conscious.  No one I’ve read has written more clearly about our pain than Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose in his discussion of the “pain body” and how to heal it.  I highly recommend this book. (See Links I Like at the side bar)

What pain have you healed recently? Please comment.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  Eckhart Tolle Releasing the Pain Body (video), Carl Jung’s Concept of the Shadow (related to life), Overcome Your Emotional Roadblocks

Last Week’s Blog

Many healing issues have arisen in my life lately, so I intended to write about healing today.  I know several people dealing with cancer and others dealing with emotional issues.  But when I looked at a series I wrote on this topic last year, I realized I would just repeat what I’d already said.  So, I’m reblogging the posts that seem most relevant.  I hope they will be helpful.  Namaste. 

“The wound is the place where the light enters you.”      Rumi

How tall are the walls you build around yourself? Why do you need so much protection? What will it take to heal your wounds?

It was freezing last night and my bedroom was still cold when I awoke. All I wanted to do was snuggle further into bed, hide out in my pleasant dreams and the warmth.  But after briefly indulging my desires, I climbed out of bed, and walking into the center of my house, I was warmed by the brilliant, morning light spilling through the windows.

When life is rough, it is natural to want to hide out, build protective walls, and ignore the source of our pain; yet, if we do that for too long, it can become a dark cave from which we may never emerge.  We learn to lie brilliantly to ourselves.  We evade capture.  And we become hard and defensive around the edges, so that the one thing that can heal us is unable to penetrate.  Even the light needs a chink to pass through.

Wounds Are Valuable Assets

How do you deal with your most painful wounds? Do you build walls to protect yourself or do you see the pain as a sign something needs to be healed?  Our wounds are some of our most valuable assets.  They are the portals through which we can heal the pain that stops us from living our lives fully.  We have to learn to dance with them in the dark so that we can dance with them in the light.

Have you ever had the experience that, when a small conflict arises, you suddenly explode or react in some way that is inappropriate to the situation?  This is always a sign that a deeper issue has been triggered.  It is usually a sign that, deep within us, there are unhealed, deep wounds struggling to reach the light. So, what can we do to heal these wounds?

How To Heal Your Emotional Wounds

Being present is the key.  Has this happened before?  When did it begin?  What was the source of the original pain? There is always fear present with emotional pain, so I try to identify my pain so I can focus on it.  Am I afraid I’m not loved?  Am I afraid of losing someone or something I value?  Am I afraid of being harmed?  Regardless of how you identify the fear or don’t, the first step is to release it.

Releasing Your Fear

I take a deep breath, and as I exhale, I feel and/or visualize this fear leaving my body.  I repeat this process until I do feel the fear released, then sit a moment with the peaceful quiet that appears after the release.  Without the fear blocking my mind, I ask that this emotional pain be healed permanently, knowing that my wish will be granted.

Being Patient With the Process

The next step requires the most patience.  The pain may be healed immediately.  More than likely, though, I will be drawn to those experiences that will guide me through healing myself, and that is very empowering.  Healing may come in many forms:  a book, a person, a workshop, or technique.  Over the years, I have found valuable guidance for healing in therapy, spiritual practices, support groups, healing techniques like Emotional Freedom Technique, affirmations, numerology, astrology, Medicine Wheel cards, and simple conversations with friends. If I’m drawn to it, I dance with it, and in dancing with it, I may be healed.

How Did You Help Create This Wound

This deep pain is the kind we don’t want to return, so it is also wise to become aware of the role we played in creating the pain. The answers are always within us. That is why it is important to be receptive, but not passive.  We need to ask, “What did I do to help trigger this?  What was my role?”  Unless we can see the patterns in our behavior, we will repeat them.  It is in this step of the healing process that therapy is most valuable.  Therapists cannot change you, but they can help you understand your behavior and others.  Only you can make the change once you understand what you need to do.  Awareness is the key.

It is not always possible to identify our role in creating the pain, for sometimes it is the result of karma from past lives or that we are in a situation in order to learn a lesson.  Still, as frightening as it is, we must be willing to be vulnerable—to let the light shine through our journey to understand how to dance the healing dance, the one that we choreograph for our own healing.  Love the wound, then let it go.

What techniques have worked well for you in healing emotional pain? Please comment.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles: Eckhart Tolle – Dealing with Pain (video)Shift Your EmotionsBeing Present – Healing the Past

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                      ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

AWAKENING TO THE HEALING DANCE

Many healing issues have arisen in my life lately, so I intended to write about healing today.  I know several people dealing with cancer and others dealing with emotional issues.  But when I looked at a series I wrote on this topic last year, I realized I would just repeat what I’d already said.  So, I’m reblogging the posts that seem most relevant.  I hope they will be helpful.  Namaste. 

“The wound is the place where the light enters you.”      Rumi

How tall are the walls you build around yourself? Why do you need so much protection? What will it take to heal your wounds?

It was freezing last night and my bedroom was still cold when I awoke. All I wanted to do was snuggle further into bed, hide out in my pleasant dreams and the warmth.  But after briefly indulging my desires, I climbed out of bed, and walking into the center of my house, I was warmed by the brilliant, morning light spilling through the windows.

When life is rough, it is natural to want to hide out, build protective walls, and ignore the source of our pain; yet, if we do that for too long, it can become a dark cave from which we may never emerge.  We learn to lie brilliantly to ourselves.  We evade capture.  And we become hard and defensive around the edges, so that the one thing that can heal us is unable to penetrate.  Even the light needs a chink to pass through.

Wounds Are Valuable Assets

How do you deal with your most painful wounds? Do you build walls to protect yourself or do you see the pain as a sign something needs to be healed?  Our wounds are some of our most valuable assets.  They are the portals through which we can heal the pain that stops us from living our lives fully.  We have to learn to dance with them in the dark so that we can dance with them in the light.

Have you ever had the experience that, when a small conflict arises, you suddenly explode or react in some way that is inappropriate to the situation?  This is always a sign that a deeper issue has been triggered.  It is usually a sign that, deep within us, there are unhealed, deep wounds struggling to reach the light. So, what can we do to heal these wounds?

How To Heal Your Emotional Wounds

Being present is the key.  Has this happened before?  When did it begin?  What was the source of the original pain? There is always fear present with emotional pain, so I try to identify my pain so I can focus on it.  Am I afraid I’m not loved?  Am I afraid of losing someone or something I value?  Am I afraid of being harmed?  Regardless of how you identify the fear or don’t, the first step is to release it.

Releasing Your Fear

I take a deep breath, and as I exhale, I feel and/or visualize this fear leaving my body.  I repeat this process until I do feel the fear released, then sit a moment with the peaceful quiet that appears after the release.  Without the fear blocking my mind, I ask that this emotional pain be healed permanently, knowing that my wish will be granted.

Being Patient With the Process

The next step requires the most patience.  The pain may be healed immediately.  More than likely, though, I will be drawn to those experiences that will guide me through healing myself, and that is very empowering.  Healing may come in many forms:  a book, a person, a workshop, or technique.  Over the years, I have found valuable guidance for healing in therapy, spiritual practices, support groups, healing techniques like Emotional Freedom Technique, affirmations, numerology, astrology, Medicine Wheel cards, and simple conversations with friends. If I’m drawn to it, I dance with it, and in dancing with it, I may be healed.

How Did You Help Create This Wound

This deep pain is the kind we don’t want to return, so it is also wise to become aware of the role we played in creating the pain. The answers are always within us. That is why it is important to be receptive, but not passive.  We need to ask, “What did I do to help trigger this?  What was my role?”  Unless we can see the patterns in our behavior, we will repeat them.  It is in this step of the healing process that therapy is most valuable.  Therapists cannot change you, but they can help you understand your behavior and others.  Only you can make the change once you understand what you need to do.  Awareness is the key.

It is not always possible to identify our role in creating the pain, for sometimes it is the result of karma from past lives or that we are in a situation in order to learn a lesson.  Still, as frightening as it is, we must be willing to be vulnerable—to let the light shine through our journey to understand how to dance the healing dance, the one that we choreograph for our own healing.  Love the wound, then let it go.

What techniques have worked well for you in healing emotional pain? Please comment.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles: Eckhart Tolle – Dealing with Pain (video)Shift Your EmotionsBeing Present – Healing the Past

AWAKENING TO GET UNSTUCK

“Life can only be understood backward; but it must be lived forwards.”  Soren Kierkegaard

2012 Catawba Falls 002 Do you ever feel you’re stuck in a perspective, job, or relationship that no longer serves you?  How can you release what’s stuck and move on?

When I look back over the many years of my life, I’m amazed at how much has changed in our society and in my life.  I went to school in segregated schools until the Sixties when I entered college.  I knew the first black woman to live in the college dorm.  In those days when I was majoring in theater, the gay guys who were my friends didn’t want me to know they were gay.  Although we all knew they were gay, it was never discussed openly.

Society Changes Only When We Change

The Sixties opened up my generation as nothing else could.  As a result of the turmoil of that time, our society began a process of opening to new ideas about equality for all Americans.  While many attitudes and laws have changed in our society, there are still people who are racist, sexist, or against anyone who is not like them.

The society can become unstuck and move forward only when we do.  So how do we do that when we feel so attached to a belief or stuck in a life style that makes our change challenging?  How do we learn to live forward as Kierkegaard suggests?

We Must Release Limiting Beliefs

Living attached to limiting beliefs about the past can stymie us.  When I married at twenty-one, I believed that marriage lasted forever, no matter what.  I still think it’s the ideal, but after dealing with my former husband, who kept trying to leave for ten years, I finally decided I had to let him go—there was little value in his remaining for either of us.

Resistance Is A Sign We’re Stuck

How do we know when we’re stuck?  We usually encounter repeated resistance in some way.  It feels like no matter what we do, nothing changes.  Problems don’t get solved.  We aren’t getting what we want.  Every attempt to get what we want is blocked in some way.  The frustration level rises because what used to work no longer does.

When we feel this way, something needs to change, and it’s usually our thinking.  When I moved to New Mexico years ago, I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a result of stress and exposure to chemicals and mold in the New Orleans environment and the schools where I taught.  I needed to move to a dry climate to heal.  But it was more than that.  I had felt an attraction to New Mexico and had subscribed to the New Mexico Magazine for years.  I found the landscape and art beautiful and felt deeply connected to the Native American Culture.

I did heal my illness there, but my high school teaching experiences were a nightmare.   Administrators who wanted to replace me with people they knew wrote evaluations full of lies, and others refused to give me any support with a terribly-behaved class that had been a serious problem long before I arrived.  I became a scapegoat for the problems administrators couldn’t solve.

New Mexico Sunset

New Mexico Sunset (Photo credit: courtfkizer)

Still, I refused to face the facts.  My arrival in New Mexico had been magical, and my first job was perfect for me—teaching a humanities class in a fine arts academy.  But it didn’t last because I was the last teacher hired and when they discovered they had too many teachers for students, I was the first to be transferred.  Unfortunately, by this time, I had fallen in love with the Land of Enchantment.

We Have To See How Illusions Keep Us Stuck

You know how it is when you fall in love.  It’s impossible to see your lover’s negative qualities.  You make excuses for him.  I refused to give up my belief that this beautiful place was my soul’s home.  I ignored the real meaning of enchantment.  The lure of its beauty had bewitched me.

Despite being stuck on staying where I was physically, I did begin to be unstuck in other ways.  I had been writing a novel, but was blocked and frustrated.  Then I started writing my memoir instead just to keep writing and that began to feel like a good change.  Eventually, I let go of my attachment to the desert, realizing it was a metaphor for my experience, and moved to North Carolina, a place that truly is my soul’s home.

We Have To Release Our Fear of Change

So often we resist what is obvious because we’re so afraid of change.  It’s the unknown and we choose to remain unhappy rather than take a risk, but staying stuck only buries us deeper under more unhappiness.  It is only after making the change that we can look back and see whether it was a good choice.  That’s reality, and to live life forward means to summon our courage and take the risk.

When I’m at this point, I always think of this saying, “When you come to the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen:  there will be something to stand on or you will be taught how to fly.”  Unless you are willing to take the step forward, you will never know what possibilities await you.

Through Change We Find Our True Path

In New Mexico and in North Carolina, I kept clinging to the feeling of security that teaching gave me, but that was an illusion.  It has all worked out.  Just at the time I was running out of money, I reached the age to collect Social Security.  Then, I published my memoir and created workshops on how to release fear.  The chaos led me to my true life path and whatever I have needed has shown up.  It was all in Divine Order.

May you find the courage to live your life forward.

What have you let go of over the years that has allowed you to understand the past and move forward?  Please comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:    Getting Unstuck – Pema Chodron (audio), What is Stopping You?Getting Unstuck