Tag Archives: Release Fear

DANCING FOOTLOOSE AND FANCY FREE

“When you are joyous, look deeply into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.  When you are sorrowful, look again into your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”  Khalil Gibran

2012 Botanical Garden 019

Photo: Georganne Spruce

How do you handle disappointment?  Does it plunge you into depression or are you able to learn from it and still expect the best from life?

Yesterday I sat in the doctor’s office nervously waiting for him to appear.  The silence calmed me a bit as did the smile from my fiancé who was there with me.  The doctor came in smiling after having seen the x-rays of the ankle I had broken.  “A good sign,” I thought, waiting for him to speak.

We Share Joy Simply By Expressing It

His words were exactly what I wanted to hear.  The boot was booted, and I could bear weight again.  We were all smiling and I was so happy I forgot to ask the questions I should have asked.  He could tell from the smile on my face that he needed to add, “But no jumping or running.”  And he laughed joyfully with me.

I may have been seated but I was jumping for joy, and so were the nurse and my fiancé.  It was contagious.  But that is often the way joy is—it radiates and infects those around us, and before they know it, they are dancing the dance with us.

It’s the small things on this journey that sometimes give the greatest joy—being able to climb up six stairs without falling, being able to sleep with my foot free of the heavy boot, my fiancé bringing me a vase of Gerber daisies, having two hours to sit and talk with my best friend.  Even the ice cream I frequently get seemed tastier.

We Experience Sadness Only When We Lose What We Value

When we are forced to focus, we may actually realize that we become sad only when we lose or feel we will lose what we care about.  For an independent active person like me, not being able to walk for six weeks was huge.  For someone who is sedentary, it might be just an inconvenience.  For someone who follows a particular football team, the loss of a game is upsetting.  Not being a fan, I wouldn’t even notice.

I value freedom, and I need a lot of it in terms of making my own decisions, following my spiritual path, and writing.  None of these were affected by the restrictions I have had recently, but the physical restriction weighed me down so much that I began to get depressed about growing older, and I worried about the time when I would be permanently restricted.

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Even When Negative Experiences Occur, We Can Still Expect the Best From Life

At that point, I stopped and thought, “Wait a minute.  I never think like this.  I always assume I’ll be active until the day I die.”  I took a deep breath, did a little meditation, and let the fear go.  My sense of well-being returned.  What happens, happens, but I’ll always take the best care of myself that I can, so there is no reason to dwell on the worst that could happen.  It’s not unreasonable for me to expect all will be well even when, once in a while, negative things happen.

Because I was a dancer for many years, just being able to walk feels like an incredible freedom.  I feel like I’m dancing just because I can look other adults in the eye now instead of seeing the world from a knee-level perspective.  Everyone is my dancing partner and I’m feeling footloose and fancy free.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                             ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Allowing What Is, Worried? How Not to Let It Get the Best of You – Wayne Dyer

AWAKENING TO ACCEPTANCE

“Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world.  That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness.”  Eckhart Tolle

Photo:  Charles Davidson

Photo: Charles Davidson

Are you able to accept circumstances that displease you and move on, or do you stay stuck wishing the thing had never happened?  Do you resist accepting and letting go because you believe that validates what happened?  Are you able to accept what you can’t change?

Forgiveness Releases Negative Emotions

One of the most profound shifts in my thinking came years ago when I was taking a class in the fundamentals of Religious Science philosophy.  We were discussing forgiveness, and the minister pointed out that forgiveness releases you from your attachment to a hurtful situation and frees you to move on.  It doesn’t mean that you think what was done to you was acceptable; it means you aren’t going to hang on to your anger or hurt anymore.

Explore the Themes in Each Conflict

Often, we feel hurt in situations because we don’t understand why the other person has done the thing that hurts us.  At the time I heard these wise words, a friend of mine had dropped out of my life and just wasn’t available after she started living with a man.  I understood her life had changed, but I felt she had handled some things related to me in a very insensitive way. In our interactions with others, there are themes that run throughout our lives, often based on childhood experiences.  An abandoned child or one whose parent was not emotionally there much of the time may feel abandoned when a friend moves away.  Because this is a major theme, this event may be experienced in an intense way.  What is merely a sad event to one may be devastating to another.

Understanding Emotional Themes Helps Us Release the Drama

The intensity of what we feel may also motivate us to create drama around the situation or we may simply shut down emotionally, refusing to deal with it at all.  But unless we are willing to look closely at the underlying theme in these situations, we will repeat them again.  When we look at them closely and are able to understand what the situation is about at a deeper level, we release some of our attachment to the drama.  Then, we can more easily detach from it and accept the situation for what it is. According to Oneness, “Acceptance, unconditionally, of whatever has been presented, without the need to try to change, and without the need to fit it into the context of one’s own system of values, constitutes the recipe for release from whatever contractual arrangement may have been in place with certain beings.” (pp. 166-167) As Oneness points out, the intensity of our feelings may also be related to karmic connections with other people or karmic themes.  When we are able to release ourselves from these and even lesser drama, we are able to accept what is and release the other person with love.  As long as we hang on to the anger or hurt, the drama thickens within us even if we have no physical contact with the other person.

Frederick Leighton - Solitude

Frederick Leighton – Solitude

Release Fears and Allow Solitude to Heal

But how can we let go of those negative feelings?  Choosing solitude offers us the opportunity to go within.  Meditation may be very helpful in detaching from emotional turmoil, and along with that, I use the releasing fear practice that I teach because at the root of all negative emotions is fear.  I explore the fear beneath the anger and hurt.  What am I afraid of?  In the case of my friend, was I afraid I wouldn’t find another friend?  Was I afraid I’d never find a man who would love me? Then I direct my mind to release the fear, naming it specifically if I can identify it.  I breathe deeply and as I exhale, I feel the fear leave my body.   If negative emotions keep coming up, I continue the practice for each one, allowing quiet space to settle over me between each release. Another helpful technique based on acupressure points is the Emotional Freedom Technique of tapping.  I find it particularly helpful for the deeper issues that are more difficult to release with the release the fear technique.  After all, our emotions are energy, and this healing requires that we learn to release what is not healthy for us.

EFT

Tapping Points for Emotional Freedom Technique

Acceptance Includes Loving Detachment

When we have released our fears, we will be able to accept what is and move on even when acceptance may mean leaving those we love.  Oneness says, “Walking away with loving detachment is the lesson here to be mastered.”  Eventually, I was able to see my friend with more objectivity, understanding that the man with whom she lived gave her so much she had never had.  I could also see that I had always invested more in our relationship than she had—an indication that it had never meant as much to her as it did to me. Being able to see the themes in our relationship eventually allowed me to accept its end.  I was also moving into a new phase of my life that eventually would have separated us when I moved to North Carolina.  The end had just come sooner than I expected.  Accepting that as Divine Order was the key and I was grateful for the peace that followed. © 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                       ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5 Related Articles:  Basic Steps to Your Emotional Freedom, Acceptance is Vital – Eckhart Tolle (video), Acceptance and Surrender – Eckhart Tolle (video)

ADAPTING TO THE DANCE OF LIFE

“In the game of life, less diversity means fewer options for change.  Wild or domesticated, panda or pea, adaptation is the requirement for survival.”  Cary Fowler 

Photo: Geroganne Spruce

Photo: Geroganne Spruce

Do you adapt easily to change?  Do you dislike and resist change?  Can you see value in change?

Change is inevitable.  What we do with it is what matters.  Lately, my life is an experiment in finding the best way to adapt to being in a wheel chair and performing the daily duties that I need to perform.  I’ve experimented with a wheel walker, which can move through the house more quickly than the chair, but it hurts the knee that it supports.  Crutches are helpful except when I’m feeling dizzy.

Now all simple normal actions require more strength and have to be approached in a new way.  I can’t just stand up.  I have to pull up or push up.  I will definitely have more strength when this situation is over.

There Is Value In Change

All in all, this experience is just another reminder that there is value in change.  I’ve been forced to slow down.  I’ve had to let other people help, which is always difficult for me, but I simply don’t have the energy I had or the actual physical ability to do it all.  I have to accept certain limitations.

I know these limitations are essential, but temporary.  I can’t bear weight if I want to heal.  I have to frequently elevate my leg in order to prevent blood clots.  This has become my reading or napping time.  Before the accident, I rarely allowed myself to nap—I had too much to do!  What I needed to do before is now a requirement.

Change May Force Us To Do What We Need To Do

So, I am learning to adapt in order to survive—creating a new dance for my life that in some ways feels like an improvement and in others like a regression.  It’s a bit more sedate than I prefer, especially in spring when all the trails have opened up and the ice melted.  My feet are itching for another hike and I’m missing the best time to take nature photos for my blog.

Relationships Adapt To Individual Changes

But this is a very nurturing dance and is not just about healing.  It’s a challenge for me and my fiancé.  Can we, as a couple, adapt?  Can he become my caretaker for a few weeks?  How do we negotiate these challenges?

To some extent, we would have to adapt to change any way to learn to live together.  With my broken ankle, we simply have additional aspects of the relationship to which we must adapt.  While it may stretch our abilities, the outcome has been good.  This is the real thing.  We are committed.  The relationship will survive and we will eventually return to our normal pattern of being equally participating partners.

Change May Be A Spiritual Gift

On a spiritual level, I am enjoying more peace and quiet.  We all need some, and I used to tell myself several times a day to stop and rest or meditate, but I didn’t.  I kept going, and so in that moment when I needed to be totally in the moment and carefully consider the option of stepping onto the rock where I fell, I was thinking more about where I wanted to be.

Now I pay attention to every moment that I move.  I am aware of where I place my hand and foot for each move I make.  When I don’t, I risk falling again.  I am learning to be more creative with my adaptation and so it becomes easier.  It is a much more complex dance than the one I was doing.

Much Good May Come From Adaptation

Adaptation is often like that.  Difficult and uncomfortable at first.  Our resistance may kick in to make it more challenging.  It may be difficult in the beginning to learn a new dance, but as we practice it becomes easier.  Before we know it, we may be waltzing around the floor like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers, loving life despite the complex foot work.

© 20124 Georganne Spruce                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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.”

photo (2)

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

2011 011 (2)

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

2012 011

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