Tag Archives: Self-awareness

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 TRUST LIFE

“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.”  Paulo Coelho

Father Tossing Daughter

Photo by Mike Baird

 How patient are you when things don’t go your way?  Are you often disappointed about life or do you find some pleasure in each day?

Lately, it seems that dealing with the mundane in life has become unnecessarily difficult and somewhat bizarre.  I spent an hour or more trying to discover why my phone would do nothing but “search” when it had worked fine the day before and the battery was charged.  Finally I unplugged the battery to read the numbers on it, thinking that maybe I needed a new one, and when I reconnected it, it worked just fine.

Then there was a problem with the water filter.  In order to have filtered water like reverse osmosis, I stack one water filtration dispenser on top of another so that the water from the top dispenser will drip through the second filter.  In the last month, the top dispenser has toppled onto the floor twice when a friend of mine walked into the kitchen.  At 6 foot 3 inches, he’s a big guy and his steps create a vibration, but he’s been walking into my kitchen frequently for months.  Why is this happening now?  The second time it happened, the filter shattered.

Lessons May Come From Negative Experiences

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.”  Each moment of each day offers us the opportunity to learn.  I’ve learned from experience that when a series of events, mundane or serious, occur I need to pay attention.  I need to calm down, go with the flow, and take time to trust that the Universe is trying to tell me something.

In addition to going inside for spiritual guidance, I also look at astrology or numerology to see if any messages resonate.  My number for this month is a 36/9 and part of the message is that any losses or endings will free me for the new cycle I am about to enter and that any losses I encounter are only those things I do not need.

Not Being Centered Creates Unnecessary Difficulty

When the phone incident occurred, I was already frustrated about a series of troublesome phone calls with my insurance company, and I wasn’t in a positive frame of mind.  I was so disappointed that another problem had arisen that I lacked the patience to solve the problem easily by doing the most obvious thing, checking the battery connection.  Instead, I assumed it was more complicated.

Remaining Positive Requires Courage

Paolo Coelho reminds us to have courage and not be disappointed when we encounter difficulties.  We have to trust that there is value in these life experiences.  When the negative experiences are more serious matters, the challenge to have courage is so much greater.  My challenges are nothing compared to the challenge my friend who has cancer faces.  She is nearing the end but insists on trying not to take drugs to “numb out.”  That’s real courage!

Years ago when I had chronic fatigue syndrome, I had to change my life style in order to heal naturally.  Having to go to bed early and be very strict about what I ate irritated friends and others close to me.  The medical profession had not yet accepted this diagnosis as a real one and many people just thought I was being dramatic about my needs.  Losing friends and not being respected made my life more difficult.  It took courage for me to remain devoted to what I knew was best for me.

Loss May Lead Us To Something Better

In the case of the cracked filter, I was surprised by what happened, but I wasn’t too upset.  Maybe the incident was telling me it was time to install a water filter in my water system.  As it turned out, the friend whose vibration caused the filter to crash had an extra filter that can be easily installed in my house.

Father on Beach

Photo by Lonny Paul

Learning “not to be disappointed by what we encounter” when we experience mundane disappointments prepares us to face the really difficult moments.  Staying calm and going with the flow gives us the patience “to wait for the right moment.”  We often see this in a relationship when we need to discuss a touchy subject with a partner or a manager at work.  If we take the time to consider when and what to say and release our anger or frustration first, we are more likely to communicate in a way so that the other person will hear us.

To Trust Life, We Must Trust Ourselves

We can trust life when we learn to trust ourselves.  We create our lives with our thoughts, emotions, and actions, and the more we learn about managing them in a spiritual and loving way, the more likely we are to create positive experiences.  In addition to the patience and courage, Coelho suggests, developing a practice of gratitude helps to shift us away from expecting the worst of a situation we don’t like.

Focusing on Gratitude Is A Positive Practice

Gratitude reminds us of all the good in our lives.  Even when it’s hard to see the good, it is important to hunt for it and look for a lesson in each experience.  My experience with the phone reminded me that I need to focus on the simplicity of life and assume the solution to a problem is simple unless it truly does become more complex.  I am thankful for that reminder.

The experience with the water filter offered a better alternative to my “slippery slope” solution and reminded me that when one thing stops working, it is often because there is something better in the future.  When we are grateful for the good we have and truly believe that basically life is good, despite the challenges, we are more likely to find our spiritual path filled with light.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                         ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:    Trust Yourself and How You Can Get Better at It, Trust Quiz – Do You Trust Yourself Enough?, Why You Do Not Trust Yourself, How to Develop a Deep Trust in Life

AWAKENING TO TRANSITIONS

“Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.”  Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

How do you feel about transitions?  Does the uncertainty about the future disturb you or fill you with anticipation?  

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Autumn slipped in when I wasn’t looking.  Suddenly there was a tree along the highway that had turned red and yellow and began dropping leaves when all the other trees remained green and lush.  Soon a few older brown leaves that had clung to the oaks all summer began to fall, and some of the grass in the yard started dying.

Life May Grow Out of Endings

On the other hand, the side of the yard that was recently dug up to replace a drainage pipe has been reseeded and underneath the straw is  growing new grass, an interesting contrast to harvest time.  These contrasts in nature are a reminder that, we may find life where there seems to be death and death where we thought there was life.

As soon as I graduated from college, I married, and two years later, my husband came home and announced he did not want to be married any longer.  I was utterly shocked.  The thought of losing him felt like death.  As it turned out, he didn’t leave then, and we managed to keep the marriage together for another eight years of turmoil.  When it finally ended, it still felt like death.

But out of that death, I found a new lifeone in which I learned how to take care of myself so that I could make decisions from a position of confidence and choose to pursue an independent life.  As I felt more empowered, I no longer felt desperate to find another husband.  I was creating a life I liked and would only consider relationships with people who respected who I really was.

An Ending May Lead To A More Spiritual Life

Because of the economic changes in our society, many people have had to give up the life they led and adapt to a less extravagant way of living.  Others, who lived moderately, have had to pare down to the absolute essentials.  It is not easy to let go of what we considered the comforts of life, but it can lead us to something else of value.

When we can spend less money on things, perhaps we will spend more time with loved ones and also have the time to look within and develop our spiritual lives.  When we have nothing to lose, we may find the courage to follow our passions:  create art, open a restaurant, teach in a foreign country or become a hospice volunteer.  Endings can be the beginnings of a new life.

Years ago, when I taught drama in New Mexico, my students wrote a play “The End Is the Beginning.”  It was about some teens who made harmful decisions like getting pregnant and being involved with drugs, but in the end, they realized they had to change, and each chose to create a positive life.  I hope their characters were role models.

Transitions Are Rites Of Passage

Resisting the changes we can’t control is futile.  Finding a pleasure in the new will always make the transition easier.  Often the transition is a rite of passage following a major change that forces us to shift how we think about our lives.  When I had to stop teaching modern dance because of knee problems, I realized that far too much of my identity was bound up in being a dancer.  It took time for me to accept that my real identity had little to do with the specific thing I did.

A photo of the sculpture "Dancer and the ...

A photo of the sculpture “Dancer and the dance” by John Safer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This transition was not easy.  I felt like a ship adrift at sea. Over time, I began to see that creativity was a large part of who I was and that I was creative in many areas of my life: decorating my apartment, handling my finances, teaching English, and solving life’s problems.

My creativity was not limited to dance, and as I explored my creative nature, I looked deeper into the source of my creativity, realizing it was connected to my spiritual core.

It was then that I began to explore how to grow spiritually by reading, studying new philosophies and spiritual practices that would allow me to change in the ways I wanted to change.  What had once felt like the death of a part of me became a passage through which I found a richer life.  I would always be grateful I was a dancer, but it no longer defined me.

Spirit Is Always There To Guide Us

Transitions often frighten us because we can’t yet see what will replace what we have lost, but we have to learn to trust ourselves and know that we will be guided in the right direction.  When we have a spiritual life, we know that there is guidance beyond what is apparent on this earthly plane.  We can go within, release our fear, and allow Spirit to guide us to the next step.  Every change in life is an opportunity to expand and that is why we are here.

How has a transition led to a positive change in your life?  Please comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                          ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: Transitions and Changes:  Practical Strategies, How Endings Make Room for Beginnings, How to Make the Most of Your Life Transitions

AWAKENING TO SEE THE BEAUTY OF LIFE AGAIN

i‘m taking my own advice today and reblogging.  I will have a new post and new photos next week.  Namaste

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  Thornton Wilder

Do you often feel overwhelmed by what you need to do?  Do you run your life or does your life run you?  Are you giving attention to those people or activities you most value?

Nature Enriches Our Spirits

I try to schedule a hike once a week during the summer because I feel such a strong need to be out in nature.  It calms and connects me with Spirit in a deep way.  It’s also a great way to connect with people who also love nature, and since my main hiking buddy was away most of the summer, I enjoyed meeting more hikers.

It’s taken a while to find the right group.  When I first moved to the mountains, the first group I hiked with used hiking as an aerobic activity and went so fast it was impossible to enjoy the scenery and plant life.  Another group only went on lengthy, challenging hikes.  Finally I found a group that fit my needs, but these hikers also move too fast for me at times.

When I hike, I want to be able to see what is along the trail:  the flowers, mushrooms, moss, knarled branches, bright leaves, and small crawling creatures (as long as they don’t rattle).  I want to be engaged with what is around me:  feel the moisture, smell the scents, examine the textures.  The stimulation of hiking through such an extremely bio-diverse area can be intoxicating.  I love getting drunk on its beauty.

Missing Pleasure Through Haste

Soren Kierkegaard said, “Most people pursue pleasure with such breathless haste they hurry right past it.”  Have you ever been walking briskly past an art gallery or clothing store, saw a flash of something colorful, but you were half a block away before you could stop yourself to go back and see what it was that you only partly saw?  Think about how much time we could save if we would slow down and see what was before us without having to backtrack.

In our society, it isn’t just the speed with which we pursue pleasure that limits the pleasure in our lives; it’s the speed with which we do everything.  In many instances, we have committed to more than we can handle well.  We want to please everyone, help everyone, experience everything, and on top of that, time is literally speeding up.  We are now experiencing in one year what we used to experience in five years.  We think the solution to this problem is to hurry more.  It isn’t.

The Pleasure of Being in the Moment

How would we feel if we each took fifteen minutes a day to immerse ourselves in something we found truly pleasurable?  What if we took the time to really touch our partners fully aware of that touch?  What if we focused on the pleasurable taste, color and texture of each bite we eat?   What if, instead of rushing through the book we’re reading, we let ourselves merge with the delicious cadence and imagery of the words?

Rushing all the time doesn’t feel like living to me, and I’m not alone because several friends have made the same comment lately—they just need more time to be and less time to do.  It’s pretty clear that Spirit is trying to teach me how to do this because invariably when I start whizzing around the house at a high speed, I always trip over a chair, stab my thigh on the corner of a table, or spill a pitcher of water.  If I don’t have sense enough to slow down, life will do it for me.

Finding Spiritual Treasures in Our Hearts

To become more conscious, we need to notice when we feel stressed, angry, overwhelmed, or exhausted.  We need to simply stop, take a breath, go to our heart centers and feel who we are.  We need to look around us for the beauty we may have missed.  What’s more important, seeing your child’s smile or cleaning the house?  When we move too fast all the time, we become insensitive.  Anything that gets in the way of our getting the “work” done gets pushed aside, and if that includes people we love, that’s a tragedy.

As Thornton Wilder reminds us, we aren’t really alive unless, at the heart level, we are conscious of our “treasures.”  We have to pay attention and strip away the distractions.  It means we have to leave the party or race track, stop using the alcohol and drugs to give us the high our pleasure-loving selves pursue, and get in touch with what is deep and worthwhile where the deepest pleasures of love, peace and joy reside.  It means we have to give up our obsession with achievement, our need to always be right, and our desire to please everyone.  We have to take time to find our centers, linger in the heart to see what our real treasure is, and prioritize our lives so we have the time to see what really matters.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce                                                                   ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Wake Up, and You Can Help the World AwakenAwakening the Mysterious Feminine Goddess, How can I Be In the Present Moment – Eckhart Tolle  (video)

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 GOOD HEALTH

“To enjoy true health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind.  If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will come to him.”  Buddha

English: Holistic health, body, mind, heart, soul

I wanted to write today about the connection between body and mind and good health, but when I read back over a previous post, “Body and Soul As One,” I decided to repost it because, at the moment, I feel it says everything I want to say.  When we love ourselves, we take care of all parts of ourselves:  body, mind and soul.  And when we are ill, we need to take care of the mind, body, and soul.  Even science is now proving this connection exists.

The Body As Container For The Soul

One of the problems I’ve often had with traditional religion is the way it describes the body as a lesser part of our being.  The body is, after all, the container for our soul.  If we didn’t need it in some cosmic sense, we wouldn’t have it.  At this stage in our spiritual journey, we are experiencing a physical life because we need to learn lessons we can only learn by being in a physical body.

If we embrace the idea of wholeness or oneness, then we have to acknowledge that all parts of ourselves are sacred.  Living in a body offers us infinite opportunities to learn.  As a child, I had many illnesses including one that left me with a heart murmur which I out grew by the time I was twelve.  I missed those early carefree years of life that others remember with joy.  What I remember is lying in bed alone reading and designing paper doll dresses, feeling weak and shy and inadequate when we played softball at school and never learning to ride a bicycle.  I remember having a friend or two but never feeling part of a group because so many group activities were too strenuous.

 Awakening The Body And Soul

As a result of this childhood experience, I developed two interests: good health and creativity which I later developed through dance and writing.  Staying healthy became a priority in my life.  As a young adult I began to search for the answers that would allow me to become stronger and stay in good health My love of dance was not just about expressing myself creatively.  It was about building muscles on my skinny frame to become strong.  It was also about the mind/body connection.  Having rejected traditional religion by this time, I found that dancing brought me joy and touched my spirit.  At times, dancing was transcendent, my body seemed to fall away and I was all spirit.

Each physical challenge has been a teacher.  Around 1976, I studied with an amazing dancer, Erick Hawkins during a summer dance program at American University.  Having studied Eastern philosophy and anatomy and kinesiology, he had created a modern dance technique that trained the body gently, working with the pelvis as the center of the body, and teaching us to respect our own bodies.

Hawkins in El Penitente, 1930s

Hawkins in El Penitente, 1930s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But that summer, I was in distress, and despite Hawkins’ peaceful way, I made a decision I would regret.  I injured one foot simply walking across campus, adding more pain to the tendinitis slowly healing in the other foot.  I was in a dance company and had a performance coming up.  We were short on dancers; I couldn’t disappoint the director.  So, I demanded that my doctor give me cortisone shots which he did, going against his own better judgment.

When I danced, my feet were numb; I couldn’t feel the floor, but somehow I got through the performance.  Afterwards, as I rested and healed over several weeks, I realized I had committed a terrible act of aggression against myself.  I’d somehow crossed a line I’d never crossed before and was willing to abuse myself in order not to disappoint others. This was clearly a signal that something was very wrong with my thinking.  I realized at that moment that I couldn’t stop thinking about the reverence with which Hawkins treated the body even in training.  As I thought about Hawkins and the reverence he had taught us to have for our own bodies, I realized he had been my spiritual teacher that summer.

 Loving Ourselves With Good Health

This experience made me realize that I needed to learn to love myself.  I had created unnecessary suffering and my soul ached. Dance taught me about one aspect of taking care of my body, but other experiences taught me about a healthy diet.  When I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I found a doctor of integrated medicine who taught me how to use food and supplements to heal. What I learned from him has continued to serve me well over the years to support my immune system, keep my blood sugar level, and sustain a level of energy that creates a feeling of well-being.

It is difficult to enjoy life when we don’t feel well, and while it is important to take care of our minds and soul, taking care of the body is sacred work too.  To deny the body’s needs is just as detrimental to our well-being as ignoring our spiritual or emotional needs.  Although I am middle aged, I’m actually healthier than I’ve ever been, and I believe that is because, in addition to taking care of my spiritual life, I have cared for my body, this precious container for my precious soul.

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 Do you want life to be a dance or a drag?

We have a choice and it’s an important one.  Caring for our bodies makes it possible to do things that feed the soul like walking in the forest, dancing until dawn or jogging through the early morning air with your daughter.  What are you willing to do to make your body and soul one?

© 2011 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  Erick Hawkins, Dancing to Our Imperfections, The Mind Body Connection –  Health is a State of MindMind Body Connection: How Your Emotions Affect Your Health

AWAKENING TO OUR RESPONSIBILITY

“Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.  Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.”  Miquel Ruiz

Cover of "The Four Agreements: A Practica...

Are you a responsible person?  How do you define responsibility?  Do you communicate compassionately and take responsibility for what you express?

Responsibility Comes From Within

The theme of responsibility seems to be surfacing in my life this week.  We often think of responsibility in terms of the exterior life: supporting ourselves financially, not telling lies, or doing what we say we will do.  That’s all very important because what we do externally is a sign of who we are at a deeper level.

I attend a couple of discussion groups and the topic for the one I attended recently was the second of Don Miquel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom.  This book is a wonderful guide to living our lives and I highly recommend it.  The second agreement is “Don’t take anything personally.”  Needless to say, this aroused a lively discussion.

The Emotional Source of Our Conflicts

It also reminded me of so many experiences in my life when, at the time an event was occurring, I could not see how I was part of creating a conflict.  For example, a friend and I, who are members of group, had a very unpleasant disagreement over whether a particular meeting with a guest speaker would take place at his house or mine.  The event had been scheduled weeks in advance for my house.

Then my friend informed me that he was changing the location to his house because he had invited the speaker and felt his place would work better.  I was upset because I love having this group in my home and I knew it would be months before I could host the meeting again.  I explained this to him, but he remained firm in his decision and I felt he was saying my house was inadequate for this event.  I’ve hosted many of these events and I was rather offended by his attitude.  Finally he said, “This isn’t personal.”

Communication

Communication (Photo credit: P Shanks)

When It Really Isn’t Personal

Well, it sure felt personal to me!  I was looking forward to that warm, fuzzy feeling I get when people I like are in my house, and I didn’t want to put off this opportunity until spring when I would have time to host again.  On the other hand, my friend is a very conscientious person who also likes to have things set up a certain way.  He was the one who invited the guest speaker and he wanted to be able to control the environment in which she did her demonstration and talk.  So, his decision really wasn’t about me.  It was about his needs.

He and I are good friends and we talked about our feelings later and found peace about the issue.  It was a learning experience for us both.  But these situations often arise in life, and I’ve come to realize that when someone does something that hurts me, it’s an opportunity for me to look at why I’m upset.  Is this person being unkind or am I reading something into their words or actions because they have touched on my deep wounds?  Either way, I have a choice about my response.

Acting Out Of Love Is Acting Impeccably

By nature, we are all spiritual beings and capable of being loving.  However, if we have been abused or unloved, we may not know how to be loving.  Because I know this, when someone is mean or unkind to me, I know that it is about them, and I have a choice.  I can walk away or I can try to discuss what has caused this response to understand if I have been insensitive in some way.  Of course, my response will be different depending on whether this negative response is a one-time thing or on-going attitude.

Communicate With Compassion

If we accept Ruiz’s statement to not take anything personally as a guide for our behavior, we can most effectively use it to monitor our own communication with others.  His first agreement is to speak and act impeccably, to be concerned about the effects of our words and actions on others.  These first two agreements work well together.  I think he is telling us to be responsible, think before we act, and care about the consequences of our actions, but to be aware that other’s actions are more about their feelings and ideas than ours.   When we do this, I think we usually make better choices because we become aware of the whole communication circle. We can show them compassion, but we don’t have to become entangled with the drama.

This week I also attended a group that is practicing compassionate communication.  We did an exercise where we listened to one person’s story and tried to hear the facts, feelings, needs, and values expressed in it, then we reflected back to the person what we heard.  It seems to me that this practice fits beautifully with what Ruiz is suggesting.  If we learn to listen and speak with compassion, we are acting impeccably and we are also honoring the third agreement—don’t make assumptions.  We listen to what the other person is truly saying, and we try to become more conscious of how our own inner story may distort our perception of another’s story.

What Do You Put Into the Energy Around You?

Regardless of our spiritual beliefs, we are responsible for what we put out into the world, and if we accept the Law of Attraction as part of our belief systems, as I do, we know the energy of our words and actions affects the energy of those around us.  How we approach a touchy subject with another can make a huge difference.  If we connect with empathy and love, we can often create an understanding out of chaos.  When we learn not to take everything personally, it doesn’t mean we don’t care.

How do you handle difficult communication?  How does your attitude make a difference?    Please Comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                               ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Responsible Communication,  Living the Four Agreements: A Life changing Journey,  Law of Attraction, Receiving Love

AWAKENING TO OUR DREAMS

“There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why…I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”  Robert Kennedy

Ciudad de Malaga al atardecer con los Montes d...

Ciudad de Malaga al atardecer con los Montes de Africa (Photo credit: carloscASTROweb)

Have many of your dreams come true?  Is there a connection between the dreams you dream at night and the desires you have when you wake?  How can you use those dreams to become more conscious?

Dreams Help Us Envision New Possibilities

Wouldn’t it be great if life progressed in a straight line so that we could always see where we’re going?  Then we’d know ahead what dreams would come true and which wouldn’t, and we wouldn’t waste our time struggling to make things happen that never happen.  But then of course, we wouldn’t experience the joy of rich surprises and miracles that open possibilities we never envisioned.

One day after a job interview, I stood beside the fireplace in a restaurant, watching the snow fall lightly outside.  I turned and he was there, stepping forward to offer me a seat. The dream had suddenly changed shape, wearing wire-rimmed glasses and a mischievous smile, and we both knew life would never be the same.  Although the relationship was not the dream that lasted for a lifetime, it was one that taught me I could be respected for my intelligence and could share a deeply spiritual relationship.

Manifesting A Dream May Be A Mysterious Path

Life is a spiral dance, weaving steps we know and steps we don’t know—a journey that takes us through shadows and sunlight.  There are the dreams we dream and the dreams we don’t dream—the ones we bury along the way because our parents tell us they can’t come true.  Then one day, we are standing on a stage as the lights come up and our hands begin to strum a guitar or the words of Shakespeare pour from our lips, and we cannot even remember where this moment began.  But somewhere, sometime, it was a dream, an image in our souls that was caught on the wind and carried forward through time, materializing despite all obstacles.

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As a child, I wanted to be a doctor and help Albert Schweitzer heal the lepers in Africa, but after struggling with high school chemistry, I gave up the dream of being a doctor and going to Africa.   Forty years later, in the early morning of a July day, I stepped off an airplane onto African soil.  In that moment, my life changed.  I became a citizen of the world.  I could never have dreamed of the path that led me there.

Each Dream, Even The Dark One, Is A Gift From Spirit

Each dream is a gift from Spirit, whether it is a conscious dream or an unconscious one.  It leads us to places we never dreamed of going or never thought we could reach.  Other dreams may serve a different purpose and may create the illusions where we hide from what we cannot bear to see.  Other times dreams are demonic and rip the illusions away, spiraling us into the darkness of our own depth to find the real answers.

For years, I read New Mexico Magazine, feeling drawn by some powerful force to go there.  When I was almost healed from chronic fatigue, it became clear that I needed to live in a dry environment in order to complete the healing.  A friend invited me to house sit with her that summer in Albuquerque.  Once I was there, I could not leave.  The Native-American culture and art fed my soul.  Then, I found the perfect teaching job right away although it was almost time for school to start.  It all seemed like a dream come true.

But this was the land of enchantment, and what appeared to be magical, within five years, fell apart.  I lost my job, my friends, my spiritual community, my security and all my illusions.  Stripped to the core by following a dream based on illusion, who I really was continued to emerge.  I began to write and discovered a strength and spiritual balance I had never known.

Dreams May Be Profound Spiritual Guides

Those dreams that come in the night, wrapped round with symbols and mystery, may very well hold the answers to the problems in our lives and lead us to the light.  Carl Jung, the famous psychoanalyst, said in his book Man and His Symbols, “The general function of dreams is to restore our psychological balance by producing dream material that re-established, in a subtle way, the total psychic equilibrium.”

Deutsch: Carl Gustav Jung

Deutsch: Carl Gustav Jung (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After my divorce in 1976, I felt unhinged without a job or money.  The grief and anger I felt overwhelmed me.  Then one night, I dreamed I was standing in a plaza with a pool in the center.  A green ladder rose upward and across the pool and into the upper floor of a several story building on the far side.  At the base of the ladder I stood with a young man and a blond-haired woman in a red dress, a version of me that had appeared in other dreams. We performed a ritual, breaking the bread the woman had baked.  Then the man left, and the woman began to climb the ladder, beckoning to me.  Despite my fear, I followed her.

When I awoke, I realized the dream was telling me exactly what I needed to do.  My choice to climb the green ladder was a sacred act. I needed to follow a spiritual path that would lead me to a higher consciousness.  Because the arch led over water, which symbolized emotion, it was also telling me to move beyond just reacting emotionally.  The dream told me how to heal.

There are the dreams we choose to dream and the ones that come to us unexpectedly.  Weaving through our lives with joy and mystery, they are one of Spirit’s greatest transformative gifts.  May you dream well tonight.

What dreams have provided you with important insights? Please comment.

For a more in depth understanding of the value of understanding dreams and how they provide guidance in your life, read my book Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness.

©2013 Georganne Spruce                                            ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: Nightmares, Dreams, and the Ego: a New Earth VideoSpiritual Dream Interpretation: Understanding Your DreamsJung Dream Interpretation

AWAKENING TO SEE THE BEAUTY OF LIFE

 

 

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AWAKENING TO SEE THE BEAUTY OF LIFE

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  Thornton Wilder

Do you often feel overwhelmed by what you need to do?  Do you run your life or does your life run you?  Are you giving attention to those people or activities you most value?

Nature Enriches Our Spirits

I try to schedule a hike once a week during the summer because I feel such a strong need to be out in nature.  It calms and connects me with Spirit in a deep way.  It’s also a great way to connect with people who also love nature, and since my main hiking buddy was away most of the summer, I enjoyed meeting more hikers.

It’s taken a while to find the right group.  When I first moved to the mountains, the first group I hiked with used hiking as an aerobic activity and went so fast it was impossible to enjoy the scenery and plant life.  Another group only went on lengthy, challenging hikes.  Finally I found a group that fit my needs, but these hikers also move too fast for me at times.

When I hike, I want to be able to see what is along the trail:  the flowers, mushrooms, moss, knarled branches, bright leaves, and small crawling creatures (as long as they don’t rattle).  I want to be engaged with what is around me:  feel the moisture, smell the scents, examine the textures.  The stimulation of hiking through such an extremely bio-diverse area can be intoxicating.  I love getting drunk on its beauty.

Missing Pleasure Through Haste

Soren Kierkegaard said, “Most people pursue pleasure with such breathless haste they hurry right past it.”  Have you ever been walking briskly past an art gallery or clothing store, saw a flash of something colorful, but you were half a block away before you could stop yourself to go back and see what it was that you only partly saw?  Think about how much time we could save if we would slow down and see what was before us without having to backtrack.

In our society, it isn’t just the speed with which we pursue pleasure that limits the pleasure in our lives; it’s the speed with which we do everything.  In many instances, we have committed to more than we can handle well.  We want to please everyone, help everyone, experience everything, and on top of that, time is literally speeding up.  We are now experiencing in one year what we used to experience in five years.  We think the solution to this problem is to hurry more.  It isn’t.

The Pleasure of Being in the Moment

How would we feel if we each took fifteen minutes a day to immerse ourselves in something we found truly pleasurable?  What if we took the time to really touch our partners fully aware of that touch?  What if we focused on the pleasurable taste, color and texture of each bite we eat?   What if, instead of rushing through the book we’re reading, we let ourselves merge with the delicious cadence and imagery of the words?

Rushing all the time doesn’t feel like living to me, and I’m not alone because several friends have made the same comment lately—they just need more time to be and less time to do.  It’s pretty clear that Spirit is trying to teach me how to do this because invariably when I start whizzing around the house at a high speed, I always trip over a chair, stab my thigh on the corner of a table, or spill a pitcher of water.  If I don’t have sense enough to slow down, life will do it for me.

Finding Spiritual Treasures in Our Hearts

To become more conscious, we need to notice when we feel stressed, angry, overwhelmed, or exhausted.  We need to simply stop, take a breath, go to our heart centers and feel who we are.  We need to look around us for the beauty we may have missed.  What’s more important, seeing your child’s smile or cleaning the house?  When we move too fast all the time, we become insensitive.  Anything that gets in the way of our getting the “work” done gets pushed aside, and if that includes people we love, that’s a tragedy.

As Thornton Wilder reminds us, we aren’t really alive unless, at the heart level, we are conscious of our “treasures.”  We have to pay attention and strip away the distractions.  It means we have to leave the party or race track, stop using the alcohol and drugs to give us the high our pleasure-loving selves pursue, and get in touch with what is deep and worthwhile where the deepest pleasures of love, peace and joy reside.  It means we have to give up our obsession with achievement, our need to always be right, and our desire to please everyone.  We have to take time to find our centers, linger in the heart to see what our real treasure is, and prioritize our lives so we have the time to see what really matters.

© 2012 Georganne Spruce                                                                   ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Wake Up, and You Can Help the World AwakenAwakening the Mysterious Feminine Goddess, How can I Be In the Present Moment – Eckhart Tolle  (video)

 

 

 

AWAKENING TO YOUR TRUE IDENTITY

“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you are not.”  Denis Waitley

How would you describe yourself in one sentence?  Do you define who you are from your deepest core or do you define who you are based on what others think of you?

We are all spiritual beings and that means that we are part of the creative energy, the core DNA of the universe.  Because of this, we are all, at our centers, good, but we are also in this life to learn lessons, and those challenges may lead us to focus on our weaknesses.  Many times we forget who we really are and create stories about ourselves that are judgmental and negative.

Avoid Accepting Another’s Negative Vision of You

The negative stories that can create serious blocks in our development are the ones that come from childhood.  When I was four years old, I had rheumatic fever and developed a heart murmur that I eventually outgrew by age twelve.  During that time, I had many childhood illnesses.  As a result, much of my childhood was spent in bed, not being active.

When I was fifteen, I had a modern dance class at school and saw that, through dance, I could develop the strength I lacked.  I pursued this interest in dance at college, studied professionally, danced in a company and taught.  By the time I was an adult, I was very strong and energetic, but my mother continued to see me as weak.  Throughout my young life, she worried that I would make myself sick and warned me that what I was doing could hurt me.  For years, she was unable to let go of this image of me, and even after I rejected it, it lurked in the dark corners of my mind ready to undermine me.

Don’t Let Limitations Define You

I developed the idea that being tired was the equivalent of getting sick. What held me back in many endeavors was that I didn’t think I was strong enough to put forth the effort required to be successful. Even as an adult, I sometimes stopped short of achieving my goal because I was afraid I wouldn’t succeed.  It took me a long time to push past this and realize it was my mother’s vision of me, created out of her fear, not who I was.

I’ve always been inspired by Laura Hillenbrand who wrote the best-seller Seabiscuit while she had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Not only do I love her book; I admire her courage and strength.  She did not let her limitations define her.

Do you let your limitations, the things you are not, define who you are? Do you think, “I’m a decent, competent person who is out of a job,” or “I’m a loser because I’m out of a job.”? Limitations are only one aspect of life.  Don’t let them define you.  When you define yourself in a positive way, it raises your vibrational energy.  Not only does that make you feel better, it draws more positive people and experiences to you and may decrease the restrictions in your life.

Practice Positive Spiritual Principles

I’m not suggesting that you ignore the things in your life that aren’t working well, but affirming what you want and taking some steps toward making them a reality will move you forward more quickly than focusing on the negative aspect of the situation.  Of course, ideally, we look honestly at the situation, release our ego-attachment to the outcome, and do what we can to correct it.  Affirming with genuinely positive emotion that somehow we will find a solution to the problem adds more positive energy to the mix. However, what we think we need isn’t always what we do need, and the universe is kind enough to correct our delusion.  My spiritual teacher used to say that we will get what we need, but it may not look like what we expected or come at the time we expect.

Manifestation may also be blocked by a contradictory statement.  “I affirm that my illness will be healed in three months, but I accept this may not happen.”  The last part of the statement cancels out the first, so the energy that is created by the positive statement is neutralized by the negative.  Be aware that all statements that begin with but contain fear and fears block manifestation.  It is worthwhile to look beneath your negative statement and ask, “Why do I believe I can’t manifest this?”  If you truly believed you could manifest your desire, you would not need the qualifier.

Believe in Yourself

Believe that you are part of this magnificently creative universe.  Believe that what you manifest is a step forward and that you have succeeded even if it doesn’t exactly meet your expectations.  Believe that as you practice spiritual principles, that you will change your life for the better.  If you are not the person you want to be, know that you are in charge of who you are and commit to accepting what is best about you, knowing that is who you truly are and take action to change what you don’t like, knowing that the universe supports all that is good in you.

What negative ideas about yourself have you discarded lately?

© 2012 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  5 Ways to find Your True Identity, Becoming the Person You Were Meant to Be:  Where to Start by Anne Lamott, Total Recall of Who We Are: Stop Thinking and Start Being