Tag Archives: Spiritual Awakening

AWAKENING TO RITUAL

“The purpose of ritual is to change the mind of the human being.  It’s sacred drama in which you are the audience as well as the participant and the purpose of it is to activate parts of the mind that are not activated by everyday activity.”  Sharon Devlin

chaco-canyon-new-mexico-mountains-ruins

Do you like to participate in rituals?  Do you ever create your own?  What do they mean to you?

When people suggest I might do a ritual of some kind to heal a problem, I usually resist.  It isn’t that I don’t like ritual, but I often find that I can’t seem to get involved with it to the degree that it becomes meaningful.  Despite that, I have had several very meaningful experiences with it where the ritual took me to a very spiritual place.

Chanting May Create A Loving Feeling

Chanting is a perfect example.  When I try to chant by myself, it seems to go nowhere—not even to the nowhere it is supposed to go.  When I am with a group and singing a chant, I am carried away into a warm, fuzzy centered place where I am one with the group and it feels like the love of the holy is flowing within us.  But creating one’s own ritual can also create deep meaning and connections.

One of my first experiences of creating a ritual took place in Nebraska when my two dear women friends and I were parting ways.  One was heading to Omaha, another to Texas, and I was moving to Denver.  The thought of leaving each other was painful and we found ourselves withdrawing because we didn’t know how we could say “goodbye.”

Creating Our Own Rituals May Be Very Meaningful

Then we realized that we needed to create a “goodbye” ritual.  The following is a description of the ritual from my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness.

“When the moon was full, we went to the sand pits where we used to swim. We brought with us tokens of the life we had shared: flowers, tea, rocks, shells, dryer lint, unfinished pot holders, orange water, herbs, a fan, and a feather. We played instruments, and Carolyn, with bells around her ankles, and I danced. Donna, with her curly, sandy hair, watched, looking like a wild lion with a morning trumpet rising like a horn from her head. In this sacred space, the moon goddess blessed us, shining clear and bright in the darkness. The water was cool and serene, and the sand was soft beneath our feet. Our burning candles were hidden from the road by a small dune, and while we were there for two hours, no one disturbed us. My friends were like two sides of myself: the daring beast and the mystic. Speaking, I honored them.

North Platte river

The Nature Conservancy

‘Donna, the Leo, you give me strength to speak my own name, to believe in my beauty; you are laughter in my life; you are the fire of anger that sets me in motion; my defender, sister traveler, my comforter, my equal, my loving friend. You are the flower of celebration.’

‘Carolyn, the Sagittarian, you make the cycles of nature sing in my soul; you help me see the beauty, the humor in simple things; you are constancy, you are calm, you show me humility and forgiveness, my sister traveler, my equal, my loving friend. You are the simmering fire that warms the tea we drink together.’

I would never forget the peace of that night when all good forces in the universe came together to protect us, when we brought the ancient into the present and transformed it with our love.”

Rituals May Connect Us At The Heart Level

Many years before I visited New Mexico for the first time, I subscribed to New Mexico Magazine.  I was fascinated with the landscape and the Native American culture and art.  I don’t know why I felt such a deep connection to a place I had never seen.  When I finally moved there, it was for my health, but while I was there I experienced a deep heart-level connection with its original people, and some need that I cannot explain was filled.

One day a friend and I drove to see Chaco Canyon.  We spent the night nearby and drove into the canyon well before the sun was up.   It was the morning of the summer solstice and we stood at the edge of Casa Rinconada, a giant kiva, waiting for the first light of day to flow through an opening and strike a small window within on the opposite side.  The black sky sparkled with stars and slowly lightened along the horizon.  Time seem suspended as the light flowed across the sky and through the window into the center of the kiva, gradually moving its spear of light  through the dark opening of the window and illuminating it.

Rituals May Feel Timeless

I was flooded with the sense that I was connected to the many generations of people who have witnessed this coming of the light on the first day of summer.  This site was the ancestral home of the people now known as the Pueblos, 19 groups of which reside in New Mexico.  They were also the ancestors of many of the students I taught from the various pueblos.  What I felt was more than the sense of connection with the people and land but also a connection with time as a timeless concept.

chaco Ruins

Rituals Connect Different Cultures

In 1994 I traveled to West Africa with a group of teachers, and while we were there, we visited a village where the chief was away.  It is a tradition in Africa to greet visitors with a particular tea ceremony.  Because the chief was away, his teenage son welcomed us and led us to a domed structure build from tree branches where we sat on the floor, and he performed the ceremony.  The tea was brewed three times and passed around the circle.  The first time it is bitter like life.  The second time it is sweet like friendship.  The third time it is syrupy like love.

St. Louis, Senegal

St. Louis, Senegal

This was the second time we had experienced this ceremony, and both times we felt the warm, welcoming greeting of those performing it, but it was the chief’s son who impressed me so much.  He was a teenager much like those I taught at the time.  I thought how lucky he was to be trusted with such an important ritual so young.  It was another step in his learning to be a man.

While I felt a sense of Oneness with the Africans we met on the trip, I also felt honored when they shared their rituals with us, and wondered if the lack of ritual in most of our lives was part of what separated us within a community.  These rituals, like the other rituals I’ve experienced, are ways to put us in touch with earth, sky and humanity without us needing to find words spoken in the same language.

Like my other experiences with ritual, this one brought people together in a simple way.  Sitting in that domed hut, I was amazed at how cool it was on a hot day with us crowded closely to each other, an experience not everyone in our group was comfortable with.  Although this village had just gotten its first electric-driven well, the community relationships in this village were what mattered most, not the things they had.  I was reminded of my own childhood where we played in many yards watched over by many parents while the parents performed their evening ritual, talking to each other on the front steps of our homes.

Rituals Take Us To A Deep Spiritual Place

Perhaps because rituals are predictable, we are able to slip away and experience the deeper connections with one another that we may not share in the business of our day.  Somehow, we each have to find the experience that will connect us meaningfully and allow us to activate the spiritual nature that lies beneath our surface.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  (video) Summer Solstice Ushered at Ancient Sites, Senegalese Tea Culture, Create Your Own Ritual

AWAKENING TO BALANCE THE MIND

“No person, no place, no thing has power over us, for ‘we’ are the only thinkers in our mind.  When we create peace and harmony and balance in our minds, we will find it in our lives.” Louise L. Hay

coast What happens when we give in to bouts of irritation and mental chaos?  Why do we get out of balance?  How do we bring ourselves back to balance?

Over the last week, I was struggling with multiple computer problems.  Even with my husband’s help, it seemed that when one problem was solved, the solution created another problem.  We talked repeatedly with our email company and with Microsoft who created the email program I use to manage my email.  There were constant error messages.  The challenge seemed endless, and I was not happy these problems kept me from writing.

Resistance Always Blocks Solutions

Over the last two months, I have found it difficult to write the blog because of the attention I needed to give to my ankle when I broke it and preparing for our wedding.  Even thought the latter was a delight, it still took time, so when the computer problems arose and kept me from writing for over a week, I lost my patience with it.

I resisted admitting that these were serious problems and that, of course, was a mistake because resistance always blocks solutions.  Then I let them take control of me and I became a pathetic, complaining, angry person.  Despite that, I did attempt to calm myself through positive thinking, meditation, finally hiring a technical person to fix the problems.

Reflecting on all this, I am reminded again that getting upset never helps and it rarely feels good.  It’s about returning to my immature self who felt helpless and did not activate the part of me that is a strong problem-solver and takes full responsibility to find the solution.

resisance

Positive Thinking Is Most Likely To Create Positive Results

Louise Hay is so right.  It is all about the way we chose to think.  The reason I have been so drawn to Science of Mind principles and the Law of Attraction is that they empower me to create in my life whatever I want.  How I think determines my experience.  When there is a crisis, like this week, I want to know I have the capability to solve it or to get the help I need to solve it.

At times, we just need to take a leap of faith.  We need to expect the problem to get solved, maintain a positive attitude toward it, and do whatever we can to fix it.  We can’t know ahead that the choice we make will work, but we have to have the courage to try.  If it doesn’t work, we simply need to try again, further analyzing the situation and experimenting.

Going within

The Answers Are Within Our Quiet Core

Allowing ourselves to be angry, to feel like a failure, or allow the problem to take over our lives has no benefit.  In that still, quiet place within, we have available to us information from our experiences in this life and information from our current and past spiritual life.  Or as in my case, we look around us and find someone who is more knowledgeable to solve the problem.

Without Fear, Our Minds Can Solve the Problems 

Feeling inadequate doesn’t help.  We all have different talents, and mine is definitely not computers; yet to some people who have never written a blog I seem accomplished.  It’s all in the mind, and operating from a peaceful place without fear is the place where we are most likely to find success.  What is going on in our minds has a ripple effect.  That energy can limit us or expand us.  We can choose.  As Louise Hay reminds us, “We are the only thinkers in our mind.”

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                         ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Create A Balance Between Dreams and Habits (Wayne Dyer), Meditation Techniques for Balancing the Mind

INTERFAITH DIALOGUE EVENT

Grateful Steps Book Signing

Grateful Steps Book Signing

For several years, I was a member of a spiritual group that met once a month to share our spiritual journeys and to participate in programs that would teach us new spiritual techniques and expose us to a wide variety of spiritual beliefs.  It was one of the most enriching and inspiring experiences I’ve ever had, and I learned so much from what others shared.

I’m very excited about participating in the Interfaith Dialogue series on Thursday, June 19 at Grateful Steps Bookshop in Asheville, NC at 159 So. Lexington Ave.  I will present short readings from my memoir Awakening to the Dance:  A Journey to Wholeness.   As I read excerpts related to my spiritual journey, we will discuss the concepts presented and share experiences.  The event is free.

 My memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness is the story of a my search to find an authentic identity, creative expression, and a spirituality apart from traditional religion.  Although this spiritual journey began with attending a traditional church, I soon found that it was my love of dance and drama that really touched my spirit.  Through modern dance, I discovered the oneness of the mind body connection, and later began to explore other spiritual practices.  One by one, I enthusiastically explored techniques to release my fear, Buddhist teachings and meditation, Jungian dream interpretation, and Science of Mind manifestation techniques.  Each led me more closely to an authentic identity and a wholeness that transformed my life.

This is an opportunity to share and explore our beliefs, so please join us. 

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 TRUE ENLIGHTENMENT

“Enlightenment means merely aligning to the energy of my Source.  And genius is only about focusing.  The Law of Attraction takes care of anything else.  Physical humans often want to make enlightenment about finding some process and moving through the process that has been pre-described.  But true enlightenment is moving to the rhythm of the internal inspiration that is coming in response to the individual desire.”  Abraham (Channeled by Esther Hicks)

Enlightenment

Photo: Vyacheslav Argenberg

Are you often successful at manifesting what you want?  Do you find manifesting your desires challenging?  How do you deal with the success or failure of your efforts?

I am always surprised and delighted by the way that my desires manifest.  Although I have worked with the Law of Attraction for many years and understand that it is based on the laws of energy, I am still often amazed by the manifestation.  When I remind myself that it is available to us all through our connection to Source, I am reminded again how important being able to connect with Source is.

To Create, We Must Align With Source

The main question we often ask about this process is why does it work sometimes and not others.  In order for the Law of Attraction to manifest what we want, we must first feel aligned with Source.  Source is the spirit others refer to as God, Allah, the Universe, or Spirit.  This means that we have to have discovered and established this connection, but it doesn’t have to be a part of a particular practice.  It is a mystical connection and may come to us simply because we are open to the non-physical energy.

We may feel our connection to Source when we walk in the woods, relate to animals, love another human being, laugh, see the stars blazing at night, or are inspired by the beauty of poetry.  When our heart opens, when we sense there is something greater than ourselves, and that we are more than our bodies, we have connected with Source.  Anything that inspires us connects us to it.

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We Must Connect With the Energy of Our Desire

So, how does this really work?  We feel a desire.  That creates an energy.  The enlightenment to which Abraham refers is the energy we create from this desire.  If we feel excited about the possibility of our desire coming true and that is followed by the feeling that we will be able to manifest this desire, we are creating a vibrational frequency that is most likely to manifest what we want.

For example, last year I participated in a bookfest  but I didn’t sell many books.  I asked the question, “Is this worth doing again?”  It was clear to me that doing a presentation as part of the event would introduce me to more people who might want to buy the book.  I wanted to speak on a topic that would attract writers and non-writers.  Many people write memoirs only for their families, so I thought the topic of “Bringing Your Memoir to Life” would speak to everyone.

As I began writing an email to the person choosing the presenters with the  description in it, I became very excited about my topic.  I could see and feel myself before an attentive audience.  Although I had no idea what the theme of the bookfest was, I felt positive energy bubbling up inside me.  I sent the email, releasing it to the Universe, knowing that if it was a good match for me, this opportunity would manifest.

Positive Energy Manifests Positive Results

I was thrilled when I received an email from the person planning the event that my presentation topic fit perfectly with this year’s theme “Telling Our Stories.”  I was invited to present and I enthusiastically accepted.  The energy around this opportunity felt extremely positive.  By surrounding my preparation with positive energy, but not attaching myself to the outcome, I created a vibration that drew to me a very beneficial opportunity.

Enlightenment Is Connected to Inspiration

According to Abraham, true enlightenment is about responding to the vibration of the inspiration we feel when a desire arises.  Going against the positive inspirational energy sabotages the manifestation of our desire.  We do this all the time.  What if I had thought, “I’d like to present at the bookfest, but I’m not well-known enough.  I’m sure they wouldn’t pick me,” or I don’t know what the theme is, so why bother.”

Our Passion Energizes Manifestation

This is why following our passion is so important.  When we truly have a passion for an activity, the energy of that passion tends to draw to us what we need in order to manifest our desire.  Understanding this and following this principle is the basis of enlightenment.  It also means that we have to trust ourselves and our feelings about things.  Some would call this intuition.

When our energy and feelings toward a person or event feel positive, we need to honor this attraction.  It is someone or something that is being drawn to our lives for a reason that may not be obvious, but that may be beneficial.  And when positive feelings well up inside us even when, practically, what we desire doesn’t seem possible, it is well worth our time to explore the possibilities.  We never know when the impossible may become possible.  It’s all up to us and Source.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                       ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: Law of Attraction: Part 1 (video), Discovering Your Passion, Tips for Making the Law of Attraction Work for You, Why the Law of Attraction Doesn’t Work for Most People

DANCING ON THE SUMMIT

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

 Craggy Gardens & Pinnacle 2013 002

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

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

Our Expectations May Lead to Disappointment

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

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

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

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

Craggy Gardens & Pinnacle 2013 010

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

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

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

Nature May Remind Us That We Are All One

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

Craggy Gardens & Pinnacle 2013 038

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

Love Opens Us to the Dance of Life

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

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

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

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                     ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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

AWAKENING TO OUR RESPONSES

“Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict – alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.”  Dorothy Thompson

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How do you respond to situations that don’t please you?  Do you usually become angry or walk away when conflict arises?  What response to conflict works best for you?

We Can Choose Our Responses To Conflict

Most of our lives are full of challenges that require or stimulate some kind of response.  How we respond to the situations that upset us often determines the outcome of these situations.  When we can respond peacefully or do not react without thinking first, we tend to have a more successful outcome without creating more conflict.  But when we immediately react to what we don’t like with anger, we are almost sure to receive the same response.

When I taught in high school, managing conflict among students or their responses to me was a daily occurrence.  If a conflict was serious enough, I could send the students to a counselor, but if the conflict was with me, I needed to solve the problem.  There were always students who refused to get quiet and go to work.  Some were disturbed about something that had happened in their lives; others were testing their boundaries with authority.  Just asking them to settle down didn’t work.

What proved to be successful in most situations was for me to ask the student to step outside the classroom door where he could not see the other students and they could not see him, but where I could see both.  Quietly, I would ask the student if he were upset about something and needed to talk about it.  The answer was usually “no.”  Then I would explain why his behavior was a problem and give him a choice.  He could return to the room, not bother other students, and do his work or I would send him to an administrator.   Ninety percent of the time, the student chose to return to the classroom and do his work.

We Can Create Peace By Listening

We always have a choice when conflict arises.  If we take the time to think creatively, we can resolve our differences peacefully.  Sometimes the person who is upset simply needs someone to listen to her and by expressing what she is feeling to a witness, she is able to release the anxiety or anger.  We can connect in a loving way by saying, “I can see you are upset.  What is really bothering you?  Do you want to talk about it?”

Letting Go May Be the Best Solution

But there are also times when we cannot resolve a conflict.  When we have tried and the other person refuses to participate in solving the problem, we may need to simply let it go.  We can only take care of ourselves; we cannot force another person to do anything.  The inability to work together to solve personal problems is a common reason for divorce.  It takes both partners to solve the conflict.

There are also times when the anger that arises in a conflict becomes abusive verbally or physically.  At this point, the best alternative is to walk away.  People who habitually respond to conflict in an abusive way need professional help.  We cannot change them – only they can choose to change.

Art Is A Peaceful Response To Conflict

In today’s world, we are all surrounded by violence, and while we can work with organizations that attempt to prevent it or become politically involved and protest what we are against, there is still another way to respond that touches me deeply.  That is the response of the artist who in his/her work reveals deep truths through non-verbal media.  Nick Cave’s exhibit at the Denver Art Museum last month was an excellent example.

English: Nick Cave

English: Nick Cave (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nick Cave, an African-American artist responded to the violent beating of Rodney King in 1992 by creating art that explored the issues faced by an African-American man.  He began to create “Soundsuits,” suits made from found objects that made sounds and could be worn by people as they moved or danced.  (Cave was an Alvin Ailey-trained dancer)(see video below)

After he created the first one, he was surprised.  “Once I stepped into it I thought about building this sort of second skin, you know, a suit of armor, something for protection purposes.  Then I started thinking about protest.  In order to be heard you’ve got to be aggressive, you’ve got to speak louder.  He then decided to call it the “Soundsuit.”

Camouflaging Our Real Identity Causes Conflict

Looking at Cave’s “Soundsuits”, I experienced a range of emotion from awe to fear. I thought of all the ways we camouflage who we are behind masks of clothing, speech, and mannerisms.  As a woman growing up in the South, I was taught not to say negative things or create conflict.  For many years, as I learned to express my true feelings in situations, I felt guilty when I did find the courage to express ideas that others might not want to hear, particularly men.  I knew what it was like to live behind a protective identity.

Processing Our Intense Emotions

Processing our thoughts through any artistic expression or journaling, as I often do, may help us to alleviate the intensity of the negative emotions we want to express but which will create conflict.  Having some way to process them allows us to take the time to understand what we do need to express and how we can do it so that it will be heard.

You don’t have to be an artist to find creative responses to conflict.  Just stopping long enough to take a deep breath does wonders. You do have to be aware that it is your ego that is so attached to the fight and always wants to be right.  When we let go of our ego attachment to the situation, we are more able to see the spiritual elements in the conflict and hopefully find spiritual solutions that will serve everyone well. As Wayne Dyer says, “Conflict cannot survive without your participation.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                                ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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