Tag Archives: Spiritual Awakening

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

Related Articles: Nick Cave Brings ‘Bigger Than Life’ Soundsuits to Salem (Video), Nick Cave “Sojourn” Exhibit at Denver Art Museum Explores the Sensory with Flea Market Items, Nick Cave Soundsuits ( video PBS)Conflict Resolution Skills, 14 Ways to Resolve Conflicts and Solve Relationship Problems

AWAKENING TO LOVE THE SILENCE

“Keep silent, because the world of silence is a vast fullness.”  Rumi

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Do you enjoy the silence or does it make you uncomfortable?  Do you avoid silence or embrace it?  What have you learned from the silence in your life?

What Is Silence?

We often think of silence as the absence of something: the absence of noise or conversation or the space between actions, but Rumi suggests it is much more than that.  When I think of the silence in my childhood, I remember the many days when I lay in bed ill.  I did listen to the radio sometimes, but often I read or drew paper doll dresses, or watched the birds or our pregnant cat trying to balance on the thin branches of the chinaberry tree.  For me, silence was creative or thoughtful time.  I had a lot of time to think about life at a young age.

At that time in my life, I rarely felt lonely in the silence because my mother or grandmother was always in the next room.  It was only later as an adult after a divorce or losing a friend that the silence became a lonely place.  Of course, as an introvert, I always needed some silence for rejuvenation, but for years, I experienced had mixed feelings about silence.

Silence Can Stimulate Creativity

At times, when silence appeared, I welcomed it, especially when I was a high school teacher.  It was such a relief, for a little while, to be away from the noise of a classroom full of spirited teenagers, and have the space and time to do my own thinking.  Silence was creative time too, and out of that silence arose poems, essays, and dances.  When I needed to think or plan, I welcomed the silence and lack of distractions so I could focus on the task at hand.

Silence May Create Discomfort

However, when I had nothing to do, I often felt uncomfortable with the silence, like something was missing.  I was uncomfortable doing nothing.  Only when I was near Nature did the silence feel comfortable.  But living in a city for years surrounded by noise, rarely walking through the forest as I did as a child, I lost touch with what I had valued so much in childhood.

It wasn’t until I started to meditate that I began to love the silence again.  At first my monkey mind seemed impossible to still, but with time, the practice worked and led me to other spiritual practices that improved my life, like learning to release my fear and envisioning what I wanted to manifest.  They all had one thing in common – I had to sit in the silence and find the silence within in order for a change to occur.

Silence Is A Way To Go Deeper and Love Oneself

In the silence, I found a deep peace simply by being there.  I let go of my need to always be doing.  I began to experience just being, and let go of any judgments my ego tried to create to distract me.  In the silence, I became more connected to Spirit and the spiritual guidance we can all hear only when we are willing to be an open channel.

In the silence, where I did not need to prove anything or do anything, I learned to love myself, for I could feel Spirit’s love for me and knew I was lovable.  Feeling this peaceful love allowed me to let go of all the ways I felt I was inadequate and understand I needed to learn to love others more and release my  judgments of them.

In Silence We Become One With All

Now, I am able to experience all the richness of silence without any discomfort.  Sitting in the silence gives me the same pleasure as soaking in a warm bath. When my life becomes too busy, I long for the silence, especially the silence of not thinking.  In the silence, the interruption of bird songs, breezes, sweet thoughts, physical relaxation, and the release of whatever I do not need at that moment all heal the rough edges of my soul, and they remind me that what is out there in the world pressuring me is not what is important.

What is important is that I remember I am One with All, and from this place of peace, in the silence, what I need to know will come to me, and what I need to know to heal, will be revealed when it is time to heal.   As Ram Dass says, “The quieter you become, the more you hear.”

What is your experience with silence?  Please comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                    ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

RELATED ARTICLES:  Eckhart Tolle – Silence and Stillness (video), Dive Into the Silence Between Your Thoughts, Awakening to Our Wildness, Being Authentic, Part 1,  Quiet Spirituality

DANCING TO CHALLENGING EXPERIENCES

“Experience is not what happens to a man (or woman); it is what a man (or woman) does with what happens to him (or her).”  Aldous Huxley

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Do you enjoy having new experiences?  Have you had any unpleasant experiences lately that taught you something you needed to learn?  Can you see any experience as a door to deeper understanding? 

Last week I traveled to Denver where I had lived in the 1980’s.  Needless to say, it is huge compared to the Denver I knew, the one with only three skyscrapers, the one without a huge botanic garden, the one where trees did not completely overshadow my apartment building.

What I remember the most about the time I lived in Denver was that I found a spiritual path that has served me well, one that does not keep me attached to one set of ideas, but one which has taught me to trust all possibilities and be open to new experiences.

Enjoying New Experiences

I had several new experiences on this trip:  deep meaningful conversations with new friends, a wonderful day in the Denver Botanic Gardens, the exposure to “Soundsuits” created by Nick Cave in an exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, a trip to Vail through the magnificent and enormous Rocky Mountains, and four dry days of beautiful sunshine—something we haven’t seen in Asheville in months.  I felt I was dancing with delight all week.

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Despite this philosophy at the core of my life of being open to new experiences, I like the comfort of routine:  regular meals with healthy, organic food, a similar bedtime each night and a good eight hours of sleep, and some meditation time.  For the most part, these comforts were easily integrated within the vacation time because my friend and I were staying with very accommodating friends.

Events Are Spiritually Challenging When Unexpected

However, our actual trips to and from Denver were the most irritating experiences I’ve had in years like the early days of learning to dance when every step was stumbling and awkward and rarely flowed with grace.  These red-eye flights left very late in the evening around 12:00 or 1:00 am and took me way beyond my comfort zone.  They totally disrupted my eating and sleeping routines.  The trip to Denver included the flight to our major airport being cancelled close to the time we planned to leave for the local airport, so we had to drive for two hours to get the flight which was then delayed for an hour.  We had been unable to choose our own seats and the ones assigned to us were the last seats which do not tip back.  The last time I had been forced to sit in such seats, I deplaned with serious back pain.  In this case, there were no pillows available to support my back and no extra seat to which I could move.   In addition, when we tried to relax and sleep as most people around us were trying to do, a stewardess behind us chattered loudly and incessantly.

So, what was I to do with this?  It was impossible to relax physically.  This was a three hour flight.  I was accepting of the need to drive rather than fly to our major connective city.  I was relatively patient when the flight was delayed.  But by the time we boarded the plane, I was feeling that this was too much, and my patience had run out.  I felt frustrated and angry at everyone who had contributed to this problem.  All I wanted was to go to sleep, but this was impossible because of the discomfort.  I hate to admit it, but I think I snapped and glared a lot.

Frustration Is the Result of Not Letting Go of Expectations

But what upset me the most about this experience was that I was unable to reach a place of peace that would have allowed me to accept the situation, go within and let go of my attachment to the discomfort.  I have done this in other situations.  Why not this one?  Probably because of my expectations.

My expectations were that I would have a comfortable seat where I could lean back and sleep.  I thought I would have a pillow available.  I didn’t realize they were no longer available except in first class.  If I couldn’t sleep, I thought I would just read, but I was so upset, I couldn’t focus on reading.  Most of all, I hated being in an environment where I had no control over my personal physical comfort, and I was unable to adjust my mind to accommodate the reality.  I was stuck mentally, unable to take the next step.

Fortunately, I was able to let go of my frustration about the trip as soon as I arrived in Denver.  I was so grateful to be able to sleep on a comfortable bed and immediately plunged into the joy of being there.  By the time we left for home at the end of our visit, my friend and I knew what to expect.  Although the trip home was also in the middle of the night, our plane left on time.  This time I had no expectations and was able to be in the moment each step of the way.

Releasing Expectations Creates Inner Peace

There were still no pillows available, but the seat back tilted a little.  I took a lot of deep breaths, reminded myself to be patient, read a little, did something close to meditation, and reflected on how grateful I was to be traveling with a dear friend, to have had a few days of sunshine, and enjoy the wonderful uplifting energy of a city where my life had been transformed.  Although I was still physically uncomfortable, I was able to be in the moment more.

Would I choose to take another red-eye flight?  Probably not, but if I did, I’d emulate some of the smart teenagers I saw traveling.  They brought their own pillows and sometimes a blanket, curled up in their window seats, and slept like babies.

Choose the Dance of Peace

It’s all about how we deal with the challenges because they won’t stop appearing in our lives, but we can use them to grow and expand our practice of our spiritual principles.  We can always choose the dance of peace.

How do you deal with uncomfortable situations you can’t change?  Please comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                  ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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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

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AWAKENING TO NEW LIFE

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.  How do you know this is the experience you need?  Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”  Eckhart Tolle

 Flowers 033

Is the urge to grow part of your life?  Are you willing to encounter what is unpleasant in order to make changes that will improve life?  How does positive thinking enhance your life?

Finally, spring is here with a few warmer days, blooming flowers and heavy pollen.  My front stairs and deck have been covered with the yellow pollen of the oak trees in my yard.  Every few days, a new flower blooms and adds color to the yard.  Because I’m not a very good gardener and I’ve left the yard as it was when I moved into the house, I often forget exactly what is there. As a result, spring becomes a delightful series of surprises.

Spring Awakens New Life

Spring is the constant unfolding of new life.  It’s dynamic and color drags us out of the winter doldrums and reminds us of all that has been lying fallow beneath the snow.  The reality is that although nature is tied to this cycle we are not.  We can awaken to new life at any moment, any day.  When we are open to new ideas and experiences, we create a spring with our lives and new things blossom.

What do we feel in spring?  New energy, excitement, freedom, and hope.  Life that has been restricted indoors moves outdoors where there is more space, more stimulation, and more possibilities.

Spring of Life, 2006

Spring of Life, 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let Go of the Negative and Welcome the Positive

So how can we create these positive and uplifting feelings in our own lives?  We can let go of those things that no longer serve us:  resentment, fear, lack of worth, and attachment to the past or attitudes that keep us from moving forward.

I often write about letting go of fear, but what do we do once we have released it?  Releasing fear creates a space where all things are possible.  We ask for guidance and it will come to us if we are listening carefully to our inner selves.  Of course, sometimes, what we need manifests in the physical world right in front of us.  Are we willing to open ourselves enough to experience the unfamiliar?

To do that, we have to either take a positive view assuming that it will be an improvement in our lives or at least a neutral attitude that allows us to explore the possibility.  There are no guarantees that everything that comes our way will be good, but if we choose to live with a positive attitude, that there may be some good in whatever shows up, we are more likely to experience good.

Find What Is Good in Each Experience

Living with the attitude that life is basically good is rather like experiencing spring or summer year round.  We can live like this when we are willing to focus on what is positive in each experience we have.  Any change we make requires an adjustment and this may seem uncomfortable, but if we aren’t willing to experience some discomfort, we may never move ahead.

For example, when we begin a new relationship, there may be conflicts.  We may feel the other person wants too much of our time or doesn’t want to see us often enough.  Our partner may reflect qualities of the last partner with whom we had a failed relationship, or we may project qualities of that person or a parent onto the new partner.  We may not like the same movies or food.  But we have a choice every time the conflict arises.  We can choose to assume for the moment that this is an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and the other person, and if we can thoughtfully engage in a conversation and try to understand why the issue is a problem, we may be able to create a positive and meaningful relationship.

Let the Light Inside Grow

In the spring, the light and longer days are inspiring as well as the new growth of nature.  The sunlight gives us the Vitamin D we need to feel good, and it makes it possible for us to enjoy more time out of doors gardening, hiking, or playing.  So, it is also worthwhile for us to look for the light inside us.  What are our positive qualities?  When new possibilities appear, do we think we are worthy of a better life, job, or relationship?  Is the light within us a match to this new opportunity?

Loving Ourselves Brings Spiritual Growth

We can choose this moment to nurture and love who we are, to expand the light within and to allow the best of us to blossom.  If we are to grow, it is so important that we are willing to try new things and take risks.  When these things turn out well, we feel better about ourselves, but it is critical that when we take the risk and it doesn’t turn out well, that we applaud ourselves for having the courage to try.  That is a positive thing too.  Applauding ourselves increases the light.

As Tolle points out, each experience we have is an experience we need to have to grow.  We need to value each one, even the unpleasant ones, for this life is our spring.  We are here to learn and grow and expand our energy, and move into the light.  How do you bring the light into your life?  Please comment.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                                      ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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