Tag Archives: Spiritual Awakening

AWAKENING TO UNDERSTAND

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” Marie Curie

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Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

When you fear something, do you try to understand it? If you understand it, are you able to release the fear?

I’m not sure I agree with Marie Curie that there is “nothing in life to be feared,” but I often find that my fear goes away when I am able to understand a person or situation. Feeling fearful is often our first response when something new confronts us, especially if it appears to be negative.

Years ago when I first discovered I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I had many tests run to determine exactly what the problem was. It was a tense moment when I picked up the phone and heard my doctor’s voice. What was he going to tell me? Was this curable?

Understanding May Guide Us To New Solutions

“Well, Georganne, the bad news is that you have nine things wrong with you, but the good news is that we can cure them all.” I was surprised and relieved at the same time. There were chemical imbalances, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and absorption problems, but this doctor knew how to heal it all naturally.

By lavender3457

By lavender3457

As I learned more about what I needed to do, I understood it was within my ability to get well. My fear diminished, and the process of healing taught me how I needed to live in order to stay healthy when I was healed. It was a wonderful gift in disguise.

Awakening to Understand

Understanding may be the solution to releasing our fear, but how do we find that understanding? When we have a conflict with another person, we can resolve it only if we are willing to consider the other’s point of view and treat it with respect. We don’t have to agree with it or decide to do things another way, but sometimes we can release the fear in the conflict simply by knowing the other side of the issue. Usually, the unknown is what we fear most, but as long as we are afraid of an honest conversation, we will never discover the truth.

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Fear Blocks Understanding

The reality is that the natural fear that protects us from physical harm is the only kind of fear that is positive and helps us. The psychological fears that underlie so much of our behavior often need to be released before we can understand. When we release our fear first, before trying to understand a different point of view, we release the block that impairs our vision of the other’s way of looking at the situation. To learn more about the technique I teach to release fear, see this link.

At the moment, I’m very concerned about the state of Congress because I know that the amount of anger that seems to control decisions there is fear-based. All anger is. I often wonder if any time is spent in bi-partisan groups trying to understand what all the options and consequences are when a decision needs to be made. They seem so caught up in trying to prove they are right that they forget to focus on want is most needed by the people they serve.

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Awakening To Understand Leads To Solutions

When we find ourselves feeling fearful, it is perhaps wise to ask, “What don’t I understand here? What is the whole picture?” Going beyond our feelings and perceptions and trying to imagine what the other related ideas are may help us expand our understanding and adjust our own point of view when necessary, offering us new and better solutions.

Each time we have a new understanding, we widen our ability to perceive. We increase our experiences so that the next time a similar situation arises, we are better able to cope with it. That’s how we grow in life. If we are unwilling to do this, our ability to understand others will simply shrink and diminish our relationships. Growth is always preferable.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                                   ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: 8 Things You Must Give Up to Find Peace

Wayne Dyer – the Ego Illusion

AWAKENING TO THE POWER OF PEACE

“Peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Is there peace within you and in your life? How do you create it? If it is not there, what are you willing to do to have it?

The recent violent events in France have been horrifying, especially now that we know some attacks were connected but planned to appear random. This kind of violence and death always create fear around the world as we wonder when this will happen near us.

Peaceful Protest Is Powerful

But what is astounding is the way the French and many others have reacted with peaceful protests supporting the freedom of speech that was vilified by the attackers. To see millions of people willing to expose themselves to possible violence in order to stand up peacefully for those who were killed brought me to tears. I suddenly realized this is how we defeat those who use violence in an attempt to destroy anyone who disagrees with them.

Peace Creates Peace

Martin Luther King, Jr. was right. Peace is the means by which we create peace. In the 60s he demonstrated the power of this. In our own lives, we may have done the same by remaining peaceful when others rail against us. Being peaceful in contentious situations creates a situation where the other person’s anger is dissipated by our unwillingness to participate.

Violence Does Not Solve Problems

The most obvious reason why violence does not solve problems is to look at the multiple wars taking place in our world now. Are they solving the problems that exist in these regions? Clearly not. The fighting continues because all sides want power over the other, and that desire will perpetuate the conflict. The only real solution is to learn to respect the ways we are different and work peacefully together.

We Must learn to See How We Are All One

In 1994 I traveled to West Africa on a Fulbright-Hays Grant for teachers. After a long, sleepless night on an airplane, we landed at 7:00 am in Dakar, Senegal. As I stepped from the plane, I expected to feel the uniqueness of being in a foreign country. What I felt was the opposite. I was overwhelmed with the feeling of Oneness—that we were all part of the same world, regardless of our ethnicity, religion, or language.

That was the gift I received from living in New Orleans, a unique culture very different from the one where I was reared or I had lived. I was not Catholic. I didn’t drink much alcohol or like to party. Most people I met had not gone to college and had never lived anywhere else. Worst of all, I couldn’t eat most of the popular food because of dietary intolerances. I just didn’t fit in.

Even in my work, I was different. I taught in a girls’ Catholic high school for five years and then in the New Orleans public schools for another five years where all my students, except for one, were African-American. I traveled to two or three schools a day teaching gifted students who lived in the inner city, some of the worst poverty-stricken parts of the city.

During those years, I was constantly challenged to expand my thinking and to have my opinions challenged. I had to get along daily with people who were very different from me and who saw life in a totally different way. Ironically, those differences were what enriched my life and made me a more tolerant and accepting person.

We All Need To Feel Powerful

We all want to have a certain amount of power in our lives. We need to have more than the necessities of life to enjoy life, but when peace is at the center of our lives, we don’t need to control others. We don’t need them to be like us in every way. It is this peace that the people who do violence lack. Ironically, it is the feeling of powerlessness that motivates their actions, for if our sense of personal power is strong, we don’t need to harm or control others.

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Inner peace is tremendously powerful, for it allows us to accept what is and not react in ways that would create a negative situation. This is the peace that will change the world, for it allows us to accept the way in which others are different from us without judging or feeling the need to change them.

When I was in Africa, for example, the importance of family was paramount, and it reminded me of the closeness I experienced growing up with many members of the family living in the neighborhood. I was also very touched by religious practices that were intertwined with nature, for my closeness to nature has always been at the core of my spirituality. I was surprised by all the ways I felt connected to this culture which on the surface seemed so different.

Controlling Others Is an Illusion Of Power

This is why it is so important that we be willing to learn what is true about other cultures. It is also why we need to look more closely at our own culture and repair what is damaged. There is a reason why some young people are drawn to violence in the inner city or choose to join radical groups in the Middle East. They feel powerless, and by destroying others, they feel they are winners.

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But they have won nothing worth having, for that power is an illusion. Lack of a loving family or mental illness is usually what creates this need for power, yet our government wants to cut the funds that support those with the greatest need. If we want to stop violence, we have to give people the support they need to create meaningful lives. No one in this country should have to go hungry.

As this year begins, let us each in our own community find a way to empower those in need and practice peace in our own lives. Each life matters. We don’t want any more of our children growing up to become terrorists. We need to love them and teach them to find peace within.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Environments of Love – Wayne Dyer, Creating A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle

AWAKENING TO JOY

“Find the place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” Joseph Campbell

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

The excitement and celebration of the holidays often creates a crescendo of energy only to be followed by a period when our lives suddenly feel empty, especially if we depend on external events to make us happy. But the quiet and silence that follows in the midst of this winter may be the richest time of year. With cold weather keeping us inside and perhaps reducing our social activities, we may turn within more often than usual.

If we use this time to make New Year’s resolutions and take stock of what we accomplished during the past year, this time may be very beneficial. If we have accomplished what we hoped to accomplish, we have reason to celebrate and feel joyous. If we have failed to live up to our expectations, we may feel we are failures in some way and become depressed.

The Greatest Treasure is Within, Not Outside Us

But if we can look beyond the external and tangible and return to our core, we may find that what lies there is a treasure much greater than anything we have created in the world. If we meditate, pray, or do any spiritual work, we have probably already learned that the true joy that enlightens and uplifts us comes from within and it has nothing to do with what we achieve in the external world.

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Feeling We Have Failed Is A Choice

For the last few days, there have been things in my life that were upsetting and I became depressed. I became focused on what was wrong, worrying that these difficulties might never be resolved. Despite my tendency to expect the best in life, I began to let fear settle in and create anxiety and a feeling that I have failed.

I kept thinking, “How can I fix this?” It soon became clear that I couldn’t. So what were my choices? I needed some guidance and turned to Oneness by Rasha. I began to reread Chapter 8 because it focuses on how negative events in our lives may actually be opportunities to raise our awareness and shift into a more loving place. And even the most difficult advice is given with great love.

Experiencing Negative Events Is Not A Sign of Failure

What I’ve experienced recently is a negative, recurring theme. I was deeply touched by the words of Oneness on this subject. It said, “Do not feel, as these powerful episodes present themselves, that the experience is evidence of spiritual backsliding on your part. Quite the contrary. By virtue of the fact that you have manifested extremes of experience, despite being in a space of heart-centered clarity with the issue in question, you can feel confident that you are at a completion with it. You will wish to respond in ways that will not re-escalate the energy charge that is being released in the process of drawing certain chapters to a close.” (p. 72)

What is Good For All Is Good For Us

As Oneness continued on the subject two things stood out for me. First it was the question we need to ask in these circumstances: “What is it that one wants to experience as one’s reality?” (p. 73) What I wanted was peace, understanding, and love. So what did I need to do? The answer was to look beyond myself and see what was best for everyone in this situation. “When one expects and anticipates the optimum outcome for all concerned, that outcome cannot help but be manifested as reality.” (p.73)

“Of course!” I thought. I needed to let go of my fear or as Oneness suggests, surrender to it. When I did, the sadness left, and I knew that I must also surrender to the situation, knowing that surrendering to my inner journey, accepting what is, and getting in touch with the joy within would lead me where I needed to go.

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Joy Is Healing

As I began to meditate and welcome the silence, the fear and depression dropped away. I felt the very joy of being flood over and fill me. The external events in my life did not matter. I knew, as I have known many times before that the answers to problems will come when I go deeply within and find that joy, for it changes everything.

It is not some new age adage that all answers lie within—it is truth. When we ask the Universe for guidance and have the patience to listen for its reply, we will receive what we need. And that joy Joseph Campbell writes about will overcome and heal the pain we feel. Joy is the greatest healing power we can experience.

As I sat quietly and allowed the joy and peace to fill me, those dark and negative conclusions I had reached disappeared. The joy healed my emotional pain, cleaned out the mental rubbish, and even nourished my body. I don’t know what the final answer is; I only know that by living in the joy, I am most likely to find positive solutions to any problem that arises.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                             ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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

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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.

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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