Tag Archives: Transformation

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

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

May this year bring all you desire and especially peace, love, and joy!

St Francis under a blanket of snow. Photo:Georganne Spruce

St Francis under a blanket of snow.
Photo:Georganne Spruce

AWAKENING TO SYNCHRONICITY

“According to Vedanta, there are only two symptoms of enlightenment, just two indications that a transformation is taking place within you toward a higher consciousness. The first symptom is that you stop worrying….The second symptom is that you encounter more and more meaningful coincidences in your life, more and more synchronicities. And this accelerates to the point where you actually experience the miraculous.” Deepak Chopra

enlightenment imageDo you see enlightenment as a destination or journey? Where are you on that path? Do you worry a great deal? How often do you experience synchronicities? What do they mean to you?

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in the Asheville Bookfest, selling my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, and visiting with an array of interesting people. I always enjoy these events because I have interesting conversations with other writers as well as with the people who attend.

Synchronicity Initiates Sharing

At this event, sponsored by Grateful Steps Publishing and Bookstore, I experienced some synchronicities that were interesting. In one instance, a man who bought the book was drawn to it initially because, although he wasn’t a professional dancer, he had danced in a dance production choreographed by Liz Lerman whose choreography often included non-trained dancers. What he had experienced was very meaningful to him.

 

What was interesting was that when I danced with a modern company in Washington, DC in the 70s, Liz choreographed a dance for the company. The man had connected with her elsewhere. As a result of this synchronicity, the man and I shared the deep meaning dance had for us both and the wonderful experience of working with Liz.

Highland Books with Georganne Spruce, Celia Miles and Nancy Cash Photo: Jenny Munro

Highland Books with Celia Miles and Nancy Cash
Photo: Jenny Munro

Art May Create Synchronicities In Life

He bought the book and I smiled as he walked away because I knew there was a surprise waiting for him in the book. There was more synchronicity to my connection with Liz Lerman. In the dance Liz created for the company, I danced a role that was a reflection of what I was experiencing in my life and dreams. In the dance I wore a red dress just like my self who was appearing in my dreams at the time. Both in the dance and in real life and in the dream, I was the woman in the red dress, rejecting traditional feminine choices.

Then yesterday as I signed books at Highland Books in  Brevard, NC with two other authors, Celia Miles and Nancy Cash, I met a young woman who had studied with many of the same teachers with whom I had studied when I was a modern dancer.  It was delightful to share these experiences.

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Silence Helps Us See Deeper Connections

We all may experience synchronicities, but we may not be aware of it. If we are constantly rushing around without time to experience silence, we simply may not notice the new idea that pops up in our heads or the person who wants a moment of our time who may offer us a wonderful opportunity.

I can remember a time, after my divorce many years ago, that I was so determined to learn to be independent that I often rejected the help people offered me that would have been valuable. My unconscious had called for the help, but my conscious mind ignored it. I have often seen others do this as well, not only because they don’t want to appear weak, but also because the idea may seem strange and they are unwilling to pursue it to understand if it could be valuable.

I have been on a spiritual journey for as long as I can remember and have experienced many synchronicities so I suppose that’s a sign I am continuing to become more aware, for enlightenment is a journey, not a destination. When I was young, I looked at these unexpected connections and pleasant happenings as nice surprises. It felt like I had nothing to do with creating them.

Focusing On Positive Thoughts Creates Positive Experiences

When we are aware that we are all energy, our energy around a certain issue or need may help manifest what we want. Our thoughts are energy too, and as Chopra points out, we are more enlightened when we learn not to worry. At the root of worry is fear, negative energy, and that may attract to us exactly what we don’t want. When we ask the Universe to fill our needs and don’t worry about what happens, we help clear the way for what we need to manifest.

When we are more aware, we don’t miss out on as many opportunities. We are open to the synchronistic events that arrive unconnected to any rational choice. Certainly the most amazing synchronicity I’ve experienced in recent years was the way my husband and I met online in the very few hours that we were on the same sight. You can read about this at Awakening to True Love. There were many synchronicities including the fact that he was preparing to move to the area where I live and that I was teaching a workshop on how to release your fear a few days after he arrived in the area.

As a result of the many positive synchronicities I’ve experienced in life, I expect surprises to be good ones. When I can’t solve a problem, I trust the answer will appear when needed or I do the best I can, knowing that guidance will come at the right time. But I’ve also noticed that the more positive my general attitude toward life has become, the more I am drawing good experiences into my life. Spirit and I are One now and that’s the greatest miracle of all.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                             ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Deepak Chopra–Video on Synchronicity, Wayne Dyer: Faith, Synchronicity,Consciousness – video

AWAKENING TO HIDDEN GIFTS

“Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.”  Rene Magritte

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Do you live your life on the surface or do you look within for answers and guidance?  Do you tend to hide unpleasant feelings?  Do you make a point to get in touch with all your feelings?

Life is full of hidden gifts.  In the summer, leaves are green and then they begin to turn a multitude of colors in autumn—colors hidden from us until the season shifts into a new one.  They fall away and we find silhouetted in the winter sky branches curling and twisting against the deep blue of the approaching night, revealing what was hidden the rest of the year.

Good Can Come From What Appears To Be Negative

We’ve all had experiences where something disappointing happened, but what came out of it was positive.  When it first happened, we could only see the negative and couldn’t imagine anything good could spring from it.

Last week, I wrote about the two writing contests I had entered and how I didn’t win a prize in either one, but my book was recommended on the Huffington Post, and I received a high evaluation and good review from the other.  So, what initially was a disappointment resulted in a positive outcome.

Negative Experiences Can Be Learning Opportunities

There have been other times that a loss or disappointment has opened the way to something new.  When I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I connected with a wholistic doctor who taught me almost everything I would ever need to know to become healthy and stay healthy.  He taught me that there was so much more I needed to learn that went beyond what western medicine recognized and introduced me to acupuncture and herbs, among other things.

Since that time, I have never had the flu or a cold and I never get “bugs.”  I’m gluten and dairy intolerant and can’t handle preservatives or artificial anything, so I eat organic food.  If I don’t know what an ingredient is in a food, I don’t eat it.  Now, some people would say this is extreme and just not worth doing.  I guess it depends on what you are willing to do to stay healthy, and for me, not being sick is a priority.

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 We Can Grow By Being Open To Learn From Disappointments

So, when these hidden gifts appear, we may not always see them as gifts at first.  I was in a relationship with a man for two years, thinking we would marry, so I was devastated when we broke up.  Before that, I had not been in a long-term relationship since 1986.  I had experienced short ones and then a long period of many years when I never really dated.  I just didn’t seem to click with anyone.

However, I learned so much about being in a relationship, what would work and what wouldn’t, that despite the original grief I felt, the experience prepared me for meeting the man to whom I am now married.  Since I had made a lot of compromises in that two year relationship that didn’t work for me, I realized afterwards more clearly what I needed in a relationship.  No doubt that helped draw into my life the man who is my perfect mate.

A Loss May Make Room For A New, Beneficial Experience 

Then there was the time I lost my teaching job.  I was put on administrative leave because I was unable to control a belligerent class that had been a problem long before I was given the class.  The principal offered no support and the students received little punishment when I wrote discipline referrals on them.  I was absolutely devastated.

Photo: nyul/Fotolia

Photo: nyul/Fotolia

However, with time on my hands while still receiving a pay check, I had the time to write and I decided to write my memoir.  As I read through the journals I’d written since 1962, something very profound happened.  I cried often, and through the process, I relived and healed so much that needed healing.  It took ten years for me to finish and publish the book, but that initial commitment to do it led me down a new path that opened my life in many ways.

Because so much time had passed since many of the events in the journals happened, I was able to see some situations in a more mature way.  I could see, for example, that my ex-husband behaved the way he did because he had never had guidance from parents who taught him a way to live with integrity.  With that insight, I was able to forgive him more deeply and to feel compassion for him.

He was a man who had been taught never to show his hurt feelings.  He’d had to be tough because, even as a child, his mother often worked at night and he came home from school to an empty house. In addition, his stepfather was not an honest man, so without his real father, he had no one to guide him.  I came to the point where I realized it was somewhat of a miracle he was as good a person as he was, and I not only forgave him, but I felt at peace with all that happened.

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We Can Only Know Ourselves When We Go Within

When we are unable to look beneath our surface, we not only miss the gifts hidden there, but we are unable to know who we truly are.  Living a purely external life means we are only feeding our egos and ignoring our deeper selves where we will find love and a spiritual connection that will guide us to be the best we can be.

So often the best solutions to problems are not the obvious ones.  They also may be hidden deeper if we look beneath the surface.  The principal who let me go because I couldn’t manage a troublesome group of teenagers never really dealt with the problem.  Getting rid of me solved nothing; in fact, he taught the students that their negative behavior would get them what they wanted.

Often like that principal, we are unwilling to do what is difficult because it is risky.  But it’s been my experience that when I go deeper and ask for spiritual guidance, the solution that will work arises, and over time, I’ve learned to trust that.  What’s hidden is often the buried treasure we seek—the solution that will enrich our lives.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                              ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: Learning to Let Go of Past Hurts, 10 Tips to Overcoming Negative Thoughts, Positive Thinking  Made Easy

AWAKENING TO LIVE WITHOUT FEAR

“I must not fear.  Fear is the mind-killer.  Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.  I will face my fear.  I will permit it to pass over me and through me.  And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.  Where fear has gone, there will be nothing.  Only I will remain.”  Frank Herbert, Dune

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How do you feel when you’re free of fear?  How do you find that mental place?  How does it affect your life?

I’ve never read much science fiction, but a few years ago when I read Dune, it motivated me to explore that genre, and for a couple of years, that was all I read.  I was awed by the authors whose imaginations could conjure up whole new worlds—a talent that I hadn’t explored in my own writing.

To Release Fear, We Must Admit We Feel It

What really hooked me was the above quote about fear.  It resonated because it was so similar to the experience I had when I learned to release my fear using the technique that I teach in my workshops.  In order to release your fear, you must first be willing to admit it’s there.

At one of my workshops last year, a man came in with his wife, and when they introduced themselves, he said, “I don’t have any fears.  I’m just here with my wife.”  I tried not to smile too broadly and said, “Well that’s very nice of you to do that.”  Afterwards, he came up to me with a puzzled look on his face and said, “I guess I do have some fears.”

Fear May Be Disguised As Other Feelings

It isn’t always obvious to us when we are experiencing fear.  It may appear as resistance, anxiety, anger, withdrawal or other feelings that create problems in our lives.  So, we need to remember that all negative thoughts and emotions are based on fear—either the fear of being inadequate or of being rejected.  Releasing our fear when these discomforts come up is the best way to start dealing with the difficulties that fear creates.

We need to release fear as soon as it comes up because, as long as it is there, it blocks the mind from focusing on solving the problem.  But what do we do after we’ve directed the mind to release the fear and we’ve let go of the fear?  This leaves a space in the mind for helpful information to come through from the unconscious, such as our memories, the knowledge we have stored, or our spiritual source.

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With A Clear Mind, We Can Receive Guidance from the Subconscious

When we have cleared the mind, we ask for guidance.  We ask the mind to fill our current need.  Recently, there was a conflict in a group to which I belong.  It seemed like unnecessary drama to me and my first inclination was to walk away.  Then, I realized that I was feeling afraid that this conflict would become an on-going thing.  I released the fear and asked my mind, “What do I need to do—create peace or walk away?”

The answer was to create peace so I asked how I could do that.  The guidance I received, which was not so much a thought as an intuitive feeling, was to write an email message to the leader of the group.  I did that and so did others in the group.  The result was that the conflicted parties talked and all is now well.  I feel very happy that I took the high road.  If I had listened to my fear, I would have walked away angry from something I enjoy.

Mustafa Ozer Statue of Peace & Brotherhood by Mehmet Aksy Kars (Turkey)

Mustafa Ozer Statue of Peace & Brotherhood by Mehmet Aksy Kars (Turkey)

Release Expectations about How You Will Receive Guidance

It is important to be aware that when we ask for a solution to a problem that we may be offered only the next step rather than the total solution.  In fact, we may not receive an answer at that moment.  We may be given guidance on where to find the solution, or we may be told to do nothing.  Trust that when the time is right, we will receive the answer we need.  Be at peace with that and continue to listen to your inner voice.

Clearing the Mind Allows Us to Experience Peace, Love & Joy

When we have learned to work with our minds in this way, we can trust that we will receive the information we need when we need it.  This gives us a wonderful peace of mind.  It allows us to trust ourselves, knowing that when difficulties arise, we are capable of finding good solutions.  Without the fear dominating our lives, we are also able to love and become who we truly wish to be.

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This practice of releasing our fears puts us more in touch with our deeper selves where peace, love and joy reside.  When we can experience these feelings often, our lives feel rich and satisfying, but only we can create these feelings so that they are lasting experiences.  When we rely on external things to make us happy, our happiness is fleeting.  But going deeper allows us to be in touch with what is eternal and beautiful within.

If you would like to learn more about my November 1 Release Your Fear Workshop, visit my website and click on workshops.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: 6 Steps to Release Your Fear and Feel Peaceful, Eckhart Tolle: The Origin of Fear,  What If Syndrome: Why You Need to Live Your Life Without Fear of the Possibilities

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 WHAT IS NEXT

“Resilience is all about being able to overcome the unexpected.  Sustainability is about survival.  The goal of resilience is to thrive.”  Jamais Cascio

Photo: Georganne Spruce

Photo: Georganne Spruce

The problem with an accident is that there is no warning and afterwards the shock overtakes us for protection.  When reality finally sets in, it is hard not to analyze how it happened and why.

I’ve replayed many times that moment before I fell on the hike a couple of weeks ago.  There was a moment I hesitated before I stepped onto the spot where I fell.  If only I had hesitated a little longer and decided not to take that step.

We Cannot Change the Past

But we can’t change the past.  What’s done is done.  I have a broken ankle.  I won’t be able to walk for several weeks, so what am I going to do in the meantime.  I’ve done “angry,” “blaming self for being foolish” and “you should have warned me.”  So now it’s time to move on and make something good out of this.

 We Can Make Something Good Out Of Negative Experiences

It’s forcing me to rest more, which is good.  I kept saying I needed to make the time to meditate – well, now I have it.  I have the time to rest and think.   And I have to be more creative.  How will we take that trip we planned to celebrate a special time in a relative’s life?  How will I teach the class I was supposed to teach?

I wrote the first three paragraphs two weeks ago, and during the last weekend in April, I taught “How to Make Your Story Come Alive” at the Blue Ridge Bookfest in my wheel chair.  Somehow I had managed to finish preparing the workshop between severe coughing bouts (oh yeah, I developed a bad allergic reaction to the oak tassels falling in my yard) and insomnia.

Despite my limited movement, the class was very responsive and asked good questions and I enjoyed teaching despite the fact that I am used to moving around and writing on the white board.  It was a different experience, but I do prefer to be on my feet.

Photo: Charles Davidson

Photo: Charles Davidson

I also discovered that my fiancé is totally dedicated to my well-being.  He has become my home health care professional 24 hours a day and I feel extremely well cared for.  I don’t have to call on strangers as I did several years ago when I broke my elbow, nor do I have to go to a rehab facility where I am treated as senile although at the time I was there, I was fully in charge of my faculties.

 We Have to Adapt to the Changes

Over all, things have been going well despite my fiancé’s car dying the day we headed out for the bookfest.  Fortunately, mine was working well and we were able to reload the car quickly and arrive on time.  That same week the toaster oven I use to cook everything died.  Oh yes, and after living here ten years, for the first time, I’ve been called to jury duty—a couple of weeks before my wedding.

Of course this is all happening in the middle of our making final plans for our wedding.  Well, at least it hasn’t been boring.  Who knows what will happen next.  I’m at the laughing stage now, and can say, “We’ll deal with it.”

Most of the time, when the unexpected and not so pleasant things occur in life, all we can do is adapt.  No matter how hard we plan, life will create obstacles, and hopefully we can circumvent or overcome them, accepting that reality and perhaps learning from them.

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Photo: Georganne Spruce

We Can Learn Important Lessons From Negative Experiences

What have I learned from this experience?  That when I’m on a slippery slope, I need to weigh the options more carefully than usual.  My first concern must be my own safety regardless of what anyone else is doing.   I need to balance my daring and passion with thought and wisdom. I need to slow down and be sure my next step is on safe ground.

© 2014 Georganne Spruce                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5