Tag Archives: Transformation

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.

Great Hungrey river 028

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

AWAKENING TO LET GO

“Holding on is believing there is only a past; letting go is knowing there is a future.” Daphne Rose Kingma

2011 027

Do you find it easy to let go of old ways of doing things?  Do you often resist change?  Are you excited by frequent change?

Every autumn as the leaves fall, I am in awe of how easily and naturally nature moves toward winter.  At first, the leaves turn brilliant red, yellow, and orange—a gift that makes us forget how much we loved the lush green of spring and summer.  Then, as we revel in this display, the leaves begin to gently drop, showering our yards with color and providing the material to mulch and feed our lawns and gardens. When finally the trees are bare, we discover vistas that were obscured by their leaves, and the sky opens, displaying clouds and stars we couldn’t see before.

Letting Go Is a Natural Part of Nature

As we drift into winter, we remember that in the spring the leaves, flowers, and warmth will return, but now is the time for going inward, to light fires, and snuggle up with lovers and books. It is a time of reevaluation, thinking, and contemplation.  Letting go of the past is part of the cycle of life.  Each change and each new cycle opens us to a new experience that may enrich our lives and expand our awareness.

Letting Go Creates New Space for New Ideas

Wouldn’t it be nice if letting go were as easy for us as it is for nature?  We would experience much less anxiety if we could accept this aspect of change as a natural part of living and understand that letting go creates the space for new growth.  As long as we keep the doors of our mind closed, nothing new or beneficial can enter.

Craggy Gardens & Pinnacle 2013 012

We Fear the Unknown

Our reluctance to let go is usually related to our fear of the unknown.  Although we may become bored with life always following the same pattern, at least we know what to expect and that feels comforting.  The irony is that despite our determination to keep things the same, they change anyway and impact our lives.  When we are forced to change by circumstance rather than choice, the more we resist, the more the difficulties persist.

The Unknown May Be Filled With Gifts

On the other hand, some people are always looking for new adventure and find venturing into the unknown exciting.  Most of us fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, experiencing both fear of the unknown, but also being willing to embrace change when necessary.  When we believe that, although we can’t predict the future, life often brings us unexpected gifts, we are more likely to let go of the aspects of our lives that aren’t serving us well.

Years ago, when I was divorced in Washington, D. C., I loved living there, but I wanted to teach dance in college, and most of the positions for which I applied were filled by people who had danced with major New York companies.  When I was offered a position to teach at a college in central Nebraska, I decided to take a chance.  I loved Washington, but I needed an income and didn’t want to give up dance.  I had to let go of my life in the east and move on.

It wasn’t easy leaving what I knew—my spiritual and artistic community and friends, but up to this point, my life had been strongly influenced by my parents and then my husband’s needs.  I had only visited Nebraska once for the interview, but the opportunity I wanted was there.  Like the pioneers who inhabited those plains, I headed out for the unknown land feeling fear and excitement.

Nebraska Wildflowers

Letting Go May Be Transformative

The most important thing I learned from my time in Nebraska was not to judge what I do not know.  I loved the students and made some of the best friends I’ve ever had.  I learned to not accept appearances but to look deeper to find the subtle beauty of the plains.  Most of all, I learned I could adapt to a new environment and that gave me the confidence to believe that letting go of what was comfortable, but limiting, was not so frightening.

Letting go of what no longer serves us can transform our lives.  On the personality level, we often become very attached to the work we do for a living.  I’ve seen too many people retire and let their lives just slip away because they are not in touch with who they really are.  I understand this.  It took me a long time to disconnect from identifying myself as a dancer to seeing I was so much more as a person.

My father never made the transition, and unlike many people who use their retirement to become involved with helping others and following their true passions, he seemed to feel his life was over.  He became a grandfather and enjoyed that, but still he never completely engaged life again.  He just drifted through each day, reminisced about his past achievements, and watched television.

Being Authentic Frees Us

When we are conscious of our interior life as well as our exterior life, we can discover what we need to do in order to live an authentic life.  We are able to let go of the persona we developed to please our family or employer and find the courage to reveal who we really are.  We shed the superficialities and find the courage to be honest and real.  We let go of others expectations and follow our own path into the unknown, finding the future path that will lead us to a meaningful life.  Letting go of what limits us is a powerful gift to give ourselves and others.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                                 ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:   Ten Tips to Let Go of the Past and Embrace the Future,   8 Effective Ways to Let Go and Move On, Releasing Fear and Limiting Beliefs,  The Ultimate Letting Go:  Release Your Fear and Be Free

AWAKENING TO TRANSITIONS

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

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

026 (2)

2013 001

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

Life May Grow Out of Endings

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

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

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

An Ending May Lead To A More Spiritual Life

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

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

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

Transitions Are Rites Of Passage

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spirit Is Always There To Guide Us

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

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

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                          ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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

AWAKENING TO SHARE HAPPINESS

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.  Happiness never decreases by being shared.”  Buddha

Flowers 033

How often are you happy?  Do you feel you have any control over your moods?  What do you do to lift your mood when you are down?”

We Are Drawn To Happy People

Yesterday was a happy day for me.  A close friend who was traveling all summer returned, and we took a walk through the botanical gardens where the Black-Eyed Susans were overly abundant and the Joe Pye Weed towered beautifully above us.  As we began our walk, a man who works there approached us and began sharing stories about the effect of the intense rain on nature, why the butterflies were late, and how happy he was that they finally appeared.

English: Joe Pye Weed

English: Joe Pye Weed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’ve talked with this man before and learned fascinating details about the plants, but what always strikes me about him is how happy and enthusiastic he is about his work.  His energy lifts me, and I feel happy to know that someone is taking such good care of this beautiful garden that I love so much.  Clearly he is following his passion.

Recently, I talked with another man, Charles Davidson, who is following his passion to create a website, Life Turnings, about spirituality and the healing arts. His excitement about the people he can reach, the conversations the blog will stimulate, and the opportunity to increase awareness on a variety of issues is contagious.  I was impressed with what he hopes to accomplish, so when he asked me to write for the site, I agreed.  My first piece, a blog I had written previously for this site, is featured on the home page under a beautiful picture of Fuchsias.  I hope you will visit Life Turnings.

DSC03133

Photo: Charles Davidson

Our Positive Or Negative Energy Affects Others

When we encounter people who are happy, their energy is expansive and uplifts us if we are open to sharing their experience.  Although we think of being empathetic when someone is unhappy so that we can understand and offer them support, we are also empathetic when we share another person’s happiness and support their positive experiences too.  As we connect with their light, our light expands.

Have you ever rushed up to a friend or family member with what you considered wonderful news only to have them put you down with their negative response?  Their negative energy depletes your energy even if you don’t think their comment is valid.  When this pattern is repeated over and over in a family where approval is so important, it may over time teach a child that it is not acceptable to express happiness.  Sadly, I once knew a person who had been taught that no strong emotion, even happiness, should ever be expressed.

Positive Attitudes Create More Positive Energy

If another’s expression of negative energy can diminish our energetic vibration, then the expression of positive energy can increase it. But how can we create more positive energy?  Self-awareness is the key.  What makes us feel good?  What thoughts, friends, activities, or food bring us joy and are good for us?  We have to pay attention to our reactions to situations and ask, “How can I best respond to this situation or solve this problem so there is a positive outcome for all concerned?”  We must learn to be the light in the difficult situations that confront us.

We must be willing to learn and grow.  In our society, we are much too quick to choose what appears to be the easy way out of difficulties.  This often leads to addiction because we’d rather pop a pill than find the root of the problem which could cause us even more pain—except the pill won’t help us find a solution.  We must be willing to learn practices, read books, and take workshops that will help us become more aware of how to face life feeling confident that we can deal in a healthy way with our challenges and maintain a connection to happiness.

Release the Fear That Blocks Us

Negative feelings are always based on fear, and we can learn to direct our minds to release the fear we feel about a situation.  When we let go of the fear, it is easier to see real solutions to the problem and follow our inner guidance.  Fear often causes us to assume problems can’t be solved so we give up.  Assuming they can be solved usually motivates us to search more diligently for a solution.

Seeing the Positive Uplifts Us

We can also choose to focus on what is positive and consciously look for positive ideas and events that will lift the vibration of our energy.  For example, we have had excessive rain where I live, and the dark, dreary days can easily drag me down.  On rainy days, I look out at my deck where the flowers are blooming profusely, and I’m grateful I’ve hardly had to water them at all this summer.  I’ve enjoyed their beauty at no expense.  The grass in my yard, which was sparse for many years, is now lush and green.  When I hike in the mountains, I’m surrounded by abundant shade and more wild flowers than I’ve seen in years.  I can focus on enjoying the beauty created by the rain or I can make myself and others miserable over the weather, an element I cannot control.

By taking responsibility for creating happiness in our lives and sharing it with others, we contribute to the well-being of all those around.  Our positive energy can draw to us those with a similar energy and expand the happiness we experience.  It can also help heal those who are struggling with life.  How often has a smile brightened your day?  You can be the candle that lights the world.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                  ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

What makes you happy today?  Please comment.

Related Articles:  Higher Vibrations in 10 Minutes (Abraham/Hicks video), What is Energy: 8 ways to Find Your Happiness, Health and Happiness

AWAKENING TO THE JOURNEY OF ONENESS

“The process of awakening is not one in which a definitive threshold is crossed and one is then enlightened, transformed, or ascended.  Spiritual growth is not focused on a destination, but rather, on the journey itself.”  Oneness, Rasha

2013 002

Do you feel you are enlightened?  Do you believe that your spiritual journey is on-going or that there is a goal you hope to reach?  How do you stay connected to your spiritual self?

I’m the sort of person who keeps lists and enjoys checking items off when I complete them.  It reinforces my sense that I have accomplished something.  I often wish that my spiritual journey were that neat – that there were various levels at which I could clearly see what I’ve accomplished.  But it just isn’t like that.

Remain Open to New Experiences

Enjoying the on-going journey of life requires us to remain flexible and open to new ideas and new experiences.  The reality is that even driving across country following a plan and a map we may have to make adjustments and take detours.  A rock slide, sink hole or flooded river may force us to find another route – to try to drive through this disaster would be insane.  So why do we think that our lives and spiritual journeys must follow a neat, unchanging pattern?

Many Practices Can Awaken Us To Oneness

If the journey is on-going, and by virtue of being a journey, it requires movement, how do we manage that?  Oneness states, “Know that the truth you seek is within you.”  Some find that connection through meditation, prayer, chanting, experiencing nature, or any number of spiritual practices.  All these practices can lead us inward to our own center where we are One with Oneness or Spirit.

Separation Is An Illusion

Of course, we never are separate from Spirit.  That separation is an illusion created by our egos when fear intrudes, and for the moment or for months we may lose our sense of connection unless we have a daily practice that keeps us tuned to the inner frequency.  But when we do lose that connection, finding it again is part of the journey too, and it is especially challenging in our busy world.

Looking down from the Blue Ridge Parkway near ...

Looking down from the Blue Ridge Parkway near Craggy Gardens. Photo taken with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 in Yancey County, North Carolina, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway, near my home, requires travelers to be flexible, especially this year with the torrential rains we’ve had.  Areas are often closed due to rock slides or portions of the mountain sliding onto the roadway.  There are often detours – the straight path is just not always available.   So, we have to travel alternative routes and eventually we are able to get back on the Parkway.  In the meantime, we see towns and landscapes we’ve never seen before.  We may find that those routes will lead us to other places we would like to go that we were not aware of before we took the detour.

A Spiritual Journey Leads Us Deeper

Our journey is like that too.  We have to be willing to embrace change when it appears in our lives.  If I were to draw a diagram of my journey, it would resemble a series of spirals intertwined.  I explored the mind/body connection through dance, meditation, how to release my fear, Unity and Science of Mind principles, and I’ve always been close to nature.  After exploring one area, practicing it, and finding the value in it, I would reach a point where there was still a longing for more or a question that could not be answered.

There were also moments of depression.  I would think, “I’m practicing the principles.  Why aren’t they working?”  But with time those principles became a part of me, contributing to my wholeness, becoming another piece in the puzzle.  There were many experiences of losing jobs, loved ones, and security.  Each experience forced me explore my core and go inward once again to the places where I knew I needed to do my deepest healing.  And when it seemed nothing could alleviate the sadness or disappointment, I would once again have to let go of my expectations and be willing to let go of what was not serving me and face the unknown.

Oneness Is Always At Our Core

But at our cores, Oneness is always there whether we are aware of it or not.  Because of that, we can always return to it.  We have to let go of our busy routines, our anger, our hurt—any resistance that keeps us from just being, because it is only when we are just being that we can truly find Oneness and heal ourselves in that silence and love.  These moments are the rest stops on the journey that renew us.  They are the moments when we are finally still enough to hear the guidance that has been trying to get through to us so that we know what path would be most beneficial.

Life is a process just like Nature.  The seasons change; each brings a different experience, and each experience brings us a new opportunity to learn, to explore, and to journey where we have never been before.  Where we are now is merely one experience of the journey, and there are many more to come that will bring us a broader and deeper understanding of our spiritual lives.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                                          ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  How We Can Grow Through Spirit, Edgar Cayce and Oneness, Oneness by Rasha

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

Denver 006

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.

Denver 001

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

Related Articles:  Nick Cave’s Art (scroll down and watch the first video), Why You Aren’t At Peace Right Now – Eckhart Tolle,    Eckhart Tolle – From Beng Upset to Being Peace (video)