Elsie Spittle On Flowing With Life
Author’s Note (2018) — As my husband, Bill, and I got ready for our move to Phoenix, Arizona last June, we pared down our belongings, determined to travel more lightly through life. In the process, I came across an article I wrote over 10 years ago about an interview with Elsie Spittle; it was part of a “Woman of Wisdom” series I was publishing at the time. Elsie was identified by the late spiritual teacher and writer, Sydney Banks, as a woman who understood deeply the inside-out nature of life, created as it is by the 3 spiritual principles he had uncovered: Mind, Consciousness and Thought. Elsie has just published her fifth book, The Path to Contentment, available on Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/Elsie-Path.
Wisdom is timeless. Elsie’s words point to wisdom that serves us as beautifully now as it did when I first interviewed her. I was deeply touched as I re-read the article, finding it helpful as I negotiate life in today’s chaotic political, cultural and social climate. The message is clear: we are always guided by a formless, intelligent energy. The answer about what to do next is always found in a deeply peaceful feeling. Dreaming or imaging what tomorrow might look like is not necessary; when we allow our minds to settle, and listen inwardly, a beautiful KNOWING about our part in the great unfolding becomes clear….one thought, one moment in the NOW at a time.The hopeful nature of Elsie’s words penetrated my heart.
I reached out recently to Elsie and her husband, Ken, and asked their permission to republish the article. They kindly agreed. Here it is, lightly edited to update it:
Original Author’s Note (2006) — Elsie Spittle, author, teacher and international consultant, was a close friend of Sydney Banks (1931-2009), spiritual teacher and author, whose unique philosophy and perceptions have provided new insights for all about the nature of the human experience.
In October 2005, I attended a training conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, “Unlocking the Mystical Secrets of Mind, Consciousness and Thought”. Both Syd and Elsie spoke at the conference. Elsie, in her humble, funny and insightful way, spoke about how her life was transformed as Syd’s teachings awakened her wisdom.
One of Elsie’s comments at the conference really stood out for me. She reminisced that when she was much younger, before meeting Syd, she had not experienced an especially abundant life. Her thoughts about herself and what she could accomplish were rather self-limiting. Elsie mentioned dreaming of becoming a secretary. That seemed to be a reasonable aspiration. She saw secretarial work as a door that would open into a life spiced by a desk job, a comfortable working environment and nicer clothes than she was accustomed to. Elsie explained, “wisdom had other plans for me.” And those plans included moving her, step by step, into a career as an international business consultant, speaker, trainer, coach and author…even before she had any degrees or “official credentials.”
Elsie’s dream to become a secretary was intellectually logical, legitimate and noble. But her experience, to me, points to what Sydney Banks means when he says in his book, The Enlightened Gardener Revisited, “To look outside for the answers you seek is to dream. To look within is to awaken the wisdom that lies within.”
My hope is that the following profile of Elsie will shed light on the insights that moved her beyond the realm of personal dreaming and into a dance of becoming that is a testament to the creative power of wisdom.
What stands out about a first meeting with Elsie is her utter lack of pretense. She radiates warmth, a quiet happiness and a personable sense of humor. With a characteristic laugh in her voice, she says, “I’m just a woman who has found a way to live with profound enjoyment. At one time, I thought life was the pits, but I eventually discovered it IS a bowl of cherries.”
I caught up with Elsie for a phone interview during a quiet moment she created in the midst of a whirlwind schedule of trips in and out of the country to provide training in mental health facilities and business about an understanding that changed her life.
When Sydney Banks first started to talk with Elsie about insights that had come to him spontaneously about the inside-out nature of life, says Elsie, “my whole belief system shattered. It was not a gentle experience. My personal thinking fought what he was trying to show me. Then, I had a moment of insight to what he was talking about and I never looked back.” Elsie said that what she saw was that she was the driver of her own life and was creating her experience of it via her thinking.
“The insight I had showed me that we were not here to struggle, but to enjoy. I discovered a little piece of myself, my essence, via spiritual insight. What I saw was so hopeful.”
Insight, which Elsie defines as a spontaneous learning, an original thought, helped her move from a place of blame, judgment and resentment related to herself and others to a place of understanding, peace and greater compassion. “I became more able to allow life to unfold gently, seeing over and over again that life unfolding always has its lessons. Our journey is to be at peace with what unfolds,” says Elsie. “That transformation was not a gentle process,” she laughs. “More like being pulled through a knothole. And I came through kicking!”
Practically speaking, Elsie says her journey involved becoming more sensitive to the difference between creating via personal thinking and following the flow of wisdom.“So often, we’ll have an insight, a glimpse of where wisdom wants to take us. But then our personal mind takes over and wants to create from there,” she says. “We begin to have expectations and assumptions and start moving from personal vision. We become attached to what we want and uncomfortable when it doesn’t happen.”
However, Elsie continues, when we follow the “wisdom way”, we notice when things stop unfolding and we wait for more insight. “Wisdom is constantly changing direction,” Elsie says. “The unfolding keeps us vital. We can never take it for granted. It helps to trust the opportunities that life presents to us and to trust that there is more inside of us to help us respond to them.”
Elsie spoke of how moments of loss challenged her ability to flow with the unfolding of life. “I felt flippant about loss until I experienced it and felt my heart break,” she says quietly. “But in moments, glimmers of peace, I would feel wisdom speaking to me, taking me in the direction of celebrating the time I had with a soul rather than grieving for the loss. Peace is wisdom speaking to us. Feeling it, opening to it…well, the rewards are unbelievable.”
One loss, in particular, the loss of the feeling of love in her marriage became an especially important opportunity for growth. Elsie described a time when she and her husband, Ken, separated for six months when it was easier to be apart than to endure the friction they were experiencing. Elsie spoke to a lawyer, but found the process of trying to go ahead with a divorce difficult.
“We got reflective, listened inwardly, and decided to try again. It was difficult,” she remembers. “It didn’t feel like we were ‘in love.’ I realized, however, that we did respect each other and our family,” she said. “I had an insight that respect WAS love, though not necessarily the romanticized view of love. So, I started by celebrating the respect that we had and by celebrating who my husband WAS rather than expecting him to be someone he wasn’t. We had to bite our tongues until they bled sometimes,” she chuckles. “We had to learn to be still. The payoff was a feeling of companionship, comfort and warmth that I had never experienced before.”
Elsie was quick to note there are times when it may not be wise to continue in a relationship, for example, in situations where abuse is occurring. Then, she says, it may be important to celebrate the lessons learned and the process of moving on.
“I am always in awe of the wonderful power human beings have to create their experience,” Elsie muses. “There is a richness and infinity to that simple statement. We are not victims. We never lose the power to create something new. Never! It is an extraordinary and at the same time very ordinary but precious gift.”