Be it resolved

wolf in snowRecent dream sequences seemed to have propelled me back to my imaginary chair, seated across from my imaginary professor at his imaginary office desk for an intensive review on special relationships. Scribbling out the sentence “Together we will disappear into the Presence beyond the veil, not to be lost but found …” (A Course in Miracles chapter 19, IV. D. i), despite my poor penmanship, because Jesus (that symbol of the one split mind that never took the “tiny, mad idea” of separation seriously) had banned us from using our laptops, tablets, or smart phones in favor of the old, tactile method he claimed helped improve his students’ ability to retain his teachings. (OK, I might have made that last part up, but still.)

“… not to be seen, but known,” I continued, and then put down my pen. “Well, Jesus,” I said. “I’d like to do that, I really would. I just have a couple of teeny, tiny reservations.”

“Such as?”

“Well, the word disappear, to begin with. That does not sound at all promising. And this whole ‘together’ thing. Could you define that a little more clearly?”

His brows shot up the way they do.

“It’s just that I’ve always been more of a rebel, you know, ultimately without a cause, but still. Not so much of a team player. Just never could seem to find the right one, if you know what I mean. Not for lack of tenaciously trying, as you may have noticed.”

He looked skeptical.

I sighed. “And I’m love, love, loving this bit about “not to be lost but found.’ But ‘not to be seen, but known?’ I mean, Jesus; I thought seeing was everything in this Course?”

He did not reply, surprise, surprise. As you may have gathered, he is a savior of few words.

“Okay, okay, I know what you’re saying.”

“You always do.”

My part is more about the looking than the seeing. Bringing all the pretty little horrors I think I spy with my seeming tiny little eye to you to look at so I can see all is not what it seems. I’m never actually feeling annoyed or elated or bereft or, you know,” I lowered my voice, leaned toward him, “homicidal about what I’m ‘seeing’ for the reason I think.”

His eyes widened.

I leaned back in my chair and considered the events of the last couple weeks. “Jesus,” I said.

“Hey.” But he was smiling. There really is no offending this man.

“I mean, after all this time hanging around with you and the big, blue book. Which we both know I can barely even read anymore it’s so damn marked up; even the duct tape on the binding has started to shred. So why do I still have such a hard time with the holidays? Why do I still look forward to them with such excitement and anticipation? Throw myself into them with such Cindy-Lou-Who-style abandon. Albeit reminding myself constantly I am never conjuring visions of sugar plums in my head or greedy, green Grinches, for that matter, for the reason I think; that nothing outside me has the power to make me happy or sad. And yet, still secretly hoping the spells I cast to create the picture-perfect holiday will make me feel loved and appreciated, accepted and understood.”

“How’d that work out for you this year?” he asked.

OK, so I rolled my eyes at him. Again. So he forgave me.

“The thing is; it’s a new year here in dreamland. Time to suck it up, let go of the past, and make way for a 2015 holy instant of release, right?  So I thought you might want to hear my New Year’s resolutions.”

“We’ve talked about this,” he said.

“I know, I know. Yours is to smile more often, right?”

He threw back his head and laughed.

“OK, so humor me here, please.”

He cleared his throat. “I always do.”

“I think you’ll agree these are actually byproducts of looking at all this  …” I paused, considering my current company, “hooey,” I added, “with you.”

He leaned back in his chair, framed against the beveled windows beyond which pellets of snow continued to purposefully fly into the vast recesses of a winter night’s dream.

I stood and went to the white board on the wall, picked up the marker, and began.

Number 1: 

BE KIND

“I know, I know,” I said. “What is forgiveness, you might ask, chopped liver? To which I might respond, of course forgiveness is my only function. But I think I have the steps of that process down. I mean, however much I wish to attribute the cause of my suffering to him, her, or it (and I know you know of whom and what I speak), I just can’t really believe it anymore. All this practice really has paid off that way, even though I still don’t usually feel any immediate return to peace. But I have learned from experience that peace that defies understanding always does, eventually anyway, return, in an increasingly welcome way, once my formidable, unconscious fear and resistance subside.”

He nodded.

“But I believe I may still be far too tolerant of mind wandering, because …” I lowered my voice again before continuing. “I catch bad words slipping out of my mouth when I’m seemingly alone more than ever, nasty little torpedoes often directed at my computer or the icy sidewalks or the mere random thought of something he, she or it appeared to have done or not done in the near or distant seeming totally hallucinatory past, or might do or not do in some future dream. And so, I’m thinking, when that happens, I can just try to be kind. Which really means (in the condition I still think I’m in) paying close attention to my unkind stories and impulses. Catching myself mid-slam of a door, for example, just admitting this is hurting me, and then, more gently closing that innocent door. Or, you know, forgiving myself for it, if it’s too late. Which it may well be.

And when I find myself going a little ballistic over the mere thought of something related to the imaginary shenanigans of him, her, or it, I can remember, like dear Ken Wapnick always urged us to, quoting Philo, that everyone here is fighting the same hard battle. Hopelessly trying to prove they exist but it’s not their fault, it’s his, hers, or its. Everyone here is addicted to the same guilty pleasure of perceiving themselves unfairly treated, justifying retaliation. While secretly begging to be seen beyond the bondage of their past or present behavior as the innocent Child of God they remain in truth.”

“Go on,” he said.

I turned back to the white board, picked up the marker.

Number 2: 

STOP BASHING MYSELF

I turned to face him. “In my earnest desire to awaken, I think I’m sometimes a little too hard on myself.”

His smile widened. “You think?”

I nodded. “And so, I resolve to make a concerted effort to stop beating myself over the head with my big, blue book when I’m feeling once more consumed by the ego’s raucous, selfish, shrieks. Which is not to say that I won’t bash myself, but that when I catch myself doing so, I will try to nip the subsequent guilt binge in the bud. An odd expression, don’t you think? I mean, I get the nipping it before it blooms implication but wouldn’t it be more effective to ‘nip it at the stem’ or, even better, ‘root’? But I digress. So what else is new, right? Back to the list.”

Number 3: 

READ MORE FICTION

He looked puzzled.

“Bear with me, on this,” I said. “I’ve become aware that in my hurry to ascend–to devour, digest, and regurgitate every morsel of this delectable Course—I seem to have cast aside some of the things that make me glad. I love to read fiction. I love to savor the visual arts. I love theater and film, music and natural beauty. I think I’ve been making myself a little bit crazy with this Course, forgetting to be normal, as Ken, also so often urged us to. And I so often forgot.

I consider resolving to read more fiction symbolic of simply allowing myself to like what I happen to like, as one poet (Wallace Stevens) so aptly put it, with you beside me, of course, without judgment or stress. To savor stories by authors (and other works of art seemingly crafted by animate and inanimate forces) lyrically in touch, however temporarily or intermittently, with both the darkness of the ego thought system and our simultaneously prevailing light, which the process of looking with you at the darkness inevitably reveals.

Because it’s not about denying the forms with which we engage but what purpose we give them: rooting ourselves more deeply in the dream or taking another step toward awakening, as Ken also, so wisely taught. Which really means paying attention to which internal teacher we are choosing as we do what normal bodies do here in the dream which results in gently smiling at our desire to attribute our happiness or unhappiness to anything seemingly outside us, right?”

Who knows, I might even start writing fiction again, I thought. Or maybe just keep playing with paints in that studio I’ve started visiting in the arts district. I could already picture my fantasized teacher sprawled on the floor with me in the big warehouse among pots of acrylics and brushes. Laughing our proverbial heads off!

I turned around from the white board to find him more than delivering on his New Year’s resolution. And I smiled now, too, deeply, and fully—a Buddha-belly of a smile.  And then, he was gone. Have I mentioned he likes to put on his invisibility cloak a la Harry Potter sometimes, and scram? But I am learning he never really goes anywhere, even though I like to pretend I have the power to make him exit, stage left.

“Not to be seen, but known,” I thought, and found myself transported back to my kitchen, once more standing at the stove, preparing the chicken noodle soup for which I am justly famous in certain circles. Aware that the New Year would, fate willing, bring my daughter’s graduation from college, her next steps toward her future, away from home. She likes my soup, a panacea for the hard battle each one of us that finds ourselves wandering here alone is waging, remedy for all imagined ailments, whatever human condition the ego might cook up.

I chopped some more ginger and garlic and stirred, peacefully aware that—shifting roles and venues aside—nothing can change our love for each other. Certain (however temporarily and intermittently) no he, she, or it could ultimately resist the eternal sustenance of our one and only Heart and Hearth.

“There is a way of living in this world that is not here, although it seems to be. You do not change appearance though you smile more frequently. Your forehead is serene. Your eyes are quiet. …” (A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 155, paragraph 1, lines 1-3)

 

LATEST NEWS FROM THE FOUNDATION FOR A COURSE IN MIRACLES!:

The Foundation is happy to offer a new audio set entitled “The Loving Use of the Body.” This six CD set contains two programs that Dr. Kenneth Wapnick presented in 2013. It is also available as an MP3 download.

This month the Foundation will present two Full-Day Seminars. The first will be held on Saturday January 10, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The title of this Seminar is “The death of specialness is not your death.” and will be taught by Jeffrey Seibert and Loral Reeves.The second Seminar will be held on Saturday January 24, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The title of this Seminar is “This course will be believed entirely or not at all.” and will be taught by Jeffrey Seibert and Loral Reeves.

Live streaming of our Seminars and Academy classes begins this month. For more detailed information, take a look at our Temecula Schedule page.

I’m honored to be presenting a workshop, “The Parent-Child Relationship: Transcending Guilt Blame and Need,” https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/classes-events#Portland2015  at the invitation of Jim Peterson in Portland, Oregon, in March 2015. The subject is so very close to my heart and has been one of my primary classrooms in learning to practice A Course in Miracles extraordinary, mind-healing forgiveness. Register here before February 20th and save!  http://www.alchemical-transformation-guidance.com/SusanDuganWorkshop2014.html 

I will also be offering this Parent-Child Relationship workshop right here in Denver at the Rocky Mountain Miracle Center February 21st, 2015: Register now here: https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/ParentsAndChildren-RMMCworkshop-21Feb2015.pdf

HALF-HOUR, FORTY-FIVE MINUTE, OR HOUR-LONG ACIM MENTORING SESSIONS AVAILABLE: https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/personal-coaching Although A Course in Miracles is clearly a self-study program and the one relationship we are truly cultivating is with our eternally sane and loving right mind, mentoring can help remind Course students having trouble applying its unique forgiveness in the classroom of their lives that the problem and the solution never lie in the difficult relationship, situation, behavior, health issue, etc., but in the decision-making mind. In every circumstance, without exception, we can choose to experience inner peace and kindness toward all, unaffected by the seemingly random strife of a world designed to prove otherwise. By choosing to look at our lives as a classroom in which we bring all our painful illusions to the inner teacher of forgiveness who knows only our shared innocence beyond all its deceptive disguises, we learn to identify and transcend the ego’s resistance, hold others and even ourselves harmless, and gently allow our split mind to heal. Sessions are conducted via traditional phone or Skype (your choice). Please contact me to find out if mentoring is right for you before submitting a payment. (No one is ever turned away for lack of ability to pay!) 

LATEST AUDIOS: 

Bruce Rawles and I reflect on the last section of A Course in Miracles text Chapter 15, Christmas as the End of Sacrifice, that urges us to make this year different by recommitting to choosing Jesus/Holy Spirit as our new inner teacher, thereby learning to apply forgiveness to everything we have made up to hurt us! http://www.acimblog.com/audio/ACIMblog-podcast/podcast2014/ACIMblog-podcast-18Dec2014-SusanDugan-ChristmasAsTheEndOfSacrifice.mp3 

You can listen to my new audio with CA Brooks, 12Radio, in which we discuss workbook summaries “What Is the Ego?” and “What Am I” here: http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=65EC8840-26B9-4187-8625E138743C00C2

Jim Peterson has just published a book, Wisdom Rising, about his journey in learning to connect with an unwaveringly kind-to-all part of our mind l http://www.amazon.com/Wisdom-Rising-Writings-Directed-Living/dp/1499630360/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417449653&sr=1-1&keywords=wisdom+rising, useful tools he has discovered in his spiritual quest, and his inspiring poetry. 

Check out recent videos on living a forgiving life here:

https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/videos 

My good friend and fellow Course student and teacher Bruce Rawles, author of The Geometry Code http://www.amazon.com/Geometry-Code-Universal-Reminders-Separation/dp/0965640574/ref=la_B003ZZVZVK_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1411567229&sr=1-1, frequently invites me to chat with him on YouTube about the Course and Ken Wapnick’s teachings. He continues to compile lots of great ACIM information well worth checking out at http://www.acimblog.com/

My good friend and gifted A Course in Miracles teacher and writer Bernard Groom has been posting beautifully written, heartfelt essays about living A Course in Miracles for years at http://www.acimvillage.com/. I found his recent, kindly right-minded contemplations there on the death of our beloved teacher Ken Wapnick deeply comforting! Bernard lives and teaches in France with his dear wife Patricia. You’ll find a wealth of information in French on his website http://uncoursenmiraclesenfrance.com/ including recorded talks available for purchase or free download: http://uncoursenmiraclesenfrance.com/audio/.

My dear friend and wonderful teacher Lyn Corona continues to offer classes at the Rocky Mountain Miracle Center through her School of Reason for Course students and teachers. You can subscribe to her website http://www.schoolofreason.org/ to receive information about upcoming classes. 

My latest book, Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want is available on Amazon in both paperback and kindle versions. If you read and find the book helpful, I would so appreciate you posting a brief (a sentence or two is fine) review on Amazon. 🙂

Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want, and my previous book, Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness, are now also available from the ACIM Store: http://www.acimstore.com/default.asp.

Comments

  1. Disappearing into the Presence beyond ego’s veil is the last thing us trembling (imaginary) egos want! Fits nicely with today’s upcoming FACIM.org streaming video program from Temecula: “The death of specialness is not your death.” … I’m going to adopt your 3-step resolution – slightly modified – as: 1) Be kind, 2) Step away from the judgmental guilty thought system and no one will get hurt, and 3) Don’t fight myself (a.k.a. walk away from ego’s interpretation). … Thanks, Susan! 🙂

  2. Thanks, Bruce!

    And … couldn’t listen to the facim streaming yesterday but hoping to hear some of it today. 🙂

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