Choose again

Just back from Mexico and posting this essay written two weeks ago. While in Puerto Vallarta I was able to let a little more specialness wash away. But that’s next week’s story. 🙂

I’m not gonna lie to you. There are times with this Course when I seriously doubt I will ever make it home. Times when I wax insanely nostalgic over those pre-ACIM days filled with the temporary relief of oblivious projection, much like a certain demographic continues to romanticize World War II and the 1950s, its cold wars raging in cabinet rooms and kitchens. But a couple of days into the two-week marathon of festivities and ceremonies surrounding my daughter’s recent graduation from high school I found myself in just that sort of space, staring down at the big blue book entertaining various fantasies involving its imminent and brutal demise along with a similar fate for several co-stars in my personal dream of exile from all-inclusive, eternal Love.

I had not bounced back from more than a week of respiratory flu that left me short of breath, wheezing, coughing, and generally stumbling around annoying anyone foolish enough to stray into my wobbly orbit. My parents who had elected to travel from upstate New York to Denver by train had been delayed more than 24 hours by a washed out bridge, thunderstorms, and tornadoes and now might not make it to the actual ceremony. My pushing-90 in-laws were literally about to descend and I kept wracking my brain to figure out how to make our three-level home more elder friendly. I had lasagna to assemble, food to stock in, beds to make up, errands to run, and multiple Chinese herbal tea pills to pop. The dog, sensing impending upheaval (pun intended) had already hurled on the rug in solidarity with my plight. Worst of all, instead of feeling jubilant during the most recent school awards ceremony last night I felt consumed by unrelenting judgment and regret, picturing myself at an internal awards ceremony accepting a certificate from Jesus for least valuable A Course in Miracles player of the year.

I dragged my weary body about craving elusive rest, fretting about how to meet looming obligations, and, yes; secretly resenting a lack of support from those others seemingly “out there” as re-runs of the sad and perilous adventures of Susan’s entire pitiful life spun out in back-to-back episodes in my twisted little head. Even when I managed to cross a task off my To Do list several more scrawled in an increasingly illegible and disturbed hand immediately replaced it, the lists cloning themselves and scattering about the house like ransom notes. I had been kidnapped by the ego, the growing conviction that I (the decision maker that chose for the ego in the first place) could choose peace instead of this but a dim, seemingly inaccessible memory.

“Choose once again if you would take your place among the saviors of the world, or would remain in hell, and hold your brothers there.” The quote from Chapter 31, VIII, Choose Again, echoed in my head. “Savior, smavior,” I thought. The little dog staggered over to the corner and threw up again.

Please help me see things differently, I silently whispered, staring out the window at sheets of rain, this seventh day of a stalled storm that had settled along with a cold front and nearly washed away plans for an outdoor graduation. In which case the ceremony would have to move inside, leaving us to figure out how to stretch five tickets to accommodate six immediate family members and planting fantasies of counterfeiting additional tickets in my husband’s “can do” brain.

Although I thought I wanted to see things differently, I knew my continuing discontent with and seeming inability to release my death grip on the objects of my projections testified to the choice for another inner teacher, the teacher of separation realized, that dizzyingly popular professor of the ego’s sneaky ways. Kneeling on the floor dabbing at the dog’s latest mess I couldn’t stand it anymore and headed back into the classroom to review the dream’s ugly status with Jesus.

He did not even look up as I slipped into the desk beside him.

“This Course is SO not working for me,” I said.

“Déjà vu,” he said, smiling.


He pushed the box of tissues my way.

“No, no, I mean, think about it. Am I any happier today than I was seven years ago when I first picked up that big, blue book? I don’t think so! And I’m not the only one. As you may have noticed a couple of other people in my life have been all too willing to point that out along the way.”

His brows shot up in mock surprise.

He had to agree I had a point. Although I had become, over time—an awful lot of time–increasingly right-minded practicing forgiveness, admittedly able to identify my mind under the influence of ego quicker and generally choose again for peace, I still sometimes found myself hopelessly mired in the ego’s mosh pit. Hemmed in by a throng of illusions too numerous and hideous to combat. And it had all started to feel hideous; a spill on the rug as upsetting as the jolts of grief that ambushed me now and then around my daughter heading off to college. Then, too, the same old faces appeared reel after derivative reel to occasionally delight, but more frequently torment me.

“I mean, think about it,” I continued. “I keep forgiving the same people and situations over and over and over again.”

He nodded.

“I know what you’re thinking,” I said. “It’s true; I do have that holy instant of release. But next thing you know they’re back in my face again. I mean, Jesus, when is this Course going to be over?” I couldn’t seem to help quoting my husband who had asked that now seemingly prescient question early on in my study.

Jesus appeared to be doodling, scribbling hearts and flowers no doubt in that notebook of his. Annoying little roses and happy faces like those animated icons in internet chat rooms. (Not that I’d be caught dead in one of those 🙂 ) He pushed his notebook toward me.

“Trials are but lessons that you failed to learn presented once again,” I read, “so where you made a faulty choice before you now can make a better one, and thus escape all pain that what you chose before has brought to you. In every difficulty, all distress, and each perplexity Christ calls to you and gently says, ‘My brother, choose again.’”

Leave it to Jesus to have memorized the whole damn book. “Show off,” I said.

He smiled that knowing smile of his.

“The images you make cannot prevail against what God Himself would have you be,” I read. “Be never fearful of temptation then, but see it as it is; another chance to choose again, and let Christ’s strength prevail in every circumstance and every place you raised an image of yourself before…”

“Christ’s strength,” I repeated.

He nodded.

“You mean yours,” I said.

He continued to smile.

“You mean theirs? And…mine?”

He shut his notebook.

“Class dismissed?” I asked.

“Break a leg, kid,” he said.


“Knock ‘um dead.”

“Cute,” I said. “Not exactly ready for SNL, but.”

He just continued to crack himself up.

And I was back at the window again, staring at the rain, holding my peaked looking little dog, Jesus’ gentle laughter fading slowly and merging with my own. I patted the dog and put her back down, finished assembling the lasagna, and headed upstairs to make up some beds.

NOTE: A Course in Miracles uses the character of Jesus as a symbol of the pre-thought of separation/awakened mind we can relate to and call on in the condition we think we’re in here in the dream. He asks us to bring all the illusions that arise in the classroom of our lives to him for review and re-interpretation from evidence of separate interests to proof positive of the “atonement,” the certainty that the “tiny mad idea” of separation from our source never happened and we remain awake in all-inclusive, eternally worthy Love, simply dreaming our silly dreams of exile.

You’ll find a new review by author Robyn Busfield on the Book Reviews page.
I have just posted the answer to a couple of new questions on my Questions & Answers page.


  1. The obvious sense of humor in this writing is a great reminder to not take our own ego-made traps, setups and mental ‘mosh pits’ – I had to google that one – seriously; besides, if we can laugh at our own phantom follies as self-inflicted, and ultimately innocent prodigal fantasies, then aren’t we beginning to identify with the dreamer instead of the dreamed? Thanks for another episode all too easy to relate to! 🙂

  2. Thank you, Bruce. I am always grateful for the return to sanity that comes when I am willing to laugh at myself with you know who. 🙂

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