Faith, Hope and Clarity

(The world may seem pretty hopeless but the power of our decision-making mind to choose a perspective of sanity and compassionate inclusion beckons surely in every moment nonetheless! Here’s an excerpt from my book Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want on this very topic. :))

Hope may be “the thing with feathers” but—no offense Emily Dickinson—things with feathers fly away. And die. I learned this lesson early. As a little girl, I built a hospital for wounded creatures in the woods, ministering to abandoned baby birds and wounded butterflies with generally tragic results the adjacent makeshift graveyard served to accommodate. While I buried most of my patients, one small robin with a wing issue actually recovered. One day it leapt from my hand and circled away. I watched it rise in the sky with self-righteous elation until I realized it wasn’t coming back. When it disappeared into a cloud I rushed home, locked myself in my room, and sobbed.

I have been thinking about the word hope, defined by Webster’s as: “a wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment” and asking for help from my right mind to accept that no one or thing in this world has ever or can ever completely fulfill my expectations. Especially not those people I hold especially responsible for preserving my peace of mind by meeting my expectations; what A Course in Miracles calls our “special relationships,” those closest “others” with whom we forge unspoken bargains for meeting our needs. People like my daughter, who I learned over the weekend had betrayed my trust, as teenagers will.

I have the personality of an oldest child, intent on following rules, commingled with a generational urge to topple every symbol of authority that appears to thwart my treasured autonomy. I came of age in the 70’s after all, and still sometimes find myself waxing nostalgic for phrases like “hell no, we won’t go!” whenever I feel somehow herded by the prevailing culture into conformity. And so I’m forever at war with myself. Except when it comes to my daughter, where the oldest, rule-abiding, law-enforcing child always prevails.

Without going into the gory details suffice it to say I discovered she had lied about her whereabouts and what she was up to. Although nothing horrible ensued as a result, it could have, my ego fretted, happily enumerating various graphic scenarios. I was outraged, even though I recalled having done something similar at her age, and might have shown a glimmer of compassion. Instead I chose to guilt trip; reviewing all the sacrifices I had made for her, all the earnest parenting I had done. Feeling more and more guilty, I began to berate myself. How had I failed her? I wondered aloud. What had I done to deserve this, I did not have to say. My message was clear. Look what you have done to me despite all I’ve done for you.

“This is not about you, Mom,” she said. And she was right. Even as I spoke, a part of me recognized nothing I had said had any bearing whatsoever on the real problem or solution. I begged for help from my right mind. I held her as she cried. I stopped talking, and started listening. She hated high school, she said; hated being dependent, hated not being able to make all her own decisions. She just wanted to fast-forward and be in college where everything would be OK—that unreliable thing with feathers again.

I told her I had felt exactly the same way at her age. But you can’t fast forward through life. You have to look at and deal with what’s in your face, even when it takes on the sickening slow-motion quality of an accident. You have to make decisions and, when you make poor ones, self-correct. I said all the things a mother is supposed to say, including that there would be consequences, even as a part of my mind watched gently, compassionately, fully aware it was all a bunch of hooey.

Later, still vacillating between the ego’s fearful litany of “what if?” and “how could she?” and right-minded awareness that she had not betrayed my love because there was really no me apart from her—no love apart from us–to betray, I opened A Course in Miracles to Chapter 17, VII. The Call for Faith, and read:

…you did not believe the situation and the problem were in the same place. The problem was the lack of faith, and it is this you demonstrate when you remove it from its source and place it elsewhere. As a result, you do not see the problem. Had you not lacked faith that it could be solved, the problem would be gone … (from paragraph 1).

I had identified the situation with my daughter as the cause of my distress. Even though the Course tells us again and again that the real problem is always the same: my belief that I actually separated from the one eternal love I am, and exist as an individual dependent on an outside environment for my physical, emotional, and psychological wellbeing. My attempt to deny responsibility for my existence by projecting my guilt outside myself–and experiencing it as an incoming affront, disappointment, broken promise, betrayed confidence, breach of trust–was keeping me in hell. My faith in my daughter’s body and faulty adolescent logic had been misplaced. But what had that ultimately to do with her or me? How could it possibly affect the truth we share, or the one enduring love we remain?

Through practicing the Course’s forgiveness in which I recognize with my right mind that the only thing I need to forgive is my belief in separation I am learning that placing my faith in any body including my own is always misplaced. But placing my faith in forgiveness is always justified. Turning my error in perception over to the truth of my right mind is always rewarded. I am relieved and released when I remember with help from my loving inner teacher that all calls for love—my daughter’s, my husband’s, my clients’, my neighbors’, my fellow Course students’–are my own. And that answering them will never fail to release me from the enervating burden of that thing with feathers.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Foundation for A Course in Miracles Announcements

Programs through January 2018

Please view our latest Temecula Schedule page http://www.facim.org/temecula-schedule.aspx   to see the Seminars and Academy classes, including Live Streaming of the classes, currently scheduled through January 2017.

(You can register for upcoming live and streamed classes taught by the amazingly gifted Foundation for A Course in Miracles teaching staff; who continue to communicate Ken’s work with such clarity and grace, here: https://www.facim.org/temecula-schedule.aspx. I really can’t recommend these classes more highly! Rosemarie LoSasso and Jeff Seibert continue to gently encourage us to bring the darkness of all we’ve dreamt up to hurt us (whenever we’re choosing to feel victimized and justified in victimizing others) to the light of the part of every mind that knows only our shared innocence and need to find our way home. Their classes offer us a safe, non-judgmental “space” above the battleground in which to allow the healing of our frightened minds. (And often laugh a lot, too! 🙂 Check out my most recent interviews with facim teachers Rosemarie LoSasso https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/talking-with-rosemarie-losasso-spring-2017/ and Jeff Seibert https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/talking-with-jeffrey-seibert-summer-2017/.)


Weekly Thursday Morning Study Group and Monthly Seminars

The Foundation is discontinuing the weekly Thursday Morning Study Group as of December 15, 2017; the final meeting will be held on Thursday, December 14, 2017. In addition, the monthly Seminars (Physical Attendance and Live Streamed) will also be discontinued following the final full-day Seminar entitled “Our Foundation is Love, the Way We Walk in Gratitude” to be held on January 24, 2018. All other activities of the Foundation will continue as usual.

New Audio Release

The Foundation is happy to announce the publication of a previously unreleased audio title by Dr. Kenneth Wapnick. This four CD set recorded in 2006 is entitled The Logic of A Course in Miracles: The Ego and The Holy Spirit, and is also available as an MP3 Download.

 

MP3-CDs To Be Discontinued

The Foundation is discontinuing production of audio titles in MP3 CD format. The eleventh grouping of MP3 CD titles, which is available through October 1, 2017 only, can be viewed here. These titles are also available at a 40% discount. Please note that all orders containing MP3-CDS will be shipped the first week of October.

 

Super Inventory Sale Continue ONLY through December 31, 2017

We are continuing to clear out the warehouse of all printed books. Make sure you have all the titles you want before the sale ends.

You may view all of the English and Spanish books currently on sale here. Please note that some orders may take up to two weeks to ship after the order is received.

 

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The Interviews page on my forays website been revised to make it easier to find and access interviews with Ken Wapnick and others including Gloria Wapnick, and FACIM staff teachers. These interviews provide a wealth of practical information about learning to live a truly forgiving life, as well as some history of the Foundation for A Course in Miracles.

In this NEW VIDEO, Bruce Rawles and I discuss what A Course in Miracles means by “the quiet center” of the mind https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unQXd3F4S9U&feature=youtu.be and how to get there.

 

In this RECENT VIDEO, Bruce Rawles and I discuss workbook lesson 194: “I place the future in the hands of God.” https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/videos/

 

In this NEW VIDEO, my friend and fellow Course student Danielle Scruton discuss practicing forgiveness within the classroom of the parent-child relationship in the context of the Course quote “And God Thinks Otherwise.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89Hd-EvUDsg&feature=youtu.be

 

In this RECENT VIDEO, my friend and fellow Course student Danielle Scruton and I discuss how to weather the ego’s “backlash.”  https://youtu.be/7cIV4kSUajU.

 

In this RECENT VIDEO, my friend and fellow Course student Danielle Scruton and I discuss changing the purpose of romantic partnerships/marriage from specialness bargains to classrooms for learning to accept the atonement for ourselves https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3n8pn760h0U&feature=em-upload_owner.

In this RECENT VIDEO, friend and fellow Course student and teacher Bruce Rawles and I discuss what it means to “accept the atonement for myself,” as talked about in A Course in Miracles Chapter 2 and workbook lesson 139. https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/videos/

In this RECENT VIDEO, Bruce Rawles and I talk about the challenges of trying to practice A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 330: “I will not hurt myself again today.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4RJosel0zA&feature=youtu.be

In this NEW AUDIO,  CA Brooks, 12Radio, and I talk about acim workbook lesson 193: “All things are lessons God would have me learn.” http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=286F2689-26B9-4187-864EFF004ED83566

In this RECENT AUDIO CA Brooks, 12Radio, and I talk about how to connect with our inner Teacher/right mind (which can seem quite elusive at times!): http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=7271A032-26B9-4187-863739C3EB9013D0

In this RECENT AUDIO CA Brooks, 12Radio, and I discuss A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 41: “God goes with me wherever I go,” and why this is a good thing! 🙂 http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=D6390D92-26B9-4187-865888BFB8D98D75

In this RECENT AUDIO, CA Brooks, 12Radio, and I talk about A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 186: “Salvation of the world depends on me.” (And thank God it’s not the “me” we think it is! :)) http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=DE52D9FE-26B9-4187-860F309BBB8F9B42

MY LATEST BOOK, FORGIVENESS: THE KEY TO HAPPINESS, http://www.amazon.com/Forgiveness-Happiness-Susan-A-Dugan/dp/0983742022, along with my second book in the forgiveness essay collection series, FORGIVENESS OFFERS EVERYTHING I WANT: http://www.amazon.com/Forgiveness-Offers-Everything-I-Want/dp/0983742014/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=07RKZW8SHE2RNC209A2D  are currently DISCOUNTED on Amazon.

Schedule individual MENTORING sessions with Susan Dugan here: 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. 

Susan’s mentoring sessions provide valuable support in our forgiveness practice from a Course student and teacher deeply committed to awakening through learning and living true forgiveness. While keenly aware of our resistance to Jesus’ loving message from first-hand experience, she remains faithful to opening her heart to the Course’s universal answer for all frightened hearts and to sharing her ongoing learning and growing trust with kindred faithful, but sometimes frightened and confused, fellow students.

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!)

OTHER RECENT AUDIOS: 

Here’s a recording I did with CA Brooks, 12Radio, in which we talk about the importance of catching our unkind thoughts and judgments and looking at them with the part of our mind that sees no differences and makes no comparisons … even while watching the news! http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=584A85D9-26B9-4187-86B672216F9D08E7

A recording on Changing the Purpose of the Body from Prison to Classroom: http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=C936F436-26B9-4187-862BC523BC16D778, and another on what it means to go “above the battleground” (ACIM Text 23, Section IV) http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=13D9C907-26B9-4187-86F1370A394E8755

And a recording in which we talk about ACIM workbook lesson 101: “God’s will for me is perfect happiness” and 102: “I share God’s will for happiness for me.” http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=16BFF184-26B9-4187-86DD07743FBB7355  You’d think we’d like to hear that God’s will for us is perfect happiness, but we can’t possibly believe that and also believe we attacked God and threw his love away.  Following our inner Teacher’s path of true forgiveness begins to dissolve the guilt in our mind, teaching us that it was just silly to believe we could oppose God’s will and create a separate one. Allowing us to gradually accept that we deserve the happiness we share within God’s presence and could never really destroy.

OTHER RECENT VIDEOS:

Here’s a video I did with Bruce Rawles on sharing perception with the Holy Spirit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S45pmt7ntQ4

Here’s a talk I did with Bruce Rawles on Section 16 of The Manual for Teachers: “How Should the Teacher of God Spend His Day.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgHjOcxzrwg&feature=youtu.be

In this VIDEO, Bruce Rawles and I discuss A Course in Miracles lesson 190: “I choose the joy of God instead of pain.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPqUpNmAmG0

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The Denver-based School for A Course in Miracles (formerly the School of Reason), an A Course-in-Miracles http://www.schoolforacourseinmiracles.org/ offers great new and ongoing classes based on Ken Wapnick’s teachings.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the Center for A Course in Miracles http://www.centerforacourseinmiracles.org/index.html, is an educational Center whose focus is to teach what A Course in Miracles says, address common misunderstandings, and help students develop a relationship with their internal Teacher, inspired and guided by the teachings of the late Dr. Kenneth Wapnick.

In this video Bruce Rawles and I discuss themes from my most recent book, Forgiveness: The Key to Happiness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vEbI3jH8Sk 

My good friend and fellow Course student, teacher, and author Bruce Rawles 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 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 ACIMvillage.com. Bernard lives and teaches in France with his dear wife Patricia. You’ll find a wealth of information in French on his website including recorded talks available for purchase or free download.

Comments

  1. A helpful reminder that our real, eternal identity and nature – having never been born – can never die … so, therefore, any imagined guilt surrounding this alleged dream figure I think of as ‘self’ must also be dreamt, irrelevant and just silly … in Truth! However, the specifics of these dreams are the substance of our forgiveness classroom lessons, as the eloquent conclusion of your essay states “… placing my faith in any body including my own is always misplaced. But placing my faith in forgiveness is always justified. Turning my error in perception over to the truth of my right mind is always rewarded. I am relieved and released when I remember with help from my loving inner teacher that all calls for love … are my own.” Thanks, Susan! 🙂

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