I want to want the peace of God

(I’ve been taking some time off to catch up and reflect over the holidays. In the meantime, here’s an excerpt from my book of essays, Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want. Wishing you a 2015 filled with compassionate awareness of the ever-available choice to recognize and forgive ourselves for our addiction to special interests, thereby opening, in genuine humility, to an experience of true healing and peace, blessedly beyond our understanding.)

Crested Butte_20081231_133326As 2010 drew to a close, I found myself once more reviewing past resolutions, those cockeyed optimistic corrections for guilty behavior or the setting of more ambitious goals all based on atoning for the many ways I had fallen short during the prior year as the clock ticked down and the annual opportunity to weave a better dream presented itself.  Because once again; the dream–A Course in Miracles’ term for our so-called lives in this so-called world–had fallen short of the ego’s expectations. Circumstances in the world in general—from the economy to our failure to deal with the health care crisis, to tensions in the Middle East and U.S. House of Representatives to our continued inability to address and often even acknowledge the reality of climate change—continued to devolve. On a personal level, a number of last year’s earnest resolutions lay scattered like ribbons and wrappings from recently opened Christmas gifts, the promise of true fulfillment they concealed once more expired. More importantly, that state of inner peaceful equilibrium to which I will return when all my forgiveness lessons are complete remained elusive. I was still somewhere in the murky middle of this journey home to the one love we never truly left, and judging myself harshly for it.

I had once more retreated with family and friends to Crested Butte, Colorado, a remote idyllic ski town complete with Victorian storefronts, a summit endearingly reminiscent of Mount Crumpet in Dr. Zeus’s The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and a comforting blanket of flamboyant drifts of snow. It had been a year of hard work with few immediate rewards, rife with the bittersweet awareness that my in-house parenting days were numbered as my daughter completed her final high school year and applied to colleges, a year of aches and pains echoing past injuries that made it ever harder to deny as my generation still strives to the inevitable deterioration of the human body.

A perennial intermediate skier (versus the expert status of the rest of our party) and still not fully recovered from breaking a couple ribs prior to Thanksgiving, I knew I could count on some much needed solitude.  In the mad dash to the year’s finale I had been postponing the quality time with Jesus (that symbol of our one mind healed of the idea of separation from our source) I believed I had earned, knowing I would soon be largely left to my own devices. And yet, the very first morning as I headed for the single line at the base of the Red Lady lift I could not seem to summon his inner presence. As I attempted to ski heretofore easy blue runs, I reverted to amateurish maneuvers in my fear of falling and further injuring my still fragile torso. Preoccupied by self-preservation while frustrated by this latest evidence of investment in the body; I could not seem to summon the inner bff I had come to count on.

And yet, a part of me simply watched, detached, as the week wound on, a two-day blizzard made skiing for puny Susan impossible, the thermometer plunged and the streets iced up, the pads on the dog’s paws nearly froze, my sinus issues escalated into a full-blown infection, and we cooked and hung out and rang in the new. Although I wasn’t experiencing the special relationship with a visualized embodied Jesus my mind on ego craved, a part of me knew I remained within the quiet center of that all-encompassing love we shared. Although I kept summoning some kind of prolonged, mystical, holy instant—a kind of end-of-the-year bonus for the hard work of forgiveness–I gradually realized that a personal identity designed to defend against universal love could not really experience anything.  And I wondered if “looking with Jesus” really meant merely peering through the ongoing illusion of Susan and Jesus to the welcome truth of non-specific, mutual, and gently amused sanity.

In the end I experienced a heretofore unknown confidence that all was well despite the wildly fluctuating dream details and Susan’s inability to feel the love and peace of God in some Hallelujah Chorus kind of way. And I realized that nothing in a dream crafted to keep me mindless needs to occur for me to experience myself as the decision maker capable of recognizing the ego for the defense against the truth it is. Choosing to want the peace of God even as the ego continued to throw its hissy fit curve balls designed to prove the chaotic dream real.

…We want the peace of God. This is no idle wish. These words do not request another dream be given us. They do not ask for compromise, nor try to make another bargain in the hope that there may yet be one that can succeed where all the rest have failed. To mean these words acknowledges illusions are in vain, requesting the eternal in the place of shifting dreams which seem to change in what they offer but are one in nothingness. (From A Course in Miracles Workbook Lesson 185, paragraph 7.)

This year, I just can’t take it all—including my own resistance—as seriously. Which is not to say I still don’t want to take it seriously except in the holy instant in which I actively choose for the right mind, thereby activating the memory that it is all a dream from which I have already wakened, a certainty I will permanently embrace once my belief that specialness has anything left to offer finally dissolves in the light of forgiveness A Course in Miracles style. A vision of Jesus, a conversation with Jesus, a sense of holding my big brother’s hand, didn’t show up for me during this getaway. But a near constant awareness that I am the decision maker did. My certainty that the ego will appear to do what the ego will appear to do with or without my support did. And the knee-jerk impulse to join with all I would use to hurt my real self? Not so much.

Who knows, maybe I am slowly but surely growing up by doing the work of forgiveness day in and day out, looking with the part of my mind that can truly see at this internal state of fear and guilt I’ve chosen to see “out there” differently. Rather than asking to see this person’s behavior or this situation differently. The person and behavior and situation and body don’t, after all, exist, except in the dark recesses of a mind made mad by a thought of guilt over the impossible crime of separation from eternal wholeness.

Moving away from the understanding that I am forgiving what seems to have taken my peace to owning it as my unconscious choice to once more push God’s love away changes everything.  I honestly have no resolutions to offer this year except that I want to want the peace of God, and to remember that it is always there if I but continue to look with an inner Jesus whose presence I accept more and more as my own. Seriously!


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


Live Streaming of Programs: Beginning in 2015, the Foundation will begin live streaming its Seminars and Academy classes. If you are unfamiliar with live streaming, you can find a basic description here. Take a look at our Temecula Schedule page to find out more about this new addition to our electronic outreach.

 New Audio Title: “Who is Unwelcome to the Kind in Heart?” “Not One Does Christ Forget” is now available as an eight CD set, which contains two programs that Dr. Kenneth Wapnick presented in 2012 and 2013. It is also available as anMP3 CD and an MP3 download.

NEW YEAR’S GIFT: My most recent essay collection, Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want, about learning to live a forgiving life and remembering to smile, is on sale for the holidays on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Forgiveness-Offers-Everything-I-Want/dp/0983742014

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!)

The Foundation for A Course in Miracles continues to offer illuminating classes taught by a talented, devoted, truly inspiring staff who shine with the light of living this work! I was so deeply moved and inspired by their presentations at the July and March academies I attended, and can’t wait to return next year for more! Check out all their current offerings including the Winter 2015 schedule here:  http://www.facim.org/temecula-schedule.aspx

You’ll also find new releases from the Foundation’s bookstore here: https://www.facim.org/bookstore/t-latestreleases.aspx, the online bookstore here: https://www.facim.org/bookstore/, online learning aids here: https://www.facim.org/online-learning-aids.aspx, and questions on just about any topic Course students could dream up sanely, lovingly, and eloquently answered here: https://www.facim.org/online-learning-aids/question-answer.aspx

You can listen to my latest talk with CA Brooks, 12 Radio, at the top of my audios page: https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/audios , in which we discuss happiness from the Course’s perspective, focusing on our only real function of forgiveness and sections of Chapter 4 in the text, and workbook lesson 64. Another of my discussions with CA on the topic of “What Is the Ego?” and “What Am I” in the second part of ACIM’s workbook will air December 19th, 9 a.m. Mountain Time.

I’m honored to be presenting a workshop at the invitation of Jim Peterson in Portland, Oregon, in March 2015. The subject is close to my heart and A Course in Miracles forgiveness practice: “The Parent-Child Relationship: Transcending Guilt Blame and Need.” To find out more and register, please go to Jim’s site: http://www.alchemical-transformation-guidance.com/SusanDuganWorkshop2014.html  and/or check out my Classes/Events page.

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. 

Here’s a link to details about my ongoing Tuesday night class on the text here in Denver https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/classes-events beginning in May 2014.

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.


  1. How timely at the moment (a few minutes into the ‘new year’) and helpful any time – to remember that “the annual opportunity to weave a better dream presented itself …for our so-called lives in this so-called world–had fallen short of the ego’s expectations” so that we can choose again to listen to the real alternative to our ego’s default insane, dreary blather. May we all mindfully choose against ego’s denial of truth more and more consistently! 🙂

  2. laurie gillies says:

    By George, I think you got it girl!!!! “My certainty that the ego will appear to do what the ego will appear to do with or without my support did”.

    Funny, we start the journey thinking it will look like what we imagine it will look like, only to find it is much more subtler than that.

    I’m not there yet, but I thank you for helping me to lower my (probably ego) expectations of what the ‘Peace of God’ will look like once I accept it. You (and Bruce) have been a tremendous help to me.

  3. Hi Laurie:

    Thanks for your generous response, Laurie! Yes, the way of the journey has no resemblance at all to the way we think it should go! I’m not there, either, but at least I’m learning to remember that I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING and I don’t have to keep pretending I do. There is real peace in that, when I choose to remember. Thank you for sharing the journey in remembering with me! 🙂

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