Shark Week

In honor of the Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week (that begins today), I’m posting the following excerpt from my new ACIM essay collection, Forgiveness Offers Everything I Wanthope you enjoy! (I am on vacation the week of August 9th and will post again on August 19th.)

Shark week“You always. You never. Why can’t you just? Do you realize you?”

I stood in my kitchen, futilely swatting at fruit flies with a potholder, again replaying the recent accusations of a special relationship like a favorite song stuck in my head. Vaguely, increasingly, and uncomfortably aware that a part of me actually enjoyed the volleyed, verbal return of my silent recriminations, relished the proof that I didn’t deserve to awaken from this dream given my many less than admirable qualities and undeniably hateful nature.

It had been that kind of week in the dream; the lid on my personal Pandora’s Box of un-forgiven ego issues inexplicably blown wide open. The moods of the dream figure I still sometimes completely forget I am not vacillated as wildly as the disingenuous accusations of the buffoons in Congress I so wanted to blame for the downward trajectory of the country I still sometimes completely forget has nothing to do with what we are.

Then, too, I was recovering from yet another sinus infection, the miserably ironic result of allergies to an explosion of breathtaking wildflowers during a visit to the idyllic mountain town of Crested Butte, Colorado, to attend a wedding. A trip during which a blister resulting from a pair of brand new hiking boots derailed further mountain forays, and an ill-fated attempt to act my daughter’s age on the dance floor resulted in a pinched nerve in my hip that has left me hobbling around in battered flip flops since.

Meanwhile, on the home front, a battalion of fruit flies having hitched a ride on a bag of produce were breeding like bunnies in our kitchen, despite the little bowls of apple cider vinegar laced with dish detergent recommended on the Internet, strips of fly paper dangling above the sink (which doesn’t work on fruit flies, by the way), and my vigorous attempts to annihilate them with said potholder. On the TV, The Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week—that peculiar, addictive celebration of all things good, bad, and horrific about that most feared of oceanic creatures—had just commenced, spewing  spine-tingling footage of sharks in all shapes, sizes, and varieties insatiably hunting their prey.

Whack! Another fly met its maker while my little dog cowered in the corner and the TV narrator at last revealed the venue of the most shark attacks ever recorded in the world (The U.S. House of Representatives, notwithstanding): Florida.

“I knew it,” I thought, my mind-on-ego suddenly reviewing a more-than-decade-old video involving the highly suspect shenanigans of another set of politicians in that great Southern state. Until the lyrics of my special relationship misery came boomeranging back again and I found myself once more in that rawest of places, begging for help from you know who to see things differently even as a part of me secretly reveled in the personal feeding frenzy born of a drop of human blood a shark can smell a quarter mile away.

“Jesus,” I said, and presto, there he was again–my imaginary friend–in full fantasized regalia. In honor of Shark Week, he had donned a wetsuit and flippers, but had not given up those wacky pink shades I had so come to envy these past few months.

He stared down at a bowl of vinegar wherein a dozen fruit fly corpses lay perpetually suspended.

“I did try catching them in a Dixie Cup and taking them outside,” I said, understandably growing defensive under his knowing gaze. “Have you ever tried to catch a fruit fly? It doesn’t work. I just can’t let them take over in here. I mean, they carry disease.”

He nodded.

“I know what you’re thinking,” I said.

“You usually do.”

“A minor twinge of annoyance conceals the thought of murder. There’s no hierarchy of illusions, blah, blah, blah.”

“An illusion is an illusion is an illusion.”

“Easy for you to say.”

He smiled, adjusting his glasses.

I lowered my voice. “The thing is, there are still sharks everywhere you look in this dream.”

“You think they can hear us?” He was whispering, too, just in case.

“Let’s get real, J. I’ve been practicing this Course for a pretty long time now. God knows how earnest I’ve been.”

His brows shot up above the frames of his shades.

“OK … maybe not so much with the God part. But I’m here to tell you I honestly don’t think.” My hip throbbed. Fruit flies swarmed around my head, evoking thoughts of another “F” word if only for the sake of alliteration. I grabbed his arm. “Come on,” I said.

We sat on the leather couch in the living room.  I turned down the volume, but allowed the TV to continue zooming in on the seductive image of a Great White feeding off an Australian reef, revealing a close-up of its jagged grin and serial-killer eyes. I sighed. “The thing is, I must still feel so guilty, you know?  I mean, I go along all right-minded and peaceful for a while and then—bam! I can’t seem to stop judging, the incoming attacks begin, and all hell breaks loose.”

He handed me a tissue from his infinite, invisible supply.

“You want to know the truth?” I asked.

He nodded.

I leaned toward him, and lowered my voice some more. “I can’t stand any of them, sometimes. Not him, not her, not those Bozos in Washington, not me. And don’t even get me started on the fruit flies.”

On the screen a shark opened its cavernous mouth and lunged toward a cage containing an evidently lobotomized photographer in a wetsuit. And I found myself secretly rooting for the shark. I dabbed at my eyes. “I just can’t wake up, J!” I said. “It’s never going to happen.”

Jesus took my hand. On the screen, a person stood on a surfboard off the coast of South Africa, paddling through translucent, turquoise waters above the shadow of a long, fluid, strikingly beautiful shark. My shoulders relaxed.

“I know what you’re thinking,” I said, recalling a section from that morning’s A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 181:

A major hazard to success has been involvement with your past and future goals. You have been quite preoccupied with how extremely different the goals this course is advocating are from those you held before. And you have also been dismayed by your depressing and restricting thought that, even if you should succeed, you will inevitably lose your way again. …These concerns are but defenses against present change of focus in perception. Nothing more. (from paragraphs 4 and 5)

“Jesus,” I said, smacking myself upside the head.

“Hey.” He smiled.

“It’s only about now, isn’t it? What I choose now, in this moment. Not what happened last week or this morning. Not where I’m going. Just right now. That’s where my mind is, has always been, and will always be. That’s the only place I can go to choose again. The only place I can go to be with you. The only place I could ever be to see things differently. I am so going to ace this course!”

Jesus had his feet up on the coffee table and was fiddling with the volume on the remote. “Now that we got that straightened out, do we get popcorn?” he asked.

 

My new book, Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want, and my previous book, Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness, are now available from the ACIM Store: http://www.acimstore.com/default.asp, where I am honored to currently appear as featured author. Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want takes up roughly where my last ACIM essay collection left off, and conveys my growing faith that no matter how wrenching, wild, or wacky the dream of our lives may appear, we always have a choice about which inner teacher we are looking and listening with: the ego, the part of our mind that believed the “tiny, mad idea” of separation from our source had real effects. Or the “right mind” that remembered to gently smile at the bizarre thought of it. Through day-to-day practice we learn that choosing the inner teacher of fear hurts, while choosing the inner teacher of kind forgiveness yields peace that defies understanding and includes everyone and everything in its warm embrace.

Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want is also available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Forgiveness-Offers-Everything-I-Want/dp/0983742014  in paperback and kindle versions. If you read and like the book, please consider writing and posting a brief review on Amazon. Thank you!

I was a guest teacher on acim gather last Sunday. You can listen to the audio here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/4621838/SusanDugan072813.mp3

You can listen to a recent conversation I had with my good friends and fellow ACIM teachers Lyn Corona, and Bruce Rawles about how to forgive ourselves on this journey home to the one Love we never really left here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IY4DZ0E5A0&feature=youtu.beor on the Videos page of this site.

I enjoyed talking with Bruce Rawles recently about my new book; Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want, and the importance of cultivating a relationship with the inner teacher of forgiveness in our one mind. You can watch the video by clicking here: http://youtu.be/D4fO6u_EP74 or on my home page.

Also had a good time talking with CA Brooks, host of the 12 Radio show Simpletales, about my new book and recipes for true forgiveness. You can listen to the audio here: http://goo.gl/iHydCor on my Audios page.

Although A Course in Miracles is clearly a self-study program and the one relationship we are truly cultivating is with our eternally clear and loving right mind, a mentor can help Course students apply its gentle forgiveness practice in their lives. In one-on-one phone sessions I help students identify and transcend the ego’s resistance to healing our split mind through forgiveness. By looking and  listening to our loving inner teacher we learn to recognize and release the unconscious blocks we use to push unwavering, all-inclusive Love away and gradually awaken to our true, whole, eternally innocent  nature. For information on individual ACIM mentoring; please click on the mentoring tab on this site. (Please note that no one is ever turned away for lack of ability to pay.)

If you would like to receive these regular blog posts, please subscribe by providing your email as indicated in the upper, right corner of the www.foraysinforgiveness.com home page.

Comments

  1. Aren’t ALL accusations (a.k.a. fearful projections) disingenuous, seen from our eternally shared, completely inclusive, unchangeably perfect Oneness? 🙂 No sharks or humans were harmed in the making of this comment … or the post that inspired it. 🙂

  2. I do hope you’re right about that, Bruce! 🙂

  3. I love your writing. And I needed to read this today. 🙂 Fruit flies, politicians and apple cider vinegar. LOL. It would all summon my inner B****. LOL–and I am trying to kill a fly in my kitchen right now.

  4. Thank you so much, El! It’s so difficult as a body to be “normal” while still connecting with the presence of all-inclusive, abstract Love within, but that’s what we’ll learning to do. When I asked Ken Wapnick in an interview about my experience having been bitten by a spider that caused a severe allergic reaction he said:

    “Kill the spider–get an exterminator if you have to. That’s another example of what we say about just being normal. But try to do it without anger. Some people could be able to talk to the spider and the spider would leave. But if that’s not going to work, kill the spider and don’t be angry about it, don’t feel guilty about it, try not to be vicious about it. You can talk to the spider, you can tell it you’re sorry, whatever works. Be normal, but be as kind and gentle as possible in the process.”

    Easy for Ken to say. 🙂

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