Something there is that doesn’t love a wall

(Hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from my book Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want, available on Amazon.)

I did not grow up in a family or community that embraced poetry—I mean, how many American families or communities do? And yet I secretly wrote it as a child, and remain a closet poet to this day. My clandestine incantations at best affirmations from beyond this individual self of a truth that–while not exactly ego-free–often conjures ego freedom with its neutral acknowledgement of the predicament in which we self-banished fugitives from real love often find ourselves. Seemingly stranded here in bodies and lamenting an absence of any true connection while actively building and maintaining fortresses that render our longing’s fulfillment impossible.

I grew up among hard-working people who, for the most part, had far more serious matters on their minds than poetry. And yet I devoured what I could get my hands on at the library in stealth mode; in the woods behind our development or under the covers with a flashlight at night, as if perusing pornography, in danger of execution for forbidden pleasures. Those days seem long ago and yet, the lines of favorite poems I  once cherished in solitude all those years ago have lately resurfaced in my mind like long-delayed answers to questions posed to a Magic 8 Ball.

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” for example.

So begins the poem Mending Wall, by Robert Frost, the exception to the rule, the anointed one who endeared himself to our family forever by speaking at John Kennedy’s presidential inauguration of a simple life, and simple ways.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.

That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it.

And spills the upper boulders in the sun.

The split rail fence bordered by forsythia bushes that separated the house I grew up in from a lonely, old woman next door did little to prevent our footballs, kick balls, and soft balls from sailing over the fence into her tomato patch. She would stab the former with a kitchen knife and confiscate the latter, leaving my father apoplectic. “Good fences make good neighbors,” I would read, opening my Robert Frost and wondering why we couldn’t just spring for a stronger, higher, better fence to keep the balls in; our neighbor’s vengeance and my father’s wrath out.

I didn’t understand that poem at the time, could only vaguely grasp the poet’s confusion over his neighbor’s stubborn insistence on constantly rebuilding stone walls marking boundaries that seemed superfluous in a rural New England where land loomed expansive and generous without livestock or children or balls to protect.  But I could sense the disturbing implication of a deeper malaise at work in the impulse to fence, even without recognizing it as reflective of the ego’s mindless reenactment of that original desire to wall out love; our “individual” special selves “in.”  Even without readiness to claim it as my own.

I live in a Denver neighborhood that borders on a walled community complete with fancy wrought-iron security gates. I mean, this is a nice neighborhood in Denver for crying out loud. Not Afghanistan. Not Juarez. We are not dealing with the threat of suicide bombers or random insurgent uprisings. No drug cartels that I know of, and yet. What exactly are we fencing out, or in; literally, and figuratively?

What Is the Body? in the second half of A Course in Miracles’ workbook profoundly answers that question:

The body is a fence the Son of God imagines he has built; to separate parts of his Self from other parts. It is within this fence he thinks he lives, to die as it decays and crumbles. For within this fence he thinks that he is safe from love.

According to the mythology underlying the Course’s two thought systems when the “tiny mad idea” of wishing to separate from whole, all-inclusive, eternal love arose in our mind and we took it seriously, we found ourselves figuratively cast into darkness, the light of our true nature no longer visible. In our fear and self-loathing and still curious about the possible benefits of individuality, we followed the ego into an entire projected universe of fenced in “others” and fell asleep, plunged into a dualistic dream in which we interact from behind our fences. Lobbing missiles of the hidden guilt in our mind over the belief that we destroyed our oneness over the fence, only to perceive it as an incoming assault perpetuated by another in an effort to prove our greater innocence and avoid God’s punishment.

I am not making this up. This is the script we wrote and forgot, the preposterous, repressed story that nonetheless drives us. We have attempted to parcel infinity into little plots of DNA we identify with as our own, inside which we believe we attack and defend, wage love and war, age, sicken, and die. But despite our vast hallucination, the common ground beneath our imagined feet remains completely unaffected by our continually rising-only-to-crumble again fences.

Bodies of ego evidence to the contrary, there is no way out of this guilty, fearful script from inside. Only by learning to choose the part of our mind that observes our dream but remains lucid within it can we see the fences for the silly defenses against invulnerable truth they truly are, watch them crumble, and recover our abiding common ground. By recognizing the pain our fences actually bring us and thereby choosing to change our inner teacher from the ego to the Holy (Whole) Spirit, the illusion of walls designed to block our awareness of love’s uninterrupted, eternal presence falls away. And we experience our all-inclusive innocence reflected back at us from our neighbors’ eyes.

How do we break free of our self-imposed prisons? By changing the purpose we have assigned them.

… The body is the means by which God’s Son returns to sanity. Though it was made to fence him into hell without escape, yet has the goal of Heaven been exchanged for the pursuit of hell. The Son of God extends his hand to reach his brother and to help him walk along the road to him. Now is the body holy. Now it serves to heal the mind that it was made to kill. …

As I write these words, my little dog sits at the gate to our backyard hoping to justify her low growl with a whiff of or peek at that big, bad yellow neighbor cat that continues to gleefully torment her from the other side of our fence. And I recall Robert Frost’s words, ready–at least for the moment–to side with the “something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” and, in so doing, healing my mind of the childish notion that gave rise to our mindless habit of erecting and preserving fences.


Foundation for A Course in Miracles Announcements



The Attraction of Love


Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.


Two CD Set: $13.00 • MP3 Download: $9.00

This new audio release by Dr. Kenneth Wapnick was recorded in 2005, and discusses the attraction of love as presented in the A Course in Miracles. This audio program is available as a CD set and an MP3 download.

­­­The Interviews page on my forays website has 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.

Schedule individual MENTORING sessions with Susan Dugan here:  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!)

In this LATEST VIDEO, Bruce Rawles and I discuss recommitting to making the purpose of our days a classroom of true forgiveness with help from our inner Teacher:

 RECENT VIDEO, Bruce Rawles and I discuss what A Course in Miracles means by “the quiet center” of the mind 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.”

In this RECENT VIDEO, my friend and fellow Course student Danielle Scruton discuss A Course in Miracles workbook lesson 131: “No one can fail who seeks to reach the truth.”


In this RECENT VIDEO, my friend and fellow Course student Danielle Scruton and I discuss practicing forgiveness within the classroom of the parent-child relationship in the context of the Course quote “And God Thinks Otherwise.”


In this RECENT VIDEO, my friend and fellow Course student Danielle Scruton and I discuss how to weather the ego’s “backlash.”


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

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.

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.”

In this NEW AUDIO,  CA Brooks, 12Radio, and I talk about acim workbook lesson 193: “All things are lessons God would have me learn.”

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!):

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! 🙂

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! :))

MY LATEST BOOK, FORGIVENESS: THE KEY TO HAPPINESS,, along with my second book in the forgiveness essay collection series, FORGIVENESS OFFERS EVERYTHING I WANT:  are currently DISCOUNTED on Amazon.


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!

A recording on Changing the Purpose of the Body from Prison to Classroom:, and another on what it means to go “above the battleground” (ACIM Text 23, Section IV)

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.”  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.


Here’s a video I did with Bruce Rawles on sharing perception with the Holy Spirit:

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.”

In this VIDEO, Bruce Rawles and I discuss A Course in Miracles lesson 190: “I choose the joy of God instead of pain.”


The Denver-based School for A Course in Miracles (formerly the School of Reason), an A Course-in-Miracles 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, 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: 

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

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 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.





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