The real upside of hip fractures

(I wrote this essay about learning to practice A Course in Miracles, excerpted from my first book, Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness, eight years ago. It helps remind me that our journey home is a process both of deepening understanding and allowing our unconscious resistance to Love, our belief in the very self we think protects us, to be mercifully undone.)

Did I mention I am just recovering from a hip fracture? There is a story; of course, in the ego’s world there is always a story. Practicing A Course in Miracles we begin to understand that our story that looks so uniquely tragic or hopeful nonetheless springs from the same old story. In the original fiction we have bought the idea that we have run away from the source of our wholeness, at large in our bodies in a world the ego mind created to both reflect and protect us from God’s punishment for the crime of separation. In our effort to prove we have pulled off the impossible sin of individuality while avoiding retribution, we project our repressed guilt onto other bodies or, sometimes, our own.

This particular special story began on New Years morning 2009 in the idyllic little Victorian town of Crested Butte, Colorado, mid-way through a ski vacation with family and friends. I had skied for four days on a pair of sweet new K-2s and even though I had reverted to Eastern Standard Time to ring in the New Year the night before to accommodate my lark (over night-owl) tendencies, I was tired. As my family and friends headed out to the mountain under a milky sky to a day that promised the kind of icy conditions and flat light I found especially challenging, I begged off. I had been interacting with other people non-stop for five days. A self-declared introvert, I need chunks of time alone to replenish the energy spending long periods of uninterrupted time with others tends to deplete. That, too, is part of the story of Susan, a story I was about to illuminate in a new way with help from my inner teacher.

Here’s the bottom line. I believed I could only find my inner teacher, my connection with the divine, the voice for love, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, my right mind, whatever you want to call it, alone. This is particularly amusing given the fact that I had been studying A Course in Miracles for five years, reading the text, doing the workbook lessons designed to help us apply its principles in our lives, attending and teaching classes, and still somehow managed to miss the entire point!

Unlike many worthy spiritual paths that also lead to awakening but had not worked for me, this path urges us to heal the belief in autonomy at the root of our suffering through our relationships. We don’t do that by sitting on a mountaintop cross-legged with our eyes closed and our fingers pressed together. The silence we are asked to enter within has nothing to do with what appears without. We are asked to enter the silent part of our mind that remembers that the person sitting across the dinner table or chatting on the ski lift is actually the outlet provided to reestablish the divine connection I believe I severed. I heal my mind by seeing that the teenager glaring up at me as I set a glass of juice before her is not the problem, my belief in the original story of separation is the problem, but I can choose again with the help of my teacher to remember that we are one.

But that morning I apparently needed a little review. I bid my friends and family farewell and decided to go ice-skating; one of the solitary pursuits I believed had helped me connect with the divine in the past. Walking over to the public outdoor rink through the hushed streets I indulged in the sensation of Jesus walking beside me. But once I put on the ill-fitting rental skates, Jesus made a run for it. I had worn my lightweight ski socks and my bony ankles chafed against the cheap leather.

Time and time again I came off the ice to re-lace the skates, stuffing tissues over the hot spots, then forging out once more to see if I could flag Jesus down. Some local tweens playing hockey with someone’s glove nearly toppled me several times. Still, I persevered for almost an hour, striving to reestablish my connection, distracted by the throbbing in my ankles and the annoyance of dodging ill-mannered children whose hung over parents sat in the bleachers cheering them on. But the blurry sense of Jesus in my peripheral vision never materialized. Defeated, I returned the skates and headed down the icy, still largely deserted streets to the grocery store hoping to find some over-the-counter sinus medication to ease the pressure settling in under my eyes. I would go snow shoeing maybe; that always helped me connect.

The local grocery store looked like it had been looted following a summer blackout in Manhattan, its shelves largely empty and ransacked, drifts of confetti swept into a corner of the linoleum floor. A boy with stringy hair and blood-shot eyes—a snow boarder, or “shredder,” as we not so fondly called them–said he had no idea when fresh supplies might arrive over Monarch Pass. “Hey, we’re lucky I showed up,” he said. “It’s New Year’s, man.”

I hurried outside, and had gone maybe 200 yards when I wiped out, my legs thrown in one direction, the rest of me catapulted in the other. I landed hard on my hip, and bounced. I don’t know if I had ever felt so alone. In that instant of a pain so excruciating I could not pull air into my lungs, a terror gripped me, almost immediately followed by outrage. I glanced over my shoulder, half expecting to find the person who had surely pushed me, the shredder, maybe, or one of his kind. I didn’t see anyone, of course. But I did feel the presence of my inner teacher I had been seeking all morning, the clear-eyed gentleness of Jesus. In that moment of complete surrender I could almost see him holding up his hands as if to say; it wasn’t me. As if to remind me who had chosen this; and to promise me he would help me see why if I would allow him.

A stricken-looking woman in an SUV stopped and rolled down her window. “Don’t move,” she said. “I’ll be right there.” Several good Samaritans stood fretting over me. Did I need the EMT’s? No. If I could just get up, walk on it; I would be all right, I said. They helped me up, offered me a ride. I refused. I sat for a while on a metal chair beside an old, yellow dog that rested his muzzle on my knee. After a while I dragged myself several blocks back to Elk Avenue, taking baby steps on the slick sidewalks, through tunnels of plowed and shoveled snow, my mittened hands pressed against the glass of store fronts selling books and high-end pottery, jewelry, and kitchenware, for balance, my favorite little prayer playing in my head: “help me, help me, help me.”

Eight blocks later, back at the rental, I peeled off my ski pants, filled a plastic bag with ice, popped some ibuprofen, and grabbed the Course, asking Jesus to show me what I needed to know. I opened the book to Chapter 21, The Responsibility for Sight:

This is the only thing you need do for vision, happiness, release from pain and complete escape from sin, all to be given you. Say only this, but mean it with no reservations, for here the power of salvation lies: 

            I am responsible for what I see.

            I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide

                        Upon the goal I would achieve

            And everything that seems to happen to me

            I ask for, and receive as I have asked. 

Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you. Acknowledge but that you have been mistaken and all effects of your mistakes will disappear. (Text Chapter 21 II., paragraph 2)

As in the instant when my body hit the ground I saw that I had created this, that I had already been feeling unfairly treated, my peace somehow jeopardized by these others. The fall merely reflected my inner belief in my victimization. Although my ego mind raced forward wondering what would happen if I had really damaged this body, how I would make it to scheduled client meetings, get my daughter to all her activities, rewrite my novel, launch this blog; the presence of my inner teacher helped me accept responsibility for my mistaken projection. As I did, I understood that this was all in my best interest. However it played out, I would be OK. The truth in me could not be threatened, broken, or destroyed. And as I picked up the phone to call my husband, a part of me had to smile because I had finally gotten the quality time with Jesus I craved.

That connection has not gone away. In the weeks that followed, confined to crutches or a walker, my husband and daughter and friends stepped up to care for me in ways I never would have otherwise allowed, and a funny thing happened. As my relationship with them became less identified with the rigid roles I had scripted for us and I allowed myself to receive their love in whatever ways they offered it, my connection with my inner teacher continued to strengthen. It did not go away when my husband entered my office and began talking to me while I was writing or on the phone. It did not go away when my daughter lay on the couch watching a reality TV program involving wealthy, potty-mouthed teenagers I sometimes longed to kidnap and reform. It did not go away when clients changed their mind about what they wanted from me several times an hour. It did not go away when I studied the crumbs and dust accumulating on the hardwood floors that I could not sweep up one-handed.

It did not go away because it can’t go away. It can’t go away because it never left me. It never left me because I never left it. I learned from my hip fracture that I really don’t want to be alone ever again, even though I might sometimes need to close my office door to finish a project, or take a yoga class, or meditate to clear my busy mind. I want to be in constant relationship with my inner teacher, the only real relationship available. When I forget it is there, I find it again by listening to the terrible loneliness of my belief in separation, the loneliness I begin to recognize and heal when I truly and with complete attention, begin to listen to you.

(Note: Here are a few additional, unpublished thoughts about the experience from my blog post back then. :))

Unexpected bonuses from my hip fracture:

I got to be right. I knew something was broken, despite the E.R. doc in Crested Butte’s X-Ray, X-Rays at Kaiser, and the orthopedist and physician assistant who advised me I could resume my regular activity. Which caused me to work out on the Nordic track and take a few excruciating spins on stationery bicycles for three weeks on a broken hip for crying out loud. But eventually I got to be right, because later, additional X-Rays revealed that my hip really was broken!  Better right than happy, my ego always says. Yeah, well …

Crutches with crampons. I am not making this up. I got these crutches in Crested Butte and they came with some serious machismo: crampons! You know, in case you get the urge to climb a fourteener on your broken hip or feel like slipping off the A Course in Miracles wagon for the duration of your recovery and whacking somebody who has just taken the last close-in parking space at the grocery store parking lot following another snowstorm upside the head. (Of course, your doctor has given you a form to apply for handicapped parking but you have to show up in person at Motor Vehicles on crutches to get it, which must be listed somewhere in the Divine Comedy as a separate circle of hell!)

Husbands and children remember how to cook. When the doctors at Kaiser finally discovered I had a fracture three weeks into this little journey in forgiving my belief in the body and told me I had to stay completely off my leg or undergo emergency surgery my husband and daughter threw a little impromptu fondue party. They trashed the kitchen, used every dish in the cupboards, and then performed what passes for cleanup on the planet from which they hail, that does not include wiping or sweeping up spills and crumbs. But since I’m not seeing that well these days either, what the heck. As long as I keep my socks on, I’m chill. (My daughter hates it when I say things like that.)

Racing around on hardwood floors in your walker. This is actually a lot more fun than you might think. I go from my office to the kitchen to the foyer and back again hundreds of times a day. I call the hall between my office and the kitchen the Panama Canal because of the tight fit. The walker has a little drawer in case you want to pack a lunch or something, and a seat in case you’re felled by sudden-onset depression. It has brakes; too, should you get going too fast or decide to take it down a big hill. I took it outside once but the wheels are puny. (I wonder if you can get mountain-bike tires?) So I just keep racing around inside. I dream of one day making it to the living room and that television set but that step down continues to thwart me. Anyway, that’s why God made crutches. OK, maybe not God. Who did invent crutches anyway? Couldn’t they come up with something better after all these years?

The bozo horn on my cane.  I’m not sure you call it a cane. I’m not sure what to call it. My husband came home with this device that has a four-pronged base and a curved handle. His employees gave it to him for his 50th birthday. It has a little Bozo-the-Clown horn to cheer you up or frighten small children. It reminds me of something the dirty old man in the old Laugh-In show might carry. I am dating myself. Really, I was just a little kid when that show came out. I am not even close to being ready for something like this. OK, maybe the horn. Ugh–just forget about it!

Someone else gets to take out the garbage and recycling. My family members look at me the way some Course students look at the Holy Spirit, as some kind of stinking Fairy Godmother; in our case, a trash fairy who comes in the middle of the night and rids the house of unsightly debris. Well, listen up: Fairy’s on vacation, people! Suck it up and do your part. 

People carrying things for you. When I am with my friends and family, they carry things for me such as my purse, my books, and my shopping bags. This may be the closest I will ever come to tasting the life of the royals. I could get used to it, really.

Small children think you’re a robot. I was in Starbucks on my macho crutches the other day and these two little kids were absolutely taken with my hardware. I made robot faces at them and they hid behind their mother’s legs.

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Foundation for A Course in Miracles Announcements

Latest Book

A Symphony of Love is an compilation of selected writings of Dr. Kenneth Wapnick, including autobiographies, poetry, short stories, and articles. 

Programs through March 2017

Please view our latest Temecula Schedule page https://www.facim.org/temecula-schedule.aspx   to see the Seminars and Academy classes, including Live Streaming of the classes, currently scheduled through March 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! 🙂 NEW INTERVIEWS with Rosemarie LoSasso and Jeff Seibert coming to my www.foraysinforgiveness.com site in 2017!)

Two NEW Audio Releases

http://bookstore.facim.org/p-443-dream-stuff.aspx

http://bookstore.facim.org/p-448-the-holy-relationship-a-stream-of-stars.aspx

MP3-CDs To Be Discontinued

The Foundation continues phasing out its MP3 CDs. The fourth grouping of MP3 CD titles to be discontinued can be viewed here. These titles are on sale at a 40% discount, and are available through February 28, 2017 only. Please note that all orders containing MP3-CDS will be shipped at the end of February.

Super Inventory Sale

We are continuing to clear out the warehouse of all printed books as we make the transition to electronic books. After the current supply of books is sold, the books will not be reprinted, and will be available only in digital download format.

You may view all of the 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.

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In this NEW VIDEO, friend and fellow Course student and teacher Bruce Rawles and I discuss 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 recording of a show I did with CA Brooks, 12Radio, we review the practice of forgiveness through A Course in Miracles workbook lessons 5 and 34 http://www.12radio.com/archive.cfm?archive=0C205831-26B9-4187-86FD0B745FCD31FE.

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 teaching organization, has a beautiful new website: http://www.schoolforacourseinmiracles.org/, with information on 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.

 

 

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