The Runaway Bunny

Here’s another excerpt from my most recent collection of essays, Forgiveness Offers Everything I Want, about practicing extraordinary forgiveness in ordinary life, remembering all I really want, and learning to smile. (I will be heading to Temecula, CA, next week for the March Academy at The Foundation for A Course in Miracles, and will post again ASAP after I return.)

Mashed potatoes

“Read it again, Mama,” my then two-year-old daughter would chant night after night at bedtime. And regardless of how tired I was, I would start over, vaguely conscious even then that my own little bunny would all too soon be running away as all little bunnies eventually do.

“’Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away,’” I read.

“So he said to his mother, ‘I am running away,’” my daughter would chime in. She loved that part.

“‘If you run away,’ said his mother,” I continued, “‘I will run after you. For you are my little bunny.’”

Like most young children, Kara loved this heartfelt tale by Margaret Wise Brown concerning a little bunny’s fantasies about striking off on its own, assuming various identities and hell-bent on trading the security of a safe, toasty warren and a parent’s adoration for more alluring horizons. Becoming for example a fish in a trout stream that tries to swim away only to have its mother come after him and fish him out with a pole. My daughter would clap her small hands as the little bunny became a rock on a mountain, a crocus in a garden, a circus performer, and a sailboat in its frenzy for freedom, and laugh as the patiently indulgent mother followed in hot pursuit, morphing into a mountain climber, a gardener, a trapeze artist, and a steady wind to blow him back into her loving fold.

“Read it again, Mama,” Kara would command each time I attempted to close the book. Because, in truth, she liked the descriptions of the bunny’s adventures and the Mama’s chase much more than the ending where the bunny gives up and comes home. She has always been like this. In daycare, instead of clinging and pitching fits like normal children, she would wiggle down off my hip and toddle bravely off toward the playroom calling out names and dispensing hugs like a politician working a fundraiser. I would stand watching as the other parents labored to pry their writhing, wailing spawn from their calves, trying to convince myself this was a good thing. I had raised a confident child. Still, it was all I could do to resist casting a line and reeling her back in.

Fast forward 16 years and my daughter is mentally and emotionally preparing to hop out of the family warren in pursuit of the proverbial dangling carrot without so much as a backward glance, as all brave bunnies eventually will. Chomping at the bit to forge a new, improved, and more exciting life for herself. I am acutely aware–as we begin her final semester in high school and final varsity soccer season; as we start filling out graduation announcements and planning a celebration for family and friends–that my days as a live-in parent are numbered. As she studies for her final IB exams and weighs final college offers, I am also conscious that the story of The Runaway Bunny is everyone’s tale, a story of taking the “tiny, mad idea” that we could flee our Father’s all-encompassing, eternal Love and play hide and seek with him in a hallucinated world of which he—remaining thankfully, unalterably sane–knows nothing.

I’m OK with this, I tell myself, as I set about whipping up another nouveau, comfort-food classic—macaroni and cheese and tuna noodle casserole and my famous spicy turkey meatloaf—she is, ironically, rarely around long enough anymore to eat. I know I am really trying to assuage my own persistent sense of loss. A nagging regret that defies my growing faith in what A Course in Miracles is saying. Its take on the nature of our closest relationships and the enduring specialness of this specific relationship in particular I still think I want more than the perfect, all-inclusive love all the seeming fragments of the one child of God continue to pretend to push away.

Then, too, I catch myself watching my daughter sometimes with a deep sense of longing, wishing I could impart what I am learning in A Course in Miracles about our universal authority problem, the ego’s journey into an invented world wherein it continually seeks but never finds itself.  A reenactment of the original journey away from the mind we embarked on when we forgot to laugh at the thought of separating from our creator, choosing instead to follow the ego away from the one mind and then forget we ever had a mind. Assuming bodies–intent on competing both for survival and divine attention and approval–and forging deeper and deeper into a dream of self-imposed exile from perfect, eternal, all-inclusive love. Cutting deals with others to get our needs met that never work for long enough while continuing to try to entice the ego’s God to follow us into this world and validate our illusions.

But I know we cannot fix or change or spare any of the inhabitants of this world what the Course calls their “curriculum,” not even the ones we literally bring into it. This comes as a particular affront to parents and yet, we can only choose love over fear whenever an opportunity to do so presents itself. We can only choose for the inner teacher of love, thereby teaching love, the inner teacher of invulnerable strength, thereby teaching invulnerable strength.

On the level of form, I find myself grieving what still sometimes feels like my daughter’s impending defection, even as I recognize the time has come for her to give this world’s illusions her best shot. We have outgrown my long fantasized ability to protect and control her and I realize that the faster she experiences all the world has to offer, the more quickly she will learn to resign as her own teacher, as we all eventually must. Still, a part of me wishes I could somehow intervene, somehow spare her the time and disillusionment that eventually propels us to finally plead for a better way.

Sometimes I still wish I could just convince my daughter to accept the ending to The Runaway Bunny, wherein the little bunny realizes it might just as well stay put and reap the benefits of maternal nurturing and the mother rewards him with a big, fat carrot. But I know too much about how this dream works now. Besides, that would require me to accept it myself and I am not quite there yet, still invested in this world at least when it comes to the fate of my little bunny as I swallow another spoon of baked mashed potatoes in her behalf and wait with my little dog for my daughter to come home.

Baked Mashed Potatoes

(Adapted from a similar recipe, instead calling for sage and cheddar that appeared in the November 2003 issue of Bon Appétit magazine, these magic mashers are guaranteed to chase away the blues of the ego thought system.)

-5 large russet potatoes peeled, cut into chunks, and submerged in a pot of salted water

-1/2 cup unsalted butter

-1-1 ½ cups fat-free half and half

-1 ½ cups grated Fontina cheese

-1 T finely minced Italian parsley

-1/8 t cayenne or to taste

-fresh ground pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until very tender. Drain. Mash together with butter and half and half. Add remaining ingredients (reserving ½ cup of cheese). Fold mixture into a buttered or cooking-sprayed casserole dish. Top with additional cheese and sprinkle with paprika (optional) for color. Bake at 375 degrees about 45 minutes or until lightly browned on top. For best results, enjoy while waiting for your children to come home.

 A Course in Miracles at 12Radio. We talked about how the Course is not a path in positive thinking, but rather in learning to look at all we’ve made up to hurt and divide us. Bringing it back to the healing-for-all light of our right mind, and remembering to smile. https://www.foraysinforgiveness.com/audio/CA_ACIM_ARCHIVE_2_7_2014.mp3

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/.

Here’s another ACIM hangout video I did with my friend Bruce Rawles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yogj9ckTXbc&feature=youtu.be . In this one, we talk about our love for our teacher Ken Wapnick, a demonstration of kindness to one and all, and how we can honor his life and heal our minds by living all he has taught us! 

HALF-HOUR MENTORING SESSIONS NOW AVAILABLE: 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 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 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 harmless, and gently allow our split mind to heal. One-on-one, hour or half-hour mentoring 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 below. (No one is ever turned away for lack of ability to pay.)

I’ve made some exciting new changes to my Tuesday-night forgiveness class, designed to deepen our study and practice and accelerate our learning in 2014! (PLEASE SEE THIS SITE’S CLASSES/EVENTS PAGE FOR DETAILS.) We’ve begun the year by embracing true prayer, forgiveness, and healing as described in The Song of Prayer pamphlet (pamphlets available for purchase from the RMMC or already included within the most recent edition of A Course in Miracles). The Song of Prayer was scribed by Helen Schucman following the Course’s publication and helps clarify misunderstandings about its non-dualistic metaphysics. Our classes on this topic will conclude each week with an optional 20-minute true-prayer session.

We’ll devote the rest of the year to opening to the text, chronologically, from the heart, through selected readings, occasionally augmented by complementary workbook lessons and/or selections from the Manual, pamphlets, and recordings by premier Course Teacher, Author, and Scholar Kenneth Wapnick. Each week will conclude with an optional, 20-minute question and answer/comment/sharing session.

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 is also available at the Rocky Mountain Miracle Center in Denver, Colorado, where I teach weekly on Tuesday nights, 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. If you’re thinking about buying a book and live in Denver, please consider purchasing a copy from the RMMC to help support their great work.  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.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Prodigals in dream only are we? 🙂

  2. :)!

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