Living without Fear and Embracing All

“The mind then, that becomes the one who is no longer in fear, no longer in resistance, is the mind that has forgiven all things, including itself.  The mind that can embrace all phenomena that arise and pass away with passion, with joy, with aliveness, with innocence, with simplicity, that mind cannot taste death.  It literally transmutes death, even as death seems to be passing by.”  (“The Way of Transformation,” The Way of Mastery, Chapter 21, Page 257)

When we are no longer afraid of death, death will seem to be passing us by–even at the point of the end of our time on earth.  We will thus not taste of death in our thoughts for long years prior, as well as when the time comes.  Our hearts will be free of fear.  We will accept all things, even this, being willing to “have it so.”  This type of relinquishment is a secret of how to approach life at any time, and not just when life is ending.

“Be willing to have it so.”  This is acceptance brought to the forefront of our lives.  This is the acceptance that lets God know that we are at last in His fold.  We have tried everything else, and now we know that His is the best way.

Decide for Him today.

Character

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Dim foreshadowings afford us

early glimpses of what later

might be called good character

the strength of which was hewn

from hard fine granite

chipped away in slow

painstaken labor

certainly

not self- designed

nor requested

nor desired.

No

this surgeon artist scalpel

reconfiguring as prisoner

one who would if breaking

chains invisible were possible

bolt and leave a fiery trail

as hastily escaping such ordeal.

How daring the Designer

who mined the blocks

then saw unique form buried there

waiting to be born

and as the Master Sculptor

took full advantage of

his expertise without

apprentices employed

but in his own worn practiced hands

the ancient tools

began their sacred work.

Work Musings

From Celia’s Images in a Reflecting Pool; a Journal

Colds or “bugs” are a form of seeking outside ourselves, convenient crutches we use when we are very weary from walking in the world.  One then has an excuse to sit down.  Written a couple of days before I succumbed to a succession of mild but debilitating viruses:  “What do I really want to experience in my world?  I don’t want to be hassled constantly to do more-more- more.  I need to say ‘no’ to things for a month and then some.”

On the work complexities of modern life:  “I desperately need to learn how to pace myself.  If ever I get ahead at work, I immediately ‘fill my plate’ with a dozen things that are sure to swamp me eventually.” Four days later, the dawn of a solution:  

“I sensed today that I make things too hard.  I have too much a sense of responsibility.  I should let go and let God.  Life lived from moment to moment ‘listening’ (to the Holy Spirit) is much more interesting.  I can be much too work-oriented, so much that I become a drudge.”  

Stigmata

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

I listen with my ear

my mind

my heart.

I strain to hear

I know not what

but something from beyond

the dailyness of dull routine

where unpredictability

no audience desires

The catechesis memorized

as well as hymns and creeds

parade despite my plaintive plea.

I meditate on verb and phrase

and hope for some

resounding redolent reconfirmation

of oral apparition rare

enough to scar my brain

or stigmatize my hands and feet

to prove whatever words

some holy voice might tell me.

Perhaps if I but see or hear

or have imprinted as tattoo

a sacredness no need to prove

I would not need the sermonette

“be doers…”

 for the doing

would already be.

TINY MAD IDEA

Note: Published in Miracles magazine, September – October, 2022 (Jon Mundy, publisher; Glenn Hovemann, editor)

“Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh.”  (A Course in Miracles, COA ed., T-27.X.6:1)

“To access true knowledge of yourself and thus end all madness, you must go to knowledge in the right way, which is through love.”  (Choose Only Love, “Wisdom,” bk 4, 5.II)

We can’t remember any of this, but when we failed to laugh at the idea that we might attack God, making an illusion we would like better than the reality He provided, separating from our brothers and sisters, we chose madness.  And in madness is how we will stay until we discover truly how to love.  Love rights everything.  Unfortunately, we have become so accustomed to hearing that love is the Answer, that we don’t fully comprehend the import.

Perhaps if we try to discover how to love, we will make some progress.  We first forgive our brothers and sisters for what they have not done to us.  We have been living in a dream, because that is the only way that we could experience the madness that we chose.  We must drop judgment of our brothers and sisters, and we do this by recognizing the illusion.  A Course in Miracles says that fear is judgment. (T-29.X.9:3) Fear is the opposite of love, and when we drop the judgment that fuels fear, we are left with love.  Then, in love, we are safe in God’s arms once again.

We all want true knowledge of who we are.  And this true knowledge of self and others arises when we love, ourselves and others.  A tiny amount of love can be “milked” for all that it is worth.  And when we do so, we are enhancing that which is our heritage, and that heritage is love.  God’s Love.

When the fear dissipates, we are no longer afraid of what others will do to us. Because now we don’t fear or judge our brothers and sisters, we are free to love them—possibly for the first time.  

When overwhelmed with love, thank God for this blessing.

Fire

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

What fascination this with fire

that causes gods to give and then withhold it

making theft a necessary crime?

And what of ancient ones who labored long

or perchance in purely accidental flinting action

discovered they could so create?

And what theology espoused an evil entity

where flames engulf perpetually the damned?

Sacred writ is filled with references

from Eden’s entrance guardians

to  apocryphal revealing

where now and then emerges an image

so profound it lingers long for pondering

and many meditations may invoke.

Need we a myth of stealing fire from God

to warm our snow-cold  souls?

Need we the confidence that flinting of our wills

can cause the man-made miracle?

Need we to cast aside in our enlightenment

the burnt-out notion of a purgatory flame?

Or is there truth within the stealing, flinting, damning

for us who nurse burned fingers from

the flames that stolen matches lit

that speaks more plain to us of holiness and purging

than all the burning bushes of all time?

Planning Our Lives

From Celia’s Images in a Reflecting Pool; a Journal.

I think we plan our lives before we are born.  If so, given that I have always spent much time in thinking about what I should do next, I’m sure I planned carefully on the other side.  

I once had an intuition that my growing-up years went just as intended.  I wanted to emphasize working hard on academic pursuits and developing the impetus to achieve.  Now when I question the advisability of all that, surely some balancing act is taking place.

All of us enter life with a script that is filled with challenges and hurdles meant to build Character in the highest sense possible.  But, as Wordsworth says, we forget about this intention (“. . .Shades of the prison-house begin to close/ Upon the growing Boy, . . . .”  Consequently, we attend alumni reunions with a bright smile, making conversation that lies about a successful life with rarely a cloud in the sky.  Instead, we should drop our masks and admit that life has been tough.  After all, we planned it that way—each and every one of us.

Who Heard God Say?

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Who heard God say

“let us make man”?

Can we be sure

that “in our image”

was not addendum

for enjoyment of

imagination of an ego

eager for some status

in the face of fearful

existential angst?

Who learned of angels

and the guarantee that

we can almost match

them in God’s hierarchy?

Is this a fable poised

like all such stories

to smudge  

the universal question marks

and make us rank ourselves

more highly than we ought?

Or set a standard of perfection

dangling always right above our reach?

There must be some fast truth

imbedded in the tale told throughout

the rounds of galaxies

and baby weaning days.

There must be more than make-believe

to stir the heart’s awakening

to a melody mysteriously

making sure we don’t

forget the humming tune

and lyrics long repeating

“fearfully…wonderfully.”

Holy Instant

“The holy instant is the result of your determination to be holy.  It is the answer.  The desire and the willingness to let it come precede its coming.  You prepare your mind for it only to the extent of recognizing that you want it above all else.  It is not necessary that you do more; indeed, it is necessary that you realize that you cannot do more.  Do not attempt to give the Holy Spirit what He does not ask, or you will add the ego to Him and confuse the two.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-18.IV.1)

Jesus here gives instructions for inviting a holy instant.  We don’t “prepare,” which would merely be a case of our ego trying to make us think, momentarily, that we are purer than before we started to prepare!  We just need a little willingness to experience the holy instant, a sense that we really do want this great blessing above all other blessings (at least at a given point in time).  The holy instant will come when invited in just this way.  It is a blessing that the Holy Spirit doesn’t ask us to prepare, because we surely would botch the job if we tried!  (This is what the ego is attempting to get us to do.)

We need determination only, an intense desire and will that is our part in the whole process.  And that is all.

The Holy Spirit will do the rest.

A New Response

“While God is nothing but the Source of Love, you have, in your doubt, made of God the source of fear.  Pause a moment here and let the enormity of this confusion sink in, for this is the reversal in thinking that will pave the way for all the rest.  Because of this confusion you have responded to Creation with fear.  Is it no wonder a new response is asked of you?”  (A Course of Love, T1:4.26)

We fear many things, but we don’t often realize that what we fear most is actually God.  Or our concepts of God, which are misguided and inaccurate.  He is Love—as we know—but still we forget, even when we pray daily.  We think that maybe He doesn’t have our best interests at heart, our best interests as we view them.  We think that what we want for ourselves would be better.  And when we realize that God is in the depths of our spirit, then we can realize how very confused we have become.

God means us well.  Our Depths mean us well.  We don’t have to fear God at all.  It is not He Who punishes us, if indeed we are punished at all.  (And the ego does punish, though we are trying to get away from this concept, this deluded concept.)  Once we are able to fully believe that God is “for us,” then our love for Him can blossom, and our egoic fears will soon drop away.

These Least

In the alleys and the byways

we can find the outcasts

often self-imposed as

they

grown weary of

the uphill climb

they daily trudged

saw their energy

slip back

and felt defeat

despair

and desperation

so intense that

effort could not be born

within embrace

of gnawing pain of hunger

cold

and even more

the knowledge

that they

are the forgotten friendless

for whom no portals open

to welcome commensality

with those who

strangers

yes we be

live out

the Lord’s injunction

to feed

and wash

and clothe

and warm

those ones for whom

life lingers long

in shadows of

a dim drab dream

and harsh reality.

And we who have

the means to purchase

and provide for

some small number

of these least

and shun

responsibility

of offered hospitality

can muster

a water cup

of gentleness

in the form

of smile or touch

or one kind word.

Destiny

“There was a chance this time would never come.  This is what I am saying.  You have a destiny to live.  To do what you are here to do is to be who you are here to be.

“Can you imagine what the world could be if each one lived as who they are here to be?

“If being and doing were one?” Memoria

Note: This is a first post from Mari Perron’s new reception from Mary, something Mari is publishing under the title, Memoria.

We hear much about “being who we are,” and “being” rather than “doing.” A Course of Love discusses this the first time. Recent other channelings do as well.

Here Mary is saying that being and doing are one. If we live from who we are, we will operate from a single place, and this place is a place of being AND doing.

We do all have destinies to fulfill. And if we reflect on what that destiny truly is, we will know how to proceed. When we pray, and a quietness and peace come over us, we are hearing God in a way we can understand.

Otherwise, it is as if we were driving a car at night without any lights.

Turn to God to get your automobile lights on.

Education

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Life-long learning

is offered

to those elderly whose jobs

have ceased providing

stimulation adequate

to satisfy the curious

and those whose jobs have ceased entirely

who thrash about

to find a mind-thing

to occupy and verify

that brain cells function well enough.

But what of learning’s leader–

the staid formation of a guided tour

through book ideas as foreign

as the fields of some lost land?

The gentle musings of one long

removed from active life

preparing for the grave?

The pandering of some

pedantic pedagogue

promoting what he calls

manna food?

The life-long learner

comes

if true to self

and that which beckons him

to ponder deep desires of early life

when inner voices tried to make him hear

and follow his own siren’s song.

To live uniquely as himself

to view his world

in such a way

that education emanates

from each experience

to teach him

most of all

about himself.                                                            

Holy Instant

“You who are now the bringer of salvation have the function of bringing light to darkness.  The darkness in you has been brought to light.  Carry it back to darkness, from the holy instant to which you brought it.  We are made whole in our desire to make whole.  Let not time worry you, for all the fear that you and your brother experience is really past.  Time has been readjusted to help us do, together, what your separate pasts would hinder.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-18.III.7)

We are said to be bringers of salvation now, and we have barely begun reading the Text of A Course in Miracles.  This must give us hope; Jesus has a lot of confidence in us.

The holy instants which we have now will transform us; it is the light that has risen in us, the vision that we now know.  A holy instant is a particular moment in time, a moment in which we feel ineffable peace and pure joy, a moment for which we are encouraged not to prepare.  The holy instant is the Holy Spirit’s gift to us.  And the holy instant is a gift that we and our brother share.  In this, we become One again.  The transformation of our special relationship into a holy one has begun.

There is an interesting take on time in this quotation that bears some reflection.  Jesus can adjust time!  He says so!  We who are strict realists in regard to physical reality will find this assertion hard to accept.  The adjustment is not something that can be measured by physical machines, such as clocks.  But have we not ourselves observed many times that time sometimes seems to stand still, sometimes seems to speed ahead?  If Jesus is here talking about an actual physical occurrence, the clocks (the measuring devices) would themselves have been altered as well.  In the final analysis, we don’t know if Jesus refers to physical reality in this quotation, or to simply our perception of physical reality.  We know that our perception of the passing of time is subject to variation, and we have known this long before we started reading A Course in Miracles.

It is enough to know that time will be adjusted to allow us to experience the holy instant, which is a miracle.  Elsewhere Jesus also says that time is adjusted for us to perform miracles. 

The actual facts here are less relevant than the ethereal nature of the holy instant.  We are being taken out of ourselves to an experience of pure love, and we will return to ourselves with more of our consciousness transformed.  We are making progress.

Witnesses                                                       

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Witnesses they say

surround us

invisibly attending

indivisibly uniting

in such great company

that spoken of as clouds

great masses

throngs of ones

too numerous to number

ethereally growing

as joined by new arrivals

some of whom have

known us in a special way

and watch to see if their

imprimatur still tangible

within the heart

informs our pilgrimage.

Witnesses they say

surround us

their watchfulness

not all they bring

no, least of all

their watchfulness

for sightless they would still

perform their gift

of lifting and embracing us.

Rest

“Rest, when truly learned, is a state of being in which struggle has ceased and peace has triumphed over chaos, love has triumphed over fear.

“You may still see but two choices:  peace or struggle.  But with such an attitude, you would soon be struggling to maintain your peace.  There is another choice, and it lies within.”  (A Course of Love, T2:1.6 – 1.7)

We are at rest when we commune with our depths, which is the same as saying that we commune with our God.  He is always there, ready and eagerly waiting to help in any way that we will allow.  He doesn’t interfere if we thwart His ways by not turning to Him; He gave us free will so that we would turn to Him out of our extreme need.

Many don’t turn to God unless and until we are in dire straits.  But what a way to live!  Let intellectual doubts rest in the knowledge from the heart that there is a Supreme Power that dwells in the depths of our souls.  Within and without, He is always there—waiting for our nod in His direction.

We don’t have to choose peace over struggle in some kind of balancing act that seeks to keep the peace and resist the struggle.  We need only rest within, and all struggle ceases easily.  We have peace when we rest within.  And then God reigns.  And all is well in His world—and His world is our own.

Comfort Ye

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Comfort

comfort ye my people

comes command

and yet perhaps more

confirmation of

the character of

creaturehood

than mandate for life mission.

From whence comes true compassion?

Perhaps as we spring

fully formed

in soul-made grandeur

from the womb of Him

who birthed all sacred life.

So we endowed

with angel flight

and special birthing splendor

hold secretly sequestered

in dark reaches

heretofore unspermed

conception capabilities

of such elaboration

angelic choirs

would sing our praise

and we magnificats would raise

were we to witness and display

peculiar parity with God

as in immaculate conceiving

we give birth

to God’s own wombness

passioning with those begotten ones

who need some mending of their wings.

The Comforter Speaks to Us

“I highly recommend that you establish a relationship with the Comforter as though it were a relationship with a good friend—indeed, the best of friends—until you reach a point in which virtually every decision is given to that Mind:  Well, old buddy, should I turn left or right?”  (“The Way of Transformation,” The Way of Mastery, Chapter 21, Page 256.)

Jesus here refers to the Holy Spirit in quite familiar terms–as a “buddy.” This colloquial expression lightens our experience of the sacred, making us unafraid of a “Voice” that might speak to us.

It is unlikely that the Voice will be audible, unlikely because we might become afraid. When we look deep within, we know that we have found the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. And His words to us come back to us as our own mind speaking.

The Holy Spirit does not frighten us. If we turn aside from the good advice we “hear,” the Voice will lessen. And if we “hear” anything that would harm another, we need to turn aside, lest our own fears make for a situation that is not good.

It is our voice that speaks to us, but if we are staying close to God, we are partaking of His Spirit, and our way will smooth out, assuring us that His offer of help is a free offer. He wants us to know that He loves us, and one of the ways that He shows that is to offer guidance.

We can and will “hear” the Holy Spirit speaking when we open up our hearts to God’s Love. We are here experiencing the “happy dreams the Holy Spirit brings” (from A Course in Miracles).

Baptism

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Baptized once with water

ceremonially

or bathed in childhood

or perhaps alone with tears

or saved from certain drowning

or drenched with raging rain

some experience of water

has impressioned us

with grave importance

of the power it has

and when we hear the story

of those on whom the splashing

was accompanied by words

of cleansing to embrace new life

we wonder as we later ponder

other needed rituals of water     

and a wrestling then with life

to find a newness never found

not knowing where or even if

a new one could be had without

a certain rite in which

a cleric spoke convincingly

of purity and sanctity

that made us

not only know in mind

but feel in heart

a sense that some rare grace

indeed had come to take us

not so much from something old

as into something new

and being clothed

in fresh washed white

drink water as if holy wine.

The Holy Spirit Guides

“Truth has rushed to meet you since you called upon it.  If you knew Who walks beside you on the way that you have chosen, fear would be impossible.  You do not know because the journey into darkness has been long and cruel, and you have gone deep into it.  A little flicker of your eyelids, closed so long, has not yet been sufficient to give you confidence in yourself, so long despised.”  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-18.III.3)

The “Who” is the Holy Spirit; if it had been meant to be Jesus, then in A Course in Miracles the pronoun would not have been capitalized.  And God Himself is not called upon very much at all as long as we are lost in illusion.  God is said to have turned to the Holy Spirit, God’s Voice and the Universal Inspiration, to teach us how to find our way out of darkness.

We don’t understand the Holy Spirit, but we can come to experience Him, and in the experiencing we will find all the Love that we want.  He is our Guide, our way home to God, and He gently leads us by the hand and tells us what to do to make the journey, the “journey without distance,” (said elsewhere) that we need to take.

The last sentence, with a “little flicker of. . .eyelids,” is particularly poignant.  Jesus understands that we have walked deep into insanity, and finding our way back is going to be a problem to be overcome.  He is writing A Course in Miracles to give us the means to Awaken, and the more that we study it, the more simple the whole course becomes.  (Prior to intense study, ACIM seems complicated indeed.)

We have despised ourselves.  Our primary thought has been that we are not enough—not “good” enough, not strong enough, not pure enough.  We berate ourselves that we have disappointed God.  But God sees us as His children, and He does not berate us for mistakes made in innocence.  We are innocent of anything bad; mistakes made in illusion seem to have real effects, in our all-too-tangible world, but what is done in illusion is not really done at all.  So we can rest easy.  We forgive, but forgiveness is an illusion as well, but one that does not breed other illusions.  Thus it becomes our way home.  We forgive what has never happened in reality!  How easy is that?

Not As the World Gives

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

‘Not as the world gives’

is your peace you said

yet we would be

content just now with

what the world defines

since such unpeacefulness abounds

we cannot entertain the notion

of a state within

when all about us

life’s demise looms large.   

Power plays take center stage

and those rehearsing roles

soon star in great performances

surprising e’en themselves

with prowess and precision patterning.

Oh greed where is thy pain

which piercing self to inner well

of generosity so makes our

substance sharing

more to be desired

than much fine gold?

Where is the understanding

of that peace not understood

by mortal minds but mandates

light’s deep penetration of the

soul’s storehouse of truth?  

Is there a spirit energy

encased within your peace

propelling us to

show the world the way?

Purpose

“I and my Father are one.  Only Love is real, and Love, alone, heals.  My commitment is to the reality of Love.  Therefore, Father, bring each moment to me that I might learn anew to love, and allow that Love to transform a temporary illusion into that which extends the good, the holy, and the beautiful.

“Herein lies your purpose.  Herein lies your function, and herein—and only here—is Life.”  (“The Way of Transformation,” The Way of Mastery, Chapter 18, Page 217)

What is our purpose in life?  I think it is to discover how to live, and when we get really close to God, we discover that living Love is the only way to proceed.  Everything else makes no sense at all.

God’s universes could not survive if such was not built on Love.  And if it weren’t for our sometimes dim awareness that Love is the Answer, we would long ago have destroyed ourselves. 

Sure, we make mistakes—many mistakes.  But there is a resolution when we seek forgiveness of ourselves and move forward undeterred.  God, according to A Course in Miracles, does not need to forgive us because He has never condemned.  He condemns no one.  He simply spreads Love, always and forever.

God does give us free will, and so He lets us do as we will for a long time.  He knows with foresight that eventually we will tire of our games and turn to Him.  He knows that Love will draw us to His side—eventually.  It is the one Force in this world that ultimately will not be resisted.

It is this turning to Him that saves us from agony.  And when we love, in this world, however imperfectly, we are on the right track.

Pouring Nard

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Our alabaster jars emit

some essence purely ours

unnamed but permeating

deep within our secret place

saved up long years ‘til space brim-full

to be poured out unconsciously

on that most precious personhood

soul-born within the womb of God

anointing as one would a king

except this spills down past the head,

the seat of power, of will, of aim,

and covers all the flesh

and all interior dwelling

and all ethereal parts unknown

but to Begetter in beginning

that all may know the kingdom

and royal robes forever wear

and offer oblations as the high priest

and spread divinity throughout the realm.

Gates of Heaven

“Beloved pure soul!  You who live for God!  Whoever joins this work becomes one with us, and because of that union miracles and spiritual events of incalculable greatness and bliss will occur.  Gates of Heaven not yet opened will do so.”  Choose Only Love bk. 6, 1:II

A wonderful promise from Choose Only Love, received by Sebastian Blaksley from the celestial.  We are often given encouragement in these seven books in the series, published by Take Heart Publications and available on Amazon.

If we choose to take to heart these promises, our lives will smooth out and we will enjoy greater happiness.

Sometimes we think wanting to be happy is a selfish thing.  But no!  Actually it is the gift of God to us.  We just have to follow His message of Love.

Communal

Note: If you want to comment on Ann’s poetry, I will copy and paste, just as you have written, into an email to her. Thank you. – Celia

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Rustle of anticipation

decorum-tamed in sacred space

could not contain

eager excitement as

children-like they waited watching

crowding in habitual place

sharing seats with former strangers

expectation now uniting.

The moment came and on the face

of each one present glowed a radiance

felt within and seen without

igniting new communal flame

non-consuming yet hope-glowing

in the destined still-to-be.

Unseen aureoles now formed

around the crowd as well as him who spoke

in new yet old familiar tongue

each falling rapt upon the ear

of all who in the hearing heard

the rush of holy breath and knew that

they were born again commensally.

Born of and with and then into

the Spirit of the One whose

once-begotten Spirit we all are.

A Course of Love: An Overview

Note: A Course of Love: An Overview is available from Amazon for $3.95 (print; ebook). It is often helpful as an introduction to A Course of Love. The following excerpt is the preface to the booklet:

PREFACE

            The year was 2004, three years after Mari Perron had published the first part of f A Course of Love (also known by its acronym, ACOL) with New World Library.  Like Mari, I was living in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.  And, like Mari, I was a seeker.

            Some time had gone by since I had purchased and read the New World edition.  But I found myself  interested in having a conversation with Mari about A Course of Love, in part about the assertion I had read that Jesus had channeled this new work.   We met over coffee.  She was charming and articulate, but unassuming, just a “regular” person.  We were deep in conversation for over an hour.

            Mari’s daughter Mia came over to greet us.  Mari lamented that A Course of Love had not “taken off” the way that she would have liked.  Mia said something prophetic:  She said that it took a while for A Course in Miracles to take off, and that it would just take some time for A Course of Love to become known as well. 

As our conversation continued, Mari said, “I have been praying that someone would come to me to help me get the word out about A Course of Love.” 

I was stunned.  Mari thought that I was an answer to her prayer.

I thought she had the wrong person.  I was A Course in Miracles enthusiast, and I thought that she needed a younger generation to come along and help her. 

Now, twelve years later and seven years into writing a blog on both A Course in Miracles and A Course of Love, I think Mari might have been right all along.  Right about a mission for me, right about Jesus as the one who channeled to her.    

Now many others are drawn to ACOL, due largely to Glenn Hovemann’s Take Heart Publications and the new combined volume.  Yes, Jesus’s professed “continuation” of A Course in Miracles has an ever-widening and increasingly enthusiastic audience.

To my mind Jesus had “unfinished business” with us after A Course in MiraclesA Course of Love answers many of the questions that we have had after reading A Course in Miracles.  Now Jesus not only takes us by the hand and leads us beyond the ego, but he tells us how to establish a new identity—in this body but beyond this body, the “elevated Self of form.”

We are on the threshold of a newly created world.  The Voice that Mari heard as “thoughts she did not ‘think,” (D:12.11)  now made available to us in A Course of Love, counsels us to transform ourselves and our world.

                                                            —

             This journey for me of writing this small book about A Course of Love would not have been possible without the assistance of Mari Perron, ACOL scribe, and Glenn Hovemann, ACOL publisher.  I thank Mari for her prayers and insight, and Glenn was his ever-supportive demeanor and editorial direction, as well as substantial contributions to the chapter, “Frequently Asked Questions / FAQ.”  And, finally, my heartfelt thanks to my husband Paul for everything.  He expressed his interest early in this project by telling me that he wanted to read what I was writing.  And he has.

–Celia Hales

How Can We Be at Peace?

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

How can we be at peace when

spirits’ doors are locked against it?

locked and bolted ‘gainst

we know not what but the

unknowing makes us fearful still.

Fearful of whatever lies beyond

paltry presumption of control 

beyond concentrated consciousness

that knows so little

understanding even less.

Fearfulness that lies in wait

albeit quite against its will 

for frequent fear is nonetheless

predictable and anxious huddling

in its shadow is more

to be desired than any sort

of openness to expectation’s

swaddling cloths of vulnerability.

How senseful that our fear 

that chronic lodger

continues welcome with its stale                         

foul breath and stained attire

when we the landlords

with our legalese

could if we dared

advertise our “rooms to let”

and interview new prospects

always with the veto power

tightly clutched within our ring of keys.  

Union

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Water into wine

into sacramental pure libation

shared by all attending

festive culmination of betrothal

of the bridegroom and the bride.

Preparations planned to posture

in appointed places

all the actors

of the passion play

the passage rite

the mystery of miracle

leaving home and kindred folk

to enter tiny canopy and there

repeat the ancient vows

and pledge to honor

new relationship of head and heart.

Would that all so young

might don the wedding white

baptismal robes and leave

the washing waters of remorse

and feel such cleansing

as pre-nuptials require

to fully celebrate the union

of my mind and soul.

Heart

Note: Today’s posting is an excerpt, with prompting quotation added, to my book, Being Who You Are: Pondering A Course of Love, 265 pages. The book is available on Amazon for $7.95 (print) and $5.99 (ebook). Five out of five stars for all reviews.

“While your mind did not accept the truth of your identity or the reality of love without fear, it existed in a reality of fear and judgment, and bound heart and body to this reality.  Your heart has now heard the appeal of this Course and worked with your mind to bring about this acceptance of the truth, a truth your heart has always known but has been unable to free you to accept without the mind’s cooperation.”  (A Course of Love, T4:7.5)

This quotation explains the concept of wholeheartedness, that we need to join mind to heart, not letting either take the ascendancy alone.  In wholeheartedness, we give up fear, not with a whimper, but with a joyful shout.  We are free at last!  Fear and judgment go together, and both are anathema to reaching Christ-consciousness.  Our heart has always known truths that our mind rejected because of our intellectualism.  Basically, we didn’t want to be superstitious.  We feared that believing in God was intellectually suspect.

Our heart doesn’t have such misgivings.  Our heart knows that there is a Something—or Someone—More.  And when we listen to our hearts, we are happier.  Would you not take happiness, any day, over intellectual skepticism that locks us in despair?

Name

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

The name’s the thing–                                                                                                                                   

the precious thing that’s mine alone.

Some stories tell of Adam

naming animals with such humor

and caprice that we are made to laugh

and as young children we named toys,

then pets, and some of us kept genealogy

of all the living creatures that came

to love us in our youth.

We named our playmates, imaginary though they were,

and those of us with great imaginations

even gave ourselves new names and then designed the tales

to prove that those names were most real.

But Kunta Kinte brought to us a new reality

in the giving of our names.  Was he named

by splendid universe or great ruler thereof

or was he named in presence of and introduced

at once to all the galaxies beyond?

No matter.  Perhaps both.  Whatever happened

as we read or witnessed it on film,

and witnessed, too, the naming of the

families of slaves descended from this one,

we learned to longer look at naming

and the phenomenon

it truly is.

How many names do we possess?

And have we named ourselves as we

were wont to do?

And have we understood the family

of names passed down to us from all

ancestors who lived before and wove their

lives into peculiar branches that are ours?

And naming of ourselves–how often and deliberately

have we bestowed upon ourselves

appropriate appellations reckoned

 by a quickened self-disclosure?

How often have we let the voice

of God break through the towers of babbling names

in order to proclaim again–or for the first time

to our sometimes deafened ear

our holy name of well belov-ed only child?

New Path

“After having blessed everything lived, known, taught, and experienced, we let it go forever and begin a new path, a path without past, without plans, without pre-conceived ideas.  We are carried by the Grace of God.”  Choose Only Love bk. 6, 1:I

Choose Only Love is taking us in new directions.  We bless our past, but we don’t cling to it.  God blesses our past, but He too does not hold us to it.

We are walking a new way now, a way in which we are “carried by the Grace of God.”  This new beginning has assurances that were not ours previously.  Our knowledge—not our perceptions—will carry us forth from now on.

We don’t know how this new path will unfold—and wonder of wonders, we don’t have to know.  God’s Grace is always sufficient.  If we think we need to know specifics, we need only ask, and we will be told, but specifics unfolding in their own time and place.

Take heart, be reassured that God and angels walk with us.  We cannot lose our way unless we want to do so.  And who would want, once again, to lose our way?  We found that our way would not work.  Now, as bidden by all revealed writings, we choose God’s way.

If we stand firm in this determination, there is nothing that we wish to do that we cannot do—if the wish is certain and clear in our innermost being, for we are listening to the Guide Whom God is, our sure way.

Love / Safety / Trust

“Where you learned to hate, you will learn to love.  Where you learned to fear, you will learn safety.  Where you learned to distrust, you will learn trust.  And each learning experience will be a learning experience because it will touch your heart.”  (A Course of Love, C:24.1)

We are thinking about the heart in A Course of Love.  Of course, technically we are thinking about “wholeheartedness,” which is the union of mind and heart.  But we focus on the heart because we have so long neglected that vital center of our Self.  When we were caught by the ego, we listened to what our deluded and insane mind said.  And when we sought to relinquish the ego, we were changing our minds.  But there is a step beyond that A Course of Love seeks to have us reach.  And this step is reached without words that the mind could understand, or rational understanding that is totally beyond the ego.  This is the realm of the heart, where words fail us and we are at home in God.  We “know” things without having to be told.  We “understand” things without a rational explanation.  Life just “is,” and we are finally and ultimately happy in the “isness” that will lead us to Christ-consciousness.  We don’t ask anymore because we have no need.  We know.  And this knowledge saves us.

Exile

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:                        

Sent into exile, called out of exile

Who sends?

Who calls?

Once upon a pilgrim journey

seeking what had been abandoned

but what memory labeled lost

and held remorse at having let it loose

and turned that sorrow into stern resentment

at victim-state inexorable

and pondered who the persecutor be

and weighed the balance of another’s misery

with hope to win the crown of thorns for prize.

Through exile comes the Kingdom

in golden robes of seamlessness

once blame is cast aside

and hope can see the beauty of the wayside

and yearn for life

as those beneath the water yearn for air.

Hands

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Casting out demons

offering cold water

embracing into life

 Let hands be used.

Hands are used

almost reflexively

as if they

led by force unknown to human brain

guided by some unseen master Hand

whose plan surprises

as we see ourselves

gently stroke a poor child’s head

rise to voice a cause conflicted

write a letter to support or warn

fashion baby quilts and garden plots

touch the dying in their final hour.

Perhaps our greatest strength reveals itself

in hands’ activity

behooving us

to study ours

to see what power

we have and use.        

Considering the Godhead in Masculine/Feminine Terms

“A Special Note about Gender:  God has no gender.  The masculine/feminine duality of personality is a human attribute.  And yet, God is both masculine and feminine, for God is All.  As All, God is both as personal as you and as impersonal as ‘It’ or ‘Principle.’  Human beings can relate more intimately to a personal God than an impersonal one, and so ion his lifetime Jesus created the idea of ‘God the Father,’ which casts God as a loving presence, and humans as part of a Divine Family.  During Jesus’ time, the culture could only accept a masculine figure; and ever since much of the world has related to God as masculine in both imagery and in language.  I grew up in a Catholic society in which God was universally referred to as ‘He.’  That tradition is reflected in the first three books of Choose Only Love.

“In Book IV, however, God more fully revealed Herself:  ‘Until now, God Himself, in His infinite knowledge, wanted to show Himself in the world as Father, as well as the love that He is.  But from now on She wants to show Herself as Mother, not only as wisdom.  The ‘feminine’ of God will come to light more and more every day.’  Thus the reader will notice that the language of the final four books in this series reflects both the masculine and feminine natures of God.”  – from Sebastian Blaksley, receiver of Choose Only Love.  Passage is from Choose Only Love, Bk. 7, introductory material.

The explanation about gender, you will note, quoted above, comes from Sebastian and is here quoted from Book 7.

Traditionally, Christianity has used the masculine gender, as did Jesus 2,000 years ago.  Now we are encouraged to think of God in broader terms, knowing (as I think Jesus knew, too) that God is bigger than one gender.  In the more inclusive way that God is dealing with us now, we are encouraged to try to see His/Her grandeur, that the God we worship is not to be seen in anthropomorphic terms.

We tend to see God in our own image, but that somewhat misstates the case.  We are told in the Genuis that God created us in His image—not the reverse.  So we are encouraged to try to think in “God terms,” and of course this attempt asks a lot of us.

The Mother God will be seen by us as a gentler version, for most of us carry warm feelings toward the one who birthed us and cuddled us in her arms.  The mother/child bond has been seen as the most significant of all our relationships.  And Book 7 of Choose Only Love recognizes this significance.

Ask God to show us how to think of the Godhead.  See if what Sebastian says here in his reception of Choose Only Love finds a place in our hearts. 

STRENGTH

Note: Published in Miracles magazine (Jon Mundy, publisher)

I can give you my strength until yours is as certain as mine. . . . (WOM, Part 1, Lesson 7)

You always choose between your weakness and the strength of Christ in you.  (ACIM, COA ed., T-31. IX.2:3)

I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.  (Phil. 4:13, KJV)\

            Jesus knew stress in himself while on Earth.  The evidence is in the New Testament: indignantly overturning the moneychangers’ tables in the temple; agonizing in Gethsemane (though no one knew this because his disciples slept; perhaps Jesus told this in his appearances later on); asking God from the cross why he had been forsaken. Yes, this man was fully human—whatever else he also was.

            But he overcame, as he bids us to do.  Again, the New Testament tells us how.  From the cross, rather than thinking of himself, he thought of his mother, standing nearby.  He put her in the care of his beloved disciple, John.  He welcomed a man being crucified beside him into Paradise that very day; he knew that was where he himself was heading. 

Yes, he overcame with strength, and we are bidden to overcome also.  But we have his help.  He shares his divinity with us; he shares his Christhood.  And we are made strong thereby.

We certainly all know stress, but now we discover that we can also know strength.  In both stress and strength, we emulate Jesus.  And he is always here for us.  He promises to come upon a “single unequivocal call.” (ACIM, COA ed., T-4.V.14:10)  

            We need the strength of Christ, by which we mean not just Jesus, but us as well—all the Sons and Daughters of God.  This explanation is a mystical statement of what the term Christ really means.  Let’s put our minds and hearts to the test, to really see how we might emulate Jesus in his strength, knowing that stress can always be set aside.

We will find that our humanity can be championed—not by stress—but by the divinity—the strength—that we all share, with Jesus himself, with Christ.

Welcome the Child

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Welcome the Child

the child in me who longs to be

            unhampered by high expectations

            placed upon her by comparative critique

            so constant that the life blood joy

            begins to pale and then succumbs

            to lethargy within the deepening dark

the child in me who wants to be

            active in one world

            and nurturing attachment

            to another

            with eucharistic daily bread

the child in me who needs to be

            rebirthed into a balanced one

            who free of censorship of self

            and habits binding  

            from a paralyzing past

            can welcome other children

            from confining prison cells.

Welcome my child

            the little me so bonded with

            the Old Embracing One

            who never for an instant

            e’en considered

            abandoning or bruising

            my small soul.

Happy Dreams

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

New Truth

New truth comes to me

and I

eager to demonstrate

this sudden energy

look for someone

who might listen

but all are busy

looking for their own

interior informings

or if they hear me

give back blank looks

and realizing I have failed

to share some substance

of my newfound joy

I wince and wonder

if I’m meant to speak at all

or rather keep inside me

all that cries out to be told.

From time again of reaching out

with words

in vain attempts

conveying little

of this deepest gift

I come at last to know

the patience of the ancients

who learned what I must learn:

the simple waiting

until time and place

and question from another

might reveal

communal readiness

to share.


Meditation from Celia:

“I said before that the first change, before dreams disappear, is that your dreams of fear are changed to happy dreams.  That is what the Holy Spirit does in the special relationship.  He does not destroy it, nor snatch it away from you.  (A Course in Miracles, FIP ed., T-18.II.6)

The two parts of this quotations are linked together by the fact of a happy dream.  The Holy Spirit acts in us to change our dreams of hostility and anger and pain to happy dreams, even though we are still asleep and don’t entirely know how this change is happening.  What is going on is that our projection from within, where the Holy Spirit resides, is changing.  We are projecting more loving thoughts, and thus the perception that we have of the outer world is that it is changing, independent of us.  This change is not independently wrought.  And as we become happier, seeing in a more loving and kind way, the dream we experience becomes even better!

At this point our special relationships will begin to look better and better, not filled as much with pain or the vicissitudes of mood.  The special relationships, at this precise point, have not yet transformed into holy, but the potential is there.  We will want them to be holy as we proceed in our study of A Course in Miracles.

The Holy Spirit does not snatch away our special relationships, though we are fearful that, being inferior, He will decide that this form has to go.  The person most likely doesn’t have to go—if the transformation into a holy relationship can be made. 

We are learning in the context of ACIM.  We are projecting more positive aspects to our outer world, and everything changes at this point.  We are drawn by the joy that we experience as these changes come about.  This joy leads us to forget the ego, and just run to the joy.

And in that running will we take the next step, the sometimes disjointed next step, of transforming our special relationships (which have always been problematic) into something better—something holy.

Draw Nigh to the Comforter

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Seeking Wholeness    

Hungry

I find myself

for comforting

eternal words

sustaining this frail being

torn between two spheres

eager immortality

producing living words

to last beyond the grave

and worldliness accommodated

by constant cache of fiction facts

Thirsty

I am

for what would quench

and bring together both in

steady stream through daily pulsing life

Desperate

I stretch

 this empty frame

pleading for the great “I Am”

to root so resolute

transforming my attachments

and divinizing me.


Meditation from Celia:

Draw Nigh to the Comforter

“You will no longer resist the process of purification, by whatever means the Comforter uses for you.  It simply does not matter anymore:

“Why resist it?  All I want is God!

“If it is dissolved in the mind in a split second, and you do not even notice it—fine.  If it requires great tears and great experiences in the world—fine.  What is the difference?  They are really the same.  It is because you have relinquished—through allowing—ownership of your pathway home.  You have decided to let the Comforter take you home.” (“The Way of Transformation,” The Way of Mastery, Chapter 21, Page 255)

The Comforter, as we know, is the Holy Spirit.  He is always present, always giving us solace in a sometimes difficult world.  His emotional support will allow us to live through difficulties unscathed, even difficulties that are suffering and pain.

We have traveled far from our Maker.  We have made drastic mistakes that have colored our minds and perhaps even our hearts.  Drastic measures are sometimes taken by our souls to turn us back toward God and our home in heaven.  Only when we recognize, however dimly, that these drastic measures, chosen by our own souls, are sometimes necessary to bring a light into our deluded minds, only then will we know that all the suffering and pain were worth it.

God only loves.  Our souls make far more of the choices for us than we can know on this earth, in this world.  And at heart we are all One. 

Thank God that He did not abandon us in misery.  The Holy Spirit, our Comforter, will always lend a listening ear and a surcease to that which troubles us, whether immediate or down the road.  God does not abandon us.

Peace

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

God Fruit

I am

you are

he is

            all God-fruit

            from germinated holy seed

            and ripening unevenly           

            appear misshapen and discolored

            as if from bruising

            or poor pollination.

I am

you are

he is

            judged by size and shapeliness

            and sometimes even fragrance

            as would-be orchard laborers

            determine if we’re worth

            the time and trouble

            to sift and sort for sale.

Even I

and you

and he

            forget we are not

            quality controllers

            in the large warehouses of humanity

            where clock time works against us.

The message is the thing

            that seeks to penetrate the rind

            for transformation of the seed capsules

            to let burst forth the flavor of the core.


From Celia’s Images from a Reflecting Pool: a Journal:

On what “works” in work for me:  “This morning I was very sleepy and relaxed–a little numb.  As a result I slowed down at work to great benefit.  I need to stop falling all over myself to get my work done.” Yet, the very next day, I wrote, “I seem to anticipate work and have a hard time doing that.  I don’t handle a million things to do very well.” Yet, though I clearly recognized this in 1992, I still haven’t truly accepted it and planned my work accordingly. 

I have a pattern of taking on more and more, getting “swamped,” and pulling back—only to repeat the same dynamic.  I may be addicted to an adrenaline rush which my body can’t sustain over the long haul.  So I end up anxious, and my husband does therapy for me over breakfast. Not fair to him or my real Self. 

A Course in Miracles says that the first obstacle that peace must flow across is the desire to get rid of it. (T-19.IV.A.1:1) 

How true!

God’s Listening Ear

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Breaking Bread

Am I engaged in eating

when another I might feed?

Must both the giver

and receiver dine together?

And if I

not hungry

simply want to share

is table fellowship required?

But if no food have I

not even for myself

might my meal partner

have some to share with me?

Or if we two

have no fresh bread

to break and eat together

might there be

a different kind of meal?

A breaking open of ourselves

revealing sustenance?

A spirit sharing one with one?

And wafting through the meal

aroma of the Father’s favorite food?


From Celia’s Images in a Reflecting Pool: a Journal:

“Lead, kindly Light . . .

Keep thou my feet: I do not ask to see

The distant scene; one step enough for me.”

–Arthur Hays Sulzberger

Simply put one foot in front of the other and walk.  This is the secret of getting over an enervating malaise, if it is only mildly debilitating.  Truly pathological depression is going to require something more: usually biochemicals as well as a good listening ear.  (And God has the best Listening Ear of all.)

Keeping Pace

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Martyr

Don’t call me martyr!

I abhor the name!

Daring

to dissect what motivates

to label action

to pass judgment on behavior

pieced in hearsay quilts!

Don’t tell me who I am

for you don’t know!

You cannot read my heart

and if you could

would miss the wisdom

from the depths of pondering

and placing

self-absorbed requitement for existence first.

Don’t nominative my life with fickle flattery

that cheapens everything I hold most dear

and spreads a sense of soiledness throughout my soul.

Don’t speak to me of

what you might call sacrifice!

I shun the word as prostitution

of my own free will

and sure damnation

of God’s wealth of joy.


From Celia’s Images in a Reflecting Pool; a Journal:

Norman Vincent Peale counseled pacing in daily life (though he did not call it that).  If in God’s own time, it is not there, it was not meant to be there.  This also works to mediate against precipitous action.  I don’t know that it would work in a life-threatening situation, but in my own life and work, I know that considered action and going with the flow (not bucking the tide) is what gets the job done.

On what really counts in life:  “I’ve wondered if putting A Course in Miracles into practice in a fast-paced and demanding life is the best thing that I could do.  But I don’t think life is meant to be as fast-paced as we live it.” 

Work

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Buried Treasure

The God of terror and of joy

   has buried deep within

     the unimaginable

         to frighten and release

            in its own time.

Perhaps we once knew what it was–

  knew and were not strong enough

    to deal with that reality

      so like the single talent one

          entombed it well.

And through the years

   we grew and changed

     and as time passed

       forgot the nature

         of our buried prize.

We came to distrust

   hidden substances

     in their un-knowing

       and then to fear

         and then to hate.

We bought large locks

    for dungeon doors

      determined now

        to keep enchained

          the secret there.

But it too grew

   and finally outgrew

    the closet chamber deeps.

The concentration pressed against 

   the world of consciousness

     and would not be contained.

 I press with all my might

   but cannot keep

      the stone from bursting forth

          revealing the white raiment

            of my twice-born soul.


From Celia’s Images in a Reflecting Pool: a Journal:

I remember in college hearing a professor mention that some character in literature “derived his meaning in life from work.” 

I immediately saw myself in those words.  But in recent years my journal has been filled with variations on the theme, “I have to get over feeling that I want to push-push-push at work.”  The problem is that I become obsessive about work when I am truly “into” it, but my emotional make-up screams at me that I need to lighten up. 

So I do—and the oscillations of greater and lesser work play themselves out over and over.  I would be better to seek a steady pace, not making the same mistake of work overload on a recurring basis.

It is hard for me to go easy when I see deadlines staring me in the face.  Yet this is just what I must learn to do.  The fact that the problem recurs proves that there is a better way for me to freely choose—and choose it I must.

Looking to the Future

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Washing                                 

Hardly recognizing I’ve been washed

   I catch the scent of sun-sweet cleanliness

     and wondering about the source

       don’t stop to ponder greater need.

Seeing that the new spring rain

   has made all Nature fresh again

      I leave to her the task of self-renewal

        and disregard my likeness to her own.

But restlessness o’ertakes me

  and I no pleasure gain from her fair form

    as I encounter winter in my spirit

      where new April life should be.

I cannot rise in rapture

  to match the show of beauty splashed about

    but witnessing new wonder

      feel myself begin to plummet to despair.

I question her concerning this

  and hear her say

    my clothes are soiled beyond restoring

      and I must discard all

        before I can be washed full clean.

I cannot readily agree to give up favored garments

  and cast aside what have become

    the ordered habits of my days.

Then I an inventory take

  of all these purchased,

    hand-me-downs,

      and old ones altered to conform

        to the image I’ve desired for all to see.

And realizing all are worn and dingy

  and no longer hold the shape and newness

    they once had

      still wonder what replacements

        I can find more worthy than these wraps

          I’ve clung to for so long.

While pondering this question

  I become so conscious of anxiety

    at present state I cannot find a

      single satisfying garment wrap around.

I think of all my dreams

  where I run free

    completely nude

      while all the others

        fully dressed

          stand by and stare.

And realize the message of the dream

  directs me to an inner casting off

    where I unhesitatingly

      walk about with barefoot spirit

        happy to be free

          of all encumbrances.

And thinking of the ancient rite

  of river cleansing

    seal of sacrament

      concluded with new convert

        wrapped in clean white robe.

I remember Nature’s words

  and tell her in hushed voice

    that I agree my washing need is great

and looking to her purgatorial source

  to take away my soul soil utterly

    I cease debating how or when or where

      some earthly pure white robing might occur.


From Celia’s Images in a Reflecting Pool; a Journal:

Is suffering a choice?  Leigh says “yes”; Betsy disagrees.  And neither has had a particularly happy life.  But the fact that suffering might be chosen should give us the impetus to walk lightly along our paths.  As the sympathetic executioner is reported to have said to Socrates on handing him the hemlock: “And so fare you well, and try to bear lightly what must needs be . . .”

Sometimes the best therapy is going to work each day.  An easy attitude toward one’s duties is a remarkable coping mechanism. Should one resist, the force field may become stronger, and the flow all but gone.

David said that he thought I would be very good at library administration, but that I would be perfectly miserable in my work.  Yes, I too fear I would be in a place where no birds sing.

So I risk making a mistake by avoiding this challenge in order to travel peacefully along more pleasant pathways. 

After all, the A Course in Miracles says, “Heaven asks nothing.  It is hell that makes extravagant demands for sacrifice.” (W-pI.135.24:3-4) In the cool of fading evening, I think I will be glad I listened to the songs of birds.

Peace

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Deliver Me!

Deliver me

            from indignation’s wrath that

              saps my creativity

                and true compassion

                   and poises on the brink

                      of righteousness so false that

                         I can see no way around my

                            puffed-up sense of rectitude

                               and blinded arrogance.

Deliver me

            from anger so projected on

              pale circumstance or conversation

                 so lightly entered into by another

                    as to be overwhelmed at my

                        unleashing fire and thunderbolt

                           from sources never intimated

                              by what would seem

                                 a casual exchange.

Deliver me

            from cheap facade–

              the painted harlequin of face

                that covers rage so deep as to

                  explode in unforeseen expression

                     inexplicable by me

                        or anyone who listens or observes

                          or hears a later telling of

                             the strange and puzzling tale.

Deliver me

            from table overturning in a

               self-appointed moment of smug

                 superiority of justice meted out

                   or conspicuous display of brute force

                        from dark imprisonment

                           in invulnerability’s easy guise                    

                             that camouflages craftily

                                the well-thought-out charade.    

Deliver me!


From Celia’s Images in a Reflecting Pool; a Journal:

For me, too much stress brings on anger (and, all too often, resulting attack), whereas overwork linked with perfectionism brings on a critical attitude.  Knowing this suggests that I should consciously avoid filling my life with patterns that bring out the worst in me.  Knowing this, does it not follow that I should cultivate Peace at whatever cost to ambition?  It is best to observe what triggers one’s negative behavior, and then turn in the opposite direction.

“Stop and smell the roses.”  This everyday admonition invites speculation: If we don’t, what is the worst that will happen to us?  An unexamined life may mean less real living (as opposed to existing), especially if what happens always seem to happen to us, rather than being selected by us.

I Can Escape from the World I See by Giving Up Attack Thoughts

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Sacred Font

Forgetting that we come from holy water,

            that we once were the river,

                        we soon are frightened of its power, its depth

                                    and what might lie within.

Mammals we think ourselves to be

            and use the river to our own chief ends

                        unmindful of our once connectedness.

Rites of cleansing followed still religiously

            in ways prescribed by ancients who

                        perhaps knew something of the mystery

                                    but knew not how to give the secrets hidden there.

Dare we risk ourselves to plumb our

            inner ocean?  to let the whale devour

                        without assurance we’ll survive?

                                    to dream there might be life too deep to fathom

                                                and being tossed on shore we’d breathe again?

Perhaps the frequent washing of our souls

            that tears provide

                        might also give a glimpse

                                    of living water yet reserved

                                                for us alone within the sacred font.


From Celia’s Images in a Reflecting Pool; a Journal:

Why do I seem to need to have permission to be happy—never to spoil it by worry?

A Course in Miracles says, “I can escape from the world I see by giving up attack thoughts.” (W-pI.23) Jesus means that the “real world,” a dream granted by the Holy Spirit, is without the conflicts that most of us experience in the modern, work-a-day, world.  The miracle comes about because of inner changes in a person. 

Even the most conflicted day loses its punching power when one looks out on the chaos from a soft and warm heart.

Peace

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

The Holy Promise

The holy promise

   planted in the soul of each newborn

     reverberating through the lineage

       to those who hear the words aloud

            repeated by their elders as they learn

              the answers to the “who made you?”

                 and struggle with their own

                   repeated “why?” and “what now?”

                     and the tension of the sometimes

                        too taut tether cord

and planted, too, this covenant

   within the deeps of those

     who never hear the sacred sentence

       Scripture speaks to those

           within the confines

             of an orderly progression

                of confessional conscientiousness

                   where stories of the patriarchs

                      weave threads of continuity

                        irrefutable by time

this covenant

 announces from on high

   the ‘I will be’ and ‘you will be’

       resounding through all heartbeats

           transcending sacred writ

              telling all attentive

                 and declaring loud to deafened ears

                     and sending solace to the spirits

                          of those who never harken

                              to the inner urgings of their soul.


From Celia’s Images in a Reflecting Pool: a Journal:

The re-entry problems at work on Monday are not physiological or even psychological for the frequently cited reasons.  After “flight” on the preceding two days, the body gets up once again to “fight.”  And the more relaxing the flight has been, the more likely the fight will bring fears. 

One has let down one’s guard, and the ego doesn’t take kindly to peace.  It knows its days are numbered if its owner should ever learn to choose Peace consistently.

Why is it that so many of us are cowards in the middle of the night? 

If we could all learn how to separate “big deals” from trifles, we would certainly be well along the way toward living satisfactorily and peacefully.

Work Pressures

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

Listening

I sought to listen to my Lord.

By various means I tried to hear Him speak–

            a brightening breeze through leafed-out trees

            a bird outside my window pane

            a tiny stream o’er river rocks

            a sung word touching deep within

            a Scripture phrase speaking anew

            and my own pen bringing forth more

In these and more I thought I heard my Lord.

But then my heart, still restless, searched again

            for music far beyond the lovely singing

            for just one sacred word for mantra’s sake

            for inspiration wordless as a feeling.

And then my heart declared to me “search on!”

            to reach beyond the music to the silence

            to find the space beyond all sacred speech

            to journey safe beyond diverse distractions.

 I found the place at last

            filled with wonder dark and fathomless

            a stillness indescribable

            a place beyond all time and memory

            a depth beyond my wide imagining

            the center of my very self it is

where even consciousness appears suspended

there is where my Lord comes now to me.


From Celia’s Images in a Reflecting Pool: a Journal:

There is a point at which too much work to do becomes clearly counterproductive, because one’s stress level impedes actually turning out the work at a reasonable pace. 

In the midst of 800 junior high students clamoring for attention in their school library, I once said to myself (over and over, in a kind of refrain), “If I do nothing else, I will remain calm.” 

Of course, that affirmation actually put me in a frame of mind in which I could do something else.  Reverse psychology is a powerful protective device.

On the strength in remaining calm:  “When I’m not stressed, I think I can handle virtually anything.”

On solving problems:  “No decision can be really difficult unless we complicate the issue by worry.”

Truly to Live

From Ann Glover O’Dell’s Midwifing the Soul:

My Soul

My soul

            called forth

                         from me

                                     by that within

                                                and yet beyond

            called out

                         to be

                                    to fly

            called back

                         to follow

                                    the limitations

                                                of its transient home

            called up

                        to glimpse

                                     the more of yearning

            called on

                         to strive

                                    to pierce the breaking point

            called down

                        to dream again

                                    and there

                                                 within the dream

            called in

                         to break

                                    and from the broken pieces

called out again


From Celia’s Images in a Reflecting Pool; a Journal:

One should make one’s living in a manner that allows true “living,” on the job as well as off. Serving as a reference librarian and book/periodical selector is the pleasant way that I spend my day, the way that I earn a living that doesn’t consume all of me but allows me to think and dream about other things. 

When I am stressed, I don’t make much progress in my spiritual life because I am too distracted. Maybe I should take the route that allows me to live comfortably (emotionally) because big bucks in some other job might make me financially secure but very tense, anxious, and maybe even unhappy in the daily work.