What a Long, Strange Ride This Year Has Been!
Have you ever had the feeling of being hungry, but you don’t know what you want? Maybe you open the cupboard or the refrigerator and look at what’s on the shelves, hoping to see something and say, “That’s it, I’ll have that!” But, you don’t find anything you really want to eat.
That’s how I have been about writing this blog post. I am hungry to communicate with you and let you know what’s been going on, yet I hardly know where to begin. Each time over the last several weeks that I have started something, I end up deleting it with the judgment that it’s just too trite or pedestrian for you to bother reading.
As unusual as this feeling is for me, I think I know where it comes from. I feel a sense of being inwardly pushed to be more revealing and vulnerable with you than I usually am in writing. Somehow, what I want to say would be easier to communicate in person, in a group, much like we used to do in our seminars and trainings. Then we could look into and through the eyes of love and my authentic vulnerability charged the room with a kind of grace. Telling the whole truth about fears and feelings joined us through the heart in our common humanity.
To set a little context for what I am about to share, let me say this up front. This year has been perhaps the most difficult year of our lives. Actually, it’s been going on for a couple of years.
Have you noticed that it is rare to hear teachers of higher consciousness, supposedly enlightened
individuals or modern wisdom givers, talk much about their current or very recent hard times? They
may talk about hard times at some distance in the past, after they have learned and integrated the
lessons and they’re back to being enlightened again. But, you don’t hear or read much from a closer
perspective when things are not yet so clear or when things are still in a state of unsettled chaos.
And that’swhat I want to write about now because that’s where we are. And we have been here
for longer than any previous period like this. I think that’s why it has been so difficult to get to
writing about this, because it is still so close and fresh for us.
So, life has been about acceptance of what’s happening in the moment to what has seemed like
an onslaught of one catastrophe after another, and before we can even catch our breath we find
another anvil falling from the sky! It’s been about being as present as possible to the feelings our
situation has brought up and using all the tools at our disposal for dealing with the ongoing stress
of uncertainty and the accompanying doubt and fear.
Our last posts back in July, August and September have been about my emergency open heart
surgery and early recovery period (http://bit.ly/open-heart-surgery). Thankfully, according to my
surgeon, my physical recovery proceeded ahead of schedule. Having had nothing to compare it to,
it still seemed to be taking entirely too long to suit me!
I was having to listen to my body much more than I was accustomed, causing me to confront my
habitual impatience and push to be productive and get on to the next thing. In the process of
confronting things about myself that had been pretty invisible to me (but not to Layne, of course!),
what emerged was an unexpected level of healing.
As my physical healing progressed and I could tell I was getting better, e.g., being off oxygen and
going for long walks. My stamina and strength was returning. But then I entered an unexpectedly
deep level of depression that caused me to question everything about my life, including why I had
survived in the first place.
Depression and thoughts that death would be a welcome relief startled me into the reality of my
depression and plunged me into deep self-reflection. Yet, there was no sense in denying the truth
with positive thinking or affirmations. If I did not confront and accept the reality of my depression,
I ran the risk of driving it underground and making it worse through denial.
I noticed how the feelings would come and go, rising and falling in intensity, like large swells on the
ocean. I became reclusive and did not respond to messages from friends for weeks as I burrowed
deeper into my dark silence.
Another thing that was happening, and still is, was a heightened emotionality. Since I have been on
a path of emotional healing for the last 35 years I have learned to know, respect and express my
feelings. But, this has been something of a different order. I can hear a song, watch scenes of love
and tenderness or violence in a movie or TV show and find myself crying or even sobbing deeply,
way out of proportion to the triggering stimulus.
And over the course of the last few months both Layne and I are aware of deep, personal inner
changes that we are still trying to make sense of. Things have changed, continue to change and so
are we. We have a sense that our work will be changing as a result of our experiences the last couple
Of all the spiritual studies in which we have engaged, the teaching that has always sustained us
through challenging times of chaos and uncertainty is A Course in Miracles, in particular the lessons
in the Workbook. A Course in Miracles is all about making the shift from ego identification to
identifying yourself as your Soul.
The ego is grounded in fear and is subject to all the conditions and circumstances I have been
talking about here. If we believe that is our reality, our only reality, then we are stuck in those
When we can identify with our Soul, however, then a vast space of peace and calm can open up
for us. We believe what we have been going through (and so many others are also going through,
perhaps even you) has much less to do with processing the effects of our negative, limited ego
mind than it does with a Soul transition. I am certain beyond the shadow of a doubt that my
heart failure and three near death experiences (all on the same day) had to do with my Soul’s
influence over my life.
A Course in Miracles is a radical teaching that can be, and usually is, ego shattering. But, it also
can put you in direct contact with your own Soul or Higher Self. So, being forewarned, below are
the first dozen lessons that have been particularly apropos for us. Perhaps you will find them
helpful, as well.
For example, Lesson 1 says, “Nothing I see in this room (on this street, from this window,
in this place) means anything.”
Lesson 2 – “I have given everything I see in this room (on this street, from this window,
in this place) all the meaning it has for me.”
Lesson 3 – “I do not understand anything I see in this room (on this street, from this
window, in this place).”
Lesson 4 – “These thoughts do not mean anything. They are like the things I see in this
room (on this street, from this window, in this place).”
Lesson 5 – “I am never upset for the reason I think.”
Lesson 6 – “I am upset because I see something that is not there.”
Lesson 7 – “I see only the past.”
Lesson 8 – “My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.”
Lesson 9 – “I see nothing as it is now.”
Lesson 10 – “My thoughts do not mean anything.”
Lesson 11 – “My meaningless thoughts are showing me a meaningless world.”
Lesson 12 – “I am upset because I see a meaningless world.”
Lesson 13 – “A meaningless world engenders fear.”
Lesson 14 – “God did not make a meaningless world.”
A Course in Miracles also teaches that only Love is real and fear is an illusion. The one unchanging
constant through all of this has been and continues to be our love for each other. That is what has
always sustained us through any kind of trial or difficulty. That and the consciousness tools we
have learned and teach.
We will continue to share with you as these changes unfold. And, as always, we welcome your
comments and thoughts.
As this year draws to a close we are being presented with a wonderful opportunity. On January 1, 2012
we are catching a plane for Europe! We have been engaged by some clients to work with their entire
family of five in a six-day Private Intensive Retreat.
We’ll be in Munich, Germany for about a week serving these courageous souls then we will fly to Turin,
Italy for a visit to the Federation of Damanhur, a conscious, eco-society and spiritual community that
has been in existence there for 30 years. (http://www.damanhur.org/)
In fact, Layne applied for and was accepted into a three month “temporary citizenship” program they
began last year. I will be with her for the first week or so to help her get settled, then I will return to
This is a HUGE change on many levels and portends wonderful new opportunities and
directions for our life. For one thing, we have never been apart for more than a week at a time
for the last 35 years! We don’t want to speculate too much right now about what those
opportunities and directions might be, but we will definitely keep you posted with more regular
blog posts, photos and possibly videos in the months ahead.
In the meantime, please know how much we appreciate you reading this and being a part of our
lives through this virtual connection. Your thoughts of love, healing and prayers are meaningful
to us beyond words.
We are wishing you and all those whom you love a most blessed holiday!