Marc Boulais ~ Shine Where You Are Planted

           Long before time, which is a concept of man, God existed as perfect wholeness, and understood that nothing needed to be added or subtracted; His Being of Love energy just was. Because He was Love, one night He went forth to see His reflection in the universe He willed into being. The billions of galaxies, not to mention the hundreds of billions of stars, were put in perfect place to create a never-ending vibration of His love energy, which bounced and reverberated from star to star. Some stars would dance for joy and spin in delight to absorb the divine energy. The stars would give off brilliant hues of light and shades of color with God’s favorites, the hues of gold for praise and silver for thanks. Others would emit beautiful sounds like the great whales, or the deep cello tones of “AUM” for perfect understanding of the source of God’s wellspring of infinite creative Love.

            God saw that it was well to feel His Love energy vibrating throughout the universe with great beauty and variety, no two stars even remotely similar in dance and creativity.  But then He noticed one of the smallest stars, far away in a remote corner of the universe observing all those other stars’ wondrous joy of reciprocated vibrational energy.  The little star seemed to be emitting a sadness, feeling a little one dimensional and left out of the grand design of this universe of God loving God.

            This small star said to God, “I have seen Your great Love and listened to its wonderful, beautiful symphonies of praise and thanks, but I am small and round and can’t compare in any way with the great stars that give You such joy. I feel left out, tucked away, so far away, in such an obscure galaxy called the Milky Way. All I have are these great burning gasses that keep my flame alive day and night.”

            God patiently replied: “Look far, far away, to the outer edge of your galaxy. What do you see?”

         “I see an infinitely small planet, mostly blue with beautiful greens and browns, rotating around me, but it seems so small and insignificant that I never gave it much attention.”

            God responded one last time, “That smallest of planets in blue and green and brown which looks so tiny and unimportant, has my grandest design in progress; evolution. Even now My sea creatures have begun to crawl upon that land and are learning to breathe outside the waters.  In millions of years life will evolve into wondrous human prototypes, capable of expressing My own Love consciousness. Your contribution in protecting this process cannot be measured or duplicated by any of those other seemingly greater stars.  Shine where you are planted: Your name is the same as the savior I will send to the earth to save my people from darkness in eons to come. Your name is SUN.”

~*~

*Marc R. Boulais is a serious student of Life who is committed to learning, living and practicing universal life truths.  He is a student of various disciplines, A Course in Miracles, the Bible, the works of Joseph Campbell, the teachings of native American Indian Fools Crow, as well as poetic writings of Rumi and Lao-Tzu, to name a few.  Marc is a particular fan of the parable as a teaching device and therefore, enjoys writing his own parables as a means of communicating life truths.

ACIM Note Cards ~ Suzette Boulais

 

Artist Suzette Boulais is a student of Course In Miracles and co-facilitates a Sunday morning Course in Miracles class in Peoria, Illinois. More of Suzette’s artwork can be found on her website at www.suzetteboulais.com.

If you have a favorite Course in Miracles statement and would like to order a set of note cards that include both the statement and an image of one of her original pieces of art, please contact Suzette at Suzette@SuzetteBoulais.com.

Scribing by Sun~Rose

 

Guidance on Love & Relationship
as Received and Transcribed by Sun~Rose*
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the February 2011 Newsletter]

TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE:

Reja wondered if You would speak of Love [and Relationship] for the Newsletter.

~*~

I am always speaking to Love, although My words may seem to address many, many other topics.  Love is the Father’s Name because It is His Nature.  Therefore, It is the Nature of all Reality, and of All of the Family of God, whether Awake or dreaming.  We Who are Awake are the Presence of Love with ease.  And You can feel It from Me.

Love is what enabled Me to stand and heal, hour after hour, the Multitudes Who came to Me.  And I speak not only of My healing work.  It is because each One of You is the very Presence of Love, that the ills and so-called sins can be healed.  Where You see Yourselves as little, sickly and sinful ‘mortals’, I see You in all your radiant Beauty!  And radiantly beautiful You are, if You could but see Yourselves.  Paraphrasing Robert Burns: Oh the power that giftie gie You, to see Yourselves as I see You.

It is not just that You are the Presence of Light.  It is the Love that each One of You uniquely expresses with such Grace and Beauty.

Why do You not see it and experience Yourselves and Each Other that way?  Ah, such a good question.  Because the expression of Love has become quite secondary to the demands of the ego mindset.  It has been replaced by the desire for control, which takes many forms: the lust for money, things, sex, power, et cetera; the accumulation of what You think will give You the most control over Others and your world.  It isn’t pretty.

And it comes down to My favorite theme song, which is the thrust of all the Lessons, although You may not have realized it.  Those Awake exist to Give.  Those asleep exist to get.  And so, when You read My words: “Nothing I see means anything.” – the reason it means nothing is because You see it only for what it can or cannot do for You.  And, as in today’s Lesson: “Above all, I am determined to see differently!” You are really asking to see your real relationship with the object of your vision.  And You are becoming willing to have a different relationship with Who or What You are viewing, for truly All is Holy.

And in that willingness, You are opening your hearts and minds to see as I see, which means to begin to Love as I Love.  If You but knew what You were missing, You would spend your days asking for this Vision, for it is glorious.  The happiness of this Love that is the Father-Mother’s is priceless and beyond compare.  Its sweetness and Its joy is what You are looking for in every encounter You have with Every One and everything. 

It is the joy that comes from knowing that You are dearly and eternally Loved and that all is always well.

For Those of You Who are working with the Lessons, this year, let them be for learning Love.  Every one of them holds the promise of this Gift, which is what I came to give You.  And I will be with You until You learn It, for We are as Teacher and as Pupil.  And as You learn It, You learn that We are truly One, and equal, and that My direction has already given – and will forever – giveYou Peace.

Now there has been a request for Me to bring this to the practical, the nitty-gritty of your daily experience.  You know that your relationship with Me is Holy, safe, and secure forever.  What about those other relationships, the ones with Partners, Children, Parents, Bosses, Co-Workers, taxi Drivers, retail Workers, your fellow Dreamers?  Let’s go to today’s Lesson.  It is perfect.

God is in everything I see.  God is in everything I see.  And not just every Thing, but every One.  This is the key to both happy and Holy relationships: that All is/are entitled to your Love and your respect because God is Its/Their Source.  You have been, for so long, the center of the universe of your small, and quite confused mind, that it is hard to give this respect anywhere else, and yet it is absolutely crucial unless You wish to dwell in the realm of trying special relationships indefinitely.  Perhaps You have, by now, had enough of them? 

Now the ego will tell You that this is the only framework there is for relationships.  And You have believed it for what seems like eternity.  I am opening the door for You to an experience of Love – right here and now – that is vastly different.  And for It You only need to change your thought.

Try then today to begin to learn how to look on all things with love, appreciation, and open-mindedness.  There is that Partner, Child, Parent, Boss, Who is being so difficult.  How do You Love Them?  How do You appreciate such thoughtless, bad behavior?  The secret is no secret: You open your mind to Me and to the Holy Spirit.  And You ask for help.  Brother, Holy Spirit, show Me how You see this One.  Teach Me of Your Love.  How can You be so patient, tender, kind?  How can I be so patient, tender, kind as You? 

Allow Me to be your mind, your vision.  This makes no less of You, for I simply open wide the door to the Holy Spirit which is really You.  Together We shift the focus from the One Who is so difficult and ask within how We may best Love this One.  What can We say to heal Their discontent?  How can We see beyond this to the Christ They are?  And the Christ They are indeed, although: You do not see them now.   The eyes of the world are blind, and so: Would you know what is in them? Nothing is as it appears to you.  If You can but accept this, and ask humbly for Our help, the healing of your mind will happily begin. 

The desire among Course Students is to have a Holy relationship instead of a special one.  As I said this morning, the only way to have a Holy relationship is to change your reason for being here; in other words, to be born anew.  When I said those words to Nicodemus 2000 years ago- indeed, when I say “2000 years ago”, it is like You saying “yesterday”- When I told Nicodemus that He needed to be “born anew of water and of Spirit”, I was reminding Him of the words in Isaiah: “Wash You; make You clean.”  And, of course, I was referring to a renewing of the mind.  As Paul says in Philippians, to have the Mind that I am.

Every One caught in the dream is dreaming to please Themselves.  That is being for getting, not giving.  And that is a special relationship.  Where is the Holiness in selfishness?  And I am not condemning You; I am instead suggesting a shift of being. 

You can easily see that One is in a relationship to get something, whether obvious or not.  Without delving far into human psychology, an example of this is One Who feels Themselves to be a victim or an aggressor, and has a relationship that validates this feeling.  The satisfaction comes in the validation of the belief; however, the relationship certainly suffers.

And yet – at any moment – there could be that amazing change of mind back to Love, the game can cease, and Something entirely new and beautiful will spring up.

Its – whether that of You, your Partner, a table, an apple – holy purpose stands beyond your little range.  Beyond your narrow view, yet right at hand.  And It’s ever available to You.  The glorious Holiness of the Son of God.

When vision has shown you the holiness that lights up the world, you will understand today’s idea perfectly.  And this Vision will light up All You see, and the Beauty of Those Who have troubled You so – as well as your Beauty to Them – will fill You with a Love so rich, that You will only want to give and give and give.  And you will not understand how you could ever have found it difficult.  Your Brother’s and your Sister’s Holiness will be so clear and fill You with such joy. 

And only this very small thing is asked of You, and that is to consult with Me.  Together We will rebuild every relationship from the great giving Heart of Love. 

*~*~*~*~*

 

*Sun~Rose is the scribe of the recently published book,

YOU ARE LOVED AND SAFE: PREP NOTES FOR EXPERIENCING GOD’S LOVE”

She is also author of, “RADIANT LIFE: RAW FOOD AND THE PRESENCE OF LOVE”

 BOTH now available on amazon.com

Q and A with Carmen

 Good Questions 
Questions & Answers
By the late Carmen Cameron*
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the February 2011 Newsletter]

 

There is nothing I like more than a good question about the Course.  And by “good question”, I mean a thought provoking one – a question that makes me reassess what I currently believe and perhaps come to see it in a new light. As a result, we have a very interactive study group of Course students here in Louisville where everyone is encouraged to share their insights and questions. It is also a very diverse group with people from widely varying religious backgrounds so we get a lot of very insightful questions and I’ve been making a note of them for the last 15 years. 

 Question: HOLINESS ~ What does it MEAN? And what does it have to do with ME?!? 

 

Answer: MANY of us struggle with the idea that we are “holy” when repeatedly presented with that as an unalterable FACT throughout the Course and especially in some of the early Workbook lessons. (e.g. One of my favorites, “There is nothing my holiness cannot do.” Lesson 38)

I think that our resistance to the idea that we are holy is based on the concept of “holiness” that we are taught by mainstream religions, a concept that makes a separate class of people (the “saints” of all religions) special amongst us. The common understanding is that “holiness” is the exception, not the norm. And that it is something one has to “earn” by constantly fighting against temptation – an “earning” that proves our worthiness to become God’s “adopted children” (according to St. Paul). It is an incredibly difficult requirement for most humans to accomplish.

“Holiness” is not believed to be inherent in God’s creations. What God created must work for holiness. And failure is expected.

EXAMPLE, from the New Catholic Dictionary 

“Holiness (from Anglo-Saxon: perfect, or whole) – In the Old Testament the Hebrew, kadosch (holy), signified separation from the profane [they do not define “profane” anywhere in this dictionary], dedication to God’s service… Applied to God it sets forth His separation from, and opposition to all evil. Outside of God only that is holy which has some relation to Him. Holiness of creatures can be subjective, objective, or both. Subjective holiness in rational creatures consists essentially in sanctifying grace (separation from sin, possession of virtue). Objective holiness in any creature denotes its exclusive dedication to the service of God: priests by ordination, religious by vows, sacred vessels, vestments, etc., either by consecration or by blessing.”

Note that “holiness” is said to encompass the ideas of “separation from the [undefined] profane”, “opposition to evil” and “separation from sin” and (my personal favorite) being “holy” by virtue of an external and ritualized “consecration or by blessing” by an authorized human being (as in “holy water” and priestly vestments), none of which is readily accessible to ordinary human beings.

Is it any wonder, then, that we are resistant to the notion that WE are holy – by nature and by right?!? And unalterably? Hard to accept! But that is what the Course says again and again. So now let’s take a look at what one of my favorite Course expert has to say about “holiness”. From Robert Perry’s Glossary of Terms

“Holiness, Holy – A quality of divine innocence or purity, untainted by the slightest sin, guilt or impurity. A quality that comes from God to those things that are like Him. Holiness is the natural condition of God’s creations and is shared. It is characterized not by separation from the impure (as in some traditional notions), but by oneness with all things. It can never be tainted or lost, only obscured. Salvation comes through overlooking all unholiness and seeing again the native holiness in others and in oneself …”

Okay, now we’re not struggling to be “holy”; we just ARE holy, because we’re made by God and God can only make the WHOLE. It is now something that isn’t “earned” but merely RECOGNIZED (or re-membered, as Jesus says, quite literally and consciously re-attached to our sense of self) through our understanding that we are “one with all things”.

And here is one of the most telling descriptions in the Course of what that MEANS:

“I thank you, Father, knowing you will come to close each little gap that lies between the broken pieces of Your holy Son. Your Holiness, complete and perfect, lies in every one of them. And they ARE joined, because what is in one IS in them all. How holy is the smallest grain of sand, when it is recognized as being part of the completed picture of God’s Son! The forms the broken pieces seem to take mean nothing. For the Whole is in each one. And every aspect of the Son of God is just the same as every other part. Join not your brother’s dreams, but join with HIM, and where you join His Son, the Father IS.” T-28.IV.9 – 10.1

Soooo…your holiness and my holiness are part and parcel of our creation by God as an “aspect of the Son of God”, seen through physical eyes as a separate “broken piece” but, in fact, inseparable from not just the obviously sentient other aspects but also from even the tiniest of and most insignificant inanimate components of the world.

I am one with ALL of that. And it is one with me. So I cannot be broken, separated off or less than whole in ANY way.

From the Urtext: “God WOULD be mocked if ANY of his creations lacked holiness. The Creation IS whole. The mark of Wholeness is Holiness, not holes. The Sonship has no holes anywhere.”

This is one of those times in the early dictation where Jesus is “playing with words”, something he did for two reasons that he, himself, made clear elsewhere:

1) to show Bill (who loved word-play) that he was dear to Jesus; and

2) because it made things “easy to remember”.

(Helen, herself, clearly states in the notes that she doesn’t like these kinds of sayings, comparing them to doggerel, so not surprisingly, this and all similar, often humerous, sayings were deleted prior to publication.)

The point being that Jesus is associating “holiness” with its root word and source, “wholeness”. This urtext quote was immediately followed by the miracle principle that stresses the connection between our ability to perceive (or project) God’s creations’ natural state of “wholeness” and miracles:

“36. Wholeness is the perceptual content of the miracle…thus corrects (or atones for) the faulty perception of lack.” FIP Miracle Principle # 41

Ahha! Wholeness is the miracle’s correction for LACK! This is important because: “…’lack’…does not exist in the Creation of God, it is VERY apparent in the creations of man. It is, in fact, the essential difference.”

It is our perception of lack – i.e., limitation – in every form it takes that obscures our holiness/wholeness from our minds.

But the Holy Spirit – “The Great Transformer of perception” – will give us vision (once we’re open and willing to see our wholeness as reflected in the interconnectedness of all things) that…

“The smallest leaf becomes a thing of wonder, and a blade of grass a sign of God’s perfection. From the forgiven world, the Son of God is lifted easily into his home.” T-17.II.6.3 – 7.1

Bottom line: There are no holes in you. No limits. No gaps. No lacks. The perception of them in yourself – or in anyone else – in ANY form, is a denial of the truth of you. The acceptance of your oneness with the entirety of creation calls on the power of the entire universe to deny whatever illusions you have made from your erroneous perception of yourself as weak and alone or inadequate. And from that wholeness, you can rest in peace. And holiness. 

~*~

* Carmen Cameron, who is a founding member of Course in Miracles Society, has been teaching classes in A Course in Miracles since 1994.  She was a presenter at the 2009 Miracles Conference in San Francisco and presented again at the 2011 Conference. Carmen’s website is: http://peaceful-path.blogspot.com/

 

Daniel Tipton

 
Dare to Be Happy

By Daniel Tipton*
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the February 2011 Newsletter]
 

 

I have struggled recently with the seeming fact that there seems to be a fine line between forgiving and enabling. I have called my room mate, who is also my sister, a case study of somebody caught in the hell of the ego. She is a smart and beautiful woman but I watch as she torments her mind and body with her own thoughts. I will not go into detail but I am constantly being witness to what she is allowing her ego to do. It is painful to watch. I sometimes have to leave the room she is in because I can feel her sadness.

I kept telling myself that I need to forgive her. So my way of forgiving her was to sit back and say nothing (and resent). Well, that didn’t seem to work so I decided to sit her down and tell her that she needs to be happy and that she is hurting herself! That shook her up for a couple weeks and then the usual patterns started again.

I tried passive forgiveness and brutal honesty and yet I still felt helpless. I felt like I was either forgiving too little or judging too much. Either way, my efforts felt empty.

This was until I read in the Course that forgiveness is empty unless it entails correction. Now, she was not doing anything to me personally, but watching her do things to herself caused me discomfort and pain, so I knew that forgiveness was needed on some level. I learned that without some type of correction, whether it is in my perception or hers, my forgiveness was an empty gesture.

I found in the end that simply communicating my concern to her was all I needed to feel better. Telling her how I felt made me feel better because I felt like I was no longer part of the charade; like the truth was out in the open. I think the correction was that I was being true to my feelings. While I would have loved for my words to have changed her mind on some things, I was happy with the fact that I shed light on my fear and that there was the possibility that that light would possibly help my sister dispel some of her fear.

There is not a fine line between true forgiveness and enabling. Forgiveness with correction (true forgiveness) allowed me to take responsibility for my feelings, do something about them, and not enable myself to feel badly. This also made me feel that I was no longer enabling my sister. We had communicated and I had done what is in my power to do. The rest, I had to give to God.

Daniel

*Daniel Tipton resides in Omaha, NE and is a member of the Course in Miracles Society [CIMS]. He has recently entered the ACIM Ministerial Program offered by the Community Miracles Center and will be attending the Annual ACIM Conference sponsored by CMC and CIMS among many other ACIM organizations.

Susan Dugan

 

Some Things Will Never End
by Susan Dugan*
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the February 2011 Newsletter]

This essay was excerpted from her book of personal forgiveness essays, Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness, being published by O-Books March 25, 2011.

My teenage daughter had been chosen to sing a duet in her high school’s end-of-the-year POPS concert. In his fifteen years in the role, the choirmaster had only chosen freshman for solos once before. It made my daughter feel special. I am sorry to say it made me feel pretty damn special, too.

As a very young girl I had written plays and coerced my brothers, neighborhood children, and even an aging Labrador Retriever into performing for the adults in our basement and backyard. By the time I got to high school, however, stage fright prevented me from ever auditioning for a leading role again. I resigned myself to lead singer and dancer in the chorus, all the while pining away for the spotlight I once relished. Now my karma had come full circle—enabling my daughter to make the debut my descent into shyness had preempted.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not one of those neurotic Stage Mom’s consumed with winning a spot for their weary spawn on American Idol. I had never pushed my daughter into anything–on the outside, anyway. In my parallel ego universe, however, I sat at a Singer sewing machine stitching imaginary costumes, my daughter’s musical theatre career spinning bobbin-like out in my twisted little wrong mind.

She rehearsed at school over the next couple weeks while continuing to play her starting position on the JV soccer team through the trials and tribulations of what passes for spring in Colorado. A sky lobbing handfuls of slush one minute, unleashing a faucet of pollen the next. At one of her games the wind tossed the goal into the air like a candy wrapper. Girls from both teams stormed the field to the rescue, wrestling it back into place like Circus acrobats. The losing season forged on.

My daughter had inherited my severe tree allergies among other special qualities. Her eyes had taken on the haggard look of our neighbor’s hound. Just days before her performance, I took her to her voice lesson. Ten minutes in her voice failed and her teacher called it off. With all these voice metaphors floating around you’d think it might have registered on me which voice I had been listening to. But seduced by our promise of specialness, I had already sided with the voice for fear.

For the next three days I obeyed the ego’s instructions like a marionette, flailing and hovering over my daughter, pumping her with tea and honey, vitamins, Chinese herbal concoctions, and salt water gargles as she continued to rehearse, play ball, and struggle to complete final school projects. Two days before the first night of two consecutive evening performances, the choirmaster yanked her from soccer practice to attend the dress rehearsal. The soccer team had a game scheduled the next day three hours before the performance. That night, my exhausted, nerve-wracked teenager climbed into bed with me, something she had not done in years. I tossed and turned in sympathy with her seeming plight.

That Thursday dawned with temperatures in the 20s. Schizophrenic moisture—alternating from snow to rain to sleet and back again—doused fields, lawns, and blossom-swollen trees. I fretted over my daughter as she left that morning. Even though I do not believe in interfering at school I emailed the choirmaster and asked him to yank her again should the league go through with the game despite the weather. He politely explained that only performances trumped games and since she had time to do both his hands were tied.

The big night came. I sat in the audience agonizing through the entire first act, the program balled in my sweaty palm. I could barely breathe as she stepped on to the stage and began performing “Some Things Are Meant To Be from the musical Little Women. The song recounts the end of the relationship between Jo and her younger sister Beth, who is dying.

Some things are meant to be,
the clouds moving fast and free.
The sun on a silver sea.
A sky that’s bright and blue.
And some things will never end.
The thrill of our magic ride.
The love that I feel inside for you.

Talk about special. I could see my daughter was nervous. She did not reach for the notes during crescendos as she normally would. Still, her voice did not crack once. She did not forget her lines or burst into tears, or, thankfully, scan the audience for my anxious eyes. She got through it. It was just a performance, after all. Nothing inside her had changed because her mouth went dry and her leg shook and her voice met her only seventy-five percent of the way. Her magnificence—the truth in her that had temporarily slipped my puny mind—remained intact.

I sat humbled, watching at last with my right mind, the truth in us both. Our specialness faded along with the spotlight on my daughter and her friend as their lovely young voices grew still. Concluding a song about the body’s thrill ride and inevitable demise. Unrelated or fettered by the real love we are.

Some things will never end.

The next morning I congratulated her again, longing to say something to make up for the seeming error of my ways.

“I’m sorry if I’ve been kind of an idiot lately,” I began.

She set her glass of juice down on the counter. Here comes Psycho Mom again, I could almost hear her say.

“It’s just that I’ve never had a fifteen-year-old daughter before, you know?”

When she was little she would crawl into my lap, sandwich my face in her small hands.

“Remember when I was the Mama, and you were the baby?” she would say, sending shivers down my spine. She still gave me shivers.

She smiled. “Fifteen-and-a half,” she said.

~*~

*Susan Dugan is a writer, student, and teacher of A Course in Miracles. This essay was excerpted from her book of personal forgiveness essays, Extraordinary Ordinary Forgiveness, being published by O-Books March 25, 2011. She chronicles her journey applying the Course’sextraordinary forgiveness in an ordinary life at www.foraysinforgiveness.com.

 

 

 

Gaff ~ Thoughts of a Fisherman

 

GAFF Helps with Priscilla’s Lesson

Gaff and the Question of Fear
(Lessons 32, 33, 34)

Thoughts of a Fisherman
by
Lorena R. Peter, Ph.D.*
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
[as it appeared in the February 2011 Newsletter]
 

           Priscilla stood by as Gaff tended his rods. Today was a heat wave for February, but she stamped her feet for warmth. He could see her impatience in the movement: waiting for his complete attention. Gaff threaded bait on the hook and cast the line into swells beyond the waves: he’d seen some big ones jumping this morning. They looked hungry.

            As soon as they settled into their places, Gaff in his chair and Priscilla on the cooler, Priscilla launched into a tirade. “I’m having to deal with my father again because of mother. Ehhh. My sister is taking his side now, too.”

            “I thought you weren’t talking to your sister these days.”

            Priscilla’s mouth was an angry slash. “I wouldn’t, but she’s inserted herself into this thing so I can’t avoid it.”

            “Hmmm.” Gaff looked up and down the beach and then at the tip of his rod. It was too still, not even moving with the waves. He pushed himself out of his chair and moved to the rod. He tugged it from the holder and pulled on it several times before he reeled in the line.

            Priscilla reached him just in time to hear him curse under his breath. She smiled. “Fish took your bait already?”

            Just then the end of the line was pulled onto the sand. He shook his head. “Not just the bait, but the whole rig—hook, weight, everything.” He walked to the wagon to dig in his tackle box for a replacement.

            Priscilla laughed. “I’m still doing the lessons in that workbook and the one for today is all about seeing peace. Seems like a good one for you right now.” She fished in her jacket pocket for some index cards. She waved these around and laughed again. “I write the lessons on these cards so I can remember them during the day.” She read from the top card, “ ‘I could see peace instead of this.’ That’s the one for today.”

            Gaff groused as he attached the new hook to his line. “Damned fish would have to start the day by taking my hook. More work…” His voice trailed off.

            Priscilla shuffled through the cards and read from another. “The lesson for yesterday is ’There is another way of looking at the world.’ For the day before, ‘I have invented the world I see.’” She looked at her friend with a smile, eyebrows raised. She cocked her head, waiting.

            Gaff baited the new hook and cast his line into the water. Just as the hook hit the water, the sun broke through an oddly shaped hole in the clouds and cast the shape of a heart on distant swells. He pointed and they stood admiring the sun’s tribute to the special day of this month: Valentine’s Day. Gaff laughed from deep inside. “Looks like the sun’s celebrating the love in this world!”

            Then he turned to look at Priscilla, hands on hips. “So to feel more love, I could change the way I see this situation… If I focus on the blessings, I would feel more peaceful about losing my hook?”

            She nodded, still smiling.

            “OK, I will see this as an indication that the old fellow out there is so hungry that he’s ready to jump on my hook the minute I can get it out there. By eating the first bait I threw him, he’s going to calm down and not snap my line again.”

            Priscilla laughed. “And you could see his strength as adding to the sport of pulling him in… when you do.”

            Gaff turned to look toward the place where his line entered the water. “I do like a challenge.” They were quiet for a moment before Gaff turned to Priscilla. Now he was smiling. “All kinds of fish are in that ocean.  Diversity is part of what makes the fishing fun. Some of them seem to jump on my hook and others play this game with me. Be boring if every one were the same.” He nodded and then added, “I guess people are like that, too.”

            His companion cut her eyes from water to Gaff. Suspicion colored her voice. “You’re not going to say that my sister and Dad are a blessing to me?”

            Gaff chuckled. “Just might be that they volunteered to help you learn some lesson. Hard one to avoid because they’re family members. You just told me that you can change the way you see that situation so you find peace in it. What’s stopping you?”

            Priscilla drew her mouth into a frown and squinted in the direction of the ocean.

            Gaff shook his head. “Didn’t you just say that I invent the world I see and that I can see it differently—invent a new one? Well, if I can, why can’t you?”

            Priscilla hurrumphed, but said nothing.

            Gaff turned toward Mother Water. “For someone on a spiritual journey, you seem to want to sidestep the tough lessons that you’re being offered by your dad and your sister. You told me that if it isn’t love, it’s fear. What are you afraid of?” A quick glance at his friend.

            Another hurrumph. She squinted at the horizon.

            Gaff mumbled under his breath, “Seems to me that we’re awfully good at manifesting, but we manifest first what we fear most. Might be that we react to things as though the worst has happened already and that encourages people to do what we fear. Could be that we attract into our lives those bad things.” He shrugged. “Maybe we should work more on learning to handle fears… We’ve talked so long about feeling your connection with the Source that we’ve forgotten to talk about dealing with the shadows in your self. That’s a reason for connecting to Source… to get help with the tough situations.” He smiled at Mother Water and then looked to the tip of his rod.

            Priscilla played the statue. Her voice came out of the quiet. “I have faith that everything is in divine order and that good will come of it even if it doesn’t look the way I thought it would.” She shook the index cards in her hand. “I know these lessons are telling me to focus on the objective facts and to deal with just those without making wild predictions about the future or a meaning based on past experiences.”

            Gaff added quietly, “What happened in the past is gone except when you bring it into the present.” Then he nodded at some thought in his head. “Maybe the hardest relationships to deal with are the ones with the most to teach us. This calls for another talk with the spirit of my dad… we didn’t see eye-to-eye about a lot of stuff.” He turned to the woman next to him. “You’re lucky you still have your dad and sister here to talk things out with.”

            Her words spat out into the sand. “As if…” Then she stopped before slowly adding, “I guess I should.”

            The old fisherman turned toward Mother Water. “For someone on a spiritual journey—like you—these situations are just exercises in the classroom of life, not things to avoid.”

            The tip of Gaff’s rod jumped: big fish there, hooked. Gaff grinned.

~*~

*Lorena Peter, Ph.D., writes entertaining mysteries, romances and wisdom books. All have strong spiritual underpinnings and paranormal elements. She blends a medical intuition and healing practice (and travel) with her writing. For more information go to WWW.LORENAPETER.COM. You may contact her on Facebook. For her understanding of the Course, she thanks Carmen Cameron and the class in Louisville, KY.

 

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