I’m writing this 2021 year-end reflection for myself, while sharing it with others in case it is helpful. This post is part of my process of moving forward after a tumultuous year.
2021 presented some of the most challenging experiences of my life. As of today, it has also earned the top spot as a year that facilitated warp-speed growth that I can still barely wrap my head around.
Pain can be an incredible catalyst for transformation if you allow it. By allowing it, that pain brought me to new places. Every time a difficult feeling arose, I went into it with defenselessness and a willingness to see whatever it was that I needed to see. I explored the depths and hidden recesses of that pain with the Holy Spirit. I did not turn away, numb, or suppress.
Being a dedicated student of A Course in Miracles for the past 25 years, I can now see that I had narrowed my ideas of how healing should be facilitated and how it should look. Little did I know that in 2021, Jesus would blow that self-imposed limit wide open for me.
A series of events happened that at times brought me to my knees, and rather than cling to A Course in Miracles and what it says (or more accurately, what I think it says), I was being asked by Jesus to let it all go. To let the book go. To let all words go. To let identification as “A Course in Miracles student/teacher” go. Instead, I was being asked to trust HIM, directly. To hear HIM, directly. Being that my spiritual foundation is based on this book and I’ve been working with it my entire adult life, letting go was scary as hell. Once again, I felt like I was in the scene in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where Indiana needs to step out into a bottomless chasm in a radical act of faith. One thing that the Course has given me is a deep sense of trust in guidance and in my relationship with the Holy Spirit and Jesus. So I obliged. I let the Course go. I didn’t know if I would or could teach it anymore. I stepped out into the chasm.
With other stressors and challenges unfolding in addition to feeling the spiritual rug removed from underneath me, I promptly fell apart (while never falling into debilitating anxiety, which was of significant note for me). What felt like my spiritual backbone for so long was gone. But in the falling apart, something beautiful happened. Just as Indiana Jones steps out and finds there is an invisible pathway beneath him to walk across the seeming chasm, I fell apart with a deep sense of knowing that I was going to be put back together, but not based on what “I think” A Course in Miracles says. Instead, I was guided to allow myself to be rebuilt directly by Spirit. To be shown truth through experience, rather than through “my” understanding of words. My initiation into this process required a radical act of faith: my willingness to let my spiritual pathway go. All sense of rigidity and clinging to teachings needed to exit. My ideas of what it meant to be spiritual needed to go. My identities in this world had to be released… again.
Much has happened during this year of allowing myself to be rebuilt by the Holy Spirit. To my surprise, I was led into various healing modalities that have literally moved mountains for me: EMDR (Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), family therapy, and family constellation work, to name a few. Jesus has been working quite powerfully for me through these modalities in ways that have often left me speechless. “Hidden cornerstones” of unforgiveness have been exposed, ancient hatred has been revealed, and patterns that would often hijack me had their roots uncovered. All of this was being shown to me at an almost overwhelming pace to bring it to Holy Spirit for rapid healing.
When fire obliterates the landscape as we know it, the clearing allows seeds that lay dormant, deep in the soil, to grow and flourish into new life. When ego layers burn away, what emerges is what has always been there – our unobstructed relationship with the Divine.
The Divine Mother often reveals herself to us in the most challenging of times. In 2021, my most significant relationship has emerged. I had an experience where I felt Jesus bow his head, extend his arm, and silently say in an introduction, “I’ll let you two take it from here.” At that moment, I had tidal wave-like experience of his Mother. Our Mother.
Honesty: Since I picked up A Course in Miracles in 1997, I seek to not hide anything from Spirit. Every fearful or judgmental thought that goes through my mind, I name and I own. I take responsibility for it. I recognize it’s not that I’m going to stop having ego-based thoughts, but I have none that I would keep (ACIM, T-15.IV.9:1-2).
Open-Mindedness: My involvement in the series, The LOVE LENS: Conversations on A Course in Miracles, Racism and the Unified Mind, has changed the path of my life. Learning from Course and non-Course students in Black and brown bodies has shown me that my entire perception involves a lens that is influenced by being in a white body. It is another ego layer that needs to be seen to be undone. Embodying open-mindedness is necessary if we truly desire to awaken.
Through the turmoil of 2021, an additional life-altering insight and experience arose – the recognition that I am an antenna. I believe many if not most people with anxiety are also antennas. We are HIGHLY intuitive, but our abilities are undeveloped or underdeveloped, so we often pick up on other people’s stuff, mistaking it as our own. In any situation that produces uneasy feelings, asking myself, “What is mine and what is not mine?” has been a game changing question. Sorting through the answer enables me to look at what is mine (with Spirit) and release what is not (to Spirit).
And what about my relationship with A Course in Miracles? It’s in my blood and bones. It’s the operating system through which I see the world. I can’t not live it as it’s part of who I am. It is fully alive in my daily life. But I can see that my relationship to the Course is growing and changing as I relate to it in a more embodied and grounded way.
I don’t usually give much meaning to New Years. Our marking of time is artificial as time is one moment that seemingly extends forward and backward. But on New Year’s Eve at midnight, I cried. I’m so relieved to leave the challenges of 2021 behind and at the same time I feel filled with gratitude for all the gifts that arose. I’m meeting 2022 with an open heart and abundant willingness. And I truly look forward to sharing more with you. There is much to come.
One of the things I love about my weekly ACIM Study Group is how we all benefit from sharing our experiences and insights. If any of this post resonated with you, or if you feel you had a significant shift in 2021, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.