On October 11, 2015, Rev. Marilyn Grant addressed the congregation at the Community Miracles Center for the Sunday Service. What follows is a lightly edited transcription of that talk
Thank you everyone for being here today. I really appreciate it. Yes, I do! Your key to A Course In Miracles is always forgiveness.
My key to A Course In Miracles is always forgiveness of people, places, and things. I have this little "fob." I don't know if some of you are familiar with these little "keys" which open the gates in the residential community where we live. They call these "keys," "fobs." They were trying to get them all to work properly. I was going around challenging them on the ones that didn't work to see what they could do. While I was writing my talk I decided I'd put that in there. The "FOB" for me today stands for "Fear On Board." There were so many gates to get working properly. We did get through it. It's all working. I think about the ways we try to open things, and the different keys — emotional keys — that we use. We think something is going to get us to somewhere else where we really desire to go. We keep trying these keys in the form of behavior, or smiles, or gestures.
One of the things I thought about is that we sometimes trade our false perception of who we think we are and later we begin to accept that we are love. A Course In Miracles says throughout the book that we are love. There is no other description — just the word "love." Mistaken self identity is always in the form of fear or terror. Our true nature is unchangeable. Sometimes, something turns up and we go to some fearful moment in our past, emotionally, and then all of a sudden we relive it. We say "yes" to it. But, if we say "No I'll change my thought about this," change my mind — we are practicing the principles of A Course In Miracles. If I had to say one thing about what the Course has taught me, it is that I always have the freedom to change my mind. I don't even know if I want to claim it as "my mind." I think it's the "collective mind" out there. We're all in this together. The more of us who are willing to change our mind about the world we see, the more it will effect change in the world we see.
Guilt is always totally insane — always — never sometimes. A Course In Miracles tells us, "I can elect to change all thoughts that hurt." (OrEd.WkBk.284) Not just this thought, but all thoughts that hurt. The Course also tells us that love and guilt cannot coexist. Guilt is definitely disruptive. The end of guilt will come only when we release from blame: when we release ourselves from blame, when we release our partners from blame, when we release each other from blame, or even a stranger on the street who dresses a certain way or their hair looks a certain way. We can send them blessings too.
Rev. David (Rev. Marilyn's husband) and I went on a trip back East. I grew up in Philadelphia and I still have a lot of family back there. One of my sons, Tom, got a house near Philapelphia. His wife's name is Cynthia and at that time she was in her ninth month of pregnancy. Talk about remembering how it was back then. I have to really, really bring the A Course In Miracles into the picture because I was surprised by some things that were going on with this woman. The last time I saw her she was so gentle. She started out being gentle and then the whole idea of this extra weight she was carrying seemed to get in the way.
Rev. David and I found places to visit in Malvern, Pennsylvania. One of my big memories is remembering my dad and my uncle Carmen going to Malvern for retreats. I don't know how many of you are familiar with Malvern, Pennsylvania but it has a gorgeous retreat center. It's right up the road from where my son and his wife live. I think it's such synchronicity that Tom wound up going to an area where his grandfather had this history. To my knowledge my father went there only one time.
My mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, among other things. It was a big help for my dad to go there. Of course in those days we didn't have A Course in Miracles. People just did the best they could. I remember my uncle Carmen always coming to visit us. He was a great leader in the family, my mother's brother.
Rev. David and I were in this town, Malvern, and the first day I got really excited. My son Tom picked us up at the airport. The houses are really far apart in Malvern. I used to live in a neighborhood like that, but now it's frightening to me. I wanted to look for the sun. It's my comfort zone. The sun was going down. Maybe it was around 5 or 6 o'clock. I just said to these guys "I'm going to follow the sun here." I walked up a little ways. I had no keys with me. I had nothing on me, no ID. I just felt it was a good thing to do. I walked up there and there it was, the sun! I turned around and there it was over there! I really didn't have to take that walk up, but for some reason I was meant to take that walk. I'm there and I'm watching. I'm just bringing in all kinds of good energy to help release the fear that I had gone through in my life, in all different areas of my life and with different people.
So, I'm there. I stood there for so long that I didn't realize it was getting dark. I started walking and I realized, "Okay there's a fork in the road." I'm fumbling around in my mind trying to follow this. I went to the left. I started walking and I realized I couldn't see a darn thing. I could only see the lights that people had turned on inside or outside their homes. I started walking and knocking on doors of the houses. The first three places I don't know if they were really home or not. Maybe they only had their lights on for safety, but they didn't open their doors to me. Then at the fourth door I was delighted because a man came to the door with a big smiling face like this had happened before. I said to him — and I must have been talking to him so fast — I said, "I don't know if you know my son Tom but he lives up the road here. I've lost my way and I wondered if I could use your phone so I can call him to come get me." Then his wife came out and we were chatting. I told Tom on the phone where I was. I really didn't know where they were.
When he came to pick me up he realized I was only three doors down. They were three l-o-n-g doors down. There was a lot of space in between. Of course Rev. David was worried too. It was just really wild to be out there. Even before they came I remember asking God to help me! I realized it was totally dark. I had no control over any of this. I can barely see where I'm walking. My first instinct, to just put my arms up. After I did that it, was like an invitation to Holy Spirit to come in. Even though I was scared walking, I could still get to these people.
Tom was so glad that he got to meet those people because he had a party in his home when he had been there about a year. He said, "I met everybody in the neighborhood, mom, except those people." There was a reason why that was supposed to happen. I thought about what my mom used to say. She said this all the time: "One person's nightmare is another person's dream." When I think about that I feel a lot better than some of the ego's thoughts of punishment, blame and challenges to my intelligence and constant worry. On my walk in the neighborhood I found a great outlet.
My son took me for a long walk the next day, just him and I. As we walked along he said, "Mom, this is all you have to do." I discovered all I had to do was go straight to the next street. I didn't have to worry about anything. I could look around and catch a few people out once in awhile. I could say "Hello" to them, greet them. I appreciated that. I remembered our function is to be happy and to extend love and happiness to all. My not knowing where I was gave me more opportunities to extend love, peace, and joy to people I didn't know. Even if they weren't answering their door I could leave their doorway in peace.
There were these insects — I don't know what they're called — that are out there this time of year (Rev. Marilyn mimics their sound — probably crickets). Just this constant sound. (Rev. Marilyn mimics their sound again.) Maybe some of you remember what it is like back there, but I had forgotten. Oh gosh, I was walking that night and it was spooky to me. I'm not sure why. It was really a little unsettling to me.
By the end of our trip Rev. David and I were very, very happy to be on our way home. Tom drove us to the airport. We had a nice chat in the car. When we got to the airport I was just so elated. Shortly after that we realized that we were in for the long haul. Something went wrong with the plane. We had to get off that plane after we were sitting there for a really long time — almost two hours. There were a lot of different feelings coming in. We were tired. It had been a long, long haul for us. We had really planned to spend only five days but ended up spending seven days because of a little fluke we had set up on the computer.
Forgiveness and Forgetting
One of my son's friends, Joe, who used to live next door to us when our family lived in Danville showed up in our lives again. He's a Facebook friend of mine now. He said to me in a private note, "I'll never forget what you did for me when I was a teenager." I don't remember. All I remember was bringing up two boys and a girl. The two boys were teens. Different things were happening. They were letting in strange people when I wasn't there. These people were pretty strange because they broke things and there was evidence that they had been there. I even had someone stay at the house when I was gone on trips because my first partner had a lot of different trips going on. I'm very grateful that we had the opportunity to travel.Speaking of Joe, who is now my Facebook friend, all those old memories came back as to what was going on at that time.
In the airport, besides the plane not being ready, we had reservations with Black Tie Transportation to take us home after we arrived in California. We know we deserve it. We were taken to the San Francisco airport by Black Tie, which was our treat to ourselves. We knew no matter what happened we could just crawl into that place where a man is going to be by the luggage, and we'll be just fine. Everybody just accepted things. There wasn't a lot of chatter. There were some little kids on that flight. We had to walk a really, really long way. I think about that film that my grandson made me watch, The Walking Dead, and that's the way I felt. Walking down the hallway we were just so tired of being away, away from our comfort zone.
"Salvation of the world depends on me." (OrEd.WkBk.186)
Once in a while I start "goal rolling." Some of the things keep repeating themselves. I just write it down and roll with these goals of what I think is going to lead to peace, love, and joy in my life and in my partner's life, because we spend a lot of time together. I like that. Whatever I have going on inside of me, of course, comes to him. It's a gift of some sort. We're learning to see it more like that. As long as we continue studying A Course In Miracles we can enjoy the fact that, "Life happens." I remember that old saying, "Life is what happens when you're making other plans." Sometimes the plans seem to be just great. Sometimes not. But everything always works out. I know all of us here can tell a story of a fear point in our lives when we just start thinking, "What's left to hurt me here?" It always bounces back to peace, love, and joy and other people coming into our lives. It's never a horrible thing. Ever! It's always just an adventure, which is the way I like to think about it.
When I get up in the morning one of the first things that I do — I wait a few minutes to get my balance — is I like to stand on my head. I'm supported by the wall. I also like to put my hands like this. (Rev. Marilyn demonstrates this position.) I know a lot of you probably already do things like this. I go up to this great spot in the apartment where we live. Usually I count to about 100 or something like that. Then I like to get into the yoga position, "downward facing dog." I like to feel everything just move through my body. I've gotten so flexible over time because of these little movements here and there. At least once a week I do a full yoga practice. I have my little pictures that I take out and I have my mat there. I love to listen to — all I remember now is his character name, "John Boy," from The Waltons television show. (The actor was Richard Thomas). He has a tape, a recording that I bought from a rack right back there (Rev. Marilyn points) here at the Community Miracles Center some years ago. I listen to that. The tape still works. I still have a tape player. I just love listening to his voice talking about A Course In Miracles and the lessons. It's the most wonderful thing for me to do with my yoga practice. As a child I remember loving his presence there on the television set. His character on the show was pretty much him, from the literature I've read and from what I've heard about him.
I hear that healing arrives to us with song of any kind. It's part of the healing. I think about that song ... (Rev. Marilyn sings.)
"The answer my friend is blowing in the wind.
The answer is blowing in the wind."
Thank you for being here and thank you for listening. (applause) ♥
3006 Buchanan Street Unit 1
San Francisco, CA 94123
This article appeared in the September 2015 (Vol. 29 No. 7) issue of Miracles Monthly. Miracles Monthly is published by Community Miracles Center in San Francisco, CA. CMC is supported solely by people just like you who: become CMC Supporting Members, Give Donations and Purchase Books and Products through us.