On April 8, 9, and 10, 2016, Community Miracles Center hosted the 2016 *A Course In Miracles* Conference, "Change Your Mind, Change the World," in Las Vegas, NV. Now the eight CMC ministers who were Conference Staff are reporting their experiences to you.
"Change Your Mind, Change the World" by Rev. Vincent Fuqua
It has been a little over a month since the A Course in Miracles Conference happened in Las Vegas. As I take a moment to reflect upon the Conference, it brings up a mixture of emotions for me with regards to my experience there. The over-arching feeling is of love. It is amazing being in a surrounding where there is such a high spiritual energy that filled the rooms for three consecutive days. The theme of the Conference itself I found to be perfect considering where we were having it. We were having a spiritual conference in a city that is known to this world as "Sin City." There are tons of things happening in Vegas that might be perceive as sinful, and there is no better place for spiritual healers to congregate. As a Course student I recognize that every single day I am given the opportunity to forgive and extend love to everyone who I come in contact with.
There was something about this particular Conference that allowed my juices to flourish. I do believe that in order for us to change this world we need to have an open mind, to go outside of our comfort zone. I know for me, listening to the amazing Presenters over the weekend brought great hope that we will be able to change our minds and change the world to be more healing and loving. Along with the amazing Presenters we had the remarkable people who attended the Conference. Being able to interact with so many people during the three days was exactly what I needed at that moment in my life. Each person, who I had the opportunity to interact with, brought new perspectives to me on how I perceive myself in this world we think are in. One of the beauties of A Course In Miracles is that we are always given a chance to utilize the teaching in this world we are in. What a better way to put it to practice than at a spiritual conference that is happening in "Sin City." I know for me, I had many opportunities to put ACIM to use while at the Conference.
One of the things as a Course student is to learn how not to judge and how to not allow my ego mind to take over so much. Having the opportunity to interact with so many people as a Staff person you are bound to have some thoughts that come to your mind. Although they are mostly loving thoughts, there are also some thoughts that are not loving, that are ego thoughts. As I mentioned, one of the things that the Course would like for us to be aware of is our judging, and I have to admit that there were judgments coming up for me. I had to turn them over to the Holy Spirit.
One of those biggest judgments was about how I perceived it when it was mentioned how a certain Presenter was too loud. It was suggested that we need to put this Presenter in a room further away, because he disturbs the other groups that our quiet. As I turned this over to the Holy Spirit, it became apparent that this was another opportunity for me to practice forgiveness and to let go of judgment. It also reminded me of the theme of the Conference, and if we are truly going to change our mind and change the world we need to take a step back and listen to what we say. We need to get an understanding of where our thoughts and words are coming from, our ego or our Spirit Mind. I know that this is an important lesson for me, and I feel that this Conference has allowed me to evolve in a different manner. I was able to see this evolution in others as we all progress.
The joy of seeing all of the Presenters is always a remarkable experience at these Conferences, and the diversity that comes from them shows the beauty of the Course. This is the same thing for the Staff that works at the Conference. It is truly a blessing to be able to work with such a diverse Staff and watch them flourish in front of my eyes. We all have our own style, yet that adds more to the collective spirit and energy that we are manifesting in this world that we are in. Each one of the Staff I felt took a step outside of their comfort zone and that is how we go about changing our mind and changing the world. In order for these changes to happen we must take risks outside of our normal routine. We need to ensure that the messages Spirit is giving us to say and do we take head on. This Conference has given me the willingness to step outside of my comfort zone to deliver the message that is already set for me to deliver. As I look forward to the next Conference in San Francisco in two years, I will hold this Las Vegas Conference deep in my spirit and remember all of the remarkable experiences I shared there with so many people. ♥
Rev. Vincent Fuqua is CMC's 51st Minister ordained October 2, 2004.
This is the 6th time he has been CMC Conference Staff.
"My First ACIM Conference" by Rev. Kelly Hallock
This was my first Conference, not just on Staff, but it was my very first A Course In Miracles Conference ever. Yet here I was, the Assistant Minister of the Community Miracles Center, overseeing the Staff and operations. I wish I could say I was excited, but more than anything I was scared, or more so – terrified. I wanted everyone to have a good time. I wanted all the organized Tourist Excursions to go well. I wanted to support the Staff and Presenters. Yet, what I was really afraid of was that I would fail.
There are a lot of things I have internalized over the years. Growing up, I was always trying to be good enough to get and keep everyone's approval. As an adult, I've worked at jobs where I was always given a numerical score of my performance each year and told if I was doing "better" or "worse" than previous years. One of those jobs was as a Federal Agent where there was an expectation that we would always try to excel beyond what we had done previously, elusively trying to reach for the golden carrot that was always just out of our grasp.
In my last position at a church, I had left feeling like I wasn't able to do much of anything right. My supervisor from there and Jennifer Hadley, who was a Presenter at the Conference, are very close friends. I didn't know what had been said to her or what she thought of me, so I was worried about seeing her also. I knew that many of these fears were of my own creation, yet any excitement I had about the upcoming Conference was pretty much eclipsed by my fear of failing.
I didn't get to talk extensively with many people at the Conference, except at meals, as I was often busy with operational items – keeping the credit card system going in the bookstore, putting up the signs saying which Presenter was in each room, or checking in with the Staff to make sure they knew where to be and to see if everything was going okay for them. Yet, it was such a blessing to hear how good of a time everyone was having even if personally I didn't get to see many of the Presenters. On Sunday, I was overwhelmed by the number of people who thanked me for what I had talked about during the finale and how grateful they were for the entire Conference. Jennifer Hadley extended so much love to me and we were able to celebrate the changes that have happened in each other's lives. Prior to one of the sessions that she was presenting at, she asked me if I would like to introduce her. She explained that she would like to have me do that so people could start getting to know me. I was surprised and beyond thankful that she saw me as I now was and wasn't holding any rumors against me.
My parents, who don't usually attend church and are in their mid-70s, attended the Sunday finale. I had told Rev. Tony to not do anything that would scare them, not knowing that he was going to get undressed as part of his talk and he even threw a pair of underwear to Earl Purdy who had talked about running around naked trying to put out his apartment fire that week. My parents loved it. They said Rev. Tony made his point and it wasn't as "churchy" as they had expected, so they really enjoyed themselves. They were happy to see all the great things coming into my life. At one point my mom went to the restroom and someone asked if she was my mom since we had the same last name. When she said that she was, the woman shared that I had been really nice to talk with on the phone. My mom came back beaming and so proud of the work that I was doing even though full-time ministry was not what they had imagined their baby girl would do when I was first born. Later, both of my parents were sitting down to a meal when they overheard a couple of people again talking about the Staff and me in particular. My mom didn't say what was said, but her and my dad were really proud of me which was an unexpected blessing and healing for me that came from the Conference.
It wasn't until everyone was gone when Rev. Tony and I sat at the Hash House A Go Go restaurant talking about the Conference that I realized how afraid I had been and how little trust I had in my own abilities. I was able to then express how grateful I was for his, the Staff's, and everyone's confidence in me, and for all of the love that was shown to me by everyone there.
At the end of 2015, I spent three months on a personal retreat working on releasing the judgments that I had adopted from others and had used to limit myself. Yet, I had not seen the fullness of those changes "in action" until that moment with Rev. Tony in the restaurant. Many of the negative beliefs had to do with working with large groups of people, not being able to manage stress, and getting overwhelmed. The Conference affirmed to me that being on this spiritual journey, being open to healing and Love, does work. That I (and we) can move forward when guided and experience the miraculous in ways that we could not have imagined. When I changed my mind, the world that I experience changed radically.
I'm glad the 2018 Conference in San Francisco won't be my first. Now I know a bit more of what to expect, and I won't be facing the same fears that I had this time. I've also learned that there is a lot of walking involved so I have made arrangements so that my dog, Curie, won't have to walk as much next time. She will be with me again though as she really enjoyed getting petted and loved by everyone as she ran around with me. (She's on the back cover of this issue saying "Hi!") Yet, I'm even more grateful that the Las Vegas Conference went as it did. It supported me in moving forward, opening my heart to everyone that I interacted with, and who I see as part of my extended CMC family. ♥
Rev. Kelly Hallock is CMC's 89th Minister ordained September 13, 2015.
This is the 1st time she has been CMC Conference Staff.
"It's All About Changing The World" by Rev. Dusa Althea Rammessirsingh
The Conference really started when Rev. Tony and I drove to Las Vegas in a big U-Haul van full of all the Conference books and supplies. It was a great trip. I got to see the Mojave desert which is dry and yet still beautiful with all it's tiny flowers. We took two days to drive down stopping overnight in Bakersfield, California. We arrived in Bakersfield later than we had planned. We checked into The Padre Hotel and had a beautiful view of the street and right across the street was a famous Fox theatre. It was late so Rev.Tony and I ate: salami, cheese, cucumber, tomatoes, and an apple I had packed for the trip into a small cooler. We drank some wine that Rev. Tony had brought. We were too tired to drive around town to find a place to eat, but it was fun eating together and listening to music in our hotel room. After breakfast in the morning we were again on our way to Las Vegas, another six hours on the road.
We arrived at The Rio around 6:30 p.m. and after standing in the registration line for what seemed like "forever" we found ourselves on the 7th floor with a big beautiful suite that had a terrific view, especially from an elevated jacuzzi bathtub in the bedroom. We got something to eat at the All-American Bar and Grill and then and went to bed.
We were up early the next morning because we had lots of errands to run. We went to Costco where we found most of the things we needed for the Presenter "gift baskets." Each presenter gets a basket full of: cheese, crackers, fruits, chocolate, and bottled water. Then we found this beautiful plant nursery called The Valley of the Moon where we found fully blooming, potted Peace Lilies for the tables in the bookstore. "Peace," what more could we have asked for. I took three of them home with me after the Conference and they are still blooming.
Then we met with the hotel staff, Mindy our Catering Services Manager, and Fernando who ran the audio visual company Encore that was responsible for our event. We were given the tour of where we would have our Conference. It felt like a half mile walk from our room to the conference area. All of the staff had to do lots of runs back and forth.
Rev. Kelly arrived early that evening and we had a Mexican dinner in a new restaurant at The Rio named El Burro Borracho (The Drunk Burro) which was opened by Guy Fieri famous for several shows on the Food Network. Rev. Tony and Rev. Kelly had many logistical things to figure out so they continued to work together.
After a long day of taking care of so many things, like delivering the banner, and walking outdoors several long blocks over to the audio equipment rental company, Rev. Tony and I at last took a great bubble bath in our large tub with a view and then to bed. The next day I had a cold so I rested and Rev. Tony was on the computer most of the day except for when we went for lunch with Rev. Kelly at Hash House A Go Go. Their servings of food were so big it was impossible to eat a meal without sharing it.
On Thursday all of the presenters came in. Each one of the staff (8 of us) had three Presenters to meet and give a tour around The Rio. Of course we gave them their gift baskets. In between time we were unpacking our boxes and setting up the Conference bookstore. Rev. Kelly trained all of us on how to run the cash register and the credit card computer set up. Finally we were able to have a good dinner at the All-American Bar and Grill with all of the staff. After that we all went our separate ways knowing that we would have a busy weekend.
Friday it was up early and getting into our uniforms. It was so exciting. I was looking forward to meeting all the people who would be attending the Conference. It was fun and very busy working the registration table. After all, people were coming from all over the world. We don't have time to chat that much, but I did give lots of hugs and always a big smile while greeting everyone and giving out information that the person behind them could hear too, but we kept repeating it anyway.
At last the Conference starts and I get to open the Conference with my introduction to "Change Your Mind, Change the World." I feel so great that my theme was the one chosen to be the title of the Conference. It is really something to see how difficult it is to change my own mind, so I am not surprised when people are not able to change theirs. To change your mind you cannot hold onto your old ideas and your old ways of thinking. Also, we need the support from each other to get through our daily life. Doing the lessons every day helps to keep each one of us on the path of changing our mind to become more loving human beings.
There was always something for the Staff to do while working the Conference. Frequently we were working in the bookstore which kept the Staff very busy writing up the receipts for the books people were buying. There often was a line so it gave people a chance to talk to each other and give opinions and suggestions of books to buy.
I did get to hear some of the individual Presenters talk about A Course In Miraacles. What I did hear helped me to see there are many ways and ideas on how to view ACIM. Sometimes we get stuck in our thinking on how we interpret what ACIM is telling us what to do. It is inspiring to listen to other people's interpretation of ACIM.
Some of the quotes I remember from the Presenters are: "Today I learn the law of love; that what I give my brother is my gift to me." (OrEd.WkBk.344) "The Guest whom God sent you will teach you how to do this if you but recognize the little spark and are willing to let it grow." (OrEd.Tx.10.21) "I am not alone in experiencing the effects of my thoughts." (OrEd.WkBk.19) There is much food for thought in these. We learn so much from each other if we but listen to each other's heart.
The other wonderful parts of the Conference were the big meals together. Four hundred and fifty-six people eating together in a big dining room is great. People were open, friendly, and chatty. Plus, our dance party Saturday night was fabulous with the Unauthorized Rolling Stones with our own Rev. Rudy Colombini as the "Mick Jagger" front man. We all had so much fun dancing.
Rev. Tony's sermon on Sunday was an awesome example of forgiving our bodies for not having the perfect shape or form. ACIM is about changing our every thought, word, and action. Rev. Tony showed us how it takes a lot of guts to get up on stage to show his body as an example of our body issues. Rev. Tony's body is not what we are taught, or is shown to us on TV, as the kind of body people usually want to see. (Editors note: "Really. Who says so?") We have a lot of old painful images of our bodies. It is time to let them go and see ourselves as how we truly are: loving, creative, inspiring beings. We want to undo the pain many carry about their bodies so we can bring to the world peace and harmony. We want to change our mind so we can change the world.
There is so much I could say but space is limited. After another long and beautiful ride home we were back in San Francisco, but the Conference has lived on in emails, a lively discussion, and in several sermons at the local Community Miracles Center facility. I think we succeeded. The world is different for me, and I know it is for many who were at the Las Vegas "Change Your Mind, Change the World" Conference. ♥
Rev. Dusa Althea Rammessirsingh is CMC's 21st Minister ordained October 17, 1997.
This is the 7th time she has been CMC Conference Staff.
"My Greatest Challenge / Greatest Achievement" by Rev. Tony Ponticello
Our recent A Course In Miracles Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada was a huge challenge from the start. It was certainly the greatest challenge of my professional career – at least so far. Our theme was, "Change Your Mind, Change The World" and I do believe we all did just that on April 8, 9, & 10, 2016. While this was the seventh ACIM Conference that the Community Miracles Center has organized, we have never dealt with a major hotel and casino, before and a casino owned by a huge entertainment and hotel corporation. The Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, where the Conference was held, is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment.
When dealing with large corporations there is a layer of complexity and you end up having to interface with many more people than with a smaller hotel and company. At first this can be off-putting, but all the professionals I dealt with from Caesars were just that – professionals. The level of competency and thoroughness was different than I had experienced before and greatly appreciated. Because of some errors that I had made, the original contract had to be renegotiated. As difficult as that process was, we were able to do it through higher management at the corporate level. I will forever be grateful for the willingness of Caesars to deal with us like real life people and potential future customers too. Again their professionalism shown through.
Since Las Vegas is only a nine hour drive from San Francisco, I decided that instead of shipping: all the books for the bookstore, the many boxes of registration material, the banners, and all the other items for the Conference, I would drive everything there myself in a large, rented U-Haul van. That was a huge challenge for me, as I do not drive much anymore, and I do mostly city driving. Also having this oversized van to pack up, load, and park for a day in San Francisco was anxiety producing. Driving nine hours on highways and byways, through the central valley and the dessert was another challenge. I was blessed to have Rev. Dusa Althea with me, and we broke it up by spending the night in Bakersfield California on both legs of the trip.
Once we got to the Rio on Monday it was a whirlwind of activity which included shopping and meetings with various key people. Musical instruments for the band and our pianist had to be arranged and paid for. There was constant email communications with Presenters and attendees who were still registering up to the day before.
Once my Staff, the Presenters, and the other attendees started to arrive the energy shifted into high gear, and by "high" I mean spiritually high too. We had 456 ACIM students in The Rio and the joining of consciousness of this large of a group is really something you just have to experience. It defies description. The challenge of running one of these events is in the ability to keep all the different elements contained in consciousness and not allowing any one element to spin out of control and puncture the energy. It is creating an eye in the midst off a hurricane. I did my job and contained the hurricane of excitement. Being in the center of that, and seeing it manifest so well, was awesome.
I love all the wonderful Presenters we had. It wouldn't be fair to mention a few without mentioning them all so I just want to say how amazing it was to have us all there together. Gathering like we do for that Friday morning meeting of the Presenters and Staff, just seeing us all together in that room and feeling the love and the light, is always a highpoint for me. Thank you all so much for sharing your wisdom and your presence! We are all forever blessed. Look at the picture of all of them in the centerfold. Who would not want to be in the midst of such an amazing gathering of people.
So many things stand out for me about the Conference I could not list them all. Watching the attendees and Presenters be blown aways by the live band, The Unauthorized Rolling Stones, was one of them. It was the best dance party we've had at a Conference yet. To have the URS jazz up the Sunday Service and pump their energy into it was amazing. We all heard "Sympathy for the Devil" at a Sunday church service focused on A Course In Miracles. Besides being one of the greatest rock songs ever recorded – think about the fact that this song is about us forgiving the Devil and realizing that the devil has been us all along. "I shouted out, ‘Who killed the Kennedys?"'When after all. It was you and me." It can't get much better than that.
I suppose I need to talk about my Presentation at the Sunday finale. Getting the guidance to do that "talk" was indeed the challenge of my professional life, and it too was indeed the greatest accomplishment of my professional life as well. If you don't know, I gave an extremely heart felt, painfully vulnerable, consistently profound, and hopefully very funny presentation where I gradually took off my clothes. They say when in Rome do as the Romans do. Well, when in Las Vegas .... I know some people were shocked and maybe even disturbed. To know that people were disturbed at the sight of your almost naked body is not the most pleasant thing. I know a few people actually left. I bless them, and I am glad they took care of themselves. However I have always believed if you are not disturbing a few you probably are just telling people what they already know. I didn't want to tell people what they already knew. I wanted people to change their minds so that they would change the world. I wanted people to look at the dysfunctional, depressing ideas that we hold about bodies, our own bodies in particular, and realize that all the values we hold about them are merely capricious whimsy and not valuable at all. I think I did just that.
What many don't realize is how hard it was for me to take off almost all of my clothes in front of 400 people. I am not a Chippendale model. I do not have the body that most people think they want to see, but they saw it anyway. And mostly – they loved me and they got it. I received so many extremely heart felt emails and comments that I was truly driven to happy tears many times with the profundity and transformation that was being expressed. Thank you all who took the time to write. "Yes," a few people wrote negative things, but I have the same response, Thank you all for expressing your thoughts.
When I got back to San Francisco after another long and challenging drive in an oversized van, with another anxiety producing, "Where do I park, and how do we unload this thing?" challenge – the Conference was technically through. Since then I have let a personal healing sweep over me and have it's effect. I didn't realize how personally transformational my Presentation would be for me. I didn't realize how transformational the Conference would be for me. I was focussing in on making it transformational for others, and in that process got sucked up into the transformation myself. I had to in order to be able to create that experience for the other 455 people there. Of course, how could it have been any other way.
I changed my mind, and I changed my world. With that demonstration many others changed their minds and their worlds too. I hope you all register for the San Francisco 2018 Conference soon. We don't officially launch until July but if you call us we can register you over the phone. When asked, be sure to say you were inspired to come because of "Rev. Tony." I and the CMC would be forever grateful. ♥
Rev. Tony Ponticello is CMC's 20th Minister ordained October 17, 1997.
This is the 7th time he has been CMC Conference Staff.
"I Feel A Change" by Rev. Kim Wison
As I consider the 2016 A Course in Miracles Conference in Las Vegas at The Rio, I come to a more profound understanding of Community Miracle Center's true message. I am a witness to CMC's drive to serve.
Actually, service is what drives CMC. This service brings together a community of people who offer presentations on a common theme from ACIM, a community who listens to them, and some folks who come simply to rub elbows with those like-minded. But most of all this service is about creating a venue that joins hundreds of people who count on impeccable planning and careful attention to detail.
This year was no exception. Planning was done as usual and the venue scoped out. Arrangements with Presenters were made and tickets were purchased. And this year the crème de la crème was the live music performed by the Unauthorized Rolling Stones with our own Rev. Rudy Colombini! The dance is always a highlight to me anyway, but the guys in this band really brought the house down, both Saturday night and Sunday morning.
What impressed me most this year, though, was the group-think feeling of One, the Christ. All for one and one for all. I felt it! Everyone came to be a part of changing the world by changing our mind. It seemed obvious to me that we are One! I feel a change a coming on! I don't truly know what that means, and I don't truly know how that looks. But I'm not gonna hide and watch. I intend to live this day in this world with our One Mind. I intend to do this every day.
The big "switcheroo" for me in changing our mind, is changing it from fear to faith. Period. As stated in ACIM, "Faith is the opposite of fear, as much a part of love as fear is of attack. Faith is the acknowledgment of union. It is the gracious acknowledgment of everyone as a Son of your most loving Father, loved by Him like you and therefore loved by you as yourself. It is His love that joins you, and for His love you would keep no one separate from yours. Each one appears just as he is perceived in the holy instant, united in your purpose to be released from guilt. You saw the Christ in him, and he was healed because you looked on what makes faith forever justified in everyone." (OrEd.Tx.19.11)
Thank you for the faith of seeing the Christ in me, the gift of God. My joy is awaiting the next Son of God to appear before me for another opportunity to recognize the Christ in you. We are free, and the world reflects this back to us through our brothers. May the holy instant rule the world, two by two. As we two meet, may we see truly the Christ in one another. ♥
Rev. Kim Wilson is CMC's 85th Minister ordained March 15, 2015.
This is the 2nd time she has been CMC Conference Staff.
"Leaving Las Vegas" by Rev. Roxie Benson
For me Las Vegas was filled with expectations of wild spiritual and business success. Las Vegas was the test I gave myself to prove to me that I should go through with quitting my job as a science teacher in Stockton, California and follow my dream to support myself in San Francisco making money doing what I love, sexual kink and Miracles. I had plans of selling hundreds of video DVDs of my Pre-Conference workshop on "Jeshua's Miracles Trilogy," gaining new students for my telephone classes, and new clients for my spiritual counseling. Although I did connect with lovely people, and I had many loving exchanges, the "successful" launch of my spiritual career did not meet my ego's expectations. However Las Vegas changed me profoundly, and yet nothing real has changed at all.
I was so excited to share about "Jeshua's Miracles Trilogy" and the self-acceptance I had experienced as a result of A Course Of Love. I was in a space of such certainty. When the time of the Pre-Conference workshop arrived, I felt ready to share who I am with my colleagues and friends at the conference.
When I arrived at the Pre-Conference meeting room, my wonderful partner of six years had put candles and a beautiful flower arrangement on the podium. I felt loved and supported by him as I often do. A friend was in the audience in the front row smiling encouragement. My heart was filled with gratitude, purpose, and love. Even when I lost the sound of the microphone and they started playing elevator music in the room, I was still in gratitude and love. I was able to stay peaceful and patient through the technical difficulties with the loving support of all in the room. The friend and my partner were there smiling and encouraging me the whole time, and I stayed present, stayed calm, and stayed in gratitude and love. I shared from my heart and I was able to allow Jeshua's message to flow through me.
Since that beginning Friday afternoon of the Conference, and the wildly fun, Sunday Grand Finale with the revealing Rev. Tony and Mistress Roxie, my primary partner I went through a major upset in our relationship. The upset started with him meeting someone at the Conference and having sex, and also with him taking that supportive friend from the workshop to dinner at my suggestion and then flirting with her afterwards. The upset continued, and even got worse, after the Conference when he left me on a weekend we were to be together so that he could drive 400 miles to help that same supportive friend. We literally have gone through hell.
My reaction and response to the sex hookup / new relationship in Vegas, the continued flirting, and then trip to see my friend 400 miles away, was not always what the world or A Course In Miracles students would judge as loving. At times I was downright mean.
When he told me he had sex with the woman he met at the Conference, and that's where he was when I was looking for him, I went off a bit. But we got through it and went to the Saturday night dance at the Conference. I lost it again later, when he disappeared on me at the dance.
But this is not about behavior, his, mine, or hers. It is about truth and content. The truth is: I had often complained that my partner was too restrictive. I wanted no restrictions and claimed I didn't want to put any on him. Yet I asked him not to date that "friend." Why not her? Why can he date other people I know, but not her? Was I not limiting him where I did not want to be limited? If he was attracted to her, if I truly love him, would I not want him to be happy?
The truth is also this, I asked to be healed of my belief in jealousy and possessiveness. Be careful what you ask for, because when you add the belief in betrayal to the mix you better hold on for the ride. These beliefs are entrenched. Letting them go will be the death of ego. The ego wants to live, and it's not going quietly.
The truth is also this, the three of us agreed to act this drama out, and really there is only one of us here. The One Son agreed to act this out to demonstrate the futility of judgment. I say I want relationship, unity, and joining, but my egoic patterns of fear wants nothing to do with that. My ego still wants to point out their "wrongs" and my "rights." As I watch my ego do this I experience the pain of my judgments. I literally see and feel how my judgments make separation seem real. I realize I feel so much pain, because I am separating myself from "relationship" by judging behavior. It's my judgment of the situation, and the behavior of egos in the situation, that separates me. The situation did not separate me from love. I did that when I chose judgment instead of unity.
The content of love is all through this seeming betrayal. My partner and friend acted out this drama to save me from my beliefs. It was an act of pure love. Please don't make the mistake of judging their behavior. It only brings seeming separation. Separation hurts so deeply because we are creatures of Unity. To try to exist in separation is to attempt to exist in an unnatural state. It's painful to try to be who I am not.
I am letting go of my old patterns based on the fearful beliefs that: "I must possess love to keep it," or "If the one I love, loves another there is less love for me," and,
"If you were my friend you would not betray me like this."
I was not betrayed. I was given exactly what I asked for, the power to let go of my mistaken beliefs. All these beliefs are based in judgment. My ego mind wants to see betrayal, victimhood, self-righteousness, and it wants my partner and the friend to see how much I've suffered at their hands.
But the Christ in Me wants only truth. I may have a few more ego battles around this, but I see the truth and I know that this situation had my full agreement from the start.
Holding onto judgment is futile and will never heal me. Sheryl Crow says it best in her song, Leaving Las Vegas, "I'm standing in the middle of a dessert waiting for my ship to come in, but now no Joker, no Jack, no King can take this loser hand and make it win. I'm leaving Las Vegas, I'm leaving for good."
Judgment of behavior is a losing hand. I'm leaving my sword of judgment in Las Vegas and what won't stay in Vegas, is my total forgiveness of myself, my partner, and my friend. ♥
Rev. Roxie Benson is CMC's 53th Minister ordained October 2, 2004.
This is the 6th time she has been CMC Conference Staff.
"A Course In Miracles – Is All I Need" by Rev. Daniel Tipton
The Community Miracles Center's A Course In Miracles Conference is always an enriching experience. This year's Conference was unique in that it allowed me to deepen my practice of A Course in Miracles through relationships. For much of the time that I was Staff at the Conference I was unable to attend the sessions. However, I was in a unique position of service to my brothers and sisters. I witnessed awakening minds eager to hear truth. ACIM itself has always been enough for me, but it was interesting to see all the different ways that people teach and learn its central messages. After studying for some years now, I am looking for ways to deepen my own experience. As it is said in ACIM, we inevitably become teachers. Even when we do not think we are necessarily teaching, others are learning by watching our behaviors.
The Conference helped me understand that I have a duty to my brothers and sisters to be a clear channel for the Holy Spirit. Am I always clear? Definitely not, but I find motivation in seeing my mission through ACIM fulfilled in service. It is not my job to interpret or define the ACIM path for them. It is my job to help them find the straightest path that they are able to find.
In hearing and reading some of the Presenters I found it interesting – all of the perspectives that have been born. It seemed there was a little something for everyone. I am personally drawn toward the actual ACIM material these days, but I can recall how I used a Marianne Williamson book to introduce me to the general ideas. I saw many people drawn in different ways toward different materials, and I pondered what their life stories were and how certain things caught their eye. ACIM says that we each have a unique curriculum.
I was also reminded not to get lost in the complexity that inevitably is created in our human endeavors. A great deal of magnificent perspectives have been created in the general spirit of ACIM, but I was reminded of how wonderful it is to simply read ACIM itself. What we have is possibly the most masterful piece of self-realizing material ever written. One page of ACIM is often more profound than many of the spiritual books I've read. If I found myself on a deserted island I think I would be content having only an ACIM book, knowing that the answer to all of my problems are there.
This Conference also reminded me that the real journey is within myself, and the best tool I've found this world to offer is the Text, Workbook for Students, and Manual for Teachers of ACIM. The CMC Conference showed me where I was when I was newly awakened and wanted to gobble up everything that resembled a better way. It also showed me where I've come which seems to be a simpler appreciation of and gratitude for this literally life-saving material. After my enriching experience at the 2016 CMC Conference, I feel compelled to ask all students and teachers to join me in gratitude for the fact that by whatever stroke of luck we stumbled upon this material which is by far, as close to perfection that I have seen in any other path. I am also humbled by the idea that there is more to ACIM than I may be able to grasp in a lifetime. And yet, it gave me something on which to grasp so that I can weather this thing that we call life. God threw me a bone, no a lifesaver, and I am going to hang on for dear life! ♥
Rev. Daniel Tipton is CMC's 62nd Minister ordained February 17, 2013.
This is the 3rd time he has been CMC Conference Staff.
"Catching the Spirit" by Rev. Peter Graham
"Did you feel the Love?" If I could interview all of the attendees of the 2016 "Change your Mind, Change the World," this is the question I would ask. I suspect that most of the attendees would have answered a resounding "Yes!" This is the greatest impression that I was left with as I reflect upon the Conference which propelled me into a two week spiritual high. I felt the love everywhere at the Conference.
As I began to prepare for the Conference, several of us met at the Community Miracles Center to put together the name tags and registration packets for the attendees. Rev. Tony and Rev. Kelly as always were organized and played great music as we merrily completed our assigned tasks to help assemble the needed packets. When I arrived at Las Vegas and met with the Presenters who I supported, I was touched by their passion, enthusiasm, authenticity, kindness, and appreciation for our efforts. Each task that followed continued with this same spirit – from setting up the conference bookstore to registering the attendees. Naturally, the presentations made by the outstanding Presenters amped up the love.
The Pathway of Light's team of Rev. Larry Glenz and Rev. Myron Jones strengthened my faith in A Course In Miracles and Holy Spirit. Rev. Myron taught about how she worked on a daily basis using ACIM to change her mind! She reminded me of one of the most practical and useful sections of ACIM, the Rules for Decision. (OrEd.Tx.30.2-32) I have been referring often to this part of the Text since her presentation and to the surprise of no one my decisions have been more in line with Spirit, because I often start my day by asking Spirit to give me the kind of day that I want. Rev. Larry followed and delivered a powerfu
l and inspiring talk that most of us could directly relate to. We have all experienced the devastating affects of addiction in either the life of a loved one or our own. Rev. Larry shared how this painful experience powerfully transformed him to unconditional love of his son Kevin and authentic communication with the Holy Spirit. His presentation powerfully impacted the attendees with many sharing their own stories of how addiction had impacted them and the lives of their loved ones providing them with one of the great healing lessons of their lives.
Equally impressive were two of our new presenters, Corrine Zupko and Craig Villarubia. Corrine and Craig presented using related life experiences seamlessly weaving in the metaphysics of ACIM showing us how they used the Course to change their minds. Corrine addressed the universal problem of anxiety, developing her own practical approach using Course principles in a very practical manner. I loved her energy and sense of humor. Craig managed to convey his recent, major life change which is chronicled into his self produced movie ACIM, Enlightenment or Bust by telling us how he was led to surrender the conventional trappings of the modern life for a deeper exploration in a move to Hawaii. Again his transformation was deeply connected to ACIM principles and a great sense of how to convey life lessons with great humor. I did have some challenges which provided me with opportunities for forgiveness.
I came down with a stomach bug just after the amazing Unauthorized Rolling Stones dance party on Saturday night. It caused me to miss most of Sunday's activities. In the brief time that I was able to show my face early Sunday morning, I spoke to one of the attendees and told them I was not feeling well. They proceeded to tell me that I could have prevented my illness with the right thinking. This was not what I needed at the moment. It's like when you're just diagnosed with cancer and that novice Course student tells you it's all in your mind and if you change your mind you can heal yourself. Actually that is not what ACIM says, and more importantly, it lacks the gentle, kind response to a brother in need. Naturally, I started working on my forgiveness lesson.
I also missed having Gary Renard attend and speak at the Conference as he has done in every one since 2007. I think he provides a coherent, substantive and interesting presentation on Course principles that provides an important contribution to our Conferences. I continue to pray for a healing and that he will attend future conferences. I did learn some important contributions from other Presenters.
I really got that we as A Course in Miracles students can embrace people of the various Christian faiths. David Hoffmeister spoke on this topic as did Lisa Natoli. Previous to this experience, I was opposed to evangelizing Christians to ACIM because I find that when religious folks engage in that process it is often uncomfortable and offensive. What I got from these Presenters was that when given the opportunity, or the invitation, that we should share our experiences about ACIM in a non-proselytizing manner to people of all faiths. ♥
Rev. Peter Graham is CMC's 40th Minister ordained February 23, 2002.
This is the 6th time he has been CMC Conference Staff.
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This article appeared in the May 2016 (Vol. 30 No. 3) 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.