Deb Canja is a spiritual teacher dedicated to removing the obstacles that prevent us from experiencing self-love and inner peace. She was ordained on Aug. 22, 2020, as the CMC's 122nd Minister. She serves on the CMC Board of Directors and teaches a class focused on the ACIM Text using the Circle of Atonement edition. Deb has spent years studying many spiritual masters and healers and knows that the key to realizing a life of joy, abundance and success is already within each of us. She helps others find their path to success and happiness with gentle guidance and a few simple strategies that build bridges to inner wisdom and connection to the truth of who they are.
Deb is also the founder and CEO of Bridges4Kids, a national, non-profit organization providing online information for parents and professionals seeking help for kids from birth through college. Prior to founding Bridges4Kids, she served as the Executive Director of Michigan’s Parent Training and Information Center where she used her legal background in civil rights to teach parents how to successfully advocate for children with special needs.
At 15 she was led to the decision to become a lawyer dedicated to working within government to bring about positive change from the inside out. As a Michigan Assistant Attorney General, and later a Deputy General Counsel, she protected the public by regulating insurance and lending services, and by defending laws that protect consumers.
She also served as a volunteer, elected trustee of a large community college and championed programs to make education affordable and accessible for all.
A best-selling author, her first book was written with her mother Tess, about helping adults discover how to encourage a success mindset in young boys. Swim the Lake Before You Row the Boat describes how to awaken a boy’s success identity, unleash his confidence and give him the foundation for a great life. At the same time, it encourages parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches and mentors to lighten up on themselves, embrace do-overs, and focus their efforts where it really matters. She is also a contributor to two other best-selling books, The Success Code: Ordinary Habits/ Extraordinary Results, and Transforming Your Life, Vol. 3.
Dear Miracle Workers,
In the first Star Wars movie, Luke, Han Solo, Chewy, C-3PO, R2-D2, and Obi-Wan Kenobi join together to rescue Princess Leia from Darth Vader, who is holding her captive. But as they speed through space and approach Vader’s Death Star, their ship, the Millennium Falcon, is caught in the Death Star’s tractor beam and slowly pulled inside the giant ship. They hide in secret places, then sneak out to find Leia. Obi-Wan, however, breaks off from the group to disable the tractor beam. On the way, he encounters Darth Vader.
Darth Vader – keeper of the “dark side” of the Force squares off against Obi-Wan – Jedi Knight of the Light. They battle fiercely until that moment when Obi-Wan stands in front of Vader and lowers his light saber. “If you strike me down,” he says, “I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” Vader cuts him in half but Obi-Wan’s body disappears leaving only a cloak in a pile on the floor.
I thought of this and of those who have been studying the Course for years. Clearly we are “experts” in one sense. We know what it says, we understand what it means, and our lives have been transformed as a result. But, in another sense, we are just as newbie as everyone else. Because if we really got it, really understood who we were, we wouldn’t still be here.
Think about it, once Jesus figured it out, he didn’t stick around for very long. He knew his power and communication would only increase upon his leaving. Like Obi-Wan, Jesus became more powerful than the forces of dark could ever imagine. “Nothing can prevail against a Son of God who commends his Spirit into the hands of his Father.” (OrEd.Tx.3.19)
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(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #315, Nov. 30 2021)
Dear Miracle Workers,
Want to be a channel or a remote viewer? I never thought I’d be able to do that, until someone taught me. I was shocked to find I could see and describe people I'd never met. But, as cool as it is, that ability is like the children's toys Jesus talks about. An even greater power is available to us; the power He is trying to teach us to access.
When we play children's games, we might say, “Holy Spirit, find me a parking place.” Or, as Helen did, ask to find the perfect winter coat. Jesus called it the “Higher Shopping Service.” (CE.Tx.1.25:6) But what if you want to mend a broken heart? Or fix an argument? What if you want to have peace instead of turmoil in your life? You can. “There is a place in you where the strength of God abides.” (OrEd.WkBk.47.8)
That place is called the Holy Spirit; that part of you that remains connected to God. It’s the true You. But, because it IS You, it knows all that is in your mind. And while you may say you want one thing, if you still have attachment to something else, well…nothing will happen. Your desires will cancel each other out. But if you can give up your attachment to what you think should happen and become quiet and go within; if you can give the situation to One who is deeply connected to much more than you will ever know, something supernatural will happen - things you were never expecting, things you never thought possible. Weird things, spooky things. Opportunities open up that never before existed. People do things you never could have expected.
Yes, you really can tap into that power and set it in motion. Step right up! Amaze yourself! Amaze your friends! Amaze your family! And heal the world.
(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #306, Sep. 28 2021)
Dear Miracle Workers,
Remember that John Mellencamp song, "Small Town"? It came out in 1985 and some of the lyrics are:
Well I was born in a small town
And I live in a small town
Probably die in a small town…
The point of the song is that there is a comfort and a familiarity and even a charm about his small town that makes him want to stay:
And I can breathe in a small town
Gonna die in this small town
And that’s probably where they’ll bury me.
It got me to thinking, don’t we all live in a small town? The people we grew up with, the experiences we’ve had, the limits we’ve learned, the memories we cherish, the judgments we’ve made – they are all still there – in the small town in our mind – where we still live.
Our habits of thought are comfortable and familiar. We like them. We believe in them. In fact, were we to suddenly have to give them all up, we would feel anchorless and fearful. That is why, in the Manual for Teachers, Jesus explains that most of us are given “a slowly-evolving training program.” (OrEd.Mn.9.1) We are also taught that how much time we spend in this training program before being born again, before we remember who we are and the innocent child we are, is up to us. We can choose to be buried in our small town, or we can choose to be born again into someplace really spectacular.
(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #286, May 11, 2021)
Dear Miracle Workers,
Since becoming a published author I’ve heard a lot of advice on how to turn a book into “a money-making machine” and make “a six-figure income.” It always sounds so great until I remember I walked away from a six-figure income and a rewarding position because I’d had a nagging feeling I was being called to do something else.
And even though I didn’t know what I was being called toward, I knew what I was being called from. Jesus tells us there is a basic level confusion that underlies all attempts to seek happiness with the instruments of the world. He says, “A desert is a desert is a desert. You can do anything you want in it, but you cannot change it from what it is. It still lacks water, which is why it is a desert. The thing to do with a desert is to leave." (CE.1.43.12:2-5)
I left a desert for more alignment with A Course In Miracles. Even though I’d been studying the Course for years, I didn’t feel I was living its teachings. For starters, I hadn’t actually ever done the lessons the way they are supposed to be done. I’d read a lesson in the morning and not even remember it until the end of the day. And forget about that every half hour thing! I bought lesson cards and a reminder app for my phone. I taped things to my mirror. I’d like to say it all worked like a charm, but it didn’t.
Yet, one thing did –– the Community Miracles Center’s Workbook Lesson class. I almost didn’t take it. I remember saying, “There is NO WAY I am going to call a lesson buddy every day and do the lesson together! I am too busy! I don’t want to be that structured! I don’t even like talking on the phone!” But, folks, it’s the one thing that worked. And it was such a beautiful experience. I’m now on my third year of “lesson buddy-ness.” Looking for a fast track? This is it.
(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #285, May 4, 2021)
Dear Miracle Workers,
A friend was in pain. She’d been through cancer and then hip surgery and now painful, red, swollen and itching hives covered her. As an A Course In Miracles student, she wondered, "What darkness am I harboring that I keep manifesting all of this pain?" Her question isn’t unique. Somehow we’ve come to believe that an “unhealed” body is the sign of an unhealed mind. The truth is something else.
Bodies are "a learning device for the mind...and not lessons in themselves." (T2.VII.6:3) The idea that our painful bodily circumstances show how far we have to go in our healing journey, really makes no sense. If you are “here” – or at least think you are – you are, by definition, “unhealed.” If you are here, it is your job to be “here” AND unhealed and to work on healing. As a result, you will display “unhealed” thoughts, behavior, and bodies. If there were no reason for you to do so, you wouldn’t be here.
Rather than signifying an unhealed mind, they point instead to a mind seeking a way to speed up the curriculum. They are witness to a determination to find a unity of everlasting peace. It makes no sense to ask, what does this say about me? You are a perfect child of God, Love itself embodied. Ask instead, “What is this trying to tell me?” The message is always intensely personal.
Some months earlier my friend had declared, “I’m not going to repeat these life lessons anymore. I’m going to get it now!” meaning in this “lifetime.” Seen in that light, those angry, red welts – that’s the universe coming to help a strong and determined soul meet her goals. Instead of symbolizing how far off the path she’s fallen, they show she is moving forward with determination. You go, girl!
(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #268, Jan. 7 2021)