Deb Canja

Deb Canja

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. 



Thursday, 28 July 2022 04:13

Win One of Five Buicks

Dear Miracle Worker,

If it weren’t for highway billboards I would never know about some really amazing opportunities. Like this one: “The FireKeepers Casino is giving away one Buick every week to a lucky winner!!!”

I’m not a big gambler. I mean, I’ve gone to casinos before. And I’ve taken trips to Las Vegas. But the most I’ve ever done is play slot machines with a roll of nickels. I always lose it all. Even when I win some money, after a while it’s all gone, and then I’m done.

So I don’t have to deal with the gamblers' compulsion. Or do I? I have plenty of other compulsions that encourage me to spend money. For example, I love decorating my house. I seem to always be “doing something” in an effort to “improve it.” Recently I felt compelled to “improve” my garage. It has been perfectly serviceable for 30 years. Now it looks like I’m parking in a living room. It’s so nice I could take a cup of coffee and sit in there and relax.

“Seek and do not find,” (CoA.Tx.12.VI.1.4) is the outcome, says the Course, when we believe in the form and do not recognize the content. Truth is, by fixing up my garage I’m really just trying to improve the feeling I have when I’m in my house. And isn’t that the same thing a gambler is doing? Trying to improve the feeling they have at any given time? Seeking and trying to find peace in the form and not the content?

And isn’t that what we are all doing, all the time? Gambling in our own FireKeepers Casino, hoping to win one of five Buicks.

(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #347, July 28 2022)

Tuesday, 21 June 2022 03:09

The Wisdom in Super Glue

Dear Miracle Worker,

The other day I used Super Glue to fix something – and it didn’t go well. The pieces were small, the glue is runny, and I was in a hurry. Too soon I realized a piece I glued first was preventing others from lining up. Worse, my fingers were stuck together.

Getting Super Glue on your fingers is usually no big deal. But this was next level. My thumb and forefinger were stuck together in a permanent a-ok sign. I tried pulling them apart, but that was going to hurt – a lot! I googled it. Soap and warm water? Nope. Margarine or olive oil? Nope. And then I saw it! My big, sharp kitchen knife. You know when you use a knife to cut through the clear tape on a package? That was my idea.

Carefully I pulled my fingers apart and then really, really gently started sawing between them with the big knife – half expecting to cut off my finger tip. But I didn’t!! It worked!! My fingers were free!

What does that have to do with the Course? A friend said you can go to the Course with any problem, open it to any page and find something right on point. And right after the glue episode I noticed how many times we are told to go slowly in our practice. "The world trains for reliance on one's judgment as the criterion for maturity and strength. Our curriculum trains for the relinquishment of judgment as the necessary condition of salvation." (OrEd.Mn.9.2)

My big hurry didn’t fix what was broken. My rush to start gluing was a rush to judgment without pausing for guidance. And my glued fingers were like the mess that results. Who knew there could be so much wisdom in Super Glue?

(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #342, June 21 2022)

Send CMC a tax-deductible donation via PayPal or your Credit Card to support this work. "Thank you!"

Thursday, 03 March 2022 02:52

Assisted Living Mysteries

Dear Miracle Workers,

Assisted living is full of mysteries. My mom is 94 and in assisted living. The thing they don’t tell you when you are taking the nice tour, or after you’ve paid your deposit and are going through orientation, is that your loved one’s “things” are going to disappear. This is especially true with clothes, towels, sheets – you name it. You can go through a whole Sharpie putting names and initials on things and they will still disappear. It’s a mystery.

Some people go into assisted living because they need physical assistance. But some, like my mom, are in various stages of dementia and a lot of her neighbors are like that, too. So, who knows? Things might be “borrowed,” or “found,” or “collected.” Some go into the laundry room never to be seen again. And anything new or of value might walk out the door with a temporary worker. Mom’s wedding ring disappeared that way – I think.

I pretty much take this all in stride – thanks to ACIM. “All things are lessons God would have me learn.” (OrEd.WkBk.193) I can only feel lack or loss, or even annoyance, if I feel I have been deprived. And I can only feel deprived if I have forgotten who I am and what this world is. My attachment to concepts such as order, future needs, history, the past, possessions, and judgments of right and wrong, will become powerful anchors to the illusion, if I let them. Instead, “... there is a way to look on everything that lets it be to you another step to Him and to salvation of the world." (OrEd.WkBk.193.17) So now I try to be like Byron Katie. Wedding ring missing? I look forward to that happening again! – so I can continue to learn.

(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #326, Mar. 3 2022)

Send CMC a tax-deductible donation via PayPal or your Credit Card to support this work. "Thank you!"

Dear Miracle Workers,

I have a hard time sitting still. It’s kind of a problem. “Be still and know I am” is in the “How To” book on enlightenment. Even a sign on my wall reminds, “Make time for the quiet moments as God whispers and the world is loud.” So it’s not surprising that in our lessons we are often asked to quietly reflect. But in Lesson 124 Jesus asks us to sit and meditate for 30 minutes. He says it is the, "... first attempt at an extended period for which we give no rules nor special words to guide your meditation." (OrEd.WkBk.124.8)

I wanted to know, do I really have to sit still for 30 minutes? Aren’t there a lot of different ways to focus on an idea without sitting quietly and doing nothing?

So I tested it. Every morning, when the sky is still dark and stars still shine, I take a walk before cars or people are out. It’s quiet, it’s peaceful and there’s really nothing to distract my attention. It’s a perfect time for self-introspection and quiet reflection. On my walk one day I repeated and reflected on the idea from Lesson 124: “Let me remember I am one with God.”

I’m here to tell you, it didn’t work. Not because I wasn’t inspired, or wasn’t focused. And not because it wasn’t important to me. It didn’t work because the physical act of walking had the effect of anchoring my mind to my body. The “not me” who was walking in a body had a hard time being “me” outside of the body and One with God at the same time. (And “me” in Oneness also had a hard time walking in a straight line!)

I guess sometimes we just have to sit there.

(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #320, Jan. 18 2022)

Send CMC a tax-deductible donation via PayPal or your Credit Card to support this work. "Thank you!"

Tuesday, 30 November 2021 05:38

Lessons from Star Wars

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)

Send CMC a tax-deductible donation via PayPal or your Credit Card to support this work. "Thank you!"

(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #315, Nov. 30 2021)

Tuesday, 28 September 2021 00:57

Something Supernatural is Going On...

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)

Tuesday, 11 May 2021 12:00

Everyone Lives in a Small Town

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)

Tuesday, 04 May 2021 12:00

The One Thing That Worked

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)

Thursday, 25 March 2021 06:22

God Is the Love in Which We Forget

Dear Miracle Workers,
Lesson 46 teaches “God is the love in which I forgive.” For me, an easier way of doing this lesson is to say: “God is the love in which I forget.” The goal is to forget all that we think we need to forgive. Why?
We have God’s Love, but can’t know that Love until we make room for it. Every past thing that we remember as painful, whether small or large, done to us or by us, takes up space that Love could and would fill if the space were open. To open the space simply requires that we, in this present moment, completely drop the story we’ve been remembering about what happened. The present moment is the only moment. If we can keep the present moment free of the past, Love will fill the space. To allow Love to fill the space is forgiveness. Make a decision to simply forget.
Is it that easy? When we look at a tree or a bird or a flower, it is not hard to think of it as being in harmony with God. We do not think of the tree as thinking of itself as somehow separate from nature, from God. The tree does not think. It just is. It exists in harmony – as do the flower and the bird. To see others as God does, see them as a tree, or a bird, or a flower, existing in harmony with God. On a level that our eyes cannot see, that is the truth of who they are…and of who we are.
(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #279, Mar. 23 2021)
Friday, 05 March 2021 22:40

Time for Wine?

Dear Miracle Workers,
No one would mistake me for a sophisticated wine connoisseur. I only drink sweet, white wines and I’d be just as happy with sparkling grape juice. The truth is, I don’t really like wine and it doesn’t like me. My puffy eyes the next morning are proof. And yet, sometimes I still drink it. Why? ‘Cause I want to.
I thought of that as I was implementing a new time management system I picked up from motivational speaker Lisa Nichols. ACIM is a course in mind discipline and the Workbook is all about building habits. Jesus tells us, “You want happiness. You want peace. You do not have them now because your mind is totally undisciplined….” (OrEd.Wkbk.20.2) With that in mind, I am always looking for new ways to get better. Lisa’s trick is to manage her time in 30 or 60 minute blocks and label each block, not by the task, but by the outcome she wants to produce. She said, “I don’t call it ‘exercising. I call it ‘snatching my sexy back’!” OK! To get myself to exercise I wrote “Do You Really Love Yourself?” It was really effective until I suddenly realized I hadn’t built in any time for “fun.”
Now, fun is a funny thing. What if you don’t feel like having fun when you come to the fun block of time? And where, I wondered, was my block of time for naps?? And what about the times when I eat too many carbs and go into a carbo-coma?
That’s when it hit me. If I’m serious about managing my time, the “ ‘cause I want to” days of drinking wine have to be over. And eating food or snacks that create brain fog and carbo-comas has to be over, too.
It turns out that time management and mental discipline are not so much about managing my time and focus as they are about releasing the things that sabotage my efforts.
(originally appeared in Miracles Weekly #272, Jan. 4 2021)
Sunday, 28 February 2021 02:17

Moving Forward with Determination

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)

Select CMC Minister

  • Rev. Tony Ponticello is CMC Minister #20. He was ordained on Oct. 17, 1997. He is Executive Minister of Community…
  • Rev. Peter Graham is CMC Minister #40. He was ordained on Feb. 23, 2002. He serves on the CMC Board…
  • Deb Canja is a spiritual teacher dedicated to removing the obstacles that prevent us from experiencing self-love and inner peace.…
  • Rev. Joanie Schaeffer-Goss is CMC Minister #71. She was ordained on Feb. 16, 2014. She co-facilitates the "Southern Spirit Sisters"…
  • Rev. Paula Carpe is CMC minister #125. She was ordained Feb. 14, 2021. She teaches CMC's Wed. morning 9:00 a.m.…
  • Rev. Kim Wilson is CMC minister #85. She was ordained Mar. 15, 2015. She teaches CMC's Tue. evening A Course…