The One Practice That Has Changed My Life: By Lisa Natoli

lisa natoli Jun 14, 2022

From January 2012 to October 2018 (so six and a half years), I spent thousands of dollars trying out every diet and healing technique I heard about trying to heal an incurable autoimmune disease and to get rid of pain and “heal” physical symptoms. Nothing worked. Some things worked temporarily to relieve pain and symptoms, but they always returned.


During these years, I tried physical remedies. I went to doctors. I tried mind-body-spirit remedies and visualization. I read books on healing. I tried repeating phrases from A Course in Miracles. Then I tried doing nothing.


In October 2018, my husband Bill Free (who had been following non-duality teachers for several years) suggested that “I welcome” everything exactly as it is. He heard the idea of welcoming from Rupert Spira.


Welcoming was the ONE thing I had never done in those six and a half years.


Before October 2018, I had thoughts like:

“This shouldn’t be happening”
‘Why is this happening?”

“I don’t like this”

“What did I do to cause this?” (sickness, pain, physical symptoms, limitation)

“What can I do to make it go away?”
“What’s the lesson this is trying to teach me?”


I felt like a fraud and a failure. I had A Course in Miracles for over 25 years and here I am sick, nearly blind, barely able to talk and with constant pain.


I had just spent six years and a lot of money trying everything to heal and with nothing working.


The self-concept that I privately held about myself was that I sick, weak, frail, powerless and helpless.


And in October 2018, I woke up out of that nightmare.


Nothing external changed in that moment, but everything internal changed.


Welcoming! What an awesome idea!


I had already spent over six years identifying myself as “a sick person with an incurable autoimmune disease” and in one instant, I was done with that image of myself, done with that story, done with that life.


I now understand how healing works, how healing doesn’t take any time which is exactly what A Course in Miracles states.


In that one instant, all healing was accomplished.


I was done being a sick person. I was done with waiting for symptoms and pain to go away so that my life could start. I was done with all the healing methods, restrictive diets, supplements and done with quoting spiritual affirmations.


Welcome everything exactly as it is and be the truth of what I really am!


“How simple is salvation!” -A Course in Miracles


“All it says is that what is true is true and what is false is false.” -A Course in Miracles


It’s been almost four years now since October 2018, and they have been the absolute best years of my life. There is joy and peace that never wavers.


When I first found A Course in Miracles in 1992, all I ever wanted was “to know the Self”. It was my motivating goal and destination for all these years: to experience freedom, joy, happiness and peace.


And for all those years, I was seeking and searching for the Self outside of myself, falsely believing “I would arrive” sometime “in the future”.


I was always “almost there” but never arriving.


It wasn’t until I stopped seeking, seeking and “trying to heal” and “wanting to improve the body” that I found what I was looking for: happiness, peace, joy and freedom.


What we want and what we are looking/hoping for was AND IS always here.


As I welcomed everything exactly as it was arising and identified more and more with the True Self, there were times that were still difficult.


Doubt or fear would come up – but I recognized it to be just old leftover residual from “I am a body” belief.


And I would welcome that!


Everything that came up, I welcomed.


Gone was the habit of wishing things were different.


If attack thoughts or criticism arose, I welcomed the thoughts and realized “These thoughts are just arising in consciousness. No problem. There is nothing to fix or change. I am the awareness of the thought.”


This one practice of Welcoming has changed my life.


Welcoming is different from Acceptance. Acceptance still has a twinge of resignation, disappointment and tolerating: “I don’t like this, but I accept it.”


In welcoming there is openness and spaciousness – everything is welcome and perfect just exactly as it is.


In 1849, Henry David Thoreau wrote: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country and have to console yourself the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is characteristic of wisdom to not do desperate things.”


If you feel you are living a life of quiet desperation as I was, I encourage you to begin a journey of investigation, inquiry and discovery.


I know many people on a spiritual path have given up – and giving up is also different than welcoming.


Giving up is resignation - "confirmed desperation" - where you sit or stop right before your destination. It’s like running or walking a marathon and not realizing the finish line is just a half a mile away and then saying “it’s not worth it.”


Trust me when I tell you that a life of endless joy, peace, love and freedom is totally worth it! 


I’m grateful for A Course in Miracles and I am also grateful for non-dual teachers like Rupert Spira, Francis Lucille, Ellen Emmet and Stephan Bodian – all who gave me a way to see things from a different perspective without the Christian language, which was helpful to me during a time I was really lost and struggling.


And a big thank you to my awesome husband Bill Free who gave me the key that opened the door.
And now I give this key to you. 


I love you.


Lisa Natoli