“When Life Gives Us a Big Curriculum… A Course in Miracles as Practice”

By Dr. Christine Kiesinger

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I write these words vulnerably. I write from my own raw humanity and with full knowledge that my humanity and my Divinity float side by side.  

 I write from a place of honesty, both as someone devoted to living the principals of A Course in Miracles, and as a human being whose Ego can be fierce and cunning—manipulative and tricky—often hijacking my mind and flooding it with fear.

 I write from a place of authenticity and the realization that A Course in Miracles is more than a book to be studied and a set of principles to be lived. It is a way of thinking and Being that is to be practiced…every day.

I write with great humility admitting that these days, I call out to the Holy Spirit several times each day with this prayer on my lips:

“Please change my vision—that I might see him as my brother.

Change my mind—that I might remember that we are of the same Sonship.

Change my voice—that I might inspire my brother to remember his own Holiness and that I will remember my own.

Change my hands—that I might draw his into my own—so that together we might remember our Oneness.

Change my feet that I might walk in the direction of my brother as we are not separate.

We never were and we never will be.”

The “him” I write about above is the man who will soon no longer be my husband. We are divorcing. Although I vowed to walk the terrain of divorce consciously, amicably, and guided by the principals of A Course in Miracles, it has not been easy. At this juncture of the process, it feels painful, difficult, and frightening.

The details of our “story” do not matter. What matters is that despite being a student of A Course in Miracles for over two decades, I could tell you the story of our marriage and our divorce in a very dramatic way. I could tell a story full of juicy details, infused by the fire of grievances with a plot line that could recruit you into believing that I am right and he is wrong. I could tell a story tainted by guilt and shame and fueled by the steady flame of fear.

What matters is that I choose not to share such a story—a story many might tell—a story many expect to hear—a story rooted in and infused with fear. During this phase of my life, what matters most is that I remain miracle-minded. This means that in all matters related to “divorce,” I pray steadily for a shift in my perception from fear to love.

Language is powerful. Divorce, by its very nature is separation. The word itself carries both a heat and a heaviness and is felt as sad and fearful. It inherently sets up a scenario within which the Ego can fester, grow, and even thrive. Quite often, when we are divorcing, we live the illusion that we are separating not only from another person but from “love” itself. It is quite tragic in this way.

Navigated primarily through our legal system—divorce is about the division of assets, a “me” against “you” tug of war, a quest for one to win and one to lose—a pitting against one another in ways that make the experience of separation very deeply felt. Nearly everything about divorce is counter to the principles and lessons of A Course in Miracles. As such, by its very nature, the process of divorce becomes an incredible classroom replete with an intense curriculum from which we can deepen our connection to the ideas stated in the Course. If we are aware and awake, we see that divorce presents us with a “graduate school” level curriculum from which we offered daily opportunities to choose to live from love or from fear.

I humbly admit that I am fully enrolled in this “grad level” curriculum of the Course principles. Most days, I am not at peace. I often feel frantic about the legalities, worried about my future, angry at my husband, and terrified that I don’t have the fortitude to endure divorce. Being frantic, worried, angered, and terrified are the clearest signs that class is in session!

My awareness of these states is a miracle in and of itself. My awareness is my inner teacher nudging me to shift my perception. In these moments, I often hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit saying:

“Christine, hijacked by Ego, you are not in Love. Riddled with fear—you have forgotten that he is your brother. Seething with anger, you have forgotten your Holiness and his. Overwhelmed by sadness and despair, you have forgotten that you are being called back Home. Home to the Sonship. Home to the Essence of who you are. Home to God.”

When we forget the Truth as expressed above, we are called back to the classroom to remember. As such, what appear to be messy, difficult, and exhausting experiences such as divorce—are truly indicators that the bell is ringing and recess is over. The classroom and an advanced curriculum awaits us.

The blogs I write for The Teachers of God Foundation are most often reflections of the way that the Course is showing up in my life. That said, I found myself struggling to write this blog. I felt embarrassed to expose myself as a “Teacher of God” who is failing miserably at living the Course while divorcing (Ego). I worried that I would lose credibility by revealing myself as someone who is engaged in such intense curriculum right now (Ego). I fretted that I’d lose respect if I expressed how much I live in fear these days (Ego). I worried that I’d show up here as a fraud—as someone who can “talk” the talk of the Course but not walk her talk (Ego).

And then I had this critical realization that created so much peace; hence, I experienced this miracle:

“We read the course. We study the course. We discuss the Course. We grapple with the Course. We aim to live the course. This is all well and good, but above all else, let us not forget that the Course is issuing us an open and constant invitation. This invitation is to “practice” the Course.”

I had this realization just yesterday while standing in my kitchen lifting a tea bag from a mug of steaming water. And this, my friends, was indeed a miracle. One that set me free.

I will not live another moment upset with myself for not being perfect at living the Course.  I shall continue to practice the Course every day. The “practice” does not completely override the presence of the Ego and fear based thinking, but it certainly helps me to move out of ego-hijacked thinking much more quickly than I was able in the past.

My ability to shift from high states of fear and worry and into states of love and peace is becoming stronger. I am more agile in my ability to re-frame moments of deep suffering and fear by asking simple questions such as: “What would love do in this moment?” or “How might I see this situation differently?” I grow ever more comfortable ceasing to use the word “divorce” and instead choose to re-frame what is happening as: “My relationship with my husband is changing form.”

For just a moment, note the difference between the use of the word “divorce” vs. “my relationship with my husband is changing form.” This shift is a miracle. Divorce implies separation. Relationship “changing form” can mean many things. For me, however, aligned with the Course, this means that Ego can kick, scream, manipulate and try to control my mind, but I cannot be severed/separated from my husband/brother. Our connection can change form. It can be expressed and experienced differently but when at peace, I remain mindful that we are One. As I heal, so does he and vice versa. We need not live together, talk, share bodies, space, reflect or plan a future together. Form changes but essence and Oneness remain the same. This reframe grants only peace, love and deep appreciation for my husband as my brother and my greatest teacher.

The prayer to the Holy Spirit that I opened this blog with is something I wrote recently after waking up in a sweaty panic in the middle of the night. Shaking, and full of fear, I begged of the Holy Spirit:

“Change my mind. Change my mind. Change my mind.”

About twenty minutes later, these words came:

“In the face of this fear, please change my vision—that I might see my husband as my brother.

Change my mind—that I might remember that we are of the same Sonship.

Change my voice—that in interactions with him, I might inspire him to remember his own Holiness.

Change my hands—that I might draw his into my own—so that together we might remember our Oneness.

Change my feet that I might walk in the direction of my brother as we are not separate.

We never were and we never will be.”

I keep these words near to me. So near to me. They are so very necessary to me at this phase in my life. They are part of the way that I am practicing the Course right now. As I write, I wonder, dear reader:

How are you practicing the course right now?

What new curriculum have you been enrolled in that is connecting you ever more deeply to Course principals?

How do you reach out to the Holy Spirit when feeling the tug and the rawness of your own humanity—when Ego has you tight in its grip?

How do you find your way back to peace—your way back to your Truth? Your way back home?

I am not entirely sure what, if anything might be helpful to you as you read my words. I only know that I was led to share in this way with you. Our situations need not be the same, but if this classroom and curriculum are relevant to you right now—please know that you are not alone in these matters. Let’s share openly about such things.

And finally, in your own challenges and difficulties, please be easy on yourselves knowing that you need only be willing to practice the Course. Just remain willing.

This is all.

And this is everything.

 

 

 

 

Christine Kiesinger, Ph.D.

Dr. Christine E. Kiesinger has been a student of A Course in Miracles for over two decades. She is a university professor, integrative wellness educator and a personal and professional development coach. Christine lectures extensively in the areas of communication, relationships, leadership and mindfulness. Regardless of topic area, all of Christine’s teachings are rooted in the fundamental principles of A Course in Miracles as she aims to be a living expression of the peace, grace and love of God.

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Gina
Gina
9 months ago

Absolutely beautiful !

Christine Kiesinger
Christine Kiesinger
9 months ago
Reply to  Gina

Gina, thank you so very much.

Melissa
Melissa
9 months ago

Thank you. I found this enormously helpful. I too am practicing, practicing, practicing in the face of demands that seem to invite my ego towards fear and control . . . .

joani mcardle
joani mcardle
9 months ago

Oh Christine! Your writing this came at exactly the right time for me as I also am going through a divorce! I have felt and experienced all the same things…the form of the relationship is changing…I believe we can be better friends living apart than together…and altho I am filled with regret, terror, and self blame at times, I just turn it all over to God in full trust that everything is as it should be. I am so, so so grateful for the course…and folks like you…you are an inspiration. Light and love, joani

Jill younglove
Jill younglove
9 months ago

Thank you Christine for giving me the gift of the word, practicing to use. It’s such a relief 💞

Christine Kiesinger
Christine Kiesinger
9 months ago
Reply to  Jill younglove

Thank you, Jill!

Carol Mcfarland
Carol Mcfarland
9 months ago

This has given me so much comfort as I do struggle with ‘living’ the course and am constantly correcting myself. You have shown that practising the couse is living it. Thank you so much for sharing.

Sandra
Sandra
9 months ago

Beautiful! Love is all there is.

Christine Kiesinger
Christine Kiesinger
9 months ago
Reply to  Sandra

Yes, Sandra. Amen.

Joy
Joy
9 months ago

Thank you so much for writing about the change in your relationship with your husband. I can totally relate to this as my husband and I were married for 21 years but stayed friends, and it was perfectly the right thing to do. Your message was very inspiring.

Junda
Junda
9 months ago

Thank you for your honesty, is so refreshing to hear that that some of us here out in the world do struggle. Thanks for the reminder we are all still in the world and practice to be not of it.

Sandy
Sandy
9 months ago

Wow, thank you so much Christine for your undefended sharing! It definitely hit home for me. Lately I have been asking myself, “What will make Sandy happy moving forward?”. I’ve been asking for guidance. Last night I heard, “It doesn’t matter what it looks like on the level of form, as long as you walk in love and forgiveness”. Your sharing reminded me that we are all joined and are of one mind. That is so comforting. Thank you too for reminding me that our practice doesn’t have to be perfect . It’s never perfect for me! The self forgiveness… Read more »

Christine Kiesinger
Christine Kiesinger
9 months ago
Reply to  Sandy

Thank you for your comments, Sandy. This was not easy to write or to share. In love, Christine

Carol Hept
Carol Hept
9 months ago

What you shared touched me on a very profound level, Christine. I too am going through a very challenging “curriculum” and you allowed me to view it so differently. Thank you!💕

Lynn
Lynn
9 months ago

Oh my! This was beautiful! I love you!

Christine Kiesinger
Christine Kiesinger
9 months ago
Reply to  Lynn

Thank you, Lynn!

Karen Bunke
Karen Bunke
9 months ago

Your words touched my very soul. Your courage to speak your truth and share your (EGO)struggles will help so many.

Donna
Donna
9 months ago

Wow! What an amazing share. Thank You! This is so very helpful!

Missy Hicks
Missy Hicks
9 months ago

Thank you for sharing these powerful words. I know they weren’t easy for you. I didn’t know of ACIM when I went through my divorce. My former husband has, to date, been my greatest teacher. It was through the pain that I found the Course. I’m blessing you and visualizing you passing through those dark clouds and into the light.

Zoila Michuda
Zoila Michuda
9 months ago

Powerful blog. Thank you, sending hugs ❤❤

Dorien
9 months ago

Beyond words of gratitude I thank you for the honesty of revealing the real life challenges of living in the world with its curriculum of appearances in separation and suffering. When we are faced with them we cannot take superficial refuge in scripture, but rather live and reveal in the rawness of it.

Thank you beyond these words and into the way that is real. I love it because it is anchored in truth and not the ease and effortlessness of simply saying the Course—but instead in living it. Revealing the real is helpful. Gratitude dorien

Shelley Brennan
Shelley Brennan
9 months ago

Very inspiring post. Makes me respect the person more for sharing and showing that humans are not perfect, we will make mistakes. Bless you

Jane
Jane
8 months ago

When it is tough in life practicing A Course In Miracles has been my only relief. I tried other ego centric advice and that only delayed the pain. All through my husband’s illness of ALS over 4 years of very challenging times The Holy Spirit spoke to me through the course. It was a specific curriculum for me. I felt bad for not always getting it right and the ego took me out many times. Now it’s been 16 months since he passed and I to and fro, learning and it’s extremely difficult. The Holy Spirit put into my awareness… Read more »