The beginning of my spiritual transformation started when I transferred from the University of Texas at Dallas to Southern Methodist University in the Fall Semester of 2015. I took a class entitled, “The Psyche of the Soul” from Dr. Leroy Howe, who is the former dean of the Perkins School of Theology at SMU. In that class, I was introduced to Carl Jung and his theory of “midlife transition”.
According to Jung, between the ages of 35-40, one starts a journey inward - into the soul - in hopes of reconciling the decisions of their young adult lives. They question what they have created, which leads to a thirst for knowledge. Many people return to school, learn a new skill, change careers and develop a greater thirst for understanding their spiritual path. They want to know their purpose. I fancied that I may have been going through this shift, so I wanted to know more about it.
At the time, I was not serving in ministry. I was actively waiting for one of the churches my ex-husband preached at on regular basis to offer a chance to minister at least to the women on Women’s Day. Lol. One church, the church I grew up in, had a hard stance against women in ministry. There was an assumption among the leadership (not necessarily the current pastor) that women are forbidden to minister. The other church had several clergy members and my family was new to the church. There just wasn’t a lot of opportunity. However, after the first lady of the church heard that I was a minister, I was offered the opportunity to do a Saturday Women’s Ministry workshop. I wrote a book to commemorate this milestone. It was called Ignite: A 10-Day Journey to Purpose Driven Power.
“I had time to wonder what the caterpillar was thinking. I guessed that it was heading for a sheltered place in which it would spin its cocoon and begin pupation. The place must be safe from predators and protected against win and storms. I wondered if the caterpillar knew what was about to happen. It was intent on getting somewhere, and doing something urgently, but did it know what it was for? Did it have vision? Can a caterpillar dream of flying? The questions piled up and went unanswered. After we had traveled about 100 yards together, the caterpillar crawled into a thicket of brambles and I lost sight of it. It must have found a place to spin its threads and go into suspended animation for a week or a season. If it was lucky and survived the ordeal, it would become a magical winged creature. It would emerge as a totally different kind of being, a butterfly, no longer committed to the earth but instead hovering above flowers and darting from blossom to blossom, following the flow of air and its own intuition. It would have freed itself from the confinement of the tomblike cocoon, dried its wings, and found the talent to soar.”
Murray Stein, Transformation: The Emergence of the Self, Prologue
After moving into my own place, I didn’t have a particular direction. I had spent a lot of married life working excessively at my career and pouring into my ex-husbands’ dreams. I was frustrated because I came to understand that I had literally given everything I had, and I still ended up in the same place as before – a single parent. Still hoping for love, playing the role of an eternal optimist, I prayed and asked God for a miracle. “Dear God, help me love more deeply, more honestly.” I thought that He would send me into the mission field or perhaps to another relationship so that I could love others. Instead, He sent me into myself. The miracle, the magical journey, was inward, and it started with A Course in Miracles.
Although my goal was to study A Course in Miracles academically, the power of the book changed me, and I literally started to see miracles manifest in my life. The results of the Course have transformed my thinking about who I am in relation to the world. I feel connected to the love flow of the universe, and I am learning to live in harmony with it.
It’s been a process. It’s a constant unlearning of my lifelong perceptions. Now, it’s all about letting things go instead of striving to make things happen. It is trust in the infinite eternal and learning to de-emphasize my abilities. It’s not a passive life. It’s a consistent re-evaluation of what is perceived as right or wrong, a constant reassessment of terms like “values”, “good”, “evil”, “truth”, and “myth”.
Plummeting into the depths of what I thought was a hardwired soul set on the truth of my religious upbringing, I found myself at a crossroads. Would I continue to live a purpose-driven life, rooted in the rules and regulations of my Christian faith, or would I seek to understand the universal truths of God emanating through the universe he created, through the people He created and purposed in His image? At this stage, no longer a pastor’s wife, no longer a co-pastor, no longer a Sunday morning worshipper, no longer a bible teacher, I stripped myself of external markers of Christian ethos and stared at my face, my body, and myself and asked the person staring back at me, “Who am I now, and how do I proceed?”
Those questions started my journey, and my process has been, well, let’s just say life-altering and effectually miraculous. The questioning was my first attempt at becoming my own woman and not giving a damn about what other people thought of me. Again, admittedly, it took at little getting used to – as my previous goal in life had been to be the best of those who were the best at going along with the status quo. However, now that I have shed the layers of my young adult “self” to live more authentically in my own skin, as my middle adult “self”, I have found the love I have always wanted. It was inside of me the whole time, so I can enjoy the companionship of others more authentically.
I live in a constant matrix of love energy, which produces miracles daily. I see and experience love all of the time. We find it everywhere when learn to un-learn what we think we know and we pay attention to love when it arrives, in whatever form it takes. I am literally living my best life now, so I am ready to share it with you.
After this section, you will read thoughts that I have written over a two-year time-span on transformation, unlearning, and relationships. The vignettes, short essays, spiritual teachings, poetry and anecdotes are the meditations of my heart as I reflect on my Christian experience and my journey with A Course in Miracles. Thank you for taking the journey with me. Let’s get started..