Light and joy and peace abide in me.
Did you ever play “pretend” when you were a child, imagining you were something like a warrior, princess, He-Man, Wonder Woman, etc? I often played “pretend” with my imagination ranging from a teacher with a classroom full of students, a grocery store clerk adding up the cost of groceries on my play till, a priest (yes, a priest) giving out communion to my dolls and teddy bears (they needed the body and blood of Christ too, right?), an explorer of far off lands journeying up and down the creek in our neighborhood, and, my grandest role, as Madonna putting on the concert of my life while using my play table as a stage. I used to love pretending I was someone else, living some else’s life. How easy it was at that age to drop my pretend role and run off to dinner, back to being my mother’s child again when the time called.
In many ways, we have all continued to play the game of pretend, except we took on a much darker role, that of the evil doer who is not enough, unworthy, and who can never be trusted. Somehow we traded our role of He-Man for his nemesis Skeletor. This feels like a scary role to play but doesn’t it often seem very real? To me, making sure I was a “good person” felt like the act, in order to hide the evil part of me. I always felt like I had to memorize lines in order to be in this world as a “good person,” while suppressing what I thought was the natural part of me, the one that created chaos, havoc, and drama for those in my wake. Yet neither of those options are the real me. It is just one fear (being accepted in the world) beating the other fear (the dark side) into submission. The Course invites us to take a closer look at who we actually are beyond our perceived identification and beyond what the world would tell us we should be.
Today’s lesson calls us to look closely at our biggest bully, ourselves. What do we really think about ourselves? What are we afraid is hiding deep within us in those dark spaces? What are we afraid will come out if we put our guard down? Who are we afraid will show up if we are our True Self? Who do we think is really behind the masks that we wear? We have become very intimate with the ego throughout our walk together, however, today we are called to step even further into the sticky web of lies we have created as our perceived self.
If we look closely, we think we see “little skelotors or gargamels” or any other choice you like for animated villains, buried dormant within waiting for the right moment to explode with fury, full throttle, onto the world. For some that could be anger, eating disorders, addiction tendencies, misuse of drugs and alcohol, uncontrollable tears, retail therapy, sex, and the list goes on. It is as though those scary characters that we identify ourselves with are hiding within us in an underground lair. Often we are nervous as to what that darkness inside will do once released but what we “know” for sure is that that must be who were truly are and that it is only a matter of time before the entire world knows too. Thus, we put on layers of “roles” hoping the world and ourselves, never truly sees who we have come to believe we are, that darkness within, which are only shadows made by the masks that we wear trying to hide them.
“You think that if what is true about you were revealed to you, you would be struck with horror so intense that you would rush to death by your own hand, living on after seeing this being impossible” (ACIM Lesson 93 1:3).
It is imperative to get even more intimate with ourselves and look at the parts of us that we believe must remain hidden. Let us identify them and bring them to the light, the light of truth. Really, the only thing we have been hiding from is God, which we cannot hide from at all. We have been trying to hide our wholeness, perfection, light, peace, and joy with all the costumes we wear. Lesson 93 brings a sense of relief as are shown more and more of who we truly are.
“The self you made is not the Son of God. Therefore, this self does not exist at all. And anything it seems to do and think means nothing” (ACIM Lesson 93 5:1-3).
It may be tough to believe such perfection lies within us but nothing could be more true. Evil has not been our true identity but rather another role that we played and forgot to put down. It was as if I was called to dinner as a child and still believed I was Madonna, and continued believing so throughout adulthood. That sounds absurd but so is identifying with darkness. Isn’t it a relief to know that we can put down these roles and stand in the truth of our light, joy, and peace?
“Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God. Nothing can touch it, or change what God created as eternal. The self you made, evil and full of sin, is meaningless. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God, and light and joy and peace abide in you” (ACIM Lesson 93 6:4-7).
Our practice periods today are important in their frequency as we begin to see past the darkness and trust the light. We experience for ourselves that there is nothing to fear in those dark corners within, as once we look closely we will realize there is nothing there but light, joy, and peace. But this is something we can only see for ourselves and luckily today is the day of confirmation that this is so.
If you want to know the truth, stand in front of the mirror and read paragraph seven out loud to yourself. This is also great to do when you feel yourself misidentified with darkness,
“–you are as God created you, not what you made of yourself. Whatever evil you may think you did, you are as a God created you. Whatever mistakes you made, the truth about you is unchanged. Creation is eternal and unalterable. Your sinlessness is guaranteed by God. You are and will forever be exactly as you were created. Light and joy and peace abide in you because God put them there” (ACIM Lesson 93 7:1-7).
That is powerful! That is reclaiming your power! That is identifying yourself with Truth! That, in those sentences, is Who and What You Are! In the end, this lesson is more about forgiveness of oneself. Forgiveness for what never happened and for what never was, as nothing about You has ever changed. You just pretended as though it did. It was just a movie role you thought you had to continue to play. But now, there is a grander role calling your name, your true, one and only, real role, A Child of God.
A beautiful quote from the book Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed states,
What if I forgave myself? What if I forgave myself even though I’d done some things I shouldn’t have? What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time I wouldn’t do anything different from what I’d done? What if yes was the right answer instead of no? What if all those things I shouldn’t have done were what got me here?
What if I was never redeemed?
What if I already was? (22)
There is nothing we need to undo or go back and change. Everything that has brought each one of us on this walk in miracles together was absolutely perfect and has served the divine purpose of remembrance. There is nothing we need do at all, except remember.
Your practice periods today not only enable you to recognize your sinlessness and perfection but the existence of That in others as well. This is another example showing that what we do for ourselves, we also do for another. Your step into the miracle of remembrance is a step for entire mankind. Thank you for all that you do.