Conversation and dialogue are about connecting—joining—union and relationship. Dialogue is about friendship, intimacy and revelation. Dialogue is our practice. From D:Day15.19:
You are in dialogue because in dialogue, coming to know is a fluid exchange.
By scrolling down, you will find videos of all the dialogues in this Dialogue Series, with the most recent: Paula Hardin at the top.
Each of us know it when we experience something more. We can share thousands of conversations with a good friend over the years, and still never forget a particular conversation or two in which something more happened that made our hearts beat in a new way, our eyes tear up, or the arising of new ideas or insights that shot zingers into our scalp.
At the same time, dialogue is ordinary. The “magic” doesn’t happen every day, but what happens every day prepares the ground for the extraordinary, as the ordinary always does.
In this time and place, in our in-spirited form, we are uniquely able to express ourselves and show love in all its marvelous diversity. I have no idea if you will find the extraordinary in these Dialogues as I did. My hope is you will find something “real.”
Everywhere we find people “being real” we meet our humanity and divinity in its wonderful dance.
Mari Perron and Paula Hardin in Dialogue
Paula Hardin and I met in the early days of A Course of Love’s Facebook Group. I’d never been on Facebook before and suddenly I was, and I was making many friends. Paula was new to it too, (and to this day, she often calls it the “blog.”) Many of those I met on Facebook went far beyond the kind that you “claim” as friends simply because they’ve “joined.” Paula was one of the first. She was wise, vulnerable, and inspiring.
Later, Paula invited me to visit her in Florida and, at the start of last year, I did. This was no meeting of strangers. Our friendship was real, her hospitality unwavering. There, for the first time, I got to hug her close, pet her cat, browse her books, and was even encouraged to take a select few home.
Paula also invited me to accompany her to an ACOL event where I met more friends, and, along with her sister and brother-in-law, I enjoyed my first kayaking trip where we were visited by several manatees (seeing them another first). Our days were lively, revealing, and our conversations far-ranging. But the culmination, shown here in her lovely home, was being able to sit together, one-on-one, to share in dialogue. I am forever enriched. I wouldn’t be surprised if you are too!
As I introduced the last dialogue with Brett Louviere, I wrote: “A friend was here from New Jersey this week and as we recorded at my table (where most of these dialogues have been recorded) I felt such a peace descend. It was as though we were being held in the container of a room with a table and with a set-aside time to simply talk, share, and be ourselves.” That friend was Janet Berkowitz. It took me an inordinate amount of time to bring Janet’s video to life. It was a combination of technology not cooperating, an event I was preparing for, and that desire for perfection which was just what I was getting at when I spoke of the contrast between my peaceful time with Janet and the less peaceful atmosphere that had me cutting Brett’s video shorter than I would have liked. But I also began to hope for that unachievable perfection that dialogue just isn’t by nature. I wished I’d asked more questions. That I’d talked less and drawn Janet out more. And yet the “dialogue,” rather than the “interview” is ultimately what we shared, and there is a difference. It is never a “planned” difference, just the sort of difference that comes of not meeting with an objective. We talked of what we talked of. It was perfect. And it was imperfect. And it was perfect.
As I continue to share dialogues with reader/receivers of A Course of Love, I continue to fall in love with sitting one-on-one with people. A friend was here from New Jersey this week and as we recorded at my table (where most of these dialogues have been recorded) I felt such a peace descend. It was as though we were being held in the container of a room with a table and with a set-aside time to simply talk, share, and be ourselves.
But the ideal is not always possible—not for “arranged” times of dialogue—and not in life. Can we create that container in less than ideal circumstances?
This new dialogue features BrettLouviere, and I am only sharing a little of our exchange since the finished product is not easy to listen to. I was at my table in Minnesota. Brett was in a coffee shop in Mississippi.
Yet, even as noise swirled around him, Brett held himself in our joint space and we had some powerful, if not visually or audibly ideal moments. Brett and I talked for an hour. That I am only sharing ten minutes of our exchange leaves some of those powerful moments out, and yet I feel that even a brief glimpse can be a wonder of connection. This is the tenth in the Dialogue Series.
The “less than ideal circumstance” also allows us to explore how at one time we can carry on around the noise or disruptions . . . as we all have done in countless coffee shops, and how, in other times, nothing we can do seems able to create the space. The least interruption derails us. I have no universal answer, easy or otherwise, but I do know that what I give attention to increases. By attending to the dialogues that I engage in for this series, I become more adept at dialogue in other of life’s circumstances.
But I must admit that I connect most fully at what I call a heartfelt or soulful level. There is a “feeling” tone to the connection that draws me right in and captures my attention. Someone could be blasting a hole in the wall behind me and I’d hardly notice when sharing heart-to-heart.
Sometimes that “feeling” of connection seems to be missing, and while I’ve wondered over it, I feel it has to do with our uniqueness—almost like that of the chemistry that attracts us to each other romantically—only it’s about our ability to communicate in a wholehearted way. I’m not afraid to use words like “failure” or “mistakes” when a connection doesn’t happen due to my lack of attention, or my own inability to, on that particular occasion, be authentic, but I’ve seen as well that the chemistry—or perhaps “energy” of two people, can definitely be “more” or “less” compatible. Dialogue partners can, in this way, be like lovers. Sometimes you feel it, sometimes you don’t. And “trying” will not make a bit of difference. It is liberating to realize that just as we do not have to love everyone in the same way, we do not have to fault ourselves that we do not communicate in the same way with all people. Really, that’s the beauty of dialogue. There is no right way, even if there are ways that work so beautifully they leave us both wanting more, and being more.
Part of accepting our distinction, is to also accept, as Jesus says in the Dialogues, our own spacious Self. When speaking of entering the dialogue, he says that while this is not about excluding anyone, it is about making choices about where our attention is given. (D:Day15.25) In this way, if we follow our hearts, we really can’t fail, make a mistake, or go wrong. We can make sincere choices, and experience a liberating freedom. We can remain “in dialogue” with all, and “enter” the dialogue with those who come into our hearts, through choice or chance . . . or in my case, A Course of Love!
I invite you to meet Brett Louviere:
Douwe Van der Zee
In a recent post to his blog, Douwe Van der Zee wrote: “America is sometimes known as the “New World”, and my journey here indeed seems symbolical of a change from the old to the new.” Douwe visited the U.S. for the first time to attend the Course in Miracles Conference in Las Vegas, the inaugural ACOL Gathering that followed it, and to visit with people he’d met on A Course of Love USA’s Facebook Group. His journey concluded with a stop to see me in Minnesota where we shared this dialogue that I now share with you. This is the ninth in the Dialogue Series.
In Part 1 Douwe is telling of how he got in contact with feelings he’d carried since childhood—his confusion and anger against Jesus, the Church, and God. He experienced this strongly on reading Day 1 of The Dialogues: Accept Me. Ultimately Douwe discovered how intertwined were the acceptance of Jesus (or the Christ within), and acceptance of the Self (Day 2 Accept Your Self). In our dialogue he stated, “This is the door to abundance. Abundance comes from knowing God. (Day 3 Accept Abundance)
In Part 2, we look at the question of happiness. Some feel spiritual people are always happy…or “should” be. We both spoke of our “less than happy” feelings and agreed that, as Douwe states, “The moment there’s pretense, we can’t relate.” From this beginning we joined in pondering the ego, in letting the ego go…as Jesus repeatedly asks us to do…and then as he assures us we have done. Can we accept being perfectly who we are, (even with our mixed feelings and imperfections) and quit seeing our imperfections as ego?
Douwe studied A Course in Miracles for decades before finding A Course of Love. He is the author of three books. His vast experience as an ecologist, permaculturist, and especially as wilderness trail guide, were a fascinating backdrop to our conversations (but sorry!) not our dialogues!
In my dialogue with Kathy, I tell a lot of my history with her, so I won’t review that, except to give you a teaser by saying that Kathy was instrumental in several ways to the happenings that have, in the last few years, gotten ACOL out to the wider world.
Kathy grew up in Minnesota and moved back some years ago to take care of her ailing father. We’d had email exchanges prior to this, primarily concerning the amazing Miracles in the Mountains conference that she planned. I was one of the speakers she invited to this “Conference of the Scribes” that included Brent Haskell, Jayem, Regina Dawn Akers, Gary Renard and more. Both before and after that 2012 event, Kathy was always encouraging me to get my voice, and ACOL “out there.” It was not long before MITM that, as the master conference organizer and promoter that she is, she brought Gary Renard to town and suggested that I join her, Gary, and Cindy Lora-Renard for dinner. It was the first time we met. I was sitting in the lobby of a Minneapolis hotel when I caught sight of Kathy via her shock of red hair and confirmed it was her when Gary and Cindy came in with her. We had a very fine time at dinner and liked each other immediately. In the years since then we haven’t seen each other a lot, but each time we do it seems as if something new is set in motion and I’ve come to very much appreciate her gentle, funny, and wise way of being. I loved sharing this dialogue with her.
Kathy Scott Perry
Phil Gould and I met on ACOL’s Facebook group. I wish I had copies of some of his entries. There was something about him right from the beginning, an honesty that I was drawn to, and a straight-forwardness. Each person who opens up on Facebook (we have the grace to have a group that doesn’t shy from being vulnerable) has touched my heart, and I want to say something about that. There is still too much of a sense, in my view, that to lose the ego and be in unity and relationship—as is exactly where Jesus gently guides us—is to be “enlightened” in ways that we have seen exemplified by major spiritual leaders such as Eckhart Tolle, or perhaps gurus of the East. Yet I feel that Jesus calls us to something that may look perfectly ordinary on the outside and be truly real on the inside. He calls it, “enlightenment with judgment.” In the former way of viewing enlightenment, it seemed to be for the chosen few. They were perfect. They had an unbroken channel to source, walked as if on air, never succumbed to the feelings the rest of have. Whether any of this is true, only what appears to be true, or is merely what we might hope to be true is not the reason I bring this up. I bring this up because Phil says, in this dialogue, “All I want is to be vulnerable.” What a statement. I was not astute enough to follow that up, but it stayed with me.
Our purpose in ACOL is to be who we are and to be honest and accepting about that, and wholehearted in our acceptance of others as they reveal who they are. Being vulnerable is a very humane way of being “elevated selves of form” which is what Jesus asks us to be.
This isn’t a high-quality dialogue technically speaking, (it was recorded on Google+ as Phil is in the UK) but it is to me, full of the very virtues Jesus draws us to in A Course of Love. Somehow, in dialogue, the truth and beauty within human beings who embrace the remarkable discoveries we experience in unity, including our ability to know and be known, are the most godly thing on Earth.
The sixth presentation in the Dialogue Series is with Larry Kiser, who has been a practitioner of the healing arts for over twenty years. We joined in dialogue last fall while I was in California visiting my publisher, Glenn Hovemann. Enjoy!
Rod Chelberg, a Course of Love reader and friend I’ve known for a half-dozen years is a subject of the following two- part dialogue. Rod shares his experiences as a physician, especially in assisting patients at the end of life. Part I of our dialogue focuses on these experiences. In Part II we tackle the ego, the Self and the wonders of being creative beings, ending on a message of trust. I invite you to meet Rod here in number 5 in the Dialogue Series. (Previous dialogues with Michael Mark, Rose Gannon, Christie Lord and Christina Strutt follow below.)
Dialogues 1 though 4
There have been many wonderful observations on the veracity, courage, and results that come of talking to one another since Margaret Meade’s famous quote. One such noteable writer on conversation is Meg Wheatley who said, “If we can sit together and talk about what’s important to us, we begin to come alive. We share what we see, what we feel, and we listen to what others see and feel.” Through ACOL’s incredible dialogue (which it both “is” and encourages us to) we receive permission and recognition of the legitimacy of sharing who we are, and of its incomparable value to our humanity, our spirit and the world. Communication and dialogue are ways of expressing ourselves, qualities Jesus totally desires us to take to heart.
Both of these videos (of Michael and Rose Gannon) are linked to last year’s ACIM Conference because Michael’s video was recorded “on the road.” I was staying with my friend Christina Strutt after the conference and that’s where we met. When Michael and I finished our conversation, Christina said to me, “You sure laughed a lot!” I said, “I did?” Isn’t it funny how we don’t see or even really hear ourselves usually, when we’re “in” dialogue? It is later that the words settle around us, and I am so grateful to have these “on record” so to speak. In a few simple sentences, a soulful, creative person can capture the profound and speak the unforgettable. Michael does that. Our broad themes are creativity and solitude, how they are joined, and how they relate to our spiritual lives.
Rose came to me (in Minnesota) and was able to share the experience of just starting up with A Course of Love, the urge to join with others to share it, and the way it is affecting her life. She even asked me how she could help! A 20 year ACIM student, Rose said, “We weren’t ready for this before. Now the planet is ready for this.” Rose is an inspiration.
Third in the Course of Love Dialogue Series: Michael Mark
Fourth in the Course of Love Dialogue Series: Rose Gannon
Opening the Dialogue Series: Christie Lord
I began these dialogues with the idea of wanting to capture a few of the people who had been with me as A Course of Love (ACOL) began. As soon as I engaged in the first one, my excitement grew. It grew over what was being revealed. There was more being shared than story or content. There was something about seeing two people in conversation that spoke with far more than words. There was visible listening and hearing, expressions of intimacy, relationship, and connection . . . all made visible and sharable. It was like the words on the pages of ACOL. More is there than words. More is going on than reading. But just as those words predicted, something more is also going on with sharing.
You have to share who you are to be who you are. In the video below, Christie Lord and I recall the beginning of our friendship at the first Course of Love group in 2000. The theme of Part I is “Coming to Voice,” Part II is “Called Forth Shining.” Scroll down for a second Video Dialogue with Christina Strutt in which we share our orientation of solitude. More about Christina and Christie, both of whom are on this Center’s Board of Directors, can be found on the About Page
Second in the Course of Love Dialogue Series: Christina Strutt
Part 2: in dialogue with Mari Perron and Christina Strutt.
From The Dialogues, 12.4: This work is called a dialogue. When you enter into dialogue with another person, you listen, you hear, and you respond. This is exactly what occurs here.
Comments on the Course of Love Dialogue Series
“Love your one-to-one video dialogues. What gets through to me and moves me in these conversations is their honesty and authenticity. What also gets through to me is the absence of theory, of doctrine, or of the intrusion of the ‘thinking mind’. To me they are spontaneous heart-to-heart conversations, full of revelation and discovery, between people speaking to each other with simple honesty and integrity. To me they’re moving demonstrations of true relationship … the intimate sharing of the very personal experience of the kind of knowing to which A Course Of Love, in its mysteriously powerful way, is bringing each of us.
At the moment it’s this thought of finding one’s true voice, speaking from who one really is rather than from a false self, that’s the topic that most lights me up … and of testing and exploring what it is to be present in this way in one’s everyday relationships.” Phil Gould
Announcing a new publication
A Course of Love’s Way of
Mirari: The Way of the Marys
From A Course of Love’s First
Receiver Mari Perron
We begin again with an unused term that will allow us a blank page, a page devoid of any previous determinations. We begin with a word both new and ancient. We begin with a return to the way of the Word made flesh. This will be the time of wonder—or Mirari. ~Mary of Nazareth