My Wild Ride
By Paula Payne Hardin
The ad for A Course of Love shimmered on the page in October 2014. Within a few days the book was delivered to my home—and so began a wild year for me! A year I wouldn’t trade for anything. A year of facing my life at a deep level, shaking my foundations (a necessary shaking), then soothing and healing.
I liken my experience with the Course to trekking in remote Africa and coming upon a welcome watering hole in the midst of the Bushveld. A gathering place where beautiful beings of every description get their needs met, thirsts quenched, hides soothed and pleasured.
Are you up for some challenges? Well the Course brought them for me! A big one was realizing just how fear based my life was. I thought I was doing pretty well in that department, but by the time I’d read a few chapters I wanted to throw the book across the room! Do you think I have anger issues?
Anger, such a part of my life. I had grudge storehouses against people and circumstances, especially from my early life and especially having to do with the religious teachings of childhood. I was angry with a God who allowed so much suffering and horror. Forgiveness, we have all heard over and over, is key to liberation from these chains of anger. But first we have to become aware of the places in our hearts where forgiveness is needed—a potentially painful process. This has been a year of letting go of animosities and feeling the vivid energy of freedom.
Another challenge was the emphasis on living from the heart, letting mind rest a bit. I was encouraged to ask myself: “How do I feel…” not “What do I think…” I am an elder now, in my 83rd year. In my 40’s I returned to the education that was interrupted by marriage at 19. It was so much fun to get in “A” when in life I would have given myself a “D.” (Just ask my ex husband and teenage children what grade they would have given me!). In fact education was so heady (pun intended) that I didn’t stop. Then I wrote a couple of books, one of which got me on the Oprah Show. So my mind was now the foundation of my life. Now I was being asked to lay this aside for a time and live from my heart. Really?
A bit bruised, I limped into Chapter 20, entitled “The Embrace,” where Jesus talks right to my heart in the most loving and intimate way. He says in paragraph 2: “This is a call to move now into my embrace and let yourself be comforted. Let the tears fall and the weight of your shoulders rest upon mine…” This whole chapter soothed me, affirmed me, and I realized we are all in the Embrace of a Love we can’t fathom but that is the foundation of everything in our universe and all universes. I lost my adversarial stance with the curriculum. The wild ride of this first year brought so many rewards I find myself on tiptoe wondering what is next.
As I read this startling Course, I hungered for others to share with, so a few friends gathered and we muddled around in the profound together. Some months later I joined the newly formed A Course Of Love/USA Facebook Group and now post what is on my heart to others around the world who are in their own transformation process. There are many spiritual paths that dip into the mystical underpinnings of life, I know, and they are all honored in my heart, but this Course just happens to fit me magnificently! So many questions answered, so many hopes ignited, so many miracles that I didn’t even see before are now part of what I accept as the new normal.
The three-part goal of my life since my 20’s was: to recognize love, to receive love, to give love. This guiding passion I have striven to accomplish with varying degrees of success and failure. A Course of Love shed light on my heart’s deep desire and encouraged me to let go of striving. Now is the time to begin to realize and rest in the fact that truly, truly, I AM love, you ARE love, all there is IS Love.
P.S. — August 2, 2016
Another eight months have passed, months of living and deepening and transforming. My desire for this year is: “Be in a constant spacious state of Coming to Know.” Though it is still a wild ride at times, I more fully live in the peace of God; I am more finely attuned to hear the song of creation in every leaf and cat’s purr; see the Love beneath the madness going on in our dear world; know the New is being birthed in the hearts of multitudes.
In the fourth Treatise, called A Treatise on the New, Jesus describes what is happening to many in this time of miracles: “Make no mistake that what is asked of us is everything. What is asked is our total willingness to abandon the old, our total willingness to embrace the new. But also make no mistake that what is given to us is everything. All the power of creation is released onto us. Let us begin.” (T4:12.36) So Be It.
By Paula Payne Hardin
You are at the Humane Society
Heart skipping a beat
Eyes lighting up
And a cage door opens
Wandering the beach
Free from brain spin for the moment
Ahhh yes… there
Just for you
Sauntering in a bookstore
Remember those times?
Aisles, shelves, loaded with promise
Suddenly the beckoning
And you pick a book
Or it picks you
That happened on-line recently
And my universe
Opening-opening-opening me (ouch)
To a fresh new world
Not yet mine.
February 28, 2015
Paula Payne Hardin appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show when her first book, “What Are You Doing With the Rest of Your Life? Choices in Midlife” appeared in 1992. She is also the author of “Love After Love: Stages of Loving” (1996).