By Paula Hardin
This happened to me. Likely it has happened to you. You find you are a victim of a scam.
I first posted this event on ACOL’s Facebook page, the “ACOL Companion Group. I depended on this companionship site for support as I began to embrace the message of A Course of Love in my life. Included also are some of the insightful comments to my post from other Companions as we dialogued together.
Beloveds, yesterday I realized I was the victim of a scam! Did I practice peace? No! I went into fear mode. I was so scared I couldn’t think clearly what to do. Finally I calmed down enough to get the Customer Service number for VISA. As I dialed the number I prayed: “Let the right person answer…”
OK, I’ll back up here. Recently I had ordered a ‘free’ sample of an advertised product on line. The only charge was a $4 shipping fee. I gave them my credit card info. Pretty soon, my Visa card had not only the $4 charge on it, but an additional $89, $94, $94, $94 and continuing.
I tried to contact the company on their web site and my computer said this is a trick site and they advised me to discontinue. So I phoned the company and they apologized saying they would discount the money I owed by 30%. I yelled at the woman (I’ll abbreviate here) “This is a scam, why would I want a discount on a scam!!!” She responded she would send me a check reimbursing me for 50% of the charges. I yelled “No, why would I want that??? I’m calling VISA.” And I hung up, shaking. She called me back with more threats and warnings and promises. I hung up on her again. Then I called VISA.
That brings you up to date with the beginning of my story. I got the nicest woman at VISA, Melinda. She assured me she knew exactly what had happened as it had happened to her too. She erased all the charges. I thanked her profusely.
After I hung up, I felt a wave of peace and my fears disappeared. The thought came to me—an elevated thought to be sure: All these people are just trying to make sense of their lives, navigate this world, pay their bills, and get their needs met whether honestly or with scams. There is no blame. Maybe next time I won’t lose it in my fear and can say something like: I know you are just trying to do your job and pay your bills but this is a scam… etc. in a calm but firm voice. And I became grateful for the whole experience with its the opportunity to “practice” new attitudes. Which I deeply desire to cultivate!
Then this morning in my meditation time a passage in the Dialogues, Day 6, “just happened” to be next where I was reading. In verses 22-30 Jesus says:
“The point … is this: Quit trying to remove yourself from life. …Think not that I cannot arrange the ideal environment for our dialogue. This is it! …. We are both friends and co-workers. Colleagues as well as companions. You know our task is holy and incomparable. You know there is nothing more important for you to be involved in. What you are going to realize from this time of seeming difficulty is an end to difficulty and the growth of your ability to do whatever you do peacefully and to be who you are in any situation in which you find yourself.”
Now I have a smile on my face as I am grateful for it all. This whole episode is simply amazing and I feel loved and supported in the everydayness of life in our rather insane world as I say ‘yes’ to the Elevated Self of Form that Jesus promises us.
Johann: Thank you Paula. Is this not a good example that our mental condition in each moment does it all? Faith and a welcoming attitude solves all apparent problems. ❤
Paula: Yes, Johann, and when I ‘fall’, I am not failing!!! It’s only another opportunity to be glad and grateful and practice the new.
Jana: I love the message that when I fall I am not failing … that’s so good. And I felt fearful like you when I thought I had got spam some weeks ago and maybe was spreading it to others … But then I calmed down, listened within and got the insight that there was nothing to fear, I am without guilt … And also the beautiful insight that I may like many of us, sometimes spread spam by my words of fear, guilt, sickness and judgment … and I felt that I no longer what to do that. Nowadays finding myself on my way to send out spam into the Universe I stop and hesitate because I feel a strong sense that it does not feel good.
I really only want to spread a message of love and truth.
And I love what you wrote “the growth of your ability to do whatever you do peacefully and to be who you are in any situation in which you find yourself.” I always love to read your experience of how you use ACOL’s message in daily life.
Paula: Jana, I enjoy your use of the word ”scam” for what we do when we act out of fear and judgment! Great tie in.
Ken: Great story! I wonder…what’s wrong with getting angry (even fearful… same thing), like a bit of “righteous anger” (imagine Jesus in the temple with the money changers…also a form of scam and how he acted!). Did it not spur you to effective action?
I love this quote: “Quit trying to remove yourself from life. …Think not that I cannot arrange the ideal environment for our dialogue. This is it!”
Paula: Yes, that example of the money changers and Jesus’ anger is worth pondering! I have a question: did Jesus lose his peace? Mine was not ‘righteous’ indignation, but sheer terror, fear, of what they might do to my bank account. There is a difference don’t you agree? I believe Jesus was not angry out of fear for himself, but for the travesty of money greed in the Temple by those who consider themselves doing God’s work.
Ken: Are you not a bit too hard on yourself? Most of us would have re-acted as you (seem) to have done. What matters is that “you feel loved and supported” and brave enough to share your experience with us. Peace!
Paula: Yes, Ken, I do have a sense of humor over my self as I flail about on my way to the “Elevated Self of Form” which is not a destination but a process. It is truly funny to me (sometimes).
Cynthia: If you had not “blown your temper,” would you have received the depth of appreciation for the peace you now have? It sounds exactly like the perfect response and action on all levels to bring you explosive expansion.
Paula: Hahaha Cynthia ! Yes, even though I “needed” it last evening for my “explosive expansion” (love that phrase), I hope to choose a different response next time and still explosively expand!
ZZ: Thank you for this, Paula. I’ve had similar upsets and realizations. I think most of us have fears around money.
Paula: ZZ, I like this picture, I really like this picture.
ZZ: I am glad, Paula. I feel His warmth, and trust.
Ken: What at a fabulous picture! I do sometimes feel as if I am drowning. This reminds me that holding Jesus’ hand is no idle fantasy (or in this case, reaching out for his hand). Peace!
Donnna: How do I live in the world without worrying about meeting our bills?
Aiers: I’m at the other end of the world and it’s the same here, so very same – how do I make it without worrying about bills getting paid. Dialogues Day 3: “Accept Abundance “ –how does that feel?
Donna: Thank you, I will read it again.
Johann: Just do it with complete faith and see! We don’t lack in things but in faith, trust, steadfastness and joy. Let’s remember the lilies of the fields and the birds. God cares for all His children. Those who know it trust Him. Love never lacks. And it feels great!
Aiers: I’m right here and I look at Him. And He lovingly smiles back at me. This is exactly the experience that is. Right here. Right now. Me, experiencing the worry about financial resources of tomorrow. Give Him the gift of Grace.
Paula: Yes Aiers, your comment about “… experiencing the worry about financial resources of tomorrow, give Him the gift of Grace” expresses what I am newly recognizing— that I have gifts for Him. This is still new for me, but powerful. Thank you for pointing that out.
Everett: Everything is a gift. (Even the phone call with the scam representative.)
These comments came from readers all around the world. I have protected their identity and used different names. However they represent our shared human experience when we demonstrate our willingness to be transformed, using our daily life here in these bodies as our holy curriculum. As we practice living from wholeheartedness, we encourage one another and miracles happen.
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). Hardin directed Midlife Consulting Services and the David K. Hardin Generativity Trust in Chicago. Hardin has trekked around the world from the Himalayas to Zimbabwe. Now an Elder, she enjoys kayaking, cats, writing, and her extended family.
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Love is the Healing
(Haiku from the Heart)
By Rick Carlson
Love is the doer
allow it to work through us
in quiet darkness
Love’s song somehow never ends
the heart rejoices
fear and greed consume your soul
Love is the healing
oh, my brave sisters
painful mem’ries weigh you down
Love is the healing
needless hate freezes our heart
Love is the healing
we have two choices:
bravery or slavery
that choice is easy
seek out each other
wake up from forgetfulness
knowing we are free
cast off these old bones
we are spirit, we can fly
into Love’s kind eyes
we open the heart
there is treasure buried here:
Love beyond belief
Rick Carlson, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, has studied ACIM since 1983 and ACOL since 2006. He recently retired from a career as a personal attendant to disabled adults. The poems above were taken from his collection entitled “Love is the Healing” where he says, “This poet is simply one of Love’s messengers. So, dear reader, are you. Poetry is a mirror that doesn’t break if it’s dropped once in a while.” Rick has been an amateur poet since he was a teenager.