My Homelessness, My Home in God
By Jasmine Elder
[Editors’ note: The following article is taken from two blog posts that Jasmine wrote a few days ago. Jazz, 33, has been inspired by A Course in Miracles, A Course of Love, and How To Become A Christ. She is a single mother with three boys, 16 and twins at 6.]
Blog post of October 28, 2019
This is about the aftermath of October 10th, the Officer coming to my house to drop off the eviction notice.
I inched myself closer and closer into the realization that yes, I would be moving, and yes I had no idea where to. Another breaking free of a fear time came. And to talk to my sister who had lived with me for two years in California. The text went something like this.
Hey Angie, so I can no longer afford to live here in this house. I’m so sorry for the short notice. You are still welcome to stay with us but I don’t know what will happen next.
Unbeknownst to me, just two days before, Angela had come to her own realization after living with me for two years. She explained to one of her friends that, no matter where she lived, she realized that her happiness wasn’t dependent on it. She realized that she was taking herself with her.
She had literally transformed before my eyes in the last two years. And to be only 22! I’m still just at a loss for words.
“So don’t worry Jazz.” We stand across from each other in my bedroom on her lunch break, and she reassures me with a smile and a hug. She continues: “I feel for some reason I am supposed to move back to New Jersey. It isn’t that I don’t love California, I do, but it seems like something is there in Jersey, I’m not sure what.” So the plan would be for her to move back to our mom’s apartment. Not that my mom was thrilled at the news.
It’s October 15th, and I’m watching the neighbors literally move IN to the house next to me. Parallel city. I couldn’t help but chuckle. All of my other neighbors, although polite, secretly hated our existence because of my kids’ wild, rebellious ways, mainly the twins. They pee in the backyard, but who hasn’t at some point in life peed in their own backyard and ran around naked? We were pretty much the only family with young children on the street. But the family moving in next door had two young boys. I peeked through the window to see that they were already running around, barefoot and without pants on, in the front lawn for the world to see. Naked and not afraid. Hah!
The Final Sun
I was getting very used to the rug being swept from underneath me. I was becoming very accustomed to project nowhere and just be here, in presence. Anticipate no future step, and just . . . watch the sunset. The thoughts were comforted by the peekaboo sunset view. Half hidden, and yet beautiful in the mystery of just not knowing what was coming.
The next day I was still stuck between fighting to stay in my current house longer, and demanding that I be seen by the eviction court (I was never given a date to show up in court, I was just served eviction papers), when deep down, I knew it was time to completely step into the unknown, just like that sunset. And so it hit me. How was fighting to stay put in a house for a few months where I couldn’t pay the rent a good fit for everyone involved? It wasn’t. I was thinking about just my family. Not the company that bought the house, not the potential future renters that could benefit from living there. And that’s when my back and forth about should I fight to stay or leave . . . vanished.
Another it hit me moment: That Friday, Operation Storage unit was the name of the game as I watched the few hundred dollars I have turn into 50. And I looked at my pretty little baby grand piano back at home. And knew that I was supposed to give it away. God business. It’s funny how when things are totally free, people become very suspicious. No one likes strings, I guess. I put my $3,000 mini grand piano that I had bought 10 months before for $200 up on the app LetGo.
And I found the buyer. I just knew she was the one. Her beautiful response: I’m not sure why I’m so drawn to your piano but I grew up playing piano and violin. It was my only solace in my family because I was very severely ADD, extremely shy, super bullied at home, and in school music was my escape in my salvation and I haven’t had a chance to play for over a decade. It would be a fresh start for me to reclaim music without any of the negative things that I grew up with. It would be the world to me to be able to have your baby grand gorgeous white piano.
A little later, my dear friend Sabryna and her boyfriend helped me get my TV off the wall and showed me how the back seats to my SUV go all the way flat. Oh, wow. I can take a lot more with me to the storage unit than I thought. I had a feeling that very quickly that’d be becoming our new bed for a while.
The piano lady finally came to get the piano. But not before engulfing me in what? Prayer! Lord Father God, please guide Jazz in this time, to know that you are with her every step of the way. I smile. God sure knows how to pick ‘em, I thought.
As I listened to her sincere concern, I could tell that she felt guilty. Guilty for taking the piano off my hands when she didn’t realize it was all a very deliberate part of the plan. I knew it was just one more step into the giving up for me. I stood there in the deepest internal knowing that giving and receiving are one.
I felt full of love. Full.
As half of my house was packed, and the other half I vowed to leave behind (it just felt right), I woke up the next morning, Monday morning, knowing today would be “the day.” It would be the day where I had to leave the house willingly. The Officer who was due to lock me out, and never came back on Oct 16th. He told me not to worry, he would give me a few extra days. And that was a kind move on his end. It was now that Monday, five days after the lock-out date. I was ready to be the one to make the move first. I was physically tired, but spiritually filled up. I knew it was time to go. I sat quietly clutching my final cup of coffee and a mug I’d leave behind.
Xander turned to me: “Mom you know what is a great idea. You should go to the wishing well, and make a wish.” I knew exactly what he was talking about: the little Make-A-Wish Penny Fountain at the mall.
“It’s funny, Xander,” I started, knowing not how much of this my six year-old would get. “I only have one wish, and it is to follow God. The money comes when it is time, buddy.” He smiled at me, laid his head down softly in my lap, and I felt overwhelmed with appreciation for his suggestion.
I sent the kids to school, wrapped the house up, and said goodbye to it. So much had happened. The person that walked into that house in 2016 was not the same person standing there waving farewell that day. My bedroom had become sacred ground to me in those three years. The realizations, all of them, happened there in that room. I wrapped it up with an email to the Officer and left the God stuff out.
I found myself in Mission Viejo, not entirely sure what to make of the day. I decided to go for a stroll in the mall. And as I pace back and forth, back and forth, from upper level to lower level, I saw something from the corner of my eye. OMG, how could I have forgotten? The penny fountain! As I get a closer look. I see it. All the wishes, all the pennies were gone and the entire well was dried up except for a little bit of dirty water hanging out as a remembrance of what used to exist. I hadn’t even thought about going to the mall because of the wishing well, and here I was standing in front of it.
I couldn’t help but see the symbolism. The well was how things look. They “looked” hopeless. To the point where all of the wish-making was gone. And so I dug around in my back pocket and found a dime. I was gonna make a wish, at Xander’s request. And I knew which one I was gonna make:
No matter where this road goes, no matter what I have to lose, no matter how bleak things “appear” to look on the outside, I will follow the Will of God, I will stay with truth and I will stay with peace.
That’s it. That’s my wish. And it was clear that that wish had already been granted by me to me.
And so there I was, without a home and overwhelmed with an abundant amount of peace. Shocker. Operation Homelessness Preparation complete.
Blog post of October 29, 2019
My heart wants to write about this today.
I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of love, a lot of help, and even encouragement. To be in this position, to be the receiver of all of this, has been very healing for me. I had past stories in my mind for years that I allowed to still follow me. The help I was used getting to from others, in my mind, usually came with strings, rules, expectation, and judgment. And this time around, that has not been my experience.
I was surrounded by a crew of people that knew specifically the particular journey I’m on. They know that becoming God-realized is no easy feat, and it requires 100% commitment. A crew that sees the willingness to be homeless as as a part of the plan as strength, not weakness or misfortune. Most of these people I met later in life, but some were family.
The officer went well out of his way to let us stay in the house for 5 days after our lockout. Then, after us moving, he went well out of his way to make many phone calls on our behalf, to get us some information about shelter resources. He even took his work phone home with him each night, and continued to communicate with me several days after leaving the house. For real? I landed an angel.
Among my family and friends, I pulled Aunt Helen into this journey whether she liked it or not maybe almost a year ago, because I knew sooner or later she’d catch on, and she has. She’s been one of my biggest cheerleaders, comedians and filling in any gaps and inserting assistance where she thought I could use it. No judgment, just support. Me so lucky.
I’ve got my other buddy who hooked me up with my membership to the YMCA, for our showers and workouts. Then there is my friend Sabryna and my sister Angela. I sometimes plug away at life, and I forget to stop and really ask for assistance. With these two, I never had to even ask over the last few weeks. It wasn’t a passive “let me know if you need anything,” or a “poor you, you must be so stressed out” It was more like a “I support you, and I’m sending you money for gas, here is my house for a few days, I’m babysitting for free, we are coming to help you move.” They were just there, no questions asked.
A dear woman, my ministerial teacher, has been there. She said to me the other week, “I knew from meeting you that the two of us have work to do together. I’m honored to be your mentor, and I am dedicated to you.”
Dude, where do these people even come from? Oh that’s right. God. Instead of feeling sorry, or bad for me, they noticed the peace, the laughs, and the obvious strength that I was exuding from my “situation,” which is not really a situation, it just is, and the isness of it is a part of my God-in-a-body process.
Unconditionally Giving Because It’s All God
Now lets talk about the other kind of help. There is a different kind of help, that is not the same kind of help as the first one. I remember this funny scene from Nursing School. One of my professors was clear to mention,
Please don’t become that Nurse that is inching her back towards the exit door of the patients room and she says, “Well, let me know if you need anything.” Rather than her saying “Tell me what I can do to help?”
There is a huge difference between the two statements. Or what about this kind of help? —
Oh I feel bad that you are in this situation, so I need to help you.
Back in the day, I would’ve been the first one to give a homeless person money, because I felt “sorry” for them. When this happens, we are giving from a place of guilt, a place of seeing the other person as suffering, and not whole. We are clearly not seeing them as God or anywhere near God if we feel sorry for them. If we don’t see another through this God-lens, then we can’t know ourselves as God either.
Once you open your eyes, you look around and you see life. Replace the word “life” with “God.” You move through the scenes of God without your own value judgments, of what is fortunate and unfortunate. You see God, experiencing God through different scenes, different forms, and different experiences. All temporary, all impermanent and ever-changing.
You see God as God experiencing homelessness.
You see God as God experiencing losing a job.
You see God as God experiencing God as even losing a child.
It is all God. All of it. There are no exceptions, but you can still choose to see separation. You can still choose to see an incomplete world. You can choose to still see someone’s circumstances as unfortunate and feel sorry for them. You can choose to not see the truth. You can always choose to not see God in yourself and another.
It’s irrelevant to whether that person that you are looking at, knows their true God nature or not, or the truth in what they are experiencing. But it’s you, seeing them clearly for who they really are. The information is for you to know, and for you to keep. It’s for you to treat them from a place of limitlessness, non-judgment, expansion, and light.
Without the value judgments, and stepping into naked awareness towards another, we place projections on what another is experiencing. What replaces this is a deepened respect. A respect in knowing that God in another is experiencing what it desires to experience whether consciously or unconsciously.
As you give to another from this space of no obligations, no conditions, and seeing another for who they really are, you are directly and immediately giving to yourself.
The friends and family I have mentioned have completely mastered unconditional giving—the art of giving and receiving being one, one of the major themes of ACOL. It’s a secret that most people think is one of those sing-alongs that has no meaning.
Even the Bible has some truth that you can’t misinterpret: Do unto others as you would yourself. Love you neighbor as yourself.
Or this beautiful piece from ACIM: When you meet anyone remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself, or lose yourself. (T-8.III.4)
These people take it literally. They see themselves as me, and me as themselves.
Envision a world on the foundation of each individual projecting self-empowerment onto the world? Imagine seeing everyone as whole, and seeing the human experience as an endless river, that has different currents, speeds, currents, and curriculums? Yet — It’s just one ever-flowing river. All integrated, overlapping, and continuous.
It always comes back to this: There is only one of us here.
Jazz grew up in Philadelphia and has lived in southern California for the last 6 years. She says, “I’m in a life-long love affair of using any creative vehicle I can (writing, teaching, speaking) to convey the truth. God.” On Nov. 1, Jazz said that “it looks like I will have to let go of the twins during this process. But I am solid with peace, and I must stay with it.” Her blogs can be accessed at www.arebelsjourneytoenlightenment.com. She can be reached at email@example.com.
A Glossary to ACOL
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A Prayer for Gladness
By Elliott Robertson
This prayer was inspired by Chapter 15 in the third volume of A Course of Love wherein movement, being and expression are identified as the first, second and third principles of creation respectively.
Great Spirit, may I be glad in my expression, in my unfolding. May I be cheerful to receive the movement of the holy spirit and to allow my being to express just as the rose is glad when her petals unfold.
Great Spirit, may I sense the joy that is yours when I express and unfold, the joy Spirit takes in life coursing through me, and may I give way to Life and to the being of the Godhead.
This gladness will not bubble up within me if I am in resistance to any this or that
O Great Spirit, may I begin with acceptance of who I am as the expression that I am. May I begin with the acceptance of my unfolding as it is and may I accept all that is and all that I encounter and all that flows through me.
O Great Spirit, may I be accepting and completely nonresistant today. May nonresistance prepare the way for movement, being and expression to dance and to unite. May all that I am be upheld by trinity.
Elliott Robertson is a happiness coach. He has been certified by Marci Shimoff to lead “Happy for No Reason” workshops. His book Say Yes to Life: Seven Keys to Living Full Out from Within will come out soon. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.