Peace Begins with Me

by Karen Casey

I remember as though it were yesterday the first time I heard “The Peace Song.” It was at the close of a Sunday service at the Unity Church in Golden Valley, MN. I was just a few months sober and had gone to Unity at the suggestion of one of my new friends in AA. At the close of the service all the congregants stood and held hands. And then the singing began.

I was mesmerized. As the tears streamed down my face, I stood transfixed by the simple beauty of the words, the beauty of the voices that surrounded me and the quiet beauty of the truth of the message those words carried. I knew at that moment that my life was truly changing. I just didn’t have any idea of the extent of that change.

Fast forward 41 years. I am still sober, of course and still growing, still discovering transformation through the many encounters I have been privileged to experience since that Sunday so long ago. Over these many decades of sobriety and spiritual growth through recovery, I have come to cherish a certain few principles which I will share with you that have allowed me to walk more securely along the many pathways that brought me here, to this moment in time, with you.

There were obstacles along the way of course. There always are. They are the opportunities we have been gifted with to stretch us and push us to becoming the companions our many fellow travelers have needed to encounter so that they, too, could become who they were meant to be. I truly embrace the idea that we will always meet those individuals we need to encounter, not just for our own edification and growth, but their’s too. This is not an “accidental course” we are on. Indeed not. I am here as are you because of the divinity of the journey we have agreed to share.

To reiterate, choosing to live my life these many years being governed by a few very simple principles has given me the quiet well-being that I usually experience. However, those moments of quiet peace that slip out of my grasp are the result of my inattentiveness to here, now. But the introduction to a third pathway to peace has enhanced my awareness of “this moment.”

How very grateful I am that A Course in Miracles, my third pathway, blessed my life nearly thirty years ago. I had no idea I was searching for its particular message; I only knew that I needed something more. AA and Al-Anon were, and still are, the
cornerstones of my spiritual growth; cornerstones that I will never wander away from. But I continued to yearn for a closer sense of “the presence” of the Spirit that I had been assured accompanied me everywhere.

It was while reading the words so beautifully conveyed to Helen Schucman, the scribe of ACIM, that I heard the messages that God, through the Voice of Jesus, was intending for me to hear. And I was ready for them. I have remained ready for them. Not unlike 12 Step Programs, we aren’t really ever done with hearing and rehearing the messages that are meant for us in the many gatherings that invite us in, the many books that cry for rereading, the many moments of quiet reflection on all that we have come to know.

I have been a proponent of “the course,” coupled with the spiritual principles so embedded in 12 Step Philosophy since that very first moment that I knew I had been called to carry this message too, in my workshops, my books, my very being. Having received such a clear direction has allowed me to move forward confidently and purposefully, with the full intent of imparting that which I have gleaned from those many “voices” that have spoken to me.

I have been a proponent of “the course,” coupled with the spiritual principles so embedded in 12 Step Philosophy since that very first moment that I knew I had been called to carry this message too, in my workshops, my books, my very being. Having received such a clear direction has allowed me to move forward confidently and purposefully, with the full intent of imparting that which I have gleaned from those many “voices” that have spoken to me.

The message I herald is simple. And it’s not uncommon. It has been heard from the lips of Mother Teresa. In the writings of the Dalai Lama. Wayne Dyer too. AND MANY OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS WE SIT AMONG AT MEETINGS, DAY IN AND DAY OUT. It’s about being a messenger of peace, an expression of love, serving as a witness to the hearts and minds of all those men and women and children who have NOT WANDERED OUR WAY BY ACCIDENT.

It’s also about accepting that we are powerless over the lives of others but never powerless over how we acknowledge those others who pass us by. And it’s about forgiveness. Of all others and ourselves, particularly for our many judgments. As I read in the course so many years ago, “the ego speaks first; it speaks loudest, and it is always wrong.” It’s that very dominant voice in our minds that pushes us to be all that the Holy Spirit tries to steer us from being. With the ego in charge, we will never know peace.

The simple principles that continue calling to me also include these:
1. Detaching from the drama of others’ lives offers us peace of mind.
2. When others begin to bother you, change your focus.
3. Don’t let anyone else define who you are.
4. It’s a fact: we can not control any one else.
5. Letting go is an act that blesses everyone, everywhere.
6. Separation from others is an illusion.
7. We are joined in the Oneness of Spirit.
8. No experience is lacking in purpose. Seek to understand it.
9. Every encounter with another person is Holy.
10. Chance plays no part in God’s plan.

These are not the only principles that guide me, of course. There are dozens more. But I know after these many years on this spiritual path that any one of these principles, well honed, has the power to change the life we are living in the moment, and forever too. And any of these principles practiced any time by any one of us can impact the Universe that is the home of all of us. Seem farfetched? Think again. Every action, every thought emanates a vibration that moves beyond it. We do have the power to send forth whatever vibration we desire.

Why not make it a peaceful one?


Karen Casey is a writer and workshop facilitator for 12-step recovery. Her first book, Each Day a New Beginning, has sold more than 3 million copies. She has published 28 books since then including Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow, which was a finalist for the MS Society Books for a Better Life Awards. She has traveled throughout North America and Europe carrying her message of hope for others on the road to recovery.

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Everybody Loves Me

by Debra Landwehr Engle

Last year, a student in one of my A Course in Miracles classes traveled to Central America for more than a week. By herself.

As she told people about the trip, she received a variety of responses, ranging from “Good for you, have a great time” to “Are you crazy? You’re going alone?”

Her physical safety was not an issue for her. She’s traveled farther and to more remote destinations than this by herself without problems. But this time she did decide to try something new.

For a week leading up to the trip, and each day she was traveling, she told herself the same message: “Everybody loves me.”

Three words. Powerful words. They put her in receiving mode. And they created a protective bubble of intention and energy that not only made her safe, but made her magnetic.

everybody-loves-me

She’d sit alone in a restaurant, and someone would always show up to talk. She’d ask directions on city streets and be led exactly where she needed to go. She had all the company she wanted and, on the one occasion where she questioned her safety, she reminded herself that everyone loves her, and all was well.

In Let Your Spirit Guides Speak, I write about the value of treating life as an extended journey to another country, a place where we get to joyfully discover diversity and new cultures. My fiend’s mantra is a great addition to that mode of living, to claim and reaffirm every day that, on this journey to a wildly exotic place, everyone loves us.

It’s also an interesting twist to the “Jesus loves me, this I know” lyrics many of us learned as children. If God loves us, and His son loves us, and we are all one, it follows that everyone does love us. The Christ energy in every human being loves the Christ energy in all others, despite the seemingly endless conflicts our ego minds create.

Is it selfish or self-centered to think that everyone loves you? Hardly. When I feel loved, I’m able to express my joy and loving nature to others in a way that’s not possible when I’m locked in insecurity or self-doubt.

Claiming that everyone loves me puts my mind in the right place, where I can extend love and everything that entails: abundance, peace of mind, playfulness, safety and well-being.

That’s the least selfish thing I can think of.

So, as you set your intentions for 2017, there’s no doubt that your thoughts will determine the quality of this year for you. They’ll make the difference between a year of success or failure in every aspect of your life.

If you need one thought to carry you through each day, you couldn’t do much better than “Everybody loves me.” Give it a try for a day or a week or a month, and start paying attention to what and who shows up in your life—no matter where you travel on your own personal journey.


Debra Engle is the author of The Only Little Prayer You Need and Let Your Spirit Guides Speak. You can find her on Facebook and at debraengle.com and at her Patheos.com blog “Everyday Miracles.”

Deb Engle's Books

A Q&A with Karen Casey about 52 Ways to Live the Course in Miracles

Why did you decide to write this book, at this time?

I have been a long time student of the course and find I “talk the course” in nearly all of the writing I do these days. My first book that dealt directly with the course was published in 1995. It was Daily Meditations for Practicing the Course. Nearly every book I have written since then has “a touch” of the course wisdom in them because that wisdom has been infused in my life. Writing a book of practical course essays is one way of making the course accessible to others, and that is near and dear to my heart.

What is it about the course that has captured your attention?

Immediately upon reading the first few pages of A Course in Miracles. More than thirty years ago, I knew my life was going to change. Even though I didn’t fully grasp all that I was reading at that time, I knew the time would come. I firmly believe that what we have been readied for calls to us. That’s how I felt about the course. I simply knew I was ready for a deeper experience of the Holy Spirit.

Why do you want to introduce others to the spiritual pathway?
I have never experienced so many moments of true peace and joy before I became a devoted student of the course. I simply want others to know peace too. There are far too many distractions in this chaotic world and I want to help others be able to see past the distractions and see the peace that I have discovered.

What areas of your life have been most affected by becoming a student of A Course in Miracles?

My relationships have improved significantly, and my recovery in the Twelve Step fellowship has been positively affected too. Each and every day feels more joyful and hopeful because I know I have a choice regarding which “voice” I will listen to. That choice has changed everything.

Can you give the newcomer to the course a short overview of what he or she is about to experience?

One of the first tenets of the course is that every expression voiced or action taken in any encounter is coming from a place of love or a place of fear. That bit of short hand helps me to meet whatever I experience with a willingness to accept and be loving. Another beautifully simple tenet is this: every loving thought is true, everything else is an appeal for healing and help, regardless of the form it takes. And finally, a miracle, according to the course, is simply a shift in perception. All three of these ideas, when embraced, can change the trajectory of one’s life.

How will your book positively change the lives of readers?
I honestly believe that living less chaotic lives is possible and that making the choice to see our experiences differently is possible. Choosing to listen to the quieter voice of the Holy Spirit in our minds will become habit with practice, and when that has happened, nothing about our lives will be the same, ever again. 52 Way to Live the Course in Miracles can ensure all of this is possible.

9781573246842

Is That Your Fear Talking?

Contrary to what you may have been taught, you’re not at the mercy of a dangerous world or your own negative self-talk. In fact, you can change your mind to see yourself—and the world—with a whole new perspective.

The first step is to become aware of thoughts that are based in fear. This takes practice, because they sometimes look and sound different than you might think.

Here are three common fear-based thoughts. When you hear yourself saying these statements to yourself or someone else, you can be sure your fear-based ego is doing the talking.

Is That Your Fear Talking

“What if I make a mistake?”

Just think of all the ways this ego thought impacts you. It could keep you from experiencing the most significant aspects of life: falling in love, having a family, starting a business, booking a trip, buying a house—even something as simple as ordering a menu item you’ve never had before.

If you give your power to this one thought, you can end up completely paralyzed.

The fear of making a mistake may disguise itself in different ways. For instance, it may look like the fear of being judged by others (or yourself).

It could be the fear of looking silly or being ashamed.

Or it could look like conformity to a family code that has always governed your behavior, maybe without your knowing it.

The truth is, we all make “mistakes” and take detours. Sometimes we have to regroup and chart a new course. And sometimes we find ourselves in a delicious new place that we wouldn’t have discovered if we had listened to our fear.

As you go through your day today, become aware any time this fear gets in your way, then ask yourself: “What would my life look like if I weren’t afraid of making a mistake?

What if I disappoint someone?

True story: I married my first husband out of a lot of fear—fear of being alone, of not being able to support myself, and of disappointing him.

This was not a good idea.

“What if I disappoint someone?” can cause chronic unhappiness by making us think we’re being noble or dependable…but at the cost of our own joy. It can mire us in “shoulds” and convince us that everyone else’s feelings are more important than our own.

The ego does this to make itself feel important and indispensable, but the truth is that you’re important and indispensable by being the unique and genuine child of God that you are, not by trying to please everyone around you.

Pay attention through the day and see if some form of “What if I disappoint someone?” shows up in your mind. If so, remember that you have the right to focus on what brings you joy—and do it even if it’s not what others might want or expect.

Remember: This is not a selfish act. In fact, it’s the most generous thing you can do. The more joy you have, the more you have to give

“I feel so guilty.”

There are LOTS of variations on this theme, including regret (“If only I could do it over again”) and beating yourself up over something from the past (“What was I thinking?”).

These feelings and thoughts are part of being human, of course. But mistakes aren’t meant to be lifelong burdens. If you allow your mind to go round and round, revisiting the same guilt feelings or regrets about the past, you’ll completely miss the gifts of life right now.

As you go through the day today, become aware any time your thoughts linger in guilt or regret.

Then ask yourself, “Is there anything I need to apologize for or any amends I need to make?” If so, take at least one step toward doing so today.

Equally important, be open to the idea that you may be carrying guilt over past mistakes that no longer matter to anyone else, or that you’ve long since been forgiven for. Be aware that the primary person who needs to forgive you is you.


Debra Landwehr Engle is the author of The Only Little Prayer You Need and the forthcoming Let Your Spirit Guides Speak (Hampton Roads, September 2016). She is also a workshop facilitator, and regular blogger at Patheos. She is also a longtime teacher of A Course in Miracles and a widely traveled inspirational speaker. She lives in Des Moines, IA.

Deb Engle's Books

The Only Little Prayer You Need | Let Your Spirit Guides Speak