July, 2013

If you wait until someone in the child’s outside world ignites her interest in God, by talking about God in their home when your child is there on a visit or is sharing a stay-over with a school friend, then your “starting place” in this exploration will be what your child has heard elsewhere. That may or may not be a good place to begin, as your child may be filled with images or ideas about God that could prove bewildering…or even scary.

My suggestion is that you allow yourself to be the first person to introduce your child to the concept and the reality of God. We know that first impressions are lasting impressions, and I’m sure you want your child’s first impression of God to be different from the one to which many of us were subjected in our generation.

There are many ways, as I have alluded to already, to introduce your child to the concept and the reality of God without sitting your child down to have a “session” in which you say something like, “Let’s talk about God.”

Sex and God: Our two yearnings

Allowing your child to know that God is a part of your life is one of the most powerful things you can do to fuel your child’s Greater World experience. I liken it to how we introduce our children to sex. They either never hear about it from us and we talk to them about it only when, finally, they ask about it somewhere along the way, or they are introduced to it in an easy, casual way as a natural and normal, happy and fun part of life.

Sex and God are both dynamite subjects. That’s why I’m using them as companion examples here. They are probably the two most critical topics that one could explore with children. (And—dare I say?—the most taboo in our current Cultural Story.) How you approach these subjects will form and shape important inner experiences for your children for the rest of their lives—even (and perhaps especially) if they create later experiences that counter or contradict what they picked up from you.

Yet children will not create experiences, nor place themselves in circumstances, that counter or contradict what they understood by being with you if what they understood was joyous, fun-filled, happy and wonderful, uplifting their spirits every single time, and filling them with glorious and exciting anticipation of what wonders their next moment in life can hold.

Sadly, the teachings and doctrines about God of many of our societies and cultures and belief systems too often do not fill children with glorious and exciting anticipation of what wonders their next moment in life can hold. In fact, if my own childhood is any example, they more often fill children with fear and dread that they might do something terribly inappropriate or downright wrong, producing worried, tentative steppings into life. Sadly, the same can be said about our culture’s teachings and doctrines about Sex.

Yet the yearning for God as well as the yearning for Sex will not and cannot be denied—and so off our children will go, seeking to satisfy these yearnings with wildly misguided instructions.

The impulse lives within all of us

Every human being has a yearning for God. That is the most important thing I could tell you here. Every sentient being understands, at a cellular level, that something larger exists, something grander forms Ultimate Reality. We may not know what It is, but we feel certain that there is more going on here than meets the eye, and that Life in the Universe is more than a series of chemical reactions and energy fusions and biological processes. The design is too perfect, the process is too engaging and exciting, and the outcome is too magnificent for the whole operation to have been created by happenstance.

We know, too, at a very deep level, that we are part of all this. We are not separate from it; simply bystanders, watching a parade going by. We sense that we are, at some level, the parade organizers. Or, if we don’t believe that, we sense that at the very least, we are in the parade, part of it, not merely observers, not simply a fascinated but having-nothing-to-do-with-it audience.

Because we hold this deep inner knowing, we notice an unmistakable urge to join in when the parade is passing by. Our whole being is filled with what I have called an Impulse Toward the Divine. We feel a natural, inbred desire to unite, to become one again, with Life Itself at every level. We stick our nose in a flower, we bury our hands in the dirt, we spread our arms to the sunrise, we shed quiet tears of reverent awe at the utter magnificence of the night sky, we exult at the deep breathing in of the fresh morning, dew-filled air—we reach with humble joy for Life! And we desire Oneness with It in every way we can create.

Thus, the yearning for God.  And for Sex.

Neither is incidental, or coincidental.

I believe we are attracted to each other inherently, out of a deep knowing that in each other we will find our Selves. I believe we know at the highest level that We Are All One and that we are seeking daily on this planet to end, at last and forever, our sense of Separation. We know, we intuitively understand, that Separation is not the Natural Order of Things, it is not the Truth of Our Being; and so we seek to never again suffer the illusion of being Alone.

Every child feels this yearning for Oneness as much as every adult, for Oneness is not an intellectual formulation, it is a spiritual awareness. And children are by no means less able to connect with deep spiritual awareness than adults. If anything, they’re more able.

This inbred, inborn, innate ability of children to connect with or experience deep spiritual awareness is something that many parents seldom think about, but that all parents have a opportunity to tap into, when considering how to introduce their children to the concept and the reality of God.

For the idea is pull out of the child, not put into the child, the truth and the awareness of humanity’s connection with the Divine. We are not trying to teach our children something, but to help them remember something; we are not trying to give them something (knowledge, wisdom, understanding, a sense of Oneness with God), but to let the know that they already have it.

There is a world of difference.

(Our discussion will continue here, with Part VII, in our next post.)

After dark on a summer evening, an 8-year-old boy named Allen and his mother sat on the blacktop driveway, which was still warm from the day’s sun, drawing with chalk. But they weren’t drawing daisies and rainbows and other normal-type pictures–they were doing geometry. Why? Because Allen wanted to know how the odometer on his bicycle worked. Why so late at night? Well, when better to learn than right after the question is asked?

Allen remembers the night as having an exciting quality to it—like being allowed to stay awake to ring in the New Year—and he felt like they were up until midnight measuring the bicycle tires, calculating r2 and discussing the Pythagorean Theorem. In reality it was probably much less than that, but time warps when you’re engaged with something, and even geometry can be exciting to an 8-year-old when it’s applied to real life.

Our childhood was filled with such time-warped moments; so much so that it was the norm instead of the exception. You see, my younger brother Allen and I didn’t go to school. Our classrooms were chalk on the driveway, the local riding stable, Girl Scouts, museums, beaches, Europe, Australia, caves, libraries, mountains, homemade movies, stage productions, cooking in the kitchen, managing family finances… We were (and are) unschoolers.

Unschooling is an exciting alternative to contemporary schooling that empowers students to create their own education. Much like homeschooling, families are free to explore opportunities outside of the public school system, and even outside of the curriculums that many homeschoolers use. Unschoolers pursue their interest of the moment, and in the process find their passions of a lifetime.

Conversations with God, Book II talks about a new education system which is based on the values of awareness, honesty, and responsibility; a system that teaches the student to think critically, come to their own conclusions, and gives them a sense of “unlimitedness.” Unschoolers have been doing this for decades in our modern era, and humanity has been doing this in a sense for our entire history. Babies “unschool” themselves in learning how to talk and walk: Unschooling families simply let their children unschool the rest of life, too.

While the students pursue their interests, the parents create the space for learning: they make sure resources and opportunities are available for their children to follow their interests as deeply as they want and to stumble upon new potential interests. In the process, a fully-rounded education emerges, which includes more than just mathematics, history, and literature. For us, and for the many unschoolers we know, we learned respect for ourselves and others because our parents respected us enough to take control of our own education. We learned to see the world with curiosity and with the awareness of the differences in people’s lives and cultures, and to appreciate those differences as beautiful. We learned personal responsibility in managing our time, making our educational intentions known, and following through with our goals. We didn’t always succeed, and we learned a lot from that, too.

Love is freedom. We know this from the New Spirituality paradigm, we know this from Christ, and some of us know this from our own experiences. In order to unschool, parents must have the unconditional, unfearing love that gives the child freedom to make their own choices; the freedom to know themselves as individuals and as integral parts of a family unit and larger society; the freedom to hone their strengths and learn how to contribute to help the world move toward the grandest vision that it has for itself.

In return for this freedom, the child is more likely to respect the parent’s suggestions for how to live a full, safe, expansive life. This is not theoretical: Allen  and I have a wide collective base of unschooled friends and rates of stereotypical teenage rebellion in unschooling families are next to none. For instance, even though I often felt annoyed at the inconvenience, I never fought my parents’ rule that I couldn’t drive a car with passengers without an adult present or express permission until I was 18, because I understood that I was an inexperienced driver and that friends could be distracting. I knew that the rule came from a place of love, wisdom, and experience, so it made sense to follow it.

Because unschoolers have the fortune to grow up in a family culture of unlimitedness and exploration, they often have an advantage in adult life. They know how to pursue things they’re interested in (which translates to careers), and they’ve often had experience in approaching people and marketing themselves as worthwhile apprentices or employees. They already understand the principle that if you pursue what you love, the rest will follow. Most will not let themselves get caught up in the cultural story of needing to go to college and get a job that they hate so that they can buy nice things that will ultimately “make them happy.” Instead, they write their own story and live it, unafraid of being different and being satisfied with the choices they’ve made.

Allen and I took vastly different paths as young adults, and we are both largely happy with our lives and our choices–perhaps mostly because we learned early on that our choices are simply that: ours. We have the freedom to choose our life paths, interests, emotions, reactions, thoughts…everything. And because we know that so deeply, it’s much easier to change our choices when we think we need to. My biggest “victimhood” struggle was when I went to college and felt completely imprisoned by the institutional system. I had to remember that college was my choice, and that because I wanted to see it through to the end, I’d have to make the choice to stop feeling imprisoned. After that, college flew by.

Of course, we’re still figuring things out, we still make mistakes, and we still need guidance, as everyone does, but both of us feel better prepared for life than most of our peers. People from all areas of our lives, with relationships to us from friends to classmates to bosses, have commented on qualities like our maturity, perseverance, ingenuity, and intelligence that we ascribe to our unschooled upbringing.

Not every parent is ready right now to be an unschooling parent, but the unschooling movement is growing. Since the modern emergence from the public school system in the 1970’s, our numbers have grown to an estimated 100,000 or more students of current school age. However, most of us consider ourselves unschoolers for life, since unschooling is living life, so I expect there are quite a few more of us than that. As our world goes through massive shifts and growing pains, Allen and I think that unschooling is only going to keep rising in popularity, not only because it works as an education system, but because it works as a parenting system and as part of a more coherent and functional cultural story. The unschooling society in the US currently is spread out, but still tight-knit and supportive. We’re not immune to drama and disagreements, but we tend to be creative in the way we solve those disagreements. We tend to quickly remember that freedom (and the love that is inseparable from freedom) is the basis of our unschooling culture, and that is the culture we want to plant, nurture, and grow in our world.

And yes, it really is as simple as being willing to use your evening at the drop of a hat to explain to your 8-year-old how his odometer works. The rest will follow.

Laura Allen(Laura Ellis is 26 years old and lives in Santa Fe, NM. She is enrolled in a Master’s degree program for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and has a background in writing, Reiki, horseback riding, and social sciences. Allen Ellis is 24 years old and lives in Orlando, FL. He is the Senior Motion Designer at Cybis Communications and has a background in videography, piano, web design, and programming. They can be reached at whyunschool@gmail.com. For more information on unschooling, visit whyunschool.info.)

(If you would like to contribute an article you have authored to the Guest Column, please submit it to our Managing Editor, Lisa McCormack, for possible publication in this space. Not all submissions can be published, due to the number of submissions and sometimes because of other content considerations, but all are encouraged. Send submissions to Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com. Please label the topic: “Guest Column.”)

Forgive my absence. It has been a busy summer. My whole life is changing and I am having some trouble keeping up with all of it! It’s all good, just a lot happening right now. What a difference a year makes. A year ago, I was heartbroken and unsure how life could look so bleak. Today, I am grateful for all the change that yesterday’s hurt has created. They were all blessings in disguise. Let that sink in, especially if you are going through some unwanted change right now. Change is always for our greater good, which explains why I am smiling today.

Have you ever been so inspired and excited about your future that you can’t sleep? This is how I have been these last few months. I should explain. As the new Executive Director of the Conversations with God Foundation, I have been given the opportunity to make a difference, much in the way my life was impacted by the very organization I now lead.

Everything changed for me 13 years ago when I began a quest to know and understand God,  when on one particular day this one particular book kept insisting I read it, it kept showing up. CwG came to me three different ways on that day, and nothing would be the same after. I got the message.  And upon reading that book, everything began to change in my life. Here I am 13 years later in a leadership position of the very Foundation that played such a wonderful role over the years in my life. I am teaching out of  those very same books that changed everything for me…and life could not be better.

Life is the way it is for me today because I use the concepts and tools offered within the pages of CwG, and, for that matter, many other spiritual works I have been drawn to read as a result. Yet I keep coming back to CwG because of its simplicity and easy accessibility to joy-filled messages within. Sure, some of the concepts were way over my head when I first began, but I knew if I could say it, I could live it.

I wanted nothing more than to live the material I was so attracted to, so I got on with teaching it. Seven or eight years of facilitating study groups and being surrounded by the hopeful messages, and my life  began to transform. Be clear, it is a process. I see myself evolving even to this very day. Yet I am still attracted to this simple and profound material as my life changes and I see the wisdom of CwG as it flows through me.

So last month, a group of dedicated professionals and I put on “A Path to Peace” retreat in Medford, Oregon. It turned out to be an even greater experience than I hoped and the feedback I received made me smile. I have dedicated my life to helping people find their truth that sets them happy, joyous and free. “A Path to Peace” is just one of the ways I hoped would do just that. My desire is to help those struggling with dis-ease recover and get free.

Inspired by that outcome, we decided to hold retreats in San Jose, California, in September and then one on the east coast in Orlando, Florida, in October. I recognize that it isn’t always easy for people to come to Medford, Oregon, to visit me, so I have decided to take this “show on the road.”  I am very excited about the rest of this year’s retreat schedule. I have a very special retreat coming in November that you may not want to miss either, so if I may be so bold and use this forum for the following announcements:


Sept 19 – 22 – San Jose, CA – A Path to Peace – CLICK HERE

October 24 – 27 – Orlando, Florida – A Path to Peace – CLICK HERE


Dust off your passport, because we are headed to Costa Rica!

November 8 – 16 – Costa Rica – What God Said – CLICK HERE

That’s right, Costa Rica.  Some of you know that I lived in Costa Rica where I held my Change House program. Change House was designed around the book When Everything Changes, Change Everything, and it was created to help people move through unwanted and unexpected change or on-purpose and enlightened change…or both.

My life is a living example of what a program like Change House can do, as I used every one of those tools this last year…and they work! Change House is a wonderful program and it will return in the near future, but for now we are going to take on something timely, important, and really wonderful!

On October 1st, The latest CwG book will be out. It’s called What God Said.

What God Said contains The 25 Core Messages of Conversations with God that will change your life and the world, all of the most important concepts within CwG messages brought forth in one book. This retreat will be an overview study of these concepts and how to make use of them in daily life. Who wouldn’t benefit from that?

This retreat will also launch CwG College.

CwG College has been created for those who desire to be students/teachers of Conversations with God, those who wish to deeply understand the benefits created by living the material, and who may also wish to share the good news and teach the material to others.

I call this the ultimate study group as people from all over the world will meet in different cities to take on learning and living the wisdom found in the CwG material. When people come together, the power to create positive outcomes multiplies by the energy in the room.

What God Said is the perfect book to begin CwG College with since it provides a summary of the core messages found throughout all of the books and an overview of what an in-depth study of the material will provide.

The Costa Rica retreat will be held at a hot springs and spa in my adoptive hometown in Costa Rica called Orosi Valley. Eternal springtime conditions await you there as the weather is 75 during the day and 57 at night. Located in Central Costa Rica, there is little humidity and no mosquito nets are needed for sleeping. The resort is built around a river and hot springs, and the amenities are wonderful. This will truly be a mix of fun and a life-changing deep study.

It won’t just be all work and no play, I have also arranged the possibility for those who wish to have some traditional Costa Rican adventures, like zip-lines and volcano tours.  I want you to enjoy the sights and sounds of this amazing place. You are welcome to consider staying longer than our seven day retreat.  I would be happy to assist you, given that I know the area well. If you want to live this material and have fun doing it, this retreat is created for you.

If reading CwG felt important and impactful to you, and if you feel like I do, that these kinds of messages could change your life and change the world, please help me get the message out. I know through my own personal experience and through using these messages to help others that if more people were given the opportunity to explore CwG, that, in fact, the world would become a more peaceful place. Peace begins with you and me. Please join with me in supporting our work and common goal of helping others. My commitment since I took over the CwG Foundation is to expand our outreach and impact the world in a positive way. I am excited to say that we are doing just that and hope you will join with us.

Do you get why I am excited now? I hope you are excited, too! I look forward to seeing and sharing with you in these amazing retreats and in many other ways in the future!

As always I love hearing from you…how can I be of service? – J.R.

(J.R. Westen, D.D., C.Ad, is a Holistic Health & Spiritual Counselor who has worked and presented side-by-side with Neale Donald Walsch for over a decade. He is passionate about helping individuals move beyond their emotional and spiritual challenges, transforming breakdowns into breakthroughs. His counseling and coaching provides practical wisdom and guidance that can be immediately incorporated to shift one’s experience of life. As is true for most impactful teachers, J.R.’s own struggles and triumphs inspired him to find powerful ways of helping others. Sober since June 1, 1986, J.R.’s passion for helping individuals move through intense life challenges drove him to also specialize in Addiction and Grief Recovery. J.R. currently shares his gift of counseling & coaching with individuals from around the world. In addition, he operates “Change House” a place where people come to transform. He also works with Escondido Sobering Services and now serves as the Executive Director for the Conversations with God Foundation. He can be contacted at JR@CWG.ORG.)

Last year there were many changes in my life. My husband and I went into bankruptcy. My marriage ended against my will, I left my husband after 20 years together still loving him.  I returned to my parents’ house in another continent, where living conditions have nothing to do with Europe. One of my daughters went to heaven.  All I’m assimilating the best I can, knowing that everything was produced by me. But I want to know what my daughter in heaven thinks or feels about me. Was it necessary to live all that pain? How I can make my life from now on one not through pain? Please explain what I did wrong and how to correct. My two children that I still have with me need and deserve a good mother, to accompany this process in the best possible way.

~ Maria


Thank you for reaching out.  I am very sorry to hear of all the pain you have experienced in the past year or so, my heart goes out to you, especially in the loss of your daughter.

Hear me when I say you did nothing wrong.  This is not your fault.  There is nothing to “correct”.

Here is the misunderstanding about creating our experience that I see many people have: while it is true that we are the creators of our experience, we are not necessarily the creators of the events that show up in our lives.  Rather, we are co-creators of the events that show up in our lives.  Each and every person that experiences an event with us has played a part in creating the event itself.  For example, if you experience the event of a car accident, it was not created by you alone.  It was co-created by everyone who was impacted by it: the other car involved, the witnesses who saw it happen, your friends and family who are concerned and who you may have told about it, even the people who built the road that the accident happened on.  Our role as conscious creators is how we choose to experience an event, how we choose to experience the car accident.  Does this make sense?

So let me be very clear, it is not your fault that your daughter passed on, you did not cause that.  And I can tell you with utter certainty that she doesn’t blame you, isn’t mad at you, and in fact, loves you so much that her soul agreed to depart at the time it did in order to give all the co-creators involved the opportunity to experience themselves as certain things within the context of “loss”.  It is okay to feel the pain, to be sad, to miss your daughter.  That is part of your experience.  But you also get to decide how you want to experience life after loss; in other words, who do you want to be now?  I hear that you want to be a good mother to your children who are still with you. So your job is to decide what that looks like and be it.  It may also be beneficial to write your daughter who passed on a letter, for your own healing, telling her everything that is in your heart to tell.

In regards to your question of how to move forward without the pain and struggle, my answer is to let go of the story you are telling that life is painful, that you are creating pain.  Begin to shift your focus on all that is wonderful in your life, and keep it there as much as possible.  This is the most powerful thing you can do for yourself and for your family at this time.  In fact, I recommend developing the practice of daily gratitudes.  That is, begin writing down at least 10 things that you are truly grateful for, that you love or appreciate, every single day.  And furthermore, consciously choose to make your last thoughts before you fall asleep at night, as well as the first thoughts you have when you wake up in the morning, thoughts of gratitude.  This is where we become the creators of our own experience.  If you choose to focus on the “negative”, or the “pain” or the “struggle”, then you will continue to create more of that experience.  But if you choose to focus on and pay more attention to the beauty of life, what you do have versus what you don’t have, what you love versus what you resent or don’t like, then you will create more experiences of good things.  It is really quite remarkable.

The other thing I recommend is to continue reaching out to others, do what you need to do to heal yourself from what happened, and know that you don’t have to do it alone.  Meditation and journaling are also great ways to both heal and to live more consciously without pain and struggle, as well as being able to better deal with pain and struggle when it does show up.  I think you a remarkable, wonderful, beautiful woman and mother, Maria.  You have the power to experience your life any way you want to.  Please let me know if I can assist you in any other way, and thank you for being willing to share your story and for trusting there is a better way of living for you and for your children.


(Nova Wightman is a CWG Life Coach, as well as the owner and operator of Go Within Life Coaching, www.gowithincoaching.com, specializing in helping individuals blend their spirituality with their humanity in a way that makes life more enjoyable, easy, and fulfilling.  She can be reached at Nova@theglobalconversation.com. )

(If you would like a question considered for publication, please submit your request to: Advice@TheGlobalConversation.com, where our team is waiting to hear from you.)


An additional resource:  ChangingChange.net offers spiritual assistance from a team of non-professional/volunteer Spiritual Helpers responding to every post from readers within 24 hours or less. Nothing on the CCN site should be construed or is intended to take the place of or be in any way similar to professional therapeutic or counseling services.  The site functions with the gracious willing assistance of lay persons without credentials or experience in the helping professions.  What these volunteers possess is an awareness of the theology of Conversations with God.  It is from this context that they offer insight, suggestions, and spiritual support during moments of unbidden, unexpected, or unwelcome change on the journey of life.

In light of some recent unexpected statements made by some highly influential people in our world, I have been exploring more deeply the underpinnings of why we believe what we believe, and what it takes to create significant change in long and tightly held belief systems.   What is the aftereffect globally when someone who has the massive outreach of the Pope or the controversial but well-known televangelist Pat Robertson publicly speaks outside of the box which holds their traditional points of view?

In an article published by The Huffington Post, “The 83-year-old televangelist [Pat Robertson] sat down on Sunday for the ‘Bring It Online’ advice portion of his Christian Broadcasting Network show, ‘The 700 Club.’ A viewer named David wrote in asking how he should refer to two transgender females who work in his office and have legally changed their genders. Instead of criticizing the trans individuals, Robertson approached the situation in a seemingly level-headed manner.”

“‘I think there are men who are in a woman’s body,’ he said. ‘It’s very rare. But it’s true — or women that are in men’s bodies — and that they want a sex change. That is a very permanent thing, believe me, when you have certain body parts amputated and when you have shot up with various kinds of hormones. It’s a radical procedure. I don’t think there’s any sin associated with that. I don’t condemn somebody for doing that.’”

“He went on to say he would ‘question the validity’ of someone who just says, ‘Well I’m really a woman’ because you ‘don’t count somebody as female unless they really are, or male unless they really are.’”

“When his co-host said the viewer doesn’t know the intentions or medical history of his co-workers, Robertson rebutted, ‘It’s not for you to decide or to judge.’”

Yes, Mr. Robertson’s unpredictable statements are still interwoven between layers of intolerance and judgment, but couple his message with the most-recent comments by Pope Francis which have been making spectacular headlines around the world where he told reporters “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” I am just wondering what might be happening here.

When the people who have been placed collectively at the forefront of large groups of people — whose numbers easily reach into the millions — change their points of view about long-held beliefs, or when they express new thoughts about old ideas, how does this impact the belief systems of the people who associate themselves closely with those groups?  What is the ripple effect?  Do large numbers of people “change their minds” because someone now told them to, whether that be for “better” or “worse”?  How do we know when someone is a messenger versus a manipulator?

Of course, we know that truth, real truth, is a knowing that emanates from deep, deep within.  So why is it, then, that so many of us experience our lives as a journey of seeking and finding, gathering our truth from places that exist external to us, perhaps even in the words of someone else’s truth, ignoring the accuracy of our own internal compass and pushing painfully past the true nature of our feelings?

Imagine a world where each and every one of us stood in the light of our own truth, where we didn’t say “yes” when we meant “no”; where we didn’t say “no” when we really truly wanted to say “yes.”

Perhaps in that kind of world we wouldn’t have parents giving birth to children on Saturday, July 20, and waiting until Wednesday, July 24, to name their newborn child, a precious new life, so they can find out what Prince William and Kate Middleton named their child first and follow suit accordingly.

Maybe in that kind of world it would be highly unlikely that some of the highest-rated television programs would continue to be “reality” shows which depict the “reality” someone else is choosing for us instead of the one we have the ability to create ourselves.  Perhaps we would simply not desire to watch television at all…unless we do.

Maybe, just maybe, we wouldn’t be shooting people in our own neighborhoods because they look different than we do.  Do you think it is possible that within the space and light of our own truth we would not ever feel moved to hurt or oppress another because we would understand at a very deep level that the “truths” we have been told, the stories we have made up about each other or been handed down, the ones which cause us to hurt each other in the first place, are simply not true?

And perhaps in that kind of a world people in positions of power and influence, such as Pope Francis and, yes, even Pat Robertson, will continue to break free from the bonds of history, tradition, and sameness to demonstrate that change, significant and lasting change, is not only a remote possibility, but it is something which is actually taking place right here, right now.

I’m just wondering how the tide of change will roll onto the shore of Humanity in the wake of some of these surprisingly refreshing and recently made comments.   If we are going to live in a world where we continue to adopt someone else’s truth as our own, maybe we should be paying close attention right now to the new “truths” that are yearning to be heard and the new “story” that is desiring to be written.

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)

Pope Francis made a breathtaking and extraordinary statement on July 29 about homosexuality. His remarks have reverberated around the world.

During an impromptu exchange with reporters on a transoceanic flight back to Rome following a triumphant week-long visit to Brazil, His Holiness was asked about the presence of a so-called “gay lobby” in the Vatican. His response: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Elaborating on the statement, he said: “When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them?” The pontiff allowed as to how the problem regarding any gay lobby that may or may not exist within the Vatican was not the sexual orientation of its members, but any policies they promoted that would be opposed to the church and its traditional teachings.

His comments represent a radical shift from previous statements by all the men who had headed the world’s largest single Christian denomination over hundreds of years — and signaled once again that this new Pope may be taking the Catholic Church in startling new directions in which it has never traveled before.

Francis also told the press that the church needed to demonstrate a new degree of compassion for divorced Catholics. Presently, divorcees within the church are not allowed, by papal decree, to receive communion, and are marginalized in other ways in local parishes worldwide.

A CNN report on the Pope’s informal interview session on the return flight from South America quoted Francis as saying, “I believe this is a time of mercy, a change of epoch,” regarding divorce.

“He said the group of eight cardinals tasked with reform will explore the issue of whether divorcees can receive Communion,” the CNN report added.

Yet even as the pontiff’s statements brought new hope to gays around the world that religious oppression may be lessening, and just as laws in the United States banning gay marriage are finally loosening, new developments in Russia over the past week indicate that the laws in that country are becoming more and more oppressive regarding homosexuality, leading to a piercing question: Will we ever be able to civilize Civilization?

A law has just been passed in Russia that makes illegal to “spread information about non-traditional sexual behavior” to minors (defined as persons under 18). In Moscow recently, members of the Moscow Gay Pride movement were detained by police for holding a rally that has not been authorized, and for “promoting untraditional sexual relations,” according to reports from NBC News.

And on Sunday, July 28, Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church,  said that legislation in the United States making same-sex marriage legal “is bringing the apocalypse closer.”

The situation has become so volatile in Russia that the U.S. State Department has issued travel warnings for gays who had hoped to visit there. The State Department’s statement said that “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is widespread in Russia, as harassment, threats, and acts of violence have been targeted at LGBT individuals. Government officials have been known to make derogatory comments about LGBT persons.”

Over 80% of the Russian population is said to support stringent anti-gay attitudes and laws.

It seems terribly sad that such conditions should prevail in one of the world’s largest nations and most visible and prominent cultures. The attitudes of both civil and religious figures — endorsed and openly promoted by such highly visible political and spiritual leaders as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Patriarch Kirill — have long been part of the nation’s social outlook.

The basis of all this appears to be the centuries of teaching by sects within the Christian tradition that sexual relationships involving persons of the same gender are a violation of the Will of God. That’s what made the remarks by Pope Francis on Monday so striking.

The Russian Orthodox Church is the world’s second largest Christian denomination in terms of numbers of followers. Only the Roman Catholic Church is larger. The theological influence of the ROC in Russia runs wide and deep, with, by some estimates, over 70% of the population declaring themselves to be adherents.

The statements about God’s Will with regard to homosexual behavior is yet one more area in which the theology of Conversations with God presents spiritually revolutionary messages. There is no manner or way in which the expression of a love that is pure and true is inappropriate or spiritually objectionable, CWG states unequivocally.

It is difficult to comprehend how a spiritual community which holds that God is the epitome of love, compassion, and forgiveness — which the Russian Orthodox Church presumably does —  could espouse, endorse, and support a view that would culturally, spiritually, and even legally oppose, restrict, and condemn the expression of love between human beings, with this opposition based on nothing more than gender.

Such opposition and condemnation feels to be the social expression of a primitive and backward culture; a species that does not understand the true nature of the relationship of its members to each other and to God.

Ours is a species that, in many places, roundly approves the death penalty, and that throws people in jail for years for simply growing, distributing, or smoking a particular plant. So perhaps it is small wonder that segments of it could disapprove of love simply based on gender.

I believe that the decision to legislate morality is the first sign of an uncultivated society. It occurs to me that advanced civilizations do not create oppressive laws as a means of suppressing private loving behaviors with which some of its members — no matter how powerful or influential they may be — personally disagree.

While I deeply admire Pope Francis for his conciliatory statements about gays — and for all the moves he has been making, large and small, since assuming the papacy to bring the Roman Catholic Church into the 21st Century — I am sad to see what is going on in Russia today. I dearly hope that all of human consciousness will one day soon grow beyond such barbaric demonstrations of limited awareness.

You say you want a revolution?

A communal evolution?

To be part of the solution?


“Enlightenment is not imagining figures of light
but making the darkness conscious.”

~ Carl Jung

I want to begin by saying that I am not a regular moviegoer, given that most deal with similar themes without a huge amount of substance or thought-provoking material. It is then ironic that the latest incarnation of one of the biggest movie franchises deals with an issue that lies at the heart of spiritual growth, that is the struggle to accept our dark as well as our light. So whatever our opinion of this movie, the imagery and symbolism cannot be ignored, nor can the theme of self-acceptance through an awareness of our origins.

In the movie, Superman must confront his past in order to understand his present. He must look at the heritage that molded him and the circumstances that influenced his choices so that he can be laid bare to himself and begin the process of self-acceptance. This includes the acceptance of both his light and his shadow, two parts of ourselves that co-exist and command equal respect. The place where all our dark thoughts are stored, according to Jung “everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”

Interestingly, in previous movies we saw Superman fearlessly confront the repressed shadow of others that manifested in the form of violence and crime.Regardless of his opponents’ cunning and determination, Superman was ensured victory, as the light of our hero overcame the shadow of his adversaries. In this new installment, however, our hero must confront and accept his own shadow, at which point he will realise his true power because his shadow will no longer have power over him.

On closer inspection, we see another reason behind Superman’s reluctance to accept his superpowers, and that is because of how different they make him feel to everyone else.The result is Clark Kent,a man whose timid demeanor could not be further removed from his true identity. The tension is virtually palpable between Superman and his alter ego, who could be seen as the manifestation of his fear of rejection. How dreadful for anyone to live like this, to feel they have to keep themselves hidden just to fit into society.  But how many of us are equally guilty of dimming our light so that the light of another can shine brighter? How many times have we allowed our power to be taken so that it could be used by those whose love or acknowledgment we desire more? It would not be an understatement to say that to live a power-filled life is a great achievement in a world that has only ever enabled powerlessness. One only has to look at the fate of those individuals who, throughout history, have encouraged us to stand confidently in our power, many of whom were relegated to the peripheries of society, if not removed from it altogether.

There is a final connection that can be made between Superman’s power and our own, and that is the fact that he only experiences his full potential when in service to others. I recall listening to a talk by Neale Donald Walsch on this topic, that if we want to experience a particular quality, we must give it to another. So if we want to experience compassion, then show compassion and the same with love and peace. In which case, our superhero only becomes truly authentic when he is in service. The rest of the time he is just a regular guy. Maybe there is a lesson here for all of us, that only in service can we experience the full magnitude of our own superpowers.

Gemma Phelan Head SHot(Gemma Phelan lives in Ireland where she works as an editor. She is also the author of “A Different Understanding,” a book which explores alternative ways of looking at the world.)

(If you would like to contribute an article you have authored to the Guest Column, please submit it to our Managing Editor, Lisa McCormack, for possible publication in this space. Not all submissions can be published, due to the number of submissions and sometimes because of other content considerations, but all are encouraged. Send submissions to Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com. Please label the topic: “Guest Column.”)

Control Freak

Have you ever had one of those days where you are just skipping along, happy as can be, and seemingly out of nowhere a fun-wrecker comes in and attempts to steal your joy?  Are you the kind of person who has to exert some sort of power or control over others in order to feel somehow better than them or above them?  Do you know a person who is constantly putting other people down so at a later point he can swoop in and raise them up to fulfill some sort of hero role?  Some people will go as far as to become physically abusive to their spouses and children to maintain the illusion of power.  There are many more examples of power-trippers, and please feel free to share your experiences with us in the comment section below.

Most often we think of “power-trippers” as having very low self-esteem and assume they are using the behavior as a mask for their supposed insufficiency.  The truth is they are addicted to something much more destructive and insidious: dopamine.

Dopamine is the great “I am.” It is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter that, when flowing, produces a feeling of euphoria. Dopamine is our ego.  To understand this better, when a cocaine addict is using, the chemical response in the brain is to release more dopamine into our system.  So the person who has learned how to control that release simply by exerting control over others is just another drug addict who is under the spell of their drug of choice.

There are not too many power addicts walking through the doors of 12 step programs to get their addictions under control.  Many of the people who have this affliction will take it to their grave with them.  There is also very little sympathy out there for these type of people, nor should there be; however, without the help of loved ones, addicts suffering seldom have the opportunity or the encouragement to make changes in their lives.  Without the understanding of what is triggering the nasty behavior of the “power-tripper,” family, friends, and loved ones eventually exit from the relationship.

Compassion is what is needed to help the person suffering with this disease.  Yet without the knowledge of what is going on, most people cannot muster up the motivation to be compassionate.  Ultimately, life is about our interpersonal relationships.  Most of us would consciously choose not to be in relationship with a person who is constantly controlling everything and everyone around them.  Yet unconsciously we find ourselves having to work or socialize with power mongers fairly often.  So why is this?  What could the possible benefit to the continuing evolution of mankind be?


What greater practice could there be than loving a person who is exhibiting unloving behaviors?  Where we get mixed up is, what does “love” look like?  Do we give in and let the person treat us badly?  Is “taking one for the team” ever a productive or effective way of loving someone into wellness?  No.  Love is strong, love is confident, love is trusting in the way of the universe.  Love knows that each individual must walk his or her own path, and that we can influence but we cannot manipulate.

There is much room to explore this topic together.  Please take some time to comment down below about your experience as a power-tripper or with a control freak.  Have you or someone you know recovered from this disease?  How do we spot this behavior before we get in to deep?

Last month we kicked off our first in a series of Path to Peace recovery retreats.  A small group of people all shared a life-changing event.  If you are in recovery and not experiencing great joy and freedom or are still suffering with addictions, please consider giving yourself this opportunity to soar into grateful recovery.  Our next retreat will held in San Jose, California, Sept 19 -22nd, 2013.  Click here for more information.

(Kevin McCormack, C.A.d ,is a certified addictions professional. He is a recovering addict with 26 years of sobriety. Kevin is a practicing auriculotherapist, life coach, and interventionist specializing in individual and family recovery and also co-facilitates spiritual recovery retreats for the CWG foundation with JR Westen. You can visit his website for more information at www.Kevin-Spiritualmentor.com  To connect with Kevin, please email him at Kevin@TheGlobalConversation.com)

I recently had a conversation with a very dear friend about what could possibly be one of humanity’s most perplexing and misunderstood relationships:  our relationship with money.  This particular friend of mine was noticing how every time she dreamt up new and exciting ways to draw more money into her life, she found herself experiencing abrupt roadblocks being constructed in the pathway to that effortless flow of financial abundance that she continues to witness others experiencing with seemingly much more ease.

Confused by more questions in her life than answers, she asked God:  “What the heck is going on here?”

She is doing what she loves.  She is being who she knows herself to be.  She is creative and passionate and has a heart called to serve and help others.  She gives of herself openly and lovingly and asks for very little, if anything, in return from anyone.

So why does the experience of financial prosperity continue to mock someone who is doing all the “right” things in their world?

Then the answer revealed itself in the very next question from my sweet, wonderful friend:  “Is it bad or “wrong” for me to want to make money?”

Ah, the sponsoring thought.  The underlying trap.

Somewhere along the line, money has gotten a really bad rap.  We have been taught to desire it and despise it in almost equal measure.  Intimate relationships, friendships, and families have been torn apart over money, both in situations of lack and in situations of plenty.  Basketball players and movie stars make copious amounts of money.  Teachers and social workers barely make enough to pay their basic household bills.  And then there are those who have a deep desire to “make a living” in the spiritual community, those who consider themselves to be key players in the New Spirituality movement, who abruptly discover that they fall into a category for which many believe they simply should not get paid at all.

If we want to take a ride on the “abundance superhighway,” we must change our views about money and refuel ourselves with the energy that flows and radiates deep beneath the obvious paper and coins we hold in our hands or deposit in our bank accounts.  One of the quickest and surest ways to experience the magnificence of our own abundance is to give to another that which we believe ourselves to be lacking; and in doing so, what we are then allowed to discover about ourselves is that we are already plentiful in what we imagined ourselves to not have.  And not only are we given an opportunity to experience already having it, but we are given the opportunity to experience it to the degree that we actually have enough to give away.  This is just one of the many extraordinary concepts offered to us from the Conversations with God material.

If we change our belief about money, how might that change our experience of money?

If our experience of money is changed, might we be given the opportunity to experience our abundance in a new way, in a way that has nothing to do with money at all?

And if our natural state of abundance has nothing to do with money at all, what does it have to do with?

I love money.

I love receiving it.  I love giving it away.  And it has been my personal experience at numerous points in time in my life that I can live quite contently without having much of it at all. I have never been someone who has had what one would call a “lot” of money.  And I solemnly recognize the disproportionate number of people in the world who are barely getting by in their day-to-day lives with the amount of financial resources they have available to them compared to the tightly guarded segment of our population who holds and controls the vast percentage of our world’s wealth and resources.  It is my hope and my vision that one day that model of our world will change.  But in order to reach that stage in our evolution, we must reflect upon and restructure some of our most basic and fundamental underlying beliefs not only about money, but about who we are and about why we are even here in the first place.

Where do we begin?  What can one person do?

Perhaps we all can throw an extra dollar or two onto the tip for our next waitress.  Maybe we actually do have enough time and money to pull into that youth group’s car wash on the corner.  Might we allow ourselves to share 3 or 4 or 5 dollars with the homeless man or woman on the corner without worrying about how they spend it or why they are there to begin with?  What would happen if we bought our groceries from the local Mom-and-Pop store in our community, where the prices might be slightly higher, but the service is extraordinary?  Would we really miss the extra few dollars and cents in the long run?

I’m just wondering…

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)