December, 2013

How can I lovingly respond to friends who tell me that the only way to access God is through Jesus Christ and that I will be condemned if I don’t accept him as my Lord and Savior? I love Conversations With God and still attend a Christian church, but I am beginning to feel alienated there. Please help!… Patt

Dear Patt… My father, who believes as your Christian friends do, once told me he was worried about my Soul. I told him as earnestly as I could that God and I have a wonderful, loving, close personal relationship and he need worry no more! I think it helped ease his mind.

Living in Nashville, the city some refer to as the Buckle of the Bible Belt, I sometimes find myself in conversations about my CWG work with fundamentalist Christians. When this happens I make an effort to relate to them in terminology that they can understand. I look for common ground in these discussions because the foundational principles of Jesus’ teaching and Conversations With God are not so very different, although CWG offers us a much larger view of Life and how it works. Knowing that each of these discussions is an opportunity to gently introduce people to CWG and to help expand their spiritual awareness, I try my best to be impeccable with my word and as loving as possible.

Since you are being proselytized to, Patt, you may want to suggest setting judgment aside and listening with an open mind when discussing each other’s beliefs. Then speak your truth, but soothe your words with peace and loving kindness. Don’t be surprised, though, if, as time goes on, you feel yourself being pulled more toward other people who share your beliefs. You may even find that a different church or spiritual center more deeply resonates with you, and please don’t feel guilty about it if this happens. You may make wonderful new friends who will support you on your life’s journey and in your spiritual growth.

(Annie Sims is the Global Director of CWG Advanced Programs, is a Conversations With God Coach and author/instructor of the CWG Online School. To connect with Annie, please email her at

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

An additional resource:  The CWG Helping Outreach 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.



I’d like to propose that we make some New Year’s Resolutions that aren’t quite the usual ones.  Oh, I think it would be commendable to resolve to lose weight, exercise more or quit smoking, but in the context of this site, I would like us all to consider something more.

Here, in the space of The Global Conversation, we do a lot of “conversating”…we talk a lot about the state of things, and wonder what we can do to forward a new paradigm.  We put theories of what might be done out there, but we never seem to acknowledge much, or for very long, what is actually, and already being done!  I came upon an article at Truthout, by Gar Alperovitz and Keane Bhatt, that intrigued me greatly, entitled “What Then Can I Do?  Ten Ways to Democratize the Economy”.

This article makes note of the current problems such wealth inequities, politics, “social and economic pain”, the environment etc., and asks “What can one person do?”

Then it proceeds to list the ten ways it feels most of us can, right now, begin to create the paradigm we desire.  They site examples of how these things are already working around the world.

Now, I’m going to admit to you that some of the things, for me, are going to be easy to do, (and I’ll bet you will be able to guess which ones those are), and some have me hoping that those with the background to fully understand what the heck they are, see the article, and step up and step in and aid in this creation!  Boy am I glad those people exist in this world!  But I am willing to bet that there is at least one thing on this list that can help you declare and to do what you have chosen to Be in this world, and that you can resolve to do!  (I think the last one is the most fun, but you will definitely have to go to the full article to understand why!)

There are so many, many good things happening out there in our world these days, that are being overshadowed by all of the chaos…I think that articles like this show that CWG’s assertion that just when it feels like you want to quit is exactly when you should strengthen your resolve, because what you have been working for us just over the ridge.

Here, then, is the list, and if you want to see the full article and fill in the blanks, go to this link, where, at the end, they also give you the opportunity “to start a conversation…”


1. Democratize Your Money!

Put your money in a credit union-then participate in its governance.

2. Seize the Moment: Time For Worker Ownership!

Help build a worker co-op or encourage interested businesses to transition to    employee ownership and adopt social and environmental standards as part of their missions.

3. Take Back Local Government: Demand Participatory Budgeting!

Organize your community so that local government spending is determined by inclusive neighborhood deliberations on key priorities.

4. Push Local Anchors to do Their Part!

Make nonprofit institutions like universities and hospitals use their resources to fight poverty, unemployment, and global warming.

5. Reclaim Your Neighborhood With Democratic Development!

Build community power through economic development and community land trusts.

6. Public Money for the Public Good!

Organize to use public finances for community development.

7. Stop Letting Your Savings Fuel Corporate Rule!

Get your workplace to offer more retirement-plan opportunities for responsible investment.

8. Democratize Energy Production to Create a Green Economy!

Get involved in public and cooperative utilities to fight climate change.

9. Mobilize the Faith Community!

Get your religious organization to move its money to a local financial institution involved in community development.

10. Make Time for Democracy!

Fight unemployment by joining the fight against work.

( for full article)

So, what can you do?  Resolve to start Doing your Being this year!


(Therese Wilson is a published poet, and is the administrator of, and Spiritual Helper at, the global website at  She may be contacted at:

Your Name Will Be Forgotten, But your life will never be.

Your Trophy Will Rust, But your esteem will remain completely stainless.

Your Resume Will Yellow, But your growth will go far beyond the page.

Your Job Will Be Cut, But your worth will forever increase in value.

Your Bank Account Will Empty, But your abundance will still flow from you.

Your House Will Crumble, But your heart will ever welcome friends and strangers alike.

Your Lover Will Leave, But your soul mates will resonate your love forever.

Your Body Will Decay, But your youth will spring ever ahead.

Your Brain Will Slow, But your mind will ceaselessly sharpen with wit.

Your Hands Will Wrinkle, But your touch will be felt through the generations.

Your Career  Here Will End, But your journey of the spirit will begin anew every day.

Your Worldly State Will Be Forgotten, But your being will always be remembered.

Your life makes the difference, Now and Always.

Happy Holidays!

(Lauren Rourk is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation and attends Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. She can be contacted at

Does life go on forever? Does love?

Yes. Life and Love are both are eternal. And evidence of this has surfaced in the ordinary lives of ordinary people this Christmas season in the kind of love that Brenda Schmitz has for her husband, David. And for David’s new wife and life partner, Jane.

Perhaps you’ve seen this story already. (It’s been on all the television networks and all over the Internet. We’ve passed it on here because we wanted to make sure you did not miss it.)

Brenda Schmitz celebrated her Continuation Day in the second half of 2011. She was well under 50, and suffered from ovarian cancer. But she left a letter with a friend, who she asked to deliver it to a local radio station if the friend saw that David had found a new love in his life — which Brenda (who left four young boys with her husband when she departed) had told David she hoped he would.

The radio station in question — KSTZ Star 102.5 in Des Moines, Iowa — every year grants a Christmas Wish to people who write in asking for a special gift. This year it granted the wish of Brenda, whose anonymous friend sent the station Brenda’s letter of request after David and Jane got engaged.

Brenda asked for three things: She requested a special “pampering session” for David’s “new lifelong partner” — a spa treatment with massage, tanning session, hair styling, the works. Brenda wrote that this lady deserves it for having taken on being a step-mom to the boys.

Brenda also asked for a “magical trip” for the entire family, bringing them special memories to last their lifetime.

Her third wish was that the doctors and nurses at Mercy Medical Hospital who took care of her while she was sick be treated to an evening of food and fun as a thank you for “all they do every day for the cancer patients they encounter.”

Several local businesses contributed to a fund that allowed the radio station to grant the wishes. David and Jane and the children of both (Jane has two children of her own) will be treated to a vacation at Disney World in Florida.

In addition to her letter to the radio station, Brenda left a personal letter for David, and one for the new love in his life as well, in which she told her she loved her, “whoever you are,” for bringing love back into David’s life.

The radio station asked David to come into the station, where he was read the first letter — the one Brenda sent to the station — live, over the air. The other two letters were opened privately.

To David, receiving the communication two years after his wife’s death, it was just another confirmation of the eternality of life. He said that he was not surprised, adding that for the last year and a half Brenda has “shown so many signs” that she’s here.

David told the radio station hosts that Brenda and he had talked about his future, and that his wife wanted him to move on, hopefully meeting somebody new. He said he asked her how he would know if it was the right person, and that Brenda told him not to worry, that “you’ll know. I’ll be there.”

And now, as Jane and David, with her children and his, embark on their new life together, Brenda is there, in the most loving and caring and giving way. David wept on the air when Brenda’s letter was read, as have people around the world who have heard of the story, which has gone viral.

As rightly it should. For it is a wonderful story of everlasting love, hopefully helping all of us to extend the love we feel this season to everlasting lengths in the lives of all around us.

To see one of the many media reports, click here. And have your tissues ready.

I couldn’t sleep last night.

I was up from 2 until 6, having another one of my Conversations with God.

“Tell me about Christmas,” I said. “What is it really all about?”

And I heard, “What do you mean, what is it really all about? I’ve told you a million times what it’s all about.”

So I said, “Tell me again. I think I may have missed it.”

And suddenly my head was filled with a Christmas Carol – one of the happiest and most triumphant of all the melodies of Christmas.

“Joy to the world,” the song began, “the Lord has come.” But I couldn’t get into it. I kept wondering, what is joyful about the coming of someone who is going to be a lord over us?

God! I said…I don’t understand this! And God replied, “You’re right. You don’t.”

Then God said, “But at least you’re asking a question. And that’s good. It’s really hard to understand something if you think there are no more questions to ask. You can’t be given an answer if you think you already have the only answer there is.”

“Well, I don’t have the answer,” I admitted. “So what’s the answer?”

And God said, “The answer is that the Lord….who has come….is not a lord over you, but in you.” These words came to me at 2:57 this morning, and I pondered them in my heart.

“Then,” I ventured, “the Christmas season is not just a remembering of the birth of a Babe. It is also a celebration of the birth of the Christed one in all of us.” And God answered softly, “yes.”

And then I wondered what all the songs, and all the messages, and all the feelings of Christmas would mean if I accepted this truth. If I really understood that the gift of Christmas is us, fully expressed and fully realized. It is us — completely willing and totally ready — to love without condition, to give without restriction, to share without limitation, to create without fear, to celebrate ourselves without shame or embarrassment.

It is us, choosing to forgive without hesitation, to help without being asked, to rush in where angels fear to tread.  Indeed, to lead the way for angels.

Ah, to lead the way for angels. That’s why we’re here. That’s why we’ve come to the Earth. To be a herald! Hark! The herald, angels sing. Glory to the newborn king.

At this moment we can give birth to the royalty within us…the royalty that we are in God’s eyes. The Magic of Christmas is that it gives us permission to take the feeling of love and share it with all those whose lives we touch.

With friend, and with stranger. With those who agree with us, and with those who disagree. With those who look and act like us, and with those who do not. We are invited today to feel this love, and to give it permanent place within our heart. To be the source of peace on Earth, and goodwill toward men and women everywhere.

We are invited to walk the Earth not only as one who is blessed, but as one who blesses. Not only as the Lord of the manner, but in the manner of the Lord.

For we are the lord of our inner kingdom, and thus, of the outer one as well. And when we understand that, everything changes. We begin to create a world in which all is calm. All is bright. Joy to the world! The Lord has come. Let Earth receive her King.  Let every heart… prepare him room. And heaven, and nature, sing!

Joyfully, Neale.

(The above is a much-requested re-print of a Christmas Message first shared by Neale Donald Walsch in 2007. We hope you enjoyed it…and might even pass it on.)

Mercy Over Justice

Recently someone made a comment to me about being grateful that she had learned to strive for mercy over justice. My first reaction was to wish that more people felt the same way that she did, until I realized that the difference between mercy and justice is that you don’t seek revenge when you are striving for mercy. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a wonderful difference! And if it were up to me, everyone would strive for mercy over justice. The problem is that both mercy and justice imply that there is an absolute right and wrong.

In the CwG material, God makes is perfectly clear that there is no right and wrong and that no one acts inappropriately given their view of the world. All the same, sometimes it’s very difficult not to jump on the justice bandwagon.

  • When a young girl is shot in the head by the Taliban for daring to ask for the opportunity to be educated, it’s hard to remember that no one did anything inappropriate given their view of the world.
  • When tens of thousands of people who are dying from AIDS can’t afford the medication that pharmaceutical companies charge tens of thousands of dollars for a year’s supply, drugs that would allow them to live a relatively normal life, it’s hard to remember there is no right or wrong.
  • When innocent children are blown up by bombs fired from miles away or dropped from planes miles in the air or fired from drones, it’s hard not to want justice for the fact that their life was cut short by callous war-mongers.
  • When millions of people are struggling simply to survive and 1% of the world controls over 95% of its wealth, it’s hard to remember that no one is acting inappropriately given their view of the world.

But in Ultimate Reality, there is no need for justice or mercy because every thought, every word, every deed is always working towards our highest good! Does that mean we stand by when young girls are denied an education simply for being female? Does this mean we do nothing when people die because they can’t afford their medicine? Does this mean we don’t care when innocents are killed in wars (of all sorts!)? Does this mean we remain silent as the uber-rich get even richer exploiting the desperate poor?

Absolutely not! Unless standing by, doing nothing, not caring or remaining silent speaks to your soul as your truth.

It is often difficult for us to believe that the soul of another would choose extreme poverty to help us be able to express compassion or generosity. However, we can point to the firefighter who runs into a burning building to rescue a complete stranger to show that we humans have the capacity to sacrifice ourselves— sometimes our very lives— for others.

But for most— I know it was (and still is at times!) for me— it is even more difficult to wrap our heads around the idea that some would choose to act so selfishly greedy or so callously hurtful to help us to express compassion or generosity. It is hard for us to see this as a sacrifice on the part of the rich or war-mongering. And yet, because it goes against the very nature of our soul (such behavior is NOT in keeping with the self-sustaining nature of life!), it is a form of self- sacrifice to subject your soul to such behaviors and to live your entire life promoting such unsustainable endeavors.

Selfishness, greed, war-mongering, hatred: none of these are “right” or “wrong”. But neither are they self-sustaining and, as such, are probably not the best choices for something we should all strive to emulate. However, all these unsustainable behaviors and actions are necessary at this point in our evolutionary process in order for the rest of us to be able to demonstrate, express and experience compassion and empathy and generosity, which are self-sustainable.

So the next time you have the urge to curse the uber-rich, the war-mongers, the greedy and anyone else whose behavior upsets you or goes against what you deeply believe, stop yourself! Instead, bless them. Thank them for their sacrifice and then demonstrate and express your compassion, empathy and generosity to your fellow inhabitants of planet Earth.

As if it isn’t difficult enough for us to navigate through the intricate web of differences of opinions and to sort through clashing perspectives about those things in life which are readily observable, apparently we also feel an overwhelming desire to declare our rightness even in relation to the people, places and things we have simply made up and created as figments of our imagination – the most recent and glaring example being a nationwide debate over the color of Santa Claus’s skin.

Apparently this mysterious and beloved Christmastime character can only be “made up” in one way according to Fox News correspondent Megyn Kelly, whose recent comments during “The Kelly File” have ignited a racial firestorm across the internet.  Responding to an essay hosted on by blogger Aisha Harris entitled “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore. It’s time to give St. Nick his long overdue makeover,” Megyn Kelly stated the following:

“So, in Slate, they have a piece, .com, ‘Santa Claus Shouldn’t be a White Man Anymore.’ And when I saw this headline, I kind of laugh and so I said, this is so ridiculous yet another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa. You know? And by the way, for all the kids watching at home, Santa just is white but this person is just arguing that maybe we should also have a black Santa. But you know, Santa is what he is and just so, you know, we are just debating this because someone wrote about it kids. OK. I want to get that straight.”

Kelly went on further to say, “Jesus was a white man, too. It’s like we have, he’s a historical figure that’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa, I just want kids to know that. How do you revise it in the middle of the legacy in the story and change Santa from white to black?”

Megyn Kelly has since attempted to backstroke her way out of her matter-of-fact statements by suggesting they were “tongue-in-check” and that “Humor is what we try to bring to this show, but that’s lost on the humorless.”

The author of the original article, Aisha Harris, is not falling for Kelly’s efforts to dismiss the whole thing as taken out of context and accuses Megyn Kelly of “playing the victim.”   “It kind of reinforced my point, actually,” Harris said in an interview on CNN of Kelly’s original comment that Santa just “is” white (Jesus, too). “The fact that Kelly and some of the other guests on the show were insisting that Santa is white just spoke to the reason why I wrote the piece: a lot of people out there automatically assume that Santa must be white, and it’s laughable that he should be anything else.”

Will we ever see the day when a deeper appreciation for the gifts of our diversity will override the fear-driven oppression and judgment that surprisingly still runs rampant in our world?  Can anyone think of a truly significant reason to negate someone’s preference for a black Santa?  If we are expending this much energy debating and slinging mud at each other over the pigmentation of a fictional holiday character, how can we ever expect to collaborate with each other on some of the social and economic issues that are really impacting us in our world right now?

What is it going to take for us to live in peace and harmony on this planet earth?  A white Santa?  A black Santa?  An intervention by God Herself?  More wars?  Less talking and more listening?  More acceptance and less judgment?

What is it going to take, friends from around the world?

(Lisa McCormack is a Feature Editor at The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at

There’s a brouhaha a’brewin’ over the remarks made in the January 2014 of GQ magazine in which a television personality declares homosexuality to be a sin.

A great deal of attention was also paid to recent statements made by the spiritual leaders of the Roman Catholic Church when they have said just the opposite.

So who is right? From an ecclesiastical point of view, from the spiritual or religious perspective, which statement is accurate?

Phil Robertson, the main person around whom the television series Duck Dynasty revolves, is quoted in the magazine article as comparing homosexual behavior to bestiality and promiscuity.

Discussing gay sexual attractions, Robertson is quote as saying,   “But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

And just what is sinful about homosexuality? Explaining his reference, Robertson is quoted in the GQ article as saying, “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”

This is in sharp contrast to the observation offered by one of the closest advisors, a member of the inner council of consultants, to Pope Francis, Cardinal Oswald Gracias of India.

In August the Cardinal said that the Catholic Church does not permit gay marriage, homosexuality is not a sin.

“To say that those with other sexual orientations are sinners is wrong,” Cardinal Gracias wrote.

The top Catholic Church official in India said that Catholic clergy “must be sensitive in our homilies and how we speak in public, and I will so advise our priests.”

The remarks appeared to echo and enlarge upon comments made earlier in the year by Pope Francis himself, who had this to say when exploring the subject of whether gays are condemned as sinners: “If a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge.”

This is sharply and markedly different from the comments of Catholic leaders in the past, the vast majority of whom have rounded condemned homosexuality and those who practice it.

It is also in stark contrast to the views of television personality Phil Robertson, who added in his magazine interview:

“Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

When persons who stand so hugely in the public eye as the central figure of one of the most watched non-fiction programs in cable television history make statements such as this, it raises once more in the public mind the central question of the human conscience: What does God want? Does God punish us for our sins? Do certain behaviors make us ineligible to “inherit the kingdom of God”? Is homosexual love and gay sexual experience one of those behaviors?

Your comments are invited below.


I was thinking about “welfare” today.  As it exists in the United States, of course.  I looked up some statistics.

Money spent on Welfare in the U.S. was “$1.03 trillion on 83 means-tested federal welfare programs in fiscal year 2011 alone,” according to  Read more:

It also seems that if one forsakes the normal systems entirely, and lives on the streets, asking only what each individual person has in their heart or ability to share, it is still not acceptable.  To highlight this point Mormon Bishop David Musselman disguised himself as a homeless person and entered a Sunday service.  The congregation was less than welcoming.  In the U.S. alone, there are 600,000+ homeless…although statistics seem to show that number is dropping.  Read more: 

Money spent on prisons in the U. S. was about $74 billion a year, and makes the U.S. have the largest incarceration rate in the world, according to —— and other sources, and “The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world not because it has higher crime rates, but because it imprisons more types of criminal offenders, including non-violent and drug offenders, and keeps them in prison longer.”  Read more:

While the financial numbers are disparate, to be sure, isn’t a LOT a lot?   It occurred to me that Progressives and Conservatives alike are providing “Welfare” but simply calling it something that agrees with the way they believe human society should function.  Some consider that we are “our brother’s keeper”, and others believe in “an eye for an eye”.  And while I am well aware that I am speaking primarily of my knowledge of America, I am not ignorant of caning and stoning and inhumane prison conditions in the rest of the world.

My question is this…Why is the thought of directly helping people so abhorrent that we have to create a world in which we virtually demand that people commit a crime, or beg, in order to be taken care of?  Do we continue to create more and more poverty so that the rich can feel superior, and vindicated by giving to people made to beg in some way?   Is this the accepted way of giving and receiving among us these days?

As CWG states, all attack is a cry for help.  Why don’t we, as a world for the most part, see that “criminals” are, at their root cause, asking for help?  Aaahh, that might be the crux, might it not?  Who/what benefits from the current system?  Might it be the private prison system, that is incentivized by states guaranteeing a certain number of prisoners?  Might it be a current political clime that operates under a fear  and power paradigm?  Maybe.

These “criminals” are part of a much larger picture.  How is it that their cries for help, from a very young age, and culturally, have been ignored?  Is it possible that our cultures come from our understandings of how God treats us?  Is it possible that a God who will punish with eternal damnation will also ask us to “spare the rod, spoil the child”?  Operate under the “eye for an eye” model?  Obviously, for many.

What creates the need for a welfare system of any kind?  What kinds of government and corporate structures reinforce the paradigm?

Is it also possible that the conflict within humanity at this time knows that we are all One, and that we should take care of one another, with no condition, but is pulled by all around us to act within the punishment paradigm?  What might that marriage of those conflicting thoughts produce?  To me, it produces prisons.  It produces people who believe they have to be bad, and forgiven, to be given succor, and community.   It produces a system of Prison as Welfare.

I believe it is time to begin reforming God, not reforming prisons or the welfare system.

It is time, to look at the duality of our belief system that at once says that we have a punishing God, and a Loving God in the same breath.

Which is it?

It is, and of course, as always, up to us to decide.  Up to you, and to me, to Be the change we wish to see.  It is time to be honest enough with ourselves to notice whether or not this duality feels true to us.  It is time to be brave enough to admit it to ourselves if it does not.

I know how difficult this can be.  I used to have what I call “half completed sentence” dialogs with myself….”if God really is all loving, how could he…?  If I really am created in the image and likeness of God, why am I…?”  Stop that thought!  If I didn’t compete it, I hadn’t fully sinned!  More accurately, if I didn’t complete it, I wouldn’t have to do anything about it, and risk angering and/or disappointing others.  I wouldn’t lose what I had, even though I knew instinctively it wasn’t working.

When the circle of thought brings us back to ourselves, what does that mean in terms of everyday life?  I believe it means it is time to notice, within ourselves, if we are angry and sad and reach out for someone to help us understand.  I believe it is time to notice those around us who seem to be struggling to find a place in this world, and be there for them.  To hear their unvoiced cries for help.  I believe it is time to consider that God does not ask us to beg…but does ask us to understand one another, and I most fervently believe that Goddess asks us to know that the greatest joy in life comes from giving, with full and open heart and soul, to others.  Indeed, I believe this is all we are here for.  Reform God, and we just may not have any need to have people begging, in any form, for what it takes to live in this world, and we just may reform it all.

How are you “reforming” God?


Dear Therese,

Well, it’s that time of year again.  The time of year that I start out with good intentions to be cheerful and helpful and not get upset by my husband’s family.  But Thanksgiving was a disaster, and I am so very worried that Christmas will be the same.

Here’s the thing.  Every year for the past 14 years it is the same story.  My husband’s sisters just let their mother do all of the work in the kitchen, and the fellas are off in the living room watching the football games, and I am the only one in the kitchen helping my mother-in-law!  The ladies are all drunk, and there is an inevitable fight that breaks out, and they accuse me of not joining in with the family.  I want to be part of my husband’s family, but how can I do this?

Not so jolly Joanna in Illinois.


Dear Joanna,

Boy, will a lot of people resonate with this one!

I am going to make the usual suggestions, like, can you alternate holidays, or find a way to limit your time at the event?  Have you tried actually asking your husband’s sisters, or mother, just what they think you could do to fit in better?  Sometimes communication does actually work, but we really don’t want to risk the status quo, (even though it sucks) being made worse…and we don’t like to acknowledge it, but even that is a choice.

Now I am going to ask a question.  Just how is this serving you?  What is it that you are getting from playing this little scene over and over?  Until you figure out what that might be, you may just keep on playing your role in perpetuity.   So, Joanna, do you enjoy being the “victim”?  Do you secretly enjoy being “superior”?  Maybe you are being given the opportunity to say “no” (and not taking it)?  Do you really want to be part of this family, or is that just something you say because it is the “proper” way to feel?  Joanna, there are so very many things that could be going on, and only you, of course, can honestly answer the question for yourself.

There is a word I used there that is very important, Joanna…opportunity.  Life continues to give us the opportunities we require to have this journey as our soul desires, and sometimes those opportunities look like difficult choices and honesty with ones self.  If the same thing keeps happening over and over again, it is a pretty sure bet that there is something you are not willing to look at.

Once you have answered the question above, ask yourself this question:  Is this serving me in the way I would really prefer?  If the answer is “no”, then ask yourself how you could see yourself acting differently, if you had the courage…would you walk out of the kitchen and ask for help?  Would you leave your mother-in-law alone in the kitchen?  Might you re-think those moments in the kitchen and cherish the one on one time with her?

You see, Joanna, once we look at who we are Being in any circumstance, we get to decide if we are happy or miserable…we get to actually choose which one serves us in that moment!  AND get to decide that we can do the same thing we have always done, but, as “The Only Thing That Matters” says, do it for an entirely different purpose.  We can know that even the mundane, and the painful are spiritual events, and we get to choose to look at them one way or the other.

I’ll bet, Joanna, that if you go to the Christmas event with the mindset that you are going to look at each person as individuations of Divinity…if you decide to BE the calm center in whatever chaos may ensue…that you will have a very different experience than before…and you may even see the family transform before your eyes as well.  But even if they don’t, you will have transformed your own unhappiness, and that seems like a pretty good gift to give yourself!


(Therese Wilson is a published poet, and is the administrator of the global website at  She may be contacted at:                                                    

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