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Releasing Guilt and People Pleasing
Q: In answer to the question, "The hardest thing for me is the constant sense of guilt. Would you speak about that?" you said that guilt comes from accepting ego roles. ACIM seems to say that guilt comes from believing you can attack your brother and therefore yourself. Can you clarify this for me? Can the Holy Spirit help with willingness, or being our only responsibility, is it solely ours?
I read your letter titled 'experiment in forgiveness' about a child returning home as a houseguest. My 25-year-old son has been in my home for about a year now. I have felt led by the Spirit to treat him as a house guest, however, I believe I have been doing those things I haven't been asked to do. We had agreed that he could live in a trailer that is behind my home, that he would refurbish it and I would supply what he needed to do so. He was separated from his wife when he first came here, but now she has moved in and his two children are here. I seem to find myself taking care of them alot. I do their laundry, cook, clean up messes. He has sort of stopped doing the things he agreed to, and I found myself doing more than what I agreed to, and talking about it has yielded no results. I felt the Holy Spirit was leading me to do what I felt lead to do for me, and to follow that path, and to let him follow his own path. I suppose the thing that hangs me up is not wanting my house to become upside down, dishes piled up, and the regular stuff that accrues when one doesn't clean up after oneself. It seems the more I clean up, the more it is sort of left there for me to clean up. I have a flower shop that I would love to work in, which I haven't been able to work in for a couple of years because I had my mother to tend who could not go with me to the shop. She is now completely bedridden, and I still tend to her. However the schedule of her care gives me the opportunity to work in my shop a couple hours at a time, now.
How do I untangle from being the caregiver of the children also, from being the one who cleans up after that family, cooks for them, laundry, etc. Our initial agreement was that he would take out the garbage, pick up groceries (because I was housebound with my mother), clean up after himself, and work on his place to live. He seems to be unwilling to do any of that now. In exchange, on the days of their visitation, I would take care of his children when he was working, do most of the cooking and do his laundry. He is not working now, but drawing unemployment, the whole family is living here, and he seems to need me to watch the children when he goes fishing, plays golf, or goes out to get some lone time with his wife. This has all sort of slipped up on me. It seems that trying to discuss it gets him riled up, but I want my life. I know this sounds like a soap opera, and it is, a soap opera which I created, and out of which I cannot find the exit. I know you are not dear Abby, but if you would help me, I would appreciate it so much. What I would love to do, and what I feel led to do, is to get the nurses who come each day, to come as early as possible to get that out of the way, then, go out in my shop, turn on the tape or CD player, play the ACIM tapes (yes! I got the whole book on tape!) while I get creative. I want to let that be my hermitage for awhile, in between the times I have to go in to turn my mom, clean her and feed her. I ordered ACIM for my son, and he has been exploring your website. Perhaps, before long, we will be able to have a gathering in our area.
Thanks for the e-mails and sincere questions. The belief that a Divine Mind in Union with God can be broken apart into bits and pieces and fragments is the belief that attack is possible. To see a brother as a separate individual with a private mind and private thoughts is a reflection of the belief in separation from God.
Mind is One and forever Eternal, yet the "mortal mind" that is the ego invention is an illusory belief in fragmentation. The ego assigns each fragment a "life" of its own and calls the fragment by a name, and this false memory package is assigned a series of roles. This is how the ego attempts to make something from nothing. It tries to see "life" in graven images made to take the place of Christ.
None of the make-believe roles are true.
Indeed all the world is a stage, though Divine Mind can play no part. Oneness can never shrink into a little role that seems to play out on a time line. All that is asked is that you be willing to call upon the miracle and see the world anew with the Holy Spirit. The willingness is our responsibility, and this joins with the Might of the Holy Spirit. The reason willingness is required is because the Will of God can only be experienced voluntarily. If it is your single desire you will recognize that what is whole has no need of healing, and this is the Atonement or Correction to the error that never was.
This world is based on false roles. Guilt is kept buried and hidden in awareness as the mind attempts to identify and act out these roles, for the ego belief that made them is kept out of awareness as they are blindly pursued. The ego uses guilt to keep the mind in the illusion of bondage because it is impossible to live up to ego ideals that never had any life or substance in Reality.
The "person" never lives up to the "ideal" and this is where the guilt SEEMS to arise. Yet neither the person construct or the ideal or role construct is real. You have been measuring your "self" against an illusion, yet you are not two selves. You are One Self united with our Creator and far beyond any measurement or comparison. Not being a good enough mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, neighbor, student, citizen, ACIM teacher, etc. is never the source of the guilt that imprisons. It is the ego belief beneath all the roles that is the "source" of guilt as long as it is believed to be real.
Your work with ACIM and the music is Calling you into your true function, and that function IS your happiness and freedom and peace! You are not your brother's keeper and the mother role was but a temporary role to be layed aside in the undoing of the ego. You are Spirit, yet you will not remember this until you release the little roles the ego made to keep you unaware. The Holy Spirit will offer more expansive roles (ie., teacher of God) in exchange for the limiting roles of the past as you begin to Awaken. Yet even the seemingly more expansive roles will be transcended as you learn to forgive illusion entirely. The stepping stones to Enlightenment are just backdrops of scenes and scenarios that allow you to practice releasing all limiting belief and accept the only belief that will set you free: Atonement.
You will see your "son" as what you believe you are. Are you flesh? Then is your "son" flesh and confined to the flesh. Are you Spirit? Then your "Son" is the Christ, our very Self, and the past has been forgiven of all the images and memories that seemed to hide the Face of Christ. When you play the "care-taker" role you lay the limit upon your own mind in awareness, for you witness to the belief that the ego is still in charge and still responsible.
Give this "care-taking role" to the Holy Spirit, Who careth for our Holy mind. As you follow the Holy Spirit's Guidance you will see that you are not sacrificing anything to fulfill the function Given you. Forgiveness suits your need, and you have no other.
Be straightforward and honest in this matter and let the Holy Spirit put the words in your mouth when you speak to your son. You will feel a calm assurance when you speak from your heart and say what is truly most helpful. And as you do the past patterns and habits and people-pleasing thoughts of guilt will dissolve away, for they were never truly a part of the Real You. Once they are given to the Holy Spirit they are already gone, and if you cease to protect and cling to these people-pleasing thoughts they will seem to vanish quickly.
Your true function is waiting in your mind for you to immerse into it. Take the lid off of the pot of past thoughts, for it is a waste of energy to try to keep the lid on and pretend to be what you are not. When you pray remember this: You do not ask for too much, but far too little. Do not limit your asking, for Joy is what you deserve in awareness, and Joy is what You are in Reality. Your true function will show you this. In your true function I will come as a witness to your willingness to Awaken. And we shall "gather" and give all the Glory to God, for the Light has come!
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