On August 14, 2016 Rev. Kelly Hallock addressed the assembled people at the Community Miracles Center in San Francisco, CA. What follows is a lightly edited transcription of that talk.
Good morning! (Good morning) This is a fun week for me. Oh wait, I almost forgot my timer. (Rev. Kelly turns on the timer on her phone) For the last few years, this has been an interesting week for me, the mid-week of August. I have two really significant dates this week. Tomorrow is – I'll say of it, I'm proud of it – it's my 43rd birthday. (cheering and applause) Then Thursday, interestingly enough, is the anniversary of my divorce – the fourth year of being single. (applause) I know! I'm excited too. It was a big step. So, it's a lot of reflection and for my birthday, I thought, "How has my life gone? It's forty-three years. I'm at the midpoint, give or take a little."
I mentally split up the 43 years into a couple of different categories that I'm going to talk about more later, but I'll give you the overview. I see it as there were thirteen years where I was a kid. There was the run-around and be crazy, saying "Hi!!" until I was twelve or thirteen. Then at that point, I got really serious about my Christian path. I was interested in spirituality before then, but I would say, for me, high school was the big step where I really started to focus on what I wanted to do in ministry. My church was my life from that point on. I spent thirteen or fourteen years doing that. However, then some things didn't go so well so I left the church and I got married.
I had about thirteen years that I will call the married years because that was the big influence in my life. Everything was largely focused around what my husband wanted, what I thought a good wife should do. So everything focused on that.
The last four years I've split half and half. The first two years, I was getting my life back in order, but it was really focused on my weight loss. I had a year of huge weight loss. It was weight loss, weight loss, weight loss. Then I had a year when I had skin removal surgeries. Now for the last two years, I've been pretty focused on my ministry work.
As I'm looking back at the path it has been, it's interesting. I've been looking at the things that happened, and what I was seeking during those times. There is a song that I keep hearing. It's a song I never listen to, however in my head I keep hearing Diana Ross over and over and over. I keep telling my brain, "I'm a little tired of this now!" The song, which probably everyone knows, that I'm going to read the first verse to is "Do You Know Where You're Going To?"
"Do you know where you're going to?
"Do you like the things that life is showing you?
"Where are you going to, do you know?
"Do you get what you're hoping for?
"When you look behind you there's no open door.
"What are you hoping for, do you know?"
A thought that summarizes, for me, this week of looking back at what my life is – there are places I've been where those doors are no longer open. Where am I going to? Do I know where I'm going? Am I happy with what life is showing me? I really started thinking. I started exploring these questions the last couple of years. What are my goals in life? What do I want from life? What do I want to be doing? So I want to share with you a little bit about what A Course in Miracles says. Then I'm going to share one of the processes I've been using that really helps me get clear answers to my questions.
Let's start with a quote from the A Course In Miracles. "The stars will disappear, and night and day will be no more. All things that come and go, the tides, the seasons, and the lives of men; all things that change with time and bloom and fade will not return. Where time has set an end is not where the eternal is." (OrEd.Tx.29.39) I thought that was one of the most inclusive paragraphs I've ever seen. It starts with the stars, the tides, the oceans, and the people. Everything that comes and goes is not eternal. For me, a huge portion of the beginning of my life, was focused on those things that were not eternal. I had the first thirteen years when I didn't have much spiritual consciousness. I think you can have some, and I had a little.
I did have more spiritual consciousness later, especially when I look at the time during which I went into the church. I have been asking myself, "What I was trying to get from that? What did I want from that? What was life showing me during that time?" I thought I was looking to get validated – for someone to say I was good enough, that I was moral enough. Actually, my goal was to get the church to accept me as an ordained minister. The church I was in never would have done that. Women with – I'll say it – boobs and butt, were not supposed to be ministers. That was what I was really seeking. I wanted people to validate me because I wasn't feeling validated at home. My parents were very loving, but my sister was a distraction because there were a lot of issues with her. So I sought my validation from the church. I'll put a note here, "I was living under the church laws." I was trying to get people to say I was good because of the external things I did.
Then I had the years, as I mentioned, that I was married. It was an interesting marriage. We married quickly. We met in June. We started dating in August. We were engaged in October, and we were married that next February. We knew each other only about seven and a half months total, from the day we first met to the day we got married, and for over half of that time we were engaged. During the engagement, we were frantic. We weren't even talking. We were just trying to plan the wedding. It's one of the sad things. The first time when I looked at him and thought, "What have I done?" was as we pulled out of the parking lot after our wedding. We were in the car and he was upset about something. I still don't understand what he was upset about. It was something about our tickets related to our honeymoon. As we left the wedding, that was the first time he yelled at me. I thought, "Oh my God. I just married someone who I don't know." Yet, even though I wasn't really attending church, I still wanted to be the good Christian girl. I couldn't get divorced, so I stayed with him. After I got married instead of trying to get approval from the church, or wanting other people to say I was a good moral person, I tried to get validation from my husband and the marriage relationship.
I wanted him to love me, so I sacrificed myself a lot. I was very submissive. If I said that I wanted to go for Mexican food and he wasn't in the mood for Mexican, but wanted to go for Chinese, then I'd say, "Ok" and we'd go for Chinese. He would spend literally thousands and thousands of dollars and hide it from me, while I wasn't allowed to spend $150 for work clothes. It was a troubled situation. He was controlling in a lot of ways. Yet I stayed married because I didn't want God mad at me. Also for me, I was trying to get love. I wanted this external person to tell me that I was worth something because he loved me. It's interesting because I know now it wasn't all his fault. I did a lot of things to push him away. "I want you to love me, but I'm depressed," so I gained weight and got up to 300 pounds. "I want you to love me, but I'm mad you weren't honest with me. So instead of talking to you, I'm going to scream and yell at you." I was never a screamer until we got married. Actually it was after about seven years that I became a screamer. I wanted that validation though, so I kept saying I needed somebody to love me. I wasn't in the church anymore so I couldn't get my validation from the church. I needed to get my validation from him.
I look at that now and I see that all those things passed. I'm not at those churches anymore. Actually the one church I was really trying to get validation from is not there anymore. I drove by and I almost crashed my car because I was so startled to see that my church wasn't there! It was a shock! But those things pass. A Course In Miracles says when we start looking outside ourselves for validation, when we start looking outside for experiences to feel important or to feel good, those outside things will pass and they become very empty.
I love this other section. "If you would remember eternity, you must learn to look only on the eternal. If you allow yourselves to become preoccupied with the temporal, you are living in time." (OrEd.Tx.9.107) I love this next part. It's actually very similar to today's lesson. (The lesson was 226: "My home awaits me. I will hasten there.") "As always, your choice is determined by what you value. Time and eternity cannot both be real because they contradict each other." (OrEd.Tx.9.107) I couldn't have a good spiritual path because I was focused on the temporal. I was focused on getting everyone and everything around me to validate who I was. I saw this passage, it was part of the reading today from the Workbook, "His are the gifts which we inherited before time was and which will still be ours when time has passed into eternity." (OrEd.WkBk.104.2) There it is right there. God's gifts don't end. My weight – I am being honest about this – it's not where I would like it to be. I lost about 150 pounds, and then I regained about fifty. That came and went. I still am feeling good about where I am at. However I realize now that I was striving for validation before. I was getting validated for my weight loss. Everyone was commenting on it all the time. I was the rock star in the gym. I was killing it! Guess what? That passed. Then I regained weight. Now if my validation is from this body, then I'm going to be sad because I'm a little bit on the fat side. I'll say it.
In the reading we heard, "These are the gifts which are within us now …" We already got them. Woohoo! "… for they are timeless. And we need not wait to have them. They belong to us today. Therefore we will to have them now and know in choosing them in place of what we made we but unite our will with what God wills and recognize the same as being one." (OrEd.WkBk.104.3) "We clear a holy place within our minds before His altar, where His gifts of peace and joy are welcome and to which we come to find what has been given us by Him. We come in confidence today, aware that what belongs to us in truth is what He gives. And we would wish for nothing else, for nothing else belongs to us in truth." (OrEd.WkBk.109.3.7) I find that interesting. So many times we tell ourselves, "I want this. I want that. I want some of this." Yet this says we could wish for nothing else. What is the nothing else? It's the peace of God, the joy of God. Those are the things that are the eternal things. Those are the things that are going to satisfy us. Seeking experiences, seeking events, seeking validation, doesn't get me the peace and joy of God. Now those things can possibly become the means, but if we are focusing on those things as the end point, they are not it.
I've heard A Course of Miracles students say the world is an illusion, so we can ignore it and who cares. I wouldn't say that though. It's not that it's bad, but you need to see that it is only a means. For me, I've gained weight. For me, I'm back at the gym, and I'm a little sore today. Maybe I did a few too many crunches and chest presses this week. I had fun at the gym. But you know what? I'm not looking at the gym as a means of validating who I am. I'm looking at the gym as a means to support who I already know that I am. That's a big difference. I already know that I am a child of God. I already know that I'm a minister of God. I'm already a teacher of God. By being healthy and taking care of myself, by showing love to my body, I can function better. I can feel better. For me, it's been a huge learning experience for me to learn to deal with my weight issues. So how do I experience love on a day to day basis? I don't neglect myself. I don't sacrifice myself before others. I don't allow someone to order me around to do stuff that is hurtful to me. I used to work at jobs where consistently I worked sixty or seventy hours per week. I don't sacrifice my health for a job that's going nowhere, when by taking care of myself, I can say, "Wait. This is an expression of love to a child of God. I am expressing love and it happens to be that I go to the gym to do that." You have to look and see what is the purpose.
I've mentioned this before. I went to the mountains, the forest, for three months at the end of 2015. I'll be honest. At the time, I was devastated. I was in a state where it wasn't uncommon for me to cry for six to ten hours a day. I was that upset; I was devastated. I felt like I had lost all my friends. I had lost my work, my home. I knew one thing when I got there. The only way I was going to be happy was to stop relying on everything else, everything outside of me, for my happiness. I can't change my what my friend did. I can't change, trust me I tried, that my apartment got infested with roaches multiple times, and they wouldn't go away. I tried to change lots of things. I tried to change my work situation. When I ended up in the forest, I thought about how I had tried to change all those things, but I couldn't change them. Especially since I was in the forest, I really couldn't change them because I wasn't even seeing those people anymore. I wasn't living in the same area. I got really clear that I had to release those things I had tried to change. I saw that.
I loved this one book that I was reading by Byron Katie. The author was talking about a lot of times when you hear people say things like, "I have trouble loving myself. I can love others, but I have trouble loving myself." This particular author was saying that was impossible. What did she mean that was impossible? There were times that I hated myself while I totally loved this other person. But she said, "You can't love anyone because you don't actually know that person. You only know your thoughts about that person." Think about that. Have you ever met someone and felt like you totally knew that person? Then a week later, you are like, "What??" You didn't know them. We love who we think someone is. We love our story about who someone is. Ultimately, A Course In Miracles says everything outside is a projection of ourselves. So that person is a projection of your thoughts anyway. So the love that you have for that person, it isn't a love that they caused you to have. It's a love that's within. It's a love that you just have to acknowledge. It's a love that's already within me. Now if I can express that love to myself. I can see the truth of who I am.
So I went through this time of really looking at that I couldn't be basing my happiness on these outside people. I can't be basing what I want from life on these outside people. Someone offered a process to me that I will talk you through briefly. Think of something easy. When I'm home I will do this on paper. But think of something in your life that you really, really want. That you really, really, really want. For me, I've already mentioned this, I'd really want to lose about thirty pounds. I would really love to. That's my goal!
So think of your goal. What's your goal? What is it today that you are really working hard for? Maybe it's a relationship. Maybe it's a college degree. Maybe it's a specific possession. Trust me; I get it. My Amazon wish list is about 50 items long. (laughter) I have my wish list. Think of something that you really, really want. Now, take a step beyond that. If you got that thing at this moment, how would it make you feel? How would it make you feel? Okay. How would I feel if I lost the weight? I'd feel powerful. I'd feel confident, a little more confident. I wouldn't feel as tired as I do at times. I would feel that I was expressing love to myself. Guess what? Those are the things you want. Whether I lose the weight or not, I've gone through that. I've had all the skin-removal surgeries. I've had that experience. I knew which surgeries I was getting. Then when it was almost done, I was thinking, "Well, as long as we're doing some touch-up work, maybe we can do the eyes too." Then some people said to me that as long as I was doing the eyes then I might as well .… You know, you could go to crazy land with this thinking. When you are seeking the thing, you will get it, and you will lose it because everything is temporal. If you realize that you are seeking the feeling, then you can realize that what you are seeking is what's behind the external experience, and those are the gifts of God.
The confidence is knowing that I am a child of God. Feeling healthy is expressing love to myself. I can acknowledge that those are the gifts I have to receive. Then I'm much more open to the experience, and my joy and happiness isn't going to come and go with whether I have those external experiences at the moment. I'm focused on receiving the divine gifts. This was also in today's reading from the Workbook, "Today I claim the gifts forgiveness gives. – God's Voice is offering the peace of God to all who hear and choose to follow Him. This is my choice today. And so I go to find the treasures God has given me. – I seek but the eternal." (OrEd.WkBk.334.1.2)
I shared this with the presenters and staff at the 2016 A Course In Miracles Conference in Las Vegas. One of the goals, while I was on my mountain forest retreat, was to come up with what I see as my life purpose. For me, every time I do something, I try to be aware if I am doing this for my life purpose, or am I doing it for some other reason. I spent about three months refining this. Here is my current life purpose "To serve and support others in their spiritual journey as they walk with me on my path of remembering myself as one with Love." No matter what I am doing or saying, I come back to that purpose. Fulfilling that purpose is the gift of God for me. If I can see my brother as Love, if I can see myself as Love, if I can walk that journey, no matter what I've got in the interim, no matter what the means are, the gifts of God are mine because I'm living for a spiritual purpose.
Going back to the Diana Ross song, do I like the things life is showing me? Yeah – I'm kind of excited about them! I don't think I want to go back to the forest, especially not in the mood I was in when I went there before. I've now been able to see that the gifts I really value are not necessarily what I thought before. I value the relationships, but I value what comes from those relationships more than the individual person, because those are gifts to me that God has given. To be able to feel love in my relationships, to be able to know my worth is a gift of God, and the person I am in relationship with is a channel for that. Now, I recognize them as a channel and not the source. Do I know exactly where I am going? My goal is to stay with the Community Miracles Center for a really long time. (Yay!) I've said that before at a job, and it didn't last nearly as long as I thought it would. So, do I know where I will be physically? No, but I do know that the gifts that I have, and where I go, is always a place where God loves me, and I am supported in that.
So I am excited about my birthday. I'm excited about the fourth anniversary of my divorce. I hope you will join me with that, and have a good time living it. Thank you. (applause) ♥
Rev. Kelly Hallock is CMC's 84th minister. She currently serves as the CMC's Assistant Minister (08.06.2018). She is also the Treasurer of the CMC Board of Diretors. She was ordained by the CMC on Sep. 6, 2015.
c/o Community Miracles Center
San Francisco, CA 94147
This article appeared in the November 2016 (Vol. 30 No. 9) issue of Miracles Monthly. Miracles Monthly is published by Community Miracles Center in San Francisco, CA. CMC is supported solely by people just like you who: become CMC Supporting Members, Give Donations and Purchase Books and Products through us.