Roughly around this time, in 2003, after we had been to the cabin for a week and I had gotten up on the wakeboard—at the age of forty!—Jackson brought home a poem from school that included a hand-drawn picture of me being pulled behind the ski boat, with him driving. He was eight.


My mom is a dreamer
She’s also adventurous when we go on trips.
She’s tall and skinny and never gives up.
She’s not allergic to anything.
The only weird part is she loves to clean.

Over the years, my parents have come to visit me many times, in many different cities. More than once I have come home from work to find they have washed my windows. Talk about a pleasant surprise. I do love a tidy space, and I am willing to make the effort needed to have that.

In the same way, I am willing to keep sweeping my inner corners. My family and I haven’t done a great job of airing things out directly between us. It’s a tricky dance to keep showing up, even when you know you’re likely to be triggered, and let go of a demand that the other has to change. There’s more to be done. We’re all a work in progress.

In recent years, my dad has been my biggest fan, reading nearly all my books. I’m not sure if my mother has read any. I think some of them may fight with her conservative Christian views, and I can appreciate that. I was raised Lutheran and walked to church on campus once a week my freshman year in college. But as life unfolded and my drinking escalated, my faith shriveled up.

By the time I reached the doorstep of AA, I was agnostic. As I understand it, an agnostic doesn’t know if there is a God, and an atheist believes there is no God. Or as my good friend Bob used to put it, an agnostic is just a chicken-shit atheist. I personally had come to the conclusion that there probably was a God, but after he created this place, he just said, “Go.”

‘We have been on our own ever since,’ I thought.

I no longer feel that way. It’s a process. I started out in AA without a Higher Power, but every week, I heard others talk in meetings about their relationship with one, and I didn’t think they were making it up. I leaned on my belief in them until I came to have a belief of my own.

Today, my life feels inspired and guided by a force whose wisdom far exceeds the limitations of my ego. My goal is to surrender daily to that force, whatever it is, and trust it.

There are lots of words people use to describe that force: higher power, divine light, essence, oneness, Elohim, Allah, Jehovah, G-D, or just plain God. It’s quite possible that any one of these words sets a person’s teeth on edge. But nothing fires off the flares as rapidly as the mention of the word “Jesus.”

Throughout much of my Pathwork group participation and later during my training, little was said about Christ, despite there being lectures with titles like Jesus Christ, The Conquest of Duality Symbolized in the Life and Death of Jesus, and Personal Contact with Jesus Christ…The Real Meaning of Salvation.

Over time, I became known—I would later find out—as the one who kept poking and prodding about Jesus. Some at Sevenoaks wondered if I was some kind of Bible-thumper from Atlanta. But I was just asking the question: What about Jesus? Like, no really, I would like to know: What does the Guide say about Jesus?

If I were to characterize my Lutheran upbringing in a few words, it would be this: “dry as toast.” Sitting up in the choir loft, I was the one assigned to the weekly task of dimming the lights when Pastor Rose began his sermon. In my book, nothing says “naptime” better than that. But at least I hadn’t turned away from Christ, as has happened for so many recovering Catholics.

So I dug into the handful of lectures specifically about Christ, and I found them to be illuminating. It was the same basics as the Lutherans taught, but from a whole new vantage point. I was so on fire with how revolutionary this take on things was—finally, something that actually made sense!—that I wrote a short book. Holy Moly: The Story of Duality, Darkness and a Daring Rescue is a compilation of the teachings that talk about Jesus—about 3% of the Guide’s lectures—written in my own less formal voice.

I also was highly interested in hearing what the Guide said to people’s questions about the Bible. He encouraged these questions and I found them to be eye opening. So the third book to roll down the pike was called Bible Me This: Releasing the Riddles of Holy Scripture, which I created by rewriting all the Q&As about the Bible.

Around the time all this happened, Pete was visiting the cabin. “Have you seen the Jesus tree?” he texted. It’s a magnificent cross—made from naturally growing tree branches—that towers above the pines just across the lake from my parent’s cabin. Later, when Jeff sent me a picture of that tree in an explosion of color at sunrise, I knew I had just received the cover for the book, Holy Moly.

Years later, I would write a blog post about an answer the Guide gave to the question: Was Mary really a virgin? A former Pathwork Worker of mine saw it and sent me a note about a book of channeled material his mother had given to him back in Switzerland, asking and answering that same question. Reading that material fleshed out the Guide’s story even more. I then synthesized all this together when I created a section on my Phoenesse website, Understanding the Teachings, that attempts to boil it all down into a short, cohesive explanation.

In my opinion, Jesus needs a rebranding campaign, because his name has gotten seriously tarnished. As a result, either people reject hearing a newer, truer version of who he was and what he actually did for us, or they put on blinders and believe a version that doesn’t fully hold water. My mission is to share what the Guide shared with all of us, hopefully in a way people can hear.

When I first got sober, I could only be there, where I was, and not here, where I am today. We can’t be somewhere other than where we are. To try to be further along than we actually are is to do a spiritual bypass, and that sets us up for a very big fall. For as the Guide teaches, life cannot be cheated. Thirty years from now, I can only hope I will look back and be pleased—maybe even amazed—by how much farther I have grown.

All of that to say, whenever someone isn’t willing or ready to hear this version of things, that’s not only their prerogative, it’s appropriate they not be forced. For the Guide also tells us that forcing is a losing proposition. What we can do is make the offer, and we can continue to keep the door open. Oh, and do our own work. As they told me in AA meetings, my job is to sweep my side of the street.

Here is an example of what street sweeping looks like for me. When he was 15, my son Jackson wrote this poem for me. Now, at the age of 55, I am reading his words and listening for how this is, at least in some ways, also about my mother. Like me, she’s flawed. But I can see how she too is strong and proud. Can I follow Jackson’s lead and love her out loud?

My Mother

My mother is strong and proud
She walks with a step that knows where it goes
My mother, who I love out loud

She comforts me when life is covered by a storm cloud
And when she would sing, the whole crowd froze
My mother is strong and proud

She has never been scared or cowed
Because her confidence and kindness blatantly shows
My mother, who I love out loud

For her to be bad to us, it’s just not allowed
She loves us a lot and everybody knows
My mother is strong and proud

Another Mother’s Day, 15 since I was sowed
And another reason to celebrate cons less than pros
My mother, who I love out loud

And nothing can dent her, or attempt to shroud
I made the right choice, the mom that I chose
My mother is strong and proud
My mother, who I love out loud

Walker: A Spiritual Memoir by Jill Loree

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