Gary Renard: Even When Apart We Are Together
Gary is featured in filmmaker, iKE ALLEN’s A Course in Miracles The Movie and other AVAIYA Films & Courses.
My life has been quite an extraordinary journey these past several years and, having been raised in a small New England town, one I never dreamed possible.
After many years of marriage and a successful career as a musician, I felt drawn to move with my wife, Karen, to a quiet place in rural Maine. I deeply desired to remove conflict from my life and began meditating on a regular basis. Outwardly my life was not so good, but I became adept at meditating. Then one night while I was alone and meditating, I opened my eyes and two people, a man and a woman, were sitting on my couch. They told me they were ascended master teachers and had come to teach me the truth about life, which included the metaphysics behind A Course In Miracles and a different kind of forgiveness.
That was nearly seventeen years ago. Since then I’ve written two bestselling books as instructed by my teachers, and traveled all over the world speaking to tens of thousands of people about the messages in my books. My marriage to my wife of 25 years ended, which brings me to my greatest forgiveness story.
I’d had a premonition that Karen and I were going to break-up. There are symbols in life to which we give meaning, just like in the dreams we have while in bed at night. In Shamanism they identify power animals and, when different animals show up in your life, it can be a sign of what’s going to happen. One year before Karen and I broke-up, we went to the beautiful Pompum Beach in Maine for the last time together. We were sitting eating sandwiches when something really incredible happened. A seagull swooped down and grabbed the sandwich right out of Karen’s mouth and flew away with it. I’d certainly never seen anything like it and all the people around us who saw it happen were amazed as well. It was lucky that Karen wasn’t hurt. The seagull dropped the sandwich on the sand and about 20 other seagulls joined in, all fighting for a piece. In Shamanism that was not a good sign for Karen. A year later I had moved to California, and we were going through a divorce.
Like some long-time married couples, Karen and I began drifting apart after about 20 years of marriage. Then after another 3 years of my constant traveling, the last nail was in the coffin. It still took 2 more years before we actually broke-up. We’d both developed our own interests; Karen had started her own business, and we each had our own things that we wanted to do. There was some bitterness and some pain; it was a very difficult experience for each of us.
At that time, if you’d told me Karen and I would end up being really good friends who’d help each other through life and really go to bat for one another, I would have said well… maybe in 5 to 10 years. But at that time I really didn’t believe it was possible. Eventually I moved to Los Angeles. Many people asked me why I didn’t move to Hawaii, a long-time dream of mine. It turned out that Los Angeles was where I was supposed to be for business reasons, and Karen is the one who now lives in Hawaii. Life can be very ironic.
A couple of months after I left, Karen started studying A Course In Miracles again. She had studied the Course back in the 90’s and we were even in the same study group for a couple of years. Then she drifted away from it and started getting interested in different things. I thought she would probably never do A Course In Miracles again. Then after I left she started reading the Course and doing the Workbook again. She carefully re-read both of my books and started studying with Kenneth Wapnick. (My teachers Arten and Pursah, had told me that Ken would go down in history as the greatest teacher of A Course In Miracles.) Karen really got into the Course and started sending me emails. It was like she was teaching the Course to me. She started coming from a place of love and forgiveness, and we even talked on the phone once in a while.
Each state has its own laws regarding divorce, and in Maine you are required to attend divorce mediation, each of you with your own lawyer. A third lawyer acts as sort of a referee. I returned to Maine for the mediation a few months after moving away. We all gathered in the room where our two lawyers couldn’t agree on anything. Karen’s lawyer said horrible things about me. You would have thought I was a terrible person, and she basically wanted all of my money. This went on for a very uncomfortable couple of hours, after which I approached Karen in the hall and asked if the two of us could discuss this privately. Karen agreed to go out to dinner with me that night, even though her attorney advised against it.
At dinner I could see Karen and I were both coming from the place of total love and forgiveness that A Course In Miracles teaches. We talked over old times and happy memories. After some time, an “inspired” idea led me to write a proposed divorce settlement on a napkin. I slid it over to her; she looked at it and asked if she could think about it. I said sure. The next day Karen invited me over for dinner at the place we last lived together. When I arrived, she handed me a piece of paper with an alternative divorce settlement. It was pretty good, although there were a couple of things I couldn’t live with. I made some changes and asked her, “How about this?” She said, “OK.” We worked out a settlement in about five minutes worth of talking. It would have taken the lawyers two years to work things out, and they would have gotten most of the money instead of us.
When you come from a place of love and forgiveness, extremely remarkable things are possible. And even if both people aren’t coming from a place of love and forgiveness, it’s still possible for remarkable things to happen, even if just one of you is in that place. For example let’s say I’m driving down the freeway in Los Angeles and a driver cuts me off. Maybe I’m coming from a place of love and forgiveness and I don’t give him the finger and nothing happens. But let’s say I do give him the finger and he has a gun and kills me. That’s a pretty big difference! You won’t always know what benefit is occurring when you practice love and forgiveness. The Course says, “miracles are never lost and they can have undreamed of effects in situations of which you are not even aware.”
The day after Karen and I agreed to our settlement, we called our lawyers. If they didn’t agree to our terms we were going to fire them. My lawyer agreed immediately, while Karen’s lawyer resisted. Eventually she gave in, but even then the settlement had to be approved by a judge. Two months later I returned to Maine for the final decree. The day before the court date, I took a walk along the Androscoggin River, a peaceful and beautiful place named after an Indian Tribe that divides the cities of Lewiston and Auburn. What happened that night was uncanny. I’d lived in Maine for 17 years and I had never seen anything like this. As I walked along the river, I heard a couple of geese honking behind me and they sounded kind of happy. They flew over my head from behind, honking away, and once they got past me they both flew off in opposite directions. When I saw that I thought, “Oh my God!”
I knew the next day was a no-brainer and that the judge would not only approve the settlement but that Karen and I would fly off in opposite directions, and that it would be a good thing. The next day the judge asked the typical questions like, “Is this what you agree to? Is this what you want? Are you on drugs?” He was a nice guy and it was approved, no problem. But Karen looked sad that morning, which made me feel bad.
Fortunately that night, my teachers Arten and Pursah appeared to me for the final time in the series of visits for my third book, Love Has Forgotten No One. I told them I felt bad about Karen being so sad. They told me not to worry, that we’d get together the following night, have a great time and party. And sure enough Karen called me the next day and it all happened just like they said it would. I hadn’t seen Karen that relaxed and happy in a long time. That’s one of the amazing things about love and forgiveness. Incredible things can happen when you practice forgiveness, and even though you’ll still feel sad sometimes, it won’t last nearly as long. A good measure of your spiritual progress is simply to notice how long you stay upset. Maybe before you’d be upset for a couple of days, and now it only lasts a couple of minutes. If that is the case, then you’ve made significant and major progress in this lifetime.
Four months later I took Karen to dinner for her birthday in Waikiki, where she moved after our divorce. We were pleased that we’d both missed one of the worst winters in Maine’s history. Karen was and is doing very well. She took up painting, bought her own condominium, and has made many new friends. She is happy and that is all I want for her. I think this is all we really want for everyone we love.
When we are apart by many miles, or even in death, we are never apart in divine love.
That is the heart of the matter.
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