Hi, I’m Nate!
I was raised primarily by a single mother along with my older sister. We were “Easter-Christmas Catholics” as my mom referred to it, so I was lucky in that some of the more damaging aspects of organized religion didn’t have a chance to influence me. As a teenager, I was extremely curious about religion and about myths and stories. I remember reading the Bible cover to cover when I was about twelve or thirteen and in high school I identified as agnostic and one of my closest friends identified as an atheist. She and I attended a school on the North side of Minneapolis where there were a lot of Jehovah’s witnesses (It was Prince’s neighborhood. He too was a Jehova’s witness as well as one of my favorite human beings). Anyways, my friend and I got in the habit of inviting religiously-minded students to sit down at Burger King with us after school to have open-minded non-judgmental dialogues about theology. I loved these sessions and I learned a lot from them.
Fast forward about twenty-five years. I was in my early forties. I’d been married for about ten years and I had two young kids. My wife was unhappy and so was I. She wanted to separate and I agreed. The first night that I was alone in the bed, I had what I refer to as my dark night of the soul. It felt like I took ten or fifteen years worth of feeling guilty unconsciously and compressed them into one sleepless night of uncontrollable sobbing through very conscious guilt. My eight year old daughter woke up to my sobbing and came in to comfort me in the morning and that felt not right. I needed to prevent it from happening again. So I took a mental health day and booked an appointment with a spiritually-guided therapist who I had done lots of marriage counseling with previously. That morning he told me that guilt was the single most useless emotion and I believed him. It wasn’t until a couple months later that he told me about a book that he thought I might find helpful called “A Course in Miracles” which explains in detail why guilt is not useful or practical.
At the time, I enjoyed it and knew somehow that it was pointing at some very important truth but I was far too identified with the ego thought system to really get it. I got it just enough to be inspired to wind down my career as a carpenter and go back to school to become a therapist. During the four years I took to finish my BA and get my Master’s degree, I intentionally put the spiritual thoughts on the back burner so I could get familiar with some other modalities of therapy. When it came time for my capstone project in year four, I knew it was time to reintegrate ACIM with my psychological studies. I wrote a paper about similarities between other therapeutic modalities and ACIM. Even neuroscience has many symbols inherent in it that are allignedwith ACIM. When I wrote this paper, I still hadn’t even read the text all the way through or done the workbook.
As I was finishing school I met and married another wonderful person. We had a really hard time with living together and the relationship fell apart after just six months of marriage. I was obsessed with thoughts that I had been unfairly treated and I knew it was time to really engage with ACIM fully. I had the perfect excuse to focus every last bit of my energy into understanding the truths that it was pointing at. It was the beginning of Covid and all social distraction was stepping aside so I could focus on this course. As I practiced the workbook and practiced letting go of other beliefs that were not conducive to my experience of Love, Peace, and Joy, I also started teaching the practices and ideas to my clients. Because I was and am truly devoted to the humanistic practice of meeting my clients where they are at, I didn’t say things that were overtly spiritual unless I already had information that a particular client was open to spiritual ideas. I very rarely mentioned the “G” word, but I talked a lot about guilt, and Love, and forgiveness, all the while cloaking the spiritual message with ideas and principles from neuroscience, quantum physics, and psychology. I think I’ve become pretty effective at this.
Now, I want to teach the principles of A Course in Miracles without the need to change any of the wording and that is why I have stepped up to facilitate a TTC group. I recognize that I will speed up my own learning process dramatically through teaching it. I also recognize (and Nouk Sanchez was very directly responsible for this realization) that it is essential that we learn this together, in relationship, and via relationship. I have found my group of miracle buddies to be essential to the learning process. I’m very excited to continue my awakening with a new group of people and to widen my circle of miracle buddies through continued engagement with the TTC.