My wife, Renée, graduated from the University of Santa Monica in 2005. I witnessed her magical journey over the course of the Program, and then again when she graduated from the Consciousness, Health, and Healing Program in 2008. In the ten years since she began USM, I met dozens of USM Graduates. They were wonderful, Loving people, and I could really see the benefits of a USM education. Every year, my wife would respectfully ask if I thought I might attend that year, but somehow I just thought it ‘wasn’t a good fit for me.’
In 2013, one day while meditating, I heard very clearly the words, ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’ I knew immediately and intuitively that this was my call to attend USM, though I wasn’t really sure why.
There was nothing particularly ‘wrong’ with my life—nothing I was trying to ‘fix.’ I was married to a wonderful woman, had a job I enjoyed, lived in my dream home. I did feel like I could benefit from a little more focus on the emotional and Spiritual aspects of my life, but these seemed like minor concerns. Moreover, it was a really ‘bad’ time for me to consider starting a new program—I was very busy at work, beginning a renovation on the house, and for the past two years I had been racing triathlons, training six days per week. I had never been busier. With only two weeks until classes began, the whole idea seemed crazy. And yet, I knew it was what I was being called to do. Without really knowing why I was going, I committed to being all in. I was going to let the Program show me why I was there.
Well, I did play all in, and my experience was nothing short of life changing. If I were to list all of the benefits and miracles I received and witnessed from participating in USM, I would be writing for several days, and you would be reading for several hours. (This is not an exaggeration!) There are a couple of key experiences that really stand out in my mind.
First, there are a couple of experiences during the First Year that are really meant to help elevate a person’s awareness and understanding of his value, worth, and Authentic Truth. Through these experiences,
I began to see myself as others see me. I began to understand how to see myself as Spirit sees me. This was an incredible shift in perspective. I really value and hold myself in a different way than I did before USM.
Another key experience for me was choosing to write a book on Abundance. One of the Principles of Spiritual Psychology is: ‘How you relate to the issue is the issue.’ Well, it turns out that how I related to the book (and to myself as I wrote the book) was the issue. The book turned out spectacularly, in part because it benefited from the learnings I was experiencing as I wrote it. I had wanted to write a book on Abundance for many years. The book I would have written before USM would not have been the same book I have written now.
My USM classmates have become some of my closest friends in the world. I honestly feel some days like I have 150 best friends—people I can rely upon and whom I support. People with whom I share a common language and base of experience. People I truly Love and adore. They were and are a part of my experience, and I of theirs. They are my Heart family now. In fact, the entire extended USM community is like this—warm, welcoming, and Loving—and it has been a gift.
Following USM, I show up differently in the world. During USM Introduction to Spiritual Psychology Evenings, Ron Hulnick has this great quote that goes something like, ‘After USM, you’ll have a better job and a better relationship. You may still be in the same position and with the same person, but you will experience them differently … and because of that, they will be better.’ I am a living testament to the truth of that statement.
I am still married to the same wonderful woman as before USM, but now I show up as a more Loving husband. I still have the same job I enjoy, but now I show up as a more enthusiastic employee and a more compassionate manager. I’m a better listener. My heart is more open. USM helped me understand that who I authentically am is so much more amazing than who I ever pretended to be in the past. The external parts of my life may look the same to others, but my internal experience is very different. I am different. And because I am different, I experience everything else in my life as different, better, and I could not be more thrilled about it.