Lesson 117: Review of Lessons 103 & 104

Lesson 103: God being Love is also happiness. Let me remember love is happiness, and nothing else brings joy. And so I choose to entertain no substitutes for love.

Lesson 104: I seek but what belongs to me in truth. Love is my heritage, and with it joy. These are the gifts my Father gave to me. I would accept all that is mine in truth.

From Wapnick: Since the Love of God is all there is, why would I seek for anything else? To do so condemns me to a life of frustration, depression, and pain. I choose instead the joy that attends acceptance of the love that alone is mine, the heritage our loving Father has given us.

Lesson 116: Review of Lessons 101 and 102

Lesson 101: God’s will for me is perfect happiness. God’s Will is perfect happiness for me. And I can suffer but from the belief there is another will apart from His.

Lesson 102: I share God’s will for happiness for me. I share my Father’s Will for me, His Son. What He has given me is all I want. What He has given me is all there is.

From Wapnick: The theme of happiness returns, and we remember that the statement that God’s Will for us is perfect happiness corrects the ego’s teaching that God’s Will is that we suffer as atonement for our sins. Forgiveness reflects our acceptance of His Love as all we want and all we are. There is nothing else.

Anthem: Homunculus

My husband and I spent Sunday at the Austin Film Society with John Cameron Mitchell listening to every episode of the first season of his podcast, Anthem: Homunculus. My husband and I agreed, when we bought the tickets, we’d just stay for the first few episodes and leave during an intermission. We couldn’t imagine listening to a podcast for 7 hours! Once we were there, however, neither of us wanted to leave. We happily stayed through all 10 episodes. It was riveting! (Almost everyone in the audience stayed the entire 7 hours, too.)

Mitchell first wrote the Anthem as a sequel to “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, but said it was too complicated (like trying to put a wig on a wig) so he changed the approach to thinking about what life might have been like had he never left Junction City, Kansas, the town where he grew up. (Mitchell was a military gypsy so it is only one of the small towns where he grew up, but it is where his family remained the longest.)

He and Bryan Weller wrote the first several episodes in the home of William Burroughs (they were invited by Burroughs partner, James Grauerholz), intending the story to be for television. Not surprisingly, it fell too far outside of the typical television genres to be picked up by anyone, so they decided to try a podcast.

Mitchell says that a lot of artists are using the podcast format to tell their stories because it doesn’t have the genre constraints of television. It is apparently a good format for creative works that are ahead of their time, even though it is reminiscent of old-time radio shows. The difference, I suppose, is that you can listen on any device, anywhere and whenever you want, including large movie theaters with lots of fellow listeners.

The story is about Ceann (played by Mitchell) who has a brain tumor. He can’t afford the medical costs to have it removed, so Ceann creates a podcast where he relays the complicated details of his upbringing and relationships while asking for donations. His friends and family are played by a large, impressive cast: Glenn Close, Marion Cotillard, Laurie Anderson, Patti LuPone, Cynthia Erivo among others… The story is accompanied by 31 songs written by Mitchell and Bryan Weller.

At the “Listening Party” on Sunday, I thought Mitchell would introduce the podcast, give a short performance with Weller and they’d be on their merry way, but I was wrong. Besides the introduction and beautiful performance, Mitchell sat through all 10 episodes with the audience. He introduced each episode before it started and provided concluding remarks at the end of each about how the fictional details coincided with his actual life. He was so gracious and so excited about his podcast that it felt like being with a personal friend who couldn’t wait to share his new creation. It is one of the most unusual (and unexpectedly enjoyable) events I have ever attended.

Mitchell and I are 4 months apart in age. Despite being a suburban housewife which is as far as you can get from the life Mitchell has lived, his stories of loss feel incredibly familiar. I could have sworn the characterization of his mother with Alzheimers was based on my mother! Also familiar: the loss of God after being zealously religious in my younger years, the loss of friends and lovers, and knowing the end of my own life isn’t terribly far off. There is such a strong experience of loss and decline as you get older, but there is also a greater capacity for acceptance and forgiveness which is oddly rejuvenating.

I highly recommend Anthem: Homunculus. It is available through Luminary Podcasts. The first two episodes are free and if you are hookeed, which you probably will be, the rest require a Premium Plan. There is a 7 day free trial and then the cost is $4.99 per month or $34.99 for the year. I know subscriptions are frustrating, but that’s a very reasonable price for originality, quality, excellent performances, and a wonderful, moving experience.

And proof that John Cameron Mitchell is perfectly capable of wearing wigs on wigs, here is Hedwig in her trailer home in Junction City, Kansas…

Lesson 115: Review of Lessons 99 & 100

Lesson 99: Salvation is my only function here. My function here is to forgive the world for all the errors I have made. For thus am I released from them with all the world.

Lesson 100: My part is essential to God’s plan for forgiveness. I am essential to the plan of God for the salvation of the world. For He gave me His plan that I might save the world.

From Wapnick: When we choose to forgive, we choose for ourselves and all the world, for they are one. Thus each of us is essential to the plan, for each of us contains the Whole.

Lesson 114: Lesson 97 & 98

Lesson 97: I am spirit. I am the Son of God. No body can contain my spirit, nor impose on me a limitation God created not.

Lesson 98: I will accept my part in God’s plan for salvation. What can my function be but to accept the Word of God, Who has created me for what I am and will forever be?

From Wapnick: We are thus reminded of Who we are as spirit. This remembrance comes when we accept our function of forgiveness. It is not so much the words of the lessons that are important, but the willingness to think of them throughout the day. It is the thought in our minds that grants importance to the words – reflecting the Word of God – and that is the essence of these reviews.

Lesson 113: Review of Lessons 95 & 96

Lesson 95: I am one Self, united with my Creator. Serenity and perfect peace are mine, because I am one Self, completely whole, at one with all creation and with God.

Lesson 96: Salvation comes from my one Self. From my one Self, Whose knowledge still remains within my mind, I see God’s perfect plan for my salvation perfectly fulfilled.

From Wapnick:

From my one Self Whose knowledge still remains within my mind, I see God’s perfect plan for my salvation perfectly fulfilled.

Experiencing the serenity and perfect peace that come from forgiveness, I remember that “I am one Self, united with my Creator and His creation.” Thus is the plan of the Atonement completed, and I along with you, my brother in Christ.

Lesson 112: Review of Lessons 93 & 94

Lesson 93: Light and joy and peace abide in me.

I am the home of light and joy and peace. I welcome them into the home I share with God, because I am a part of Him.

Lesson 94: I am as God created me.

I will remain forever as I was, created by the Changeless like Himself. And I am one with Him, and He with me.

From Wapnick:

The oneness of our Self is a highly important theme in the early lessons, and in these reviews as well. If I am truly God’s Son, any belief you are separate from me denies that truth. Therefore my special thoughts of neediness and judgment deny we are part of God’s one Self. We first recognize the unchanging light, joy, and peace that shine in everyone, and then awaken from this happy dream as the Self abiding in the Changeless.