Jan O'Kelley and Timothy Holmes
"I grew up Catholic, and I am grateful for what I learned from the nuns about the spiritual life being more important than anything else. However, as an adult I yearned for more. After learning and practicing many spiritual systems including Living Love from the Handbook to Higher Consciousness, I found the Course in 1981. I have been working with its teachings daily since then.
"In 2000, just a few months after my husband died, I moved from New York to Sedona to study the Course intensively for a year with the scholar Robert Perry. This was a very empowering time, in which we learned how to read the words carefully for understanding, and to use the workbook practices as written.
"Timothy and I want to share what we learned in that year, and also what we have learned since then through applying the Course's thoughts in more intensive relationships including, centrally, our marriage and partnership.
"For many years I have also had a strong interest in small, spiritually based communities. Back east I started a loosely organized spiritual community we called Heartspace, and in 2001 I was given guidance to start Course Community House here in Sedona. I see The Little Garden as a smaller version of CCH, which is repeatable at the grass roots level."
"Like most Course students, I try to make the Course a way of life. An important theme in the Course is that your life experiences are what convince you of its truths.
"Jan and I have learned to value these experiences both within ourselves and in our relationships with those around us. Those who share the Course with us see relationships in this way, too -- as a way whereby love becomes both the means and the end of our shared life with each other.
"I started spiritual life as an initiated disciple of Ramakrishna, the East Indian 19th century saint of the non-dualistic path Advaita Vedanta. I remain a part of this tradition even as I am on the path of A Course in Miracles.
"Along with these influences, I have a degree in western philosophy that focused on the metaphysics of mind, language and Self, with a second major in theater.
"For many years Jan and I, individually and together, have taught Course students how to closely read and understand the Course for themselves. Reading it carefully pays rich rewards, and anyone can learn to do that. Many of our students have become teachers of the Course in words."
We don't claim to be perfect by any standards but God's. That is what we are trying to accept in ourselves and each other, just as we try to accept all our "family members" and short-term guests.
Timothy says with a laugh, "Perfection is not the standard. If you are looking to live with perfect people, you have come to the wrong place! This isn't it!"
"The Thought of God surrounds your little kingdom,
waiting at the barrier you built
to come inside and shine upon the barren ground.
See how life springs up everywhere!
The desert becomes a garden, deep and green and quiet,
offering rest to those who lost their way and wander in the dust.
Give them a place of refuge,
prepared by love for them where once a desert was.
And everyone you welcome will bring love with him from Heaven for you.
They enter one by one into this holy place,
but they will not depart as they had come, alone.
The love they brought with them will stay with them, as it will stay with you."