Joann


Jo

Joann

Jo grew up in a small town in northern Minnesota. Her mother was active in the Lutheran church and often quoted the Bible, and her father was a Freemason and Shriner. Being exposed to her parents’ belief systems was very valuable, as Jo was strongly influenced by their seeking ‘something greater’ than the world.

After graduating from high school, Jo married her best friend’s cousin, moved to Minneapolis, attended college, and became an elementary school teacher. After several years teaching on the east coast, Jo and her family moved to Denver where she continued her teaching career.

When the father of one of her students asked Jo if she might be interested in meeting his spiritual teacher, she felt compelled to say yes. After meeting the teacher—a Sufi master—and feeling a profound connection with him, Jo became part of a newly formed Denver community of Sufis, even though she had no idea what a Sufi was. It was there that Jo met Margie. Meera joined later, and they all became friends. After eight years, Margie was guided to leave the group, which shocked Jo at the time. This was the impetus for Jo to question her own life, and after deep soul-searching, she chose to leave that path as well. Meera also left, and Jo had no idea what was to come.

As she was nearing retirement, the school custodian gave Jo a copy of The Disappearance of the Universe, by Gary Renard. Jo knew that Margie and Meera had to read it too, and before long, the three of them were discussing the book’s radical insights, and quotes from A Course in Miracles. This sparked the three friends to begin their own study of the Course.

A Course in Miracles says we must forget everything we’ve ever learned or believed, come with an open heart, and henceforth hear only the Voice for God, the Holy Spirit. Jo had not yet come to the understanding of how she could hear this Voice, as she was still seeing the world through the eyes of judgment, and was projecting those thoughts of guilt and fear onto everyone else. She could not own that they were really what she believed about herself. It was with this realization that The Work of Byron Katie found her, and she began to question all her stressful thoughts and beliefs.

When Margie began to hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit (and later scribe the books), she told Jo and Meera immediately, and insisted that they must now ask Him about everything. After months of reading the daily messages, and speaking with the Holy Spirit, Jo had a dream in which she was asked to be an editor. She accepted. Margie had received the very same information—that Jo was to start editing the book. It wasn’t until much later, however, after reading with an editor’s eye, that she realized her editing role wasn’t about finding the commas, or deciding to capitalize. She soon found that the editing process of slowing down and reading each word out loud brought her into a deeper realization of the message beyond the words and between the lines. This experience deepened her communication with the Holy Spirit, as she wanted His help at every turn.

Jo was also given help whenever she needed assistance with technical problems. Her husband, the scientist, the engineer, patiently supported the work with his computer expertise. Because of their joint effort—and having the Voice—her relationship with him became stronger and more enjoyable than ever.

Jo knows that her life’s purpose is to share the joy of hearing the Voice of the Holy Spirit. She asks the Holy Spirit throughout the day for His instruction, and trusts Him to awaken her from this dream world when she forgets that it is her dream.

Copyright © 2016 by Marjorie Tyler, Joann Sjolander, and Margaret Ballonoff