Reflections on Waking Up and Becoming Whole
Father’s Day Talk at Unity Church of Jacksonville

By Ann Johnston

I am thinking of you today, Dad, remembering the many beautiful times we shared, the many sacrifices you made and all the blessings your love has bestowed. Yet it is your strong arms, your warm smile and your brave heart I feel today and carry with me. You kept our fractured family functioning when we were very young and vulnerable and had no stable mothering presence. To this day, your strength and fearlessness continue to inspire. You always said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” and this is one of those times. May the strength you modeled serve us, your adult children, as we face the challenges ahead.

I often speak at Unity Church and I am speaking on Father’s Day.  What a wonderful way to honor you, Dad, and all the wounded warrior-king/god-priest archetypal energies aspiring for greater wholeness in our world. My topic, “Awakening the Divine Masculine”, is a call to arms for the development of a more conscious, loving and embodied understanding of true strength (divine masculinity) in all of us. As I write this, I realize how much work we have to do!

I was in my thirties before I learned that we are each comprised of “yin” and “yang” (feminine and masculine energies) and I am grateful to be happily married to a man for three decades who is equally as soft as he is strong! Our relationship is a great example of “conscious partnering” and highly symbolic of the divine marriage, the sacred union of the opposites, to which I AM devoted on my spiritual path. Without the tenderness of this strong man, I would not be here today.

But, I digress. I am here to talk about the “shadow” qualities of our psyches that keep us from expressing this divine union of opposites and the highest and best aspects of ourselves. We cannot grow strong until we are able to face and overcome our most debilitating “wounded-ness”, usually a wound to our sense of self. Growing strong means “growing up” (mentally, physically and emotionally), owning our pain and its lessons, so we may grow into our wholeness as human beings, awakening to and becoming the empowered spiritual beings that we truly are.  

Here, for your reflection, are some excerpts of my Father’s Day talk at Unity.

Unity teaches that “God is as close to you as you are to yourself”. Did you get that? God lives within you. Yes, God is literally within you, meaning you are one with God, and at least a part of you IS God”. I hope you can truly begin to take that in.

I recently became aware of a great new book written by a Unity minister in Spokane, Washington, Rev. Jane Simmons. Its title is, “You Can’t Sleep Through Your Awakening” and it humorously shares some awesome truths. Rev. Simmons reminds us that if we don’t know we are spiritual beings having a human experience, then we are literally sleepwalking through our lives. She calls it “HSD” or “Human Sleeping Disorder”, also known as “Sleep Apnea of the Soul”! Extremely funny, really, and meant to get our attention, but our failure to do so can be very painful, even tragic.

Knowing spiritual truth is clearly NOT the same thing as living that truth, so the question you must ask yourself now is “Are you Awake to Your True Self”? Are you expressing your divinity and actually living your life as if you are a part of God?

Earlier this year I had the wonderful opportunity to share a Unity podium with my first metaphysical teacher and spiritual “mom”, Suzanne Harrill. We did a workshop together after the service to help participants integrate the many polarities within themselves and better embody and express their Highest Self/Truth. The workshop was sponsored by the Ignite Your Light Coalition, a 501-c-3 non-profit educational organization I co-founded to promote the transformation of human consciousness.

Here are some wonderful takeaways from the smorgasbord of teachings I have learned and now teach.

You can’t unconsciously become conscious. To be spiritually awake, you must uncover and release the limiting beliefs that prevent you from becoming who you truly are! Neuroscience proves that our brains contain the neural pathways and memories which become the filters through which we experience our lives. In other words, so long as we are asleep, our past conditioning unconsciously defines us and keeps us trapped in a distorted “worldview”.  

When you get a chance, take a look at Rev. Simmons’ exceptional You Tube talk and her new book. As long as we remain trapped in our unconscious patterns, “we lose sight of the preciousness of our divine presence”. So, how do we reclaim it?

If I Am God, then you are God, too. Thus, none of us can be fully bad, crazy, etc.  Whenever we lapse into self-doubt, pain, self-righteous judgment or the need to control others, we must own the lessons our angst is calling us to own. In other words, when our “buttons are pushed’ by someone else’s behavior, it is showing us something we need to see about ourselves. As both Rev. Simmons and Suzanne teach, the realm of human relationships is where we walk the spiritual path -- the people who push our buttons simply show us the places that need healing most. We must thank God, our Higher Self, the Universe, etc. for the mirrors provided by the loved ones and “good enemies” who help us grow.

I embarked on this grand experiment in higher consciousness more thirty years ago and it continues to this day. At times feeling deliriously joyful, it can also feel quite sad. In those painful moments, it is critical we remember that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience and that our humanness can be quite messy. Our tragedies and pain serve to evolve our consciousness to the next highest level and that this is how our soul (God essence) precipitates new growth. Recently, I Am learning that the highest level of self-expression is always a higher form of love.

While life can be painful, suffering is optional. In other words, we suffer because we fail to see that our pain is providing us a “teachable moment”. The real question is: What message is trying to break through in our consciousness at this moment in time. Are we awake? Are we listening? When our buttons are pushed we receive a wake-up call from our soul, God, the universe (whatever name works work best for you). The purpose of the pain is unmistakable. We are NOT victims. If we feel victimized it is simply because we are in pain and are being called to identify and heal it at its source. When we embrace our pain with conscious presence and courage, we attract who and what we need to overcome it. Only then can we become whole human AND spiritual beings and true masters of our destiny.

If you are new to the path of conscious evolution, you are in luck! Ours is a time of rapid spiritual awakening and growth and the resources available to you are immense. Commit to becoming more conscious, and remember: “When the student is ready the teacher appears.” So, be especially attentive to the people who show up in your life as they are carrying messages for you!

I wish you many blessings on your journey.

Ann Johnston is Founding Director and President of the Ignite Your Light Coalition, a 501-c-3 educational non-profit organization. The Coalition is a group of individuals and organizations committed to facilitating personal growth, spiritual development and the transformation of human consciousness. We believe that opening our hearts to ourselves and each other, healing our divisions and embracing our innate divine potential is the only way we will eliminate the widespread chaos and suffering in our world. The Coalition’s programs seek to open doors of new understanding, bringing deeper insights into who and what we really are and what we are capable of becoming. Our focus is on awakening ourselves and others to the great mysteries that exist, finding doorways into living in greater alignment with who we are and igniting the light -- the heart fire -- within each of us. For more information about the Coalition and a complete listing of its past and current projects, go to, email --





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