Inside Out

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“Inside Out” is one of my favorite tracks on Madonna’s new CD, Rebel Heart.  She sings “Let me love you from the inside out.”  So much of our world is backwards.  We base our beliefs and actions on outward appearances. We look for things on the outside to make us happy on the inside.  A Course in Miracles is all about reversing the thinking of the world.  It says in the beginning of Chapter 21, “The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that.  But though it is no more than that, it is not less.  Therefore, to you it is important.  It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition.”  In simpler terms, if you are not feeling peaceful inside, then conflict and chaos will show up in your life to reflect that.

What better example than the story splashed across media headlines recently when Diane Sawyer interviewed Bruce Jenner.  Like thousands of transgender people around the world, he courageously shared that his outward picture has never matched how he feels inside, causing turmoil throughout his entire life.  No matter how fast he ran in the 1976 Summer Olympics to win the gold medal in the decathlon, he could not run away from what he was feeling inside. Like many, without thinking, I judged his choices for changing his appearance back in the 80’s, and then again more recently if I happened to see his photo on one of the tabloids at the grocery store.  I guess I wanted him to match the outward picture of the athlete I had a crush on before I even knew who I was!  Now I applaud his decision to transform the outer to match the inner, because I understand that it doesn’t work the other way around.  He tried and it didn’t work.

One of my greatest lessons in how futile this is happened when my mother moved to Florida in 2005.  I mistakenly believed that her life would turn around here with me.  No one knew her past so she had a chance to make a fresh start.  She traded evergreen trees for palm trees and blizzards for beaches, yet how she felt on the inside did not change.  She did not trade anger for peace, resentment for acceptance, guilt for joy, or feelings of unworthiness for feelings of being loved.  It wasn’t long before her drinking started again and her home became an unimaginable and unlivable mess.  The outside picture matched the inward condition.  Meanwhile, I thought she had to change so I could be happy. The last six years of her life taught me just the opposite.  I was the one who had to change.  I had to stop thinking there was something to fix.  The Course puts it so beautifully in that same section from above. “Therefore seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world.”

If you want to experience more peace in your life, first be gentle with yourself. Stop beating yourself up for what you think you did or didn’t do.  Take a minute to think of your positive qualities or an action you are proud of. Stop looking in the mirror at all the things you want to change.  Instead, look for the things you appreciate about yourself. Then extend that same courtesy to others.  Stop judging them by their appearance or for their choices that may not match what you would do. Honor them for where they are on their journey, knowing they are doing what they think is best based on what they currently believe.  Then look for things you love and appreciate about them.  Once you change your mind, your experience of the outside picture will follow!

This is exactly what happens during a private or group session of Family Constellation, and during Life Coaching sessions with me, since I base both on the teachings of A Course in Miracles.  If you’re ready to change the inside so that what your experience on the outside can change, visit my website and schedule a session. Until next time, remember the advice the old beggar woman gave to the prince in the prologue of Beauty and the Beast. “She warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within.”  I see the light in you!

Life is Like Kite Surfing!

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While coaching a client this week I shared this observation that I made last year.  Now I realize this is a bold statement coming from someone who’s never actually been kite surfing, so anyone reading this who has done it please feel free to comment.  Whenever I see those bright colored sails over the ocean dragging the surfers along at incredible speeds I am in awe.  The experienced surfers know how to navigate the wind and the waves just right allowing them to soar in the air for several seconds before plunking back down into the sea.  It looks so freeing!   The wind and the kite take care of propelling the surfers forward.  It seems to me their job is to stay balanced on the board, keep it and themselves above water, and stay in harmony with the wind and waves.

Isn’t life like that?  It is always pulling us forward.  Our job is to stay balanced and keep our thoughts positive.  We also have to stay in harmony with life and accept “what is.”   It would do a kite surfer no good to scream and yell at the wind for blowing the wrong way or shout at the waves for being too close together.  They simply have to accept the conditions as they are and then make adjustments to their stance, their grip, or the position of the kite.  Once the adjustments are made they will begin to move in a new direction and accomplish the tricks and flips they desire.  Sometimes life does take us to exhilarating heights!  And just like the kite surfers, we eventually come back down, sometimes with a crash and a dip below the surface of the water.  But like the surfers, our job is simply to get back up on the board and not stay swimming around in the despair.  Allow life in the form of healthy spiritual practices, good friends, family, and things that bring you joy to pull you back up and send you streaming through the water again.

Coaching and Family Constellation are great ways to pull yourself up.  I’m so excited to be doing another workshop next Sunday with Michelle Blechner at the Family Constellation Institute of Miami.  This month we are looking at “Rebuilding Trust with Your Inner Child.”  The last Inner Child workshop we did together was very powerful and transformative, and since the energy is always expanding, I know this one will be too!  You can register HERE.  And for those of you in the Fort Lauderdale area, please join us every 1st Wednesday evening of the month from 7-10 PM or every 3rd Saturday afternoon from 2-5 PM (which happens to be this Saturday!) at Bridges of Wellness for group sessions of Family Constellation.  More details are on my website.

Thank you for reading and all the great comments on my FaceBook and Blog pages. Until next time, may you stay in harmony with life so you can keep sailing and soaring!  In keeping with the Kite Surfing theme, here is a link for some great metaphorical advice on how to turn your life around.  Do you have any insights like this to share?  What is life like to you? Please let us know in the comments below!

The Ego Wears Thigh Highs

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I am so grateful to my A Course in Miracles friend Michael for inviting me to see “Pippin” with him at the Broward Center on Easter Sunday.  Wow. We were both blown away by the show and it’s powerful message.  To us, it was right from the Course.  The Course talks a lot about the ego and it’s mantra, “Seek but do not find.”  The show is about a young man named Pippin who is searching for meaning in his life.  He tries a variety of titillating pursuits such as war, sexcapades, political activism, and leadership, but none leave him feeling fulfilled.  He is “guided” along the way by a sleek, sexy woman in black thigh high boots with a sultry voice singing to him about the extraordinary life he is meant to live.  Like the ego, she keeps him in search mode, always looking but never finding, never content with his here and now.  The show is flashy and colorful set against a circus performance background with plenty to keep Pippin and the audience distracted, just like many things in our lives keep us distracted.

We don’t all need to be circus performers or have famous lives like Joan of Arc, President Obama, or Oprah Winfrey to be extraordinary. The ego is always telling us we are not enough. Sometimes that causes us to look to material things or outside circumstances to make us feel special? I’ll be happy once I’m a best selling author, have a BMW, or I find the perfect partner. Fill in the blank for your own life. Can you remember a time when you got something that you had been wanting for a long time? What happened next? I bet it seemed to make you happy for a while, but it wasn’t long before you set your sights on something else.  That’s exactly what the ego wants us to do. Seek but do not find happiness.  In the second act, Pippin finds happiness for a year in an everyday situation, but then that sultry voice starts singing to him again about the extraordinary life that is waiting for him, and he runs away. I won’t give away the ending, but I will say the show closes with a powerful and thought provoking scene that will stay with me for a long time.

In the past few months, I have reached a new level of contentment with my here and now.  I am at peace with where I am living, what I am doing, my relationship status, and the people in my life.  I have found joy in the simple things in life, like being silly with friends in front of a fish tank at a fancy hotel in Del Ray Beach, sharing a smile with a stranger on my beach walk, and writing these blogs and more chapters in my book.  That doesn’t mean I won’t be a best selling author one day, or the president, or have my “own” TV network (although I’m fairly certain I won’t be leading any wars.)  It just means that like Pippin, I have learned that an extraordinary life is not made up of flashy, extraordinary events.  It is made up of a series of ordinary events that evoke feelings inside me of peace, love, joy, and contentment.  So the next time the sultry voice of the ego tries to trick you into thinking you need to be more or have more to be happy, tell her to strut those thigh high boots right offstage.  You’re listening to the still, small voice of Spirit leading you to true happiness!

If that still, small voice is eluding you, I’d be honored to help you hear it with some of the tools and techniques that have worked for me. Join a group session of Family Constellation or try a one-on-one Constellation or Coaching Session.  Visit my website for more information and to register.  If you know someone who might like these weekly stories, please feel free to invite them to follow my blog or sign up for the weekly newsletter on my website. I truly appreciate it!

Until next time, as the cast sings in the opening number of Pippin, “We’ve got Magic to Do!”  But it can be done right where you are!  You don’t have to go looking for it.

What Comes Around Goes Around

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I had been studying A Course in Miracles less than a year when life handed me one of my biggest forgiveness opportunities.  It was a dramatic ending to a four and a half year relationship.  Thank goodness I had the Course and a good Life Coach helping me to remember that relationships are mirrors and what upsets me is never anything “out there.”  It always starts within.  I’m not going to lie and say I was able to stay out of victim mode 100% of the time and never made my former partner the villain.  I will say I didn’t stay there too long.  A lot of self inquiry helped me to see my part in everything that happened. I would not have been able to do that without the teachings of the Course and my Life Coach.  I have infinite gratitude for both.

This past Friday was the first time I had spent time with my ex in over six years.  He joined me on my beach walk and we talked about what happened and what we would do differently now.  There was no blame game or charge to our discussion, but there were plenty of laughs.  That in itself is a miracle!  And by miracle I mean the definition given in the Course, a shift in perception from a fearful way of looking at a situation to a loving way. Later I showed him pictures on my phone of a chair and end tables that I was thinking about getting for my apartment.  He noticed that the chair I wanted was very similar to one we bought together 10 years ago for our apartment.  I said “YES! That’s exactly what I was looking for.”  I loved that chair.  It was so comfortable and great for meditation.  So then he said, “Do you want that chair?  A friend of mine is keeping it for me and he lives very close to you. Actually he just texted me today asking if I needed any of my furniture back.”  What?!?! Less than 24 hours later my beloved chair was back in my apartment!  Another miracle that could not have happened if I had stayed in victim/villain mode. A Course in Miracles really works!

Are you having a hard time getting out of victim/villain mode?  Family Constellation and Life Coaching based on the principles of A Course in Miracles can help.  I’d be honored to help you through whatever has you feeling like a victim or a villain with the tools that my Life Coach shared with me and what I’ve learned from the Course and Family Constellation. You will definitely feel lighter and more peaceful.  Who knows?  You may even end up with some new furniture!