Presents & PRESENCE

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I don’t have a lot of memories of my dad, but I do have some. He went Home on New Year’s Day when I was 7 years old, so I didn’t have much time with him.  (I like saying it that way instead of “passed away” or “died.”  It feels more accurate.)  In any case, one of the things I remember is the time he spent with me in our backyard trying to teach me to hit a wiffle ball.  Bless his patience because his youngest son was definitely not a jock!  I remember him taking me to the IBM Country Club to watch The Flintstones Movie and other family films.  Since my siblings were much older, it was just the two of us, and I really liked that.  I also vividly remember the time my dad took me to the Emergency Room when I somehow got a pine needle from our Christmas Tree imbedded in my heal.  He kept me occupied and calm in the waiting room by making a game out of how many words we could find using the letters in the “NO SMOKING” sign.  Two hours and two stitches later, I was good to go.  When he got sick and couldn’t work anymore, he could still play my favorite board game, Snoopy Come Home.  We played it over and over.  That darn dog just kept running away!

I’m sharing this to emphasize that what I remember most about my dad is the time we spent together, and not the gifts he bought me.  I remember his presence more than his presents.  That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy getting toys.  Of course I did!  Anyone who knows the story of my first Family Constellation, which by the way, changed the course of my life, knows that the spontaneous memory of the little toys my dad used to give me were a key component in the healing that happened that day.   But that’s a story for another day.  Today I want to invite you to take a moment of reflection before you brave the stores on the day after Thanksgiving.  Maybe the perfect gift for that someone you adore won’t be found at a “door busters” sale at 5 AM.  Maybe it will be found in your own backyard or at your kitchen table.

If you are one of those people who loves to shop, the thrill of the chase, and you don’t mind crowds, by all means, go for it!  Take advantage of those sales on Black Friday!  My favorite spiritual teaching, A Course in Miracles, clearly states that we are not asked to give up anything other than fearful thoughts that keep us from the awareness of Love’s presence.  However, if you’re like me, going through airport security sounds like more fun than being in that chaos.  Stay home.  There is another way you can give the gift of presence by visiting my website and purchasing a gift certificate for any of my services.  Maybe someone you love needs a friendly ear, and a reassuring voice that will give them tools to help them move forward.  You can give the gift of one, four, six, or eight Life Coaching sessions.  If you purchase a Life Coaching package on or before Monday, November 30, the recipient will receive two extra sessions.  For example, if you buy a four week package, you or your loved one will receive 6 weekly sessions.  Sessions can be done in person or by telephone.  A Family Constellations workshop or a private two hour session is another gift that will keep on giving for years to come.  It will also be a gift for the entire family, like a ping pong table, only way better!  You can use the PayPal Gift Certificate option on my home page and PayPal will email your recipient a gift certificate or allow you to print it and give it to them personally.

To all of you who have been in my life either a short time or a long time, have attended one of my workshops or classes, or simply read these weekly blogs, I extend the gift of eternal grace and gratitude to you.  May you be blessed with peace and continue to choose Love over fear more and more consistently.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Call For Love

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I love A Course in Miracles because it always gives me answers to life’s most challenging questions and because it’s so simple.  It’s not always easy, but it’s always simple.  For example, the Course says this about judgment:

“The only judgment involved is the Holy Spirit’s one division into two categories; one of love, and the other the call for love.”

I invite you to watch this four minute video where I break this concept down into plain language. The concept is simple, but not always easy to practice when we see acts of outrageous violence in the world.  Our ego is quick to demand justice.  If we don’t take time to get centered, we react instead of respond.  Reactions merely send back the same energy that is received.  If someone rages at me and I rage back, I have only increased the anger and stepped further away from peace.  Think of it this way.  Would you try to put out a gasoline fire by throwing more gasoline on it? Of course not. So why would you try to eradicate hate, anger, and fear by throwing more hate, anger, and fear on the fire?  It only makes the fire hotter.

The best way to put out a gasoline fire is the cool spray of a fire extinguisher.  Likewise, the best way to put out flames of hate and fear is by sending the healing energy of love.  That doesn’t mean we condone acts of violence.  It just means we don’t add fuel to the fire by retaliating with more violence or hateful energy.  Isn’t there enough of that in the world?  Instead, we can imagine a blanket of peace being draped over everyone involved in the situation.  That famous quote by Gandhi isn’t just a cute bumper sticker, it’s a solution to global conflict, so “be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Practice self-love, cultivate inner peace, and then watch it radiate out into the world.  It really works!

If self-love and inner peace continue to elude you, now is a great time to ask for some assistance by signing up for Life Coaching.  I base my coaching programs on the solid principles of A Course in Miracles.  I know they work, because I have been able to maintain a sense of inner peace even in these chaotic times.  I’d love to help you do the same, especially now that the holiday season is upon us and what I call the “holiday vortex” is beginning to swirl.  Family Constellations is also a great tool to cultivate inner peace while adding more love to your family.  What a great gift for you and them!  Mark your calendar for the upcoming workshops, or schedule a private session in person or by telephone.  You will find more details on my website, as well as gift certificates for all services and workshops.

Until next time, may you remember that Love is the solution to every challenge.  So ask yourself, “What would Love do?”

I Need Do Nothing

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There is a section in Chapter 18 of A Course in Miracles titled “I Need Do Nothing.” That simple sentence brings me so much peace.  Like all of us, at times I can be very hard on myself. My ego asks, “Why haven’t you finished your book yet?  When are you going to update your website?  Why haven’t you created those new marketing materials yet?”   On and on it goes!  All of our “doing” involves the body and the external world.  We will never find peace out there.  There will always be something to do.  Many think if they do enough good deeds, they will go to Heaven.  If they meditate long enough, they will become enlightened.  The Course is very clear when it says: 

When peace comes at last to those who wrestle with temptation and fight against the giving in to sin; when the light comes at last into the mind given to contemplation; or when the goal is finally achieved by anyone, it always comes with just one happy realization; “I need do nothing.”  

Please don’t confuse “I need do nothing” with “Don’t do anything.”  They are not the same.  Of course you are having the experience of being in a body, so you still brush your teeth, go to work, and do the laundry.  It’s simply the realization that you don’t need to do anything to be loved.  You are loved beyond measure by the Source of all Creation.  Some call that God.  Others call that the Universe, Divine Presence, or Great Spirit.  It doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s Love.  And furthermore, so are you!  That’s why you don’t need to do anything to be loved.  You are Love.

One of my greatest teachers is the homeless man that I see sleeping under a palm tree every time I go for my beach walk.  I will admit, I try not to be downwind from him when I am doing my cool down stretches, but I don’t want to judge him as lazy or not being worthy of love.  The Course reminds me “As you think of him, you will think of yourself.”  Obviously that man is as much a beloved child of God as someone who takes a shower every day and works 40 hours a week.  He need do nothing.

I remember a great metaphor I heard many years ago.  It doesn’t matter how many people are at the beach, the sun shines down equally on all of them.  It doesn’t shine more on some people than others. The sun doesn’t care if you live under a palm tree or in a penthouse.  It doesn’t care if you work at a homeless shelter or at a shopping mall.  It doesn’t care what color your skin is, although if you’re a whitey like me, it will turn your skin pink very quickly!  If you are at the beach, and the sun is out, you will receive it’s light.  Nobody has to earn sunshine, just like nobody has to earn God’s love.  It’s just there for the basking.  What a relief!  From that place of peace, I can choose loving thoughts and actions without all that guilt, struggle, and striving to be worthy.    

If you are having trouble feeling worthy of that sunshine, or the sun seems to go behind the clouds every time you go to the beach, maybe now is the time to do some inner exploration.  I love sharing the tools and techniques that have worked for me in my Life Coaching programs.  We will discover together where those clouds are coming from.  Another great cloud buster is Family Constellations.  You will be amazed at what happens in these workshops and one-on-one sessions.  Things you never would have imagined being related to your current struggles are revealed and healed.  Visit my website for more information.  Looking for a lasting gift for a special someone?  Gift certificates are available for all services, sessions and workshops on my homepage.  

Until next time, whenever you are stressed, take a deep breath and remember this one simple sentence. “I need do nothing.”

Lessons From a Soap Dish

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Sometimes lessons come from the unlikeliest places.  I have lived in my apartment for just over a year now, and that entire first year I searched for a soap dish for my shower.  I have stone tile work in my bathroom, so accessories that use suction cups don’t stick to the walls.  I discovered that after purchasing one of those shower caddies that fits over the shower head.  It came crashing down moments after I put it up due to the weight of my shampoo bottle.  Back to the store it went.  In the meantime, I used my travel soap case to hold my soap.  Unfortunately, that fills up with water, and if I forget to drain it after my shower, the soap ends up like mush. I realize this is not a life-threatening problem, but nonetheless, it is annoying.  My quest for the perfect little soap dish continued until just last week when I thought I found the Holy Grail of soap dishes hiding in a nook on a shelf in the bath section of Target.  It was not labeled or on display in the proper place, so I thought surely this must be for me.  Alas, I brought it home only to discover that this one didn’t stick to my walls either.  Was there no hope for my soap?

Last month I went away for a weekend.  I decided to put a fresh bar of soap in my travel case for the trip, and leave the half used bar on the side of the tub.  When I returned, I stashed the full travel case under my sink and simply used the other bar of soap that rested directly on the tub.  Lo and behold, no mushy soap!  There is no where for water to collect, so the soap stays intact.   All this time I was searching for something to add to the equation in order to solve the problem, when what I really needed to do was subtract something.  How often in life do we do this?  We think our lives will be better the more we add to them, when in reality, what might be best is to remove a few things.  Who knew that little bar of soap could be such a wise teacher?

Are you still trying to add things to your life to make it better?  Maybe it’s time to do just the opposite.  If you need help releasing things, join me for an upcoming Family Constellations workshop, or schedule a private session in person or by phone. Seeing a bigger picture will help you let go of thoughts, stories, and beliefs that are weighing you down.  As difficult as it is to believe, you may discover that you are carrying something out of an unconscious loyalty to an ancestor.  Another great way to subtract things that are no longer serving you is to invest in a 4, 6, or 8 week Life Coaching program.  I will share many tools and techniques that have helped me to let go of things that were keeping me stuck.  No matter which you choose, you will have the opportunity to do some major mind scrubbing.  No soap needed!  Please visit my website for more information or to purchase gift certificates.

Wishing you a miraculous and squeaky clean week!