New Year’s Eve Meditations, Dance Parties, & Whales

Yoga meditation in the night

It’s here.  The beginning of another year.  How will you bring in the New Year?  I believe that how we spend New Year’s Eve sets the tone for the coming year.  This may or may not be true, but since I believe it to be true, I guess it’s true for me. Over the past few years, I’ve become very mindful of what I am doing and who I am with as the clock strikes twelve.  I remember when I was a kid how jealous I was that my older siblings got to go out on New Year’s Eve.  They were quite a bit older than me, and I imagined them having all kinds of fun out there in the world.  Meanwhile, I sat home banging pots and pans together with my neighborhood friend as we watched the ball drop on TV in Times Square with Dick Clark.  It was not what most would call a Rockin’ New Year’s Eve despite the name of the show, but it was fun staying up until midnight.

Since then, I’ve had more than my share of being out in the world on New Year’s Eve.  At about 4 o’clock on December 31, 1999, I jumped off my float after performing in Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parade, clocked out, and drove four hours from Orlando to Miami to meet my friends for a dance party on South Beach.  Mind you, I didn’t have a ticket for this event, but I knew that’s where I wanted to be to welcome in the year 2000.  This choice did not go over well with my partner at the time, but I was determined to be among friends, flashing lights, and fun music instead of sitting home watching his family drink and play their own version of Family Feud.  I must have been so excited to find someone who had an extra ticket to sell that I didn’t look closely at what I was buying.  I paid $100 for a ticket to an event with the same name being held in Palm Springs, CA.  Oopsie!  Lucky for me, the person taking tickets outside the Miami Beach Convention Center must have been thinking about all the places he would rather be that night.  Without batting an eyelash, he took my ticket right along with my friends’ tickets.  I couldn’t believe it!  Starting with my bold decision to go to that party, the night was filled with many more highs and lows.  Looking back, I see the year 2000 was also filled with extreme highs and lows.

Twice in recent years I have chosen to be in meditation as the New Year began.  I highly recommend this if you’ve never tried it.  It’s quite an interesting experience.  In the stillness, by myself, with my eyes closed, I was actually able to feel the energy build and explode around me before I heard the fireworks go off and people start screaming and banging pots and pans outside.  People still do that, right?  In any case, my New Year’s Eve celebrations have run the gamut from solitude to mega parties, joy filled to drama filled, and peaceful to chaotic.  Of all of them, my favorite by far is the New Year’s Eve I spent eye to eye with an orca.  It was just the two of us staring at each other as the clock struck twelve, and it was completely magical.  It may not surprise you that just a few months later I started working at Disney World.  It doesn’t get much more magical than that!  You’ll be able to read the details of that fateful night in the book I’m writing about all the miracles that have happened in my life so far.  Stay tuned for that…

So I ask again, how will you spend your New Year’s Eve?  What tone would you like to set for 2016?  If you live in South Florida, it’s not too late to change your plans and join me from 7:30-9:00 PM at the Center for Spiritual Living in Fort Lauderdale for some inspiring words from August Gold and some inspiring music by Carol Logen.  The essence of Spirit comes through each of these women in a unique and powerful way.  I’m really looking forward to it!  However you choose to celebrate, remember there is no wrong way.  Just be mindful of your choices and only bring what you want to bring into 2016.  I would be honored to assist you in letting go of anything that is no longer serving you with one of my Life Coaching programs or with the amazing tool known as Family Constellations.  Both can be done in person or over the phone.  Please visit my website or contact me for more information.  I leave you with these beautiful words about the New Year from my favorite book, A Course in Miracles.

So will the year begin in joy and freedom. There is much to do, and we have been long delayed. Accept the holy instant as this year is born, and take your place, so long left unfulfilled, in the Great Awakening. Make this year different by making it all the same. And let all your relationships be made holy for you. This is our will. Amen.

See you next year!

My Silent Night

christmas.tree.woods

For many, the holiday season can bring up lots of memories and emotions, not all of them pleasant.  You may find yourself feeling lonely this time of year, especially if circumstances prevent you from being with your family, or if you happen to not be in a relationship.  This week I’d like to share the story of my best Christmas ever.  You might be surprised to learn it was the year I spent Christmas Eve and most of Christmas Day by myself.

By my junior year of high school I had had enough of living with an active alcoholic.  When my sister Judy invited me to come live with her in New Hampshire, I accepted.  I let my guidance counselor know before the Christmas break that I would not be returning in January.  Judy enrolled me in a private school near her home.  It was happening.  When I told my mother about my plan she did something quite unexpected.  She checked herself in to an alcohol addiction treatment center.  

My mother was a very private woman.  She hated being in that place talking about her challenges with strangers.  She most definitely did not want any holiday memories or pictures there, so she asked my siblings not to come home for Christmas that year, and they obliged.  There were no decorations or Christmas trees in my house.  No frosted sugar cookies were baked.  No stockings were hung by the chimney with care.  Nothing.  The Grinch would have been thrilled!

Only a handful of my friends knew my situation.  Some invited me to spend Christmas with their families, but somehow that sounded worse. I didn’t want to be with someone else’s family on Christmas.  I wanted to be with my family.  Instead, I planned a very private Christmas Pity Party.  Only Cleo, our family cat, and I were on the guest list.  When my shift at the grocery store ended, I went home to a dark house on Christmas Eve.  After pouring Cleo some Meow Mix and myself a bowl of cereal, I retreated to my room in the basement to watch the holiday episode of “Scarecrow and Mrs. King,” one of my favorite shows. 

If you don’t know the show, it was about a quirky divorced mother of two who gets mixed up in espionage and a secret government agency similar to the CIA.  Because she has the perfect cover, she starts working with the agency and an agent named Scarecrow.  In this holiday episode, Scarecrow and Mrs. King find themselves running through a forest dodging bullets while being chased by the KGB.  Remember, this was the 80’s.  The Cold War with the Soviet Union was still very warm.  Our heroes find refuge in an abandoned log cabin, but the KGB agents have them trapped.  Then a blizzard hits.  Scarecrow and Mrs. King keep warm by building a fire in the fireplace, while the KGB agents are outside braving the elements.  As the snow piles up and the temperature drops, Mrs. King starts to feel sorry for them.  She informs Scarecrow they can go back to being enemies tomorrow, but she can’t allow them to freeze to death on Christmas Eve.  Against his wishes, she waves a little white flag out the door and invites them in.  The four of them end up having a marvelous celebration together, sharing rations, showing family photographs, and singing Christmas carols in their respective languages.  

This beautiful story exemplifying “Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men” hit me hard.  I was sobbing uncontrollably by the end of the show.  It dawned on me that this was what Christmas is really about.  It has nothing to do with decorations, gifts, and cookies.  Not that there is anything wrong with those things, but Christmas came and filled my heart that year without any of them.  It was a powerful lesson, and one I have never forgotten.  There is a little more to this story, but you will have to wait to read my book to hear the rest.

If you find yourself feeling lonely, or other emotions that are not pleasant, I invite you to look for the deeper meaning.  You may discover, like I did, that this is the most precious Christmas gift you have ever received!  If that gift is escaping you, or holiday memories are keeping you trapped in the past, please consider signing up for one of my Life Coaching programs or attending a Family Constellations workshop in January.  You can also schedule a private session by phone or in person.  It’s time to let that which is no longer serving you go and move forward with an open, peaceful heart.  Gift certificates are available on the Home page of my website if you know someone who would benefit from this gift.  I base all of my sessions on the strong principles of A Course in Miracles, which has been helping people remove the obstacles to the awareness of love’s presence for almost 50 years!  I will close with a beautiful quote about Christmas from the Course.  It’s what I learned on that Silent Night by myself all those years ago.

“Let no despair darken the joy of Christmas, for the time of Christ is meaningless apart from joy.  Let us join in celebrating peace by demanding no sacrifice of anyone, for so you offer me the love I offer you.”

Merry Christmas!

I Should Be Committed

bryce.canyon.yoga

I should be committed!  Or at least more committed.  That’s what my ego would like me to believe.  It’s amazing how many distractions popped up over the last two weeks once I decided to spend at least an hour per day writing my book.  Granted, it’s the holiday season and there are lots of extra things going on.  I could tell myself it was a bad time to make such a commitment, but is there ever a good time?  There will always be things calling for my attention any time of year.  Only I have the power to choose where I spend my time and energy.  I am learning that if I say yes to every invitation I receive, I will never finish my book.  Because I said yes so many times, that hour of writing only happened three times this week, and my ego was quick to judge me a failure.

Today I redeemed myself by devoting almost two hours to writing, but my ego still wasn’t happy.  I hadn’t done other things that needed doing, like writing this blog, for instance.  Anyone self-employed knows there are always details to attend to.  Since I am my only employee, if I don’t do them, they don’t get done. Instead of getting caught up in that swirling energy and trying to do more before my first appointment, I did something that my ego hated.  I turned off my phone and computer and spread out my yoga mat.  That was one of the best decisions I made all day! 

If I told you I immediately felt better I would be lying.  During the first few downward dogs I was still churning out a to do list in my mind.  By the time I did my first hand stand, I could at least focus on my inward and outward breath between list items.  By the time I reached Savasana, the final relaxation pose at the end of the hour and a half, I was back to my True Self.  The things that were calling for my attention were still there, but I was in a different frame of mind. They no longer had the power to take away the peace I was feeling.  

That’s the beauty of any spiritual practice.  When I reconnect with Spirit, the things on the outside don’t necessarily change, but the things on the inside do.  That’s the only place I have control.  The benefits are many.  From that peaceful place, I am able to receive inspired solutions to problems.  Without the chaotic energy, I can focus and accomplish a lot more.  Most importantly, I feel better!  Try it for yourself if you are caught up in the Holiday Vortex listening to the ego telling you to do more than is humanly possible.  Stop!  Just for an hour.  Do something that brings you joy and peace.  Go for a walk out in nature if you can.  I know that’s easy for a Floridian to say in December.  If it’s too cold outside, watch your favorite holiday movie or something that makes you laugh uncontrollably.  Take a friend to lunch.  Take a yoga class.  Take a nap.  Take a breath!  It doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as you allow it to change how you feel inside.  I promise once that shift happens, it will be much easier to take on that next task and remember what’s important.  I remembered that I am committed…to Peace! 

If you are committed to Peace, but need a little assistance keeping your commitment, why not sign up for the “Pathway to Peace”?  It’s an eight week Life Coaching program that will start your New Year off on the right foot.  There are more details about this program and other Life Coaching packages on my website.  Family Constellations is another great tool to find your way back to Peace.  What happens in these workshops and one-on-one sessions is hard to describe in words.  It’s a transformational experience that will help you see things from a new perspective that heals you and your entire family.  There are two opportunities to try it in a group setting here in Fort Lauderdale this weekend, and private sessions are available in person or by phone.  If your are looking for a gift that will keep on giving, you can purchase gift certificates on the Home page of my website for all services and workshops.

Until next time, may your heart and your holidays be filled with Peace!

I’ll Never Be Like That!

mom.dad.wedding.1.26.52

“I’ll never be like that.”  How many of us have said that about one or both of our parents, and then caught ourselves being exactly like that!  Don’t feel bad.  It’s happened to all of us.  After attending a two day Family Constellations training seminar given by Mark Wolynn this past weekend, I understand why it happens even more clearly now.  I won’t go in to all the science that Mark explained in his lecture, but I will say that new studies in epigenetics prove that we pass down much more than just hair and eye color to our descendants.  When a traumatic or emotional event occurs, our bodies release neurotransmitters and other biochemicals that affect our genes, so you can quite literally pass on the trauma to future generations.  Look for Mark’s forthcoming book It Didn’t Start With You if you are curious to learn more about how this works.

One of the things we see over and over in Family Constellations is the suffering that happens when someone rejects one or both parents.  Like it or not, we are half dad and half mom.  If we completely cut the connection with one or both of them, we are cutting off half or all of our energetic flow.  Our unconscious mind longs for a connection with them, so to get it, we may start repeating the very behaviors we rejected in the first place, or do something similar.  Sometimes we attract a partner that has the same behaviors or qualities that we don’t like in a parent.  This isn’t a curse.  It’s a blessing.  It happens so we can heal this trauma once and for all.  We can be the gatekeepers so destructive patterns don’t repeat in future generations.  Isn’t that wonderful news?

I know this to be true because I have witnessed it in my own life.  The biggest challenge in my life so far was my mother’s alcoholism.  Boy, did I judge her for her excessive drinking and the chaos it caused in my life.  Couldn’t she see the damage she was causing?  It made me so angry!  As long as I continued to believe there was something to fix in my mother, I kept attracting partner after partner who had issues with alcohol.  As soon as I found peace with my mother exactly the way she was, the parade of alcoholic partners could stop.  This did not happen until shortly before her death, but I’m so glad it did.  I finally understood that everything we experienced together was to teach us both how to love unconditionally.  What greater lesson is there?  How could I judge that as being wrong?  No, it wasn’t easy.  But now that I’m on the other side of it, I can definitely say it was worth it.

When the last guy I dated started showing signs of having issues with alcohol and drugs soon after our relationship began, I did something very different.  I didn’t try to fix him or save him.  I didn’t make him the bad guy or wrong.  I simply released him with love and grace, knowing that road is a road I no longer choose to travel.  What a relief!  That only happened because I learned to accept love from my mother exactly as she was able to give it, not how I thought I needed to receive it.  If she drank, I simply chose to not be around her.  Healthy boundaries are essential in this practice.

I know some of you reading this have had some life shattering experiences.  The idea of reconnecting with your mother or father might sound horrifying and completely out of the question. Maybe your parents are no longer living, and you feel it’s too late.  No matter what your circumstance or situation, opening your heart to them in some way is the most beneficial thing you can do for yourself.  It will allow your life force to flow again.

Are you ready to be the gatekeeper who breaks the cycle and frees your family from destructive patterns?  If so, I would be honored to share some tools and techniques to help you set healthy boundaries as you safely re-establish a connection.  Don’t worry.  It doesn’t mean you have to have mom and dad over for dinner every Sunday!  You don’t even have to be in the same room with them.  Now is a great time to contact me for Life Coaching or a private Family Constellations session.  What a gift you will be giving yourself and your entire family.  Speaking of gifts, you can also purchase gift certificates for any of my services and workshops on my home page.  Please visit my website to learn more about Family Constellations, Life Coaching, and our new weekly A Course in Miracles discussion group on Monday afternoons.  

Wishing you a holiday season filled with Love, Light, and Miracles!