Happy Different New Year!

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.  ACIM Text p. 329

I love this hopeful quote about beginning a new year from A Course in Miracles. It was right around New Year’s Day ten years ago that my friend Gwyneth gifted me her copy of a book titled Disappearance of the Universe on CD. I had no idea it was about A Course in Miracles, or that it would change the course of my life. The author, Gary Renard, was scheduled to speak at Unity on the Bay in Miami later that month, so in order to finish the audio book before the event, I listened to the CDs in my car between massage clients. What I heard blew me away. Through frank (and funny) conversations between Gary and his teachers, Arten and Pursah, the principles of the Course are explained in a linear and easy to understand way. This book answered more questions than anything else I had studied thus far. Not only did it make sense, but I felt the Truth of its words deep in my heart. After Gary’s workshop, I knew this path was for me, so I ordered my first copy of A Course in Miracles from The Foundation for Inner Peace. And so the year began in joy and freedom.

As New Year’s Eve approaches this year, I invite you to make this year different by making it all the same. No, that doesn’t mean have the same thing for dinner every night. I interpret that to mean do your best to choose peaceful and loving thoughts no matter what appears to be happening in your life. True, it’s not always easy, but it is possible. I can tell you from experience, with practice, it gets easier. 2016 has been a very peaceful and blessed year for me despite some very challenging situations in my career and personal life. By asking myself questions like, “What would love do or say in this situation?” and “What action feels peaceful?” I was able to navigate these challenges and not stay stuck in fear and hopelessness.

These questions also work well when unthinkable events happen in the world. The shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando last summer hit very close to home for me. As I shared then, I lived in Orlando for eight years. I went dancing in clubs just like that one many times. Not so long ago, that could very easily have been me and my friends experiencing that horror. When I asked the questions mentioned above, I received specific guidance. I had the idea to facilitate a special Family Constellations workshop with all proceeds going to the families of those affected by the tragedy. A few months later, I was guided to help shift the energy at the actual site of the incident with my own rose quartz ceremony. These thoughts and actions brought me back to peace.

Here’s some great news. The more time you spend feeling peaceful and loving, the more those kinds of situations will appear in your life. In Miracle Principle number 43, the Course says, “Miracles arise from a miraculous state of mind, or a state of miracle-readiness.” I believe I was ready for some miracles in 2016. It was an honor to be asked to speak and facilitate workshops at Unity of Bon Air near Richmond, VA and at the Rio Grande Center for Spiritual Living in Albuquerque, NM. Three of those four talks went better than I imagined possible. One was a huge learning opportunity, and as uncomfortable as it was, I am grateful for that one too. This year I was able to share Family Constellations with people all over the globe thanks to Radleigh Valentine’s invitation to be a guest on his Hay House Radio show. The annual Big Sky Retreat in Montana was full of unexpected blessings again this year, including snowfall during one of my workshops! Miracle Monday at 1PM at Bridges of Wellness celebrated its one year anniversary this month. This well-attended group is full of love, and it continues to be ninety of my favorite minutes of the week.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying that once you become A Course in Miracles student, or start following one of the other great spiritual traditions, your life will be all unicorns and rainbows. As I mentioned earlier, unpleasant things are still going to happen. However, they won’t be able to rob you of your peace for very long. You can indeed let all your relationships be made holy for you. This year can be different by making it all the same. Just keep choosing peace and love. Then watch the miracles pile up!

Does that sound like an impossible task? I would be honored to share some of the tools and techniques that I have used over the past ten years to help you experience more miracles in your life. I offer four, six, and eight week Life Coaching packages to help you start the year off in joy and freedom. Please look around my website for more information.

Wishing you a very Happy and Different New Year full of miracles!

Light! Light! Light!

I guess I have always been a little obsessed with light. My older siblings tease me that when I was a toddler, I would point to the big chandeliers that hung in our church and say over and over again, “Light! Light! Light!” To this day, one of my favorite things about the holiday season is the multicolored lights that adorn houses and trees all over my neighborhood. It just makes me happy to see so much color and light everywhere. Candlelight service on Christmas Eve is also one of my favorite holiday traditions. There’s something magical about hundreds of candle flames illuminating the sanctuary of a church as everyone sings “Silent Night. Holy Night.” That song almost commands stillness, something that is often lacking this time of year.

Last year I attended a drumming circle on December 21, the Winter Solstice, led by Rev. Lawrence Palmer of Unity of Pompano. He pointed out something that I had never thought about. In nature, as the days get shorter and shorter, most of life slows down and goes within. Many animals hibernate during the cold winter months. Humans, on the other hand, get busier with shopping, cookie baking, card writing, and holiday parties. No wonder we are exhausted and feel depleted this time of year!
Here’s my invitation to you. Don’t wait for the evening of December 24 to slow down and be still. Set some time aside to light a candle or turn on the lights of your Christmas tree if you have one, and then just stare at the flame or lights. Allow yourself to get lost in the light and forget about everything else. Simply breathe and be present. I know you have a lot to do, and this may seem like a waste of time, but I promise it will be worth it. You will have clarity to let go of the things that are not important and more energy to do the things that are if you stop and let that light fill you up from the inside out. 

Some of you may be experiencing heavy feelings in your heart right now. Perhaps you lost a loved one, a job, or a significant relationship this year. Maybe you are struggling with health, finance, housing, or transportation issues. Your ego is quick to tell you that everyone else is having a wonderful holiday season with friends and family while you are the only one suffering. The ego is such a liar! No matter what month it is, we all have times when we feel lonely or overwhelmed. If this happens to be one of those months for you, I invite you to find that house or yard in your neighborhood that has a ridiculous amount of lights on display. You know exactly the one I’m talking about. Take a walk or drive by that house and stop to look at the lights. Now imagine that each one represents a fond memory with a loved one and see if some of those memories come flooding back. Or imagine each light represents a new opportunity for health, romance, abundance, or friendship. Then let some of those ideas light up in your mind like those tiny light bulbs. I truly believe that the Universe has more ways to help us experience peace, love, and joy than lights on that house. When we get locked into thinking it has to come from one particular source, we exclude all those other light bulbs!

If I can help shine light on your circumstances with Life Coaching or Family Constellations, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Gift certificates are also available for all services on my website. Contact me with any questions you may have about purchasing one. I will close with one of my favorite quotes about Christmas from A Course in Miracles.

The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in the darkness.  See it not outside yourself, but shining in the Heaven within, and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come.

It’s your time. May the light of the holiday season illumine your heart.

Joy in the Sky!

It’s no secret that one of my favorite places to experience joy is Walt Disney World. I recently took a quick trip to Orlando to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. If you want to get in the Christmas Spirit, there’s nothing quite like being on Main Street, USA all decked out for the holidays while “snowflakes” fall all around you. Even though it has been over 16 years since I worked there, lots of fond memories drift back into my mind like those Disney snowflakes whenever I visit. Being a Toy Soldier in the Christmas Parade during my very first year is definitely one of them. Their gleaming red plastic bodies and the sound of their heavy black boots stomping in time down the street were always a crowd favorite. I have to say the Toy Soldiers in the parade this year had a much tougher routine than the one we learned in 1993. Nice job, “Toy Boys,” as they were affectionately called in the Parades Department.
Since I have been on the spiritual path, I have added another dimension to my joyful experiences at Disney Theme Parks and elsewhere. Before I go, I set the intention that all of the joy I personally experience will be radiated out to the collective consciousness. It may sound silly, but I truly believe it has increased the amount of joy I experience wherever I go, not to mention the number of miracles that happen. Planting rose quartz crystals all around the four theme parks has been a fun ritual to help with that intention. I love thinking about all the joy and laughter that gets added to the web of love on a daily basis.
I’ll let you in on another one of my secrets to experiencing more joy while visiting a Disney Theme Park. Whenever I watch fireworks, I imagine that each burst of color in the sky lights up the heart of someone somewhere on the planet who is experiencing some form of darkness or sadness. I invite you to try it for yourself this New Year’s Eve or whenever you see fireworks, and notice how much more you enjoy them. It’s a beautiful visual that often makes my eyes leak a little bit. This past weekend, however, my eyes leaked more than a little bit.
In December, EPCOT adds a special holiday section to their nightly fireworks spectacular. The song “Let There Be Peace on Earth” plays as red, green, and gold fireworks burst in the sky above World Showcase Lagoon. I first heard this song not in a New Thought church, but at Disney World in 1993. It was the closing song in a Christmas Show that used to be performed every year at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The entire cast (well… those with hands instead of paws or hooves) learned the lyrics in American Sign Language and would sign the words to the song as they sang them. The Toy Soldiers were in this show, so I learned it too. I distinctly remember how deeply those words touched me, and how good it felt to sing them with my friends and fellow cast members as we lined the perimeter of that huge ballroom. I was surprised the first time I heard the song at Unity on the Bay in Miami years later. My first thought was, “How did they get this Disney song?” Now, just like the ending of that Christmas Show, it’s one of my favorite parts of any Unity or Center for Spiritual Living service. It makes my heart smile to see all those people of diverse ethnic backgrounds holding hands while singing about Peace on Earth.

As I watched the kaleidoscope of color in the sky, the power and intention of that beautiful song, magnified by thousands who were at EPCOT that night, washed over me. I continued to hold the vision that each burst of color lit the heart of someone who was suffering. The music built steadily to a crescendo, and the fireworks shooters went crazy! There were more bursts of light in the sky than I had seen in any fireworks finale previously. The entire night sky seemed to be illuminated with dots of light that joined into one gigantic flash of light. In that moment there was only one light, one mind, one heart, and all was well. Needless to say, this experience left me speechless and teary eyed. With the final thunderous booms and a cheering crowd, the message was literally loud and clear. When we align our intentions with the greater good, Spirit delivers a joyful experience beyond our wildest imaginings. (Click HERE to watch a video of the finale.)

Are you or someone you love having a difficult time this holiday season? With all the energy and activity swirling around, it’s not unusual for the holidays to be a dark time for some. Give the gift of Light. Treat yourself or a loved one to a Life Coaching session or series of sessions. You can experience more joy and more miracles in your life every day. I base all of my Life Coaching on the strong principles found in A Course in Miracles. It is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Family Constellations is a gift you give to yourself and your entire family. You will be amazed by what happens in these sessions. Private sessions are available in person, via Skype and telephone, or set your intention to attend one of my workshops in January. Gift certificates are available for all Life Coaching and Family Constellations sessions. Simply purchase a service on my website and then send an email to john@PeaceThroughOneness.com with the recipient’s name, email or mailing address, and what you are celebrating.

Until next time, let the light of the holiday season shine away any darkness in your heart so the joy that lives there can come out and play.

Happy Holidays!