A Patch of Purple Flowers

Last week I wrote about my challenging travel day to New York City. Considering I also had delays due to weather in July when I flew to Virginia, I truly thought I had paid my dues for a while. Surely my luck would change and my trip home would be a breeze. Well, there were some breezes, but not the kind that got me home quickly.

After a weekend in New York, my partner and I took a bus to Pennsylvania to spend a few days with my family at Lake Wallenpaupack. We had a great time and managed not to injure ourselves too badly while being dragged around the lake on a knee board. When it was time to go home, I was not thrilled that we had to catch a bus before 9AM back to the city. That meant we either got to the airport very early or had to navigate the city with luggage before heading to La Guardia. Unfortunately the next bus at 2PM would not get us there in time to catch our evening flights home. I had been so focused on getting us to Pennsylvania that I hadn’t paid enough attention to the bus schedule for the return trip.
With no other options, my sister agreed to swing by our hotel and drop us off at the Sunoco station in downtown Hawley, PA about fifteen minutes before the bus was scheduled to arrive. After our goodbyes I decided to go inside the station to ask which side of the street the bus would be stopping. The nice woman behind the counter told me the bus stopped on this side of the street right by the little bench out front. As I was leaving she added, “You know the next bus isn’t until 2PM, right?”

I thought she was joking. It was no joke. I had failed to notice the 8:52AM bus into the city only ran on weekends and holidays. It was Thursday. Apparently this nice woman had made the same mistake, however this presented a little problem for us. How were we going to get to La Guardia in time for our flights? When I emerged from the gas station I sheepishly explained the situation to my partner. Ever the problem solver, he remained calm and immediately got on his iPhone to look into renting a car. He found one in minutes and happily exclaimed, “Well, now we don’t have to worry about getting to the airport from the bus station! We just need a ride to the rental car place.” The sister that just dropped us off had a full day of work so I contacted another sister who agreed to come rescue us.

While we waited for her to arrive I wondered what to do with our bus tickets. Should we try to get a refund? Should I give them to my sister who lives there? I couldn’t imagine her ever taking the bus to the city. The tickets expired in December. It was doubtful I would be back up there before then. That’s when I got a little nudge from Spirit to gift them to the nice lady behind the counter. She had saved us from waiting for a bus that would never come. She said she had taken the bus before so I knew she would use them. My partner agreed that this was the best solution, so I went back into the Sunoco station. At first she thought I was trying to sell them to her. When she realized I just wanted to give them to her she shrieked with excitement and reached over the counter to give me a big bear hug. That hug definitely shifted my energy from feeling bad about misreading the schedule to gratitude that my mistake was a blessing to someone else.

We had no problems driving into the city once the rental car company found and cleaned up a car for us. Luckily someone had just returned one because apparently their website allows people to rent cars even when they don’t have any to rent! Rather than risk more obstacles in the city, we decided to drive directly to the airport and see if we might possibly get an earlier flight. The thought of getting home early was very enticing. I believed with every fiber of my being that it was going to happen for both of us. After the horrible experience I had one week ago didn’t I deserve some good travel fortune?

Returning the car was easy, but getting to the terminal was a bit trickier. La Guardia is undergoing major construction so the shuttle could only take us so far. We had to get on another bus that took us to our terminal. It was about 12:30PM when we finally arrived at Terminal B. We went to our respective airlines to see what we could arrange. Due to the construction, signage is not great in that airport. When I finally found the JefBlue counter I was quite disappointed to learn that there were no seats available on any earlier flights. However, I was thankful that the ticketing agent was able to switch my center seat to an aisle seat in an exit row. That was something. Sadly, my gratitude vanished minutes later when I received a notification on my phone that my 7:30PM departure had been delayed until 9PM. Not again! I seriously considered going into the bathroom to cry. I was already exhausted and eight more hours in that airport seemed like more than I could endure.

There was nothing my problem solving partner could do to solve this problem. He didn’t have any better luck getting on an earlier flight, but his was scheduled to leave on time at 6:30PM. We had a nice lunch together at a restaurant in a newly remodeled section of the airport. Thank God for pizza. It never lets me down. After lunch we found a comfortable spot with cushioned chairs next to a phone charging station and a huge window overlooking the runway. This would be my home for the next six hours. Just like before, I knew I had to shift my thoughts or that six hours would feel like an eternity. I also knew that I had to allow myself to be frustrated and angry before I could move past those emotions. Being tired certainly did not help.

I tried not to be jealous when my partner left to go to his gate around 5 o’clock. However, for the first time that day timing was on my side. On Thursdays at 5PM EST my friend Radleigh Valentine does his show “Magical Things” on Hay House Radio. I don’t think I have ever been more grateful to have wifi and plenty of battery life. I knew hearing my friend help people shift from fear to love with his insights, wisdom, and silliness would help me to do the same. I was right! I felt so much better after listening and promptly sent him a message to thank him.
Of course nothing in my situation had really changed. My flight was still delayed and I was still stuck at the airport for at least 3 more hours. The only thing that changed was where I put my attention. But that’s all it takes to feel better. Suddenly I noticed a beautiful patch of purple flowers just outside the window where I was sitting. Next to a runway at a busy New York airport seemed like such an unlikely place for them to grow. I’m fairly confident those flowers did not grow while I was listening to “Magical Things.” They had been there all along, but because I was in such a foul mood, I hadn’t noticed them. Once my attitude changed I was able to see them. What a powerful reminder that beauty can be found everywhere if I have eyes to see it. That little patch of purple flowers was a miracle. They reminded me of one of Wayne Dyer’s most famous quotes:

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Continued thunderstorms in South Florida caused my flight to be delayed a few more times that evening. I used the time to catch up with friends via text message and also to practice the “Peace Begins with Me” mantra. I finally boarded the plane around 10PM and arrived safely in Fort Lauderdale close to 1AM. By the time I retrieved my luggage and used Uber to get home it was almost 2AM, about the same time I arrived at my hotel in New York City one week prior. I really hope I didn’t sign up for any more 2AM workshops on patience and acceptance! I think I got the lesson. A Course in Miracles says:

“Your passage through time and space is not at random. You cannot but be in the right place at the right time.”

Did I misread the bus schedule so the friendly woman at the Sunoco station would get a free trip to New York? Did I sit at that lounge in La Guardia Airport for six hours so I could learn to shift my thoughts until I was able to see those purple flowers? In addition to these questions, “Why is this happening?” popped up again. When it did I changed it as quickly as I could to a more powerful “what” question. What could I do differently in the future? It occurred to me that part of the reason I was so agitated by these delays was due to the fact that I had another busy weekend of commitments starting the very next day. Some were for work and some were for play, but now I see that I needed to give myself more down time. In the future I will be more mindful when planning my schedule. Perhaps it took these extreme experiences to get my attention to not do that again. Message received!

Are you having a difficult time seeing things from a different perspective? Life Coaching and Family Constellations are both excellent tools to help you do just that. It brings me great joy to help others live a more peaceful life by sharing the tools and techniques that have worked for me. Please look around my website for more information about these miraculous opportunities or send me an email with any questions you may have to John@PeaceThroughOneness.com.

Until next time, do your best to be mindful when planning your schedule and don’t forget to look for those purple flowers in unlikely places.

Peace Begins With Me

Why is this happening? I found myself asking this very disempowering question many times last week during my travels. There were severe thunderstorms just south and west of New York City the day I was scheduled to fly there. All flights into the city were delayed. I was supposed to land in New York around 8:30 PM but did not even get on the aircraft until about that time. Once we pushed back from the gate our plane sat on the runway in Fort Lauderdale for an hour and a half waiting for clearance from air traffic control to take off. When the plane landed in New York we sat on the runway for another half hour waiting for a gate. I was beyond tired when I finally got off that airplane around 12:30 AM at La Guardia Airport. Finding out that there was an 80 minute wait for a taxi into Manhattan was the last thing I wanted to hear at that hour. That question snuck in again. Why is this happening? Sadly, there was nothing I could do except join the throngs of passengers that were in the same predicament.

Well, almost nothing. Instead of asking the “why” question, I knew I had to shift my attitude of frustration and despair back to peace and acceptance. If I didn’t, that 80 minutes would feel like 80 years. Luckily, I remembered a little trick I heard Gabrielle Bernstein share during an “I Can Do It!” Conference a few years ago. She suggested that whenever something is trying to take away your peace, take a few deep breaths and begin saying this mantra over and over again either out loud or in your head:

“Peace begins with me.”
Gabby also recommended touching your thumb to one of your fingers with each word you say. For example, as you say “peace” touch your thumb to your pointer finger. As you say “begins” touch your thumb to your middle finger. As you say “with” touch your thumb to your ring finger. And finally, as you say “me” touch your thumb to your pinky finger. This simple physical and mental activity gives your mind and body something else to focus on. Little by little the truth of that mantra will sink into your consciousness and you will begin to feel better. It is a great way to remember that “peace begins with you” and is not dependent on outside circumstances.

I will admit at first I was resistant to doing this exercise. Apparently there was a part of me that wanted to stay aggravated. When that choice became too tiring, I took those deep breaths and began the finger touching mantra. As I repeated those words I began to relax. Peace slowly returned. As my walls of resentment came down I allowed myself to make eye contact with the woman in line in front of me. She told me that she had been trying to get from Tampa to New York since 8 AM that morning. Her flight had been diverted to Washington, DC where she sat for quite a while before getting another flight into New York City. When I heard that I shouted, “You win!” and we both had a good laugh. My new friend and I were extremely happy that the line moved more quickly than anticipated. I was in a yellow taxicab within 45 minutes having an experience very similar to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disney World. After a few thrills and many detours due to late night road construction, I finally arrived at my hotel near Times Square at about 2 AM. New York might be the city that never sleeps, but after the day I had, this guy was grateful to get some. I just wanted to start fresh and put that frustrating day behind me.

Little did I know that was only day one of a two day experiential “workshop” in patience and acceptance that I had apparently signed up for. My trip home one week later was even more challenging, but I will write about that and the miracles that happened next week. What I want to emphasize this week is how useless it was for me to ask, “Why is this happening?” That question will keep you feeling helpless and frustrated whether you are asking about something in your personal life or something you see on the news. “What can I do now? How can I improve this situation?” These are much better questions. They allow you to reclaim your power, be part of the solution, and move forward. Clear answers to these questions can only come when I am at peace. Decisions made from anger or frustration rarely turn out well. That is why it is so important to remember that peace begins with you. Here’s the great news about being at peace. Not only will you make better choices on how to proceed, you will feel better right away!

If you could use some help getting back to a place of peace it would be my great honor to help you by sharing the tools and techniques that have worked for me. I offer four, six, and eight week Life Coaching programs based on the strong principles of A Course in Miracles and other New Thought teachings. Please look around my website for more information about that as well as the miraculous process known as Family Constellations. Both can help you see things from a new perspective so you can return to peace.

Until next time, try this handy little trick whenever you are feeling stressed and remember: “Peace begins with you.”

(Click HERE to view a 3 minute video demonstration.)

A Cinderella Story About Shoes

A few weeks ago I almost committed a fashion faux pas. Who am I kidding? I commit those almost on a daily basis, but this one even I caught! All of the blue, grey, and black clothes that I usually wear for my beach walk were in the laundry, so I had to wear my army green bathing suit and a yellow t-shirt. Clearly the silver and blue sneakers I normally wear would not match those earth tones, so instead, I wore my new brown and black Sketchers. Those shoes are super comfortable because they have extra thick cushions in the soles. I had only worn them once, but decided it was okay to wear them for my beach walk that day. They wouldn’t get too beat up in just four miles.
Oh my gosh! I couldn’t believe the difference! My feet felt so good afterwards. My legs and back weren’t as achey later that day either. Why hadn’t I tried these shoes before? That’s a silly question. They didn’t match my outfits. I put a lot of miles on the old silver and blue sneakers. Pieces of tread had fallen off the bottoms, but they still held together, and I only wore them for my beach walk so why get rid of them? Little did I know what the lack of support was doing to my feet and the rest of my body! Meanwhile, I had a pair of perfectly good shoes sitting in my closet, but in the name of being “practical” I let them sit there. Looking back, I see that wasn’t very practical at all. I’m happy to report I never wore those old shoes again. Fashion police, look away! Now I wear the cushiony tan and black ones whether they match my outfit or not!

Is there something you have been saving for a special occasion? A bottle of wine? New shoes? New outfit? A piece of jewelry? Why not make it a special occasion by using or wearing it now? After all, now is the most special time we have in Truth. One of my favorite quotes from A Course in Miracles says:

“Be not content with future happiness.”

The Course is inviting us to be happy NOW, not some day in the future. In my humble opinion, I don’t believe Spirit knows anything about suffering or sacrifice. Those are ego devices meant to keep us from experiencing our true nature, which is peace, love, and joy. If we consistently choose peace, ask what love would do in any situation, and do things that bring us joy, we can indeed be happy right now. Isn’t that exciting?
If you could use some assistance in letting go of old thought patterns and beliefs that are hurting you like an old pair of sneakers, consider signing up for a four, six, or eight week Life Coaching package, or join me for an upcoming Family Constellations workshop. Both will help you feel like you just put on the most comfortable shoes you have ever worn. For more information about both and to read testimonials from those who have tried it, please look around my website.

Until next time, don’t be content with being happy someday in the future. I invite you to do something joyful today!