Off to a Great Start!

Here we are at the end of another year ready to begin a new one. I have a theory that how we start the new year sets the tone for the entire year. It’s based on the same idea that how we start our day sets the tone for our whole day. Do you jump out of bed when the alarm clock goes off and run from activity to activity all day? Or do you wake up gently and allow yourself time to ease into your day? Do you check your phone or email right away to see what’s going on in the outside world, or do you take a few minutes to check in with you and find out what’s going on in your inner world? When I check in with John first, I feel much better prepared to handle whatever is happening in the outside world. Whatever is going on out there can wait fifteen or twenty minutes.
Each day, the first thing I want to feed my mind is something peaceful and loving, so I read a section or the lesson of the day from A Course in Miracles. Once those beautiful words have been planted in my mind, I begin a fifteen or twenty minute meditation. I put my earbuds in, set the timer on the meditation app on my iPhone, resist the temptation to read any new text messages, then open my meditation playlist to allow soft, celestial music to play in my ears for the next fifteen minutes. Sometimes I let myself stay in that mode for a few minutes after the bell chimes if I’ve had trouble quieting my thoughts early on or if I feel like I want a little more time immersed in the Love of God. That’s how I think of meditation. I leave my worldly concerns behind for a while and join with the Light. When I emerge I feel calm, refreshed, and ready to start my day.
On the rare occasion that I don’t have time to do this, I definitely notice the difference. Even small things can irritate me. Just the other day I had to get up very early to catch a flight home from Houston. I did not make time to read anything in the Course or meditate that morning. When I arrived at the airport I found myself quite annoyed that my flight was delayed just ten minutes. Sitting on the runway for an extra forty minutes in a center seat with a crying toddler behind me certainly did not improve my mood. Because of the delays, I literally had to run off the airplane and get right back on another one. I was so tired and aggravated I could barely muster up a little gratitude for the fact that the gates were right next to each other or for the blessing that I made my connecting flight! The little gratitude I had soon faded once the second plane filled up and the smell of sour milk reached my nose. I don’t know what caused the odor, but I had to breathe through my coat for much of the flight. I was not a happy passenger. Had I made time for my peaceful morning practice, I think I would have been much better able to deal with the challenges that day.

I invite you to take a moment to consider how you start your day. Do you have something inspirational to read by your bedside? Do you have at least five minutes in the morning to be still and see yourself immersed in Light? Now take a moment to think about what you have planned for New Year’s Eve. Are you doing something you love with people you love? Are you doing something out of obligation? How will you feel in the morning after those activities? Is that how you want to start the new year? What do you have planned for New Year’s Day? If you want to experience something different in your day and in 2018, all you have to do is make a few different choices. Don’t worry if you miss a day or can’t start on the first of January. Whenever you choose peace you are off to a great start! 

I love this quote from A Course in Miracles about the New Year:

So will the new 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.

Would you like to begin the new year in joy and freedom? If you live in South Florida, please join me for Family Constellations on Saturday, January 6 from 2-5 PM at Urban Namaste in Fort Lauderdale. If you can’t be there, consider scheduling a private session in person, by phone, or via Skype. To help you have the best 2018 possible, I am offering a 30% discount on private sessions if you make the purchase before January 7. That brings the price down to $105 for a ninety minute session. Those sessions will be scheduled after January 7 when I return to Fort Lauderdale. For those in the Houston area, I have a few appointments available January 2, 3, and 4. Go to my website to take advantage of this very special offer. Please send me an email once you make your purchase so we can schedule your appointment. You will be amazed at what is revealed and healed during these powerful sessions.

Life Coaching is another great way to give yourself a fresh start in 2018. Take advantage of the current rates before they go up on January 1. You can sign up for a single one hour session or give yourself the gift of a four, six, or eight week coaching package. Read what others have to say about their experience on the testimonials page of my website. I would be honored to work with you if you’re ready to take some action steps towards the happy and healthy life you were meant to live. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me by email.

Wishing you a great start to each and every day and to the New Year!

Love, Miracles, Elves, and Pizza

Like everything, there are good things and bad things about the entity known as Facebook. Last week I was very happy when Facebook reminded me of a wonderful day I had four years ago. It brought such a smile to my heart that I felt inspired to share the story with all of you: 

When I said “yes” to be an elf with Unity on the Bay I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Somehow I knew it would be me receiving the gift today when a group of us from church donned elf hats and brought a holiday pizza party to the Emily C. Moises Day Training Center for adults with disabilities. I truly believe the beautiful souls I met today are angels on earth sent to remind me what is truly important, and that’s exactly what they did. 

When we first arrived I met a woman who serenaded me by singing the entire song “Stand By Me” as well as other Christmas carols and poems she was making up on the spot. This woman did not miss a beat! After her lengthy performance, the pizza arrived and we began passing out slices to all the guests. I called on the Spirit of Christmas to help me resist my pizza addiction. I wanted to make sure there were plenty of slices for all the guests and hardworking staff members. However, one young man must have read my mind. When I sat down with his group to talk with them he slid me a plate with a slice on it and insisted I partake. He did not speak a word, but it was very clear he was not taking “no” for an answer! How could I refuse? I didn’t want to be rude. Later, while I was talking to another guest, this same young man walked by me, stopped suddenly, put his head on my shoulder for a few moments, and then continued walking. No words were needed. My heart melted with this simple act of trust and unconditional love.

There was another sweet lady that I had a special connection with. She had some form of paralysis which made it difficult for her to speak, and when she did, I discovered that she only spoke Spanish! I took Spanish in high school, and living in South Florida has given me a few opportunities to practice, but by no means am I fluent in the language! Despite our communication challenges, we connected through our eyes, my limited Spanish, and by dancing and singing to “Feliz Navidad.” 

When we were done dancing, my new friend wanted to show me some photos from Halloween on her iPhone. In one of the photos she was dressed like a fairy princess. (Yes, I was a little jealous.) Then she insisted we have our picture taken together. One of the staff members did her best to take a picture with her iPhone, but she must have taken photography lessons from my mother. Our heads were cut off in almost every shot! We all had a good laugh over that. Eventually she got the one you see below.

After our photo session, the staff member and my new friend took me on a walk through their art gallery. Let me tell you, there are some talented artists at that center! The paintings were gorgeous! In fact, Bacardi is using one of these paintings as their holiday greeting card this year. As a thank you, Bacardi gave the center a nice check to buy more art supplies. That sounds like a win/win situation to me!

As the party wound down and my fellow elves were preparing to leave, the staff offered each of us a holiday decoration to take home with us. They had an assortment of Christmas Trees painted on wood frames created by the students in their arts and crafts class. I picked the Christmas Tree with the beautiful pink hearts and sequins in the photo below. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. When I asked who created it, the staff member looked on the bottom to see the name “Avigail” written there. I asked if she could point out Avigail so I could thank her personally. She looked around the large room and said, “There she is over there.” The woman she pointed to was my sweet “Feliz Navidad” friend! I’m not sure which is more miraculous, the fact that Avigail was able to create such a beautiful tree despite the paralysis which limits her motor skills, or the fact that out of all the trees I could have chosen, I picked hers. Since I basically started from scratch when I moved back to Florida last year, I don’t own any Christmas decorations. This is now my first one, and something tells me it’s going to be my favorite for a long time to come.

This story still touches my heart four years later. My eyes got a little leaky just reading it. I still have a lot to learn about unconditional love, but I will never forget that day or the beautiful souls who touched my heart. And yes, that Christmas Tree is still my favorite decoration.

You too can give a gift of love this holiday season. Gift certificates for Life Coaching and Family Constellations are available on my website.

Until next time, may your holiday season be filled with unconditional love, unexpected miracles, and pizza!

Miracle on 37th Street

I know what you are probably thinking. John, it’s Miracle on 34th Street, not 37th Street. There’s a reason why I changed it to 37, but that detail may not be the oddest part of this story. My miracle isn’t about proving the existence of Santa Claus, it’s about a parking ticket.

It was quite chilly here in South Florida on Monday morning, however, I did not let that stop me from doing my walk on the beach that day. I drove to the place where I usually park my car but there were no spaces available. This has been happening a lot lately due to the building under construction nearby. The contractors usually take all the available spots by 8 AM. I drove to another street where I often find parking but had no luck there either. Something told me to loop back around to the original street and I arrived just as someone was leaving a spot. Thank you!

Having lived on South Beach for many years, I’m pretty good at parallel parking. I maneuvered into the spot quite easily, careful not to bump the motorcycle parked directly behind me. When I got out to do my stretching I noticed that my back tire was a few inches onto the sidewalk. Oops. So much for my parallel parking skills. There is no curb on this particular road so the sidewalk is flush with the street. Rarely have I seen a pedestrian walking on that sidewalk, but I know I was technically parked illegally. My first thought was to move my car to be a good law-abiding citizen. Then another series of thoughts overruled this original one:
John, why are you so concerned about your tire being a few inches on the sidewalk? The contractors park haphazardly all along this street. Sometimes they are too close to the intersection or they completely block the mailbox. You’re barely on the sidewalk. This road is practically deserted and you’re only going to be here for an hour. Don’t be so OCD. Just leave the car where it is. It will be fine!

In the past one might have observed me getting back in my car to move an inch closer to the curb or to create a little more space between the car in front of or behind me. Was that ever really necessary? This time I decided to do things differently and just let it be. Well, you already know what happened. I returned to my car after my walk to discover a menacing white envelope under my windshield wiper containing a citation for parking on the sidewalk.

You might think I would have been fuming about this situation, but all I could do was laugh. The fact that I got a ticket after consciously making the decision to leave my car where it was just seemed hilarious. What made it even funnier was the amount of the fine: $37. Thirty-seven has been my lucky number since high school. Whoever doesn’t believe the Universe has a sense of humor isn’t paying very close attention.

My ego wanted me to berate myself for not taking time to move my car. It also wanted me to be angry at that parking enforcement officer who arrived just twelve minutes before I did. However, my utter state of disbelief in the ridiculousness of the situation and my uncontrollable laughter made both of those reactions impossible. Getting angry certainly wouldn’t have changed anything. Whether I was laughing or shouting, peaceful or angry, I would still have to pay the $37, so I chose peace and continued laughing. This was the miracle.

According to A Course in Miracles, anytime we choose peace over conflict, joy over anger, or love over fear, it’s a miracle. About six or eight months ago I got another parking ticket when the time on my meter ran out before I returned to my car. Despite my best efforts to let it go, on that day I assure you I was not laughing. The more I apply the principles of the Course to my life, the more I notice things that used to anger me a great deal are now barely a blip on the radar. These two quotes from the Course illustrate this beautifully:

For miracles are merely change of purpose from hurt to healing.
The holiest of all the spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love.

I am so grateful for these teachings that have literally changed my life. Believe it or not, I am also grateful for that parking ticket. It was a perfect example that I may not be able to choose what happens in my life, but I always have the power to choose how I will respond to what happens. Not only that, it gave me something to write about this week! 

Would you like to transform hurt to healing? Would you like to laugh at parking tickets? Would you like to experience more miracles in your life? It would be my great honor to help assist you. I offer Life Coaching sessions based on the strong principles of A Course in MiraclesFamily Constellations, and other New Thought teachings. I would be honored to help you choose peace no matter what is challenging you right now. You can schedule one single session, or choose one of my four, six, or eight week Life Coaching packages for a discounted price. In our weekly sessions, I will share tools and techniques that will help you see things from a different perspective so you too can respond differently. Sessions can be done in person, by phone, or via Skype.
Now is a great time to give yourself or someone you love the gift of miracles as prices for Life Coaching will go up in January. You can purchase gift certificates at the lower rates now through December 31, 2017. Please look around my website for more information.

Until next time, may your holiday season be filled with miracles and laughter!

Blessings are Falling!

I was in Virginia last week doing the work I love, Family Constellations. Although I have been to Serenity Farm at least four or five times now, this trip was intentionally different from previous visits. I scheduled only one workshop and fewer private sessions so there would be more time to enjoy the wonderful healing energy of the land and the amazing community of healers that gather there. There were delicious meals, deep conversations, and lots of laughter. We also shared our healing gifts with each other in the many different modalities we each practice. Our time together felt like a much needed soul battery recharge for us all.

One of the highlights for me was walking the land at Serenity Farm my first day there. The weather was much warmer than I expected so my hostess invited me on a little tour of the property to see what was new since my last visit. She was excited to show me the clearing in the woods in front of the main house where she envisions an outdoor chapel. The air was crisp and the smell of fallen leaves brought me back to the autumns of my childhood in Upstate New York. Our footsteps crunching in the ankle deep carpet of leaves sounded like we were marching on bags of potato chips. All of the sights, sounds, and smells added to the rich experience.

When we reached the clearing I immediately felt that familiar tingling sensation in my body that lets me know Spirit wants me to pay attention. Of course, I had my trademark rose quartz crystals with me so we sprinkled some all around the clearing. Afterwards, my hostess suggested we lay down in the leaves in the middle of the clearing and just look up at the sky. What a nurturing experience that was! I felt completely connected to and cradled by Mother Earth in the soft, crunchy leaves as I gazed at the beautiful blue sky above. Slight wisps of clouds floated by the opening in the trees. Some looked like angels. Others resembled dragons. A few just looked like clouds, but one looked to us like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Every once in a while a gust of wind sent another batch of brown autumn leaves wafting down around us like blessings from Heaven. My hostess and I giggled with delight like children. It was truly magical.

What a beautiful reminder that some of the best moments in life are not crammed full of activities. Simply laying on the ground and connecting with nature can be a profound experience that releases the joy that lives in our hearts. I’m so glad I gave myself the gift of spaciousness in my schedule last week so I could enjoy all that Serenity Farm has to offer. Infinite gratitude to my hostess, our friends, and all of the new friends I made last week. It wouldn’t have been the same without each and every one of you. I returned home feeling refreshed, renewed, and recharged.

Are you feeling disconnected and in need of a soul battery recharge? I would be honored to help you create more spaciousness and joy in your life by sharing some of the tools and techniques that have worked for me. I offer four, six, and eight week Life Coaching packages based on the strong principles of A Course in Miracles, Family Constellations, and other New Thought teachings. Now is a great time to purchase a session or sessions as a gift for yourself or someone you love. There will be a slight increase in Life Coaching prices after the first of the year, so take advantage of the lower rates now. Give the gift that will keep on giving…Peace! Gift certificates are available for all services on my website.

Until next time, I invite you to stop and take a moment to connect with nature in whatever way you can. Watch the clouds. Look at the moon. Gaze at the stars. Then let your heart open to the blessings that will surely float to you like autumn leaves.