A Family of Angels

Sometimes you only need one angel. Sometimes you need a whole family of them. Last week I went for my walk in Hermann Park a little later than usual. It was a bit hotter at noon, but that didn’t deter me. I put my earbuds in and let the dance music fill my ears to give me inspiration and energy to walk in the heat.

Since it was lunchtime, I noticed there were a few more people in the park. One family in particular caught my attention. It was a mom, a dad, their two elementary school-aged children, and a baby in a stroller. They were standing on the path about ten feet in front of me when all of a sudden each one put their hand out in front of them like a traffic cop signaling me to stop! (Okay, the baby didn’t, but everyone else did.) It seemed like an odd gesture to make to a stranger, but the frightened expressions on their faces told me it would be in my best interest to stop. I looked around for a snake or a rabid raccoon just as the little train that takes guests on a scenic tour of the park came out from behind the bushes right in front of me. Had I taken one or two more steps onto the railroad tracks that separated me from that family, I would have walked right into the train.

Now in my defense, that train usually isn’t running yet when I take my morning walk. I didn’t hear the whistle because I was listening to my music. After the train had passed and my heart resumed a normal rate, I thanked the family for saving my life. They laughed. True, I probably wouldn’t have died that day, but I could have been badly hurt had they not been there at that exact moment. Indeed, they were a family of angels.

That incident left me feeling unsettled but grateful. It reminded me that I am protected and guided in every moment, even when I’m not paying attention. Not that this is an excuse to be careless, but it feels good to know that no matter where I am or what’s going on, there is a Presence watching over me. I know the same is true for you, and you will feel much more peaceful if you know it too. Here is a beautiful suggestion from Lesson 183 in A Course in Miracles:

“Invite the angels to surround the ground on which you stand, and sing to you as they spread out their wings to keep you safe, and shelter you from every worldly thought that would intrude upon your holiness.”

If you need some assistance in getting in touch with your angels or a sense of safety and peace, consider signing up for my Life Coaching program called “The Pathway to Peace.” By the end of our 8-week journey together, you will have acquired an entire toolbox of spiritual tools with which to use whenever you feel unsafe or stressed. Please look around my website for more information and to register for this or other Life Coaching programs.

Until next time, may you feel the presence of angels guiding and watching over you in every moment.

An Empty Seat on Father’s Day

As it does most years, Father’s Day snuck up on me this year. I remembered it and then forgot about it many times until the day actually arrived, which is why I didn’t write about it last week. I only celebrated a handful of Father’s Days with my dad because he died in 1975. Because I have lived much more of my life without him, and since I don’t have children of my own, this holiday doesn’t stick in my mind.

I’m not sharing this to elicit sympathy. Of course, I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like had he lived longer, but life without my dad is mostly what I have known, so I don’t think about it much. My mom, my older brother and sisters, and even my mother’s longtime boyfriend did the best they could to fill that role when I was young. I felt very loved. Since then, many of my spiritual teachers have been like fathers to me, and for that I am extremely grateful.

That being said, in my adult years I never felt like I had much of a relationship with my father. That changed one special Father’s Day in 2002. That was the year I started regularly attending Sunday services at Unity on the Bay in Miami. The positive messages I was hearing from Rev. James Trapp along with the fun and uplifting music provided by the choir and music team were beginning to open my heart and mind even wider.

I showed up early on that third Sunday in June like I always did. It was standing room only if you didn’t get there by 10:45. I found an empty seat in the center section of the last row. The seat next to me was vacant too. As I pondered who might sit there, it occurred to me that perhaps that seat was for my dad. I didn’t think he would physically be sitting there, but his presence would be. I dismissed that thought as silly, knowing from past experience that one of the ushers would put someone in that seat after the meditation. To my surprise, that seat remained empty for the entire service. It might have looked empty, but I felt my father’s loving presence sitting there with me the whole time. My eyes are tearing up a little bit now just thinking about it.

From that day forward I have felt a connection with my dad like never before. I think he waited twenty-seven years for my heart and mind to open to that possibility. Ten years later, during my very first Family Constellation, I had another profound experience with my dad. Not only did it strengthen our connection, but it also released me from a false belief I didn’t even know I was carrying. That’s the miracle of Family Constellations. Even though I only knew my dad in the physical world a short time, I’m happy to say that today I feel his love and support behind me very strongly.

I know some of you reading this had a father with whom you did not feel safe or loved. Some of you may not have known your father. If that is the case, or if there was abuse of any kind, I understand why it might be difficult to imagine having any connection with him at all. However, I would encourage you to open your heart and your mind (like I did on that Father’s Day in 2002) to the possibility that the highest version of your dad wants to love and support you. This is the version that was never hurt by his life experiences. This is his true self that only knows pure, unconditional love. This is the version that wants to stand behind you when you’re ready. You are safe with this version.

Having facilitated or participated in hundreds of Family Constellations over the past six years, I have seen how accepting this love and support (no matter how challenging the relationship might have been) has healing ripple effects beyond what could be imagined. Closing your heart to one of your parents is like a jumbo jet flying with only one engine. You can do it, but you will fly much more efficiently and for longer distances with both engines. Let me be clear. This doesn’t mean you have to be in their physical presence. It is only an invitation to open a window in your mind and heart to allow unconditional love in so you can soar to new heights.

If you could use some assistance in this endeavor, I highly encourage you to try a group or private Family Constellations session. What happens in these sessions is usually beyond description and incredibly liberating. Most participants say that afterwards, they feel lighter and more at peace than they have in a long time. For more information or to set up an appointment, please visit my website or send me an email. I would be honored to help you open that window allowing you to live a happier, healthier, more prosperous life.

Until next time, be on the lookout for signs from your loved ones on the other side. Love is always trying to find ways to reach you!

“Communication is not limited to the small range of channels the world recognizes.“
A Course in Miracles M-25.2

E.T. Phone Home

Have you ever felt like an alien…like maybe your ship dropped you off on this planet and then forgot to come back to get you? Now you’re stuck here with people who don’t seem to understand you or think very differently from you. If you’re reading this email, you’ve probably felt that way at least once or twice in your life. Maybe more. When we start to explore our connection with Spirit and each other more deeply, the way we move through the world is often quite contrary to the way others do. That’s why it’s so important to find your “vibe tribe” as I like to call it.

A vibe tribe is a group of people with whom you can totally be yourself without fear of being judged. This past week I had the honor of being the guest facilitator at the Monday night A Course in Miracles study group at Unity of Houston. I’ve also started attending their Sunday morning group. These groups definitely feel like my vibe tribe. What a blessing to have a safe space to explore and discuss the unconventional concepts found in the Course. Every week someone expresses gratitude for being in a group where they don’t sound crazy. Although A Course in Miracles is a self-study course, it’s nice to have the opportunity to hear different perspectives and gain insights from others. Having these conversations made me realize how much I miss the Miracle Monday group I left in Fort Lauderdale. To all of those group members who read my weekly stories, I extend a great big wave of love to you from Houston!

A Course in Miracles may not be your thing, but something is, and there are others that share that interest. I encourage you to find them. It doesn’t have to be around a spiritual teaching. One of my best friends began a Meetup group in Fort Lauderdale to get together with other vegans to share food and recipe ideas. Another friend gets together at a different location every year with four of his college buddies. Their lives may have changed a lot, but they still enjoy being together to support one another and laugh about old times. Another dear friend plans an annual gathering with seven women she has known since kindergarten! I have had the pleasure of hanging out with these “Iowa Girls” on two occasions, and let me tell you, they know how to have fun! I’m hoping to become an honorary Iowa Girl one day, but so far no T-shirt.

There are many benefits to spending time with your vibe tribe. In addition to fun, laughter, and support, it’s an opportunity to let down your defenses and just be you. Whether you are aware of it or not, it requires a great deal of energy to keep your shields up or to be constantly “on guard.” Vibe tribes can also offer empathy and guidance. That’s why twelve-step recovery groups are so powerful. Who better to help you find your way than someone who has walked the path before you. When I lived in Orlando I attended an Al-Anon group that was tremendously helpful.

For some people that safe space is spending time with family, whether that’s biological family or family of choice. For others, it’s a sports team or going out with people from work. Whatever feels right for you, I encourage you to find your own vibe tribe so you can march to the beat of your own drums together. Meetup.com is a great place to find others in your area that share common interests. If A Course in Miracles is your thing, you can find a local study group on the Miracle Distribution Center’s website under “services.”

To my fellow Houstonians, you have an opportunity coming up this fall to find a vibe tribe and have an “Adventure in Faith.” Unity of Houston will be organizing small groups that will meet at people’s homes to discuss a preselected spiritual book. Look for more details on that coming soon. It was at an “Adventure in Faith” group at Unity on the Bay in Miami where I met the woman who introduced me to Family Constellations. That holy encounter changed the course of my life forever. Thank you, Michelle Blechner! Needless to say, I highly recommend joining a group this fall! If there’s a Unity Church in your area, be on the lookout. They might very well be organizing groups in their community too.

For an instant vibe tribe, I invite you to join me for an upcoming Family Constellations workshop. It sounds corny, but each time I facilitate a workshop, participants arrive as strangers and leave as family. Something miraculous happens that allows us to drop our shields and experience just how much more alike we are than different. Visit the calendar page on my website for information on my next group session, or Google “Family Constellations” to find one near you. It is a transformational experience like no other!

Until next time, don’t be overly concerned with “phoning home.” Just turn on your heart light and you will find others like you!

“Alone we are all lowly, but together we shine with brightness so intense that none of us alone can even think of it.” ~ A Course in Miracles T-13.X.14

A Healthy Dose of Nostalgia

The dictionary defines nostalgia as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” One of those happy places for me is what some call the happiest place on earth…Disney World. My seven years in the Entertainment Department there were some of the most joyful times in my life. At the risk of sounding cliche, it truly was magical. Not only did I love being in the parades and shows, I met some wonderful people who remain dear friends today. Whenever I look at photos from that time in my life it makes me smile. Just the other day I was feeling a little tired during my morning cardio walk so I selected my Disney Parades and Shows playlist on iTunes. As soon as the first few notes of the SpectroMagic Parade trumpeted into my earbuds those familiar tingles and a surge of energy ran all through my body and off I went!

Thinking fondly of the past is not a bad thing in moderation. In excess, it can be just as much of a trap as regretting the past and wishing it were different. We’ve all heard people reminiscing about “the good ol’ days.” Yes, some of those days were really good, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have good new days. If you are constantly looking behind you at something that already happened, you will miss what’s right in front of you today. It would be like walking into a room backward and hoping not to bump into the furniture, or as my friend Radleigh Valentine says, driving your car while only looking in the rearview mirror. You obviously wouldn’t do either of those things because you could get seriously hurt. The same is true when we can’t release the past. By the way, helping people to release the past with love is one of the most powerful benefits of Family Constellations.

Despite my recurring dreams about performing in a Disney Parade again, I know that time in my life is done. As fun as it was, I feel like I did everything I wanted to do there, including dancing in the Main Street Electrical Parade when it returned in 1999. I am grateful for all the ways that job prepared me to do what I do now. I probably wouldn’t have the confidence to stand in front of 250 people in a conference room at the Big Sky Retreat had it not been for my seven years at Disney World. After thousands of parades as a performer and float driver, hundreds of shows as a puppeteer, and countless hugs from kids and kids at heart, my soul was calling me to do something else. My journey led to me from Central to South Florida where I went to massage school, started attending a Unity church, found A Course in Miracles, and eventually learned to facilitate Family Constellations. It has definitely been an E-ticket ride since I left Disney, and one I could not have imagined or planned. Had I not released what was, and trusted that more fun and magic were waiting for me in the future, I would not have the rewarding life I have today as a Life Coach and Family Constellations Facilitator.

So go ahead and look back once in a while for a healthy dose of nostalgia if it gives you a smile or a boost of energy. But don’t stay facing that direction. Your happiness isn’t back there. If you don’t turn around you might miss the beautiful opportunities and blessings that are before you.

“For in the holy instant, free of the past, you see that love is in you, and you have no need to look without…”

A Course in Miracles T-15.V.9

Are you having a difficult time releasing the past with love because it was either really good or really difficult? Please look around my website or send me an email to schedule a Family Constellations session. You will be amazed at how quickly you can release something you have been carrying for years in just one session. I look forward to working with you and sharing this truly magical process.

Until next time, remember the good ol’ days might have been good, but you can make today even better!

When Two Worlds Meet

It’s amazing what can happen when we look for things we have in common rather than ways we are different. As I shared a few weeks ago, I’m not much of a sports fan, but I found myself at another baseball game at Yankee Stadium this week. It was the Yankees vs. the Astros, but I was not invested in any particular outcome other than having a good time with my family. Before the game, my sister’s husband took us down to an area behind center field called Monument Park. Although I did not know most of the players that were honored with plaques, I could feel the respect that was given to them. As anyone who has attended one of my Family Constellations sessions knows, it is very important to honor those who came before. In addition to the retired ballplayers, there were also plaques honoring Nelson Mandela, a visit by Pope John Paul II in 1979 where he offered a mass for world justice and peace, and a tribute to the victims and rescue workers of 9/11. It was a beautiful way to honor the history of the team and the stadium. I was grateful for the opportunity to pay my respects to all of them with my trademark tiny rose quartz crystals. Two worlds intersected with love and respect.

This experience reminded me of a similar one that happened ten years ago while I was staying with a friend on Long Island. My friend was an Interfaith Minister, and when two Mormon missionaries showed up at her door a few days before my arrival, she invited them to come back for lunch. She felt compassion for these teenage boys who were so far from home and most likely longing for a home-cooked meal. And, knowing our diverse spiritual backgrounds, she thought the four of us would have an interesting conversation. She was right! When they first arrived, we exchanged pleasantries and then they jumped right into the Book of Mormon to share their beliefs. At the time, I had only been studying A Course in Miracles for about a year and a half so I was quite eager to bring out my copy and share my beliefs with them. As you can imagine, the conversation became awkward and uncomfortable very quickly.

Luckily, lunch was ready soon. We adjourned to the dining room where we all sat down to have a nice bowl of chicken soup. Before we ate, my friend spoke a beautiful blessing over our food and our time together. Her invocation of the power of love shifted something. We started talking about the things we had in common, where our beliefs intersected, and how good the chicken soup was! Miraculously, any tension from the previous conversation dissipated, and the four of us enjoyed a wonderful lunch. I will never forget that powerful lesson. When we try to convince someone that our beliefs are correct, things will inevitably get tense. But when we share from the heart instead of the head, love connects us all.

Many say that we should never talk about religion or politics with those who disagree with us. However, in these divisive times, we probably need to talk about them more, but with an open heart and an open mind. As my friend Mary Morrissey says, waiting for someone else to stop talking so you can talk is not the same thing as listening. We learn much more by listening than talking. If we can agree to disagree without the need to be right, we might just experience a miracle. As one of my favorite quotes from A Course in Miracles so simply states:

Do you prefer that you be right or happy?

Are you having a challenging time with someone who insists that you’re doing it wrong? I would be honored to help you find harmony in that or any situation that is trying to take away your peace. Life Coaching and Family Constellations are both powerful tools that can relieve stress, repair relationships, and foster better health and abundance. Simply send me an email or look around my website for more information and to book a session.

Until next time, if you’d like to experience more love, peace, and harmony, I invite you to be more vigilant for ways we are alike than different. The results will be miraculous!