A Surprise Gift from Mom

I received a surprise gift from my mother a few days before Christmas. It was surprising because my mother laid her body aside in April of 2011. Even though she has not been here in physical form for several Christmases, I still feel her loving presence around me. This was not the first time she found a way to send me a gift from beyond. A few years ago on my birthday, she orchestrated a free ice cream for me and three friends at Disney World. There were many clues that let me know it was her. This time it was a Christmas message that was perfectly timed.

My dear friend Maggie was visiting from California this week for the holidays. In some ways, this woman reminds me a lot of my mother. Just like my mother, Maggie and I love to tease each other, and we also have wonderful heart to heart conversations. Since Maggie was still adjusting to Central Time, I wasn’t sure she would want to join me for the Sunday morning A Course in Miracles group before the 11 AM service at Unity of Houston. I had no attachment to going, but Maggie was a trooper and got up early so we could make it. I’m so grateful we did!

As we do every week, the group picked up where we left off the previous week and each participant took a turn reading a paragraph. This week we happened to be reading “Teaching and Healing” in Section IV of Chapter 5 in the text. When the person began reading the words in the last paragraph my eyes started filling with tears. I couldn’t believe the timing. This was the very paragraph I read at my mother’s Celebration of Life service seven years ago. The gift of Maggie sitting next to me in that moment was not lost on me. My mother was reminding me that she hadn’t really gone anywhere. Her love is always around me and our heart connection will never die.

Below is the paragraph I shared at my mother’s service. It felt like the perfect way to honor her with words from the teaching that continues to bless my life in miraculous ways:

How can you who are so holy suffer? All your past except its beauty is gone, and nothing is left but a blessing. I have saved all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had. I have purified them of the errors that hid their light and kept them for you in their own perfect radiance. They are beyond destruction and beyond guilt. They came from the Holy Spirit within you, and we know what God creates is eternal. You can indeed depart in peace because I have loved you as I loved myself. You go with my blessing and for my blessing. Hold it and share it, that it may always be ours. I place the peace of God in your heart and in your hands, to hold and share. The heart is pure to hold it, and the hands are strong to give it. We cannot lose. My judgment is as strong as the wisdom of God, in Whose Heart and Hands we have our being. His quiet children are His blessed Sons. The Thoughts of God are with you. ACIM- T-5.IV.8

As we bring 2018 to a close, may you remember all your kindnesses and every loving thought you ever had. Let them carry you into the New Year making 2019 your best year yet!

P.S. If you could use some assistance in making 2019 your best year yet, it would be my great honor to give you the support and tools you need to make that happen. Give yourself the gift of a 3, 6, or 12 month series of Life Coaching sessions to help you move through a particularly difficult time and closer to the life of your dreams. All of my sessions are based on the strong principles found in A Course in Miracles and other New Thought Teachings. Look around my website or send me an email for more information and to schedule a session.

Not Your Typical White Christmas

Like many of you, I enjoy Christmas music, but you won’t catch me singing “Let it Snow” or “White Christmas.” This former Florida boy is not a fan of cold weather and snow. I experienced plenty of both in Upstate New York during the first 21 years of my life. These days, my kind of White Christmas is a white, sandy beach next to the rolling waves of a turquoise ocean. However, this week I had a different kind of white Christmas present.

My car had not been washed in quite a while and needed a bath very badly. I opened the Yelp app on my phone and found a car wash not far from where I live that had received good reviews. When I arrived, a nice woman came out of the office to ask which service I wanted, then told me to meet her inside to pay. Once I paid, she invited me to take a seat in the very contemporary and nicely furnished waiting room.

I took a seat by the window to watch the progress of my car and didn’t notice the white cat sleeping on a chair very close to me. When another woman came into the waiting room, the cat awoke and jumped onto the bench next to her. This sudden action startled both of us. The woman reluctantly pet the cat a few times and then it made its way over to the man sitting next to her. He was busy looking at his phone and the cat made itself right at home on his lap before he knew what was happening. There was an awkward expression on his face as he told us that he was allergic to cats but apparently was too kind to push it away.

I tried to assist this man by making the universal cat attention-getting sound “psss psss psss psss.” I also rubbed my fingers together near the ground hoping the cat would come to me. Anyone who knows cats knows this was probably a lesson in futility. Most cats only do what they want to do when they want to do it. To my surprise, this sweet kitty looked me in the eyes, jumped off the man’s lap, and walked right over to me. It immediately began rubbing its face on my legs and allowed me to stroke its head and body.

The accompanying photos tell the rest of the story. Before I knew it, this little white ball of fur jumped up onto my lap, nuzzled my nose, cuddled up next to me, and fell asleep. I couldn’t believe how fast this all happened. What struck me most was the love and implicit trust this cat showed me in less than five minutes. To me, this is what A Course in Miracles describes as “a holy instant,” and it was a Christmas gift I won’t soon forget. 

The car washers finished cleaning and drying my car much too quickly. I carefully lifted my new friend off my lap and placed her back on the chair where she started. I gave her a gentle rub behind the ears and thanked her for the gift she gave me. I will definitely go back to Aqua Hand Car Wash on Montrose Avenue in Houston. Not only did they do a great job of washing my car, one particularly tiny team member touched my heart. This year I might actually be dreaming of a White Christmas or at least a white Christmas gift.

May your Holiday Season be filled with Holy Instants!

Blessings,

John

“Can you imagine what it means to have no cares, no worries, no anxieties, but merely to be perfectly calm and quiet all the time?”

Chapter 15 – “The Holy Instant” from A Course in Miracles

P.S. If you’d like to have more holy instants and less stress in 2019, why not consider giving yourself the gift of a series of Life Coaching sessions. I have created 3 new packages to give you the tools and support you need to make lasting change. Family Constellations is another great tool to help you uncover what might be preventing you from the happy life you were meant to live. Life Coaching and Family Constellations Sessions can be done in person, by phone, or via the internet from anywhere in the world. Look around my website for more information about both of these life-changing opportunities or send me an email to book a session.

An Unexpected Ride at Disney World

Have you ever been on that ride at Disney World where you get in an elevator, the door closes, and unexpected things happen? No, I’m not talking about the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at the Disney Hollywood Studios. I’m talking about the elevator to the loading platform for the Astro Orbiter in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom. What was supposed to be a rather insignificant part of the attraction turned out to be one of the highlights of my recent visit to Disney World.

It was a very chilly day, so the wait time was unusually short for this ride that lifts guests 60 feet in the air in rockets orbiting colorful planets. We rode the elevator to the loading platform, and when it was our turn, we crammed ourselves into a rocket that was definitely not designed for two adults. We noticed another couple struggling too and it was quite comical. Once the ride started the view from up there was spectacular. When the ride ended we pried ourselves out of our rocket and headed for the elevators.

No one instructed us which elevator to take or how many people it could carry so we simply boarded the nearest one. A family of four followed us. The elevator door tried to close behind them but it hit the grandmother’s backpack as she leaned over to talk to her granddaughter. The door re-opened with a thud! Her son advised her to step in further so the door could close, but unbeknownst to us, it must have been knocked off its track. The elevator lowered about six inches and then stopped.

After a minute or two, the young woman operating the elevators pressed her round face to the glass window and shouted, “Is everybody ok? We know you’re stuck. Help is on the way.” Luckily, none of the 13 people in that elevator were claustrophobic. We were going to be there a while.

The atmosphere in the elevator was actually quite light. The granddaughter, who was probably about 5 years old, suggested we all hold our hands up and use our magic to open the door. I liked this plan! My guess is she will be a Science of Mind or ACIM student one day because she already knows the power of positive thinking. Sadly, our magical powers were not strong enough to open the door.

While we waited several other escape plans were suggested. The most obvious, hitting the “open door” button, only caused the door to open an inch or two. Another little girl told her dad to stick his hand in the small opening and force the door open. Although I applauded her faith in her father’s muscle power, the door kept opening and closing by itself. It probably wasn’t the safest idea if he wanted to keep all ten of his fingers.

After several more minutes, our round-faced elevator operator popped back into the window to tell us not to worry. She had called someone to get us out. The grandmother yelled, “Who did you call? Has this happened before?” We all laughed. She clearly wanted to know what the plan was to get us out. The conversation then turned to how Disney would compensate us for this inconvenience. The guy behind me chimed in, “I better at least get a churro out of this.”

Well, the fire department eventually showed up with an ax and a crowbar to get that door back on track. It sounded like it took quite a bit of effort, but once they succeeded, the elevator began an excruciatingly slow descent until it stopped a little below the first floor. By now a half hour had passed. Granted, it wasn’t as dramatic as the Chilean mining accident of 2010, but we thought perhaps there would be a cheering crowd when we finally emerged. No. They had cleared the area. Only a group of Disney supervisors were there to give us bottled water and collect our information. It was very anticlimactic.

So why was this one of the highlights of my trip you might ask? Well, for one thing, nothing like that has ever happened to me at Disney World. It was fun to have a brand new experience. Not only that, being trapped in an elevator for 30 minutes provided a very unique opportunity for connection. My partner likes to tease me that I’m always looking for ways to connect with people. He’s right. I love people. Perhaps my years of studying A Course in Miracles and its thought system of undoing the ego has slowly re-wired my brain to search for connections rather than give in to the ego’s constant search for separation. In addition, my work with Family Constellations has taught me how much more alike we are than different, so I enjoy discovering those commonalities.

True, it could have been very unpleasant had any of the passengers freaked out or been focused on why Disney shouldn’t have let that happen. Instead, we used our mental energy to entertain and support one another while trying to come up with a solution. We may never know why it happened, or what the ripple effects of that experience might be. I don’t even know the names of the people on that elevator, nor did I get a churro, but I did get an experience of laughter and camaraderie that I will never forget.

Wishing you unexpected joy this holiday season,

John

P.S. If you’d like to make 2019 your best year yet but are feeling lost, overwhelmed, or stuck, why not consider giving yourself the gift of a private Family Constellations session. During these sessions, you will uncover what might be preventing you from the happy life you were meant to live. Sessions can be done in person, by phone, or via the internet from anywhere in the world. Look around my website or send me an email for more information and to book a session.

I have also created three new Life Coaching packages to give you the tools and support you need to make lasting changes. Give yourself or someone you love the gift of transformation with a 3, 6, or 12 month Coaching package and watch miracles happen. More information about these packages can also be found on my website.

Celebrating a Great Dreamer

Walt Disney was born on December 5, 1901. I was so happy to have been in Florida at Disney World on December 5 this year to celebrate his birthday. To honor him, I planted a few of my signature rose quartz crystals in the flower beds around the “Partners” statue in the Magic Kingdom. That’s the statue in front of Cinderella’s Castle where Walt is holding Mickey Mouse’s hand. I joined the long line of people waiting to get a photo in that iconic spot wondering how many of them knew it was Walt’s birthday.

When I approached the statue I tossed the rose quartz into the surrounding poinsettias and said a prayer of gratitude to this man for all the joy he has given to the world and to me personally. Walt was a visionary and a master storyteller. He opened people’s hearts with his stories and beloved characters while weaving in lessons of courage, hope, inclusion, and love. Those same lessons are present in the attractions and shows at Disney Theme Parks around the world.

Speaking of theme parks, the 7 years I worked in the Entertainment Department at Disney World were some of the most joyful of my life. I cherish the memories and friendships I made during that time and I consider it a unique gift and privilege to have been part of the magic.

Whether you are a fan of his movies and theme parks or not, you can’t deny the impact this man had on the world. If you know his story, you also know before the success of Mickey Mouse and Disneyland, Walt had more than his fair share of hard times and failures. Despite those early setbacks, he held to his vision and assembled a team that not only believed in his vision but also in him. His remarkable charisma, strong vision, and unsinkable tenacity helped him create a legacy that is still creating magic and joy 52 years after his death.

So whatever it is that you’re dreaming of, I encourage you to follow Walt’s example. Get a clear vision of what you want and how it can benefit others. Assemble a team of “partners” that share your vision and can help you bring it to life. And whatever you do, don’t give up if things don’t work out right away. Keep dreaming! As Disney’s Cinderella sings to her animal friends, “No matter how your heart is grieving. If you keep on believing. The dream that you wish will come true.”

With Love and Disney Magic,

John

P.S. If you’re looking for a teammate and accountability partner who believes in you, it would be my great honor to give you the support and tools you need to make lasting change. Make this year different. Give yourself the gift of a 3, 6, or 12 month series of Life Coaching sessions to help you move through a particularly difficult time and closer to the life of your dreams. All of my sessions are based on the strong principles found in A Course in Miracles and other New Thought Teachings. Look around my website or send me an email for more information and to schedule a session.

A Yoga Mat Miracle

My mother made her transition over 7 years ago, but once in a while a wave of grief still sneaks up on me. That happened just the other day in the middle of my yoga practice. A memory of my mom flashed in my mind and tears started leaking from my eyes. It’s not uncommon for emotions to surface when I’m twisting on my yoga mat. I guess all that deep breathing creates the space for those residual feelings to break loose.

I started thinking about how much I missed that “shady ol’ lady” as we affectionately called her in her later years. At the age of 75, she bravely moved from Upstate New York where she had lived most of her life to make a fresh start near me in Florida. Unfortunately, she brought some of her old life with her. When she started drinking again I was devastated. Her struggle with alcoholism and aging made those last 6 years incredibly difficult for both of us.

Despite the challenges, those 6 years also provided some of my most precious memories with her. My mother and I spent a lot of time together and I learned many things about her life that I never knew. We laughed all the time and had more inside jokes than we could count. It was such a gift to have the opportunity to mend the broken bond her drinking had caused during my childhood. I certainly do not wish her back into her body that was failing her or her mind that was plagued with pain and regret, but that day on my yoga mat I felt myself longing for one more meal or conversation with her. No more suffering, but I wanted just a little more quality time with her.

No sooner had I thought that thought when I heard a voice inside my head say, “All we have now is quality time.” The truth of that statement really hit me. A few years prior to my mother’s passing a friend shared this pearl of wisdom with me based on her experience with her own mother. She told me, “Once your mother goes all the yucky stuff will go away and only love remains.” She was right. In that moment, all of the challenging stuff was gone and I felt my mother’s love all around me. My tears immediately stopped and I was able to finish my yoga practice with a smile. It truly was a yoga mat miracle.

Miracles can happen anywhere, not just on yoga mats. I would be honored to help you experience more miracles in your life and move through any challenging situation that is causing you stress. Through the miracle of technology, Life Coaching sessions or a Family Constellations session can be done from anywhere in the world. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information or to schedule a session. Gift certificates are also available in electronic or paper form.

Until next time, keep breathing and stretching whether you’re on or off a yoga mat. A miracle is waiting for you!

“Miracles are natural. When they do not occur something has gone wrong.”
Miracle Principle #6 from A Course in Miracles