The Game of Life

Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending some sacred time with my friend, Maggie Cole, while she was here in Houston. Maggie is a long-time spiritual seeker and teacher, as well as a renowned Science of Mind Practitioner. Our conversations were rich, and I enjoyed every one of them. Maggie also happens to be a huge sports fan. In fact, shortening the word “fanatic” to “fan” does not seem appropriate when describing Maggie. That woman is fanatical about her teams!

But here’s the interesting thing about that. Maggie has not watched a live game in over a year. She records the games and only watches the ones she knows her teams win. This may seem peculiar, but there is a reason for this. A few years ago, Maggie was badly injured in a car accident. Her injuries included a broken arm and jaw. She wore a cast on her arm and her jaw was wired shut for months, preventing her from eating solid food and making it difficult for her to speak. Extreme discomfort and pain were accompanied by an inability to sleep. As you can imagine, she was pretty miserable.

It was her spiritual practice, her prayer partners, and her cat, Veronica, that got her through that painful time. The television was a welcome distraction, but when it came to watching sports, Maggie told me it was just too stressful and upsetting to watch her teams lose. She was using most of her mental energy to stay positive and to heal, so she had no extra energy to soothe herself if her teams took a beating. As an act of self-care, she decided to only watch the games they won. And so it began.

You might think Maggie would not enjoy the game as much knowing the outcome in advance, but let me assure you, that is not the case. I witnessed her watching a pre-recorded basketball game one morning in our living room and she cheered, smiled, yelled, and groaned at her Golden State Warriors as if they were playing live! In fact, I think she enjoyed the game more because she had the satisfaction of knowing the Warriors would be triumphant in the end. It occurred to me that this is actually a beautiful spiritual practice.

One of the many benefits I have received from studying A Course in Miracles is the knowledge that in the end, we all wake up from this dream of separation and remember our oneness with Source. We can’t mess it up no matter how hard we try! We can delay our awakening with choices that originate in fear, but according to the Course, we all get there in the end. In fact, we are already there. We just forgot. Lesson 292 in the Workbook for Students says:

A happy outcome to all things is sure.

I find that extremely comforting, don’t you? Like those pre-recorded games Maggie watches, you can enjoy the highs and lows of life without getting stressed about the outcome. Sure, you will have trials and tribulations, but if you keep making choices from love, they will pass. The question is, do you believe the Universe is a friendly place that has your back or do you believe life is hard and always a struggle? Of course, whichever you believe will color your experience and be true for you. I love this advice from Rumi:

“Live life as though everything is rigged in your favor.”

If you would like some assistance finding evidence that the Universe has your back and everything is rigged in your favor, please consider giving yourself the gift of a Life Coaching session or a series of sessions. I’ve added some new packages and pricing to fit your needs and budget. I would be honored to help get you through this difficult time. During our sessions, I will share some practical tools and techniques to help you experience more peace, love, and joy in your life. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information and to schedule a session.

Until next time, please remember these encouraging words from Sonny in the wonderful movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel:

“Everything will be all right in the end… if it’s not all right then it’s not yet the end.”

Spring Cleaning the Unconscious Mind

Spring is almost upon us. That means many of us will be tidying up our living spaces, perhaps following the advice of the petite but powerful Marie Kondo. If by chance you haven’t heard of her, Marie Kondo is a tidying expert, bestselling author, star of Netflix’s hit show, “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” and founder of KonMari Media, Inc. I love the simple question she asks her clients when helping them decide whether or not to keep an item: “Does it spark joy?”

Many of us keep things in our homes or in storage which do not spark joy in us. We site a variety of sentimental reasons why we are unable to let go of these items. That necklace belonged to my mother. My dad played golf every Saturday with those clubs. Those dishes have been in my family for generations. Certainly, remembering the loved one to whom those items belonged makes us smile, but what about the actual item that is collecting dust on the shelf or taking up space in the garage? Do they really spark joy or do we keep them as a way to stay connected to our loved ones? What if we found a different way to stay connected?

Recently while talking about my work, it occurred to me that just like Marie Kondo helps you tidy up your home, Family Constellations helps you tidy up your unconscious mind. You know you can inherit jewelry or dishes from your family, but did you know you can also inherit pain, sorrow, trauma, and anxiety? Even though these things are detrimental to our well-being, just like those material items, they keep us connected to our ancestors.

For example, if there is a break in the bond with our mother or father, we often recreate similar situations in our own lives as a way to be connected. Our unconscious mind says, “See how much I love you, mom or dad? I will do the same.” Children of alcoholics often become alcoholics or marry someone with a drinking problem. We might repeatedly experience betrayal in personal or business relationships if one of our parents was unfaithful or left the other. We may feel anxious for no apparent reason if an ancestor experienced a sudden tragedy and was not able to heal the trauma.

Now I can see clearly that I inherited some of my mother’s deep sadness during my formative years. Her father died in a swimming accident one month before she was born. Her first child was born much too early and only lived a few days. Her husband, my father, died from cancer at the age of 45. That is a lot of loss in one person’s lifetime. It’s understandable that my mom turned to alcohol to numb her pain.

Without knowing it, I took on some of her pain. It lived in me and kept us connected for many years until eventually, it became too much to bear. I began tidying up my unconscious mind with A Course in Miracles and later, Family Constellations. I released the deep sadness and focused instead on things that sparked joy, namely my mother’s incredible sense of humor and the unconditional love that we shared. What a relief to know we could be connected through love and joy instead of pain and sadness!

I invite you to take a look in the closet of your unconscious mind and do some spiritual spring cleaning. If you could use some assistance in this endeavor, it would be my great joy to help you tidy up. I offer private Family Constellations sessions in person, by phone, or computer as well as Life Coaching packages based on the strong principles found in A Course in Miracles and other New Thought teachings. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information and to schedule a session.

Until next time, remember, if it doesn’t spark joy it’s probably time to let it go!

The necessary condition for the holy instant does not require that you have no thoughts that are not pure. But it does require that you have none that you would keep. ~ A Course in Miracles – T-15.IV.9

Gentle with Myself

I’m giggling as I type this because the last time I wrote a story that involved a headache one of my friends teased, “Geez. John gets a headache and we all get an email about it.” It’s good to have friends that make you laugh and keep you humble. Well, Steven, I got another headache and you got another email about it. By the way, if you’d like to read the last story of how my headache led to a turtle miracle, click this link.

Unfortunately, there was no turtle this time, but there was a miracle. I woke up on Tuesday morning with a dull ache in the back of my head that seemed to be stemming from muscle tension in my neck. By the time I returned home from my morning appointments and errands, the pain had increased dramatically and was now accompanied by slight nausea.

I thought perhaps it was a hunger headache because I had skipped breakfast, but sadly, a healthy lunch did not help. Unable to concentrate on the work I needed to do, I decided it was best to lie down for a while. I put lavender oil on my temples and fired up my bean bag heating pad in the microwave to place under my neck. For my fellow A Course in Miracles students, I also remembered to ask Holy Spirit to remove the guilt buried deep in my unconscious mind which is the true source of pain, and then I took some ibuprofen. Thankfully, these remedies gave me some relief, but a lesser version of the headache still lingered.

My next thought was to soak in a hot bath with Epsom salt to release my muscle tension. That’s when my ego took the opportunity to remind me of the emails I needed to answer and the phone call I needed to make. It was getting late in the day, so I considered pushing past my pain to get some work done. Then I had a moment of clarity. Even if I did attempt to work, it would not be quality work. More importantly, why would I put emails before my health and well-being? Those emails and that phone call would have to wait until the next day. I had a date with Dr. Teal’s Lavender Epsom Salt in the tub. After a 45-minute soak, my headache and nausea were almost completely gone.

That may seem like the miracle, but the real miracle was when I shifted from fear to love. It was fear telling me it wouldn’t be okay if I didn’t get that work done. It was love reminding me to practice self-care. The next morning, when I felt better, I answered those emails and made that phone call, and everything worked out just fine.

If you would like some assistance shifting from fear to love around any circumstance in your life, please consider a series of Life Coaching sessions or joining me for Family Constellations this month. Both produce miraculous results! Look around my website or send me an email for more information and to schedule a session.

Until next time, no matter what’s going on, please take these loving words to heart from my talented friend Karen Drucker in her beautiful song, “Gentle with Myself.”

“I will be gentle with myself. And I will hold myself like a newborn baby child.”

Watch Out for that Boulder!

Have you ever felt like you were in that scene from Indiana Jones where the giant boulder is rolling towards Indy and there’s no place for him to get out of the way? I didn’t realize that’s how I felt until I took a week off in Florida last month. My calendar was very full during the first two months of 2019. Don’t get me wrong. I feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to facilitate three Family Constellations workshops over three consecutive weekends in January. Between workshops, I received more requests for private sessions than I could accommodate. What a great problem to have!

Not only did I have a lot to do for my own business, but I had quite a few responsibilities and deadlines looming over me as President of the Big Sky Retreat. Before I knew it, there was a very large boulder rolling toward me. For a few weeks, it felt like my only choice was to keep running or get flattened. I’m sure many of you can relate to that feeling, especially those who own their own business. It seems there is always something demanding attention. Taking a full day off can be challenging for me.

I am grateful that my partner reminds me to take a day off once in a while, and even more grateful that he suggested we take a trip to Fort Lauderdale the week of Valentine’s Day. What a different experience to not have anything on my calendar for an entire week! Well, that’s not entirely true. There were a few lunch and dinner dates with friends scattered throughout the week that we both thoroughly enjoyed. Some days, however, the only date we had was with a beach umbrella, our Kindles, and Mother Ocean. That spacious schedule along with the Florida sunshine and sea air helped me to step aside, take a deep breath, and let that boulder roll right past me.

If there’s a boulder chasing you, I highly encourage you to get out of the way by getting out of your everyday routine, even if it’s just for a day, a few hours, or a few minutes. Go visit a friend for the weekend. Take a walk in nature, read a book, or catch a movie. Meditate or take a nap for fifteen minutes. (If you’re like me, sometimes one turns into the other.) It may seem counterintuitive to take time off when there is so much to do, but I have learned that creating space in my schedule for rest and rejuvenation helps me to be more productive when I return to work. This week, not only do I feel more peaceful, but I have been scratching some big things off of my to do list and it feels great! Here is some good advice on this subject from Lesson 128 in A Course in Miracles:

Pause and be still a little while, and see how far you rise above the world, when you release your mind from chains and let it seek the level where it finds itself at home. It will be grateful to be free a while. It knows where it belongs. But free its wings, and it will fly in sureness and in joy to join its holy purpose.

I would be honored to help you rise above the world and release your mind from chains with a series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Look around my website or send me an email for more information about both of these life-changing opportunities.

Until next time, remember, it only takes a moment to step aside and let that boulder roll by.