A Miracle Moment with “Mr. Moore”

Magic and miracles happen every time I visit my friend Gail Courville at Serenity Farm in Virginia. My recent visit earlier this month was certainly no different. Spring was in the air. The grass was brilliant green. The dogwoods were bursting with pink blossoms at the edge of the woods. Cardinals chirped as they flew from tree to tree. Yellow butterflies floated from flower to flower. At night, silence fell across the farm and thousands of stars came out to twinkle at us. Every time I’m there my soul takes a deep breath and relaxes. It truly is a perfect setting to do healing work because everyone benefits from being there. The land itself supports the transformation that happens when I have the privilege of doing the work I love called Family Constellations. This trip in particular was truly magical right up until the last moments.

As I packed my suitcase on the last day, I heard unfamiliar voices and sounds outside my room. I opened the door to discover two young men operating heavy machinery in the hallway. Gail hired them to buff all the floors in the house in preparation for a party she was throwing later in the week. I heard the guys say something to me in a joking manner, but the buffer was so loud I had no idea what they said. I politely waved and chuckled as I carried my suitcase down the stairs.

While I prepared my oatmeal, the guys finished upstairs and made their way downstairs to begin buffing the first floor. As I walked by with my bowl of oatmeal, I heard one of them yelling for Mr. Moore. It took me a minute to realize he was talking to me and not looking for my dad. It’s not often I’m called “Mr. Moore.” Apparently, he had seen my name on my business cards sitting on the front table in the entranceway. He asked me about Life Coaching and how often I did workshops. I told him I had just done an all-day Family Constellations workshop on Saturday and then shared a little bit about what that is. They seemed intrigued, so I invited them each to take one of my business cards so they could read more about it on my website and possibly attend the next workshop. After they thanked me our interaction felt complete so I went outside on the porch to eat my oatmeal with Gail.

When I came back inside, I overheard these two young men having a conversation about their grandfathers. They were talking about the illnesses that had plagued them in their later years. I was quite surprised and impressed that these young men had taken in what I shared about Family Constellations and were now discussing it. I debated for a moment whether or not to jump into their conversation again, but felt I couldn’t walk away from this opportunity to give them a tool that may be beneficial. I told them I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation and asked if they were open to me sharing something I share with my clients on the subject. They both enthusiastically said “yes!” I invited them to find a photograph of their grandfathers, if possible, and say something like this to the photos each night before going to bed:

“Dear Grandfather. I recognize you as my dad’s/mom’s father and part of the family. Let’s be connected through love and good health, not heart disease or memory loss. Thank you for blessing me to do it differently.”

They seemed very receptive to this idea. One of the young men told me how much he believed in the power of positive thinking. They thanked me for this suggestion and got back to work as I loaded my suitcase into the car. Before leaving, I made it a point to shake their hands and tell them how much I enjoyed meeting them. I find it very interesting and not surprising at all the way Spirit orchestrated that whole encounter. Had they come to buff the floors the following day or even an hour later I would not have had the pleasure of meeting them or the opportunity to plant that seed. It makes my heart smile to know these open-minded young men are talking to their grandfathers and getting permission to do it differently. Every visit to Serenity Farm is full of miracles, and this one kept delivering until the very end.

Would you like to learn more about the miracle of Family Constellations and how to break those unhealthy patterns that are not serving you or your family? Please look around my website or send me an email for more information and to schedule a session. Sessions can be done from anywhere in the world by telephone or computer. I look forward to the opportunity of helping you reveal and heal something you may never have considered to be the source of your current challenge.

Until next time, be on the lookout for those unexpected miracle moments of connection. You may be surprised by who is willing to share a miracle with you.

“A miracle is never lost. It may touch many people you have not even met, and produce undreamed of changes in situations of which you are not even aware.” Miracle Principle #45 from A Course in Miracles

Are You Someone’s Miracle?

Those who have attended one of my A Course in Miracles study groups or online classes know I like to start each session by inviting participants to share “miracle moments.” I love hearing how practicing the principles of the Course has helped people to shift from fear to love even during the most stressful situations. I often share a personal story to demonstrate how I am applying the teachings to my life. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to share a very special miracle, my sister, Gail.

Gail was visiting for the week and agreed to come with me to our Monday night group at Unity of Houston as long as she didn’t have to say anything. She’s much more of an introvert than her Leo brother! After a few people shared miracle stories, I told the group that my miracle was sitting next to me. I don’t know what I would have done without my sister’s loving presence, support, and companionship when our mother’s drinking got really ugly while I was in high school. When Gail decided to get her Masters in Education, I thought it was a happy accident that she was accepted at a university just 60 miles from our hometown. It wasn’t until much later that I realized she applied to that school intentionally so she could live at home. It was a chaotic time, but somehow we managed to laugh a lot and it made us even closer. For that, I will be forever grateful.

On our drive home that Monday night, I asked Gail if I was in trouble for bringing attention to her by telling the group that she was my miracle. It just felt right to share publicly how much I appreciate her and the choices she made to be there for me. Thankfully, I wasn’t in trouble, but she surprised me when she asked this question. “Did you ever think that you were my miracle during that time too?” All these years later, I can honestly say that thought had never occurred to me. I had only seen it as her making a very loving choice for my benefit. Right then and there I had another miracle. 

This week, I invite you to think about those who have helped you along the way. Yes, they were a miracle in your life, but by giving them the opportunity to extend love, maybe you were their miracle too! Like a hug, both participants get the benefit. I think Miracle Principle #9 from the Course says it well:

Miracles are a kind of exchange. Like all expressions of love, which are always miraculous in the true sense, the exchange reverses the physical laws. They bring more love both to the giver and the receiver.

Are you experiencing a challenging situation in your life right now? It would be my great honor to help you shift from fear to love with a series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Both can be done from anywhere in the world through the miracle of technology. For more information or to schedule a session, please look around my website or simply send me an email.

Until next time, I encourage you to be a miracle in someone’s life. They won’t be the only one to reap the benefits.

Clear is Kind

I am so grateful to my friend Tricia for inviting me to join her at a fundraising event last week where Brené Brown was the keynote speaker. If you aren’t familiar with her work, Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston who has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers and her 2010 TED Talk on “The Power of Vulnerability” went viral and is one of the top five most viewed TED talks of all time. Using the perfect blend of research, humor, and storytelling, her talk, like all of her work, was rich with insight, honesty, and practical information. This quote was one of my biggest takeaways:

Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.

When having any conversation, being clear is the kindest thing we can do. We often think that skirting around the issue and avoiding saying something directly might spare someone’s feelings. Brené pointed out that the opposite is actually true. By not being clear, we are withholding valuable information which causes the listener to fill in the blanks with their own stories. Most of the time, these stories are not true, which causes more confusion and emotional distress. If we speak from our hearts and deliver the facts in a kind manner, the recipient may not like what they hear, but at least they know the truth about what they are dealing with.

Having the “disease to please” like so many of us do, this is something I continue to work on. I remember a time when my clear communication created a domino effect of happy results. Several years ago, a team member suggested I dress up as Santa Claus for a “Christmas in July” event she was planning at the spiritual center where we both served on the board. She thought I was the perfect candidate to don the red velvet suit and white whiskers given my experience in character costumes at Disney World. I told her I would think about it.

This decision weighed on me heavily. I was new to this center and wanted to demonstrate that I was a team player. However, this did not seem like a good use of my time or talents. I tried to talk myself into it because of my love for kids, but wearing a fake, scratchy beard shouting “Ho Ho Ho” for hours just did not sound like fun to me. I considered telling her that I had another commitment or was too busy, but what if she changed the date or asked me to do it again in December? What would I say then?

After much deliberation, I decided to be clear and simply tell her this was not something I felt comfortable doing. She was not thrilled, but she respected my decision. Had I avoided the conversation or fabricated a story, it could have come back to haunt me later. Being clear gave her the information she needed to proceed and gave me peace immediately.

Later that summer, I decided to attend my first Big Sky Retreat. Being gone for ten days presented a bit of a problem because I was housesitting and taking care of a friend’s cat at the time. I asked that same team member if she would stay in the house and take care of the cat while I was gone. She initially said yes, but later confessed she wasn’t a fan of litter box cleaning and said it would be better if I found someone else. I think my clear communication about the Santa suit gave her permission to be honest about the litter box. Because we were both honest, neither one of us felt obligated to do something we didn’t want to do. What makes this story even better is that I ended up asking another friend who recently lost her beloved cat. She was thrilled to spend time with Karma Kitty and had no problem with litter box duty.This could not have happened without clear and honest communication with others and more importantly, with ourselves.

Is there a situation in your life where you could use some clear communication or tools to help you have a difficult conversation? It would be my great honor to assist you with a series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. For more information on both of these clarifying opportunities, or to schedule a session, please look around my website or send me an email. Sessions can be done in person, by telephone, or via the internet from anywhere in the world.

Until next time, I invite you to be courageous and clear. It’s the kind thing to do.

The Holy Spirit speaks with unmistakable clarity and overwhelming appeal.
~ from the preface of A Course in Miracles

Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls

Every Monday evening at 7:30 I am blessed to facilitate A Course in Miracles Study Group at Unity of Houston. To open each session, I play my crystal singing bowl and lead the group in a guided meditation. I usually don’t think about what I’m going to say ahead of time. Instead, I simply get out of the way and share whatever wants to come through. Last week I used a lot of water imagery like flowing rivers and streams. At one point, I invited the participants to imagine themselves standing under a waterfall allowing the plummeting water to wash away anything in their minds and hearts that was unlike love.

As I was saying those words, I remembered a time when I was standing under a waterfall just like the one I was describing. It happened during the summer of 2007 when I was hiking in Zion National Park in Utah with three beloved friends. We had seen a photo of a gorgeous place called “the Subway” on a postcard in the Visitor’s Center. The image of this magnificent, naturally-formed cavern with its aqua blue pools on the canyon floor was so inviting, we unanimously decided to take this 8-mile roundtrip trek the next day.

The hike was somewhat challenging, but the views made it well worthwhile. Along the way, we encountered large and small waterfalls cascading over multiple levels of red rock giving it a magical fairyland feel. After about 3 hours of walking, wading, and climbing, we arrived at the Subway and its splendor took our breath away. We were in awe of Mother Nature’s ability to carve such a wondrous place in the red canyons.

While taking in its beauty and snapping some photos, we heard the sound of running water just past a narrow opening at the end of the canyon wall. My friend’s fourteen-year-old daughter, the youngest and most adventurous of our foursome, decided to squeeze through the crevice to see what was back there. Her curiosity led her to a twenty-foot waterfall pouring into a pool of water. She warned us that the water was very cold, but after 3 hours of hiking in that hot, dry canyon, joining her under that waterfall sounded very enticing.

I climbed through the crevice, jumped into the waist-deep pool of refreshingly cold water, and let out a series of shrieks that probably sounded like a pack of howling monkeys. Once I became accustomed to the temperature, I waded to the other side of the pool and positioned myself directly under the immense flow of falling water. To say it was an invigorating experience would be an understatement. I stayed there for several minutes letting the chilly water pummel me, and I began laughing hysterically. I could not stop laughing even when I left the waterfall and climbed back through the narrow crevice. My outbursts of laughter continued for the next thirty minutes as we made our way back out of the canyon. My friends thought I had lost my mind and I think they were partially correct. That day it seems I left some old sadness behind in the waterfall. It was an experience of pure joy that I will never forget!

You don’t have to go all the way to Zion National Park to experience this, although I highly recommend a visit if you’ve never been there. I do this little ritual every time I take a shower. I stand under the shower head and let the water wash over my heart for a few moments while envisioning the water droplets clearing away anything unlike love. This is a quick and fun tool I share with my Life Coaching clients that can be done every day. It may seem silly, but I truly believe rituals like this give us something tangible to do that lets our unconscious mind know something is different. Try it this week and see if you feel a little bit lighter and laugh a little more often. It certainly can’t hurt!

If you would like more simple but powerful tools to help you live a more peaceful life, consider giving yourself the gift of a series of Life Coaching sessions. All of my sessions are based on the strong principles found in A Course in Miracles and other New Thought teachings. I would be honored to help you move through any challenging situation in your life. Family Constellations is another great technique to help you break self-destructive patterns. Look around my website or send me an email for more information about both of these opportunities. 

Until next time, remember our only job is to wash away anything concealing our true nature which is peace, love, and joy!

The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance. ~ A Course in Miracles