Re-Treat

I just returned from a wonderful retreat at Unity Village in Missouri. During one of the sessions, one of the attendees broke down the word “retreat” in a way that really spoke to me. Re-Treat! It’s a treat I have given myself over and over. It didn’t occur to me how true this was until the weekend was almost over. So many of the life-changing experiences I shared last weekend happened at retreats like that one. The more I thought about it, I realized I’ve met many of my closest friends, not to mention my amazing partner, at a spiritual retreat! 

It began when I met my rose quartz family at my first spiritual gathering over Valentine’s Day weekend in 2004. I had been praying to find a group of people that felt like my tribe. The friends I made that weekend were the answer to that prayer. I was in awe of the work they were doing in the world and how much I could learn from them. They taught me about crystals and how rose quartz holds the frequency of unconditional love and compassion. We did ceremony inside a Native American Medicine Wheel and I learned about Animal Totems. They introduced me to the music of Deva Premal, Sanskrit chanting, and Hindu deities. That was also the weekend I had a mystical experience that told me my presence helps others on their path of healing and wholeness. That weekend was a game changer. It gave me hope, a renewed sense of purpose, and planted seeds in my consciousness that continue to grow and influence my life today.

In 2010, for some reason I felt inspired to attend a retreat in Mebane, North Carolina facilitated by someone I just met at a Miami Meetup group. When I discovered that Mebane was just 20 minutes from the home of a member of my rose quartz family, I knew I was meant to go and I’m so glad I did! It was a magical 5 days that taught me the power of letting go and going with the flow. That’s also where I met, Haydee, who I affectionally call my “HDL” which stands for “Hermana de Luz” or “Sister of Light” in English. It sounds hokey, but I believe our souls recognized each other from the moment we met and our friendship and love for each other has only grown deeper over time. I find it interesting that Haydee and I both lived in South Florida, but we had to travel 800 miles north to meet each other at a spiritual retreat in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains.

Over the next few years, I attended a beautiful, heart-centered event called The Universal Lightworkers Conference held every year in Fort Lauderdale. That’s where I was introduced to powerful spiritual teachers like Mary Morrissey, Dr. Joan Borysenko, Donna Eden, and Sheila & Marcus Gillette. I was so impressed with Mary Morrissey’s presentation at that conference that when I saw her picture years later on the flyer for the 2014 Big Sky Retreat I decided to go. Little did I know how much that decision would impact my life.

Due to some last minute scheduling changes and my friendship with Dr. Charles Geddes who has been part of the Big Sky Retreat since it began in 1976, I ended up presenting a workshop on Forgiveness and Miracles that first year. Words can’t describe how welcomed, loved, and seen I felt. Many of the people I met that year have become life-long friends and prayer partners. In addition, I made connections that allowed me to travel and share the work I love all over the country. I have attended this event every year since, and every year I meet wonderful people and expand well past my comfort zone in miraculous ways. 

I never would have guessed that one day I would be President of the Board of the Big Sky Retreat, which is the longest-running metaphysical retreat in the world. It was a full circle moment for me during the opening ceremony at last year’s retreat when I shared what I have learned about rose quartz and the Native American Medicine Wheel. It brought tears to my eyes to see a group of 150 people honoring the four directions and then have their own heart-expanding experience holding a piece of rose quartz. What an honor to pay it forward. This is just a small sample of the life-changing experiences I’ve had and the beautiful souls I’ve met at spiritual retreats over the years. I am beyond grateful for each and every one. 

Are you looking for your tribe? Would you like to take a break from your everyday life in a magnificent setting? Is your soul calling out for a re-treat? If so, I invite you to join me for one or both of the upcoming spiritual retreats I am blessed to be a part of this fall. The 44th Annual Big Sky Retreat will be held near Yellowstone National Park in Big Sky, Montana over Labor Day Weekend from August 31-September 5. Early registration price ends on June 30. The 2019 Affiliated New Thought Network Conference will be held on the sacred grounds at Unity Village from October 1-4. Take a look at the events on my website and give yourself the gift that keeps on giving. Register today!

If not these events, I encourage you to take a break from your normal routine even if it’s just for an afternoon or evening. Get out in nature, attend a spiritual event, or spend some time reading a metaphysical book at your local coffee shop. You never know who you’ll meet or what life-changing experience is waiting for you!

Duck, Duck, Human

About twenty years ago, my typical Saturday night would have included working the door at a nightclub in Miami Beach from 10 PM until 3 or 4 in the morning. Once my shift ended I would often join the fun under the flashing lights on the dance floor until the wee hours. How things have changed! Last Saturday evening I found myself in a park sitting quietly with some ducks watching the light show provided by Mother Nature.

One of the blessings of where I currently live in Houston is the ability to walk to Hermann Park, a beautiful, 445-acre green space located on the southern end of the Museum District. I love to sit on the tree-shaded benches next to McGovern Lake watching the fountain spray water high into the air as a variety of ducks, geese, and other birds swim or fly by. This particular Saturday evening I decided to take a stroll to my sacred spot to have a chat and prayer by phone with one of my dear friends in California. When I arrived, there was a duck sitting on one side of my favorite bench.

She didn’t seem to mind when I sat down next to her to continue my conversation. Together we watched the sun dip below the horizon as twilight illuminated the sky and the buildings of the Medical Center across the lake. A turtle poked its head above the reflective surface of the water to look at me, perhaps hoping for a morsel of food. A little dog frightened the turtle back into the water and disturbed two ducks resting behind our bench. They hurriedly waddled in front of the bench where the dog’s leash couldn’t reach. Once the dog passed, each duck found a soft spot in the grass, nestled their little heads into their bodies, and returned to duck dreamtime. With two in front of me and one sleeping next to me on the bench, I shared with my friend that I was now the fourth corner of a sleeping duck square.

After a delightful conversation and a centering prayer, I hung up the phone and sat there in the dark for several more minutes basking in the energy. Night had fallen. The colored lights of the Medical Center were now illuminated as was the fountain in the middle of the lake. I was soothed by the gentle whooshing sound of the fountain interrupted by the occasional goose honking or child laughing. The peaceful stillness was palpable in that moment. It felt like such an honor to have gained the trust of those three sleeping ducks. I’m guessing they sensed they were safe with this human sitting among them. It struck me how this would not be what most would call a “hot Saturday night,” and yet I felt completely content and grateful for all of the elements that came together to create that unique experience.

Are you having a hard time finding peace and stillness in your current situation? Maybe it’s time to give yourself the gift of Life Coaching or Family Constellations so you can break the cycle or pattern and do things differently. It would be my great honor to assist you through whatever you are going through and growing through. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information and to schedule your first session. An experience of peace and stillness might be just a phone call away.

Until next time, I wish you an experience of peace and stillness wherever and however it may find you.

Now is there silence all around the world. Now is there stillness where before there was a frantic rush of thoughts that made no sense. Now is there tranquil light across the face of earth, made quiet in a dreamless sleep. ~ from Lesson 198 in A Course in Miracles

Mother’s Day Memories

This week, in honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I would share a story I wrote a few years ago that contains some of my favorite moments with my mom both before and after she made her transition. Enjoy!

Last Sunday, I visited Butterfly World in Coconut Creek, FL with some friends from church. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it. It’s like being in another realm. Gentle notes of classical music waft through the air and dance with butterflies of every size and color. These graceful creatures flutter freely in a giant screened-in enclosure among trickling waterfalls, lush vegetation, and beautiful orchids. This place inspires a deep sense of peace and wonder.

I had been there only once before with my mom on Mother’s Day a few years before she died. It was a peaceful, joyful day, and one of my favorite memories of the last years of her life. Of course, this visit I was thinking and talking a lot about her with my friends. As we walked around the sanctuary, I commented that the large white butterflies floating around reminded me of angels. After we left, one of my friends sent me a photo she had taken earlier. In the photo one of those white butterflies was directly over my head. She said, “Look! It’s your mom watching over you!” I was already feeling nostalgic, and that got me right in the heart.
 
After Butterfly World, I started to feel a headache coming on. It got progressively worse, forcing me to lie down with a heated bean bag on my tense neck muscles and a cold compress with lavender oil on my forehead. It helped a little bit, but not enough to attend a small gathering at a friend’s apartment as I had planned. I finally acquiesced and took some ibuprofen. When that didn’t work, I asked Spirit for guidance on what would help me feel better. The answer I received surprised me. “Go walk on the beach and breathe some salt air.” It was after 10 o’clock, but I felt like that would help, so I jumped in my car and off to the beach I went.

Just fifteen minutes later I was by the healing waters of Mother Ocean. It was a beautiful, breezy, moonlit night. As I walked along the shoreline, the soft wind and rolling waves seemed to wash away my headache. As I continued, I noticed a plethora of staked off areas on the beach where sea turtles had laid their eggs. That’s when I remembered that one of my mom’s final wishes was to see sea turtles hatch at night. To honor this request, on her last Mother’s Day on Earth, my brother and I took her to see the Disney Nature film Oceans. I had seen it before and knew it contained a scene with sea turtles hatching and scampering to the sea. She loved it!  Another beautiful Mother’s Day memory.
 
It was at this point on my walk that I started wondering if my mother was up to something. I’m not usually at the beach at that time of night. Was that horrible headache her way of getting me to the beach to see real hatchlings? I ended up walking for over an hour, all the while looking for signs of tiny turtles emerging from their nests. I sent my friend who took the photo a text message telling her about the synchronicity of my two Mother’s Day memories. Were they connected? How cool would it be if that’s why I was at the beach that night?

My friend told me about a time years ago when she saw a mother turtle laying eggs in the sand late at night. That sounded pretty cool too! I kept walking and looking, but the only thing spectacular I saw was lightning in the distance. My mother loved thunderstorms. When I was a kid, we watched them together from our garage as they swept through our neighborhood. The approaching storm felt like another message from her, or at least a message that it was time to go home. Even if I didn’t see any turtles, my heart was full of memories of her, and I definitely felt her presence. That was enough.

I had just started walking back when I noticed strange looking tire tracks heading into the ocean. That seemed odd. The waves should have washed away any marks from lifeguard vehicles or kids playing in the sand by now. Then it dawned on me. Those tracks weren’t heading into the ocean, they were heading out! I followed the trail up the beach and there she was. A mama turtle was just finishing up her work for the night. I stood there in awe and gratitude as I watched her cover up her nest before dragging her body back into the sea. I tried to snap a picture before she vanished into the waves, but it was too dark and I didn’t want to scare her with my flash. That’s okay. I will never forget her. I see now it had to be a mama turtle so I could feel that nurturing energy. She did her job and then it was time for her to move on, just like my mom. It sure felt like a message from my mother letting me know she is still watching over me, guiding me, and reminding me that the love we shared will never die.

If you enjoy these stories, please feel free to share them with friends via email or social media. It brings me great joy to share them with you, just like it brings me joy to share what I’ve learned from life, A Course in Miracles, and Family Constellations in private sessions and workshops. If you’re ready for some miracles of your own, please look around my website for more information about upcoming events, Life Coaching, and one-on-one Family Constellations sessions. It would be my great honor to support you on your journey of healing and wholeness.

To all of you moms and those who play the role of mother in a wide variety of ways…
Happy Mother’s Day!

Caught in the Lint Trap

Have you ever opened the lid of your washing machine to discover little bits of tissue coating all of your clean clothes? That unpleasant scene happened to me this week. I usually check my pockets as I throw clothes in the hamper, but sometimes a rogue tissue finds a secret hiding place. If you have experienced it, you know it can be quite a mess. But here’s something I have learned over the years. When this happens, I don’t have to shake out every piece of wet clothing over a garbage can to remove the tissue fragments. Actually, that makes more of a mess. If I continue the process as if nothing has happened and place the tissue covered clothing in the dryer, the lint trap does the work for me! When the cycle is complete, there may be a few lingering pieces of tissue on my clothing, but most of it ends up in the lint trap. I simply scoop it out and the mess is gone.

It occurred to me that this might be a great metaphor for how to live life. Sometimes unexpected inconveniences and challenges show up. We can struggle with the situation expending extra time and energy to manage the details more to our liking. Or, we can trust the process, continue moving forward, only to discover the details often work themselves out without any extra effort on our part.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting we put our heads in the sand and ignore issues that need our attention. Sometimes we need to have that difficult conversation with an employee or set a clear boundary with a friend. I am saying that sometimes we make things worse by trying to micromanage or manipulate the situation. In my experience, whenever I make choices from fear and try to control things I have no control over, it doesn’t turn out well. It actually creates more stress and steals my peace of mind. If I give it some space and trust that all things are working for my highest good (even when that doesn’t appear to be the case), miracles happen.

When I tried to think of an example of this truth from my own life, ironically an experience involving laundry popped into my head. Several years ago in Florida, my mother’s drinking created a very unsafe and unhealthy living environment for her. Her neighbors began calling me demanding I step in and do something. It was heartbreaking to see her living like that, but nothing we tried changed the situation. Given her age and past experience, an intervention did not feel like the right choice. The only thing we could do was love her, pray, and trust something would happen that would get her into “the system.”

Eventually, something did happen. One evening, my mother was extremely inebriated while doing laundry in her mobile home park. While carrying a big basket of clothes home from the laundry room, she lost her balance and fell in her driveway. The injury to her head was so severe the attending physician deemed her a danger to herself. Thus, the process of getting her out of that unhealthy situation and into a safer place began. As horrible as that accident was, it was also a blessing in disguise.

This week I invite you to search your mind for those situations and circumstances that are taking away your peace. Before you give them any more time or attention, take a step back and be the observer. Are you making more of a mess by trying to control things you can’t possibly control? Perhaps if you give it some space, keep moving forward and focus your attention on a happy outcome, you will see that life often takes care of itself all on its own. Let those pesky tissue fragments and circumstances get caught in the lint trap!

It would be my great honor to help you step back from those challenging life circumstances and give you tools to find inner peace no matter what’s going on outside. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information about a single or series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session.

Until next time, I invite you to let the lint trap of life do the work and just keep moving forward!

It takes great learning to understand that all things, events, encounters, and circumstances are helpful.
~ A Course in Miracles M-4.I.A.4:5