A Timely Lesson from Zoom

I shared the story below just over two months ago. April seems like a lifetime ago in many ways. A lot has changed and a lot hasn’t. Many of us are still working from home and using Zoom to conduct business. Recent events in the news have sparked protests and heated conversations across the globe in all forms of media. Given the current climate in the world, I felt inspired to share the profound lesson I learned from Zoom again this week. May it give you a wider perspective and perhaps help you understand why we are seeing so much anger and frustration. Feel free to share this wherever it might be helpful:

These days, I use Zoom all the time for Life Coaching sessions, Private and Group Family Constellations sessions, and also for my weekly A Course in Miracles study groups. I truly appreciate this technology that allows us to connect virtually while we are sheltering at home. Yes, there are some challenges when WiFi connection is bad or people forget to unmute themselves before talking. However, there are also many benefits to this way of gathering, like no rush hour traffic and the ability for people to join from anywhere in the world. For this reason, I intend to continue facilitating both virtual and live events when it is safe to meet in person again.

Along with the blessings and challenges, Zoom has provided me with a profound lesson. At the beginning of most meetings, I do a quick tutorial to help attendees who are new to Zoom get familiar with the basics. We discuss things like how to mute and unmute yourself and switch between Speaker and Gallery view. I discovered quickly that how you navigate these settings depends on what kind of device you are using. I have only been using my laptop to Zoom, so that is all I know. 

The button to switch between Speaker and Gallery view is in the upper right-hand corner of my computer screen. That is not the case for those attending with a tablet or smartphone. When I told them to look there for the button, it simply wasn’t there. Since I don’t use a tablet or smartphone to Zoom, I had no idea what to tell them. When I couldn’t help, some well-meaning attendees on iPads tried to tell those on smartphones what to do. Sadly, that wasn’t helpful either. No matter how many times they repeated themselves or how insistent they were with their instructions, due to the smaller screen, it’s completely different and some options are not there.

That’s when I asked my partner to do some Zoom experimenting with me from his iPad and iPhone. He joined a meeting from both of his devices and we discovered together how to do some of the basics. At some point during this process, it hit me what a powerful metaphor this is. If I am not able to see things from another perspective, no amount of repetition will help me understand and resolve a problem with another person. If my only experience of Zoom is on a computer, I can tell a person on an iPad 300 times to click a button in the upper right-hand corner, but if it doesn’t exist on their screen, it won’t help. If that function works differently on a smartphone, we will both end up frustrated, annoyed and no closer to a solution. 

It seems to me that’s what’s happening in this country and around the world anywhere there is conflict and divisiveness. We are expecting someone else to see things from our perspective or do things the way we do them, when that may not be an option for them. They may not have the same resources we have or they may see things very differently based on their culture, life experience, or level of understanding. In other words, their screen is set up differently or their device navigates differently. If I never took the time to explore Zoom from another kind of device, I would only be able to assist those who attend my virtual events on a computer that works exactly like mine.

Thank you, Zoom, for giving me a practical and tangible frame of reference for this spiritual truth. We are all using different devices to navigate this thing called life. May this metaphor be helpful to anyone struggling to see things from another’s perspective. I haven’t tried Zoom on an Android or a PC yet, so like many of us, I still have more to learn! 

Until next time, may you find compassion and understanding for anyone who may be using a different device to navigate life.

Understanding is appreciation, because what you understand you can identify with, and by making it part of you, you have accepted it with love. 

A Course in Miracles ~ T-7.V.9.4

Stars, Constellations, and Comcast Karma

My first Virtual Family Constellations workshop went remarkably well last Saturday. I was amazed and humbled by the healing that happened and deeply touched by the words of gratitude below from one of the participants. Her experience proved without a doubt that even though we were not in the same physical location this miraculous process still works. The only thing that didn’t work well was my internet connection. Several times during the workshop, participants reported that my image froze and they could not hear me. Unfortunately, due to the location of our router and the instability of our current internet provider, this has been happening for months. Now that all of my business is online, I decided it was time to invest in a dedicated internet connection to my home office. 

Earlier this year, I received an offer in the mail for a free $150 Visa Gift Card if I ordered internet with Comcast Business. While perusing the different internet packages on their website, I began an online chat with one of their customer service representatives. He quickly helped me determine which plan was best for my needs, and to my surprise and his, he was able to schedule an installation for the very next day! The $150 Visa Gift Card would pay for the installation fee. Everything seemed to be falling into place easily. 

I’ve heard horror stories about poor customer service and beyond frustrating situations with Comcast. Apparently, I have good Comcast Karma because my experience was just the opposite in Florida and now here in Texas. The Comcast technicians I worked with this week were exceptionally friendly, efficient, and prompt! The first technician literally hit a snag when trying to run a cable between the utility box and our home. After he left, another technician arrived just a few hours later and resolved the issue! It only took a few emails to the first customer service agent I chatted with to get another installation date scheduled for Thursday. I can’t believe it took less than 4 days to get a strong, reliable, and fast internet connection in my office. I was prepared for it to take weeks given the current high demand for internet.

When I was thinking about what to write about this week, it occurred to me what a powerful metaphor it was to invest in a strong internet connection. During these challenging times when many of us are feeling isolated, it is more important than ever to invest in strong connections. I trust that you are finding ways to do that whether it’s Zooming with friends or family, deepening your spiritual practice, joining an online group, or simply going outside at night to gaze at the stars. If you need some spiritual support, I am offering 45-minute Life Coaching calls on a love offering basis. You can also join one of my online ACIM study groups or register for the next Virtual Family Constellations Workshop. All are excellent ways to experience connection and healing. Visit my website or send me an email for more information.

Until next time, may the twinkling stars remind you that you are part of a great big Universe and never alone.

Spirituality is an innate human need to be connected with something larger than ourselves.” 

Cindy Wigglesworth, author of SQ21: The Twenty-One Skills of Spiritual Intelligence

Still Spring Cleaning with My Mom

Last Sunday was the 9th anniversary of my mother’s passing. It’s not a sad day for me. Of course, I miss her, but I wouldn’t want her to be back in the body that was failing her or to be troubled by the painful thoughts that haunted her for so much of her life. She is free now. She is at peace. And based on the dream I had about her Sunday morning, apparently she’s still doing some spring cleaning wherever she is now.

In my dream, I was back in the house where I grew up and my mother was cleaning the carpets and floors with a steam cleaner. As you might imagine with a mother who was an active alcoholic, most of the time our house was not very clean. In fact, in later years it was quite the opposite which I’m certain is why I’m a bit of a neat freak now. I remember being glad and a little self-righteous when I saw my mother using the steam cleaner in my dream. I thought, “Good! You should be cleaning!”

Then it occurred to me that maybe I should be helping her with the cleaning. I did, and it felt good. Then I woke up. That was the whole dream. It was short and sweet, but I think I got the message. It wasn’t one person’s job to clean up the mess in our relationship. I did and said some things I’m not proud of. We both had a part to play in it, so we both had some cleaning to do. The timing of that dream was not lost on me. 

I am grateful that my mother and I got to a place of unconditional love before she died. With forgiveness and understanding, we cleaned up a lot of the mess caused by years of addiction and its underlying pain. I came to understand that everything that happened (the good, the bad, and the ugly) made me the person I am today and helped me find a spiritual path. I knew this in my head, but it hadn’t yet dropped into my heart. One of the things that helped this information drop into my heart was the music from Graceful Passages – A Companion for Living and Dying. 

A dear friend gifted me this beautiful CD set a few months before my mother died, and what a gift it was. One afternoon, I asked the hospice nurse to give us some privacy so I could listen to the CD with my mom. Once I got my mother settled in her bed, she fell asleep quickly. I decided to play the CD anyway. I moved a chair close to her bedside and held her hand while the first track, “Letting Yourself Be Loved” began. Soon, a powerful blend of spoken word and soothing music flowed from the speakers. Grace filled the room. At first, only a few tears rolled down my cheeks, but soon I was sobbing. Something in me shifted. 

My heart opened so wide it knew everything that happened between my mother and me was perfect and she had been the perfect mother for me. Any lingering anger and resentment melted away. While she lay there silently, I told her this. Although she wasn’t conscious, I choose to believe her soul heard me and every note and word from Graceful Passages. I will be forever grateful to my friend and the creators of the CD for the gift of that profound and healing experience. I have included a link to the video here. May it be as profound and healing for you and your loved ones. 

My dream was a great reminder that it’s never too late to do a little energetic spring cleaning, even if our loved ones are no longer in physical form. Family Constellations is a powerful healing tool that reveals and heals the hidden entanglements and family loyalties that prevent you from living a happy, healthy, and prosperous life. If you feel like there may be some energetic spring cleaning to do in your family, visit my website to learn more about one-on-one Family Constellations sessions and group Family Constellations Workshops. Both can be done online with Skype or Zoom.

If you’d like more miracles in your life, I am hosting not one but two weekly online A Course in Miracles study groups. One meets on Monday evenings at 7:30 PM Central and the other meets on Friday afternoons at 5 PM Central. This is a safe, supportive, and fun space to be uplifted and renewed as we discuss the life-changing principles found in the Course. All are welcome. During these challenging times, I am also offering 45-minute Life Coaching calls on a donation basis to anyone in need of one-on-one support. Please visit my website or send me an email for more information and to schedule a session. 

Until next time, please remember to let yourself be loved!

Understanding is appreciation, because what you understand you can identify with, and by making it part of you, you have accepted it with love. 

A Course in Miracles ~ T-7.V.9.4 

The Sanctuary of the Heart

I have been learning that even during this time of isolation, it is possible to experience moments of deep connection. I felt one of those moments while watching the Sunday service on Unity of Houston’s Facebook page this week. When Rev. Karen Tudor asked us to sit in silence for a few moments during her guided meditation, waves of energy tingled through my body. It did not matter that we were not physically together in the sanctuary. We were together in the sanctuary of the heart where there is no separation. It felt amazing!

Something similar happened later that evening while watching the Cozy Couch Concert Series featuring my Big Sky Retreat friend, Karen Drucker. If you aren’t familiar with Karen’s music, I highly encourage you to find her on iTunes or wherever you listen to music. Her songs might be just the thing to help you stay calm during these stressful times. Many who already know her music jumped on Facebook to enjoy this concert. It was beautiful to witness friends and colleagues share messages of love in the comments as more and more people joined. Even though we were sitting on couches scattered across the globe, it felt like there was no distance between us as we experienced the heart-opening music together. 

During her song “Your Prayer is My Prayer Too,” Karen asked us to share our prayer requests in the comment section. Instantly the screen was flooded with affirmations of peace, love, health, and safety for each other, family members, friends and all beings on the planet. Many wrote prayers of gratitude for medical professionals, grocery store employees, and all those who are still reporting to work. I shared a prayer of protection and grace for all those serving on the front line including my dear friends, Donna and Norma from Ocala, Florida. Donna is a nurse and Norma is a massage therapist. They both answered the call for emergency medical support in New York City during this crisis. If anyone can be the presence of peace, love, and hope in an overwhelming situation like that it’s these two radiant beings! I have included a photo of Donna and Norma from a recent Big Sky Retreat to give a face to all those doctors and nurses serving tirelessly around the world. If you feel inspired to send them some love and good vibes, I believe those vibes will reach every medical professional on the planet because we are one.

I’d like to share one more miracle moment that reminded me of our oneness and connection this week. I was listening to Madonna’s “Confessions Tour” while getting some fresh air and exercise in the park. The fact that I was listening to a Madonna concert should not surprise anyone who knows me. The surprise happened when I pulled my iPhone out to skip a song and noticed it was 11:11. Because the display is all 1s, whenever I see 11:11, I take a moment to remember that we are all one. As I was thinking this thought, Madonna started singing “I Love New York.” It felt like a reminder to send love to my friends and all of the patients, medical professionals, and their families in New York. I envisioned all of the little rose quartz crystals I have sprinkled in New York City over the years broadcasting unconditional love and light throughout the city, eventually sweeping over the entire planet. Imagining the earth engulfed in healing, pink light made me feel peaceful.

Some of you have roles that require you to continue going to work and for that, I say thank you and bless you! Meanwhile, most of us do our part to help “flatten the curve” by staying home. However, that doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. I encourage you to take advantage of the many ways to connect using technology. Many spiritual teachers and communities are sharing free content on social media. There are more Cozy Couch Concerts coming up in April from the Centers for Spiritual Living. You can join an uplifting virtual conversation such as the two online study groups of A Course in Miracles I facilitate via Zoom every Monday and Friday. Lots of groups and communities are gathering this way until it is safe once again to meet in person. If you aren’t comfortable with computers or technology, you can use the telephone to call a friend or family member who might be feeling isolated. Easiest of all, find a quiet place in nature or your home to sit still and send peace and good thoughts to someone you love or the entire world. If you’re really brave, send love and good thoughts to yourself! You will be amazed at how powerful this experience can be.

Until next time, may you find the connection you crave in the sanctuary of the heart. 

 When a mind has only light, it knows only light. Its own radiance shines all around it, and extends out into the darkness of other minds, transforming them into majesty. 

A Course in Miracles ~ T-7.XI.5:1-2

The Light of Hope

It’s an interesting time to be alive on planet earth. We are all having to adapt to new ways of living, working, and being very quickly. One of my peers pointed out this week that adaptability is our new superpower. I think he’s absolutely right. Those who are able to adapt quickly will feel and do much better during these unprecedented times. This is an opportunity to see where we are clinging to the old ways and where we are willing to let go and try something new.

Speaking of trying something new, our Miracle Monday study group of A Course in Miracles started meeting virtually this week. I expected there to be a few forgiveness opportunities as I learn to navigate Zoom with a large group. I made a few mistakes, but overall, I was quite pleased with how it flowed. Best of all, no Houston traffic to deal with! I enjoyed the meeting so much that I am offering a second one on Fridays at 5 o’clock Central Time. This is a brand new group that will start from the beginning of the Text so now is a perfect time to join. You can read more about that here.

I have been wanting to offer an online experience of A Course in Miracles for over two years but simply have not set aside time to create it. I guess it’s true that necessity is the mother of invention. Our current “shelter at home” directive has forced me to take action. Now there are two online opportunities! When the Unity of Houston campus reopens, our Monday group will return to meeting in person, but if there is continued interest in the second group, I intend to keep it going. Perhaps it will need to move to another time when people return to their regular schedules, but I will let that be revealed. For now, I am grateful for the motivation to do this.

I know many of you have been severely impacted by the shutdowns and closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic. You may have lost your job, your business, or have been separated from a loved one. If so, please know that I am holding you in my heart with compassion and empathy. There have been many times in my life when things seemed hopeless and I did not know how I would make it through. Yet here I am. Somehow a way through was revealed and I made it to the other side. I am holding that vision and possibility for you right now. And if you can find something to be grateful for in the middle of this chaos, hold on to it. It will be the tiny opening where the light of hope can shine in. That light will help you find your way through. 

After losing her job two weeks ago, a dear friend of mine has been busy creating a business plan, a website, and business cards to launch a new business when the pandemic is over. I’d say she has found the blessing in disguise of losing her job. I will be looking for as many of these stories and blessings as I can during and after this experience. Will you join me? Can you find at least one thing to be grateful for during this situation? It may be too soon to ask that question for some of you, and that’s ok. However, when you have the strength and ability to look for that crack of light in the darkness, and I know that day will come, it will be there waiting for you. 

If I can assist you in finding some light, please reach out. I am currently offering 45-minute Life Coaching sessions by telephone on a Love Offering basis for those who have limited resources because of the pandemic. You can also join one or both of our online A Course in Miracles study groups for some uplifting conversations and connections. These are also being offered on a donation basis. Visit the Miracles page on my website for more information on how to join and donate.

Until next time, may the light of hope illumine your path…

If you give no power to the fog to obscure the light, it has none.

A Course in Miracles – T-12.II.2:2