Unspeakable Joy at a Dance Party for One

I spent many joyful hours on the dance floor during my 20s, 30s, and even in my 40s. There’s something about being immersed in flashing colors of light while moving to the rhythm of a good beat that helps me be completely in the present. The present moment is where joy lives. When I’m on the dance floor, I’m not thinking about my to-do list, bills, the past, or the future. I’m right there bopping around with my friends and whoever happens to be in my vicinity. Dancing has always been a liberating experience for me. 

Until recently, the last time I had that experience was about 5 years ago. I was in New York City with 2 of my best friends celebrating my birthday. After a delicious Thai dinner, we ended up at a dance club in Hell’s Kitchen wearing the same clothes we had on all day. Moments after we arrived, a remix of “Like A Prayer” began playing and suddenly all of my inhibitions went out the window. One of my friends took a video of that moment which included some of the choreography from Madonna’s 1990 Blonde Ambition Tour. You might be thinking there was alcohol involved, but you would be incorrect. I was completely sober. I had stopped drinking alcohol the year before because I simply didn’t like the way it made me feel the following day. No, this “performance” was inspired by the sheer joy of having a wonderful day with my friends. We danced in our tourist clothes for about 3 hours without a drop of alcohol before taking a taxi back to our place in Brooklyn. It remains one of my favorite birthdays to this day.

My days of putting on skinny jeans and a tank top for a night on the town in South Beach are far behind me. However, last weekend I discovered I can have the same joyful experience wearing sweatpants in the comfort of my own home. While surfing Facebook, I saw a flyer for an online dance party featuring Tracy Young, one of my favorite DJs from my club kid days on South Beach. In addition to remixing songs for well-known pop artists like Madonna, Cher, Cyndi Lauper, and Christina Aguilera, Tracy was often the headliner at the dance parties I attended. We always knew the music would be great if Tracy was spinning. And now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, every Sunday evening we can dance at home to her signature upbeat music featuring pop divas on Twitch.

After a challenging week, I needed a pick me up on Saturday night. When my partner went to bed, I felt the urge to go downstairs to my office with my SONY sound-canceling headphones and listen to Tracy Young’s set from last week. To add another ingredient to the experience, I played a psychedelic video of computer-generated, shape-shifting mandalas on YouTube. The beats of a funky Tracy Young remix filled my ears as colors and shapes swirled on my laptop. To my delight, I soon recognized the song as Medellín, Madonna’s collaboration with Maluma from her latest album. My dance party for one had begun.

It surprised me how much joy I felt dancing by myself in the dark watching those mesmerizing mandalas. I thought I would be done after 30 minutes with Tracy, but my body wanted to keep dancing. When her set ended, I switched to another channel on twitch.tv streaming a live set by another DJ. That was a fun experience! A rectangle in the upper right-hand corner of my screen displayed a live feed of people dancing in their homes while the DJ interacted with them and the comments scrolling by. Not knowing how Twitch works, I began to get nervous that a sweaty image of me in sweatpants, t-shirt, and glasses might suddenly flash on the screen. I also became disenchanted with the music he was playing, so I closed Twitch and played one of my favorite dance songs, Unspeakable Joy, to end my first solo dance party.

I don’t know why I waited so long to do this. Not only was it great exercise, it completely shifted my heavy mood into a joyful one. Unlike dancing in South Beach, there was no cover charge, no time spent getting ready or worrying about what to wear, no endless search for a parking spot, and no long drive home afterward. I merely had to walk upstairs, take a shower, and fall into bed where I slept soundly. I know for sure that will not be my last dance party for one.

Is there something that brings you joy that you haven’t done in a while? I can’t think of a better time than now to invite more joy into your life. Read a few chapters of a good book under a tree. Go for a walk in nature. Watch a few episodes of Seinfeld, Friends, Modern Family, or whatever comedy show makes you laugh out loud. Set up your easel and paint. Pick up your guitar and play a song. Buy a box of crayons and a coloring book and let your inner child spend a few hours coloring. If you love to dance, put on your favorite tunes and dance around the house. I promise you will feel the benefits immediately. 

If you could use some assistance opening to more joy, please contact me. During this pandemic, I am still offering Life Coaching and Private Family Constellations sessions by phone, Skype, and Zoom. For those whose income has been impacted by COVID-19, I am offering 45-minute Life Coaching calls on a donation basis to help you find peace. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information and to schedule an appointment.

This week, may you find ways to allow more joy to flow into your heart than ever before! 

The world you see but shows you how much joy you have allowed yourself to see in you, and to accept as yours. And, if this is its meaning, then the power to give it joy must lie within you.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-21.In.2:7-8

Finding Joy in Unlikely Situations

Last month, I shared how grateful I was to Comcast for connecting high-speed internet to my home office so quickly. Once all of my individual and group sessions moved online, it became more important than ever to have a reliable internet connection. Although receiving the bill this month was not quite as enjoyable, it is a great reminder of the importance of investing in a good connection, which is true no matter what kind of connection we are talking about. Since I made this wise investment, I have had no connectivity issues. 

I also mentioned this was not my first “Comcast miracle.” After reading the story I wrote a few years ago, it felt appropriate to share it again during these challenging times. I hope this story helps you shift your perspective on whatever is trying to take away your peace in this moment:

It’s not often you hear someone say, “I really enjoyed that call to Comcast!” Believe it or not, I said it earlier this week. On Tuesday, my internet service went down around 10 AM. Since I work from home this is a big problem. I decided to call Comcast before starting my yoga practice to report the outage. A lovely automated voice told me that service was out in my area and technicians were working to restore it by 2:27 PM. While I appreciated her specificity, I needed service by 1 PM for a Skype Life Coaching session. When that lovely automated voice asked me if I would like to have a text message sent to my phone when service was restored, I replied “yes.” Then I rolled out my yoga mat, trusting there would be a text message announcing the restoration of my service by the time I finished. No such luck.

Still hopeful, I showered and ate lunch, expecting there to be blinking lights on my modem any minute. At 12:40, I reluctantly sent a text message to my client asking if we could reschedule our session. After three more hours without service, I decided to call Comcast again. When that lovely automated voice had no additional information, I pressed “0” to speak to a human. While waiting, I began thinking how inconvenient this whole situation had been and how this interruption was costing me money. Although this was out of character for me, I decided that I would forcefully demand a credit on my next bill. If I could get angry it would give me strength to ask for what I deserved. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you see it), when I complete my yoga and meditation practice, whatever was troubling me before I started doesn’t seem as important. I was feeling quite Zen when I finished. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to be angry and Zen at the same time, but it’s pretty much impossible.

To my surprise, I was on hold for less than a minute. Before I could muster up any anger, I found myself speaking with Santiago. After I explained my situation, Santiago promised to provide excellent customer service and to find out when my internet would be restored. He first sent a signal to my modem to get some information about what was going on. While we were waiting for the system to respond, he told me that a credit for this time without service would automatically appear on my next bill. How about that? There was no need for indignant demands.

Suddenly, I heard a lot of happy shouting on his end. I asked if someone was celebrating a birthday. He apologized for the interruption and said, “No. They just announced that a few of my coworkers received a promotion and everyone is cheering and celebrating with cake.” I asked him to tell his coworkers I said “Congratulations!” He giggled and said that he would.

Apparently, Santiago’s computer was very slow that day. As we continued to wait for the system to respond to his inquiry, he started a sales pitch about another internet package that I might like. For an additional four cents per month, I could have three times the internet speed and also the ability to watch TV shows on my computer. This plan also included HBO. In the past, other agents have tried to convince me to upgrade my account, but there was always a catch. Usually, they wanted me to buy cable TV and rent a cable box for an additional charge. Since I choose not to have a television in my home, those wonderful plans end up not being available to me. However, Santiago assured me that I did not need a cable box, just the modem I currently have. He also said there would be no hidden installation or service fees, just those four extra pennies per month. How could I say no to that?

Finally, his computer system responded and Santiago let me know that about 32,000 other customers were currently without internet service. He told me that a team was working on the issue and they hoped to have service back up by 9:27 PM. That didn’t help me much in the moment, but Santiago reminded me that when it did come back up it would be three times faster. He asked if there was anything else he could do for me. When I replied that it would be great if he could wash my car, he laughed and did his best to get back on his script by reviewing my questions and his answers. Before hanging up I encouraged him to go get a piece of that cake! The call ended with both of us laughing.

After we hung up, I realized a miracle had just happened. I really enjoyed that call to Comcast! What could have been a very unpleasant and frustrating conversation ended up being a lot of fun. When my internet came back on around 6 PM, it was indeed faster. I have to believe my experience was the result of my state of mind before dialing that number. From a place of peace, the result will be peace. From a place of joy, the result will be joy. 

This week, one participant at our Miracle Monday discussion group shared a similar experience at the impound lot after her car was towed. She believes her studies of A Course in Miracles allowed her to laugh and joke with the attendant as she paid him $220 to get her car out of jail. Yes, it is possible to experience joy in the unlikeliest of situations if you set your intention to do so.

I know many of you are currently in situations where it feels impossible to experience peace, love, or joy. It would be my great honor to assist you with tools and techniques that have helped me in challenging times. Consider giving yourself the gift of a series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. These sessions can be done using Zoom, Skype, or a telephone. For those experiencing economic hardship because of the pandemic, I am offering 45-minute Life Coaching calls on a donation basis. Please visit my website or send me an email for more information and to book a session.

This week I invite you to set your intention to find joy in the most unlikely of places and watch what happens.

The world you see is what you gave it, nothing more than that. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture of an inward condition. 

A Course in Miracles ~ T-21.In.1:2+5

Is it Time to Let That Leaf Go?

The other day I sat under a huge tree in the park far away from the pedestrian pathways. My back was pressed against the jagged bark on her wide trunk as a soft spring breeze caressed my face. A single brown leaf floated to the ground in front of me. I looked up to see most of the tree’s canopy was bright green with just a few brown leaves still hanging on to their branches. I wondered what made this the perfect moment for the tree to let go of that particular leaf. Hadn’t it been dead since autumn? Why now?

I doubt the tree was asking such a silly question. Nor was it feeling ashamed that it waited so long to let go of that leaf. It made me wonder why can’t I be more like that tree. Why am I often so hard on myself for not being able to let things go? Like the little brown leaf that hung on for months, maybe it simply wasn’t time yet? If it were, wouldn’t I have let go already? Maybe there is more for me to learn from that job, person, habit, or situation? I have learned that once I get the lesson, the teacher can go away, but not until then. 

I’m going to do my best to remember that tree and be gentle with myself. That doesn’t mean I won’t ever let things go in a timely manner. It just means I won’t judge myself if they stick around a little longer than is peaceful. Eventually, I will let go. Perhaps I need a little bit more of the experience to truly get the lesson. Maybe all I need is a soft breeze from the winds of change to help gravity do its part. When it’s time, I’ll let go.

This week I encourage you to be like that tree and be gentle with yourself. Many of us have more time for self-reflection these days. Maybe you’ve noticed something in your home, your behavior, your life, or your thoughts that is no longer a match for who you are. That’s a great thing to notice! Maybe it’s time to let it go. If it sticks, maybe it has more to teach you. Either way, you can trust that, just like that leaf, one day it will float to the ground and a  new green leaf will grow in its place.

It would be my great honor to help you release with grace and gratitude whatever is trying to take away your peace. I am still doing Life Coaching and Family Constellations by phone, Zoom, and Skype. Because many of you have experienced a slow down or stoppage in your financial flow, I am offering 45-minute Life Coaching calls on a love offering basis. Please send me an email for more information or to schedule a session. 

Until next time, may you release with ease and grace whatever is no longer serving your highest good like a leaf floating to the ground.

You cannot really not let go what has already gone. It must be, therefore, that you are maintaining the illusion that it has not gone because you think it serves some purpose that you want fulfilled.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-16.VII.2:10-11

Are All Those Ducks in a Row?

A few weeks ago, I noticed a goose swimming behind three ducks in the lake at Hermann Park. Everywhere the ducks swam, the goose followed. This intrigued me so I took a quick photo of the happy little foursome. Now, every time I walk by that corner of the lake, I see the same three ducks followed by the same goose. True, I can’t be sure it’s the same four birds because they aren’t wearing name tags, but I find it very sweet that a goose has been accepted into this little duck group. They don’t seem to mind that they look very different from each other. Some humans might learn a lesson from those waterfowl.

Many people are more concerned with what makes us different than what we have in common. I learned a valuable lesson about this many years ago while visiting a friend on Long Island. My friend was an Interfaith Minister, and when two Mormon missionaries showed up at her door a few days before my arrival, she invited them to come back at the end of the week for lunch. She felt compassion for these teenage boys who were far from home and most likely missing home-cooked meals. Knowing our diverse spiritual backgrounds, my friend thought the four of us would have an interesting conversation. She was right! 

When they first arrived, we exchanged pleasantries and then they jumped right into the Book of Mormon to share their beliefs. At the time, I had only been studying A Course in Miracles for about a year and a half so I was quite eager to bring out my big blue book and share my beliefs with them. As you can imagine, the conversation became awkward and uncomfortable very quickly. Luckily, lunch was ready soon.

 We adjourned to the dining room and sat around the table for a nice bowl of chicken soup. Before we ate, my friend spoke a beautiful blessing over our food and our time together. Her loving invocation shifted something. We started talking about the things we had in common, where our beliefs intersected, and how tasty the chicken soup was! The tension from the previous conversation dissipated, and the four of us enjoyed a wonderful lunch. I will never forget that powerful lesson. When we try to convince someone that our beliefs are correct, things will inevitably get tense. But when we share from the heart instead of the head, love connects us all. 

It is often said that it’s best to avoid talking about religion and politics with those who have different opinions. However, if we want to be more like those ducks, perhaps we should be discussing them more often, but with an open heart and an open mind. We might discover that we have more in common than just webbed feet. We also might agree to disagree, but at least there is an opening for understanding when we listen to another point of view. 

Are you having a hard time seeing a relationship or situation from a different perspective? I would be honored to assist you with a series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session using Skype or Zoom. I am also offering single 45-minute Life Coaching calls on a donation basis to help anyone having a hard time finding peace during this stressful and unprecedented time. There is another opportunity to experience a Virtual Family Constellations group session on Saturday, May 9. Please click this link for more details or to purchase your ticket at a special price of only $25. There are only a few spaces left, so buy your tickets soon!  

Until next time, may you swim in harmony with all of your brothers and sisters in the lake. 

Peace is the state where love abides, and seeks to share itself. Conflict and peace are opposites. Where one abides the other cannot be; where either goes the other disappears.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-23.I.12.5