A Screw Loose and an Instrument of Peace

This week I built something all by myself and it gave me a great sense of accomplishment. Truth be told, IKEA supplied all the parts and instructions on how to assemble my new office chair, but I still feel good about it! That company is very good at manufacturing products that can only be assembled one way, but they aren’t foolproof. At least not to this fool. I was on the last two pages of the instructions when I noticed a few little boxed drawings that I hadn’t seen before. These drawings seemed to indicate I should not tighten the screws all the way when attaching the arms of the chair. Oops! Nothing a few counter-clockwise turns with the Allen wrench couldn’t fix, right?

Wrong. After loosening the screws, I attached the chair back and tried to raise it into position as shown by the big arrow in the instructions. It was absolutely unwilling to move in that direction, even with the loose screws. Thank goodness I was listening to my favorite Olivia Newton-John album, Grace & Gratitude while assembling this chair. Olivia had just finished singing “Let Go and Let God” and now was singing make me an “Instrument of Peace,” a song adapted from the Prayer of St. Francis. I decided to take her advice. Without getting angry, I simply stepped away from the chair for a few minutes. When I came back, it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps I had attached the left arm to the right side of the chair and vice versa. 

Sure enough, as soon as I switched the arms and re-attached the chair back, making sure not to tighten the screws this time, everything slid into place. I’m sitting on my new chair as I type these words. It was a great reminder not to try to force things if they aren’t flowing. Getting angry and frustrated with myself doesn’t help either. Taking a break and coming back to a stuck situation with a fresh pair of eyes and peace in my heart is a much better strategy. That’s when inspiration (or messages from Spirit) can drop in and guide the way to a solution.

I know there are a lot of things going on in the world right now that are beyond frustrating, and it’s important that we allow ourselves to feel all of our feelings including anger and sadness. Here is a link to a video of Olivia Newton-John singing her song “Instrument of Peace.” My hope is that this song and prayer help to restore peace to your mind and love to your heart so all of your actions can be inspired ones. Inspired actions will be the most effective in creating the changes needed and the experiences that will serve the greatest good.

Is there an area of your life where you feel stuck? I’d love to help you return to peace and see the situation with a fresh pair of eyes through a series of Life Coaching sessions or a Family Constellations session. Thanks to technology, we can do these sessions virtually no matter where you are in the world. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information or to schedule a session. 

Until next time, may you create a peaceful space in your heart and mind for inspiration to enter.

Peace is impossible to those who look on war. Peace is inevitable to those who offer peace. 

A Course in Miracles ~ MT-11.4:1-2

There is So Much Magnificence

Those who have been reading my weekly stories for a while know how much I enjoy being near the ocean. My entire being relaxes and expands when I’m at the beach. Many of you share my love for the sound of the waves rolling in and the refreshing, restorative quality of the salt air. I shared my love for the ocean with a new friend last week. When she heard the lyrics in the song “There Is So Much Magnificence” by Miten and Deva Premal, she thought of me and sent me the YouTube video. 

Little did she know I had a powerful experience with this song four years ago. In fact, the experience touched me so deeply, I wrote about it in my story that week. Because this song came back into my awareness in such a sweet way, I felt inspired to share that story again. While putting this email together, imagine my surprise when I noticed the date of the concert in the description of the short video clip on my YouTube channel. It happened on September 17, 2016, exactly four years ago to the day! I’ll take that as a sign I was supposed to share this magical moment of harmony with all of you again this week:

There was a lot of magnificence at the Olympia Theater in Miami last Saturday night. I was blessed to once again attend a Deva Premal concert with some dear friends. If you don’t know her music, I highly recommend you check it out on iTunes or YouTube. Her voice has a remarkable purity that matches the vibration of the Sanskrit chants she sings. Deva tours with her husband, Miten, also a talented musician, and their friend Manose, an amazing flute player and singer from Kathmandu. To call what they do a concert doesn’t do it justice. When I tell people about the experience, I usually invite them to imagine they’re sitting around a campfire with beloved friends singing along to familiar songs while one of them plays guitar. Now imagine that same level of intimacy and joy with 1,500 people in a beautiful theater chanting praise to Divine Presence. It’s absolutely magnificent.

Speaking of magnificence, towards the end of this enchanting evening, Miten invited just the men in the audience to stand and sing his part of a beautiful song called “So Much Magnificence.” Typically, men are not quick to stand and sing in public, but as far as I could see, every guy in the audience participated. By that point, we were immersed in the vibration of love, so it felt safe to go beyond our comfort zone. We sang to the women, “There is so much magnificence near the ocean. Waves are coming in. Waves are coming in.” With each repetition, those deep voices got louder. 

After a few rounds of that, Deva invited the women to join her in singing “Hallelujah” back to the men in beautiful harmony. When the two parts blended, streams of tears rolled down my cheeks. I choose to believe that much healing occurred in the hearts of both the men and the women standing and singing to each other in the auditorium that night. The flow of unconditional love back and forth and all around us was palpable. I shall never forget this experience. 

Click the link below to enjoy a little sample that I recorded in Miami with my iPhone on September 17, 2016:

https://youtu.be/1Hxxg7T1hsM

In this time of divisiveness and polarity, may this song remind you of the healing power of harmony and love.

Family Constellations is a wonderful way to have a similar soul connection that can restore harmony in any area of your life. Even though we are gathering virtually these days, something profound happens in these online workshops. Participants arrive as strangers and depart feeling like soul family. The next Virtual Family Constellations Workshop is happening this Saturday, September 26 from 2:30 – 5:30 Eastern Time. For more information about this event and to purchase your ticket, click this link. Space is limited to 24 participants so get your ticket soon! If you’d like more information about Family Constellations or if you prefer to schedule a one on one session, please visit my website or simply send me an email.

Until next time, may you experience the power of harmony and love in miraculous ways.

Alone we are all lowly, but together we shine with brightness so intense that none of us alone can even think of it. Before the glorious radiance of [Oneness] guilt melts away, and transformed into kindness will never more be what it was. 

A Course in Miracles – T-13.X.14

Sweet Tea Angel

Most of us grew up hearing the phrase “it’s better to give than receive,” or some version of that, but is it true? Some people have taken this phrase to mean it is selfish to receive, so they focus on giving. They have a very hard time receiving a compliment, let alone a gift. Even from a logical perspective, this doesn’t work. If everyone is giving, but no one is receiving, nothing can happen! Just like breathing, for it to work, we have to complete the cycle. Inhale and exhale. Give and receive. Both have equal value. 

On the final leg of my journey back to Houston last month, I had the opportunity to practice the art of receiving. I stopped at a McAlister’s Deli somewhere in Louisiana for their delicious veggie sandwich. I needed to stretch my legs, so I went inside to order the sandwich and a side of mac n cheese to go. The restaurant must have recently reopened because there were very few people inside eating and very few people working behind the counter. It took a while for them to make my sandwich, but I was not on any time schedule so I didn’t mind. 

A kind, elderly woman who worked there noticed me and asked if I’d like to have an iced tea while I waited. Initially I declined, knowing I already had an iced tea in my car. No sooner had I said “no thank you” when suddenly I felt that I had made the wrong decision. Why would I block an act of kindness, especially when I know how delicious their sweet tea is! (For the record, I don’t drink it often so I’m better off not knowing how much sugar is in it!) 

I immediately said to the nice woman that I changed my mind and I would love a sweet tea. Her whole face lit up as she happily trotted behind the counter to scoop some ice and pour me a cup from the brewing machine. As she handed it to me she smiled and said in her sweet southern accent, “Ya know. Our tea is so good I thought maybe you were an alien when you said no thank you.” And then with a gleam in her eye she added, “Or you come from north of the Mason Dixon line.”

Although I am a full-blooded Yankee who just visited his hometown in upstate New York, I played along and said, “Isn’t that the same thing?” She giggled and replied, “I wasn’t gonna say that, but I’m glad you did.” Luckily she didn’t ask me where I was from before my sandwich was ready. When she handed me the bag, I noticed her name tag said, “Mrs. Angela.” Before leaving, I thanked her again for the tea. She told me to “come on back anytime I was in the neighborhood.” I told her that I definitely would and that she certainly lived up to the word “angel” on her name tag. She blushed and waved goodbye as I headed out the door.

As I sat in my car eating my sandwich and drinking my tea, a wave of gratitude washed over me, not just for the tea, but for the lovely connection with that sweet tea angel. Seeing how happy she was pouring that tea and sharing a giggle lifted my energy for the long drive still ahead. I’m so glad I didn’t miss that joyful moment by denying her the opportunity to be kind. I truly believe it was a gift for us both. I also believe that’s why Lesson 108 in A Course in Miracles says:

To give and to receive are one in truth.

I will receive what I am giving now.

Are you the person that never lets anyone else pick up the check at a restaurant? Maybe you constantly buy gifts for others, but never buy anything for yourself or refuse to let others buy gifts for you. Perhaps you feel guilty because your financial situation makes you the person who rarely picks up the check or gives a gift. It would be my great honor to help you balance the flow of giving and receiving with a series of Life Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can uncover unconscious blocks that prevent you from living the happy, healthy, prosperous, and balanced life you were meant to live. All sessions can be done from the comfort of your own home using a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information and to schedule a session. 

Until next time, may you experience the abundant joy of both giving and receiving.

No Regrets

Several years ago, I listened to a podcast where Oprah Winfrey interviewed Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com. In that interview, he talked about his decision to leave a very lucrative career on Wall Street to start his own company. He told Oprah his boss at the time asked why in the world he would give up a well-paying, secure job and take a risk selling books online out of his garage. That’s when he shared this phrase that has stuck with me ever since…“regret minimization.” He didn’t want to be on his deathbed and regret not trying that crazy business idea. I’d say that decision worked out pretty well for him!

As many of you know, I just returned from a magical four-week road trip visiting friends and family all along the East Coast. My journey was filled with more miracles than I can count! I was able to reconnect with my godchildren whom I had not seen in many years, go boating with all four of my siblings on a lake in Pennsylvania, hike in Upstate NY with my sister to celebrate her milestone birthday, and share many more joyful moments of laughter with people I love. Some of those moments are captured in photos on my Instagram and Facebook pages. 

You may recall I wrote that some fear came up before I left because coronavirus cases were still rising in some areas. I could have let fear stop me from taking this trip, but my inner voice kept saying it was important for me to trust and get on the road anyway. Regret minimization also played a part in my decision. I did not want to look back and regret not taking advantage of that opening in my work schedule. I know I made the right decision because my heart is still overflowing with gratitude for the many gifts I received last month.

What about you? Is there something you want to do or try, but fear is holding you back? Have you been receiving messages that it’s time to change something in your life? I invite you to consider how you will feel 20 years from now if you don’t take action. Will you regret it and wonder what would have happened? I have yet to hear anyone on their deathbed say, “I sure wish I had spent less time with my loved ones and more time at work.” If there is a longing in your heart, maybe now is the time to follow your joy and give it a try. I would be honored to assist you in moving through fear with a series of weekly Life Coaching sessions. Please visit my website or send me an email for more information and to schedule a session.

Until next time, may trust and regret minimization give you the courage to follow your joy.

Until you realize you give up nothing, until you understand there is no loss, you will have some regrets about the way that you have chosen. And you will not see the many gains your choice has offered you. Yet though you do not see them, they are there. 

A Course in Miracles ~ T-29.II.1:5-7