Now that I’m back in Florida, I love being able to jump into the Atlantic Ocean when I finish my morning cardio walk along the beach. After sweating for an hour, the cool water feels fantastic! The surf was exceptionally rough this past Monday. I had barely entered the water when a tall wave came barreling toward me. There was no time to avoid it or to prepare myself for total immersion. Ready or not, I had to dive through the wave or be knocked over. It happened so fast I couldn’t help but laugh when I emerged on the other side.
It occurred to me that life is like navigating waves in the ocean. There is an endless procession of experiences, some big, some small, some exciting, some painful that come toward us. Like the waves, it would be a lesson in futility to try to stop them. We can try to avoid them or run from them, but they eventually catch up with us. If we aren’t careful, the really big ones could knock us over. The best way to avoid getting knocked over by a big wave is to dive right into it. Yes, it may be scary for a moment, but by facing it head-on, we pass through it and it’s done. There is calm on the other side, at least until the next wave arrives!
This has been my experience with painful situations and life experiences. If I try to avoid them with a plethora of distractions, they eventually catch up with me. There really is no way around them. Only through them. Granted, it can be extremely uncomfortable to walk through these times, and we can only do it when we’re ready. However, it is important to remember that we don’t have to go through them alone. During these challenging times, it is such a blessing to be part of a spiritual community or to have trusted friends and family members to lean on for support. In some cases, we may need to seek the assistance of a professional counselor, therapist, or spiritual advisor to guide us. There’s no shame in asking for help when we need it. In fact, it’s a very courageous choice.
Like diving into those big waves, when we face those challenging situations head-on rather than avoid them, we eventually come out on the other side where there is calm. Who knows? Perhaps when you emerge on the other side you will see things from a fresh perspective and be able to laugh about them.
A friend told me a story this week that opened the door for some childhood memories to flood back into my mind. Not that I think I’m done, but I have invested a considerable amount of time into healing my relationship with my mother and the effects of her addiction to alcohol. When memories like these return, they rarely have emotions attached to them. For whatever reason, this time when I started thinking about little John growing up in all that chaos and uncertainty, tears welled up in my eyes. I felt a new level of compassion for him. Although I truly believe my mother and I reached a beautiful place of mutual understanding and unconditional love before she passed, apparently I had another layer of healing and releasing to do.
As the tears flowed, I remembered a powerful dream I had on Saturday morning in that murky phase between sleeping and waking. In the dream, I opened a magical portal where adult John traveled back in time to the house where I grew up in Vestal, NY. This is not a place I would choose to go back to. Anyone who has experienced alcohol addiction in their family knows that alcoholism and cleanliness don’t usually go hand in hand. Without going into details, I’ll just say our house was usually pretty gross. I learned to clean and do laundry at a young age. Meals were often left half prepared on the stove, so dinner was often a bowl of cereal.
For the record, I’m sharing this information for context, not to elicit sympathy. It took over 40 years, but I came to understand that everything that happened between me and my mother, (the good, the bad, and the ugly) was exactly what was supposed to happen so that I could be where I am today. It was a pivotal moment in my healing journey when this understanding dropped from my head to my heart. Instead of just understanding it intellectually, I felt the truth of it in my whole being. A few days before she passed, I held my mother’s hand as she lay unconscious in her hospital bed while we listened to the CD set Graceful Passages: A Companion for Living and Dying. When it was done, and my eyes had no more tears to cry, I was able to thank her for all of it and tell her that she was the perfect mom for me. And I meant it.
Back in my dream, I searched the house and found little John crying in his bedroom. I told him who I was and that I had something amazing to show him. We traveled back through the portal emerging at the gorgeous sunset scene on Sarasota Bay that I described in last week’s blog. I told him that THIS is our life now. It’s filled with peace, love, joy, and beauty! We made it out of that chaos in Vestal. I reassured him that I would take care of him from now on. I also promised we would only live in places that light up our soul and allow our creative expression to flow freely. I added that I found us a beautiful, quiet place near the water to live. And finally, I promised that I would do my best to honor, respect, and value his needs from now on. It felt so good to tell him these things and share details of this exciting new chapter we are creating together! The conversation soothed both of us, and I felt our heart connection grow stronger. Then we sat back in the Adirondack chairs to watch Mother Nature put on a spectacular show with storm clouds, thunder, egrets, herons, and jumping fish as golden sunlight danced in the ripples of the water.
One of the cornerstones of the work I do called Family Constellations is the idea that eventually we all have to accept the love from our parents as they gave it, not as we wanted it. It may take a long time to get there, but it is possible. Then, we can parent ourselves and give ourselves everything we need to thrive. If you’ve never thought about parenting yourself, I invite you to give it a try. It is one of the most freeing and empowering gifts I have ever given myself. If you would like some guidance on how specifically to do this, please contact me for a private Family Constellations session or a series of Life Coaching sessions. It would be my great honor to assist you. I continue to be amazed by what is revealed and healed in these sessions. For more information or to schedule a session, please look around my website or send me an email.
Until next time, may your little one experience an abundance of love and support from the best parent she or he could ever have…YOU!
You have so little faith in yourself because you are unwilling to accept the fact that perfect love is in you. And so you seek without for what you cannot find without.
Last week I wrote about the unconscious resistance to fully experiencing joy. Since then, the concept of joy has been rumbling around in my mind. What exactly is joy, and how do we welcome it? This was a common theme in many of my Life Coaching sessions and in both of my weekly A Course in Miracles Study groups. In all of these conversations, I noticed that joy shows up in different ways for different people.
One of the most joyful times in my life was when I worked in the Entertainment Department at Walt Disney World. Some days I couldn’t believe I was getting paid (albeit not much) to have so much fun with my friends in those costumes. I worked there for seven years, so it would be hard to pin down one favorite role in a parade or show.
However, one of my top five joyful moments at Disney was dancing in the Easter Parade as a Hoe Down Cowboy with the County Bear Jamboree. (Please don’t ask what bears and cowboys have to do with Easter because I have no idea!) Our high-energy dance routine was choreographed to the song “Rocky Top.” I’m not a country music fan, but I had so much fun dancing to that song I whooped and hollered like a crazy person all through the parade route. Being so full of joy helped me push myself to keep my energy high and dance full out until we passed the sightline. It was both exhausting and exhilarating. I had a great cowgirl partner who matched my energy which made it even more fun. I think the picture below captures the essence of the joy we were feeling.
But joy isn’t always loud and flashy. Sometimes it’s much more subtle and quiet. This past weekend I had an experience of silent, peaceful joy. After receiving some happy news in Sarasota, I decided to revisit a place that my friends had taken me to the week before. It is a tranquil spot off the beaten path overlooking Sarasota Bay. I arrived about an hour before sunset and was surprised to find very few people there. I plopped myself down in an empty Adirondack chair to enjoy Mother Nature’s show.
The sun was still shining brightly in the sky, but the steady breeze coming off the water kept me nice and cool. The tide must have been out because I noticed a large sand bar in the middle of the bay. At least a half dozen herons and egrets took advantage of that shallow water to do some fishing for dinner. I was very entertained watching their slow, deliberate walk and their necks stretching back and forth as they searched for fish. Once they spotted one, they plunged their heads into the water and almost always emerged with a wiggling fish in their beaks.
Those birds might have had even better luck closer to where I was sitting. Every few minutes, a fish jumped completely out of the water. I was amazed by their ability to launch their entire body several inches into the air before landing back in the bay with a splash. I’m not sure why they were doing that. Perhaps they were trying to escape from predators below. The constant leaping and splashing gave the whole scene a comical flavor as if I were in a cartoon. I laughed every time. In addition to comedy, it also provided a feeling of abundance. Fish were jumping everywhere and readily available for the hungry birds. It definitely seemed like there were “plenty of fish in the sea.” I had never experienced anything like it.
As the bright orange orb gently lowered itself toward the water, golden sunlight danced on the ripples of the waves. Occasionally a sailboat drifted through the golden sparkles way across the bay. Dark clouds began to invade the sky, and thunder rumbled in the distance. The impending storm just added to the mystical quality of the experience. After the sun dipped below the horizon, I risked getting drenched to enjoy the sights and sounds a little while longer. Honestly, I didn’t want to leave! And something interesting occurred to me. Even though I was there by myself, I did not feel any sense of sadness or loneliness. My heart was full. There was nothing missing. All I felt was a sense of gratitude and contentment. Perhaps those are the only ingredients necessary in the recipe for joy in all its many forms.
This week, may you find ways to experience a sense of gratitude and contentment for things that are already around you. It could be as simple as laughing at your favorite sitcom, dancing or singing along to your favorite song, or taking a moment to sit under a tree. If you could use some assistance in welcoming joy, please contact me. I would be honored to help you remove the blocks to the awareness of joy’s presence with a series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Look around my website now for more information about these joyful opportunities or send me an email to schedule a session.
Until next time, may joy sneak up and find you as it found me in moments of deep gratitude and contentment.
Last week I had the unexpected joy of staying with two friends who also happen to be yoga instructors. In addition to the many fun adventures we had, one morning, while one friend was at the gym, the other offered to guide me through a private yoga class. Having done the same sequence of yoga poses at home for the past ten years, I welcomed the opportunity to try something new with a teacher I trust. The pandemic prevented my friend from teaching classes over the past year, so he was happy to have someone to guide. I love that it was a mutually beneficial situation.
They practice Kriya Yoga, which I learned incorporates a lot of intentional breathing techniques (called pranayama) with intentional movements. Some of the breathing techniques I had done in past yoga classes. Some were brand new. There was one I found particularly challenging. After a minute or two of inhaling through one nostril and exhaling through the other using my thumb and index finger to hold the opposite nostril closed, I started to feel a slight burning sensation in my nasal passages. It was very uncomfortable to have that much air passing through my nose. I was surprised by how resistant I was to keep breathing that way. I knew I had to keep going if I wanted to reap the benefits of this ancient practice.
I reminded myself that I would not have to breathe this way forever. Many times throughout the practice, my friend offered encouraging words that helped me to push past my discomfort. Eventually, we moved on to other breathing techniques that were not as uncomfortable and quite fun. One required some left to right hand coordination as the time between inhales and exhales got shorter. When the tempo reached its fastest, I’ll admit I got a little discombobulated, but I did my best to keep up and not get frustrated. After the pranayama, we moved on to some poses that were exactly what my body was craving.
I’m so glad I took advantage of this opportunity and didn’t just do the same routine I always do. Although I had only gotten 4-5 hours of sleep the night before, I felt fantastic when we finished. I usually don’t function well with less than 7 hours of sleep, so I was sure I would need a nap at some point later that day. To my surprise, that was not the case. I had plenty of energy to do all the things I needed to do including my Friday evening online A Course in Miracles study group.
What a powerful lesson! How often do we resist the very thing that we know will help us feel better or move forward? I’ve noticed the same thing in my practice of the principles found in ACourse in Miracles. Even though I have been studying the Course since 2006, I still find myself resistant to applying it in certain situations. If I release my resentment towards someone who appears to have wronged me I know I will feel better. If I stop focusing on an upsetting situation, I will inevitably return to peace. So why is it so hard to do? It’s like a popcorn kernel stuck between your teeth that your tongue simply can’t stop wrestling with. Try as we may, we keep going back there!
This subject came up during the “Afternoon of Miracles” workshop I facilitated in Dallas last month. We were speaking about addiction to substances when one participant pointed out there are many other types of addiction. In addition to substances and behaviors, we can be addicted to limiting beliefs, suffering, struggle, and drama. I believe these all fall under the domain of the ego because they keep us from experiencing what we truly want: peace, love, and joy. I heard Marianne Williamson once compare following the ego’s thought system to being addicted to heroin. You can only do it for so long. Eventually you either quit or you don’t survive. Throughout A Course in Miracles, we are reminded of the importance of choosing joy over pain. It seems so obvious, yet we don’t always do it. Why?
Brené Brown spoke about our resistance to fully experiencing joy in a recent episode of her podcast Unlocking Us. The conversation with her sisters was around being fearful of joy. We know it won’t last forever so we don’t fully welcome it. Many of us sabotage the expansive feeling of joy by imagining what bad thing is going to happen to take it away. Fear immediately obliterates joy. While researching her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené theorized that people who were able to throw their hands up and let joy completely wash over them were people that had a strong spiritual connection. The research did not prove that to be true. Instead, the common denominator was gratitude. People that expressed gratitude while they were experiencing joy were more likely to experience more joy more often. Those who were cautious of joy waiting for “the other shoe to drop” were not as successful at experiencing joy fully.
This is really good news because the solution is quite simple, though not always easy. Can I find something (no matter how small) for which to be grateful about the person who appears to have wronged me? Is there another way of looking at the situation that upset me to discover a blessing in disguise? And when I am experiencing joy, can I take a moment to express my deep gratitude for it? In that same podcast, Brené apologized to her fellow 12-steppers who use the slogan “the attitude of gratitude.” She believes gratitude is not an attitude, it’s a practice. Why not share one thing you are grateful for as you sit down to every meal, not just on Thanksgiving? Perhaps you can start (or recommit to) a gratitude journal in which you write down 5 things you are grateful for every day. Whatever you do to express more gratitude, I believe Brené’s research that it will lead to more joy. I am so grateful for my family, my friends, A Course in Miracles, my yoga practice, and all of you who read these weekly stories!
If you find it difficult to fully experience joy or suspect that some of those pesky ego addictions are lurking in your unconscious mind, maybe A Course in Miracles is calling you? The Course is a psychological mind training that teaches us how to choose joy over pain and love over fear. To learn more about this practice, please join us for one or both of my weekly ACIM online study groups. For one-on-one assistance, I would be honored to help you with a series of Life Coaching sessions. You can also join me for a very special online workshop on Saturday, July 17 from 2-5PMEastern where we will be “Exploring Independence from Addiction with Family Constellations.” Last month’s workshop sold out, so if this topic is of interest, purchase your ticket soon! Please look around my website for more information about all of these joyful opportunities.
Until next time, may rain showers of joy and gratitude completely drench your soul…
Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way. As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point.
Last Sunday was a day of miracles that almost didn’t happen. I accepted an invitation to speak and facilitate an afternoon workshop at the Church of One Love in Dallas long before I had absolute clarity that it was time for me to leave Houston and move back to Florida. At the time, that only required getting in my car and driving four hours north on I-45. Now that I live in the Sunshine State, the trip became a little more complicated and costly with air travel, car rental, hotel room, extra meals, and various other expenses. I had the opportunity to reschedule my visit, but when I got quiet and asked Spirit if it was the highest choice for me to go to Dallas now, the answer I received was an emphatic “YES!” I have learned to trust that guidance even when it doesn’t appear to be practical, so I made all the necessary arrangements and flew across the Gulf of Mexico.
I will admit, I began to question that decision when my flight to Dallas was delayed over an hour on Saturday evening due to severe thunderstorms across the country. I questioned my decision again when I encountered some frustrating obstacles with the rental car company. However, both of those unpleasant experiences gave me the opportunity to practice the kind of forgiveness A Course in Miracles teaches, and thus current examples to share in my workshop. When I finally arrived at my hotel, I had to laugh at the artwork hanging next to the desk in my room. It was none other than Big Tex, the creepy 55’ mascot of the State Fair of Texas! Ever since my first experience at the Fair, I often joked that Big Tex must be the cause of many children’s nightmare. I was back in Texas for just one night and Big Tex would be staring at me while I slept! Because I was a little nervous about speaking the next day, it felt like a cosmic wink from the Universe reminding me to lighten up and not take any of it too seriously.
The next day started with a visit to a beautiful rose garden located just down the street from the church. A friend who lives in Dallas has been taking gorgeous photos in that garden for years and I have always wanted to go there myself. I hadn’t seen that friend since before the pandemic, so it felt like the perfect place to meet and catch up. During our stroll through the multi-colored blossoms, we were blessed by a visit from a hummingbird who appeared to be enjoying the beautiful flowers as much as we were. Hummingbirds represent “joy” in Native American teachings, so I took it as a sign that there would be plenty of joy around me that day.
It didn’t take long to confirm that theory. The wonderful people at the Church of One Love greeted me with open hearts and open arms. Some I had met before and others I met for the first time. I was delighted to see a few of my friends who live in Dallas and deeply touched by one who drove all the way up from Houston to attend both events. I felt very loved and supported.
Before the service, the kind leader of the A Course in Miracles group introduced herself to me and let me know most of her group would be attending both events. I was so honored when she told me that this would be the first time some of them would be meeting each other face to face! How could I decline when she invited me to join them at a well-known Mexican restaurant for lunch? I’m so glad I didn’t let fear of not having enough time stop me from accepting her gracious invitation. I loved hearing their miracle stories and getting to know them better. I believe it made the experience at the workshop much more powerful and intimate. That became apparent when people started sharing the miraculous shifts and “aha” moments they had during the final group exercise. I couldn’t be more pleased with how it all came together or more grateful to have made some new friends.
After the workshop, I had time to get a chai tea at a nearby Starbucks with the friend who drove up from Houston. We shared plenty of laughs and caught up with each other’s lives before I had to head back to the airport to return my rental car and catch my flight back to Florida. Unfortunately, there were more delays due to weather, so I did not get back to my friend’s house in Tampa until 2 AM! It was a long day but a good day filled with many miracles.
Perhaps the miracle that touched me the most was the young woman who approached me after the Sunday service. This was her first time at the Church of One Love. She told me that she very recently began a journey of healing where she was introduced to the concept of Generational Trauma. It was something she had never heard of before, so when the guest speaker at a church she had never attended spoke about that very topic, she was blown away! She felt like my message was just for her, and she thanked me profusely. That’s when I knew for sure why Spirit guided me to make the trip to Dallas. Even if all the other miraculous things hadn’t happened, that brief interaction with a woman I will most likely never see again was enough to convince me it was absolutely the right choice!
Are you struggling with a big decision or having trouble listening to your own inner guidance? I would be honored to assist you in getting some clarity with a series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Both can be done from anywhere in the world thanks to the miracle of technology. Please look around my website for more information or send me an email if you have any questions.
Until next time, may all your days be filled with miracles!
Your passage through time and space is not at random. You cannot but be in the right place at the right time.
Many of you know I like to scatter tiny rose quartz crystals in lakes, streams, and flower beds as a way to infuse a location with the frequency of unconditional love and compassion. It’s a fun ritual I learned from one of my very first spiritual teachers back in 2004 and I have been doing it ever since. Not long after I started this practice, my teacher and I were in a beautiful spot by a stream having a deep conversation when it occurred to me that I did not have any rose quartz stones with me. My teacher agreed it would have been nice to drop a few in the stream, but he reminded me that we didn’t need little pink stones to make it a sacred spot. Just our being there and having that moment made it sacred. I never forgot that lesson.
Last month, while I was taking one of my last walks in Hermann Park, I decided to toss a few rose quartz crystals around the path as a way to thank the park for being such a blessing during my time in Houston. I only had a handful left so I was being very intentional with where I placed them. Some went on either side of the path where I usually started my walk. A few went under a favorite prayer bench. The lake received a few as well as the spot where I almost walked in front of the train had it not been for a family on the other side of the train tracks! I saved the last piece for my favorite spot under a tree where I did my cool-down stretches and Donna Eden’s 5-Minute Daily Energy Medicine Routine.
As I neared the end of my route, I took the last tiny pink stone out of my pocket ready to place it in what I considered the perfect place. Suddenly my hand bumped my thigh and the stone flew out from between my fingers. I couldn’t believe it! I was so close to my destination! I scanned the sidewalk for a minute but was not able to see where it landed. The crystals I use are pale pink and smaller than popcorn kernels so they are not always easy to spot. I could have spent a lot of time looking for it, but instead, I decided to surrender to what happened and trust that the crystal was supposed to be wherever it landed. Although I was disappointed, I remembered what my teacher said about not needing rose quartz to make a spot sacred. My healing experiences under that tree had already done that.
When I arrived under the tree and bent over to stretch my back and quads, something shiny on the ground caught my eye. Right there on that very spot a gold star was sparkling in the sun. I’m pretty sure I laughed out loud when I saw it. It was a great reminder that I didn’t have to do anything to mark that spot as sacred. The Universe via some graduate celebrating with confetti and a photo op took care of that for me. And, by letting go of my attachment to what I thought was “supposed” to happen, I believe the Universe gave me a gold star in this lesson on surrender. I trust I will remember this experience the next time I find myself attached to a particular outcome, especially one that seems to have more significance. If I surrender to what wants to happen instead of insisting I know what should happen, perhaps I’ll earn another gold star! Of course, the only gold star worth earning is Inner Peace.
Are you having a hard time letting go of your attachment to a particular outcome? I would be honored to help you earn a gold star in surrender with a series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Both can help you expand your capacity to see things from a different perspective allowing you to let go and trust the process. Please look around my website for more information about both or send me an email to book a session.
Until next time, may you earn a gold star in all of life’s lessons whether they be large or small.
If you realized that you do not perceive your own best interests, you could be taught what they are. But in the presence of your conviction that you do know what they are, you cannot learn. The idea for today is a step toward opening your mind so that learning can begin.
When I moved to Houston three years ago I was “all in.” Before departing Fort Lauderdale, I sold a few things and donated all of my furniture and household items to an organization that helps women in recovery get back on their feet. A miracle named “Odalys” appeared at the eleventh hour to facilitate the bulk of my belongings finding a new home. I don’t know what I would have done if it weren’t for her! You can read all about that experience in my blog titled “Faith, Trust, and Moving Dust.”
Last month, as I prepared to leave Houston and head back to Florida, I made the executive decision that I would only bring what would fit in my car. Since I gave most everything away three years ago, I don’t own enough to make it cost-effective to rent a truck or hire a moving company. It felt like a clear and efficient boundary since I will most likely be moving again to a more permanent location later this summer.
As I packed up my car last week, I soon discovered there wouldn’t be room for a few things I was hoping to bring. I couldn’t find space for three of my large plants without crushing them, so I decided to leave them behind where they were growing happily. The other item was my laundry basket. While driving the first leg, it occurred to me that I could have put my hanging clothes inside the laundry basket, thus allowing it to come with me, but by then I was already in Louisiana. It was disappointing, but I knew these items could be easily replaced. I was amazed by how much did fit in my car. Had one of my favorite paintings been one inch wider it would not have slid into my hatchback like it was made for that space. With those few exceptions, everything else fit perfectly and I was incredibly grateful!
After a joyful two days of driving listening to dance music and A Course in Miracles podcasts, I arrived safely at my sister’s house in Florida. With her help, it took less than an hour to unload my car. I brought in my clothes from the passenger seat first. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I hung them. On the floor of my new closet was a bright blue laundry basket! My sister had placed it there without knowing that was one of the items I had to leave behind. What a beautiful reminder that the Universe has my back. When I don’t try to force things to fit and surrender to what wants to happen, my needs are met without having to speak them.
Could you use some assistance in surrendering and releasing the need to force things to happen in a specific way? I would be honored to help you see things from an expanded perspective with a series of Life Coaching Sessions or with Family Constellations. Both create space for miracles to happen in your life. Please look around my website for more information and to learn about upcoming events. If you’d like to book a session, simply send me an email.
Until next time, may you surrender to the many miracles that want to happen in your life.
Miracles are natural. When they do not occur something has gone wrong.
Long-time readers of my weekly stories will not be surprised by the news I am about to share. I moved back to Florida this week! After 3 years of living in Houston, Texas, I heeded the call to return to the place that feels like home. Houston is a wonderful city with much to offer, it just wasn’t a good fit for me. My preference is to live in a much smaller city with a tropical climate near the ocean. During the 25 years I lived in Florida before moving to Texas, I would often remind myself, “I’m not on vacation, I live here!” And now with a smile in my heart, I can say that again with even deeper gratitude.
Before I drove east, I had the opportunity to practice what I preach and do something I often recommend to my Family Constellations clients. The night I officially made the decision to leave Texas, I went to my rooftop deck to get some fresh air and look out over the Houston skyline. As I stared at its twinkling lights against a gray, cloudy background, it occurred to me that the two of us needed to have a conversation. To be fair, I did most of the talking. I stood up, faced the city with my hands in prayer position, and said these words:
“Dear Houston. We have had an interesting 3 years together. You have been overwhelming at times. I have gotten lost in your streets and trapped in your traffic. Yes, in moments of sheer frustration, I have even cursed you! And I have also been richly blessed by you. I have met incredible people and made lifelong friends. I have experienced moments of joy and sorrow. I have received excellent health care from your skilled medical professionals. I have helped heal many hearts in Houston with Family Constellations and A Course in Miracles which has helped heal my heart in return. Houston, you have been a significant part of my journey and I am grateful for all of it. And now I release you with love.”
Then I bowed deeply and slowly to downtown Houston to show my respect and gratitude. When I stood up, I felt a shift in my body, as if some heaviness were being lifted up and out of my being. While this was happening I took a deep breath to help integrate this new feeling of lightness. It surprised me how viscerally I felt this in my body. That feeling of lightness has stayed with me. Once I released Houston with love and appreciation, I was free to turn around and walk away with my focus on what lies ahead, not on what has passed.
This powerful practice can be adapted to any situation or experience that is coming to an end: a job, a relationship, an illness, an old way of being. Simply choose an object or person to represent that which is complete and express whatever is in your heart making sure to acknowledge the blessings and the challenges. Complete the ritual by bowing slowly to the representative. By releasing it with love, you are honoring the part it played in your life, thus dissolving any sticky chords that keep you stuck in the past and unable to turn around and move toward the future. I often compare this inability to walking backward through a room full of furniture. You can do it, but you will likely trip over chairs and bump into tables because your attention is on what is behind you, not what is in front of you.
To all the wonderful people in Houston who welcomed me so warmly into your community and your hearts, I say thank you! It was a gift to share this time with you. Since the pandemic, the majority of my work is now online so we can stay connected through my weekly A Course in Miracles study groups, monthly Virtual Family Constellations Sessions, and right here in this weekly email. My apologies if I didn’t get to say farewell in person. Please know that you will always have a place in my heart.
Later in July, I will be facilitating another special online event where we will “Declare Our Independence from Addiction with Family Constellations.” Addiction is an insidious thread woven into many family systems, including my own. I will share what I’ve learned from personal experience with people suffering from addictions and what I’ve seen during 8 years of facilitating this work. My goal is to shed some light on this dark disruptor and put it in its proper place. I have not selected a date for this one yet, so watch future emails or check the calendar page on my website. As always, if you’d like more information about these events, scheduling a one-on-one session, or my Life Coaching programs based on A Course in Miracles, simply send me an email or look around my website.
Until next time, may you find meaningful ways to release things from your past with love and make room for the blessings that await you!
Put yourself not in charge of this, for you cannot distinguish between advance and retreat. Some of your greatest advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success.
Last weekend I was feeling a little sad and lonely thinking about going to yet another dermatologist appointment on Monday. This was the third one this month. There’s nothing major going on. Just a few outpatient surgical procedures to remove non-life-threatening “cells gone wild” from my skin. I’m grateful that this round of procedures did not bring up the same emotional response as the last round in 2019. Check out the Featured Video on the Home Page of my website for more on that story and how it relates to Family Constellations.
Nonetheless, I reached out to a few of my friends and prayer partners for support ahead of the surgery. One of those prayer partners sent me a text message on Sunday to ask if I was feeling prepared for the surgery. I replied that I was and thanked her for checking in on me. The two of us have been close friends for decades. We’ve been there for each other during many of life’s ups and downs and she’s in the middle of a challenging situation right now too. I commented how grateful I was that we have each other for support.
Before her text, I had just finished reading a wonderful book titled Coming Around – Surprises and Surrender on the Path to Inspirationby Tina Berger. In one of the final chapters, the author describes her experience at the Holistic Visions Symposium in Barcelona. The purpose of the symposium was to bring people together to collaborate on solutions to 13 of “the most important issues facing the planet.” Tina was assigned to a group working on new systems based on “Love and Righteousness.” To prepare for Barcelona, her group of 12 team members gathered in advance virtually to create a working definition for both of those terms. This is what they came up with:
“Love, we decided could be defined as both a feeling and a unified energetic field, or vibration, of oneness. This field of love serves to remind us that, while we are having an individual experience in these human bodies with their edges and their mortality, the ultimate enduring truth is that we are not separate. Righteousness could then be defined as the kinds of action we would take if we were aware of our oneness.”
Wow! Both of these definitions sound like they are right out of A Course in Miracles! I was intrigued to learn what they did with these definitions. I won’t go into all the details of this story. I recommend getting her book to read about this and dozens of other inspiring stories. There is one detail I would like to mention. She writes about a group session in Barcelona, where one of the team members facilitated a structured activity on a whiteboard. The intention was to imagine and capture a framework describing the conditions under which new systems can be created based on their definition of love.
While this was happening, another group member spontaneously approached the other whiteboard, picked up a marker, and began drawing trees. She then added roots and a network of fine lines connecting those roots. After adding a few more things, she explained that the connective network creates a community of trees that can communicate with each other allowing the entire forest to know itself and support one another. This seemingly random artwork became the foundation on which they built their presentation.
Here’s where it gets really weird. Just moments after reading that and exchanging text messages with the first friend, another friend sent a text to see how I was doing. I told her I was feeling a little sad so she offered to pick a card from Denise Linn’s “Sacred Destiny” Oracle Deck and then send me a photo of the card and its message. She pulled the “Community” card, which features an illustration of trees with rainbow light and butterflies interspersed among them. The card describes that trees in a forest appear to be separate, but in truth, they are connected because their underground roots are intertwined. The card reminds us that we are always connected to our people and our community. They are standing strong beside us like trees in a forest. The best part is, no matter where they are on the planet, they are only a thought away, and so is their support.
I was blown away by the rapid succession of these identical messages from different sources! Needless to say, when I went to my appointment on Monday there was no doubt in my mind I was not alone. I brought all of my people with me: my friends, family members, prayer partners, angels, and ancestors. How could I not feel strong and supported?
No matter what you’re going through and growing through, may this message find a place in your heart. Despite appearances or conditions, you are never alone. Ask for the support of your people, your ancestors, your angels, your friends, whomever you choose. And know that they are right there with you every step of the way every time you think of them.
Family Constellations is a powerful reminder that you are always connected and supported by your ancestors. Join me for an Upcoming Workshop online or schedule a private session. All sessions can be done from anywhere in the world with the help of the World Wide Web that connects us all. For more information or to schedule a session, please look around my website and send me an email.
Until next time, may you remember that you have an entire forest of support standing by your side in every moment.
With Grace and Gratitude,
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.
You might be thinking I meant to write “Fear at the Dentist’s Office.” For many people that might be more accurate, but I meant to write “Love.” That’s what washed over me quite unexpectedly this week while I was at my dentist’s office. I’ve been going to the same dentist for more than ten years. As you might expect, I have gotten to know my dentist and the people who work in his office quite well and they have gotten to know me. During that time, there has been very little turnaround in the staff which I think says a lot about the people. The office manager has been there as long as I have been going. She is both extremely sweet and efficient, often going above and beyond to work with my schedule and my insurance plan.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it had been 15 months since my last visit. I was way overdue for a cleaning and three replacement fillings. Once again, the office manager worked her magic and moved things around so I could get everything taken care of in the same visit. I told the hygienist (who has been cleaning my teeth for the last several years) how glad I was to see her. We always make each other laugh while she’s scraping the gunk under my gums, although I’m very diligent about flossing so her job isn’t that hard. She admitted that she was happy to see my name on the schedule this week. This may sound strange, but as I lay there in the chair with the suction tube dangling from my open mouth as she started cleaning, it occurred to me that this was an expression of love.
Unlike the suction tube, the love flows in both directions. My love expressed as gratitude for the work she does to keep my teeth and gums healthy. Her love expressed as making me laugh and putting me at ease while she did the not-so-pleasant job of deep cleaning my teeth. I didn’t share this thought with her. One, because my mouth was full of dental instruments, and two, because it might sound weird or mildly inappropriate. Instead, I simply imagined gratitude radiating from my heart to hers and out into the rest of the office.
Later, as my dentist and his assistant worked together to fix my fillings, I felt that same wave of love and gratitude wash over me. Those two have been working together for as long as I’ve been going to that office, so they have developed quite the rapport. In addition to being very skilled at what they do, they also like to make me and each other laugh. During this visit, we talked about Dr. Brian Weiss’s first book, Many Lives Many Masters, past-life regressions, and some other books on spirituality they had recently read and shared with each other. And when I say “we talked” I mean they talked. Knowing what I do for a living, my dentist joked, “I bet you have a lot to say on this topic. Too bad your mouth is numb and full of cotton and dental instruments.”
During a break in the action after my first filling, I mentioned that I felt like I was on the dance floor at a disco with all the flashing colored lights they were using. There was a green light above my face, and whatever device the assistant used after the dentist packed the filling flashed bright blue and made a beeping sound. Without missing a beat, the assistant said, “Those colored lights don’t do anything special. We just like the way they look.” The dentist added that the beeping sound was just one of them making the noise under their mask. That really amused me, and I couldn’t help laughing every time I heard the beep. Suddenly, I felt like I was in a Saturday Night Live skit. When I mentioned that to the dentist, he requested I not write that in a review on Yelp.
When they were done fixing my teeth and making me laugh, I answered their questions about the work I do and shared with them my first mind-blowing experience of Family Constellations. Not only do I feel extremely well cared for when I’m there, but I also feel safe to be authentically me with my unusual profession and silly sense of humor. Would I want to be in the dentist’s chair more than twice per year? Not really. But when I’m there, I definitely feel Love, not fear, in the dentist’s office. That sure sounds like a miracle to me.
Is there a situation or circumstance in your life that brings up anxiety, anger, or fear? I would be honored to help you experience a miracle with a series of Life Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both are powerful ways to expand your capacity to see things differently, thus shifting your experience from fear to love. For more information or to make an appointment please look around my website or simply send me an email.
Until next time, may love and gratitude wash over you in unexpected situations…
With love in you, you have no need except to extend it.
A Course in Miracles ~ T-15.V.11:3
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