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.
My sister’s dog, Rocky, is appropriately named because we believe he had a “rocky” start. Rocky’s owners dropped him off at the animal shelter where my nephew works one day saying they couldn’t keep him anymore because he was too mean. We don’t know what happened to Rocky during his first 5 years of life, but something did. He couldn’t stay at the shelter because whenever he was around other dogs or people he barked constantly and sometimes attacked and bit them. Obviously, these behaviors were not ideal for finding a forever home.
My nephew often brings home dogs that have behavioral challenges so they can get loved up in a safe environment while getting used to people. Rocky was one of many dogs that ended up at my sister’s home, but one of the few who never left! Sadly, he did not get much better around other dogs or people, but he started to trust my sister. This didn’t come as a surprise because my sister has a huge heart and can find a place in that huge heart for even the most challenging dogs. (And people, but especially dogs.)
It took a lot of patience and perseverance, but over time Rocky became more and more comfortable with her. Over the past 3 years, they have developed a deep affection for one another. He still growls or nips at her once in a while when he feels threatened, but she ignores it and keeps loving him anyway. Now that the two of them have bonded so deeply, you’d better not get too close to my sister. Rocky will defend his human no matter how much bigger you are than he is. The last time my brother visited he learned the hard way not to hug my sister in Rocky’s presence. You can understand why I was a bit trepidatious before my visit to see my sister last week.
Before arriving in Florida, I decided I wanted to experience a miracle with Rocky, a shift in perception from fear to love. My goal was to win him over by the time I left. As expected, he barked at me when I first arrived. Even though my sister and I have been vaccinated, I refrained from hugging her and started talking to Rocky in a soft voice. I set my bag down and moved slowly to the couch across from my sister. She handed me a few tiny dog treats to give to Rocky to help the situation. He had no problem accepting the treats from me. It didn’t take long for him to stop barking and start sniffing my hand. After a minute or two, he gave my hand a quick lick before jumping on the other couch with my sister. We were off to a good start!
Over the next few days, I continued to speak calmly with Rocky, once in a while using my secret weapon…the “puppy massage.” Having been a massage therapist for over 15 years, I learned that most dogs really enjoy having their hips and shoulders rubbed. Let’s just say Rocky warmed up to me even more quickly after a few puppy massages. There were very few occasions where he barked at me the rest of my visit.
One exception was the evening my sister and I returned from a shopping excursion. Among other things, she purchased a beautiful light gray upholstered chest for the foot of her bed. While loading it into her car, I cut my thumb on an exposed staple protruding from the bottom. I applied pressure to it with a tissue on the drive home, but I must not have stopped the bleeding completely. When I moved the chest from the car to her bedroom, I noticed a small drop of blood on the brand new fabric. I was so mad at myself for dripping blood on her brand new furniture I screamed, “OH NO!” at least three times!
Rocky began to bark at me furiously as soon as I shouted those words. It shocked me how quickly and deeply he tapped into my angry, upset energy. I did my best to calm him down while simultaneously calming myself down as I grabbed a wet paper towel to blot up the blood before it left a stain. Once the catastrophe was averted, I sat with Rocky to reassure him that everything was okay. It took several minutes but we both eventually returned to peace.
After that incident, it became crystal clear to me that Rocky is extra sensitive to the energy of humans. He probably had to be in his first home to know if he was safe or not. I’m convinced that he warmed up to me because I did my best to remain peaceful and calm around him. The whole experience was a powerful lesson. Once I decided to see him not as an aggressive dog, but one who needed a little extra love and kindness, everything shifted.
Is there a difficult person in your life who may have had a “rocky start?” Perhaps they would benefit from a little extra love and kindness. I’m not suggesting that you put yourself in harm’s way. I certainly didn’t with Rocky. I maintained a safe distance while changing my mind and finding a place for him in my heart. It truly was a miracle! For the record, it’s possible to do this without ever speaking a word or being near that difficult person.
I would be honored to help you shift your energy around that person or situation so that you too can experience more love and kindness. Please look around my website for more information about my Life Coaching programs based on the strong principles found in A Course in Miracles. I offer 4, 8, and 12-week packages to suit your needs and budget. You can also shift your perception and deepen your understanding with a group or private Family Constellations session. I have several online events coming up in the next two months to help you heal relationships with your parents, your children, and to help you release whatever no longer serves on the next full moon. Visit the Events page on my website or send me an email for more information.
Until next time, I encourage you to find a place in your heart for those difficult people, but most importantly find a place in your heart for yourself!
The only judgement involved is the Holy Spirit’s one division into two categories; one of love, and the other the call for love.
There were many unexpected blessings during my recent trip to Florida, but one truly stands out. This was my first time visiting my dear friend Carrie Stiers at her home in Tampa, and my first time meeting her parents who live about 45 minutes away on an island called Honeymoon Island. I had heard a lot about Carrie’s mother and Zoomed with her once, so I felt like we were already friends. However, I hadn’t heard as much about her father, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I met him. I soon discovered her dad is an open-hearted, peace-loving man with whom I share many common interests, including a love of nature and wildlife.
Not long after I arrived, Carrie and I drove over the causeway to meet her parents and walk on the beach before going to dinner. (Don’t worry. We were vaccinated and took precautions.) During that walk, her dad and I talked about many things: his time in Africa in the Peace Corps, animals, spirituality, and family. I loved hearing about the herd of elephants that lived near their village in Africa and he was happy to learn about the magnificent Disneynature film released last year simply titled Elephant. We’d known each other less than an hour, but it struck me how quickly I felt comfortable and completely accepted by this man. Later, Carrie’s husband joined us for dinner and the five of us had a wonderful time. The joy of watching the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico was a close second to the joy of laughing and sharing a meal with this loving family.
Having discovered our shared love of nature, Carrie’s father suggested the five of us take a walk later in the week along a birdwatching trail he frequented in Honeymoon Island State Park. He recommended we go right before dark when there’s a good chance to see owls! That sounded too cool to miss so we made plans to have an early dinner at their home followed by a twilight nature walk. At dinner, Carrie’s mom shared a hilarious story involving a homemade apple pie, so she offered to bake one for the occasion. I looked forward to that walk and that pie all week.
Well, both the pie and the walk surpassed my expectations. After just a few minutes on the trail, we spotted an owl sitting high in a tree. We took turns getting a closer look with a pair of binoculars before continuing our journey. Along the way we saw several osprey and osprey nests, a gopher tortoise munching on grass, a woodpecker banging on a palm tree, and an armadillo searching for food in the brush. The grand finale happened when a bald eagle flew directly over us, eventually landing in the tree at the end of the trail. She was protecting her young from a flock of vultures flying suspiciously close to the tree where her nest was built. It was a breathtaking moment.
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, while making our way back to the parking lot, we spotted another owl sitting on a branch just a few yards away. This owl was such a showoff! For several minutes she demonstrated her uncanny ability to rotate her head over 180 degrees in each direction as she searched for dinner. She must have spotted something because suddenly she spread her wings and flew off silently into the woods.
Mother Nature put on quite a show for us that night. Carrie’s dad commented that he normally sees some of those animals and birds, but never all of them on the same walk. The wildlife sightings set against the kaleidoscope of changing colors and clouds at sunset made for an absolutely magical evening. What made it even more magical was seeing how much Carrie’s dad enjoyed sharing the experience with people who appreciate Mother Nature’s wonder as much as he does. The delicious post-walk apple pie that Carrie’s mother baked made the evening even sweeter.
We only saw Carrie’s parents on those two occasions, but once or twice during our visits, her dad briefly put his hand on my shoulder as a proud father might do with a grown son. Having lost my dad at age 7, I never had the experience of physical support and acceptance from a father as an adult. It caught me by surprise how deeply healing it was to have this connection with Carrie’s father. It went beyond words. It was a visceral sensation like some forgotten part of me was awakened and supported.
I truly believe if my father had lived longer, we would have developed a mutual respect and admiration for each other like the connection I had with Carrie’s dad. In fact, even though my father is no longer in physical form, I believe we do have that connection. Perhaps he communicated this truth through Carrie’s dad. It was an unexpected gift I will always treasure. Thank you, Chuck Stiers, for all the kindness you shared and for giving me permission to share this story. I look forward to more time with this remarkable man in the future.
If you’ve been missing a connection with one or both of your biological parents for whatever reason, here’s something I recommend to my Family Constellations clients. If it feels right for you, think of them before you go to bed at night. Perhaps look at a photograph if you have one. Then speak the words below to the highest version of them whether they are still here in physical form or have made their transition to the non-physical:
“Dear mom or dad. Please come to me when I’m sleeping when I’m easier to reach and give me the love you would have if you could have when I was young.”
Try it for a week or a month and see how you feel. If I can assist you with a private Family Constellations session or a series of Life Coaching sessions, please reply to this email or look around my website for more information. I would be honored to help you reconnect with that forgotten part of you that longs to be seen and supported. You might also be interested in the special Family Constellations online workshops coming up in May and June exploring the Role of Mom and the Role of Dad. Visit the Upcoming Workshops page on my newly refurbished website for details and to purchase your ticket!
Until next time, may you experience unexpected blessings wherever you travel.
As you perceive the holy companions who travel with you, you will realize that there is no journey, but only an awakening.
An interesting thing happened during a conversation with a friend this week. We were catching up and having a milkshake outside Becks Prime Restaurant on Kirby Drive when a white plastic bag floated down from the sky and landed on the table right between us. I believe I had just finished saying something like, “I’m waiting for a sign or guidance on what my next steps should be.” Seconds later the bag arrived. I laughed and said, “This must be my sign!” Printed on the bag was the name of a restaurant two blocks away called Grace’s. It felt like Spirit reminding me that grace is everywhere and given freely including the situation we were discussing. I don’t have to beg or plead with the Universe. My job is to make it welcome, not make it happen. What a magical and timely message!
What makes this event even more interesting is the back story. You see, we picked the place and time for this milkshake rendezvous weeks ago, but then I had to postpone it by a day which my friend graciously accommodated. Here’s the embarrassing part. Becks Prime has three locations in Houston. Even though I’m the one that suggested we meet at the one on Kirby, I drove to the wrong location! As soon as I pulled into the parking lot and didn’t see my friend’s car I realized my mistake. Sheepishly, I called to tell him what happened and asked if he still had time to meet. I knew it would take a while for me to get to the correct location in rush hour traffic. He said he had time, so I hopped back in my car and headed that way.
During the drive, I grumbled to myself for not being more mindful. My error meant that much of our time together would be lost while I sat in traffic. My inner critic (aka the ego) was having a field day with this situation. Luckily, the friend I was meeting is also a student of A Course in Miracles, so I knew he would forgive me. More importantly, I knew I had to forgive myself. I did my best to surrender to the situation and listen to the voice of love which reminded me that all was well despite outward appearances. When I arrived 45 minutes later we had a good laugh at my silly mistake and then left it behind to enjoy a delightful conversation and a delicious milkshake.
Later, when I reflected on the situation, the perfection of it all became crystal clear. Had we met at the other location, we would not have been near Grace’s Restaurant. Had I driven to the correct location in the first place, we probably would not have been sitting there when the bag landed on the table. Either way, I would have missed that important message from Spirit. As frustrating as it was, it turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to release self-judgment and forgive myself. And isn’t that grace?
Are you having a difficult time forgiving yourself or someone else? I would be honored to offer you the gift of grace with a series of Life Coaching Sessions. In our weekly 60-minute telephone or Zoom sessions, we will discuss ways to see things from a different perspective. I will also provide tools to help you release anxiety, judgment, and fear. If you are ready to experience more peace in your life, please visit my website or send me an email for more information and to book a session.
Until next time, may the gift of grace arrive in unexpected and magical ways…
Spirit is in a state of grace forever. Your reality is only spirit. Therefore you are in a state of grace forever.
I’ve learned a few things about grief on my journey so far. One, there is no statute of limitations on grief. It can show up for a surprise visit years after we think we’ve cried our last tears about whatever we lost. Waves of grief can sneak up on us during the holidays, an anniversary, a birthday, or just a Tuesday. We can’t always predict when they will come, but it is as futile to try and stop them as it would be to try and stop ocean waves from reaching the beach. And like ocean waves, we can be still and let the small ones roll past our ankles. But for the really big ones, it might be best to dive right in and go through them so they don’t knock us over.
Speaking of waves and grief, this month marks three years since I left Fort Lauderdale. I’ve made some wonderful friends and met some amazing people here in Houston, many of whom read my weekly stories. (I love you, Houstonians!) I know the move was the right choice and I’m grateful for so much that has happened here. Yet, I wouldn’t be completely honest if I didn’t admit that I’m still grieving the loss of many things about my old life in Florida.
I miss beloved friends, magical burritos, year-round tropical temperatures, and the proximity to Mother Ocean. I used to get my “cardio on” while walking along her beaches at least three times per week, often cooling off in her waves when I finished. Many times while floating in the sea, my heart would fill with gratitude knowing: “I’m not on vacation. I live here!” Whenever I had a hard day, I could jump in my car and be at the beach within ten minutes. The sound of the surf and seagulls. The feel of the steady ocean breeze on my face. The smell of the salt air. The changing colors of the rolling waves and the sky as the sun sank behind me. All of it was like balm for my soul. I’m taking a deep breath just thinking about it.
The ten-year anniversary of my mother’s passing is also coming up in a few days. I’ve noticed some waves of sadness around that too. She told me that she was ready to go well before she actually did, so I was happy for her when she finally laid her body aside in April of 2011. The sadness comes when I think about not seeing her twinkling, mischievous eyes or hearing her laugh again, or the hilarious things that came out of her mouth. She had a sharp wit and could make a joke about anything. Once in a while, she would say something that was not meant to be funny, like this gem she spoke while I was waiting to pay the check at a restaurant: “Honey, I’m going outside to get some fresh air and have a cigarette.” When I remembered that comment earlier today I laughed out loud, and then I cried a little bit.
That’s another thing I’ve learned about grief. It’s actually an aspect of love. If we hadn’t loved deeply, we wouldn’t feel pain when that something or someone is gone. Somehow thinking of it that way comforts me. Whether it’s a person, a place, a pet, or a time in your life that you are missing, know that your grief is a sign of how much you allowed yourself to love and be loved. It’s a beautiful thing. If you can, allow yourself to feel it. Most of us live our lives trying to avoid anything uncomfortable. But when we shut off our feelings, we shut off the good ones too. It’s not comfortable to feel the sadness, but if we don’t block it, it can move through us. Today, the people walking by me in Hermann Park might have wondered why that man was laughing one second and crying the next. The crying only lasted a minute because I let the wave of emotion (energy in motion) move through me.
There’s one last thing that deserves mentioning. Happiness is indeed a choice and also an inside job, meaning it does not depend on outside circumstances. However, we often use this spiritual truth as a weapon to make ourselves feel worse when we aren’t effervescing with joy 24/7. It’s not only okay but necessary to acknowledge when you’re sad or experiencing grief. You have to feel it to heal it. We can try to think of something else or partake in our favorite distraction, but that will only work for so long. It’s like throwing a glittery blanket over a dusty old box of photos in the basement. We may not be able to see the box anymore, but it’s still there taking up space. Some days that’s the best we can do. If that’s the case, toss on that glittery blanket so you can get through the day.
At some point, you’ll know when it’s time to take that old dusty box out of the basement (your subconscious mind) and bring it outside into the light. Open it up and take a look at what’s inside. Allow yourself to cry so the sadness isn’t stuck inside you. Here’s the best news. You don’t have to do this alone. Share your grief with a friend, family member, God, guardian angel, therapist, grief counselor, or spiritual coach. They can sit right by your side as you unpack that box and let those emotions flow. You might also try a grief support group. There’s a 5-week online “Journey Through Grief” Workshop starting on Sunday, May 2 led by Rev. Mindy Lawrence Curtiss of Unity of Houston. For more information and to join CLICK HERE.
Until next time, may you find the courage to let the waves of grief roll in knowing that it’s a form of love, you’re not alone, and this too shall pass.
On this day is grief laid by, for sights and sounds that come from nearer than the world are clear to you…There is a silence into which the world can not intrude. There is an ancient peace you carry in your heart and have not lost. There is a sense of holiness in you the thought of sin has never touched.
Disney’s latest animated feature, Raya and the Last Dragon, is another beautifully crafted movie with a powerful and timely message. Not only does it illustrate the importance of unity, but it also celebrates diversity within the Asian community. The creators of this film could not have known it would be released at a time when so many of our sisters and brothers of Asian descent are experiencing hate and prejudice. I choose to believe the Universe (and maybe a dragon or two) had a hand in the timing of its release to bring some joy, hope, and light to a dark and challenging time.
The story follows a young girl named Raya who witnesses the chaos and destruction that happens when five different lands stop trusting each other and separate. She is accompanied on her journey by the “last dragon” (voiced by the hilarious Awkwafina) who tries to teach her that the only way to achieve her goals and unite the lands is to open her heart and start trusting again. Having suffered a great loss because of a betrayal, Raya has a difficult time doing this. I’m guessing most of us can relate to that, especially in these uncertain and divisive times. I won’t give away the ending, but it is definitely a testament to the magical power of trust and unity.
I am not proud to admit I did a poor job of opening my heart the day after I watched that movie with our out-of-town guests. While waiting in line to purchase tickets to the train that travels through Hermann Park, we were “serenaded” by a small group of women and men singing a less than inspiring version of Amazing Grace. They were not quite in tune or in harmony. After the song, two of the men stood on a large rock preaching their ideas about Jesus, sin, and salvation to the captive audience waiting in line for tickets. Their language and message felt infused with fear, making it out of tune with my heart, just like the off-key version of Amazing Grace. It was very uncomfortable and I found myself wishing they would just stop talking. I wasn’t standing on a rock trying to convince everyone to study A Course in Miracles, so why was it okay for them to spout their beliefs?
I don’t know why I allowed them to ruin my experience of an otherwise enjoyable day. Perhaps I was just tired, but in that moment, I simply was not able to shift my perception. I found the whole experience to be very irritating. About twenty minutes later, they finally stopped preaching, we got our tickets, had a lovely train ride, and went about our day.
The next morning I was still thinking about that situation and what I could have done differently. What would Love do? I imagined myself approaching the men and sharing how their actions were probably repelling people more than attracting them. I could have suggested they sit on the rock and pray silently while extending love to everyone at the park. Perhaps instead of handing out their printed propaganda to everyone that walked by they could give it only to those that approached them for more information. Then Love showed me a bigger truth.
Instead of closing my heart with judgment and wishing they acted differently, I could have silently extended love to them. Thank goodness I have learned that it’s never too late to make a different choice, so I imagined love surrounding all of the people that irritated me that day in the park. As I result, I felt better. Had I been with a dragon voiced by Awkwafina, I think she would have been pleased.
Are there people in your life with a special knack for irritating you? Perhaps they share some of your DNA or live or work with you. I would be honored to be your trustworthy dragon and help you experience more peace in your life with a series of Life Coaching sessions or with a one-on-one Family Constellations Session. For more information or to book a session, please look around my website or send me an email.
Until next time, may you find a trustworthy companion that helps you keep your heart open and love flowing.
Only what you have not given can be lacking in any situation.
I’m sure you have heard the phrase “curiosity killed the cat,” but this week I have been hearing a different message. During an episode of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, Bob Iger, the former CEO of the Walt Disney Company, included curiosity in his list of most important qualities of a good leader. He told Oprah that he had to stay curious about new projects and new ways of doing things or the company would not survive. In the prologue of his book, Ride of a Lifetime, Mr. Iger writes about the importance of “fueling a deep and abiding curiosity in oneself and inspiring that in the people around you. The path of innovation begins with curiosity.” Curiosity seems to be working for him. Under his leadership, Disney has had unprecedented growth and creative success. By the way, if you haven’t read his book I highly recommend it. The stories he shares are fascinating, even if you’re not a huge Disney geek like me!
Last week, I listened to an episode of Brené Brown’s podcast “Unlocking Us” featuring author, psychologist, and holocaust survivor, Dr. Edith Eger. During the conversation, Dr. Eger told Brené that curiosity helped her survive the unspeakable cruelty at Auschwitz. She was sixteen years old when she was loaded onto a truck with her sister and mother not knowing where it would take them. Through the slats of the overcrowded truck, her boyfriend told her that he would never forget her eyes. He would never forget her hands. During the horrors of Auschwitz, she told herself, “If I survive today, then tomorrow I will be free and I will show my boyfriend my beautiful eyes and beautiful hands.” Despite being told daily that she would never get out alive, somehow she knew she had to remain curious about tomorrow. In her second book, The Gift, Dr. Eger writes:
“Freedom is a lifetime practice – a choice we get to make again and again each day. Ultimately, freedom requires hope, which I define in two ways: the awareness that suffering, however terrible, is temporary; and the curiosity to discover what happens next. Hope allows us to live in the present instead of the past, and to unlock the doors of our mental prisons.”
Dr. Eger tells her incredibly inspiring story in her first book, The Choice, which I’m reading now. She also shared it with Oprah in 2019 on an episode of Super Soul Sunday. This weekend I ended up watching both Dr. Eger’s interview and Bob Iger’s interview with Oprah on the same night. Apparently, Spirit wanted to make sure I got the message from Eger and Iger to stay curious!
If you are going through a challenging time, it would be my honor to help you stay curious and discover what miracles want to happen next. Family Constellations is an extraordinary way to reveal unconscious blocks that are preventing you from living your best life. My Life Coaching programs are also designed to help you navigate whatever rough waters you find yourself in so you can return to peace. For more information about both of these opportunities, please look around my website or send me an email.
Until next time, stay curious!
Yet even the little spark in your mind is enough to lighten it. Bring this light fearlessly with you, and bravely hold it up to the foundation of the ego’s thought system.
A Course in Miracles ~ T-11.In.3:6-7
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