A Walk in the Woods

One of the highlights of my trip to Michigan last weekend was a quiet walk in the woods on Sunday morning. It was a gorgeous sunny day with temperatures in the low 70s. I was eager to get some exercise and fresh air, so I searched on Google for walking paths near me. A nature trail with a boardwalk popped up just over a mile away from my hotel. Perfect! 

When I typed the address into the navigation app, it looked like the directions ended in a residential neighborhood. Since there didn’t appear to be a place to park and it wasn’t too far, I chose to walk instead of drive.

I trotted along a somewhat busy highway for about a half mile before turning left and then right up a winding road into a peaceful little neighborhood in the hills. Sadly, when I arrived where the app directed me, there was no sign of a nature trail. There was only a space between two houses. Rather than traipse through yards in search of the trail, I decided to continue my walk along the streets and enjoy the beautiful morning and the pretty houses. My decision yielded unexpected results. Five minutes later, I stumbled upon the entrance to the nature trail! 

Grateful for my luck, I left the street and began walking along the trail into the woods. Autumn was starting her spectacular yearly show. There was just a smattering of bright red, orange, and yellow leaves among the trees. Purple and yellow wildflowers grew on either side of the trail that led to a boardwalk stretching across a trickling creek. 

I stopped on the bridge to enjoy the soothing sound of water flowing over rocks and underneath me. That’s when I spotted a great blue heron standing motionless just a few feet from me in the creek. As we stood there looking at each other, the wind blew through the leaves and pine needles of the tall trees surrounding us, making a soft, whistling noise. Peace was palpable. 

After a few moments, I said goodbye to the heron and continued on my way. The boardwalk eventually turned into a paved walkway as I strolled out of the woods and in between two residential neighborhoods. Brightly painted birdhouses lined the fence that separated the trail from the backyards. Many of the homes had ideal birdwatching views from decks or sunrooms overlooking the beautifully landscaped path. I hoped the inhabitants enjoyed those views. I sure would!

I don’t recall seeing many birds except the heron and a crimson cardinal who made a brief appearance when he flew out of a bush and into a nearby tree. However, I noticed many squirrels busy gathering acorns for the coming winter. It was comforting to my soul to be immersed in a world of nature similar to where I grew up in Upstate New York. What an unexpected gift! And other than one woman walking her dog, I had the whole scene to myself.

The trail ended at another residential street, so I turned around to enjoy the sights and sounds in the other direction. When I reached the spot where I found the trail, I had to make a decision. Should I turn left and go back the way I came? Or should I cross the street and continue on the trail in the other direction? 

The latter would be a risky proposition. My goal was to walk for about an hour, and I had already been walking for 45 minutes. If I chose the trail, would I be walking toward the hotel or away from it? By the way, I am notorious for being “directionally challenged.” My head said to play it safe and go the way I came along the busy road. My heart wanted to stay on the path a little longer and enjoy more of nature’s beauty.

Despite my history with directions, I decided to follow my heart and continue along the nature trail. I’m so glad I did! There were many more beautiful leaves and flowers to admire. Along the way, I also encountered a wooden sign with a map of the entire nature trail. To my surprise and delight, I discovered that if I kept going in this direction, the trail would end just a half mile up the road from my hotel. 

By taking a chance and following my heart, my walk ended up being the perfect distance taking just over an hour from start to finish. It was a powerful reminder to trust my heart and keep going even when I don’t know where the road may lead. 

Could you use some assistance in following your heart to destinations unknown? It would be my great honor to walk the trail with you during a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions. Together we will discover where your heart wants to go and what might be in the way. With a fresh perspective and new tools to help keep you on track, you can change course and start enjoying a wonderful walk in the woods of life. Please look around my website for more information or to book your first session

Until next time, may you find the courage to trust your heart and just keep walking. 

He walks in peace who travels sinlessly along the way love shows him.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-23.in.2:5

An Inspiring Experiment

One of the regular attendees of our weekly online A Course in Miracles study groups shared this 4-minute video with me after our Zoom meeting last month. I absolutely loved it! Yes, it’s a beer commercial, but it touched me deeply, and I think it will touch you too. It also takes the experience I wrote about in last week’s blog a step further. Click this link to watch the video and let me know if you’d stay for a chat.

What happens in this social experiment is what I witness during every Family Constellations Workshop. Participants discover that we are much more alike than we are different. The details may vary, but the emotions and challenges of the human experience are the same. Don’t take my word for it. Join me for an upcoming workshop and see for yourself. There are still tickets available for the next 2-hour online workshop happening this Saturday, September 24. Click here for more information and to purchase your ticket for just $33.

Until next time, may you open your heart and mind to the possibility of getting to know someone who thinks differently. Your similarities may surprise you. With a little willingness, we can start to heal the divide one conversation at a time.

The holiest of all the spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love. 

A Course in Miracles ~ T-26.IX.6:1

A Discerning Friendship

Last weekend, I had a wonderful visit from a dear friend who I met while working at Disney in 1993. Our lives have gone in different directions since the summer we performed together in the SpectroMagic Parade, so we don’t get to see each other often. However, she and I always pick up where we left off no matter how much time has passed. We have the same silly sense of humor, so whenever we get together there’s always an abundance of antics and comedy. This weekend was no different. 

My favorite role in the SpectroMagic Parade – 1993

In addition to making each other laugh hysterically, we also have deep conversations about spirituality and faith. Since it was just the two of us this visit, I had the opportunity to tell her more about the work I facilitate called Family Constellations. I also shared some of the miraculous experiences I’ve witnessed over the past 10 years. She was on board with a lot of it, but at one point she let me know she didn’t quite understand the ancestral connections I was describing. I spoke a little bit more about it, but to no avail. In fact, when I shared a quote from Bert Hellinger, the man who created Family Constellations, it actually confused her more. 

That’s when I realized I had said enough about this subject. There was no need to go on, nor would it be beneficial. I simply expressed my gratitude to her for listening to me go on so long about something I am obviously very passionate about. Then I gently shifted the conversation in another direction and we continued talking about other things.

Granted, mutual understanding is sometimes required before we can move forward in a close relationship. Avoiding certain topics only works for so long if our values are not aligned. But this didn’t feel like avoidance. It felt like knowing when to let go and choose peace. This level of discernment takes practice, and I am definitely still practicing! 

In the not-so-distant past, I might have kept talking, using different examples to get my point across. But it wasn’t necessary. I do not need her to share my belief system in order for us to be friends. Through my study of A Course in Miracles, I have learned that it’s only the ego that demands agreement to be happy. My friend and I have so many other things in common, including a deep love and respect for each other. That is much more valuable to me.

Are you stuck at an impasse trying to convince a friend or family member to see things your way? Perhaps it’s time to step back and ask yourself the famous question below. It would be my great honor to assist you in that endeavor with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can help you find peace and freedom from situations that keep you stuck in anger and dissatisfaction. You can also explore these themes in my next online Family Constellations Workshop happening on Saturday, September 24. (Click here for details.) Please look around my website to book a private session or to purchase a ticket for the online workshop.

Until next time, may you remember to choose peace more and more frequently… 

Do you prefer that you be right or happy?

A Course in Miracles ~ T-29.VII.1:9

When Inspiration Turns to Obligation

My Spiritual Coaching clients often tell me one of the best tools I have given them is to question whether their choices come from inspiration, obligation, or desperation. We all make decisions from one of these three places, and how we feel after our decision is directly influenced by its origin. Ideally, we want to take action from a place of inspiration as often as possible. The other two categories bring unpleasant consequences starting with resentment and fatigue that escalate from there. I have opportunities to “practice what I preach” all the time, and recently I had the opportunity to take a look at this idea with deeper discernment.

Although it’s great for some, working out at a gym has never been my thing. I prefer exercising at home or going for brisk walks outside in nature. Over the years, a schedule has evolved that seems to work for me. Four mornings per week I walk for an hour at the beach or along the bay and two mornings per week I practice yoga for an hour and a half in my living room. That gives me one morning per week to rest. Here in Florida, rain clouds don’t usually roll in until the afternoon, so I can walk in the morning on “walk days.”

However, over the past few weeks, the rain clouds have not been cooperating with my walking schedule. On Monday, I was so ready for my walk. I had done a lot of driving, sitting, and eating over the weekend, so I really wanted to get my body moving and my heart pumping. Unfortunately, I woke up to a gray, drizzly morning. The rain wasn’t heavy, so I decided to attempt my walk, knowing I would get a little wet. As I drove toward the bay, the sky turned ominously dark, and soon sheets of water pelted my car. Despite these severe weather conditions, I remained hopeful the storm would pass quickly and kept driving.

When I arrived at the bay, I sat in my car for about 15 minutes as raindrops continued to assault my hood and roof with a steady barrage of thuds. As I peered through my windows, all I could see were gray clouds sprawling out in every direction above me. There wasn’t a hint of blue sky anywhere to indicate the rain might let up soon. For a brief moment, I considered putting on one of the Mickey Mouse rain ponchos from Disney World that I keep in the back of my car and doing my walk anyway. Not long ago, I probably would have chosen that option. Then I remembered to ask myself the question that I ask my clients. Would that choice come from inspiration, obligation, or desperation? 

Yes, the original impulse to walk next to the beautiful turquoise waters of the bay had come from inspiration, but it felt more like desperation to try it that day. Perhaps in the mix was a bit of obligation to burn calories after eating so much over the weekend. I felt no inspiration or joy when I imagined myself trodding along the pathway dodging puddles and trying to stay dry inside a giant piece of plastic. Once I examined the situation and my motives more closely, the decision was easy. I started my car and headed home. 

As I drove home, it occurred to me that this was a moment and a choice to remember. How many times have I continued doing something that once felt joyful long after the inspiration has faded? Perhaps there are activities in your life that once brought you joy that now feel more like chores or obligations. Today is a great day to take inventory of your daily, weekly, and monthly activities and see if there are some that snuck into another category without you noticing. If so, how might you shift things, or what could you do instead that would bring you true joy?  

If you would like an objective and compassionate companion to walk with you as you answer and unpack these questions, it would be my great honor to assist you with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions. I offer discounted packages of 4, 8, and 12 sessions to suit your needs and budget. A private Family Constellations Session can also help identify where these recurring patterns originate. Once you have a deeper awareness of what’s going on, you will indeed be able to live a life of inspiration that will also inspire others! Please look around my website for more information or to book a session

Until next time, may all your decisions be inspired ones! 

The result of genuine devotion is inspiration, a word which properly understood is the opposite of fatigue.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-4.in.1:5

A Promise andTribute to Olivia

This week, I’d like to pay tribute to a beautiful soul who made a huge impact on my life and the lives of many. As you may have heard, Olivia Newton-John made her transition on August 8 at the age of 73 after a long journey with cancer. She was a bright light on this planet, often using her music and fame to bring attention to causes that were important to her. Best known for her starring roles in movie musicals like Grease and Xanadu, Olivia’s career spanned over four decades. In addition to these movie soundtracks, Olivia recorded dozens of albums in a variety of genres. I had the privilege of seeing her in concert at the Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami Beach on a very fateful day, September 10, 2001. Little did any of us in that theater know the world would forever change the next day. 

Aside from the date, what I remember most about that concert was being surprised and delighted when Olivia sang a song she wrote about dolphins called “The Promise.” It was the last track on her 1981 double platinum album “Physical.” I have been enchanted with dolphins ever since I played catch with one at an ocean park near Niagara Falls when I was 10 years old. “The Promise” begins with the sound of ocean waves and dolphins vocalizing, so it’s not surprising that I fell in love with it before Olivia sang the first note! But when she did sing, the words touched me deeply. (Click this link to watch the video.)

The lyrics are about these gentle, playful creatures and their capacity to love even though they have suffered greatly at the hands of humans. She sings, “If I can only make one man aware, one person care, then I’ll have done what I promised you.” I couldn’t believe my ears when the beautiful melody began to play at the Jackie Gleason Theater that night. I imagine this song must have had a special place in her heart too. She had many hit songs that she could have sung instead of this obscure one that was never released as a single. During the song, she invites us to be like dolphins and choose love over fear. I was not a student of A Course in Miracles then, but my soul must have recognized this simple but powerful theme that appears throughout the Course. Her words combined with the dolphin vocalizations often made my eyes well up with tears as I listened to that vinyl record spinning on the stereo turntable in my bedroom. I know I cried when she sang it that night in Miami Beach.

That wouldn’t be the last time one of Olivia’s songs made my eyes leak. The tone of her music shifted after her public journey with breast cancer in the early 90s. In 2006, she recorded a transformational healing album called “Grace and Gratitude” that speaks to the heart and soul of the human experience. It was sold as part of a wellness campaign to raise money for breast cancer research. Calling it an album doesn’t quite do it justice. It would be more accurate to call it a sound bath of divine healing. Each song delivers a profound spiritual message before seamlessly blending into the next with a short musical interlude. It remains one of my all-time favorite CDs. Like “The Promise,” I still get tingles and tears when I listen to it. If you haven’t heard it, I highly recommend giving yourself this gift.

In addition to her musical legacy, Olivia’s commitment to health and wellness also lives on. She lent her name and support to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre in Victoria, Australia. She wholeheartedly believed in the center’s philosophy of wellness and its vision to build a world-class hospital that supports patients in mind, body, and spirit. She also established the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, an independent charity sponsoring global research into plant medicine to educate patients and their caregivers about kinder options for treating cancer. Olivia dreamed that one day we will “realize a world beyond cancer.” That sounds like a happy dream to me. 

Thank you, Olivia, for blessing my life and the lives of many with your numerous contributions to music and wellness. You will always have a place in my heart and all of the hearts you touched. I am grateful for this opportunity to share what a remarkable human being she was, and to share some of the causes she believed in. Although I never met her in person, I will make the same promise she made to the dolphins. “If I can only make one man aware, one person care. Then I’ll have done what I promised you.” 

I would also be grateful for the opportunity to be part of your healing journey with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can help you shift from fear to love no matter what is trying to take away your peace. Please look around my website for more information and to book a session. Stay tuned for some exciting news about the return of online Family Constellations Workshops in a new format!

Until next time, may you give yourself the gift of Grace and Gratitude in all areas of your life…

The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-in.1:8

Loosening My Grip

Life reminded me, once again, of the peace that comes from loosening my grip on the steering wheel. Not literally the one on my car, but metaphorically, when I release the need to control or plan every last detail. This weekend, I hosted 8 lovely miracle workers from around the country for a mini A Course in Miracles Retreat. I could not be more pleased with the way everything unfolded. Any concerns I had about coordinating activities for 8 people for 4 days fell away as Spirit worked out all the details for us. 

Despite recent news stories, each participant arrived safely with no significant delays or lost luggage. I’m so grateful that two of the participants decided to rent cars for the weekend so transportation was not an issue. Half of the group arrived Thursday afternoon, but with other preparations on my mind, I had not given much thought to dinner that first night. As we sat in the hotel lobby discussing options, nothing I suggested felt right. Then I remembered to close my eyes and ask for guidance. Suddenly, the Indian restaurant where my dear friends took me to dinner the day I moved to Sarasota popped into my head. When I suggested it, one of the participants said, “You just read my mind! I love to try Indian food when I travel.” The rest of the group agreed, so the 4 of them enjoyed their first meal in Sarasota at the same place where I enjoyed my first meal as a Sarasota resident almost one year ago. How appropriate!

That experience set the tone for the rest of the weekend. Everything flowed seamlessly from one moment to the next without much effort or planning on my part. There was one scheduled event. I rented a classroom at Unity of Sarasota on Saturday where we could gather for “A Day of Miracles.” Over the past few months, while reading the Course, I have been jotting down certain sections that felt like they would be beneficial to read together. I also envisioned some “Family Constellations” style exercises to go along with those sections so we could each have an experience of the teachings. Although we only had time to cover half of the material I prepared, I trust the sections we read and the exercises we did were the right ones. Each experience built upon the last. I had envisioned us walking the labyrinth on Unity’s campus to close our day, so we read the last section and did our final releasing exercise outside. I couldn’t have planned all the healing and miraculous events that happened that day if I tried! Once again, it was a powerful testament to what’s possible when I get out of the way and allow Spirit to direct the flow. 

After “A Day of Miracles,” we went to my favorite Italian restaurant in Sarasota. I can honestly say they make some of the most delicious pizza I have ever tasted. The restaurant is not far from the beach, so I thought we could enjoy a spectacular sunset after dinner. Since that final exercise took longer than I anticipated, we were cutting it close to eat and get to the beach before sunset. My preference is to sit outside, but since sunset was happening in just over an hour, the first available table seemed like a better option. I was a little disappointed when we were seated inside, but our table was in the front of the restaurant next to floor-to-ceiling windows so it was almost like being outside. Shortly after we ordered, the skies opened up and sheets of rain came pouring down on the guests seated outside. They scrambled for cover as we comfortably sat inside finishing our pizza. I’m glad I didn’t get my preference!

That night, we missed the deluge, but unfortunately, we also missed the sunset. By the time we paid the bill and got to the beach, the sun had already disappeared below the horizon. However, we were in such a peaceful state of mind nobody was upset by this. We were still able to enjoy the breathtaking colors illuminating the sky and the calming sound of the rolling waves. The whole scene felt very surreal and dreamlike, which was quite appropriate for a group of Course students. No matter when I visit these gorgeous beaches, I always feel like I’ve stepped into a watercolor painting. This night was no different. It was the perfect way to end “A Day of Miracles.”

Not surprisingly, the rest of our time together flowed with the same ease and grace. It was a big endeavor, but I am deeply grateful that I followed guidance to put this event together. Thank you to those in our weekly ACIM Zoom Group who planted the seed for this in-person event to grow into fruition. And thank you to each of the participants who made the trip to Florida and added their miracle-mindedness which allowed everything to flow so beautifully. Not only was it a great reminder to trust the flow, but I know for sure that my capacity to give and receive love has forever been expanded.

Are you having a difficult time trusting the flow? Is the ego trying to take away your peace with incessant worry about every possible detail? It would be my great honor to help you pull the plug on the ego and reconnect with the guidance of Spirit during a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both are powerful ways to gain tools to help you make a different choice. Please look around my website for more information and to book a session

This week, go ahead and make plans. Just leave room for Spirit to work some miracles. 

…you believe that without the ego, all would be chaos. Yet I assure you that without the ego, all would be love.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-15.V.1:6-7

Early Birthday Gifts

My birthday is in August, but it feels like it came early this year. I have already received some magnificent gifts over the past two weeks. On the last two Sundays in July, I had the honor and privilege to facilitate two live Family Constellations Workshops. Thank you to everyone who attended the first one at the Center for Spiritual Living Cultural Coast in Sarasota and the second one at the Center for Spiritual Living in Ocala. I am grateful for the gift of your presence. It had been so long since I’d done a live event that I almost forgot how good it feels to be in the same physical space as the participants! 

Being able to do Constellations on Zoom has been a huge blessing during a time when gathering in person was not an option. Over the past 2+ years, I have learned without a doubt that the energy that connects us is not limited by geographic location. I have witnessed miraculous transformations and powerful healings during our virtual gatherings. However, as we begin to gather in person again, it seems we are rediscovering the importance of human connection. It was a joy to share the full sensory experience of Family Constellations with the courageous souls who showed up for these workshops.

There was another gift waiting for me last weekend. My dear friend Cindy, the minister and spiritual leader of CSL Ocala, invited me to stay at her home while I was in town. Cindy and her husband have created a joyful, playful space for their children and grandchildren to gather. For someone who lives alone, it was a special treat to be in a house filled with an abundance of love, laughter, and activity. All of her children and grandchildren were there at some point during the evening. True, her youngest grandchildren weren’t so sure about the strange man Grandma invited into her home, but by the end of the evening, even these shy little ones were able to make eye contact with me. Everyone was so kind and welcoming. I felt like part of the family and that I belonged. My heart was full that night as I drifted off to sleep. 

I also noticed no matter who stopped by this love-filled home, they were treated with kindness and it was a safe place to belong. That’s no small gift. Belonging is what we all crave, and it is a recurring theme in Family Constellations. Bert Hellinger, the man who created this modality, believed his most important contribution was his observations on belonging. Our need to belong is incredibly strong, especially in our family of origin. We will do anything to belong. We learn in Family Constellations that you can be your authentic self and still belong. When we discover and release limiting unconscious loyalties, we can reconnect in healthy ways and move forward, which honors our ancestors. For more on that, watch this video on my website. 

This year, my birthday wish for each of you is that you know you belong. There is a place for you at the table and you matter. It may be challenging with your birth family, but even there, you belong. You remain a part of that system even if you think and act differently than they do. You also belong to the one human family on Planet Earth. And you belong to this community that we have silently created together. I am grateful to all of you who read (and sometimes comment on) my weekly stories. Whether we met at a Family Constellations Workshop, A Course in Miracles Study Group, through Spiritual Coaching, a friend, referral, Google Search, or some other way, you belong. 

If you are having difficulty feeling like you belong, it would be my great honor to assist you with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can give you tools and a deeper awareness of how to belong, first to yourself, and then wherever you go. Please look around my website for more information or to book a session

Until next time, may you claim your rightful place at the table of life. You belong!

When you have learned that you belong to truth, it will flow lightly over you without a difference of any kind.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-13.XI.6:6

The Hardest Person to Forgive

Who is the hardest person to forgive? It’s probably not that politician that makes your blood boil or that person you feel betrayed you years ago. For most of us, the hardest person to forgive is ourself. This past weekend I had an opportunity to practice. 

On Saturday, a dear friend and her family drove up from Naples to have dinner with me in Sarasota. Her 4-year-old son was extremely well-behaved on the drive up and at dinner, so we decided to get a treat before they headed home. Okay, maybe the adults were just looking for an excuse to get gelato. Suddenly, the skies opened up and released buckets of rain as we drove across the Ringling Bridge to St. Armands Circle where my favorite gelato shop is located. Mother Nature was not going to make our quest for dessert easy, but we were willing to persevere and wait for the storm to pass.

Eventually, the rain let up, and my friend found a parking spot in a public lot around the corner from the gelato shop. Since I already had the parking app on my phone, I said I would be happy to pay for our parking. The rain continued to fall lightly, so we huddled under her umbrella as I added her license plate to my account. I paid for an hour using the location code on the sign directly in front of her parking spot. Once it was confirmed, off we went for gelato.

By the time we finished our tasty frozen treats, the rain had all but stopped, so we took a brief stroll around the shops of St. Armands Circle. We had just arrived at a candy store when I noticed that our parking was about to expire. Rather than risk a parking ticket, I used the app to extend our time in the parking lot. That’s one of the best features of those parking apps. Having been extremely mindful to avoid a parking ticket, imagine my shock when we discovered one on the windshield when we returned to the car! How could that be? I added money to cover the extra time!

My heart sank when I looked closely at my receipt on the app. I had typed a “4” instead of a “3” when entering her license plate number. I slightly misplaced tap of my finger caused a $63 expense. I was so mad at myself for not double-checking the license plate number before I hit “Start Parking.” I did not want this unfortunate incident to spoil our fun evening so I did my best to put it out of my mind. There was nothing I could do about it now, but I would certainly try to correct my mistake later.

Before they left, I took a photo of the citation and told my friend I would take care of it since it was my mistake. As soon as I got home, I went to the parking website to file an appeal. I wish I could tell you that once I explained what happened and provided evidence with the screenshot of my receipt, they waived the ticket. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. After a few email exchanges and a phone call, I learned that the parking lot was not connected to the parking app. Even though the back of that sign was directly in front of the space where my friend parked her car, it was not associated with the parking lot. Apparently, we were supposed to pay somewhere else.

True, I could probably make a case for why the ticket should be waived and continue fighting, but is it worth it? I had already spent quite a bit of time and energy on it. My friend is also a teacher and student of A Course in Miracles, and we both agreed we would rather just pay the ticket and return to peace more quickly. If we paid it within 4 days, they would reduce the fee to $43. We agreed to split the cost, so I consider it a $21.50 lesson. 

What lesson, you might ask? Well, there are a few. On a practical level, I won’t make the same mistake if I ever park in that parking lot again. However, after this experience, I don’t think I will. More importantly, I realized I was beating myself up for hitting the wrong number on my phone when even if I had typed in the correct number, we still would have received a parking ticket. All those unforgiving thoughts were a waste of time. According to the Course, that’s always true of unforgiving thoughts. I could have used that time to think loving thoughts instead, and I surely would have felt better. 

Here’s something else to ponder. What if the roles were reversed and my friend had been the one who entered the wrong license plate number? Would I have said to her some of the things I was saying to myself in my mind? Certainly not! I would have been much more kind knowing it truly was not a big deal. To me, this is the most important lesson. The next time you make a mistake that feels stupid or unforgivable, can you treat yourself with as much kindness as you would treat a dear friend who made the same mistake? I’m going to do my best to remember that in the future. 

If you would like some assistance in forgiving yourself, it would be my great honor to help you see things from a kinder, broader perspective with a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Both can help you release unloving thoughts and replace them with peaceful ones. Look around my website for more information and to book a session. Send me an email if you have questions or would like to schedule a 15-minute introductory Zoom call to see which type of session would be best for you. 

Until next time, please be gentle with yourself…

Fear binds the world. Forgiveness sets it free.

A Course in Miracles ~ W-332

On a Leash

This week, I thought I’d share a great nugget of wisdom I heard at A Course in Miracles meeting a few years ago. We were talking about the false but prevalent idea that to be happy, we need others to act a certain way. The ego tells us if only they would change, then we can be at peace. I don’t know about your experience, but this has never worked out very well for me.

The insightful woman sitting next to me shared that her dog has been a wonderful teacher on this subject. Sometimes this spirited little dog is not interested in going in the direction she wants her to go. During walks when other dogs are present, she often finds herself struggling with the leash trying to control her dog. 

It occurred to her that there were many people in her life that she also has “on a leash,” trying to make them do what she wants them to do. With so many leashes going in so many directions, it’s easy to get tangled. Her solution was simple. Drop the leashes. Let those people go their own way and live their own lives. That’s how she gets untangled and returns to peace. I thought this was a brilliant analogy!

I know this is sometimes easier said than done, especially when someone we love is making choices we feel are unhealthy. I struggled with this most of my life as I watched my mother’s addiction wreak havoc in her life (and thus mine.) It took me many years to learn how to set healthy boundaries with her, like simply choosing not to be around her when she was drinking alcohol. Once I stopped trying to change her, our relationship improved, peace returned, and I was untangled!

If you are currently in a similar situation, I highly recommend Al-Anon Family Groups. They have a long history of providing support and hope for families and friends of people suffering from addiction. Al-Anon groups were part of my healing journey, and I still use the tools I learned there. If you would like some one-on-one assistance, I would be honored to help you with a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Both will help you let go of those leashes and set strong, healthy boundaries. Please look around my website for more information or to book a session. Send me an email if you have questions or would like to schedule a 15-minute introductory Zoom Session to see which service would be best for you. 

Until next time, may you experience the peace that comes from dropping those leashes!

As you release, so will you be released. Forget this not, or love will be unable to find you and comfort you.

A Course in Miracles – T-16:VI.2

No Longer Out of Reach

Something incredible happened this week! I was able to grab my left hand with my right hand behind my back during my yoga practice. Okay. This may not sound incredible to you, but since I injured my shoulder at the beginning of 2020, I have not come close to connecting my fingers behind my back in that pose. At first, I was barely able to rotate my left arm behind me, which forced me to find creative ways to wash my back for many months. Little by little, my range of motion has increased.

But this week, after two and a half years, I was finally able to rotate my shoulder far enough to allow my left hand to clasp the fingers of my right hand. It was a triumphant moment! It was also a testament to what is possible when I commit to showing up consistently. For the past two years, I have rolled out my yoga mat twice per week and stretched as far as I could without hurting myself. Over time, what once was out of reach became reachable.

This reminds me of an interview I heard on Brené Brown’s podcast with James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. During that conversation, James shared a story about a client who started going to the gym for just 5 minutes a day to walk on the treadmill. It sounds silly to make the effort to drive to the gym to be inside for only 5 minutes. You might ask what changes could possibly occur in 5 minutes? A powerful one! The man transformed from a person who did not go to the gym to a person who went to the gym every day. Once it became a habit, he could slowly increase the amount of time on the treadmill and then start seeing results. The hard part was making it a routine. Instead of focusing on the goal, the focus was on the system that supported that goal.

How many times have you set very ambitious goals, only to get frustrated and give up soon after you begin? I know I have. The philosophy of shifting focus from goals to systems has many applications. When dining out, perhaps consistently ordering food off the menu that you imagine a healthy person eating would be more beneficial than setting a goal to lose 30 pounds in 30 days. Maybe current events have left you feeling hopeless. Maybe you have lost the belief that a world where kindness and love prevail is possible. Instead of desperately wishing for World Peace, what if we each commit to being a more peaceful person in our daily interactions with everyone we meet? The results might not be noticeable at first, but eventually, we would become the very thing for which we are reaching. 

If you would like assistance in becoming what you seek, it would be my great honor to walk with you and cheer you on during a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a Private Family Constellations session. Both will expand your perspective so you can not only reach that elusive hand behind your back if that is what you desire, but also that elusive state of peace and contentment. Please look around my website to book a session or send me an email with questions.

Until next time, may you find creative ways to shift your focus from getting to being. 

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. 

James Clear – Author of Atomic Habits

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