Why Would This Be Any Different?

I recently learned that this “S” is the Kryptonian symbol for Hope!

“Why would this be any different?” That’s the question I finally remembered to ask myself on the day of my move last month. Until that point, everything about my new apartment had fallen into place perfectly. My sister found this community during her visit last spring. I mentioned it felt like it was time to move when my lease was up in August. Being a good Virgo and a good big sister, she started searching for apartment communities online. Of the many we visited, this one just felt right. 

A miracle happened the very first time we came here. I parked my car in a “future resident” space so we could walk around the property to get a feel for it. Barely a minute into our walk, we encountered a woman walking her dog along the sidewalk. When the woman saw us move off the sidewalk to give her and her dog space, she said, “Don’t worry. She’s very friendly. Her name is Hope. We’re on our way to a weekly street festival to celebrate her Gotcha Day!”

Hope was indeed very friendly, so I bent down to pet her while we continued our conversation. This felt like the perfect opportunity to ask this woman if she liked living here. Apparently, she liked it very much because she proceeded to go on a 10-minute rant about the wonderful perks of living in this community. She said the staff in the office is extremely nice. The maintenance team responds quickly to issues. I asked if it was quiet, and she replied yes! She works from home and has never had an issue with noise. My ears perked up when she added that high-speed Internet is included in the rent. Honestly, she could not have been more complimentary or enthusiastic about living here. 

The fact that her dog’s name was Hope was not lost on me. After some unpleasant encounters with neighbors and noise issues over the past 6 months at my old apartment complex, I was hopeful that this might be the perfect sanctuary for my next home. 

That was a Friday evening. On Monday morning we returned to look at a unit and I absolutely loved it. We learned there was such a demand for apartments that they had a waiting list. This felt like another good sign. I still had 3 months before my lease was up so I was confident there would be a vacancy by the beginning of August. I filled out all the necessary paperwork and paid the application fees so I could be put on the waiting list. 

When June 7 arrived, I had to take a leap of faith. My old apartment complex required a 60-day notice if I was not going to renew my lease. I was still number 2 or 3 on the waiting list at the new place. When I checked in with Spirit, the guidance I received was to give my notice and trust that an apartment would become available. It was a little scary, but I have learned to trust that guidance. If an apartment didn’t become available, I knew I could get my application fees and security deposit back and another option would reveal itself. 

About 2 weeks later, I got a call from the new apartment complex telling me a unit had become available. And not just any unit. They call it “the Villa.” It’s the only one of its kind in the entire complex because it is where the property manager used to live. It’s a first-floor unit with no one living above it, and it shares just one wall with the neighboring building. It’s like a little house in the middle of an apartment community. I will admit, this wasn’t what I envisioned for my new living space. I pictured a second-floor unit with a balcony overlooking the pond and fountain like I had grown to love in my old place. However, this uniquely private unit sure was enticing.

I needed time to ponder this decision, so I asked the property manager if I could sleep on it. She agreed, but said I needed to let her know either way the following day. The next morning, I had a seemingly random conversation with a friend about what Superman’s “S” insignia stands for. You might guess it stands for Superman, but I had just learned in The Flash movie that it represents Hope. As we continued to talk about Hope, I suddenly remembered the little dog I met on my first visit to the new apartment community. This synchronicity felt like a wink from the Universe encouraging me to say “yes” to the Villa. So I did! 

As I mentioned, everything fell into place smoothly once I decided to move here. My old apartment complex didn’t have a problem with me staying 5 days past my lease expiration while the Villa was being renovated. They charged me a higher prorated fee for those 5 days, but that was fine. It saved me the hassle of renting a storage unit or pod and having to move my belongings twice. 

Transferring my electricity service was a breeze online. Even my call to Comcast to set up internet service went well. The friendly customer service rep told me there was no need to return my modem. She advised me to bring the modem to my new place and call to verify the new service had been activated. It was all so simple!

The day before my move, I stopped by the leasing office in the new community to drop off my rent check and sign off on their move-in checklist. That’s when I discovered I couldn’t get the keys to the Villa until 10 AM the next day when the office reopened. They couldn’t give them to me a day early because there were a few things left to do in the apartment. 

This could be a problem. The movers I hired were scheduled to arrive at 8:30 AM. However, my old apartment was on the second floor. Surely it would take them an hour and a half to load up the truck since each trip required traversing a flight of stairs. Well, it turns out that estimation was incorrect. 

First, I was not expecting the moving company to send three young men. I assumed it would be just two. Second, my Virgo sister and I had everything boxed and staged in the living room before they arrived. The guys had the entire contents of my apartment packed in their truck before 9:15! My new apartment was less than 10 minutes away. What were we going to do for 45 minutes while I waited to get the keys? I noticed myself slipping a wee bit into fear when I thought about their hourly rate.

That’s when I remembered how well everything had fallen into place so far. Why would this be any different? This thought helped me release the fear and trust that everything was happening as it should. Of course, the movers were fine with it when I explained the situation. They were getting paid either way! Perhaps they didn’t have time for breakfast, and this would allow them to get some food before unloading the truck. 

Whatever will be will be. Peace had returned by the time we set off for the new apartment complex just a mile and a half away. When we arrived, the office was closed, so I continued to the Villa. What a joyful relief to discover someone had left the door unlocked! Since I had paid and signed the lease, I saw no reason why we shouldn’t start unloading right away.

I couldn’t believe the truck was unloaded and all of my belongings were in their new home by 10 AM! It was such a great reminder to not let fear color my experience. When peace returns and I am not in a place of resistance and fear, things have a way of working out better than I could have expected.

Are you having a hard time maintaining a sense of peace with so much swirling around you? It would be my great honor to assist you with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can be done from anywhere in the world with the help of technology. Please look around my website or send me an email to book a session or for more information. I look forward to working with you! 

All things work together for good. There are no exceptions except in the ego’s judgment.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-4.V.1:1-2

I Can See Clearly Now

This week I took a spontaneous trip to Fort Lauderdale. With only one pair of contact lenses left, I needed to see my eye doctor for a yearly exam and a current prescription so I can order more lenses online. My attempts to find an eye doctor in Sarasota did not reveal an affordable option that compared to the excellent care I have received at Eyes on Sunrise in Fort Lauderdale since 2016. Even during the 3 years I lived in Houston, I continued getting my yearly eye exam there because of their exemplary service and care. I like that they take a photo of my retinas each year to monitor the health of my eyes. For these reasons, it felt like the highest choice to make the 3-hour drive to Fort Lauderdale.

When I made this decision last week, I looked at my calendar to see when it could happen. The following week I had no appointments on Sunday or Monday, but after that, a trip to Fort Lauderdale wouldn’t be possible until the end of August. I called Eyes on Sunrise to see if they had any openings on Monday or possibly Tuesday morning. Unfortunately, they did not. I continued calling every day to check for cancellations but to no avail. 

In the meantime, I reached out to my dear friends whose wedding I officiated last December. They rent beautiful rooms in their home in Fort Lauderdale on Airbnb. At the wedding, they told me I am welcome to stay with them any time they have a vacancy. Lucky for me, they had no guests booked for Sunday night. Despite not having an appointment, I felt strongly guided to take the trip and trust if it was meant to be, I’d be able to see my eye doctor. 

And why wouldn’t I go across the state? I had no plans in Sarasota. Even if I didn’t get my eyes checked, I’d have some quality time with an amazing group of friends. When I lived there, we often gathered in their beautiful home for game nights. Those gatherings were always filled with an abundance of laughter and silliness. I was thrilled when they scheduled one for Sunday night! There was no shortage of fun and laughter this time when we played a new game called “How’s yours?” The night ended with a small group of us going to a local dance club for a few hours to shake our booties to the fabulous sounds of the 70s. There may not have been a disco ball, but the four of us sure had a ball! 

The next morning, my plan was to call Eyes on Sunrise after doing my morning walk along Fort Lauderdale Beach. It was a trip down memory lane…literally! That was my morning routine for years. I loved seeing familiar landmarks like the wooden sculpture of a Native American chief as well as restaurants I used to frequent with my mom. And what a joy to jump into the Atlantic Ocean to cool off after an hour of exercise in the summer heat. My body was reminding me that I had danced for 2 hours the night before. Since I am not quite as resilient as the 25-year-old version of me, it felt glorious to float in that ocean for a while. 

Sadly, when I called the eye doctor, there were still no cancellations. I decided to release the need for anything to be different and let the day unfold as it wanted to. They had my phone number if anything changed. Because I had no specific plans, one thing organically led to the next. Spirit provided me an opportunity to have one-on-one time with many of the friends that attended game night. Since it was a Monday, most of them were working. I had lunch with one friend who is off on Mondays. Chai tea with another after that. A beautiful conversation with one of the grooms when he returned home from work. Pizza with another friend when she finished work. And a breakfast conversation with the other groom the following morning. 

I enjoy a big party with lots of people, but I actually prefer smaller gatherings where it’s easier to focus on one person at a time. Since I usually plan my visits to maximize seeing as many friends as possible, one-on-one time rarely happens. This day was such a gift!

You may be wondering about the eye exam. Well, a miracle happened once I released my attachment to getting that appointment. After checking with my hosts to see if I could stay another night, I called one more time late Monday afternoon to see if they had any openings for Tuesday morning. They did not. But I got a nudge to inquire when they opened the following day. The nice and very patient woman I had been harassing all week for an appointment said they open at 10 AM. Something told me to just show up at that time. Who knows? Maybe the first appointment would be a “no show.” 

So, after my lovely conversation with the other groom, I packed up my car and drove to Eyes on Sunrise. I felt completely at peace no matter what happened. If I had an eye exam…great! If not, I still considered the trip a resounding success given the amount of quality time I had with those friends. I’m guessing by now you know what happened. Although they did not have any cancellations, Dr. Rashid said he could see me right away if I was available. Oh my goodness! I was beyond grateful! 

I’m happy to report my eyes are healthy and my prescription did not change. Dr. Rashid also gave me a set of contact lenses so that removed any urgency to order more right away. And speaking of ordering, as they say in those infomercials, “Don’t order yet!” Miracles kept on coming. When I went to the front desk to pay, it turns out I had a $40 credit on my account! I guess the Universe wanted to make absolutely sure I knew I had made the right decision. As I drove west across Alligator Alley after my appointment, my heart was overflowing with gratitude for all that had transpired in less than 48 hours. 

I would be honored to help you open your heart to more miracles with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a one-on-one Family Constellations Session. Both can uncover blocks to the awareness of Love’s presence and help you tap into your own intuition. For more information or to book a session, please look around my website or send me an email. You can also book a session with my automated scheduler. I look forward to working with you! 

This day I choose to spend in perfect peace.

Lesson 255 ~ A Course in Miracles 

Rainbow Time

A few weeks ago, the apartment community where I live installed a new fountain in the pond outside my window. This was a welcome addition because the old one rarely worked. Now I get to enjoy the relaxing sound of falling water all the time. I’ve noticed that the turtles in the pond seem to enjoy swimming under the cascading water droplets as well.

This new fountain brought an added bonus. At a certain time in late afternoon, sunlight hits the fountain spray at just the right angle, causing the white light to refract into the brilliant, beautiful colors of the rainbow. It only lasts for a little while, but whenever I happen to be looking out my window at that time, it always makes me smile. 

The other day it happened while I was on a call with my prayer partner. We were wrapping up the sharing of our life situations in preparation to pray when the rainbow colors began to reveal themselves in the water droplets outside. It seemed like such a clear message from Spirit to trust in divine timing, I felt inspired to include it in our prayer.

Even during challenging situations, when I relax and trust that things are falling into place at exactly the right moment, just like the rainbow in the fountain, peace returns. When I try to force events to happen according to my schedule, that’s when I become stressed and anxious. However, trusting the process is something that takes practice. 

One way I build that trust is to look back on my life and observe how every experience led to the next. There is no way I could have planned all those “chance” meetings, events, and circumstances. Taking time to reflect on this truth helps me trust the unfoldment of life, even when I hit those unpleasant bumps in the road. Those bumps often redirected my path toward opportunities I would never have imagined. 

That beautiful rainbow was a timely reminder. Perhaps the thing I desire isn’t happening yet because it is not the right time. I know this can be a frustrating or infuriating perspective when we have been waiting for something for a long time or when conditions are extremely poor. Consider this:

Maybe the perfect home for you is not currently available because the current owners have yet to put it on the market or the current tenants have yet to move out. Perhaps a fulfilling job opportunity is about to open up when someone is promoted or decides to pursue another career. Maybe that romantic partner hasn’t moved to your city yet and you’ll meet when that happens. I invite you to look back at your life and notice how much of it depended on timing. It’s astounding!

No amount of wishing will make the sunlight hit those water droplets at the right angle sooner. It will happen at just the right moment to produce the rainbow of colors. This week, whatever you’re dreaming of, I encourage you to trust that “rainbow time” will happen. And before it does, do your best to return to a place of peace so when those colors begin to appear, you’ll know exactly what inspired action to take!

If I can be of assistance in helping you return to peace while opening your heart to what’s possible, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I offer Spiritual Coaching Packages as well as one-on-one Family Constellations Sessions to help you move forward with joy and grace. For more information or to book a session or sessions, check out my website. Thanks to technology, we can meet no matter where in the world you are. I look forward to working with you!

It takes great learning to understand that all things, events, encounters and circumstances are helpful.

A Course in Miracles ~ M-4.I-A.4:5

Olive Garden Angel

I met the spunky ball of energy known as Rev. Joyce Fisher Pierce at the Big Sky Retreat in 2014. As soon as we began talking, I fell under the spell of this woman’s joyful spirit and playful enthusiasm. If you knew Rev. Joyce, I bet you had a similar experience. She was a bright light and I am extremely grateful to have known her.  

I facilitated Family Constellations at that retreat, and Rev. Joyce had not only heard of it, she had done it. She resonated with my work deeply and requested a one-on-one session the following year. Six months later, I was both thrilled and petrified when she invited me to speak at her church, Unity of Bon Air, in Virginia. I would also be facilitating a Family Constellations workshop for her community in the afternoon. That part wasn’t scary, but it would be my first time speaking at a church on a Sunday morning.

As part of the service, I would also be guiding a short meditation before my message. The meditation I wanted to share included angel imagery at the end, but since I didn’t know this community, I was concerned that might be a little too “woo woo.” Those concerns dissipated quickly when we arrived at the church and I saw an angel statue standing watch by the Unity of Bon Air sign. Angel statues were also placed throughout the beautiful prayer garden behind the church. And in case I was still questioning, three angel paintings adorned the wall outside the sanctuary. Yes, I think the congregation will be comfortable with me using angel imagery in my meditation. 

Despite my nerves, I think my first talk went pretty well. I shared some of the key principles of Family Constellations interspersed with teachings and quotes from A Course in Miracles set against the backdrop of my journey of forgiveness with my mom. Something I said must have landed because there was a great turnout for the afternoon workshop. This community was ready to go deep! It was a very satisfying and full day. 

As if that weren’t enough for one day, there was another big blessing squeezed in between the service and the workshop. I had a delicious lunch at the Olive Garden with Rev. Joyce and my dear friend and hostess, Gail Courville. What a privilege to break breadsticks with these two inspirational women. We prayed, laughed, joked, and shared stories while enjoying the abundant supply of soup, salad, and breadsticks. 

Rev. Joyce was a regular at the Olive Garden, and she was not afraid to tell the server exactly what she did and did not want in the salad. Gail can correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to recall that she specifically requested an obscene amount of black olives and banana peppers in that salad. She wasn’t rude, she was just very clear. And that’s exactly what we received! It was a powerful lesson for me, and one that I got to witness a few more times on subsequent visits. I cherish the memories of our lunches at the Olive Garden. 

This past week, I was speaking with Gail on the phone. We were reminiscing about Rev. Joyce who made her transition into the Light just over a year ago. Gail reminded me of some of Rev. Joyce’s affirmations, mantras, and songs that she incorporated into her sermons and classes. One of Gail’s favorites was a song that spoke to every little cell in the body being happy and well to the tune of “Mama’s Little Baby Loves Shortnin’ Bread.” Rev. Joyce had a knack for finding ways to make powerful spiritual principles fun, playful, and accessible. (Click here to watch a YouTube video of that song.)

You can learn more about the remarkable life of Rev. Joyce in the book Being Joyced by Deb Childs with whom she collaborated before she passed.

No conversation about Rev. Joyce would be complete without mentioning our lunches at the Olive Garden, which Gail and I talked about. Last fall I was given a gift card to the Darden family of restaurants, of which, Olive Garden is one. That card had been sitting on my kitchen counter for months! I told Gail, in honor of Rev. Joyce, I was going to use that gift card and visit the Olive Garden for lunch as soon as we hung up.

After a quick search on my Maps app, I discovered the Olive Garden in Sarasota was about 20 minutes from where I live. It was a bit further than I thought, but the drive was worth it. Imagine my surprise when I walked in, approached the hostess stand, and noticed that the hostess’s name was Joyce!

Not only was the hostess wearing a “Joyce” name tag, but she was also wearing an angel pendant around her neck. Nice touch, Universe! The way the necklace fell positioned that angel right next to the name Joyce. It was such a clear sign that Rev. Joyce was right there with me. I had a difficult time containing my excitement long enough to ask this Joyce for a table for one.

Once I stepped away from the podium, I immediately texted Gail about this amazing synchronicity. She responded with just two words: “god bumps.” I got them too! 

At first, I decided it would be too weird to tell the hostess about the synchronicity. But then I had a change of heart. This woman was wearing an angel necklace, and she appeared to be in the second half of her life. Chances are she’s had life experiences that have shown her there’s more going on than meets the eye. So I risked being weird and told her about my beloved friend, Rev. Joyce, her love of the Olive Garden, and how I was honoring her memory by having soup, salad, and breadsticks that day.

This Joyce lit up when I thanked her for being my miracle. She believed that Rev. Joyce was there, and added that she must have loved me very much. I told her the feeling was mutual. It was such a beautiful, heart-opening moment, I had to text Gail to tell her what happened while I waited for my table. Meanwhile, Gail had texted Rev. Joyce’s sister about my experience, and it made her day! It never ceases to amaze me how quickly joy can spread when we are open to sharing it. 

Even though I was technically at the table by myself, I felt immersed in the energy of love and joy, like the three of us were having that meal together. I am not a fan of banana peppers, but I held one up and snapped a photo for Rev. Joyce, and sent it to Gail. What an unexpected gift to share lunch with them this week. 

When I left, I thanked the hostess again for being my miracle. She stepped out from behind the podium and I instinctively leaned in for a hug. Afterward, I realized I probably should have asked first, but it felt like the right thing to do in the moment. I think my instincts were correct because Joyce leaned in for the hug. She then surprised me by telling me I might be a miracle for her too. She smiled and hesitated for a moment before sharing that she had just started dating a man named John. I wished them well and gave her a big thumbs-up as I headed out the door. It seems by risking being weird, we got to be miracles for each other that day.

Are you ready for a miracle? Could you use a sign that you are on the right path? Maybe it’s time to follow a nudge to do something spontaneous. It would be my great honor to support you with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a one-on-one Family Constellations Session. Sessions can be done from anywhere in the world thanks to the miracle of technology. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information. You can also book a session or purchase a gift certificate for multiple sessions using the automated scheduler on my website. I look forward to creating miracles with you!

Miracles are a kind of exchange. Like all expressions of love, which are always miraculous in the true sense, the exchange reverses the physical laws. They bring more love both to the giver and the receiver.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-1.I.9:1-3

When Anger Knocks

Late one evening a few weeks ago, I opened my front door to look for the moon and check on the weather outside. To my surprise, I discovered a package from Amazon sitting on my doormat. I hadn’t ordered anything, but my sisters have been sending unexpected gifts lately, so I assumed this box was from one of them. Since I was tired, I set the box on the bench inside my apartment to open in the morning.

Around 8:30 the next morning, while putting in my contact lenses, I was startled by a loud, persistent banging at my front door. This wasn’t the courtesy knock of a delivery person or maintenance worker from my apartment community. This person was clearly angry and wanted to get my attention. It worked! 

My hands were full of saline solution and contact lenses, so I couldn’t get to the door right away, not that I was eager to given the intensity of the banging. While finishing the task at hand, I heard a man’s voice yelling something about a package along with a stream of curse words and expletives. That’s when my brain pieced together what had happened. 

I surmised that the Amazon driver left a package for my new neighbors at the wrong door last night. This young couple only recently moved in, but I have heard them fighting and shouting at each other on more than one occasion. I was fairly certain they were the ones pounding on my door.

Once I was dressed, I looked at the package more closely. Sure enough, the address was one digit different than mine. I had brought in my neighbor’s Amazon purchase by mistake. “No big deal,” I thought to myself. I will simply bring the package to them and apologize for my error. 

Suddenly, the vigorous pounding on my door began again, and I practically jumped out of my skin. Why so much rage around an understandable mistake? I grabbed the package, took a deep breath, and opened my door. Both of my new neighbors were standing there. The young man began shouting at me immediately as I handed him the package.

Before I had a chance to say anything, he angrily hurled a barrage of accusatory questions at me. Why would I take his package? Couldn’t I see it was not addressed to me? He claimed he had received packages for me in the past few weeks and he placed them at my door. Why couldn’t I do the same? What was wrong with me? As you might imagine, I am leaving out a number of words that were mixed in with these questions. 

In the middle of his rant, I apologized. I admitted that I had made a mistake and said I would be much more careful in the future. I tried to explain that I had been receiving many unexpected packages lately, but he just continued yelling. As he walked away, I apologized one more time, and assured him it wouldn’t happen again. Meanwhile, his girlfriend just stood there looking embarrassed and bewildered. She thanked me for not opening their package before we both retreated to our respective apartments. 

My heart was racing as I shut the door. What the heck just happened? I was in shock at the intensity of the encounter. Of course, I knew this young man’s anger was not really about a misplaced package. I do not know what has happened in his life, but my experience with Family Constellations has taught me that this anger didn’t start with him. I imagine he has been on the receiving end of intense rage and he’s most likely carrying a lot of pain. Not having the tools to move through or release this pain in a healthy way, it exploded at me.

A Course in Miracles teaches that every action can be broken down into two categories: an “expression of love” or a “call for love.” It goes on to say, when you see things this way, the appropriate response is always love. This young man was clearly calling for love, but that doesn’t mean I should knock on his door and ask to give him a hug! No. That would probably not be wise. However, from the safety of my own home, I can imagine him surrounded by love and light. 

I wish I could tell you that’s what I did immediately. It has been many, many years since I’ve been on the receiving end of that kind of rage, and I was extremely shaken up. I felt unjustly attacked and extremely vulnerable. However, I also knew that seeing him as the villain and myself as the victim would only perpetuate that story and the conflict. So I laid down on my bed for a few minutes and asked Spirit for help to see him at peace and surrounded by love. 

It felt forced at first, but I knew the sooner I tried the sooner I would feel better. I only had a few minutes to practice this before an early morning appointment that day. After the appointment, my walk along Sarasota Bay definitely helped bring me back to center. But I was a bit rattled for the rest of the day. 

Since then, I have done my best to extend love and peace to that young man whenever he crosses my mind. That was a few weeks ago, and I have not seen either of my neighbors since then…until last night. 

As I scurried down the stairs to the parking lot, I suddenly noticed a young man and a big white dog approaching from below. We made eye contact briefly, but I was so focused on getting to my car before the rain started, my mind didn’t register who it was. With no initial greeting or pleasantries, this young man launched into a quiet apology for overreacting about the package the other day. To say I was stunned would be an understatement!

Neither of us stopped walking, but as I passed him I said something like, “It’s ok. These things happen. Have a nice night.”  He replied, “You too,” as he continued up the stairs with his dog. The whole exchange took less than 30 seconds. But in those 30 seconds, something shifted. 

Any residual fear or resentment from the incident melted away and more compassion for my new neighbor filled my heart. All I can say is, the teachings of A Course in Miracles work! Never in a million years would I have guessed that I’d receive an apology from him, but I doubt it would have happened had I not done my part. I am beyond grateful for this shift from conflict to peace, a true miracle.

Are you in a challenging situation with a neighbor, co-worker, friend, or family member? It would be my great honor to help facilitate a miracle with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can help you release fear and judgments, thus allowing peace to return. And thanks to technology, we can meet no matter where in the world you are. Send me an email or look around my website for more information. You can also book a session directly on my website with my automated scheduler. Give yourself the gift of peace. I look forward to working with you! 

Forgiveness takes away what stands between your brother and yourself.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-26.VII.9:1

A Decade of Miracles (Part 2)

One of my favorite places to facilitate Family Constellations has been the annual Big Sky Retreat in Montana.

Last week I shared how I was introduced to Family Constellations in the Fall of 2012. (Click here to read Part 1) At my first workshop, I had a profound healing experience that would forever change the way I moved through the world. When the event was over, I asked Michelle, the facilitator, how one learns to do this work. She smiled and replied, “I would be delighted to teach you.” 

Michelle had trained with two excellent teachers in New York City who studied under Bert Hellinger, the man who created Family Constellations. As I mentioned last time, Michelle was passionate about sharing this work as evidenced by the amount of workshops she hosted in her home. If I remember correctly, she facilitated at least three or four Family Constellations workshops every month. 

Eventually, Michelle created the Family Constellations Institute of Miami so she could begin training those of us who were interested in becoming facilitators. I was fortunate to be in that first training group. We gathered at Michelle’s apartment to learn the basic philosophies and concepts of Family Constellations. It was a safe environment to practice the skills we were learning through group exercises and role-play. I loved our training sessions!

At that time, I was working for myself as a Licensed Massage Therapist, and I conveniently lived just 2 miles from Michelle. I was able to arrange my schedule so that I could attend practically every workshop Michelle facilitated. This set of circumstances felt like Divine Orchestration. Family Constellations is an experiential modality, so there is no better teacher than experience!

Each workshop attracted an interesting assortment of people. Some groups were small. Some large. I began to notice that when the group was small, extremely sensitive and personal issues often came up to be explored. It’s as if the Knowing Field (a Family Constellations term used to designate the sacred space where we do the work) knew that it would be difficult for a person to be vulnerable in a large group. 

In large groups, one or two universal themes emerged so that everyone could connect to what was happening. Time and time again, I witnessed unbelievable “coincidences” in the Knowing Field. We would discover that a representative had the same name as the person they were representing. Or they would have similar if not identical life experiences. It was often a jaw-dropping moment when roles were revealed. There was no denying that something beyond us was happening, and it happened on a regular basis. 

I quickly learned there are no accidents in Family Constellations. People cancel at the last minute or simply do not show up. People who had no knowledge of Constellations would feel the nudge to attend when they heard about it from a friend who was going. It was always the perfect group and there were always astounding connections. That’s still true today!

As part of her newly formed organization, (now called MOSAIC the Movement) Michelle invited her teachers to come to Miami to facilitate workshops. I learned so much by observing the way Suzi Tucker moved gracefully through the Knowing Field, checking in with each participant like a butterfly visiting every flower in a garden. Suzi has an amazing gift for selecting the precise words that will be most impactful and empowering to those seeking relief from recurring family patterns.

I also learned a great deal from another of Michelle’s teachers, Mark Wolynn, author of It Didn’t Start with You. He used to travel to Miami every year in December for a two-day immersive workshop. Watching Mark select who to work with based on stories they shared gave me insights into how to phrase questions that would elicit the most informative answers. I still use tools and techniques I observed during those powerful events. 

Several months into my training, Michelle sometimes gave me the floor to facilitate a constellation or two during her workshops. That was a sign of trust I did not take lightly. However, I was not expecting that day in June of 2013 when Michelle declared, “I think you’re ready.”

What? Wait! No. I’m not ready to start facilitating my own workshops. I still have so much to learn!

Although that was true, what Michelle said was also true. The best way to accelerate my learning was to jump in and start doing them. Many years ago, I heard a spiritual teacher say:

“At some point, we need to stop reading other people’s books and write our own.” 

I wish I could remember who said that but whoever it was, that idea has stayed with me. Not that we all have to write a book, but eventually we need to step out and put into practice what we are learning. And make it our own.

So, with some trepidation, I contacted my friend Todd and asked if we could schedule a Family Constellations workshop in his gorgeous yoga studio. Honestly, I can’t imagine a better place for my first event. I’ve had a deep brotherly soul connection with Todd since a mutual client introduced us. Facilitating in the studio where he did his healing work just felt right. It was the perfect sacred space for my inaugural event. (It also helped that Michelle was there if I needed assistance!)

On the last Saturday of June 2013, a small group of my friends, friends of friends, and Todd’s yoga students gathered in his studio. I felt mostly good about how the constellations unfolded, but, of course, some doubts crept in. Afterward, I consulted Michelle to see if she saw things I might have missed. She gave me a few suggestions on what I might explore next time, but I’d say my first event was a success simply because I did it! And I’ve been doing them ever since.

Perhaps there is something in your life you’d like to do, but fear and doubt are keeping you stuck. It would be my great honor to walk with you and support you with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can help identify patterns and beliefs that do not serve your intentions. Together we can shift and release them, allowing you to start moving forward again.

Please look around my website for more information or book a session with my automated scheduler. Thanks to technology, we can connect no matter where in the world you are. I look forward to helping you take that next step!

This week, consider the possibility that you might already be ready to jump in and start doing the thing you’ve been longing to do.

Readiness, as the text notes, is not mastery.

A Course in Miracles ~ M-4.IX.1:10

A Decade of Miracles (Part 1)

A deep bow of gratitude to Michelle Blechner for introducing me to Family Constellations all those years ago!

It’s difficult to wrap my head around the fact that it was June of 2013 when I facilitated my very first Family Constellations workshop at my friend’s yoga studio in Miami. Those ten years flew by! I could not begin to count all the miracles and healing moments I have witnessed over the last decade. It has been and continues to be an honor and a privilege to be part of the healing journey for so many people. I feel richly blessed to have found this work. Or did it find me? 

I first heard about Family Constellations in the Fall of 2012 during introductions at a book study group at Unity on the Bay. When it was her turn to speak, a woman named Michelle began describing a new healing modality she had recently discovered. It was clear that she was very excited to talk about the impact this work had on her life. She even called it “the missing link” on her healing journey. 

Truth be told, I was not very excited about this missing link. My first thought was, “Oh great. Just what the world needs. Another healing modality.” I would soon find out it was exactly what I needed! 

At the request of our book group leader (who was also a friend,) I played my crystal singing bowl for a few minutes each week to open our discussion. Michelle enjoyed the peaceful vibrations of my singing bowl, so she asked if I’d be willing to play it at the weekly meditation circle she hosted in her home. That sounded like fun, so I gratefully accepted the invitation. 

That event turned out to be a “date with destiny.” It was a beautiful and eclectic group of people that gathered at Michelle’s apartment every Wednesday night to meditate. After the meditation, there was time for food and socializing. Michelle was a gracious host who loved having people in her home. There was never a shortage of snacks to munch or interesting people to talk to. 

On that first night, I struck up a conversation with a lovely woman who had been attending these gatherings for quite some time. She also attended several of Michelle’s Family Constellations workshops and asked if I’d ever been to one. When I said no, she launched into a passionate rant about how amazing they were and that I simply had to try one. “You won’t believe what happens!” 

Her unsolicited and enthusiastic endorsement of this modality got my attention. Maybe I should give it a try. As luck (or fate) would have it, Michelle was facilitating another Family Constellations workshop the following Saturday. My inner voice strongly suggested that I attend, so I did.

I will never forget my first experience with Family Constellations on that Saturday afternoon in September 2012. It was life-changing. The message I received from a representative for my father altered the way I saw myself, and subsequently, the way I have moved through the world since then. I won’t go into details here, but I shared what happened in a talk I gave at Unity of Houston a few years ago. You can watch that video by clicking here. (The story about my first constellation starts about 3 minutes and 30 seconds into the video and ends at the 8-minute mark.)

One of the things that struck me the most about Family Constellations is how congruent it is with the teachings of A Course in Miracles. It’s all about restoring the flow of love, excluding no one, and seeing things from a different perspective. At that point, I had been studying the Course for about six years. Perhaps that’s why Family Constellations resonated with me so deeply. Or perhaps it’s because I could clearly see how pain and trauma had been passed down from generation to generation in my own family.

I was so blown away by the experience, after the workshop, I asked Michelle, “How do you learn how to do this?” She smiled and said, “I would be delighted to teach you!” And thus began my journey into the world of Family Constellations. 

I’ll share the rest of the story next week, but I’d like to point out that the book we were discussing at Unity on the Bay was You Can Create an Exceptional Life by Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson. Honestly, I don’t remember anything specific from that book other than the title, but that title sure seems appropriate! Family Constellations has indeed helped me to create an exceptional life. 

Would you do me the honor of being part of my 11th year of facilitating Family Constellations? I’ve experienced a lot since my first constellation ten years ago, and I would love to share what I’ve learned with you. This work can reveal and heal blocks you didn’t know were there. Please look around my website to learn more about the process or to book a private session with my automated scheduler. Thanks to technology, sessions can be done online with Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime no matter where you are in the world. I look forward to sharing this miraculous and mind-blowing experience with you. As that lovely woman told me, “You won’t believe what happens!”

Until next time, I encourage you to follow those nudges from your inner voice. They don’t always make sense to the logical mind, but they can lead to an exceptional life. 

There are no accidents in salvation. Those who are to meet will meet, because together they have the potential for a holy relationship.

A Course in Miracles ~ M-3.1:6-7

Walking on Eggshells

Life gave me a little wink the other day while preparing scrambled eggs. I’m by no means an expert in the kitchen, but I can usually crack an egg without getting eggshells in the bowl. This day, however, a tiny triangle-shaped piece of shell snuck into the mixture.

I tried to extract it several times with a fork, but the slimy consistency of the eggs prevented me from successfully removing the little stow-away. Since it was such a tiny piece, I decided to pour the mixture into the frying pan and remove the shell once the eggs were cooked. Despite the risk of accidentally eating it, that seemed like the best plan.

As I emptied the yellow liquid into the pan, a remarkable thing happened. That little piece of eggshell stuck to the bottom of the bowl. Well, that was easy. And unexpected. No extra effort on my part was required to solve the problem!

This event may seem inconsequential, but longtime readers know I am always on the lookout for life lessons. That little piece of eggshell reminded me that if I keep moving forward, what I perceive as problems sometimes resolve themselves without any help from me.

Haven’t we all had experiences like this where we simply waited or moved forward as planned and the problem miraculously disappeared? Inclement weather cancels an event we didn’t want to attend. Commitments pop up forcing us or others to be somewhere else. We lose one thing, but something better swoops in to replace it almost immediately. The Universe works in mysterious ways, and I believe it is always conspiring for our good…if we relax and let it! 

Sometimes the very thing we were trying to avoid turns out to be the greatest blessing. A connection is made. A relationship is healed. A detour or roadblock leads to an incredible opportunity we never could have imagined.

Granted, this is not always the case. Some things do require our attention and action. But I’ve noticed a startlingly large percentage of things I label as “problems” are just beliefs I have about myself or others. Or thoughts I hold about how conditions or situations “should” be. The problem is really only in my mind. A Course in Miracles teaches that this is always the case, but that’s a deeper conversation for another forum. If you are curious, join us online Tuesdays for our weekly ACIM discussion group!

There’s great power in accepting things as they are and then, from a peaceful state of mind, asking if there is anything that is mine to do to improve the situation. I devote one of the weeks in my 8-week Pathway to Peace Spiritual Coaching program to “Acceptance & Peace.” It’s a game-changer!

I would be honored to walk with you on the Pathway to Peace to assist you in experiencing more peace and joy in your life. Visit my website for more information or send me an email with questions. Thanks to the miracle of technology, sessions can be done from anywhere in the world. Every journey begins with a single step, so maybe that single step is clicking here.

Until next time, I encourage you to keep choosing peace and watch many of the eggshells of life resolve themselves.

Understand that you do not respond to anything directly, but to your interpretation of it. 

A Course in Miracles ~ T-12.I.1:4

Do You Believe?

During my hiatus last month, the extraordinary singer and actress, Cher, celebrated her 77th birthday. That woman inspires me to keep creating and doing what I love no matter how many trips around the sun I’ve had. When I saw her birthday on my calendar, it reminded me of a fun and miraculous story that happened while I was living in Fort Lauderdale in 2014 right before her 68th birthday. It was such a great lesson, I thought I’d share it with you.

This story actually begins in the early 2000s when my longtime friend, Kate, received two complimentary tickets to Cher’s Farewell Tour. At the time, we did not know it really wasn’t her “farewell tour.” Cher has gone on the road twice since then. Farewell Tour or not, Kate had the right to give those tickets to whomever she pleased, and she decided to give them to her mother and sister. 

A few weeks later at a backyard barbecue, I asked Kate’s mom and sister if they enjoyed the concert. They said it was okay. What? Okay. That hardly seemed like an appropriate word to describe an icon! I would have been dancing in the aisles the whole concert! They admitted that they liked Cher, but were not huge fans of her or her music. Stunned by this revelation, I asked Kate why she didn’t call me when she was looking for someone to use those tickets.

Kate’s defense: ”John, I know you love Madonna. But I had no idea you love Cher.” 

My response: ”Kate! I’m a gay man. Of course, I love Cher!” LOL

Thus began a running joke that lasted over a decade. Whenever Cher came up in conversation around Kate, I would lament over never having the opportunity to see her in concert. Nor would I, since that was her Farewell Tour. “Oh, how I would have LOVED to experience her live!” Kate would shoot me a dirty but knowing look, and then we’d burst into laughter. 

Fast forward to the winter of 2014. Kate had moved away but was back in Fort Lauderdale for a visit. Around the same time, Cher announced she was mounting another concert tour in the spring. I did not miss this opportunity to tell Kate that I’ve ALWAYS wanted to see Cher in concert. I’m laughing as I type these words remembering the look on Kate’s face when this topic returned to haunt her once again. 

Realizing there was no statute of limitations on this joke, Kate decided to take action. She had worked as a producer in the entertainment business for years, so she had connections. One of those connections worked on Cher’s tour in costuming. Kate reached out to him and explained our long-running joke and asked if there was any way he could get 2 tickets to the show when it came to Fort Lauderdale. A few days later, he replied that he was pretty sure he could honor her request. 

Excitement shot through me. After all the years of joking, it seemed like it was actually going to happen! The sad part was, I’d have to abandon the long-running joke if Kate managed to get me to the Cher concert. 

Weeks, then months passed with no further communication about those tickets. Even if the concert hadn’t been sold out, the price of tickets was not in my budget at the time. As the date drew closer, it didn’t seem like CinderFella would be going to the ball after all. Oh well. At least I could continue to tease Kate about my love for Cher. 

The day of the concert arrived, and I hadn’t totally given up hope that I would get a last-minute text message from Kate saying her connection came through. That afternoon, I facilitated a Family Constellations workshop in Wilton Manors. The miraculous healing that happens during these workshops always gives me a great sense of joy and satisfaction, so even though there was no message from Kate, I was feeling grateful and content after the workshop. I had made peace with the fact that I would not be seeing Cher that night. 

I was probably home less than an hour when I received a text message not from Kate, but from my friend Tony. He said a client of his had two extra tickets to the Cher concert and would I like to have them? At first, I thought he was kidding because Tony is part of the circle of friends that participated in the ongoing joke. He assured me that this was not a joke!

Apparently, his client purchased a VIP box at the BB&T Center (as it was called then) and he had two tickets that were not being used. Not only were these great seats, the tickets included free parking! This all seemed too good to be true, but it wasn’t. I called my best friend from college (who loves Cher more than I do) and told him he’d better pick out an outfit because we are going to the concert tonight! He couldn’t believe it either! 

What can I say? For so many reasons the concert was absolutely phenomenal. The costumes. The dancers. The set. It was all as fabulous as Cher herself. As were our seats! No jostling elbow to elbow with the crowds. We were safely tucked away in that box with a great view of the stage. What a gift we were given that night. I am so grateful to those guys (whom we had never met) for inviting us to share that experience with them. They even supplied drinks and pizza! 

This last part about pizza was quite the cosmic wink from the Universe. My college friend and I often quote a comedy bit by Kathy Griffin where she makes fun of Cher for not knowing how to order pizza. Or as Cher called it, “make pizza happen.” Not only did Cher perform a stellar concert that night, she also made pizza happen! 

What a lesson in the power of surrender! As soon as I gave up my attachment to attending the concert and replaced it with gratitude, peace, and contentment, Life delivered an experience better than anything I could have imagined. And in a way that I could never have imagined! I am extremely grateful to everyone who played a part in the making of this miracle. It certainly was a shift from fear to love.

If you are familiar with the lyrics of Cher’s 1998 chart-topping song “Believe,” you will understand when I say not only do I believe in miracles, I believe in life after love…after love…after love.  

Would you like to experience a miracle? Could you use some help in surrendering? I would be honored to assist you with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can help you see things from a new perspective allowing you to get unstuck and move forward with love. Send me an email with questions or book a session with the automated scheduler on my website. Thanks to technology, we can meet virtually no matter where in the world you are. I look forward to working with you! 

This week, consider releasing an attachment or an expectation, then watch for a miracle to take its place!

What you believe is true for you.

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

Breathtaking Beauty

You may have noticed there wasn’t an email or blog last week. All is well. I’m just taking a little hiatus from my weekly stories and Family Constellations Workshops this month. However, I am still doing private Family Constellations Sessions and Spiritual Coaching Sessions. If you would like to break free of a repeating family pattern or could use spiritual support during a challenging time, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can also book a session directly on my website using my automated scheduler. I would be honored to walk with you and help you return to peace.

In the meantime, I encourage you to give yourself rest if you need it. One of my favorite places to recharge is the beach at sunset. Last night’s sunset was so breathtakingly beautiful, I felt inspired to share it with all of you. Perhaps you will feel inspired to rest for a moment, take some deep breaths, and enjoy the photo of Mother Nature’s beauty and the spectacular colors of the sunset reflecting in the waves and clouds.

Take time today to slip away from dreams and into peace.

A Course in Miracles ~ W-109.5:8

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