Life is Like Kite Surfing!

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While coaching a client this week I shared this observation that I made last year.  Now I realize this is a bold statement coming from someone who’s never actually been kite surfing, so anyone reading this who has done it please feel free to comment.  Whenever I see those bright colored sails over the ocean dragging the surfers along at incredible speeds I am in awe.  The experienced surfers know how to navigate the wind and the waves just right allowing them to soar in the air for several seconds before plunking back down into the sea.  It looks so freeing!   The wind and the kite take care of propelling the surfers forward.  It seems to me their job is to stay balanced on the board, keep it and themselves above water, and stay in harmony with the wind and waves.

Isn’t life like that?  It is always pulling us forward.  Our job is to stay balanced and keep our thoughts positive.  We also have to stay in harmony with life and accept “what is.”   It would do a kite surfer no good to scream and yell at the wind for blowing the wrong way or shout at the waves for being too close together.  They simply have to accept the conditions as they are and then make adjustments to their stance, their grip, or the position of the kite.  Once the adjustments are made they will begin to move in a new direction and accomplish the tricks and flips they desire.  Sometimes life does take us to exhilarating heights!  And just like the kite surfers, we eventually come back down, sometimes with a crash and a dip below the surface of the water.  But like the surfers, our job is simply to get back up on the board and not stay swimming around in the despair.  Allow life in the form of healthy spiritual practices, good friends, family, and things that bring you joy to pull you back up and send you streaming through the water again.

Coaching and Family Constellation are great ways to pull yourself up.  I’m so excited to be doing another workshop next Sunday with Michelle Blechner at the Family Constellation Institute of Miami.  This month we are looking at “Rebuilding Trust with Your Inner Child.”  The last Inner Child workshop we did together was very powerful and transformative, and since the energy is always expanding, I know this one will be too!  You can register HERE.  And for those of you in the Fort Lauderdale area, please join us every 1st Wednesday evening of the month from 7-10 PM or every 3rd Saturday afternoon from 2-5 PM (which happens to be this Saturday!) at Bridges of Wellness for group sessions of Family Constellation.  More details are on my website.

Thank you for reading and all the great comments on my FaceBook and Blog pages. Until next time, may you stay in harmony with life so you can keep sailing and soaring!  In keeping with the Kite Surfing theme, here is a link for some great metaphorical advice on how to turn your life around.  Do you have any insights like this to share?  What is life like to you? Please let us know in the comments below!

The Ego Wears Thigh Highs

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I am so grateful to my A Course in Miracles friend Michael for inviting me to see “Pippin” with him at the Broward Center on Easter Sunday.  Wow. We were both blown away by the show and it’s powerful message.  To us, it was right from the Course.  The Course talks a lot about the ego and it’s mantra, “Seek but do not find.”  The show is about a young man named Pippin who is searching for meaning in his life.  He tries a variety of titillating pursuits such as war, sexcapades, political activism, and leadership, but none leave him feeling fulfilled.  He is “guided” along the way by a sleek, sexy woman in black thigh high boots with a sultry voice singing to him about the extraordinary life he is meant to live.  Like the ego, she keeps him in search mode, always looking but never finding, never content with his here and now.  The show is flashy and colorful set against a circus performance background with plenty to keep Pippin and the audience distracted, just like many things in our lives keep us distracted.

We don’t all need to be circus performers or have famous lives like Joan of Arc, President Obama, or Oprah Winfrey to be extraordinary. The ego is always telling us we are not enough. Sometimes that causes us to look to material things or outside circumstances to make us feel special? I’ll be happy once I’m a best selling author, have a BMW, or I find the perfect partner. Fill in the blank for your own life. Can you remember a time when you got something that you had been wanting for a long time? What happened next? I bet it seemed to make you happy for a while, but it wasn’t long before you set your sights on something else.  That’s exactly what the ego wants us to do. Seek but do not find happiness.  In the second act, Pippin finds happiness for a year in an everyday situation, but then that sultry voice starts singing to him again about the extraordinary life that is waiting for him, and he runs away. I won’t give away the ending, but I will say the show closes with a powerful and thought provoking scene that will stay with me for a long time.

In the past few months, I have reached a new level of contentment with my here and now.  I am at peace with where I am living, what I am doing, my relationship status, and the people in my life.  I have found joy in the simple things in life, like being silly with friends in front of a fish tank at a fancy hotel in Del Ray Beach, sharing a smile with a stranger on my beach walk, and writing these blogs and more chapters in my book.  That doesn’t mean I won’t be a best selling author one day, or the president, or have my “own” TV network (although I’m fairly certain I won’t be leading any wars.)  It just means that like Pippin, I have learned that an extraordinary life is not made up of flashy, extraordinary events.  It is made up of a series of ordinary events that evoke feelings inside me of peace, love, joy, and contentment.  So the next time the sultry voice of the ego tries to trick you into thinking you need to be more or have more to be happy, tell her to strut those thigh high boots right offstage.  You’re listening to the still, small voice of Spirit leading you to true happiness!

If that still, small voice is eluding you, I’d be honored to help you hear it with some of the tools and techniques that have worked for me. Join a group session of Family Constellation or try a one-on-one Constellation or Coaching Session.  Visit my website for more information and to register.  If you know someone who might like these weekly stories, please feel free to invite them to follow my blog or sign up for the weekly newsletter on my website. I truly appreciate it!

Until next time, as the cast sings in the opening number of Pippin, “We’ve got Magic to Do!”  But it can be done right where you are!  You don’t have to go looking for it.

What Comes Around Goes Around

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I had been studying A Course in Miracles less than a year when life handed me one of my biggest forgiveness opportunities.  It was a dramatic ending to a four and a half year relationship.  Thank goodness I had the Course and a good Life Coach helping me to remember that relationships are mirrors and what upsets me is never anything “out there.”  It always starts within.  I’m not going to lie and say I was able to stay out of victim mode 100% of the time and never made my former partner the villain.  I will say I didn’t stay there too long.  A lot of self inquiry helped me to see my part in everything that happened. I would not have been able to do that without the teachings of the Course and my Life Coach.  I have infinite gratitude for both.

This past Friday was the first time I had spent time with my ex in over six years.  He joined me on my beach walk and we talked about what happened and what we would do differently now.  There was no blame game or charge to our discussion, but there were plenty of laughs.  That in itself is a miracle!  And by miracle I mean the definition given in the Course, a shift in perception from a fearful way of looking at a situation to a loving way. Later I showed him pictures on my phone of a chair and end tables that I was thinking about getting for my apartment.  He noticed that the chair I wanted was very similar to one we bought together 10 years ago for our apartment.  I said “YES! That’s exactly what I was looking for.”  I loved that chair.  It was so comfortable and great for meditation.  So then he said, “Do you want that chair?  A friend of mine is keeping it for me and he lives very close to you. Actually he just texted me today asking if I needed any of my furniture back.”  What?!?! Less than 24 hours later my beloved chair was back in my apartment!  Another miracle that could not have happened if I had stayed in victim/villain mode. A Course in Miracles really works!

Are you having a hard time getting out of victim/villain mode?  Family Constellation and Life Coaching based on the principles of A Course in Miracles can help.  I’d be honored to help you through whatever has you feeling like a victim or a villain with the tools that my Life Coach shared with me and what I’ve learned from the Course and Family Constellation. You will definitely feel lighter and more peaceful.  Who knows?  You may even end up with some new furniture!

Above the Battleground There is LIGHT!

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I wasn’t sure what to write about this week, but life has a way of providing material when I need it.  Monday after my beach walk I witnessed something very startling just a few feet away from where I was doing my cool down stretches.  A man and a woman were taking pictures of each other on the beach when suddenly another man walked up to them and began shouting incredibly rude things.  At first I thought it was a joke because no one really yells things like “Go back to Russia or whatever country you came from! Why don’t you speak English?!” Eventually I realized this was no joke and the man was really angry about something.  I guess he didn’t like the fact that they were right next to the lifeguard station laying in the shade it created.  True, you are supposed to stay outside the cones around the station, but this particular lifeguard did not set up any cones. Even so, the venom coming from this man was way out of proportion.  I don’t know why he said Russia as the couple spoke with Spanish accents. I heard the woman say she was from South America and the man say he was from Panama.  As things escalated, I was shocked to hear the angry man start shouting the word “faggot.”  Not that it matters, but it sure seemed to me this was a heterosexual couple on vacation together by the way they were interacting.   In any case, I allowed that word to push my buttons and I almost spoke up.  Then I remembered this quote from A Course in Miracles.   

There is no safety in a battleground. You can look down on it in safety from above and not be touched. But from within it you can find no safety. Text p. 496

Getting involved in the drama was not going to help the situation, it would only have made it worse.  I needed to rise above the battleground and see it from a different perspective.  The Course would call the angry man’s actions “a call for love.”  He was obviously in a lot of pain.  I can only assume he had experienced much cruelty in his life to make him capable of acting that way.  He had to learn it from somewhere. Family Constellation has shown me over and over again that it certainly didn’t start with him.  Who knows what his childhood was like or what his current situation is like.  Instead of judging him and adding more negative energy to the situation, I chose to see him surrounded by love and light.  In fact, I chose to see all 3 of them surrounded by love and light.  The lifeguard had gotten involved by this point and eventually the man stormed off.   

This was another subtle lesson for me to apply what I am learning in the Course.  It sure seemed like a very clear case of right and wrong.  The angry man was wrong and he should be punished for his actions in some way.  That’s exactly what my ego wanted me to think to keep conflict going and to keep peace and love out.  Today as I finished my beach walk, I was pondering how to put this story into words.  At that moment I noticed the same couple walking by me on the sidewalk.  I acknowledged them and the synchronicity. Again, I sent thoughts of peace to everyone involved in the situation on Monday.  It felt good. Then I looked up through the trees where it all happened and saw the most dazzling rainbow colored halo around the sun. What a beautiful sight above the battleground!

If you’d like some assistance in choosing peace over judgement in a particularly challenging area of your life, Coaching and Constellations can help!  Visit my website for more information and to sign up for either.  Until next time, I see you surrounded by love and dazzling light. and may you remember that peace is always just a choice away.

Go With the Flow!

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Life does not have to be a struggle and we don’t have to force anything to happen.  It feels much better to just go with the flow.  Recently I had not one, but two reminders of this important lesson.  Over the last few months I have been giving away or selling many items that I no longer use or that don’t fit in my new apartment.  None of my friends wanted the little IKEA table I used in my old apartment for extra counter space, so I posted it on Craigslist. No one called about the table for many days so I decided to just keep it and delete the post. Several days later while I was out of town, I received a phone call from a woman who really wanted that table and hoped I still had it.  With just a few text messages upon my return, she came, gave me the money, and I put the table in her car.  We had the nicest conversation about how she came to own her own antique business and how I found Family Constellation.  We hugged and I felt like I had  made a new friend.  Compared to the other things I posted and re-posted for weeks on Craigslist, not only was this experience effortless but extremely enjoyable!

Lately I have been looking for other venues to do more Family Constellation workshops.  I’ve gone to networking events, talked about it at other spiritual centers, and invited people that run other facilities to workshops as my guest.  I know once they experience how life-changing this work can be, they will want to bring it to their centers.  Many times they expressed interest, but then not much happened.  Last week I felt inspired to inquire about doing Family Constellation at a Meditation Center where I attend a monthly kirtan.  After the event, I asked the owner if I could post a flyer on her bulletin board for my upcoming workshop this Saturday at Bridges of Wellness.  She asked what kind of workshop, and when I showed her the flyer she said,  “Family Constellation.  I’ve done that in India.  I love it.  Why don’t you do them here?”

You see?  It can be that easy.  I’m not saying you should just sit on your couch and wait for things to happen.  I had to follow my inspiration and take some action steps, but it doesn’t have to feel like exhausting work.  These two stories reminded me to trust the flow of life and to let go of my attachment to a specific outcome.  The water droplets flowing over a waterfall are not worrying about where they are going, how they are going to get there, or if they will get there before the other water droplets.  They just go with the flow!

That’s what we do in Family Constellation.  As a facilitator, I have an idea what may be going on under the surface that prevents you from moving forward in a particular area of your life. The Knowing Field may reveal something very different and I go with that. The beautiful thing is, it’s always about love and how to keep it flowing. If you want to let go of something like the water droplets, try it for yourself.  Attend a group session or schedule a private session in person or over the phone.  Please visit the Family Constellation page on my website for more information or to register for an event. I’m also thrilled to be doing 2 Family Constellation Workshops at the Big Sky Retreat in September.  This year’s theme is “Love Prevails.” The retreat itself is a testament to that.  It’s all about love, and this is it’s 40th year, making it the longest running spiritual retreat of it’s kind.  Don’t miss it.  Register today!  And until next time, keep going with the flow…

Comparing Apples to Oranges & Dolphins to Sharks?

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“Compare and despair.” You may remember hearing this famous catchphrase on “Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley,” a comical skit on Saturday Night Live back in the 90’s.  Although it was very funny when Al Franken said it to poke a little fun at the self-help movement, it also happens to be true.  Comparing does indeed lead to despair. Recently I have heard several people talk about their first time at a yoga class.  They can’t help but look at the human origami around them and ask, “Will I ever be able to fold myself up like that?”  I know I wondered the same thing when I began 8 years ago.  Eventually I learned to ignore what was happening on the mat next to me and focus more on what my own body was doing.  It wasn’t always easy!

Compare and despair snuck up on me again the other night while I was watching the TV show “Shark Tank.” The “sharks” began wheeling and dealing with a contestant whose idea they all liked very much.  The negotiations got heated and they began throwing  around numbers and financial jargon which I did not understand.  I allowed my lack of understanding to make me feel bad for a moment. Then I remembered Stuart.  There was no need to feel bad for not knowing those terms and concepts.  If I were to read a passage from A Course in Miracles to the sharks, I’m guessing it would not make much sense to them unless they had been studying it too. The point is, this does not make them better than me or me better than them.  We are just different people with different interests and different specialties.  I most likely would not ask one of them to give me an example of how they applied the 3 components of True Forgiveness as outlined in the Course, and they most likely would not ask me to give them investment advice.

I will never forget the time I was with a group of friends swimming with wild, spotted dolphins in the Bahamas back in 2006.  One of the many lessons I learned on that trip was about comparison.  I found myself a bit jealous of my friends who could dive deeper and stay under water longer with the dolphins.  I was even envious of the dolphins themselves! They could glide through the water so quickly and effortlessly while it was such a struggle for me.  Each night the captain would turn the boat’s underwater lights on after dinner and the cook would toss the food scraps into the water for the fish.  The abundance of fish attracted the dolphins who circled the boat to have their own dinner.  One of these nights my friend Ryan and I decided to sync up our iPods and have our own private dance party under the stars as we watched the dolphins feed.  As we danced and laughed on the observation deck, I wondered if the dolphins noticed us up there.  Did they wish they had arms, legs, and iPods so they could dance around too?  Silly, right?  That’s the nature of comparison.

One of the things I know I’m good at is creating a safe space for people to share the challenges in their lives, whether it be during a Coaching Session or a Family Constellation.  Please visit my website for more information about both.  I love sharing the tools and techniques that have worked for me with others having similar struggles. Until we meet again, remember that you are the best you that ever was and no one else can compare!

There’s No Place Like Home!

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This weekend I had the opportunity to join my god daughter and her family to celebrate her 9th birthday at Disney World.  The day was full of love, laughter, parades, and rides.  It was wonderful to spend time with friends I hadn’t seen in a very long time, one of them almost 20 years!   When I returned on Monday, I also noticed how wonderful it felt to be home.  I love the view of palm trees from my living room window.  I love my morning beach walks.  I feel blessed to be part of an amazing spiritual community here in South Florida and to be doing work I love.

Have you heard people say upon retuning home from a great vacation, “Oh boy.  Back to reality.” By reality they mean their everyday life that is often stressful and not very joyful.  When I hear this, I usually say, “You mean back to the illusion, don’t you?” I believe Love is the only reality.  Anything that takes away our joy or keeps us feeling separate is an illusion.  Vacations offer us the chance to slow down and consciously choose what we want to do on a moment by moment basis.  What many don’t realize (and I forget this too!) is that we are always choosing what we want to do moment by moment, but most of the time we do it unconsciously.  The ego wants nothing more than to ensure the future is just like the past by skipping over the place of stillness in the present moment.  Stillness is where the inspired choices come from, the choices that bring us peace, love, and joy.  I invite you to take a moment today and pretend like you are on vacation.  Notice something beautiful outside your window or in the room with you right now.  Allow yourself to consciously choose one thing that will bring you joy, even if that one thing is to take a 15 minute nap!  Once you give yourself permission to do this, it gets easier.  Pretty soon you’ll be experiencing every day as if you’re on vacation because it’s full of things you love to do!

If there are too many things making your life feel like anything BUT a vacation, maybe it’s time to try the life-changing experience of Family Constellation, either in a group or a one-on-one session by phone or in person.  Family Constellations allow you to break limiting patterns so you can live a more fulfilled life.  Or maybe it’s time to get assistance from a fresh perspective?  I’d love to share some of the tools and techniques that have worked for me to help you feel like every day is a holiday! Visit my website for details on the different Coaching Programs I offer and to learn more about Family Constellation.

I will close with these words from one of my favorite spiritual teachers…

“If we took a holiday.  Took some time to celebrate.  Just one day out of life.  It would be… It would be so nice!  Holiday!  Celebration!  Come together in every nation!”  – Madonna

 

What Makes You So Special?

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What makes you special?  A colleague asked me that question last week as I prepared to make a short video about Family Constellation.  It was a difficult question for me to answer as a student of A Course in Miracles because the Course says no one is special because we are all special.  I believe that, yet I also understand that here in the world of form, we each have unique gifts and talents to share with the world.  No one does things exactly the way you do, even if they are in the same profession or participating in the same activity.

When I pondered this question later, it occurred to me that my presence creates a safe environment where people allow themselves to be vulnerable.  I didn’t face the same challenges as many male massage therapists when it came to female clients.  Many women who thought they would never let a man give them a massage ended up on my massage table.  It was very flattering.  At the time I thought it was because I grew up in a household of women, which gave me a more gentle energy.  That may be part of it.  Now I realize it probably has a lot to do with my studies of the Course, which can be summed up with these 3 statements from the introduction. “Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.  Herein lies the peace of God.”  Since I feel safe, people feel safe in my presence.  Somehow they know I’m not going to judge them or make them wrong no matter what they share.  Quite frequently people will tell me very personal things about their life soon after I meet them.

One memorable example of this happened last year while I was out and about in Wilton Manors with one of my best friends.  We met a couple visiting from California, and to say that they were a bit flirtatious is an understatement.  Things got very uncomfortable when the older gentleman started yelling at my friend for getting too close to his partner on the dance floor.  The angry partner confessed this happens a lot and he wanted to know why?  This lead to a deep conversation about how fear sometimes masquerades as love.  I never expected to be doing a coaching session with two strangers at a bar, but they were very grateful for the talk and I felt like that was the reason I was there that night.  I used to wonder why this kind of thing happened to me all the time, but now I consider it a blessing.  It certainly makes my job as a Life Coach and Family Constellation Facilitator much easier.

So I will ask again, “What makes you special?” Is there something about you that you used to think was a curse and now you see as a gift?  Don’t worry about being arrogant while answering this question.  We all need to own our gifts and talents because we were given them to be a force of Love on the planet.  When we own them and share them, we give others permission to do the same.  Can you imagine how amazing the world would be if EVERYONE was owning and sharing their gifts and talents instead of hiding them or feeling like theirs weren’t worth a bag of beans?  Please shine that special light of yours.  The world needs you!

Until next time, remember you are special so keep shining like only you can!

Getting in Harmony with Life

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Are you in harmony with life? Sometimes we spend a lot of energy fighting against “what is.”  It doesn’t do much good because in that moment, it is!  The only thing we can change is our thoughts about the situation, and then what happens next can change dramatically.  Byron Katie, author of the book Loving What Is, spoke about this at Unity on the Bay on Saturday.  I highly recommend her book and The Work she does.

I had an amusing example of putting this into practice the next day on Super Bowl Sunday.  Anyone who knows me knows that sports aren’t really my thing (to say the least), but when my friend George invited me to go to a sports bar with him to watch “the game,” something in me said yes.  Honestly, since I don’t own a TV, that something was an opportunity to watch Katy Perry in the halftime show and spend some time with my friend.

I arrived a little before halftime, so the game was still happening.  Even though I was not invested in either team, I decided to yell, scream, and cheer along with the crowd whenever they did.  It amused me greatly because I really had no idea what was going on.  I just went with the energy.  Instead of judging or wondering why people were getting so excited about a game, I joined their excitement.  I suppose many of them would wonder why I would go to the American Airlines Arena when the Miami Heat weren’t playing.  Why would I be so excited about a Madonna concert or Oprah’s “The Life You Want Weekend?”  Different things excite different people, but joy is a divine energy no matter what form it takes. Sunday night unfolded in unexpected ways, and I ended up having one of the most fun evenings I’ve had in a long time.   I know it’s because I decided to be in harmony with life.

Sometimes that’s easier said than done.  Luckily there are tools to help us. One of the best tools I’ve come across is Family Constellation.  It gives participants the actual experience of restoring harmony among the different aspects of their lives. It’s simply amazing what happens in these workshops, but words fall short of describing it.  Come see for yourself this month and “Transform Your Relationship with Love.”

Wishing you Peace, Love, Joy, and Harmony in all of your relationships…

What a Difference a Week Makes!

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As I sat in my car last Monday, trapped in gridlock traffic due to an accident that closed I-95 South, I was anything but peaceful when I saw smoke swirling out from under my hood.  That’s when I noticed the needle on my temperature gauge was way past the red H. I surrounded by a sea of cars inching along the highway preventing me from getting to an off ramp. Even if I could somehow get to the side of the road, due to construction, there was no shoulder to pull off onto.  I felt trapped and helpless.

That’s when I started repeating my lesson for the day from A Course in Miracles over and over again, “God is the light in which I see.” (Lesson 44) After a few minutes of chanting this, I had the thought to reach out for prayer support from some friends via text message. During the next seconds, minutes, hours, and days, guidance on what to do next kept showing up in many different forms.  The first one was a text message from my friend Sara saying “TURN ON YOUR HEAT.” Apparently that draws heat into your car and away from your engine so it can cool off.  I’m happy to share this tidbit with all of you in case you’re ever in a similar situation. It works!

As the needle on my temperature gauge started to go down, so did my anxiety level. I felt protected and watched over.  Little by little I was able to let go of fearful thoughts about my situation and began choosing loving ones instead.  I remembered that everything is always happening for my greatest good, despite outward appearances. Even this!  For months I had been feeling like it was time to stop investing money into a 10 year old car with 170,000 miles, but I did not see how or when I could get a new one.  That was my limited perspective.  In 6 days I went from needing $1,200 to repair my car, to driving a brand new car with a check for $2,000 on its way to me from the dealership.

I want to emphasize that the miracle is NOT the fact that I got a new car, although I am incredibly grateful and appreciative. The real miracle is when I shifted my perspective from fear to Love.  When I did that, my nightmare started turning into a happy dream.  It would take another 2 pages to tell you all the synchronicities and signs that showed up leading me to a happy outcome.  However, what happened in the outside world didn’t really matter because I had already found the ultimate reward… Inner Peace.

Is there something in your life that’s trying to take away your inner peace? Maybe now is the time to sign up for one of my Life Coaching programs, which are based on the principles found in A Course in Miracles.  Or maybe you’ll decide to join me for one of my Family Constellation workshops.

Until next time, may you see the blessings in every event of your life..