Music Makes the People Come Together

A veyr kind stranger took this photo of me with my Madonna concert buddy, Vito. This was our 3rd time seeing her together.

“Music makes the people come together” is a lyric from one of Madonna’s later dance hits. Her music certainly brought lots of people together at the Amalie Arena in Tampa last week when her Celebration Tour came to town. Madonna’s music has been the soundtrack to my life since she released her first album in 1983, so it was pure joy for me to experience this retrospective concert of her 40-year music career.

When her first album came out, I was in high school. My mom’s alcoholism was creating a lot of chaos and sadness at home during that time. Madonna’s invitation to leave your troubles behind and get up and dance was very appealing to that younger version of me. Truth be told it still is! Back then, I needed to escape my situation and Madonna’s bouncy pop music provided a way to do so. 

Madonna opened with some of the songs from that first album before pausing to explain the concept of the show. We would be taking a journey with her through the different decades of her career, but first, she wanted to introduce us to a younger version of herself. One of her dancers emerged wearing an opaque mask and clothes much like a 19-year-old Madonna would have worn in 1978. 

That was the year she arrived in New York City with just $37 in her pocket and a dream to be a professional dancer. She expressed her immense gratitude for this strong girl who kept going despite numerous rejections and many harsh life experiences. Madonna confessed that she would not be where she is today without her, and then she hugged her.

I love that she incorporated this powerful concept into the show! In my Family Constellations workshops, I often bring in someone to represent a younger version of the person I’m working with. We thank the younger version for finding a way to make it through and then show them how far they’ve come since those hardships. Understandably, we want to distance ourselves from those younger versions because they are associated with tremendous pain. However, when we acknowledge them and welcome them back into our hearts, we become whole again.  

At various times during the show, Madonna danced with younger versions of herself represented by dancers wearing costumes from her long career. Not only was it entertaining for longtime fans like me to revisit those iconic looks, but I’m guessing it was cathartic for her as well.

I was looking through the Family Constellations lens during another poignant moment of the show. Madonna sang a lesser-known song from her American Life CD called “Mother and Father.” It was a tribute to her mother who died when she was just 5 years old. During the song, she faced a photo of her mother projected on a large screen. Madonna’s adopted son, David, also lost his biological mother at a young age. He accompanied Madonna on guitar and sang with her while a photo of his biological mother appeared on another screen. It moved me to see mother and son share a moment of deep connection while honoring their biological mothers.

Of course, Madonna is best known for her dance songs, and the concert was filled with them! My favorite is “Vogue.” As soon as the base beats of that song began, tingles went through my body. It brought me back to my very first Madonna concert, the Blonde Ambition Tour. In 1990, that song and Madonna herself were at the height of their popularity. She was just a tiny blonde speck at the opposite end of the Capital Center in Washington, DC, but that didn’t matter. The vibration and the excitement of that song filled the gigantic stadium and I swear my heart beat in time with the music! It was a sensation of pure joy that I will never forget.

Throughout the concert, I reflected on the countless times Madonna’s music has evoked that feeling of pure joy in me whether I’m on the dance floor or driving my car. Or when one of her ballads helped me to cry. Or one of her anthems empowered me to make a change in my life. I felt such gratitude for this woman who has been part of my life for 40 years. It felt great to extend love and light to her and all the versions of her that helped all the versions of me through the years. I was glowing with joy and gratitude for days after the concert..  

Madonna has always been controversial, and you may not resonate with her at all. I haven’t always agreed with the decisions she has made over the years, but I have admired her courage to push the envelope and not be silenced by other people’s opinions. As someone who always strived to be a “good boy” and not make waves, she inspired me to follow my heart and stop caring so much about what others think.

There’s a great sound byte during the introduction to the show where Madonna says, “I think the most controversial thing I’ve ever done…is to stick around.” This fan is forever grateful that she has. 

Is there a singer or musical group that has provided the soundtrack to your life? Has it been a while since you listened to their music? Perhaps my story will inspire you to take a moment to listen and express gratitude for all the ways they helped you during tough times.

Maybe this story will inspire you to think about a younger version of yourself with compassion and gratitude. Acknowledge them for their perseverance and resilience, and invite them to see the life they helped create. When you welcome them home, you are empowered to connect more deeply with yourself and others, enhancing all of your relationships.

If you would like some assistance in this endeavor, consider giving yourself the gift of a private Family Constellations Session or a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions. Both can help you welcome these seemingly separated aspects of yourself back into your heart. Please visit my website for more information or to book a session. I look forward to helping you reintegrate all the versions of you!

Until next time, keep singing and dancing to your favorite music! It truly does bring people together! 

When I am healed I am not healed alone.

Workbook Lesson 137 ~ A Course in Miracles

A Well-Timed Lesson

It always makes me laugh when an opportunity to “practice what I teach” appears right before or sometimes as I’m teaching it! Just before logging into Zoom for our weekly online A Course in Miracles study group, I reached for my iPad while holding a water bottle. My water bottle knocked the iPad off its holder and into the burning candle in front of it. Although it was only a tiny tea light candle, it sent hot wax everywhere. What a mess!

I was relieved to see there was no damage to my iPad, but I noticed a significant amount of wax on the corner of the screen not to mention on my kitchen table and floor. I tried to wipe it off with a damp cloth, but that only spread the wax over a larger area. By then I was really frustrated. With just 5 minutes before the start of our meeting, I had no choice but to surrender the cleanup until after our group. 

When I opened my book to see where we left off the previous week, I laughed out loud. That night we would be reading a section called “The Obstacles to Peace.” How funny that just moments before I experienced one! It was a well-timed reminder that only my thoughts prevent me from experiencing peace. I could continue to berate myself for not being more careful, or I could let it go and be present for the joy and miracles in our loving group. 

With each smiling face that entered the Zoom room, I felt more and more peaceful. The annoyance of what had just happened began to fade away, and I joked about it during our miracle sharing. It truly was a miracle that I was able to shift from frustration to joy so quickly. 

Later, we had an excellent discussion about the obstacles to peace from many different perspectives. One sentence from that section summed it up beautifully. “You are its home; its tranquil dwelling place from which it gently reaches out, but never leaving you.” In other words, peace begins with you and then radiates outward, all the while staying with you. Many of you probably recognize this as the message of the Peace Song sung at many spiritual gatherings. 

By the time we finished our meeting, I had forgiven myself for spilling the wax. The task of cleaning it up still felt daunting, so I decided to make a batch of banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with the overripe bananas on my kitchen counter first. While mashing the bananas in a bowl, an idea spontaneously dropped into my head. Rather than any kind of spray cleaner, try a plastic gift card to scrape the wax off the surfaces.

It worked like a charm…even on the iPad screen! Any residual wax on the screen came off with the cleaning spray and scratch-resistant cloth my eye doctor gave me to clean my glasses. In less than 30 minutes, there was no sign of the messy wax spill. It was a great reminder to get my thinking out of the problem so inspiration on how to proceed can drop in. 

Yes, spilled wax is a relatively minor setback compared to some of life’s bigger challenges, but in my experience, this approach still works. It’s best to stop judging myself or others for what happened and stop wishing that it didn’t happen. From a place of acceptance, I can return to peace, even if it means focusing on something else for a while. Then, from that peaceful place, I am open and available to receive inspired solutions. I encourage you to give it a try and see if it works.

If you would like some assistance with this endeavor, I would be honored to help you with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. My Spiritual Coaching sessions are based on the strong principles found in A Course in Miracles, my 10+ years facilitating Family Constellations and other metaphysical practices. Please look around my website for more information and to book a session. You can also join us any Tuesday for our weekly online A Course in Miracles study group. I look forward to creating miracles with you! 

I could see peace instead of this.

Lesson 34 ~ A Course in Miracles 

A Joyful Airport Song

At the beginning of this year, I got quiet and asked my heart what it would like to do this year. The answer came quickly. It said it wanted to travel more and facilitate in-person Family Constellations Workshops again. I’m grateful that several opportunities to do just that have already revealed themselves this year. And more trips are coming up in the next few months. That being said, I thought I would share this story from 7 years ago to remind myself and anyone reading this who might feel overwhelmed or stressed that love shows up in unexpected places.

In April of 2017, I wrote:

I have been on a lot of airplanes the past few weeks. Although I love to share Family Constellations in different places around the country, traveling can be tiring. With only one day at home in between trips, I found myself wishing I had given myself a little more time at home to recharge my battery. 

The crowds at the Fort Lauderdale airport last Thursday evening felt a bit overwhelming and a little more pushy than usual. One woman decided to cut in front of me at the TSA line, and then once we were through the security check, she rushed past me and bumped me with her bag. My first thoughts about this woman were less than loving. In my tired state, it took me a few moments to shift my perception around this perceived attack. Of course, it wasn’t really an attack. That woman was probably unaware that she cut in front of me or that she hit me with her bag. She was most likely running late for her flight and was only focused on getting to her gate in time.

When I arrived at my gate, I discovered my flight was delayed at least fifteen minutes. The passengers were getting restless waiting to board the plane, and I was feeling the uncomfortable energy of the situation. As I leaned against a pole near the ticketing agent, I watched another woman run toward the counter, see that our flight had been delayed, and then let out an exasperated, “Mercury Retrograde!” I couldn’t help but smile at this unexpected but welcome tension breaker. We were indeed in a Mercury Retrograde, but I’m guessing most people waiting at that gate had no idea what those words meant. Even with my limited knowledge of astrology, her outburst thoroughly amused me.

Then a miracle happened. Among all the chatter and grumbling, I heard a sweet voice humming softly behind me. It sounded like an angel. I turned to see a custodial worker patiently waiting for the crowd to dissipate so she could empty the trash can near where I was standing. Seemingly unphased by the number of people around her, that woman’s soft humming eventually turned into full-out singing. If my eyes were closed, I would have thought she was in church singing her favorite hymn, not emptying trash cans at a crowded airport terminal full of disgruntled passengers. Her joy was not dependent on outside circumstances, and it helped me shift my state of mind immediately. A wave of peace and gratitude washed over me for this Heaven-sent messenger.

Twenty minutes later, as I was about to step onto the airplane, I got another loving sign. I noticed a romance novel by Danielle Steel lying on the control panel of the jetway. My mother used to read Danielle Steele’s books all the time, so I recognized the font and shimmer of her name on the cover. Perhaps someone had left the book on the plane or the jetway operator also enjoyed being immersed in her stories of star-crossed lovers. Either way, seeing that book made me smile. It felt like a sign from my mother reassuring me that this trip was going to go well and there would be plenty more miracles. I’m happy to report it did and there were. 

Seven years later in April of 2024, we are approaching another Mercury Retrograde as I prepare for more travel. I will be on the lookout for signs and loving messages in all the ways they want to appear. I’m also grateful to have learned the lesson of leaving more space in between trips. I can be taught!

Are you going through a stressful or challenging time? I would be honored to assist you in opening your heart to more miracles and loving messages with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a personal Family Constellations Session. Both can help you shift your perception from fear to love which is the real miracle! Please look around my website for more information and to book a session. I look forward to helping you see the signs in unexpected places! 

The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance.

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

Love, Gratitude, and Healing

It made my heart happy to be in 3D with these mighty companions from our weekly online ACIM Study Group.

My heart was overflowing with love and gratitude as I sat in Hobby Airport on Monday waiting to board my flight back to Florida. The five days I spent in Houston were filled with joyful reconnections and lots of healing. A big thank you to all those with whom I got to share Family Constellations at the Sunday workshop and in private sessions throughout the week. And thank you to those who made time to share a meal, a tea, or a walk with me. I’m still basking in the glow of all that loving, healing energy!

This was the first time I had been back to Houston since my departure in June of 2021. As some of you know, I lived there for just over three years. It’s a great city with lots to offer and lots of wonderful people, but despite my best efforts, it simply never felt like home. Before I left, I went up to the rooftop deck overlooking the downtown skyline and spoke these words to the city of Houston. 

“Dear, Houston. Thank you for the blessings I experienced here. Thank you for all the lasting friendships I made and all the kindness the people of Houston have shown me. Thank you for the many opportunities you provided to introduce more people to the powerful healing of Family Constellations and A Course in Miracles. I also thank you for the life lessons and even the difficult times that helped me gain clarity on what I want and where I belong.” 

Then I gave Houston a deep bow as I said, “And now I release you with love and gratitude.” 

This is one of the most helpful practices I have learned from Family Constellations over the last 11 years. If you find yourself leaving a place, a job, or a relationship, I highly recommend making time to do this simple but powerful ritual. When you acknowledge what happened for the blessings and the lessons it provided, you free yourself from the gravitational pull that can keep you stuck and looking backward. Once you release it with love, you can turn around, face the future, and start moving forward to your destiny.

True, it’s not always easy when a situation has been going on for many years and we feel hurt and angry. Eventually, there will come a day when you are able to acknowledge what was and accept that it was just part of your journey. That timeline is different for everyone, so there’s no need to feel bad if you aren’t there yet. The day will come when you are ready, willing, and able. Until then, please be gentle with yourself and know it is a process. 

I’m pretty sure the experience I had in Houston last week would not have been possible had I not practiced what I preach. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say I received more hugs in the last 5 days than I have received in the last 5 months! My soul battery is fully recharged and I thank everyone I encountered who extended their loving energy. Every step of this trip felt Spirit-guided, and I am extremely grateful for the healing I received by following that guidance.

If you are having a difficult time escaping the gravitational pull of a challenging situation, I would be honored to assist you with a private Family Constellations Session or a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions. Both can assist that shift in perception from fear to love allowing you to experience more peace and joy in your life. Thanks to technology, sessions can be done from anywhere in the world. Please look around my website for more information and to book a session. I look forward to creating miracles with you! 

Gratitude goes hand in hand with love, and where one is the other must be found.

A Course in Miracles ~ W-195.10:2

What a Gift!

What a gift to spend time with the beautiful and talented Karen Drucker!

I have been listening to the inspiring and uplifting music of Karen Drucker since a friend gifted me her “Songs Of The Spirit, Vol. 2” CD back in 2002. That CD lived in my car stereo for many years. The beautiful lyrics of each song touched me deeply and helped me to remember the truth about myself. The timing of that gift was perfect because that year my spiritual journey took off like the accelerated launch of the Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster at Disney World.

And like that coaster, my journey took many spectacular twists and turns after that launch. One of those twists took me to the Big Sky Retreat in Montana where Karen Drucker was invited to be part of the event’s 40th Anniversary. What a treat not only to get to hear her sing live but also to meet her! I soon discovered that I loved her as much as her music, and I’m so grateful we’ve stayed in touch over the years. 

Since Karen lives in California, she rarely comes to the East Coast. I was thrilled when she sent me an email a few months ago saying she was facilitating a March women’s retreat in Orlando. I was even more thrilled to reconnect her with some beloved Big Sky Retreat family members at the Center for Spiritual Living in Ocala. To my delight, the timing worked out, and Karen was the special guest speaker and musician on March 10. I’m so glad I made the 2.5-hour drive to Ocala to see her! 

On that drive, I asked iTunes to shuffle songs in my Karen Drucker playlist, which has grown to 75 songs since that first CD. I listen to her music all the time and it still uplifts and inspires me. Even though I was running late, (which I blame on setting the clocks ahead an hour!) I remained peaceful and joyful singing along with Karen as I drove north on I-75. The service began at 11 AM, but I think I arrived right on time at 11:11!

In between lovely songs from her extensive catalog, Karen shared a beautiful message about the power of kindness. She illustrated her points using fun personal stories from her travels as well as stories she had curated from Facebook and other sources. I will be repeating some of those kindness stories with my clients and groups because they were so moving. What a gift to experience all of that in a community that has welcomed me with loving, open arms so many times over the last 9 years.

And speaking of gifts, during the service Karen sang her song titled “I Am a Gift” which reminds us how loved and valuable we are at every age. Coincidentally, (if you believe in coincidences) that was one of her songs that “randomly” played on my drive to Ocala. I hadn’t heard that song in a long time, so hearing it twice in one morning felt like Spirit telling me to pay attention to those lyrics.

For anyone reading this who may feel like time marched on without them, I encourage you to listen by clicking this link. In fact, I encourage you to check out all of Karen’s music on her website. It truly is balm for the soul during these challenging times. 

If you are going through a particularly stressful time, I would be honored to assist you with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both will give you tools and perspectives to help navigate the storm. Please look around my website for more information and to book a session. I look forward to working with you!

Until next time, may you always remember that you are indeed a gift. 

The gifts are yours, entrusted to your care, to give to all who chose the lonely road you have escaped.

A Course in Miracles ~ W-166.13:1

Laughing at Myself

Spring has arrived in Florida. And the flowers at the entrance to my community bring me great joy!

One thing A Course in Miracles has helped me with is recognizing my split mind. One side comes from love and the other operates out of fear. There’s a lesson in the Course that invites you to set aside 30 minutes to write out all of the thoughts that cross your mind. The idea is to get them out on paper without editing or analyzing them. 

When the 30 minutes are up, go back and read them. You will most likely discover that some of your thoughts are in direct opposition to each other. “I’m going to start eating healthier. Maybe I’ll bring donuts to work tomorrow. I’m completely overwhelmed with my schedule. Should I start a new weekly meeting? I’m craving more time for myself. I wish my partner paid more attention to me.” How could we possibly be at peace while unknowingly holding these conflicting thoughts?

This week, a very clear and ridiculous example of my split mind revealed itself. I love that the grounds of my apartment community are very well maintained. The bushes and trees are trimmed, the sidewalks are clear, and colorful flowers greet me when I drive through the front entrance. It brings me great joy to see them!

Yet, when the landscaping crew arrives every Tuesday morning and the leaf blowers and lawn mowers start up at 8 AM, I am anything but joyful. How silly of me to be annoyed by the people responsible for keeping the grounds looking so beautiful. It makes no sense! But that is typical of the ego’s thought system. It is ripe with contradictions and judgments. It will use anything at its disposal to keep me feeling bad, no matter how nonsensical.

Now that doesn’t mean I have to love the sound of a leaf blower outside my window. I think we can all agree that sound is quite unpleasant. But, can I shift my thoughts from anger to gratitude when the noise starts?

By the way, on Tuesday mornings, I usually leave for my daily walk along Sarasota Bay soon after the crew arrives. This week, I was in the middle of my morning meditation when they arrived. Having recently noticed this crystal clear example of my split mind, I decided to stay put and extend love to them as part of my meditation practice. 

As the roar of the leaf blower got closer to my window, the visual that dropped into my mind surprised me. I saw the landscapers clearing debris from a path that led to a beautiful alcove in the forest. In my mind’s eye, I stepped into the clearing, sat down in the middle of the tall trees, and continued to breathe. Despite the obnoxious sound, I was smiling at this image and shift in perception.

When the time I set aside for meditation was over, I laced up my walking shoes, filled my Hydro Flask with water, and headed out the door for my walk. As I passed the crew, I gave them a head nod as I usually do, but sent them extra loving, grateful thoughts as well. Now my thoughts were in harmony, and it felt much better. 

This is just one small example of the conflicting thoughts that live in my head. There are plenty more to examine! Much like cleaning items out of a closet, I can take them out, observe how they make me feel, and then decide which ones to keep and which ones to release. If the thought doesn’t feel peaceful, loving, or joyful, it’s probably time to let it go.

It would be my great honor to help you clean out the closet of your mind and sort out any thoughts or beliefs that no longer serve. Both Spiritual Coaching and Family Constellations are great tools to help you do that. Please visit my website to learn more about these healing opportunities and to book a session. Thanks to technology, we can connect no matter where you are in the world. I look forward to clearing and sorting with you!

A split mind cannot perceive its fullness, and needs the miracle of its wholeness to dawn upon it and heal it.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-7.IX.4:4

Gratitude for the Drama

A very young me with no idea where this ride would take him.

Recently, a friend casually mentioned she would be attending the ceremony at her son’s high school where he would be inducted into the National Honor Society. I was surprised when those words brought up a slightly uncomfortable feeling attached to a not-so-pleasant high school memory. I’m pretty sure I never made it to the ceremony where I was to be inducted into the National Honor Society. My mom had way too much to drink that evening, and I was adamant that she not embarrass me by showing up inebriated. 

We got into a huge fight that night. It was so emotionally charged that I don’t recall if I went without her or not at all. I think it was the latter. What I do remember is being extremely hurt by her “choice” to drink that night. Alas, I had much to learn about addiction. Whether she drank or not had nothing to do with me or what was happening later that day. It was just a way to numb her pain.

Interestingly enough, that incident ended up being a pivotal moment that helped me to pursue my secret dream of being an actor. After high school, I was accepted into the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University as an Ad Design major. I wasn’t even able to admit to myself that I wanted to be in theater. Looking back, it’s clear that I chose SU because it also had an excellent Drama Department.

During my sophomore year, I took an “acting for non-majors” class and loved it! My professor helped me turn the events of the Honor Society night into the monologue I used to audition for the Drama Department. Unlike now, the emotions attached to that evening were still pretty raw. They must have come through loud and clear because I was accepted! 

My training at SU helped me get a job in Entertainment at Disney World. Performing in those costumes in front of thousands of park guests helped me overcome my shyness. Without that experience, I doubt I would be able to be in front of people and do the work I do now. It all fits together like some cosmic plan that I could never have mapped out. 

I hadn’t thought about that Honor Society night in a very long time. Although I felt a twinge of sadness, it didn’t stir up the hurricane of feelings that helped me get into the Drama Department all those years ago! I’m certainly not done, but the spiritual journey I’ve been on for the last two decades has helped me process and release many of those emotions.

Today, I can look at that night with compassion and gratitude. It was exactly what needed to happen because it led me to where I am now. And where I am now is pretty sweet. 

The ability to take the charge out of a painful situation or memory and shift it into something beneficial is exactly what Spiritual Coaching and Family Constellations can help you do. Please look around my website to learn more about both of these miraculous opportunities or book a session with my automated scheduler. 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-4.1-A.4:5

Serving Up Love

An abundance of mints and a message from mom.

It took me two weeks to share the many miracles that helped me acquire the new laptop I’m using to type this story. However, there was a bonus miracle at the end of that journey which I’d like to share with you now. It involved an Earth Angel serving up love along with soup, salad, and breadsticks. 

As you might have guessed, this story takes place at the Olive Garden. There was an OG right down the road from Best Buy where I picked up my laptop. One of my sisters had given me a gift card, so I decided to celebrate my new computer with the aforementioned soup, salad, and breadsticks. 

It was only 11:15 AM, but there were already quite a few customers in the section where I was seated. From the conversations I overheard, many of them were regulars. I quickly noticed how kind and caring my server was to everyone in her section…even when that kindness was not reciprocated.

There was no “please” or “thank you” from either of the two young men sitting behind me. When she passed by their booth, one yelled, “More soup!” With the same cheerful tone in which she greeted me, she replied, “Of course, sweeties! What kind are you having?” Once they confirmed it was the Chicken & Gnocchi, she disappeared into the kitchen and returned with two fresh bowls.

I ordered the Minestrone, and this exceptional server returned with a bowl chock full of more vegetables than I’d ever received during any previous visit. She happily reported, “It’s a fresh batch and I loaded you up with all the good stuff!” She certainly did! 

The woman sitting by herself in the booth across from me didn’t have much to say when our server tried to engage her in conversation. That didn’t stop her from treating the woman like a dear friend. At the end of her meal, she asked if she had a purse…then promptly deposited a handful of Olive Garden’s signature mints on the table. “I’m only supposed to give you one or two, but they’re so good!” 

I couldn’t hear how the woman responded to all those mints, but I did hear her softly decline the offer of fresh breadsticks to take home. When she fumbled with a gift card, the server took extra time to help her with it and to show her how much was left after today’s meal. It truly was a joy to witness this loving exchange.

But what touched me the most was how this beautiful soul said goodbye to each of her customers. She gently took their hand, looked them directly in the eyes, and said, “It was an honor serving you today. I hope you come back and see me.” And I believe she meant every word! 

After watching her do this a few times, I had to tell her how moved I was by her ability to be so loving, compassionate, and present with each customer. She truly was an Earth Angel, and I felt compelled to share that with her. She thanked me for the compliment and said it was easy for her because she loved people.

She went on to tell me how she managed a restaurant for years, then retired early to care for her aging mother. After her mom passed, she was sad and bored, so she decided to go back to work part-time. She felt this job would be an easy and enjoyable way to make a little extra money given her restaurant experience. Her love of people was crystal clear, and I felt blessed to be seated in her section to receive it. 

Earlier, this Earth Angel had left an abundance of chocolate mints on my table. It made me smile because my mother loved those mints as much, if not more, than her meal. It felt like a wink from my mom. She was letting me know that she was with me and telling me not to worry about the expense of a new computer. I will receive all the abundance I need to pay for it.

Before leaving, I quietly thanked the server for the mints and shared the loving message from my mom. No hand-holding for me. This sweet woman, who was of the same generation as my mom, opened her arms to give me a loving motherly embrace.

My heart was full as I walked to my car. I was grateful for the miracles of the last few days, but especially for the blessing I had just received from that Earth Angel at the Olive Garden. 

Would you like to experience more miracles and blessings in your life? I would be honored to assist you in opening your heart to them with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can help you release unconscious blocks and old patterns that prevent you from the happy, healthy, prosperous life you were meant to live. Please look around my website for more information and to book a session. I look forward to working with you!

Until next time, may that server inspire you to choose love more and more frequently. I know she has inspired me!  

Joy is unlimited, because each shining thought of love extends its being and creates more of itself.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-22.VI.14:8

Peace in the Darkness

Our family cat, Cleo, comforted me during some tough times.

Last weekend, I had another opportunity to witness what’s possible when I keep choosing peace despite the presence of obstacles. The screen on my laptop went dark while I was talking on the phone Saturday night. When I tapped the space bar to bring it out of idle mode, nothing happened. I clicked the touchpad a few times. Still no response. 

The screen had been sluggish the last few weeks. Sometimes it took up to 30 seconds, but it eventually came back on. This was an unusually long lag time. I waited and then tapped a few more keys. Still nothing. “Uh oh,” I thought. This might be it.

My laptop had been giving me signs that the end was near for quite a while. In addition to the sluggish screen, it was taking longer and longer to open an app or a document. The speakers blew out 2 years ago, making the sound so scratchy and tinny that I had to use my AirPods for Zoom calls.

A few months later, my computer stopped connecting to my AirPods or any Bluetooth device for that matter. If I wanted to Zoom, listen to music, or watch videos, I had to use earbuds that connected with a cord. It was not ideal, but it worked.

Perhaps the most telling sign that it was time to retire the laptop was the rattling noise it made when it had been running for a while. Sometimes when the rattling got very loud, I gave the base a loving thump to get the noise to stop. I felt like Fonzie from the TV show “Happy Days!”

Yes, I knew I would be investing in a new computer soon. I just wasn’t expecting it to be last weekend! In the past, I might have had a “freakout” moment thinking about lost data and the hefty price tag of a new computer. I was concerned, but I never had the freakout moment. Almost two decades of studying and practicing A Course in Miracles helped make that possible. Since I remained peaceful, I was able to follow guidance on what to do and where to go. 

My screen was still dark, so I could not go back to what I was working on. The guidance I received was to let the computer charge overnight and try again in the morning. Now that I had some unexpected free time, I grabbed my phone to research which Apple computer would best suit my needs if I had to buy a new one. The new 15“ MacBook Air looked like the best choice given everything I read online. Even though they are expensive, I knew I wanted to stick with an Apple product. 

The last time I bought a computer, I opened an Apple credit card with 0% interest for the first 12 months. That allowed me to pay for it gradually over the next year. It looked like I might be able to do this again since I closed that account two years ago. This possibility made buying a new laptop feel more doable. There was nothing else I could do that night, so I turned off my phone, spoke a prayer for guidance, and went to bed. 

I will admit I did not have the most restful sleep that night. I woke up before 4 AM and could not fall back to sleep. My mind kept working out scenarios of what might happen the next day. After reading a few chapters in my book, I was able to return to the land of dreams. 

And what sweet dreams they were! For the first time in I don’t know how long, I dreamt of our family cat, Cleo. In the dream, she curled up on the pillow next to me and began purring. Cleo often kept me company during times of chaos in my childhood. The sound of her purring and her presence was very comforting. It felt like she was telling me everything would be okay. Call it a miracle, a gift of Grace, a visit from Cleo, or a function of my unconscious mind. Whatever it was, I woke up with a peaceful smile on my face. 

After reading my ACIM lesson for the day, I reluctantly got out of bed and prepared a bowl of oatmeal and fresh strawberries. I intentionally avoided my laptop to enjoy that peaceful feeling as long as possible. Alas, I couldn’t avoid it forever. I opened my computer and hit the power key with cheerful expectancy, hoping to hear that famous MacBook chime. Still nothing.

Oh well. Knowing I’d want to be as centered as possible before a visit to the Apple Store, I decided to roll out my yoga mat and do my practice. Focusing my mind was like trying to walk a Doberman in a forest of squirrels. My thoughts ran in multiple directions trying to envision what might happen with my laptop situation. I had to keep bringing my attention back to my breath. It was quite comical to observe, yet I was still remarkably calm.

When I finished my practice, something told me to give the keyboard one more tap before packing up the laptop. To my surprise, the screen lit up right away! I was stunned and grateful! Now, I could complete a time-sensitive task, and then back up my hard drive.

I found the external hard drive in my desk, but the cord that connected it to my laptop was not with it. I consider myself to be a very organized and detail-oriented person, so the cord not being in the same drawer was highly unusual. I found several other cords, but none of them had the correct connectors. It was frustrating, but I had to laugh. The one cord I needed was MIA. There was no reason to panic. I simply needed to go to Best Buy to purchase that cord. 

Since one of my favorite Mexican restaurants is near Best Buy, I decided to go there for lunch before buying the cord. While waiting for my burrito, I did a little more laptop research on my phone and narrowed it down to my top choice. That’s when I remembered Best Buy sells Apple products. I could check out that laptop while I was there. If I liked it, once I had the right cord, I could complete the backup and then go to the Apple Store the following day to make the purchase. This seemed like a great plan! 

What a scavenger hunt to find the cord I needed among a wall of boxes containing all sorts of cords and connectors! Perseverance paid off. With my prize in hand, I walked over to the Apple computer section. There it was. The 15” MacBook Air that I had been eying online. 

I stood in front of it and began tapping the keyboard. I liked how it felt. The screen and the touchpad were much larger and easier to navigate than my current laptop. I tested the built-in camera because I use Zoom a lot. The video was sharp and clear. When I looked at the specs on the tag next to the computer, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was on sale for $300 off! 

Not having the right cord turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I would never have known about this sale had I not gone to Best Buy. When I went to the front to purchase the cord, I asked the cashier how long the sale was running and he said it ended that day! Well wasn’t that interesting timing?

The cashier put me in a cue to speak with a sales associate, so I had another 15 minutes to play with the laptop. I really liked it! Everything about this felt right until the sales associate arrived. He was a nice enough young man, but he talked very quickly. I told him what I use my computer for most often, and asked him which one would be best for my business. He quickly steered me away from the MacBook Air over to a MacBook Pro. 

I don’t doubt that the Pro is a better machine, but he was rambling on about screen definition and processing power, all of which are not high priorities for me. I just need a computer to host Zoom calls, answer emails, and write these stories. He went on about how the MacBook Air was less sturdy and might overheat because it didn’t have a fan. 

He also told me that I would need an external camera because the built-in camera was not great on the MacBook Air. Gee. It looked fine to me when I was playing around with it earlier. The more he talked, the less peaceful I felt. This young man claimed he didn’t work on commission, and that he was only trying to help me buy the best computer.

That may have been true, but I was still feeling pressured into something that did not feel right. The MacBook Pro has a significantly higher price, and it was not on sale, so there was no advantage to purchasing it right then and there. Thankfully, I have learned to trust my intuition when something feels off. I thanked him for his time and left the store.

I will admit, once I was in my car driving home, I asked Siri if Best Buy employees work on commission. Siri confirmed he was telling the truth, but I still did not resonate with his energy. Even though the sale ended that day and the store closed in an hour, I was not going to rush into a big decision like this from a place of scarcity or fear. 

As I tell my coaching clients all the time, there is no urgency in Spirit. No part of the river rushes past another to get to the ocean. Each droplet of water gets there at the perfect time. 

After that yucky experience, I called a dear friend to share what had happened. She asked if I wanted to talk with her husband because he buys computers for his job quite often. Speaking with him was so helpful. He had not heard of any issues with the MacBook Air overheating. In his opinion, the Air was a better choice for my business needs. 

I did a little more research online and saw only excellent reviews for this machine. The only thing left to do was to take the question into prayer and ask what would be the highest choice. Of all the options, including “wait,” the only answer that felt peaceful was purchasing the MacBook Air on Best Buy’s website before midnight so I could take advantage of the sale. 

Once I had that clarity, everything went smoothly. From the comfort of my own home with no fast-talking salesperson, I purchased the computer for $300 off and was approved for the Best Buy credit card. Like the last one, I will be paying off this computer a little at a time for the next 12 months with no interest. 

Picking up the computer at a different Best Buy location the next morning was so easy. All I had to do was show the cashier my photo ID and the email saying my new laptop was ready for pickup. He stepped away for a moment and returned with a box with my name on it. The whole process took less than 10 minutes.

My heart is filled with gratitude for all of the events that led to me typing this story on a brand-new MacBook Air. Although I love it, the miracle isn’t that I have a new laptop. The real miracle was my ability to remain (mostly) peaceful while navigating the obstacles that popped up. By remaining calm, I was able to receive clear guidance on what to do next. I trusted that everything would be okay, just as Cleo promised when she appeared in my dream.

If you are having a difficult time navigating a stressful situation, it would be my great joy to assist you with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can help you return to peace where miracles are waiting to happen. Look around my website for more information and to book a session. I look forward to working with you. 

A tranquil mind is not a little gift.

A Course in Miracles ~ M-20.4:8

Honoring a Miraculous Friend

I love this photo of Jan and me at a spiritual conference in 2011.

I rarely visit Facebook these days unless I have a specific reason. This weekend, I went on briefly to watch a video that a friend recommended. When I opened up the app on my phone, the first thing that popped up was a post announcing the passing of my beloved friend, Jan, who celebrated her 92nd birthday in November. Her son wrote a beautiful tribute to his mom accompanied by a video taken a few years ago on Christmas morning.

In the video, Jan’s children surprised her with a giant teddy bear that she had seen at Walmart. Apparently, Jan had commented on how adorable and huggable this big stuffed bear looked, never expecting her children to purchase one for her. Well, they did. And the look of sheer delight and surprise on her face followed by a burst of uncontrollable laughter was a delight to watch. What a perfect video to convey the joyful essence of this beautiful soul who touched so many lives. 

Jan and I met in 2011 when the leader of my A Course in Miracles study group asked if I would be willing to give her a ride to our meeting. At 80, Jan was still full of life and spunk, but she wasn’t comfortable driving from her home in North Miami to an unfamiliar neighborhood in Miami Beach. Her house wasn’t far from where I lived, so I happily agreed to take her to our meeting. Looking back, I have no doubt this was a divinely orchestrated meeting. 

I enjoyed my conversations with Jan during our drive as much as the meeting itself. Not only had she been studying the Course for quite a long time, but she also had lived a very interesting life. I loved listening to her stories and her insights. Eventually, we both realized the study group wasn’t a good fit for either of us, so Jan suggested we meet in her living room on Monday afternoons instead. 

What a gift those Monday afternoons turned out to be! I learned so much from her. And I had the honor of introducing Jan to Gary Renard’s book, The Disappearance of the Universe. That’s the book that introduced me to A Course in Miracles. Many Course students credit Gary’s book with helping them simplify and comprehend its often challenging language and concepts. I know I would have been intimidated by the Course had I not read that book first.

Even though Jan was a longtime student, she said Disappearance of the Universe helped her practice the Course on an even deeper level. While sharing something she read that expanded her mind and understanding exponentially, Jan would often say, “John. That really blew my cookie!” I’m smiling as I type these words because I can hear Jan’s voice in my head right now. To this day, I have never heard anyone else use that phrase.

Over a decade later, I still share things I learned from this remarkable woman in my ACIM study groups and with my coaching clients. One of my favorite stories she told was about a time her husband said something that hurt her feelings. Because she was hurt, Jan decided to give him the silent treatment. She went about her business that morning while intentionally avoiding her husband who was reading in the living room. 

A few hours passed, and Jan started to feel badly about her decision to disconnect from her husband. She knew it wasn’t the loving choice, so she walked into the living room to apologize. To her surprise, he had no idea what she was talking about. He was so engrossed in his book, that he hadn’t even noticed she was giving him the silent treatment! 

They both had a good laugh over this silly misunderstanding. Jan quickly realized the only person suffering that morning was her. It’s one of the ego’s greatest tricks. As the famous Buddhist saying goes: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” I love Jan’s story because it demonstrates that so perfectly and humorously.

Life took us in different directions in 2012 when I moved to California, but I will always cherish our time together. I also celebrate Jan’s life and legacy. She touched countless souls during her career as a school teacher, during the years she and her husband volunteered with hospice, and by simply being the presence of joy and peace in the world. I envision a glorious Homecoming Celebration happening in the Light now that Jan is free from her body and reunited with her beloved husband in Spirit.

Blessings of grace and gratitude to you, my miraculous friend. I know our meeting was not an accident. I trust you know your wisdom and light really blew my cookie! 

If you’d like to learn more about the unique spiritual thought system that brought Jan and me together, join me any Tuesday evening for our A Course in Miracles study group on Zoom. We have an equal mix of brand-new and longtime students, and, like Jan, we love to laugh while we learn. Please visit the Miracles page on my website for more information.

For a more personal approach on how to use these teachings to create miracles in your life, consider gifting yourself a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions on my website. I love sharing this life-changing path with others. As Oprah Winfrey used to say when introducing Marianne Williamson’s radio show, “A Course in Miracles isn’t for everyone, but it might be for you!”

Until next time, may your days be filled with miracles, blessings, and wonderful friends…

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

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