Connection Over Convenience

Some other humans gathered with me at the beach on Sunday to watch the Sunset.

We humans are social creatures who crave connection. Granted, some prefer more than others, but we all require some type of connection. COVID has taught us how challenging life can be when we can’t connect. As someone who lives alone and works from home, I interact with relatively few people on a daily basis. Most of those interactions are online, not in person, so I enjoy opportunities to be in the presence of other humans.

Technology has especially helped us stay connected over the past few years. Can you imagine what 2020 would have been like without the internet, smartphones, and video conferencing? I’m grateful to be able to facilitate a weekly online A Course in Miracles study group with Course students from all over the country. I am also thankful for the ability to do Spiritual Coaching and Family Constellations sessions virtually. In this regard, technology has truly been a blessing.

Technology has also made many things incredibly convenient. Now you can have groceries delivered to your home with a few taps on a computer keyboard or touch screen. You can deposit a check without visiting a bank using banking apps and the camera on your smartphone. There are countless ways innovative technology has changed our daily lives. 

However, many of these innovations have significantly decreased our opportunity for human connection. ATMs are very convenient if you need to withdraw cash when your bank is closed. But if I’m out running errands during the day, I prefer to go inside the bank to complete my transactions. I really enjoy talking with the fun tellers at my new bank as well as checking in with the kind Branch Manager who helped me open my accounts. Sometimes I just wave at her through the glass walls of her office while waiting in line. 

Although they are casual conversations, there’s something comforting about asking someone, “How are you doing today?” and “How did you fare during the storm?” Looking into another human being’s eyes to thank them and wish them a good day is much more enjoyable to me than simply responding to the beeps and prompts from a machine. The human connection gives me a little boost of energy. It may take a little more time, but it’s worth it.

The same is true at the grocery store. Self-checkout lanes can be very enticing, especially if the other lines are long. But when I scan my own items, I deprive myself of another opportunity for human connection. A few months ago, one cashier at my neighborhood grocery store asked me if I live in “The Meadows,” a nearby community with lots of trees, walking trails, and a golf course. I told her no, but I have friends who live there. It’s beautiful. She replied, “You look like someone who lives there. I think that’s a compliment but I’m not sure.”

I don’t see her often, but whenever I’m in her line, she always asks, “You’re the guy I think lives in the Meadows, aren’t you?” I laugh and say yes, and then we talk about something else. I don’t know if she inquires about other customers living in the Meadows, but this exchange always amuses me. Who knows? Maybe she is seeing the future? I’d be okay with that. It’s a lovely community. Lately, when I grocery shop, I purposely pass the self-checkout area and stand in a regular line. I look forward to the brief interaction with the cashier and bagger and a possible glimpse into my future. 

I know many of you don’t have time to go inside a bank or a grocery store. Perhaps you deal with a multitude of humans daily, so by the end of the day, you’ve had your fill! To you, I say order, swipe, and scan in solitude so you can recharge! This invitation might not apply to you.

But for those feeling a little lonely and isolated, I encourage you to take advantage of these small opportunities to connect, even if it takes a little more time. A joyful life is made up of small joyful moments. Go inside the bank. Talk to a teller. Stand in line at the grocery store. If you notice a name tag, thank the cashier or bagger by name. If you already do this, are there other opportunities you might have missed? The best part is each encounter has the potential to brighten both your day and theirs.

If you are looking for an opportunity for connection, perhaps you will consider joining us on Tuesday evenings at 7PM Eastern for our weekly A Course in Miracles online study group. All are welcome whether you are a long-time student or are brand new to this powerful teaching. For more information about the Course and our group, click here.

This week, may you savor every opportunity for joyful connection! 

When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-8-III.4:1-5

Go Back to Your Roots

Last weekend I was feeling a little sad and lonely thinking about going to yet another dermatologist appointment on Monday. This was the third one this month. There’s nothing major going on. Just a few outpatient surgical procedures to remove non-life-threatening “cells gone wild” from my skin. I’m grateful that this round of procedures did not bring up the same emotional response as the last round in 2019. Check out the Featured Video on the Home Page of my website for more on that story and how it relates to Family Constellations

Nonetheless, I reached out to a few of my friends and prayer partners for support ahead of the surgery. One of those prayer partners sent me a text message on Sunday to ask if I was feeling prepared for the surgery. I replied that I was and thanked her for checking in on me. The two of us have been close friends for decades. We’ve been there for each other during many of life’s ups and downs and she’s in the middle of a challenging situation right now too. I commented how grateful I was that we have each other for support.

Before her text, I had just finished reading a wonderful book titled Coming Around – Surprises and Surrender on the Path to Inspiration by Tina Berger. In one of the final chapters, the author describes her experience at the Holistic Visions Symposium in Barcelona. The purpose of the symposium was to bring people together to collaborate on solutions to 13 of “the most important issues facing the planet.” Tina was assigned to a group working on new systems based on “Love and Righteousness.” To prepare for Barcelona, her group of 12 team members gathered in advance virtually to create a working definition for both of those terms. This is what they came up with:

“Love, we decided could be defined as both a feeling and a unified energetic field, or vibration, of oneness. This field of love serves to remind us that, while we are having an individual experience in these human bodies with their edges and their mortality, the ultimate enduring truth is that we are not separate. Righteousness could then be defined as the kinds of action we would take if we were aware of our oneness.” 

Wow! Both of these definitions sound like they are right out of A Course in Miracles! I was intrigued to learn what they did with these definitions. I won’t go into all the details of this story. I recommend getting her book to read about this and dozens of other inspiring stories. There is one detail I would like to mention. She writes about a group session in Barcelona, where one of the team members facilitated a structured activity on a whiteboard. The intention was to imagine and capture a framework describing the conditions under which new systems can be created based on their definition of love. 

While this was happening, another group member spontaneously approached the other whiteboard, picked up a marker, and began drawing trees. She then added roots and a network of fine lines connecting those roots. After adding a few more things, she explained that the connective network creates a community of trees that can communicate with each other allowing the entire forest to know itself and support one another. This seemingly random artwork became the foundation on which they built their presentation. 

Here’s where it gets really weird. Just moments after reading that and exchanging text messages with the first friend, another friend sent a text to see how I was doing. I told her I was feeling a little sad so she offered to pick a card from Denise Linn’s “Sacred Destiny” Oracle Deck and then send me a photo of the card and its message. She pulled the “Community” card, which features an illustration of trees with rainbow light and butterflies interspersed among them. The card describes that trees in a forest appear to be separate, but in truth, they are connected because their underground roots are intertwined. The card reminds us that we are always connected to our people and our community. They are standing strong beside us like trees in a forest. The best part is, no matter where they are on the planet, they are only a thought away, and so is their support.

I was blown away by the rapid succession of these identical messages from different sources! Needless to say, when I went to my appointment on Monday there was no doubt in my mind I was not alone. I brought all of my people with me: my friends, family members, prayer partners, angels, and ancestors. How could I not feel strong and supported? 

No matter what you’re going through and growing through, may this message find a place in your heart. Despite appearances or conditions, you are never alone. Ask for the support of your people, your ancestors, your angels, your friends, whomever you choose. And know that they are right there with you every step of the way every time you think of them.

Family Constellations is a powerful reminder that you are always connected and supported by your ancestors. Join me for an Upcoming Workshop online or schedule a private session. All sessions can be done from anywhere in the world with the help of the World Wide Web that connects us all. For more information or to schedule a session, please look around my website and send me an email

Until next time, may you remember that you have an entire forest of support standing by your side in every moment. 

With Grace and Gratitude,

John

A miracle is never lost. It may touch many people you have not even met, and produce undreamed of changes in situations of which you are not even aware.

Miracle Principle #45 from A Course in Miracles

Ospreys and Eagles and Owls! Oh My!

There were many unexpected blessings during my recent trip to Florida, but one truly stands out. This was my first time visiting my dear friend Carrie Stiers at her home in Tampa, and my first time meeting her parents who live about 45 minutes away on an island called Honeymoon Island. I had heard a lot about Carrie’s mother and Zoomed with her once, so I felt like we were already friends. However, I hadn’t heard as much about her father, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I met him. I soon discovered her dad is an open-hearted, peace-loving man with whom I share many common interests, including a love of nature and wildlife.

Not long after I arrived, Carrie and I drove over the causeway to meet her parents and walk on the beach before going to dinner. (Don’t worry. We were vaccinated and took precautions.) During that walk, her dad and I talked about many things: his time in Africa in the Peace Corps, animals, spirituality, and family. I loved hearing about the herd of elephants that lived near their village in Africa and he was happy to learn about the magnificent Disneynature film released last year simply titled Elephant. We’d known each other less than an hour, but it struck me how quickly I felt comfortable and completely accepted by this man. Later, Carrie’s husband joined us for dinner and the five of us had a wonderful time. The joy of watching the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico was a close second to the joy of laughing and sharing a meal with this loving family.

Having discovered our shared love of nature, Carrie’s father suggested the five of us take a walk later in the week along a birdwatching trail he frequented in Honeymoon Island State Park. He recommended we go right before dark when there’s a good chance to see owls! That sounded too cool to miss so we made plans to have an early dinner at their home followed by a twilight nature walk. At dinner, Carrie’s mom shared a hilarious story involving a homemade apple pie, so she offered to bake one for the occasion. I looked forward to that walk and that pie all week.

Well, both the pie and the walk surpassed my expectations. After just a few minutes on the trail, we spotted an owl sitting high in a tree. We took turns getting a closer look with a pair of binoculars before continuing our journey. Along the way we saw several osprey and osprey nests, a gopher tortoise munching on grass, a woodpecker banging on a palm tree, and an armadillo searching for food in the brush. The grand finale happened when a bald eagle flew directly over us, eventually landing in the tree at the end of the trail. She was protecting her young from a flock of vultures flying suspiciously close to the tree where her nest was built. It was a breathtaking moment.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, while making our way back to the parking lot, we spotted another owl sitting on a branch just a few yards away. This owl was such a showoff! For several minutes she demonstrated her uncanny ability to rotate her head over 180 degrees in each direction as she searched for dinner. She must have spotted something because suddenly she spread her wings and flew off silently into the woods. 

Mother Nature put on quite a show for us that night. Carrie’s dad commented that he normally sees some of those animals and birds, but never all of them on the same walk. The wildlife sightings set against the kaleidoscope of changing colors and clouds at sunset made for an absolutely magical evening. What made it even more magical was seeing how much Carrie’s dad enjoyed sharing the experience with people who appreciate Mother Nature’s wonder as much as he does. The delicious post-walk apple pie that Carrie’s mother baked made the evening even sweeter. 

We only saw Carrie’s parents on those two occasions, but once or twice during our visits, her dad briefly put his hand on my shoulder as a proud father might do with a grown son. Having lost my dad at age 7, I never had the experience of physical support and acceptance from a father as an adult. It caught me by surprise how deeply healing it was to have this connection with Carrie’s father. It went beyond words. It was a visceral sensation like some forgotten part of me was awakened and supported. 

I truly believe if my father had lived longer, we would have developed a mutual respect and admiration for each other like the connection I had with Carrie’s dad. In fact, even though my father is no longer in physical form, I believe we do have that connection. Perhaps he communicated this truth through Carrie’s dad. It was an unexpected gift I will always treasure. Thank you, Chuck Stiers, for all the kindness you shared and for giving me permission to share this story. I look forward to more time with this remarkable man in the future.

If you’ve been missing a connection with one or both of your biological parents for whatever reason, here’s something I recommend to my Family Constellations clients. If it feels right for you, think of them before you go to bed at night. Perhaps look at a photograph if you have one. Then speak the words below to the highest version of them whether they are still here in physical form or have made their transition to the non-physical:

“Dear mom or dad. Please come to me when I’m sleeping when I’m easier to reach and give me the love you would have if you could have when I was young.” 

Try it for a week or a month and see how you feel.  If I can assist you with a private Family Constellations session or a series of Life Coaching sessions, please reply to this email or look around my website for more information. I would be honored to help you reconnect with that forgotten part of you that longs to be seen and supported. You might also be interested in the special Family Constellations online workshops coming up in May and June exploring the Role of Mom and the Role of Dad. Visit the Upcoming Workshops page on my newly refurbished website for details and to purchase your ticket!

Until next time, may you experience unexpected blessings wherever you travel. 

As you perceive the holy companions who travel with you, you will realize that there is no journey, but only an awakening.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-13.1.7.1

My Toddler Teacher on a Train

My heart was heavy the morning after Election Day here in the U.S. I’m very aware that I fell right into the ego trap of duality by allowing my happiness to depend on a specific outcome. As I write this, the official winner has not been determined, yet I was saddened, shocked, and disappointed to see how divided we are and how many votes were cast for a candidate who in my perception propagates more fear and divisiveness. I know some of you reading this may perceive things differently, but my intention in sharing this story is not to create more divisiveness and conflict. It’s actually just the opposite.

That morning, I noticed there were fewer people out and about in the park where I do my daily walk. Perhaps many of the usual joggers and dog walkers had stayed up later than usual watching the election results. Despite Election Night fatigue, the train was still chugging along carrying kids and kids at heart for a two-mile trek around the park. As I made my way along the last mile of my walk, my thoughts about the election were interrupted when the engineer blew the train’s whistle announcing its presence on the track next to me. 

Having caught my attention, my eyes immediately went to the little girl in the middle of the train waving vigorously. I’d guess she was somewhere between one and two years old. This little one was clearly on a mission to get folks to wave at her, but with so few people in the park, it must have been challenging that day. Her enthusiasm was contagious, so I happily obliged and waved back to her. I don’t know how it was possible, but when she spotted me waving to her, she opened her mouth into an even bigger smile and her hand motion became a frenzied blur as she bounced excitedly on her mother’s lap. Her whole being exuded joy!

We continued to wave to each other until she was out of sight, the train carrying her onward to fulfill her mission to connect and spread happiness. As you might imagine, that one-minute encounter lifted my spirits and brought me back to center. That exuberant toddler reminded me that when I get stuck in separation thoughts, I feel bad. When I connect, I feel better. That doesn’t mean I don’t vote for the candidate I prefer or take appropriate action when there’s something I can do to improve a situation. That little girl on the train certainly took action. She was a wonderful teacher and example of what’s possible when we have joy in our hearts and our intention is to bring people together. I am still smiling just thinking about her.

I will be bringing a small group of people together online in less than three weeks for an afternoon of miracles and heart connection during another Virtual Family Constellations Workshop. If you’ve been feeling disconnected or sad, I hope you will join us on Sunday, November 29 from 1:30-4:30 PM Central Time. It is simply astounding to witness what happens when we come together to help ourselves and our brothers and sisters to heal. After 7 years of facilitating these workshops, I’m still in awe of how everything weaves together to create a powerful healing for everyone who attends. For more information or to purchase a ticket, please visit my website or click this link. You will find future events on the Calendar page on my website. 

Until next time, may you receive many opportunities to connect with child-like joy. 

The ego always seeks to divide and separate. The Holy Spirit always seeks to unify and heal. 

A Course in Miracles ~ T-7.IV.5:2-3

Stars, Constellations, and Comcast Karma

My first Virtual Family Constellations workshop went remarkably well last Saturday. I was amazed and humbled by the healing that happened and deeply touched by the words of gratitude below from one of the participants. Her experience proved without a doubt that even though we were not in the same physical location this miraculous process still works. The only thing that didn’t work well was my internet connection. Several times during the workshop, participants reported that my image froze and they could not hear me. Unfortunately, due to the location of our router and the instability of our current internet provider, this has been happening for months. Now that all of my business is online, I decided it was time to invest in a dedicated internet connection to my home office. 

Earlier this year, I received an offer in the mail for a free $150 Visa Gift Card if I ordered internet with Comcast Business. While perusing the different internet packages on their website, I began an online chat with one of their customer service representatives. He quickly helped me determine which plan was best for my needs, and to my surprise and his, he was able to schedule an installation for the very next day! The $150 Visa Gift Card would pay for the installation fee. Everything seemed to be falling into place easily. 

I’ve heard horror stories about poor customer service and beyond frustrating situations with Comcast. Apparently, I have good Comcast Karma because my experience was just the opposite in Florida and now here in Texas. The Comcast technicians I worked with this week were exceptionally friendly, efficient, and prompt! The first technician literally hit a snag when trying to run a cable between the utility box and our home. After he left, another technician arrived just a few hours later and resolved the issue! It only took a few emails to the first customer service agent I chatted with to get another installation date scheduled for Thursday. I can’t believe it took less than 4 days to get a strong, reliable, and fast internet connection in my office. I was prepared for it to take weeks given the current high demand for internet.

When I was thinking about what to write about this week, it occurred to me what a powerful metaphor it was to invest in a strong internet connection. During these challenging times when many of us are feeling isolated, it is more important than ever to invest in strong connections. I trust that you are finding ways to do that whether it’s Zooming with friends or family, deepening your spiritual practice, joining an online group, or simply going outside at night to gaze at the stars. If you need some spiritual support, I am offering 45-minute Life Coaching calls on a love offering basis. You can also join one of my online ACIM study groups or register for the next Virtual Family Constellations Workshop. All are excellent ways to experience connection and healing. Visit my website or send me an email for more information.

Until next time, may the twinkling stars remind you that you are part of a great big Universe and never alone.

Spirituality is an innate human need to be connected with something larger than ourselves.” 

Cindy Wigglesworth, author of SQ21: The Twenty-One Skills of Spiritual Intelligence

The Antidote to Fear and Isolation

If you’re reading this then you probably have experienced the miraculous process known as Family Constellations. For those who haven’t, Family Constellations is a powerful healing tool that reveals hidden dynamics in families and other groups using representatives to stand in for key people and elements in the system. I’ve been doing this work for almost 7 years and I’m still in awe of what happens every single time. The constellation we set up around the coronavirus while I was in Virginia last weekend was especially awe inspiring. If there was any doubt that something beyond what can be seen or defined is guiding constellation participants to move where they move and say what they say, this one absolutely put that doubt to rest.

We had a small, intimate group of 7 people on Saturday. I’m incredibly grateful that these courageous  participants were willing to explore the unprecedented situation occurring on planet earth right now. Drawing on my intuition and ideas that emerged in conversations prior to the workshop, I secretly assigned each of them a role. I wrote them down on 7 small pieces of paper, folded them up, and gave one to each person. Their only instructions were to not look at what was written on it, hold it to their heart for a moment, then stand up and find their place in the room wherever they felt guided. 

One of the participants recently had knee surgery and requested a role that did not require her to move around or stand a lot. I gave her the role of Health Care System. As I handed her the paper, I realized the significance of assigning the role to someone who was temporarily compromised after a recent experience with the very thing she was representing. The person representing Fear & Isolation stood up and immediately reported that she felt like she was “in the air” as if she were floating. Although she was not representing the coronavirus, her words could not have been more true. Fear is definitely in the air these days! 

The representative for Health & Vitality saw herself seated with her feet up next to a blazing fire in a fireplace inside a cozy cabin. She felt really good and wasn’t all that concerned with the other representatives. Once the representative for the Coronavirus stood up, Fear & Isolation immediately moved towards him and they began flowing together as a unit. They liked each other very much, and settled in a spot near the Health Care System. Remember, none of the participants knew what they were representing so it was both surprising and not surprising when these two gravitated towards each other so quickly.

As soon as the representative for Compassionate Leadership stood up she felt like she wanted to “get on top of” Fear & Isolation. She was not happy with her and kept saying she wanted to push her down. Eventually, Compassionate Leadership made her way over to the dancing duo, stood up on a chair, and hissed at them. Both the Coronavirus and Fear & Isolation were startled and quickly moved to the other side of the room. It is also interesting to note that Health Care System said she was not happy when Compassionate Leadership stood on the chair. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions there. 

Meanwhile, the representative for Humanity kept running around the house like a scared rabbit. She couldn’t stand still because nowhere felt safe. I couldn’t believe my eyes when Humanity finally stopped behind Compassionate Leadership once it stood on the chair and scared the Coronavirus and Fear & Isolation away. Humanity said she still wanted to run but reported she felt better behind the person standing on the chair.

The last piece of the puzzle came together when the representative for Oneness & Connection remained where she was sitting and reported that she felt like a turtle. She carried her shell on her back so she was at home everywhere. Like Health & Vitality, she was unaffected by the drama unfolding among the other representatives. However, as the constellation progressed, Health & Vitality said she sensed a storm coming and she wanted to fortify all the windows in her cabin. There was no sense of fear in her. She felt strong and safe but simply wanted to prepare. 

Finally, when I asked if any of the representatives wanted to move, the only one who took me up on the offer was Oneness & Connection. She placed her chair in the center of the room and sat calmly between the two opposing teams. Humanity and Compassionate Leadership were behind her and the Coronavirus and Fear & Isolation were in front of her. It felt like the perfect resolution. Oneness & Connection are indeed at the center of it all. 

One by one, I had each of the 7 representatives read what was written on their paper so we could reflect on what just occurred. Everyone was amazed when they found out who they were. The constellation clearly showed that Compassionate Leadership is needed now more than ever to calm Humanity. That’s all of us, not just our political leaders. We must all become compassionate leaders by making choices from love. We can comply with social distancing guidelines not out of fear of getting sick, but out of love for those who are most susceptible to the virus. We demonstrate compassion by only buying what we need at the grocery store so others can get what they need too. By focusing on Health & Vitality we can stay peaceful. To prepare for the storm, fortify the windows by making healthy choices that boost your immune system. When we stay grounded in the vibration of love, miracles happen!

The central role of Oneness & Connection was a powerful confirmation of what many people have been saying the past few weeks. If this virus has shown us anything, it’s how connected we are. The illusion of separation is fading. There is no “other.” This isn’t happening to other people on the other side of the globe. It’s affecting all of us. As we’ve seen during other crises, people are reaching out to help one another. Strangers are buying groceries for elderly people who are afraid to go into stores. People are buying gift certificates from their favorite local small businesses to keep them afloat while they remain closed. Countries are sending medical supplies to countries that need them. With this kind of altruism happening in so many ways on so many levels, it’s easy to see that we are hardwired for cooperation, not competition. We are all in this together. We are One Human Family. Oneness & Connection is the antidote to Fear & Isolation, even if we have to connect via technology or from six feet away!

To close the constellation, all of us spoke these words three times to the Coronavirus and to Fear & Isolation. “Thank you for showing us these truths so clearly. Thank you for teaching us these lessons. We see how connected we are. Your services are no longer needed. We surround you with grace and we release you with love.” Both representatives reported feeling peace and a lightness of being that allowed them to rise up and out of their roles. Everyone felt the energy in the room shift. Whether you believe there is significance in what happened or not, I trust this story will give you food for thought, perhaps some comfort, and inspiration to be a compassionate leader during these times of uncertainty.

Until next time, may you remember that we are always connected through love despite the appearance of Fear & Isolation.

Alone we are all lowly, but together we shine with brightness so intense that none of us alone can even think of it.

A Course in Miracles – T-13.X.14:2

Eagle Connection

It had been over 3 months since I last rolled out my yoga mat. My ankle injury in August and my dermatology journey this fall prevented me from doing my yoga practice. The thought of beginning again was a bit daunting. Would I remember what to do? How much flexibility had I lost? Would I be strong enough to do some of the poses? Would I be sore for days after I began again? These questions tried to prevent me from rolling out that mat. I took a deep breath and rolled it out anyway.

Some of those questions were answered fairly quickly. Yes, I remembered much of the routine I had been doing for years, but not all of it. No, I definitely wasn’t strong enough to hold some of the poses very long. And yes, it seemed like I lost quite a bit of my flexibility. I decided to be gentle with myself and practice for no more than an hour doing whatever I could remember. It felt like trying to start an old car that has been sitting in a barn for years. The engine sputters and resists the first few times you turn the ignition key, but eventually, with persistence and maybe a little tinkering, the car comes to life. That was my body that day.

By the time an hour passed, I was ready for my favorite yoga pose…Savasana, the corpse pose! There is something so rewarding and peaceful about simply being on my back with my arms at my sides after twisting and turning my body for an hour. Some of my best meditations have occurred during Savasana. Before Savasana, however, I do one last stretch for my lower back. Before dropping my knees to one side, I cross one leg in front of the other and hook that foot on the other side of the shin of the stationary leg. This leg configuration is called eagle pose. I managed to do this easily with my right leg, but when I attempted to hook my left foot on the other side of my right shin, my legs rebelled. I must have looked like a fish thrashing on a dock as I tried in vain to lock my foot in place! Eventually, I surrendered to the fact that it wasn’t going to happen, at least not that day. This was truly a blow to my ego, but there was nothing I could do but let my legs drop as they were and breathe.

Three days later I rolled out my yoga mat for the second time. I was a little more optimistic this time. My body was only slightly sore from Saturday’s practice, so I felt like I found the right balance between pushing myself past inertia but not far enough to injure myself. Indeed, my body felt just a little bit stronger. I also remembered a few more poses than I had the first day. When I felt complete, I prepared for Savasana with that final lower back stretch. Once again, my right leg clicked into place for eagle pose with very little effort. With a slow breath and not much expectation, I wrapped my left leg around my right and attempted to hook my foot on the other side of my right shin. To my surprise, it found a holding place there as I dropped over to the left. A wave of relief and gratitude washed over me. The old car engine was coming back to life little by little, and I would soon be able to enjoy the ride.

The significance of this being “eagle pose” occurred to me later. “Within the belief systems of Native American tribes, Eagle represents a state of grace achieved through hard work, understanding, and a completion of the tests of initiation which result in the taking of one’s personal power. It is only through the trial of experiencing the lows in life as well as the highs, and through the trial of trusting one’s connection to Great Spirit, that the right to use the essence of Eagle medicine is earned.” This quote from The Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson sums it up perfectly. I felt like I’d earned the right to the essence of eagle pose. I had to embrace all of my journey and find a place of acceptance for it all. This is possible only by remembering that we are always connected to Spirit. Thank you, Eagle, for this beautiful reminder.

If you find yourself experiencing one of those lows, it would be my great honor to remind you of your connection to Spirit through Life Coaching or Family Constellations sessions. Please visit my website for more information about both and to make an appointment.

Until next time, may the wings of Eagle lift you up and over any of life’s challenges!

Who would attempt to fly with the tiny wings of a sparrow when the mighty power of an eagle has been given him?

A Course in Miracles – M-4.I.2:2

Just Smile and Wave

We can learn so much from kids. I love when I pass the train at Hermann Park and dozens of little hands wave at me. They don’t know me. Our paths will probably never cross again, yet they still reach for that fleeting moment of human connection. Of course, I’m one of those guys who waves back at them. I remember the joy of getting a response when I was a kid. Most adults seemed too busy to notice my attempt at connection.

Now that I’m an adult, (although some would argue that point) I still look for ways to connect with my fellow human beings. While walking in the park, I like to smile or nod at the strangers I pass. About 90% of the time I get a smile or a nod back. Yesterday, a man sitting on a bench while his kids played in the grass noticed me watching them as I walked by. He gave me a friendly wave which I returned in kind. We all just want to be seen, and it takes so little effort to produce that instant of human connection and happiness.

Earlier in the week, a family of four walked by me while I was under a tree doing the Donna Eden 5-Minute Daily Energy Routine. The parents didn’t seem to notice me tapping my fingertips on various parts of my torso, but the small boy and his little sister stared at me like there were 3 alien heads sprouting above my shoulders. The little girl, who couldn’t have been more than 2 or 3 years old, continued to watch me with the most troubled look on her face long after she passed. What was that crazy man doing under that tree?

When I finished tapping, I decided to wave at her. The troubled look that had been frozen on her face melted into a huge grin and she began vigorously waving her tiny hand at me. Just like that, her curiosity and concern turned into joy and connection. That crazy man under the tree wasn’t so bad after all. It was such a sweet moment. I laughed as she wobbled on her merry little way while her mother pulled her along to other adventures. What a gift she gave me. 

This week, I encourage you to follow the example of children. Smile more at your fellow human beings. Maybe even wave when appropriate. You might make someone’s day, and that someone could be you!

Are you having a difficult time making connections or experiencing joy? It would be my great honor to assist you with a series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Both can help you identify and move past the obstacles that keep you from the happy, healthy life you were meant to live. If you are ready to have a different experience of life, look around my website or send me an email for more information and to schedule a session.

Until next time, just smile and wave!

When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.

A Course in Miracles – T-8:III.4

An Unexpected Ride at Disney World

Have you ever been on that ride at Disney World where you get in an elevator, the door closes, and unexpected things happen? No, I’m not talking about the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at the Disney Hollywood Studios. I’m talking about the elevator to the loading platform for the Astro Orbiter in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom. What was supposed to be a rather insignificant part of the attraction turned out to be one of the highlights of my recent visit to Disney World.

It was a very chilly day, so the wait time was unusually short for this ride that lifts guests 60 feet in the air in rockets orbiting colorful planets. We rode the elevator to the loading platform, and when it was our turn, we crammed ourselves into a rocket that was definitely not designed for two adults. We noticed another couple struggling too and it was quite comical. Once the ride started the view from up there was spectacular. When the ride ended we pried ourselves out of our rocket and headed for the elevators.

No one instructed us which elevator to take or how many people it could carry so we simply boarded the nearest one. A family of four followed us. The elevator door tried to close behind them but it hit the grandmother’s backpack as she leaned over to talk to her granddaughter. The door re-opened with a thud! Her son advised her to step in further so the door could close, but unbeknownst to us, it must have been knocked off its track. The elevator lowered about six inches and then stopped.

After a minute or two, the young woman operating the elevators pressed her round face to the glass window and shouted, “Is everybody ok? We know you’re stuck. Help is on the way.” Luckily, none of the 13 people in that elevator were claustrophobic. We were going to be there a while.

The atmosphere in the elevator was actually quite light. The granddaughter, who was probably about 5 years old, suggested we all hold our hands up and use our magic to open the door. I liked this plan! My guess is she will be a Science of Mind or ACIM student one day because she already knows the power of positive thinking. Sadly, our magical powers were not strong enough to open the door.

While we waited several other escape plans were suggested. The most obvious, hitting the “open door” button, only caused the door to open an inch or two. Another little girl told her dad to stick his hand in the small opening and force the door open. Although I applauded her faith in her father’s muscle power, the door kept opening and closing by itself. It probably wasn’t the safest idea if he wanted to keep all ten of his fingers.

After several more minutes, our round-faced elevator operator popped back into the window to tell us not to worry. She had called someone to get us out. The grandmother yelled, “Who did you call? Has this happened before?” We all laughed. She clearly wanted to know what the plan was to get us out. The conversation then turned to how Disney would compensate us for this inconvenience. The guy behind me chimed in, “I better at least get a churro out of this.”

Well, the fire department eventually showed up with an ax and a crowbar to get that door back on track. It sounded like it took quite a bit of effort, but once they succeeded, the elevator began an excruciatingly slow descent until it stopped a little below the first floor. By now a half hour had passed. Granted, it wasn’t as dramatic as the Chilean mining accident of 2010, but we thought perhaps there would be a cheering crowd when we finally emerged. No. They had cleared the area. Only a group of Disney supervisors were there to give us bottled water and collect our information. It was very anticlimactic.

So why was this one of the highlights of my trip you might ask? Well, for one thing, nothing like that has ever happened to me at Disney World. It was fun to have a brand new experience. Not only that, being trapped in an elevator for 30 minutes provided a very unique opportunity for connection. My partner likes to tease me that I’m always looking for ways to connect with people. He’s right. I love people. Perhaps my years of studying A Course in Miracles and its thought system of undoing the ego has slowly re-wired my brain to search for connections rather than give in to the ego’s constant search for separation. In addition, my work with Family Constellations has taught me how much more alike we are than different, so I enjoy discovering those commonalities.

True, it could have been very unpleasant had any of the passengers freaked out or been focused on why Disney shouldn’t have let that happen. Instead, we used our mental energy to entertain and support one another while trying to come up with a solution. We may never know why it happened, or what the ripple effects of that experience might be. I don’t even know the names of the people on that elevator, nor did I get a churro, but I did get an experience of laughter and camaraderie that I will never forget.

Wishing you unexpected joy this holiday season,

John

P.S. If you’d like to make 2019 your best year yet but are feeling lost, overwhelmed, or stuck, why not consider giving yourself the gift of a private Family Constellations session. During these sessions, you will uncover what might be preventing you from the happy life you were meant to live. Sessions can be done in person, by phone, or via the internet from anywhere in the world. Look around my website or send me an email for more information and to book a session.

I have also created three new Life Coaching packages to give you the tools and support you need to make lasting changes. Give yourself or someone you love the gift of transformation with a 3, 6, or 12 month Coaching package and watch miracles happen. More information about these packages can also be found on my website.

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