The Moment by Moment Love Plan

Some of the steps along my path.

For the past 2 years, Dax Shepard and Monica Padman have kept me company on my morning walks with their lively conversations, thoughtful questions, and interesting guests.  They are the cohosts of a popular podcast called “Armchair Expert.” This week’s celebrity guest was Pamela Anderson. 

I will admit, I had some preconceived ideas about the blonde Baywatch lifeguard running in slow motion on the beach. Back in the 90s, it was hard not to see the many tabloid headlines in the check-out line at the grocery store about her tumultuous relationship with Tommy Lee. I never watched her show or paid much attention to those stories, so I knew very little about her life or career. 

One thing I love about the podcast is how Dax and Monica create a safe space for their guests to be vulnerable. Barely 5 minutes into the conversation, I learned Pamela experienced severe early childhood trauma. As she continued to share her story, it wasn’t difficult to see how unconscious family patterns repeated in her life. She said those early childhood experiences made her painfully shy, yet she grew into a larger-than-life Hollywood persona.

During the interview, Pamela shared that she never set out to be an actress or model. In 1989, while attending a Canadian football game, a camera operator captured her dancing on the Jumbotron. That day she happened to be wearing a Labatt’s Beer T-shirt. Someone at the Labatt’s Brewing Company took notice and offered her a job as a spokesperson for their beer. That led to other modeling jobs, and then, later that year, an invitation to be on the cover of Playboy magazine.

As she described how one thing led to another, it struck me how she didn’t plan or deliberately seek out any of it. In fact, she often made choices that could have derailed her career, like not showing up for the Baywatch audition the first 12 times it was scheduled. Pamela told Dax she thought Monterey Bay was too far to drive for an audition. Eventually, she went to the audition and landed the role that made her famous around the world. 

The more I heard her story, the more I admired this woman. She kept showing up joyfully for life no matter how many times she was knocked down. Seeing how poorly she was treated by the media and the court system, it’s a wonder she ever left her house. I love a good comeback story, and Pamela Anderson has one. 

In the spring of 2022, she wowed audiences with her portrayal of Roxie Hart in the Broadway production of Chicago. I think that was brilliant casting. However, Pamela was not a trained singer or dancer, so it’s amazing to me that she said yes when offered the part. She worked hard to prepare for the role, and it paid off. Who could have planned or plotted the course from Beer T-shirt to Broadway? It’s quite a testament to her resilience and her willingness to say yes to whatever opportunities come her way. 

The podcast hosts themselves exemplify this point. Both Dax and Monica had ambitions to be famous actors. They both had some success in Hollywood, but neither one had their sights set on becoming hosts of one of the most listened-to podcasts in the country with an exclusive contract on Spotify. Who knew having heated discussions in the kitchen with your former nanny (now best friend) could lead to so much success and happiness? Both say they love this job more than any acting job they’ve had. 

It may surprise you to learn that, at one time, I also wanted to be in television and movies. It would probably surprise you more to learn that I was painfully shy all through high school and college. After 2 years in the Visual and Performing Arts College at Syracuse University as an Ad Design major, somehow I found the courage to follow my dream and audition for the SU Drama Department. To my great surprise, I was accepted! I graduated from SU with a degree in Acting and a minor in Ad Design.

To help pay for school, I took a work/study job in the box office at Syracuse Stage, a regional theater affiliated with the SU Drama Department. That experience got me a job working in the box office at Arena Stage in Washington, DC after I graduated. That’s where I met a friend who eventually offered me a small role in a murder mystery show at a dinner theater in Rock Island, IL. While there, I met a group of friends who were also pursuing careers in entertainment, so we all decided to move to Orlando, FL together. 

After a few odd jobs, I auditioned to perform in parades and shows at Disney World where I stayed for 7 years. That experience helped me develop the confidence I needed to be in front of large groups while facilitating Family Constellations. There were other steps in between, but you can see how one thing led to the next in a way that I could never have planned!

There are a lot of coaches, teachers, and gurus out there who claim to know the best path for you. They have “5 Keys to Financial Freedom” or “7 Steps to the Life of Your Dreams,” but in truth, there’s no way anyone else could know the best path for you. By the way, that includes well-meaning friends and family members. 

Life is a series of choices, and I do my best to keep making them from love, not fear. I can’t recall a time when I was happy with the consequences after making a choice from fear, anger, or scarcity. It may be difficult, and I may disappoint people, but there is always peace and joy waiting for me when I ask Spirit for guidance and make decisions from my heart.

As we begin the second month of 2023, I hope you are being gentle with yourself around any New Year’s goals or intentions you set. I encourage you to keep showing up and saying yes to opportunities “Out Past Your Comfort Zone,” as I wrote about last week. Trust the path that is unfolding even when it doesn’t appear to make sense. It will make a lot more sense when you look back. It’s okay to have goals and dreams for the future, but I encourage you to hold them loosely. For me, the plan that works is the Moment by Moment Love Plan. 

It would be my great joy to help you peacefully navigate your winding path moment by moment with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. To learn more about both of these opportunities, please look around my website or send me an email. Thanks to Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime, we can connect no matter where you are in the world! Booking a session is easy with my automated scheduler which lets you see exactly when appointments are available. I look forward to working with you!

Until next time, I invite you to release the idea that there is anything wrong with where you are right now or how you got there, and trust that the road is always leading you to a happy dream. 

For they are all but aspects of the plan to change your dreams of fear to happy dreams…

A Course in Miracles ~ T-18.V.1:4

The “Real” World

My sister, an old pal, and me at EPCOT

“It’s back to the real world tomorrow.” Have you ever said these words on the last day of a wonderful vacation or at the end of a fantastic event? I find it interesting (and a little sad) that somehow we’ve gotten the message that feeling rested and being in a state of peace and joy is not the “real” world. I would argue what most people consider “real” is actually the illusion of separation. Conflict, competition, and stress might be common, but I don’t believe they are our natural state. A Course in Miracles teaches that our natural state is one of peace, love, and oneness. When we act otherwise, we simply have forgotten the truth.

Fun and Laughter with my pal, Radleigh Valentine

Last week, I had the gift of being in a bubble of peace and love in Tampa, Florida. My friend, Radleigh Valentine, invited me to help out with his Certified Angelic Advisors event, and what a joy it was to share the experience with a group of heart-centered people from around the globe. (I’ll share more about that next week.) I was home just one day and then drove back to Tampa to pick up my sister from the airport. Hurricane Ian postponed our sibling getaway to Disney World last month, so we rescheduled it for this week.

Costume Ball at the event on Saturday

I’m still in the real world (aka Disney World) creating magical memories with my sister, returning home to the illusion this weekend. That being said, I’ll keep it brief this week and trust you will enjoy a few photos from the real world while you ponder which world is real and which is not. Perhaps on the last day of your next vacation you will say, “Back to the illusion tomorrow!”

Two Siblings looking forward to floating in the Lazy River at Typhoon Lagoon

If you would like assistance in experiencing more peace, love, and joy in your life, it would be my great honor to spend some time in the real world with you. Visit my website to learn more about Spiritual Coaching packages and private Family Constellations sessions. There are also two online Family Constellations workshops happening later this month. Tickets are available now on my website. As the holiday season approaches, consider giving yourself or a loved one the gift of healing. Gift certificates are available for all of my services.

Until next time, may you find yourself in the real world more often feeling loved, peaceful, and happy.

When you perceive yourself without deceit, you will accept the real world in place of the false one you have made.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-11.VIII.15:4

A Magical Interruption

Last week, I had a magical interruption of my routine when I took an unexpected trip to the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. A longtime friend invited me to be his “plus one” for a party celebrating his 30-year anniversary with the Walt Disney Company. They closed the park early that day and reopened it later in the evening for just invited guests to this celebration. And what a celebration it was!

There were cast members waiting to welcome us when we got off the ferry boat clapping and yelling congratulations to those celebrating milestone anniversaries. There was a red carpet on Main Street, USA with more cast members clapping and cheering on each side. Food and beverages were complimentary all night. There was a live band on the stage in front of Cinderella’s Castle, as well as in Frontierland, Tomorrowland, and Adventureland. Tables and chairs were set up throughout the park so guests could sit and talk with each other. And all of the attractions were open with no wait times. We literally walked on every ride. The gift of the whole experience was almost too much to take in. 

As if that weren’t enough, they also presented a special edition of the new 50th Anniversary fireworks spectacular, Disney Enchantment. This version had a pre-show with new projections on Cinderella’s Castle and featured music from the parades and shows of the early decades of the park. Some of those parades and shows I had the joy of performing in once upon a time during my 7 years as an entertainment cast member. What a wonderful tribute to all the cast members who have been creating magical memories for park guests for decades. I felt so blessed to be there.

Here’s the craziest part of the whole experience. I almost declined the invitation when I found out the date. It was the same night that I planned to start our new weekly online A Course in Miracles study group. It didn’t feel right to ask someone to facilitate for me on day one, but I knew my heart truly wanted to say yes to this unbelievable invitation. Thankfully, the Course has taught me not to make any decision by myself, so I asked my friend if I could give him an answer the following day after I took this dilemma into prayer.

Some of you have probably already thought of the simple solution that I received when I asked the still small voice about what to do. “John, just postpone the start of the new group and go to the party!” And that is exactly what I did. Not only was it a great reminder to ask for guidance in every situation, but it also reminded me that many of our limitations are self-imposed. I am the one who set the start date. I hadn’t officially announced it yet, so there was no reason not to change it. 

Sometimes we get stuck in our heads or our routines without ever considering that there may be another option. Our heart always knows. That’s why it is so important to practice self-inquiry. When we bump against something that takes away our peace or prevents us from experiencing joy, we can put our hand on our heart and ask, “Is it true? Might there be another way to look at this?” When we do, a magical world can open up for us. 

Would you like some assistance in seeing things differently to experience more joy in your life? A series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session might be just the thing to help with that. Look around my website for more information about both or send me an email if you have a specific question. Sessions can be done online from anywhere in the world and you can now schedule a session directly on my website. It would be my great honor to assist you so please reach out. 

This week, when joy knocks on your door or calls you on the phone with an invitation, make sure you ask your heart and your Divine Guidance before you answer. 

The world you see but shows you how much joy you have allowed yourself to see in you, and to accept as yours.

A Course in Miracles ~

Mission: Impossible Burger

There were many magical things about my recent visit to Disney World, but the two magical things I want to talk about here are the Skyliner and the Impossible Burger. The Skyliner is a new mode of transportation that carries guests in an enclosed vehicle high in the sky from some of Disney’s newer resorts directly to two of the theme parks. Not only do they look fun  with their assortment of bright colors and decals made to look like beloved Disney characters are riding inside, but they are extremely fun to ride. The 360-degree view from up there is spectacular. They are also quick, clean, and quiet. We were whisked from the station at our hotel to the front entrance of Disney’s Hollywood Studios in about ten minutes. It was so cool! 

As a vegetarian, I was also very happy that a plant-based burger called the “Impossible Burger” is now available at most food service locations. What I wasn’t happy about is the fact that the quick-service restaurant at our hotel closed at 10 PM when we hadn’t had time to get dinner at the park. Our turn to ride the latest and greatest Star Wars attraction, “Rise of the Resistance,” didn’t happen until just before the park closed at 9 PM. We thought we’d be back at the hotel way before 10, but once our boarding group was called, we still waited another 45 minutes before getting on the actual ride. Although the Skyliner is quick, it did not travel back in time to get us to the hotel before the restaurant closed.

On the ride back, we checked the Disney app and discovered the restaurant in the resort next to ours was open until 11 PM. The Skyliner could get us from one resort station to the other in about 5 minutes. However, there was one big concern. The Skyliner stopped running at 10:30. It was already 8 minutes past 10 when we arrived at our station. Could we make it over to the other resort, find the food court, order burgers, pay for them, and make it back in 22 minutes? The thought of potato chips from the vending machine for dinner was enough to help us make our decision. We decided to go for it! Cue the theme song from the old TV show “Mission: Impossible!” Dunt. Dunt. DUNT. Dunt. Dunt. Dunt. DUNT. Dunt…

My friend Carrie and I hopped on the Skyliner at 10:09 at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. During our peaceful ride through the darkness, we discussed our options for getting back to our hotel if we didn’t make it to the Skyliner station by 10:30. If Disney buses were still running, that was one possibility. Calling a Lyft or an Uber was another option. We could always walk, but after a long day in a theme park, that option sounded grueling. There wasn’t much time to ponder this because we soon arrived at the Skyliner station at the Pop Century Resort. We disembarked at 10:15 and were off and running. Well, not quite running, but walking briskly passed giant bowling pins and yo yo’s that served as icons letting guests know which Pop Century their building was themed after. We were shocked by how many families were still frolicking in the pool at that time of night. It was packed!

Luckily, there were not as many people in the food court. We walked right up to the counter, ordered burgers “to go,” grabbed drinks from the cooler, and walked right up to the cashier to pay. After a quick stop at the condiment station for ketchup, mustard, and napkins, we were off on another mad dash past giant Play-Doh cans toward the Skyliner station. What a relief to arrive at 10:26! Why did we rush? We had 4 minutes to spare! As you can imagine, there were two very grateful but tired occupants with burgers and fries traveling over the wetlands between the two resorts that night. As soon as we disembarked, we noticed that the Skyliner cars stopped. Apparently, we were the last two riders of the day.

The magical and miraculous thing about this experience was not the fact that we made it back to the station in time, although that certainly was a shift from fear to love. I’m grateful for the miracle of keeping the focus on what we wanted (the food!) and not getting sidetracked by the voice of fear asking, “What happens if you get stuck there?” Instead of trying to solve problems that hadn’t happened yet, Carrie and I made the best decision we could at the time and trusted that we would simply make another decision if we needed to. Had we debated at the station for even 4 minutes, we would have missed the easy return ride. It was a powerful lesson in trust, staying focused, and not letting the voice of fear (the ego) distract us from our goal. Mission: Impossible Burger was a success!

Has the voice of fear kept you from taking a chance on something you truly desire? It would be my great honor to be your spiritual “Skyliner” lifting you up above your current conditions and helping you reach your destination. Please consider giving yourself the gift of a series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. For more information about both of these opportunities, please visit those pages on my website. To schedule a session, simply send me an email

Until next time, may life carry you to every destination with ease and grace.

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”

~ Mark Twain

The Many Faces of Joy

Last week I wrote about the unconscious resistance to fully experiencing joy. Since then, the concept of joy has been rumbling around in my mind. What exactly is joy, and how do we welcome it? This was a common theme in many of my Life Coaching sessions and in both of my weekly A Course in Miracles Study groups. In all of these conversations, I noticed that joy shows up in different ways for different people.

One of the most joyful times in my life was when I worked in the Entertainment Department at Walt Disney World. Some days I couldn’t believe I was getting paid (albeit not much) to have so much fun with my friends in those costumes. I worked there for seven years, so it would be hard to pin down one favorite role in a parade or show. 

However, one of my top five joyful moments at Disney was dancing in the Easter Parade as a Hoe Down Cowboy with the County Bear Jamboree. (Please don’t ask what bears and cowboys have to do with Easter because I have no idea!) Our high-energy dance routine was choreographed to the song “Rocky Top.” I’m not a country music fan, but I had so much fun dancing to that song I whooped and hollered like a crazy person all through the parade route. Being so full of joy helped me push myself to keep my energy high and dance full out until we passed the sightline. It was both exhausting and exhilarating. I had a great cowgirl partner who matched my energy which made it even more fun. I think the picture below captures the essence of the joy we were feeling.

But joy isn’t always loud and flashy. Sometimes it’s much more subtle and quiet. This past weekend I had an experience of silent, peaceful joy. After receiving some happy news in Sarasota, I decided to revisit a place that my friends had taken me to the week before. It is a tranquil spot off the beaten path overlooking Sarasota Bay. I arrived about an hour before sunset and was surprised to find very few people there. I plopped myself down in an empty Adirondack chair to enjoy Mother Nature’s show. 

The sun was still shining brightly in the sky, but the steady breeze coming off the water kept me nice and cool. The tide must have been out because I noticed a large sand bar in the middle of the bay. At least a half dozen herons and egrets took advantage of that shallow water to do some fishing for dinner. I was very entertained watching their slow, deliberate walk and their necks stretching back and forth as they searched for fish. Once they spotted one, they plunged their heads into the water and almost always emerged with a wiggling fish in their beaks. 

Those birds might have had even better luck closer to where I was sitting. Every few minutes, a fish jumped completely out of the water. I was amazed by their ability to launch their entire body several inches into the air before landing back in the bay with a splash. I’m not sure why they were doing that. Perhaps they were trying to escape from predators below. The constant leaping and splashing gave the whole scene a comical flavor as if I were in a cartoon. I laughed every time. In addition to comedy, it also provided a feeling of abundance. Fish were jumping everywhere and readily available for the hungry birds. It definitely seemed like there were “plenty of fish in the sea.” I had never experienced anything like it. 

As the bright orange orb gently lowered itself toward the water, golden sunlight danced on the ripples of the waves. Occasionally a sailboat drifted through the golden sparkles way across the bay. Dark clouds began to invade the sky, and thunder rumbled in the distance. The impending storm just added to the mystical quality of the experience. After the sun dipped below the horizon, I risked getting drenched to enjoy the sights and sounds a little while longer. Honestly, I didn’t want to leave! And something interesting occurred to me. Even though I was there by myself, I did not feel any sense of sadness or loneliness. My heart was full. There was nothing missing. All I felt was a sense of gratitude and contentment. Perhaps those are the only ingredients necessary in the recipe for joy in all its many forms. 

This week, may you find ways to experience a sense of gratitude and contentment for things that are already around you. It could be as simple as laughing at your favorite sitcom, dancing or singing along to your favorite song, or taking a moment to sit under a tree. If you could use some assistance in welcoming joy, please contact me. I would be honored to help you remove the blocks to the awareness of joy’s presence with a series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Look around my website now for more information about these joyful opportunities or send me an email to schedule a session. 

Until next time, may joy sneak up and find you as it found me in moments of deep gratitude and contentment.

Be not content with future happiness.

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

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