Calm Before the Storm

We often talk about the calm before the storm. Not only is it a condition we can observe, but it’s also good advice. I’m writing these words the night before a major hurricane is supposed to make landfall very close to my home on the west coast of Florida. Having lived in different areas of Florida since 1992, I’m no stranger to this experience. Over the last 30 years, I’ve learned a few things about living in places vulnerable to hurricanes. 

One, it’s best to get extra water and other necessary supplies as soon as hurricane season begins. You don’t want to be rushing around trying to gather supplies at the last minute when shelves are bare and people are panicked. It can be very stressful.

Two, although meteorologists and computer models do their best to predict a storm’s path, we never truly know where they are going until they actually arrive. Hurricanes can change direction suddenly and without warning, just like life!

The most important thing I have learned is applicable to any of life’s storms, whether they are weather-related or not. We make the best decisions when we are calm and centered. If my head is crammed with fearful chaotic thoughts, there’s no way I can hear the voice for love guiding me to the highest and best solution. In my experience, making choices from fear rarely leads to a pleasant outcome. 

Tuesday, when I woke up, I was very tempted to open my laptop right away and check the storm’s location. Instead, I decided to sit quietly on my meditation chair. In the stillness, I asked Spirit, my higher self, the voice for love, my guardian angels, whatever you want to call that presence, what action would be the highest choice. Was it best to stay home and weather the storm or pack my car and drive to the other side of the state? I was open to either answer, but surprisingly, the one that felt most peaceful was to stay. So that’s what I’m doing.

In addition to having supplies, I’ve done all the things I can think of to prepare. I brought patio chairs, doormats, and wind chimes inside. My electronic devices and backup batteries are fully charged. I placed candles and a flashlight on my countertop where they are easy to find. I made extra ice by filling food storage containers with water and placing them in the freezer. I’ve downloaded two new books to my kindle and a few movies to my iPad. My car has gas in the tank. And I’m getting this story written in advance, knowing a power outage is more than a good possibility. 

Many of the preparations I’ve made have only occurred to me because I am staying as calm as possible. If I had been running around in fear or glued to the Weather Channel, I don’t think I would be as prepared or as peaceful. Am I a little apprehensive about the strength of the storm approaching? Of course! But our weekly online A Course in Miracles study group helped bring me back to center on Tuesday night. 

I am also grateful to the many friends who have reached out to check on me and to let me know they are holding the high watch with me and all those in the storm’s path. What will happen? I don’t know for sure. But I do know staying calm before the storm has been incredibly helpful. 

Are you experiencing rough weather in one or more areas of your life? Relationships, Health, Finances, Career, or Family? It would be my great honor to give you tools to stay calm in the storm and help you release those chaotic, fearful thoughts so you can tap into your own guidance system. Consider giving yourself the gift of a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a Private Family Constellations Session. You can learn more about both or schedule a session by exploring my website

Until next time, may you remember to ask for guidance to release fear and stay calm no matter how big the storm. 

A tranquil mind is not a little gift.

A Course in Miracles ~ M-20.4:8

When Inspiration Turns to Obligation

My Spiritual Coaching clients often tell me one of the best tools I have given them is to question whether their choices come from inspiration, obligation, or desperation. We all make decisions from one of these three places, and how we feel after our decision is directly influenced by its origin. Ideally, we want to take action from a place of inspiration as often as possible. The other two categories bring unpleasant consequences starting with resentment and fatigue that escalate from there. I have opportunities to “practice what I preach” all the time, and recently I had the opportunity to take a look at this idea with deeper discernment.

Although it’s great for some, working out at a gym has never been my thing. I prefer exercising at home or going for brisk walks outside in nature. Over the years, a schedule has evolved that seems to work for me. Four mornings per week I walk for an hour at the beach or along the bay and two mornings per week I practice yoga for an hour and a half in my living room. That gives me one morning per week to rest. Here in Florida, rain clouds don’t usually roll in until the afternoon, so I can walk in the morning on “walk days.”

However, over the past few weeks, the rain clouds have not been cooperating with my walking schedule. On Monday, I was so ready for my walk. I had done a lot of driving, sitting, and eating over the weekend, so I really wanted to get my body moving and my heart pumping. Unfortunately, I woke up to a gray, drizzly morning. The rain wasn’t heavy, so I decided to attempt my walk, knowing I would get a little wet. As I drove toward the bay, the sky turned ominously dark, and soon sheets of water pelted my car. Despite these severe weather conditions, I remained hopeful the storm would pass quickly and kept driving.

When I arrived at the bay, I sat in my car for about 15 minutes as raindrops continued to assault my hood and roof with a steady barrage of thuds. As I peered through my windows, all I could see were gray clouds sprawling out in every direction above me. There wasn’t a hint of blue sky anywhere to indicate the rain might let up soon. For a brief moment, I considered putting on one of the Mickey Mouse rain ponchos from Disney World that I keep in the back of my car and doing my walk anyway. Not long ago, I probably would have chosen that option. Then I remembered to ask myself the question that I ask my clients. Would that choice come from inspiration, obligation, or desperation? 

Yes, the original impulse to walk next to the beautiful turquoise waters of the bay had come from inspiration, but it felt more like desperation to try it that day. Perhaps in the mix was a bit of obligation to burn calories after eating so much over the weekend. I felt no inspiration or joy when I imagined myself trodding along the pathway dodging puddles and trying to stay dry inside a giant piece of plastic. Once I examined the situation and my motives more closely, the decision was easy. I started my car and headed home. 

As I drove home, it occurred to me that this was a moment and a choice to remember. How many times have I continued doing something that once felt joyful long after the inspiration has faded? Perhaps there are activities in your life that once brought you joy that now feel more like chores or obligations. Today is a great day to take inventory of your daily, weekly, and monthly activities and see if there are some that snuck into another category without you noticing. If so, how might you shift things, or what could you do instead that would bring you true joy?  

If you would like an objective and compassionate companion to walk with you as you answer and unpack these questions, it would be my great honor to assist you with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions. I offer discounted packages of 4, 8, and 12 sessions to suit your needs and budget. A private Family Constellations Session can also help identify where these recurring patterns originate. Once you have a deeper awareness of what’s going on, you will indeed be able to live a life of inspiration that will also inspire others! Please look around my website for more information or to book a session

Until next time, may all your decisions be inspired ones! 

The result of genuine devotion is inspiration, a word which properly understood is the opposite of fatigue.

A Course in Miracles ~

The Let It Go Chair

It is no secret that I am not a fan of cold weather. I often joke when the temperature plummets below 60 degrees, I am quite unhappy. Late Sunday afternoon, the temperature was already in the 50s and dropping quickly when my friends asked me to join them for the drumming circle on Siesta Key Beach. Of course, I was hesitant. When they texted, I had just heated my bean bag in the microwave and was lying on it to warm my tight back muscles as I watched a TV show on my iPad. I have to be honest. The idea of leaving the comfort of my warm apartment and bean bag to brave the cold was not so tempting. 

What was tempting was spending more time with my friends, one of whom was only in town for the weekend. Plus, the chance to be near Mother Ocean is always tempting. Several people had told me about this drumming circle which happens on the beach at sunset every Sunday. After five months of living here, I had yet to make it there. Here was an opportunity to do so with fun friends, so I put down my iPad and promised my bean bag I would return soon. I donned a long-sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt, a hoody, grabbed my down jacket from the coat closet, and headed to the beach. (I realize those of you who live in much colder climates are either laughing or shaking your head at me as you read this, but what can I say? I’m a Floridian!)

As soon as I got out of my car, the lively sound of drum beats echoing across the parking lot from a nearby pavilion greeted me. I found my Floridian friends (who were also well-layered) just in time to see the last rays of sun sink below the waves. We decided to walk closer to the water to enjoy its beauty while some light remained. The spot where the sun had just disappeared was glowing pink, as you can see in the center of the accompanying photo. Mother Nature created quite a masterpiece with that little splash of pink among the silvery-gray clouds and waves. It was spectacular.

As we got closer to the water’s edge, we soon discovered that there was another masterpiece to behold. This one was manmade. Someone had built a semi-circular bench out of sand with a pyramid-like sand sculpture opposite it. Carved in the sand below the pyramid was the name “Let It Go” Chair with instructions to sit, take 3 deep breaths, then let go of what’s on your mind. This was followed by the words “Thank you for being you.” Nestled in the seating area was a Bluetooth speaker playing soft harp music. What a lovely sacred space this talented artist had created for anyone who strolled the beach that night. None of us wanted to miss an opportunity to “let it go,” so after snapping a few photos, we sat down to enjoy a peaceful moment inside that masterpiece. 

Even with the chilly temperatures, I felt so blessed to be outside in that space with two dear friends feeling the sea breeze on my face as the sound of the harp and the waves carried away anything that was unlike love. The angle of the bench was ideal for leaning back and allowing the sand to completely support us. Others chose to sit upright in lotus position while letting it go. Some marveled from the outside that this seemingly delicate sand structure could support the weight of a human! The artist carved a hole in the back of the bench, creating a window that offered a view of the pyramid and waves in the distance. It truly was a magnificent design.

The artist was standing nearby, observing people experience his creation. Someone asked him how long it took to create, and he replied that he had been working on it since 9:30 that morning. I’m not sure when he finished, but I’m grateful we were there around 6 PM to enjoy the fruits of his labor. When we finally opened our eyes and exited the sand structure, I spotted the artist several yards away. Without words, I stood to face him and gave him a deep namaste bow which he received and returned with his own. I trust he felt my immense gratitude for the space he created.

We eventually made our way to the pavilion to enjoy the rhythmic beat of the drums while a handful of people danced and twirled in the middle of the circle. Several minutes later, we noticed our artist friend had joined the circle and began adding cool beats with his own drum. A musician too? Was there no limit to this man’s creativity?

I am beyond grateful that I ventured out of my warm apartment that night. Had I let the cold stop me, I would have missed that fun and grace-filled experience with my friends. What a great reminder that joy and miracles are often waiting for us outside of our comfort zone. 

This week, perhaps you will be inspired to create your own “Let It Go” chair. It doesn’t have to be made of sand. It could be a cushion placed on the floor in a quiet corner of your home or in front of a window. It’s best to choose a chair or space where you don’t usually sit. That way, your unconscious mind will know something is different about this time of stillness. Then sit down. Play some soothing music. Take 3 deep breaths. And let it go!

If you could use some assistance with letting a particularly challenging thought or situation go, I would be honored to help with a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Both will allow you to see it from a different perspective, making it easier to release. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information and to book a session. 

This week, may you find the perfect place to let it go…

In quietness are all things answered, and is every problem quietly resolved. In conflict there can be no answer and no resolution, for its purpose is to make no resolution possible, and to ensure no answer will be plain.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-27.IV.1:1-2 

Dive Right In!

Now that I’m back in Florida, I love being able to jump into the Atlantic Ocean when I finish my morning cardio walk along the beach. After sweating for an hour, the cool water feels fantastic! The surf was exceptionally rough this past Monday. I had barely entered the water when a tall wave came barreling toward me. There was no time to avoid it or to prepare myself for total immersion. Ready or not, I had to dive through the wave or be knocked over. It happened so fast I couldn’t help but laugh when I emerged on the other side.

It occurred to me that life is like navigating waves in the ocean. There is an endless procession of experiences, some big, some small, some exciting, some painful that come toward us. Like the waves, it would be a lesson in futility to try to stop them. We can try to avoid them or run from them, but they eventually catch up with us. If we aren’t careful, the really big ones could knock us over. The best way to avoid getting knocked over by a big wave is to dive right into it. Yes, it may be scary for a moment, but by facing it head-on, we pass through it and it’s done. There is calm on the other side, at least until the next wave arrives!

This has been my experience with painful situations and life experiences. If I try to avoid them with a plethora of distractions, they eventually catch up with me. There really is no way around them. Only through them. Granted, it can be extremely uncomfortable to walk through these times, and we can only do it when we’re ready. However, it is important to remember that we don’t have to go through them alone. During these challenging times, it is such a blessing to be part of a spiritual community or to have trusted friends and family members to lean on for support. In some cases, we may need to seek the assistance of a professional counselor, therapist, or spiritual advisor to guide us. There’s no shame in asking for help when we need it. In fact, it’s a very courageous choice. 

Like diving into those big waves, when we face those challenging situations head-on rather than avoid them, we eventually come out on the other side where there is calm. Who knows? Perhaps when you emerge on the other side you will see things from a fresh perspective and be able to laugh about them.

Does it feel like there are a lot of big waves coming at you right now? It would be my great honor to help you dive into the experience and come out the other side with a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information and to schedule a session

Until next time, may you find the courage to dive into those big waves and let the water wash away anything that no longer serves.

Nothing you undertake with certain purpose and high resolve and happy confidence, holding your brother’s hand and keeping step to Heaven’s song, is difficult to do.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-26.V.2:5

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