Untying the Knot

A relaxing day on the lake with my sister after untying some knots!

One of the blessings I experienced this summer was an impromptu visit to see my sister in Pennsylvania. She lives near a beautiful lake in the Pocono Mountains. We love to take her boat out on the lake, drop anchor somewhere in a secluded alcove, and let the motion of the waves gently rock away our cares and worries. We find it both relaxing and therapeutic. 

Before we switched to “sloth mode” on our second lake day, there was a task that needed our attention. Two of the boat’s bumpers had broken off on the previous day. Luckily, we were able to retrieve them before they floated away with our cares and worries. But now they needed to be attached to new ropes, which meant untying the knots that kept them secure on the old ropes. 

If you have ever worked with nylon rope, or any kind of knot, for that matter, you know it can take patience and perseverance to get them undone. We tug and pull wherever we can get a decent grip, but often it seems like nothing is happening. And then, without warning, there’s a subtle movement. A tiny space is created where once there was none. The knot begins to loosen. Soon, it fully surrenders and the rope is released!

This is exactly what happened with those bumper knots. Since they were tied tightly for so long, I had moments of doubt they would ever come loose. Persistent work despite no apparent results paid off. Eventually, the knots came loose and we attached the bumpers to the new ropes with new knots. 

It reminded me of a great metaphor I heard on the Miracle Voices podcast a while back. One of the hosts compared practicing forgiveness to untying a knot. We may work on releasing a grievance for a long time, but it seems like nothing is changing. But if we continue to extend love and compassion towards the person or situation that seems to be taking away our peace, something happens. One day, we realize the anger or resentment we had toward that person or situation simply isn’t there. 

This doesn’t mean the person has apologized or their behavior has changed, but sometimes it does. It doesn’t mean the situation has shifted, but sometimes it can. What has shifted is my perception. I am different. The person or situation simply doesn’t elicit the same hurt feelings in me. The charge is gone and peace has returned. And that’s the miracle!

If you could use some assistance in untying a particularly tricky knot, please don’t hesitate to contact me. A series of Spiritual Coaching sessions might be just the thing to help you shift your perspective. Or perhaps that knot is tied to old family patterns or generational trauma. A private Family Constellations session can help reveal and heal whatever is keeping you stuck. Please look around my website for more information about both of these opportunities or book an appointment with my automated scheduler. Sessions can be done virtually from anywhere in the world. I look forward to helping you untie those knots! 

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.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-1.I.45:1-2

When Anger Knocks

Late one evening a few weeks ago, I opened my front door to look for the moon and check on the weather outside. To my surprise, I discovered a package from Amazon sitting on my doormat. I hadn’t ordered anything, but my sisters have been sending unexpected gifts lately, so I assumed this box was from one of them. Since I was tired, I set the box on the bench inside my apartment to open in the morning.

Around 8:30 the next morning, while putting in my contact lenses, I was startled by a loud, persistent banging at my front door. This wasn’t the courtesy knock of a delivery person or maintenance worker from my apartment community. This person was clearly angry and wanted to get my attention. It worked! 

My hands were full of saline solution and contact lenses, so I couldn’t get to the door right away, not that I was eager to given the intensity of the banging. While finishing the task at hand, I heard a man’s voice yelling something about a package along with a stream of curse words and expletives. That’s when my brain pieced together what had happened. 

I surmised that the Amazon driver left a package for my new neighbors at the wrong door last night. This young couple only recently moved in, but I have heard them fighting and shouting at each other on more than one occasion. I was fairly certain they were the ones pounding on my door.

Once I was dressed, I looked at the package more closely. Sure enough, the address was one digit different than mine. I had brought in my neighbor’s Amazon purchase by mistake. “No big deal,” I thought to myself. I will simply bring the package to them and apologize for my error. 

Suddenly, the vigorous pounding on my door began again, and I practically jumped out of my skin. Why so much rage around an understandable mistake? I grabbed the package, took a deep breath, and opened my door. Both of my new neighbors were standing there. The young man began shouting at me immediately as I handed him the package.

Before I had a chance to say anything, he angrily hurled a barrage of accusatory questions at me. Why would I take his package? Couldn’t I see it was not addressed to me? He claimed he had received packages for me in the past few weeks and he placed them at my door. Why couldn’t I do the same? What was wrong with me? As you might imagine, I am leaving out a number of words that were mixed in with these questions. 

In the middle of his rant, I apologized. I admitted that I had made a mistake and said I would be much more careful in the future. I tried to explain that I had been receiving many unexpected packages lately, but he just continued yelling. As he walked away, I apologized one more time, and assured him it wouldn’t happen again. Meanwhile, his girlfriend just stood there looking embarrassed and bewildered. She thanked me for not opening their package before we both retreated to our respective apartments. 

My heart was racing as I shut the door. What the heck just happened? I was in shock at the intensity of the encounter. Of course, I knew this young man’s anger was not really about a misplaced package. I do not know what has happened in his life, but my experience with Family Constellations has taught me that this anger didn’t start with him. I imagine he has been on the receiving end of intense rage and he’s most likely carrying a lot of pain. Not having the tools to move through or release this pain in a healthy way, it exploded at me.

A Course in Miracles teaches that every action can be broken down into two categories: an “expression of love” or a “call for love.” It goes on to say, when you see things this way, the appropriate response is always love. This young man was clearly calling for love, but that doesn’t mean I should knock on his door and ask to give him a hug! No. That would probably not be wise. However, from the safety of my own home, I can imagine him surrounded by love and light. 

I wish I could tell you that’s what I did immediately. It has been many, many years since I’ve been on the receiving end of that kind of rage, and I was extremely shaken up. I felt unjustly attacked and extremely vulnerable. However, I also knew that seeing him as the villain and myself as the victim would only perpetuate that story and the conflict. So I laid down on my bed for a few minutes and asked Spirit for help to see him at peace and surrounded by love. 

It felt forced at first, but I knew the sooner I tried the sooner I would feel better. I only had a few minutes to practice this before an early morning appointment that day. After the appointment, my walk along Sarasota Bay definitely helped bring me back to center. But I was a bit rattled for the rest of the day. 

Since then, I have done my best to extend love and peace to that young man whenever he crosses my mind. That was a few weeks ago, and I have not seen either of my neighbors since then…until last night. 

As I scurried down the stairs to the parking lot, I suddenly noticed a young man and a big white dog approaching from below. We made eye contact briefly, but I was so focused on getting to my car before the rain started, my mind didn’t register who it was. With no initial greeting or pleasantries, this young man launched into a quiet apology for overreacting about the package the other day. To say I was stunned would be an understatement!

Neither of us stopped walking, but as I passed him I said something like, “It’s ok. These things happen. Have a nice night.”  He replied, “You too,” as he continued up the stairs with his dog. The whole exchange took less than 30 seconds. But in those 30 seconds, something shifted. 

Any residual fear or resentment from the incident melted away and more compassion for my new neighbor filled my heart. All I can say is, the teachings of A Course in Miracles work! Never in a million years would I have guessed that I’d receive an apology from him, but I doubt it would have happened had I not done my part. I am beyond grateful for this shift from conflict to peace, a true miracle.

Are you in a challenging situation with a neighbor, co-worker, friend, or family member? It would be my great honor to help facilitate a miracle with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can help you release fear and judgments, thus allowing peace to return. And thanks to technology, we can meet no matter where in the world you are. Send me an email or look around my website for more information. You can also book a session directly on my website with my automated scheduler. Give yourself the gift of peace. I look forward to working with you! 

Forgiveness takes away what stands between your brother and yourself.

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

Earth Angels

I was in second grade the first time it happened. My class went on a field trip to a local hospital and one of the stops on our tour was the blood lab. I did not enjoy seeing shelves of test tubes filled with blood. The next thing I knew I was laying on my back in the elevator with my entire class looking down at me while a nurse waved smelling salts under my nose. Apparently, I fainted shortly after leaving the blood lab. 

For some reason, seeing blood outside the human body causes me great distress accompanied by a physiological reaction. It starts with sweaty palms and elevates to a full-body sweat as I become more and more light-headed. White patches start to form in my field of vision and then I pass out.

It happened again a few years later when I had to give blood during a physical exam to attend summer camp. The nurse took my blood, and as I walked back to the waiting room…down I went! I’m sure it was quite a show for the folks in the waiting room as it was for my second-grade class. 

This aversion to giving blood also affects two of my siblings who also happen to be left-handed. My two right-handed siblings do not have a problem with it. I have since learned that my father also fainted when giving blood. What an interesting trait to pass down. I can only imagine what a hard time he must have had being poked all the time during his journey with cancer in the 1970s. 

As for me, I hadn’t visited a doctor since I returned to Florida. With some nudging from friends and family, I reluctantly applied for health insurance through the Healthcare Marketplace again despite a very bad experience a few years ago. When my coverage began, I called to make an appointment with my new Primary Care Physician for a checkup. It was frustrating to discover that the doctor I chose worked in a hospital and did not see outside patients. Why was she an option on the health insurance website with a notation under her name claiming she was seeing new patients?

Immediately, I began questioning why I let myself be talked into getting back into this system that clearly still has issues. The woman on the phone informed me that not many doctors in the area are part of the health care plan I selected. This was just more evidence that I had made a mistake. However, she gave me the name and address of a clinic attached to a Walgreens that she heard accepted all insurance plans including mine. It was a place to start. And as luck would have it, this particular Walgreens was less than a mile from my home. 

The next day, I decided to stop by that clinic to get a vibe on the place and see if they actually did take my insurance. What a pleasant surprise to discover what appeared to be a brand-new facility with a very clean and attractive waiting room. The receptionist at the front desk was extremely friendly and confirmed they accepted my insurance. She had an appointment for the following day so I booked it. 

You can probably guess where this story is going. After answering a bunch of questions about my medical history and general health, it was time for the medical assistant assigned to me (I’ll call her Katie) to take my vitals and draw some blood. We had developed quite a bond by this time, and I warned her about my fainting history. She said not to worry. My chair would be reclined and she was prepared.

She began the task at hand while I looked away. I did my best to breathe deeply while Katie encouraged me to go to my happy place. “Go to the beach. Go to the beach!” she repeated. When that didn’t appear to be working, she switched gears and started asking what was in my oatmeal that morning. I did my best to stay with her, but by vial number four, my mind had had enough of that experience. Peace out!

The next thing I knew, there were at least three other people in the room, including the Nurse Practitioner who is my new Primary Care Provider. She was holding an ice pack to the back of my neck while wiping my sweaty forehead with a cloth. Someone was putting a blood pressure cuff on my arm to get my vitals. Poor Katie had to quickly finish the last vial and keep pressure on my arm while stretching her body several feet to open the sliding exam room door to call for help. I missed all of that! 

Needless to say, I was a little embarrassed for causing such a scene. What a first impression I made in that clinic! They all assured me that it was no big deal. I wasn’t the first person to faint while having blood drawn. And I wouldn’t be the last. It was incredible to feel such compassion from these women who I knew for less than an hour. They took such good care of me during the whole experience. Gratitude swelled up in me like a tidal wave for these earth angels. It still does when I think about it now. 

A Course in Miracles defines a miracle as a shift in perception from fear to love. By that definition, even though it was unpleasant, this was truly a miracle. The fearful thing I had resisted turned out to be a humbling experience where I received more love than I could have imagined. There is no doubt in my mind that Spirit guided me to the perfect place and the perfect caregivers so I could release my fear.

Is there something you have been resisting even though you know it will probably be for your highest good? I would be honored to assist you in shifting from fear to love with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a Private Family Constellations Session. Miracles happen all the time during these sessions. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information. You can also book a session with my automated scheduler. And thanks to the miracle of technology, we can meet online no matter where in the world you are. I look forward to working with you! 

Around you angels hover lovingly, to keep away all darkened thoughts…

A Course in Miracles ~ T-26.IX.7:1

A Meditation Chair Miracle

It was 2007. I had been studying A Course in Miracles for about a year when life handed me one of my biggest forgiveness opportunities. It was a dramatic ending to a four-and-a-half-year romantic relationship. The details aren’t important. All you need to know is I was hurt and felt like a victim. 

Thank goodness I had the Course and a good Spiritual Coach at the time. Both helped me not to project all of the blame onto my partner and to remember that relationships are mirrors. What upsets me is never anything “out there.” It always starts within. Who was I really mad at?

I can’t say that I was able to stay out of victim mode 100% of the time or that I never made my former partner the villain. I can say that I didn’t stay in that disempowered space too long. After much self-reflection and self-inquiry, I was able to see and own my part in what happened in our relationship.

Through mutual friends, I knew he had moved from Florida to Alabama, but for a few years we had little to no communication other than the occasional birthday or holiday text message. During that time, my study of the Course deepened and I was able to release any residual anger toward him and the situation. As painful as it was, I came to understand that everything unfolded perfectly so I could learn true forgiveness and some powerful life lessons. 

Quite unexpectedly, my former partner reached out to me when he moved back to the Sunshine State. There was no emotional charge when I heard the message. Honestly, it was nice to hear his voice. I was curious to hear what was happening in his life and the lives of his family since I was quite close with them during our time together. We made plans to walk along Fort Lauderdale Beach the next morning. 

Not only did we catch up, but we also talked openly about our relationship and what we would do differently. There was no blame or anger in our discussion, but there was a lot of laughter. That in itself is a miracle! And by miracle, I mean the definition given in the Course, a shift in perception from a fearful way of looking at a situation to a loving way. 

Later, I showed him pictures on my phone of a chair and end tables that I was considering purchasing for my new apartment. He noticed that the chair I wanted was very similar to a chair we bought together 10 years ago. I replied “YES! That’s exactly the kind of chair I’m looking for.” I loved that chair. It was incredibly comfortable and a great spot for meditation.   

He surprised me again by saying, “Do you want that chair? A friend of mine is keeping it for me and he doesn’t live far from you. Actually, he just texted me today asking if I needed any of my furniture back.” What?!?! His friend brought it to my apartment less than 24 hours later and I was reunited with my beloved chair! It was another miracle that would never have happened if I hadn’t released my grievances. To me, that was  powerful evidence that A Course in Miracles works!

I’m not recommending you plan a beach walk with all of your exes, but I do encourage you to release any residual pain or anger you might be carrying toward them. It would be my great honor to assist you with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions where I’ll share some of the tools and insights I have learned from A Course in Miracles and my Spiritual Coach. You can book your first session now using the automated scheduler on my website. 

To reveal and heal unhealthy familial patterns that repeat from generation to generation,  consider scheduling a private Family Constellations Session or join me for an Upcoming Workshop. I look forward to being in sacred space with you!

Until next time, may you give yourself the gift of releasing unforgiving thoughts about any past or current relationships. Who knows? You might end up with some new furniture!

Love holds no grievances.

A Course in Miracles ~ Workbook Lesson 68

Healing Nurturing Love

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. One of my “forgiveness heroes” is Scarlett Lewis, the mother of Jessie Lewis, who lost his life protecting fellow classmates on that sad day in December of 2012. I first learned about Scarlett and her work in 2016 when she was a guest on a radio show that I regularly listened to. She and the host were discussing how we constantly tell kids what not to do: 

“Stop squirming in your seat. Don’t hit your classmate. Say no to drugs.” 

But rarely do we tell them what they can do when they are feeling anxious, angry, or overwhelmed. Scarlett pointed out that young kids having a difficult time don’t raise their hands in class and say, “Excuse me, Ms. Johnson. I am experiencing a lot of strong emotions that I do not know how to process. Could I please schedule an appointment with you and the guidance counselor to discuss this at your earliest convenience?” No, but they do let us know in other ways if we are observant. When given some basic tools, kids can learn to navigate these feelings. Scarlett co-created such a tool kit, but I’ll come back to that in a minute.

After hearing that interview, I purchased Scarlett’s powerful book titled Nurturing Healing Love: A Mother’s Journey of Hope & Forgiveness. And what an inspiring journey it was and continues to be! The book is full of remarkable stories leading up to that awful day, as well as the many messages she has received from Jesse since his passing. The title came from three words Jesse wrote on a chalkboard just days before the shooting: nurturing healing love. Scarlett did not notice the chalkboard until after her son’s death. Because these words were not typical for him (or any first grader for that matter), she knew it was a special message from Jesse instructing her how to carry on after the tragedy. These words inspired her to start the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement to teach kids what they can do when they are anxious, angry, or overwhelmed. The following words are directly from her website.

  1. Nurturing means loving kindness and gratitude.
  2. Healing means forgiveness.
  3. Love is compassion in action.

The Choose Love Formula™ is based on the profound result of practicing the character values inherent in “Nurturing Healing Love,” which are:
Courage + Gratitude + Forgiveness + Compassion in Action.

These four character values are easy to learn. When practiced, they strengthen the health and resilience of individuals, improve the community and culture of groups and promote a safer, more peaceful and loving world. She realized that love, connection, and belonging are universal wants and needs that connect all of humanity, and that if the shooter had received more of them in his life, the tragedy might never have happened. Scarlett set out on a mission to teach as many people around the world about this message, beginning with children.

Rather than analyzing the details of this and other mass shootings and looking for someone to blame, Scarlett chose to focus her attention on a solution. The fact that she eventually found compassion for the young man who killed her son is indeed a miracle. While not condoning his actions or that of any other perpetrator of violent crimes, she realized that not choosing love would keep her stuck in the pain of that horrible December day. It really touched me when she said she believes there were 28 victims that day, not the usual 26 associated with the Sandy Hook tragedy. She includes the shooter and his mother who also died that day. This is the kind of compassion that can change the world to one where love and peace prevail.

I know it’s a heavy topic and may not be for everyone, but I highly recommend Scarlett’s book, Nurturing Healing Love. The overall message is one of hope, not despair. With honesty, tenderness, and courage, she shares what happened, her healing process, and the many miracles that have occurred through it all. In fact, I had my own little miracle while reading this book. I finished reading it on June 30, which I found out in one of the last chapters is Jesse’s birthday. When I made this connection, I got that tingling sensation all through my body. It felt like Jesse had just recruited me to help share his message of nurturing healing love. I can’t think of a better birthday or holiday gift to him than to choose love and help others do the same. 

If you’d like to learn more about Scarlett Lewis and the Jessie Lewis Choose Love Movement, click this link. And if I can be of assistance in helping you choose love during this often stressful and sometimes lonely holiday season, please don’t hesitate to reach out for a Spiritual Coaching Session or private Family Constellations Session. Except for December 24 & 25, I will be doing sessions through the end of the year. You can also join our weekly online A Course in Miracles study group every Tuesday at 7 PM Eastern / 4 PM Pacific. We will be sharing some holiday miracles on Tuesday, December 27 at our regular time so join us if you can!

This holiday season, no matter what appears to be happening in the world of form, may you find ways to choose nurturing healing love…especially for yourself!

What is kept apart from love cannot share its healing power, because it has been separated off and kept in darkness. 

A Course in Miracles ~ T-14.VI.2:4

The Relentless Sandpiper

My Sunday morning beach walks truly feed my soul. I love the expansiveness I feel while strolling along the sparkling turquoise water that extends past the horizon as sea breezes swirl around me. It’s also very grounding to feel my feet sink into the soft, wet sand as the waves roll in and out. 

Lately, I’ve been listening to the Miracle Voices podcast while I walk. During this hour-long podcast, other A Course in Miracles students share their journey with the Course and their stories of forgiveness. It’s a perfect combo because it enhances my expansive experience by expanding my mind. The last two episodes (#64 and #65) have been particularly inspiring. 

But the lessons I learn from the podcast aren’t the only ones I receive on the beach. Last summer, while walking along Ormond Beach, I watched a small group of sandpipers dodging waves while digging for small crustaceans in the sand. I noticed one sandpiper got very irate any time another bird got within 3 feet of him. He puffed himself up and charged at the intruders aggressively to scare them away. He was relentless!

Although his strategy was effective at scaring them away, it occurred to me that he was investing a lot of time chasing away other sandpipers when he could be using that time to find food. It’s a big beach with enough crustaceans to feed all of the sandpipers. Why was he so concerned about other birds getting close to him? None of the other sandpipers seemed to have an issue with sharing their part of the beach.

As I continued to watch the show, it occurred to me how many times I have acted similarly to that sandpiper. Instead of focusing on what I need to do, I’ve let myself be distracted by what others are doing. Anytime I judge someone for making a choice that I would not make, I’m just like that sandpiper. When I hold onto resentments toward someone for what they did or did not do, I’m like that sandpiper. Even when I compare myself to others, I’m like that sandpiper. If I stop thinking about the person or situation that I find upsetting, I will return to peace. It may sound overly simple, but it works. Try it for yourself.

Yes, sometimes there is an action step being asked of me before I can move forward. But most of the time, it’s all in my mind. What a magnificent teacher (and unpleasant reflection) that feisty little sandpiper turned out to be. Since then, whenever I catch myself being more concerned with what someone else is doing rather than focusing on what I need to do, I picture that puffed-up little guy charging at his “enemies” but barely enjoying breakfast. Hopefully, this image will make me laugh and help me bring the focus back to where it belongs.

Do you often find yourself being like that relentless sandpiper? It would be my great honor to help you put the focus back on you and return to peace with a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. For more information about both, please visit JohnHaroldMoore.com. You can also schedule a session or purchase a gift certificate for a loved one by visiting my website or by sending me an email

Until next time, I encourage you to focus on what’s yours to do and let the other sandpipers do their own thing. 

He who would not forgive must judge, for he must justify his failure to forgive.

A Course in Miracles ~ W.pII.1.4:4

The Hardest Person to Forgive

Who is the hardest person to forgive? It’s probably not that politician that makes your blood boil or that person you feel betrayed you years ago. For most of us, the hardest person to forgive is ourself. This past weekend I had an opportunity to practice. 

On Saturday, a dear friend and her family drove up from Naples to have dinner with me in Sarasota. Her 4-year-old son was extremely well-behaved on the drive up and at dinner, so we decided to get a treat before they headed home. Okay, maybe the adults were just looking for an excuse to get gelato. Suddenly, the skies opened up and released buckets of rain as we drove across the Ringling Bridge to St. Armands Circle where my favorite gelato shop is located. Mother Nature was not going to make our quest for dessert easy, but we were willing to persevere and wait for the storm to pass.

Eventually, the rain let up, and my friend found a parking spot in a public lot around the corner from the gelato shop. Since I already had the parking app on my phone, I said I would be happy to pay for our parking. The rain continued to fall lightly, so we huddled under her umbrella as I added her license plate to my account. I paid for an hour using the location code on the sign directly in front of her parking spot. Once it was confirmed, off we went for gelato.

By the time we finished our tasty frozen treats, the rain had all but stopped, so we took a brief stroll around the shops of St. Armands Circle. We had just arrived at a candy store when I noticed that our parking was about to expire. Rather than risk a parking ticket, I used the app to extend our time in the parking lot. That’s one of the best features of those parking apps. Having been extremely mindful to avoid a parking ticket, imagine my shock when we discovered one on the windshield when we returned to the car! How could that be? I added money to cover the extra time!

My heart sank when I looked closely at my receipt on the app. I had typed a “4” instead of a “3” when entering her license plate number. I slightly misplaced tap of my finger caused a $63 expense. I was so mad at myself for not double-checking the license plate number before I hit “Start Parking.” I did not want this unfortunate incident to spoil our fun evening so I did my best to put it out of my mind. There was nothing I could do about it now, but I would certainly try to correct my mistake later.

Before they left, I took a photo of the citation and told my friend I would take care of it since it was my mistake. As soon as I got home, I went to the parking website to file an appeal. I wish I could tell you that once I explained what happened and provided evidence with the screenshot of my receipt, they waived the ticket. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. After a few email exchanges and a phone call, I learned that the parking lot was not connected to the parking app. Even though the back of that sign was directly in front of the space where my friend parked her car, it was not associated with the parking lot. Apparently, we were supposed to pay somewhere else.

True, I could probably make a case for why the ticket should be waived and continue fighting, but is it worth it? I had already spent quite a bit of time and energy on it. My friend is also a teacher and student of A Course in Miracles, and we both agreed we would rather just pay the ticket and return to peace more quickly. If we paid it within 4 days, they would reduce the fee to $43. We agreed to split the cost, so I consider it a $21.50 lesson. 

What lesson, you might ask? Well, there are a few. On a practical level, I won’t make the same mistake if I ever park in that parking lot again. However, after this experience, I don’t think I will. More importantly, I realized I was beating myself up for hitting the wrong number on my phone when even if I had typed in the correct number, we still would have received a parking ticket. All those unforgiving thoughts were a waste of time. According to the Course, that’s always true of unforgiving thoughts. I could have used that time to think loving thoughts instead, and I surely would have felt better. 

Here’s something else to ponder. What if the roles were reversed and my friend had been the one who entered the wrong license plate number? Would I have said to her some of the things I was saying to myself in my mind? Certainly not! I would have been much more kind knowing it truly was not a big deal. To me, this is the most important lesson. The next time you make a mistake that feels stupid or unforgivable, can you treat yourself with as much kindness as you would treat a dear friend who made the same mistake? I’m going to do my best to remember that in the future. 

If you would like some assistance in forgiving yourself, it would be my great honor to help you see things from a kinder, broader perspective with a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Both can help you release unloving thoughts and replace them with peaceful ones. Look around my website for more information and to book a session. Send me an email if you have questions or would like to schedule a 15-minute introductory Zoom call to see which type of session would be best for you. 

Until next time, please be gentle with yourself…

Fear binds the world. Forgiveness sets it free.

A Course in Miracles ~ W-332

Forgiveness Sets Me Free

It’s no secret that I love the spiritual document known as A Course in Miracles. One of its foundational principles is forgiveness, and it has indeed set me free from many painful experiences. The Course frames the concept of forgiveness in similar yet very different ways from other spiritual traditions. It would be impossible to fully explain the nuances here, but if you are curious, please join one of our weekly online A Course in Miracles Study Groups! One aspect of the Course’s version of forgiveness is described in the passage below from Chapter 27 in the text:  

Dream of your brother’s kindnesses instead of dwelling in your dreams on his mistakes. Select his thoughtfulness to dream about instead of counting up the hurts he gave. Forgive him his illusions, and give thanks to him for all the helpfulness he gave. And do not brush aside his many gifts because he is not perfect in your dreams. T-27.VII.15:3-6

As with many of the concepts in the Course, it’s simple but not always easy. If there is a great deal of trauma around an incident or something occurred very recently, it may not be possible to think about the kindnesses of the person or persons we believe harmed us. And that’s okay. Healing is a process that can only begin when the time is right. You will know when that time comes when you think or say something like “there has to be a better way” or “I don’t want to feel like this anymore.”

When you are ready, that passage is inviting us to stop thinking about and retelling the story of the terrible thing that someone did or did not do. Instead, call to mind something kind they once did or some good quality about this person, no matter how small. When we shift our focus and release the unforgiving thoughts, we are the ones who feel better. 

Perhaps you have heard some version of the quote: “Holding on to resentments is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.” We know poison doesn’t work that way. Like poison, my resentments and judgments only harm me. I will not be able to experience peace as long as I hold onto unforgiving thoughts. 

This doesn’t mean I condone harmful actions or suggest you let others abuse or take advantage of you. If you are in a situation where you are being harmed in any way, please make the most loving choice for yourself and leave that situation as soon as possible. If you find yourself in a situation where you are the one causing harm, I encourage you to seek professional help or spiritual counsel so you can uncover and release your own pain.

Why am I sharing all this in my email this week? Like many of you, I was shocked by the incident that happened between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Academy Awards Ceremony on Sunday night. It has been the topic of much discussion this week, and there are a lot of different opinions and viewpoints out there. I’m assuming you have access to the internet if you’re reading this so you know what happened. If not, you might be better off keeping it that way. 

Personally, I do not think violence is ever an appropriate or beneficial choice when dealing with conflict. I also believe making jokes at another person’s expense is not kind. A Course in Miracles teaches that attack thoughts, whether we act on them or not, are always harmful. And when we express them with words or fists, they never produce loving, harmonious, or peaceful results. Though in the grand scheme of things it was a minor incident, the ripples of disharmony and pain from that small act extended well beyond the walls of the Dolby Theatre and out into the world. I trust the conversations that are happening will be learning opportunities for us all. 

Like many, I was very upset by what I saw, but I have learned that it is not for me to judge who is right, who is wrong, or what “should” have happened. No matter what the situation, my job is always to forgive and extend love. I’m so grateful to have remembered the above passage from  A Course in Miracles. It helped me remember the time that Will Smith appeared on The Ellen Degeneres Show in 2019 to surprise and commend two high school football players for making the loving choice to stop bullying a classmate and collect new clothes for him instead. You can watch the whole story about the high school students by clicking this link.

It may seem ironic to hear Will Smith’s words to the boys now, but I choose to believe this is the true version of him. It’s indicative of “the man he wants to be” as he wrote in his apology to Chris Rock on Instagram. Again, I do not condone his actions on that night. However, I know there have been plenty of times when I acted from ego and made choices that I’m not proud of. I pray when it happens again (and it inevitably will!) that I’m not on live TV in front of millions of people. May we all hold our judgment of right and wrong for just a moment and extend love to everyone that has been affected by this incident. And while we are at it, let’s do the same for anyone who is currently experiencing pain, suffering, anger, or fear anywhere in the world.

Family Constellations and Spiritual Coaching based on A Course in Miracles are both excellent ways to help you free yourself from the past and move forward with clarity and grace. If you would like to experience more peace and harmony in your life, please look around my website to book a session or get more information. 

The next online Family Constellations Workshop is happening next Saturday, April 9 from 2-5 PM Eastern. We will be “Releasing Patterns Under the Full Moon” to prepare you for your own Full Moon Release Ceremony the following weekend. There are only a few spaces left, so click this link to purchase your ticket today.  

This week, if you’re ready, I encourage you to try releasing a hurt and remember a kindness, even if it’s a tiny one. That small act will be a big step toward your freedom! 

A Dream of Forgiveness

Have you ever had one of those dreams that is undeniably your unconscious mind working out some stuff while you sleep? I had one of those last weekend. In the dream, my mom was still alive and she was quite inebriated. If you know my story, you know this would not be unusual for my mother. However, I seemed to be reliving the moment when I discovered she had fallen off the wagon after a long stretch of sobriety shortly after moving to Florida. Both then and in the dream, I was devastated. In the dream, I could feel my frustration and anger building as I shared the upsetting news with my brother.

As happens in dreams, time was not linear. Suddenly, I was watching various moments throughout the last years of my mother’s life. Specifically, times when I lost my patience and said or did things that were not kind were on display. Reliving these events all at once caused an overwhelming wave of guilt and remorse to wash over me. In the dream, I began to sob profusely. My pillow wasn’t soaked when I woke up, but it would not have surprised me if it had been. Those emotions felt very real.

My mother has been gone for almost 11 years now. I’ve done a lot of inner work since then, but I know that dream helped me release yet another layer of sadness and guilt that had been lurking in my unconscious mind. There are always more layers of that onion to peel. I’m grateful to A Course in Miracles and Family Constellations for helping me understand that I did the best I could with what I knew back then. If I want to experience more peace, love, and joy in my life, I need to let go of the guilt and forgive myself for the past, knowing I would do things differently today.

Is there something you are having a hard time forgiving yourself for? Maybe it’s too painful to process in your waking hours. It might be helpful to ask your higher self, guardian angels, or loved ones in Spirit to watch over you at night and help you release anything that no longer serves while you sleep. When you’re ready to try it during waking hours, please reach out for assistance. I would be honored to walk with you on your healing journey with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a Private Family Constellations Session. Both are excellent ways to give the forgiveness process a boost. Look around my website for more information and to book a session

May a host of heavenly angels lift any heavy thoughts up to the clouds tonight while you sleep peacefully. 

All your time is spent in dreaming. Your sleeping and your waking dreams have different forms, and that is all. 

A Course in Miracles ~ T-18.II.5:12-13

Release with Love

Long-time readers of my weekly stories will not be surprised by the news I am about to share. I moved back to Florida this week! After 3 years of living in Houston, Texas, I heeded the call to return to the place that feels like home. Houston is a wonderful city with much to offer, it just wasn’t a good fit for me. My preference is to live in a much smaller city with a tropical climate near the ocean. During the 25 years I lived in Florida before moving to Texas, I would often remind myself, “I’m not on vacation, I live here!” And now with a smile in my heart, I can say that again with even deeper gratitude.

Before I drove east, I had the opportunity to practice what I preach and do something I often recommend to my Family Constellations clients. The night I officially made the decision to leave Texas, I went to my rooftop deck to get some fresh air and look out over the Houston skyline. As I stared at its twinkling lights against a gray, cloudy background, it occurred to me that the two of us needed to have a conversation. To be fair, I did most of the talking. I stood up, faced the city with my hands in prayer position, and said these words:

“Dear Houston. We have had an interesting 3 years together. You have been overwhelming at times. I have gotten lost in your streets and trapped in your traffic. Yes, in moments of sheer frustration, I have even cursed you! And I have also been richly blessed by you. I have met incredible people and made lifelong friends. I have experienced moments of joy and sorrow. I have received excellent health care from your skilled medical professionals. I have helped heal many hearts in Houston with Family Constellations and A Course in Miracles which has helped heal my heart in return. Houston, you have been a significant part of my journey and I am grateful for all of it. And now I release you with love.”

Then I bowed deeply and slowly to downtown Houston to show my respect and gratitude. When I stood up, I felt a shift in my body, as if some heaviness were being lifted up and out of my being. While this was happening I took a deep breath to help integrate this new feeling of lightness. It surprised me how viscerally I felt this in my body. That feeling of lightness has stayed with me. Once I released Houston with love and appreciation, I was free to turn around and walk away with my focus on what lies ahead, not on what has passed. 

This powerful practice can be adapted to any situation or experience that is coming to an end: a job, a relationship, an illness, an old way of being. Simply choose an object or person to represent that which is complete and express whatever is in your heart making sure to acknowledge the blessings and the challenges. Complete the ritual by bowing slowly to the representative. By releasing it with love, you are honoring the part it played in your life, thus dissolving any sticky chords that keep you stuck in the past and unable to turn around and move toward the future. I often compare this inability to walking backward through a room full of furniture. You can do it, but you will likely trip over chairs and bump into tables because your attention is on what is behind you, not what is in front of you.

To all the wonderful people in Houston who welcomed me so warmly into your community and your hearts, I say thank you! It was a gift to share this time with you. Since the pandemic, the majority of my work is now online so we can stay connected through my weekly A Course in Miracles study groups, monthly Virtual Family Constellations Sessions, and right here in this weekly email. My apologies if I didn’t get to say farewell in person. Please know that you will always have a place in my heart.

Speaking of virtual workshops, I will be facilitating a special online event on Saturday, June 19, the day before Father’s Day, where we will be “Exploring the Role of Dad with Family Constellations.” Half the tickets have already been sold so if this sounds like something you’d like to experience, purchase your ticket soon! 

Later in July, I will be facilitating another special online event where we will “Declare Our Independence from Addiction with Family Constellations.” Addiction is an insidious thread woven into many family systems, including my own. I will share what I’ve learned from personal experience with people suffering from addictions and what I’ve seen during 8 years of facilitating this work. My goal is to shed some light on this dark disruptor and put it in its proper place. I have not selected a date for this one yet, so watch future emails or check the calendar page on my website. As always, if you’d like more information about these events, scheduling a one-on-one session, or my Life Coaching programs based on A Course in Miracles, simply send me an email or look around my website

Until next time, may you find meaningful ways to release things from your past with love and make room for the blessings that await you!

Put yourself not in charge of this, for you cannot distinguish between advance and retreat. Some of your greatest advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-18.V.1:5-6

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