Peace in the Darkness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A tranquil mind is not a little gift.

A Course in Miracles ~ M-20.4:8

Ushering in 2024 with Peace and Whales

Do you have your “word” for 2024? Last year, “Grace” danced into my awareness while observing the flowing and seemingly effortless movements of a dancer at a New Year’s Eve event. I wrote about it in my blog titled “Moving into 2023 Gracefully.” At the time, I had no idea how much grace I would receive in the following months. It truly was the perfect touchstone word to help me through all the unexpected twists and turns of 2023.

If you are not familiar with this practice, your word for the year is not usually one you actively choose. It finds its way to you in moments of stillness and contemplation. But you don’t have to be sitting in the lotus position on a meditation cushion to receive a word. It could pop out at you while listening to a song in the car on the way to the grocery store. Perhaps a word on a billboard or a bumper sticker will speak to you. There’s no right or wrong way to receive your word. 

Many of you already practice this, but if it is new to you and it strikes a chord, simply open your heart and mind to receive a word in whatever way it wants to arrive. There are just two guidelines that I recommend. Don’t force it, and don’t judge or resist a word if it doesn’t seem to make sense in the moment. It’s often in hindsight that the word reveals its significance and relevance, as it did in my case last year. The word may have a completely different meaning than your first instinct.

This year, I really wanted to be around other humans on New Year’s Eve. Alas, it was not meant to be. I’m not much of a planner, so by the time I started asking local friends how they would ring in the new year, I discovered all of them were staying home. I surrendered to the fact that I’d be staying home, too, which turned out to be a blessing.

Instead of being around other humans, I spent New Year’s Eve with Greek gods, goddesses, and monsters while watching Percy Jackson and the Olympians on Disney+. There’s a good reason for the buzz it’s getting. It’s a very fun show!

In the middle of episode 2, I got a nudge to set down my iPad and check the time. There were just 7 minutes left in 2023. Outside, the fireworks had been exploding relentlessly since about 7 PM. They weren’t bothering me that much, but I decided to pop in my AirPods to drown out the sound and listen to one of my favorite meditation tracks, “Song of the Deep” by Kamal. That felt like a nice way to spend the last moments of 2023.

Interestingly enough, that track is just over 7 minutes, so the humpback whales ushered me into 2024 with their beautiful calls set to soft, graceful melodies. When I imagine these gentle giants elegantly moving through the water and diving into the depths of the ocean, it always gives me a deep sense of peace. I love this metaphor. No matter what storms are raging on the surface, when we dive deep, it is calm.

Suddenly I knew my word for 2024…Peace. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that before Percy Jackson, I watched a video on YouTube by Jacob Glass, a fellow A Course in Miracles student. He was talking about one of the Course’s core teachings in Lesson 185. To say you want peace is nothing, but to mean it is everything.

I am grateful to Jacob Glass and the humpback whales for revealing my word for the year. I truly want Peace and I am going to do my best to choose it in every moment! Like Grace, I look forward to all the miraculous ways Peace will guide and support me in 2024.

Would you like to experience more Peace this year? I would be honored to assist you in that endeavor with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can help you see things differently while giving you tools to navigate those storms when they arise. For more information or to book a session, please look around my website. I look forward to exploring the depths with you where peace is always present. 

Until next time, keep doing your best to choose peace!

Accept the holy instant as this year is born, and take your place, so long left unfulfilled, in the Great Awakening. Make this year different by making it all the same.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-15.XI.10:10-11

Harmony’s New Shoes

I started writing about something else this week, but then I experienced a little holiday miracle that really wanted to be shared. I hope it opens your mind to the possibility that there are more holiday miracles wanting to happen through you, too!

Harmony is the name I gave my Honda HRV when I leased her in January 2018. Let’s just say my experience was not very harmonious at the dealership, so I purposely chose a name that would help shift that energy. Well, it must have worked because 6 years later we are still together. But after driving her for 49,000 miles, it was time to get her some new shoes.

During my last oil change, the service adviser at the local Honda dealer told me my car would definitely need new tires the next time I came in. He did some quick calculations to give me an idea of what it would cost. My jaw dropped when he showed me the number on his calculator. The amount was over $1,000! That number has been looming in my mind ever since. 

My friend’s sweet husband did some research for me when I shared with her the outrageous price he quoted. He found some much better deals online at a tire store not far from my apartment. Coincidentally, the tire store he found was right next to the supermarket where I shop, so I had already been thinking that’s where I would go when it was time. 

Before another drive across the state to see my sister and her family for Christmas, it felt wise to get those new shoes for Harmony. I went to that tire store’s website, selected a relatively affordable set of tires, and scheduled an appointment for the next morning. That first step went rather smoothly.

During my morning meditation the next day, I imagined sending love and peaceful energy to the tire store filling it with light before I arrived. An hour later, when I walked in, there was just one customer before me. When the service adviser finished with him, he told me his co-worker would be right with me. Darn! He seemed nice. I was hoping he would help me. 

A moment later, his co-worker walked in from the work area and asked if he could help me at the next counter. I told him I had made an appointment online, which he found quickly on his computer. Without saying many words, he used the hunt-and-peck method on his keyboard to enter my address before going out to my car to record the mileage. When he returned, still mostly silent, I got a nudge to ask him if I was eligible for any rebates or perhaps a “Merry Christmas Gift” of $50 off. Without skipping a beat or looking away from his computer screen, he replied, ”Sure. I’ll give you $50 off.” 

At first, I wasn’t sure I heard him correctly, but I decided not to question it. I would trust the process and see what appeared on the final bill. In just over an hour, the mechanics gave Harmony four new “Blackhawk” tires before lowering her to the ground. When I approached the counter to pay, the same man of few words presented me the bill. He had indeed taken an additional $50 off. In fact, the final bill was less than half of what the Honda dealer quoted and also less than the price my friend’s husband found. It was a Christmas miracle! 

By the way, you may recall the “Angel To-Do” list I wrote about last week. Purchasing new tires with ease and grace was on that list. After months of putting it off, the angels took care of it in just a few weeks. Yes, I had to do my part. But it went more smoothly, quickly, and for less money than I had imagined possible. Thank you, angels! 

I’d like to share one last fun detail. I have no idea if “Blackhawk” is a good brand of tires, but I love the name. Longtime readers of my weekly stories know I am always looking for signs. In Native American teachings, Hawk is a messenger. Hawk invites us to pay attention to our surroundings because life is always sending us signals.

You know who else are considered to be messengers? Angels! I like to think “Blackhawk” was yet another wink from them to remind me that they are on the job. I look forward to seeing how they handle the rest of that list in 2024 and beyond! 

Are you in the middle of a challenging time? It would be my great honor to assist you through it with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can help unlock old patterns that no longer serve, thus allowing more peace and joy to flow into your life. There’s no better time to give yourself a gift than right now. Sessions can be done from anywhere in the world thanks to the Internet. For more information or to book a session, please look around my website. I would love to share the gifts I have received with you!

As we bring this year to a close, I invite you to look for signs wherever you go. They show up in unexpected ways, and they sure make life more interesting and joyful!

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

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

When a Glass of Water Meets a Laptop

Recently, I shared how “grace” revealed itself to me as my word for 2023. It has already proven to be a powerful companion in the first weeks of January. The fact that I am able to type these words on my laptop is a demonstration of grace’s presence. Why, you may ask? Well, there was an unfortunate incident involving a glass of water. And before you try to discern  whether I’m a pessimist or an optimist, the glass was neither half full nor half empty. It was completely full! 

While working on my computer one afternoon last week, my prayer partner phoned for a New Year’s check-in and intention-setting call. Just a few minutes into our call, I very ungracefully bumped the glass sitting on my desk and sent the entire 16 ounces of water onto my keyboard. Surprisingly, just a mild yelp came out of my mouth before I told my friend what had happened. 

We continued our conversation as I grabbed a dish towel to soak up the water on the computer before powering it down. As we chatted, I removed the wet items from my desk and finished mopping up the remaining water with the towel. Because we had such a lovely prayer call, I didn’t think much more about the incident before rushing out the door to meet friends for dinner. 

When I returned home later that evening, I decided to power up my laptop and answer a few emails. To my surprise and slight horror, nothing happened when I pushed the power button. I held it down for another 30 seconds. No response. That’s when I knew the seemingly insignificant incident from earlier that day was not so insignificant.

I know it was my conscious decision to move through 2023 with grace that prevented me from panicking. After a deep breath, I asked Spirit to guide me on who to contact. Who would know what to do in this situation? The answer I received was not a who but a what. Of course! The Internet would know what to do when a glass of water meets a laptop!

I typed the question into the Chrome search field on my iPhone and an answer popped right up. The first thing it said to do was power down the computer immediately. Wow! That must have been more grace because that is exactly what I did when the spill first happened. Next, it said to remove the battery if possible, but skip this step if the battery is built into the machine. Mine is built-in, so I went to the next step. Open the laptop and place it like an upside-down “V” on a tabletop. This allows any remaining water to drip out of the keyboard. Let it air dry like this for 24 hours. (FYI- No hair dryers. No leaving it out in the sun. These methods can cause damage to the delicate circuitry.)

What followed was the most challenging step. Wait and trust. I will admit that night I didn’t sleep well. The possibility of a large, unexpected expense haunted my dreamtime. Almost every aspect of my job requires a computer. Not having one is really not an option. I knew the day was coming when I would need to invest in a new laptop, but I was not prepared for it to be that day!

The next morning, I considered skipping yoga and taking my laptop to the Genius Bar at my local Apple Store to have them look at it. I had shared my predicament with my sister who  recommended I make an appointment rather than just show up at the store. When I got online, I discovered that the next available appointment was 3 days away. I scheduled an appointment, but I knew I would need a computer before then. 

As I pondered what might be an all-day visit to the Apple store, I remembered my word “grace” and that woman dancing on New Year’s Eve. How could I handle this situation with ease and grace? I asked Spirit to help me see this situation differently. The immediate answer I received was, “Do you really think I would leave you comfortless and without the resources to do your work? Stop worrying. Everything is going to work out.”

A wave of peace washed over me. Of course, this was true. In my experience, there has always been a solution to every problem. When I get out of the way and stop trying to figure it out, a way forward is revealed. Why would this be any different? 

Knowing yoga would help me stay in that peaceful state, I rolled out my mat and started my practice. Not only would this help me stay calm, but it would also give my laptop more time to air dry!

After a delicious 2-hour practice and post-yoga meditation, I summoned the courage to flip my laptop right side up and touch the power button. After a slight delay, the familiar Macintosh “BING” chimed and the Apple logo appeared on my screen. It was the happiest sound I have heard in a long time!

As A Course in Miracles teaches, the miracle is not that my laptop was not damaged, although I am extremely grateful for that. The miracle happened when peace returned after I asked for help in seeing the situation differently. I knew that no matter what happened, somehow some way, it would be okay. What a blessing to be able to walk through that experience with grace.

I would be honored to assist you in walking through any challenging situation, large or small, with grace. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information about Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. With the help of Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime, we can meet virtually no matter where you are in the world. Book a session now with my automated scheduler. 

Join me for a virtual workshop on Saturday, January 28 as we “Welcome the New Year with Family Constellations.” Click here for more information and to purchase a ticket. 

Until next time, may you feel the presence of peace and grace in every moment…

Love surrounds you, and of this be sure; that I will never leave you comfortless. 

A Course in Miracles ~ W.ep.6:8

Moving into 2023 Gracefully

My word for 2023 danced right into my awareness on New Year’s Eve. Many of you are familiar with the tradition of picking a word that will be your touchstone and guiding light for the year. In years past, I have received this word at a White Stone Ceremony, a meditative service held during the first week of January at most Unity Churches. With soft music and moments of quiet contemplation, participants are invited to open their hearts and minds and simply allow a word to drop in. I had planned to attend the White Stone Ceremony on New Year’s Day at Unity of Sarasota, but this year my word arrived early. 

A new friend hosts and DJs an Ecstatic Dance every Saturday evening at a dance studio just a few miles from my home. It’s similar to going to a disco, but there’s no bar or alcohol. Just music and a dance floor. Colored lights placed around the perimeter of the dance floor provide illumination for the dancers. My friend, DJ Kat, plays mostly instrumental songs with different flavors of musical genres to take a small group of us on a musical journey. She starts gently with soft, soothing melodies and then gradually builds to faster songs with a tribal beat. After a series of energetic tracks, she brings the energy back down slowly, closing with gentle meditative songs. 

Dancers are encouraged to move however they feel comfortable, whether that’s sitting on the floor in a corner swaying back and forth, standing up waving their arms in the air, or leaping across the room. As long as everyone remains mindful of the other participants and respects their space, you are free to dance as the music moves you. It’s a very liberating experience to do as the well-known quote invites us to do, “Dance as if no one is watching”…even though you are among a small group of strangers.

My friend’s dances are usually 90 minutes long, but this was an extended New Year’s Eve session from 7-10 PM. For the record, it has been a long time since I have danced for 3 consecutive hours! In 2001, that was a typical Saturday night on South Beach, but that was over 20 years ago! I love to dance, and part of me misses those days, so I wanted to take advantage of this special opportunity. By pacing myself and taking 2-minute breaks a few times, I was able to hang in there for the whole thing. I’m so glad I did because it was during the last song of the evening that I received my word. 

Most of the dancers had surrendered to rest on the floor by 9:45, myself included. I continued to stretch and sway to the beat as DJ Kat wound down the music for the night. However, there was one woman who remained upright and dancing. Somehow I hadn’t noticed her before. While most of the participants wore yoga pants and t-shirts for ease of movement, this woman wore a beautiful flowing sapphire blue dress. I’m probably dating myself here, but the style reminded me of the dresses worn by the muses in the 1980 film Xanadu. (If that reference means nothing to you, click here to watch a video of the film’s opening musical number where the muses come alive.)

Something about the way she moved was soothing and hypnotic. None of her gestures were extreme or demanded attention. She subtly shifted her body weight from one foot to the other as her arms glided ever so slightly from front to back at her sides. It appeared as if the music was moving her like water currents would cause a blade of seagrass to sway at the bottom of the ocean. I marveled at how effortless she made it look as she continued to dance until the very last notes faded into silence. 

As I watched from a few feet away, it struck me that this woman was the picture of grace. Not only were her moves graceful, but the energy she exuded was full of peace. There was no sign of struggle or striving on her face. She seemed to be content to be exactly where she was doing exactly what she was doing in that moment. I wondered if I could move into and through the New Year with this same energy. With grace, I could. That’s when I knew my word for 2023. 

Grace is a powerful word. It is a quality that allows a dancer to beautifully move across a stage while making it look easy. I also understand it to be a benevolent energy from the Divine that we need do nothing to earn. It is given abundantly because we are worthy, whether we believe we are or not. As I look back on my life, I can see the presence of grace numerous times. In dark times when I couldn’t see a way forward, grace entered to illuminate a path I could not have imagined. I bet if you take a moment to ponder some of the hard times in your life, you will see that grace was there for you too, even if you were not aware of it at the time. 

Inspired by that sapphire muse, I am consciously choosing to allow more grace to move and work through me in 2023 and beyond. Whenever things get challenging and fear creeps in, I will picture her and do my best to be at peace no matter what appears to be happening. Fear blocks Divine Guidance. When I invite the quality of grace into my experience, miracles happen and love is revealed.

Since then, the word has shown up a few more times just to make sure I don’t miss it. Fellow A Course in Miracles student, Jacob Glass, writes in his article in the January 2023 edition of The Holy Encounter Magazine:

“Grace is my jam. Everything good in my life has come by Grace and not by my doing or scheming or fixing or planning.”

Yes! Grace is my jam too! We are only in the first week of 2023, and I have already seen the hand of grace open some unexpected doors for me. If you haven’t done so yet, I encourage you to carve out some time to be still and ask for your word for 2023. You might be surprised by the word you receive. In my experience, whatever it is will be perfect. And if it speaks to you, I’m happy to share my word. There’s plenty of grace to go around!

If I can assist you in experiencing more peace and contentment in the New Year, please don’t hesitate to schedule a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. You can book a session and find more information about both on my website. If you have questions, click here to send me a message

Until next time, may you remember that grace is freely given and is available to you in every moment.

By grace I live. By grace I am released.

By grace I give. By grace I will release.

A Course in Miracles ~ W-169.15:3-6

When a Wrong Turn is a Right Turn

An interesting thing happened during a conversation with a friend this week. We were catching up and having a milkshake outside Becks Prime Restaurant on Kirby Drive when a white plastic bag floated down from the sky and landed on the table right between us. I believe I had just finished saying something like, “I’m waiting for a sign or guidance on what my next steps should be.” Seconds later the bag arrived. I laughed and said, “This must be my sign!” Printed on the bag was the name of a restaurant two blocks away called Grace’s. It felt like Spirit reminding me that grace is everywhere and given freely including the situation we were discussing. I don’t have to beg or plead with the Universe. My job is to make it welcome, not make it happen. What a magical and timely message!

What makes this event even more interesting is the back story. You see, we picked the place and time for this milkshake rendezvous weeks ago, but then I had to postpone it by a day which my friend graciously accommodated. Here’s the embarrassing part. Becks Prime has three locations in Houston. Even though I’m the one that suggested we meet at the one on Kirby, I drove to the wrong location! As soon as I pulled into the parking lot and didn’t see my friend’s car I realized my mistake. Sheepishly, I called to tell him what happened and asked if he still had time to meet. I knew it would take a while for me to get to the correct location in rush hour traffic. He said he had time, so I hopped back in my car and headed that way.

During the drive, I grumbled to myself for not being more mindful. My error meant that much of our time together would be lost while I sat in traffic. My inner critic (aka the ego) was having a field day with this situation. Luckily, the friend I was meeting is also a student of A Course in Miracles, so I knew he would forgive me. More importantly, I knew I had to forgive myself. I did my best to surrender to the situation and listen to the voice of love which reminded me that all was well despite outward appearances. When I arrived 45 minutes later we had a good laugh at my silly mistake and then left it behind to enjoy a delightful conversation and a delicious milkshake.

Later, when I reflected on the situation, the perfection of it all became crystal clear. Had we met at the other location, we would not have been near Grace’s Restaurant. Had I driven to the correct location in the first place, we probably would not have been sitting there when the bag landed on the table. Either way, I would have missed that important message from Spirit. As frustrating as it was, it turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to release self-judgment and forgive myself. And isn’t that grace?

Are you having a difficult time forgiving yourself or someone else? I would be honored to offer you the gift of grace with a series of Life Coaching Sessions. In our weekly 60-minute telephone or Zoom sessions, we will discuss ways to see things from a different perspective. I will also provide tools to help you release anxiety, judgment, and fear. If you are ready to experience more peace in your life, please visit my website or send me an email for more information and to book a session.

Until next time, may the gift of grace arrive in unexpected and magical ways…

Spirit is in a state of grace forever. Your reality is only spirit. Therefore you are in a state of grace forever.

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

The Gift of Grace

Some weeks I know exactly what I’m going to write about in this letter. Other weeks the topic eludes me until the last moment. This week was the latter. I do my best to share things that truly touch my heart, events which demonstrate that “miracles are natural. When they do not occur something has gone wrong.” That is miracle principle number 6 from A Course in Miracles. I love finding evidence that this principle is true.

Just last night I had a wonderful Family Constellations session via Skype with a new client. She was a delight to work with, and I felt the powerful release and shift in energy when the love that had been blocked started flowing again. Before we ended the call, she asked if she could say a prayer for me. This has never happened before, but since we had just finished talking about how important it is to receive as well as give, it felt appropriate to accept. Her prayer was so full of loving words and gratitude it brought tears to my eyes. I sat in front of my computer with my hands on my heart simply taking it all in. When she was finished, I told her how much her prayer moved me and thanked her again before ending the call.

After that I sat in silence for a few moments. I needed time to absorb what had just happened. It was very humbling. I felt immense gratitude to Spirit for using me in this way to facilitate healing and miracles. I can think of no greater honor. It shouldn’t surprise me that the next morning I read this in my daily lesson from the Course:

A miracle contains the gift of grace, for it is given and received as one.

I am grateful for the gift of grace from every single person I have ever worked with, including all of you who read my weekly stories. Without you, I wouldn’t have this opportunity to do what I love. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You are a blessing in my life.

There are more opportunities to experience the gift of grace either in person, by telephone, or online. We have three more online classes where you can “Create Miracles” with us every Sunday at 7PM Eastern / 4PM Pacific from the comfort of your own home. No worries if you missed the first two classes. You can catch up with the recordings or just take an individual class if you like. Visit the Miracles page on my website for more information and to register.

You can also join me for an upcoming Family Constellations workshop or schedule a private session. Family Constellations is a powerful tool to help you discover what may be blocking the love, health, or abundance from flowing into your life. I also offer four, six, and eight week Life Coaching programs to help you get past whatever might be trying to take away your peace in this moment. Please look around my website for more information about all of these opportunities.

Until next time, may the gift of grace make itself known to you in all areas of your life.

Grace is Everywhere!

This past weekend I took a trip to Orlando. One of the things I wanted to do was visit the Pulse Nightclub where the tragic shooting happened earlier this summer. My intention was to sprinkle rose quartz crystals all around the perimeter to shift some of that fear energy to love. Rose quartz is said to hold the frequency of unconditional love and compassion. If any place could use some of that energy, it’s there. I planned to visit Lake Eola Park first, and then go to Pulse to begin my “medicine walk,” but the Universe had other ideas. Traffic was beginning to back up on I-4, so my iPhone suggested I take an earlier exit. All of a sudden I found myself at the intersection of Kaley and Orange Avenue, right next to the sign for Pulse. That was a pretty clear sign to me that the Universe wanted this to be my first stop in Orlando.

I found a place close by to park and made my way towards the club. As I began my ceremony to honor all those who lost their lives that Sunday morning, I glanced up to see the clouds forming what looked like a host of heavenly angels overhead. I smiled, held the first handful of stones to my heart, then tossed them into the mulch on the corner. As I made my way towards the front of the club, I was overwhelmed with feelings of sadness. The club was surrounded by a chain link fence covered in black material that many had decorated with pictures of loved ones, posters, signs, messages, flowers, and stuffed animals. Candles were strewn everywhere as mourners paid their respects to those that perished. I placed rose quartz among many of the offerings, read some of the messages, then continued my journey around the block.

It was a bright, sunny day in that quiet neighborhood. It seemed hard to believe such horror and chaos took place less than two months ago in that very location. I continued walking around the block tossing the little pink crystals in bushes, flower beds, and under trees as I went. I imagined people must have been hiding in some of those bushes that morning wondering what in the world was happening. When I reached the corner where I began, I paused to say a prayer to activate the stones, letting the power of love transform any energy that was not serving the greater good. Then I walked back to the make shift memorial in front of the club to spend a few more moments in stillness and prayer, allowing a few cleansing tears to roll down my cheek. It may seem silly to some, but this ritual felt like my part to help transform the ego’s nightmarish script of fear into Spirit’s vision of love.

My friend Carrie met me there a few minutes later, and we did the entire medicine walk around the perimeter again together. After that powerful yet heavy experience, a visit to beautiful Lake Eola Park felt like the perfect place to release some of that energy. Of the many places I lived during my eight years in Orlando, the apartment overlooking the magnificent fountain in the middle of Lake Eola was by far my favorite. As soon as we approached the lake, that fountain greeted me like an old friend, shooting water high in the sky as water cascaded over its green dome. I took a deep breath as two white swans swam gracefully in front of the fountain. It was wonderful to share that moment with Carrie who had never been to the park before.

We decided to take a leisurely stroll around the lake to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature as we processed the magnitude of what we just experienced. I had one final rose quartz stone to release. It was the one I held during the Reiki Healing Ceremony at Bridges of Wellness benefitting the families of those affected by the tragedy. The shiny, silver sculpture of birds taking flight from the lake seemed like the perfect place to toss the final stone. As we made our way to the red gazebo, we noticed several more swans resting under the trees just off the path. That’s when I remembered swans represent “grace” in Native American teachings. A white feather lay by one of the sleeping swans, so I thought I would quietly sneak around the shrubs to retrieve that feather as a nice remembrance of the afternoon. When I got to the other side of the shrubs I couldn’t believe my eyes. The grass was covered with hundreds of white swan feathers! Grace was everywhere! Thank you, Spirit. Message received.

Do you believe that grace is everywhere? Is it hard to see it from where you are now? I would be honored to help you recognize it through Life Coaching or Family Constellations. Both are powerful tools to help you see past the illusion of fear to the love on the other side. Please look around my website for more information about both, and to register in advance for an upcoming Family Constellations workshop.

Until next time, remember…when you choose love over fear, grace will appear.

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