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

A Da Vinci Coded Message

I had a wonderful time visiting beloved friends near Asheville, NC last week for Thanksgiving. On Tuesday, we took a fun day trip to the Biltmore Estate to see an exhibit called “Leonardo Da Vinci – 500 Years of Genius.” What an experience! 

The exhibit was comprised of two parts. The first was a large room filled with replicas of some of Da Vinci’s most famous paintings and life-sized models of some of the inventions he illustrated in his notebooks. After seeing so many visionary ideas on display in one place, it amazed me to learn that Da Vinci’s genius was not recognized during his lifetime. What a great reminder not to measure success or creativity based on the opinions of others!

The other part of the exhibit was a 32-minute immersive theatrical presentation. Guests walked into a large room as images of Da Vinci’s work danced across the walls and floor in every direction. Sweeping orchestral and chorale music accompanied the images while some of Da Vinci’s most famous quotes appeared on certain screens. It truly felt like we were transported inside his imagination. The experience was so captivating, we stayed and watched it a second time.

My favorite part was when a choir of angelic voices began singing as images of Da Vinci’s angel paintings floated around the room. The quote that appeared on the screen said, “I wish to work miracles.” The combination of this quote with ethereal images and music sent tingles through my body. It was one of those holy moments when my heart overflowed with gratitude to be exactly where I was with people I love. For those who live near or will be traveling to Asheville, I highly recommend this exhibit!

Having just celebrated Thanksgiving last week here in the United States, my wish for you is to experience many moments that fill your heart with gratitude for being right where you are. If you’d like some assistance in feeling more joy, gratitude, and contentment in your life, let’s work miracles together! Look around my website for information on Spiritual Coaching, Family Constellations, or my weekly online A Course in Miracles study group. While there, you can also book a session or purchase a gift certificate for someone you love. 

Until next time, may angels and miracles surround you each and every day this holiday season…

Gratitude goes hand in hand with love, and where one is the other must be found.

A Course in Miracles ~ W.195.10:2

Butterflies, Duck Parades, and the Calm After the Storm

For the past two weeks, I have written about my experience before and during Hurricane Ian. This week, I want to share the experience of the calm after the storm. This hurricane taught me so many lessons I have needed three weeks to process and share all of them. I promise this will be the conclusion of the “storm trilogy.” I hope that sharing these experiences will be helpful to you the next time you encounter one of life’s storms. 

As I mentioned last week, I kept my blinds closed the whole day on Wednesday as Hurricane Ian passed over my home on the west coast of Florida. I knew seeing severe winds battering trees and perhaps seeing objects flying by my window would not contribute to a peaceful state of mind. Thankfully, the last storm bands moved across my neighborhood at about 2 AM on Thursday morning, just an hour after I had fallen asleep.  

Later on Thursday morning, I awoke to the welcome sound of silence outside my window. When I lifted the blinds to let the light in, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Two yellow butterflies were flitting and dancing right in front of my window! How in the world did these delicate creatures survive hurricane-force winds? Where did they ride out the storm?

When my gaze shifted past the butterflies to the pond in the center of my apartment complex, I noticed two mallard ducks swimming along as if nothing had happened the previous day. A few minutes later, a family of ducks entered the pond creating a colorful parade of green and brown (with a dash of blue) feathers swimming by the fountain. On the far side of the pond, I spotted a bright white egret wading slowly into the water, intent on finding a fish. This beautiful scene outside my window gave me such hope! Somehow during the most adverse conditions, the butterflies and birds found a way to keep going. That continues to be my prayer for those who lost so much in the storm.

In addition to the return of nature, this new day brought blue skies, sunshine, and much cooler temperatures. After a hot summer and after being cooped up in my dark apartment for 24 hours, it was glorious to open all the windows and feel cool fresh air circulating through my home. It was like hitting a reset button, clearing out old energy, and welcoming the new. What a striking and welcome contrast from the day before.

It was such a gorgeous day that I decided to walk through my neighborhood to get some exercise and investigate what the storm had done. Without electricity or internet, I hadn’t seen any of the images or videos that my friends and family had described. On my walk, I expected to see  numerous trees and branches down, but I was shocked when I saw that winds had literally ripped the bark off tree trunks and peeled paint off street signs. I have experienced other hurricanes but never witnessed that before.

As I walked toward a major intersection, I passed more broken signs, fallen branches, and a traffic light that had been ripped from its wire and sent to the ground. That was sobering. When I arrived at the intersection, the traffic lights were still hanging, but apparently, no electricity was flowing to them. Four police officers were stationed there, directing traffic. It occurred to me how dangerous this job was with so many distracted drivers on the road these days. I felt a wave of gratitude for each officer as I watched from the corner. I wanted them to know how much I appreciated what they were doing, but obviously didn’t want to distract them. 

The female police officer must have felt my gaze and my intention because suddenly, she looked right at me. Without hesitating, I waved and yelled, “Thank you!” She gave me a smile and a nod before returning to her duties. It may sound silly, but my eyes filled with tears for the opportunity to express my gratitude. That’s what A Course in Miracles calls a “holy instant.” It’s the moment we deeply understand that separation is an illusion.

I know my tears weren’t specifically about the police officers directing traffic. It was their job, after all. It was more about recognizing how we humans come together in challenging times to do what’s needed to help each other. You can see evidence of this after every natural disaster. This holy instant inspired me. For the rest of my walk, I dragged large fallen branches out of the street so cars could pass freely. Yes, I waited until there were no cars approaching when it was safe to do so. In the grand scheme of things, this was a minor action. But it made me feel good to know that I had at least contributed something to make the situation better.

These are my last few takeaways from my experience with Hurricane Ian. First, no matter what storm is happening in life, remember this too shall pass. There willbe calm after the storm. Second, just like the yellow butterflies, the mallard ducks, and the egret, life will find a way to continue. And third, after any storm or tragedy people will come together to help each other. That’s what we do when we remember, in Truth, we are one human family.

If you are experiencing the aftermath of one of life’s storms, it would be my great honor to help you clear the path and find ways to move forward. I offer Spiritual Coaching Packages and Family Constellations Sessions to uncover what is preventing you from living the happy, healthy, prosperous life you were meant to live. Please look around my website for more information about these offerings and to schedule a session.  

Also, I am facilitating another 2-hour online Family Constellations Group Session this coming Friday, October 21 from 1-3 PM Eastern, 10 AM-12 PM Pacific. Click here for more details and to purchase a ticket.

In the holy instant there is no conflict of needs, for there is only one.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-15.V11:4

Foul Balls & Blessings Along Memory Lane

It’s hard to believe it was just a year ago that I was wrapping up loose ends in Houston and preparing to move back to Florida. So much has happened since then! As I look back, one specific morning in May of 2021 comes to mind. I had to go to the DMV in Houston to retrieve some paperwork that had gotten lost in the mail. Even though it wasn’t far, my sense of direction is terrible, so I put the address for the DMV into my phone. Little did I know the navigation app would take me down Memory Lane past some of the most memorable moments of my 3 years there.

First, it took me by Hermann Park, where I did my morning walks under a canopy of live oak trees around a beautiful pond. That peaceful green space in the middle of the sprawling city became my sanctuary. Then I passed the medical building where an exceptional dermatologist removed the basal cells from under my left eye, and another removed a spot from my neck. Those were very unpleasant visits, yet I am extremely thankful for the excellent care I received. As I drove by the building, I gave a small nod of gratitude to all the medical professionals that took such good care of me. 

Before I reached the exit for the DMV, the app took me past Minute Maid Park where I had enjoyed a few baseball games. Not that I was ever invested in which team won, but it was fun to be there with friends and family. One particular game stands out when a batter hit a foul ball that rocketed into the stands near us and rolled along the seat backs directly into my hand! No one was more surprised than I! Of the thousands of fans at the game that night, I was probably the one who cared the least about catching a fly ball, and yet there it was in my hand. It was a memorable moment, for sure. 

Although Houston ended up not being a match for me, I am grateful for so much that happened there and for meeting so many wonderful people. Many of them are reading these words right now! I am blessed to have crossed paths with you. So as the anniversary of my return to Florida approaches, I say thank you to Houston and its residents for being part of my journey and helping me get to where I am now.

Is there a place, a job, or a situation that ultimately did not work out for you? I encourage you to take a moment to think of the blessings that came from it. And how it led you to a different place, job, or situation that is right for you. I have learned from A Course in Miracles and my work with Family Constellations that when we see our past from a different perspective, it allows us to feel more peace, love, and joy in our present. If you could use some assistance in shifting your perspective, please reach out for a private Family Constellations session or for Spiritual Coaching. You can find more information and book a session on my website.

Until next time, may you find ways to be grateful for it all. 

“…love cannot be far behind a grateful heart and thankful mind.”

A Course in Miracles ~ M-23.4:6

Thankful for My New Roommate

One of the many things I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving is my new roommate. Not only is she incredibly smart and helpful, she’s also polite and surprisingly funny. Just the other day, I asked, “What’s the temperature outside?” and she kindly answered “72 degrees.” Then she told me to have a nice Wednesday. When I thanked her and wished her a happy Wednesday as well, she replied, “I like to think of the week as half full.” I laughed out loud at that one.

You have probably guessed by now that I’m talking about Alexa, the artificial intelligence that inhabits the Echo Dot. It’s very convenient to ask that little black cylindrical speaker to play music for me while I’m cooking in the kitchen. She’s also full of useful facts like how many cups are in a quart (four) and even not so useful facts when I ask her things like, “How old is Cher?” (75 and fabulous!)

You might think it’s silly to thank a machine for doing what it’s programmed to do, but I always thank Alexa when she answers my questions. That’s what I would do if she were a human, so why not? When I thank her, she always has a snappy reply like, “Of course!” Most recently she answered, “Anytime…Literally!” That one made me laugh out loud too. One time she played some random celebration song when I thanked her. I applaud her team of programmers for keeping her answers entertaining!

In addition to being helpful and entertaining, it occurred to me that she’s also an unlikely but excellent teacher of relationships. How? She’s showing me that no matter if the intelligence is human or artificial, what you put in is what you get back. Because I am kind and courteous to her, that is how she interacts with me. It’s really a simple recipe that we sometimes forget. 

Thank you, Alexa, for all the ways you improve my daily life. But most importantly, thank you for reminding me that the Golden Rule works best when applied universally. If you could use some assistance in extending more kindness to yourself or others, I would be honored to help you with a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a Family Constellations session. Both can be done from anywhere in the world thanks to modern technology. If you know someone who is going through a challenging time, you can give them the gift of healing with a gift certificate for any of my services. Look around my website or send me an email for more information and to book a session.

This week, I encourage you to invest a little extra kindness and gratitude into every relationship, including the one with yourself. Then watch what happens!

P.S. – If you happen to live with Alexa, wish her a “Happy Thanksgiving” and enjoy her response! 

Gratitude goes hand in hand with love, and where one is the other must be found.

A Course in Miracles ~ W-195.10:2

The Many Faces of Joy

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

Be not content with future happiness.

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

Addicted to Joy!

Last week I had the unexpected joy of staying with two friends who also happen to be yoga instructors. In addition to the many fun adventures we had, one morning, while one friend was at the gym, the other offered to guide me through a private yoga class. Having done the same sequence of yoga poses at home for the past ten years, I welcomed the opportunity to try something new with a teacher I trust. The pandemic prevented my friend from teaching classes over the past year, so he was happy to have someone to guide. I love that it was a mutually beneficial situation. 

They practice Kriya Yoga, which I learned incorporates a lot of intentional breathing techniques (called pranayama) with intentional movements. Some of the breathing techniques I had done in past yoga classes. Some were brand new. There was one I found particularly challenging. After a minute or two of inhaling through one nostril and exhaling through the other using my thumb and index finger to hold the opposite nostril closed, I started to feel a slight burning sensation in my nasal passages. It was very uncomfortable to have that much air passing through my nose. I was surprised by how resistant I was to keep breathing that way. I knew I had to keep going if I wanted to reap the benefits of this ancient practice.

I reminded myself that I would not have to breathe this way forever. Many times throughout the practice, my friend offered encouraging words that helped me to push past my discomfort. Eventually, we moved on to other breathing techniques that were not as uncomfortable and quite fun. One required some left to right hand coordination as the time between inhales and exhales got shorter. When the tempo reached its fastest, I’ll admit I got a little discombobulated, but I did my best to keep up and not get frustrated. After the pranayama, we moved on to some poses that were exactly what my body was craving.

I’m so glad I took advantage of this opportunity and didn’t just do the same routine I always do. Although I had only gotten 4-5 hours of sleep the night before, I felt fantastic when we finished. I usually don’t function well with less than 7 hours of sleep, so I was sure I would need a nap at some point later that day. To my surprise, that was not the case. I had plenty of energy to do all the things I needed to do including my Friday evening online A Course in Miracles study group.

What a powerful lesson! How often do we resist the very thing that we know will help us feel better or move forward? I’ve noticed the same thing in my practice of the principles found in A Course in Miracles. Even though I have been studying the Course since 2006, I still find myself resistant to applying it in certain situations. If I release my resentment towards someone who appears to have wronged me I know I will feel better. If I stop focusing on an upsetting situation, I will inevitably return to peace. So why is it so hard to do? It’s like a popcorn kernel stuck between your teeth that your tongue simply can’t stop wrestling with. Try as we may, we keep going back there!

This subject came up during the “Afternoon of Miracles” workshop I facilitated in Dallas last month. We were speaking about addiction to substances when one participant pointed out there are many other types of addiction. In addition to substances and behaviors, we can be addicted to limiting beliefs, suffering, struggle, and drama. I believe these all fall under the domain of the ego because they keep us from experiencing what we truly want: peace, love, and joy. I heard Marianne Williamson once compare following the ego’s thought system to being addicted to heroin. You can only do it for so long. Eventually you either quit or you don’t survive. Throughout A Course in Miracles, we are reminded of the importance of choosing joy over pain. It seems so obvious, yet we don’t always do it. Why?

Brené Brown spoke about our resistance to fully experiencing joy in a recent episode of her podcast Unlocking Us. The conversation with her sisters was around being fearful of joy. We know it won’t last forever so we don’t fully welcome it. Many of us sabotage the expansive feeling of joy by imagining what bad thing is going to happen to take it away. Fear immediately obliterates joy. While researching her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené theorized that people who were able to throw their hands up and let joy completely wash over them were people that had a strong spiritual connection. The research did not prove that to be true. Instead, the common denominator was gratitude. People that expressed gratitude while they were experiencing joy were more likely to experience more joy more often. Those who were cautious of joy waiting for “the other shoe to drop” were not as successful at experiencing joy fully. 

This is really good news because the solution is quite simple, though not always easy. Can I find something (no matter how small) for which to be grateful about the person who appears to have wronged me? Is there another way of looking at the situation that upset me to discover a blessing in disguise? And when I am experiencing joy, can I take a moment to express my deep gratitude for it? In that same podcast, Brené apologized to her fellow 12-steppers who use the slogan “the attitude of gratitude.” She believes gratitude is not an attitude, it’s a practice. Why not share one thing you are grateful for as you sit down to every meal, not just on Thanksgiving? Perhaps you can start (or recommit to) a gratitude journal in which you write down 5 things you are grateful for every day. Whatever you do to express more gratitude, I believe Brené’s research that it will lead to more joy. I am so grateful for my family, my friends, A Course in Miracles, my yoga practice, and all of you who read these weekly stories! 

If you find it difficult to fully experience joy or suspect that some of those pesky ego addictions are lurking in your unconscious mind, maybe A Course in Miracles is calling you? The Course is a psychological mind training that teaches us how to choose joy over pain and love over fear. To learn more about this practice, please join us for one or both of my weekly ACIM online study groups. For one-on-one assistance, I would be honored to help you with a series of Life Coaching sessions. You can also join me for a very special online workshop on Saturday, July 17 from 2-5PM Eastern where we will be “Exploring Independence from Addiction with Family Constellations.” Last month’s workshop sold out, so if this topic is of interest, purchase your ticket soon! Please look around my website for more information about all of these joyful opportunities.

Until next time, may rain showers of joy and gratitude completely drench your soul…

Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way. As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point.

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

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

Just Say Uncle

The temperature has been dropping into the 30s and 40s at night here in Houston lately, so I have been feeling extra grateful for the warm home I share with my partner, Michael. I have also been feeling gratitude for Michael’s great-uncle, whose generosity made it possible for us to purchase this home. Sadly, I only met Uncle David once before he made his transition, but he certainly made an impression on me. Here’s what I wrote about that visit to California in April of 2017:

One of the most unexpected blessings of our trip was the look of sheer delight on the face of Michael’s ninety-five-year-old great-uncle David when I played my crystal singing bowl for him. He was mesmerized by the sound and asked me to play it for him several times over the course of the weekend. He would say, “Hey, John. Will you play me another song?” My bowl only plays one note, so I only knew one song, but I was happy to oblige. With the first chime of the bowl, his eyes lit up. He sat there with a smile, listening for as long as I was willing to play.

We stayed in Uncle David’s home and shared many meals with him. It was so beautiful to witness how much he loved Michael and how much Michael loved him. I have four nephews, one niece, one great-niece, and one great-nephew, so I know how much I love being an uncle. However, I never had the experience of having an uncle. Both of my parents had only one sister and no brothers. I shared this observation with Uncle David one evening after finishing a “song.” Without missing a beat, he placed his hand over mine, looked me in the eyes, and said, “John, I’ll be your uncle if you like.” I’m tearing up now just thinking of that sweet moment. Thank you, Uncle David. I would like that very much.

If you have ever attended one of my Family Constellations workshops or A Course in Miracles study groups in person, then I have probably played a “song” for you to on my crystal singing bowl. Although we currently cannot gather in person, we can still gather virtually. I would be honored to have you join me for miracles, healing, and connection during my next Virtual Family Constellations Workshop or one of my weekly A Course in Miracles online study groups. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information.

Until next time, may beautiful moments of connection and gratitude give you strength during these challenging times.

 Gratitude goes hand in hand with love, and where one is the other must be found.

A Course in Miracles ~ WB-195.10:2

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

You may have heard someone say, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” If you google it, you will learn the origin of this once common saying. Whatever its origin, I happen to disagree. A free lunch is exactly what I received last weekend and I was extremely grateful!

On Saturday, I had an early flight from Houston to Fort Lauderdale with a layover in Dallas and not much time for a decent meal. As we prepared for landing, I began to ponder what my body was craving for a late lunch. That’s when I remembered that my favorite Mexican restaurant in Fort Lauderdale was not far from the airport. I call it “The Magical Burrito Place” because magical things seem to happen to me whenever I’m there. Long-time readers of my blogs and emails may recall a few of those stories. Not only do miracles happen there, but their food is delicious. This vegetarian appreciates that they will make anything on their menu with tofu instead of meat. I also find the people who work there to be exceptionally friendly and fun. To me, that’s just as important as the food.

There was one woman in particular who I enjoyed joking with whenever I visited, which was at least once or twice per week. It didn’t take her long to memorize the two things I consistently ordered. Once I told her whether I wanted a burrito or a salad she’d recite my preferences as she punched them into the cash register without me saying another word. We never had deep conversations, but I always enjoyed her positive attitude and our happy exchanges. I think she did too.

Well, a few months before I moved to Houston that woman transferred to another location. I hadn’t seen her in over a year. Imagine my delight to walk into the restaurant and see her smiling face behind the counter! Sadly, I couldn’t remember her name until after I left. That’s okay. She didn’t remember my salad preferences either, not that I would expect her to, of course. However, the connection and the joy we shared was still very much present. We chatted a bit before she took my order. I was so touched when she told me that my lunch was “on her.” Just one more reason that restaurant will always be the Magical Burrito Place.

That act of kindness and generosity set the tone for a great weekend in Naples and a happy return to Fort Lauderdale this week. My thanks to everyone at Unity of Naples for the warm welcome and extra blessings to all those who attended the afternoon Family Constellations workshop. You all were fantastic! We had more miracles at Bridges Spiritual Centers this Saturday, and our group had another delicious lunch at the Magical Burrito Place.

Would you like to experience more magic, miracles, and perhaps more burritos in your life? Please join me for an upcoming Family Constellations workshop or schedule a private session. Private sessions can be done in person, by phone, or via the internet. It is an indescribable experience of love, connection, and deep healing. You will be amazed to discover the source of the unconscious blocks that are keeping you from the happy life you were meant to live. Better yet, once you discover them, we can release them! Please look around my website to learn more about this miraculous work and to see the calendar of upcoming events. You can also send me an email for more information and to schedule a session.

Until next time, I encourage you to be open to receive a miracle, and maybe even a free lunch now and then.

Each day a thousand treasures come to me with every passing moment. I am blessed with gifts throughout the day, in value far beyond all things of which I can conceive. A brother smiles upon another, and my heart is gladdened. Someone speaks a word of gratitude or mercy, and my mind receives this gift and takes it as its own.

A Course in Miracles ~ Lesson 355

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