A Discerning Friendship

Last weekend, I had a wonderful visit from a dear friend who I met while working at Disney in 1993. Our lives have gone in different directions since the summer we performed together in the SpectroMagic Parade, so we don’t get to see each other often. However, she and I always pick up where we left off no matter how much time has passed. We have the same silly sense of humor, so whenever we get together there’s always an abundance of antics and comedy. This weekend was no different. 

My favorite role in the SpectroMagic Parade – 1993

In addition to making each other laugh hysterically, we also have deep conversations about spirituality and faith. Since it was just the two of us this visit, I had the opportunity to tell her more about the work I facilitate called Family Constellations. I also shared some of the miraculous experiences I’ve witnessed over the past 10 years. She was on board with a lot of it, but at one point she let me know she didn’t quite understand the ancestral connections I was describing. I spoke a little bit more about it, but to no avail. In fact, when I shared a quote from Bert Hellinger, the man who created Family Constellations, it actually confused her more. 

That’s when I realized I had said enough about this subject. There was no need to go on, nor would it be beneficial. I simply expressed my gratitude to her for listening to me go on so long about something I am obviously very passionate about. Then I gently shifted the conversation in another direction and we continued talking about other things.

Granted, mutual understanding is sometimes required before we can move forward in a close relationship. Avoiding certain topics only works for so long if our values are not aligned. But this didn’t feel like avoidance. It felt like knowing when to let go and choose peace. This level of discernment takes practice, and I am definitely still practicing! 

In the not-so-distant past, I might have kept talking, using different examples to get my point across. But it wasn’t necessary. I do not need her to share my belief system in order for us to be friends. Through my study of A Course in Miracles, I have learned that it’s only the ego that demands agreement to be happy. My friend and I have so many other things in common, including a deep love and respect for each other. That is much more valuable to me.

Are you stuck at an impasse trying to convince a friend or family member to see things your way? Perhaps it’s time to step back and ask yourself the famous question below. It would be my great honor to assist you in that endeavor with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can help you find peace and freedom from situations that keep you stuck in anger and dissatisfaction. You can also explore these themes in my next online Family Constellations Workshop happening on Saturday, September 24. (Click here for details.) Please look around my website to book a private session or to purchase a ticket for the online workshop.

Until next time, may you remember to choose peace more and more frequently… 

Do you prefer that you be right or happy?

A Course in Miracles ~ T-29.VII.1:9

A Little Cup of Joy

We sing “Joy to the World” at this time of year, yet the holiday season can feel like anything but joy for someone going through a tough time. This week, I would like to offer a little cup of joy to accompany your holiday cookies and challenges. It was an immediate “YES!” when my dear friend, Rev. Cindy Grimes, the Senior Minister of the Center for Spiritual Living in Ocala, Florida, asked me to join her for a conversation about “Why Happiness is Overrated.” I love this topic! We asked each other questions and shared thoughts and stories while exploring the difference between happiness and joy. Click this link if you would like to watch the video.

During our conversation, I referenced a presentation by Rob Bell called “An Introduction to Joy.” I had the great fortune to attend this event live in 2019 before the pandemic shut everything down. I can best describe this show as part stand-up comedy / part spiritual master class. Rob Bell graciously uploaded the whole presentation to YouTube once the tour ended. Now anyone with internet access can watch it for free. The things he talks about are as hilarious as they are insightful. I hope you will make time to watch the video by clicking this link. It is well worth the hour and fifteen minutes! 

In that presentation, Rob Bell also makes a distinction between happiness and joy. He believes happiness depends on outward circumstances being the way we prefer them, while joy can be present even in the darkest of times. Cindy asked me to share a time when I experienced that dichotomy. The first thing that came to mind was the final moments of my mother’s life. Along with the grief of losing her physical presence came great joy that she was now free of the body and mind that had been failing her. She literally left my brother and me laughing. You can hear the details of that experience in my conversation with Cindy.

What I’d like to share here is an unexpected moment of joy that happened at an Italian restaurant later that evening. Since it was one of my mother’s favorites, it felt appropriate to take my brother there for dinner. There was a slightly awkward moment when the owner recognized me and asked why my mother wasn’t with us. I told him that she had just passed a few hours ago, and he offered his condolences. Then he said something I didn’t know I needed to hear. Having observed us many times over the years, he complimented me on how well I tended to my mother’s needs. He said he hopes that when he reaches my mother’s age there is someone looking after him with as much love and care as I had for her. Wow. That still gets me a little choked up. 

It was a rough road with my mother during those last years after she moved to Florida to be closer to me. No matter what I did or how much time I spent with her, it never felt like enough to her. I did my best to find balance, but there was always some lingering guilt. I’m so grateful for the teachings of A Course in Miracles for helping me find peace during that roller coaster ride of emotions. I wish I had known about Family Constellations then! In the end, I trust it all unfolded perfectly. And, knowing that the love I had for my mother was clearly visible to someone outside of the equation brings me great joy.

To those of you going through a difficult time, (and honestly who among us isn’t?) please be gentle with yourself and trust that you are navigating this challenge better than you might think! Someone is watching you continue to show up and do your best time after time with great admiration. In the meantime, remember your ancestors are standing behind you cheering you on to the joyous life you were meant to live. You can do it! 

If I can be of additional assistance with a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I know this is a busy time of year, so you can also purchase a gift certificate now to get the support you need in the New Year. Some of my prices are increasing in 2022, so now is a good time to take advantage of my current pricing. For more information and to book a session, please visit my website or simply send me an email

Wishing you many moments of joy and light this holiday season…

Light and joy and peace abide in me.

A Course in Miracles ~ Workbook Lesson 93

A Simple Recipe for a Batch of Happiness

Several years ago when I lived in Fort Lauderdale, I often enjoyed delicious meals prepared by a dear friend. This friend happened to be a chef and former restaurant owner. I remember one night I asked him how he was able to cook such tasty food. He said there’s no secret to it. Just use high quality ingredients and you will end up with delicious food. I’ve never forgotten his answer because it was so simple and so obvious. It’s not quite that simple for someone like me with extremely limited culinary skills, but I recently discovered the truth in his words. 

Last month, my first attempt at creating a batch of vegetarian quinoa chili from a favorite recipe yielded only mediocre results. Since it was my first time making it solo, I did not want to invest a lot of money in the ingredients. The flavor of the end result reflected that. It didn’t help that during the first 30 seconds of preparation I had a small mishap while dicing an onion. It wasn’t an emergency room mishap, just a little pressure, elevation, and band-aid mishap. However, it felt like I had to prepare the chili with one hand tied behind my back. Have you ever tried to open new bottles of spices and manipulate a set of measuring spoons with one hand? It’s not easy!

Now that I had the experience of making one batch under my belt, last week I decided to heed my friend’s advice and buy organic and brand-name ingredients for my second one. I’m happy to report that this time there were no chopping or dicing incidents and the better ingredients did indeed make a better batch of chili. I was quite pleased with the results and have been enjoying delicious chili all week. Click this link for the recipe.

It occurred to me that my friend’s advice about cooking also applies to life. The recipe is simple. If you want a happy life you need to add happy ingredients. What kinds of things are you putting in your experience every day? Are you surrounded by people who love and support you? Are you eating foods that feel good in your belly? Are you listening to music that makes you want to dance? Are you watching movies and tv shows or reading books that help you feel hopeful?

I believe the most important ingredients to a happy life are our thoughts. Only the most loving, peaceful, creative, and inspired thoughts will produce the results we desire. Thoughts of unworthiness, blame, fear, and judgments will not make us happy. That would be like tossing rotten tomatoes into my chili and expecting it to taste yummy. It just doesn’t work that way. Although it seems simple and obvious, this metaphor has helped me to be more mindful of my thoughts and how I invest my time lately. I trust it will help you pick the best ingredients for your life too. If I can assist you with Spiritual Coaching or a private Family Constellations session, please reach out via my website at JohnHaroldMoore.com

This week and beyond, may you place only the highest quality happy ingredients into your daily life and cook up your own batch of happiness. 

The necessary condition for the holy instant does not require that you have no thoughts that are not pure. But it does require that you have none that you would keep.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-15.IV.9:1-2

Waves of Grief

I’ve learned a few things about grief on my journey so far. One, there is no statute of limitations on grief. It can show up for a surprise visit years after we think we’ve cried our last tears about whatever we lost. Waves of grief can sneak up on us during the holidays, an anniversary, a birthday, or just a Tuesday. We can’t always predict when they will come, but it is as futile to try and stop them as it would be to try and stop ocean waves from reaching the beach. And like ocean waves, we can be still and let the small ones roll past our ankles. But for the really big ones, it might be best to dive right in and go through them so they don’t knock us over. 

Speaking of waves and grief, this month marks three years since I left Fort Lauderdale. I’ve made some wonderful friends and met some amazing people here in Houston, many of whom read my weekly stories. (I love you, Houstonians!) I know the move was the right choice and I’m grateful for so much that has happened here. Yet, I wouldn’t be completely honest if I didn’t admit that I’m still grieving the loss of many things about my old life in Florida. 

I miss beloved friends, magical burritos, year-round tropical temperatures, and the proximity to Mother Ocean. I used to get my “cardio on” while walking along her beaches at least three times per week, often cooling off in her waves when I finished. Many times while floating in the sea, my heart would fill with gratitude knowing: “I’m not on vacation. I live here!” Whenever I had a hard day, I could jump in my car and be at the beach within ten minutes. The sound of the surf and seagulls. The feel of the steady ocean breeze on my face. The smell of the salt air. The changing colors of the rolling waves and the sky as the sun sank behind me. All of it was like balm for my soul. I’m taking a deep breath just thinking about it. 

The ten-year anniversary of my mother’s passing is also coming up in a few days. I’ve noticed some waves of sadness around that too. She told me that she was ready to go well before she actually did, so I was happy for her when she finally laid her body aside in April of 2011. The sadness comes when I think about not seeing her twinkling, mischievous eyes or hearing her laugh again, or the hilarious things that came out of her mouth. She had a sharp wit and could make a joke about anything. Once in a while, she would say something that was not meant to be funny, like this gem she spoke while I was waiting to pay the check at a restaurant: “Honey, I’m going outside to get some fresh air and have a cigarette.” When I remembered that comment earlier today I laughed out loud, and then I cried a little bit.

That’s another thing I’ve learned about grief. It’s actually an aspect of love. If we hadn’t loved deeply, we wouldn’t feel pain when that something or someone is gone. Somehow thinking of it that way comforts me. Whether it’s a person, a place, a pet, or a time in your life that you are missing, know that your grief is a sign of how much you allowed yourself to love and be loved. It’s a beautiful thing. If you can, allow yourself to feel it. Most of us live our lives trying to avoid anything uncomfortable. But when we shut off our feelings, we shut off the good ones too. It’s not comfortable to feel the sadness, but if we don’t block it, it can move through us. Today, the people walking by me in Hermann Park might have wondered why that man was laughing one second and crying the next. The crying only lasted a minute because I let the wave of emotion (energy in motion) move through me.

There’s one last thing that deserves mentioning. Happiness is indeed a choice and also an inside job, meaning it does not depend on outside circumstances. However, we often use this spiritual truth as a weapon to make ourselves feel worse when we aren’t effervescing with joy 24/7. It’s not only okay but necessary to acknowledge when you’re sad or experiencing grief. You have to feel it to heal it. We can try to think of something else or partake in our favorite distraction, but that will only work for so long. It’s like throwing a glittery blanket over a dusty old box of photos in the basement. We may not be able to see the box anymore, but it’s still there taking up space. Some days that’s the best we can do. If that’s the case, toss on that glittery blanket so you can get through the day. 

At some point, you’ll know when it’s time to take that old dusty box out of the basement (your subconscious mind) and bring it outside into the light. Open it up and take a look at what’s inside. Allow yourself to cry so the sadness isn’t stuck inside you. Here’s the best news. You don’t have to do this alone. Share your grief with a friend, family member, God, guardian angel, therapist, grief counselor, or spiritual coach. They can sit right by your side as you unpack that box and let those emotions flow. You might also try a grief support group. There’s a 5-week online “Journey Through Grief” Workshop starting on Sunday, May 2 led by Rev. Mindy Lawrence Curtiss of Unity of Houston. For more information and to join CLICK HERE

If you are feeling grief, large or small, please let someone know so you don’t have to carry it all by yourself. I would be honored to unpack that box with you if you’re ready. Family Constellations is an amazing unpacking tool. Please look around my website or reply to this email for more information about Life Coaching, a Private Constellation, or my next Online Group Session.

Until next time, may you find the courage to let the waves of grief roll in knowing that it’s a form of love, you’re not alone, and this too shall pass.

On this day is grief laid by, for sights and sounds that come from nearer than the world are clear to you…There is a silence into which the world can not intrude. There is an ancient peace you carry in your heart and have not lost. There is a sense of holiness in you the thought of sin has never touched.

Lesson 164 from A Course in Miracles

A Cinderella Story About Shoes

A few weeks ago I almost committed a fashion faux pas. Who am I kidding? I commit those almost on a daily basis, but this one even I caught! All of the blue, grey, and black clothes that I usually wear for my beach walk were in the laundry, so I had to wear my army green bathing suit and a yellow t-shirt. Clearly the silver and blue sneakers I normally wear would not match those earth tones, so instead, I wore my new brown and black Sketchers. Those shoes are super comfortable because they have extra thick cushions in the soles. I had only worn them once, but decided it was okay to wear them for my beach walk that day. They wouldn’t get too beat up in just four miles.
 
Oh my gosh! I couldn’t believe the difference! My feet felt so good afterwards. My legs and back weren’t as achey later that day either. Why hadn’t I tried these shoes before? That’s a silly question. They didn’t match my outfits. I put a lot of miles on the old silver and blue sneakers. Pieces of tread had fallen off the bottoms, but they still held together, and I only wore them for my beach walk so why get rid of them? Little did I know what the lack of support was doing to my feet and the rest of my body! Meanwhile, I had a pair of perfectly good shoes sitting in my closet, but in the name of being “practical” I let them sit there. Looking back, I see that wasn’t very practical at all. I’m happy to report I never wore those old shoes again. Fashion police, look away! Now I wear the cushiony tan and black ones whether they match my outfit or not!

Is there something you have been saving for a special occasion? A bottle of wine? New shoes? New outfit? A piece of jewelry? Why not make it a special occasion by using or wearing it now? After all, now is the most special time we have in Truth. One of my favorite quotes from A Course in Miracles says:

“Be not content with future happiness.”

The Course is inviting us to be happy NOW, not some day in the future. In my humble opinion, I don’t believe Spirit knows anything about suffering or sacrifice. Those are ego devices meant to keep us from experiencing our true nature, which is peace, love, and joy. If we consistently choose peace, ask what love would do in any situation, and do things that bring us joy, we can indeed be happy right now. Isn’t that exciting?
 
If you could use some assistance in letting go of old thought patterns and beliefs that are hurting you like an old pair of sneakers, consider signing up for a four, six, or eight week Life Coaching package, or join me for an upcoming Family Constellations workshop. Both will help you feel like you just put on the most comfortable shoes you have ever worn. For more information about both and to read testimonials from those who have tried it, please look around my website.

Until next time, don’t be content with being happy someday in the future. I invite you to do something joyful today!

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