Connection Over Convenience

Some other humans gathered with me at the beach on Sunday to watch the Sunset.

We humans are social creatures who crave connection. Granted, some prefer more than others, but we all require some type of connection. COVID has taught us how challenging life can be when we can’t connect. As someone who lives alone and works from home, I interact with relatively few people on a daily basis. Most of those interactions are online, not in person, so I enjoy opportunities to be in the presence of other humans.

Technology has especially helped us stay connected over the past few years. Can you imagine what 2020 would have been like without the internet, smartphones, and video conferencing? I’m grateful to be able to facilitate a weekly online A Course in Miracles study group with Course students from all over the country. I am also thankful for the ability to do Spiritual Coaching and Family Constellations sessions virtually. In this regard, technology has truly been a blessing.

Technology has also made many things incredibly convenient. Now you can have groceries delivered to your home with a few taps on a computer keyboard or touch screen. You can deposit a check without visiting a bank using banking apps and the camera on your smartphone. There are countless ways innovative technology has changed our daily lives. 

However, many of these innovations have significantly decreased our opportunity for human connection. ATMs are very convenient if you need to withdraw cash when your bank is closed. But if I’m out running errands during the day, I prefer to go inside the bank to complete my transactions. I really enjoy talking with the fun tellers at my new bank as well as checking in with the kind Branch Manager who helped me open my accounts. Sometimes I just wave at her through the glass walls of her office while waiting in line. 

Although they are casual conversations, there’s something comforting about asking someone, “How are you doing today?” and “How did you fare during the storm?” Looking into another human being’s eyes to thank them and wish them a good day is much more enjoyable to me than simply responding to the beeps and prompts from a machine. The human connection gives me a little boost of energy. It may take a little more time, but it’s worth it.

The same is true at the grocery store. Self-checkout lanes can be very enticing, especially if the other lines are long. But when I scan my own items, I deprive myself of another opportunity for human connection. A few months ago, one cashier at my neighborhood grocery store asked me if I live in “The Meadows,” a nearby community with lots of trees, walking trails, and a golf course. I told her no, but I have friends who live there. It’s beautiful. She replied, “You look like someone who lives there. I think that’s a compliment but I’m not sure.”

I don’t see her often, but whenever I’m in her line, she always asks, “You’re the guy I think lives in the Meadows, aren’t you?” I laugh and say yes, and then we talk about something else. I don’t know if she inquires about other customers living in the Meadows, but this exchange always amuses me. Who knows? Maybe she is seeing the future? I’d be okay with that. It’s a lovely community. Lately, when I grocery shop, I purposely pass the self-checkout area and stand in a regular line. I look forward to the brief interaction with the cashier and bagger and a possible glimpse into my future. 

I know many of you don’t have time to go inside a bank or a grocery store. Perhaps you deal with a multitude of humans daily, so by the end of the day, you’ve had your fill! To you, I say order, swipe, and scan in solitude so you can recharge! This invitation might not apply to you.

But for those feeling a little lonely and isolated, I encourage you to take advantage of these small opportunities to connect, even if it takes a little more time. A joyful life is made up of small joyful moments. Go inside the bank. Talk to a teller. Stand in line at the grocery store. If you notice a name tag, thank the cashier or bagger by name. If you already do this, are there other opportunities you might have missed? The best part is each encounter has the potential to brighten both your day and theirs.

If you are looking for an opportunity for connection, perhaps you will consider joining us on Tuesday evenings at 7PM Eastern for our weekly A Course in Miracles online study group. All are welcome whether you are a long-time student or are brand new to this powerful teaching. For more information about the Course and our group, click here.

This week, may you savor every opportunity for joyful connection! 

When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-8-III.4:1-5

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 Magical Interruption

Last week, I had a magical interruption of my routine when I took an unexpected trip to the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. A longtime friend invited me to be his “plus one” for a party celebrating his 30-year anniversary with the Walt Disney Company. They closed the park early that day and reopened it later in the evening for just invited guests to this celebration. And what a celebration it was!

There were cast members waiting to welcome us when we got off the ferry boat clapping and yelling congratulations to those celebrating milestone anniversaries. There was a red carpet on Main Street, USA with more cast members clapping and cheering on each side. Food and beverages were complimentary all night. There was a live band on the stage in front of Cinderella’s Castle, as well as in Frontierland, Tomorrowland, and Adventureland. Tables and chairs were set up throughout the park so guests could sit and talk with each other. And all of the attractions were open with no wait times. We literally walked on every ride. The gift of the whole experience was almost too much to take in. 

As if that weren’t enough, they also presented a special edition of the new 50th Anniversary fireworks spectacular, Disney Enchantment. This version had a pre-show with new projections on Cinderella’s Castle and featured music from the parades and shows of the early decades of the park. Some of those parades and shows I had the joy of performing in once upon a time during my 7 years as an entertainment cast member. What a wonderful tribute to all the cast members who have been creating magical memories for park guests for decades. I felt so blessed to be there.

Here’s the craziest part of the whole experience. I almost declined the invitation when I found out the date. It was the same night that I planned to start our new weekly online A Course in Miracles study group. It didn’t feel right to ask someone to facilitate for me on day one, but I knew my heart truly wanted to say yes to this unbelievable invitation. Thankfully, the Course has taught me not to make any decision by myself, so I asked my friend if I could give him an answer the following day after I took this dilemma into prayer.

Some of you have probably already thought of the simple solution that I received when I asked the still small voice about what to do. “John, just postpone the start of the new group and go to the party!” And that is exactly what I did. Not only was it a great reminder to ask for guidance in every situation, but it also reminded me that many of our limitations are self-imposed. I am the one who set the start date. I hadn’t officially announced it yet, so there was no reason not to change it. 

Sometimes we get stuck in our heads or our routines without ever considering that there may be another option. Our heart always knows. That’s why it is so important to practice self-inquiry. When we bump against something that takes away our peace or prevents us from experiencing joy, we can put our hand on our heart and ask, “Is it true? Might there be another way to look at this?” When we do, a magical world can open up for us. 

Would you like some assistance in seeing things differently to experience more joy in your life? A series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session might be just the thing to help with that. Look around my website for more information about both or send me an email if you have a specific question. Sessions can be done online from anywhere in the world and you can now schedule a session directly on my website. It would be my great honor to assist you so please reach out. 

This week, when joy knocks on your door or calls you on the phone with an invitation, make sure you ask your heart and your Divine Guidance before you answer. 

The world you see but shows you how much joy you have allowed yourself to see in you, and to accept as yours.

A Course in Miracles ~

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

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

My Toddler Teacher on a Train

My heart was heavy the morning after Election Day here in the U.S. I’m very aware that I fell right into the ego trap of duality by allowing my happiness to depend on a specific outcome. As I write this, the official winner has not been determined, yet I was saddened, shocked, and disappointed to see how divided we are and how many votes were cast for a candidate who in my perception propagates more fear and divisiveness. I know some of you reading this may perceive things differently, but my intention in sharing this story is not to create more divisiveness and conflict. It’s actually just the opposite.

That morning, I noticed there were fewer people out and about in the park where I do my daily walk. Perhaps many of the usual joggers and dog walkers had stayed up later than usual watching the election results. Despite Election Night fatigue, the train was still chugging along carrying kids and kids at heart for a two-mile trek around the park. As I made my way along the last mile of my walk, my thoughts about the election were interrupted when the engineer blew the train’s whistle announcing its presence on the track next to me. 

Having caught my attention, my eyes immediately went to the little girl in the middle of the train waving vigorously. I’d guess she was somewhere between one and two years old. This little one was clearly on a mission to get folks to wave at her, but with so few people in the park, it must have been challenging that day. Her enthusiasm was contagious, so I happily obliged and waved back to her. I don’t know how it was possible, but when she spotted me waving to her, she opened her mouth into an even bigger smile and her hand motion became a frenzied blur as she bounced excitedly on her mother’s lap. Her whole being exuded joy!

We continued to wave to each other until she was out of sight, the train carrying her onward to fulfill her mission to connect and spread happiness. As you might imagine, that one-minute encounter lifted my spirits and brought me back to center. That exuberant toddler reminded me that when I get stuck in separation thoughts, I feel bad. When I connect, I feel better. That doesn’t mean I don’t vote for the candidate I prefer or take appropriate action when there’s something I can do to improve a situation. That little girl on the train certainly took action. She was a wonderful teacher and example of what’s possible when we have joy in our hearts and our intention is to bring people together. I am still smiling just thinking about her.

I will be bringing a small group of people together online in less than three weeks for an afternoon of miracles and heart connection during another Virtual Family Constellations Workshop. If you’ve been feeling disconnected or sad, I hope you will join us on Sunday, November 29 from 1:30-4:30 PM Central Time. It is simply astounding to witness what happens when we come together to help ourselves and our brothers and sisters to heal. After 7 years of facilitating these workshops, I’m still in awe of how everything weaves together to create a powerful healing for everyone who attends. For more information or to purchase a ticket, please visit my website or click this link. You will find future events on the Calendar page on my website. 

Until next time, may you receive many opportunities to connect with child-like joy. 

The ego always seeks to divide and separate. The Holy Spirit always seeks to unify and heal. 

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

What is Your Little One Asking For?

A few weeks ago, road construction forced me to take a different route to the park for my morning walk. It turned out to be a wonderful detour for two reasons. One, it showed me how to avoid an area of highway that has no lane for merging traffic. That stretch always felt like an accident waiting to happen. Two, a road on the new route has a significant dip that is super fun to drive over. At just the right speed, it gives me a little taste of roller coaster stomach without actually leaving the ground. With this new route, I exchanged two seconds of daily stress for two seconds of daily joy!

Why am I sharing this? I think it’s important to remember we all have a younger version of ourselves living inside us. Along with protection and safety, this “inner child” craves joy, fun, and more playtime. We can get so caught up in the circumstances, events, and busyness of our lives that we forget about this little one. That’s when we start feeling depleted, sad, and overwhelmed. It’s such a silly thing, but the little boy in me absolutely loves driving over that dip in the road. I giggle like a 5-year old every single time.

There have been a lot of serious and sad events happening over the past few months and I’m not trying to make light of them. What I am suggesting is the importance of allowing ourselves moments of joy in addition to the moments of sadness. When we honor and take care of the needs of our inner child, we can become fully integrated adults and do what’s ours to do much more happily and efficiently.

This week I encourage you to spend some time with your inner child. Ask what it needs. If it’s a little joy, do something fun even if it seems silly to your adult self. If it wants some quiet time alone in nature, get outdoors for an hour. Keep in mind, your adult self is still in charge, so you can offer a substitution if the inner child’s request is not possible. If your inner child wants to ride a Ferris wheel, perhaps you could drive to a scenic overlook and gaze out over the city lights at night. If you can’t get outdoors, watch a nature video on YouTube. Let that little one know you are listening. Whatever you do, your inner child will thank you and so will the people around you!

If you could use some assistance getting in touch with the requests of your inner child, I would be honored to help you with a series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Both can be done using a telephone, tablet, or computer. For more information or to schedule a session, send me an email or look around my website. 

Until next time, wishing you and your little one many magical and joyful moments!

The ego is afraid of spirit’s joy, because once you have experienced it you will withdraw all protection from the ego…

A Course in Miracles ~ T-4.I.10

Unspeakable Joy at a Dance Party for One

I spent many joyful hours on the dance floor during my 20s, 30s, and even in my 40s. There’s something about being immersed in flashing colors of light while moving to the rhythm of a good beat that helps me be completely in the present. The present moment is where joy lives. When I’m on the dance floor, I’m not thinking about my to-do list, bills, the past, or the future. I’m right there bopping around with my friends and whoever happens to be in my vicinity. Dancing has always been a liberating experience for me. 

Until recently, the last time I had that experience was about 5 years ago. I was in New York City with 2 of my best friends celebrating my birthday. After a delicious Thai dinner, we ended up at a dance club in Hell’s Kitchen wearing the same clothes we had on all day. Moments after we arrived, a remix of “Like A Prayer” began playing and suddenly all of my inhibitions went out the window. One of my friends took a video of that moment which included some of the choreography from Madonna’s 1990 Blonde Ambition Tour. You might be thinking there was alcohol involved, but you would be incorrect. I was completely sober. I had stopped drinking alcohol the year before because I simply didn’t like the way it made me feel the following day. No, this “performance” was inspired by the sheer joy of having a wonderful day with my friends. We danced in our tourist clothes for about 3 hours without a drop of alcohol before taking a taxi back to our place in Brooklyn. It remains one of my favorite birthdays to this day.

My days of putting on skinny jeans and a tank top for a night on the town in South Beach are far behind me. However, last weekend I discovered I can have the same joyful experience wearing sweatpants in the comfort of my own home. While surfing Facebook, I saw a flyer for an online dance party featuring Tracy Young, one of my favorite DJs from my club kid days on South Beach. In addition to remixing songs for well-known pop artists like Madonna, Cher, Cyndi Lauper, and Christina Aguilera, Tracy was often the headliner at the dance parties I attended. We always knew the music would be great if Tracy was spinning. And now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, every Sunday evening we can dance at home to her signature upbeat music featuring pop divas on Twitch.

After a challenging week, I needed a pick me up on Saturday night. When my partner went to bed, I felt the urge to go downstairs to my office with my SONY sound-canceling headphones and listen to Tracy Young’s set from last week. To add another ingredient to the experience, I played a psychedelic video of computer-generated, shape-shifting mandalas on YouTube. The beats of a funky Tracy Young remix filled my ears as colors and shapes swirled on my laptop. To my delight, I soon recognized the song as Medellín, Madonna’s collaboration with Maluma from her latest album. My dance party for one had begun.

It surprised me how much joy I felt dancing by myself in the dark watching those mesmerizing mandalas. I thought I would be done after 30 minutes with Tracy, but my body wanted to keep dancing. When her set ended, I switched to another channel on streaming a live set by another DJ. That was a fun experience! A rectangle in the upper right-hand corner of my screen displayed a live feed of people dancing in their homes while the DJ interacted with them and the comments scrolling by. Not knowing how Twitch works, I began to get nervous that a sweaty image of me in sweatpants, t-shirt, and glasses might suddenly flash on the screen. I also became disenchanted with the music he was playing, so I closed Twitch and played one of my favorite dance songs, Unspeakable Joy, to end my first solo dance party.

I don’t know why I waited so long to do this. Not only was it great exercise, it completely shifted my heavy mood into a joyful one. Unlike dancing in South Beach, there was no cover charge, no time spent getting ready or worrying about what to wear, no endless search for a parking spot, and no long drive home afterward. I merely had to walk upstairs, take a shower, and fall into bed where I slept soundly. I know for sure that will not be my last dance party for one.

Is there something that brings you joy that you haven’t done in a while? I can’t think of a better time than now to invite more joy into your life. Read a few chapters of a good book under a tree. Go for a walk in nature. Watch a few episodes of Seinfeld, Friends, Modern Family, or whatever comedy show makes you laugh out loud. Set up your easel and paint. Pick up your guitar and play a song. Buy a box of crayons and a coloring book and let your inner child spend a few hours coloring. If you love to dance, put on your favorite tunes and dance around the house. I promise you will feel the benefits immediately. 

If you could use some assistance opening to more joy, please contact me. During this pandemic, I am still offering Life Coaching and Private Family Constellations sessions by phone, Skype, and Zoom. For those whose income has been impacted by COVID-19, I am offering 45-minute Life Coaching calls on a donation basis to help you find peace. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information and to schedule an appointment.

This week, may you find ways to allow more joy to flow into your heart than ever before! 

The world you see but shows you how much joy you have allowed yourself to see in you, and to accept as yours. And, if this is its meaning, then the power to give it joy must lie within you.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-21.In.2:7-8

Summer of Joy!

It’s officially summer! I know many people prefer the cooler temperatures of spring and fall, but my favorite season is summer, and not just because my birthday is in August. There seems to be a certain freedom around this time of year. School is out and many people get out of their everyday routines by taking vacations and traveling far from home.

One of the best gifts I have ever given myself happened during the summer of 2007 when I drove my car from Miami to San Francisco and back. Along the way, I visited friends, family, and many of the beautiful national parks across the country. Reconnecting with loved ones and many breathtaking hikes in nature’s beauty recharged my soul battery in the middle of those very challenging last 6 years of my mother’s life. It was definitely a spiritual experience!

I love how my friend, Cindy Wigglesworth, defines spirituality in her PBS special on “Conscious Evolution.” She says, “Spirituality is an innate human need to be connected with something larger than ourselves.” Stripped of any religious dogma or need to believe anything in particular, this simple yet profound definition allows all of us to be spiritual in our own way.

This summer, I invite you to get out there and have a spiritual experience. Your soul will thank you. If for some reason you can’t leave right away, you can join my friends, Ali and Michael Benjamin, as they take “God on a Joy Ride.” They began the first leg of the tour last week in their “Om Shanti Home” camper leaving Big Bear, CA heading to Montana. Their intention is to experience more joy in their lives while exploring beautiful places and meeting others who have that “joy factor.” You can follow their adventures through pictures and videos on Facebook and Instagram by searching for #godonajoyride. These two are quite the comical couple, as you will see in their second video where they take a detour with God for a cup of coffee and a visit to a hardware store. Travel blessings to you, my joyful friends!

Another great way to connect to something larger than yourself is by attending a Family Constellations workshop. You can’t deny there is something bigger than us going on when you experience this miraculous process. Visit the calendar page on my website to see details of upcoming events. 

During these summer months, may the extended daylight hours bring you many opportunities to experience joy!

The world you see but shows you how much joy you have allowed yourself to see in you, and to accept as yours. And, if this is its meaning, then the power to give it joy must lie within you.

A Course in Miracles – T-21.Intro.2

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