A Magical Cosmic Wink

I took this photo from Artist Point at Yellowstone National Park.

The dictionary defines a synchronicity as “the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.” I like to think of synchronicities as cosmic winks from the Universe reminding me that everything is connected in Oneness, and I am always right where I need to be. One such convergence of elements happened last week while I was in Montana. 

I had just finished teaching Donna Eden’s 5-minute Daily Energy Medicine Routine to a group of early risers at the Big Sky Retreat during the morning session called “Energize Your Day.” At one point during the routine, we marched in place, touching our knees with our opposite hands to connect the energy on both sides of our bodies. I made a silly reference to marching like a toy soldier in the Christmas Parade at Disney World, which I happened to do in 1993. After hearing this, my friend and co-facilitator, Michael Benjamin, teased me about always playing the “Disney Card” by mentioning my time there as a performer. “How am I supposed to compete with that?” he joked, and we all had a good laugh.

Afterward, I met up with my dear friend, Dr. Charles Geddes, at the only restaurant in the Big Sky Resort that serves breakfast. We soon discovered we weren’t the only large group at the resort. When we walked up to the podium, the hostess asked us if we were with Disney! Her question stumped me for a moment when suddenly I recognized the music playing in the restaurant was from Disney’s animated film Pocahontas. That’s when things got weird as a convergence of seemingly unrelated elements flooded my mind and took me back in time 25 years!

In addition to being a toy soldier, one of the roles I played at Disney World was Captain John Smith from Pocahontas. I portrayed him for a whole year in 1996 at a character breakfast featuring characters from the movie. Pocahontas, John Smith, Meeko, and Governor Ratcliffe went table to table at a restaurant called Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge. At the time, I did not know Artist Point was the name of a spectacular scenic overlook at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, nor did I know the Wilderness Lodges was themed after the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park. My first visit to that hotel in 2014 with Charles was strangely familiar, although I had never been there! This year prior to the retreat, my sister and I visited Yellowstone and our last stop of the day was Artist Point. I specifically asked her to take a photo of me next to the sign so I could send it to my beloved friend who played Pocahontas. 

Here I was a few days later, standing at the entrance to a restaurant for breakfast hearing Pocahontas sing “Just Around the Riverbend” as the hostess asked us if we were “with Disney” moments after my friend teased me about working for Disney. It was almost too much for my brain to process! I reluctantly answered “no,” but I did share with her the synchronistic moment I was experiencing as she showed us to our table. It was a perfect, magical setting to reconnect with my magical friend, Charles, on his birthday. Disney tunes played throughout our meal and I loved every minute of it. What a wonderful cosmic wink from the Universe reminding me that I was right where I was supposed to be. 

Has it been a while since you received a cosmic wink like that? Have you felt out of place or out of sorts with all the changes happening in the world? During these uncertain times, it can be very challenging to feel connected to something greater than ourselves. It would be my great honor to create a space where you can feel that connection again with a series of Life Coaching sessions or during a private or group Family Constellations session. Cosmic winks happen all the time during Family Constellations. Please look around my website for more information about one-on-one sessions and how to join my next online group session where we will take “A Fresh Look at Relationships with Family Constellations.” Feel free to send me an email with any questions you may have or to book a session.

Until next time, may you notice all the ways the Universe is winking at you to remind you that you are right where you are supposed to be and all is well. 

A major contribution of miracles is their strength in releasing you from your false sense of isolation, deprivation and lack.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-1.I.42:1

First Time For Everything!

With all that needed my attention, I didn’t have time to write this week’s story before leaving for my annual trip to the Big Sky Retreat in Montana. I had some ideas on what to write about, but the experience I just had on the airplane felt like it wanted to be shared. I’m actually typing these words 30,000 feet in the air between Tampa and Denver. 

When we boarded the plane, I was happy to hear the flight crew say there would be 60 empty seats on our flight. That meant plenty of room so we could spread out. I picked a row and sat in a window seat while my sister took the aisle seat. We were grateful that no one sat between us. I was also grateful when two families with babies kept walking past us, but I was a little sad when two women, most likely sisters, chose the two seats directly in front of us. Something told me they would be chatting loudly the entire flight. Oh well. I’ll take chatty sisters over crying babies any day. I trusted there must be a reason they chose those seats when so many others were still empty. I soon discovered the reason. 

During the pre-departure announcements, one of the women in front of us waved at the flight attendant standing near us to get her attention. When she came over, the woman shared that this was her sister’s very first flight and that she was extremely nervous. As the flight attendant continued to demonstrate how to put on an oxygen mask, she said a few words like, “Don’t worry. It might be a little bumpy, but you’ll be fine.” I’m not sure these words did much to soothe the anxious woman. As soon as I heard this exchange, I knew exactly why they chose the seats in front of us.

I had already started playing music in my AirPods to help get my mind in a peaceful place for a peaceful flight. One of my favorite tracks to listen to while meditating is “Saltwater” by Chicane. This song always takes me back to my first time swimming with wild dolphins in the Bahamas. The captain played this beautiful CD as we sailed through the turquoise waters on a 30-foot catamaran. My heart expands every time I hear it. As our plane taxied down the runway for takeoff, I imagined the joy and peace I was feeling extending from my heart to the woman directly in front of me.

I became acutely aware of how dramatic all the sights and sounds on an airplane before takeoff must be to someone who has never flown before. The engines get louder. The overhead lights go out. And then we taxi and wait on the runway for what must feel like an eternity! The rainstorm over Tampa only added to the drama. Air traffic controllers put extra space between takeoffs when visibility is poor, so we sat there for a very long time. I can only imagine how fast her heart was beating when it was finally our turn. 

It was sweet to see the sisters clutching each other arm in arm as the engines revved up even louder before the plane sped down the runway finally taking off into the wild gray yonder. By now, “Song of the Deep” by Kamal, another of my favorite meditation tracks was playing. As the humpback whales sang I sent peaceful, loving vibes forward. Due to the storm, there was quite a bit of turbulence once we were airborne. The plane did a few sudden dips and jerks as the pilot flew us above the clouds as quickly as possible. What a first take-off for this woman! After my initial judgment, (which I’m not proud of) I was extremely grateful to be sitting behind them to be the presence of peace. We never know when we will be called upon to be of service to our sisters and brothers without them ever knowing it.

This is one of my favorite aspects of Family Constellations. Strangers show up in person and online to assist each other in letting go of unconscious patterns and behaviors that no longer serve them. Through our collective intention and soul connection, we all experience healing. Please visit the Upcoming Events page on my website to find out how and when you can participate in one. I also offer private Family Constellations sessions as well as Spiritual Coaching to help you return to a place of peace. Please look around my website to learn more about all of these opportunities or send me an email to schedule a session

Until next time, may you discover many opportunities to be the presence of peace wherever you go, and remember that there are always forces seen and unseen supporting you.

You cannot but be in the right place at the right time.

A Course in Miracles ~ W-42.2:4

Mission: Impossible Burger

There were many magical things about my recent visit to Disney World, but the two magical things I want to talk about here are the Skyliner and the Impossible Burger. The Skyliner is a new mode of transportation that carries guests in an enclosed vehicle high in the sky from some of Disney’s newer resorts directly to two of the theme parks. Not only do they look fun  with their assortment of bright colors and decals made to look like beloved Disney characters are riding inside, but they are extremely fun to ride. The 360-degree view from up there is spectacular. They are also quick, clean, and quiet. We were whisked from the station at our hotel to the front entrance of Disney’s Hollywood Studios in about ten minutes. It was so cool! 

As a vegetarian, I was also very happy that a plant-based burger called the “Impossible Burger” is now available at most food service locations. What I wasn’t happy about is the fact that the quick-service restaurant at our hotel closed at 10 PM when we hadn’t had time to get dinner at the park. Our turn to ride the latest and greatest Star Wars attraction, “Rise of the Resistance,” didn’t happen until just before the park closed at 9 PM. We thought we’d be back at the hotel way before 10, but once our boarding group was called, we still waited another 45 minutes before getting on the actual ride. Although the Skyliner is quick, it did not travel back in time to get us to the hotel before the restaurant closed.

On the ride back, we checked the Disney app and discovered the restaurant in the resort next to ours was open until 11 PM. The Skyliner could get us from one resort station to the other in about 5 minutes. However, there was one big concern. The Skyliner stopped running at 10:30. It was already 8 minutes past 10 when we arrived at our station. Could we make it over to the other resort, find the food court, order burgers, pay for them, and make it back in 22 minutes? The thought of potato chips from the vending machine for dinner was enough to help us make our decision. We decided to go for it! Cue the theme song from the old TV show “Mission: Impossible!” Dunt. Dunt. DUNT. Dunt. Dunt. Dunt. DUNT. Dunt…

My friend Carrie and I hopped on the Skyliner at 10:09 at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. During our peaceful ride through the darkness, we discussed our options for getting back to our hotel if we didn’t make it to the Skyliner station by 10:30. If Disney buses were still running, that was one possibility. Calling a Lyft or an Uber was another option. We could always walk, but after a long day in a theme park, that option sounded grueling. There wasn’t much time to ponder this because we soon arrived at the Skyliner station at the Pop Century Resort. We disembarked at 10:15 and were off and running. Well, not quite running, but walking briskly passed giant bowling pins and yo yo’s that served as icons letting guests know which Pop Century their building was themed after. We were shocked by how many families were still frolicking in the pool at that time of night. It was packed!

Luckily, there were not as many people in the food court. We walked right up to the counter, ordered burgers “to go,” grabbed drinks from the cooler, and walked right up to the cashier to pay. After a quick stop at the condiment station for ketchup, mustard, and napkins, we were off on another mad dash past giant Play-Doh cans toward the Skyliner station. What a relief to arrive at 10:26! Why did we rush? We had 4 minutes to spare! As you can imagine, there were two very grateful but tired occupants with burgers and fries traveling over the wetlands between the two resorts that night. As soon as we disembarked, we noticed that the Skyliner cars stopped. Apparently, we were the last two riders of the day.

The magical and miraculous thing about this experience was not the fact that we made it back to the station in time, although that certainly was a shift from fear to love. I’m grateful for the miracle of keeping the focus on what we wanted (the food!) and not getting sidetracked by the voice of fear asking, “What happens if you get stuck there?” Instead of trying to solve problems that hadn’t happened yet, Carrie and I made the best decision we could at the time and trusted that we would simply make another decision if we needed to. Had we debated at the station for even 4 minutes, we would have missed the easy return ride. It was a powerful lesson in trust, staying focused, and not letting the voice of fear (the ego) distract us from our goal. Mission: Impossible Burger was a success!

Has the voice of fear kept you from taking a chance on something you truly desire? It would be my great honor to be your spiritual “Skyliner” lifting you up above your current conditions and helping you reach your destination. Please consider giving yourself the gift of a series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. For more information about both of these opportunities, please visit those pages on my website. To schedule a session, simply send me an email

Until next time, may life carry you to every destination with ease and grace.

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”

~ Mark Twain

Kitesurfing Through Life

During a Spiritual Coaching session last week, a metaphor that occurred to me years ago about kitesurfing popped into my head. It seemed to be helpful to my client so I thought I would share it here. 

When I lived in Fort Lauderdale, I loved watching brightly colored kites flying over the ocean pulling surfers behind them at incredible speeds. The experienced surfers know just how to navigate the wind and waves allowing them to soar into the air for several seconds before plunking them back down into the sea. Those airborne moments look so liberating! Since the wind and the kite take care of propelling the surfers forward, it appears their only job is to maintain balance, remain above water, and allow the wind and waves to do the rest.

Isn’t life like that? It is always pulling us forward. Our job is to maintain a sense of balance and keep our thoughts positive (above water.) True, we all experience times when it feels like life has dropped us into an ocean of despair, but like the kitesurfers, we eventually get back on our boards and keep going. To further this metaphor, sometimes we have to let go of the bar and go with the flow, letting life take us in a new direction. In trying times, we start by accepting “what is.” It would do a kitesurfer no good to scream at the wind for blowing in the opposite direction or shout at the waves for being too close together. They simply adjust their stance, grip, and reposition their kite. Once they make the necessary adjustments, the wind and water will carry them quickly in a new direction allowing them to soar above the waves, once again!

Are you having a difficult time keeping your thoughts above water? Does the wind seem to be taking you in a direction you don’t want to go? It would be my great honor to assist you in making the necessary adjustments with a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations Session so you too can soar above the waves. Please look around my website for more information about both of these opportunities or send me an email to schedule a session.

Until next time, may you allow life to take you to exhilarating heights as you navigate the wind and the waves.

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

Don’t Be THAT Sandpiper

It seems my teachers have been showing up a lot at the beach lately. A few weeks ago, I learned a powerful lesson from a huge wave that almost knocked me over. This week my teacher was a feisty little sandpiper. While doing Donna Eden’s 5-minute Daily Energy Routine, I watched a small group of sandpipers dodging waves while digging for whatever it is they eat in the sand. I noticed one sandpiper got very irate any time another bird got too close to him. He puffed himself up and charged at the intruders to scare them away. He was relentless!

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

As I continued to watch the show, it occurred to me how many times I have acted similarly to that sandpiper. Instead of focusing on what I need to do, I’ve let myself be distracted by what others are doing. When I hold onto resentments toward someone for what they did or did not do, I’m just like that sandpiper. If I simply stop thinking about the person or situation that is upsetting, I return to peace. Anytime I judge someone for making a choice that I would not make, I’m that sandpiper. When I compare myself to others on social media or anywhere, I’m that sandpiper. 

What a magnificent teacher (and unpleasant reflection) that feisty little sandpiper turned out to be. Whenever I catch myself being more concerned with what someone else is doing rather than focusing on what I need to do, I will picture that puffed-up little guy charging at his “enemies.” Hopefully, this image will make me laugh and help me bring the focus back where it belongs. As my wise friend, Dr. Charles Geddes, often says, “MYOB. Mind Your Own Becoming!” (He recently started a new organization with that name. If you’d like to learn more, click this link.)

Do you often find yourself being like that little sandpiper? It would be my great honor to help you put the focus back on you and return to peace with a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. For more information about both, please look around my website. To schedule a session, simply click this link

Until next time, I encourage you to be a peaceful little sandpiper minding your own becoming. 

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

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

Why Did I Say That?

My birthday was this week, but those who have known me for a while know that I often joke about celebrating the entire month of August. (I know that is such a Leo thing to do.) I have been reflecting on my birthday celebrations from the past few years. One particular “birthday month” that stands out is August of 2014. It started at Disney World with the 3 amazing friends in the picture above. It’s hard to believe 4 adult men (and I use the term “adult” loosely) could have that much fun at a theme park. There were so many magical moments and miracles we lost count. Receiving a gift of free ice cream from my mother on the other side was one, but that’s a story for another blog. 

The month ended just as magically as it began at my first Big Sky Retreat in Big Sky, Montana. Originally, I was only attending the event, but due to some last-minute scheduling changes two weeks before the event, I was asked to present a workshop on August 31. This opportunity was a gift of grace. I remember how surreal it was to see my name printed on the sign outside the conference room on the day of the event. I was nervous because it was the first time I had given a presentation to a group that large. I wanted to do a good job and offer something of value to everyone who attended.

As I do before every group or private session, I invited Spirit to be in charge of everything I say and do with a beautiful prayer from A Course in Miracles. This prayer helps get the ego and its relentless critic out of the way so the voice for Love can come through clearly. I wasn’t planning to talk about my “birthday month,” but I started the presentation by sharing how grateful I was to be a presenter at the retreat. What a fantastic ending to a fantastic month that started with friends and magical miracles at Disney World. I went on to talk about “Forgiveness & Miracles,” ending the workshop with a short demonstration of Family Constellations. My prayer seemed to have worked because I received wonderful feedback from many of the attendees.

Later that day, one woman asked if she could share something profound that happened during the workshop. I expected her to reference teachings from A Course in Miracles or Family Constellations. No. It was me talking about celebrating my “birthday month.” You see, she was born on September 11, and her brother was a First Responder at the Twin Towers on that fateful day in 2001. Due to complications from smoke inhalation, he passed a few days later. Understandably, she hadn’t felt like celebrating her birthday for the past 13 years. Hearing me talk about celebrating my birthday on a day other than the actual day of my birth was a lightbulb moment. Until then, it had never occurred to her that she could celebrate on a different day. She must have thanked me a hundred times for the opportunity to feel joy around her birthday again. 

The next day was September 1. I purchased a blank greeting card in the gift shop and wrote inside, “Happy first day of your Birthday Month!” I also felt guided to write that I believed her brother would be happy to see her celebrate her birthday again this year. I couldn’t wait to give her that card and I think she was pretty happy to receive it. Seven years later, her story still touches me deeply. What a great reminder that our words can be more impactful than we might imagine. Experience has shown me that when I put Spirit in charge, I can trust that what I say will be exactly what needs to be said, even if I don’t know why I’m saying it!

Could you use some assistance getting the inner critic out of the way and letting the voice of Love speak through you? It would be my great honor to help you with a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Both can help you see a bigger picture allowing you to drop back into your heart center where love and kindness reside. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information and to book a session

Until next time, may all of your words be kind and impactful.

As you step back, the light in you steps forward and encompasses the world.

A Course in Miracles ~ W.p1.156.6:2

Time Travel Parenting

A friend told me a story this week that opened the door for some childhood memories to flood back into my mind. Not that I think I’m done, but I have invested a considerable amount of time into healing my relationship with my mother and the effects of her addiction to alcohol. When memories like these return, they rarely have emotions attached to them. For whatever reason, this time when I started thinking about little John growing up in all that chaos and uncertainty, tears welled up in my eyes. I felt a new level of compassion for him. Although I truly believe my mother and I reached a beautiful place of mutual understanding and unconditional love before she passed, apparently I had another layer of healing and releasing to do. 

As the tears flowed, I remembered a powerful dream I had on Saturday morning in that murky phase between sleeping and waking. In the dream, I opened a magical portal where adult John traveled back in time to the house where I grew up in Vestal, NY. This is not a place I would choose to go back to. Anyone who has experienced alcohol addiction in their family knows that alcoholism and cleanliness don’t usually go hand in hand. Without going into details, I’ll just say our house was usually pretty gross. I learned to clean and do laundry at a young age. Meals were often left half prepared on the stove, so dinner was often a bowl of cereal.

For the record, I’m sharing this information for context, not to elicit sympathy. It took over 40 years, but I came to understand that everything that happened between me and my mother, (the good, the bad, and the ugly) was exactly what was supposed to happen so that I could be where I am today. It was a pivotal moment in my healing journey when this understanding dropped from my head to my heart. Instead of just understanding it intellectually, I felt the truth of it in my whole being. A few days before she passed, I held my mother’s hand as she lay unconscious in her hospital bed while we listened to the CD set Graceful Passages: A Companion for Living and Dying. When it was done, and my eyes had no more tears to cry, I was able to thank her for all of it and tell her that she was the perfect mom for me. And I meant it.

Back in my dream, I searched the house and found little John crying in his bedroom. I told him who I was and that I had something amazing to show him. We traveled back through the portal emerging at the gorgeous sunset scene on Sarasota Bay that I described in last week’s blog. I told him that THIS is our life now. It’s filled with peace, love, joy, and beauty! We made it out of that chaos in Vestal. I reassured him that I would take care of him from now on. I also promised we would only live in places that light up our soul and allow our creative expression to flow freely. I added that I found us a beautiful, quiet place near the water to live. And finally, I promised that I would do my best to honor, respect, and value his needs from now on. It felt so good to tell him these things and share details of this exciting new chapter we are creating together! The conversation soothed both of us, and I felt our heart connection grow stronger. Then we sat back in the Adirondack chairs to watch Mother Nature put on a spectacular show with storm clouds, thunder, egrets, herons, and jumping fish as golden sunlight danced in the ripples of the water.

One of the cornerstones of the work I do called Family Constellations is the idea that eventually we all have to accept the love from our parents as they gave it, not as we wanted it. It may take a long time to get there, but it is possible. Then, we can parent ourselves and give ourselves  everything we need to thrive. If you’ve never thought about parenting yourself, I invite you to give it a try. It is one of the most freeing and empowering gifts I have ever given myself. If you would like some guidance on how specifically to do this, please contact me for a private Family Constellations session or a series of Life Coaching sessions. It would be my great honor to assist you. I continue to be amazed by what is revealed and healed in these sessions. For more information or to schedule a session, please look around my website or send me an email

Until next time, may your little one experience an abundance of love and support from the best parent she or he could ever have…YOU! 

You have so little faith in yourself because you are unwilling to accept the fact that perfect love is in you. And so you seek without for what you cannot find without.

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

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

A Day of Miracles

Last Sunday was a day of miracles that almost didn’t happen. I accepted an invitation to speak and facilitate an afternoon workshop at the Church of One Love in Dallas long before I had absolute clarity that it was time for me to leave Houston and move back to Florida. At the time, that only required getting in my car and driving four hours north on I-45. Now that I live in the Sunshine State, the trip became a little more complicated and costly with air travel, car rental, hotel room, extra meals, and various other expenses. I had the opportunity to reschedule my visit, but when I got quiet and asked Spirit if it was the highest choice for me to go to Dallas now, the answer I received was an emphatic “YES!” I have learned to trust that guidance even when it doesn’t appear to be practical, so I made all the necessary arrangements and flew across the Gulf of Mexico.

I will admit, I began to question that decision when my flight to Dallas was delayed over an hour on Saturday evening due to severe thunderstorms across the country. I questioned my decision again when I encountered some frustrating obstacles with the rental car company. However, both of those unpleasant experiences gave me the opportunity to practice the kind of forgiveness A Course in Miracles teaches, and thus current examples to share in my workshop. When I finally arrived at my hotel, I had to laugh at the artwork hanging next to the desk in my room. It was none other than Big Tex, the creepy 55’ mascot of the State Fair of Texas! Ever since my first experience at the Fair, I often joked that Big Tex must be the cause of many children’s nightmare. I was back in Texas for just one night and Big Tex would be staring at me while I slept! Because I was a little nervous about speaking the next day, it felt like a cosmic wink from the Universe reminding me to lighten up and not take any of it too seriously.  

The next day started with a visit to a beautiful rose garden located just down the street from the church. A friend who lives in Dallas has been taking gorgeous photos in that garden for years and I have always wanted to go there myself. I hadn’t seen that friend since before the pandemic, so it felt like the perfect place to meet and catch up. During our stroll through the multi-colored blossoms, we were blessed by a visit from a hummingbird who appeared to be enjoying the beautiful flowers as much as we were. Hummingbirds represent “joy” in Native American teachings, so I took it as a sign that there would be plenty of joy around me that day. 

It didn’t take long to confirm that theory. The wonderful people at the Church of One Love greeted me with open hearts and open arms. Some I had met before and others I met for the first time. I was delighted to see a few of my friends who live in Dallas and deeply touched by one who drove all the way up from Houston to attend both events. I felt very loved and supported.

Before the service, the kind leader of the A Course in Miracles group introduced herself to me and let me know most of her group would be attending both events. I was so honored when she told me that this would be the first time some of them would be meeting each other face to face! How could I decline when she invited me to join them at a well-known Mexican restaurant for lunch? I’m so glad I didn’t let fear of not having enough time stop me from accepting her gracious invitation. I loved hearing their miracle stories and getting to know them better. I believe it made the experience at the workshop much more powerful and intimate. That became apparent when people started sharing the miraculous shifts and “aha” moments they had during the final group exercise. I couldn’t be more pleased with how it all came together or more grateful to have made some new friends. 

After the workshop, I had time to get a chai tea at a nearby Starbucks with the friend who drove up from Houston. We shared plenty of laughs and caught up with each other’s lives before I had to head back to the airport to return my rental car and catch my flight back to Florida. Unfortunately, there were more delays due to weather, so I did not get back to my friend’s house in Tampa until 2 AM! It was a long day but a good day filled with many miracles. 

Perhaps the miracle that touched me the most was the young woman who approached me after the Sunday service. This was her first time at the Church of One Love. She told me that she very recently began a journey of healing where she was introduced to the concept of Generational Trauma. It was something she had never heard of before, so when the guest speaker at a church she had never attended spoke about that very topic, she was blown away! She felt like my message was just for her, and she thanked me profusely. That’s when I knew for sure why Spirit guided me to make the trip to Dallas. Even if all the other miraculous things hadn’t happened, that brief interaction with a woman I will most likely never see again was enough to convince me it was absolutely the right choice!

Are you struggling with a big decision or having trouble listening to your own inner guidance? I would be honored to assist you in getting some clarity with a series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Both can be done from anywhere in the world thanks to the miracle of technology. Please look around my website for more information or send me an email if you have any questions.

Until next time, may all your days be filled with miracles!

Your passage through time and space is not at random. You cannot but be in the right place at the right time.

A Course in Miracles ~ W-42.2:4-5