What Happens Out Past Our Comfort Zone?

I was having lunch with a friend this week when the subject of moving past our comfort zone came up. As I told him, experience has taught me that out past our comfort zone is where miracles happen. Leaving our comfort zone is rarely easy, but the rewards are so worth it! While searching for a “beyond the comfort zone story,” coincidentally I discovered one that happened exactly 3 years ago this week! I felt inspired to share it again here. 

At the end of January in 2020, an unexpected opportunity to move past my comfort zone presented itself. I had agreed to be the platform assistant for the Wednesday night service at Unity of Houston. This job is fairly simple. It required me to welcome everyone, read the announcements, and facilitate the love offering at the end. When I woke up on that particular Wednesday, I learned that the minister scheduled to give the talk wasn’t feeling well. She asked if I would be willing to share a message in her place. 

At that point, I had given a handful of talks at other spiritual centers, but this would be the first time speaking in front of a group this size. In addition to the larger audience, the service was simultaneously being live-streamed on social media. And it was being recorded for YouTube, meaning it would live on the internet for a long time. That was indeed past my comfort zone! As you can imagine, it brought up some fear.

That fear wanted me to say “no thank you” and let one of the Associate Ministers give the talk. Then, I remembered something that happened in 2014, right before my first Big Sky Retreat in Montana. I planned to attend with my friend and mentor, Dr. Charles Geddes, who has been on the Board of Directors since the retreat began in 1976. 

Two weeks before the event, Charles called to tell me there was a last-minute schedule change and asked if I would be willing to present a workshop. As any good friend and mentor who has faith in his friend and a slightly mischievous side would do, he told me that he had already sent my photo to the printer to be included in the program. Therefore, I’d better say yes and quickly come up with a title and description for my workshop.

Okay. That freaked me out a little bit, but I knew he was right. I also recognized what a gift and gracious opportunity I was being given. I’m so glad I said yes because that decision blessed me in more ways than I can count.

When I had to make a similar decision that Wednesday morning, I knew the only answer that would feel peaceful in the long run was yes. Fortunately, I had a yoga class in the morning and Spiritual Coaching and Family Constellations Sessions in the afternoon, so there was very little time to fret about it before it happened.

That also meant I didn’t have much time to prepare, so I decided to tell the story of my first experience with Family Constellations, share a little bit about its origins and philosophy, and then end with a very recent experience of inherited family trauma. This was a personal story I hadn’t shared publicly yet. 

In a quiet moment right before the service, I asked Spirit to give me the words that would be most beneficial to everyone listening. Then I read my go-to prayer from A Course in Miracles:

I am here only to be truly helpful. I am here to represent Him Who sent me. I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me. I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me. I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.  T-2.V.A.18

I recite this prayer before every workshop, coaching session, constellation, or study group. It helps to get my “self” with a little “s” out of the way and let my Higher Self with a capital “S” lead the way. If you like this prayer, but the words “He” and “Him” don’t sit well with you for any reason, you can replace them with “Spirit,” “Love,” “She/Her,” or whatever words resonate with you. The words aren’t as important as the request to let a power greater than ourselves provide guidance and support in any situation that brings up fear.

Even though I was nervous, the stories and the information I shared seemed to flow and fit well together. Watching the video now, I would say a few things differently. But, I trust what I said then was exactly what was supposed to be shared and that it was helpful to someone. This experience was a great reminder to not let fear paralyze me and block a wonderful opportunity to talk about the two things that have helped me the most on my spiritual journey: A Course in Miracles and Family Constellations. For those interested in seeing the video on YouTube, click this link.

If you would like some support and encouragement to move out past your comfort zone, it would be my great honor to assist you with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information about both. With the help of Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime, we can connect no matter where you are in the world. Book a session now with my automated scheduler.

This week, may you find the courage to say yes to any opportunity to explore life beyond your comfort zone. While you’re there, enjoy the miracles!

Moving into 2023 Gracefully

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By grace I live. By grace I am released.

By grace I give. By grace I will release.

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

The Game of Life

Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending some sacred time with my friend, Maggie Cole, while she was here in Houston. Maggie is a long-time spiritual seeker and teacher, as well as a renowned Science of Mind Practitioner. Our conversations were rich, and I enjoyed every one of them. Maggie also happens to be a huge sports fan. In fact, shortening the word “fanatic” to “fan” does not seem appropriate when describing Maggie. That woman is fanatical about her teams!

But here’s the interesting thing about that. Maggie has not watched a live game in over a year. She records the games and only watches the ones she knows her teams win. This may seem peculiar, but there is a reason for this. A few years ago, Maggie was badly injured in a car accident. Her injuries included a broken arm and jaw. She wore a cast on her arm and her jaw was wired shut for months, preventing her from eating solid food and making it difficult for her to speak. Extreme discomfort and pain were accompanied by an inability to sleep. As you can imagine, she was pretty miserable.

It was her spiritual practice, her prayer partners, and her cat, Veronica, that got her through that painful time. The television was a welcome distraction, but when it came to watching sports, Maggie told me it was just too stressful and upsetting to watch her teams lose. She was using most of her mental energy to stay positive and to heal, so she had no extra energy to soothe herself if her teams took a beating. As an act of self-care, she decided to only watch the games they won. And so it began.

You might think Maggie would not enjoy the game as much knowing the outcome in advance, but let me assure you, that is not the case. I witnessed her watching a pre-recorded basketball game one morning in our living room and she cheered, smiled, yelled, and groaned at her Golden State Warriors as if they were playing live! In fact, I think she enjoyed the game more because she had the satisfaction of knowing the Warriors would be triumphant in the end. It occurred to me that this is actually a beautiful spiritual practice.

One of the many benefits I have received from studying A Course in Miracles is the knowledge that in the end, we all wake up from this dream of separation and remember our oneness with Source. We can’t mess it up no matter how hard we try! We can delay our awakening with choices that originate in fear, but according to the Course, we all get there in the end. In fact, we are already there. We just forgot. Lesson 292 in the Workbook for Students says:

A happy outcome to all things is sure.

I find that extremely comforting, don’t you? Like those pre-recorded games Maggie watches, you can enjoy the highs and lows of life without getting stressed about the outcome. Sure, you will have trials and tribulations, but if you keep making choices from love, they will pass. The question is, do you believe the Universe is a friendly place that has your back or do you believe life is hard and always a struggle? Of course, whichever you believe will color your experience and be true for you. I love this advice from Rumi:

“Live life as though everything is rigged in your favor.”

If you would like some assistance finding evidence that the Universe has your back and everything is rigged in your favor, please consider giving yourself the gift of a Life Coaching session or a series of sessions. I’ve added some new packages and pricing to fit your needs and budget. I would be honored to help get you through this difficult time. During our sessions, I will share some practical tools and techniques to help you experience more peace, love, and joy in your life. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information and to schedule a session.

Until next time, please remember these encouraging words from Sonny in the wonderful movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel:

“Everything will be all right in the end… if it’s not all right then it’s not yet the end.”

Spring Cleaning the Unconscious Mind

Spring is almost upon us. That means many of us will be tidying up our living spaces, perhaps following the advice of the petite but powerful Marie Kondo. If by chance you haven’t heard of her, Marie Kondo is a tidying expert, bestselling author, star of Netflix’s hit show, “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” and founder of KonMari Media, Inc. I love the simple question she asks her clients when helping them decide whether or not to keep an item: “Does it spark joy?”

Many of us keep things in our homes or in storage which do not spark joy in us. We site a variety of sentimental reasons why we are unable to let go of these items. That necklace belonged to my mother. My dad played golf every Saturday with those clubs. Those dishes have been in my family for generations. Certainly, remembering the loved one to whom those items belonged makes us smile, but what about the actual item that is collecting dust on the shelf or taking up space in the garage? Do they really spark joy or do we keep them as a way to stay connected to our loved ones? What if we found a different way to stay connected?

Recently while talking about my work, it occurred to me that just like Marie Kondo helps you tidy up your home, Family Constellations helps you tidy up your unconscious mind. You know you can inherit jewelry or dishes from your family, but did you know you can also inherit pain, sorrow, trauma, and anxiety? Even though these things are detrimental to our well-being, just like those material items, they keep us connected to our ancestors.

For example, if there is a break in the bond with our mother or father, we often recreate similar situations in our own lives as a way to be connected. Our unconscious mind says, “See how much I love you, mom or dad? I will do the same.” Children of alcoholics often become alcoholics or marry someone with a drinking problem. We might repeatedly experience betrayal in personal or business relationships if one of our parents was unfaithful or left the other. We may feel anxious for no apparent reason if an ancestor experienced a sudden tragedy and was not able to heal the trauma.

Now I can see clearly that I inherited some of my mother’s deep sadness during my formative years. Her father died in a swimming accident one month before she was born. Her first child was born much too early and only lived a few days. Her husband, my father, died from cancer at the age of 45. That is a lot of loss in one person’s lifetime. It’s understandable that my mom turned to alcohol to numb her pain.

Without knowing it, I took on some of her pain. It lived in me and kept us connected for many years until eventually, it became too much to bear. I began tidying up my unconscious mind with A Course in Miracles and later, Family Constellations. I released the deep sadness and focused instead on things that sparked joy, namely my mother’s incredible sense of humor and the unconditional love that we shared. What a relief to know we could be connected through love and joy instead of pain and sadness!

I invite you to take a look in the closet of your unconscious mind and do some spiritual spring cleaning. If you could use some assistance in this endeavor, it would be my great joy to help you tidy up. I offer private Family Constellations sessions in person, by phone, or computer as well as Life Coaching packages based on the strong principles found in A Course in Miracles and other New Thought teachings. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information and to schedule a session.

Until next time, remember, if it doesn’t spark joy it’s probably time to let it go!

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

Gentle with Myself

I’m giggling as I type this because the last time I wrote a story that involved a headache one of my friends teased, “Geez. John gets a headache and we all get an email about it.” It’s good to have friends that make you laugh and keep you humble. Well, Steven, I got another headache and you got another email about it. By the way, if you’d like to read the last story of how my headache led to a turtle miracle, click this link.

Unfortunately, there was no turtle this time, but there was a miracle. I woke up on Tuesday morning with a dull ache in the back of my head that seemed to be stemming from muscle tension in my neck. By the time I returned home from my morning appointments and errands, the pain had increased dramatically and was now accompanied by slight nausea.

I thought perhaps it was a hunger headache because I had skipped breakfast, but sadly, a healthy lunch did not help. Unable to concentrate on the work I needed to do, I decided it was best to lie down for a while. I put lavender oil on my temples and fired up my bean bag heating pad in the microwave to place under my neck. For my fellow A Course in Miracles students, I also remembered to ask Holy Spirit to remove the guilt buried deep in my unconscious mind which is the true source of pain, and then I took some ibuprofen. Thankfully, these remedies gave me some relief, but a lesser version of the headache still lingered.

My next thought was to soak in a hot bath with Epsom salt to release my muscle tension. That’s when my ego took the opportunity to remind me of the emails I needed to answer and the phone call I needed to make. It was getting late in the day, so I considered pushing past my pain to get some work done. Then I had a moment of clarity. Even if I did attempt to work, it would not be quality work. More importantly, why would I put emails before my health and well-being? Those emails and that phone call would have to wait until the next day. I had a date with Dr. Teal’s Lavender Epsom Salt in the tub. After a 45-minute soak, my headache and nausea were almost completely gone.

That may seem like the miracle, but the real miracle was when I shifted from fear to love. It was fear telling me it wouldn’t be okay if I didn’t get that work done. It was love reminding me to practice self-care. The next morning, when I felt better, I answered those emails and made that phone call, and everything worked out just fine.

If you would like some assistance shifting from fear to love around any circumstance in your life, please consider a series of Life Coaching sessions or joining me for Family Constellations this month. Both produce miraculous results! Look around my website or send me an email for more information and to schedule a session.

Until next time, no matter what’s going on, please take these loving words to heart from my talented friend Karen Drucker in her beautiful song, “Gentle with Myself.”

“I will be gentle with myself. And I will hold myself like a newborn baby child.”

Watch Out for that Boulder!

Have you ever felt like you were in that scene from Indiana Jones where the giant boulder is rolling towards Indy and there’s no place for him to get out of the way? I didn’t realize that’s how I felt until I took a week off in Florida last month. My calendar was very full during the first two months of 2019. Don’t get me wrong. I feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to facilitate three Family Constellations workshops over three consecutive weekends in January. Between workshops, I received more requests for private sessions than I could accommodate. What a great problem to have!

Not only did I have a lot to do for my own business, but I had quite a few responsibilities and deadlines looming over me as President of the Big Sky Retreat. Before I knew it, there was a very large boulder rolling toward me. For a few weeks, it felt like my only choice was to keep running or get flattened. I’m sure many of you can relate to that feeling, especially those who own their own business. It seems there is always something demanding attention. Taking a full day off can be challenging for me.

I am grateful that my partner reminds me to take a day off once in a while, and even more grateful that he suggested we take a trip to Fort Lauderdale the week of Valentine’s Day. What a different experience to not have anything on my calendar for an entire week! Well, that’s not entirely true. There were a few lunch and dinner dates with friends scattered throughout the week that we both thoroughly enjoyed. Some days, however, the only date we had was with a beach umbrella, our Kindles, and Mother Ocean. That spacious schedule along with the Florida sunshine and sea air helped me to step aside, take a deep breath, and let that boulder roll right past me.

If there’s a boulder chasing you, I highly encourage you to get out of the way by getting out of your everyday routine, even if it’s just for a day, a few hours, or a few minutes. Go visit a friend for the weekend. Take a walk in nature, read a book, or catch a movie. Meditate or take a nap for fifteen minutes. (If you’re like me, sometimes one turns into the other.) It may seem counterintuitive to take time off when there is so much to do, but I have learned that creating space in my schedule for rest and rejuvenation helps me to be more productive when I return to work. This week, not only do I feel more peaceful, but I have been scratching some big things off of my to do list and it feels great! Here is some good advice on this subject from Lesson 128 in A Course in Miracles:

Pause and be still a little while, and see how far you rise above the world, when you release your mind from chains and let it seek the level where it finds itself at home. It will be grateful to be free a while. It knows where it belongs. But free its wings, and it will fly in sureness and in joy to join its holy purpose.

I would be honored to help you rise above the world and release your mind from chains with a series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Look around my website or send me an email for more information about both of these life-changing opportunities.

Until next time, remember, it only takes a moment to step aside and let that boulder roll by.

Into the Mystic

While enjoying some welcomed downtime in Florida last week, I was thinking about another special Valentine’s Day week fifteen years ago. That’s when I attended my very first spiritual gathering near St. Petersburg, Florida. The event was centered around a mysterious, ancient crystal skull named Max who ironically is based here in Houston. I had no idea why, but when I heard the story of Max, I knew I was supposed to be at that gathering. I’m so glad I ventured past my comfort zone and listened to that inner knowing because that weekend was full of blessings that opened me up to a whole new world of possibilities.

I met some of my first spiritual teachers at that gathering in 2004. Not only did I learn about Max, but I also learned about the Native American Medicine Wheel, Animal Totems, Hindu Deities, and Sanskrit Chants, all of which are still part of my spiritual practice today. During a mystical experience with Max, I received the message that my presence helps others on their path of healing and wholeness. At the time I was a massage therapist and that message resonated with me deeply. That message still resonates with me as a Life Coach and Family Constellations Facilitator, and I have adopted it as my personal mission statement.

It was at that same gathering where I met an amazing group of people that I call my Rose Quartz Family. These new friends taught me that rose quartz holds the frequency of unconditional love and compassion. I also learned that they had been planting those tiny pink stones all over the globe for years to create a web of love and peace around the planet. Fifteen years later, I’m still giving away rose quartz stones as gifts, I sprinkle them wherever I go, and I have incorporated them into the opening ceremony of the Big Sky Retreat.

Speaking of the Big Sky Retreat, that was another spiritual gathering that I knew I was supposed to attend when I first heard about it. What I didn’t know was how many blessings would come from that decision. Like that first spiritual gathering in Florida, I met a wonderful group of people that have become like family. The heart connections I have made with people from all over the country have given me numerous opportunities to travel and share the work I love called Family Constellations. I also happened to meet my partner at the Big Sky Retreat, so one could definitely say the retreat continues to bless my life.

Is there a gathering or event that your heart is telling you to attend? Whatever or wherever the call, it may not make sense to you why you feel you should be there. You may feel like you don’t have the resources or the time to go. I strongly encourage you to drop those limiting beliefs, stop trying to figure it out, and set your intention to be there. Let Spirit handle the details. That’s what happened to me both times I said yes to that inner knowing. Somehow Spirit found a way to get me there. I am convinced it was part of some divinely orchestrated plan that I said yes to long ago. If you are feeling the pull, GO! Untold blessings are waiting for you!
 
If that inner knowing is telling you to be at the 44th Annual Big Sky Retreat in Montana this Labor Day Weekend, I encourage you to visit BigSkyRetreat.com and register today. If you are supposed to be there, the way will be revealed. Once you say yes, be prepared for love, expansion, and miracles to happen! I look forward to seeing you there and together we can take a journey “Into the Mystic…” 

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 – Workbook Lesson 42

What is Love?

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner and pink and red hearts everywhere you look, this week it felt appropriate to ask the question, “What is Love?” For fans of Saturday Night Live, the 1993 Haddaway song may already be playing in your head as you jerk rhythmically to the beat like the obnoxious brothers played by Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell. My apologies for that.

Song lyrics and dance moves aside, what is love? I often ask my Life Coaching clients for their definition of love because it’s a question we don’t often ponder. Most of us use that word so often we think we know exactly what it means. I love pizza. I love dark chocolate. I love that song. I love that show. I love her. I love you! What are we really saying when we use love before all of those different words?

When I stopped to ask myself this question, I found that, for me, love means that something deeply resonates with the truth of who I am. It elicits joy in me. If I’m talking about you, love means I see an aspect of my own divinity in you. It’s something we share. Howver, when I forget who I am and who you are, love leaves and fear enters.

The introduction to A Course in Miracles says this about love:

The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.

So this Valentine’s Day, whether you are in a romantic relationship or not, I invite you to ponder your own definition of love, and remove the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence. Not only is love all around you in ways you may not have noticed, but it also is you! Imagine that your judgments or resentments about yourself or others are like bricks in a wall that surrounds your radiant heart. As you remove and lay aside each brick, more and more light from your heart can illuminate your world. Love is your natural inheritance. When you remember that you are love, you don’t need to go looking for it!

Are you having a hard time remembering that you are loved, lovable, and love itself? It would be my great honor to assist you in removing some of those bricks with a series of Life Coaching sessions. All of my sessions are based on the strong principles found in A Course in Miracles and other New Thought teachings. Let’s see what wants to be revealed and healed together. Please look around my website for more information or send me an email to schedule an appointment.

Until next time, here are a few more quotes from A Course in Miracles on love…

Love will enter immediately into any mind that truly wants it, but it must want it truly. T-4.III.IV
Having offered love, only love can be received. M-7.2
Love created me like itself. WB-167

Wishing you a very happy and love-filled Valentine’s Day!

The Perfect Setup

Little did I know last Sunday my ego was setting me up for the perfect descent into anger, frustration, and judgment. I hadn’t gotten much sleep on Saturday night, and Sunday was a full day. I wish I had time for a nap before my return flight to Houston, but I wanted to get to the airport early to return my rental car. I also wanted to give myself plenty of time to get through security in case there were long lines due to the recent government shutdown. It turns out returning the car was a breeze and there were no long lines at security. I arrived at my gate an hour and a half before my flight was scheduled to board.

That wouldn’t have been so bad if stormy weather hadn’t delayed our flight crew from arriving on another flight. That extra hour seemed like four due to a headache that was growing in my temples and the cold air blowing through the airport. I felt like I was sitting in a refrigerator. I’m also certain someone turned up the volume on the jazz music playing at the gates. There was no escape from those brass instruments! I was so ready to be in my warm bed at home!

I began to get hopeful when the crew finally arrived and we were allowed to board the plane. Unfortunately, the inclement weather caused a back up with air traffic and we sat on the runway for another forty-five minutes. A good portion of that time I was dozing which thankfully relieved my headache a great deal. When we were finally airborne I found myself unable to fall back to sleep so I opened the Southwest App on my iPhone to watch a little mindless TV.

The only thing I found that was remotely interesting was an episode of Dateline. This is not the kind of show I usually watch, but it didn’t take long for me to get hooked into the story of a man accused of killing his wife. As those shows are meant to do, it took me on a roller coaster ride from disbelief to anger. The circumstances of this case were so preposterous I couldn’t believe there was any question of whether or not he did it. It certainly didn’t believe it was an owl as one theory suggested. I soon found myself hoping this man would be found guilty and sent to prison.

That’s when I realized I had fallen right into the ego’s trap! I was tired, frustrated, and angry, and I wanted to project those uncomfortable feelings onto anyone that was available. This man was the perfect target. I was getting upset about someone I didn’t even know and a situation over which I had no control. I let a TV show take away my peace. A Course in Miracles says that despite outward appearances, we are all pure spirit, innocent and whole. It also reminds us:

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. (T-8.III.4)

I wish I could say I remembered this quote and was able to shift my thinking from fear to love by the end of the show, but that would not be true. It took a good night’s sleep before I could laugh at myself for taking the ego’s bait. It made a good story for our ACIM Study Group last Monday night at Unity of Houston. The reason I’m sharing it again here is to point out how easy it is to fall into the ego’s trap when we’re tired or not feeling well. When it happens, I encourage you to be gentle with yourself until you can climb back out. It’s never too late to see things differently and experience a miracle.

Is there a situation in your life where you could use a miracle? I would be honored to help you see things differently with a series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Both can be done from anywhere in the world thanks to technology. Please look around my website to learn more about both of these miraculous opportunities or send me an email to schedule an appointment.

Until next time, watch out for the ego’s perfect setup. You can fall into its trap even when you’re 30,000 feet in the air!

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Course in Miracles ~ Lesson 355

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