Laughing at Myself

Spring has arrived in Florida. And the flowers at the entrance to my community bring me great joy!

One thing A Course in Miracles has helped me with is recognizing my split mind. One side comes from love and the other operates out of fear. There’s a lesson in the Course that invites you to set aside 30 minutes to write out all of the thoughts that cross your mind. The idea is to get them out on paper without editing or analyzing them. 

When the 30 minutes are up, go back and read them. You will most likely discover that some of your thoughts are in direct opposition to each other. “I’m going to start eating healthier. Maybe I’ll bring donuts to work tomorrow. I’m completely overwhelmed with my schedule. Should I start a new weekly meeting? I’m craving more time for myself. I wish my partner paid more attention to me.” How could we possibly be at peace while unknowingly holding these conflicting thoughts?

This week, a very clear and ridiculous example of my split mind revealed itself. I love that the grounds of my apartment community are very well maintained. The bushes and trees are trimmed, the sidewalks are clear, and colorful flowers greet me when I drive through the front entrance. It brings me great joy to see them!

Yet, when the landscaping crew arrives every Tuesday morning and the leaf blowers and lawn mowers start up at 8 AM, I am anything but joyful. How silly of me to be annoyed by the people responsible for keeping the grounds looking so beautiful. It makes no sense! But that is typical of the ego’s thought system. It is ripe with contradictions and judgments. It will use anything at its disposal to keep me feeling bad, no matter how nonsensical.

Now that doesn’t mean I have to love the sound of a leaf blower outside my window. I think we can all agree that sound is quite unpleasant. But, can I shift my thoughts from anger to gratitude when the noise starts?

By the way, on Tuesday mornings, I usually leave for my daily walk along Sarasota Bay soon after the crew arrives. This week, I was in the middle of my morning meditation when they arrived. Having recently noticed this crystal clear example of my split mind, I decided to stay put and extend love to them as part of my meditation practice. 

As the roar of the leaf blower got closer to my window, the visual that dropped into my mind surprised me. I saw the landscapers clearing debris from a path that led to a beautiful alcove in the forest. In my mind’s eye, I stepped into the clearing, sat down in the middle of the tall trees, and continued to breathe. Despite the obnoxious sound, I was smiling at this image and shift in perception.

When the time I set aside for meditation was over, I laced up my walking shoes, filled my Hydro Flask with water, and headed out the door for my walk. As I passed the crew, I gave them a head nod as I usually do, but sent them extra loving, grateful thoughts as well. Now my thoughts were in harmony, and it felt much better. 

This is just one small example of the conflicting thoughts that live in my head. There are plenty more to examine! Much like cleaning items out of a closet, I can take them out, observe how they make me feel, and then decide which ones to keep and which ones to release. If the thought doesn’t feel peaceful, loving, or joyful, it’s probably time to let it go.

It would be my great honor to help you clean out the closet of your mind and sort out any thoughts or beliefs that no longer serve. Both Spiritual Coaching and Family Constellations are great tools to help you do that. Please visit my website to learn more about these healing opportunities and to book a session. Thanks to technology, we can connect no matter where you are in the world. I look forward to clearing and sorting with you!

A split mind cannot perceive its fullness, and needs the miracle of its wholeness to dawn upon it and heal it.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-7.IX.4:4

Ushering in 2024 with Peace and Whales

Do you have your “word” for 2024? Last year, “Grace” danced into my awareness while observing the flowing and seemingly effortless movements of a dancer at a New Year’s Eve event. I wrote about it in my blog titled “Moving into 2023 Gracefully.” At the time, I had no idea how much grace I would receive in the following months. It truly was the perfect touchstone word to help me through all the unexpected twists and turns of 2023.

If you are not familiar with this practice, your word for the year is not usually one you actively choose. It finds its way to you in moments of stillness and contemplation. But you don’t have to be sitting in the lotus position on a meditation cushion to receive a word. It could pop out at you while listening to a song in the car on the way to the grocery store. Perhaps a word on a billboard or a bumper sticker will speak to you. There’s no right or wrong way to receive your word. 

Many of you already practice this, but if it is new to you and it strikes a chord, simply open your heart and mind to receive a word in whatever way it wants to arrive. There are just two guidelines that I recommend. Don’t force it, and don’t judge or resist a word if it doesn’t seem to make sense in the moment. It’s often in hindsight that the word reveals its significance and relevance, as it did in my case last year. The word may have a completely different meaning than your first instinct.

This year, I really wanted to be around other humans on New Year’s Eve. Alas, it was not meant to be. I’m not much of a planner, so by the time I started asking local friends how they would ring in the new year, I discovered all of them were staying home. I surrendered to the fact that I’d be staying home, too, which turned out to be a blessing.

Instead of being around other humans, I spent New Year’s Eve with Greek gods, goddesses, and monsters while watching Percy Jackson and the Olympians on Disney+. There’s a good reason for the buzz it’s getting. It’s a very fun show!

In the middle of episode 2, I got a nudge to set down my iPad and check the time. There were just 7 minutes left in 2023. Outside, the fireworks had been exploding relentlessly since about 7 PM. They weren’t bothering me that much, but I decided to pop in my AirPods to drown out the sound and listen to one of my favorite meditation tracks, “Song of the Deep” by Kamal. That felt like a nice way to spend the last moments of 2023.

Interestingly enough, that track is just over 7 minutes, so the humpback whales ushered me into 2024 with their beautiful calls set to soft, graceful melodies. When I imagine these gentle giants elegantly moving through the water and diving into the depths of the ocean, it always gives me a deep sense of peace. I love this metaphor. No matter what storms are raging on the surface, when we dive deep, it is calm.

Suddenly I knew my word for 2024…Peace. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that before Percy Jackson, I watched a video on YouTube by Jacob Glass, a fellow A Course in Miracles student. He was talking about one of the Course’s core teachings in Lesson 185. To say you want peace is nothing, but to mean it is everything.

I am grateful to Jacob Glass and the humpback whales for revealing my word for the year. I truly want Peace and I am going to do my best to choose it in every moment! Like Grace, I look forward to all the miraculous ways Peace will guide and support me in 2024.

Would you like to experience more Peace this year? I would be honored to assist you in that endeavor with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can help you see things differently while giving you tools to navigate those storms when they arise. For more information or to book a session, please look around my website. I look forward to exploring the depths with you where peace is always present. 

Until next time, keep doing your best to choose peace!

Accept the holy instant as this year is born, and take your place, so long left unfulfilled, in the Great Awakening. Make this year different by making it all the same.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-15.XI.10:10-11

Harmony’s New Shoes

I started writing about something else this week, but then I experienced a little holiday miracle that really wanted to be shared. I hope it opens your mind to the possibility that there are more holiday miracles wanting to happen through you, too!

Harmony is the name I gave my Honda HRV when I leased her in January 2018. Let’s just say my experience was not very harmonious at the dealership, so I purposely chose a name that would help shift that energy. Well, it must have worked because 6 years later we are still together. But after driving her for 49,000 miles, it was time to get her some new shoes.

During my last oil change, the service adviser at the local Honda dealer told me my car would definitely need new tires the next time I came in. He did some quick calculations to give me an idea of what it would cost. My jaw dropped when he showed me the number on his calculator. The amount was over $1,000! That number has been looming in my mind ever since. 

My friend’s sweet husband did some research for me when I shared with her the outrageous price he quoted. He found some much better deals online at a tire store not far from my apartment. Coincidentally, the tire store he found was right next to the supermarket where I shop, so I had already been thinking that’s where I would go when it was time. 

Before another drive across the state to see my sister and her family for Christmas, it felt wise to get those new shoes for Harmony. I went to that tire store’s website, selected a relatively affordable set of tires, and scheduled an appointment for the next morning. That first step went rather smoothly.

During my morning meditation the next day, I imagined sending love and peaceful energy to the tire store filling it with light before I arrived. An hour later, when I walked in, there was just one customer before me. When the service adviser finished with him, he told me his co-worker would be right with me. Darn! He seemed nice. I was hoping he would help me. 

A moment later, his co-worker walked in from the work area and asked if he could help me at the next counter. I told him I had made an appointment online, which he found quickly on his computer. Without saying many words, he used the hunt-and-peck method on his keyboard to enter my address before going out to my car to record the mileage. When he returned, still mostly silent, I got a nudge to ask him if I was eligible for any rebates or perhaps a “Merry Christmas Gift” of $50 off. Without skipping a beat or looking away from his computer screen, he replied, ”Sure. I’ll give you $50 off.” 

At first, I wasn’t sure I heard him correctly, but I decided not to question it. I would trust the process and see what appeared on the final bill. In just over an hour, the mechanics gave Harmony four new “Blackhawk” tires before lowering her to the ground. When I approached the counter to pay, the same man of few words presented me the bill. He had indeed taken an additional $50 off. In fact, the final bill was less than half of what the Honda dealer quoted and also less than the price my friend’s husband found. It was a Christmas miracle! 

By the way, you may recall the “Angel To-Do” list I wrote about last week. Purchasing new tires with ease and grace was on that list. After months of putting it off, the angels took care of it in just a few weeks. Yes, I had to do my part. But it went more smoothly, quickly, and for less money than I had imagined possible. Thank you, angels! 

I’d like to share one last fun detail. I have no idea if “Blackhawk” is a good brand of tires, but I love the name. Longtime readers of my weekly stories know I am always looking for signs. In Native American teachings, Hawk is a messenger. Hawk invites us to pay attention to our surroundings because life is always sending us signals.

You know who else are considered to be messengers? Angels! I like to think “Blackhawk” was yet another wink from them to remind me that they are on the job. I look forward to seeing how they handle the rest of that list in 2024 and beyond! 

Are you in the middle of a challenging time? It would be my great honor to assist you through it with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can help unlock old patterns that no longer serve, thus allowing more peace and joy to flow into your life. There’s no better time to give yourself a gift than right now. Sessions can be done from anywhere in the world thanks to the Internet. For more information or to book a session, please look around my website. I would love to share the gifts I have received with you!

As we bring this year to a close, I invite you to look for signs wherever you go. They show up in unexpected ways, and they sure make life more interesting and joyful!

Nothing you undertake with certain purpose and high resolve and happy confidence, holding your brother’s hand and keeping step to Heaven’s song, is difficult to do. 

A Course in Miracles ~ T-26.V.2:5

A Meditation Chair Miracle

It was 2007. I had been studying A Course in Miracles for about a year when life handed me one of my biggest forgiveness opportunities. It was a dramatic ending to a four-and-a-half-year romantic relationship. The details aren’t important. All you need to know is I was hurt and felt like a victim. 

Thank goodness I had the Course and a good Spiritual Coach at the time. Both helped me not to project all of the blame onto my partner and to remember that relationships are mirrors. What upsets me is never anything “out there.” It always starts within. Who was I really mad at?

I can’t say that I was able to stay out of victim mode 100% of the time or that I never made my former partner the villain. I can say that I didn’t stay in that disempowered space too long. After much self-reflection and self-inquiry, I was able to see and own my part in what happened in our relationship.

Through mutual friends, I knew he had moved from Florida to Alabama, but for a few years we had little to no communication other than the occasional birthday or holiday text message. During that time, my study of the Course deepened and I was able to release any residual anger toward him and the situation. As painful as it was, I came to understand that everything unfolded perfectly so I could learn true forgiveness and some powerful life lessons. 

Quite unexpectedly, my former partner reached out to me when he moved back to the Sunshine State. There was no emotional charge when I heard the message. Honestly, it was nice to hear his voice. I was curious to hear what was happening in his life and the lives of his family since I was quite close with them during our time together. We made plans to walk along Fort Lauderdale Beach the next morning. 

Not only did we catch up, but we also talked openly about our relationship and what we would do differently. There was no blame or anger in our discussion, but there was a lot of laughter. That in itself is a miracle! And by miracle, I mean the definition given in the Course, a shift in perception from a fearful way of looking at a situation to a loving way. 

Later, I showed him pictures on my phone of a chair and end tables that I was considering purchasing for my new apartment. He noticed that the chair I wanted was very similar to a chair we bought together 10 years ago. I replied “YES! That’s exactly the kind of chair I’m looking for.” I loved that chair. It was incredibly comfortable and a great spot for meditation.   

He surprised me again by saying, “Do you want that chair? A friend of mine is keeping it for me and he doesn’t live far from you. Actually, he just texted me today asking if I needed any of my furniture back.” What?!?! His friend brought it to my apartment less than 24 hours later and I was reunited with my beloved chair! It was another miracle that would never have happened if I hadn’t released my grievances. To me, that was  powerful evidence that A Course in Miracles works!

I’m not recommending you plan a beach walk with all of your exes, but I do encourage you to release any residual pain or anger you might be carrying toward them. It would be my great honor to assist you with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions where I’ll share some of the tools and insights I have learned from A Course in Miracles and my Spiritual Coach. You can book your first session now using the automated scheduler on my website. 

To reveal and heal unhealthy familial patterns that repeat from generation to generation,  consider scheduling a private Family Constellations Session or join me for an Upcoming Workshop. I look forward to being in sacred space with you!

Until next time, may you give yourself the gift of releasing unforgiving thoughts about any past or current relationships. Who knows? You might end up with some new furniture!

Love holds no grievances.

A Course in Miracles ~ Workbook Lesson 68

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

A Recipe for Healing

Many of you know I injured my shoulder during my yoga practice at the beginning of this year. Before that, it had been at least four months since I practiced due to procedures I had to remove basal cell carcinomas at the end of 2019 and an ankle injury that occurred earlier that summer. Needless to say, it has been a long road of healing and surrender in many ways. Yoga has helped me stay grounded, peaceful, and feeling good in my body since 2005. To say I have missed not being able to move and stretch in that way for over a year, especially during this pandemic, would be a huge understatement.

Having been a massage therapist for over 15 years, I knew I had to allow my shoulder plenty of time to heal before rolling out my yoga mat again. I did not want to risk injuring it further. Despite consistently working on the trigger points in my shoulder muscles, it has taken a lot longer to heal than I anticipated. Recently, the Universe brought two skilled healers into my life: an amazing holistic chiropractor and an incredibly intuitive acupuncturist. With their help, my shoulder is back to at least 80% strength and range of motion. For that, I am truly grateful.

With this accelerated healing, I noticed my body craving more than just the simple stretches prior to my daily walk. I felt confident I could do a toned-down version of my yoga routine as long as I was careful and listened to what my body was telling me. One rainy, chilly day this week, my schedule miraculously opened up giving me an entire afternoon free. It was the perfect opportunity to roll out my yoga mat and give it a try, yet I noticed a surprising amount of resistance to doing it. After lunch, I found an assortment of other tasks to do, including opening a pile of mail that had been sitting on my desk for days. Why was I resisting something I knew would help me feel better? 

Rather than beat myself up, I simply observed what was happening. Then I imagined how I would feel if I didn’t practice that day, knowing I had no rational excuse not to. That thought did not feel peaceful, so I lit a candle, selected one of my favorite yoga playlists on iTunes, cleared a space on the floor, and unrolled my mat. As I rested in child’s pose on that aqua blue rectangle of squishy foam, the smell of whatever material they use to manufacture yoga mats filled my nose. The sound of Deva Premal chanting in Sanskrit filled my ears. Suddenly, I stretched my arms in front of my head like I hadn’t been able to do for months and began my practice. I felt like a child who had recently found a long lost favorite toy at the bottom of the toy chest. Before I knew it, an hour had passed. 

Just as I expected, I had to make a few modifications and skip a few poses that my shoulder could not support. And just as I expected, it felt fantastic to get my body and energy moving again in that way. I’ll admit I was a little sore the next day, but it was definitely the good kind of sore. Muscles that had not been used in months were beginning to wake up and strengthen. What a great lesson to remain mindful, acknowledge any resistance with as little judgment as possible, ask what feels most peaceful, and then take action. This seems like a good recipe for many kinds of healing.

Is there something you know will benefit you that you are resisting? Maybe you have been curious about doing a private or group Family Constellations session. It is quite natural for there to be unconscious resistance to doing this work, but once you set your intention to do it, miraculous events unfold. I have seen it happen more times than I can count. Perhaps you have been thinking about getting some assistance through Life Coaching to navigate a current challenge. I would be honored to give you some tools and techniques to help you get to the other side where peace resides. I offer 4, 8, and 12-week packages to suit your needs and budget. For more information or to schedule a session, take the first simple step. Send me an email or visit my website.

Until next time, why not give that recipe a try? Remain mindful. Observe your resistance without judgment. Ask what feels most peaceful in the long run. Then take appropriate action.

Healing is release from the fear of waking and the substitution of the decision to wake. The decision to wake is the reflection of the will to love, since all healing involves replacing fear with love.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-8.IX.5.1-2

The Sanctuary of the Heart

I have been learning that even during this time of isolation, it is possible to experience moments of deep connection. I felt one of those moments while watching the Sunday service on Unity of Houston’s Facebook page this week. When Rev. Karen Tudor asked us to sit in silence for a few moments during her guided meditation, waves of energy tingled through my body. It did not matter that we were not physically together in the sanctuary. We were together in the sanctuary of the heart where there is no separation. It felt amazing!

Something similar happened later that evening while watching the Cozy Couch Concert Series featuring my Big Sky Retreat friend, Karen Drucker. If you aren’t familiar with Karen’s music, I highly encourage you to find her on iTunes or wherever you listen to music. Her songs might be just the thing to help you stay calm during these stressful times. Many who already know her music jumped on Facebook to enjoy this concert. It was beautiful to witness friends and colleagues share messages of love in the comments as more and more people joined. Even though we were sitting on couches scattered across the globe, it felt like there was no distance between us as we experienced the heart-opening music together. 

During her song “Your Prayer is My Prayer Too,” Karen asked us to share our prayer requests in the comment section. Instantly the screen was flooded with affirmations of peace, love, health, and safety for each other, family members, friends and all beings on the planet. Many wrote prayers of gratitude for medical professionals, grocery store employees, and all those who are still reporting to work. I shared a prayer of protection and grace for all those serving on the front line including my dear friends, Donna and Norma from Ocala, Florida. Donna is a nurse and Norma is a massage therapist. They both answered the call for emergency medical support in New York City during this crisis. If anyone can be the presence of peace, love, and hope in an overwhelming situation like that it’s these two radiant beings! I have included a photo of Donna and Norma from a recent Big Sky Retreat to give a face to all those doctors and nurses serving tirelessly around the world. If you feel inspired to send them some love and good vibes, I believe those vibes will reach every medical professional on the planet because we are one.

I’d like to share one more miracle moment that reminded me of our oneness and connection this week. I was listening to Madonna’s “Confessions Tour” while getting some fresh air and exercise in the park. The fact that I was listening to a Madonna concert should not surprise anyone who knows me. The surprise happened when I pulled my iPhone out to skip a song and noticed it was 11:11. Because the display is all 1s, whenever I see 11:11, I take a moment to remember that we are all one. As I was thinking this thought, Madonna started singing “I Love New York.” It felt like a reminder to send love to my friends and all of the patients, medical professionals, and their families in New York. I envisioned all of the little rose quartz crystals I have sprinkled in New York City over the years broadcasting unconditional love and light throughout the city, eventually sweeping over the entire planet. Imagining the earth engulfed in healing, pink light made me feel peaceful.

Some of you have roles that require you to continue going to work and for that, I say thank you and bless you! Meanwhile, most of us do our part to help “flatten the curve” by staying home. However, that doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. I encourage you to take advantage of the many ways to connect using technology. Many spiritual teachers and communities are sharing free content on social media. There are more Cozy Couch Concerts coming up in April from the Centers for Spiritual Living. You can join an uplifting virtual conversation such as the two online study groups of A Course in Miracles I facilitate via Zoom every Monday and Friday. Lots of groups and communities are gathering this way until it is safe once again to meet in person. If you aren’t comfortable with computers or technology, you can use the telephone to call a friend or family member who might be feeling isolated. Easiest of all, find a quiet place in nature or your home to sit still and send peace and good thoughts to someone you love or the entire world. If you’re really brave, send love and good thoughts to yourself! You will be amazed at how powerful this experience can be.

Until next time, may you find the connection you crave in the sanctuary of the heart. 

 When a mind has only light, it knows only light. Its own radiance shines all around it, and extends out into the darkness of other minds, transforming them into majesty. 

A Course in Miracles ~ T-7.XI.5:1-2

You Want Me To Do What?

Last week I was blessed to be on a cruise ship in the Western Caribbean Sea celebrating the 90th Anniversary of the Science of Mind Magazine. One of the best parts of that experience was being totally unplugged from social media, emails, and text messaging for six days. My phone remained in airplane mode the entire cruise. I only used it to take pictures and to tell time. It’s not that I don’t love being connected to my friends, my family, and all of you. I do. In fact, in the Oneness we are always connected. However, it felt very good to be fully present with the wonderful people I met on the ship without my phone to distract me. Like most things, our technological gadgets can be both a blessing and a curse. If you are able to give yourself this gift sometime I highly recommend it.

Over two hundred people came from around the country and the world to take part in this event. I was honored to be asked to lead a thirty minute guided meditation on our last day at sea as part of that day’s programming. I begin each of my Family Constellations workshops and A Course in Miracles study groups with a guided meditation, but they are usually between ten and fifteen minutes. What would I do for twice that amount of time? Could I play my crystal singing bowl that long and fill the space or should I bring some meditation music? Should I share the Ancestor Meditation I use for Family Constellations or would that be too weird out of context? Maybe I should just do one of the releasing or surrendering meditations I do with my Life Coaching clients. These were the questions bouncing around in my head prior to the cruise. 

I was so grateful not to be scheduled to lead the meditation on our first day together. That honor went to Dr. Michelle Medrano of the Mile Hi Church in Denver. As I sat there Monday morning listening to her gentle, soothing voice take us on a journey, those questions about my meditation started bouncing in my head again. As soon as I started thinking about the Ancestor Meditation those familiar tingles ran all through my body letting me know that was what I was supposed to share. Alright then. Spirit has been using that particular communication device long enough for me to know I need to pay attention to whatever I’m thinking about in that moment. I decided I would simply take my time and give them the deluxe version of that meditation allowing plenty of time for my crystal singing bowl to work its magic at the end. 

At 8:30 Friday morning I made my way to the front of the room and placed my crystal bowl on the table. I invited the attendees to close their eyes and get comfortable while I gave them a sample of the transformative power of connecting with their ancestors. I tapped the side of the bowl with my suede stick four times to honor each of the four directions and then began running the stick around the circumference to make it sing. As the bowl hummed, I did my best to get out of the way and let Spirit give me the words to connect us all with heart energy. Then, generation by generation, I invited our ancestors to take their place behind us, extending back beyond the horizon. Those first twenty-five minutes flew by. I only had an extra five minutes to let everyone marinate in the flow of love and light coming from behind and moving forward to their descendants and creations. At 9 o’clock I chimed the bowl three times. When the sound completely faded I put the bowl back in its case and sat down, trusting that what just happened was exactly what was supposed to happen. 

Well, I got my confirmation pretty quickly. A man sitting in the row behind me tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to see tears in his eyes as he told me the experience felt like pure love. What higher compliment could one receive? On our next break, a few other attendees shared that they too had powerful experiences with their ancestors. I’m not sharing this to toot my own horn. I am very aware that it is not me but Spirit working through me that people responded to. My job is to listen for guidance, or in some cases “feel” that guidance, and then act on it, even if it seems weird or out of my comfort zone. When I do this, the results never cease to amaze me.

This experience reminded me of the time many years ago when my friend Kate asked me to deliver a blessing at her commitment ceremony, ironically held at the Science of Mind Church here in Fort Lauderdale. I told her it would be an honor. Shortly after I began pondering what I would say, I received the message to share a short guided meditation as the blessing. I quickly dismissed this idea and went back to my search for nice words to bless my friend, her partner, and this new chapter of their journey together. Despite my best efforts to suppress it, that silly idea kept popping back into my head, this time with images. Reluctantly, I called Kate to ask her how she felt about it. Kate had been a stage manager for many years. Her response was, “You’ve got five minutes. Do whatever you like but don’t go over!”

Once I got the green light from Kate, many more images for the meditation started flooding my brain. I surrendered and let them come. But, much like my deliberation before the cruise last week, many times prior to the ceremony I abandoned the idea of a guided meditation in favor of the safer option to just say some sweet things about my friends. Well, the day of the ceremony arrived and I still wasn’t sure which way to go. Luckily, I didn’t have much time to think about it. Seconds after the brides reached the altar and we all sat down the minister called me up to do the blessing. I was on!

I took a deep breath and let the congregation know I was going to take them on a short journey to honor the coming together of these two beautiful souls. I know I invited them to join hands, but I don’t remember much of what happened after that. The next thing I knew I was sitting back in my chair in the front row while the ceremony continued. This was very early in my spiritual journey. I had never done anything like that before. As I sat there I kept wondering what possessed me to do that and what must people be thinking! 

After the ceremony, my roommate told me that he felt electricity running through the whole sanctuary when everyone joined hands. Since he was my friend I thought he was just being nice. Then, at the reception, something miraculous happened. A woman I’ll call Mary approached me and asked if she could share her experience during the meditation. Uh oh. My mouth said “sure” but the rest of my body wanted to run and hide. 

Mary began by telling me she was a dancer, very energetic, and had a hard time focusing. A few years prior to this, a friend had gifted her a reading with a psychic medium for her birthday. Mary was skeptical, but because it was a gift, she made an appointment anyway. Apparently this psychic was the real deal because she knew things about Mary’s grandmother that no one could have known. Mary loved this grandmother dearly, so when the psychic told her Grandma recommended that she start meditating to calm down and focus, Mary took it seriously. 

After the reading, Mary tried many different meditation techniques. She went to workshops and read books on meditation. Nothing worked. No matter what she tried, Mary could not quiet her mind so she eventually gave up. So on that day in 2006, (which also happened to be my birthday) when I announced to the congregation that I was going to lead them in a short guided meditation, Mary rolled her eyes and prepared to be frustrated for the next five minutes.

To her surprise, when I invited everyone to open their eyes and become aware of the room again, Mary said she felt like she had been asleep for hours and had woken up refreshed and revitalized. She couldn’t believe it had only been five minutes. (Yes, Kate the stage manager was very happy.) Mary thanked me profusely and said she was going to give meditation another try now that she knew she could do it. That was one of the best birthday gifts I have ever received.

Is there something outside of your comfort zone that you have been avoiding? Is that still small voice inside urging you to try it anyway? Are you receiving some form of guidance from within that doesn’t seem to make sense? Yes, by definition it will feel uncomfortable! However, I will tell you that every time I have taken a step outside my comfort zone it has led to something magnificent and made a positive impact in ways beyond anything I could have imagined. Try it for yourself and see.

It would be my great honor to cheer you on as you step outside your comfort zone. I offer single Life Coaching sessions as well as four, six, and eight week packages at a discounted price. Maybe you’re ready to connect with your ancestors in a powerful way. Join me for an upcoming Family Constellations workshop or schedule a private session in person, by phone, or via Skype. You will be amazed by what is revealed and healed in these sessions. Please look around my website for more information about all of these opportunities. Send me an email with any questions or to schedule an appointment. 

Until next time, I invite you to unplug for a moment and listen. What is that still small voice trying to tell you?

Off to a Great Start!

Here we are at the end of another year ready to begin a new one. I have a theory that how we start the new year sets the tone for the entire year. It’s based on the same idea that how we start our day sets the tone for our whole day. Do you jump out of bed when the alarm clock goes off and run from activity to activity all day? Or do you wake up gently and allow yourself time to ease into your day? Do you check your phone or email right away to see what’s going on in the outside world, or do you take a few minutes to check in with you and find out what’s going on in your inner world? When I check in with John first, I feel much better prepared to handle whatever is happening in the outside world. Whatever is going on out there can wait fifteen or twenty minutes.
Each day, the first thing I want to feed my mind is something peaceful and loving, so I read a section or the lesson of the day from A Course in Miracles. Once those beautiful words have been planted in my mind, I begin a fifteen or twenty minute meditation. I put my earbuds in, set the timer on the meditation app on my iPhone, resist the temptation to read any new text messages, then open my meditation playlist to allow soft, celestial music to play in my ears for the next fifteen minutes. Sometimes I let myself stay in that mode for a few minutes after the bell chimes if I’ve had trouble quieting my thoughts early on or if I feel like I want a little more time immersed in the Love of God. That’s how I think of meditation. I leave my worldly concerns behind for a while and join with the Light. When I emerge I feel calm, refreshed, and ready to start my day.
On the rare occasion that I don’t have time to do this, I definitely notice the difference. Even small things can irritate me. Just the other day I had to get up very early to catch a flight home from Houston. I did not make time to read anything in the Course or meditate that morning. When I arrived at the airport I found myself quite annoyed that my flight was delayed just ten minutes. Sitting on the runway for an extra forty minutes in a center seat with a crying toddler behind me certainly did not improve my mood. Because of the delays, I literally had to run off the airplane and get right back on another one. I was so tired and aggravated I could barely muster up a little gratitude for the fact that the gates were right next to each other or for the blessing that I made my connecting flight! The little gratitude I had soon faded once the second plane filled up and the smell of sour milk reached my nose. I don’t know what caused the odor, but I had to breathe through my coat for much of the flight. I was not a happy passenger. Had I made time for my peaceful morning practice, I think I would have been much better able to deal with the challenges that day.

I invite you to take a moment to consider how you start your day. Do you have something inspirational to read by your bedside? Do you have at least five minutes in the morning to be still and see yourself immersed in Light? Now take a moment to think about what you have planned for New Year’s Eve. Are you doing something you love with people you love? Are you doing something out of obligation? How will you feel in the morning after those activities? Is that how you want to start the new year? What do you have planned for New Year’s Day? If you want to experience something different in your day and in 2018, all you have to do is make a few different choices. Don’t worry if you miss a day or can’t start on the first of January. Whenever you choose peace you are off to a great start! 

I love this quote from A Course in Miracles about the New Year:

So will the new year begin in joy and freedom. There is much to do, and we have been long delayed. Accept the holy instant as this year is born, and take your place, so long left unfulfilled, in the Great Awakening.

Would you like to begin the new year in joy and freedom? If you live in South Florida, please join me for Family Constellations on Saturday, January 6 from 2-5 PM at Urban Namaste in Fort Lauderdale. If you can’t be there, consider scheduling a private session in person, by phone, or via Skype. To help you have the best 2018 possible, I am offering a 30% discount on private sessions if you make the purchase before January 7. That brings the price down to $105 for a ninety minute session. Those sessions will be scheduled after January 7 when I return to Fort Lauderdale. For those in the Houston area, I have a few appointments available January 2, 3, and 4. Go to my website to take advantage of this very special offer. Please send me an email once you make your purchase so we can schedule your appointment. You will be amazed at what is revealed and healed during these powerful sessions.

Life Coaching is another great way to give yourself a fresh start in 2018. Take advantage of the current rates before they go up on January 1. You can sign up for a single one hour session or give yourself the gift of a four, six, or eight week coaching package. Read what others have to say about their experience on the testimonials page of my website. I would be honored to work with you if you’re ready to take some action steps towards the happy and healthy life you were meant to live. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me by email.

Wishing you a great start to each and every day and to the New Year!

Peace Begins With Me

Why is this happening? I found myself asking this very disempowering question many times last week during my travels. There were severe thunderstorms just south and west of New York City the day I was scheduled to fly there. All flights into the city were delayed. I was supposed to land in New York around 8:30 PM but did not even get on the aircraft until about that time. Once we pushed back from the gate our plane sat on the runway in Fort Lauderdale for an hour and a half waiting for clearance from air traffic control to take off. When the plane landed in New York we sat on the runway for another half hour waiting for a gate. I was beyond tired when I finally got off that airplane around 12:30 AM at La Guardia Airport. Finding out that there was an 80 minute wait for a taxi into Manhattan was the last thing I wanted to hear at that hour. That question snuck in again. Why is this happening? Sadly, there was nothing I could do except join the throngs of passengers that were in the same predicament.

Well, almost nothing. Instead of asking the “why” question, I knew I had to shift my attitude of frustration and despair back to peace and acceptance. If I didn’t, that 80 minutes would feel like 80 years. Luckily, I remembered a little trick I heard Gabrielle Bernstein share during an “I Can Do It!” Conference a few years ago. She suggested that whenever something is trying to take away your peace, take a few deep breaths and begin saying this mantra over and over again either out loud or in your head:

“Peace begins with me.”
Gabby also recommended touching your thumb to one of your fingers with each word you say. For example, as you say “peace” touch your thumb to your pointer finger. As you say “begins” touch your thumb to your middle finger. As you say “with” touch your thumb to your ring finger. And finally, as you say “me” touch your thumb to your pinky finger. This simple physical and mental activity gives your mind and body something else to focus on. Little by little the truth of that mantra will sink into your consciousness and you will begin to feel better. It is a great way to remember that “peace begins with you” and is not dependent on outside circumstances.

I will admit at first I was resistant to doing this exercise. Apparently there was a part of me that wanted to stay aggravated. When that choice became too tiring, I took those deep breaths and began the finger touching mantra. As I repeated those words I began to relax. Peace slowly returned. As my walls of resentment came down I allowed myself to make eye contact with the woman in line in front of me. She told me that she had been trying to get from Tampa to New York since 8 AM that morning. Her flight had been diverted to Washington, DC where she sat for quite a while before getting another flight into New York City. When I heard that I shouted, “You win!” and we both had a good laugh. My new friend and I were extremely happy that the line moved more quickly than anticipated. I was in a yellow taxicab within 45 minutes having an experience very similar to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disney World. After a few thrills and many detours due to late night road construction, I finally arrived at my hotel near Times Square at about 2 AM. New York might be the city that never sleeps, but after the day I had, this guy was grateful to get some. I just wanted to start fresh and put that frustrating day behind me.

Little did I know that was only day one of a two day experiential “workshop” in patience and acceptance that I had apparently signed up for. My trip home one week later was even more challenging, but I will write about that and the miracles that happened next week. What I want to emphasize this week is how useless it was for me to ask, “Why is this happening?” That question will keep you feeling helpless and frustrated whether you are asking about something in your personal life or something you see on the news. “What can I do now? How can I improve this situation?” These are much better questions. They allow you to reclaim your power, be part of the solution, and move forward. Clear answers to these questions can only come when I am at peace. Decisions made from anger or frustration rarely turn out well. That is why it is so important to remember that peace begins with you. Here’s the great news about being at peace. Not only will you make better choices on how to proceed, you will feel better right away!

If you could use some help getting back to a place of peace it would be my great honor to help you by sharing the tools and techniques that have worked for me. I offer four, six, and eight week Life Coaching programs based on the strong principles of A Course in Miracles and other New Thought teachings. Please look around my website for more information about that as well as the miraculous process known as Family Constellations. Both can help you see things from a new perspective so you can return to peace.

Until next time, try this handy little trick whenever you are feeling stressed and remember: “Peace begins with you.”

(Click HERE to view a 3 minute video demonstration.)

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