A few years ago, a fellow student shared a very helpful metaphor during a Sunday morningA Course in Miraclesstudy group. Because it was so helpful to me, I thought I would share this nugget of wisdom again this week.
That morning, we were talking about the false but prevalent idea that to be happy, we need others to act a certain way. The ego tells us if only they would change, then we can be at peace. If only the world behaved as I think it should, then I could be happy. I don’t know about you, but this has never worked very well for me!
The insightful woman sitting next to me shared how her dog has been a wonderful teacher on this subject. On walks, her spirited little canine is not so interested in going where she wants her to go, especially when other dogs are present. She often finds herself struggling with the leash trying to control her dog.
As she reflected on this, it dawned on her how many people in her life she also had “on a leash,” trying to make them do what she wanted them to do. With so many leashes pulling in different directions, it’s easy to get tangled. Her solution was simple. Drop the leashes! Let those people go their own way and live their lives. That’s how she gets untangled and returns to peace. I thought this was a brilliant analogy!
I know this is sometimes easier said than done, especially when someone we love is making choices we feel are unhealthy. I struggled with this most of my life as I watched my mother’s addiction wreak havoc in her life (and thus mine.) It took me many years to learn how to set healthy boundaries. I told her how much I loved her, and it was just too difficult for me to be around her when she was drinking. I also had to shift my perception that something needed “fixing.” Once I stopped trying to change her, our relationship improved, peace returned, and I was untangled!
If you are in a similar situation, I highly recommend Al-Anon Family Groups. They have a long history of providing help and hope for families and friends of alcoholics. Al-Anon groups were part of my healing journey, and I still use some of the tools I learned there. If you would like one-on-one assistance, I would be honored to help you with a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Both can help you let go of those leashes and set strong, healthy boundaries. Book a session now on my website or send me an email for more information. I look forward to working with you!
As you release, so will you be released. Forget this not, or love will be unable to find you and comfort you.
One of the blessings I experienced this summer was an impromptu visit to see my sister in Pennsylvania. She lives near a beautiful lake in the Pocono Mountains. We love to take her boat out on the lake, drop anchor somewhere in a secluded alcove, and let the motion of the waves gently rock away our cares and worries. We find it both relaxing and therapeutic.
Before we switched to “sloth mode” on our second lake day, there was a task that needed our attention. Two of the boat’s bumpers had broken off on the previous day. Luckily, we were able to retrieve them before they floated away with our cares and worries. But now they needed to be attached to new ropes, which meant untying the knots that kept them secure on the old ropes.
If you have ever worked with nylon rope, or any kind of knot, for that matter, you know it can take patience and perseverance to get them undone. We tug and pull wherever we can get a decent grip, but often it seems like nothing is happening. And then, without warning, there’s a subtle movement. A tiny space is created where once there was none. The knot begins to loosen. Soon, it fully surrenders and the rope is released!
This is exactly what happened with those bumper knots. Since they were tied tightly for so long, I had moments of doubt they would ever come loose. Persistent work despite no apparent results paid off. Eventually, the knots came loose and we attached the bumpers to the new ropes with new knots.
It reminded me of a great metaphor I heard on the Miracle Voices podcast a while back. One of the hosts compared practicing forgiveness to untying a knot. We may work on releasing a grievance for a long time, but it seems like nothing is changing. But if we continue to extend love and compassion towards the person or situation that seems to be taking away our peace, something happens. One day, we realize the anger or resentment we had toward that person or situation simply isn’t there.
This doesn’t mean the person has apologized or their behavior has changed, but sometimes it does. It doesn’t mean the situation has shifted, but sometimes it can. What has shifted is my perception. I am different. The person or situation simply doesn’t elicit the same hurt feelings in me. The charge is gone and peace has returned. And that’s the miracle!
If you could use some assistance in untying a particularly tricky knot, please don’t hesitate to contact me. A series of Spiritual Coaching sessions might be just the thing to help you shift your perspective. Or perhaps that knot is tied to old family patterns or generational trauma. A private Family Constellations session can help reveal and heal whatever is keeping you stuck. Please look around my website for more information about both of these opportunities or book an appointment with my automated scheduler. Sessions can be done virtually from anywhere in the world. I look forward to helping you untie those knots!
A miracle is never lost. It may touch many people you have not even met, and produce undreamed of changes in situations of which you are not even aware.
This week I took a spontaneous trip to Fort Lauderdale. With only one pair of contact lenses left, I needed to see my eye doctor for a yearly exam and a current prescription so I can order more lenses online. My attempts to find an eye doctor in Sarasota did not reveal an affordable option that compared to the excellent care I have received at Eyes on Sunrise in Fort Lauderdale since 2016. Even during the 3 years I lived in Houston, I continued getting my yearly eye exam there because of their exemplary service and care. I like that they take a photo of my retinas each year to monitor the health of my eyes. For these reasons, it felt like the highest choice to make the 3-hour drive to Fort Lauderdale.
When I made this decision last week, I looked at my calendar to see when it could happen. The following week I had no appointments on Sunday or Monday, but after that, a trip to Fort Lauderdale wouldn’t be possible until the end of August. I called Eyes on Sunrise to see if they had any openings on Monday or possibly Tuesday morning. Unfortunately, they did not. I continued calling every day to check for cancellations but to no avail.
In the meantime, I reached out to my dear friends whose wedding I officiated last December. They rent beautiful rooms in their home in Fort Lauderdale on Airbnb. At the wedding, they told me I am welcome to stay with them any time they have a vacancy. Lucky for me, they had no guests booked for Sunday night. Despite not having an appointment, I felt strongly guided to take the trip and trust if it was meant to be, I’d be able to see my eye doctor.
And why wouldn’t I go across the state? I had no plans in Sarasota. Even if I didn’t get my eyes checked, I’d have some quality time with an amazing group of friends. When I lived there, we often gathered in their beautiful home for game nights. Those gatherings were always filled with an abundance of laughter and silliness. I was thrilled when they scheduled one for Sunday night! There was no shortage of fun and laughter this time when we played a new game called “How’s yours?” The night ended with a small group of us going to a local dance club for a few hours to shake our booties to the fabulous sounds of the 70s. There may not have been a disco ball, but the four of us sure had a ball!
The next morning, my plan was to call Eyes on Sunrise after doing my morning walk along Fort Lauderdale Beach. It was a trip down memory lane…literally! That was my morning routine for years. I loved seeing familiar landmarks like the wooden sculpture of a Native American chief as well as restaurants I used to frequent with my mom. And what a joy to jump into the Atlantic Ocean to cool off after an hour of exercise in the summer heat. My body was reminding me that I had danced for 2 hours the night before. Since I am not quite as resilient as the 25-year-old version of me, it felt glorious to float in that ocean for a while.
Sadly, when I called the eye doctor, there were still no cancellations. I decided to release the need for anything to be different and let the day unfold as it wanted to. They had my phone number if anything changed. Because I had no specific plans, one thing organically led to the next. Spirit provided me an opportunity to have one-on-one time with many of the friends that attended game night. Since it was a Monday, most of them were working. I had lunch with one friend who is off on Mondays. Chai tea with another after that. A beautiful conversation with one of the grooms when he returned home from work. Pizza with another friend when she finished work. And a breakfast conversation with the other groom the following morning.
I enjoy a big party with lots of people, but I actually prefer smaller gatherings where it’s easier to focus on one person at a time. Since I usually plan my visits to maximize seeing as many friends as possible, one-on-one time rarely happens. This day was such a gift!
You may be wondering about the eye exam. Well, a miracle happened once I released my attachment to getting that appointment. After checking with my hosts to see if I could stay another night, I called one more time late Monday afternoon to see if they had any openings for Tuesday morning. They did not. But I got a nudge to inquire when they opened the following day. The nice and very patient woman I had been harassing all week for an appointment said they open at 10 AM. Something told me to just show up at that time. Who knows? Maybe the first appointment would be a “no show.”
So, after my lovely conversation with the other groom, I packed up my car and drove to Eyes on Sunrise. I felt completely at peace no matter what happened. If I had an eye exam…great! If not, I still considered the trip a resounding success given the amount of quality time I had with those friends. I’m guessing by now you know what happened. Although they did not have any cancellations, Dr. Rashid said he could see me right away if I was available. Oh my goodness! I was beyond grateful!
I’m happy to report my eyes are healthy and my prescription did not change. Dr. Rashid also gave me a set of contact lenses so that removed any urgency to order more right away. And speaking of ordering, as they say in those infomercials, “Don’t order yet!” Miracles kept on coming. When I went to the front desk to pay, it turns out I had a $40 credit on my account! I guess the Universe wanted to make absolutely sure I knew I had made the right decision. As I drove west across Alligator Alley after my appointment, my heart was overflowing with gratitude for all that had transpired in less than 48 hours.
During my hiatus last month, the extraordinary singer and actress, Cher, celebrated her 77th birthday. That woman inspires me to keep creating and doing what I love no matter how many trips around the sun I’ve had. When I saw her birthday on my calendar, it reminded me of a fun and miraculous story that happened while I was living in Fort Lauderdale in 2014 right before her 68th birthday. It was such a great lesson, I thought I’d share it with you.
This story actually begins in the early 2000s when my longtime friend, Kate, received two complimentary tickets to Cher’s Farewell Tour. At the time, we did not know it really wasn’t her “farewell tour.” Cher has gone on the road twice since then. Farewell Tour or not, Kate had the right to give those tickets to whomever she pleased, and she decided to give them to her mother and sister.
A few weeks later at a backyard barbecue, I asked Kate’s mom and sister if they enjoyed the concert. They said it was okay. What? Okay. That hardly seemed like an appropriate word to describe an icon! I would have been dancing in the aisles the whole concert! They admitted that they liked Cher, but were not huge fans of her or her music. Stunned by this revelation, I asked Kate why she didn’t call me when she was looking for someone to use those tickets.
Kate’s defense: ”John, I know you love Madonna. But I had no idea you love Cher.”
My response: ”Kate! I’m a gay man. Of course, I love Cher!” LOL
Thus began a running joke that lasted over a decade. Whenever Cher came up in conversation around Kate, I would lament over never having the opportunity to see her in concert. Nor would I, since that was her Farewell Tour. “Oh, how I would have LOVED to experience her live!” Kate would shoot me a dirty but knowing look, and then we’d burst into laughter.
Fast forward to the winter of 2014. Kate had moved away but was back in Fort Lauderdale for a visit. Around the same time, Cher announced she was mounting another concert tour in the spring. I did not miss this opportunity to tell Kate that I’ve ALWAYS wanted to see Cher in concert. I’m laughing as I type these words remembering the look on Kate’s face when this topic returned to haunt her once again.
Realizing there was no statute of limitations on this joke, Kate decided to take action. She had worked as a producer in the entertainment business for years, so she had connections. One of those connections worked on Cher’s tour in costuming. Kate reached out to him and explained our long-running joke and asked if there was any way he could get 2 tickets to the show when it came to Fort Lauderdale. A few days later, he replied that he was pretty sure he could honor her request.
Excitement shot through me. After all the years of joking, it seemed like it was actually going to happen! The sad part was, I’d have to abandon the long-running joke if Kate managed to get me to the Cher concert.
Weeks, then months passed with no further communication about those tickets. Even if the concert hadn’t been sold out, the price of tickets was not in my budget at the time. As the date drew closer, it didn’t seem like CinderFella would be going to the ball after all. Oh well. At least I could continue to tease Kate about my love for Cher.
The day of the concert arrived, and I hadn’t totally given up hope that I would get a last-minute text message from Kate saying her connection came through. That afternoon, I facilitated a Family Constellations workshop in Wilton Manors. The miraculous healing that happens during these workshops always gives me a great sense of joy and satisfaction, so even though there was no message from Kate, I was feeling grateful and content after the workshop. I had made peace with the fact that I would not be seeing Cher that night.
I was probably home less than an hour when I received a text message not from Kate, but from my friend Tony. He said a client of his had two extra tickets to the Cher concert and would I like to have them? At first, I thought he was kidding because Tony is part of the circle of friends that participated in the ongoing joke. He assured me that this was not a joke!
Apparently, his client purchased a VIP box at the BB&T Center (as it was called then) and he had two tickets that were not being used. Not only were these great seats, the tickets included free parking! This all seemed too good to be true, but it wasn’t. I called my best friend from college (who loves Cher more than I do) and told him he’d better pick out an outfit because we are going to the concert tonight! He couldn’t believe it either!
What can I say? For so many reasons the concert was absolutely phenomenal. The costumes. The dancers. The set. It was all as fabulous as Cher herself. As were our seats! No jostling elbow to elbow with the crowds. We were safely tucked away in that box with a great view of the stage. What a gift we were given that night. I am so grateful to those guys (whom we had never met) for inviting us to share that experience with them. They even supplied drinks and pizza!
This last part about pizza was quite the cosmic wink from the Universe. My college friend and I often quote a comedy bit by Kathy Griffin where she makes fun of Cher for not knowing how to order pizza. Or as Cher called it, “make pizza happen.” Not only did Cher perform a stellar concert that night, she also made pizza happen!
What a lesson in the power of surrender! As soon as I gave up my attachment to attending the concert and replaced it with gratitude, peace, and contentment, Life delivered an experience better than anything I could have imagined. And in a way that I could never have imagined! I am extremely grateful to everyone who played a part in the making of this miracle. It certainly was a shift from fear to love.
If you are familiar with the lyrics of Cher’s 1998 chart-topping song “Believe,” you will understand when I say not only do I believe in miracles, I believe in life after love…after love…after love.
Would you like to experience a miracle? Could you use some help in surrendering? I would be honored to assist you with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can help you see things from a new perspective allowing you to get unstuck and move forward with love. Send me an email with questions or book a session with the automated scheduler on my website. Thanks to technology, we can meet virtually no matter where in the world you are. I look forward to working with you!
This week, consider releasing an attachment or an expectation, then watch for a miracle to take its place!
Last week I wrote about some of the “Buried Treasure” I found while going through a trunk filled with memorabilia. It had been a long time since I put my hands and eyes on everything contained in that box. Some of the cards and letters I discovered were associated with hard times in my life or old agreements. It was time to let those go.
I built a sacred fire in a safe place and allowed the flickering orange flames to transform those paper reminders into something new. As part of my ceremony, I also sprinkled a dash of dried sage leaves into the fire to help clear the energy. The next day I felt lighter, but something was still off.
Whenever I have an impulse to make changes in my home, I check in with my dear friend, Dorena, the Space Doula. This is her area of expertise, and one of her superpowers is asking simple but profound questions. While discussing my journey down memory lane, she dropped this bombshell: How would it feel to release the trunk itself?
As I mentioned last week, I’ve had that trunk for almost 20 years. I was thrilled to find it for a low price at HomeGoods when I was starting a whole new chapter of my life. After massage school and finding Unity on the Bay in Miami, my spiritual journey accelerated quickly. As my inner world changed, my outer world had to follow.
After 3 years, I was leaving the party energy of Miami Beach to live with two dear friends in a residential neighborhood north of Fort Lauderdale. Their new house was not far from a spa where I was hired as a licensed massage therapist. New home. New career. Everything was lining up, and that trunk fit the “Pier 1” style vibe I wanted to create in my new space.
I have moved dozens of times since then, and each time that trunk has come with me. It went all the way to California at the end of 2011 when I moved there to help a friend open a spiritual retreat center. It came back to Florida later in 2012 when things didn’t work out as I hoped.
When I moved to Texas in 2018, I gave almost everything I had away. That trunk was one of the few pieces of furniture I kept and the only piece of furniture that returned to Florida with me in 2021.
As Dorena insightfully pointed out, that trunk has been a stable, familiar presence through it all. In a way, it also represented the core of me as it stored and protected all those memories. But how do I feel about it currently?
While pondering this question, I was surprised to discover I wasn’t attached to keeping it. It’s great for storage, but the trunk is heavy and clunky. It has been quite cumbersome to move it so many times. It also has very sharp corners which I have had the distinct displeasure of bumping into many times over the years.
As I looked around my space, it became apparent that my taste has changed. It now leans toward contemporary patterns and lighter colors. Simply put, the dark, heavy trunk no longer matches my vibe. The answer to Dorena’s question seemed obvious. In the immortal words of Elsa from Disney’s Frozen, it was time to “Let it go!”
Once again, I pulled everything out of the trunk, but this time I found new homes for all the contents. Most of the items now reside in two clear plastic bins from Target. Wow, are they light and easy to carry!
Then I pulled the empty trunk out onto my balcony where I used sage to clear the energy of the past 20 years. As fate would have it, we had a full moon this week. I felt inspirited to leave the trunk open and outside that night to release any lingering energy to Grandmother Moon. Then it would be ready for a new home.
The following morning, I carried that heavy beast one last time from the balcony, through my home, down the stairs, and into the back of my car. As if I needed any more convincing, the metal handle painfully pressed two fingers on my right hand into the side of the trunk as I lugged it down the stairs. Oh, yes. I was ready to release that trunk!
The woman working at the Goodwill Donation Center raved about how beautiful the trunk was and asked why I was getting rid of it. Without going into detail, I told her the trunk had been with me for 20 years, and I was ready to release it. I had to laugh when she yelled, “That’s a long time. You should keep it!” It’s like the Universe was making sure I was truly ready to let it go. I was.
When the woman went back inside to get a receipt, I placed my hand on the trunk, closed my eyes, and thanked it for all the years it stored and protected my memories. I blessed it to find a new home and a new owner who would be just as thrilled to find it as I was 20 years ago. Then I released it with love. I look forward to seeing the blessings and miracles that fill the space made available by releasing that heavy piece of my past.
If you could use some “sage advice” (pun intended) on clearing and shifting the energy in your home and your life, I highly recommend working with my friend and colleague, Dorena Kohrs, the Space Doula. Her intuition and on-point questions have helped me connect dots I never would have connected. I am continually blown away by her knowledge, experience, and insights. Look for her on social media @Space_Doula or visit her website at https://spacedoula.com/.
And if there are thoughts, beliefs, or family patterns that you are ready to release, I would be honored to assist you with a series of Spiritual Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both can help you see things from another perspective to allow more peace, love, and joy in your life. Thanks to Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime, we can connect no matter where you are in the world. Look around my website for more information or to schedule an appointment with my automated scheduler. If you have questions, please send me a message. I look forward to working with you!
It’s hard to believe it was just a year ago that I was wrapping up loose ends in Houston and preparing to move back to Florida. So much has happened since then! As I look back, one specific morning in May of 2021 comes to mind. I had to go to the DMV in Houston to retrieve some paperwork that had gotten lost in the mail. Even though it wasn’t far, my sense of direction is terrible, so I put the address for the DMV into my phone. Little did I know the navigation app would take me down Memory Lane past some of the most memorable moments of my 3 years there.
First, it took me by Hermann Park, where I did my morning walks under a canopy of live oak trees around a beautiful pond. That peaceful green space in the middle of the sprawling city became my sanctuary. Then I passed the medical building where an exceptional dermatologist removed the basal cells from under my left eye, and another removed a spot from my neck. Those were very unpleasant visits, yet I am extremely thankful for the excellent care I received. As I drove by the building, I gave a small nod of gratitude to all the medical professionals that took such good care of me.
Before I reached the exit for the DMV, the app took me past Minute Maid Park where I had enjoyed a few baseball games. Not that I was ever invested in which team won, but it was fun to be there with friends and family. One particular game stands out when a batter hit a foul ball that rocketed into the stands near us and rolled along the seat backs directly into my hand! No one was more surprised than I! Of the thousands of fans at the game that night, I was probably the one who cared the least about catching a fly ball, and yet there it was in my hand. It was a memorable moment, for sure.
Although Houston ended up not being a match for me, I am grateful for so much that happened there and for meeting so many wonderful people. Many of them are reading these words right now! I am blessed to have crossed paths with you. So as the anniversary of my return to Florida approaches, I say thank you to Houston and its residents for being part of my journey and helping me get to where I am now.
Is there a place, a job, or a situation that ultimately did not work out for you? I encourage you to take a moment to think of the blessings that came from it. And how it led you to a different place, job, or situation that is right for you. I have learned from A Course in Miracles and my work with Family Constellations that when we see our past from a different perspective, it allows us to feel more peace, love, and joy in our present. If you could use some assistance in shifting your perspective, please reach out for a private Family Constellations session or for Spiritual Coaching. You can find more information and book a session on my website.
Until next time, may you find ways to be grateful for it all.
“…love cannot be far behind a grateful heart and thankful mind.”
It is no secret that I am not a fan of cold weather. I often joke when the temperature plummets below 60 degrees, I am quite unhappy. Late Sunday afternoon, the temperature was already in the 50s and dropping quickly when my friends asked me to join them for the drumming circle on Siesta Key Beach. Of course, I was hesitant. When they texted, I had just heated my bean bag in the microwave and was lying on it to warm my tight back muscles as I watched a TV show on my iPad. I have to be honest. The idea of leaving the comfort of my warm apartment and bean bag to brave the cold was not so tempting.
What was tempting was spending more time with my friends, one of whom was only in town for the weekend. Plus, the chance to be near Mother Ocean is always tempting. Several people had told me about this drumming circle which happens on the beach at sunset every Sunday. After five months of living here, I had yet to make it there. Here was an opportunity to do so with fun friends, so I put down my iPad and promised my bean bag I would return soon. I donned a long-sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt, a hoody, grabbed my down jacket from the coat closet, and headed to the beach. (I realize those of you who live in much colder climates are either laughing or shaking your head at me as you read this, but what can I say? I’m a Floridian!)
As soon as I got out of my car, the lively sound of drum beats echoing across the parking lot from a nearby pavilion greeted me. I found my Floridian friends (who were also well-layered) just in time to see the last rays of sun sink below the waves. We decided to walk closer to the water to enjoy its beauty while some light remained. The spot where the sun had just disappeared was glowing pink, as you can see in the center of the accompanying photo. Mother Nature created quite a masterpiece with that little splash of pink among the silvery-gray clouds and waves. It was spectacular.
As we got closer to the water’s edge, we soon discovered that there was another masterpiece to behold. This one was manmade. Someone had built a semi-circular bench out of sand with a pyramid-like sand sculpture opposite it. Carved in the sand below the pyramid was the name “Let It Go” Chair with instructions to sit, take 3 deep breaths, then let go of what’s on your mind. This was followed by the words “Thank you for being you.” Nestled in the seating area was a Bluetooth speaker playing soft harp music. What a lovely sacred space this talented artist had created for anyone who strolled the beach that night. None of us wanted to miss an opportunity to “let it go,” so after snapping a few photos, we sat down to enjoy a peaceful moment inside that masterpiece.
Even with the chilly temperatures, I felt so blessed to be outside in that space with two dear friends feeling the sea breeze on my face as the sound of the harp and the waves carried away anything that was unlike love. The angle of the bench was ideal for leaning back and allowing the sand to completely support us. Others chose to sit upright in lotus position while letting it go. Some marveled from the outside that this seemingly delicate sand structure could support the weight of a human! The artist carved a hole in the back of the bench, creating a window that offered a view of the pyramid and waves in the distance. It truly was a magnificent design.
The artist was standing nearby, observing people experience his creation. Someone asked him how long it took to create, and he replied that he had been working on it since 9:30 that morning. I’m not sure when he finished, but I’m grateful we were there around 6 PM to enjoy the fruits of his labor. When we finally opened our eyes and exited the sand structure, I spotted the artist several yards away. Without words, I stood to face him and gave him a deep namaste bow which he received and returned with his own. I trust he felt my immense gratitude for the space he created.
We eventually made our way to the pavilion to enjoy the rhythmic beat of the drums while a handful of people danced and twirled in the middle of the circle. Several minutes later, we noticed our artist friend had joined the circle and began adding cool beats with his own drum. A musician too? Was there no limit to this man’s creativity?
I am beyond grateful that I ventured out of my warm apartment that night. Had I let the cold stop me, I would have missed that fun and grace-filled experience with my friends. What a great reminder that joy and miracles are often waiting for us outside of our comfort zone.
This week, perhaps you will be inspired to create your own “Let It Go” chair. It doesn’t have to be made of sand. It could be a cushion placed on the floor in a quiet corner of your home or in front of a window. It’s best to choose a chair or space where you don’t usually sit. That way, your unconscious mind will know something is different about this time of stillness. Then sit down. Play some soothing music. Take 3 deep breaths. And let it go!
If you could use some assistance with letting a particularly challenging thought or situation go, I would be honored to help with a series of Spiritual Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Both will allow you to see it from a different perspective, making it easier to release. Please look around my website or send me an email for more information and to book a session.
This week, may you find the perfect place to let it go…
In quietness are all things answered, and is every problem quietly resolved. In conflict there can be no answer and no resolution, for its purpose is to make no resolution possible, and to ensure no answer will be plain.
Long-time readers of my weekly stories will not be surprised by the news I am about to share. I moved back to Florida this week! After 3 years of living in Houston, Texas, I heeded the call to return to the place that feels like home. Houston is a wonderful city with much to offer, it just wasn’t a good fit for me. My preference is to live in a much smaller city with a tropical climate near the ocean. During the 25 years I lived in Florida before moving to Texas, I would often remind myself, “I’m not on vacation, I live here!” And now with a smile in my heart, I can say that again with even deeper gratitude.
Before I drove east, I had the opportunity to practice what I preach and do something I often recommend to my Family Constellations clients. The night I officially made the decision to leave Texas, I went to my rooftop deck to get some fresh air and look out over the Houston skyline. As I stared at its twinkling lights against a gray, cloudy background, it occurred to me that the two of us needed to have a conversation. To be fair, I did most of the talking. I stood up, faced the city with my hands in prayer position, and said these words:
“Dear Houston. We have had an interesting 3 years together. You have been overwhelming at times. I have gotten lost in your streets and trapped in your traffic. Yes, in moments of sheer frustration, I have even cursed you! And I have also been richly blessed by you. I have met incredible people and made lifelong friends. I have experienced moments of joy and sorrow. I have received excellent health care from your skilled medical professionals. I have helped heal many hearts in Houston with Family Constellations and A Course in Miracles which has helped heal my heart in return. Houston, you have been a significant part of my journey and I am grateful for all of it. And now I release you with love.”
Then I bowed deeply and slowly to downtown Houston to show my respect and gratitude. When I stood up, I felt a shift in my body, as if some heaviness were being lifted up and out of my being. While this was happening I took a deep breath to help integrate this new feeling of lightness. It surprised me how viscerally I felt this in my body. That feeling of lightness has stayed with me. Once I released Houston with love and appreciation, I was free to turn around and walk away with my focus on what lies ahead, not on what has passed.
This powerful practice can be adapted to any situation or experience that is coming to an end: a job, a relationship, an illness, an old way of being. Simply choose an object or person to represent that which is complete and express whatever is in your heart making sure to acknowledge the blessings and the challenges. Complete the ritual by bowing slowly to the representative. By releasing it with love, you are honoring the part it played in your life, thus dissolving any sticky chords that keep you stuck in the past and unable to turn around and move toward the future. I often compare this inability to walking backward through a room full of furniture. You can do it, but you will likely trip over chairs and bump into tables because your attention is on what is behind you, not what is in front of you.
To all the wonderful people in Houston who welcomed me so warmly into your community and your hearts, I say thank you! It was a gift to share this time with you. Since the pandemic, the majority of my work is now online so we can stay connected through my weekly A Course in Miracles study groups, monthly Virtual Family Constellations Sessions, and right here in this weekly email. My apologies if I didn’t get to say farewell in person. Please know that you will always have a place in my heart.
Later in July, I will be facilitating another special online event where we will “Declare Our Independence from Addiction with Family Constellations.” Addiction is an insidious thread woven into many family systems, including my own. I will share what I’ve learned from personal experience with people suffering from addictions and what I’ve seen during 8 years of facilitating this work. My goal is to shed some light on this dark disruptor and put it in its proper place. I have not selected a date for this one yet, so watch future emails or check the calendar page on my website. As always, if you’d like more information about these events, scheduling a one-on-one session, or my Life Coaching programs based on A Course in Miracles, simply send me an email or look around my website.
Until next time, may you find meaningful ways to release things from your past with love and make room for the blessings that await you!
Put yourself not in charge of this, for you cannot distinguish between advance and retreat. Some of your greatest advances you have judged as failures, and some of your deepest retreats you have evaluated as success.
Something profound occurred to me on Thursday as I drove home from my last massage appointment. When I say last massage appointment, I mean it most likely was the last one of my career as a massage therapist. I have been slowly transitioning for the past few years out of that career into my new career as a Life Coach and Family Constellations facilitator. I had a huge “aha” moment during my own constellation facilitated by my teacher, Michelle Blechner, about three years ago. In that constellation, I discovered that my massage career was linked to my mother.
Since the age of about ten or eleven, I would often give my mother back rubs or foot massages while we were watching TV on Saturday nights. Then I started working on my three older sisters, and eventually it was just something I did for family and friends all the time. It wasn’t until 2002 when I went to massage school at Educating Hands School of Massage in Miami that I started doing it professionally. You could say that my massage career actually started with my mom on those Saturday nights so many years ago.
During the constellation I mentioned, we were taking a look at my career and where there might be blocks to my prosperity. The representative for “massage therapy” didn’t know who or what she was representing, but she kept saying that she felt like my mother and that she was ready to let me go. She kept encouraging me to move forward like she was sending me off to college and a new chapter. That’s when the connection became so clear. Letting go of massage was another layer of letting go of my mother who passed in 2011. That’s why it was so difficult for me to let it go even though I felt ready to expand into new territory. It was so freeing to have “my mother” release me from that holding pattern. After that, my Life Coaching and Family Constellations practice really took off.
The thing that is so profound about Thursday is that it just happened to be the 7th anniversary of my mother’s passing. How appropriate that one chapter ended and a new one began on that day. To all of my massage clients that I have seen regularly for the past several years, I know you know that you are much more than clients to me. You are part of me, you are family, and you will always have a place in my heart.
If you are ready to discover the blocks to your prosperity, health, or wellbeing that might be hiding in your unconscious mind, I highly encourage you to give Family Constellations a try. Look around my website for more information or send me an email to schedule a private session in person, by phone, or via Skype.
Until next time, may all of your beginnings and endings be full of grace and gratitude.
I love rituals and ceremony. There’s something very powerful about giving physical action to a thought or intention. It tells the unconscious mind, “Something is different now.” It’s why so many people rent tuxedos or wear big white dresses, and invite their friends and family to watch them make promises to each other while exchanging jewelry. Despite how some perceive them, weddings aren’t just big parties. They are cultural rituals that make a statement to our community and our unconscious minds that something is different from this day forward.
One of my favorite rituals is the Burning Bowl Ceremony done at most Unity Churches on or around New Year’s Eve. In this ceremony, participants are invited to write things they would like to release from the old year on a piece of paper and then burn that paper in a sacred fire. Most people write down things like unhealthy habits or self-sabotaging behaviors. Deeper reflection may reveal relationships or beliefs that are no longer serving that are ready to be released. The sacred fire will gladly transform anything you are willing to give it into mere dust. Seeing that paper go up in flames is a powerful visual showing the unconscious mind that those things are truly gone.
I had the privilege of attending both Burning Bowl Ceremonies at Unity of Houston on New Year’s Eve this year. It’s a big church so they do two services to accommodate all the people that want to participate. With over 600 people at the first service and about 300 at the second, I had plenty of time to observe people of all shapes, sizes, ages, and ethnic backgrounds approach the candles at the front of the sanctuary to burn their papers. As I watched person after person perform this sacred ritual, it occurred to me how very much alike we are. We may look different on the outside and have grown up with different cultures and traditions, but we all have struggles, unhealthy habits, and patterns we’d like to release before the new year. I imagine that many of the words written on those papers were exactly the same.
We all want to love and be loved. We want healthy bodies that allow us to do the things we want to do. We want fulfilling work that provides us with enough income to take care of ourselves and our families. We want opportunities to share our gifts and talents. In short, we want to experience more peace, love, and joy in our lives. A Course in Miracles calls this recognition that we are not different a Holy Instant:
Even at the level of the most casual encounter, it is possible for two people to lose sight of separate interests, if only for a moment. That moment will be enough.
When that moment comes, peace comes with it. I am always grateful when those peaceful moments arrive. Since I burned my personal “release list” at the first service, I felt inspired to burn three things at the second service that could benefit us all: fear, the illusion of separation, and suffering. It felt wonderful to toss those in the fire. May you feel the absence of all three in 2018!
It’s not too late to have your own Burning Bowl Ceremony if you haven’t done one already. Write down all of those things that you’re ready to release on a piece of paper and then find a safe place to burn it. It is incredibly liberating to see those old patterns and belief systems go up in smoke!
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