Foul Balls & Blessings Along Memory Lane

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.”

A Course in Miracles ~ M-23.4:6

The Let It Go Chair

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.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-27.IV.1:1-2 

Release with Love

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.

Speaking of virtual workshops, I will be facilitating a special online event on Saturday, June 19, the day before Father’s Day, where we will be “Exploring the Role of Dad with Family Constellations.” Half the tickets have already been sold so if this sounds like something you’d like to experience, purchase your ticket soon! 

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.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-18.V.1:5-6

A Profound Day

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.

A Happy New Year Ritual

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!

Be Gentle with the Baby New Year

“Above all else I want to see things differently.” This is Lesson 28 from A Course in Miracles. It sure came in handy last week as I was sitting in a chilly dermatologist’s office wearing only my underwear and a paper hospital gown waiting to be examined by a person I had never met before. I was feeling cold, vulnerable, alone, and a little fearful. That’s when I remembered my lesson for the day. I did not want to feel like that, so I closed my eyes and started repeating the lesson over and over again in my mind.

As I did so, a slight warmness washed over me. I started to feel a little bit better. Then a thought occurred to me. This doesn’t have to feel like a punishment. What if this was a form of love and self care? In that moment I felt the presence of both of my parents in that examination room. I didn’t feel alone anymore. Wow. My experience was changing because above all else I wanted to see things differently. It was working.
 
I wish I could say I remained peaceful for the rest of my time there. No. I wasn’t able to maintain that feeling, but I had experienced a shift, so I knew it was possible to go back there. I won’t go into details of what happened next, but I will say that it was not fun. When I left, I was feeling overwhelmed by the experience. My ego chimed in to tell me that I was being a baby. I should be stronger and not let this affect me so much. It’s not like I was being treated for something life threatening. There are people facing much more serious health challenges than having some bumps cut and frozen off their skin.

Thank goodness for my wonderful friends and prayer partners. They reminded me that it was okay to feel what I was feeling and above all else to be gentle with myself. I stayed in most of the weekend and kept to myself. I chose not to partake in any New Year’s festivities this year, preferring the company of my Kindle to my kindred spirits. I had my own private burning bowl ceremony on New Year’s Eve. I wrote down a few things I wanted to release from 2016 on a small piece of paper and burned it in a sacred fire behind my apartment building. After staying in all day, it felt wonderful to be outside. It was a beautiful, breezy Florida evening, so after I finished burning my paper I felt inspired to go to the beach. To my delight, I had the beach all to myself. It was just me sitting by the ocean listening to the waves crash in. My only companions were the wind swirling around me and the stars shining above me. I was grateful for their company. I allowed myself to just be with them for a while before setting some intentions for 2017. Along with some rose quartz, I surrendered those intentions to Mother Ocean and let her take them wherever she wanted to. It felt like the perfect way to wrap up 2016 given my introspective mood.
 
This week, I invite you to be gentle with yourself, no matter what you are going through or growing through, whether it seems large or small. I believe our challenges are tailor made for each of us, so there is no point in comparing your troubles to someone else’s. None are worse or better than others. Each are simply opportunities to see things with the eyes of love. Honor what feels right for you in this moment. If you want to be with a friend, reach out to one. If you prefer to take some quiet time by yourself somewhere in nature, do that. Just know that peace will return. Say to yourself, “Above all else I want to see things differently.” Then be open to a new perspective. You might be surprised what comes in.

Sometimes we get stuck in one particular way of seeing things. That’s when we need assistance to see another point of view. Life Coaching and Family Constellations are both great tools to help you see things from a different perspective. Perhaps now is the time to give one or both of them a try. Please look around my website for more information about both or join me for an upcoming Family Constellations workshop near you. It would be my great honor to help you make this a Happy New Year!

Until next time, be gentle with yourself. Pretend that you are a newborn baby child. In many ways, you are…

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