Time Travel Parenting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Addicted to Joy!

Last week I had the unexpected joy of staying with two friends who also happen to be yoga instructors. In addition to the many fun adventures we had, one morning, while one friend was at the gym, the other offered to guide me through a private yoga class. Having done the same sequence of yoga poses at home for the past ten years, I welcomed the opportunity to try something new with a teacher I trust. The pandemic prevented my friend from teaching classes over the past year, so he was happy to have someone to guide. I love that it was a mutually beneficial situation. 

They practice Kriya Yoga, which I learned incorporates a lot of intentional breathing techniques (called pranayama) with intentional movements. Some of the breathing techniques I had done in past yoga classes. Some were brand new. There was one I found particularly challenging. After a minute or two of inhaling through one nostril and exhaling through the other using my thumb and index finger to hold the opposite nostril closed, I started to feel a slight burning sensation in my nasal passages. It was very uncomfortable to have that much air passing through my nose. I was surprised by how resistant I was to keep breathing that way. I knew I had to keep going if I wanted to reap the benefits of this ancient practice.

I reminded myself that I would not have to breathe this way forever. Many times throughout the practice, my friend offered encouraging words that helped me to push past my discomfort. Eventually, we moved on to other breathing techniques that were not as uncomfortable and quite fun. One required some left to right hand coordination as the time between inhales and exhales got shorter. When the tempo reached its fastest, I’ll admit I got a little discombobulated, but I did my best to keep up and not get frustrated. After the pranayama, we moved on to some poses that were exactly what my body was craving.

I’m so glad I took advantage of this opportunity and didn’t just do the same routine I always do. Although I had only gotten 4-5 hours of sleep the night before, I felt fantastic when we finished. I usually don’t function well with less than 7 hours of sleep, so I was sure I would need a nap at some point later that day. To my surprise, that was not the case. I had plenty of energy to do all the things I needed to do including my Friday evening online A Course in Miracles study group.

What a powerful lesson! How often do we resist the very thing that we know will help us feel better or move forward? I’ve noticed the same thing in my practice of the principles found in A Course in Miracles. Even though I have been studying the Course since 2006, I still find myself resistant to applying it in certain situations. If I release my resentment towards someone who appears to have wronged me I know I will feel better. If I stop focusing on an upsetting situation, I will inevitably return to peace. So why is it so hard to do? It’s like a popcorn kernel stuck between your teeth that your tongue simply can’t stop wrestling with. Try as we may, we keep going back there!

This subject came up during the “Afternoon of Miracles” workshop I facilitated in Dallas last month. We were speaking about addiction to substances when one participant pointed out there are many other types of addiction. In addition to substances and behaviors, we can be addicted to limiting beliefs, suffering, struggle, and drama. I believe these all fall under the domain of the ego because they keep us from experiencing what we truly want: peace, love, and joy. I heard Marianne Williamson once compare following the ego’s thought system to being addicted to heroin. You can only do it for so long. Eventually you either quit or you don’t survive. Throughout A Course in Miracles, we are reminded of the importance of choosing joy over pain. It seems so obvious, yet we don’t always do it. Why?

Brené Brown spoke about our resistance to fully experiencing joy in a recent episode of her podcast Unlocking Us. The conversation with her sisters was around being fearful of joy. We know it won’t last forever so we don’t fully welcome it. Many of us sabotage the expansive feeling of joy by imagining what bad thing is going to happen to take it away. Fear immediately obliterates joy. While researching her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené theorized that people who were able to throw their hands up and let joy completely wash over them were people that had a strong spiritual connection. The research did not prove that to be true. Instead, the common denominator was gratitude. People that expressed gratitude while they were experiencing joy were more likely to experience more joy more often. Those who were cautious of joy waiting for “the other shoe to drop” were not as successful at experiencing joy fully. 

This is really good news because the solution is quite simple, though not always easy. Can I find something (no matter how small) for which to be grateful about the person who appears to have wronged me? Is there another way of looking at the situation that upset me to discover a blessing in disguise? And when I am experiencing joy, can I take a moment to express my deep gratitude for it? In that same podcast, Brené apologized to her fellow 12-steppers who use the slogan “the attitude of gratitude.” She believes gratitude is not an attitude, it’s a practice. Why not share one thing you are grateful for as you sit down to every meal, not just on Thanksgiving? Perhaps you can start (or recommit to) a gratitude journal in which you write down 5 things you are grateful for every day. Whatever you do to express more gratitude, I believe Brené’s research that it will lead to more joy. I am so grateful for my family, my friends, A Course in Miracles, my yoga practice, and all of you who read these weekly stories! 

If you find it difficult to fully experience joy or suspect that some of those pesky ego addictions are lurking in your unconscious mind, maybe A Course in Miracles is calling you? The Course is a psychological mind training that teaches us how to choose joy over pain and love over fear. To learn more about this practice, please join us for one or both of my weekly ACIM online study groups. For one-on-one assistance, I would be honored to help you with a series of Life Coaching sessions. You can also join me for a very special online workshop on Saturday, July 17 from 2-5PM Eastern where we will be “Exploring Independence from Addiction with Family Constellations.” Last month’s workshop sold out, so if this topic is of interest, purchase your ticket soon! Please look around my website for more information about all of these joyful opportunities.

Until next time, may rain showers of joy and gratitude completely drench your soul…

Tolerance for pain may be high, but it is not without limit. Eventually everyone begins to recognize, however dimly, that there must be a better way. As this recognition becomes more firmly established, it becomes a turning point.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-2.III.3:5-7

Gold Star for Surrender

Many of you know I like to scatter tiny rose quartz crystals in lakes, streams, and flower beds as a way to infuse a location with the frequency of unconditional love and compassion. It’s a fun ritual I learned from one of my very first spiritual teachers back in 2004 and I have been doing it ever since. Not long after I started this practice, my teacher and I were in a beautiful spot by a stream having a deep conversation when it occurred to me that I did not have any rose quartz stones with me. My teacher agreed it would have been nice to drop a few in the stream, but he reminded me that we didn’t need little pink stones to make it a sacred spot. Just our being there and having that moment made it sacred. I never forgot that lesson. 

Last month, while I was taking one of my last walks in Hermann Park, I decided to toss a few rose quartz crystals around the path as a way to thank the park for being such a blessing during my time in Houston. I only had a handful left so I was being very intentional with where I placed them. Some went on either side of the path where I usually started my walk. A few went under a favorite prayer bench. The lake received a few as well as the spot where I almost walked in front of the train had it not been for a family on the other side of the train tracks! I saved the last piece for my favorite spot under a tree where I did my cool-down stretches and Donna Eden’s 5-Minute Daily Energy Medicine Routine

As I neared the end of my route, I took the last tiny pink stone out of my pocket ready to place it in what I considered the perfect place. Suddenly my hand bumped my thigh and the stone flew out from between my fingers. I couldn’t believe it! I was so close to my destination! I scanned the sidewalk for a minute but was not able to see where it landed. The crystals I use are pale pink and smaller than popcorn kernels so they are not always easy to spot. I could have spent a lot of time looking for it, but instead, I decided to surrender to what happened and trust that the crystal was supposed to be wherever it landed. Although I was disappointed, I remembered what my teacher said about not needing rose quartz to make a spot sacred. My healing experiences under that tree had already done that. 

When I arrived under the tree and bent over to stretch my back and quads, something shiny on the ground caught my eye. Right there on that very spot a gold star was sparkling in the sun. I’m pretty sure I laughed out loud when I saw it. It was a great reminder that I didn’t have to do anything to mark that spot as sacred. The Universe via some graduate celebrating with confetti and a photo op took care of that for me. And, by letting go of my attachment to what I thought was “supposed” to happen, I believe the Universe gave me a gold star in this lesson on surrender. I trust I will remember this experience the next time I find myself attached to a particular outcome, especially one that seems to have more significance. If I surrender to what wants to happen instead of insisting I know what should happen, perhaps I’ll earn another gold star! Of course, the only gold star worth earning is Inner Peace.

Are you having a hard time letting go of your attachment to a particular outcome? I would be honored to help you earn a gold star in surrender with a series of Life Coaching sessions or a private Family Constellations session. Both can help you expand your capacity to see things from a different perspective allowing you to let go and trust the process. Please look around my website for more information about both or send me an email to book a session. 

Until next time, may you earn a gold star in all of life’s lessons whether they be large or small. 

If you realized that you do not perceive your own best interests, you could be taught what they are. But in the presence of your conviction that you do know what they are, you cannot learn. The idea for today is a step toward opening your mind so that learning can begin.

A Course in Miracles – W-24.2:1-3

Miracle in a Laundry Basket

When I moved to Houston three years ago I was “all in.” Before departing Fort Lauderdale, I sold a few things and donated all of my furniture and household items to an organization that helps women in recovery get back on their feet. A miracle named “Odalys” appeared at the eleventh hour to facilitate the bulk of my belongings finding a new home. I don’t know what I would have done if it weren’t for her! You can read all about that experience in my blog titled “Faith, Trust, and Moving Dust.”

Last month, as I prepared to leave Houston and head back to Florida, I made the executive decision that I would only bring what would fit in my car. Since I gave most everything away three years ago, I don’t own enough to make it cost-effective to rent a truck or hire a moving company. It felt like a clear and efficient boundary since I will most likely be moving again to a more permanent location later this summer.

As I packed up my car last week, I soon discovered there wouldn’t be room for a few things I was hoping to bring. I couldn’t find space for three of my large plants without crushing them, so I decided to leave them behind where they were growing happily. The other item was my laundry basket. While driving the first leg, it occurred to me that I could have put my hanging clothes inside the laundry basket, thus allowing it to come with me, but by then I was already in Louisiana. It was disappointing, but I knew these items could be easily replaced. I was amazed by how much did fit in my car. Had one of my favorite paintings been one inch wider it would not have slid into my hatchback like it was made for that space. With those few exceptions, everything else fit perfectly and I was incredibly grateful!

After a joyful two days of driving listening to dance music and A Course in Miracles podcasts, I arrived safely at my sister’s house in Florida. With her help, it took less than an hour to unload my car. I brought in my clothes from the passenger seat first. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I hung them. On the floor of my new closet was a bright blue laundry basket! My sister had placed it there without knowing that was one of the items I had to leave behind. What a beautiful reminder that the Universe has my back. When I don’t try to force things to fit and surrender to what wants to happen, my needs are met without having to speak them.

Could you use some assistance in surrendering and releasing the need to force things to happen in a specific way? I would be honored to help you see things from an expanded perspective with a series of Life Coaching Sessions or with Family Constellations. Both create space for miracles to happen in your life. Please look around my website for more information and to learn about upcoming events. If you’d like to book a session, simply send me an email.

Until next time, may you surrender to the many miracles that want to happen in your life. 

Miracles are natural. When they do not occur something has gone wrong.

Miracle Principle #6A Course in Miracles

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

Go Back to Your Roots

Last weekend I was feeling a little sad and lonely thinking about going to yet another dermatologist appointment on Monday. This was the third one this month. There’s nothing major going on. Just a few outpatient surgical procedures to remove non-life-threatening “cells gone wild” from my skin. I’m grateful that this round of procedures did not bring up the same emotional response as the last round in 2019. Check out the Featured Video on the Home Page of my website for more on that story and how it relates to Family Constellations

Nonetheless, I reached out to a few of my friends and prayer partners for support ahead of the surgery. One of those prayer partners sent me a text message on Sunday to ask if I was feeling prepared for the surgery. I replied that I was and thanked her for checking in on me. The two of us have been close friends for decades. We’ve been there for each other during many of life’s ups and downs and she’s in the middle of a challenging situation right now too. I commented how grateful I was that we have each other for support.

Before her text, I had just finished reading a wonderful book titled Coming Around – Surprises and Surrender on the Path to Inspiration by Tina Berger. In one of the final chapters, the author describes her experience at the Holistic Visions Symposium in Barcelona. The purpose of the symposium was to bring people together to collaborate on solutions to 13 of “the most important issues facing the planet.” Tina was assigned to a group working on new systems based on “Love and Righteousness.” To prepare for Barcelona, her group of 12 team members gathered in advance virtually to create a working definition for both of those terms. This is what they came up with:

“Love, we decided could be defined as both a feeling and a unified energetic field, or vibration, of oneness. This field of love serves to remind us that, while we are having an individual experience in these human bodies with their edges and their mortality, the ultimate enduring truth is that we are not separate. Righteousness could then be defined as the kinds of action we would take if we were aware of our oneness.” 

Wow! Both of these definitions sound like they are right out of A Course in Miracles! I was intrigued to learn what they did with these definitions. I won’t go into all the details of this story. I recommend getting her book to read about this and dozens of other inspiring stories. There is one detail I would like to mention. She writes about a group session in Barcelona, where one of the team members facilitated a structured activity on a whiteboard. The intention was to imagine and capture a framework describing the conditions under which new systems can be created based on their definition of love. 

While this was happening, another group member spontaneously approached the other whiteboard, picked up a marker, and began drawing trees. She then added roots and a network of fine lines connecting those roots. After adding a few more things, she explained that the connective network creates a community of trees that can communicate with each other allowing the entire forest to know itself and support one another. This seemingly random artwork became the foundation on which they built their presentation. 

Here’s where it gets really weird. Just moments after reading that and exchanging text messages with the first friend, another friend sent a text to see how I was doing. I told her I was feeling a little sad so she offered to pick a card from Denise Linn’s “Sacred Destiny” Oracle Deck and then send me a photo of the card and its message. She pulled the “Community” card, which features an illustration of trees with rainbow light and butterflies interspersed among them. The card describes that trees in a forest appear to be separate, but in truth, they are connected because their underground roots are intertwined. The card reminds us that we are always connected to our people and our community. They are standing strong beside us like trees in a forest. The best part is, no matter where they are on the planet, they are only a thought away, and so is their support.

I was blown away by the rapid succession of these identical messages from different sources! Needless to say, when I went to my appointment on Monday there was no doubt in my mind I was not alone. I brought all of my people with me: my friends, family members, prayer partners, angels, and ancestors. How could I not feel strong and supported? 

No matter what you’re going through and growing through, may this message find a place in your heart. Despite appearances or conditions, you are never alone. Ask for the support of your people, your ancestors, your angels, your friends, whomever you choose. And know that they are right there with you every step of the way every time you think of them.

Family Constellations is a powerful reminder that you are always connected and supported by your ancestors. Join me for an Upcoming Workshop online or schedule a private session. All sessions can be done from anywhere in the world with the help of the World Wide Web that connects us all. For more information or to schedule a session, please look around my website and send me an email

Until next time, may you remember that you have an entire forest of support standing by your side in every moment. 

With Grace and Gratitude,

John

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.

Miracle Principle #45 from A Course in Miracles

Love at the Dentist’s Office

You might be thinking I meant to write “Fear at the Dentist’s Office.” For many people that might be more accurate, but I meant to write “Love.” That’s what washed over me quite unexpectedly this week while I was at my dentist’s office. I’ve been going to the same dentist for more than ten years. As you might expect, I have gotten to know my dentist and the people who work in his office quite well and they have gotten to know me. During that time, there has been very little turnaround in the staff which I think says a lot about the people. The office manager has been there as long as I have been going. She is both extremely sweet and efficient, often going above and beyond to work with my schedule and my insurance plan.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it had been 15 months since my last visit. I was way overdue for a cleaning and three replacement fillings. Once again, the office manager worked her magic and moved things around so I could get everything taken care of in the same visit. I told the hygienist (who has been cleaning my teeth for the last several years) how glad I was to see her. We always make each other laugh while she’s scraping the gunk under my gums, although I’m very diligent about flossing so her job isn’t that hard. She admitted that she was happy to see my name on the schedule this week. This may sound strange, but as I lay there in the chair with the suction tube dangling from my open mouth as she started cleaning, it occurred to me that this was an expression of love. 

Unlike the suction tube, the love flows in both directions. My love expressed as gratitude for the work she does to keep my teeth and gums healthy. Her love expressed as making me laugh and putting me at ease while she did the not-so-pleasant job of deep cleaning my teeth. I didn’t share this thought with her. One, because my mouth was full of dental instruments, and two, because it might sound weird or mildly inappropriate. Instead, I simply  imagined gratitude radiating from my heart to hers and out into the rest of the office.

Later, as my dentist and his assistant worked together to fix my fillings, I felt that same wave of love and gratitude wash over me. Those two have been working together for as long as I’ve been going to that office, so they have developed quite the rapport. In addition to being very skilled at what they do, they also like to make me and each other laugh. During this visit, we talked about Dr. Brian Weiss’s first book, Many Lives Many Masters, past-life regressions, and some other books on spirituality they had recently read and shared with each other. And when I say “we talked” I mean they talked. Knowing what I do for a living, my dentist joked, “I bet you have a lot to say on this topic. Too bad your mouth is numb and full of cotton and dental instruments.” 

During a break in the action after my first filling, I mentioned that I felt like I was on the dance floor at a disco with all the flashing colored lights they were using. There was a green light above my face, and whatever device the assistant used after the dentist packed the filling flashed bright blue and made a beeping sound. Without missing a beat, the assistant said, “Those colored lights don’t do anything special. We just like the way they look.” The dentist added that the beeping sound was just one of them making the noise under their mask. That really amused me, and I couldn’t help laughing every time I heard the beep. Suddenly, I felt like I was in a Saturday Night Live skit. When I mentioned that to the dentist, he requested I not write that in a review on Yelp. 

When they were done fixing my teeth and making me laugh, I answered their questions about the work I do and shared with them my first mind-blowing experience of Family Constellations. Not only do I feel extremely well cared for when I’m there, but I also feel safe to be authentically me with my unusual profession and silly sense of humor. Would I want to be in the dentist’s chair more than twice per year? Not really. But when I’m there, I definitely feel Love, not fear, in the dentist’s office. That sure sounds like a miracle to me.

Is there a situation or circumstance in your life that brings up anxiety, anger, or fear? I would be honored to help you experience a miracle with a series of Life Coaching Sessions or a private Family Constellations Session. Both are powerful ways to expand your capacity to see things differently, thus shifting your experience from fear to love. For more information or to make an appointment please look around my website or simply send me an email.

Until next time, may love and gratitude wash over you in unexpected situations…

With love in you, you have no need except to extend it.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-15.V.11:3

A Rocky Start

My sister’s dog, Rocky, is appropriately named because we believe he had a “rocky” start. Rocky’s owners dropped him off at the animal shelter where my nephew works one day saying they couldn’t keep him anymore because he was too mean. We don’t know what happened to Rocky during his first 5 years of life, but something did. He couldn’t stay at the shelter because whenever he was around other dogs or people he barked constantly and sometimes attacked and bit them. Obviously, these behaviors were not ideal for finding a forever home. 

My nephew often brings home dogs that have behavioral challenges so they can get loved up in a safe environment while getting used to people. Rocky was one of many dogs that ended up at my sister’s home, but one of the few who never left! Sadly, he did not get much better around other dogs or people, but he started to trust my sister. This didn’t come as a surprise because my sister has a huge heart and can find a place in that huge heart for even the most challenging dogs. (And people, but especially dogs.)   

It took a lot of patience and perseverance, but over time Rocky became more and more comfortable with her. Over the past 3 years, they have developed a deep affection for one another. He still growls or nips at her once in a while when he feels threatened, but she ignores it and keeps loving him anyway. Now that the two of them have bonded so deeply, you’d better not get too close to my sister. Rocky will defend his human no matter how much bigger you are than he is. The last time my brother visited he learned the hard way not to hug my sister in Rocky’s presence. You can understand why I was a bit trepidatious before my visit to see my sister last week. 

Before arriving in Florida, I decided I wanted to experience a miracle with Rocky, a shift in perception from fear to love. My goal was to win him over by the time I left. As expected, he barked at me when I first arrived. Even though my sister and I have been vaccinated, I refrained from hugging her and started talking to Rocky in a soft voice. I set my bag down and moved slowly to the couch across from my sister. She handed me a few tiny dog treats to give to Rocky to help the situation. He had no problem accepting the treats from me. It didn’t take long for him to stop barking and start sniffing my hand. After a minute or two, he gave my hand a quick lick before jumping on the other couch with my sister. We were off to a good start!

Over the next few days, I continued to speak calmly with Rocky, once in a while using my secret weapon…the “puppy massage.” Having been a massage therapist for over 15 years, I learned that most dogs really enjoy having their hips and shoulders rubbed. Let’s just say Rocky warmed up to me even more quickly after a few puppy massages. There were very few occasions where he barked at me the rest of my visit. 

One exception was the evening my sister and I returned from a shopping excursion. Among other things, she purchased a beautiful light gray upholstered chest for the foot of her bed. While loading it into her car, I cut my thumb on an exposed staple protruding from the bottom. I applied pressure to it with a tissue on the drive home, but I must not have stopped the bleeding completely. When I moved the chest from the car to her bedroom, I noticed a small drop of blood on the brand new fabric. I was so mad at myself for dripping blood on her brand new furniture I screamed, “OH NO!” at least three times!

Rocky began to bark at me furiously as soon as I shouted those words. It shocked me how quickly and deeply he tapped into my angry, upset energy. I did my best to calm him down while simultaneously calming myself down as I grabbed a wet paper towel to blot up the blood before it left a stain. Once the catastrophe was averted, I sat with Rocky to reassure him that everything was okay. It took several minutes but we both eventually returned to peace.

After that incident, it became crystal clear to me that Rocky is extra sensitive to the energy of humans. He probably had to be in his first home to know if he was safe or not. I’m convinced that he warmed up to me because I did my best to remain peaceful and calm around him. The whole experience was a powerful lesson. Once I decided to see him not as an aggressive dog, but one who needed a little extra love and kindness, everything shifted. 

I received confirmation that this is what I should write about this week while listening to Brené Brown’s latest “Unlocking Us” podcast. Brené was talking with Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce Perry about their new book, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing. This book invites us to ask a better question when dealing with difficult people (and as I learned this week, difficult pets.) Instead of asking, “What’s wrong with you?” a better question might be, “What happened to you?” 

Is there a difficult person in your life who may have had a “rocky start?” Perhaps they would benefit from a little extra love and kindness. I’m not suggesting that you put yourself in harm’s way. I certainly didn’t with Rocky. I maintained a safe distance while changing my mind and finding a place for him in my heart. It truly was a miracle! For the record, it’s possible to do this without ever speaking a word or being near that difficult person.

I would be honored to help you shift your energy around that person or situation so that you too can experience more love and kindness. Please look around my website for more information about my Life Coaching programs based on the strong principles found in A Course in Miracles. I offer 4, 8, and 12-week packages to suit your needs and budget. You can also shift your perception and deepen your understanding with a group or private Family Constellations session. I have several online events coming up in the next two months to help you heal relationships with your parents, your children, and to help you release whatever no longer serves on the next full moon. Visit the Events page on my website or send me an email for more information.

Until next time, I encourage you to find a place in your heart for those difficult people, but most importantly find a place in your heart for yourself!

The only judgement involved is the Holy Spirit’s one division into two categories; one of love, and the other the call for love. 

A Course in Miracles ~ T-14.X.7:1