Recently I have been introduced to a health and wellness tool called grounding.  While the concept of grounding is not new, it seems that western understanding of its potential health benefits is relatively new.

You may recall from physics that grounding refers to an object or person being connected to the earth, where there is an almost infinite source of free electrons.  In fact, the earth is often referred to as an electron source and an electron sink.  The effect of this is that a positive charged object/person will tend to pick up electrons from the earth (when connected with the earth), thus bringing that object/person into electrical equilibrium with the earth.  Conversely, an object or person that has more negative charge than the earth will tend to lose the extra electrons to the earth in order to create and maintain the equilibrium.

Recently, there have been a number of studies that have demonstrated some possible physiological benefits to being grounded to the earth - i.e. transferring electrons between the human body and the earth (click here for a study at the NIH.  Also, see here for more details).  It seems from reading some reviews of these studies that even the skeptics are intrigued (see Dr. Weil's comments) and open to the possibilities grounding holds. 

So, what benefits have I personally found to grounding?  While I have done no formal studies on grounding, anecdotally I can say that spending time in nature always has a positive impact on my body and spirit.  I find that one of the best ways for me to regain spiritual centeredness is to take a walk in the woods.  As an example, there was a day a couple of weeks ago that started off stressful for me.  Around noontime I decided to hike in the woods.  After 30 minutes to an hour of hiking, I noticed a marked difference in my stress level!  I was more relaxed, and I felt more at one with creation and the Creator. 

What about when I don't have time for a long hike?  According to the studies listed above, even a few minutes walking barefoot in my yard is enough to have an impact.  Indeed, I personally feel a spiritual/emotional lift when I walk in my yard barefoot or lean against a tree or work in the garden, etc. for even a few minutes.

How about you?  Have you tried grounding?  What benefits have you experienced?


Index to Lee's story

To simplify  things for you if you're interested in reading Lee's story from beginning to end, we have created this post with links to the story in order.  If this story touches you in some way, please connect with us!  Lee loves to dialog with others about his journey.

You can also head over to one of Heather's blog where she wrote some on being the wife of an ex-Christian agnostic.  To read how they met, go here.  To read her handful of posts, start here.  She has hopes of writing more about the experience, but we'll see.  She's said that before.... ;-)

Now for the Index:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Remaining Grounded in Life's Surprises

Sometimes life seems straightforward.  But, most times, life is full of surprises, twists, and turns that we don't expect.  While the unexpected can be unnerving at times, it is in learning to embrace the surprises, twists, and turns that centeredness becomes much easier.

I have found that if I approach my life as if the twists and turns are impediments and obstacles, I have a much harder time remaining grounded and centered.  Yet, if I approach my life as if the twists and turns are opportunities, even blessings, it is much easier for me to remain in a state of centeredness.

Take my current financial situation as an example.  Just over three months ago I walked away from my corporate career where I had a comfortable income and great benefits to boot.  In doing so, I knew I was risking my financial future.  Initially I carved out a portion of my savings that I had planned to live on while I pursued music and building a Young Living business.  I figured I had about six months to a year to live on this savings.  Today, just over three months later, I find myself running out of that savings much quicker than expected.

On the one hand, this can be scary.  But, I'm learning to view my situation as both opportunity and divine guidance.  I wholeheartedly believe that I am where I am for a reason.  Although my physical eyes may see what appears to be a formidable obstacle ahead, I realize through my spiritual eyes that this place is a beautiful one where good things lie ahead.  I have no idea how this plays out.  I don't know for sure what I will be "doing" even a few weeks from now.  I just know this is the right place for me, and in accepting this and living in the present moment, I can remain grounded!



Lee's Story - Epilogue

I want to thank everyone for all the comments and feedback to the posts of my personal story.  It has been fun for me to hear so many different perspectives and personal parallels to my own story.  One of the cool things for me has been to learn of the questions and struggles that so many of you have gone through that are similar to my own!

I'd like to add a few thoughts.

First, I believe this journey has a long way to go.  One thing I know is that I don't know much.  On the one hand this can be terrifying.  On the other hand, it is truly exciting!  I often feel like a little kid who wakes up on Christmas morning excited about discovering the many treasures hidden under the tree.  With each new discovery I make, it seems there awaits many more.  Until I was in my late twenties, I thought I had a good handle on God.  Today, I realize I know so little.  Yet, the process of learning more is something I would not trade for anything.

Second, I believe the world of the spirit/God/the universe/Allah/YHWH/whatever-someone-may-call-it is a huge place that is big enough for all of us. Wherever you are today, you can find that deep profound place inside where you touch the ultimate of beings.  Some of you are reading this right now and saying, "I know exactly what you are talking about!"  Others are saying, "I don't quite get this."  Either way, you have an open door, and you are OK.  If you understand it today, walk through it. If you don't understand it today, just remember it is there for you when you are ready. Though I didn't recognize the undulations of the spirit or the voice of God for so many years, I can see now how they were there all along in so many subtle ways. It was only after I walked through that door and connected that I became so aware of all those subtle movements.

This leads me to my final thought.  No spiritual journey is walked alone.  In my years of wandering, I had a number of people who were extremely faithful to pray for me and intercede on my behalf.  Some of them I know about, some of them I'm sure I don't know about, but the greatest one was my dear wife, Heather.  Many of you know her and know the years of spiritual labor she went through on my behalf. She truly is a spiritual hero and saint, and I am forever grateful to her for her faithfulness and love throughout our marriage.  I love her dearly, and I believe with all my heart this is one huge reason the spirit put us together 21 years ago.

There is an old saying that says every story has two sides. My story is no exception.  Heather has blogged some of her perspective of our story over on her other blog, so head over there and be sure to leave a comment! 

Keep sending your feedback; I love it!

I truly hope today that your soul finds rest.


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Lee's Story - Part 6

On July 29, 2015, I received an email early in the morning from a company in Ireland called Xhail.  In the email, the writer explained that they had developed a software platform that composes music for movies, TV shows, video games, etc. by taking music from different composers all around the world and creating unique compositions each time a producer needs music.  Xhail was asking me to compose music for their platform in order to license my music for movies, TV shows, etc.!  What's more, they informed me that I was chosen because of the musical quality of my entry in the Hans Zimmer contest in 2014!!! 

The rest of the day was like a dream; I couldn't focus on anything.  I was trying to process what was happening to me.  My analytical mind kicked into high gear as it worked to ascertain whether this was really the result of my little "experiment" (see Part 5 for details) or just "coincidence."  But, at the end of the day, I could not deny the clear message that seemed to be coming my way.  Here was the fulfillment of a "prophecy" I felt a year earlier (see Part 3 for details) tied with a "prophecy" I had begun speaking just a few weeks before. The email may have been two days later than I "prophesied," but if ever there was a wake-up call, this had to be it!

For the next several days I continued to grapple with the experience.  Frankly, I became a little mad.  Where was my $200k? This was the only piece of my "prophecy" that was missing, and I needed my $200k, dammit! How can I be expected to leave my job and create musical content for this company without some sort of income (the composers for Xhail only receive royalty income when their compositions get placed in a movie)???

But, the more I told the story to people, the more I began to realize there must be a reason for the missing $200k, and the more I became convinced I had just experienced a spiritual encounter. I was attending a Young Living convention in Grapevine, Texas just a few days later where I met a lady who has a similar spiritual background as myself.  As I relayed my story to her, she said, "I believe the $200k was not enough.  Your music is worth much more; it just hasn't arrived yet!"  I realized I truly had tapped into something in the spirit world.  God had been doing something in me, and I was only just now coming to understand a small part of it.

I resigned from my corporate gig two days later.  In many ways it was the craziest move I have ever made.  I would have no income to speak of, no medical insurance, no more matching 401(k), no paid-for vision coverage or dental coverage, and none of the other great benefits I enjoyed as a salaried employee.  Yet, Heather and I felt unequivocally it was definitely time to quit, and to this day I feel like it was the best decision I have ever made.

So where are we today?  I know many of you are asking, "Where are you spiritually?"

Spiritually, I continue to search, explore, and grow.  I don't understand God.  I really can't even say I know who he is.  But, I can say he is.  Am I a Christian?  Probably not by most Christians' definition.  I still have a hard time logically believing most of the central doctrines of the Christian faith (resurrection of Christ, holy trinity, virgin birth, heaven and hell, and many others).  Yet, I cannot deny something profoundly deep in me to which I connect daily.  I am learning once more to meditate after so many years of not doing so.  I am learning once more to trust God after so many years of not doing so.  All I can say for certain is I really don't know where this leads, but the journey is exciting, and there is no turning back for me. For those of you expecting this story to come to a nice neat close today, sorry.  This story is just beginning!

Financially, we are slowly generating more income through our Young Living business and through my music.  How long can we go without substantially more income?  Well, it really depends on how much more of our savings we want to burn through.  But, one thing I can say without a doubt is that I do not for a minute regret untethering and living a life in alignment with God's calling.  Finally, I am able to help teach my kids at home, care for my aging father, work with Heather to build a business, and create music -- all things I have wanted to do for years but have been restricted from doing due to "work".  I can honestly say that today I am living the dream; I am living the untethered life!

How about you?  What is tethering you today?  Where is God calling you to let go and believe? What is your "music"? Wanna join the fun?

Let us hear your thoughts!


Lee's Story - Part 5

Somewhere around the end of June 2015, Heather came home with a book she said I might like to read called Every Word Has Power by Yvonne Oswald .  The premise of the book is that every word we speak has either positive or negative influence over us, and that, by learning to speak positive words, we can positively shape our lives and our future. 

In chapter four, Oswald relates a story where she was attempting to sell a house.  After many months of no buyers, she decided to sit down and come up with a "sell-by" date.  She picked a date and began to envision herself selling the house on the given date.  What's more, she envisioned selling the house for more than her asking price. She wrote the date on a calendar and began speaking the sell date out loud and picturing the act of selling it in her mind.  Well, lo and behold, on the date she picked, a man walked into her house and offered her cash for more than the asking price of the home!

Yvonne then challenges the reader to do a similar exercise.  I thought, "OK, what do I have to lose?  This sounds a little kooky to me, but I'll do the experiment."  So, grabbed the first thought in my mind: "I'm going to have someone offer me a license for my music on July 27, 2015 for $200,000."  She said to be big but realistic, and I thought receiving a music license would be big but realistic for me (I really wasn't sure about the $200k, but that was the number in my head, so I went with it).

I wrote it on a calendar, and I told Heather, my kids, and my brother (I wasn't dare going to tell anyone else!) about my declaration. Then, for the next 3 or so weeks, I began to envision myself receiving a license for my music on July 27.  I began to say it out loud as I drove to and from work.  I even sent myself emails declaring it.

July 27 came and went, and nothing happened.  Surprisingly, I wasn't too disappointed.  I decided I would take whatever lesson I could from the experience…even if it was learning that this was all hogwash :).  But, then July 29th came, and my life has not been the same since.

Stay tuned…

As always, I look forward to your comments and feedback!


Lee's Story - Part 4

One Friday afternoon in February 2015 I was driving home from work in heavy traffic and rainy weather.  Normally I would have listened to a book or the radio, but on this particular day I had a sense that I needed silence. In the quiet, a strong feeling rose in me that it was time for me to quit my corporate job.  Even more, I felt I was not to look for another corporate job. 

To me, this seemed like insanity!  How crazy is it to quit my job without having an income stream???  Yet, I couldn't escape the feeling, so I said, "God, if this is you, then you're going to have to tell Heather, and she has to bring it up!  I'm not going to bring this idea up to her because it will send her over the edge!!"

I arrived home and soon left the memory of my commute behind.  Heather and I had scheduled a date for the evening, so we got the kids squared away and headed out the door.  As we were driving to our destination, I asked her how her day had gone. 

She had gone to Summit Church for a Sozo healing prayer session that afternoon and began sharing some of the highlights of her session:

During prayer, she saw an image of a large ocean liner or battleship tied to a dock with heavy ropes. In her vision, the ship represented her and the ropes were things tying her to a "safe life" near the shore.  But a life lived near the shore, tethered by ropes, is not what the ocean liner/battleship is created for.   Moreover, she had the impression in the vision that it was time to untether the lines and go out to the open seas!  

As she was telling me this, I was debating in my head whether or not to tell her about my "conversation" with God during my commute home -- about us "untethering" the lines as she was putting it.  Not wanting to read too much into her words, I decided to wait a bit.  She continued to give me more details about her vision and feelings, and it soon became clear to me that we were on the same wavelength.  I then told her about my conversation with God that afternoon.  It was at this point that I really began to consider that God had indeed spoken to me in my afternoon commute.

Yet, was I really to quit my job??? We were scared and uncertain, so I continued to work the corporate gig…for the time being.  The convincing push to get me to quit was an even bigger move still.

Stay tuned…

As always, I look forward to your comments and feedback!


Lee's Story - Part 3

Read Part 2

By early 2014 I was playing my trombone again regularly, and I was starting to compose for band and orchestra again.  I began playing with the Mansfield Wind Symphony, where I continue to play today as well as serve on the board of directors.  (I have to put in a plug for the Mansfield Wind Symphony here.  We are an outstanding community band committed to growing music and the arts in the Mansfield, Texas area.) That feeling of truly belonging in music as a composer as well as a player that had started in 2013 was more fully flourishing now. 

In February 2014 I found out about a composition contest put on by Hans Zimmer, the famous movie music composer (Interstellar, Inception, The Dark Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean, and many others).  At first, I wasn't going to enter the contest.  Though it sounded cool (the winners would get to go to Hollywood to study with Zimmer), I felt like I didn't have time to put together a decent composition in time for the deadline. 

I was working 60+ hours a week on an IT project, and I was trying to maintain connection with my family at home.  Yet, something kept telling me I needed to enter the contest. 

The night before the composition was due, I finished a work project around 10:00 pm.  I was tired and ready for bed.  But, my son Josh had expressed interest in playing a guitar solo if I composed something, and I was having this nagging feeling that I needed to enter the contest no matter how good the quality was.

I decided to go for it.  I stayed up all night and wrote a piece of music to enter in the competition (you can hear it here: ).  Although I didn't expect to win, I had a sense that something was going to come out of the competition for me.  I even wrote about it in my journal (because the feelings really felt a little kooky at the time) in case anything did come of it.

The competition ended, and I didn't hear anything from anyone.  After a few months or so, I chalked my feelings up to wishful thinking on my part, and I put those notions away on a shelf.  Then, about a year later, other strange "feelings" began emerge.

Stay tuned…

As always, I look forward to your comments and feedback!


Lee's Story - Part 2

As I began to play my trombone more regularly in early 2013, I felt like I was being connected to something beyond me.  Each time I would play a Bach suite or a Rochut etude, it was as if my innermost being was being awakened.  As I mentioned in part 1, I had kept my piano chops fresh along the way, and while there is certainly a spiritual connection in the piano, there was something different about playing the trombone that I just couldn't put my finger on.

Later that year Heather and I began going to counseling for some family issues we were having.  In the course of counseling, some of my spiritual history began to emerge.  I learned that our counselor had a story very similar to mine (Christian -> agnostic -> Christian again).  As he and I began to talk one on one, he said something interesting to me, that in his 30+ years of experience he noticed when a person goes from being a Christian to an agnostic or atheist, there is usually a life event that corresponds to the questioning/doubting of the original beliefs.  As I began to ponder this, I realized that for me that life event was the point I had put down my horn.  Prior to that, the trombone had been an integral part of me.  When I laid the horn down, it was as if I laid a huge part of myself down.

Suddenly, things were starting to make sense for me.  The spiritual veil being lifted was my re-connecting with God/Creator.  What I still couldn't understand, though, was how I could really know who God is.  During my 17 years as an agnostic, I had pretty much jettisoned all my prior theology.  Now that I was starting to be open to the possibility that there might, in fact, be a divine being moving in me, I wasn't quite sure how to relate to him/her/it!

One thing that was clear was that I knew I was created to make music.  I began to realize that I had to reconnect with the trombone player and symphonic composer in me.  In hindsight, I believe this was God moving in me to show me how to relate to him.

Stay tuned…

As always, I look forward to your comments and feedback!


Lee's Story - Part 1

I'm going to begin this blog by telling you a little about myself (Lee). 

Until about 17 years ago, I was a very devout Christian who had been baptized at the age of 8 in a Southern Baptist church.  I even served as a youth pastor at a Vineyard church in the late 1990s.  17 years ago I began to seriously question the roots of my Christian faith.  In an effort to solidify my beliefs, I spent a couple of months holed up in a seminary library every day reading all I could about the history of Christianity.  At the end of this intensive study time, instead of solidifying my faith, I found myself wondering if there even was a God.

For the next 15 years or so, I read, studied, discussed, watched videos, etc. as much as I could in an effort to better understand Christianity, religion, and spirituality.  Yet, it seemed that the more I dug, the more I became convinced it just wasn't possible to know if a divine being of any kind really existed and that Christianity was nothing more than a well-intentioned device to help people feel better about themselves.

Before I continue, I must provide a little more of my background.  I grew up as a musician.  I am a composer, and I play the piano, trombone, and euphonium.  I was a trombone major in college, and consequently, the horn played a vital role in my life well into my 20s (during my Christian phase). During this 17 year period of searching, however, I pretty much set aside my trombone due to the demands of family and work (I began working in the IT field during this phase of my life). 

In early 2013, I was invited to play in a trombone choir as a tribute to my college trombone professor.  As I began to pick up the horn and play again, something magical occurred -- something which didn't quite occur the same way when I play the piano, which I did continue to do during this 17 year period.

At the time, I didn't quite understand it, but it was as if a spiritual veil was being lifted before my eyes.  There was a connection that I suddenly felt that I could not explain.

Stay tuned….