I love January 1st. It’s a wildly creative day. I set my intention to receive rich guidance and then settle into my sacred writing chair to extract all the gifts of the past year with my Beloved Voice. Next, we explore all the possibilities of the year to come. Then comes my favorite part: naming the new year. That’s always such a fun revelation. I wrap up my year-starting mini-retreat by creating a vision board with the name of the year across the bottom. But last January. I did two things differently. Those two things set a whole new life in motion.
First, I began the day reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s You are Here and when I stumbled upon “When conditions are sufficient, there is a manifestation,” my mouth flew open and my understanding of the Law of Attraction flipped in that instant on its head.
Second, instead of making a rectangle-shaped vision board, I made a mandala. I drew little pictures of all I want on the periphery and a big yellow lily in the center with the “conditions” that I promise to live written on the six petal. Across the bottom, I wrote 2010′s name on a purple banner: “My Breakthrough Year.”
Did reading Thich Nhat Hanh or making a mandala matter?
Well, let’s just say that 2010 was, to put it mildly, magical. The number of new ideas and events flowing through me were breathtaking. People wanted to know how to create that magic for themselves. So I taught The Lotus and The Lily four times to over 100 people and after each course, my inbox overflowed with screaming emails: THIS WORKS!
So I thought I knew what to do this January 1st. I made a pot of french press coffee (coffee matters), spoke my Soul Vows, set my intention to be open to guidance, and sat down to write. But then, just like last year, instead of writing, I bent down and picked up a book–Thich Nhat Hanh’s Living Buddha Living Christ. I began to read. And, just like last year, I couldn’t put it down. All I can say is, Thich Nhat Hanh did it again!
Listen to this: “The word ‘Buddha’ comes from the root buddh, which means to wake up. A Buddha is someone who is awake.” (I didn’t know that. Did you?) Thich Nhat Hanh goes on to say that the Buddha told his followers to focus not on rules or doctrines or dogmas, but on practice. It is practice that brings our spiritual knowing to life. Or as Thich Nhat Hanh puts it, “We are all mothers of the Buddha because we are all pregnant with the potential for awakening.”
I giggled. Oh my God, I’m pregnant! A bit of a surprise at 62, but I know it’s true. I can feel it. I can feel ideas and books and relationships and all manner of things pressing to be born. Of greater importance, I sense a more awakened relationship with Spirit growing inside me.
Are you pregnant, too? I think so. But like all expectant parents, we must care tenderly for our babies. How? Thich Nhat Hanh says we care for our growing baby Buddha by being mindful,
listening for the voice, being attentive to the messages around us in all their forms–even leaves or pebbles or clouds. But the number one thing we do to bring our Awakening Buddha to life is find a spiritual practice and live it. Live it every day.
My pregnant self floated through the rest of New Year’s Day. I made a 2011 mandala. I asked what to name this year. “Big Pot” came the answer. Big Pot? I looked at my mandala. Oh, I get it. If I look at the 12-inch circle of my mandala from an eagle eye view, it does look an awful lot like a huge soup pot. And, you know what? I think the Master Chef is adding some pretty nifty ingredients and doing a lot of simmering. Ever since I read Heat , I’ve been obsessed with learning how to make Ragu Bolognese. Now I see that I’ve been mimicking the master chef cooking up a “Janet Bolognese.”
I did one last thing on Jan 1–something new. I added up the numeric values of the letters in “Big Pot.” The total came to 33. The master number of creativity. Yeowza. If the Master Chef keeps this up, it’s going to be an amazing year.
Would you like to know the numeric vibration of your year’s name or any words? It’s easy. Just select the numeric value of each letter in this chart and add them up.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
B I G P O T
2 + 9 + 7 + 7 + 6 + 2 = 33
Here’s another example, Jazz Jaeschke of Austin TX in the Lotus and Lily class that just ended named 2011 “Harmony Happens.”
H A R M O N Y
8 + 1 + 9 + 4 + 6 + 5 + 7 = 40
H A P P E N S
8 + 1 + 7 + 7 + 5 + 5 + 1 = 34
Harmony Happens 74 = 7 + 4 = 11
Talk about a power number. 11 is the wisdom channel of the divine. What does the numeric value mean? Well, for that you need a bit of introduction to numerology. Here’s a very simple overview:
1 new beginnings, take action, courage, independence
2 intuitive, receiving, separation, nurturing, forgiving
3 trinity, combining 1 & 2, peacemaking, creativity
4 physical manifestation, structure, form, building step-by-step
5 change, movement, freedom, flexibility, sensual
6 balance, responsibility, commitment, relationships, harmony
7 inner truth and power, trust, deeper answers, mystical
8 abundance, power, material success, inner power, harvest
9 wholeness, oneness, bigger picture, unconditional love
For a richer understanding, I recommend Numerology by Ruth Drayer.
Even if you don’t have a name for your year, we can all tap into the universal numeric vibration for 2011: 2 + 0 + 1 + 1 = 4
Four is the number of organization, structure, foundation. In other words, spiritual practice! (I think the Buddha and Thich Nhat Hanh are smiling on us this year.)
What exactly is Spirit cooking up in my “Big Pot” year? I don’t know. And that’s OK. I don’t have to know the what, when, or how. I leave the details to my Divine Partner. (And, based on my experience, I gotta say the Divine does great work.) I commit to doing my part, the part taught by the Buddha. I’ll show up every day and do my practice.
For me that means speaking my Soul Vows, my Creative Blessing, Lorna Byrne’s angel prayer, the 12 affirmations from UnityNow, and last, standing in front of my “2011 Big Pot” mandala and having a nice chat with the “Master Chef” about the year Spirit is cookin’ up for me! It means engaging in deep soul writing. It means waking in joy and going to bed in gratitude. It means blessing every bite of food. It means calling on the angels for guidance and following the guidance I receive.
None of this is difficult. In fact, it’s really all rather delightful. It’s how I parent my sweet baby Buddha. How about you? What are you doing in this 4 year of foundation and spiritual practice to birth the sweet baby Buddha growing inside of you?
If you want more help birthing that Buddha and attracting a delightful and holy new year, consider joining me and Margo Mastromarchi for 2011 Intentions with the Angels, learning how to write the most important prayer in your life–your Soul Vows, and learning how to Plug In to the creative force of the universe.
I have been deeply engrossed in how to create a life for quite awhile now. I’ve held a Soul Day and created an Intention Mandala on January 1st for several years. Does it work? Well, let’s see… I’ve “manufactured” a major UPI blog presence, Conari came out of nowhere to ask me to write a book, Writing Down Your Soul is approaching its third printing, the new matching journal, My Soul Page, will be out in May, people around the world have fallen in love with deep soul writing, I averted bankcruptcy last year by diving deeply into my Soul Day process, and that experience created my next book, The Lotus and The Lily.
So, you’d think I know what I’m doing. You’d think my Soul Day process was complete. You’d think I could just show up on January 1st and go through my magical motions and VOILA 2011 would unfold as it should.
You’d be wrong.
It’s always new. It’s always a mystery. Something new somehow always lands in my lap and surprises me. Today it was a poem. By Hafiz.
I love Hafiz. I know Hafiz. I keep Daniel Ladinsky’s books close at hand. So I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised that the first thing I did on January 1st was ask Hafiz to step out of the 14th century and tell me what I need to know about the precious gift of 2011.
I closed my eyes and opened The Gift and read a poem I’ve never read before, despite reading this book every day for 3 1/2 years.
The Seed Cracked Open
It used to be that when I would wake in the morning,
I could with confidence say, “What am ‘I’ going to do?”
That was before the seed cracked open.
Now Hafiz is certain:
There are two of us housed in this body,
doing the shopping together in the market
and tickling each other while fixing the evening’s food.
Now when I awake, all the internal instruments play the same music:
“God, what love-mischief can ‘We’ do for the world today?”
Thank you Hafiz, for my “theme song” for 2011. I printed out the poem, drew a cracked open seed in the corner, and posted it on my Intention Mandala for 2011. Every day for the next 365 days, Hafiz will remind me what my work is REALLY all about: Not me, but We. Not writing, but “love-mischief.
What a sweet blessing. Thank you, Hafiz, for showing me in just a few lines what the new year is REALLY all about.
Now, it’s your turn. Take your favorite mystical poetry book or sacred text or oracle card set, or anything really that speaks to your heart. Bless it, close your eyes, and ask from the deepest part of your being, “What message do you have for me? What do I need to know right now about the life that is right before me?”
Then open the book, let the words find you, and take them in. They are a gift. They are a blessing. They are an insight from your Self to yourself.
Do you know what today is? Yes, it’s December 30th. Yes, it’s the day before New Year’s Eve. But look at the date. December 30, 2010 is 1+2+3+0+2+0+1+0. Add it up. It’s a nine. What’s a nine? Completion, full circle. 12-30-10 is the perfect day to complete your understanding of 2010.
Throughout December, I’ve been walking in the footsteps of my original The Lotus and The Lily experience that began exactly a year ago—the experience that turned my understanding of the Law of Attraction on its head and transformed by bank accounts from zilch to zillions. Well, OK, not zillions, but enough—more than enough.
In The Lotus and The Lily process, I teach people how to prepare for a delicious new year filled with purpose and joy by implementing the original (and identical) teachings of Buddha and Jesus. On Monday, I prepped the 38 members of the current class on how to create a personal mini-retreat or “Soul Day,” including how to make the all-important Intention Mandala. I’ve taught this process five times this year and am within a hair of completing the book proposal. Or so I thought.
But this morning, I discovered that there is something missing. Something big.
One of the experiences in The Lotus and The Lily is to name your year. Last January, I named 2010 “My Breakthrough Year” and wrote that name in big letters across the bottom of my Intention Mandala. But as I did The Lotus and The Lily exercises this month, it dawned on me that the real name of this year is “New and Renew.”
As I was soul writing today, the question “What else do I need to know about New and Renew?” popped onto the page. My head jerked up. “Oh!” I cried. I had started the year back on January 1 with an angel card reading using Doreen Virtue’s Archangel Oracle Deck. I leapt out of my chair, grabbed the deck, breathed my question onto the cards, and prayerfully asked my Divine Guide: What else do I need to know about New and Renew?
I pulled four cards, just as I did 364 days ago, when I asked for a first blessing on the year being born. The messages from the angels take my breath away. They remind me that the year has indeed been one of implementing a mad flow of new ideas followed by quiet periods of silent renewal. And they point the way to how to prepare for next year. I am to remember
from Jeremiel that “All is well,”
from Uriel that “I know what to do,”
from Jophiel to “clear my space,” and
from Raziel to trust that messages that come through “clairvoyance” (the perfect message for deep soul writers!)
Everything I need to know or remember is right here in this simple card reading. Much as I loathe filing, I’m going to take Jophiel’s advice and attach that pile of papers on the floor. And gather all four of my last 2010 gifts as I enter into my Soul Day on January 1st and set my Intentions for the new year.
What are your final gifts of 2010? Take a moment in deep soul writing or meditation or whatever method you use to connect with your Divine Guidance. Ask, “What else do I need to know about 2010?” Then take those gifts, bless them, and step into 2011 knowing 2010 is truly complete.
You haven’t heard from me since December 1. Going a month without communicating is a giant no-no in my profession, but I just couldn’t. I set first one and then another and still another deadline to get a newsletter out before Christmas and watched as each one slipped away. I asked about this problem as I was falling asleep on Dec 21 and in the drowsy first moments the next morning the words New and Renew popped into my head.
I picked up my journal. “Dear Voice, what does new and renew mean? Let’s start with new. What’s new?” Well, my hand couldn’t write fast enough. I was stunned to see all the new courses, books, and events I had created in 2010. OK, I wrote, what about renew? “Look up” the Voice wrote. I looked up at my giant wall calendar. July and December were blank. “Oh,” I wrote, “to be able to produce the new, I have to step back and allow myself to be renewed.”
It was no accident that this awareness came on Solstice. The earth, our mother and primary teacher, shows us year in and year out that life is a cycle of birth, growth, death, and in the silence that follows, renewal. And what comes out of this fallow silent period? Why new birth and new growth, of course. Mother earth has been demonstrating this for eons.
But we humans live as if the renewal part of the cycle doesn’t count. Our employers, and indeed ourselves, place our value on our ability to wake every day and produce and produce and produce. Only we can’t. I mean, we can for awhile, for years even, but the day inevitably comes when the call for renewal must be heard. Call it burn out or exhaustion or numbness–a
day comes when we simply do not have the juice to keep going.
So this December, I’ve been following mother earth’s advice. She’s in renewal mode and so am I. I’m quiet. If you could peak in my window, you’d see me in my favorite reading chair surrounded by books and blankets and tea. Or writing in my sacred writing chair. Or devouring Italian cookbooks and experimenting in the kitchen. And you’d see me sleeping. Oh, how you’d see me sleeping. Some mornings, you’d look at your watch and shake your head: Surely she should be up by now!
To be honest I thought the same thing. But then I decided to let go of any judgment of what I should be doing and just be in the place of renewal. I sense this is a rich place. A lot is going on inside, whether I see it or not. And out of this quiet state will come a vibrant 2011 bursting with new ideas, books, and events. To ensure that happens, I’m going to cap my December renewal period with a “Soul Day” on January 1st.
I know from years of experience that the best way to call in a magical new year is to step into abundant quiet for 24 hours on the first day of the year and in that quiet have long chats with Spirit about what is important in the next year. The end result is a short list of crystal-clear intentions.
I am not talking about making New Year resolutions. We all know how long those last. And I’m not talking about setting goals. I played that game in my business life and always found the exercise flat and uninspiring. Sure, my company always met its goals, but I always felt like saying, “So what?”
I’m talking about something more. Something bigger and deeper. I’m talking about articulating your relationship with Spirit. I’m talking about stepping into a commitment to live a life in partnership with the divine. I’m talking about being of service to the spark of creativity that is begging to come to be born.
If this is a new concept, I have news for you: you have no idea just how delicious your life can be–no, will be–when you step away from the limited concept of resolutions and goals and step into the abundant possibilities of living the life you are here to live.
Those in my The Lotus and The Lily course have spent five weeks preparing to set their intentions on January 1. They have accululated a wealth of insights and resources, but you can have a profound and beautiful Soul Day, too. Here’s how. (More details in Writing Down Your Soul p 230-236)
1. Start by giving yourself the gift of Renewal. Set aside a half or full day to set your intentions for 2011.
2. On the page, in deep soul writing, have a nice long chat with your beloved Voice about last year. Talk about what happened and ask for guidance to extract all the gifts, learnings, and blessings of 2010. You’ll be surprised.
3. Next, write about all the people you cannot forgive for all the rotten things they did to you. Guess what, you can’t call in a magical new year while lugging them around. Let them go. Spirit will help you do it. And don’t forget to release yourself. Trust me, the number one person who needs to be forgiven is YOU.
4. Now, start talking over what you want next year. What matters? What would help you live a life of joy and purpose? Make a list. And don’t forget to talk about what you are you going to do for Spirit in return. This is a two-way street, after all.
5. Now it’s time to do something with your wish list. For years I made a Prayer Sandwich (Writing Down Your Soul p 188-199). Now, I make an Intention Mandala. And add the name my year at the bottom. You and Spirit can work out how to capture what both of you are going to do in 2011.
6. There’s only one thing left to do: Celebrate! You have just engaged in the deepest dialogue of the year. And this dialogue is already working to attract all that you need to live the life you’re here to live. Be grateful. Be happy. Raise your glass in gratitude and joy.
Does a Soul Day make a difference? Oh baby! Every single thing on my Intention Mandalas since 2006 has come to pass. In 2006, I asked for a marketing partner and had UPI five days later. I asked for a publisher and had a contract with Conari Press that November. And it’s not just me. I started teaching The Lotus and The Lily course this year and now have dozens of stories, many of which take my breath away.
If you want more help attracting a delightful and holy new year, consider joining me and Margo Mastromarchi for 2011 Intentions with the Angels, learning how to write the most important prayer in your life–your Soul Vows, and learning how to Plug In to the creative force of the universe.
How are YOU planning on calling in a year filled with all the blessings the universe has in store for you?
We have a tendency to skip over November. It has one rather nice American holiday–Thanksgiving. But after all that eating, and even taking a moment to be grateful, November typically gets hustled out of the way. Its primary function, it seems, is to usher in the “real” holidays of December. And there are oodles of them: Hanukkah, Christmas, Eid, Solstice, Kwanzaa…every spiritual tradition has a festival in December.
Why? Why is December celebration central? Because it is the natural culmination of the earth’s life cycle. Solstice marks the longest night of the year, the entrance into death and darkness. And in the cold and the dark, the seed of life is born again. The earth does continue to spin, and as humanity applauds, the sun does indeed rise again to renew the cycle of the seasons. Our ancient ancestors saw this cycle and burned a big fat log on a long cold night to celebrate the earth’s renewal by the light.
We may have forgotten why, but we keep coming together all December long in spiritual and secular celebrations. We give gifts, go to parties, light candles, shop like crazy, eat massive amounts of glorious food; why, some of us even pray.
But what does all this have to do with November? To find the riches buried in November, look at a calendar. Last January, you entered 2010 with new hopes for a better year, right? As winter faded into spring, and spring into summer, did those dreams melt or morph into something else? Are you today, 11 months later, living the life you hoped for on January 1st? Most of us would say no. Some of us would whisper a weak, “Not exactly.” Some of us would scream,”HELL, NO!”
Why? Why, if we have such high hopes on January 1, do we not experience what we want? Kevin Spacey has the answer. Yes, really. Kevin Spacey. Listen to Kevin Spacey for 1 minute 45 seconds. It could be the most important spiritual message you hear all year. Listen
Now, do you see why you aren’t experiencing your January dreams? Because desire is not enough. Dedicating every breath of your body is.
So what does this have to do with November? Everything. November is the cusp month. It is the month when the cold and dark settles in. (At least in the Northern Hemisphere.) In this dark, you stand at the threshold of a big decision. Am I ready to dedicate myself to become the person I’m here to become–not for the “stuff” but for the joy of being my full, authentic, holy self?
When you make that decision, you shift 180 degrees from desire to dedication. In that moment, the Great Paradox springs to life. Jesus and Buddha taught the Great Paradox in remarkably clear and similar language. When you dedicate your whole being to living your divine purpose, the universe has no choice but to provide everything you need–even things you didn’t ask for. It works. Just look at Kevin Spacey.
I made the decision to shift from desire to dedication last November. At the time I had no idea what I was doing, or how profound a step I was taking, or that I was about to stumble headlong into the Great Paradox. I just threw myself into intense daily deep soul writing and spiritual practice in the hopes of fending off bankruptcy. I knew desire alone wasn’t cutting it–that was painfully obvious–but I didn’t know then that dedication was the magic. I didn’t know that making the commitment to achieve the life I’m here to live would not only transform my life, but yours as well.
So I give you the gift of November. (Well, I don’t; Life does.) Take it. Open it. Stare at it. Ask yourself what you really, really want. If it’s a bit more “stuff,” try the popular conception of the Law of Attraction. Maybe it will work for you.
But if you want to play big, if you want to fulfill your soul’s purpose, if you want to make a difference, if you want to bring your gifts to full, vibrant, raucous life… then, recognize this cusp moment of November. Explore it. Write about it. Digest its possibilities. And make your decision.
You have a choice. A sacred choice. You can waltz through December as you always have and see what the new year brings, or you can walk consciously and intentionally through each and every day of December, engaging in spiritual practice and deep soul exploration, and wake with the sun on January 1, knowing you are ready to call in a magical new year.
I’ve made my decision. On November 29, I’m going to begin The Lotus and The Lily telecourse not only as a teacher but as a daily active participant. One year ago, this process changed my life, but I sense there are even more miracles ahead. And I’m ready. I’m ready to say yes to the life I’m here to live, even if I don’t know exactly what that looks like.
Somehow, even though the outcome is unknown, I feel safe and guided. And excited. Like Tony, I’m singing:
I don’t know
what it is
but it is
gonna be grand.
If you were raised in a Christian tradition, you will recognize this sweet saying. If it’s unfamiliar, read it and see if you don’t fall in love with it, too. In this scene, recounted in Luke and Matthew, Jesus is teaching people how to pray. The issue of worrying about having enough money comes up. Jesus says:
“Consider the lilies, they do not toil nor spin, yet I tell you Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as one of them. Now if that is how God clothes the flowers, which are here today and in the furnace tomorrow, consider what God will do for you…You must not set your hearts on things to eat or things to wear; nor must you worry…. No, set your hearts on the kingdom and these other things will be given you as well.”
It is oddly comforting to me that people two thousand years ago had the same money worries I have. Of course, it’s even more comforting to learn what to do about them. I heard “Consider the lilies” many many times growing up, but until this year, I didn’t understand it. And I certainly didn’t live it. But I do now. And the result is, well — miraculous. In 62 days I went from bankrupt to bank-full. With the help of a lily. Here’s what happened.
2009 was an astonishing year for me–and for so many. Writing Down Your Soul came out January 1. The next 11 months were filled with teaching, speaking, promoting, and traveling. Invitations trickled in at first, but by summer they poured in. I said yes to every one because the deal I have with Spirit is: Spirit sends the invitations; I show up and spread the joy of deep soul writing. It’s been a prolific relationship.
Between January and November last year, I:
- taught deep soul writing to 1100 people
- held events at 15 bookstores in 8 states
- spoke and taught workshops at 14 churches in 9 states
- addressed 4 organizations for writers, 1 national convention for hypnotists, and 1 holistic health expo
- taught at 2 art galleries, 3 libraries, 1 community college, and 1 homeless shelter
- was interviewed for 16 radio shows, 1 TV show and 3 newspaper articles
As I typed this list for a book proposal, I thought no wonder I’m exhausted. But it wasn’t only my body that was depleted. My bank account was empty, too. By the end of last year, it looked like the only solution was bankruptcy.
Does that surprise you? Here’s the economic reality of being an author, especially a new one. That old image of a writer on a “book tour” is a fantasy. Unless you’re a celebrity or show up regularly on bestseller lists, your “book tour” consists of you begging friends to let you visit. Then, you research the area. You get yourself invited to speak. You cover your travel. You create the flyers. You market the event. With each appearance, I built a larger and larger community for Writing Down Your Soul, but I also dug a deeper and deeper hole in my finances. In December, I faced facts and with the help of my friend and real estate genius, Jane Mak, I made an appointment to see a bankruptcy attorney in February.
If you were reading this blog last December, you know I created a “December Plan” to call in a magical new year. Now you know why. I did it for you, yes, but the first person who needed it was me! Hundreds of you stepped in and played, too. Then, on January 1, I created my Intention Mandala following Thich Nhat Hanh’s profound teaching, “When conditions are sufficient, there is manifestation.”
On the periphery of my Intention Mandala, I drew images of what I want. But at the center, I drew a lily to remind myself to do the six things that will create the conditions that will manifest all that I want. Or, to use Jesus’ words, how I will “set my heart on the kingdom” — the vibrant living presence of Spirit. Looking at the lily every day reminds me to focus not on what I want, but on how I choose to live to express and fulfill my soul’s divine purpose.
It’s a paradox, I know. By not focusing on what I want, I get what I want. Have you noticed hat the universe loves paradox? It would be nice if someone told us in advance that profound spiritual truths always come in a box marked, “Warning! Paradox Inside.” But I guess we all get to discover that for ourselves.
Since January 1st, I’ve been living my “Lily Life.” I wake every morning whispering “I am a lily” and like a flower, turn my face to the Light. Feeling the kiss of Spirit on my cheeks, I bound out of bed with a grin on my face, delighted to embrace my day. Then I scoot into my office, say my prayers, and get to work. If you snapped a picture of me working in my office today and compared it to a picture of me working in my office last year, you wouldn’t see anything different — unless you noticed me smiling at the lily on my Intention Mandala several times a day.
On February 4, I met the bankruptcy attorney as scheduled. He looked at my debt and income and said I definitely qualify. He explained the process and asked if I had any questions. “Yes,” I said, “I made $10,000 in January. Is that a problem?”
He looked at me for a long moment. “Yeah,” he said, “that’s a problem. You can only have a thousand dollars in your account. Call me when you only have a thousand dollars.”
Driving home, I had a little chat with my beloved Voice. “Thank you for that appointment,” I said. “Turns out I’m not bankrupt after all. I am bank-full. And you know what, I love this feeling. I am thankful to be bank-full.” I giggled. “I am thankful to be bank-full!” I sang my new mantra all the way home.
Now, whenever I receive or spend money, I say, “I am thankful to be bank-full!” For the first time in my life, I laugh as I pay bills.
Several women at a recent event took me aside to tell me they love my book and my workshops because I’m so “real.” I laughed. Yup, that’s me. I feel like the spiritual Mikey. Remember the kid in the commercial who ate the Life cereal first? Well, I do seem to eat some interesting “cereals of life” first:
- I have the atrocious divorce, discover deep soul writing, and pass it on to you.
- I forgive my husband, experience an eye-popping miracle, and start teaching forgiveness.
- I discover how to write a book by plugging into “The Intersection” and now teach creatives how to Plug In!
- I discover the joy of mystical poetry and now everywhere I go, people fall in love with Hafiz, the great Sufi poet.
So, I guess it makes sense that I had to step into the pain and panic of feeling bankrupt in order to be willing to explore the spiritual paradox of getting what I want by focusing on creating the conditions that lead to the delightful state of being bank-full.
And please understand, when I say bank-full, I am not talking just about money. Money is delightful, but prosperity is so much more. It’s friendship, growth, freedom. It is loving relationships, a peaceful home, and joyful work. It is in a word — love. Love of life, love of others, love of Spirit, love of who you are and why you’re here. The feeling of being bank-full is the feeling of love overflowing onto your hands, your heart, and yes, your bank account.
Well, the deal I have with Spirit, don’t forget, is I say yes. Yes to having the experience, yes to plunging into the paradox, and yes to sharing what I learn in the process. So, now it’s time say yes to sharing the profound adventure of “considering the lilies” and creating a magical, joyful, abundant life.
Would you like to join me? I created the “You are a Lily” telecourse to share this magical co-creative process with you.
If you’ve been reading this blog, you know I experienced a big shift January 1st when I sat down to create my Intention Mandala for 2010. I shifted 180 degrees from focusing on what I want to focusing on creating the conditions that make all that possible. Many of you are making the same shift.
So, I thought you might enjoy hearing what has happened in the first five weeks of 2010. Think of this as The December Plan–January Report
I have stuck faithfully to my plan. Every morning before I get up,
I turn my face to imaginary sunlight, feel it on my cheeks, and commit once more to love my work and do it in joy. This new morning habit is now, well, a habit. A really nice habit. And it’s working. I wake up happy. Big happy. Smile-on-my-face happy. Leap-out-of-bed-excited-to-work happy.
Then, before I touch my computer, I stand in front of my Intention Mandala and look–really look–at the image at the center. I speak the six ways I create the conditions to become who I want to be out loud. That’s important, I think. I say my prayers out loud.
Then, I write down my soul and get to work. On the surface, nothing appears to really be all that different. I spend my days in my writing office at the computer just like I always did. But something is different.
And I have proof that it’s working. Here are two examples.
Two weeks ago, I sent Daniel Ladinsky, the incredible Hafiz translator, an email asking if he’d like to join me for a Hafiz Love Fest teleclass. I thought it would be such fun to just read Hafiz poems to one another. And I was confident that a hundred people would join us. But Daniel said no. Turns out he doesn’t like the phone. And he says his vocal renderings of Hafiz are, let’s just say, idiosyncratic. For lots of reasons, Daniel said no. Hmmph, I thought. So much for that great idea.
But you know that sweet saying, “From your lips to God’s ears?” Have you heard that? I think of it as a Jewish saying. Not quite sure why. But I do. If you haven’t heard the saying before, the idea is, “May God hear what you are saying and make it so.”
Well, the day after Daniel said no, Cherry Lea, owner of Dancing Moon Bookstore in Raleigh called. She was responding to an email I’d sent about my schedule. When I went online to make reservations for my trip, the Sunday afternoon flight I wanted disappeared off Southwest’s screen. I mean that.
It just disappeared and suddenly the only option was 7:30PM. So I sent Cherry an email saying she was kinda stuck with me on Sunday and I’d be happy to come to the store and sign books or whatever she wanted.
Cherry said they’d be delighted to have me come to the store on Sunday. I could certainly sign books, she said, “But you know what we’d really love you to do? It’s Valentine’s Day and we’d really love you to read Hafiz poetry while we serve tea and pastries.”
And that’s how the first ever Mystical Poetry Love Fest came to be. Straight “from my lips, to God’s ears.” In 48 hours, no less.
Want another example?
I sent an email to Sharon Jebbens, manager of Wings Bookstore in St Petersburg on Saturday telling her I’d be delighted to pop into Wings and sign the March Daily Word. (I wrote the feature article on deep soul writing.)
One minute later, I got an email from the new events coordinator at Wings inviting me to teach an all-day workshop. I thought, wow, that was fast! But when Andi called to talk about details, she knew nothing about my email to Sharon. She said she emailed me simply because so many people had come into the store talking about the book and asking when I’d teach again.
From my lips to God’s ear. In record speed.
I cannot predict everything that will happen in 2010. But five weeks into the year, here’s what I see:
- I am happy–deliciously happy
- Invitations to speak, teach, and be interviewed are flying in the door
- I ask for what I want and receive it (sometimes instantly!)
- January has been the most prosperous month of my entire writing life
Are all these things happening because I begin my day with my face to the Light? Because I commit to a day of love and joy? Because I keep my focus on creating the conditions that generate the life I want rather than on the things themselves?
I think so. I think this whole “December Plan’ idea that began on December 1 has been a divine adventure. And the best is yet to come.
What about you? What is happening since you set your Intention for the year? What words have emanated from your lips and landed on God’s ears? Tell me, I’d love to know.
Following my usual Sunday ritual, I spent a couple hours this morning curled up in my favorite reading chair devouring french press coffee and the Sunday paper. I always find something that makes me think. Really think. The stimulus today was an article titled “What makes a great teacher” in the St Pete Times.
I felt drawn to read it for several reasons.
A. I was a teacher. Maybe not always a great one, but I did strive to make a difference. The year my profoundly gifted and profoundly deaf 9 year olds tested out reading at the high school level…,well, that was a proud moment indeed.
B. I’ve been frustrated to the n’th degree by the range of quality of teaching my son experienced in his education from pre-school to college from superb to god-awful.
C. I have a gut feeling my son will be a teacher of some kind some day.
And D. I still teach. I just teach deep soul writing and working in The Intersection instead of third grade.
So I read the article. As I read, I stumbled upon a paragraph that popped off the page. It spoke directly to me and to all writers, that is, all writers who are commited to being great. The paragraph distills Teach for America’s findings on what made teachers great. See what you think:
“…great teachers tended to set big goals…. They were also perpetually looking for ways to improve…. Great teachers constantly re-evalaute what they are doing.
Superstar teachers had four other tendencies in common: They avidely recruited students and their families into the process, they maintained focus…, they planned exhaustively and purposefully–for the next day or the year ahead–by working backward from the desired outcome; and they refused to surrender to the combined menaces of poverty, beaurocracy and budgetary shortfalls.”
What does that have to do with writers trying to write well and get published? Everything. When we work in The Intersection we are accessing the creative power of the universe, but that doesn’t mean that it flows to us without some effort and action on our part. The upcoming telecourse Plug In! The Intersection for Writers is about what actions to take to ensure endless access to that glorious creative flow.
In the last few blogs I talked about my real job for 2010. My job is to create the conditions that allow that flow to happen. And creating those conditions does take focus–relentless repeated focus. Every day we writers rise and renew our commitment to write and write well.
We do the same things Teach America, we
set big goals (getting published in todays world is a HUGE goal)
perpetually look for ways to improve
constantly reevaluate what we’re doing
recruit our friends and families into supporting our writing life
maintain focus (this shuold be number one)
plan how to get to what we want by working backward from it (to get a contract, I need an agent, to get an agent, I need a proposal, to write a proposal, I need….)
refuse to surrender to all the menaces around us
Are you a writer? Is this the year you create your writing life? Find your voice? Get published?
Whether you join Plug In! or not, take whatever wisdom you can from the Teach for America research. Are there any parts of it that resonate for you?
My last blog post ended with a description of the mystical mandala I created on January 1 to call in my magical new year. The real magic, I discovered, was in centering my focus not on what I want, but on creating the conditions in my heart, my mind, my body, my soul, and my environment that will magnetically attract what I want.
After all we’ve heard and read about the law of attraction, I was rather stunned to realize I’d missed something so big and, once it was right in front of me, so obvious. This isn’t anti-law of attraction. Rather, I think it’s a deeper, more profound understanding of the true law behind the law of attraction.
I realized the magnetic power isn’t in wanting, or rather it isn’t just in wanting. Mind you, wanting is good. Wanting is important. Wanting sends a vibrational message into the universe. I’m not voting that we stop wanting. But I’ve had, and I know you’ve had, the experience of wanting and wanting and wanting but experiencing nothing in response. So the power isn’t generated just by the feeling or expression of wanting. It’s deeper than that.
That’s how I interpret Thich Nhat Hahn’s stunning sentence, “When conditions are sufficient, there is a manifestion.” You are Here.
When I read those words, I felt Thich Nhat Hahn was whispering in my ear: Don’t focus on the manifestation, Janet, focus on creating the conditions; the manifestations will take care of themselves.
That’s why the center of my mandala suddenly had to be a lily. As in, “Consider the lilies, they do not toil nor spin, but I tell you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed as one of them.” (Matthew 6: 28-29) As the Voice and I had chats on the page on how to create the perfect conditions, I found myself drawing a lily with six petals. Each petal states one essential daily activity. As I repeat all six every day, I create the conditions that cannot help but generate my desires.
Petal 1 – Hold my intention to be of service
Petal 2 – Say my prayers aloud
Petal 3 – Create and cherish my sacred work space
Petal 4 – Do my holy work
Petal 5 – Keep my focus on the good (not the fear)
Petal 6 – Have a grateful heart
Of course you don’t have to draw a lily or follow my six conditions. Choose a symbol and the condition-creating activities that speak to you. Perhaps you see yourself and your perfect conditions as a star or ripples of water or something else. The specific image doesn’t matter. Thoughtfully choosing one, does.
But even if you’re not using a flower, please stick with me for a moment on this flower image because I think it holds a simple but profound truth.
What does a flower, or any other plant, do to grow? It doesn’t generate it’s food, the sun does that. It just has to turn to the sun and absorb the light. Nature takes it from there. Well, what if that’s true for us, too. What if our job, really our only job, is to turn toward our Sun — Spirit — and absorb the light. If we keep our eyes on God, we can’t help but blossom and grow.
Kahlil Gibran said it simply and clearly: “Be like the flowers, turn your face to the sun.”
The great Sufi mystic Hafiz expressed this idea in perfect poetry in “The Lute Will Beg” from The Gift. When Daniel Ladinsky gave me permission to quote his translations of the mystical poets, he said I had to include this poem in my next book.
The Lute Will Beg
You need to become a pen
In the Sun’s hand.
We need for the earth to sing
Through out pores and eyes.
The body will again become restless
Until your soul paints all its beauty
Upon the sky.
Don’t tell me, dear ones,
That what Hafiz says is not true,
For when the heart tastes its glorious destiny
And you awake to our constant need for your love
God’s lute will beg
We are all pens. And God is begging for our hands. God’s presence in this world comes through our pens, our computers, our eyes, our art, our words, our work, our beauty. And to feed our souls, to find the energy to do our holy work and create the life we are here to live, we have only one job: to turn our faces to the Light.
This morning when I woke, I imagined divine Light on my face. In my mind, I turned my face to that sweet warm nourishing Light and whispered, “God, God, God.”
Try it. It’s a delicious way to welcome a new day. A new day in which your soul once again paints all its beauty upon the sky.