I taught the first in a series of short teleclasses on how to work in The Intersection. The Intersection is the confluence of your work or craft, your spiritual practice, and the creative flow of the universe. The first teleclass Your Creative Blessing was held in July. Peggy Lynn was one of the participants. She sent this story today of the impact of creating her Creative Blessing. I asked her for permission to reprint it for you. Not everyone has this dramatic a result, but her story IS important because it illustrates the power of saying YES to Spirit. And, it also illustrates the astonishing amount of toxic energy we all lug around. Janet Conner
Instilling Joy by Peggy Lynn
Sometimes we see ourselves only as we think we are. I always thought I was living a life filled with joy. Great, right?! Yet my joy-filled life had a little gnawing going on regarding my writing. I fed the rumble and wrote whenever I could, viewing my writing mainly as a leisure-time craft. There were always others’ needs, projects, plans, etc, etc, that came first for me as a busy entrepreneurial wife, mother of four, avid volunteer for consistent varying needs and the keeper of all the schedules. Time to write came late at night when oh, so tired. Nevertheless, plenty of ideas were a constant and the endless cast of characters throughout my life populated my undefined literary village where words streamed onto paper as I drifted off…
Yet with children now as adults with families of their own and the three and a half-decade-long marriage dissipated, plus the chronic volunteering curbed, and even a career change back to my creative roots, I sat with some things written, but no book published, yet still joy in my life. Or so it seemed.
Enter Janet Conner with her concept of Writing Down Your Soul. Very nice idea. Enjoyable writer to read. Now offering a Creative Blessing class, teleclass to boot! Hey, I can take that even where I am! I can see what Janet’s method is! I can pick her brain. I am really good at that too – picking brains! I truly love smart people! The more the better and the more I know personally, the better person I am too. We can always learn something more, it seems. Although I thought I knew myself pretty darn well. I knew I have been blessed with many gifts. So many, in fact, that sometimes the tug of one gift got in the way of the other ones. Oops. When that happened, something had to be shelved. I discovered I was good at shelving things. Yup. Knew myself pretty well.
Could I learn from Janet, the soul writing lady? Just maybe her method will work for me. Production of some of these endless ideas is just the focus I need. I can feel it in my bones.
Commencing one Wednesday evening, Janet told us her story, her unfoldment as an author. She didn’t want to just be a writer. She was determined to be an author. Nice. She had gifts needing use just like I do. So far so good. She had plenty of things occupying her past times. I could relate. She had a gazillion signs from the Universe that all is in perfect order. Hey, that’s the story of my life too! Impactful connections, but, of course, everyone in the teleclass probably had similar thoughts otherwise they wouldn’t have responded to the call. We are all on loan by Divine Appointment. Isn’t that thrilling? Yet here we were like baby robins breaking out of their beautiful sky blue shells looking for mama to feed us something – anything. Why was our Divine Appointment on hold?
I made the commitment to follow Janet’s pattern and see what will transpire. I did not expect what happened.
The next morning I awoke early and was full of enthusiasm. I gathered my array of altar items, found matches from Sloppy Joe’s in Key West, Hemingway’s favorite hangout, to light my candle and placed the matches right there on top of the I Ching, Book of Changes, as yet another symbol for lighting this fire. Let’s get this party started! I began to write in longhand as a little poem flowed:
Amulets, guides, symbols and such
Are paths to let us know we’re loved much,
For it’s hard for us to believe it ourselves –
We come and forget and pack it on shelves.
What? Who me? Hello. That can’t be.
Yes, it is the truth, don’t you see?
No, not really, that’s for others, not me!
Nonsense, my child, you don’t need all the hype.
You need what you need for your unique type,
And it’s here for you everywhere you look:
Believe it and know it and live your own book!
This should be called “The Awakening.” I didn’t title it then because I immediately began getting sick. Nausea swept me into the bathroom with the urgent need to expel everything and anything from my system. I felt fine a few minutes ago. As soon as I finished the poem: BAMM! I began to sweat as up chucked a watery substance tinged yellow. Not much of anything but that did not stop it from coming, and coming, and coming. Over and over again. Wow! What is happening? Had I been around anyone with the flu? No. Had I eaten anything bad? No. Hadn’t even had a bite yet. Did I drink a little too much last night? Not even a drop! I was so sweaty now I had to jump into the shower to cool and let water flow over me. I have a real kinship with water. So cleansing. So forceful with its flow. I felt as though I was actually purging my system, baptized by a Divine nod. I was cleansing myself of a toxic blockage to my flow of creativity in writing.
Ordained by God, instigated by catalyst Janet Conner, confirmed by my own commitment, the time was right for me to shed the monster of doubt or procrastination or whatever toxicity within that held me back. The time had come to evict the crafty little booger! My head swooned and I collapsed in the tub with enough cognizance to thank God I didn’t fracture any bones in this aging body. Better to let this cleansing water flow while I’m not standing! It flowed and it flowed and it flowed even as I upchucked nothing several more times comingling with the draining water. I could not remember a time when my body had been so dramatic. Even after having four children with natural childbirth. I felt like a high school student in their first school play. Jeez!
This was actually embarrassing. I had no idea I was this toxic to myself! So glad no one was near but God who is the Most Forgiving Soul. How can I say I honor God and still harbor any negativity in my system as a precious Child of God? Can’t even believe I am telling this story now, but Janet asked and I made the commitment to journey forward on the adventure of living my Creative Blessing. This dis-ease lasted about three hours from start to finish. The flu would have lasted longer. Any food poisoning would have started way earlier, say ninety minutes after my last supper. I thought I knew myself but I was hiding from my own talents it seems. I only wanted to use them when I wanted or could fit them in, not because I have been called. Sends chills up and down now.
So as I am answering my call, I encourage any who may have that inkling because the word inkling even starts with “ink” and, aspiring writers out there, you know what that means: write, let it flow, live your blessing, give back what you know, trust in yourself and you will live in true joy! May the blessings continue along your path! And thank you, Janet Conner, for your Creative Blessings!
Love is all there is.
(If you’d like information on the upcoming teleclass on Your Covenant, visit Writing Down Your Soul.)
Do you need a soul-cation?
OK, that’s a rhetorical question. Of course you need a soul-cation. Everyone needs a soul-cation. Everyone needs a mind-body-spirit rest. We know that. We feel it in our hunched shoulders, tense tummies, and racing minds. We know it in our 3 AM worry fests. We see it in our relentless schedules and hopeless to-do lists. We see it in our piles–papers, projects, laundry–always, it seems, there are more piles.
We know we should stop. But we don’t. I didn’t. I had been feeling the call to stop for weeks but had not allowed myself to hear it. Because if I heard it, I’d have to stop. And I couldn’t afford to do that. I had too many events to plan, programs to edit, speeches to give, calls to return, proposals to write, and bills to cover.
Jennifer Hill Robenalt, my heaven-sent publicist, took matters into her own hands. “Stop!” she yelled, “you need to take five days with nothing. No email, no facebook, no computer, no phone calls. Nothing for five days.” “I know you’re right,” I sighed, “but I can’t.”
That night I asked the Voice for the perfect Hafiz poem for the last night of the Creative Blessing teleclass. I opened The Gift to:
A Still Cup
For God to make love,
for the divine alchemy to work,
The Pitcher needs a still cup.
Why ask Hafiz to say anything more about
your most vital requirement?
As I read Hafiz’s words to the class, each of us, sitting in our homes from California to Florida, shared this vision of Spirit pouring–or rather, trying to pour–an boundless supply of love, light, wisdom, and grace into our little cups. But we, frantic with worry and responsibility, keep chasing something that is somehow just out of reach. All that we want is right there, so close we can smell it, but it falls uncollected to the ground. And so, we keep going, working ever harder to accomplish what we want.
Reading “A Still Cup” I knew what I had to do. I called Jennifer and told her I was going on soul-cation. I went to the library and checked out an armload of books. I sent a few “out of commission” emails so people wouldn’t worry. I told my twitter and facebook buddies I was going on soul-cation. Then, on Saturday, August 1st, I stopped.
That morning, as I walked past my office door, the computer called to me. My hands itched for the keyboard. My eyes begged for one quick glance at the calendar. I sighed, closed the office door, and walked away.
I knew I needed to do something dramatically different to break the visceral urge to work. For me, that’s cleaning. I hate to clean. I’d much, much rather write. So before I could talk myself out of it, I vacuumed the blinds, oiled the furniture, scrubbed the kitchen, and polished the floors. When I finished, I felt great and the house smiled. The next day I pruned the garden. The garden smiled. I ironed. The rows of linen napkins winked up at me. To celebrate my happy home, I invited friends over for an old-fashioned Sunday dinner of roasted peppers, marinated mushrooms, green beans, carrot salad, potato salad, pesto tomatoes, and Greek grilled chicken. Took me all day. I loved every minute.
For seven days I did not enter my office. Instead, I prayed and I slept. I wrote in my journal for hours on end. Sometimes I just sat in my chair. And I read. I read:
Fingerprints of God, Barbara Bradley Haggerty
Healing Words, Larry Dossey
The Glass Castle, Jeannette Wells
Conversations with God, Neale Donald Walsch
I read Conversations years ago, but I needed to read it again. There were the answers to all the questions plaguing me. I resolved to re-read Conversations once a year. If you read only one book on your soul-cation, make it Conversations with God.
On Tuesday, as I sipped coffee in my reading chair, I glanced up and looked at my favorite Denis Gaston painting, “The Awakened One” on the opposite wall. She’s a powerful woman with orange skin, huge green eyes and wild medusa hair. Thank you, God,” I said out loud, “for Denis Gaston. And thank you for this gorgeous, gorgeous painting.” My eyes drifted down to my lime green sofa. “Thank you, oh thank you, for this sofa. And thank you for the money that made it possible.”
Around the room I went. For three hours. Basking in the beauty of each and every object in my home. I thanked Spirit for the thing, the person who made it, and the person who gave it to me or the place where I found it. By the time I finished, my living room was pulsing with love and my heart was soaring. This was so much fun, I did it again the next day. And the next. That attitude of gratitude thing? It works.
At the end of the seven days I felt better. Stiller. Calmer. Quieter. Happier. And an amazing thing happened. On my first day back I received five new speaking invitations. On day two, travel arrangements that had eluded me fell effortlessly into place. On day three, the outline for The Joy of Writing in Theta tumbled onto the page. On day four, I was invited to speak to two professional writers groups. The truth is I accomplished more in the week I rested than I would have had I worked.
So now, I ask you again, do you need a soul-cation? It costs nothing. Well, you might spend a bit more on food. But that’s it. If you’d like to create a soul-cation for yourself, here are a few ideas to get you started.
I did NOT
• watch TV
• read the news
• turn on the computer (no email, internet, blogging, facebook, twitter…)
• pay bills or look at my bank account
• spend money (except for food)
• go anywhere (except for the produce stand and St Michael’s Shrine)
• talk on the phone (except to invite people over)
• give myself permission to take time off
• stay quiet
• sleep (some nights 12 hours)
• dream (dreams were loaded with messages)
• lots and lots of deep soul writing
• read (it’s a particularly delicious form of hooky for we workaholics to read in the middle of the day)
• do different things like clean (may not sound like fun for you, but it was an important shift activity for me. You’ll discover your own shift activity)
• eat with joy (I slowed down and really enjoyed cooking and eating. Plus, I set the table with my newly ironed linens and my mother’s crystal goblets)
• garden (with each weed, I felt I was yanking out dead fears)
• have friends over for slow, conversation-filled dinners
• visit a holy site (for me, that’s St Michael’s shrine in Tarpon Springs FL)
And one last essential item. I said my Covenant every day, more slowly and more thoughtfully than ever. I spoke it aloud, really hearing what I was saying. I stood perfectly still as I spoke, knowing that when I am those statements, I become a still cup and The Pitcher can and will find me and fill me up. (details on the Sept 9th Covenant teleclass)
For more ideas on how to create your soul-cation, look at how to create a soul day on pages 230-236 in Writing Down Your Soul.
Your soul-cation won’t look exactly like mine. There are no rules. The key is to stop. Simply stop and give The Pitcher a chance to fill your still, open, receptive cup. And then you know what will happen? Your cup will runneth over!
(This article was originally published in my Writing Down Your Soul Newsletter. Subscribe to the newsletter using the tab at the top of this page.)
When you get that gut feeling, that knowing, that “intuition” to do something or more frequently not do something, what is sending the message? Is it you or something outside you? And can you trust it?
What has happened to you when you’ve heeded or ignored your intuition?
No one is taking a vacation right now. Perhaps because they don’t have a job from which to take a break –or, even if they have a job, they don’t have enough money to leave town. Or they can’t walk away from the relentless list of all the things they should be doing.
Whatever the reason, people are either working through their “vacation,” or taking a “staycation”– the going term for the no-cost, no-go, stay-at-home one-week rest. One week at home — and we’re supposed to return refreshed and ready to plunge, once more, into the fray of business and profit.
Well, I can’t. On many, many levels, I simply can’t.
I can’t leave. I can’t spend nonexistent money for a nonexistent vacation. Yet in my own home, my own space, my own office, I can’t stop the relentless dance of research, email, twitter, and facebook. I can’t stop the necessary updates on book tour or my website or eventbrite or the newsletter. I can’t stop toying with my next book proposal or teleclass or product launch.
In a word, I can’t stop. But it’s only in stopping that I can refresh this frazzled soul.
And so I stop. Just stop. I say no. No to twitter, no to email, no to facebook, no to teaching. No to “let’s go here” or “let’s have lunch, ” or “can you talk.”
But I need so much more than just sitting home and pretending to be on vacation. From what? The job I don’t have? How silly.
So here I am in my home with the same view, the same morning paper, the same food in the frig, the same wine in the cupboard, the same books on the same shelves and the same relentless list of things to do.
But I refuse. I refuse to do the same things for the same reasons in the same schedule. OK, so I can’t travel. I can’t leave the house. So how do I take a break from the jaws of the necessary, the needful, the now?
It may not be the ideal answer. But this is the answer I’ve got. Stop. Stop and look the OTHER way.
The “other” for me is the functional, the ordinary, the necessary — like cleaning, laundry, gardening, pruning. And so, for the past 48 hrs, I’ve polished floors, pulled weeds, ironed napkins, and scrubbed the fountain.
Is this a vacation? I think so. Not in the go-to-europe sense or the pampered spa sense, but in the soul sense. At last, there are only two persons present in this house: me and my soul. I’m letting this honored guest sleep as long as she likes, read for hours on end, step outside even when it’s hot and miserable, and spend a day cooking for friends.
And she is grateful. What about you? Can you take a soul-cation? Will you?