You know that song. The second you read the title, you heard the Beach boys in your head: good good good, good vibrations! Hey, who doesn’t want THAT. Well, I was invited to be on the radio show, “Good Vibrations” in Monterey California with Solarzar and Kyralani. My job right now is to say YES so of course I said yes. And it was one of my best yesses. Solarzar and Kyralani epitomize for me the wise west. They are articulate, informed, curious, and willing to turn and look and consider and say, “hmmm, what’s that about?” In other words, they are alive. And they make me homesick for California. I’ve been on a dozen radio shows, but this is the first time a host played theta music and invited the listeners to write. If you’ve ever wondered what Writing Down Your Soul is about, really about, listen. I think you’ll love this.
Then tell me, how was writing in theta for you?
I received an email this morning from JoAnne Grabinske who took a Writing Down Your Soul teleclass this summer. Her email was brief: “Thought of you when I read this,” followed by a link to a New York Times article about what happened when cancer patients began to write.
When I speak I love to share the extensive research Dr James Pennebaker has done at the University of Texas on the physical and mental benefits of expressive writing. People’s eyes always get a little wide, but the real stunner is that writing increases t-lymphocytes in the body. What are t-lymphocytes? The agents in your body that kill cancer.
I see now why Conari Press has placed Writing Down Your Soul in hospital giftshops.
The power of words for cancer patients
I love Sundays. But they are no longer days of rest. Thanks to the success of Writing Down Your Soul, I’m often booked as a guest speaker or workshop leader at a New Thought church somewhere in the country. Sunday, I’ve been rather surprised to discover, is a work day.
So when I wake on a Sunday knowing I don’t have to be anywhere, I am one happy girl. I make my glorious French Press coffee and curl up in my reading chair with the New York Times. I can — and do — sit there for hours.
Well, three weeks ago, I had the opportunity to have one of those slow, lazy Sundays. But Rev Greg Barrette was speaking at First Unity in St Petersburg on soul development. I felt I needed to be there. But OH! the chair was calling and the coffee so good. But you know — and you know that you know — when you really must heed your guidance. And my guidance was quite clear and quite persistent that I better get in the car. So an hour later, I walked into Greg’s workshop. And I am so grateful, so very grateful.
In the course of his talk, Greg mentioned the term “visual prayer.” I stopped taking notes and stared at him. My gut told me that those two words mattered. Visual prayer. What a glorious idea. A thing, a drawing, a something that is a prayer. I am madly in love with words, but this idea of a picture of prayer, this really called to me.
A couple sentences later, I realized that Greg was talking about a vision board, something I’ve done for the last few years. But this year, I just did not feel the urge to make one. I didn’t know why, because I know they are powerful, but I just didn’t want those cut-out pictures in my office. Not this year. So here it is September, and I still have no visual image for my goals and dreams for this year.
I loved the workshop and I loved meeting Greg. As I drove home, the traffic came to a halt on Curlew Road in Palm Harbor. A traffic jam on a summer Sunday afternoon is a rare and strange thing in my neck of the woods. But I decided not to stress about it. When I was teaching my son to drive and we ran into a traffic jam, I’d tell him to relax. Consider the possibility, I’d say, that you are being protected and just sit patiently.
My own words came back to me. If it were true for him, it must be true for me. There’s a reason I’m not moving. What is it? I looked around. Slowly. Consciously. Fully. And there to my right was a house with an unusual address placque. The address numerals were surrounded by a large metal circle with 8 metal lines outside the circle. The instant my eyes fell on it, I knew, THIS was the perfect symbol for my visual prayer. I came home and wrote about it and drew a few samples. But I felt something was missing.
Today, a facebook friend, Wendi Brown, posted a link to this gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous video of a sacred geometry mandala created by Charles Gilchrist.
Have you ever wondered what the term “sacred geometry” meant? How about “visual prayer?” THIS is visual prayer. I’ve watched it five times and I’ll watch it five more. Then, I’m going to make my own mandala, my own visual prayer. I’m so in love with this idea of Visual Prayer. When I finish it, I’ll post it. But for now, what I’d love to know, is what kind of Visual Prayer do you “say?”
Tonight at 9PM on 9-9-09 I was in the midst of a teleclass teaching people how to write their personal Covenant with Spirit. I knew it was a precious moment and wanted to honor it in some way. So ten minutes before class, I opened The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the great Sufi Master, and asked, “Show me the perfect poem for 9-9-09.” I read Hafiz every day, but tonight I opened to a poem I’d never read before:
Where does the real poetry
From the amorous sighs
In this moist dark when making love
With form or
Where does poetry live?
In the eye that says, “Wow wee,”
In the overpowering felt splendor
Every sane mind knows
When it relizes–our life dance
Is only for a few magical
From the heart saying,
“I am so damn
There could not have been a more perfect prayer for a perfect moment when 29 unique souls reached around the globe to affirm that indeed each one of us has a divine purpose that will be expressed perfectly and fully in our Covenant with our Selves and with Spirit–our Covenant that says, “Here I am, this is me, I am alive!”
And so we shouted from California to Australia in one exquisite chorus: “I am so damn alive!”
And we will always remember that at 9PM on Sept 9th, 2009 we were so damn alive!
Hope you had a memorable moment tonight. What was it?
Oh yes it could. Not that the holiday is going away anytime soon; I don’t mean that. Just the word. Wouldn’t it be lovely to put the word labor to bed? Labor. How does that make you feel? It rings in my gut as heavy, sweaty, and hard. Do I want more labor? No. No, I do not.
It isn’t that I don’t want to work. I love to work. I disappear when I write. My fingers start floating over the keyboard and the next thing I know it’s seven o’clock at night. I love teaching. If you’ve been to a Writing Down Your Soul event, you know how much I love teaching deep soul writing. And I love speaking, too.
I love my work. That’s my point. Work that is loved is a holy thing. A divine thing. A blessed thing. It’s the way we become the hands of Spirit soothing, lifting, and healing one another.
Or at least, that’s what work could be. Or should be. But for so many of us, it’s labor. And hard labor at that. I know. I labored my way through my first three careers. Yes, there were good moments, but those moments always got buried in the next tidal wave of activity and pressure.
When I was a headhunter, I used to give a cute little talk called “Sunday Night Disease.” The audience always laughed in recognition. I laughed along, but the truth is, I had a bad case of it. Around three on Sunday afternoon, my stomach would start roiling. I couldn’t enjoy dinner. Then, I couldn’t fall asleep. I’d wake in the night desparate for antacids. Come morning, the alarm would kick me out of bed unrested and unready.
So did I do anything to change this pattern? No. Because I thought my job was something I had to do sixty hours a week. This is an awful thing to admit, but I went to work the morning after my wedding. Insane I know, but I thought I had to work that hard to make the money to support my home, my family, and my precious son. By Friday, I was numb. All I could do was sit on the sofa, stare at the TV, and stuff pizza in my mouth. Go out? Play? See friends? Are you crazy! I needed the whole weekend just to recover enough to crawl out of bed again on Monday.
That job was labor. Pure unadulturated labor. It wasn’t healthy physically. That was obvious. But guess what, it wasn’t healthy spiritually either. And I knew it. I told friends, “I leave my soul on the side of the freeway at the exit to downtown Tampa and pick it up again on the way home.”
So, how do you know when you’ve stopped laboring and started working? There’s a clue, a big clue. I got it from Marsha Sinetar, author of Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow. I was driving home from my labors late one evening listening to her on NPR. The reporter asked how you know you’re doing your right work. Marsha’s answer hit me in the chest. I pulled over and wrote down exactly what she said:
“You know you are doing your perfect work when you feel joyous as a result of your efforts.”
I sat there staring into the night as my fellow commuters flew past. Joyous? Joyous? Oh my God, I so want to feel joyous as a result of my efforts.
Looking at my life that day, that week, even that next year, you would not say that anything happened. I kept driving to my job. I kept laboring. I kept collapsing on weekends. But something profound had happened. I had been cracked. The idea that work could be joyous — should be joyous — had snuck into my head and, like a good little virus, begun to spread.
- Do you want to stop laboring and start working in sync with your soul’s purpose?
- Do you want to feel joyous as a result of your efforts?
- Do you want work that is physically and spiritually healthy?
- Do you want work that expresses your whole, authentic, holy self — your soul?
You can. And you don’t have to find a new job to do it. All you have to do is start working in The Intersection.
And the first step in The Intersection is developing and declaring your Covenant with your Self and with Spirit.