I finally found my religion!

I’ve taught thousands how to activate their wise loving Voice. That’s my job. My soul’s purpose. What I love to do. I’ve taught new soul writers in indie bookstores that know every customer and giant chains that don’t. I’ve spoken in tiny churches that meet in hotel rooms and large ones putting up new buildings. I’ve talked with intimate groups in living rooms and crowds at major learning centers.
 
No matter where I am, I tell my story–my wacky, wild, naked story–and answer any question I’m asked. I figure if I’m honest about my situation and how deep soul writing saved my life and transformed my world, then perhaps my listeners can have faith that the Voice is real and ready to help them, too. I know they get the message because they come up to me in corners and bathrooms to thank me for being so open and honest.
 
And I thought I was open and honest. That is until a Sunday afternoon in a packed hallway in Raleigh. I had just given the closing speech at the Body Mind Spirit Expo. The crowd and I were headed to the book signing table. Everyone was jabbering about soul writing and theta and the Hafiz poetry I’d read to them. Suddenly, a woman asked in a clear voice, “What religion are you?” 
 
The hallway got quiet. I paused. I did not want to answer that question.
 
Here’s why. Most of my readers are New Thought or Spiritual But Not Religious–the fastest growing sector in publishing. I personally love attending a Unity church and I adore speaking at Unity and Religious Science churches around the country. But deep soul writing is not limited to any religion or belief. If I know anything for certain, it is that everyone has direct and immediate access to the Voice of Spirit within. Everyone. Many of the people who come to my classes are New Thought or SBNR, but they’re also Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Wiccan, Agnostic, and everything else. I was raised Catholic and love Christian and Jewish sacred texts, but I love and honor all the ways humanity worships the divine.
 
I wanted an answer that would somehow honor all that.
 
I thought about how Suzy Maldonado would answer the question. Suzy was in my very first soul writing class. She shared something from her pages. She’d been exploring what she believed with the Voice and wrote: “Ask me if I’m Jewish. I’m Jewish. Ask me if I’m Hindu. I’m Hindu. Ask me if I’m Catholic. I’m Catholic. Ask me if I’m Buddhist. I’m Buddhist….”  I was stunned by the beauty and truth of Suzy’s answer. And I’ve repeated it many times when asked about my personal faith.
 
But in that cramped hallway, that isn’t what I said. I had my mystical poetry books in my hands. Without thinking, I held them up and said, “Mystical Poetry is my religion. The mystics of every religion and century say the same thing: It’s all God. And God is Love.”
When I heard those words come out of my mouth, I thought, Wow, what a great answer! And that’s how I’ve answered the question ever since.
 
That is, until three weeks ago.
 
My friend and facebook buddy, Rev Lauren McLaughlin posted a TED talk by Dr David Eagleman, neuroscientist and author of the new NYT bestseller Incognito. I love TED talks. I’ve included several in these newsletters. She said it was a great talk, so I clicked and listened. She was right. This is a GREAT talk, Dr Eagleman starts out with the Hubble Deep Space experiment and ends up announcing he’s a “Possibilian.”
 
I leapt out of my chair. That’s IT! I’m a Possibilian! I posted the link to the TED talk and told everyone, starting with my philosopher son, that I was now an official Possibilian.
 
That is, until last weekend.
 
I was the guest speaker at Unity of Melbourne on Sunday June 12. On the three hour drive across Florida that Saturday, I kept mulling over something a woman in Costa Rica said at our closing ceremony. We’d just spent ten days nose to nose with the outrageous beauty of mother nature. As we went around the table, each traveler spoke about the gift she received from Costa Rica. When it was Mary Jane’s turn, she said, “A couple months ago, I heard Mary Oliver, the great poet of nature, speak in Dallas. At the end of her talk a woman in the audience asked, What should we do? Mary Oliver said do three things: Number 1 Pay Attention. Number 2 Be Amazed. And Number 3 Tell Someone. The gift I received in Costa Rica is I paid attention and now I am thoroughly amazed.”
 
I grabbed a tiny pad in my purse and wrote the three things down. They’ve been cooking in my head ever since. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that Mary Oliver has it all wrapped up. And it’s so simple. To have a rich joy-filled life, all I have to do is pay attention. And then, be amazed.
 
Be amazed is the easy part. I am constantly amazed. I’m amazed at how my life has unfolded. I’m amazed at the glorious souls who find my book and me. I’m amazed that I’m a writer. (I’m sure everyone who knew me in my CNN or headhunting days is amazed, too.) I’m amazed each time the Voice shows up on my pages and on yours. I’m amazed by the vibrant presence of angels in my life. I’m amazed at how ideas come to me in the morning. (I teach this, but I’m still surprised.) I’m amazed by my animal friends: the ospreys, grasshoppers, and snakes who come to call. I’m beyond amazed by how heaven sent the Icon Owl for my covers. I’m amazed by my body and how it works. I’m amazed by art. Sometimes I just sit and stare at my favorite painting by Denis Gaston, “The Awakened One.” I’m amazed by the books I love. I’m so amazed by Anam Cara that I know I’ll cry when it ends. I’m amazed by my son’s precious heart and mind. God, how I love him. And considering that my husband and I had zero plans for children, I’m amazed–stunned actually–that I have been so blessed.
 
I am constantly amazed. And I think you are too. If we pay attention, how can we be anything BUT amazed.
 
And then it hit me. Somewhere east of Orlando on FL 528: My religion is the Religion of Amazement. I laughed out loud. YES! I am a devout member of the Religion of Amazement. Now all I have to do is tell someone.
 
When I got to Melbourne, Paulette, my host, was cutting her daughter’s hair. I sat at the counter watching and had a cold glass of water. When her daughter left, Paulette started telling me about the church. I don’t remember what we were talking about, but she said, “I am continually in amazement… I am in a state of amazement all the time….” In two minutes, she used the word amazement five times. I had to stop and tell her about the Religion of Amazement. I felt Spirit had moved her to say that exact word. To me it was a little God-wink.
 
Paulette looked at me. “I don’t know why I said that. I don’t think I’ve ever said “amazement” like that before. But now that I’ve said it outloud, it’s true. I am always amazed at how spiritual principles work.
 
So now I have to tell someone else–YOU.
 
Everyone is welcome in the Religion of Amazement. Temples are on every corner of the world. Services are held around the clock, wherever and whenever you like. Just go outside and look around. Look at a cardinal. Listen to a woodpecker. Smell a gardenia. Stare at the moon. Watch a sunrise. Touch a river, an ocean, a pond. Look in the eyes of someone you love. Play with a baby. Pet your dog or your cat or your goat. Watch a wild bunny on the side of the road. Read a book with your eyes wide open. Say your prayers and watch what happens. Welcome the Voice and let the words pour onto the page. Savor your food. Then move. Notice how your body moves and digests and sees and hears. Pay attention. And be amazed.
 
Now, go tell someone. Because I’m quite certain that YOU are a member of the Religion of Amazement, too.
 
__________________________ 
 
Want to be even more amazed?
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2 Comments on “I finally found my religion!”

  1. Raine says:

    Dear Janet 🙂

    OH I just HAD to let you know how your writing has brought me to tears ~ of JOY! ~ this morning when I opened your email to find your message about Finally Finding Your Relgion! 😉 and that it is the same as mine 🙂 YAY!

    Apart from the beauty with which it was written, your thoughts, feelings and words rang so deeply in my soul and made my heart sing !!!

    For the longest time now, I have found myself living (mostly!) each day and moment in AMAZEMENT which in turns fills me with delight and gratitude and although I share this experience with those around me, I usually come away with the feeling that it seems like it’s only ME who finds every little (and big) thing in our world AMAZING!!! (however this doesn’t deter me! – LOL)

    And so to read your delight in this discovery really connected to my own Inner Religiion of Amazement and affirmed that it most certainly IS my truth and my Mantra for the rest of this life (and no doubt many more to come!!!)

    So I am sending much gratitude with a full heart to you for your sharing your love and amazement of life in such an exquisite way!

    Brightest Blessings to you,
    Lorraine (Raine)
    in Sydney, Australia


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