In honor of Honey in Your Heart, the latest jewel in mary anne radmacher’s outrageously creative and prolific career, I sat down with mary anne (yes, she’s a lower case girl) and had this delightful conversation. I asked her a few qustions about how life can be sweeter when we feast on the honey that is already there, in the only place it can be–our heart.
Janet: In Honey in Your Heart, you talk about “ways to see” being essential to creating space in the heart for life. And you offer us many ways to do just that. But I’m wondering, now that you’ve written the book, how has this awareness of seeing and creating space continued to expand for you? Have you stumbled upon any new and perhaps slightly surprising ways to see?
mary anne: After recording ( for a solid six months) every time I experienced a little, “Yay,” – that heart lift that occurs when something sweet has happened – I find I mentally note such things. I still DO write them down, but I don’t need the discipline of writing them down in order to see them. The awareness HAS expanded my capacity in a rather unexpected way. In the midst of challenge, or circumstances that feel as if they have gone “sideways” in an undesirable way, I am able to see the potential. The potential for joy, for good, for positive outcomes. Many of the long term YAYs in my life have come out of a short term YUCK. In a practical way, recognizing the truth of this – that goodness often comes out of circumstances that don’t feel or seem good – has given me a higher level of perseverance.
Janet: I love your call to celebrate. Our society has relegated celebrations to a few calendar holidays wrapped in obligation. Most of us forget to celebrate the morning, our kitchen, soft pajamas, hot water, a good book. Can you share a simple sweet celebration that meant a lot to you?
mary anne: I schedule one day, every once in awhile, that is just dedicated to FUN – CREATIVE – Just delightful to me – projects. I asked three of my buddies what their current favorite quote was. And then I incorporated that quote into a set of small notecards, packaged them up and put them in the mail. THAT is a sweet celebration that I love having in my days: being able to create something for someone I love for no other reason than they are worth celebrating.
Janet: My favorite aphorism in Honey in Your Heart is on p 21: “In the freshness of the dawn we see the truth, everything is possible.” I often wake with this excitement and knowing but I can lose it in a few minutes when I face my to-do list. I sense through this book and all your books, that you truly do rise in joy and possibility every morning. How do you do that?
mary anne: The truth of this answer is that I do wake MOST mornings with joy. There are many contributing factors to waking up with joy and anticipation.
Here are most of them:
I do my best to complete my top targeted items each day. I complete.
At the end of the day:
I make a list of targeted completions for the following day. I live with intention.
I forgive myself for any shortcomings, acts of commission or omission and I say good bye to the day. I let go.
I make conscious nutritional food choices. I nurture myself.
I move, or dance or sing. I create. I contribute to my health and vitality.
I do at least one expected thing for someone else. I serve.
I contact one person I love, admire or am friends with. I connect.
On the days that I do not include most of the things on this list … I wake up absent joy.
Janet: The one that made me laugh out loud is “I didn’t know I couldn’t, so I did.” There is such bliss in not knowing that something is “impossible” and then waking up and you’ve done it! What new and “impossible” things are you doing?
mary anne: Due to a host of complexities, I have reinvented my lifetime body of work and have a brand new professional affiliation to make my cards and paper inspirations available in the world. (And that is: http://wp.appliedinsight.net) In addition to creating fresh and unexpected work, I have accepted the role of Art Director. I now work with other artists to bring their best work to the world. It’s like being a creative mid-wife. So, after 28 years of doing a single art element one way in the world, I am blossoming at all kinds of artistic levels. In a lot of ways it feels as if these last years were practice! Ah. Everything is practice, isn’t it? Practice at being the fullest and best of who we are.
Janet: This book is such a call to walk life with a light trusting step and a sweet happy heart. Taking in your words and looking at your pictures, I feel that honey, that sweetness, oozing off the pages and into my heart. And if I’m feeling that way, then you must be soaring. What effect is this book having on you? What honey is continuing to flow?
mary anne: It’s interesting, Janet, that you ask in this way. There has been a most surprising outcome of connecting at such a deep level to the joy and sweetness in my days. It’s an immediate and profound capacity to recognize when NOT to allow the honey to flow. One of my natural gifts is generosity. I’ve demonstrated an innate impulse to give since before I could speak.
And with every gift, there is a downside. Or said another way, there is a spectrum of expression of any quality, skill or gift. I am now more inclined to graciously step away from circumstances, events and people whose priorities do not serve my vision. Notice I don’t say their priorities are incorrect. They are simply theirs, and different from mine. I become increasingly unwilling to compromise my work and vision with actions, activities and people that are counter-productive to what I’m doing. I used to incorporate compromise and accommodation into my daily systems…and now, holding to the sweetness of my days and intention to walk life full of joy and purpose…I am more likely to gratefully acknowledge the role, at one time, that such elements played in my life and learning… and move on. I let go and lean forward!
So – for the sake of the greater outcomes, it’s become important that in some instances the “honey” of my life NOT flow. Or be invited or allowed to flow in a different direction.
Today, I am honored to share an excerpt from Gail McMeekin’s new book, 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women. Gail has been a guest expert for four seasons now on my creativity course, Plug In for Writers. This past summer, she was also the guest expert on creativity on the brand new course, Plug In for Expressive Souls. Gail is a true expert in the field of creativity. No one has interviewed more successful creative women. I rely on Gail for wisdom and practical, practical, practical steps.
When she asked me to be a part of the blog tour, I jumped in. She gave me several excerpts to choose from, but this one yelled, “Choose Me!” I laughed. I’m one highly creative soul juggling a wild array of new books, courses, articles, and marketing programs. So I NEED this article!
Excerpt from 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women
By Gail McMeekin
Highly creative women often have special aptitudes that give rise to creative
intelligence, a superior ability for innovative thinking and application. In today’s
marketplace, our ability to think differently about problems and solve them with
original and novel solutions is a key to success. Highly creative women can have
problems if they don’t see themselves or their abilities clearly. In my experience,
some of the strengths and necessary talents of highly creative women can also be
their downfall if not managed well. This book is meant to be a guide to help you to
leverage your abilities and counter these potential pitfalls. These would include:
- Being overly sensitive and therefore too thin-skinned to be out in the world much
- Ambivalence about money and therefore being afraid or uncomfortable charging what they deserve
- Intuitive—getting wrapped up too much in other people’s life decisions, which distract the highly creative woman from her own life
- Divergent thinking—going from project to project—too many ideas at the same time can be overwhelming and make it difficult to focus
- Independence—being afraid/disinclined to ask for emotional support and business help when they need it
- Severely critical—perfectionism can be paralyzing and prevent highly creative women from ever releasing their completed work into the world or finishing projects at all
Spend some time this month “remembering” what captivates you about your work
and renew your vows.
- Non-conforming—being scapegoated by others for being too far “out there” and not following enough protocol to successfully do business in this world—can lead to isolation and loneliness
- Not completely confident—having damaged self-esteem or lack of expertise in certain skill areas that they may need to learn or to delegate to others
- Can be workaholics and ignore their own needs for self—nurturance, serenity and relaxation
- Need for solitude—the highly successful woman must honor this and negotiate with partners and family
- Can make simple things complex due to a long list of internal comfort criteria
- Sad—often feel that they haven’t met their potential or realized their dreams for this life
- Fear of being who they really are and telling the truth about it and risking disapproval
- Feeling guilty about not having chosen a traditional career path with job security, a pension, and securing people’s understanding of what they do
- Feeling confused by having too many interests and not knowing what to specialize in
- Fear of rejection as being unbearable and something from which they won’t recover
- Fear that pursuing their creative work will hurt the ones they love
- Being labeled by others as a risk taker or being hesitant to take the necessary risks to succeed
Fortunately, there are remedies for all of these issues, and this book is your guide
to creative success and peace of mind. Most of these creative liabilities are also
strengths, but you must learn how to capitalize on them and redesign your strategies
of being in the world.
Thank you, Gail for your research, your wisdom, your creativity, and your excerpt. We are blessed to be a part of your world. Janet Conner
Want more? Here’s Gail’s whole blog tour.
December 1st – Gut Truster’s Blog http://lynnrobinson.com/gut-trusters-blog/managing-ideaphoria-by-gail-mcmeekin-of-creative-success/ (Lynn Robinson)
December 3rd – Tranquility du Jour http://blog.kimberlywilson.com/2011/12/blog-tour-la-fave-author.html (Kimberly Wilson)
December 4th – Jamie Ridler Studios http://jamieridlerstudios.ca/creative-successful-women (Jamie Ridler)
December 12 – A Room of Her Own (Darlene Chandler Bassett)
December 13th – Leading Remarkable Women to Uncommon Success http://janepollakblog.com/ (Jane Pollak)
December 14th – The Attention Factor http://blog.theattentionfactor.com/ (Alice March)
December 15th – Wise Well Women www.wisewellwomen.com (Nanette Saylor)
December 16th – Smart Women’s Institute http://www.sherimcconnell.com/blog/ (Sher McConnell)
People are shell shocked right now. It takes bravery just to read the paper. The heart is broken page after page by stories of yet another disaster, unspeakable violence, and unbearable loss. As for politics, the mind doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. And finances? We all want to run for the covers. Even the weather stories are scary. The movies all sound loud and ugly. The snarky humor in the comic section is no longer funny. Where can we find a bit of shelter? The crossword puzzle perhaps. Or the food section. Surely the food section. Maybe an article in travel will lift us momentarily to a sweeter place.
- Pick up a pen and write
- A slab of clay and shape
- A brush and paint
- A pencil and draw
- A scissors and cut
- A knife and cook
- A seed and plant
- A scarf and dance
- Create a business plan, an outline, a class
- Design a pillow, plan a trip, make a meal
The tools you can put in your hands are without end. The things you can imagine are without end. The places you can go in your mind are without end. The beauty you can touch is without end. The well is deep and it is full.
Here’s what will happen.
When you re-activate that part of you that has never been wounded, the part of you that knows who you really are, the battle with fear will come to an end. When you step into your creative self, your soul-self, you awaken something huge: trust in your own capacity to live a beautiful life. You will be free. And that uninvited guest will have no choice but to slink out the door.
“At its deepest heart, creativity is meant to serve and evoke beauty. When this desire and capacity
come alive, new wells spring up in parched ground; difficulty becomes invitation and rather than striving against the grain of our nature, we fall into rhythm with its deepest urgency and passion. The time is now ripe for beauty to surprise and liberate us.”
So perhaps all this chaos in the world is an invitation. Perhaps that black thing in the living room is an invitation. Perhaps the parched landscape is an invitation. An invitation to awaken to who we really are: not consumers, creators. When we accept, we stop being consumed by life and start creating life. The invitation is real. It is open. It is on your desk awaiting a reply. Please put something in your hands and accept.
Come, let your writer loose at Plug In for Writers, starting August 30
Find your creative expression at Plug In for Expressive Souls Sept 1
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.)
Here is the third of four youtube videos produced by Bizz Buzz Video in conjunction with Jennifer Hill Robenalt of HooplaMedia when I was in Austin Texas. Man oh man, but they did a great job. Not only are the production values superb, but it was an effortless experience. When we were finished recording four of these, I said, “That’s it!?”
This video answers the question: What is the difference between journaling and writing down your soul? The answer in a nutshell: just about everything!
The chart I mention that compares traditional journaling and deep soul writing is on page 246 in Writing Down Your Soul. If you want it in color check out writingdownyoursoul.com.
The second question on this video is about the value of deep soul writing for professional writers. But it’s not just writers who love the flow that deep soul writing generates. All creatives love deep soul writing because the creative force of the universe is available in theta. I feel like a cheerleader for theta. Go theta!
How about you? What mysteries of the universe do you unlock in theta?
Last fall, Maggie Stultz, a clay artist in Virginia, participated in a Writing Down Your Soul teleclass. We’ve stayed in touch ever since.
Today, Maggie sent an email with this sweet present attached–the first (and as far as I know, only) painting of Writing Down Your Soul.
Maggied loved the book so much she gave a copy to her friend and fellow artist, Nicole Raisin Stern.
Nicole is traveling cross country right now with her two favorite companions: this book and her kitten Bodhi.
I’m beyond tickled. When I look at this painting, all I can do is smile. Big smile. Outrageous smile. Oh my God, smile. Doesn’t it make you smile, too?
Nicole and her artwork are available at:
Hey, I wonder how many other books have had their portrait painted? Do you know of any?
Ellen DeGeneres woke us all up. My last post, the one about her commencement address at Tulane, attracted a huge spike of readers. I think I know why. Ellen laid out a way — an incredibly simple way — to SEE your Life Around the Corner, by “seeing” it on the page in conversation with God. Ellen saw herself sitting next to Johnny Carson on the tonight show. Given Ellen’s situation at the time, that could have been labelled totally absurd, possibly delusional. But, guess what? It happened.
Her experience has really stuck with me. So, this morning, as I was saying my prayers, repeating my Covenant and my Writing Blessing, I closed my eyes and had a little chat with Spirit, or as Reverend Lauren McLaughlin, calls it, the Eternal Life Force — ELF. I was just saying something to the Elf, when I saw in my mind a bright white glowing light about the size of a basketball in my hands. Instinctively, I looked down into the white ball.
OH, I realized, this is how Ellen did it. She looked into the future, into her crystal ball, so to speak, or using my new favorite metaphor, into her spy binoculars and saw the Life Around the Corner. Clearly. She saw herself sitting next to Johnny Carson. Not wishing or hoping or “wouldn’t it be great if…” but saw it. Probably felt the chair beneath her. Felt the lights, saw his face close up. She simply was “there” inside her future experience. Did it happen because she experienced it a decade in advance or was it always going to happen and in that moment she simply got a peak? Interesting philosophical, metaphysical question there. And I don’t have the answer. Not an intellectual answer. And guess what? I don’t care how it works; I just want to have the experience.
So, looking into my white ball of light, I said, OK, I get it. I’ll sit down with my pen and have my own conversation with Spirit and SEE my future.
I asked on the page, “What is in my life around the corner?” Out gushed a bunch of things: Being on Ellen and talking about her experience, being on the Oprah Soul Series and on her TV show talking about deep soul writing, being interviewed by Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, shaking Neale Donald Walsch’s hand and hearing him say that deep soul writing is how he had his Conversations with God, and signing a half million dollar advance. All delightful. All powerful. All big.
But when I looked at the list, I said, “OK, I love them all and I DO see them all happening, but what ONE event, what ONE experience would be proof that all of this has transpired and more? What one experience sums up my Life Around the Corner?”
I knew immediately. I drew a bold dark blue ink square around the words: Walk into the New York city library and touch a shelf full of my books.
Even as I type that sentence, I feel tears. Tears are proof that this is THE apex experience I will have. I don’t know when. (When is not my job.) I don’t know how. (How is not my job.) Just know that it will happen. I am standing there right now, in my mind, in my white ball of light, smiling and reaching out and running my fingers slowly along the ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen books that I have written. I turn to my son and with tears in my eyes, say, “Here I am, permanently, in the New York city library. Guarded by the lions.”
Close your eyes, hold the white ball of divine light or the spy binoculars or become a hawk who flies ahead to see your Life Around the Corner. The image doesn’t matter. Just choose one that feels right to you and ask, “How will I know that I have achieved my Life Around the Corner?” Pick up a pen and start writing. See what images come through. No matter how wacky or amazing or unlikely or impossible — write them down.
Why? Because Ellen sat next to Johnny Carson. Because I will run my hands over my books in the main library in New York. (Oh, and be on Oprah and Ellen, and GMA!)
How about you? What are you doing in your Life Around the Corner?