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.
Heaven communicates with us so many ways. Synchronicity. Animal messengers. Signs and symbols. Dreams. Nudging. Knowing. Intuition. And deep soul writing, of course.
But have you noticed that when you are ready to hear something really important, something that may well be the next step in your soul’s great human adventure, it falls into your hands through a human voice? It might be something someone says, but often it comes through the pages of a book.
That’s what happened to me. As you know, I wrote about how to create a magical new year throughout December. I thought about it every day and shared my experiences with you in this newsletter and in my blog. I thought I had the process pretty well figured out.
Until New Year’s morning.
I spent the morning in deep dialogue with my divine Voice putting 2009 to bed and calling in a magical 2010. It’s a process I’ve followed for a decade and I know it works. But this year, I did something different. Before I said my prayers, before I picked up a pen, before I did anything, I picked up a library book. As I sipped my coffee, I read Thich Nhat Hanh’s slender new book, you are here.
Midway through I had to stop and catch my breath. Because everything in my understanding suddenly shifted 180 degrees.
Let me explain.
A week ago, I decided that the perfect name for 2010 is “My Breakthrough Year.” It’s perfect because it captures where I am. I’m in the fifth year of my writing career: In 2006, I called in my publisher. In 2007, I wrote Writing Down Your Soul. In 2008, I learned what happens after you turn in your manuscript: editing, book layout, cover design… In 2009, I learned what happens when your book comes out: how to speak, teach, travel, communicate through social media, work with a publicist, interview and be interviewed… Whew.
And so, in year five, I’m ready for the big breakthroughs. You know: the income, agent, multi-book contract, well-paid speaking invitations. I’m ready for my ships to come in.
And reading Thich Nhat Hanh, I discovered how to do that. Which is a really good thing, because I had something wrong, and I’m willing to bet you do, too.
Until I read You Are Here, I visualized my year as me breaking through barriers to reach what I want. But listen to what the Buddha has to say about creating: “This is, because that is.”
Not clear? Don’t worry. That’s why God gave us Thich Nhat Hanh, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Vietnamese Buddhist monk. To explain this profound teaching Thich Nhat Hanh writes: “This refers to the manifestation of phenomena on the basis of the law of interdependent origination. When conditions are sufficient, there is manifestation.” (p. 87) To illustrate, he points out that in winter you don’t see sunflowers, but that doesn’t mean sunflowers don’t exist. They are just waiting for the condition of sunshine to call them forth.
My eyes couldn’t leave the sentence, “When conditions are sufficient, there is manifestation.” I wrote it several times in my journal. I wrote it on my white board. I sat staring in space letting it seep into my cells.
“When conditions are sufficient, there is manifestation.”
I am still calling 2010 “My Breakthrough Year,” but I see now that my way to get that to happen is not to focus on me breaking through to what I want; it is to focus on creating the conditions that allow everything I want to break through to me.
Do you hear the difference? It’s huge. And it’s the miracle-maker that will create the year I want — and the year you want.
So how do you create those conditions? Well, my Voice and I had long, rich talks about how I can create the fertile field for my “sunflowers” to break through the soil and grow, grow, grow. Well, actually we talked about lilies. Ever since Michael said, “You are a lily,” in an angel reading with Margo Mastromarchi in 2007, I’ve had lilies on my altar. I love seeing myself as one of Spirit’s cared-for lilies.
Once I was clear on the conditions to allow all I want to manifest, I made a prayer mandala to imprint that image in my sub-conscious. I traced a dinner plate on a large sheet of paper. I drew a lily at the center of the circle. On each of her six petals I wrote something I do to create the perfect conditions for my year. Around the lily, I drew twelve small circles, each with a symbol of something I want to break through to me in 2010.
I finished with an angel reading, using Doreen Virtue’s Archangel Oracle deck and pasted copies of the four cards to the corners. Delighted with the results, I pinned my 2010 mandala to the wall next to my desk where it will bless me for the next 365 days.
Thank you for joining me in this delightful adventure to call in a divine new year. I share your excitement for what we are creating. Thanks for your emails and comments.
But please don’t worry if you haven’t started.
In the past, I did the whole thing in a couple hours the morning of January 1st. And I’m living proof that such compressed intention-setting works. So whether you’ve been preparing to call in your new year all month, or thought about it off and on, or are just now deciding that you do indeed want to call in a joyous new year filled with blessings and grace, I’ve got a plan. A Soul Plan. Take it. It’s my gift to you.
In Writing Down Your Soul, there’s a full description of a “Soul Day.” Here’s a shorter, specific January 1st Soul Day process to call in a divinely-guided and supported year.
If January 1st is not an option in your house, it’s OK. Just pick a time in the next few days when you will have a couple hours to yourself. The date doesn’t matter. Giving yourself the gift of a moment of time to stand in your power, acknowledge your heart’s desires, and call to you in concert with heaven does.
Here’s the New Year Soul Day that always works for me:
Set your intention.
- The universe is run on intention. Use that power to kickstart your year. Place a notepad next to your bed. As you fall asleep on Dec 31, ask for guidance on your Soul Day.You can ask for general guidance or specific questions like what is the name of my year.
- When you awake, lie still for a few minutes and allow insights from the night to come to you while you still have access to the theta brain wave state. When you’re ready to get up, jot down any insights, blessings, images.
Begin with prayer
- As you step into the space where you are going to call in your year, say the prayers that mean the most to you. If you don’t have a prayer process, start now.
- Stand and speak your prayers. Request Spirit, the angels, and your divinely-appointed guides to be with you as you begin the next twelve months in your soul’s adventure here on earth.
Have a nice long conversation with the Voice about 2009
- Ask for help identifying all the gifts buried in the experiences of the last twelve months. List them. Name them. Bless them. Say thank you for both the beautiful gifts you received and the more difficult learnings. Learnings are gifts, too.
- Review everything you accomplished this year. Let your heart be filled with pride for all that you accomplished.
- Forgive yourself for everything you didn’t get done. And anything you did that you wish you hadn’t.
- Release your prisoners. If you are holding someone prisoner in your internal dungeon for the harm they’ve done to you, let them out. (see blog posts on week 3 below)
Have a nice long conversation with the Voice about 2010
- Start talking with the Voice about what you want in 2010. Review the list of the blessings you created in your December Plan or make your list now in partnership with your divine Voice. Discuss what you want until you have a focused list of five to eight desires.
- For each of your desires, create a prayer statement describing it in the present tense as it looks fulfilled. For example, if you want a new job, write something like “I am doing my perfect work joyous as a result of my efforts.” You’ll type these statements up and say them every day for the next 365 days.
- Ask for a name for your magical new year.
- If you have card sets that you love, do a card reading or two asking for guidance on your year. I love to do a Medicine Card reading and an Angel Guidance reading.
Create a visual prayer for 2010
Create a prayer mandala for 2010.
- Use a dinner plate to make a good-sized circle on a piece of firm paper. Write a phrase or word for each of your prayer requests inside the rim of the circle (like numbers on a clock).
- Write the name of your year across the top. 2010 is “My Break Through Year.”
- Decorate the mandala. I like to write my core prayers in a border around the circle. Words like: I know. I trust. I love. I’m not sure what words I’ll add this year. Have to wait to see what the Voice suggests on January 1.
- At the center of the mandala, draw an image that captures your year. My “Break Through Year” is symbolized by a chair. (see Dec 28 post) I’ll draw a chair at the center and put a small wooden doll house chair on my altar.
- Conclude your Soul Day with prayers of gratitude and joy. You have been heard, supported, and guided to stand in your power and declare the life you want. Be thankful.
- Bless your prayer mandala and post it where you’ll see it every day.
- Type or print your prayer statements and put them where you’ll say them at least twice a day.
- Eat in joy. Have a delightful meal and toast the blessings of the magical new year that are coming to you
Bring your year to life
- At least once a day for the next 365 days, stand in front of your mandala, say your prayer statements and SEE all the good you have declared coming to you. Visualize it. Feel the joy you’ll feel when it happens. Smile. Say thank you in advance.
- Keep your thoughts and your eyes focused on what you want to attract in 2010. When you stray into fear and doubt, put yourself back in front of your mandala and remind yourself that you are divinely guided and all is well.
- Recognize good things when they come to you. Save evidence of your desires being fulfilled on your Evidence Shelf. (p. 228 in Writing Down Your Soul.)
- Keep communication between you and your Divine Voice wide open. Write down your soul every day. Pray every day. Ask for guidance and you will receive it.
See how easy it is to call in a magical new year? January 1st is my favorite morning of the year. When I pin my 2010 prayer mandala to the wall, I always feel lifted. I feel my angels beside me clapping and laughing. I know that I am blessed.
And you are, too.
I’ll be thinking of you on January 1st. And throughout the year as together we call in our magical years. 2010 is in for a big surprise! We alchemists are changing not just our own individual lives, but the life of the whole planet.
Please let me know how your New Year’s Day unfolds..
This week in our December Plan has been fun, fun, fun. As of last night, December 27th, we have a list with 27 delightful expectations for 2010. If you haven’t created your wish list, it’s OK, you can begin today or tomorrow or any day you want. Just sit down and get clear, really clear, about what you want to see happen in 2010.
Please note the use of the verb “see” in that sentence. It sounds simple, but it matters. It really matters.
Yesterday, I received a profound confirmation of the power of “seeing.” I had an angel guidance reading with Margo Mastromarchi, The Oracle of the Dove. When I asked about finances, the angels had this to say:
“Do not focus on what is going out. Focus on what is coming in and it will multiply. You are the only reason you do not see it coming. See it. See it as checks, checkbooks, bank accounts, receipts of paid bills…see only that. And as you see it, open your hands.”
Instantly, I recognized what I’d done. I’d put my focus for the last few months on paying bills. I’d made endless lists of what was owed and when it was due and then I jockeyed funds to make sure I had money in the right account on the right day. The only thing I’d been “seeing” was bills. And while I was looking hard and long at all that outgo, fear crept in. And once inside, it grew, and spread, and gobbled up all the air.
But since December 1st, I’ve added one delightful item every day to my wish list for 2010.
Wait a sec. I’ve got to stop calling it a “wish list.” These are not wishes. These are expectations. These are miracles. These are requests. Dare I say, demands? These are descriptions of the good things flowing to me in the next twelve months so that I can do the work I’m here to do and live the life I’m here to live. These are the ways I fulfill my purpose, my calling, my destiny. These are not wishes or pie in the sky dreams, these are real. And my eyes are fixed upon them. My eyes are now fixed on the horizon of Jan 1 and over that horizon comes my ship. My ships. My many ships. Filled with the 31 divine gifts of the year.
No more wishes for us. We are alchemists. And alchemists know how to use the power of this magical universe to create. Last week — forgiveness week in our December Plan — I suggested that we call this list our “Freedom List” because as our ships come in, we break more and more of the bonds of doubt, worry, fear, frustration, depression — whatever name you give to what you know is holding you back.
If you read yesterday’s post, you also gave your new year a magical new name. Mine is “My Break Through Year.”
So, today we wrap up this week in our December Plan to call in our magical new year with one last totally fun adventure:
- Look at your Freedom Lists
- Visualize ships laden with those expectations sailing your way
- Meditate on the name of your year
Mine is a chair. As I began my Freedom List, I realized that my expectations for 2010 fall into 4 categories: my work, the partners who help me get that work out into the world, my son, and my life partner. I know that when all four legs of the chair are in place, I will be living the joyful life of service I am here to live. And how perfect for me that the symbol of my divine year is also the symbol of the space where I work. I do, after all, spend my days sitting in my writing chair.
So, I’m headed to the craft store to get a small wooden chair to put on my altar. And when I draw my mandala for next year (you’ll learn how to do that in the next few days) I’ll put my perfect four-legged balanced chair in the center.
So your delightful task on this the 28th day of the December Plan to call in a magical new year, is to get a symbol for your year. If you’re not sure what that is, ask for divine guidance and it will come. On a walk, in a magazine, in your dreams, while deep soul writing…. It will come.
Then, follow the angels instructions:
“See what you want to see. See it coming…. See only that… See the flow and as you see it, open your hands.”
Me? I see a gorgeous, strong, balanced chair with four gorgeous strong balanced legs: work, partners, son, husband. That’s some chair. My goodness, it’s more of a throne!
Friends: This magical week in our December Plan culminates today and tomorrow with two delightful activities. Today, you give 2010 a name. Names have resonance. Names have power. In this post originally written for UPI on Jan 1, 2008, you’ll learn why naming your year has such magical power. Then, tomorrow, we wrap up the week with a delightful final touch. The bow on top so to speak.)
On Jan. 1, while others are nursing hangovers, cooking beans, watching the parade, or preparing for a football fest, I sit for a few hours in complete silence in my writing chair and create my year. New Year’s Day is my Soul Day. (Soul Days are described at length in Writing Down Your Soul on p 230-237) Soul Days are always profound experiences, but this Jan. 1 was special.
I woke early, threw on a comfy robe, and headed downstairs to turn on the Christmas tree lights. I made a pot of strong French press coffee with hot cream and frothed milk and cut two thin slices of Lindsey Hart’s to-die-for pound cake (available only at Christmas and only for her devoted clients) and settled into my chair. There, I did what I do every New Year’s Soul Day: I reviewed the year before, acknowledged the wealth of blessings received, felt deep gratitude for every gift, and discussed the possibilities for 2008 with the Voice of Spirit.
Then I did a few devotional readings and queried my favorite card sets, prayerfully asking Spirit to show me what I need to know about the coming 12 months. I studied every piece of guidance and distilled them into my “prayer sandwich” for 2008 — a six-line prayer I will repeat every morning and every evening for 365 days. (p. 188-199 in Writing Down Your Soul) Each line is carefully constructed to define, declare and attract my six sacred intentions for the year. I’ve done a Soul Day process like this for years, and the experience always fills me with hope — and confidence that that hope is heard and embraced by a divine chorus who believe in and support my soul’s evolution.
But this year I did something more. I named my year. First. Before I said one prayer or read one card, I named my year. As far as I know, no one does this. No one names the next 12 months. No one writes the title of their year as though it were the title of a movie or book or painting. But naming your year is, I think, the missing link, the extra ingredient, the key that unlocks the future you want.
I got the idea from Jan Johnson, my publisher at Conari Press. Mind you, she doesn’t know I got the idea from her, and if you asked her about “naming your year,” she’d probably look at you oddly, but it came from her nonetheless.
Back in the fall of 2006, Conari Press asked me for a proposal on how to journal to access divine wisdom. I’ve taught people how to access the voice of the divine within for years. I called my classes “Dear God,” because when I write in my journal, I begin my conversations that way. But I tell my students to use any salutation they like. The power isn’t in the name, I always tell them, it’s in your intention. So use the name for the divine that speaks to you.
I wrote my proposal and submitted it under the title “Dear God.” Despite my editor’s admonition that I might not hear for 90 days, I got an email the very next week: We love it! Yes, we’ll publish it. Except for one little detail: Jan Johnson, our president, doesn’t like the title. She thinks the word “God” is too limiting or off-putting for a lot of people. Think about a different, more inclusive name for the book.
Huh? A different title? My classes are called “Dear God.” My company is Dear God & Company! I’ve had the domain name deargod.com for a decade, and I’ll finally be able to use it. What do you mean, “find another name”? I fussed alone in my office for a day, but then I stopped. After all, Conari is a really good publisher, and they sell lots and lots of spiritual books. If they think “Dear God” is not the right title, then maybe it’s not. But I was so in love with my title, and so accustomed to using it, that I couldn’t think of anything else. So I asked for help. I sent an email to everyone who had taken a Dear God class in the past year. “What do you call God when you write?” I asked.
Well, I was taken aback by the response. Jan Johnson was right! Almost no one used the term “God” when addressing the divine. Two people explained why: They’d had dreadful experiences as children at fundamental churches where the minister heavily preached about God. My fellow writers suggested 27 other names for the divine. So much for calling my book “Dear God”!
I went back to the drawing board. I came up with several new titles and sent them off. They didn’t like any of them. I tried again. I read up on creativity and tried a process developed by Win Wenger, who has studied all the great creative geniuses. New ideas came through, but they were all rejected by Conari. “What do you want?” I begged. The answer was completely frustrating, “We don’t know, but we’ll recognize it when we see it.”
I went to my local bookstore and studied the titles of books near where mine would be shelved. Power seemed to be big. How about “The Power of Writing” or “The Untapped Spiritual Power of Writing”? Nope. How about “In Your Hand”? I thought that was kinda clever. Their answer didn’t surprise me: No.
I was getting frustrated. While they were dithering over the title, I could have had the manuscript half written! “Why can’t I just write the book,” I asked my editor, “and the title will evolve through the process?” “Because Jan Johnson believes you have to have the title first.”
Finally, in desperation, I asked Stephanie Gunning, a fellow writer and editorial consultant. She came up with a title in 10 minutes: “Writing Down Your Soul.” Hmmm. That sounded good. And Conari loved it. THANK YOU, GOD! So, could I start writing? Nope. I needed a subtitle. Aaaahhhhh!
I pulled out every spiritual book I have (you don’t want to know how many) and wrote down every bloomin’ subtitle. Staring at the list, an idea simply popped into my head: “How to activate and listen to the extraordinary voice within.” I sent it to Conari, and 48 hours later I had the green light for my book.
At the time I thought, “Well, now, that’s over and I can begin to write.” But the book wouldn’t follow my planned table of contents or detailed outline. Why? Because:
- The word “soul” in the title kept steering the book toward talking about the evolution of your soul.
- The word “activate” in the subtitle became a lengthy treatise on the power of questions to open the unconscious mind, including questions that work and questions that don’t.
- The word “listen” magically attracted experts on compassionate listening that were nowhere to be found in my original proposal.
- And the word “voice” simply took over the entire project. The Voice became the focus and fulcrum of every page
When I finished the manuscript and looked back at my original proposal, I hoped Conari wouldn’t mind that I had not written the book I proposed. I’d written something much bigger and mightier. I’d written a book I adored.
So what does the title of my book have to do with naming my year? Everything. I have experienced the magnetic power of a name. I saw firsthand how the name brought forth ideas, research, questions and even people. (How did it do that?) If the name worked so powerfully for my book, why wouldn’t it work equally well for my year?
After my card readings, I went back to my office and made a vision board. On it I drew myself on a horse leaping through air effortlessly, gathering all the accolades, publicity and success I want for Writing Down Your Soul. I pasted on book reviews, and sales standings, and magazines, and radio and TV shows. I described my perfect readers, agent and next contracts. I stood back and looked at it and smiled. Then I added the crowning touch. At the bottom, I glued on my name for 2008: My Abundant, Unstoppable, Leap of Faith Year.
I’m with Jan Johnson: Get the name first. When you name it, it will come.
This December Plan to call in a magical new year has been quite an adventure hasn’t it? The first week, we set our intention and created our personal processes. The second week, we unearthed all the gifts of 2009. Last week, we took a long swim in the cleansing sea of forgiveness. With each stroke we collected more and more of the cash that runs this miraculous universe.
You’re rich right now. Whether you see it or not, your pockets are stuffed with miracle cash. This week, you get to decide what you’re going to spend it on. The really fun part of our December Plan starts right now.
2009 has been a strange year for many. For some, it’s been downright brutal. But we are here. We are standing. We are alive. And January 1st is coming. We have done what we could. Now it’s time to gently tuck 2009 in her bed, bless her, kiss her, and say goodnight. It’s time to close that door and turn our faces toward the rising light of 2010.
2010 could be magical. It could be divine. It could be a year of wonder and joy. It could be. And you have the power to call it in. Truth is, like Dorothy, you’ve always had the power, but if you’re anything like me, you’re really just beginning to absorb that profound truth. Our December Plan is our red shoes. And I, for one, am ready to do some serious clicking.
Click I acknowledge that I am an alchemist. I have the power to co-create my life, my world, my year.
Click I know what I want and what I need. I don’t apologize for it. I state it. I state it loud and clear.
Click My year is alive. It has a name, a delicious, delightful, smile-inducing, heart-lifting, soul-popping name.
Click My year has a symbol. A picture. A thing. I infuse my year’s symbol with the power and joy of my new year. Just glancing at it makes me happy.
Click I believe. I believe in myself. I believe in my purpose. I believe that my soul is unfolding just the way it wants.
Click With my head high and proud, I joyfully take the next step toward my purpose. Toward my year. Toward my destiny.
Click I trust. I trust that I am loved, protected, guided, and led. Led right into into my magical new year.
I told you this week would be fun! Let’s begin with Click One:
I am an alchemist. I am a magical being. As Rev. Lauren McLaughlin of Unity Now states so elegantly and succinctly in one of the Twelve Affirmations:
“I am intimately connected to all the power of the universe.”
Say that. Let it sink in. It will start in your head as an idea, but let the words drift down to your throat, your heart, your solar plexus, your stomach, your bowels and down into your legs. Let the words flow out of your body and into the earth. Then back again. Draw the words up into your feet from the blessed earth that sustains you. For fun, when it reaches your feet, click your heels as you say it again:
“I am intimately connected to all the power of the universe.”
Then let the words flow back up through your chakras and out
the top of your head to connect with and attract the power of this beautiful universe — our home. Now and forever. This is home. This is your home. You belong here. You are one of its power children. Not a bad family to be a member of!
Till tomorrow’s blog, keep clicking!
Today we wrap up our week of clearing our spaces–our heart spaces, our mind spaces, our soul spaces, and even our body spaces–of the silent (or not so silent) anger and resentment festering within. Is this necessary? Ask any therapist. Ask any spiritual counselor. Ask any metaphysician. Ask anyone. But really, there’s only one person’s opinion that matters. Ask yourself.
You know if you’ve got old crusty crud blocking your spiritual arteries. You know if you’re carrying a pocket of anger toward some jerk who done you wrong. You know if deep inside you still wish that something rotten would happen to someone. You know. And you know if this anger is getting in the way. You know if it’s gotten in the way all last year — or all last decade for that matter. And you know, somewhere deep you know, if it could get in the way of calling in your magical, glorious, joyous new year.
So once and for all, it’s time to let go. To move on. To release. To forgive. To finally, totally and completely forgive. Want to do that? Well, it’s your lucky day because it just so happens that I know how. No, wait, let me amend that. It isn’t that I “know” how to forgive. Not in the sense of having an intellectual understanding of what forgiveness is and how it happens. I’m not sure anyone, no matter how many books they’ve read or written, “knows” that.
But we who have had a profound experience of forgiveness, do know something special. We know that forgiveness is miraculous. We know that when we forgive — not in the mind or even the heart but at the deepest, let’s call it cellular or even soul level — something happens. Chains really do break. Spirits really are released. And not just the other guy’s. Both people are released. You and the person you are forgiving. You are both instantly and miraculously free.
So, do I “know” something about forgiveness? Can I explain why this particular prayer works? No. Not really. It’s a mystical experience. It’s a miracle. All I can tell you is that it works. This is the prayer that released me and my ex-husband. Within two hours of my writing this prayer, my ex-husband wrote a check for the first time during our divorce. A check for half our son’s last dental appointment. Doesn’t sound big? Not to you maybe, but for us it was nothing less than the parting of the Red Sea. And, more than that, it was a harbinger of the giant life insurance miracle to come. (If you don’t know the story, you can read it in this excerpt from Writing Down Your Soul.)
And this prayer, “Finally Forgive,” doesn’t just work for me. Every time I read it in public, I get phone calls. I don’t know why, but they always come on the third day. And they always start the same way, “You’re not going to believe what happened….” I always smile. Oh, yes, I am. Yes, I am. Yes, I am. I am absolutely, positively going to believe what happened. Because forgiveness works. Forgiveness works miracles. Forgiveness works miracles every time.
Here’s the miracle prayer, “Finally Forgive.” I wrote it about my situation with my ex-husband. But it applies to everyone. Just change the sentence, “The truth is…” and fill in your own Truth about your own relationship with the person you are forgiving. Adjust this prayer any way you want for yourself.
- Listen to me say it first.
- Then make any changes you want to personalize the prayer for yourself.
- Then speak the prayer out loud. This is important. Say it standing up. Say it aloud. Say it slowly. With conviction. With meaning. With heart. Hold up your hands as you see the corners and make the choice. Because that’s really all you’re doing. You’re making a choice. THE choice. The most important choice you’ll ever make.
After you’ve said the prayer, be still. Let the words wash over you. Feel the fetters burst. Don’t be surprised if you’re a little woozy. If that happens, just sit. Be still. And whisper thank you. “Thank You, God for this gift of forgiveness. I am free. I am free. At last, I am free. Free to live the life I’m here to live. Free to come from love. Free to love my life, my soul, my purpose, and my gifts. Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, I am free at last.”
a prayer of finally, really, truly, and completely choosing to forgive copyright 2009 Janet Conner
Part I The Gap
There is a gap between you and me.
In the gap is pain and fear and anger.
In the gap is our history of ugly thoughts, ugly words, ugly actions.
In the gap are the sounds of screaming, crying and swearing.
That gap is killing us and hurting our child.
What good is there in that gap?
What good is there in refusing to cross it?
What good is there in staying angry?
What good is there in not forgiving?
Part II One Love
If there really is only one love—God’s love—then:
How can I love my work,
if I don’t love you, in some way? Just a little.
How can I love our son with my whole heart,
if I don’t love you, in some way? Just a little.
How can I love my new relationship,
whomever that may be, whenever that may be,
if I don’t love you, won’t love you, can’t love you, in some way?
Just a little.
How can I love my home, my family, my friends?
How can I love my purpose, my reason for being,
if I don’t love you, in some way?
If I could love you, just a little
I could love my life all the more,
love my child all the more
love my work, my home, my friends, all the more.
Part III The Choice
I have it in my power to hate you, to ignore you, to blame you.
I have it in my power to make your life difficult, set up little traps,
say small nasty things.
I have it in my power to paint you as the bad guy, the stupid one, the fool.
And, I have it in my power to forgive you, to love you, in some way. Just a little.
The truth is your presence in my life was a gift.
For now and for always, you gave me our precious child,
the sweetest gift on earth.
And you taught me, finally taught me, to say no.
Thanks to you, I learned, oh God, how I learned.
Thanks to you, I grew, till I became bigger, stronger, richer, fuller.
Thanks to you, I walked. I walked a long tough journey, but I walked
to this place, this moment, when I know who I am.
I know what I’m thinking. I know what I’m feeling.
And I see a clear choice:
I can hold you in this corner, where you are forever wrong.
Or, I can hold you in the light, where you are free to grow, and change, and be happy.
Dear God, I’m choosing.
I’m closing the gap,
filling it with forgiveness, plugging the holes, and posting a sign:
Only love is spoken here.
(Finally Forgive comes from Spiritual Geography, the soul-writing system that heals the broken heart. Click on the Country of Peace to learn more about forgiveness. If you’re interested in more information about Spiritual Geography please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I invite you to forward this and all the posts on forgiveness in the December Plan to friends. Encourage them to subscribe to this blog and to the Writing Down Your Soul newsletter.)
We’ve been talking about forgiveness for several days now. And the conversation just keep getting richer and richer. Truth is we could probably talk about forgiveness with our inner divine Voice for a month, and still find more to say and more to forgive.
That’s why most people don’t begin. We sense instinctively that if we start to poke beneath the taut surface of our “everything is fine” mask, we’ll find dozens of wounds that need healing and there’ll never be an end to it. So why start?
Here’s why: forgiveness is the most delicious, most healing, most soul-lifting, joy-inducing thing you can do.
Want freedom? Forgive.
Want a vibrant healthy body? Forgive.
Want to find your purpose? Live your purpose? Forgive.
Want love? Forgive.
Want that magical new year? Gotta forgive first.
Forgiveness is the magic. It opens the door to a life you cannot even imagine at the moment. A life that’s yours, all yours, if you will just let go of the anger and resenting holding you prisoner.
St Theresa of Avila knew this way back in the sixteenth century. She explained it in her treatise, Inner Castle. In Entering the Castle, Caroline Myss gives us a modern insight into St Theresa’s vision. For Theresa, the soul has seven floors in the inner castle. Well, guess what’s on the first floor? Your castle’s dungeon.
“Everyone has a dungeon. It’s where you hold your prisoners…. Haul open the heavy lead door and walk down the damp, stone stairs. The atmosphere gts darker and colder as you descent. As you walk through, notice that there are cells for prisoners lining the walls. Everyone you cannot forgive or whom you resent or wish harm to is held by you in these cells. The parents you cannot forgive are in a cell; the business partner who cheated you and whom you still resent is in a cell; the ex-spouse is in a cell…. No doubt some of the people you hold prisoners are holding you prisoner as well.
Why do you keep prisoners? …you keep someone prisoner because you feel he has not been punished enough for the harm he did to you.”
It’s time to take a little tour of your own dungeon. Close your eyes for a few seconds and walk down the stairs in your own inner gut. Look around at the cells. Surprising how many are in there, huh? Glance around inside the cells. Who’s there? Any surprises?
Now, comes the fun part. And it’s easy. Instead of dissecting all the stories, reopening the wounds, explaining what happened, justifying your behavior or your motivation for locking them up, just release them. That’s it. Just release them. Here’s how you do it.
Stand up to stretch out your dungeon. Close your eyes. Put your hands in front of your dungeon like two doors. Visualize yourself walking down into your dungeon. See the cells. Walk up to each one and open it. Gesture for the prisoner to leave. No talking. No apologizing. No explaining. No nothing. Just open the cells and watch them walk out. When all your prisoners are gone, walk to the very back and release the pathetic prisoner in the darkest dankest cell. You know who that is. You.
When your dungeon is empty, call on Spirit to flood the dungeon with white and gold light. See the space being filled with this loving gentle healing light. Watch the cells dissolve. When the space is completely transformed from prison to light, say thank you and open your eyes.
How does that feel?
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Ordinarily I write one post a day in the December Plan. But today’s post on who really needs forgiveness has caused many a tear. These are good tears. These tears are little messages bobbing up from your soul saying, “Yes, oh yes. Please forgive yourself. There is so much ahead of us, so much beauty, so much potential, so much joy, but as long as you have this gaping hole in your heart, you can’t see all that good. And because you can’t see it, you probably can’t have it. So, yes, darling one, please forgive yourself. Because the truth is you are so much more beautiful than you can ever know.”
I’ve struggled mightily with this idea of not being enough. And for a very long time. I wrote this prayer, “Enough,” back in the early nineties, well before my divorce. The words still resonate today. To me, they sound like long slow deep vibrations from a bell that has been ringing for a very very long time. I am ready to stop clanging the bell of “not enough.” I’m going to say this prayer one more time today. Out loud. With vigor. I’m going to feel it in my bones and know that it is true. From this day forward, I am enough. I am more than enough.
Here. I think this prayer is for you, too.
A Prayer of Abundance (copyright Janet Conner 2009)
Dear God of the universe,
creator of all life, hear me.
This one prays.
In the mirror.
In the reflection that bounces from me to the world and back again,
there is a circle, a circle of sadness.
I am not enough.
They see “not enough.”
Therefore, I am not enough,
not good enough
not enough of something
not strong enough, perhaps
not smart enough, for sure
not handsome enough
not pretty enough
not wealthy enough, never wealthy enough
not fast enough
not clever enough
not tough enough,
but too tough sometimes and that makes me
not kind enough
something not enough
many things not enough.
Perhaps it doesn’t matter what.
The specific fault is irrelevant.
I don’t have to name it.
It’s enough just to know that I’m not enough
of whatever it is I’m not enough of.
Do You understand this, God?
Seems a bit convoluted, I know.
But circles are circles.
And everywhere I turn,
there are more of them.
If I look at my work – I’m not good enough
and, of course, they see I’m not good enough.
Therefore, I’m not.
And doesn’t my “success” just prove it.
If I look at my family – I’m not loving enough.
They know I could love them more.
Just look at our tensions
and You’ll see that I’m right:
I’m not loving enough.
If I look in the mirror – I’m not pretty enough.
There it is for the world to see:
blemishes, imperfections, crooked teeth, blotchy skin, ridiculous hair, flaccid muscles.
I think I’ll stop now.
But You see. Well, I see.
I’m not pretty enough.
If I look in my checkbook – I’m not rich enough.
Doesn’t take a banker to see I don’t earn enough.
Perhaps if I worked harder, smarter, faster, better…something,
I’d be better off.
But there it is: I’m not rich enough.
I could continue, but I need to move on.
There are things to do, people to see, problems to solve.
And I’m not organized enough to get it all done.
So I have to get going.
But first, I need to ask You this question. It’s important.
Why did You put me here if I’m not enough?
Why didn’t You make me pretty enough, smart enough, rich enough?
You could have, You know.
Even now, You could do it in a single breath:
Ask and poof, I am beautiful
Ask and poof, I am wealthy
Ask and I’m smart
Ask and I’m wanted
Ask and I’m wise
Ask and I’m…
What do I want?
What do I really want?
Want beyond wanting?
Need beyond needing?
What is the hole that must be filled?
Love…I guess. Yes, Love. That’s it, isn’t it?
If I had Love – enough Love – I would be blessed.
If I had Love – the right Love – I would be joyous.
If I had perfect Love, pure Love – Your Love – I would be healed.
That’s what I ask for, dear God.
That’s what I want.
Love is what I need.
Starting here. With me. Just me.
Fill me with the Love of the angels.
Build a bridge of Love across my doubts and fears.
Pour Love all around me
in my eyes, my mouth, my heart and my mind.
It feels good, this Love,
warm and calm and easy.
It has no ambition, but it won’t stay still.
It needs nothing, yet it sets my heart in motion.
This Love is peaceful, yet yearns to spread.
It oozes out of me and fills the room.
It swims out of the room and fills the house.
It radiates out of the house and seeks the world.
I guess it is enough, isn’t it!
Enough for me.
Enough for now.
Enough for always and ever.
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Have you noticed that when you set the intention to connect with your divine Voice on the page every day, those ten or fifteen minutes morph until it seems every moment becomes a vehicle for guidance, wisdom, and grace — even the most mundane?
Like running errands. After mailing three orders for Solarzar’s Theta Music CD at the post office yesterday afternoon, I drove to the library to return a book. The library is on the same street as my son’s high school. I’ve driven it hundreds, probably thousands, of times. Nebraska is an unremarkable street of typical Florida cement block homes. But yesterday something remarkable happened there.
Nebraska is a fun street in December. Many of the neighbors decorate for the holidays. As I passed one candy-cane filled yard, my eye fell on the plain brown house next door. The yard was overgrown, the roof layered with leaves. I know that house. It belonged to my first post-divorce boyfriend. He sold it before we went out, so I’ve never been inside, but he pointed it out once when we were driving somewhere. In the moment it took to drive past that house at thirty-five miles an hour, I felt a little twinge of neglect. He should have loved me more.
Huh? Where did that come from? I had no idea I was carrying any regret for that relationship. He wasn’t even the one who ended the relationship. I did. And I ended it ten years ago, for heavens sake! So why on earth was I feeling even the slightest speck of sorrow?
I know why. It’s because of this December Plan. This particular week of the December Plan. My old boyfriend’s old house had a message about forgiveness for me. And its not the message you might expect. The message is not about forgiving old lovers.
I realized as I drove past his house that any time anyone pulls away, even a little bit, and even for all the right reasons, and even because we ask them to, we feel at a subterranean level that somehow it was our fault. Somehow we were not enough. Not attractive enough, not smart enough, not clever enough, not rich enough, not organized enough, not focused enough…. Somehow we were not enough.
It’s a demented logic loop, I know. Here’s how it basically sounds:
If I were good enough, everyone would love me. They couldn’t help it.
So, if someone does not love me totally, madly, and completely…
I must not be good enough.
It sounds pretty comical laid out like that. But please don’t laugh. Look instead for the truth inside the loop. Go ahead, test it for yourself. Pick a relationship that didn’t work out. Even, or especially, one you chose to end. If you peek behind the door, I think you’ll find that at a deep emotional level, a deep irrational emotional level, you feel that somehow you didn’t hold the other person’s attention. If you had been just a wee bit more __________ — something — then he or she would never have turned to someone else, or fallen out of love with you, or simply stopped being interested.
Why is this such a big message? And why is it so important for this week? Because it proves that there is really only one person who needs forgiving.
Not the other guy. You. It’s always you. The wound is inside of you. It’s not about what the other guy did. That can and will be forgiven, but the first wound, the greatest wound, and the hardest one to heal, is inside of you.
Have you noticed that?