What lies beyond the Law of Attraction

 
How does The Lotus and The Lily process work? I know it does. I’ve lived it for two years. This coming January 1, I’ll create my third Intention Mandala and I know today without a doubt, that the result will be a 2012 I will love. And I’m not the only one. Hundreds of people who have gone through The Lotus and The Lily telecourse have shared their own miraculous results.
 
But knowing something works and understanding how it works are two different things.
 
 
 
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I’ve struggled mightly with prosperity and attraction. Like everybody else, I was impacted by the popular literature on changing your thinking and asking for what you want. I listened, learned, and tried. But despite my best efforts, by November of 2009 I was bankrupt. It hurt, but I made an appointment to see a bankruptcy attorney the next February. In the meantime, I picked up a pen and demanded help. I received instructions on what to do during the four weeks of December.
 
There was one creepy caveat: I was to blog every day, letting the whole word peek into my spiritual pain and practice. I didn’t like that part. But I did it. Please understand that I did not clearly know what I was doing. The process did not come from anywhere inside my conscious mind. And I couldn’t find anything like it in the literature. And, I confess, I didn’t have any particular confidence that the whole thing would work. Bankruptcy was looking pretty final. But I couldn’t see any other option, so on December 1, 2009, I wrote my first blog.
 
A month later, after thirty days of often surprising spiritual exploration, I woke on January 1, 2010 ready to call in a new year. I felt truly ready. I had made amazing discoveries in my month of preparation. I had uncovered hidden gifts in my past, become a real friend of ritual and prayer, emptied myself of any vestige of anger or resentment, and become clear on what I wanted next in my life. That morning, I felt a deep sense of peace and knew I was in God’s hands and all was well.
 
But instead of starting my customary Soul Day process, I picked up a library book lying at my feet that was due the next day. Why in the world did I do that? Looking back I can only think it was an angel nudge.
 
Whatever the reason, I am forever grateful. Because buried in Thich Nhat Hanh’s beautiful book, You are Here, was a simple sentence explaining the Buddha’s teaching on the relationship of all things. That sentence changed my life, gave birth to The Lotus and The Lily course, and started a snowball rolling down a hill toward a greatly expanded writing and teaching career. The sentence is: “When conditions are sufficient, there is a manifestion.”
 
I lept out of my chair. My hand shot to my forehead. I raced in circles around the room gushing, “Oh my God! Oh my God! Everything we think we know about the Law of Attraction is 180 degrees off.” Every fiber of my being vibrated in recognition of Truth with a capital T. In the time it takes to read eight words, I knew why I hadn’t been able to create the life I wanted: Because it isn’t about asking for what you want! It’s about creating the fertile conditions that automatically and naturally produce all you want and more. There’s a BIG, BIG difference.
 
A few days later, I went hunting for what Jesus might have said on the same topic. I was pretty sure the two great spiritual masters wouldn’t teach two different things.
 
I was right. In English we read: “Seek first the kingdom, and all else shall be provided.” But in Aramaic, Jesus is so much more eloquent and precise: “When you pursue a right relationship with the Universal One, and allow that relationship to realign your life, you produce a condition of receptivity, in which everything you need to fulfill your purpose in life will be supplied by the universe.” (Neil Douglas-Klotz, Blessings of the Cosmos.)
 
In a word, it’s not about asking for anything; it’s about creating conditions.
 
In the two years since that morning, I have embraced Buddha and Jesus’s teachings on conditions. I’ve taught The Lotus and The Lily five times, and written the book proposal. But there was a part of me that still didn’t really grasp just how profound the differences are between the Law of Attraction and The Lotus and The Lily.
 
So the angels sent Jason Howard. Jason is a member of Your Soul Wants Five Things. We were talking on the phone and he asked what was happening with The Lotus and The Lily.I told him about Larry Dossey’s wonderful endorsement:”The Lotus and the Lily is a healthy corrective for the ego-driven, materialistic interpretation of spirituality that is epidemic in our culture. Spirituality is not about getting your stuff. It is about developing a closer relationship with the Transcendent, however named, as Janet Conner makes clear.””Of course,” Jason said, “The Lotus and The Lily is about  giving, not getting; allowing, not requesting.” In that moment, a whole cascade of differences came pouring down. I had to write them quickly lest I forget. Here are just a few:
 
Law of Attraction                            Lotus and Lily
 
human at the center                     divine at the center
how to ask                                         how to live
things                                                  conditions
effort                                                   effortless
goals                                                    intentions
conscious mind                              higher self/soul
ego                                                      will
manipulate                                      allow
personal desire                              universal service
personal power                              step aside
fill the cup yourself                      “cup runneth over”
 
 
That’s just a taste. The differences are endless. Now, this doesn’t mean the Law of Attraction is wrong. It simply means that we’ve been focused on only a tiny corner of its true power and capacity. Jesus said, “everything you need” will be supplied by the universe. So why ask for this or that when if you put your energy into creating the conditions of your life, the universe will send everything.
 
In these past two years, I can certainly attest to things and people and opportunities coming my way that I didn’t ask for. It appears that a greater consciousness than mine knew I needed them and sent them effortlessly to me. My job, as I see it, is to say thank you and use everything that comes to me to fulfill my purpose.
 
So I say thank you to Jason and the angel that sent him. Thank you to Thich Nhat Hanh and the angel that nudged me to read his book. Thank you to Neil Douglas-Klotz for a lifetime of research into Jesus in Aramaic. And I say thank you to the hundreds who have joined me in this great adventure.
 
If you’ve been wondering what lies BEYOND the Law of Attraction, please come join me on November 21 for the only presentation of The Lotus and The Lily before the book comes out next year.  
 
I cannot wait to stand beside you as you too discover just how rich and delightful life can be beyond the Law of Attraction.
  
 

Your soul wants five things

A lot has happened in the last two weeks. Heck, a lot has happened so far this year. Might have something to do with creating my Intention Mandala on January 1st and naming 2011 “My Big Pot Year.” I had no idea what that meant at the time, but after just 31 days, I’m beginning to see.

The “big” in Big Pot exploded open last Saturday. I intended to get a lot of writing done, but instead I listened to a teleconference. I don’t particularly like the teacher or her emphasis on how to make a million bucks, so why did I give her an hour of my precious time? I have no answer to that question. Something told me to listen, so I did. And OH am I grateful.

The teleconference was about how to create a million dollar coaching program. I do not want to create a coaching program — not even a million dollar one. I’m very clear that I am not your therapist or life coach. When people ask me what they should do about a problem, I say: “I don’t know. But you do. Take your problem to the page. Ask your wise loving Voice.” So what was I doing on a teleconference on how to be a big time coach? Why didn’t I hang up? I don’t know. I felt this urgency to keep listening. So I did. Well, about 3/4 of the way through, an idea jumped through whatever the woman was saying and landed with a giant plop in my heart.

OH! All the courses I teach are part of one integrated whole. Writing Down Your Soul, Plug In, Soul Vows, and The Lotus and The Lily are four aspects of one thing — the one thing everyone wants to know: What does my soul want?

I hung up and grabbed my soul journal. The words tumbled out faster than I could write. I knew instantly that your soul wants four things:

  1. to connect with Source
  2. to commit to values
  3. to express itself
  4. to create a life

And what do my courses teach?

Writing Down Your Soul — how to connect with Source
Soul Vows — how to commit to a values covenant with Spirit
Plug In — how to give your soul full expression
The Lotus and The Lily — how to create a life

At last I understood why I had been given such clear directions last November to teach Soul Vows. Four soul desires, four courses. I went to bed very happy.

But Sunday morning, in that rich theta-drenched, not awake-not asleep state, I heard “serve a purpose.” I knew exactly what that meant. It meant there was a fifth thing our souls want. But I don’t have a separate program for that and I sure didn’t want to take on creating a new course, so I ignored it. (As if heaven would give up and let me win. You can tell how this is going to end, can’t you.) All day Sunday, I fooled around with the four things your souls wants: to connect, to commit, to express, and to create. I played with offering my four courses in that order. I went to bed excited.

Monday morning, I was awakened again with “serve a purpose.” Just in case I missed it, I heard it three times: “Serve a purpose, serve a purpose, serve a purpose.” I sat up. OK! OK! OK! The soul wants FIVE things:

  1. to connect with Source
  2. to commit to values
  3. to serve a purpose
  4. to express itself
  5. to create a life

I sighed. Guess I have one more program to design. “I’ll do it,” I said. “If you want it, I’ll do it.”

On Tuesday morning, the next piece arrived. (I have trained myself to be still in the morning and allow guidance and ideas to come to me. And they do. They always do. If you’ve taken a Writing Down Your Soul course, you know that divine access comes when you’re in the theta brain wave state. One of the spiritual practices I share in Plug In is how to expand that state throughout the day, especially first thing in the morning.)

In my not-yet-awake state, I “saw” a hand. I opened my eyes and looked at my own hand. OH! Your soul wants five things:

to connect–thumb

to commit–first finger

to serve–second finger

to express –ring finger

to create–little finger

I called Cherry Lea, the owner of Dancing Moon in Raleigh, where I’ll be presenting the first ever weekend workshop on The Lotus and The Lily in March. I told her the story about how listening to that teleconference led me to see that my courses are a connected whole. She sighed, “Of course they are.” I told her the big question is “What does my soul want?” She sighed a sigh of recognition. I told her the five things the soul wants. She sighed an ever deeper sigh of agreement. I told her about the hand. I had her wiggle each digit as I repeated the five things her soul wants. She sighed a huge sigh of joy.

Then, Cherry gave me a sweet gift. She said, “Of course, the symbol of what your soul wants would be your hand. It has to be a hand for you.” I said, “Oh really, why is that?” She couldn’t believe I didn’t see it. “Janet,” she said, “look at how you sign every email.”

OH! I cried. Of course. I’ve had this symbol of the hand for three years without understanding its full meaning. I sign every note including these newsletters: the connection is in your hand.

That evening, I stopped at my neighborhood grocery store. I’ve shopped at this grocery store for 11 years. Nothing mystical has ever happened there. But that evening, as I was pushing my cart across the back of the store, I heard a loud clink. Something had fallen and was rolling all the way across the aisle in front of my cart. I watched as it hit the bottom of the meat counter, rolled back a foot and stopped. I stared at it for a second trying to figure out what it was. I’m used to pennies falling out of the sky, but this was silver. I walked over and picked it up. It was a shiny Canadian nickel. FIVE cents! I laughed out loud and put it in my pocket. My precious five cent piece now graces my creative altar.

So here’s my gift for you: Look at your hand. Now, ask yourself: What does my soul want?


Wait! Don’t start 2011 without unwrapping the final gift of 2010

Do you know what today is? Yes, it’s December 30th. Yes, it’s the day before New Year’s Eve. But look at the date. December 30, 2010 is 1+2+3+0+2+0+1+0. Add it up. It’s a nine. What’s a nine? Completion, full circle. 12-30-10 is the perfect day to complete your understanding of 2010.

Throughout December, I’ve been walking in the footsteps of my original The Lotus and The Lily experience that began exactly a year ago—the experience that turned my understanding of the Law of Attraction on its head and transformed by bank accounts from zilch to zillions. Well, OK, not zillions, but enough—more than enough.

In The Lotus and The Lily process, I teach people how to prepare for a delicious new year filled with purpose and joy by implementing the original (and identical) teachings of Buddha and Jesus. On Monday, I prepped the 38 members of the current class on how to create a personal mini-retreat or “Soul Day,” including how to make the all-important Intention Mandala. I’ve taught this process five times this year and am within a hair of completing the book proposal. Or so I thought.

But this morning, I discovered that there is something missing. Something big.

One of the experiences in The Lotus and The Lily is to name your year. Last January, I named 2010 “My Breakthrough Year” and wrote that name in big letters across the bottom of my Intention Mandala. But as I did The Lotus and The Lily exercises this month, it dawned on me that the real name of this year is “New and Renew.”

As I was soul writing today, the question “What else do I need to know about New and Renew?” popped onto the page. My head jerked up. “Oh!” I cried. I had started the year back on January 1 with an angel card reading using Doreen Virtue’s Archangel Oracle Deck. I leapt out of my chair, grabbed the deck, breathed my question onto the cards, and prayerfully asked my Divine Guide: What else do I need to know about New and Renew?

I pulled four cards, just as I did 364 days ago, when I asked for a first blessing on the year being born. The messages from the angels take my breath away. They remind me that the year has indeed been one of implementing a mad flow of new ideas followed by quiet periods of silent renewal. And they point the way to how to prepare for next year. I am to remember

from Jeremiel that “All is well,”

from Uriel that “I know what to do,”

from Jophiel to “clear my space,” and

from Raziel to trust that messages that come through “clairvoyance” (the perfect message for deep soul writers!)

Everything I need to know or remember is right here in this simple card reading. Much as I loathe filing, I’m going to take Jophiel’s advice and attach that pile of papers on the floor. And gather all four of my last 2010 gifts as I enter into my Soul Day on January 1st and set my Intentions for the new year.

What are your final gifts of 2010? Take a moment in deep soul writing or meditation or whatever method you use to connect with your Divine Guidance. Ask, “What else do I need to know about 2010?” Then take those gifts, bless them, and step into 2011 knowing 2010 is truly complete.


You haven’t heard from me because…

I wrote this feature article for my Writing Down Your Soul newsletter on Dec 28. If you’d like to subscribe, click above.

You haven’t heard from me since December 1. Going a month without communicating is a giant no-no in my profession, but I just couldn’t. I set first one and then another and still another deadline to get a newsletter out before Christmas and watched as each one slipped away. I asked about this problem as I was falling asleep on Dec 21 and in the drowsy first moments the next morning the words New and Renew popped into my head.

I picked up my journal. “Dear Voice, what does new and renew mean? Let’s start with new. What’s new?” Well, my hand couldn’t write fast enough. I was stunned to see all the new courses, books, and events I had created in 2010. OK, I wrote, what about renew? “Look up” the Voice wrote. I looked up at my giant wall calendar. July and December were blank. “Oh,” I wrote, “to be able to produce the new, I have to step back and allow myself to be renewed.”

It was no accident that this awareness came on Solstice. The earth, our mother and primary teacher, shows us year in and year out that life is a cycle of birth, growth, death, and in the silence that follows, renewal. And what comes out of this fallow silent period? Why new birth and new growth, of course. Mother earth has been demonstrating this for eons.

But we humans live as if the renewal part of the cycle doesn’t count. Our employers, and indeed ourselves, place our value on our ability to wake every day and produce and produce and produce. Only we can’t. I mean, we can for awhile, for years even, but the day inevitably comes when the call for renewal must be heard. Call it burn out or exhaustion or numbness–a
day comes when we simply do not have the juice to keep going.

So this December, I’ve been following mother earth’s advice. She’s in renewal mode and so am I. I’m quiet. If you could peak in my window, you’d see me in my favorite reading chair surrounded by books and blankets and tea. Or writing in my sacred writing chair. Or devouring Italian cookbooks and experimenting in the kitchen. And you’d see me sleeping. Oh, how you’d see me sleeping. Some mornings, you’d look at your watch and shake your head: Surely she should be up by now!

To be honest I thought the same thing. But then I decided to let go of any judgment of what I should be doing and just be in the place of renewal. I sense this is a rich place. A lot is going on inside, whether I see it or not. And out of this quiet state will come a vibrant 2011 bursting with new ideas, books, and events. To ensure that happens, I’m going to cap my December renewal period with a “Soul Day” on January 1st.

I know from years of experience that the best way to call in a magical new year is to step into abundant quiet for 24 hours on the first day of the year and in that quiet have long chats with Spirit about what is important in the next year. The end result is a short list of crystal-clear intentions.

I am not talking about making New Year resolutions. We all know how long those last. And I’m not talking about setting goals. I played that game in my business life and always found the exercise flat and uninspiring. Sure, my company always met its goals, but I always felt like saying, “So what?”

I’m talking about something more. Something bigger and deeper. I’m talking about articulating your relationship with Spirit. I’m talking about stepping into a commitment to live a life in partnership with the divine. I’m talking about being of service to the spark of creativity that is begging to come to be born.

If this is a new concept, I have news for you: you have no idea just how delicious your life can be–no, will be–when you step away from the limited concept of resolutions and goals and step into the abundant possibilities of living the life you are here to live.

Those in my The Lotus and The Lily course have spent five weeks preparing to set their intentions on January 1. They have accululated a wealth of insights and resources, but you can have a profound and beautiful Soul Day, too. Here’s how. (More details in Writing Down Your Soul p 230-236)

1. Start by giving yourself the gift of Renewal. Set aside a half or full day to set your intentions for 2011.

2. On the page, in deep soul writing, have a nice long chat with your beloved Voice about last year. Talk about what happened and ask for guidance to extract all the gifts, learnings, and blessings of 2010. You’ll be surprised.

3. Next, write about all the people you cannot forgive for all the rotten things they did to you. Guess what, you can’t call in a magical new year while lugging them around. Let them go. Spirit will help you do it. And don’t forget to release yourself. Trust me, the number one person who needs to be forgiven is YOU.

4. Now, start talking over what you want next year. What matters? What would help you live a life of joy and purpose? Make a list. And don’t forget to talk about what you are you going to do for Spirit in return. This is a two-way street, after all.

5. Now it’s time to do something with your wish list. For years I made a Prayer Sandwich (Writing Down Your Soul p 188-199). Now, I make an Intention Mandala. And add the name my year at the bottom. You and Spirit can work out how to capture what both of you are going to do in 2011.

6. There’s only one thing left to do: Celebrate! You have just engaged in the deepest dialogue of the year. And this dialogue is already working to attract all that you need to live the life you’re here to live. Be grateful. Be happy. Raise your glass in gratitude and joy.

Does a Soul Day make a difference? Oh baby! Every single thing on my Intention Mandalas since 2006 has come to pass. In 2006, I asked for a marketing partner and had UPI five days later. I asked for a publisher and had a contract with Conari Press that November. And it’s not just me. I started teaching The Lotus and The Lily course this year and now have dozens of stories, many of which take my breath away.

If you want more help attracting a delightful and holy new year, consider joining me and Margo Mastromarchi for 2011 Intentions with the Angels, learning how to write the most important prayer in your life–your Soul Vows, and learning how to Plug In to the creative force of the universe.

How are YOU planning on calling in a year filled with all the blessings the universe has in store for you?


The hidden gift of November

We have a tendency to skip over November. It has one rather nice American holiday–Thanksgiving. But after all that eating, and even taking a moment to be grateful, November typically gets hustled out of the way. Its primary function, it seems, is to usher in the “real” holidays of December. And there are oodles of them: Hanukkah, Christmas, Eid, Solstice, Kwanzaa…every spiritual tradition has a festival in December.

Why? Why is December celebration central? Because it is the natural culmination of the earth’s life cycle. Solstice marks the longest night of the year, the entrance into death and darkness. And in the cold and the dark, the seed of life is born again. The earth does continue to spin, and as humanity applauds, the sun does indeed rise again to renew the cycle of the seasons. Our ancient ancestors saw this cycle and burned a big fat log on a long cold night to celebrate the earth’s renewal by the light.

We may have forgotten why, but we keep coming together all December long in spiritual and secular celebrations. We give gifts, go to parties, light candles, shop like crazy, eat massive amounts of glorious food; why, some of us even pray.

But what does all this have to do with November? To find the riches buried in November, look at a calendar. Last January, you entered 2010 with new hopes for a better year, right? As winter faded into spring, and spring into summer, did those dreams melt or morph into something else? Are you today, 11 months later, living the life you hoped for on January 1st? Most of us would say no. Some of us would whisper a weak, “Not exactly.” Some of us would scream,”HELL, NO!”

Why? Why, if we have such high hopes on January 1, do we not experience what we want? Kevin Spacey has the answer. Yes, really. Kevin Spacey. Listen to Kevin Spacey for 1 minute 45 seconds. It could be the most important spiritual message you hear all year. Listen

Now, do you see why you aren’t experiencing your January dreams? Because desire is not enough. Dedicating every breath of your body is.

So what does this have to do with November? Everything. November is the cusp month. It is the month when the cold and dark settles in. (At least in the Northern Hemisphere.) In this dark, you stand at the threshold of a big decision. Am I ready to dedicate myself to become the person I’m here to become–not for the “stuff” but for the joy of being my full, authentic, holy self?

When you make that decision, you shift 180 degrees from desire to dedication. In that moment, the Great Paradox springs to life. Jesus and Buddha taught the Great Paradox in remarkably clear and similar language. When you dedicate your whole being to living your divine purpose, the universe has no choice but to provide everything you need–even things you didn’t ask for. It works. Just look at Kevin Spacey.

I made the decision to shift from desire to dedication last November. At the time I had no idea what I was doing, or how profound a step I was taking, or that I was about to stumble headlong into the Great Paradox. I just threw myself into intense daily deep soul writing and spiritual practice in the hopes of fending off bankruptcy. I knew desire alone wasn’t cutting it–that was painfully obvious–but I didn’t know then that dedication was the magic. I didn’t know that making the commitment to achieve the life I’m here to live would not only transform my life, but yours as well.

So I give you the gift of November. (Well, I don’t; Life does.) Take it. Open it. Stare at it. Ask yourself what you really, really want. If it’s a bit more “stuff,” try the popular conception of the Law of Attraction. Maybe it will work for you.

But if you want to play big, if you want to fulfill your soul’s purpose, if you want to make a difference, if you want to bring your gifts to full, vibrant, raucous life… then, recognize this cusp moment of November. Explore it. Write about it. Digest its possibilities. And make your decision.

You have a choice. A sacred choice. You can waltz through December as you always have and see what the new year brings, or you can walk consciously and intentionally through each and every day of December, engaging in spiritual practice and deep soul exploration, and wake with the sun on January 1, knowing you are ready to call in a magical new year.

I’ve made my decision. On November 29, I’m going to begin The Lotus and The Lily telecourse not only as a teacher but as a daily active participant. One year ago, this process changed my life, but I sense there are even more miracles ahead. And I’m ready. I’m ready to say yes to the life I’m here to live, even if I don’t know exactly what that looks like.

Somehow, even though the outcome is unknown, I feel safe and guided. And excited. Like Tony, I’m singing:

Something’s comin;
I don’t know
what it is
but it is
gonna be grand.