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:
- to connect with Source
- to commit to values
- to express itself
- 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:
- to connect with Source
- to commit to values
- to serve a purpose
- to express itself
- 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 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.”
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?
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?
This week in our December Plan to create a magical new year, we are looking back at 2009. If we look at it long enough and dig into its adventures deep enough, we’ll find a theme, a purpose, a focus. Consider for a moment the possibility, despite appearances to the contrary, that the past 11 months have been divinely guided every step of the way.
It’s been a movie. Your 2009 movie. And you had the starring role. You know what happens in a good movie. The main character learns something or experiences something or has some sort of epiphany that changes his or her life. When you leave a movie and someone asks, “What was that movie about?” you can answer pretty quickly, “It’s about….” You answer quickly and confidently because you absorbed the theme of the movie. Well, that’s what you’re looking for — the theme of your own 2009 movie.
Once you know that theme, you can give your movie a name, a name that captures the essence, the meaning, the soul purpose of your life’s adventure through 2009. Not sure what that is? Don’t be surprised. None of us do. And rarely do we take the time to figure it out. In December, we get all caught up in holiday preparations and parties. If we have any extra time or awareness, we jump ahead to thinking about the next year. Rarely, if ever, do we stop and sit and explore the story that began the previous January.
Would you like to know what your movie has been about? It’s theme? It’s title?
Then, sit down and have a little chat with your wise loving Voice. Talk about what happened in 2009. And what didn’t happen. Look at what you expected to have or learn or do in 2009. Explore your feelings. Your ahas. Your dilemmas. In the end, what did you learn? What did you accomplish? What’s your epiphany? What was this whole year about?
Looking back at my 2009, I see that it was “The Year of the Book.” (Nice name for my movie, don’t you think?) I learned how to market, promote, travel, speak, teach workshops, use social media, write a newsletter, build an audience, handle booksignings, work with a publicist, graphic designer, publisher. This whole year has been a year of learning about what happens when a book comes out. So why does this matter? Because it’s an essential skill. With this foundation, I’m ready for the next step. And in 2010 I’m going to call in the next step. But first, I’m going to watch the credits roll on my 2009 movie and say thank you.
Here’s how I got LESS. I was writing on Jan 12th after a glorious inaugural booksigning at Wings Bookstore in St Pete, and I told DG that all Writing Down Your Soul needs is more Sharon Jebbens–the manager. What is Sharon? I asked, and immediately my hand wrote:
Loves the book
Embraces the practice
Sees the potential
Spreads the word
I laughed. All this book needs is LESS. (A whole new take on the adage “less is more,” don’t you think?)
Then I realized that Writing Down Your Soul’s readers are also LESS. So are all the guides, like coaches and therapists, who encourage people to start writing down their souls. Bottom line is everyone who falls in love with this book is LESS.
So the Voice and I were talking about getting more LESS. And the Power of Five showed up on the page. As soon as I saw the words, I knew what it meant:
If each person who reads this blog forwards it to five people…
If each person who gets the Writing Down Your Soul newsletter, forwards it to five people… (Don’t get it? Sign up here)
If each person who loves the book, tells five friends… Or gives it to five people as a gift… (You can get a signed copy at my website.)
If each bookseller tells five people who come into their store…
If each coach, therapist, hypnotist, acupunturist or other professional guide tells five clients…
Writing Down Your Soul would reach the hands and hearts of all who seek it–nevermind, make the NYT Bestseller Advice/How to list.
I know you have this power. I recently traced over 200 readers to one woman, Gwynn Kelley who came to a pre-publication Writing Down Your Soul workshop at Unity Church of Palm Harbor. She told a friend, Polly Memhard, in Riverside CT, who told her friend, Martha Howland. Between Polly and Martha over 150 people have been to Writing Down Your Soul workshops and events in CT. PLUS, Gwynn told her daughter who told a life coach in south Florida who called me to help her put together a women’s soul writing class.
I have story after story like this of one person who contacted another and another and suddenly a whole room full of people are reading Writing Down Your Soul.
I may have written the book, but you have the power to get it into people’s hands. Thank you for being the Power of Five. Five, by the way, represents change and anyone who engages in divine dialogue with their wise, loving, inner Voice is going to be guided to wise loving changes in his or her life.
Does the idea of having the power of five make you smile? Please start talking, forwarding, sharing, encouraging…spreading the word. I’m inviting everyone who demonstrates the Power of Five to contact me for a special invitation-only teleclass on Dec 29th to create the Soul Day that will call in a magical new year. Just send me an email at email@example.com and tell me how you are the Power of Five.
Want to learn more about Focused Attraction? I learned it from Rev Lauren McLaughlin of UnityNow.
You know that song. The second you read the title, you heard the Beach boys in your head: good good good, good vibrations! Hey, who doesn’t want THAT. Well, I was invited to be on the radio show, “Good Vibrations” in Monterey California with Solarzar and Kyralani. My job right now is to say YES so of course I said yes. And it was one of my best yesses. Solarzar and Kyralani epitomize for me the wise west. They are articulate, informed, curious, and willing to turn and look and consider and say, “hmmm, what’s that about?” In other words, they are alive. And they make me homesick for California. I’ve been on a dozen radio shows, but this is the first time a host played theta music and invited the listeners to write. If you’ve ever wondered what Writing Down Your Soul is about, really about, listen. I think you’ll love this.
Then tell me, how was writing in theta for you?
I went to a Celebration of Life memorial service for the Rev. Geri Glinski at Unity Church of Palm Harbor today. Geri was a light. And I don’t mean metaphorically. Geri glowed.
At the service, her daughter read Geri’s favorite poem, “The Road Less Travelled” by Robert Frost. Immediately I wondered, what would they be reading if this were my memorial? What poem would my family and friends instinctively know is my all-time favorite. Hafiz, of course. I’m forever reading and quoting the great Sufi mystic, Hafiz. But if they had to read just one poem, I think it would be David Whyte’s, “All the True Vows.”
When I read this poem in 1997, my marriage had disintegrated and I was desperately seeking a core, an essence, an answer that could make the chaos make sense. Reading this poem, I knew that my answer lay in writing my own “true vows.” I call it my Covenant with Spirit. And from the moment I wrote my seven vows, they began to magnetically rearrange my life. I still repeat my seven-line Covenant every day. It’s still true, and it would still kill me to break them.
All the True Vows
(from The House of Belonging)
All the true vows
are secret vows
the ones we speak out loud
are the ones we break.
There is only one life
you can call your own
and a thousand others
you can call by any name you want.
Hold to the truth you make
every day with your own body,
don’t turn your face away.
Hold to your own truth
at the center of the image
you were born with.
Those who do not understand
their destiny will never understand
the friends they have made
nor the work they have chosen
nor the one life that waits
beyond all the others.
By the lake in the wood
in the shadows
whisper that truth
to the quiet reflection
you see in the water.
Whatever you hear from
the water, remember,
it wants to carry
the sound of its truth on your lips.
in this place
no one can hear you
and out of the silence
you can make a promise
it will kill you to break,
that way, you’ll find
what is real and what is not.
I know what I am saying.
Time almost forsook me
and I looked again.
Seeing my reflection
I broke a promise
for the first time
after all these years
in my own voice,
before it was too late
to turn my face again.
I, too, spoke in my own voice before it was too late. And that call, that voice, that new, personal, sacred promise created the life I now live. So, although I so want lots of mystical poetry at my celebration, lots of Rumi and Hafiz and Meister Eckhart, first and forever, there must be David Whyte.
How about you? What words have grabbed your attention, turned your head, and will not let you go? Whatever that poem or statement is, find it, print it, say it. Say it. Say it today.
And share it with us. What one poem do you want them to read at your memorial?
In Follow Up, the fourth step in Writing Down Your Soul, I talk about several ways to confirm or clarify your guidance. One of my favorites is to pay attention to the messages that come through animals. (p 183-185)
I was raised strict Catholic. Trust me, no nun or priest ever mentioned animals as vehicles for divine guidance. But in 1992, I took a Women’s Spiritual Empowerment class from Charlotte Starfire and my eyes were forever opened to the constant stream of messages in the air and on the land coming to me (and to everyone) in the form of animals.
Charlotte learned about the medicine, or healing messages, of animals from Sun Bear, the great Native American shaman and teacher. Since Charlotte’s class, I’ve kept my Medicine Cards close at hand and turned to them often to understand why a snake crossed my path or an osprey died a few feet from my door. I love my beautiful animal messengers and I welcome their messages.
But last night at 5:00 AM I got a new messenger and I didn’t love it at all. I was awakened by a cockroach crawling across my forehead. Instinctively, I threw it across the room and sat up in horror. I turned on the lights and pursued that thing for thirty minutes. I simply could not fall back asleep with a cockroach somewhere in my bedroom. This is Florida, and I know roaches are everywhere, but thanks to my pest control company, there’s never been a moving one in my bedroom before.
Well, this morning, when I did my deep soul writing, I asked, “What’s with the bug? If I perceive your divine messages in other more delightful animals, don’t I have to recognize the message this creature delivered, too?” It took me a few pages of writing to get the message. The bug had been on my forehead, my third eye, the seat of my knowing. So it was letting me know that I had bugs in my thinking, bugs in my programming.
And of course, it was right. I’ve been wracked with fear lately, fear about finances and fear about my son’s well-being. I desparately need to debug my programming.
“How do I do that?” I wrote. And the answer instantly appeared: “Ask the cards.” But this time, instead of going to the Medicine Cards, I went to a new deck my publicist, Jennifer Hill Robenalt, gave me when I met her in Austin: The Answer is Simple by Sonia Choquette. I love these cards. And they are, as the name implies, incredibly easy to use.
So I took a deep breath and prayerfully asked my question: “How do I debug my programming? How do I get the fear out?”
I drew three cards and laughed at the answer — and yes, it’s simple, clear and simple:
1. Say Thank You.
Suspend your fears long enough to recognize and appreciate those who are helping you. I recognized immediately that I’d been taking the small army of people who love me and my book for granted.
2. Reclaim Your Art
I didn’t even have to read this to know the answer: get back to my creativity, my writing, my love, my joy.
3. Say Yes
“The ego gets fearful…it waits until it’s absolutely sure that it will be safe before it acts. The trouble with this approach to life is the ego never feels safe, so it never acts, it reacts…. Don’t allow the ego to hold you back from the gorgeous opportunities in front of you. Take a chance and trust life as it unfolds.”
The cards perfectly diagnosed the fear “bugs” in my programming and showed me three simple steps to take to get de-bugged. I’m on it right now: I am grateful, I am writing, and I joyfully say YES! to my life’s purpose.
And so, I have to say once more to all my messengers, from the majestic birds to the creepy bugs, thank you for your words and your wisdom, your guidance and your grace. I see you. I hear you. And I learn from you. I am so blessed. And thank you to Sonia Choquette for her fabulous cards.
I am not special or unique. The animals are talking to all of us all the time. Consider this: What animal is delivering a message to you right now? What’s the animal? What’s the message? And what are you going to do with your message?
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?
Bridgitt, a young mother in a Writing Down Your Soul teleclass, sent me this amazing photo of Wesley, her four-year old, throwing himself into writing down his soul.
And this story:
Shortly after beginning my daily soul-writing practice, my four-year old son Wesley asked if he could draw in my journal. I told him, “This journal is just for Mommy, but how would you like to have your very own journal?” This was very intriguing to him, so we went right out and got journals for Wes and his little brother Owen. They chose black imitation-leather notebooks (because my notebook is black) and blue pens (because blue is their favorite color.) This past week, Wes asked me three times for his “journal” all on his own!
The boys’ souls have much to say; I really don’t have to even guide them. Owen mostly scribbles in his journal and attempts to draw the letter O. It seems no matter how much time I give him, I have to pry the journal from his little hands as he wails at the end of each session. I am guessing because he is nearly two-years old, his soul has a lot to work out on paper!
Wesley, on the other hand, is very orderly with his journal and has a variety of ideas to express – sometimes scribbling, other times little drawings, often dictating dreams or memories for me to document, and occasionally asking me to draw a picture so he can color it. Yesterday, he “wrote” about his toys – his Lego’s, his slinky, and “all my other toys.” After about 10-15 minutes, he tucked his blue pen in the pocket at the back and declared, “OK, I’m done now. I writed all I needed to, for now.” What intuition!
I love this picture. This is us, all of us, throwing our souls on to the page. People often ask me how you know when to stop writing for the day. I always tell them you’ll know when to end. You’ll have a feeling, a knowing, that this enough for today. Or as Wesley puts it, “I writed all I needed to, for now.”