A New Year surprise: We’re pregnant!

I love January 1st. It’s a wildly creative day. I set my intention to receive rich guidance and then settle into my sacred writing chair to extract all the gifts of the past year with my Beloved Voice. Next, we explore all the possibilities of the year to come. Then comes my favorite part: naming the new year. That’s always such a fun revelation. I wrap up my year-starting mini-retreat by creating a vision board with the name of the year across the bottom. But last January. I did two things differently. Those two things set a whole new life in motion.

First, I began the day reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s You are Here and when I stumbled upon “When conditions are sufficient, there is a manifestation,” my mouth flew open and my understanding of the Law of Attraction flipped in that instant on its head.

Second, instead of making a rectangle-shaped vision board, I made a mandala. I drew little pictures of all I want on the periphery and a big yellow lily in the center with the “conditions” that I promise to live written on the six petal. Across the bottom, I wrote 2010’s name on a purple banner: “My Breakthrough Year.”

Did reading Thich Nhat Hanh or making a mandala matter?

Well, let’s just say that 2010 was, to put it mildly, magical. The number of new ideas and events flowing through me were breathtaking. People wanted to know how to create that magic for themselves. So I taught The Lotus and The Lily four times to over 100 people and after each course, my inbox overflowed with screaming emails: THIS WORKS!

So I thought I knew what to do this January 1st. I made a pot of french press coffee (coffee matters), spoke my Soul Vows, set my intention to be open to guidance, and sat down to write. But then, just like last year, instead of writing, I bent down and picked up a book–Thich Nhat Hanh’s Living Buddha Living Christ. I began to read. And, just like last year, I couldn’t put it down. All I can say is, Thich Nhat Hanh did it again!

Listen to this: “The word ‘Buddha’ comes from the root buddh, which means to wake up. A Buddha is someone who is awake.” (I didn’t know that. Did you?) Thich Nhat Hanh goes on to say that the Buddha told his followers to focus not on rules or doctrines or dogmas, but on practice. It is practice that brings our spiritual knowing to life. Or as Thich Nhat Hanh puts it, “We are all mothers of the Buddha because we are all pregnant with the potential for awakening.”

I giggled. Oh my God, I’m pregnant! A bit of a surprise at 62, but I know it’s true. I can feel it. I can feel ideas and books and relationships and all manner of things pressing to be born. Of greater importance, I sense a more awakened relationship with Spirit growing inside me.

Are you pregnant, too? I think so. But like all expectant parents, we must care tenderly for our babies. How? Thich Nhat Hanh says we care for our growing baby Buddha by being mindful,
listening for the voice, being attentive to the messages around us in all their forms–even leaves or pebbles or clouds. But the number one thing we do to bring our Awakening Buddha to life is find a spiritual practice and live it. Live it every day.

My pregnant self floated through the rest of New Year’s Day. I made a 2011 mandala. I asked what to name this year. “Big Pot” came the answer. Big Pot? I looked at my mandala. Oh, I get it. If I look at the 12-inch circle of my mandala from an eagle eye view, it does look an awful lot like a huge soup pot. And, you know what? I think the Master Chef is adding some pretty nifty ingredients and doing a lot of simmering. Ever since I read Heat , I’ve been obsessed with learning how to make Ragu Bolognese. Now I see that I’ve been mimicking the master chef cooking up a “Janet Bolognese.”

I did one last thing on Jan 1–something new. I added up the numeric values of the letters in “Big Pot.” The total came to 33. The master number of creativity. Yeowza. If the Master Chef keeps this up, it’s going to be an amazing year.

Would you like to know the numeric vibration of your year’s name or any words? It’s easy. Just select the numeric value of each letter in this chart and add them up.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z

B I G P O T
2 + 9 + 7 + 7 + 6 + 2 = 33

Here’s another example, Jazz Jaeschke of Austin TX in the Lotus and Lily class that just ended named 2011 “Harmony Happens.”

H A R M O N Y
8 + 1 + 9 + 4 + 6 + 5 + 7 = 40

H A P P E N S
8 + 1 + 7 + 7 + 5 + 5 + 1 = 34

Harmony Happens 74 = 7 + 4 = 11

Talk about a power number. 11 is the wisdom channel of the divine. What does the numeric value mean? Well, for that you need a bit of introduction to numerology. Here’s a very simple overview:

1 new beginnings, take action, courage, independence
2 intuitive, receiving, separation, nurturing, forgiving
3 trinity, combining 1 & 2, peacemaking, creativity
4 physical manifestation, structure, form, building step-by-step
5 change, movement, freedom, flexibility, sensual
6 balance, responsibility, commitment, relationships, harmony
7 inner truth and power, trust, deeper answers, mystical
8 abundance, power, material success, inner power, harvest
9 wholeness, oneness, bigger picture, unconditional love

For a richer understanding, I recommend Numerology by Ruth Drayer.

Even if you don’t have a name for your year, we can all tap into the universal numeric vibration for 2011: 2 + 0 + 1 + 1 = 4

Four is the number of organization, structure, foundation. In other words, spiritual practice! (I think the Buddha and Thich Nhat Hanh are smiling on us this year.)

What exactly is Spirit cooking up in my “Big Pot” year? I don’t know. And that’s OK. I don’t have to know the what, when, or how. I leave the details to my Divine Partner. (And, based on my experience, I gotta say the Divine does great work.) I commit to doing my part, the part taught by the Buddha. I’ll show up every day and do my practice.

For me that means speaking my Soul Vows, my Creative Blessing, Lorna Byrne’s angel prayer, the 12 affirmations from UnityNow, and last, standing in front of my “2011 Big Pot” mandala and having a nice chat with the “Master Chef” about the year Spirit is cookin’ up for me! It means engaging in deep soul writing. It means waking in joy and going to bed in gratitude. It means blessing every bite of food. It means calling on the angels for guidance and following the guidance I receive.

None of this is difficult. In fact, it’s really all rather delightful. It’s how I parent my sweet baby Buddha. How about you? What are you doing in this 4 year of foundation and spiritual practice to birth the sweet baby Buddha growing inside of you?

___________________

If you want more help birthing that Buddha and 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.


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?


Jumpstart 2010 with a “Conditions” Mandala

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.