Do you know your theme for 2011

I have been deeply engrossed in how to create a life for quite awhile now. I’ve held a Soul Day and created an Intention Mandala on January 1st for several years. Does it work? Well, let’s see… I’ve “manufactured” a major UPI blog presence, Conari came out of nowhere to ask me to write a book, Writing Down Your Soul is approaching its third printing, the new matching journal, My Soul Page, will be out in May, people around the world have fallen in love with deep soul writing, I averted bankcruptcy last year by diving deeply into my Soul Day process, and that experience created my next book, The Lotus and The Lily.

So, you’d think I know what I’m doing. You’d think my Soul Day process was complete. You’d think I could just show up on January 1st and go through my magical motions and VOILA 2011 would unfold as it should.

You’d be wrong.

It’s always new. It’s always a mystery. Something new somehow always lands in my lap and surprises me. Today it was a poem. By Hafiz.

I love Hafiz. I know Hafiz. I keep Daniel Ladinsky’s books close at hand. So I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised that the first thing I did on January 1st was ask Hafiz to step out of the 14th century and tell me what I need to know about the precious gift of 2011.

I closed my eyes and opened The Gift and read a poem I’ve never read before, despite reading this book every day for 3 1/2 years.

The Seed Cracked Open

It used to be that when I would wake in the morning,
I could with confidence say, “What am ‘I’ going to do?”
That was before the seed cracked open.
Now Hafiz is certain:
There are two of us housed in this body,
doing the shopping together in the market
and tickling each other while fixing the evening’s food.
Now when I awake, all the internal instruments play the same music:
“God, what love-mischief can ‘We’ do for the world today?”

Thank you Hafiz, for my “theme song” for 2011. I printed out the poem, drew a cracked open seed in the corner, and posted it on my Intention Mandala for 2011. Every day for the next 365 days, Hafiz will remind me what my work is REALLY all about: Not me, but We. Not writing, but “love-mischief.

What a sweet blessing. Thank you, Hafiz, for showing me in just a few lines what the new year is REALLY all about.

Now, it’s your turn. Take your favorite mystical poetry book or sacred text or oracle card set, or anything really that speaks to your heart. Bless it, close your eyes, and ask from the deepest part of your being, “What message do you have for me? What do I need to know right now about the life that is right before me?”

Then open the book, let the words find you, and take them in. They are a gift. They are a blessing. They are an insight from your Self to yourself.


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.


December Plan Day 28: Your (magical new) year in one picture

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

When you do those three things, what do you see? What one image or picture or object or animal or, well, anything, comes to mind that somehow symbolizes 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!


December Plan Day 23: The magic begins today. What do you want?

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.


(Thanks to Beth Boardman for this delightful picture. Guys, I know it doesn’t work for you; imagine red loafers!)

 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!