Book Club Channel
The Lotus and the Lily: A Book Excerpt
Thanks to Writing Down Your Soul, my career leapt from humanresources consultant to spiritual writer. This, I thought, was a very good thing. When my book came out in early 2009, I happily traipsed around the country teaching deep soul writing. Every day brought new stories of lives changed by the guidance and comfort received on the page. But those trips were financed on my already-burdened credit cards. By November, I had to face the reality that I was bankrupt. I sat down with my son and told him how ashamed I was to be in such a pickle. I couldn't even say the word bankrupt; it came out as a little sob. My son, Jerry, wise before his years, said, "Mom, there's nothing to be ashamed of. I'm proud of you. You're doing the work you want to do. If bankruptcy is the next step, take it." With his words the shame dissolved, and I called a bankruptcy attorney. But his first available appointment wasn't until the following February. What was I supposed to do till then?
The next morning, I said my prayers and got in my sacred writing chair. I told Spirit all about my financial woes and my loving son and the appointment with the attorney. I asked a lot of hard questions: Why, if I'm doing the work I'm here to do, am I broke? How did I get here? What am I supposed to be learning? Where's the blessing in bankruptcy? I want a beautiful life! I want real prosperity. How do I create that? Tell me how to create a beautiful life, and I will do it.
Well, I received answers. I was told to write at the very deepest soul level every day of December. And I was told exactly what to write about and in what order.
Week 1: Spend a week in preparation. Learning how to create life is deep; you need to prepare yourself.
Week 2: Look back at your life. There are gifts buried in there that you haven't explored and don't understand.
Week 3: Release and forgive. You are full of old wounds that haven't been released, and until you release them, there is no room for the new to grow.
Week 4: Before you ask for anything, get clear about what you want and why you want it, so you are sure to create a life of purpose and joy.
This outline made sense to me. In fact, it sounded similar to what I'd been doing on my annual Soul Day. Every New Year's Day, I'd spend time in prayerful preparation, then I'd write about the year just completed and all the gifts and learnings I received, and finally, I'd talk over what I want for the new year.
This process had always worked, but it had been wildly effective on January 1, 2006. That year, no matter what I asked for, I received it. I said I was ready for my marketing partner, and five days later, the news and information outlet United Press International (UPI) invited me to write a weekly column. I said I was ready for my publishing partner, and book publisher Conari Press contacted me in June. I asked for a relationship, and met a man thirteen days later in my favorite restaurant. That year, 2006, was far and away my most magical year to date. I wanted another year like that.
On January 1, 2010, after four weeks of intense spiritual exploration, I felt ready to call in a magical new year. That morning, I woke early, made a pot of coffee, and headed to my writing room. I said my prayers and settled in for a day of divine dialogue. But when I reached for my journal, I noticed a bright yellow book, You Are Here, by Thich Nhat Hanh, at my feet. I began to read and couldn't stop. Thich Nhat Hanh kept drawing me deeper and deeper into his book with his gentle, loving explanation of the Buddha's great teachings. In a chapter on how everything is connected, I turned the page and stumbled upon a sentence: "When conditions are sufficient there is a manifestation."