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The Lotus and the Lily: A Conversation with Janet Conner
Now Featured in the Patheos Book Club
The Lotus and the Lily
Access the Wisdom of Buddha and Jesus to Nourish Your Beautiful, Abundant Life
By Janet Conner
A Conversation with Author Janet Conner
Tell us about yourself. Have you always been a spiritual writer?
Ha! Writing was nowhere on my radar screen. My first career was teaching deaf children. I wasn't a writer. I didn't journal. And I didn't have much of a spiritual life. I grew up Irish Catholic (trust me, Irish is its own brand of Catholic), but I stopped going to church in college. After a few career zigzags through CNN, headhunting, and consulting, two events started me down the path to becoming the writer and soul catalyst I am today.
First, I had a baby at 41. Along with my late-in-life son came a late-in-life visceral need to have a spiritual life. I tried to go back to the Catholic Church, but it didn't feel like home any more, so I went on a search. I studied the divine feminine, went to moon ceremonies, practiced Native American prayer, and cleansed my chakras. I signed up for spiritual workshops, devoured spiritual books, and listened to tapes. I got a bit of a spiritual foundation under my feet just in time for my marriage to implode in rather dramatic fashion. Life was suddenly dangerous.
This is where the story gets interesting. One morning, after three months of cowering in the living room with the blinds shut, my puppy dragged my untouched copy of The Artist's Way to me. I may have been a sniveling mess, but I recognized help. A few pages into the book, I read that there is a source of wisdom available on the page. I threw down the book, grabbed a journal, and scribbled "Dear God" across a page.
There, I made a startling discovery. I discovered I could pour out my story, demand help, and help would come. Every day for the next three years, I received exactly the guidance, comfort, and grace I needed to navigate the divorce, rebuild my life, and forgive my ex-husband.
I made a fun discovery, too. One day I wrote, "I don't know how you're going to do it, but I know that you are. Thank you in advance for ten thousand dollars for the attorney." Three days later I had ten thousand dollars. I connected those dots. Deep soul writing is now the foundational wisdom habit of my life. Everything I do, personally and professionally, starts on the page.
You call yourself a "Catalyst for the Soul." What does that mean?
On opening night of each course in Your Soul Wants Five Things, I make an announcement: I am not your teacher, counselor, or coach. I do not have your answers. I may not be your teacher, but I know who is. You are. Life is. Your soul is. And so are the masters—Buddha, Jesus, and the mystics of all traditions. I may not have your answers, but I do have something invaluable. I have five wisdom habits that will help you maximize your innate spiritual intelligence, engage with your real teachers at depth, and create a soul-directed life. By the end of the course, members are sharing insights and wisdom that far exceed anything I could have taught them.
A few months ago, my publishing consultant, Jo Ann Deck, and I were attempting to write a new bio. She asked me to tell her about myself. I gave her the "I'm not your teacher" lecture. But Jo Ann, I sighed, if I'm not a teacher, what am I? "A catalyst," she said without thinking. "You are a catalyst for the soul."