2023 the year we learn to listen to life
Week 46--in which we ponder how changing our one little life changes the world
Friends, soul writers, mystics, witches, and lovers of prayer,
“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
I love this quote from Arundhati Roy so much that I used it when I signed copies of The Lotus and the Lily on book tour in 2012 and 2013. I felt than, and still feel, that these words capture the essence of the 30-day process in which we look back at the year ending, release wounds and stories we can no longer bear to carry, and begin to create life-enriching conditions that welcome new possibilities in the year to come.
I know this process works. I’m the poster child for the magic of The Lotus and the Lily. No matter how many times I tell the story, I still shake my head in wonder as I recount going from bankrupt to bank-full in just 60 days after making my first mandala.
My new world was clearly possible. And she certainly came. The fact that I’m here writing and leading intensives thirteen years later and you’re here reading these Notes from the Field is proof.
But is it enough to hold such a personal view of her words?
When Roy wrote these words, the “another world” she was describing was a world in which people break free of the chains that empire, patriarchy, and capitalism have wrapped around us. When I read this famous quote in the full political context, I wondered if her words would still apply to my year-ending, year-beginning book and intensive.
They do. They so do. These two views of “another world”—a world that is not only possible but so close we can feel her breath—are interwoven.
The personal exists within the collective. And the collective cradles the personal.
I look at it this way: it’s hard, impossible really, to create a life I want to live, a life overflowing with joy, possibility, and purpose, while walking around in a world that has devolved into primordial hatred, racism, and violence.
Ready or not, we are seeing what “an eye for an eye” looks like. And it’s unbearable. And yet, we must bear it.
- If we look away, how are we different from the good German people who pretended they didn’t see their neighbors disappearing on clanking cattle car trains?
- If we say nothing, isn’t our silence heard by power as assent?
- If we pretend everything is normal and focus only on creating festive holidays, aren’t we just like the townspeople who went to church and celebrated Christmas while women were murdered as witches in the public square?
These are unbearable questions, I know. And yet, I must ask them.
And so, I find myself returning today to Arundhati Roy and asking if The Lotus and the Lily still matters? What good does it do if I, and everyone in this prayer intensive, go through the process? What good does it do if we realize what 2023 has really been about, untie old knotted wounds and stories, listen for 2024 to whisper her possibilities, and create a mandala that welcomes a new world in 2024 to come alive in and through and as us each one of us?
Can one person’s internal process to change their own life, change the trajectory of the world?
Even a little bit?
It not only can, it has to.
I think living the life that wants to be lived in and through and as each one of us, person by person, is the only way to crack the vise grip of the collective power structure. A structure that feeds on blood.
We have long said “as above, so below”? But rarely do we say “as within, so without.”
Spoken or unspoken these words are still true. As I am within myself—my one life, my commitments, my decisions, my creations, my joys, my prayers—so goes the world.
Maybe only a wee bit. The influence is small: my family, my friendships, my gatherings. But if I live the conditions that create a beautiful, meaningful life in me, then it follows, (doesn’t it?), that the people I touch—you, who who read what I write, come to my intensives, pray with me, or just walk past me in the grocery store—are influenced in some way.
I imagine tiny invisible sparks of prayer and love and magic flying off me.
- I say something, even in passing, and it lands in someone’s heart and cracks them open.
- I write a newsletter and get email after email saying how important it was. I’m always surprised, because I often miss the radical possibility in what I write.
- I smile at a someone in the post office not knowing they’re in pain.
- I pray for someone and they never know.
As within, so without. That’s why we come to The Lotus and the Lily.
That’s why people come to all my intensives. Because we believe that another world is not only possible, she’s on the way. She’s on the way in and through and as each one of us. And we can almost hear her breathe.
The Lotus and the Lily opened last Tuesday with the first of 6 gatherings. This first week we looked back at January and were surprised by how our experiences in just that opening month created a foundation for all that was to come. January, it turns out, was a big deal for everyone. But if we hadn't taken the time to look back, we would have missed it.
Then, we had our first UK/Europe watch party on Thursday. It was so fun to meet friends in Ireland, England, Wales, Germany, Finland, South Africa, and Turkey. Everyone is welcome to come to the watch party, no matter where you live.
Please Note: I will close registration at the end of November and this event will NOT be offered OnDemand.
So, if you’d like to welcome the life that wants to be lived in and through and as you in 2024, whether live or on your own, please register now. You'll have access to the Resource Page with all the recordings and bonuses all year long.
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