2023 the year we learn to listen to life
Week 44--in which we ponder two strange teachings of Buddha and Yeshua and ask a few questions
Friends, soul writers, mystics, witches, and lovers of prayer,
Thank you for your heartfelt responses to last Sunday’s Notes from the Field. That sentence from John O’Donohue—Let us waste our hearts on fear no more—cracked something open in me and clearly in you, too. But how can we do this? Fear abounds, it swirls around our heads, decimates the earth, and divides us into warring camps.
All hearts are broken. And we don’t know what to do. The anger is so big and we, so small.
But we are not small. We can, and we must, do what is ours to do to pull our hearts away from the craze to dominate and restore them to our original state of reverence. Beginning with ourselves.
As the hymn says: Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. But is that just a lovely sentiment? Is it really possible? Well, it has to be. Both Buddha and Yeshua lived in worlds wracked with political oppression, violence, domination, and endless rivers of grief. Yet both, somehow, found a way to live and teach a state of peace that passes all understanding.
I’m no theologian. Indeed, I walked away from religion at 19, swearing I’d never look back. And I haven’t. At least not in any traditional, institutional way. But, oh, have I ever fallen in love with these two radiant beings. I listened carefully to what they taught about how to create a beautiful life. (Ideas you might have trouble finding in the religions that bear their names.) I was stunned to discover that these two used almost identical language to describe how to live.
I figured if these two great teachers said the same thing, maybe I should ignore all the popular manifestation teachings and focus on what they said. Plus, their teachings are short, concise, and rather simple.
No complex theology required.
So I followed their instructions. I turned my attention away from asking for anything and decided instead to commit to living my conditions—ways of being that felt right for me. I have six. I love them immensely and chant them several times a day:
- surrender to Sophia’s Voice
- chant my prayers out loud
- create in sacred space
- love my holy work
- serve the Mystery
- have a grateful heart.
NOTE: These are my conditions. Don't try to copy them. No two people have the same conditions. Because no two people are here to live the same life.
Moving trough the Lotus and the Lily process prepares you to ask for and receive your conditions.
I wrote my six conditions on the petals of a yellow lily that i drew at the center of a simple mandala—a traced dinner plate on a piece of paper. I pinned the paper to the wall and began each day, starting on January 1, 2010, chanting my conditions.
I think you know what happened. The life that wanted to be lived in and through and as me showed up! And she was way more exciting and fun and joyful (and lucrative) than anything I could have dreamed up.
It was such an astonishing experience, that I immediately offered to teach the process. And I started writing a book about how to create fertile conditions for the life that wants to be lived.
The Lotus and The Lily: Access the Wisdom of Buddha and Jesus to Nourish Your Beautiful, Abundant Life came out in 2012, after the success of Writing Down Your Soul got my publisher to ask what else I had up my sleeves.
I have led a The Lotus and the Lily intensive every year since. And every year a hundred people show up to look back at the year ending, listen for whispers from the seed of the life that wants to be lived in the year to come, untie the knots of all the old wounds in the way, and complete the process by making a mystic mandala that holds the vibration of the conditions that will nourish that seed.
And then, we show up all year chanting our conditions and watching with wonder as the life that wants to be lived shows up.
And surprises the dickens out of us!
The thirteenth edition of The Lotus and the Lily opens in 10 days on Tuesday November 14 at 6p Eastern and meets for 5 Tuesdays until December 12. A lot of friends in Europe have registered so there will definitely be a UK/Europe Watch Party on Thursdays probably at 6p UK-7pEurope-8p Eastern Europe.
We then take three weeks off for all those glorious Solstice celebrations of the return of the light, and reconvene the first Sunday in January to celebrate, share, and bless our sacred mandalas.
Subscribers have sent me several interesting questions and I've answered each email. But I thought it might be wise and fun to share my answers with the whole community. Perhaps some of these questions are on your mind as well.
Q: Can I do the process on my own with the book?
A: Yes, of course.
But the process evolves and goes deeper into the mystic each year, so what we experience in sacred community is far richer than what’s in the book I wrote in 2011.
Q: Why is there a butterfly on the cover?
A: My publisher made that decision.
They said they saw an iconic animal on all my covers. (Writing Down Your Soul had an owl for 11 years, Soul Vows has swans, Find Your Soul’s Purpose a whale).
I asked why a butterfly? My editor said a butterfly is transformation and this book will absolutely transform your life. (A perfect example of why publishers don’t ask the author what to put on the cover!)
Q: What’s a labyrinth got to do with this? There’s no labyrinth in the book.
A: The labyrinth showed up in 2020 when my collaborator, Emma Kupu Mitchell, showed us how to look back at a year on an 11-circuit medieval labyrinth.
It was magical. In 2021, we added walking a 5-circuit labyrinth to hear the song of each month. This year, we’re going to learn to make a 3-circuit labyrinth for each month.
Thanks to The Witch Sequence intensives, we’ve discovered that MAKING a labyrinth takes you to a whole new place beyond walking one.
Q: Do I have to make my mandala on January 1?
A: No, you can move through the process and make your mandala anytime you want.
The year I wrote the book I was still writing in January, so I made mine on my birthday in June after I’d turned in the manuscript.
But most people, including me, like to make an annual mandala at the beginning of a new year. Plus gathering to share and celebrate them in community is a profound experience.
Note: The intensive gatherings are recorded and available to members throughout 2024. But registration will close in December and this intensive will NOT be offered On Demand. So if you want to move through the process on your own outside our schedule, do please purchase the intensive now.
Q: There’s so much pain and suffering right now. Can Lotus and Lily relieve the pain?
A: It’s a paradox.
At least on the surface. But a relentless focus on the horrors rippling through our world doesn’t help heal them. It leaves us feeling battered, exhausted, and helpless. Finding your core and living your conditions renews your whole being each and every day with purpose, energy, strength, and the commitment to keep praying, keep standing, keep showing up with love to do what must be done.
If a critical mass of people actually lived what they know to be their personal conditions for a whole and holy life, and wasted their hearts on fear no more, our world would shift.
It would have to. One life at a time.
Q: What did Buddha and Yeshua say about creating a life?
A: We explore the Buddha’s two great teachings on opening night and Yeshua’s in the fifth gathering.
But you can get the essence from the two quotes at the top of the page on my site for this intensive. One from Thich Nhat Hanh. The other from Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz, the great translator of Jesus from the Aramaic.
These two quotes still thrill me every time I read them. Even after all these years.
To read the quotes, learn all about the intensive, and register, please click on this link.
I'll send the welcome email right away because it has lots of ways to prepare. And I'll invite you into the private FB group (optional) which is already open, so you can meet other soul friends.
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