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Soul Vows: Gathering the Presence of the Divine In You, Through You, and As You
     

Soul Vows: Gathering the Presence of the Divine In You, Through You, and As You

by Janet Conner
 

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If you long to know your soul's purpose, Soul Vows is an ideal place to begin. Your soul vows describe how you choose to walk this earth, in every moment of every day. They are how you receive and spread grace. As you live your soul vows, you become a fertile container in which your purpose can take root and prosper.

With her characteristic blend of

Overview

If you long to know your soul's purpose, Soul Vows is an ideal place to begin. Your soul vows describe how you choose to walk this earth, in every moment of every day. They are how you receive and spread grace. As you live your soul vows, you become a fertile container in which your purpose can take root and prosper.

With her characteristic blend of personal story, love of paradox, expansive inquiry into the heart of diverse spiritual traditions, and confidence in the power of deep soul writing to elicit personal divine guidance, Janet Conner leads us through a groundbreaking application of the ancient chakra system to discover our own unique soul vows.

Your soul vows are your personal path to the peak experiences seekers want most: authenticity, integrity, wholeness, and the vibrant presence of the Divine. Your soul vows are custom designed; no two paths look the same. Soul vows are a living construct of a whole and holy divine in you that build collectively into the expression of the divine in us, through us, and as us. Surely this is how we create the kingdom of heaven on earth.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Open this book if you have been in the shallows longing for the deep. Janet will guide your way to more of your divine self, shining as the light of the world." --Linda Martella-Whitsett, author of How to Pray Without Talking to God and Divine Audacity

"In Soul Vows, Janet Conner has provided seekers with a sure, rich and deeply fulfilling path to spiritual advancement and genuine knowingness. It is one thing to hold a theoretical sense of the Divine, and quite another to open to immersion in the Indwelling Beloved. I invite you to feast upon and savor the wisdom and practices within this powerful book, for you will be lavishing yourself in the exquisite possibilities of your True Nature!" --Dr. Roger Teel, Senior Minister, Mile Hi Church, author of This Life is Joy

"Janet Conner's Soul Vows teachings have been a gateway to my mystical self, an initiation to a sacred journey of feeling grounded in the Earth while connected to the Divine. This book takes you on a life-changing escapade of finding your inner truths and powerfully infusing yourself with them daily. Janet is an extraordinary storyteller and spiritual teacher--there is no one quite like her--and this book is rich with creative connections and discoveries as Janet takes you deep into your self-awareness and your relationship with divinity. Janet masters the complex and then gives you her synthesis and the specific keys to the Kingdom. Opening this book is like lifting the lid on an ancient Treasure Chest, full of sacred secrets and invitations. My gratitude to Janet and her wisdom is infinite and I will be buying a case of Soul Vows to share with everyone that I care about. This book will absolutely become a spiritual classic for all time." --Gail McMeekin, author of The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women and The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women

"This profound but practice-based book is a joy to recommend! It surely represents a new and needed wave in spiritual teaching, where teachers like Janet Conner are not afraid to speak of divine intimacy--yet in a way that is far beyond mere sentiment--and which invites the reader to actual experience. Water is good, but Janet changes it into intoxicating wine." --Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, Center for Action and Contemplation, author of Falling Upward and Immortal Diamond

"Janet Conner has written a beautiful-yet-practical book that is no less than a map to discover our mystical heart. In Soul Vows, she illuminates the way, step by step, so that we can learn to listen and trust our own still small voice, guiding us to our deepest union with Life. Read this book and you will discover the path that leads to the Divine within." --Joel Fotinos, author of My Life Contract

"This is a wonderful book, gracefully & wisely written. Anyone on a spiritual path will learn a great deal from it." --Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism

"Janet Conner's Soul Vows is a mirror reflecting the Presence that is you. You don't so much read this book, as peer into it and allow it to show you what you already know and who you already are. You won't be disappointed." --Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent

"Soul Vows is Janet Conner's best book yet! Prepare for a deep dive into your Self." --Ellen Debenport, author of The Five Principles and Hell in the Hallway

"Like the sun's sacred vows to give this earth warmth and life, so too should each heart love all creatures. May this new book by Janet Conner help unfurl the wings of many. May blessed words, as they can, complete us. Discovering the Presence that makes the atoms dance will reveal our own astounding beauty and a wild, holy, majestic giving like the mountains and the sky." --Daniel Ladinsky, international bestselling Penguin author

"Soul Vows is a beautiful, gem of a book that sincerely questions and guides us on how to live our life on our own terms--not the morals and the ethics or the rules imposed on us, but the sacred principles that sprout from us, that come from our divine being." --Yelda Basar Moers, writer and former reporter for People and InStyle

"My favorite part of this book is its celebration of paradox. With her succulent writing, joyful spirit, and refreshing vulnerability, Janet Conner expertly guides us into a sacred relationship with all that is. She is not prescribing easy answers; she is inviting us into the living mystery, which is love, which is, as it turns out, who we really are." --Mirabai Starr, translator of Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Julian of Norwich, award-winning author of God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity & Islam

"With elegant, graceful, poetic prose, Janet Conner shows herself again to be one of our most gifted spiritual writers. This book is like the song of the soul . . . a fascinating and inspirational glimpse into one woman's evolving understanding of the spiritual path--the journey that merges the profane with the Sacred . . . the human world with the Divine. The greatest insight this book offers is the realization that we--all of us--come from Love and . . . ultimately . . . return to Love. There is no other origin . . . no other destination . . . no other place to be." --Ramananda John E. Welshons, author of One Soul, One Love, One Heart

"Author and spiritual teacher, Janet Conner, has once again given us specific tools to move closer to the fullest expression of our authentic Divine Self. Not an easy task. But if we are willing to explore this promising possibility then the intimate exercises in her new book, Soul Vows, can guide us up the chakra system's ladder of enlightenment to discover our own soul's purpose.

As we experience the heartfelt steps of questioning, writing, listening, chanting, and moving, we find ourselves climbing to higher states of awareness....Right along with the paradox of going deeper and deeper into the mystery of who we are with each revelation.

Through the seven chakras, Janet Conner beautifully illustrates how everyone is wired to experience the Divine directly. As each vow from our soul is uniquely discovered in each chakra, we finally find our most natural personal statements until we feel whole and our soul vows feel complete. We ultimately become comfortable expressing the magnificent Truth of who we are. Imagine that! Janet Conner did, and she encourages us to do the same knowing all the while that these vows will continue to evolve in their meanings and purpose for our lives.

By the end of Soul Vows I was dancing in joy with my seven sacred mantras merging as One within me. My Inner Mystic remains in an ecstatic mutual embrace with the Divine in me, through me, and as me. There's no going back now. Only onward and upward, dancing with God every day.

Thank you, Janet Conner. Diving into Soul Vows has opened my heart even more than I thought was possible. My soul knows I AM forever free to be Me! Who wouldn't want everyone to feel that way?" --Linda Linker Rosenthal - Transpersonal Psychologist, author of The Seven Chakra Sisters: Make Friends with the Inner Allies Who Keep You Healthy, Laughing, Loving, and Wise

"Janet Conner is a spiritual teacher for the 21st century: part guru, part girlfriend, a writer able to translate deep truths into practical action. In Soul Vows, she awakens the mystic in each of us and gently prods us to make good on the silent promises from deep within." --Victoria Moran, author of Creating a Charmed Life and Shelter for the Spirit

"Do you hear that unanswered longing calling from your soul? Janet Conner guides you in the process of giving answer to that call with profound skill. In this work Janet draws upon many disciplines and sources, as well her own deep processes. I predict Soul Vows becomes your companion in finding your own finest answers to your spiritual longing." --Mary Anne Radmacher, author of several books including Lean Forward Into Your Life and Live with Intention

"In Soul Vows Janet Conner issues a clear invitation to each of us go wake up to the sacred agreement we've each made with our divine Source. And when we wake up not only do we activate our deep connection with the Divine, we also come to know who we are, what we are here to do, and to live our lives with a grace that feeds our heart and nourishes our soul." --Susyn Reeve is the author of The Wholehearted Life and The Inspired Life

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781573246422
Publisher:
Red Wheel/Weiser
Publication date:
04/01/2015
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
489,348
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Soul Vows

Gathering the Presence of the Divine in You, Through You, and as You


By Janet Conner

Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC

Copyright © 2015 Janet Conner
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60925-971-6



CHAPTER 1

Meet Your Soul Vows


the seven deep soul explorations

The seven deep soul explorations you will move through to discover, declare, and live your soul vows parallel the seven chakras. Because the energy and purpose of each exploration mirrors the energy and purpose of each chakra, the chakra system is a wonderful map to help you see where you are in the process, where you are going, and why you're going there.

Each of the seven chakra explorations will be explored in depth in the coming chapters, but let me give you an introductory taste, to inspire you to trust the natural progression of this sevenfold adventure and excite you to begin. Then, before you dive in, let me also give you some tips for how to get the most benefit from your journey.


Soul Vows and the Chakras

The concept of the chakra system is ancient, and, at first glance, these explorations may appear to be a new and rather modern application of the chakras' wisdom and grace. But with deeper reflection, I think you'll agree this is not new at all; indeed, this is a re-remembering of the mystical way we are constructed. Or as Hafiz, the great Sufi master, puts it:

Wayfarer,
Your body is my prayer carpet,

For I can see in your eyes

That you are exquisitely woven
With the finest silk and wool

And that Pattern upon your soul
Has the signature of God

And all your moods and colors of love
Come from His Divine vats of dye and Gold.

excerpt from "Exquisitely Woven," I Heard God Laughing,
translation by Daniel Ladinsky


If Hafiz were alive, he'd nod and laugh in recognition upon reading how Anoeda Judith describes the chakras in her classic book Wheels of Life:

The Tantric philosophies, from which the chakras emerge, are a philosophy of weaving. Their many threads weave a tapestry of reality that is both complex and elegant. Tantra is a philosophy that is both pro-life and pro-spiritual. It weaves spirit and matter back into its original whole, yet continues to move that whole along its spiral of evolution.


"Spirit and matter back into its original whole." That's it! That's what we want and where we're going. That's how we create heaven on earth. So how perfect that the chakras can carry us there.

The chakras are the universal and very beautiful story of the soul seeking union with the divine Beloved. In the ancient Vedic tradition, Shakti, who represents the divine feminine and the soul, longs for union with Shiva, who represents the divine masculine and the One. Shakti awakens with a feeling of longing and begins to travel through six experiences of duality, resolving each one as she goes, until at last she reaches the seventh plane, where she is reunited with her Beloved, Shiva. You will begin, as Shakti began, in the first chakra, and you will arrive, as Shakti arrived, united with the One in the seventh. The journey is a thrilling and holy deep soul adventure.

It is not an accident that the chakra system has seven distinct energy fields, and you will experience seven distinct deep soul explorations to reach sacred unity with the Divine in your soul vows. Seven has long been recognized as the number of totality and divinity. Consider the seven days of the week, seven seas, seven continents, seven colors in the rainbow, seven sacraments, seven days of creation, seven veils of Salome, seven candles on the Menorah, and many, many more. In Numerology: The Power of Numbers, Ruth Drayer tells us "the number seven represents spiritual completion." In The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three, Cynthia Bourgeault explains why seven is such a profound and necessary number: "[E]very developing process whatsoever must pass through seven distinct stages before it reaches its completion."


First Exploration Honor Your Longing to Be One

In this initial exploration, you will awaken to your dual, royal lineage—fully human, fully divine. To create a container big enough and strong enough to support your journey through the chakras to become one with the One, you will begin to take loving care of yourself, feed yourself with high spiritual ideas, and become best friends with several vibrant spiritual practices. As you complete your exploration in this root chakra, you will know in every fiber of your being that you are ready for the big adventure ahead.


Second Exploration Recognize the False Unconscious Vows That Have Kept You Fragmented

In this sacral-chakra exploration, you will uncover and acknowledge the falsehoods you've been telling yourself about yourself, and notice how those unconscious beliefs have kept you distracted and fragmented. You will sit with your false masters, learn their names, listen to their stories, and receive their surprising gifts. This all happens in the second chakra because all those roiling emotions in your gut have massive creative power. So far, you've been using that power unconsciously to create a life that isn't your authentic self and hasn't been a lot of fun. When you leave this chakra, you will be free.


Third Exploration Gather Yourself into Wholeness

Your solar plexus chakra is the energy field of both your physical and spiritual centers of gravity. It holds your honor code, your personal power, and how you show up in the world. In the second chakra, you became aware of your false masters. Now, in the third, you will release them in a ceremony that you design yourself. As the ceremony ends, you will revel in the rare and exquisite feeling of being whole.


Fourth Exploration Listen from Your Heart

When you release your false vows, you create room for your soul vows to make themselves known. This meeting takes place in the heart chakra because the heart is your primary organ of spiritual perception. Your spiritual heart—not your conscious mind—will identify the divine qualities that belong to you, introduce you to the Divine's role in your vows, and reveal how your soul vows gather the Presence of the Divine on earth. You'll know when your heart has chosen your vows because it will jump in ecstasy and tears of recognition will flow onto your cheeks. You will leave this chakra carrying your precious soul vows.


Fifth Exploration Declare Your Soul Vows

In the throat chakra, you will explore the holy power of sound as your soul vows invite you to learn their sacred chant. Because the throat chakra holds the paradoxical energies of declaration and surrender, you will declare your soul vows with enthusiasm and joy, while at the same time surrendering to them, knowing you don't fully understand what they mean and or how they will direct your life. When you leave this chakra, you will have a new, thrilling personal spiritual practice born from your soul vows.


Sixth Exploration Gather the Presence of the Divine

The sixth chakra is the energy field of the third eye, the center of knowing and light. As you live the soul vows that belong to you, you will gather more and more of the living Presence of the Divine in you, through you, and as you, bringing more divine light into the world. This is a mystery that never ends. Your third eye—your seat of inner knowing, attuned to divine truth—will support and guide you as the mysteries of life unfold. You and your soul vows will flow in this sixth-chakra energy for the rest of your life.


Seventh Exploration Live in Sacred Unity

The seventh chakra is the seat of mystical communion with the Divine. As you live your soul vows day after day, year after year, you will no longer say your soul vows; you will become your soul vows. You will reach a state where you fully embody the facets of the Divine that are yours to express in the world. In this way, you become one with the One. Only the seventh chakra has the grace to support the mystery of divine union.

The seventh chakra is not the end of your soul's explorations. Instead, the most miraculous thing happens when you touch the holy energy of the seventh chakra. As you gather more and more and more of the divine Presence in you, through you, and as you in your daily life, you circle right back to the first chakra, your foundation, your grounding, your dual lineage. But this time you arrive with a whole new, joyous appreciation for who you truly are and who you came to be—the Presence of heaven on earth.

The chakra system is an exciting and helpful map, but in the end, your soul vows are a mystery. You think you choose them, but in truth, they choose you. You think you understand them, but years from now you will realize you are just beginning to discover how rich they are and what they really mean. So step into these explorations by setting aside any preconceived notions of what values you think you want to select or how your life will look when you are living them. If you try to identify your soul vows now, before you even begin, or if, as you proceed, you try to steer this ship the way you think it should go, you will miss the exquisite joy inherent in divine partnership, and you will not experience the beautiful changes you hoped for when you picked up this book.


How to Get the Most from Your Explorations

Soul vows are a mystical experience. They are a dance with the Divine. By definition, you can't control that or manage that or predict what will happen. And that's a good thing, because in the end, you don't want to. Because what you can control or manage or predict can only be as big or as beautiful as who you are right now and what you know right now. That's not good enough anymore. It won't take you anywhere new. And what you want at the soul level is to be more. More whole. More alive. More authentic. More holy. More of your divine Self.

So at the get-go, set aside your desire to control. If you have an overactive left brain—and we all do because modern society is wired to reinforce only left-brain logic, judgment, and measurement—tell your very logical, but for this adventure highly unnecessary, left brain to take a walk. Better still, tell it to take a vacation. How do you do that? Simple. You step down the volume of left-brain action activities and step up the volume of right-brain creation activities. That means:

Less media, more reading.

Less facts, more intuition.

Less consuming, more creating.

Less commotion, more solitude.

Less talking, more listening.

Less noise, more silence.

Less knowing, more unknowing.

Less doing, more being.

Less thinking ahead, more living in the now.


In other words, less controlling and more cooperating. Cooperating with whom? Why, with your soul and with your God. And here's the good news: this is not hard. Your soul already knows why you're here. It already knows why you're reading this book. It already knows how you long to commit to holy values. And it knows you are oh-so-ready to step onto the divine dance floor and let Spirit lead. Here are some specific ways you can let go of control and start cooperating with the Divine.


Have a Sense of Adventure

Acknowledge right now, before we begin, that you don't know what your soul vows will be, when you'll have them, or what exactly you'll do with them. You may not even know why you picked up this book. You may have simply felt a nudge and responded. So be brave. Show up. Be real. Follow where your soul leads. Let the adventure unfold.


Create Sacred Time and Space

Your soul vows are not a one-time writing prompt. If they were, you could sit down, ask for your soul vows on the page, and get up an hour later with your vows in hand. Honor the importance of your soul vows. Give them a sacred space in which they can come forward. Here are a few ways to do that:

Become friends with silence and solitude. There is no substitute for being alone with yourself. That is how and when you are open to divine guidance. But silence and solitude are the two things our consumer society does everything it can to get you to avoid. If you keep yourself busy talking, thinking, doing, going, buying, watching—all the ways we hold our souls at bay—you will miss messages bubbling up from your soul. So carve out time to be quiet. Once you fall in love with quiet, you will never go back to constant bustle.

Engage in daily prayer. Your soul vows will become the most important prayer of your life. So this is a good time to strengthen your relationship with prayer. Return to the prayers of your spiritual or cultural tradition, if you like. Or embrace the prayer practices of other traditions. Or create a new prayer practice of your own. Find one that makes your heart sing. However you do it, become best friends with prayer.

Set aside time for deep soul writing. The questions you will explore in Soul Vows go deep, probably deeper than you've ever gone. Give yourself significant blocks of time for writing, reflection, and creating a space in which your soul can be heard.

Set aside time to read. You will select a master-teacher companion book to walk with you throughout this process. Many of your most startling insights will come as you absorb the words of your special teacher. Set aside time to read every day.

Give attention to what is sacred to you. You may look at your life and think you're too busy to set aside time for writing and reading. But you're not too busy; you're too distracted. Do you know the difference? Here's the simple but painful truth: what you give your attention to is what you deem sacred. Say that out loud: "What I give my attention to is sacred to me." So what are you giving your attention to? Identify ten or twelve activities that get the bulk of your time. Then ask yourself for each, "Is this sacred? Is this holy? If not, why have I carved out so much of my precious time for it?" Then try it in the reverse. Ask yourself, "What's truly important to me?" and write that list. Then count how many hours or minutes those people or activities get. Put those two lists side by side. There in front of you is a clear graphic of the life you have created versus the life you wish you were living. This simple self-evaluation exercise will help you rearrange your life in ways that will have momentous and lasting effects.


Be Willing to Enter the Mystery

The soul can't be explained or understood. It is, after all, your divine Self, and divinity is wild, untamable, and more vast and magnificent than our minds can grasp. Whatever idea or image you hold in your mind of the soul or the Divine is by definition too small. That's perhaps why we feel so compelled to explore these fields of the soul. We long for the mystery. So acknowledge that you are stepping into a mystery, and although that may feel strange, even a bit dangerous, know that all is well because you are guided and held at the deepest level.


Trust Yourself and Trust the Process

A month from now, a year from now, a decade from now, you will look back and feel boundless gratitude for yourself for setting aside the space and time to receive your soul vows. But the only way you can get to that future day of joy is to walk the path now, explore the fields now, enter the mystery now. Even if you're not sure what that means or what will happen, start walking. Trust that your spiritual feet know exactly what they're doing and where they're going. The path is actually brightly lit, if we see with the eyes of our souls.


Make Friends with Paradox

In each of the seven chakra explorations, you will stumble upon a head-scratching paradox.

At first, paradox can seem wildly frustrating because it poses an unanswerable question: how can two diametric opposites both be true at the same time? For example, consider my favorite paradox from Meister Eckhart: "to be full, you must be empty." Got that? If I'm empty, how am I full? And if I'm full, how can I be empty? It feels like trying to maneuver one boat named Full and another named Empty into the same slip. Impossible, right? But in the mystical realm paradox is not only not impossible, it's a truth at the center of life.

The secret to "solving" a paradox is to shift your view of the friction between two apparent opposites from a search for a solution to an invitation into divine mystery. While two boats can't enter the same space, two wafts of perfumes can and two colored lights can. With scent and light, the two opposities effortlessly merge and create something new, something exciting, a third thing unique unto itself. A triangle is the perfect shape to demonstrate this mystery of paradox. If one side of the triangle is one statement and the opposite side is the opposite statement, then the base of the triangle is not the winner of the two; it's something new altogether.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Soul Vows by Janet Conner. Copyright © 2015 Janet Conner. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Janet Conner is a writer, speaker, teacher, retreat guide, and radio show host with one compelling message: what you seek is inside. She is the author of Writing Down Your Soul and The Lotus and the Lily. She created "The Soul-Directed Life" radio show for Unity Online Radio. She lives and writes in Ozona, Florida, a tiny town on the Gulf of Mexico. Visit her at www.janetconner.com.

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