This is a book about identity, calling, and living a life infused with meaning and purpose. Janet Conner confronts the three big questions that every thoughtful person asks: Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose?
Janet's premises are as follows: each of us has a divine purpose, and each of us contains a divine GPS to the soul--an inner guide. And she believes it is critical that each of us connect with that inner guide in order to embrace our individual spiritual gifts and discover our true purpose.
Finding your soul's divine purpose, says Conner, is not just one thing, it is a whole package of things including gifts, talents, teachers, symbols, stories, and even shadows, wounds, and woes. Unwrapping that package is why we are here and is what enables us to live a life infused with meaning and joy.
In 7 chapters, Conner leads the reader on a journey of self-discovery.
She instructs readers to:
- Feed your divine spark.
- Listen to your soul's stories.
- Honor your soul's birth choice.
- Remember your soul's divine purpose.
- Revisit, reset, and remember your past.
- Serve your soul's divine purpose.
- Live a life you love.
Conner's writing is inclusive, wise, generous, and practical. Filled with meditations, anecdotes, and exercises, this book will appeal to a wide range of spiritual seekers looking for purpose, happiness, and love.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Janet Conner is a popular writer and speaker with a simple message: We all have innate spiritual intelligence; we just need to know how to activate it. In her books, events, and worldwide courses, Janet shares practical spiritual tools that engage your soul, activate your divine voice, and magnify your creative potential. Janet is the author of its companion journal, My Soul Pages (Conari Press, 2011). Previously, she created Spiritual Geography, the soul writing system that heals the broken heart. Janet lives in Florida where she is exploring the ultimate question: What does your soul want? Visit her at writingdownyoursoul.com.
Read an Excerpt
Find Your Soul's Purpose
Discover Who You Are, Remember Why You Are Here, Live a Life You Love
By Janet Conner
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLCCopyright © 2017 Janet Conner
All rights reserved.
feel the spark of longing and open the sacred spiral
The divine calls us all into being out of itself. We are meant for it: That is the point of the spiritual journey. The journey puts us on the road to realizing and actualizing who we really are in our ultimate being.
— Wayne Teasdale, The Mystic Heart
A startling yet comforting mystical truth is that we do not initiate the search for the Divine. The Divine seeks the Divine in the Divine's perfect place — in and through and as us. Growing up in a traditional Catholic home, my child self got a clear picture that God was a big, powerful, male being out there somewhere and the purpose of my life was to seek and serve Him. My second grade Baltimore Catechism told me so: "God made me to know, love, and serve Him in this world and be happy with Him in the next." The way to seek this God was to hold the right beliefs and the way to serve this God was to choose only the right behaviors.
It's been a long, slow evolution for me to realize that God is not out there; God is in here. And I don't have to struggle to seek the Divine; the Divine isn't hiding from me. And my job isn't to work hard to serve a distant divinity; my job is to feel, embrace, and return the loving Presence within. But, as many times as my adult self has repeated the truth that God is within, I was still startled when I read in Wayne Teasdale's The Mystic Heart that we do not initiate the search for the Divine; the Divine initiates it, and — this is the really exciting part — the Divine seeks us not to fix us as lost lambs flailing and failing in a wounded human condition, but as divine beings. Teasdale writes that all spiritual practices "are about inner simplification, a process the divine initiates in us and brings to completion in time." (Emphasis added.)
This spark of divine love for the Divine in and through and as you has brought you here. And soon it will open the spiral and set you on the mystical path. This spark is the same spark of love that called Moses, Mirabai, Rumi, Francis of Assisi, Kabir, Teresa of Ávila, Hildegard of Bingen, Paramahansa Yogananda, and all the mystics through time. And now it is calling you, as it has been calling you your entire life.
Welcome to your first adventure on the sacred spiral. On this loop you will feel that divine spark of love and respond with a sacred desire of your own heart. You will meet your guides and companions, consider the wonders of the spiral, and finally, enter the spiral and experience it for yourself. To help you open to all the beauty and possibility of this first spiral walk, I offer you six deep soul explorations. Each exploration begins with something to read, followed by several sensory, imaginal, and soul writing activities. Think of these offerings as a spiritual smorgasbord. Taste all that look appealing and experiment with others. This is yoursacred spiral adventure; listen to the guidance of your soul and follow where she leads.
Deep Soul Explorations on Loop One
Feel the spark of divine longing in your heart.
Declare your sacred desire and embed it in a special talisman.
Consider the wonders of the spiral.
Meet the guides and angels who will accompany you.
Invite a master-teacher companion to walk beside you.
Open the sacred spiral and walk the first loop.
Feel the Spark of Divine Longing in Your Heart
The secret immensity of the soul is the longing for the divine. This is not simply a haunted desire for an absent, distant divine presence that is totally different from us. Our longing is passionate and endless because the divine calls us home to presence. Our longing is an echo of the divine longing for us.
— John O'Donohue, Eternal Echoes
Do you feel a spark of divine longing? If you are uncertain what that sensation is like, consider the moments when you feel a pull to pray or a physical need to be still and quiet or a visceral urge to create something or a passionate desire to comfort someone or tell them you love them. These are soul calls. Recall two or three memorable soul calls. Drop down from the story in your head to a full-bodied memory. How did you feel when the soul call rose up in you? Did the call originate in your heart or did it surface somewhere else in your body?
Soul calls can be felt anywhere. When I feel the call to create, for example, my hands tingle with an itch to write. The urge to pray rises from a deep well in my heart. When it calls, I simply must stop and pray. When my soul wants quiet and solitude, the call rises from somewhere in my intestines. If I don't attend, it gets louder and louder until I stop and listen. As you relive your own soul calls, notice where they reside in your body and ask yourself a few questions. Pause after each and notice how your heart and body respond:
When I pray, who is praying?
When I create, who is creating?
When I comfort, who is comforting?
When I love, who is loving?
Yes, you are praying and creating and comforting and loving; but at the same time, do you feel another presence, a divine presence, too? When you pray, do you feel something moving through you that you know you didn't generate completely on your own? When you create something, do you stare at what you've done sometimes and wonder: Who did this? When you comfort someone, do you wonder how you knew what to say (or not say) to soothe their pain or ease their sorrows? And when you love, really love, do you feel an energy, a power, a pulse moving from your heart to theirs and back again until your two hearts beat almost as one? It's tangible, isn't it?
In The Heart's Code, Dr. Paul Pearsall names this invisible, tangible energy L-energy. This subtle, information-rich, energetic force emanates from the heart and is picked up and remembered in every cell of the body. L-energy may be a new term, but it is hardly a new discovery. When Pearsall investigated the multicultural history of L-energy, he found that "indigenous peoples and ancient religious systems have given it over one hundred different names and base their healing systems on it." In Hindu philosophy, it's prana. In Chinese culture, qi. In the kabbalistic tradition, yesod. In Christianity, the Holy Spirit. This life-force energy, by whatever name, is ancient and universal. But what is it?
A famous Hadith Qudsi (saying of Mohammed) may hold the key to the name and nature of this tangible vibration of life-force energy and the key to the spark of love that opens the spiral, and the key to the purpose of this sacred spiral walk to remember your soul's purpose. That's a lot of keys in just a few words. But what words!
I was a hidden treasure and I loved to be known, and therefore I created the world that I might be known.
Many books have been written to attempt to unravel the mystical meaning of this saying. While the Hidden Treasure Hadith may be theologically dense, what if, at the same time, it's straightforward — even simple? What if it means exactly what it says? What if the spark of divine love that opens the spiral is a mirror reflection of the spark of divine love at its center? What if the divine spark of love at the center is a breathing pulse of the love of the Creator flowing through all creation? What if that divine love reflects forward and backward, up and down the spiral, so that the original spark can see and experience itself in all it has created? And what if that desire of the divine treasure to see and experience itself is planted in the most perfect place it can nestle and grow — perhaps the only place it can nestle and grow — the human heart? If so, that means you are the divine longing. And the spark of divine love is alive and breathing in your heart.
Does this idea set your heart on fire? Here are a few activities to help you discover what your heart knows about the magical, mysterious spark of divine love. Explore any or all and experience this divine longing for yourself.
Sit with mystical questions like these, relaxing the need for answers:
When I pray, who is praying?
When I breathe, who is breathing?
When I gave birth, who was giving birth?
When a seed sprouts, who or what is doing the sprouting?
Has your childhood image of God changed over time? Are there aspects of that image you'd like to hold on to? Aspects you'd like to release? Perhaps you'd like to draw or doodle how your image of the Divine has evolved. Sit with your drawings and notice how they felt to your child self and how they feel to you today.
Draw a spiral with a few inward loops.
Add a symbol that represents a spark of divine longing at the opening and again at the center. Put your finger on the divine spark at the opening of your spiral. Imagine a sparkle, a tingle, a divine smile under your finger. Then, trace the inward flow of the spiral, feeling the warmth growing as you get closer to the center. When you get to the center, rest your finger on the warmth vibrating there. Go back and forth a few times, feeling how the divine spark of love changes or doesn't change.
Next, place the forefinger of one hand on the opening spark of longing and the forefinger of your other hand on the center spark. Imagine, sense, or feel the divine longing flowing up one arm and down the other, connecting human and divine longing in your heart.
Whenever you feel the urge to pray, shift what you're doing, or reach out to someone, stop for a moment and notice where this feeling is arising in your body. Put your hands where you feel the urge and ask yourself, Who or what is feeling this feeling? Is it me, only me, partly me? Is this a spark of divine longing?
SOUL WRITING AND DRAWING
Speak John O'Donohue's opening quote slowly, chewing on the words. Speak the Hidden Treasure Hadith the same way. Are there other succinct statements about divine longing you'd like to explore? Perhaps "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine" (Song of Solomon 6:3), "The Father and I are One" (Gospel of John 10:30), or "Thou art that" (Upanishads). After you've ingested a few rich quotes, have a conversation with your divine Voice about what these words stir in you. Don't be surprised if you also feel the urge to draw. Mystical concepts are shy and often hide from words, but will peek out through drawing.
Declare Your Sacred Desire and Embed It in a Special Talisman
"But I don't look like a sun," a young star still wrapped in swaddling veils said. To which I replied, "But you will, my dear. You will, sweetheart. So don't worry. Don't fret."
— Hafiz, "Still Wrapped," A Year with Hafiz, translation by Daniel Ladinsky
As you feel a spark of love of the Divine for the Divine in you, do you feel a simultaneous spark of excitement to enter the spiral, walk the path, remember your purpose, and bring it to life? In short, do you feel the desire to fall madly in love with your soul's purpose?
Rather than set an intention for this journey, consider calling what you feel asacred desire.Desire is a thrilling word. It comes from the old French desir, from sidus, meaning star. The Latin verb desiderarare means to gaze at the star. When you set an intention, you have an end in mind. But desire — gazing at the star — has no end point. Desire is a constantly refilling well of longing for deeper and deeper intimacy with the mysterious star and its miraculous light. It may sound like a subtle difference, but if you explore the difference between the straight line of intention from wanting to getting and the streaming spiral of ever-deepening exploration as you follow your desires where they lead, I think you'll find yourself gravitating to the more expansive wing of desire.
You will declare a sacred desire at the beginning of each guided meditation and as you enter each labyrinth. By the time you walk seven loops and seven labyrinths, sacred desire will have become a dear and intimate friend. It is time to declare your first sacred desire. What is your sacred desire for your sacred spiral walk to remember who you are and why you are here? Can you describe that star you are gazing at in a word, a phrase, an image? Don't be concerned if your sacred desire doesn't rise immediately. As you reflect, soul write, dream, or just sit in silence, you create a space in which your sacred desire can make itself known. Perhaps stepping outside and gazing at the stars is the ideal way to hear your soul's secret longing.
Once you have your sacred desire, you may wish to embed it in a talisman or symbol of your pilgrimage. A pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred place undertaken as a quest or practice of devotion. This spiral walk fits on all counts: it is definitely a journey and you are headed to a very sacred place — the I Am Point — and your beautiful, purpose-filled life. It is a quest — an imaginal version of a vision quest or ancient initiation. And it's definitely a devotional experience; you can't help but fall deeper and deeper in love with the Mystery as you walk the sacred path.
Is there a talisman that carries the heart of this soul purpose pilgrimage for you? Perhaps it's a rock or crystal or image of a spiral. Maybe it's an old treasure or something brand new. See if a symbol calls to you or suddenly shows up. If it's a physical talisman, you might wear it, or hold it, or put it on a special altar made for this journey. If it's an imaginal symbol, even a star, put it in your imaginal pocket.
Here are some questions that may be surfacing:
Why am I embarking on this sacred journey?
What is my sacred desire? Deep within my soul, what do I long for?
Am I aware of my sacred desires, or do I hide them from myself?
What's the difference between setting an intention and declaring a sacred desire? Which do I typically do?
Have you declared a sacred desire before? What was the situation? What was your desire? Did you declare it to yourself, or did you speak it aloud to others? What happened?
Have you ever had a talisman? If so, what was it, and how did it come to you? Did it help?
There are many rich concepts to discuss with your divine Voice. You might talk about the spiral path as a pilgrimage and what that means to you, or explore the nature of desire and how sacred desires have impacted your life. If your sacred desire for this walk hasn't gelled yet, ask for clarification on what it is and how to express it. If your talisman hasn't surfaced, it may pop onto the page in words or images, or in your dreams.
When you are ready, declare your sacred desire. Perhaps that means speaking or singing or dancing it. Perhaps that means writing or drawing it on paper and placing it on your altar or around a tree. Perhaps that means writing an invocation of desire for your pilgrimage or breathing your desire into your talisman. Somehow, let the stars know you are on your way carrying your sacred desire.
Consider the Wonders of the Spiral
The golden spiral is the cosmic representation of ideal balance, universal harmony, and spiritual transformation. This spiral is the blueprint of all nature and, indeed, of our humanness. From the double helix of our DNA to the spiral shape of galaxies, this piece of Sacred Geometry is a container and accelerator of consciousness.
— Francene Hart, Sacred Geometry Oracle Deck
You are about to enter an amazing spiral container, walk its surfaces, and allow it to lead you back in time to remember who you are and why you are here. Before you tap on the entrance door and step into this sacred container, take some time to consider this "accelerator of consciousness." It's no accident that our soul purpose walk follows a spiral. I doubt there's any other form it could take, because the spiral is a map of the cosmic journey of all life.
Begin with the shape itself, the ever-expanding, perfectly proportioned curved line that flows out from a single point following the Fibonacci sequence. The series begins at the mathematical mystery of 0, adds 1, and continues to add the last two digits into infinity: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34. ... The relationship of the numbers to one another is 1.618 — the golden ratio prized by mathematicians, scientists, and artists as the ratio of perfection.
The spiral is nature's favorite pattern. It is the construction model for the tiniest fractals up to the massive orbit of the planets around the North Star. On a more human scale you can see the sequence in spiral rows on pinecones, daisies, roses, artichokes, sunflowers, and succulents. Gaze for a moment at this cross section of a chambered nautilus. It is a tutorial on the perfection of the golden ratio and the majesty of the spiral.
The spiral is alive in all of nature. Consider germinating seeds that send their tiny shoots up in a spiral, sperm swimming in spirals, or a fetus developing in a spiral around the umbilical cord. Here's one I love: humpback whales release bubbles from their blowholes as they dive, then swim up in a spiral capturing huge amounts of plankton trapped in the "nets" created by their bubbles.
Excerpted from Find Your Soul's Purpose by Janet Conner. Copyright © 2017 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.
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Table of Contents
A First Tiling to Remember xv
A Preview of Your Sacred Walk xvii
Walking the Sacred Spiral 1
Loop 1 Feel the Spark of Longing and Open the Sacred Spiral 3
Loop 2 Listen to Your Soul's Stories 35
Loop 3 Honor your Soul's Birth Choices 61
Loop 4 Remember Your Soul's Divine Purpose 97
Loop 5 Re-visit, Re-see, and Re-member Your Past 133
Loop 6 Serve Your Soul's Divine Purpose 161
Loop 7 Live a Life You Love and Close the Sacred Spiral 195
A Last Thing to Remember 213