Writing Down Your Soul
Janet: Catherine, the full answer to that question would take up a mile of your blog space! The succinct answer is: COMPLETELY. Deep soul writing has changed my life completely. I don't even feel like I am the person I was before I picked up a pen. Since I started soul writing in 1997, my career has changed dramatically from human resource consultant to published author-teacher-speaker. My spiritual life has completely changed. My relationship with God has changed. My purpose has changed. Pre-deep soul writing I didn't know why I was here; I just got up and went to work because I thought I had to. Now I am crystal clear about my divine purpose and I live it every single day. My prayer life has changed. But the most important thing that has changed is my sense of trust. I trust this life now. I trust that I am safe, guided, loved, and protected. I trust that I am not alone. No, let me amend that. I KNOW that I am not alone. And once you know that and you know that you know that, then life suddenly feels safe and even delicious.
Janet: In deep soul writing, the last thing you want to do is write slowly and neatly. When you do that you’re giving way too much room on the page to all the old judgmental, critical voices you’ve built up in your head over the years—people like parents, old lovers, nasty bosses….anyone who told you life was hard, or you weren’t going to make it, or you weren’t good enough. It turns out that science can demonstrate that those old programs are real. They are actual neural pathways in your brain! (Who knew!) So when you write fast you get out in front of those old “tapes,” and give something new and wise and loving the opportunity to break through—what I call The Voice.
Catherine: Is it good enough for me to just write in a journal whenever I feel the need, or is there a specific process that makes the practice of Writing Down Your Soul more powerful than simply writing in a journal?
Janet: The scientific evidence shows that it takes a minimum of 30 days to build a new habit and the new neural pathway in your brain that supports that habit. So if you want the full benefits of deep soul writing (or any other spiritual practice or new habit in your life) show up every day for thirty days. Now, having said that, for heaven’s sake, don’t beat yourself up if guests come into town, or you have to work around the clock on an all-important contract, or some other time-consuming event pushes soul writing off your schedule for a day or two. Just come back to the practice. But at the outset make a commitment to write everyday. If you simply say, “I’ll get to it when I can,” you won’t. Not because you don’t want to; but because those old neural pathways are doing everything they can to push you away from this life-changing practice.
Catherine: Do I have to write for a specific amount of time for the Writing Down Your Soul process to work?
Janet: There is no magic amount of time. When I first started writing at the soul level, I was in the throes of a terrifying divorce and had LOTS to talk over with, “Dear God,” my divine Voice. So I wrote a lot. I’m sure there were days when I wrote for a couple of hours. Today, I probably write ten or fifteen minutes on average. When I have something big to talk over, I’ll drive ten minutes to my favorite sacred writing spot, St Michael’s Shrine in Tarpon Springs. I get major downloads on new programs and books sitting at St Michael’s. When I’m there, I write for a half hour or more. I think in the end, the individual soul writer knows on some level when to stop writing. It might be a feeling of completion, or a phrase might come through that indicates the writing session is over. For me, I know it’s time to stop when “TYG TYG TYG” comes through. That’s speed writing for “Thank you God, Thank you God, Thank you, God”.
Catherine: And finally, I’ve noticed that your favorite poet is Hafiz as translated by Daniel Ladinsky. Why do you find these poems so powerful and what is your very favorite Hafiz poem?
Janet: A friend gave me a copy of Daniel Ladinsky’s Love Poems from God a few months before I started writing my book. Love Poems from God is a smorgasbord of 12 mystical poets from many centuries and traditions. I fell in love with it. And somehow it seemed that a few lines from a mystic were always the perfect illustration of a point I was trying to make in my book. Meister Eckhart, for example, has the PERFECT welcome to Writing Down Your Soul: “They can be a great help—words. They can become Spirit’s hands and lift and caress you.” THAT is the perfect description of the core truth of my book.