Described by her readers, audiences, and colleagues as “practical and poetic, possessing deep and gentle wisdom,” Janice Lynne Lundy serves as an interfaith spiritual guide to tens of thousands of women throughout the United States through her nationally syndicated magazine column in Women’s LifeStyle
, as a professional speaker and retreat facilitator, and as a Spiritual Director. She has been recognized for her sensitive and compelling interviews as well as for her gift for connecting with soul-searching women. Jan is an adjunct staff member for the Institute of Spirituality at the Dominican Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her newest book, Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be
, was released in October 2008 by Sorin Books.
Book Giveaway Comments Contest!
If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are holding a contest to win a copy of Jan's book
, Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be
, to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end.
We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment. Enjoy!WOW: Could you tell us about your latest book, and who it's for?Jan: Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be
is “a spiritual journey” book. It has an interspiritual focus, which makes it unique in the self-help/spiritual growth genre. It invites women from all walks of life, all spiritual persuasions, to stop and take a look at how they are living.
Our truest self is a woman who is living from her fullness. She is living large, free from fear to express herself in the world as a confident, glorious woman. She has fully embodied the qualities we attribute to Spirit itself—peacefulness, loving kindness, generosity, and so on. She lives a mature spirituality, not one that has been handed to her without having fully explored it first.
Living as our truest self is a lifelong process. This is a journey, a pilgrimage, into our sacred self. I wrote this book through my lenses as a seeker, but also as an Interfaith Spiritual Director who accompanies people of all faiths as they ask the deepest questions about life. What I’ve come to realize is that there are common threads of truth that run through all spiritual traditions. When we can embrace these—what I present as “Transformational Truths—we come home to our truest selves.
The Twelve Transformational Truths are:
I Am Free to Live a Spiritual Life of My Own Making
I Trust My Body's Divine Connection
I Choose Thoughts and Feelings That Honor My Sacred Self
I Engage in Daily Spiritual Practices That Nurture My Spirit
I Cultivate Compassion for Myself
I Experience the Divine in Everything and Everyone
I Know Divine Assistance is Available to Me at All Times
I Acknowledge that Difficult Times Bring Healing and Deeper Wisdom
I Can Create My Life Anew Each Day
I Trust the Divine Timing of My Own Unfolding
I Courageously Live and Speak My Truths
I Open My Heart and Celebrate Our Oneness
Working through the Truths enables us to let go of old, disempowering messages about who we’ve been told we are. It also empowers us to embrace new personal Truths, to connect more fully with our spirit, and the greater Spirit.
WOW: The book features a variety of interesting women. How did you meet these inspirational people?
Jan: Over the last ten years, as my spiritual path widened, I serendipitously met many remarkable women. I selected twelve of them to help me convey the Truths through the testimony of their lives. They are primarily writers and teachers, activists and artists. Some are well known, like country music powerhouse, Naomi Judd. Others are not. The list includes:
Joyce Rupp, OSM, Jan Phillips, Iyanla Vanzant, Dudley Evenson, Sue Patton Thoele, Daphne Rose Kingma, Doreen Virtue, Joan Borysenko, Frances Moore Lappé, Mari Gayatri Stein
This is an ecumenical gathering of women representing many spiritual persuasions. As for my personal relationship with them, a few have been faithful mentors and friends over the years. Some I have never met, having only savored their books and spoken with them on the telephone. Within my book, I share how I have come to know each one and what their light-filled presence revealed to me.
Ironically, a few of the women I simply stumbled across, exactly when I needed what they had to say the most. Jan Phillips, for example, came into my life when I was writing my first book and the inner critic was being quite vocal. In a particularly bleak moment, I called my editor, desperate for advice on how to continue writing when everything inside me said to stop. “Have you read Marry Your Muse by Jan Phillips?” she asked.“ ‘The Artist’s Creed’ should take care of everything.” She was right. Reading Jan’s inspiring words to the struggling artist within cured my creative woes. So when an invitation came to interview her in 2004 (as a magazine editor), I jumped at the chance. I conducted a phone interview with her first; then we met in person a few months later. Our conversations and my learnings from her work over the years formulated the second Transformational Truth, “I Trust My Body’s Divine Connection.”
WOW: This seems like a book that you could be read straight through the traditional way, or open to a random chapter or essay for a dose of inspiration. What do you recommend?
Jan: This book is a spiritual journey book, a trek inward, with a stepping-off place and a hoped-for destination, and the reader is the pilgrim. By moving through the chapters intentionally, she will begin to unravel old ways of thinking and embrace new ways of being.
I suppose that you could skip around and read about one “Holy Woman” or one Truth, but I do not recommend it. There are some Truths that are more difficult to live out. There is an order to how they are presented in the book. For example, having compassion for others. We can’t feel love and compassion for others if we are not able to feel that for ourselves. Learning to accept and love ourselves as we are must come first.
Your Truest Self is also a “process” book. Each chapter invites the reader to personally reflect upon the Transformational Truth that is presented in two ways. The first is through Reflection Questions that encourage journaling. The second is through “Peaceful Pauses,” meditational practices which enable the her to “practice” the Truth that has been presented. Hurrying on to the next chapter, hoping for the next brilliant awareness to break through, will not help a woman embody her truest self. Sitting quietly, being reflective, taking time for integration, will.
WOW: Could you share a favorite tip or idea included in the book?
The notion of finding and committing to spiritual practices that calm and center us. Most of us are completely frazzled just trying to make ends meet, get the job done, take care of our families, and more, so we don’t take time to center ourselves, to access our inner peace on a regular basis.
Engaging in daily spiritual practices is key to living as our truest self, a woman who is innately peaceful. Truthfully, I don’t believe anyone can if they have not implemented such practices. We can put our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health on the back burner for only so long before we’re destined to crash and burn. Spiritual practices prevent this from happening. They plant us in our sacred center and plug us into the “God” of our understanding. They offer fuel and nourishment on so many levels. It is vital that we find the practices that suit us. Chapter Four in Your Truest Self shows the reader how—even when it seems as if there is no energy or time in the day to do so.
We are living in very tenuous, stress-filled times. My spiritual practices are my sanity and my sacred connection. Spending time in silence. Walking in nature. Daily writing. Reading spiritual growth literature. Rest. Breath practice. Prayer. I hope that others will seek out theirs, as well, so greater peace can be experienced by everyone, especially in these challenging times.
WOW: One of your Twelve Transformational Truths is about cultivating compassion for ourselves. What are some of the ways we can do this?
Jan: This is a wonderful question because it may be the most difficult life principle for us, as women, to embody—Truth number Five: “I cultivate compassion for myself.”
This Truth is represented by my dear friend and mentor, Sue Patton Thoele. I found her in my early searching years when I was absolutely overwhelmed with life. I was sick and tired—literally—from living on the fast track, trying to be the perfect wife and mother, and just about killing myself trying to make everyone else happy.
It has taken years for me to learn how to be kind to myself, to treat myself as nicely as I treat other people. The journey to living in this way begins by “befriending ourselves.” This is done in baby-steps.
We start by taking small amounts of “Sabbath time” time to rest and restore ourselves. We give up notions of perfection and accept ourselves as being “enough.” We learn to say ‘No’ to what depletes us and ‘Yes’ to what nurtures us. We learn to live in the present moment where peace-of-mind prevails, rather than in the past (with regret), or in the future (with worry or fear). Mindfulness practices help. Befriending is all about learning to honor our spirit so that we live more lovingly, peaceably, with ourselves. Doing so enables us to live more gently with others, as well.
WOW: Writing this book must have been incredibly rewarding. What have been some of your most personally fulfilling moments with this project?
Jan: I view this book as the work of a lifetime. It embodies the “inner work” I have done on myself for the past 30 years. To put it out there for everyone to read has been both terrifying and exhilarating. It’s risky, but I believe taking this risk has provided me with the greatest growth I’ve ever experienced. I feel like a different person than when I began the process of writing it back in 2004.
After self-publishing three books, to have Your Truest Self
purchased by a publisher has been a dream come true. And then to have that publisher be one that was so soulful and supportive of my interspiritual focus was an act of grace—Sorin Books (an imprint of Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, IN). For me, this was an affirmation that a new day is dawning. When a primarily Catholic publisher can launch a truly interspiritual book, hooray for us all!
Other rewarding moments? Having Your Truest Self
presented as one of 25 featured books at an “Author’s Feast” at the Great Lakes Bookseller Association Fall Trade Show was very exciting. Standing in front of all those bookstore owners, alongside John Grogan (Marley and Me and The Longest Trip Home) was surreal. Receiving the first 5-Star rating from an “official” book reviewer, Midwest Book Review, was pretty cool, too.
In truth, the most rewarding moments have been those I’ve spent with other people. Sharing this journey with my husband, Brad, has deepened our intimate relationship in wonderful ways. He has been my creative companion throughout and I am grateful for his love. Witnessing joy and pride on the face of my 80-year-old mother has been another. I am so happy she is still walking this earth to share these fortuitous times with me. The love and support of my family mean more to me than anything.
And the women I am meeting along the way. Oh, my, they take my breath away! They are so beautiful and strong and resilient. I feel incredibly humbled when I meet them at book events, or on my blog, or through e-mail. They tell me about their journeys into their truest selves and I often weep with joy at the beauty of their souls. Yes, it is the women who have touched my heart most deeply…
WOW: Do you have any parting words of advice to share with our women writers/readers?
Jan: Keep writing. Keep believing in yourself and the power of your words to heal, to uplift, to inspire.
These are fearful times, dream-dashing times. Yet, you have a boundless future with unlimited possibilities if you can become familiar with fear and rise above it. The deepest, truest part of you, your spirit, wants you to be all that you can be; to live the divine freedoms latent within you—inner peace, confidence, courage, joy, and profound love for others. If you cling to your fears, especially fear of failure, you cannot fly. As the Persian poet Rumi reminds us, “You were born with wings. Why prefer to crawl through life?”
Fly! WOW: Want to join Jan on her blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!
JANUARY 19, 2009 Monday
Jan will be chatting with WOW!
Women On Writing at The Muffin
. Stop by and share your comments! One lucky commenter will win copy of Jan's book!http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/blog.htmlJANUARY 20, 2009 Tuesday
Jan will be stopping by Allena Tapia's blog, About.com Freelance Writing
.http://www.freelancewrite.about.comJANUARY 21, 2009 Wednesday
Jan will be stopping by Joi Sigers' blog, Self-Help Daily
.http://www.selfhelpdaily.comJANUARY 26, 2009 Monday
Jan will be stopping by Mom's Spark
!http://www.momspark.blogspot.com/JANUARY 27, 2009 Tuesday
Jan will be stopping by Tammie McElligot's blog
on Women's Lit.http://www.tammiemcelligott.blogspot.com/JANUARY 28, 2009 Wednesday
Jan will be stopping by Cheryl Phillips' blog, The Daily Blonde
. http://dailyblonde.blogspot.comJANUARY 29, 2009 Thursday
Jan will be stopping by The Mental Fitness Center
. http://www.thementalfitnesscenter.com/blogFEBRUARY 2, 2009 Monday
Jan will be stopping by Joanne DeMaio's blog, Whole Latte Life
, for a lively discussion. http://joannedemaio.blogspot.com/FEBRUARY 4, 2009 Wednesday
Jan will be stopping by Deena Peterson's blog, Deena's Bookshelf
. http://deenasbooks.blogspot.com/FEBRUARY 5, 2009 Thursday
Jan will be stopping by Allena Tapia's blog, GardenWall Publications
. http://www.gardenwallpublications.com/blogFEBRUARY 6, 2009 Friday
Jan will be stopping by Darlene Devoe's blog, Raising Socially Anxious Children
. http://www.raisingsociallyanxiouschildrenblog.com/FEBRUARY 9, 2009 Monday
Jan will be stopping by Allyn Evans' blog, Happily Ever After Today
. http://www.allynevans.blogspot.com/FEBRUARY 10, 2009 Tuesday
Jan will be stopping by Donna Vokenannt's blog, Donna's Book Pub
. http://donnasbookpub.blogspot.comFEBRUARY 11, 2009 Wednesday
Jan will be stopping by Carolyn Howard-Johnson's blog, The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor
. http://www.thefrugaleditor.blogspot.comFEBRUARY 11, 2009 Wednesday
Jan will be stopping by Carolyn Howard-Johnson's blog, The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor
We also have several more dates to come, so be sure to check out our Events Calendar HERE
We hope you are as excited about the tour as we are! Mark your calendar, save these dates, and join us for this truly unique and fascinating author blog tour.
If you have a blog or website and would like to participate in Jan Lundy's blog tour, or schedule a tour of your own, please email Angela and Jodi at: email@example.com
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