Podcast 896: Still on Fire: Field Notes from a Queer Mystic with Jan Phillips

This is not the first time that I am interviewing author and thought leader Jan Phillips.  She’s been in the show a couple of times and have become a very good friend of mine.  In my recent interview with Jan, we speak about her new book entitled “Still on Fire: Field Notes from a Queer Mystic”

Jan is a  natural story teller who provides insipiration to her audience and in this interview she shares an inspirational story for the teens and the  community who wants to find out how to create a vital and inspired spiritual life for themselves, which will inform all their actions in the world.

Still on Fire is a memoir of religious wounding and spiritual healing, of judgment and forgiveness for people to read, to understand what they went through, and to then relate that to things they might be going through in their life, where they’re having similar reactions to it.

To learn more about Jan, her books and workshops,  please click here to be directed to his website. You can also check out her podcast “The Sound of Light” by clicking on this link.

I hope you enjoy this engaging and informative interview with my good friend Jan Phillips.

THE BOOK

Still on Fire is a memoir of religious wounding and spiritual healing, of judgment and forgiveness, and of social activism in a world that is in our hands. Phillips traveled the globe on a one-woman peace pilgrimage, raised the consciousness of women, faced her privilege on a trip to India, and is working to dismantle structural racism. Her The Livingkindness Foundation supports schoolchildren in Nigeria. “Any spirituality that does not bring about more justice, more social awareness, more right action in the world is a lame and impotent excuse for faith … My action for justice is my spirituality.” Over the years, Phillips created a life of love, service, community, and prayer. She evolved her understanding of God and came to see herself―and all of us―as the light of the world. “Had I not been born gay … my heart would not have broken in half, would not have opened itself to Love Supreme, would not have been tenderized by life’s bitter pounding.” She tells the story of her life with humor and compassion, sharing her poetry, songs, and photos along the way.

THE AUTHOR

Jan Phillips is a visionary thought leader, award-winning author and dynamic speaker. She is co-founder and executive director of the Livingkindness Foundation.

Jan has worked in 23 countries presenting keynotes, workshops, and retreats. She creates a unique multi-sensory experience, weaving humor, storytelling, video and music to inspire and ignite insights for life-changing action. Jan shows people how to access their wisdom, activate their creative energy and communicate with passion and power.

Her own quest has led her into and out of a religious community, across the U.S. on a Honda motorcycle, and around the world on a one-woman peace pilgrimage. Blending east and west, art and activism, reflection and ritual, Jan’s presentations are transformative, uplifting and soul-stirring.

 

You may also refer to the transcripts below for the full transcription (not edited) of the interview.

Greg Voisen
Welcome back to Inside Personal Growth. This is Greg Voisen. The host of Inside Personal Growth. And Jan as I do every time I do one of these shows, and I think my authors get sick of me saying it, but there wouldn't be a podcast after 15 years. I'm still doing this if I didn't have listeners and those listeners are. There's tons of nerdy dedicated for those of you who are new who found me. However, you found me, thank you so much. And joining me from San Diego just right down the street. Well, maybe a little bit more down the street, but I'm in Encinitas. She's in San Diego is Jan Phillips, a longtime friend who has written a new book called still on fire. And the subtitle is Field Notes from a Queer Mystic. And Jan, this is just a lovely book. It's a pleasure having you on how are you doing?

Jan Phillips
I'm doing just great. I'm thrilled to see you and be with you. Again, thanks for the hour…

Greg Voisen
Well, even if it's via zoom. I mean, because it's been a while since we've actually sat down and had a cup of coffee and that's what we should do next or tea, but I'm going to let my listeners know something about you. Jen Phillips Quest has letter into and out of a religious community across the country, on a Honda motorcycle, and around the world on a one woman peace pilgrimage. She's been a writer and a photographer since the mid-1970s. An artist in many arenas. Jan has three CDs of original music, a YouTube channel, a monthly newsletter, podcast and videos and conducts and connects the dots of evolutionary creativity, spiritual intelligence, and social action. She is the author of 10 other books. And if you want to find out more about her books, just go to it's very easy. janphillips.com there you can actually see I watched a TED talk this morning. I didn't even know she was on TED. You can see that talk about creativity. But we're going to talk about this book. And I think more interestingly about this book and her journey is what every one of my listeners I think, can learn from this book. Learn More importantly about spirituality, creativity and life. And Jan, I don't know I've known you for a long time. I've known you in the business world. I've known you in the personal world. I've seen how you've interacted with people and the creativity that you've brought to the table and it has always impressed me, you know, between the music, the poetry, the photography, the books, the things, you're somebody who's always in motion. And you've you've written many other books, like we said, and some of those were like business evolutionary books, right? They were very, very interesting. They were way ahead of their time, by the way, had they come out now with this climate summit? I think we probably would have gotten a lot more juice from them. But this book still on fire is really kind of about you. And your journey and your life and why this book now? And just really why would you want to let the world know?

Jan Phillips
That's such a good question. Um, all of my other books are nonfiction which erupt out of some problem right? And so if you see a problem, then you do your research and you write the book about it. But now I'm at a point in my life, I'm 72. And I thought, good time to write a memoir. Specifically called Field Notes. From a queer mystic for two reasons. One is cake teens are in trouble. They're four times more apt to attempt suicide than regular straight teens are. And there's trouble in the gay community where there's just a lot of violence these days. And so I wanted to be totally out and to make it very clear on the cover of the book that this was for our tribe for and about our community. The Mystic piece, is because you know, there's a massive exodus movement of people leaving the churches now because the churches are failing. In integrity, they're failing to be inspiring, and people are just leaving the churches in droves. Many of them haven't ever teased apart. Religion, what we inherit from our own spirituality, what we create. And so I think there's a lot of people out there, particularly Catholics, who feel like they can have a powerful spirituality because you're not associated with Catholicism anymore. So this book is for that community, who wants to find out how to create a vital and inspired spiritual life for themselves, which will inform all their actions in the world. So it says show by all of the experiences of one person who did it

Greg Voisen
Well, it took a lot of courage, you know, to do the things you've done, and I think one of the things that you're bringing to your audience, your tribe, is the opportunity to be courageous. I know when people come out, that's a courageous act. Many people still hide behind that veil, and of being gay, I want you to tell us a little bit about your personal story. From a gay girl to becoming a nun in the convent to breaking free I say breaking free, because, you know, religion versus spirituality versus faith. As you denote in the book. There's a huge difference. I always say religion did more to control people than it ever did to do anything else. Versus spirituality. Help people become free. It freedom. I mean, that's my personal comparing contrast. That's good. Yeah. What do you believe? You've been the significant turning points. And what would you tell our listeners that are contemplating their life's journey, whether they're gay or not? And embracing what's next? Because, you know, with COVID, with the lockdown, with everybody rethinking their finitude you know, I lost two brothers this year. I lost two good friends this year. Um, you know, you've got people leaving work and groves, saying, I don't want to be at this place anymore because I don't have fulfillment I don't have meaning I don't have purpose in what I'm doing. And you're the perfect person to address this. So I know I packed a lot in that question. But there's two questions really, probably three. I want you to tell the people about your story of becoming a nun. And then being dismissed. I read the damn letter that they sent to you which was like that was the lamest excuse I've ever seen. To breaking free and then helping people kind of embrace their spirituality and their creativity. What would you tell them?

Jan Phillips
Well, a backstory. Yeah, it's covered I was gay. There wasn't word gay. In the in the 60s when I discovered that I was homosexual. Nothing could be worse than to be a Catholic. 12-year-old who falls in love with girls. Nothing could be worse. So. So I considered suicide because as far as I knew from the whole Catholic church, God doesn't like homosexuals. The church doesn't. The culture doesn't family doesn't so I'll just kill myself. So I am pondering how will I do this? And I'm in sixth grade and the nun likes me and she wonders why am I walking around so sad and when my head down all hunched over all the time, and she decides to do a campaign she calls my mom. She says your daughter, something's wrong with your daughter. We're going to bring her back to life. How my mom, how do we do this? Well, I have a new idea. We're going to try positive reinforcement, which is just affirming the kid over and over whenever they do anything, right and the nun did it in spades. Every time she'd watched me on the playground, she'd say how good I was. It captured the flag. Best valor and class rights is so straight on the board. So smart what an artist. First I thought she was crazy. But after a month of this, it sunk in. In one day, it happened that that sad, sick little caterpillar woke up a butterfly. And when that happened, I immediately became a leader. I immediately stopped thinking suicidal thoughts. And I immediately decided I'm going to be a nun when I grow up because none save kids’ lives. So that was the weird reason why I went into the convent to save other kids lives. And I had to wait six years because I was 12 when that happened. So I stayed in the I loved it in the comment because I didn't pay any attention to rules that I didn't want to pay attention to. So I just took a lot of freedom to be me. But they found out that I was gay that I was in love with the novice that I had snuck into her bedroom. It was a disaster because even though they're always afraid of a carnal relationship, never did anything more than kiss. Nothing sexual ever happened. But they had such fear about those kinds of relationships. So they sent me home. worst thing that ever happened to me, and it began a 20 year downward spiral.

Greg Voisen
I have a question. For you how to impose it here on stress. Do you ever watch Grant Chester?

Jan Phillips
I have seen it once.

Greg Voisen
It is the guy it's the gay guy who they catch in the 50s and put him in prison in England. Yeah. Being gay, but he is the Vicar's assistant or what a cure whatever they call them. Yes. And, and it's, you know, you get to look back in time you say how ignorant could people be? You know, if they went before a judge in a trial and a jury in the whole nine yards and they threw him in jail. All I can say to my listeners if you haven't seen grant Chester, PBS, it's the it's the best and what Jan is talking about. She isn't just saying, hey, this this happened once. This happens so much back then that it was almost a crime. You know, I'm sorry if I sidetracked you, but

Jan Phillips
No, you didn't sidetrack me. What happened in a college class I took to the expression of homophobia was my professor, who was a class was how do you create a two slide projector show where the images dissolve and there's a soundtrack of music to create a more emotional impact. This is before computers before PowerPoints, right? So everyone is using slide projectors. And so I came out and I did a slideshow called Woman to Woman and then had images of lesbians but it was about as many images as how we are in the culture. I don't know 10% It wasn't all that and there was no eroticism or anything. It was just there was a picture of a woman on a motorcycle with a T shirt that said I love younger woman. That's just you know, kind of the extent of it or, you know, a button that says I'm a dyke. It was just nothing. But he was disgusted with the whole thing said he was giving me an F. Few people in the class, John me. And I went right over to that's when the day I came out as an activist, I went right over to the human sexuality professor, because I knew he always brought marginalized people into his classes to talk to the classes. I want to talk to your class about being a lesbian and getting bad treatment from people for no reason at all. So he let me talk to the class and that was my coming out as a social activist.

Greg Voisen
Interesting, you know, because I, I had a class at San Diego State in the 70s and even in the 70s. I remember it was a class on sexuality and it was jam full. And they would bring in marginalized people as you said, they'd either bring in couples that were swingers or they bring in gay man or lesbian night, whatever they had, you know, but the reason the class was packed is because everybody was so interested, people were hanging out the doors. I mean, it was it was probably one of the most fun classes and then afterwards, we all went to a bar and talk and yeah, you know, it was that was the way it was the way that's so what would you tell the listeners in some way from this experience because it had its pain and it's had its joys it you know, you've had you had a partner you lost her to cancer, you know, I have a had an older brother, who died two years ago, and he was gay all of his life. He died at 77. And he said, you know, and he lived in the same times you did, I mean, it was pretty much identical. And he said there was nothing worse than being a gay man. He said, I wouldn't wish this on anybody. What you know what happened? To him? You know, you look at his journey, meaning that he didn't find that much happiness as a result of it. And my guess my question to you would be in all of this journey that you've been from being a nun me reading that letter in the book about what she said I actually even quoted it somewhere in these questions. Because I just was appalled at the letter and it said Occidental, California. I was like, where's Occidental? That must be in LA, right? Just thinking it's,

Jan Phillips
Oh, it's up North Sonoma County,

Greg Voisen
Is that where it is, I don't even know where Occidental was. I saw in the letter Occidental is like I said, No, I know there's an Occidental College. I didn't know there was no, but what would you tell our listeners about this journey about the, you know, becoming an activist like you just said, that was the day I became an activist. You know, you made a decision in your life and I think there becomes a turning point where people say there's so much pain, I'm going to do something to change.

Jan Phillips
Yes, that's it and I could not heal my heart. You know, I live for a couple years every day going to the mailbox thinking. Maybe today I'll get the letter saying they made a terrible mistake. You know, I was just like, living with a delusion that they had just made a terrible mistake because I was destined to be in in a religious community. So I couldn't heal my heart and I tried therapy, never worked, never worked. Years go by and I'm just how it translated through my body was I had so much rage, I had so much shame. I had so much pain, so not knowing what to do, how I couldn't turn it around. I just started drinking. A lot. I started doing drugs. I started being kind of promiscuous, not able to have a committed relationship because at any moment of the day, somebody can pull the rug out from under you. So it undermined all my natural instincts to trust people. It was terrible. And that went on for 20 years, until I had an occasion to sit down with a woman who was the provincial director of the community. It was a mother house with 400 sisters. in it. The head honcho of the mother house, agreed to sit down with me to help me process it because I said to her, I can't heal and it's been 20 years since she was generous. She goes yes come to my convent. She had rotated out of leadership. Go to the convent tell her the whole story. My hope is if I have her as a witness, something might change. And something changed indeed, and I don't know why but at the at I started the story when I was 12. Talk to her about you know, the whole night of being kicked out how terrible that was what I've what's happened to me since then, and when I was done, she said she called me sister. She said, Sister, will you forgive me? For this terrible injustice that happened to you on my watch? Kind of surprised me because I wasn't there with the agenda called, they better figure out how to ask me for my friend and didn't even hurt. And then I said, Yeah, I said, Of course I forgive you. And then she said, Will you forgive the entire community of the Sisters of St. Joseph Yes. I said, Of course. I forgive the entire community of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. For this terrible injustice that was done to me, and the minute I uttered those words, some kind of miracle happened. And my brain took a turn. And I hear this voice says nothing to forgive. And the next thing that occurred to me what I said to her, Oh my God, there's nothing to forgive. I said, I shouldn't be thanking you for the privilege that you gave me to spend two years in a monastic environment. So in my brain, the whole thing got turned around and I don't know what that forgiveness thing had to do with it.

Greg Voisen
Well, it sounds like you went through the rage process. In other words, you know, when people get angry, you said hey, I went into drugs. I was promiscuous. They did this. That was kind of the rage part that you got through then when you went back to see her after that. Is that correct?

Jan Phillips
Yeah, way after that.

Greg Voisen
Way after that and you got her forgiveness. Something triggered in your mind…

Jan Phillips
I didn't get her forgiveness. I forgave her.

Greg Voisen
Ultimately but she said, Will you forgive? What I heard you say was, will you forgive me and us the rest of them and yes, in order? Yeah. And you said you don't need to. I forgive you. Is that right?

Jan Phillips
At first I said, I forgive you and then the voice from the cosmos says there's nothing to forgive.

Greg Voisen
Well, that's the spirituality and not the religion that's the soul and not the ego. And you know, you got to a point. I just had an interview with Gary Zukav, you know, Universal Human. And you know, our, our true power is that power from the soul, yet we frequently get tied up in the ego and think that's so important to, you know, have that. No, we all have them. The question is, how much are they impeding our growth? And can you recognize that and you know, your spiritual journey, as you said, it's been interesting. You've been from embracing Catholicism, to touching Buddhism, to touching all these other things that you explored. you've explored a lot. And you cite this nails bore, I never heard of them before. And there was a great quote, opposite a truth statement is a false statement. But opposite a profound truth is another profound truth. Have you found the truth? What? significant meaning? Does that quote have for you? And How might our listeners relate to that as well?

Jan Phillips
Niels Bohr is a physicist. And the world of physics is open. It's kind of opening up. The science of physics is opening up our minds to the most incredible truth because it borders on metaphysics, right? So physics leads to metaphysics. And so what he said is opposite a true statement. is a false statement. In this realm, where we live in the realm of the relative, it's true, it's raining out or it's not raining, right? It's either true or false whenever you're saying and it because you can see it, feel it, etc. But in the realm of the Absolute, which is the dimension beyond us, the dimension of divinity, the absolute realms, there's no good and evil, there's no duality. Opposite of profound truth is another profound truth. So I could say from this higher perspective, being dismissed from the convent was the worst thing that ever happened to me. being dismissed from the convent was the best thing that ever happened to me. They're both profoundly true.

Greg Voisen
That is what I wanted the listeners to hear. Because frequently when something goes away that we think we should have, we get attached to it. So it's non attachment to what that is in our mind to what we think it was supposed to be. And for you this supposed to be was I was supposed to stay in the convent. And the truth was, you weren't. And you were supposed to become Jan, the truth is that is the truth. Now a question because so many listeners are active on social media. And the divisiveness that occurs as a result of people putting stories out, including our media, and this wasn't one of our questions, but I have this for you. And how in in the you said right first off that the gay community is hurting. That was one of your first statements, there's a lot of anger. And this is being proliferated by false stories, false stories that are all over the place, all you got to do is go on the internet and you start to see them and these false stories have been exacerbated lately. In your mind to bring you know, they said there's either fear or love to big emotions. How would you bring love back to this community that you say is hurting so much?

Jan Phillips
Well, it's kind of a tricky question. I mean, writing this memoir, and telling the whole story of being queer on my life and the consequences of that is one way to do it. Right. I created a whole photo exhibition called born gay with that I that was up for a month in Hillcrest at The Living Room, coffee house, and it's big images of me all through my life from age three kindergarten third grade, in a tells the whole story about how did I know I was born gay, what it felt like how come I had to have a fake boyfriend. All the ways I lied and tried to not try to say I am not that how it backfires on us. So I think the best we can do is to just come out and tell our own stories. But the problem is, see I have nothing to fear and nothing to lose. I had lost everything. So there was nobody could get at me now. I have I lost my church, my community. I lost my family for a little while. So what else can they take from me? I have nothing to lose, but I'm in alignment. I'm in community with women who could lose their children in a custody case. So me being out. No, no consequences. You can't hurt my feelings, right? But my sister being out, they could take that her kids away. So we really have to face up with what's the real ramifications, but look what they're doing to Pete Buda judge now. Yeah. Oh making fun of them for taking paternity leave. You know, I just read today a little trans kid in grammar school. The boys put up a camera they hit a camera in the bathroom. To see how the kid went to the bathroom as a trans person and then they posted it online. That kind of baloney. They're throwing us off buildings in the Middle East. They're killing people outright in the streets in Africa because our missionaries go over there and say homosexuality is a terrible sin and a crime. It goes on everywhere all around us. Every one of us who is queer has to deal with how am I going to be and I just say the most freedom comes for us and to us and through us when we acknowledge. Yes, I am that.

Greg Voisen
I would say that if that's true with anything that you are is to claim it and not dance around it. And I and I think that's an important message here. It's an important message in the book. And whether it's bravery or courage or whatever you want to call it. And you know you speak about being a nun which we're in the UN I say in the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church. What would you tell the listeners about finding their bliss? And what risks you had to take to ultimately find yours and speak about the journey that you call it from religion to faith, if you would,

Jan Phillips
I didn't realize how to find my bliss, until I'm sitting there in a mess going. When was I blissful? And the truth was, I was blissful for the most part in the convent. And the reason was, because when you're in the novitiate, it's like boot camp. When you're in boot camp for any of the armed forces, they control your time. Right? Five o'clock get up six o'clock do that. Eight o'clock do this right. Well, so it's like that in the convent. Only. They pretty much divvied up the day into four parts. Prayer, solitude community and service. And when I put all those pieces together, I said, Oh my heavens, I could create a life that has equal parts. of service to others. Community, prayer and silence. And so once I got that, that's how I created my life.

Greg Voisen
You don't need someone else to do that before you anybody listening out there can do that.

Jan Phillips
So right when we're in charge of our time it's a matter of how you apportion your time. That's why I think you mentioned this earlier, Greg, but that's why I think so many people have quit their jobs and they're not going back. Because they discovered when they create their own days yes, you have to put in the work part. But you can also consciously create it so you have time for meditation, time to be with other people socially. You figure out what your services right so we have this COVID thing has been the worst thing and the best thing that ever happened to the human species.

Greg Voisen
I agree. I agree. And it's giving us time, I think you said in your speech to them about creativity. We're going to change out our Ram, you know, we're going to actually the mental printer software, upgrade our software. And I think that's important. And you state that you were running toward a good life but that you were running away at the same time, from a culture that shamed you a family that might not accept you in a world that didn't seem to have a place for you. You know, it was interesting. Your mother was Catholic. Your father wasn't Catholic. So it was a you know, what does the lesbian woman inside of you want to say about being accepted? And what would you advise any other gay women listening to be accepted?

Jan Phillips
Well, I think it's really important to create for ourselves our own family of choice to prepare ourselves to Yeah, I still have my family. I still go to family reunions, I still, I visit my brother occasionally though. He's a Trump supporter, and it's become more difficult now. But I have another family of people who will never let me down. And they are my community and they're all over the country. But that's an essential thing. For those of us who, whose lives are at risk. And I'm not worried about somebody coming up and killing me for being queer, although somebody might. I I'm not worried about that. But I know that I have a community of support and I think that's like somebody might be sitting in some podunk town in Nebraska. Or in the middle of Kansas right now. And not be out and not be proud and not know how to find community. I think they should go to janphillips.com and get a consult with me.

Greg Voisen
I agree. I agree.

Jan Phillips
Because there's a lot I'm not we're not going to spend a lot of time here I may giving you steps one through five. But the thing I know is that we have to figure out how to create a circle around ourselves and that sometimes starts with book clubs, you know, sometimes helps to have social media, but everybody's story is so different.

Greg Voisen
Well, you travel around the country speaking and doing community and build a built community everywhere. And if they go to your website, they certainly can find out where you're going to be next. And in spite of COVID Jan still forges on, masks or no masks in this case probably masked but you know, do look for she's right go to janphillips.com, j-a-n-p-hi-l-l-i-p-s.com. And send her an email. You know, it say hey, I'd like to talk to you because this is going to reach a lot of people. And I'm hoping it has a very positive element that people hear through this who would like to get in touch with you? Now? In the 60s, you had the software of consult Catholicism installed, you said as you wrote in the book, what was it like living with a mother that was Catholic, and they said there were 13 of you. Is that right? My mom was one of 14, one of 14 and a father who did not follow the religion but your mother one and influenced your programming. And why do you believe you bought in lock stock and barrel? What is it that you think if you think back then, you know, we don't we're very young. We're very impressionable. I actually I'll say this when I was interviewing Gary Zukav. He said, you know, do you remember when you're in your backyard and there was a sandbox, and there were fences around it? He says you had never taken the fences down. And in your case, in anybody's case being that young, you're so influenced, you don't recognize there's something beyond the fences. Right. I think that's a really great analogy. We don't recognize there's something beyond the fences, and we're frequently stuck in the fences in the same sandbox, doing the same thing. Why do you think you bought into it lock stock barrel so much?

Jan Phillips
Well, for one, the Catholic Church is a master at programming, because they do it with let's say, I'll say three words, Frankincense candles. Colored vestments ever changing. Hallelujah chorus, that will do it.

Greg Voisen
So that's what got you to change. Okay, so, after you were dismissed, you got in you were in a couple of years you were dismissed and you wrote this letter to Sister Joan Teresa, Teresa, right. And you wanted to find out why you were dismissed. And you talked a little bit about this. But the reason stated was in the letter, a disposition unsuited to religious life with excessive and exclusive friendships, quote, unquote. She claims she didn't have the file or whatever short. Yeah. So what was it like dealing with the dismissal and how did you deal with this? And you've actually already said how you kind of went back and ask her but mentally at the time, Jan Philipp, sitting there getting this letter where you raged? Enraged?

Jan Phillips
I felt bad that they never got me because I told you, I think they had a very fear. It was called particular friendships and we short the PDFs. And we made jokes about it. And if you have somebody really strongly fond of and there's any emotional qualities, you'd be your PDF, okay, but that's why she said, you know, relationship particular friendships. Yeah. And so I had one, I had to, you know, I wrote about the two in the book, and that just, you know, it scared them. And so I thought they think I'm unsuitable for religious life because I love people. Yeah. And they say I'm excessive and exclusive. Well, excessive. Yes. Exclusive. No. So I said they don't even know who they're dealing with here. But it still didn't make me feel better because I still had no power in the matter. And I was still turning the whole thing into a country western tune called they done me wrong. Because that was seventh 1977. That was only midway through my healing journey which took me into 1990.

Greg Voisen
Well, you know, the book is a great memoir for people to read, to understand what you went through, and to then relate that to things they might be going through in their life, where they're having similar reactions to it, and how they can learn to let go, how you learn to let go of that, and to forgive, and maybe never forget, but to forget. And Jan, you said that Ken Keyes Jr. wrote a book entitled The 100th. Monkey. What impact this book have on your life and how did it turn your life upside down? As you stated in the book?

Jan Phillips
I was working as a picture framer in a suburban mall outside Syracuse, New York. I go to work one day and now my workbench is a book called The 100th monkey. I took it with me on my lunch hour and read the whole thing while I was eating my sandwich. And I discovered I could be the 100th person. I don't think we have time to go into the story, but anyone could Google it and get the story. But I proclaimed in the middle of the restaurant, oh my god, I could be the 100th person because it's about changing consciousness, not through words. And language, but through intention, and thought and action. And that was a day I decided to make a piece pilgrimage around the world. So I left the restaurant, went over to the bank, give the teller 20 bucks and say to her, I'm going to make a piece pilgrimage around the world as soon as I get $5,000 in the savings account. And I'm going to do it as fast as I can. And then I had to go to work finish my Fincher framing job but while I was there, I created like a 75 word ad for the Pennysaver that said, we'll do the following tasks. You know, paint your house, clean out your attic, wash your windows data, and then I started getting jobs and then I also became a waitress for Howard Johnson went to work at 5am I also became a dishwasher at a restaurant wash dishes until midnight. So I've worked really hard for a year and a half got my $5,000 but 200 rolls of film 200 Kodak mailers for my slides. And that's how the whole thing has started. Yeah, so the 100th Monkey.

Greg Voisen
Well, it was certainly the thing that got you on fire. And still on fire. Yeah. Now you state that God you state that the God you once related to has gone away of the wild gates, okay. But God you once related to that doesn't mean you don't believe in God. It just means that God that you had formed in your life as being part of a nun and living the religious life versus the spiritual but the time that you spent in prayer and meditation only increases every day, today, tomorrow, what you do, how is your relationship with God morphed and what makes it better now than it was in the past?

Jan Phillips
So I no longer have an image the Sistine Chapel image of that fear did God reaching out and touching and creating Adam that is the image that's gone the way of the Wild Goose. I have also studied John Bishop John Shelby Spong, who's a biblical scholar and studied the text and have no longer look to Scripture. Because there's, it's so much of it as suspect through all the translations through the patriarchy through all the agendas evolved, the people, you know, it was original Aramaic, and then it gets translated into Latin by male priests. And then it gets translated into Greek and then it gets translated into your old English, right? It's just how can anything stay the same? So I don't count on those scriptures being necessarily true, being that truth, being the truth, not true meaning with a capital T. So every morning in my practice, I'd like to candles and I recreate fresh every day. Who is this God people talk about? And it's just gotten down to that force is the source of this creation. It's more like a verb. It's ongoing. It's the wave and I'm the particle. It's one energy. And energy either takes the form of a wave or a particle based on who's looking. And so I know I'm the particle version. And I know the invisible one is the wave version. But that's in my lungs in my bloodstream, the air that I breathe, the sea that I swim in, that is divine mind, to me, I think, divine mind.

Greg Voisen
I love your analogy because I go to listen to the monks at SRF and I'm a devotee. And they always say, there's the drop and the sea. And this is we are drops in the sea of the total right out of the hole. And, you know, it is that's the way really to look at it. So, you if you were to leave these listeners with three key takeaways from the book, what would they be and what would you say to encourage our listeners to embrace this god energy? In other words, the energy not the religion, the fact that it is part of us we are all God in our own right. We are those particles as part of the whole, right? We're all interconnected. What would you tell them about your journey, having been separated, saying, Oh, no, God is up there. Right, because that's the way you were the two fingers doing this. Versus No, God is in here. And I am that I'm you know, I think there's still people making that journey Jan. Lots of them.

Jan Phillips
Emily Dickinson one said, the only news I get is bulletins all day from immortality. And when I think of God is supreme intelligence, I think of God is broadcasting intelligence throughout the cosmos every minute of the day. And so how do I get my messages? Right? I sit there in silence and say, I'm here. I'm listening. I'm in your presence. I don't have a puppy there. I don't have other people there. I don't I'm not playing my playlists. I'm in silence. I have a candle burning. And I sit there for a designated period of time. That is a requirement to be in relationship with divine mind. Imagine falling in love with someone. You know the feeling think of being in love with I have driven through blizzards to spend a night with someone I love. I have risked my life to be in the arms of the Beloved. Now if you're in love with somebody, when they call and say, how do we get together? You do not say I don't have time. Because all you want to do is be in the arms of Your Beloved. So the critical requirement, you can do it 10 minutes a day. I guarantee you'll up your game. If you commit to 10 minutes a day, every day to sit in silence. Put your phone somewhere else. Don't read the newspaper. Don't have any temptations around you to take your attention. Just sit there quietly, you will be communicated to all my CDs are songs that I wrote as a result of the communications I received in my meditation time. Every song comes from the outside in. So if I would say to your listeners if you want an inspired life, take a listen every day to the boss of inspiration to the supreme source of your life. Tune in, tune in and realize that everything this goes back to opposite truth is an untruth opposite of profound tape statement is on the other profound statement. This is also true everything that has happened to you. It could be the best thing and it could be the worst thing but it has happened to you. It has happened for you and has happened through you that you co created every disaster, every trauma and every tragedy in your life. You had something to do with that being in your sphere, because we are creative people. It has happened for you as well as to you and that you we have to process the events of our lives. Keep spinning them until we come to the point where we finally get it and say thank you for that occurrence. You know you say to somebody What's the worst thing that ever happened? To you my divorce from my first husband? What's the best thing that ever happened to my divorce from my first husband? Right, right, because they have processed it. Right now. They're going thank God I divorced my first husband.

Greg Voisen
I always love what Byron Katie used to say, you know to say is it true? Is it really true? Right? Meaning because, you know, we live in a world of making stuff up then believing what we made up and then living the story that we made up, right. You know, and you don't have to believe everything you think. And so you know, you're walking around having this thought about what was the worst thing that ever happened? And that's really an essence what you have had happen is you started you start to question your thinking but then when you get in touch with a true higher source, call it God power, the omnipotent, whatever, you find that you will shift so much because you have a love relationship with God or a higher power, knowing that every day that's what you said, I'm seeking to have this connection, because that's where I get my sustenance from. I get my sustance I get my creativity I get everything I need. For my listeners. Go out and get a copy of this still on fire. You're going to be on fire after you read it because you're going to want to do something in your life and change something from this memoir. Jan, it's been a pleasure having you on inside personal growth, sharing some of your stories and your experiences because that's how we all learn. Community. We are the people. They can go to your website at janphillips.com, we'll put a link in there. Also the link to the book on Amazon as well. Do follow Jan, she's got a newsletter. She's got a lot of things that you could sign up for, but an opportunity to explore new horizons. That's what I'll say. Jan, Thanks so much for being on the show.

Jan Phillips
Greg. Thanks.

You're great. We love you. Take care.

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