What You See Is What You Get

IMG_1417“The way you look at things is the most powerful force in shaping your life. In a vital sense, perception is reality.”  John O’donahue, Anam Cara

We writers and spiritual pilgrims are world builders, shape shifters; we make heroes, and, we identify and fight villains. We can be the hero in our own lives and stories. We discover personal truth where ever we are courageous enough to explore; we can consider any possibility. We can risk everything or risk nothing.

Over the past few weeks I have heard a certain reference multiple times: We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience. 

“There is such an intimate connection between the way we look at things and what we actually discover.”  John O’donahue, Anam Cara

In my writing, teaching and counseling, as well as in my own spiritual and relational life, the shaping of my experiences gets down to a willingness to keep an explorer’s mind. Instead of going into something all sure of what it is about, we open our heart and mind to the experience. I do the same as I write. Even as I write this blog for you I maintain a curiosity about my subject. I explore. I hold a conversation with my ideas. This way I discover a lot more than if I came in with a set idea of what is suppose to happen, or what I “should” write about.

Life at its essence is conversational.

thumbMost important is to have your own thoughts, build your worlds and views. Establish a foundation and communication with your true self, your heart and soul. For this, John O’donahue recommends that we develop a language of, and with, our own soul. My book, Wheel of Initiation helps each of us create our own soul language. “We must find ourselves in ourselves,” as Dostoevsky said. Too many people do not know the sacred language of their own souls. They don’t know what they are truly saying to themselves. Because we are an “eternal essence,” (John O’donahue, Anam Cara), a spiritual being having a human experience, the Mystery of who we are cannot be limited to our work, roles or whatever scam our ego may be selling us. And, it can never be who others say, or insist, we are.

“The shape of each soul is different. There is a secret destiny for each person. When you endeavor to repeat what others have done or force yourself into a preset mould, you betray your individuality.”  (John O’donahue, Anam Cara)

Life’s journey at its core is one of self-discovery; a pilgrimage that links us to the bigger story of life around us. As long as we are in conversation with our truest self, we will make grand discoveries (on and off the page). Writing is a reliable method of self-discovery. When we consistently come to the blank page, our soul emerges through words, symbols and epiphanies. With others too, we hold a curiosity about the other and stay in the conversation as we explore together. This way, we make real discovers about each other and ourselves. (We can explore our fictional characters in the same way: be in conversation with them.)

“This process of self-discovery is not easy; it may involve suffering, doubt, dismay. But we must not shrink from the fullness of our being in order to reduce the pain.” John O’donahue, Anam Cara


“We should never allow our fears or the expectations of others to set the frontiers of our destiny.” John O’donahue, Anam Cara



“Some nights stay up till dawn as the moon sometimes does for the sun. Be a full bucket, pulled up the dark way of well then lifted out into the light. Something opens our wings, something makes boredom and hurt disappear. Someone fills the cup in front of us, we taste only sacredness.” ( -Thirteenth-century Persian prayer, translated by Robert Bly)

Want help with your exploring? Contact me for a session:  julie@julietallardjohnson.com 608-963-0724.  For the month of May and June I am offering  discounted consultations for my blog readers. IMG_5990

Another Road in Ireland

Another Road in Ireland


2,666 thoughts on “What You See Is What You Get

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