Learning the Art of Spiritual Storytelling

The path of spiritual evolution is one of the rockiest and most perilous of paths— filled with conflict, pitfalls and drama. For a writer, that’s the good news. Jan Phillips

Here’s a nutshell description of a spiritual memoir that’s being shopped around right now by an agent in Manhattan:

Accidental Mystic is a memoir of sensual awakening and spiritual transformation. It follows the trajectory of a young, Catholic lesbian who shape-shifts from misfit to mystic as she unshackles herself from religion, encounters spiritual masters around the world, and stumbles onto the formula for bliss in the most unlikely of places. It is a story-driven tale of devotion, disenchantment, despair and determination, offering a ring-side seat to a life-defining struggle between faith and religion, tradition and originality, silence and self-expression.

That’s three sentences describing the narrative arc of my spiritual trajectory. How would you describe yours in three sentences?

It took a few decades to go deeply enough into my spiritual practice to know how to harvest the ordeal so it could be useful for others. Dismissed from the convent, excommunicated from the church, disinherited from my family, raped, nearly killed—SO WHAT? It takes a rear-view mirror to see that it didn’t just happen to me—it happened for me and through me.

Traveling a spiritual path is one thing. Writing about that journey is another encounter with truth, memory, authenticity and agency. When we get old enough, or wise enough, or honest enough, we can finally acknowledge that we entered into the dark forest willingly, led by an intuition that knows dawn begins at midnight.

If you’re a writer, and if religion has ever been a source of conflict or challenge, you’re in luck. The more upsets, the more chaos, the more trouble you’ve encountered on your spiritual path, the more grist you have for your book. Putting your stories into a cohesive whole that has value for others is both an art and science. So is speaking your truth, finding your publisher, identifying your audience, selling yourself. It is yin and yang the whole way.

If you’re serious about writing the story of your spiritual evolution and taking the next steps to get it out in the world, I’m offering a webinar that will outline every step of that process.

Check out the offerings at IWWG’s Digital Village, http://www.iwwg.org/webinar-phillips