me all through winter. Right now,
I’m looking at the way the sunlight
is coming through the window and
lighting up an amethyst crystal in my
office, and I want to take a picture of
that. Taking pictures is a way for me to
combine presence with beauty.
KK: I love the idea that journaling
doesn’t have to be complicated.
CR: Louise Hay used to say this all the
time: “I’m a very simple woman, and
simple practices dramatically change
my life.” She was right. Everything
that I’m mentioning is about making
you more present and connecting you
to your inner world so that you learn
about what matters most to your soul.
Those are the advanced spiritual tools
we most need to be paying attention to.
KK: Are courage and faith intertwined?
CR: Yes, particularly when you’re
on a hero’s journey and you are in
transition. It requires faith—putting
your trust in something that you can’t
really see. As I went through that
mystery period, I also reevaluated my
relationship with God. I put my faith
in things like nature—for example,
the full moon rising and casting the
most extraordinary light. That’s divine
energy that connects us all. I think we
need to give ourselves permission to
let our faith change, to let it grow and
evolve. I think that takes great courage
because you have to question the
platform you may have been standing
on for a long time.
KK: After all, even Mother Teresa
questioned her faith.
CR: All of the great saints had crises
of faith. As our spiritual selves evolve,
our relationship to the greater oneness
evolves as well, as does our relationship
to God, to the Creator, to the
Universe—however you define it.
KK: You’ve often talked about passing
up good for great, but in this example,
you’re not talking about achieving
more but connecting more.
CR: As we get older, connecting with
ourselves, with each other, and with
something greater than ourselves
becomes more and more important. I
don’t have a lot of patience for cocktail-level conversations. It’s rare that you
find me in a party where I need to
make small talk. I find it a waste
of energy and time. I want deeper
KK: Go deep or go home.
CR: Exactly. Everybody I talk to says
they want that.
KK: Are we all called to take the hero’s
journey at some point?
CR: I think we’re all invited to take
it, but we don’t all accept it. The
question is how present you are for
your life. That’s why the hero’s journey
starts with the recognition that life
as you’ve been living it is no longer
working. You’re dissatisfied. And then
sometimes the hero’s journey is thrust
upon us. I see this all the time. People
say, “I lost my apartment, my job, and
my marriage all in the same month,”
and what that tells me is chances are
there were signs along the way that the
I’ll ask if they were happy in the job
they lost, and they answer, “God, no!
I’ve been miserable for years.” Then
I’ll ask if they did anything about it.
They say, “Well, I couldn’t afford to
leave my job.” That’s never a valid
excuse. You can’t confuse tough
choices with having no choice at all.
We all have choices, and sometimes
making those choices is difficult. But
if you don’t pay attention to the
stirrings of your soul that are telling
you something isn’t working anymore,
then you run the risk of things
collapsing around you. Then you get
what I call a cosmic rug-pulling, where
suddenly the rug gets pulled out from
under several areas of your life.
KK: But even then, there’s still hope.
CR: The universe always responds when
we pay attention to the soul. I wrote
about this in The Unmistakable Touch
of Grace. There is this divine power
ready to support your efforts. You don’t
have to be worthy enough to receive it
or do anything to deserve it. Grace is
your birthright. The minute you start
looking inside and paying attention to
your inner life, this divine force begins
to rally behind you.
You see signs that you’re not alone
and that the more you trust this divine
energy, the more you are cocreating
with it all the time. This divine
energy has only your best interest at
heart. You’ll develop such a strong
connection to your inner life that you
will feel you’re living from the inside
out. Most people, in contrast, are living
from the outside in, feeling yanked
around by the nose.
By the way, I still feel that way
multiple times a week. This is called
being in human form on earth. We
just have to be aware of it and keep
pulling ourselves back from the ego
and back to the soul that really, truly
wants to experience life in the most
CHERYL RICHARDSON is the New York
Times best-selling author of seven
books, the most recent being
Waking up in Winter, published
by HarperOne in December.
Richardson was the team leader
for the Lifestyle Makeover Series
on The Oprah Winfrey Show as
well as the first president of the
International Coach Federation.