Interview With Keri Mangis


Interviews With Accomplished Authors

Author of “Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness”

Image designed by Dr Mehmet Yildiz with photos provided by Keri Mangis

Introduction

When we received the prologue of Keri Mangis’s book submitted to ILLUMINATION Book Chapters on Medium some interesting conversations started among the editors in our Slack review channel.

I started sharing the chapters of this remarkable book with our editors and wanted to obtain their views as the book touched me deeply from multiple angles. During these conversations, one striking comment was made by one of the editors (Marcus) who couldn’t wait and purchased the book before the chapters were published in our new publication.

“Regardless of whether and what one believes about souls, just like spirituality does not require a belief in God (yes, some of the most spiritual people I have met are atheists), anyone and everyone can identify with Keri’s self-empowering messages of life-lessons and self-improvement. On a personal level, I immediately became attached to Keri and her book — I didn’t even realize until she pointed it out to me that she and I are the only ones of which we are aware that talk of our souls’ names (Marcus/Seri) and our human names (Greg/Keri). What Keri intuited, I know. We even share the same favorite author — Hermann Hesse, author of the most under-discussed and most spiritual works of all the answers are within us, Siddhartha and Demian.”

In this post, I want to share an interview I conducted with Keri Mangis on the ILLUMINATION Slack workspace. Keri generously shared her insights articulating the key points in this outstanding book.

screen capture from https://kerimangis.com/book

Before sharing the interview script, I want to briefly introduce Keri to our readers who don’t know her yet.

phot courtesy of Keri Mangis

Keri Mangis has worn a lot of skins — or roles — as a human in this lifetime. She has studied and taught yoga, Ayurveda, herbal medicine, energy work, aromatherapy and many other healing modalities. She has explored Buddhism, Hinduism, Tantra, Christianity, and other spiritual teachings. She has been a speaker. Her writing has appeared in Elephant Journal, Urban Howl, The Sunlight Press, Grown and Flown, Rebelle Society, The Good Men Project, Stitch, Literary Mama, and elsewhere. And most recently, she has donned the skins of author and self-publisher.

Her first book, Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness — A Memoir of New Beginnings, has received several honors such as 2020 IPA Award Winner, 2020 Maxy Awards Finalist for Nonfiction, 2020 Eric Hoffer Book Awards Finalist, 2020 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal in Non-Fiction Spiritual and Supernatural, 2020 New York City Big Book Award Winner, 2020 The Independent Author Network Book of the Year Awards -Winner of the Outstanding Spiritual/Inspirational Award, 2020 TopShelf Book Awards Finalist, and Award Winner in the New Age: Non-Fiction Category of the 2020 Best Book Awards sponsored by American Book Fest.

Keri shared her journey and this book on ILLUMINATION-Curated in a featured story for our discerning readers.

Please enjoy this interview.

Photo courtesy of Keri Mangis

1 — You began your book in a place often referred to as “the dark night of the soul.”

What was taking place at this time in your life?

At the time several ventures of mine had ended — and they ended unceremoniously. I didn’t really understand why they weren’t working out.

I couldn’t quite figure out then what I was supposed to do with what I believed were my skills and talents.

There just really wasn’t another direction to go. I exhausted the obvious directions, and the ambitious seeker inside of me really wanted to continue that, finding that next thing, but I had to instead just sit in silence with myself for a period of time.

That’s really the place the book was birthed out of, a place of silence and solitude and letting go of all of the labels and identities that I had craved and attached to and desired for so long.

2 — What eventually sparked the way forward for you?

Once I started writing the stories, I realized how much power there was there and how much healing still remained.

I thought that I had healed a lot of my life stories. That wasn’t true, and that’s really what this journey was about for me — going back into my stories and writing them again and again and again until I could see them more clearly for their purpose and their view and what I learned.

That was the way forward, just valuing my own journey instead of disparaging it because I hadn’t arrived somewhere imaginary.

3 — Was it a place that you thought you were going to be at that time in your life?

Right! I mean, I was in my early forties. My husband’s career was taking off and my kids were moving out the house and I was nothing — and that was a really frightening place to be at that time in my life.

I was really lucky to have a lot of guidance and support so that instead of continuing to avoid that dark night, which was what I was doing in the beginning, I went directly into it. A lot of things fell away at that time.

A lot of friendships fell away, a lot of opportunities fell away, and it was really hard to not do the things that I loved to do. For five or six years that’s pretty much what I did: rewrite my stories, go back into it, and look at them through all these different perspectives.

The healing that happened was absolutely incredible.

4 — You began to see your life from a different perspective, right?

I was able to see my life from many different perspectives. First of all, I was better able to see it from other people’s perspectives, those who were involved in the stories, which I hadn’t ever really done before, not to that degree, anyway.

I saw how I hurt other people — how I hurt other people sometimes even intentionally — and I was in denial of that part of my own self up until that time. That gave me a great opportunity to do a lot of atonement, a lot of forgiveness work, a lot of compassion work, which led to a greater sense of my own wholeness and our own oneness as human beings.

That’s really what the story of the book is: seeing my own life journey, but not from my ego’s eyes, which were so attached to a straight-line path of success and achievement. I was able to see my life through the eyes of my soul, which looks at my life stories with curiosity and adventure and wonder.

It looks at this and looks at that, and it sees what you learned here and there, and it gave me such a beautiful way to look at my own life rather than this start-to-finish path. I saw how healing it is and how every story really does guide you right into the next one and the next one. My life suddenly was the hero’s journey.

5 — In our quest for more presence in our lives, there is an emphasis on quieting the mind, on stilling the thoughts.

However, your book details a personal inner journey that reveals how emotions often speak the loudest.

Why did you give emotions such prominence in your book, and what realization did you have about your emotions and the role they serve in your life?

I love this question. When I started studying yoga and I learned what you’re talking about here, that the process of yoga was about stilling my thoughts and quieting my mind, I took a hammer, essentially, into my mind and for every thought that popped up, I was slamming it back down. That’s what I thought I was supposed to do. I didn’t appreciate the actual nuance of that teaching at the time. I do now.

I had spent so much of my life trying to control my thoughts and be a good girl or be accepted in this way or don’t think that. I had come from an upbringing where I was already very much in judgment of my own thoughts. The worst thing for me to do was suppress them more at this time in my life. What I needed to do was start observing them from a place of distance and awareness. Once I started actually listening to my own thoughts, I noticed how busy my mind was, and I was able to name some of the different voices inside my head.

That was very illuminating for me. I think I’ve always felt sort of an inner battle between do I want to do this or do I want this, and what I did in my book was name that: that was from my anger and that was from my fear, and guilt was over here wanting something completely different. No wonder I felt so confused. Now I have more recognition of those voices, the same way I better recognize my soul. I better recognize my emotions, and our relationship now is a lot more playful and we’re more of a partnership in this life than we are adversarial. They’re actually helpful.

Our emotions are important and they come with messages. They’re not always messages that we are supposed to heed or that we want to heed, but we at least should accept the message and not kill the messenger, right? Because when anger comes to us, there is an injustice, there is a sense of unfairness, there is some kind of a betrayal, there is something here. That anger has a purpose.

If we just suppress it and push it back down into our body, it will come out in another way. As you see in my book, a lot of my repressed anger came out in the form of chronic hives, these red rashes all over my entire body. So, I had to learn this process. Now I can go back to some of the other practices of quieting and stilling my mind, because I am in a better relationship with my mind and with those thoughts. There is a time and a place for every practice.

6 — The word “authenticity” has become more widely used in recent years. Yet sometimes we need authors like you to share what it truly means and how it is revealed in our lives.

What connection does authenticity have with the soul and why is living with authenticity more relevant today than ever?

I think that when we are embodying our soul, that is our authenticity, that is our essential nature, our original self. I actually like the word “original” more than “authentic” because I think of it as something that was original to us when we were born.

When we were children, for most of us, we expressed ourselves pretty freely. We were in our emotions, we were in our body, we were in our questions. We didn’t yet know that we were supposed to suppress things or quiet this down. As original beings, as children, we were just in this place of wholeness. It was original.

The reason the subtitle of my book is called “A Return to Wholeness” is because I do believe that we all know what that feels like. Authenticity and originality or soul embodiment, whatever term we put on it, isn’t something we need to reach for; it’s something that we return to. It is our essential nature.

We do know it and we do know what it feels like. We’re just afraid of it because we were taught as young children to start putting those things away, to grow up, to not cry, to be a big girl, for boys to man up as we got older. We were taught out of our own originality — and the return is just a reclamation.

7 — In our society, we are seeing women standing up and demanding to not only be seen but heard.

Does that indicate that women are perhaps more connected with their souls and realize that the only way for humanity to move forward collectively without destroying itself is by connecting with the soul?

It does seem to be that women are the ones who are making these decisions right now, who are choosing to stand up and use their voices to be heard. Since they were children, boys and girls have had their own journeys of being suppressed. Boys don’t get to cry. Girls don’t get to be angry. But, I think it has been women’s voices that have been more suppressed over time, and that builds up. Now we’re seeing it finally released.

I don’t necessarily think women are more capable of connecting to their souls. I think that they just need it more in order for their own health and healing. There’s only so much that an individual person can suppress, and collectively there’s only so much that we can suppress. I think with #Me Too and the Time’s Up movement, we’ve just reached this collective place of intolerability.

This expression now is very raw and it will continue to be cultivated and it will continue to be honed and hopefully more and more men are finding that, too. We do see that in Congress right now. The women are speaking up first. The women are standing up in front of their peers and speaking their truth, speaking truth to power in a way that is probably so scary, but so valuable.

8 — Your book reveals a process of growth and maturation that ultimately leads to joy.

What was the greatest insight that paved the way to joy in your life?

For me, joy came once I accepted that the happiness and fulfillment I was looking for could never be found through our many human skins — our roles, jobs, titles, and other identities. This is contrary to what we’re taught, when, even as children, when the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” really means, “What identity will you slip into to keep yourself safe and happy in the world?” As we become adults, the question changes to, “What do you do for a living?” as if our job title is all that matters about us.

These seemingly harmless questions implant in us the false belief that there is an identity for each of us that will provide a happy ever after. It sets us up for the disappointment that befalls many of us (and is too often dismissed as a “midlife crisis.”)

I realized that while human skins offer things such as accomplishment, pride, knowledge, and relationships, none could provide lasting inner joy. Then, it was as easy as opening myself up to receive the natural joy that is, I believe, our birthright as human beings.

9 — Your mentality as a competitive runner seemed to stick with you throughout much of your life — to the point that you even viewed the process of healing and increased consciousness as a race to win.

How were you finally able to relinquish this view of life?

The basic philosophies taught to runners — never quit, push through pain, winner takes all — are the same ones taught by our culture at large. Being a runner just amplified this cultural message for me. It took me a long time, and some hard lessons, to realize that you can’t rush emotional and psychological healing.

I don’t know that I have completely relinquished this view on life; it’s simply that now I am aware and conscious of it (most of the time)!

That means I can see it for what it is — a tactic that will only keep me in the endless cycle of wanting and needing more. As with any ingrained belief, the more we understand about what we’ve absorbed or accepted as truth, the more we can discern truth for ourselves.

10 — In your book, you not only talk about your soul, you actually give her a name — Serene Voyager — as well as a personality, dialogue, and a journey all of her own which progresses alongside her human/ego partner.

It’s clear that you consider the soul as more than just an abstract concept.

What do you think our souls are, and why did you describe your soul in such detail?

To me, our soul is our purest, deepest, and most essential truth and sincerest self. Her personality, then, is what I consider to be my purest and most essential self and her questions and dialogues are the very ones that I have longed to ask but didn’t know how.

Our soul is the part of us that is eternal, that is choosing this life for reasons that may or may not be entirely conscious to our human self. Through detailing my soul’s journey, and particularly her time “before the beginning,” I was trying to understand her particular reasons for choosing this life.

I learned it is largely about her search for the Great Truth. Even as she knows the Great Truth is not graspable or knowable, the search itself satisfies her — and by extension, me.

Knowing this about my soul gives me great comfort as I move through this life and realize that so many of the events and life situations my ego would feel were letdowns or even failures, my soul was simply watching, serenely, for the lessons and wisdom.

11 — What is your definition of an embodied soul?

Aren’t we all souls living in a human body?

I believe that there is a huge difference between the soul incarnation that occurs at the beginning of our lifetime and a conscious choice to embody one’s soul during our lifetime.

Many people live out an entire lifetime never actually acknowledging the truth of their soul, let alone choosing to cultivate an ongoing relationship or even dialogue with it.

To embody our soul means to claim our truth and live in alignment with that truth — which is no small feat in a world run on façades and image!

Embodying our soul is a lifelong process (not a one-time event.) A path of living as an embodied soul is not an easy path, but neither is living a lifetime without our soul ever being acknowledged in the world.

12 — Not only does your book alternate between the Earth Realm and the Soul Realm settings, but there is some time travel on the part of your soul involved as well as she observes Keri in different scenarios.

Are you suggesting that the soul can travel in time?

It’s important to remember that time is an invention made by and for humans. But even in the Earth Realm, there was a time before time was the measurement of a life.

So yes, neither the soul nor the Soul Realm is subjected to constraints of time or space. Like

I say in the book, though, trying to help our egos understand this concept is like a butterfly trying to explain its access to a third dimension to an ant!

13 — Your emotions are personified in this book as snakes, and they have dialogue and conversation with each other and with you.

Why did you choose to present your emotional landscape this way?

I’ve always been a highly emotional person. To me, my emotions are not peripheral to my life; they are central to my life.

And even if we don’t know it consciously, we all are having conversations with our emotions all the time. For instance, we try to cool anger down, we negotiate with fear, we court joy.

I found this technique of personifying my emotions in the various situations to be a profoundly truthful way of sharing my internal dialogue and processes.

After so many years of not letting them matter, I felt that sharing their voices, characters, and unique perspectives was the least I could do by way of apology!

14 — Your soul’s guide in the book, Rasa, is the soul who imparts wisdom to your soul in the Soul Realm, the same way your soul Sëri imparts wisdom to you in the Earth Realm.

Is Rasa based on any one person from your life? Or is she your assigned soul guide?

And what does her name mean?

Rasa’s wise voice and advice is a compilation of the many women I’ve had the opportunity to work with or study with over the years.

She is also the wise woman inside of myself. Her personality — light and fun — is the kind of energy I often find helpful when trying to digest my life, as I tend toward serious and introverted. She is a soul guide in a sense, too, but one who has her own path and journey. I view our relationship as cyclical, not hierarchical. Hierarchy, like time, is an Earth Realm invention.

Rasa’s name is an acronym that stands for Rights Advocate for Soul Animals. The reader gets a glimpse of her work rescuing soul animals and attempting to reunite them with their human partners.

But also, “rasa” is a Sanskrit word, which means the “taste” of something. As she guides Séri through a review of her life situations, she doesn’t focus on whether something was good or bad, right or wrong. She asks, essentially, what was the taste of that experience? Was it sweet, salty, bitter, astringent, sour, or pungent?

In Ayurvedic philosophy, it’s understood that in order to feel satiated, a meal must satisfy all six of these essential tastes. I think Rasa understands and teaches that life, too, must satisfy all six tastes in order to satiate us as souls.

15 — I’m curious about your insight on the life each of us leads.

What is it we weren’t told about this human experience, about our individual journey and the meaning of life, itself?

A lot, actually! This is my experience, as I wrote about the soul realm: I learned that all of us, most of us — there are a few exceptions — came to this planet through the River of Forgetting. We forget our past lives. We forget what we’re here to learn. We forget what kind of traps we’ve fallen into in the past.

The reason that we forget, because, trust me, I have questions, was so that we could play this game of life freely, without feeling this agenda hanging on top of us.

If we remembered all of our past and we knew all of the mistakes that we’ve made in the past, we might try to avoid those things again, but we would also fail to learn the remaining lessons that lie in those particular pitfalls, for instance.

If we were standing at a crossroads in our lives and we knew what was going to happen down one path and we knew what was going to happen down another path, it would paralyze us in indecision. So, I think that we come here forgetting a lot of these things, but it’s all available to us when we seek and when we ask.

For me, my life is a process of remembering what my soul came here to do, for instance this idea that she came to play in lots of different skins. That was something that I remembered as I continued my dialogue with my soul.

There is more for me to remember down the line as I continue to ask and as I’m prepared for the answers. I may never remember all of it, and that’s for a reason, and I trust that.

16 — Is there a final thought, something we haven’t talked, about that you’d like to leave with our readers?

My final thought is really about self-love and self-acceptance, and how important these things are right now. I came to this through dialoguing with my emotions, through allowing myself to feel completely all that there is to feel, and to accept all that I am feeling as true and as good.

I think that there are things in this life that we take too seriously, such as our title, or what kind of car we drive, or what kind of car somebody else drives, or what someone else thinks of us.

And then there are things that we don’t take seriously enough, and that is the wisdom from our bodies, the validity of our emotions, and the information available from our instincts.

As we come out of this place of denial and come into more of a place of acceptance, we settle, we ground, and compassion comes more naturally, bravery comes more naturally, and empathy comes more naturally. All of these things that we’re seeking and wanting in our life spring from self-acceptance.

17 — Where can readers find out more about your book?

More information about “Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness”, as well as purchase options is available in this link.

Readers can use the code “medium” to receive 20% off a signed copy. The book is also available in print and e-book format on Amazon and other outlets.

18 — How can readers get in touch with you?

I’m all over social media! Follow me or get in touch through any of the following links:

Newsletter, Website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Thank you for your time, Keri.

It was a delightful conversation that enabled me to learn more about your background and glean insights from your fascinating book.

I hope more readers can gain insights from your profound messages presented and articulated in a pleasant fictional form.


I hope you enjoyed this interview.

You can obtain more information on my review of Keri’s books and access the chapters easily from this story.Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness
Featuring an accomplished author and an outstanding book: Keri Mangismedium.com

And the beautiful video production by The Garrulous Glaswegian on ILLUMINATION YouTube channel./media/f803eacf2354a3a09486588c12c69afc

Dr Mehmet Yildiz

Chief Editor of ILLUMINATION Integrated Publications

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Interviews With Accomplished Authors

Interview With Keri Mangis

Author of “Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness”

Image designed by Dr Mehmet Yildiz with photos provided by Keri Mangis

Introduction

When we received the prologue of Keri Mangis’s book submitted to ILLUMINATION Book Chapters on Medium some interesting conversations started among the editors in our Slack review channel.

I started sharing the chapters of this remarkable book with our editors and wanted to obtain their views as the book touched me deeply from multiple angles. During these conversations, one striking comment was made by one of the editors (Marcus) who couldn’t wait and purchased the book before the chapters were published in our new publication.

“Regardless of whether and what one believes about souls, just like spirituality does not require a belief in God (yes, some of the most spiritual people I have met are atheists), anyone and everyone can identify with Keri’s self-empowering messages of life-lessons and self-improvement. On a personal level, I immediately became attached to Keri and her book — I didn’t even realize until she pointed it out to me that she and I are the only ones of which we are aware that talk of our souls’ names (Marcus/Seri) and our human names (Greg/Keri). What Keri intuited, I know. We even share the same favorite author — Hermann Hesse, author of the most under-discussed and most spiritual works of all the answers are within us, Siddhartha and Demian.”

In this post, I want to share an interview I conducted with Keri Mangis on the ILLUMINATION Slack workspace. Keri generously shared her insights articulating the key points in this outstanding book.

screen capture from https://kerimangis.com/book

Before sharing the interview script, I want to briefly introduce Keri to our readers who don’t know her yet.

phot courtesy of Keri Mangis

Keri Mangis has worn a lot of skins — or roles — as a human in this lifetime. She has studied and taught yoga, Ayurveda, herbal medicine, energy work, aromatherapy and many other healing modalities. She has explored Buddhism, Hinduism, Tantra, Christianity, and other spiritual teachings. She has been a speaker. Her writing has appeared in Elephant Journal, Urban Howl, The Sunlight Press, Grown and Flown, Rebelle Society, The Good Men Project, Stitch, Literary Mama, and elsewhere. And most recently, she has donned the skins of author and self-publisher.

Her first book, Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness — A Memoir of New Beginnings, has received several honors such as 2020 IPA Award Winner, 2020 Maxy Awards Finalist for Nonfiction, 2020 Eric Hoffer Book Awards Finalist, 2020 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal in Non-Fiction Spiritual and Supernatural, 2020 New York City Big Book Award Winner, 2020 The Independent Author Network Book of the Year Awards -Winner of the Outstanding Spiritual/Inspirational Award, 2020 TopShelf Book Awards Finalist, and Award Winner in the New Age: Non-Fiction Category of the 2020 Best Book Awards sponsored by American Book Fest.

Keri shared her journey and this book on ILLUMINATION-Curated in a featured story for our discerning readers.

Please enjoy this interview.

Photo courtesy of Keri Mangis

1 — You began your book in a place often referred to as “the dark night of the soul.”

What was taking place at this time in your life?

At the time several ventures of mine had ended — and they ended unceremoniously. I didn’t really understand why they weren’t working out.

I couldn’t quite figure out then what I was supposed to do with what I believed were my skills and talents.

There just really wasn’t another direction to go. I exhausted the obvious directions, and the ambitious seeker inside of me really wanted to continue that, finding that next thing, but I had to instead just sit in silence with myself for a period of time.

That’s really the place the book was birthed out of, a place of silence and solitude and letting go of all of the labels and identities that I had craved and attached to and desired for so long.

2 — What eventually sparked the way forward for you?

Once I started writing the stories, I realized how much power there was there and how much healing still remained.

I thought that I had healed a lot of my life stories. That wasn’t true, and that’s really what this journey was about for me — going back into my stories and writing them again and again and again until I could see them more clearly for their purpose and their view and what I learned.

That was the way forward, just valuing my own journey instead of disparaging it because I hadn’t arrived somewhere imaginary.

3 — Was it a place that you thought you were going to be at that time in your life?

Right! I mean, I was in my early forties. My husband’s career was taking off and my kids were moving out the house and I was nothing — and that was a really frightening place to be at that time in my life.

I was really lucky to have a lot of guidance and support so that instead of continuing to avoid that dark night, which was what I was doing in the beginning, I went directly into it. A lot of things fell away at that time.

A lot of friendships fell away, a lot of opportunities fell away, and it was really hard to not do the things that I loved to do. For five or six years that’s pretty much what I did: rewrite my stories, go back into it, and look at them through all these different perspectives.

The healing that happened was absolutely incredible.

4 — You began to see your life from a different perspective, right?

I was able to see my life from many different perspectives. First of all, I was better able to see it from other people’s perspectives, those who were involved in the stories, which I hadn’t ever really done before, not to that degree, anyway.

I saw how I hurt other people — how I hurt other people sometimes even intentionally — and I was in denial of that part of my own self up until that time. That gave me a great opportunity to do a lot of atonement, a lot of forgiveness work, a lot of compassion work, which led to a greater sense of my own wholeness and our own oneness as human beings.

That’s really what the story of the book is: seeing my own life journey, but not from my ego’s eyes, which were so attached to a straight-line path of success and achievement. I was able to see my life through the eyes of my soul, which looks at my life stories with curiosity and adventure and wonder.

It looks at this and looks at that, and it sees what you learned here and there, and it gave me such a beautiful way to look at my own life rather than this start-to-finish path. I saw how healing it is and how every story really does guide you right into the next one and the next one. My life suddenly was the hero’s journey.

5 — In our quest for more presence in our lives, there is an emphasis on quieting the mind, on stilling the thoughts.

However, your book details a personal inner journey that reveals how emotions often speak the loudest.

Why did you give emotions such prominence in your book, and what realization did you have about your emotions and the role they serve in your life?

I love this question. When I started studying yoga and I learned what you’re talking about here, that the process of yoga was about stilling my thoughts and quieting my mind, I took a hammer, essentially, into my mind and for every thought that popped up, I was slamming it back down. That’s what I thought I was supposed to do. I didn’t appreciate the actual nuance of that teaching at the time. I do now.

I had spent so much of my life trying to control my thoughts and be a good girl or be accepted in this way or don’t think that. I had come from an upbringing where I was already very much in judgment of my own thoughts. The worst thing for me to do was suppress them more at this time in my life. What I needed to do was start observing them from a place of distance and awareness. Once I started actually listening to my own thoughts, I noticed how busy my mind was, and I was able to name some of the different voices inside my head.

That was very illuminating for me. I think I’ve always felt sort of an inner battle between do I want to do this or do I want this, and what I did in my book was name that: that was from my anger and that was from my fear, and guilt was over here wanting something completely different. No wonder I felt so confused. Now I have more recognition of those voices, the same way I better recognize my soul. I better recognize my emotions, and our relationship now is a lot more playful and we’re more of a partnership in this life than we are adversarial. They’re actually helpful.

Our emotions are important and they come with messages. They’re not always messages that we are supposed to heed or that we want to heed, but we at least should accept the message and not kill the messenger, right? Because when anger comes to us, there is an injustice, there is a sense of unfairness, there is some kind of a betrayal, there is something here. That anger has a purpose.

If we just suppress it and push it back down into our body, it will come out in another way. As you see in my book, a lot of my repressed anger came out in the form of chronic hives, these red rashes all over my entire body. So, I had to learn this process. Now I can go back to some of the other practices of quieting and stilling my mind, because I am in a better relationship with my mind and with those thoughts. There is a time and a place for every practice.

6 — The word “authenticity” has become more widely used in recent years. Yet sometimes we need authors like you to share what it truly means and how it is revealed in our lives.

What connection does authenticity have with the soul and why is living with authenticity more relevant today than ever?

I think that when we are embodying our soul, that is our authenticity, that is our essential nature, our original self. I actually like the word “original” more than “authentic” because I think of it as something that was original to us when we were born.

When we were children, for most of us, we expressed ourselves pretty freely. We were in our emotions, we were in our body, we were in our questions. We didn’t yet know that we were supposed to suppress things or quiet this down. As original beings, as children, we were just in this place of wholeness. It was original.

The reason the subtitle of my book is called “A Return to Wholeness” is because I do believe that we all know what that feels like. Authenticity and originality or soul embodiment, whatever term we put on it, isn’t something we need to reach for; it’s something that we return to. It is our essential nature.

We do know it and we do know what it feels like. We’re just afraid of it because we were taught as young children to start putting those things away, to grow up, to not cry, to be a big girl, for boys to man up as we got older. We were taught out of our own originality — and the return is just a reclamation.

7 — In our society, we are seeing women standing up and demanding to not only be seen but heard.

Does that indicate that women are perhaps more connected with their souls and realize that the only way for humanity to move forward collectively without destroying itself is by connecting with the soul?

It does seem to be that women are the ones who are making these decisions right now, who are choosing to stand up and use their voices to be heard. Since they were children, boys and girls have had their own journeys of being suppressed. Boys don’t get to cry. Girls don’t get to be angry. But, I think it has been women’s voices that have been more suppressed over time, and that builds up. Now we’re seeing it finally released.

I don’t necessarily think women are more capable of connecting to their souls. I think that they just need it more in order for their own health and healing. There’s only so much that an individual person can suppress, and collectively there’s only so much that we can suppress. I think with #Me Too and the Time’s Up movement, we’ve just reached this collective place of intolerability.

This expression now is very raw and it will continue to be cultivated and it will continue to be honed and hopefully more and more men are finding that, too. We do see that in Congress right now. The women are speaking up first. The women are standing up in front of their peers and speaking their truth, speaking truth to power in a way that is probably so scary, but so valuable.

8 — Your book reveals a process of growth and maturation that ultimately leads to joy.

What was the greatest insight that paved the way to joy in your life?

For me, joy came once I accepted that the happiness and fulfillment I was looking for could never be found through our many human skins — our roles, jobs, titles, and other identities. This is contrary to what we’re taught, when, even as children, when the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” really means, “What identity will you slip into to keep yourself safe and happy in the world?” As we become adults, the question changes to, “What do you do for a living?” as if our job title is all that matters about us.

These seemingly harmless questions implant in us the false belief that there is an identity for each of us that will provide a happy ever after. It sets us up for the disappointment that befalls many of us (and is too often dismissed as a “midlife crisis.”)

I realized that while human skins offer things such as accomplishment, pride, knowledge, and relationships, none could provide lasting inner joy. Then, it was as easy as opening myself up to receive the natural joy that is, I believe, our birthright as human beings.

9 — Your mentality as a competitive runner seemed to stick with you throughout much of your life — to the point that you even viewed the process of healing and increased consciousness as a race to win.

How were you finally able to relinquish this view of life?

The basic philosophies taught to runners — never quit, push through pain, winner takes all — are the same ones taught by our culture at large. Being a runner just amplified this cultural message for me. It took me a long time, and some hard lessons, to realize that you can’t rush emotional and psychological healing.

I don’t know that I have completely relinquished this view on life; it’s simply that now I am aware and conscious of it (most of the time)!

That means I can see it for what it is — a tactic that will only keep me in the endless cycle of wanting and needing more. As with any ingrained belief, the more we understand about what we’ve absorbed or accepted as truth, the more we can discern truth for ourselves.

10 — In your book, you not only talk about your soul, you actually give her a name — Serene Voyager — as well as a personality, dialogue, and a journey all of her own which progresses alongside her human/ego partner.

It’s clear that you consider the soul as more than just an abstract concept.

What do you think our souls are, and why did you describe your soul in such detail?

To me, our soul is our purest, deepest, and most essential truth and sincerest self. Her personality, then, is what I consider to be my purest and most essential self and her questions and dialogues are the very ones that I have longed to ask but didn’t know how.

Our soul is the part of us that is eternal, that is choosing this life for reasons that may or may not be entirely conscious to our human self. Through detailing my soul’s journey, and particularly her time “before the beginning,” I was trying to understand her particular reasons for choosing this life.

I learned it is largely about her search for the Great Truth. Even as she knows the Great Truth is not graspable or knowable, the search itself satisfies her — and by extension, me.

Knowing this about my soul gives me great comfort as I move through this life and realize that so many of the events and life situations my ego would feel were letdowns or even failures, my soul was simply watching, serenely, for the lessons and wisdom.

11 — What is your definition of an embodied soul?

Aren’t we all souls living in a human body?

I believe that there is a huge difference between the soul incarnation that occurs at the beginning of our lifetime and a conscious choice to embody one’s soul during our lifetime.

Many people live out an entire lifetime never actually acknowledging the truth of their soul, let alone choosing to cultivate an ongoing relationship or even dialogue with it.

To embody our soul means to claim our truth and live in alignment with that truth — which is no small feat in a world run on façades and image!

Embodying our soul is a lifelong process (not a one-time event.) A path of living as an embodied soul is not an easy path, but neither is living a lifetime without our soul ever being acknowledged in the world.

12 — Not only does your book alternate between the Earth Realm and the Soul Realm settings, but there is some time travel on the part of your soul involved as well as she observes Keri in different scenarios.

Are you suggesting that the soul can travel in time?

It’s important to remember that time is an invention made by and for humans. But even in the Earth Realm, there was a time before time was the measurement of a life.

So yes, neither the soul nor the Soul Realm is subjected to constraints of time or space. Like

I say in the book, though, trying to help our egos understand this concept is like a butterfly trying to explain its access to a third dimension to an ant!

13 — Your emotions are personified in this book as snakes, and they have dialogue and conversation with each other and with you.

Why did you choose to present your emotional landscape this way?

I’ve always been a highly emotional person. To me, my emotions are not peripheral to my life; they are central to my life.

And even if we don’t know it consciously, we all are having conversations with our emotions all the time. For instance, we try to cool anger down, we negotiate with fear, we court joy.

I found this technique of personifying my emotions in the various situations to be a profoundly truthful way of sharing my internal dialogue and processes.

After so many years of not letting them matter, I felt that sharing their voices, characters, and unique perspectives was the least I could do by way of apology!

14 — Your soul’s guide in the book, Rasa, is the soul who imparts wisdom to your soul in the Soul Realm, the same way your soul Sëri imparts wisdom to you in the Earth Realm.

Is Rasa based on any one person from your life? Or is she your assigned soul guide?

And what does her name mean?

Rasa’s wise voice and advice is a compilation of the many women I’ve had the opportunity to work with or study with over the years.

She is also the wise woman inside of myself. Her personality — light and fun — is the kind of energy I often find helpful when trying to digest my life, as I tend toward serious and introverted. She is a soul guide in a sense, too, but one who has her own path and journey. I view our relationship as cyclical, not hierarchical. Hierarchy, like time, is an Earth Realm invention.

Rasa’s name is an acronym that stands for Rights Advocate for Soul Animals. The reader gets a glimpse of her work rescuing soul animals and attempting to reunite them with their human partners.

But also, “rasa” is a Sanskrit word, which means the “taste” of something. As she guides Séri through a review of her life situations, she doesn’t focus on whether something was good or bad, right or wrong. She asks, essentially, what was the taste of that experience? Was it sweet, salty, bitter, astringent, sour, or pungent?

In Ayurvedic philosophy, it’s understood that in order to feel satiated, a meal must satisfy all six of these essential tastes. I think Rasa understands and teaches that life, too, must satisfy all six tastes in order to satiate us as souls.

15 — I’m curious about your insight on the life each of us leads.

What is it we weren’t told about this human experience, about our individual journey and the meaning of life, itself?

A lot, actually! This is my experience, as I wrote about the soul realm: I learned that all of us, most of us — there are a few exceptions — came to this planet through the River of Forgetting. We forget our past lives. We forget what we’re here to learn. We forget what kind of traps we’ve fallen into in the past.

The reason that we forget, because, trust me, I have questions, was so that we could play this game of life freely, without feeling this agenda hanging on top of us.

If we remembered all of our past and we knew all of the mistakes that we’ve made in the past, we might try to avoid those things again, but we would also fail to learn the remaining lessons that lie in those particular pitfalls, for instance.

If we were standing at a crossroads in our lives and we knew what was going to happen down one path and we knew what was going to happen down another path, it would paralyze us in indecision. So, I think that we come here forgetting a lot of these things, but it’s all available to us when we seek and when we ask.

For me, my life is a process of remembering what my soul came here to do, for instance this idea that she came to play in lots of different skins. That was something that I remembered as I continued my dialogue with my soul.

There is more for me to remember down the line as I continue to ask and as I’m prepared for the answers. I may never remember all of it, and that’s for a reason, and I trust that.

16 — Is there a final thought, something we haven’t talked, about that you’d like to leave with our readers?

My final thought is really about self-love and self-acceptance, and how important these things are right now. I came to this through dialoguing with my emotions, through allowing myself to feel completely all that there is to feel, and to accept all that I am feeling as true and as good.

I think that there are things in this life that we take too seriously, such as our title, or what kind of car we drive, or what kind of car somebody else drives, or what someone else thinks of us.

And then there are things that we don’t take seriously enough, and that is the wisdom from our bodies, the validity of our emotions, and the information available from our instincts.

As we come out of this place of denial and come into more of a place of acceptance, we settle, we ground, and compassion comes more naturally, bravery comes more naturally, and empathy comes more naturally. All of these things that we’re seeking and wanting in our life spring from self-acceptance.

17 — Where can readers find out more about your book?

More information about “Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness”, as well as purchase options is available in this link.

Readers can use the code “medium” to receive 20% off a signed copy. The book is also available in print and e-book format on Amazon and other outlets.

18 — How can readers get in touch with you?

I’m all over social media! Follow me or get in touch through any of the following links:

Newsletter, Website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Thank you for your time, Keri.

It was a delightful conversation that enabled me to learn more about your background and glean insights from your fascinating book.

I hope more readers can gain insights from your profound messages presented and articulated in a pleasant fictional form.


I hope you enjoyed this interview.

You can obtain more information on my review of Keri’s books and access the chapters easily from this story.Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness
Featuring an accomplished author and an outstanding book: Keri Mangismedium.com

And the beautiful video production by The Garrulous Glaswegian on ILLUMINATION YouTube channel./media/f803eacf2354a3a09486588c12c69afc

Dr Mehmet Yildiz

Chief Editor of ILLUMINATION Integrated Publications

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