Project Conversion

Project Conversion

The Culmination: Entering the Desert of Lent.

For the past week we’ve explored the theme of sexuality and gender roles within our spirituality, and it all began with a “visit” in the shower. After that, all I could think about was the coupling of male and forms/ideals. What does it mean, how does it operate in my life, what are the metaphors and symbols used in religion? First, we dove into the penetrating and seeding force of the male aspect, which I equated to my year with Project Conversion in 2011. Yesterday it was all about the ladies. Here, we examined the embracing, nurturing, absorbing, and protective aspect of the divine feminine.


After a great deal of reflection, I discovered that I am personally within the developmental “womb” of the feminine right now, having been “seeded” last year. That is why the feminine force is always so pronounced with me. While I can sense the masculine, and am one with and in communion with the feminine.

So what is next?

This series culminates on the Christian season of Lent for a reason. A penitential time of sacrifice, fasting, prayer, and reflection, it emulates the account in the gospels of St. Matthew (chap 4: 1-11) and St. Luke (chap 4: 1-13) of Jesus fasting in the desert for 40 days after being baptized by John the Baptist. There, he is tempted by Satan with power and riches, which he rejects.


"Christ in the Desert", by Ivan Kramskoi

According to the teachings of the Catholic Church in the Catechism (para 538), this story presents Jesus as the “new Adam” who reverses the disobedience of Adam in the garden and initiates the plan of reconciliation between God and humanity. During Lent, Christians are called to emulate Christ’s journey into their own personal deserts to reflect on their natures, who they really are, and come out purified and victorious just as Christ was. In a powerful way, Jesus represents what was supposed to happen in the garden of Eden and gives us a path of reconciliation toward the divine.


Since January 1st of this year, things have changed. Everything was supposed to be different, especially after the River Temple confrontation. I was given specific instructions, a specific ritual and guidelines to train me in my path…

But I have failed.

I can count on one hand how many times I’ve carried out my exercises. Why? Because my ego and sense of worth has seeped into the cracks. I have to write a post today, then I have to work on the book, oh and I need to build another website so that like-minded folks can join in, check the Congregation Facebook page, check the comments, then I need to work on this, build that, start this, get that going, send this email, go here, go there.

Does this sound like the chaos of your life?


I had a talk with my Catholic Mentor yesterday about the nature of Lent and it turned into a 3-hour, sweat lodge catharsis about how cluttered our lives really are.

“I’ve got so much going on Andrew,” he said. “But even doing all this good work (within the church), I can’t say I’m truly happy. I can’t say I’m living authentically. I’m just…busy.”

The words slapped me upside the head. Only moments earlier I was talking about how I wish I could give up things like Facebook. “Everybody else talks about it, but I can’t. There’s too much going on with what I’m doing.”


Can’t. Can’t!…Can’t?

Why the hell not?

Here’s the honest truth: Because my ego has seeped in. I post thoughts and reflections that, for some reason, I think are important. Somebody somewhere will relate to this, I’ll think. I have books and scripture in a pile on my couch that I read every morning–not for personal reflection or nourishment–but for blog post references.

I’m feeding people, but personally starving.

My incessant efforts to turn my life-changing experience through Project Conversion into something others can use and apply to their own lives is draining me of those very blessings. Now, by saying things like “I can’t”, I’ve shackled myself to my own creation. I’ve chained myself to the modern ideal that we must constantly project ourselves further and further out into the world through social media and the like while forsaking the central nexus and core of our very being. I’ve bought into the fad of being known for what I DO instead of who I AM. It’s time I start simply being who I am instead of focusing on constantly doing or being known. It’s time I declared who my master really is. Is it Project Conversion, is it you, is it my social networking, is it the drama of my friends/family, or it is my Unnamed One?


Who/What is yours?

I’m not even happy doing what I love anymore. That’s how much corruption I’ve allowed. So now, I’m doing what I said I couldn’t do. I’m fasting for 40 days. I’m dropping everything and going “into the desert.” I’m walking away from making posts to Project Conversion and Facebook for 40 days. I’m going to reconnect with my Master and family. I’m going to rediscover the simple things that once gave me joy: creating stories, photography, walking in the woods, cooking, goofing off with my family, swimming in scripture. I’m going to focus on being who I am instead of projecting who I am.

I am now in the womb of the divine feminine. While Jesus was in the desert, it is written that he was ministered to by angels. When the Jews wondered the desert for 40 years, God is said to have nourished them with “manna from heaven.” That is what I’m going to do: I’m going to allow the Universe to minister to and nourish me. When my 40 days in the desert are over, I will come forth from the womb in whatever form I’m shaped into. That is our role with the divine: ever child, ever sparkle in the eyes of the divine, constantly seeded, embraced, and delivered into life.


I encourage you to find your own desert and walk into it. What is robing you of your true, authentic self? What is hindering your relationship with the divine/family? This isn’t just a time for Christians, but for all of us. This isn’t just another New Year’s resolution to go into half-ass only to drop in a week. Go into it as if your life depends on it, because it does.

Modernity says I can’t. “You’re writing a book, you’re building an audience. Dropping your blog and social media is career suicide. You can’t do this.”


Friggin’ watch me.

You’ve been seeded with the knowledge and conviction to do what is necessary, the womb (desert) is there for your growth and nourishment, but do you have the courage to enter the Mother’s embrace? Are you ready for the reality of your authentic self that awaits on the other side?

If you do, I’ll meet you there, brothers and sisters. Jai Vita!

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posted April 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm


I just want to say thank you for reading and responding to the post. You shared some gorgeous thoughts here and I so appreciate your attention and participation. Jai Vita!


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Kayli Hawker

posted April 9, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Dearest Abowen,
If you can find the Bliss amungst the moment of chaos, then your on the path knowing the Univrese and how it works. The Universe always says yes! so when you put out something that you desire, a dream, The Universe says Yes!!Then you start doubtin that you can even do it. The Universe calculates that into your already spoken request and processed it and says, Yes! then you start believing that you don’t deserve it and that you where foolish to even think about it(thats your Ego btw) Then the universe processes this to and says Yes! So what do you get in the end when the Universe is done processing your Request, It says Yes . And you are left with whet your energy IN motion/Emotion That turned out to be nothing because you didnt put the energy behind it that was neeeded for it to actually manifest itself in your life. You stopped digging before you found the gold. You shouldnt put worry into the mechanics and the obsticles in your way because if you desire something well enough it will find its own little way in the Universe to assist you in making that happen. things will start to show up for you all because you stayed calm trusted the process and let it be.. I can say with great Passion about Who I AM. I Am are the two most important words in the universe and for our life. I Am descibes who we are why we are here and what our pupose is. Who you are Being what you are doing. So I AM A Beautiful Powerful Inspirational Spiritual Being Of Light and As Being I AM Committed to Create Love And Compassion Through Faith And Honesty To Create A World Of Beauty Peace And Serenity For All Spiritual Beings And So It Is!!! Feel My Ripple!! I hope you find the answers to you paths questions. I have been in that womb too. then I crawled out and saw a whole new Beautiful World that I accept Just as it is so!! I would say that the best place to search for that answer would be inside of you not outside of you! :0)
Much love and light!!!
KAyli :)

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posted February 29, 2012 at 7:43 am

Thank you so much for this inspiring blog of yours. What you’re doing is inspirational and so motivational to me– as I am also seeking. I have a long way to go, and I would love to go about pondering, studying and experiencing as you do… what’s stopping me? Nothing.

See you on the other side, brother.

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posted February 22, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Thank you for another inspiring post Andrew. The Baha’i fast begins in 9 days, so I’m finding the lessons in this post to be quite timely. I look forward to your reemergence in the Spring.

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posted February 22, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Oh this hits home. I fully support you – even though you won’t get this until your triumphant return!

I feel like my Christian quarter has been my desert. I ache for April when I can get back to my gods and practice.

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posted February 22, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Funny…I’ve never observed Lent before – it’s not generally an LDS practice – but I felt very drawn to it this year as a way to clarify, simplify, and reprioritize. So I’m fasting from facebook (which has been a major time and energy drain and mind clutter-er for me) until Easter and focusing on more mindfulness in my prayers and communion with God. See you in 40 days, Andrew!

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Art Sherwood

posted February 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm

See you on the other side, my friend.

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