Janet Autherine has a heart for storytelling and youth and women’s empowerment. She uses her extraordinary journey from a struggling Jamaican immigrant to a respected attorney, author and administrative law judge to inspire others to embrace their unique journey.
Janet is the author of Growing into Greatness with God: 7 Paths to Greatness for our Sons & Daughters (youth), and Wild Heart, Peaceful Soul (poetry).
In her latest book, Island Mindfulness: How to Use the Transformational Power of Mindfulness to Live an Abundant Life, Janet invites you to slow your pace, and in the spirit of the islands, mindfully and intentionally embark on a journey to nourish your mind, body and soul.
Her “island mindfulness” journey is filled with heartfelt stories of navigating love, marriage and divorce, adjusting your sail in the face of financial and career challenges, and having an “Irie” time raising children. Her books are available on Amazon.
BPM: Please share something our readers wouldn’t know about you.
It feels like I have shared so much in this book but I will share something that is small but centers me. I enjoy sitting outside a coffee shop with my journal or iPad and people-watch because it helps me to write stories and poetry about the small things that connect us all in the human experience. Love is connection, mindfulness is connection, meditation is connection, and so is our shared love for a good cup of coffee or tea.
BPM: If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Introspective. Kind. Driven.
BPM: The majority of your books are written to empower women. What does the word empower mean to you?
It is important to tell the stories of women. We make significant contributions to society but the work that we do is usually taken for granted. We often undervalue our own contributions because we are so used to taking care of everyone.
Women are naturally powered; I try to Empower by providing simple reminders – you are unique; you are worthy; your story is important; your voice matters; care for yourself because we need you to be healthy in mind, body and spirit.
BPM: As a practicing attorney, poet, author and mother, why is it so important for you to speak to women through your body of work?
I am an immigrant from Jamaica, and a woman of color who has been blessed to have a unique journey both as an attorney and a writer. I have a unique perspective and the best way that I know to share it is through writing. We are all leaving unique footprints in the sand and it is important to share those footprints with the younger generation of women so that their path can be easier.
It is important for young women to know that they can own their journey and make strategic decisions based on their end goal. I chose education first, then career, then family, and finally as my children got older, I was able to add my passion for writing. We have to prioritize our goals, change the order when our circumstances change, and leave room for the universe to surprise us. These are some of lessons that I have learned and have shared in Island Mindfulness.
BPM: Tell us about writing your latest non-fiction book. What was the journey like? What inspired this particular book?
I started writing parts of the book around 2006. I would write bits of life lessons but didn’t have a clear vision of how to make it cohesive. It started with stories about the transition from Jamaica to Philadelphia when I was 12. As the years went by and I experienced the joys and challenges of raising children, marriage, divorce, and career changes, it became about sharing everything that I experienced as a woman and mother, in order to make the journey easier for others. I have been able to create a life that is abundant in many ways but I am still a work in progress and writing this book allowed me to become fully clear about my strengths and challenges. I try not to call them weaknesses, just challenges.
BPM: Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?
Island Mindfulness: How to Use the Transformational Power of Mindfulness to Live an Abundant Life focuses on abundance in family, friendships, health and finances. I discussed my journey growing up in a household with very modest means and how it shaped my vision of wealth. My mother had several jobs, she didn’t overspend and cherished everything that she bought because if it broke, we couldn’t afford to replace it. The book passes on words of wisdom for using the mindful journey to navigate life with a sense of gratitude. You can have an abundant life even if your financial life is a work in progress.
BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
I learned that no experience was a waste of time. It was all about growth, self-discovery, and getting in touch with my emotions. Sometimes, painful experiences stretches you the most. There is a poem in the book called Heavenly Father, which discusses my journey as a child of God. Writing my story reminded me that God has been with me during every time of struggle.
BPM: Is writing easy for you with busy work schedule and raising the children?
I am at my best at 5am and that is usually when I write, and thankfully the children are still asleep but there are times when I get a burst of inspiration and a wonderful quote or line for a poem comes to mind but I have too many responsibilities to stop and develop the idea. I try to keep a journal within reach to capture my thoughts. While I don’t want to lose the inspiration, I also don’t want to lose any precious moments with my children because my hope is that through my work, I can create a legacy for them.
BPM: Do you feel lonely being a writer during the creative process?
My writing style is a brain dump, meaning that I write everything that comes to mind and then do a major edit later. That is my solution to writer’s block but it is also how my mind works; it is overwhelmed with random thoughts that come together through writing. The exception is writing poetry; poetry is usually an emotional experience for me and I can struggle with a single line for hours but I feel so much joy when I am able to translate my emotions to words.
BPM: Tell us a little about your creative process. Do you write out the story by hand?
During my teenage years, I had a hand-written diary. I am very visual. My love of writing comes from actually writing, not typing. However, I now use the computer for practical reasons; I can’t publish from my notebook, so I will eventually have to type it and my time is limited. When I have the time to make writing the peaceful experience that it was meant to be, I find a quiet place, grab my favorite pen and gleefully write my thoughts.
BPM: Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips self-care for creative folks?
Writing shouldn’t be stressful and usually is not when it is a passion. Stress usually comes from the extrinsic things, such as editing, marketing, and writing under pressure because of book deadlines. If you love writing; if it brings you joy, then guard it from the pressures of the world. Carve out time to do it; you may have to give up something but if it is a true passion, that decision isn’t difficult.
I gave up 90% of my television time to write and publish. If you don’t enjoy writing but you want to create a book because you have something wonderful to share with the world, consider a ghostwriter.
If you love to write but you are feeling overwhelmed by life, writer’s block or deadlines, try these island mindfulness tips.
– Step outside and focus on nature, a flower, a bird, a squirrel, an ant bringing food back to its nest. Drown out all thoughts and do this for at least 5 minutes to center yourself and connect to the universe.
– Set expectations that leave room to give yourself kindness and grace.
– Remember that one powerful word on the page is progress.
– Respect your journey because it is unique. Remember that the story that you have to tell is important.
– Create a writing goal: 15 minutes to 1 hour daily. Celebrate 15 minutes of writing with the same fervor that you celebrate 1 hour. If you have children or a spouse, let them buy into your success; ask them for that time daily and let them know what you are trying to accomplish.
– Your time can be spent in some many fantastic ways so know why you are writing because a sense of purpose makes the journey easier and more enjoyable. You want to come through this experience whole.
BPM: What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
The biggest challenge was me. I was impatient and had to deal with the truth that this book wasn’t ready to be completed because I had not lived enough and experienced enough to share the guidance in 2006, when I started, that I am now able to share in 2020. I would have waves of inspiration where I would add to the story and then life would intervene or I would get inspired to write other books. I am glad that this book made we wait.
BPM: Do you have any advice or wisdom for our new adults (ages 18-21) to focus on this year?
We are living through a pandemic, and as a result, our old normal is gone and we have to create a new normal. Life is different from what the adults in your life told you to expect. I wrote a vision board in January of 2020 and had to toss a few things. This is an opportunity to get off the path that your family or society chose for you and create your own journey. Sit in mindful reflection.
Do you still want to be a writer? Do you still want to go to law school? Do you still want to marry that high school boyfriend and raise a family or do you want to travel when the world reopens because life has become so unpredictable?
Be still and listen to God, the universe or finally discover your own voice. Live a life that you will be proud to write about, not because it was perfect but because you tried to be your best self every step of the way.
BPM: What other projects are you working on at the present?
I am devoting my time to sharing the Island Mindfulness journey, however, I am also meeting with book clubs and poetry lovers about my last book, Wild Heart, Peaceful Soul. Wild Heart, Peaceful Soul is the love stories of women though poetry and resonates with many women who have had some bumps on the road to love.
One of my most important projects is Footprints in the Sand Series: Journey to Heal and Inspire Women. I created Women Leaving Footprints in the Sand to celebrate the lives of women, globally! How many amazing women do you know whose stories are never told? Footprints in the Sand features the lives of women doing both ordinary and extra ordinary things. The connecting factors are – dedication to family, service to community and pursuit of passion and purpose both professionally and personally. I strongly believe that the footprints that women leave in the sand should be celebrated now and preserved as a written legacy for future generations.
Women Leaving Footprints in the Sand
There is power in knowing that I have purpose in this life, which is to help and support others along the way. This is where greatness resonates with me. Living a life where I am able to inspire others to achieve growth and success.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
My website has excepts from my books, as well as shareable quotes and poems. Readers will love my blog, Books, Poetry, Positivity and Purpose. The best way to keep in touch with me on a daily basis in on Instagram. www.instagram.com/janetautherine
BPM: Do you have a Goodreads, BookBub™ or Facebook community?
Yes, I take every opportunity to connect with readers.
Follow me on my website to see my blog and other projects:
My Goodreads link is under Janet Autherine:
Also, please consider joining my Facebook book club:
Look for all of my books on my Amazon Author’s Page:
Connect with Janet Autherine Online Today!
Twitter: @Autherine – https://twitter.com/Autherine