It is my pleasure to host Kim Taylor, author of Kicked Out of the Garden: Embracing Diversity As a Way of the Heart. Kim’s book was published by Changemakers Books, an imprint of John Hunt Publishing, Ltd., my publisher as well. Kim’s book, as well as being the story of how she found faith, is a meditation from the heart, a healing balm. You must read it to experience its richness. Here is Kim in her own words.
What motivated you to write “Kicked Out of the Garden”?
I think my biggest motivation for writing this book was seeing how the people I know and love relate to faith and their religious beliefs. Their faith seemed to be directed so strongly by fear, guilt, and shame. When I read and thought about what Christ said, I knew these emotions were not of God. This always made me wonder what we were missing. So much of who Christ seemed to be as he walked this earth was very different from what I experienced in people who claimed to be his followers, myself included. I began my quest in college when I came to the deep realization that I seemed to have no faith or love, as I understood these two traits through the Born Again Evangelical Church. These two traits are the foundation of Christian religion, and I thought they were so limited in me. I was living my life by the rules I was raised with in the Church. I had been told that if I followed these rules I would find God’s love. I seemed to find only separation and disappointment in myself. As I stepped away from the rules, I began to experience a freedom and joy that was so new for me, and through that, my love and acceptance finally began to reflect the love of Christ. And so I wanted to share this with others, hoping that my journey might open them up to new possibilities of faith and, perhaps, to the limitlessness of God. We can only find God’s true nature by looking within ourselves and seeing through our hearts. Jesus said the Kingdom of God is within you. So all that we need to know about the Great Mystery can be found within our body, our thoughts, our feelings.
Your book seemed like a meditation to me. Do you meditate? It also seemed channeled in parts. Would you consider any of it channeled?
Yes, my book is a combination of channeling interwoven with my own experience. I have always sourced from the Divine Creator and the Christ energy.
And yes… I love to step out of time and into that meditative state. For me I do not follow the general rules that go along with mediation. I have no set time or steps in how I get there. I can fall into mediation when I am drinking my tea, when I am sitting in traffic, or cleaning my house. It has become a way of life for me, not something that I choose to do and set aside time in the day for. It has become who I am.
Were you a writer before you started this book?
No, the last time I wrote anything before my book was in college. I struggled in school. My writing skills never seemed to be able to keep up with my creative mind, so writing was always frustrating for me. It never came out the way I thought I had created it. All I can say is thank God for computers and spell check. The computer has allowed me to slow down my creative process, as I am slow at typing, but speed up my writing skills, allowing me to feel my work in a way that hand scribing never could.
Who inspires you?
In my book I talk about how my mother was the biggest inspiration for me. I love my mom very much, but I saw her go from this amazing spiritual person when she was young to a bitter older woman. I always wondered why? She lived her life in service to God and Jesus, and yet it did not seem sustainable as she lost so much of her beauty as she grew old. Watching her made me afraid to grow old. Something seemed to be missing. I wanted to finish my life well, and I did not want my children to be afraid, as I was, to grow old. I had to figure it out for both children and myself.
Who are your favorite authors?
Neale Donald Walsch is one of my top ones. I love how he makes me think about what I really believe, and Alberto Villoldo’s writing has been very influential in my life.
During author talks, what do people want to know about your book, your writing process, and you?
Most people ask me about my metaphoric interpretation of the Garden of Eden. When you interpret this passage metaphorically, it is not about eating the apple. Rather, it is about hiding, which causes separation and duality. This state keeps us from knowing our soul and touching other souls. It keeps us from living in our hearts as Jesus did when he was on this earth. I have found my heart holds the unlimited love of the Creator of all there is. If I live by my heart, I find the fruits of the spirit flow freely. Every moment of every day we have the choice to live in the garden by the Tree of Life or out of the garden by the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This is a very different interpretation than what I heard growing up.
How did you find Changemakers Books?
So I finished my book when I was still living in Ohio on my farm, and I heard all the horror stories about how difficult it is to find a publisher. When I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2012, the first week I was in Santa Fe I met author Marsha Scarbrough, a Changemakers Books author. She invited me to send her two chapters of my book. She said if she liked them, she would send them to her publisher. After reading the excerpt, she asked me to have it edited. I wondered whom I could ask, but the Universe had already figured that out. I ran into an old friend who had been an editor for thirty years. She agreed to work on my manuscript. I sent the edited excerpt to Marsha, and she, in turn, sent it to Tim Ward, publisher of Changemakers’s Books. He liked it, and coincidentally, he was coming to Santa Fe. We met, and I traveled with Marsha and Tim as he was marketing his book Zombies on Kilimanjaro. I must say we had a lot of fun, Marsha Tim and I. And the rest is history. When you are on your path, it is amazing how everything lines up. This is what I experienced with my book. The path in many ways was effortless.