11 Self-Help Books That Completely Changed My Life

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Along my journey, I’ve had the privilege of coming across some pretty amazing literature. Some of these books have helped me accomplish many goals, including spiritual, emotional, financial, and relationship goals. Here, I share with you 11 of my favorite books that have had the greatest impact on my growth in many of the areas mentioned. In fact, I credit these books with having changed my life for the better. And I hope that you’ll explore them for yourself.

1. The Secret: I actually saw the documentary that the book was based on when I was a freshman in college. And I must have shared it with every single person I cared about. Sure, it’s been criticized for being a simplified approach to a more complex life principle. However, simplicity was the key for me to first: understand The Law of Attraction, second: recognized that I had practiced it unknowingly throughout my life, and third: to instantly put it to work, but this time with clearer intentions. I must say that because of its simple approach, I found it easier to focus on my goals and have them manifest one by one. From getting into my dream school, to getting jobs, and even getting the exact same car that I’d once glued a picture of on my very first vision board less than 1 year later. When I recognized how powerful my thoughts really are, it set me on a journey to exploring more about where some of my negative thought patterns come from, especially if they kept me from having the life that I always dreamed of.

2. You Can Heal Your Life: Another book that I’ve bought several copies of for friends and family in both print and audio versions.This book introduced me to the concept of having self-compassion (not sure if that’s a word) and empathy. It basically picks up where The Secret leaves off since it offers solutions for improving the quality of one’s thoughts, especially as it pertains to self-image. After all, we teach others how to treat us by how we treat ourselves. We also attract people and things into our lives based on what we think we deserve. Paying attention to self-talk is the best way to assess what you really feel about yourself. It also helps in getting to the root cause of those negative thoughts and forgiving yourself and others so that you can truly heal your life. This book offers positive affirmations for reprogramming a negative mindset and touches on metaphysics and the effects your thoughts can have on your body’s health. Two words: Great stuff!

3. Think & Grow Rich: The title of the book is self-explanatory. But I will admit that brother Napoleon Hill had me second guessing everything I thought I knew about education and the role that it would play in my life. In fact, I wanted to drop out of school before I could even finish the book, but Sallie Mae already had my name on a few documents so I had to finish. This book is an earlier version of The Secret and You Can Heal Your Life, but it offers more strategies with a business approach. Most entrepreneurs tend to appreciate a book like this. In fact, many well-known businessmen have credited this book with being the reason why they became so successful. It’s definitely left a permanent impression on me.

4. Getting To I Do: This book isn’t quite what its title suggests, but it does offer up some tips for both men and women to incorporate into their single, dating, and married lives. It is a MUST READ for those who feel a bit insecure in how to date or interact with the opposite sex (including with parents, friends, etc.) in a way that is healthy and beneficial for both people. I  would say that it is heavy in psychology based principles of how men and women (masculine and feminine regardless of physical sex) interact with one another, and how we could interact with much more harmony if we understood our own individual nature. Based on this book alone, I have a completely different outlook on relationships and interacting with the opposite sex. In fact, I plan to do some relationship videos laced with some of the principles I’ve learned from this book to help others put things in perspective. And yes, all of my close girlfriends were gifted or recommended a copy of this book. It’s a GAME CHANGER!

5. The Alchemist: The dreamer and believer in me absolutely loves this book! It’s a novel about a shepherd boy who goes on a journey to discovering his “personal legend,” which is the equivalent of his life’s purpose. It’s laced with jewels of timeless wisdom on just about every page. And it will definitely have you inspired to take of advantage of your time on Earth and pursue your hearts desires while you have the chance to. It’s one of those books that you feel the need to read every few years just to see how much progress you’ve made towards what you say you hope to accomplish in life. Let’s just say it keeps me on my toes and gets me right back on track when life’s circumstances can be distracting.

6. A Return To Love: This book is nothing short of miraculous. When you read it, you can feel love pouring all over you in the form of understanding, forgiveness, compassion, empathy, and just pure love. Marianne Williamson offers insight into life-lessons she’s learned based off A Course In Miracles, which is a Universal approach to Christian based principles. After reading this book, I felt so connected to everyone on the deepest levels of understanding. Not so much on the shallow tip, but you walk away with the understanding that we are more alike beneath the surface than we are different.

7. A Course In Miracles: As mentioned above, this is literally a life course. It’s like a companion to the Bible or whatever sacred book your faith is based on. Its pretty dense, but I promise everytime I read a page or practice a lesson, I become more open to life and I feel more grounded and loved than ever before. Let’s just say you’ll have to see for yourself.

8. The Four Agreements: Talk about getting to the root of almost all of the problems we face as human beings. This books offers four foundational principles that we should strive to live by, not for religion’s sake, but for our own sanity. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, it touches on limiting beliefs and how we can just about rid ourselves of unnecessary suffering and lead our lives with more love, abundance, and happiness.

9. Blink: This book touches on the power of intuition, or thinking without thinking. Everyday we make decisions, and some are made instinctively, while others are made after thorough investigation. Many times, the best choices are made with little to no explanation, all because something within allows us to make snap judgements that need no justification. Love it!

10. Science Of Mind: I’m currently reading this one and it’s like another companion to whatever your faith is already. It’s metaphysics at its finest and it really focuses on developing discipline to creating a more harmonious world through our individual thoughts. Its philosophy is based on Christian teachings, but it also draws from virtually every spiritual faith as it teaches readers to guide our thoughts intentionally towards a life of health, wealth, success, love, harmony, and peace. Another feel good read every time you pick it up. It’s enlightening and refreshing, and it gives you a sense of peace and personal power.

11. Enchanted Love: The Mystical Power of Intimate Relationships: Marianne Williamson did it again with this one! For me, this one is so necessary for this generation as we have drifted further away from intimacy in our interactions with those in our lives. It’s a collection of personal essays, prayers, and self-reflection of interactions within relationships. It will have you open to acceptance and being accepted, forgiveness, love, intimacy, and attracting the right mate from the right space. It is ever enchanted and another must read.

There’s many more that I’d love to share with you. There’s also so many that I have yet to read. I want to know what books changed the game for you. Please leave a comment if you’ve read any of these books, and share some of your favorite reads below.

Love,

@BCSTARKS

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How to Float Through Life’s Peaks and Valleys

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It’s funny how life goes through its peaks and valleys. It’s funny how when we’re in the valley or that dark place, it feels like we’re dying a slow death. And when the peaks are peeking or we are experiencing happiness, we feel like we are unstoppable, unconquerable, and outright powerful! And in those moments, we ARE.

Lately, I’ve been on a cloud of unconcealed bliss. My feelings about my life and this journey that I’m on have brought me to this place of peace within. I’ve gotten to this place where I don’t feel the need to worry, even when things outside of me aren’t looking too promising. I no longer look outside of myself for validation of WHO I AM or WHAT my WORTH is. I no longer entertain those who fail to SEE me as I see myself, to respect my evolution and embrace the whole of me. This space that I am in has been carved out for me by God to take place at this point of my life because it was always God and the Universes intention to use my story as a means of reflecting HIS light.

I now trust that every valley that I ever found myself in was there to teach me how strong and resilient I really am. They were there to show me that regardless of the obstacle, LIFE. GOES. ON. And instead of folding, I learned to bend and flex, and sometimes morph into whatever the moment calls for. I was only able to do this when I truly relied on a SOURCE bigger than me.

Being raised in a Christian Baptist faith, I learned the importance of the Bible verse that says something like, “Lean not on your own understanding, but trust in the lord with all your heart. In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Well lets just say that I have acknowledge that I don’t walk alone in this world, even when I am alone. I feel very watched over, and protected, and safe, and secure, and befriended, and loved, and appreciated, and forgiven, and trusted, and… Well, I could go on and on, but you get the point. I feel all of these things even when I am alone because I now KNOW that God is in me, and acts through me even unbeknownst to me. And if I know what I know about God, then I KNOW that he is the creator of all things, and can do all things.

With this knowledge, I know that if HE is in me, then it is also true that I too am a creator, and a conqueror, and that with sheer WILL POWER, I can overcome any obstacle placed before me, and still find PEACE in my heart. I thank GOD for this level of understanding! And you should too! Because we all are being walked with throughout our journeys. We are NEVER truly alone. However, It is only when we consciously decide to “lean not” on our own visual understanding of what we see and experience in life, and instead, step outside of our stories and understand the bigger picture of what GOD is doing with our spirits, that we can experience this most profound sense of PEACE and POWER. It is then that you can let go of the blame, and anger, and frustration, and take control of your emotions, and ultimately your LIFE!

I believe that I AM a Teacher of some of life’s most humbling, yet graceful lessons because of the peaks and valleys that I’ve faced along this journey. But I am ever so thankful for them, and I wouldn’t take any one of them away if I had the chance, because they made me who I am today. And like fine wine, I just keep getting better with time! And if you pay attention, so do YOU! 😉

Peace & Love,

@BCSTARKS

The 3 Gems of LIFE: Self-Esteem, Self-Value, & Self-Worth

There’s this reoccurring lesson that keeps presenting itself to me in various forms of my day to day interactions with others. And for a while I didn’t recognize just what it was truly about. In fact, in many of those instances, I thought that somehow life was playing a cruel trick on me. Yes, even I played the victim role. But it hasn’t been until recently that I had to take several steps back and connect the dots in every single one of those scenarios. From interactions with family, boyfriends, co-workers, potential business partners, employers, on down the list… I had been experiencing what felt like a tug-o-war over how I wanted them to see me vs. how I felt I was being treated. And let me tell you, as foolish as this feels for me to admit, I understand that its all a part of growing up. We all have experienced or will experience such a feeling of being under appreciated, or undervalued, especially when we truly know who we are inside.

The trick to something like this is that it’s never really about the people that you are interacting with. In fact, they aren’t even half of the equation of this battle that you’re facing. From what I had to learn, and I’m still absorbing nuggets of wisdom from, is that:

We teach others how to treat us, by the way we treat ourselves

We show people how to interact with us, by the way we interact with ourselves

We inform the world of how much we are worth, by the way we value ourselves

The world looks at us the very same way that we look at ourselves

When we see and feel ugliness and pain within, the world will reflect that same ugliness and pain to us through our interactions

When we see beauty, love, and kindness within, the world will reflect that same beauty, love, and kindness through others

When we show forgiveness for ourselves for our own shortcomings and flaws, it is easier to forgive others, and it unknowingly makes it easier for them to forgive us

When we stand up for ourselves and become our own biggest champion, others will rise to meet us, defend us, and cheer us on

When we feel amazing, unstoppable, and fearless on the inside, life will give us more evidence of just how amazing, unstoppable and unconquerable we really are

When we understand that we and GOD/SOURCE/UNIVERSE are ONE, we understand that we too possess unlimited power and NOTHING or NO ONE outside of us has control over our lives

YOU ARE IN CONTROL of YOU and ONLY YOU!

These nuggets of wisdom come in handy as I continue to sort through what I feel is best for me within my interactions, and in order for me to live my best life. This includes how I wish to be treated by family, friends, significant others, and so on. I’m understanding my role in all of these interactions and how I am hardly ever a victim in any of them. Its all about learning to love myself on the deepest levels, feeling whole and complete at all times (regardless of what I have or have not accomplished), being confident in the woman that I’ve become so far, setting boundaries for what I will and will not tolerate from others (and sticking to it…there’s no point in betraying what you really feel on the inside, otherwise you will attract experiences where others will betray you as well).

Are you starting to get the point here? If more love is what you desire, then figure out where in your life you are not loving yourself enough. Do you often criticize yourself and the way you look? Do you feel like you don’t deserve certain things, even though you really want them? Or do you feel like others won’t do certain things for you, even though you would really like them to? Do you beat up on yourself when you make mistakes or not so great decisions? If so, this is exactly what you are training others to do when they interact with you. To turn it all around, learn to be kind to yourself. Learn to do things for yourself that you would like others to do for you (remember, they are watching your movements and ultimately following your lead). Know that you deserve any and every good thing that you can imagine for your life. And perhaps the people that you are interacting with are not the one’s to give you what you really need. Instead, they are a reflection of who you are choosing to be in those moments. So when you finally wise up and learn to value yourself, perhaps those same people will either step their game up in how they treat you, or disappear altogether and make room for people that will honor this new and improved version of you.

This lesson is something kinda special. I’m not saying that its easy to do either, because one of the hardest things to do in life is to unlearn bad habits. But with effort, gentleness, and time, you can become anything that you want to be!

 

Namaste,

 

@BCSTARKS

Intuition: Man’s GREATEST Gift, Woman’s LOVING Guide

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Have you ever encountered a situation or person, and despite what was going on or being said, you sensed that there was more to the story than what your eyes could see? That feeling that you can’t quite define in the moment, but as time goes on it becomes crystal clear that whatever you were sensing was dead on? Well of course you have… In fact, we all have. And its no coincidence that your initial senses are ALWAYS pointing you in the right direction. You are always being lead to the TRUTH of the matter of whatever it is that sent your senses in a tizzy. That my friend is GOD and Universe’s GREATEST gift to mankind. INTUITION. 

As history would teach us, including the great books of all religions (directly or indirectly), intuition is a major part of survival as human beings. It is what we use when we are unknowingly in the face of danger, or when we don’t have the words to express what is truly in our hearts. It guides us even when the thinking mind can’t make sense of its own thoughts. Its the feeling (often subtle) beneath the surface, that ultimately points us to truth without the need for reason.

By definition, INTUITION is the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.

That’s right, unlike what we’ve been collectively trained to believe about decision making, not every circumstance or situation requires reasoning. In fact, oftentimes you just have to trust that you really do KNOW what you KNOW. As Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, puts it:

Anyone who has ever scanned the bookshelves of a new girlfriend or boyfriend- or peeked inside his or her medicine cabinet- understands this implicitly; you can learn as much – or more – from one glance at a private space as you can from hours of exposure to a public face.”

He further goes on to challenge logical reasoning in saying that: 

“Our world requires that decisions be sourced and footnoted, and if we say how we feel, we must also be prepared to elaborate on why we feel that way. I think that approach is a mistake, and if we are to learn to improve the quality of the decisions we make, we need to accept the mysterious nature of our snap judgements. We need to respect the fact that it is possible to know without knowing why we know and accept that — sometimes — we’re better off that way.”

This whole notion of instinct and intuitive wisdom was once, and still is, regarded as the core essence of femininity. It is the superpower that women of all ages across time have consistently relied upon for survival in a world ruled by masculinity. It is what kept women safe and guarded, and why a men had to earn her vulnerability, because she always KNEW.

Feminist Guidance Coach Gayle Goldwin writes in WomanSpirit Oracles: Wisdom of the Ancients, Solutions For Today:

“There was a time, back in days now lost in the fog of prehistory, when Woman didn’t need oracles to predict her future or reveal what was going on behind her back. She didn’t worry about what might happen, and she didn’t fret about what to do. She didn’t need to. She hadn’t been taught to doubt her Self. She hadn’t been taught to dismiss her Intuition. She hadn’t been taught to disregard her own Knowing. Back then, women didn’t need oracles because every Woman was an Oracle.

And she knew it.

Back then, it was obvious that Woman had a direct connection to Divinity. She was, after all, created in the image and likeness of the Great Goddess. She need only be still and ask, for every answer to be given her. That’s just how it was. She was Feminine, and her Femininity made her Powerful. She had Woman’s feelings, instincts, intuition and senses. She intuitively Knew everything she needed to know.

And everyone knew that she Knew.

Women today still have a direct link to Divinity. They still have access to all Knowing, and they still need only ask to receive the answer. Woman’s inherent sensitivity and abilities remain as they have always been. Her intuitive link to all Knowing remains just as it was created within her. The only thing that has changed over the last six millennia is that Woman no longer knows that she Knows.

She was feminine, and her femininity made her POWERFUL!” – Gayle Goldwin

As a woman it is quite refreshing to be reminded of this. But what I am most refreshed about in coming across the works of Goldwin, is her reminder of why self-love for every woman is her one true nature:

Women then needed joy and fulfillment in their lives, just as women now do. But women then were taught that they would find it within themselves—in the activities, pursuits and pleasures that they enjoyed… Back then, women understood their power over men. How- ever much a woman might enjoy having sex, she will never need it as Man does because Spirit’s life-sustaining flow is always cours- ing through her body. Women then understood the magnitude of the gift—the vital Life Force Energy that maintains a body’s health—that they bestowed on men through their sexual favor. They recognized their power and used it to command due respect and appreciation.

This mini lesson of intuition is one that I intend to continue to explore. Especially given that it’s universal and is what keeps us all connected to SOURCE. Please check out the works of both experts mentioned in this post. And if you are a woman like myself, or you desire to better understand the nature of women, download a free chapter from Goldwin’s website. It is DEFINITELY worth the read.

I AM so full of gratitude for being brought to this place in my journey of GREATNESS! It is always my hope that you too feel the love of GOD and the Universe as a result of coming right here, right now.

Namaste,

@BCSTARKS

P.S – I haven’t checked it out completely myself, but this video about intuition may be pretty cool. Check it out and let me know! 🙂

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rNyWKi0q_Q%5D

Featured Dream Chaser: #WaterBabee @DanniWashington Is A Real-Life Mermaid!


It’s not too often that I write a “Featured Dream Chaser” piece, but this one is loooong overdue. Let’s just say it probably should have been one of the first features I ever posted here, especially since I know this Dream Chaser all too well. Yup, she’s my bestie! And her journey is everything short of a Cinderella tale. As gorgeous as she is, Danni Washington is a BEAST! And anything else that’s resilient, unshakeable, unstoppable, and UN-breakable. And she’s been that way long before I met her when I was just a 17-year-old soon-to be senior in high school, who’d been following her hairstylist mother around backstage as she whipped the manes of some of South Florida’s most beautiful models for a beach-side fashion show.

 

Danni, the same age as me, was a model in the show. And although I don’t remember most of the details of that day, I do remember having a very brief conversation about our goals for the future. She had plans to attend the University of Miami to study Marine Biology, something that I had no clue about. When she said it had something to do with swimming a whole lot, and being alongside ocean creatures, I knew right away just why I knew NOTHING about marine life. With a mother as a hairstylist, I had probably been getting relaxers (permanent hair straighteners) for most of my life. And if you know what that is, then you know that water and perms DO NOT MIX! Therefore, I had no interest whatsoever in what she was talking about. But, I was magnetically drawn to her undeniable passion as she spoke of this goal of hers to attend a university that had one of the best Marine Biology programs in the country. I shared with her that I too had plans to attend the University of Miami, but not because I had actually researched any of its programs. My wish to attend UM was mostly because it was always a spoken of with such high regards in my family and surrounding community. I mean, everyone in Miami knew and loved “The U! And if I was going to continue my education, I wanted to be associated with the “The Best.” Sounds crazy, I know. Especially given how expensive UM is (I’ll be paying for it for a while). But college was always an after thought for me. If it weren’t for my desire to set an example for my family as the first to graduate college, I probably would have never gone…

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Any who, the next time I saw Danni was about 3 years later. We were both juniors in college and I had just transferred to the University of Miami after completing two years in junior college (I had to figure out a way to save some money somehow if I was gonna pick the most expensive school in Florida). I must have recognized her instantly as we were both leaving the bookstore and heading towards the University Center. I remember tapping her shoulder and belting out a “HEY! How are you?!” with my arms open and ready to embrace a long-lost friend. We hugged and reminded each other of how and when we first met, and we both shared an implicit “WE MADE IT” moment, as we acknowledged that we both did EXACTLY what we said we would, in spite of.  That moment solidified the foundation of our friendship, and we’ve been sisters ever since.  We shared some of our most embarrassing, hurtful, happy and joyous moments throughout those years at UM. Our deepest connection, however, was our passion for understanding life’s mysteries… Yes, our curiosity of GOD and Spirituality, and our love for mankind is the glue that kept us connected and focused on the tasks at hand. We might not have quite understood our paths and why they crossed, but we had an understanding that our journeys were much bigger than we could have ever imagined, and that we could NOT travel alone.

 

Since graduating college Danni has gone on to start her own non-profit organization, The Big Blue & You, which is dedicated to educating youth about the ocean through media and an annual Art By The Sea event.  Every bit of her dream has required courage, hard work, and huge leaps of faith. In 2012, she packed her bags and took her talents to Los Angeles, California to solidify her dream of being an Ocean Advocate and On-Air personality. So far so good as she’s been invited to The White House at least twice, has worked on phenomenal marine life projects alongside some of the best in her field (including Life After Earth Science with Jayden Smith), has her very own TED Talks speech, and was recently featured in SEVENTEEN Magazine’s “Score Your Dream Life.” My girl has been WERKIN’! And in my eyes, she will forever be THE ULTIMATE Dream Chaser.

Meet Danni Washington: 2014 Reel

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mdrph9Xr0do%5D

Check out Danni’s TED Talks as she explains her journey:

[youtube:http://youtu.be/1Lr9afMgcTQ%5D

Be sure to pick of the latest copy of Seventeen’s August 2014 to see how Danni exercises her GIRL POWER!

What I Know About “I AM…”

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Everyday that we awaken, we have the power to create our reality. Every reality that we experience once began as a mere thought, perception, idea about what is and what we hope will be. No matter what energy space each idea originates from, if persistently held as a truth within the believer, it will manifest itself as a physical reality. This concept is what I have accepted as a truth for me. Therefore, I am constantly in the process of unlearning and rejecting any and every thought form that no longer serves me and my grandest vision for my life, as well as the lives of those that I love. In learning the power of the words “I AM” which is the name of GOD, I now understand my true power on Earth and in spirit. 

We are creators. We are constantly creating, in every moment, hour, minute, second of everyday… and in every way. Our creations are either formed out of love or out of fear. As part of our spiritual contracts with the Divine, we were each sent here to teach life and those that we encounter the truth of what we always have and always will know in spirit. We each were sent here to embody the truth from every aspect of TRUTH in and of itself. Truth is that which reigns as solid and constant for the believer and his vision of his highest self. When we declare that which “I AM…” as the beginning statement of our truths, we are beginning to manifest all that comes along with that truth so long as we persistently hold it as a core belief. Whether it is a statement that we truly desire or not is never a factor. The only determining factor of its manifestation is whether we consciously hold on to it as a core belief, good or bad as it may be. We create our realities, we create our lives, we create our world… Yes, one individual at a time, beginning with self. 

As I continue to evolve, I challenge myself constantly to release anything whose origin is not love. We all have experienced the differences between the two worlds. We all know how drastically differing in results each source can be. Why not actively participate in our experience here on Earth rather than inactively observing all that goes on? As I challenge myself to live life from a space of “believing it in” first, I openly challenge you whose eyes have graced these words to do the same. While I do this, I envision for you a more peaceful, abundant, loving, healthy, and wealthy experience while here on earth. Those things which I believe within for myself, I extend to you. I know that these things will come to pass for you because of the space from which they come from within me. The space of LOVE.

 

Namaste,

@BCSTARKS

Lessons Learned…

This year has been full of growth opportunities for me. Particularly in the form of relationships. I’ve experienced some firsts and hopefully several lasts. Some experiences I wouldn’t have wished for my worst enemy, while others have neen pure bliss. But I still wouldn’t change a single thing because the contrast is what has lead me to this very moment. As I sit here typing away, my hope is that I am able to be light to those that have been or are going through something as it pertains to relationships. So here’s a list of a few of the most prominent take-aways on my journey to great:

1. The first lesson centers around the topic of patience.  Its something that I still struggle with, but its effects within relationships are essential for peace and healthy communication. Oftentimes we want things when we want them, but when they fail to show up we end up disappointed. In many cases its ultimately no ones fault that we’re disappointed. Its only our own responsibility to check our expectations at the door. Are you expecting perfection from another perfectly imperfect human being? If so, there’s the culprit! As my favorite blogger Mastin Kipp put it, “Everything that holds us back in life is due to an unhealthy relationship with uncertainty.” That goes for lack of patience too. Many of us lack patience because we’re afraid of losing of control of a situation. What would happen if we did surrender circumstances and situations to the unknown? Well, our ultimate fear is that we would DIE or experience some form of excruciating pain. But history and many people’s lives have served as examples of how majestic accepting and embracing uncertainty can truly be. It’s what many religions refer to as Faith. It’s what I finally know to be true and I’m finally willing myself to practice more of it. I’m willing myself to be more patient with not only my own life process, but also having a sound understanding and practiced patience for the processes of others as well. This is in no way to suggest that you wait on your life to happen in order to be happy… Live how you chose, but don’t expect others to be ready to move when you are. Wait if it’s worth it, or find others who are ready in the meamtime. Life will handle the rest.

2. The second lesson deals with authenticity. For me this word implies being true to oneself. This means not selling yourself short on life, decisions, and opportunities just because others have an opinion about them. For me, this topic is also another project to grow in. I never really thought of myself as a people pleaser. In fact, I often find myself dismissing the opinions of others left and right, especially when they don’t resonate with me. However, most recently it dawned on me that the people’s whose opinions matter most to me are those who are closest to me, those who I trust enough to allow myself to be vulnerable with. And although this number is few, it hadn’t occurred to me until recently that I place a great deal of importance on their opinions. I realized, not just for myself, that sometimes we care so much about what others think of us, that we lose sight of who and what we truly are. We forget that we have our own journey to travel, our own purposes to fulfill, and their opinions of us are only a limited view of the whole of us. In fact, their opinions of us are only their thoughts and perception of us, not facts. Their opinions are none of our business because they aren’t the truth of who and what we truly are. I’m getting to the place where I’m learning to speak to my heart in stolen moments of silence (something I never thought to do before…It’s not prayer, it’s literal intimate feeling conversations with the core of your being). At first it feels weird, but as I continue to practice I can feel my way through life and situations with an inner knowing like never before. Afterall, “The kingdom of heaven lies within”. We were created to live as our true selves, not the many versions of who we are according to those who observe us in fleeting moments and temporary circumstances.

3. This next lesson is about acceptance. This is the king of all things necessary for change. In order to see real change in our lives, we must be able and willing to accept the whole of who we are, where we are, and the whole of a situation. This process in and of itself is quite complex from what I’ve come to find. Many times we find ourselves in situations that are unfavorable, and understandably hard to accept. It is from this space of resistance to life and its varying experiences and circumstances that we render ourselves to mental and emotional suffering and illness. From this space we are also sometimes lead to inflict the same pain that we feel unto others. As the saying goes: “Hurt people, hurt people.” A refusal to accept what is denies one the opportunity to experience life as fully present, whole, and complete beings. It also perpetuates a cycle of resistance from one personal interaction to the next. I’ve come to find that my personal resistance shows itself to me in the form of bodily discomfort. I may feel nervous/anxious tension in the pit of my stomach whenever I am faced with a part of myself (personality, habits, perception, expectations) that needs to evolve, but that I am subconsciously resisting. I too am learning to be more accepting of what is, with full faith that what is to come is always in service of my highest good and greatest joy… Yes, even when I can’t yet see evidence of it.

My prayer for my readers and myself is that we continue to be open to life and its many lessons. Also, my hope is that as we each continue to evolve, we are willing to share our lessons and journey with others for the purpose of being catalyst of love and understanding on Earth. Be the light that you wish to see in the world.

Namaste,

@BCSTARKS ♡