How to Float Through Life’s Peaks and Valleys

Photo courtesy of bringchange.in

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! ūüėČ

Peace & Love,

@BCSTARKS

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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!

Words of Wisdom

Fear¬†is a question: What are you afraid of and why? Just as the seed of health is in illness, because illness contains information, our fears are a treasure house of self-knowledge if we explore them…

-Marilyn Ferguson

Fear is a habit; so is self-pity, defeat, anxiety, despair, hopelessness and resignation. You can eliminate all of these negative habits with two simple resolves: I can!! and I will!!

-Napoleon Hill

If¬†you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place for correction and it’s not so bad. Imagine a set of people all living in the same building. Half of them think it is a hotel, the other half think it is a prison. Those who think it a hotel might regard it as quite intolerable, and those who thought it was a prison might decide that it was really surprisingly comfortable. So that what seems the ugly doctrine is one that comforts and strengthens you in the end. The people who try to hold an optimistic view of this world would become pessimists: the people who hold a pretty stern view of it become optimistic

-C. S. Lewis

Words of Wisdom: Reflections on Sexual Healing and Marvin Gaye

“When sex is of the Holy Spirit, it is a deepening of communication. When it is of the ego, it is ¬†a substitute for communication. The Holy Spirit uses sex to heal us; the ego uses it to wound us. Sometimes we have thought that sex with another person would cement the bond between us, and instead it turned out to manufacture more illusion and anxiety than there was before. It is only when sex is a vehicle of spiritual communion that it is truly loving, that it joins us to another person. Then it is a sacred act. Holiness means the presence of a loving purpose, and in that sense, the body and its accouterments can be a holy expression. Many spiritual seekers have felt the need to eschew all body related things. But that can be as ego-centered as a overattachment to the physical. Anything used to spread joy and communicate love is a part of GOD’s plan for salvation.” — Marianne Williamson,¬†A Return To Love p. 250-251

This quote gave me a whole new perspective on Marvin Gaye’s Grammy Award winning album Sexual Healing. In case you’ve never heard the song, or if you just love it like I do, check it out below along with the lyrics. Also, check out Sexual Healing: What It Means, Why It Matters for an amazing lesson on the¬†topic.
Sexual Healing Lyrics:
Ooh, now let’s get down tonight
Baby I’m hot just like an oven
I need some lovin’
And baby, I can’t hold it much longer
It’s getting stronger and stronger
And when I get that feeling
I want Sexual Healing
Sexual Healing, oh baby
Makes me feel so fine
Helps to relieve my mind
Sexual Healing baby, is good for me
Sexual Healing is something that’s good for me
Whenever blue tear drops are falling
And my emotional stability is leaving me
There is something I can do
I can get on the telephone and call you up baby, and
Honey I know you’ll be there to relieve me
The love you give to me will free me
If you don’t know the things you’re dealing
I can tell you, darling, that its Sexual Healing
Get up, Get up, Get up, Get up, let’s make love tonight
Wake up, Wake up, Wake up, Wake up, ‘cos you do it right
Baby I got sick this morning
A sea was storming inside of me
Baby I think I’m capsizing
The waves are rising and rising
And when I get that feeling
I want Sexual Healing
Sexual Healing is good for me
Makes me feel so fine, it’s such a rush
Helps to relieve the mind, and it’s good for us
Sexual Healing, baby, is good for me
Sexual Healing is something that’s good for me
And it’s good for me and it’s good to me
My baby ohhh
Come take control, just grab a hold
Of my body and mind soon we’ll be making it
Honey, oh we’re feeling fine
You’re my medicine open up and let me in
Darling, you’re so great
I can’t wait for you to operate
I can’t wait for you to operate
When I get this feeling, I need Sexual Healing [Ad lib]

 

Brittnay’s Corner: Sexual Healing: What It Means, Why It Matters

Yes, I’m taking it there! But bear with me because this isn’t your typical religious based ¬†speech on why you should save yourself for marriage, or be guilted¬† by your past. I’ll leave that part to the folks who handle that best. That’s out of my league. “Nope, not I,” ¬†said the cat.

I do, however, ¬†intend to share with you a lesson that almost knocked my socks off when I read it. And it’s not that I haven’t heard similar teachings, but I’ve never heard it stated in a way that actually sits well with my spirit. A way that doesn’t leave me feeling any awkwardness whatsoever… you know, guilty, anxious or ashamed. Instead, I was filled with feelings of pure love and acceptance, which is what any true word of GOD and the DIVINE should feel ¬†like (Your spirit always KNOWS the source from which it comes…its all in how you feel).

Now to the lesson…

A Course In Miracles (ACIM) teaches us that we are not truly the physical body form that we identify ourselves by. Instead, we should view ourselves as spiritual beings having a physical/ human experience here on Earth. With that said, we must be able to view ourselves beyond our physical bodies and the physical material world that we live in.

That’s all pretty cool… obvious for some. But let’s take it a step further.

ACIM also tells us the following:

“When you equate yourself with a body[or another person in the same way], you will always experience depression [or anxiety].”

This is true when we are critical with ourselves or others about our weight, or physical attractiveness, material wealth/success, etc… It’s never a good feeling when we only fully identify ourselves as our physical bodies or material wealth because these are things that can and will constantly change, just as everything else in the physical realm. And let’s face it, we’re all worth wayyy more than what’s on the surface. In fact, we can all agree the only true constants are Spirit, LOVE and GOD… which are all ONE.

Stay with me here…

According to one of my favorite authors, Marianne Williamson in her bestselling title¬†A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course In Miracles, “One of the ways the body can be used to manufacture depression is through loveless sex.” This is because we tend to project either love or fear when we partake in sexual activities. Williamson states:

“When sex is of the Holy Spirit, it is a deepening of communication. When it is of the ego, it is ¬†a substitute for communication. The Holy Spirit uses sex to heal us; the ego uses it to wound us. Sometimes we have thought that sex with another person would cement the bond between us, and instead it turned out to manufacture more illusion and anxiety than there was before. It is only when sex is a vehicle of spiritual communion that it is truly loving, that it joins us to another person. Then it is a sacred act.–¬†Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love p. 250

In other words, when we partake in loveless sex, we are merely trying to fill a void for something else that we may feel is missing. In this context, sex is used as a coping mechanism that is no different from drugs, or food, or whatever else we humans have been known to use in order to cover up or communicate the true pain that may have never been healed from our past. For example, when a male/female has sex outside of an a loving relationship that has been established prior to sexual interaction, deep down he/she may subconsciously be attempting to communicate or fill a void of their true desire to be loved, wanted, or accepted as whole by another. Sex would thus be a substitution for true communication between that person, and his/her partner(s). There is always a story behind everything in life, whether deep or shallow. This is why communication on the surface goes a looooong way!

Ohhhh, but it gets better!!

Williamson goes on to share another part of this lesson that ACIM teaches, and that is one of the true definitions of what it means to be Holy as it relates to life, and in this context, sex:

“Holiness means the presence of a loving purpose, and in that sense, the body and its accouterments can be a holy expression. Many spiritual seekers have felt the need to eschew all body related things. But that can be as ego-centered as an overattachment to the physical. Anything used to spread joy and communicate love is a part of GOD’s plan for salvation.”¬†— Marianne Williamson,¬†A Return To Love p. 250

Now tell me that doesn’t give you a whole new perspective on Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing!

No matter how man tries to bog it down with condemnation and ridicule, sex was created by the DIVINE as a form of communication on the deepest level… Yes, for us humans it gets no better than pure physical intimacy. But it’s only when its used for the pure purpose of LOVE, that it feels HEAVENLY through and through; not just for the moment. Hence why most religions point in the direction of marriage before sex, and the whole spiel¬†on how man unites as one during meaningful intercourse. The truth is, all sex is meaningful. We just have to know ourselves well enough to know just what we are truly attempting to communicate to the Universe and our partner(s) in spirit. ¬†For we will only experience the truth of our intentions.¬†Therefore, perhaps we should heavily consider having only loving connections… at least at some point in our lives.

If love is what we truly desire, then love is what we ought to communicate with those we interact with in life in as many ways possible. First, we must love and accept ourselves as whole and complete beings right where we are. For in GOD’s eyes, man was perfectly and masterfully created. Once there, if others can accept the whole of you and love you as you are in return, then perhaps they are worthy of your sexual healing, and vice versa of course. DOPE, right!?!

Don’t ever say that I never tried to enlightened you! lol

Meanwhile, feel free to drop some of your thoughts on the topic in the comment section below.

Love,

@BCSTARKS

Words of Wisdom: How M.E. Sees It

“I AM ENOUGH AND I AM NOT MY HISTORY. I BELIEVE THAT LOVE IS THE ONLY NUTRIENT IN THE WORLD THAT CAN BE EXPRESSED, AND I VOW TO TRY MY BEST TO PRACTICE ITS EXPRESSION IN EVERYTHING I DO AND WITH EVERYONE I KNOW. I AM NEVER WITHOUT RESOURCES. I AM A CHILD OF THE HALF LIGHT. I AM CONNECTED TO THE WHOLE. I AM A CREATIVE FORCE, I RECALL THE ORIGINAL PROGRAM THAT IS MY DESIGN IN WHICH I LIVE MY LIFE BY. I AM A MAGNET. I KNOW NOTHING, BUT I HAVE THE ABILITY TO RECOGNIZE TRUTH- THATS HOW I SEE YOU, EVEN WITH MY EYES CLOSED.” – Melody Ehsani