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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Today’s Wisdom: Education goes well beyond the classroom

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As an educator, this is what I came to know about the fundamentals of education around the world. Being educated is not confined to academia. In fact, some of the most educated minds had little to no schooling, yet they are full of information that resonates with the masses because they remain curious about life and tend to investigate beyond what the classroom would allow. While academia has its place, it cannot be a substitute for man’s own curiosity and imagination. One must use it as a tool to practice learning strategies, but then move beyond its limitations to discover the truth of life. This is the only path to true freedom, when one can learn the truth of who he is, the truth of life.

Love,

@BCSTARKS

How Creating A New Blueprint Can Change Your Life Story

These past couple of months have been a bit of a challenge for me. Not only have I been on an emotional roller coaster, but I’ve found myself conflicted about the direction that I was willing to allow my life to take. Just when I thought I had it all mapped out, life showed me that maybe I don’t have the answers that I thought I did.

Ever been there before?

Well I’m here. And just as I was preparing to go into hiding and sulk about how much my life sucks right now because nothing is going the way I want it to, I came across a video by none other than Tony Robbins. This video titled “Create A New Story” was right on time. In it, Tony addresses the issue of how to get unstuck by changing your blueprint. He defines a “blueprint” as the way that a person believes life should be according to his or her experiences, upbringing, religion, etc… For me, I hadn’t realized how hard I had been on myself for so long because I was so concerned with what others would think about the decisions that I have made in my life thus far… As if they had all the answers to life. I had become so married to this idea about how things were supposed to be that I became bitter with my reality because it was so far from the life that I want, and for that I have suffered massively. From bouts of depression, strong resentment, anxiety attacks, self-doubt, crippling fear of the unknown, and outright anger. I have experienced it all, and its been a path of mental and emotional torture.

“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies”- Nelson Mandela

That is, until I watched this video. The message that Tony brings home is that to experience happiness and live the life that you can be proud of, you have to be willing to change your view of how things are supposed to be. We as humans have to learn to let go of the ideals that make up the so-called perfect life, and shift to being open to the fact that there is no such thing as one way to be happy. We have to take massive action towards that things that will help us get closer to our goals, or change our blueprint of what success looks like.

An example he uses is that of a former professional basketball player who suffered career ending injuries. This particular player was now living some of his darkest days because his livelihood had been ripped away from him and he could not see any other way to get back to life as he knew it. He became depressed and angry, and lost sight of his purpose because his blueprint had always been to take care of his family through what he had always been great at, basketball. He found so many people to blame for why he was so unhappy, including GOD, and he could not bring himself to see that life could be better in spite of what had happened to him. It wasn’t until Tony showed him that life was only miserable because he was only allowing himself to see things one way, that he became more open to changing his perception of a perfect life.

It was such a beautiful revelation for both this former basketball player and myself. So much so, that I decided to share part of my journey here with you, as well as the very video that helped me realize the damage that I was doing to myself, and to finally be open to a new paradigm and way of life.

Check it out below and let me know what you think.

Peace, Love, and Revelations!- @BCStarks

Grace: Manifesting It Through Gratitude

“Grace is flowing back to me.”

Hey there!

So, I’m participating in this free 21-day meditation challenge presented by Oprah and Deepak Chopra. This time around, the challenge’s focus is “Manifesting Grace through Gratitude.” Previous topics have been how “all good things bring gratitude,” and how to learn to recognize things to be grateful for so that you can open up to receiving more experiences to appreciate. Today is Day 4, and in the journal section where you are invited to share your thoughts, we were asked to reflect on the times (most recently) that we experienced signs of grace. I was able to recall those times most vividly, and decided to share them with my readers. I also want to encourage you, if its your “thing, to join the meditation challenge. Its free and worth all 20 minutes of the 24 hours in your day. Each time that I actually make time to meditate is when I find that I am most at peace and have a more of a clear perspective on my day. I also feel high… Yes, like I just smoked a pound of weed (which I do not smoke at all). Lol Who needs drugs when you can just meditate?! …Don’t knock it until you try it. 😉

Journal: Day 4 – Grace Is Replying

Write down any signs of grace that have come to you recently, such as an unexpected kindness or moment of joy, a sense of perfection, or a feeling of belonging.

I felt grace when I dreamt about my late grandmother the other night. I am currently preparing to move across the country to start a new chapter in my life, and to be honest, I am terrified. In my dream, I was already in my new city, and I was at someone’s wedding. While maneuvering to find a seat, I caught a glance of a woman wearing a red dress and it was my grandmother. I was ecstatic and made a mental note that I would make my way to say hello. Just as I was weaving my way through the crowd of people standing in the isle, I peeped around their bodies to make sure that I was heading towards my grandma. Just as I was getting closer, I woke up. Damnit!  It saddened me that I could not get close enough to her to have a conversation or even say hello.  But I am thankful for grace giving me peace by allowing her to appear in my dream. It gave me comfort to know that even though she’s not physically present, she still supports me at times that I feel I need her most.

Cutting back on duties and demands to spend more time connecting with those you love is a wonderful way to invigorate your energy. Write down three ways you can renew your energy by appreciating what’s around you. For example, you could take a quiet walk amid the trees, view an art exhibit, or catch up with a dear friend.

Yesterday I felt grace when I walked outside to sit among the trees and nature. I found myself wanting to clear my mind, so I decided to meditate outdoors. Its amazing how, in an instant, I felt a sense of oneness with all that the outdoors had to offer. Aside from being distracted by a few pedestrians waling by, I was able to connect my energy with the emanating energies of the trees, and the earth, and the wind… I heard birds chirping, and felt the warmth of the sun kissing my skin. I would do it again, and often even, because it calms my mind and helps me to put things in perspective. I could always pick up the phone to call someone that I haven’t spoken to in a while. Those times always turn into two hour long conversations, and almost always end with “I love you” and “don’t be a stranger.”

Grace is laced throughout my everyday life and always leaves me feeling energetic and ready to handle the next big task of the day.I feel so appreciative that I can recognize these moments as they happen, and be able to say “Thank You” to God and the Universe for allowing me know the joys of life and appreciate them as they come.

Use this space to reflect further on your experience today.

It’s still early in the day for me, but I am open to however grace will present itself. I am open to beauty in all forms, and look forward to continuing to push past fear and allow abundance and love to pour into my life. I’m appreciative for this platform… I look forward to each day that I get to meditate with Deepak and Oprah in my ear.

Namaste…

Love,

@BCSTARKS

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

Are You A Prisoner Of Fear?

The topic of fear has been one that I’ve visited often on the blog. Mostly because it’s the main source of many things that keep us separate from our truths. I still struggle with my own fears as I try to figure out my path and challenge old beliefs that no longer serve me. And man is it difficult to shatter learned paradigms!

Let’s be honest, we all know what it feels like to have hopes and dreams. But most of us know more about just wishing than we do the sweet taste of victory that accomplishing goals can bring. That’s because all too often we are so quick to talk ourselves right off the path of achieving them because we fear that we aren’t good enough, don’t have enough time or money, or resources, etc…

How then, do we ever expect things to change if we’re not willing to meet GOD halfway? After all, we are 100% responsible for our 50% part in co-creation with HIM. Dreams don’t just fall in one’s lap. You have to do more than just pray, you have to take bold and swift action.

“But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead”- James 2:20 KJV

When you’ve done all that you can do with the spirit of excellence, God will match your effort with miraculous results. Sounds like something that you already know intellectually, right? Me too! Lol But that’s where this notion of fearful imprisonment comes in.

Being a prisoner of fear means playing small and shying away from your highest expression of self. It’s that thing you do instead of going after your dreams, or letting your voice be heard on things that matter most to you. Being a prisoner of fear means procrastination, because it’s much scarier to begin a thing, than it is to avoid it. Being a prisoner of fear means running away from the very things that you’ve always yearned for because to run towards it would almost make it too good to be true. As if you don’t deserve it… !!! Being a prisoner of fear means staying stuck in a cycle that just won’t let things get better for you.

Why we put ourselves through such agony and misery at times is one of humanities most sought after mysteries. So much so that religions have been formed around the very idea of either reasoning fear, easing fear or creating more of it.

Being a prisoner of fear is not what God intended for us, yet its the source of overcoming for many people’s journey. Often seen as a great protector, fear only means imprisonment when we keep ourselves separate from the expansion of spirit, and the new-found awareness to do and be more in life.  The result is we avoid honoring our callings, talents, visions, desires all because it scares us far more to face the fear than to overcome it.

Are you a prisoner fear? If, so I’d like to know how you came to realize it and what you aspire to do to overcome it. Feel free to comment below or shoot me an email and your testimony can be featured on the blog!

Until next time,

❤ @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