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. ūüėČ

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

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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

Brittnay’s Corner: I Used To Be A Use To…

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I remember being the girl that would just “go with the flow.” Not honoring what I truly wanted in relationships, hardly ever objecting or resisting the suggestions and opinions of others, making their thoughts and ideas more important than my own. Yeah, I USED to be THAT girl… (**cues Meek Mill “Use To Be”)

Nowadays I’ve grown into my own person, accepting and embracing ALL of the WOMAN that I have become. Especially because I’ve worked so hard to become HER. But I’m noticing the strangest thing happening all around me simultaneously. As my evolution brings me closer to my SOURCE, and now that I am understanding and embracing EXACTLY who I AM; as I become more comfortable with myself, and as I express more self-love and become more vocal about my own desires and feelings, I’m noticing that this evolved version of myself doesn’t sit well with everyone.

In the past few weeks alone, I’ve experienced a barrage of criticism from complete strangers, and some friends, involving their perception of me. I’ve heard things such as, “You come off as a little arrogant,” a bit aggressive, cocky, like you might not take direction very well.” I’ve been told to tone it down,”don’t be so articulate, you’ll intimidate people” (Mind you, this has been said to me in regards to my work place mainly). ¬†It ALL just COMPLETELY blows my mind!! Can you tell?… For me, it feels weird because I was always the one that was considered “so easy going,”… but I wasn’t happy within. But now… OH BUT NOW!

Had I taken any of this criticism to heart, I would be back where I was years ago when I was insecure, indecisive, and oh so lost… Confidence didn’t come easy for me, its something that I’ve intentionally and diligently worked at. I’ve taken some major blows emotionally and psychologically throughout my life, and ultimately I decided that I wouldn’t allow any of it to define me. Still today it takes constant reinforcement and “reminders to self.” I now embody more confidence than I ever have because I choose to believe in myself, and I completely trust myself to always do whats right and what resonates as true from within me. My life experiences have taught me that no one else has the answers to my path but my SOURCE and I.

Much to my surprise, this recent criticism is something that I am actually learning to embrace. To me, it symbolizes that I am on my path to being exactly where GOD wants me to be, because I KNOW who I AM, and WHAT I want, and I’m not afraid to stand up for that. I’m finally at a place where no one else’s opinion of me, or my life matters. Now being mediocre and going with the flow no longer serves me and my ultimate purpose. I was born with a greatness on the inside of me that had been suppressed and looked over for far too long. And this conscious space that I am currently in is calling me to bring forth this greatness, no matter what it involves or who it offends. “Sorry I’m NOT sorry…” I have a desire to be GREAT in ALL that I do. And I don’t care what anyone thinks, my light will shine brighter than ever before! And it feels soooo GOOOD!

Wishing you ALL Love and LIGHT!

@BCSTARKS

P.S.- Check out the song that inspired this post:

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=virXiV5KPcM%5D

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

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