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

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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

Intuition-banner

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

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 ♡

Happiness Is Found In the Choices YOU Make!

The new year is already 8 days old and there have been so many lessons that I’m sure we all have walked away from 2012 with. For me, the journey of 2012 lead me to places I never thought I’d be… spiritually, physically, and especially emotionally.

Last year alone I experienced every human emotion possible, oftentimes feeling more lost than found. For a while I couldn’t understand what God and the Universe were doing with me. And at one point I felt resentful for some of the experiences that I had endured. That was until I realized that I had more power than what I had given myself credit for. Yes, I had the power of choice! It’s the one thing that we as humans have complete control over, even if we can control nothing else… We experience life according to the choices we make. We can choose to play victim and have life happen to us, or we can choose to be a co-creator in our own happiness. Yes, we can CHOOSE HAPPY!

Happiness is a choice that we make with every passing moment. We can choose grace, love and gratitude, or we can choose misery and fear. Since I’m writing this post, you can probably guess which choice I made. That’s right, 2012 may have been quite the challenge, but it wasn’t the deciding factor in my journey. If last year’s phase taught me nothing else, I learned that I can determine my own happiness with a simple shift in awareness and the courage to choose different. If things are going well and you feel a sense of contentment, keep doing those things that serve you best. But if you start to feel that your world is being turned upside down and you are becoming a helpless observer to your own misery, then my friend you need to make some different choices.

As for me, I chose to write this blog post after so long because writing is one of the things in life that makes me happy. I’ve also made some major choices about the direction that I want my life to go in. I’ll  be sure to keep you updated with my progress through BCSTARKS.com. Until then, choose wisely.

Love,

@BCSTARKS

Words of Wisdom

The vision that I hold about the world is that folks are doing the best they can from their point of view. But I don’t believe that anyone is going to come and save me. I believe in the power of The Uni-verse to give us visions and our own personal power of choice and faith and courage to walk out those visions no matter what may come. I know that the solution isn’t “out there” – the solution is “in here”. And the more those of us who are walking on The Path can be a living demonstration of what’s possible, of the solution, the more we will be able to show the way to others – not by what we say or do, but by who we are being.

–Mastin  Kipp (Creator of The Daily Love)

The Crippling Disease Know As FEAR: Has It Gotten In The Way?

I write this post  from the deepest place of empathy and compassion, with hopes that at least one person who reads this will become so self-aware that they no longer allow this horrific disease to ruin their life.

Yes, FEAR has long been known to be the most destructive enemy of mankind, and it has caused more heartache and physical harm than any other known disease.

How so? Or better yet, why? Because fear is the most silent and unsuspecting state of thought. It causes all kinds of discomfort in the mind and the body. Think about it… when you are scared, all kinds of thoughts run through your head; mostly negative. Your heart races, or you feel anxious at times. Sometimes people have panic attacks, while others just simply shy away from life, or avoid what it means to truly live.

Fear can stop the most ambitious person dead in his/her tracks and cause them to give up on their dreams… Why? Because they may be “afraid” that they don’t know how to do something, or they become too scared to try something new because they don’t know how things will turn out. Some are just too “fragile” to be vulnerable because they fear “failure”… Yes, as if getting an F on your mid-term or breaking up with your ex who means you no good equates to the idea that the world is ending.

What ever happened to studying harder to do better next time, or practicing something so much that you become a master at it, or learning from your past mistakes so that you do better the next time. So what if the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th times were a complete flop? Pick up the pieces and try, try, try until something works! Yes, even if it takes a lifetime (none of us really knows what’s in a lifetime until we’ve lived and died anyway).

“You Can Rise From The Ashes of Your Life”-Oprah

So many times we worry ourselves sick and become prisoners of our own minds, often feeling as if we have lost control. But the truth is, the only thing we have true dominion over is our own thoughts. We can decide whether we will allow negative thoughts to consume us in a way that keeps us in bondage and from living our best life. Yes, that is the one true god-like power that GOD gave man; the power of thought (and within this, the power and right to “choose”).

It is my wish that each person reading this will become more open to change. My prayer is that you (the reader) will see change as a great indicator that you are the all-powerful being that GOD intended for you to be. And that you excercise this power by choosing to rely on a greater power beyond mankind and yourself. When you trust that a “set back” is just a “set up” for you to be greater than before, for you to aim higher than you ever have, go further than you’ve ever gone, dream bigger than you’ve ever dreamed, and don’t stop at the 1st few attempts, or the first few “NO’s”… You can rid yourself of the indicating symptoms of FEAR before you fall severely ill, only to become completely consumed by it. It will steal your joy, your health, your wealth, and your life, only if you let it!

Be courageous and trust that if no one else supports you, at least YOU and GOD/the Universe will always support YOU.

As a lover of Hip-Hop for all the right reasons, I came across this video interview of rapper 50 Cent and the BBC. In this video 50 discusses his recently published book where he talks about how overcoming fear can be helpful and harmful in business. Of course the lessons in the video, as well as this post is about life as a whole, not just business. Check it out and let me know what lessons you’ve drawn from both, in terms of your own struggles.