Do you love reading great books? Are you especially drawn to reading books that will inspire you and empower you? What about having conversations online with others who are reading these books, too?  Does participating in an online book club like this sound interesting to you? GOOD!

I have great news for all of the souls who have ever so patiently inquired about the status of the book club that I announced.

Yes! Yes! Yes! The book club will be active and much more interactive!

After reflecting as to how best to utilize technology for the book club going forward it became clear to me that we need to have a home base as well as a viable structure and a plan. I decided to dedicate the Living In Spiritual Perspective blog (here) to serve as the home base for the book club. This way anyone can come here to see the book of the month, see the questions I’ve posed for consideration, comment and also review the thoughts and comments of others.

Now that I’m  more familiar with the blog platform as well as the new facebook and twitter, this seems like the best plan. We can still use facebook to and twitter to continue the conversations that start here. We may even have scheduled LIVE tweetups and facebook discussions if that’s what you’d like. I figured it best to start with the basic structure and plan that is workable. We can always add on more if/as we’re inspired. Being that I AM a twitterhead, I will certainly be tweeting using #HTCBookClub throughout the month. You all can, too.

How does that sound? I  do not want to make any assumptions as to what you all like and want. That being said, please take a moment to share your thoughts in the comments. Are you interested in following along each month for a book recommendation and then commenting here with the online community? Would you be interested in having LIVE scheduled tweetups and/or facebook discussions? Do you even use facebook? If so, would you join a facebook group for HTCBookClub  and engage in dialogue there? Do you tweet and/or prefer to have a scheduled tweetup each month using #HTCBookClub? Holler! 

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Make Time For Love

08/01/2011

I call ALL of you BE~LOVED for a reason! You are created in Love, by Love, for Love!

With all of the names and greetings floating around “BE~LOVED” just cuts right to the core of the matter. Ideally these words together BE~ LOVED strikes the key-note of your soul, setting off an affirmative: Yes! Absolutely! I AM BE~LOVED! I AM ALWAYS BE~LOVED! (Nice, right?)

And while you are vibing, realizing and expressing love you are correspondingly receiving LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Physical love, emotional love, financial love, spiritual love, sexual love (and add to this list if you are so inspired)… all forms of love are coming to you in equal measure as you allow yourself to BE love.

I’m encouraging all of you to make time for love. Make time in your day to contemplate all of the love that you are, have, give and receive. It’s a great exercise to start and end each day. You can go even further by dedicating time, energy and funds to your personal development around love and relationships.

1. Read and re-read The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz.

2. Read the Healing Truth Center Book Club Selection for August: The Seven Levels of Intimacy by Matthew Kelly. (I’m reading this with all of you and will post thoughts on twitter using #HTCBookClub. I’ll also post here on the Living in Spiritual Perspective Blog about it, too.)

3. Take my Love NOW! Course which includes four (4) private individual consultations with me, focused on healing and empowering you around love and relationships. For information and registration go to HealingTruthCenter.com/LoveNOW Act quickly because I’m offering the course with a special low price of $599 (a savings of more than $400) until August 15th.

As you can see, I’m back after my little Summer transformation time. Lots of wonderful things have been unfolding including my new blog: Journey of An Urban Mystic, a magazine placement (my first), a video feature (Transcending Faith) and plenty more. God IS working dear hearts, for me and for you, too!

QUESTION: Will you be joining me tonight for a LIVE event/show at 8PM ET? Just go to HealingTruthCenter.com tonight at 8PM ET. I’ll see you then!

Always shine your Light!

Love ya!

~BLAZE~
@Umystic

SHAWNA MARIE is a Spiritual leader, psychotherapist and author. She provides consultations, courses and speaking engagements integrating spirituality and mental health. Be inspired and connect with her at HealingTruthCenter.com



Pictured (L-R) Shawn Young, Erich Williams, Shawna Marie, Shawn Blanchard, Jarell "DJ CEO" Greene, Chris "Kazi" Rolle, Eyan Edwards, Shanel Cooper-Sykes, Eternal Bakr & Anthony "Tmor" Morris

I wrote How can a single woman stay positive about her potential to experience true lasting love? just a few hours after the incredibly inspiring event: Straight Talk No Chaser Part 2. This Together Apart event produced by Chris “Kazi” Rolle served as a follow-up to the original Straight Talk No Chaser event held back in February. Both events were  very powerful. As you read further, you’ll understand why Together Apart is one of my absolute favorite projects.

As background, Together Apart is a premiere relationship academy providing innovative events and products to enrich relationships. The LIVE CONVO events are a safe space for men and women to engage in open and honest conversation to support and promote healthy relationships. While some components are core to the event: 1 theme, 2 hosts (male and female), 3 or more experts and 4 rounds of conversation… every LIVE CONVO is unique.

Straight Talk No Chaser features a panel of men engaging an exclusively female audience about what is on the hearts and minds of men. Author, life coach and motivational speaker Shanel Cooper Sykes guided the convo and I served as in-house therapist. The men, who were all certainly very self-aware, introspective and evolved were: Anthony ‘Tmor’ Morris, Shawn Young, Erich Williams, Jarell ‘DJ CEO’ Greene, Shawn Blanchard, Eyan Edwards and Eternal Bakr. Sponsors for the night included Nefra Dabney (NefraDabney.com) and Single Black Male (SingleBlackMale.org).

While I couldn’t possibly share everything that was revealed during the night (which is why you’ll want to scoop the DVD when it’s available), a couple of things stood out for me.

  1. The best way to effectively communicate with a man is honestly, respectfully (according to the rules of engagement you’ve agreed upon), as a friend (not a mother), asking clarifying questions (instead of assuming) and by listening carefully (before formulating your response.)
  2. Some of the key factors that cause men to lie are fear, the desire to avoid being judged and the fact that they’ve been conditioned to lie from early childhood. That being said, women would do well to both practice and encourage honesty. It serves us well to create conditions under which men feel comfortable telling the truth. One of the men put it like this: Men are honest when they have a reason to be honest. Hmmm….
  3. Men (at least these ones) do want to experience a truly loving committed relationship. They want to be accepted, understood, known, loved and appreciated. They want a best friend who’s their “match” and they don’t want to be pressured, chased or forced. They even have visions as to what they’d like their weddings to be like!

All of the men on the panel shared tremendously. Each were quotable in their own right. In an effort to actually write a blog post instead of a novella I will simply quote Erich Williams who said, “There is no greater strain on relationship than infidelity, but no greater proof of love than a relationship that survives it.”

Yeah, Straight Talk No Chaser was that deep!

My advice to the ladies in the room was to 1) relax and just be yourself, 2) take time to get to know him and let him get to know you… honestly and authentically over time, and 3)  make a commitment to continuously improve your communication skills, both listening and speaking. As an added bonus to all of the souls who follow my blog, I will also say that our greatest opportunity lies in our ability be authentic and cultivate honesty at all times.

For individual counseling and support specifically focused on love and relationships check out my special offer: LOVE NOW! (Expires 8/15/11.)

For more information about Together Apart visit www.together-apart.com.

I look forward to seeing you  for my next LIVE show 8.1.11 @ 8PM Eastern at HealingTruthCenter.com

Let your Light shine!

~BLAZE~
@UMystic

SHAWNA MARIE is a Spiritual leader, psychotherapist and author. She provides consultations, courses and speaking engagements integrating spirituality and mental health. Be inspired and connect with her at HealingTruthCenter.com

Skin Deep

07/02/2011

Shawna Marie, Chris "Kazi" Rolle and Jenelle SimoneCall me Pollyanna but I do believe that every single soul is beautiful in their own way. Recently I had the pleasure of participating in Chris “Kazi” Rolle’s Together Apart LIVE Convo: Skin Deep. The event featured a panel of experts in beauty, fashion, health, fitness and grooming. Co-hosting the event with Kazi was model, actress and media personality Jenelle Simone.

Panelists for the evening included celebrity make-up artist Andrea Fairweather-Bailey, health and wellness expert Supanova Slom, fashion designer Nefra Dabney, fitness expert Reggie Lamptey, celebrity hair stylist Ursula Stephen, and celebrity groomer Gee DaBarber. As usual I served as the in-house therapist. The intention was to discuss our preferences and perceptions around beauty, the impact of both in our dating relationships and how to look our best from a healthy place.

By definition beauty is a quality that evokes a feeling of deep satisfaction in another. It’s natural, individual and intuitive. However, our natural inclinations and perceptions may be overridden by conditioning from our circles of influence (family, peers and media). Our perceptions of self and others are colored by layers of complexity within the context of deeply rooted historical racism, remnants of slavery and modern day white privilege. We also may receive mixed messages within our circles of influence.

We did unpack some of this at the event. Having been called everything from gorgeous to ugly, too light, too dark, too skinny, too tall and white-looking… I know the work that I have done and continue to do to develop a positive perception of myself. As a therapist, there’s no shortage of clients both male and female who’ve shared with me their struggles around looks, self-esteem, dating, loving and being loved. For these reasons I was inspired to offer an intensive individual course, Love NOW!, specifically focused on developing self-love and the capacity to both attract and maintain a mutually satisfying love relationship.

While my wish is that every single soul on this earth realizes their beauty and never suffers from the negative perceptions or comments of others, I know that this type of healing will take time and effort. I applaud Kazi for kicking off yet another provocative and important convo. I also encourage all of you to invest time and energy into regularly evaluating your perceptions. What you believe about yourself and your looks plays a role in your ability to attract and maintain healthy relationships. There’s also the fact that what you believe will influence your partners, peers and also your children.

Since the goal is to live from a healthy place, free from negative and distorted perceptions of self or of others, perhaps you’ll find these questions helpful.

1. What do you consider to be “good looking,” beautiful and handsome?

2. Do you consider yourself to be beautiful/handsome, average attractive, just okay or unattractive?

3. Would you say that you have “good hair”, “okay hair” or “bad hair?”

4. Is your shape perfect, okay or less than ideal?

5. What do you love about your skin tone/shade?

6. How did you come to believe this about yourself?

7. What experiences have you had about your skin tone/shade? Were the messages you received primarily positive or negative?

8. Which areas could you have been abused or received negative messages with your hair, body and skin color?

9. What if anything would you change about yourself if you could? Why?

10. How do/can you regularly encourage a positive self-image?

For additional support, consider taking my Love NOW! course this summer. It’s a great way to get focused individualized support and education to uncover/unlearn distorted harmful beliefs about yourself, heal from relationship heartache, empower yourself in relationships and revitalize your love life!

Love ya!

~BLAZE~
@UMystic

SHAWNA MARIE is a Spiritual leader, psychotherapist and author. She provides consultations, courses and speaking engagements integrating spirituality and mental health. Be inspired and connect with her at HealingTruthCenter.com.

At a time when the common daily conversation was about poverty, I decided to initiate a daily conversation about prosperity.  It was just that simple.  Besides the fact that turning on the news, going to the mental health center where I worked as a medical social worker and psychotherapist, and answering the Healing Truth Center prayer  request phone line  I was inundated with reports of financial hardship, my very own financial picture started to take a turn.  During the times I’d dedicated to daily prayer, the list of souls and situations on my prayer list kept getting longer and longer. It seemed like I was constantly called to remind myself of God’s awesome power to bless and prosper me and everyone in the world.

First I began sending an email every morning with a positive word to keep souls in good spirits and optimistic about the potential for their abundant good (and me, too.) Following my daily prayer and meditation time each morning I’d jump on my laptop and post a message and end with Prosperity NOW!” It probably got me just as pumped up as I’d hoped it got everyone else, if not more. I would leave the house with a big fat smile on my face, optimistic and ready to both give and receive abundant blessings.

Within a couple of days I had so many ideas in my mind that I would have to spend some time deciding which one of the 10 or 20 ideas I would post. By the end of that first week I had thought it would be good to write down the ideas that were dancing around in my head so I would remember them for the posts in the coming days. But once I got to writing, more ideas kept pouring into my mind and then onto my notebook. A total of one hundred and fifty ideas were revealed to me. Some of the ideas were about financial well-being, others were about love of self, a Higher Power, life and realizing healthy relationships. There were ideas about spiritual growth, health, as well as mental and emotional wellness.

As I read these ideas in their entirety I felt GOOD! I felt encouraged. I was excited about life in general and my life in specific! I felt inspired and confident in God’s awesome power healing, blessing and prospering this entire world!  I kept reading them over and over and over again! Every time I read them through I was even more amped than the previous time. “Now what?” I asked myself, taking a pause from flooding my mind with these inspiring ideas. Then the images began to flash into my mind as to the look and feel of the book that would contain these ideas.

The ideas contained in Prosperity NOW! are just as much for me as they are for every soul who is inspired by them. Media, marketing and mental health professionals can all attest to the power of suggestion when ideas are repeatedly presented. Given all of the ideas traversing the universe on a daily basis that do not serve to uplift, inspire or empower us, I remain dedicated to spreading ideas of abundant good fortune in all aspects of life. More than money (and yet including money), prosperity is about overall well-being. Prosperity NOW! as a phrase, a book, an audio book and a movement reminds us that we deserve abundant good in our health, career, relationships, finances and spirituality.

If you are feeling sad, unloved, confused, worried or stressed about anything at all, check out the new Prosperity NOW! audio book. You will remember that you are love, destined for greatness, and inseparable from God’s awesome Presence, Power and Wisdom in, as and through you. If you are ready to grow into a greater level of satisfaction in your life, definitely start your day with Prosperity NOW! Download the MP3 or buy the gift book and then bath your soul with these inspiring ideas every day. Even if every single aspect of your life is on point, the Prosperity NOW! ideas will help you remember all you deserve to be and receive in this glorious life of yours.

Love ya!
BLAZE
@UMystic

SHAWNA MARIE is a Spiritual leader, psychotherapist and author. She provides consultations, courses and speaking engagements integrating spirituality and mental health. Be inspired and connect with her at HealingTruthCenter.com.

KNOW GOOD DADS

06/05/2011

I applaud the efforts of Chris “Kazi” Rolle to create spaces for dialogue and healing in relationships. Last night he produced the “Know Good Dads” LIVE Convo at the NY Open Center, co-hosted by Jenelle Simone. In celebration of Fathers Week, the event featured a dynamic panel of experts as well as a crew of talented artists. Event sponsors included Healing Truth Center, The Real Dads Network and SingleBlackMale.org. If you have never attended a Together Apart LIVE Convo, imagine an evening of music, videos, live performances, experts and comedy as the context within which young adults can come together to unpack serious issues around relationships.

Panelists David Miller of the Raising Him Alone Campaign, Alicia M. Crowe, Esq. of the Real Dads Stand Up Campaign and Bill Stephney who served on the National Fatherhood Initiative each contributed insights regarding the issues related to fatherhood, and the opportunities for healing across generations. This was certainly not the easiest topic to explore as fatherhood is a complex issue, yet this event did unpack some important concepts.

  • Relationships with fathers can be the source of love, support, wisdom, safety, guidance, validation, modeling of healthy relationships and a host of other positives for a developing  soul in childhood and throughout one’s life. (See Validation Nurtures the Soul.)
  • Problematic relationships with father or the absence of fathers can be the source of anger, hurt, confusion,  feelings of rejection and a lot of pain which ultimately puts both men and women at risk as they develop into adulthood, pursue relationships and perhaps become parents themselves.
  • There is a growing number of us in the Black and Brown Community (~60-70% depending on the study) who grow up without the involvement of our fathers. There are also a growing number of us growing up without our mothers. (I think the stat was ~40% from a recent study.)
  • Being present as a father includes being responsible as well as “respondable” according to artist, educator and entrepreneur Javier Sanchez, whose poem and reflections on fatherhood were remarkably inspiring!
  • Amazing dads do exist! Artist Shanelle Gabrielle shared a poem and singer Cocoa Sarai sang a song about fathers that got me choked up and yet smiling in gratitude of the amazing dad that I have.

Healing Daddy S.H.I.T.

Even though my father and I always seem to live on opposite sides of the country, I am so grateful that we were able to reunite in my childhood and then work through our S.H.I.T. in adulthood. Now we are both healed from the early separation, living apart and a host of challenges that surfaced over the years.  Speaking of relationships,  it was actually my ex-boyfriend (who did not know his father) who was relentless in pushing me to work through my S.H.I.T. with my father.  Luckily he pushed me, for this could’ve been a very different story. It was not easy and it took time, effort, energy and commitment on both of our parts (as well as some therapy) for us to grow into the amazing relationship that we have today. I will say this: my relationship with my father, my healing and the woman I have been able to become because of our relationship and our healing process… is priceless.  It was worth every therapy session, every tearful phone call, every plane ticket and every letter/email/text we ever exchanged.

My Dad Makes Me Better

My dad makes me better. His courage, humility, love, wisdom, authenticity, realness, support and availability is a grounding force in my life. It has been a blessing to reconcile my relationship with my “first love” and I know that makes me a better woman. I am emotionally available to be in a healthy relationship with someone else, being full of love and free from heartache. (That was not the case when I still had unresolved issues about my relationship with my father. Sure I was in relationships, but I was walking wounded, and that added a level of complexity and strain on my relationships.) I share this part, in case there is someone reading this post who does have unresolved stuff with their father, be it that he is there, not there, known or unknown. Unpacking your “Daddy stuff”  may be the most courageous thing that you’ll ever do, but trust me, it’s worth it. It will make you a better man, a better woman, a better wife/husband, girl/boyfriend, mother/father and son/daughter.

I also thank God that my uncles, grandfathers, male mentors and other father figures showed up in my life, too. Given all of the vulnerabilities we have to overcome and grow through in life, we can use all of the support that we can get!

A Focus on Solutions

Since I have already written a novella, let me make some closing points.

  1. Invest in uncovering your story around fatherhood. What was your relationship like with your father? Was he there? How did you, or did you not, experience “father?” What did you learn about yourself based on your relationship with your father, or lack thereof? How may your experiences possibly play out in your relationships with men? women? children?
  2. Increase your situational awareness. What are your current experiences with fatherhood as father, mother, girlfriend, boyfriend, son and/or daughter? What are the strengths that you possess as pertains to your situations? What are your opportunities for growth and support? What do you need right now or at some point soon? What questions or concerns do you have?
  3. Access supports. What types of support may best help you address any issues that may have come up for you based on your experiences with or without your father? And as a mother or father at this time? Consider counseling, attending or developing a group, mentor programs for you and your kids, legal counsel, books, events and websites.

I am facilitating a group healing process this month that may very well be a good fit for you, if you are looking to work through what may be holding you back in love and in life. (Read The Clock of Life Course and The Clock of Life Blog Post.) Plus, meditation does sooth and support the soul. Perhaps you’ll join the Morning Meditation Crew at HealingTruthCenter.com.

God as you is LOVE, LOVABLE and LOVED!

Love,
BLAZE

SHAWNA MARIE is a Spiritual Leader, psychotherapist and author. She provides private consultations and courses integrating the best of psychotherapy and spirituality to empower others to their greatest potential. Connect with her at HealingTruthCenter.com.

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

As this wonderful new month of June takes bloom and all of our activities bear fruits of success I thought it would be great to kick off the Healing Truth Center Book Club with a book that will surely get everyone thinking about the power of love. I recommend this book to every single one of my clients, be they single, dating, married or otherwise. Even if they tell me that they’ve read it before, I encourage them to dust it off and read it again.

Why read The Mastery of Love?

Everyone has some level of understanding and experience with love. Additionally, we all have desires and more to learn about love, too. Spiritually speaking, we often agree that God is love and follow the scriptural advice to “let all that ye do be done in love.” Love of self and God, love of self as God, and love of others as God is that next level of love that requires some serious effort.

The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz presents some great food for thought about love. I don’t want to summarize the key points in case you haven’t read it as yet. Instead, I encourage you to check it out. Give it a fresh look if you’ve already read it and note what points catch your attention. Ruiz does a wonderful job of presenting the challenging aspects of relationships, the opportunities and a host of dynamics that are often at play as pertains to relationships. Besides, the ideas and context are quite spiritually based.  (Was that vague but intriguing enough for ya?)

I have read The Mastery of Love several times over the years. I think the first time was back in ’99. A little tidbit for the hip hop heads out there, the book made a cameo appearance in the movie Brown Sugar. Want to guess who had it and when? Get busy in the comments. I may give a prize to the first soul who remembers. (Or not. We’ll see.)

Anyway, I’ll be sharing additional tidbits on twitter using the trending topic: #HTCBookClub. Feel free to join the fun and share thoughts, quotes, etc. on twitter, my facebook page or directly at HealingTruthCenter.com/Books. Actually, the benefit of putting your comments on HealingTruthCenter.com is we can have a gathering place for everyone who is reading this book as part of the Healing Truth Center Book Club.

Important Reminders:

Let us remember that our success is directly related to the love we have for self, life, God and others. Also, June is the month of success (being that it’s the 6th month of the year, and 6 in numerology has the vibration of success.) Let’s tap into the energy of success all month! Know that you are destined for success. Know that success is your Divine Right and happening right now! Know that God as you is successful in love, relationships and EVERY aspect of life.

And… come join the Monday Morning Meditation Crew! I am going to be leading a LIVE meditation on Monday mornings as part of the Living in Spiritual Perspective Show and would love for you to join me. Register today! It’s FREE. By registering, I’ll know that you’re part of the crew and be able to contact you directly related to the LIVE shows, archives, upcoming shows, etc. Are ya coming?

Register here: Monday Morning Meditation

God as you is LOVE, LOVABLE and LOVED!

Love,
BLAZE

SHAWNA MARIE is a Spiritual Leader, psychotherapist and author. She provides private consultations and courses integrating the best of psychotherapy and spirituality to empower others to their greatest potential. Connect with her at HealingTruthCenter.com.

Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

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