In line with my theme of rebuilding life through challenges, I’ve got a great spiritual personal development book to introduce you to. Talk about synchronicity – this author just showed up in my email one day. With a sub-title like How To Grow Through Whatever Life Throws Your Way, I was sold. And so I present to you the author of Turning Dead Ends Into Doorways, Staci Boden, as she answers a few questions connecting her book to our coping, growing and healing beyond our difficulties.
1. What inspired you to write a book on ‘growing through whatever life throws your way?’
I grew up with people who needed to grow through challenging life circumstances. My mother is legally blind. We had family friends dealing with chronic illnesses such as migraines and other physical disabilities. As a teenager, several friends were sexual abuse survivors.
When I was about 15, I had a spiritual awakening. I began to bump into a perspective that somehow people who were experiencing life challenges were doing something wrong, as if they could control what was happening with a certain thought or spiritual practice. This belief frankly infuriated me. Yet, because I felt called to spirituality, I began to look at how everyone could access healing in their own way.
My exploration led to years of training that formed the foundation of personal and spiritual development work as a healing practitioner. My book grew out of my core intention that healing is a journey as well as a destination. I’m all for positive outcomes. Within that, growing through life’s challenges can also lead to developing essential parts of ourselves. Wholeness can happen in many ways.
2. What are the main points/techniques to help someone grow beyond their challenges/adversity?
My book is based on the premise that while control is an illusion, we can learn how to navigate the unknown in daily life. By letting go of trying to bend reality to our will, it’s possible to develop a conscious relationship with the unknown that’s full of meaning.
For me, cultivating relationship isn’t a technique but a way of moving through life. My training is in earth-based and women’s spirituality ways. I’m an energy worker. Because my clients didn’t know about these traditions, we bridged our own meaning. Over the course of 15 years, universal themes coalesced into eight teachers that I share in my book: fear, awareness, choice, body, intuition, energy, intention and surrender. Growing a relationship with these eight teachers is one way we can learn how to navigate the unknown in life. I call this approach “Practical Spirituality”.
3. How can we use this to help us deal and cope with our difficulties and struggles?
Practical Spirituality involves shifting from an either/or view of reality into an AND way of life. Instead of trying to deny difficulties by holding onto positive outcomes with a death grip, we can individualize healing through learning how to balance it all.
In my book, I invite readers to work with an intention about a quality they wish to develop inside (like trust or strength) or something tangible in daily life (like a new love or career). Additionally, I ask readers to practice:
- Holding an intention about the future AND
- Living in the present moment AND
- Making room for the unknown.
As readers travel through the book interacting with each of the eight teachers, I encourage them to pay attention to meaningful events. I’ve found that when we truly let go and ask for help, synchronistic events happen in daily life that expand our conversation with the unknown. I actually chronicled how each of the teachers informed my life during book writing in beautiful and heart wrenching ways.
Shifting into an AND way of life by learning how to hold pain and beauty alongside each other facilitates a different kind of wholeness. Through recognizing that we can navigate through anything–including our struggles–we realize our own capacity to handle whatever life throws our way.
4. How can developing our eight internal teachers lead us to live a better life?
For example, let’s imagine my intention is to develop trust. I’d begin with exploring any fears I have around trust. Some fears are silly. Some fears have teeth, like those passed down through the generations. Some fears may be quite wise. Identifying how my fears relate to trust would help me start to sort through them. In this way, fear cultivates awareness. Becoming more aware about what trust needs to thrive can lead to recognizing toxicity and considering different choices.
Developing trust could also mean learning how to listen to my body through paying attention to my health, body image, sexuality and/or nutrition. In fact, accessing intuition would involve trusting my sense of perception overall. Deciphering how to work with subtle energy within and throughout my life also includes trusting my sense of perception.
Committing to an intention so that it becomes a lightening rod for growth often means valuing our own self worth, an act of trust unto itself. And learning how to let go (over and over again) through surrender makes room for a new sense of trust to emerge. Here, synchronicity can reveal potential changes that test and validate newfound trust. While I hope (and intend!) for life to get better, realizing my unique relationship with trust through connecting with these eight teachers would help me feel more capable no matter what.
5. We’re all thrown off course at times by disappointments and losses in some way. How can this book be utilized to guide us through the dark and out into the light of life once again, to find meaning and joy, to rebuild?
Navigating the unknown in daily life is like learning to feel your way through the dark. For some people the dark can mean traveling through hardship, but the dark can also contain exciting new potential. The dark is the unknown. And whether someone is finding their way through a painful time or actualizing a dream, this book leads people through the process of transformation.
Even though I’m a trained birth doula, I was surprised by how much birth showed up in the book as another life teacher. I realized this book is a guide for people to let go of whatever is getting in their way so they can rebirth themselves from the inside out or the outside in, depending on what they most need.
I’m not saying that engaging with these eight teachers is the only path of transformation. There are many. But what I’ve found is that growing a relationship with fear, awareness, choice, body, intuition, energy, intention and surrender provides a strong foundation for rebuilding life in a meaningful and joyous way.
Thank you, Staci. Your book has it all; through your warm conversational style you write conceptually, practically including wonderful exercises, and personally. You’re right there with us as we all go through our personal journey.
Staci Boden is also a healing practitioner and energy worker. She facilitates spiritual development workshops. Check out her upcoming online course based on her book at: http://www.entheos.com/academy/courses/Turning-Dead-Ends-into-Doorways
Thanks for stopping by. So what speaks to you here? What’s one way you’re handling your ‘whatever life throws your way’?