It is month two of Mindful Reading and I could not be more excited to share this month's book with you all: Steering by Starlight: The Science and Magic of Finding Your Destiny.
I chose a slightly off-beat book this month and I fully recognize that. The title alone might make you discount this book and that is ok. What I will ask of you is to read the overview and quotes with an open mind to see whether reading this book sounds like something that could be beneficial to you.
Steering by Starlight belongs in the self-help category as its aim is to help people live a more intentional life while using their intuition to steer them in that direction. It does bring up quite a few spiritual points so I would consider it a book on spiritual beliefs as well.
Martha Beck, the author of Steering by Starlight, is a creative and captivating writer with some self-proclaimed strange beliefs and methods. I am a skeptic by nature and while I buy into the hippie, woo-woo type stuff all the time, I also take it with a grain of salt.
This book fully acknowledges that some of the concepts are weird and may be hard to believe, but she encourages you to do them anyways and decide for yourself. I went there, even with my skepticism, and I will tell you that I found this book to be really helpful.
I gained such a different perspective from reading this book that I feel compelled to have others read it for themselves, do the exercises that she recommends, and see if they feel differently. I will narrow the messages down that need the least amount of context. If after reading you feel compelled to read the book, I would encourage getting the hard copy. I had the kindle version which made it challenging to do the challenges along with the book. Having the hard copy could help you engage in the detailed exercises that she has created for this book.
"My goal in writing this book is to help you find your deepest sense of purpose--to give you back to yourself, since you are the ultimate arbiter of your own fate. You don't need a book to do this. Whether or not you're consciously following your destiny, your destiny is always following you. But this book may well make the process quicker, cleaner, and easier." --Introduction
Right off the bat Beck acknowledges her belief that we all know our destinies, but there are a lot of things that get in the way of us moving towards them like self-doubt, social norms, and societal pressure. She speaks heavily on these things that block what she calls our "stargazer" who recognizes what we each want from making those things a reality.
"An ancient Chinese text says "The way to simplicity lies through complexity." I've learned that fulfilling your best destiny is a startlingly simple process--but that doesn't mean it's easy. You may have to go through some complex thoughts and experiences in order to absorb and utilize the surprisingly straightforward methods that can liberate us from everything that doesn't serve our right lives." --Introduction
I have spoken before about letting go of the things that do not serve us and this book is really about identifying exactly what those things are and making sense of them. Coming at this book from a helper's perspective, I thought Beck does a great job of giving a clear path of how to go about this exploration of what serves us and what does not.
"The reason many of us feel that we've "lost" our destinies is that we spend a lot of time putting on blinders. We make these blinders out of a highly opaque substance: thoughts." --Introduction
Another thing I have mentioned before: our thoughts shape our realities. The way we think impacts the way we see the world around us (think the cup being half empty versus half full). Beck goes on to explain how thoughts and emotions can be wonderful, but are not everything that we are made of. She talks about how we can "dissolve" the thoughts and feelings that make us miserable and take us away from our true happiness.
"The caterpillar that goes into the cocoon never makes it out alive. The You that fulfills your destiny cannot be the same You that's blinded by false beliefs." --Introduction
Often times when people change, there is this sense of personal relief and power but also an immense fear of walking into unknown territory. I like that Beck speaks to this opposition because it is something I see a lot with my clients. To do something different means that everything else in that person's life may become different.
"Most people will never discover this because it contradicts everything we're taught to expect. We have a linear view of progress: We start at the beginning of a task and work our way to the end. This is a useful way to look at things, but it isn't the only way. Especially when you're seeking to fulfill your destiny, the best way to succeed is to begin at the end." --Chapter One: The End
Beginning at the end, Beck explains, means envisioning the end result that you want and living "as-if" it has already occurred. This is a strong technique and one that people who manifest often utilize to create the results that they want. She notes that you cannot manifest ridiculous things into existence (i.e. I will become president this year if I act as if I am the president) but when you use this technique towards your destiny, it is highly effective.
"Remember, what you're after is a feeling state, not an object or event." --Chapter One: The End
This is a simple thing to remember in life. Even if what we want is a thing (house, car, money, particular career, etc) if we can get to the deeper feeling that having that thing would elicit (security, stability, peace, power, etc) we are in a better position to be happy along the journey to achieving that goal.
"The trick is to form, and then hold, positive associations instead of negative ones...You deliberately steer yourself into positive associations in order to wear new ruts, or strong neuron pathways, into your brain. But once you do this, the effects are astonishing--and empirically testable." --Chapter One: The End
Steering by Starlight has an incredible amount of scientific research which I thoroughly enjoyed. It might feel a little like faking positive thoughts in the beginning, but creating those new pathways can open your mind up to the possibility that they could be true.
"If you feel stuck in your present life, if you feel you have no enthusiasm for anything, if you think you have no purpose or that you lost that purpose somewhere along the way, I guarantee you are living in a dungeon made of stories--and that none of those limiting stories are true" --Chapter Three: Digging Out of the Dungeon
Beck speaks a lot about the dungeon of beliefs and fears that we create through our experiences and how they often trap us into this place of being stagnant and lost. She also offers some great tools to challenge your thoughts and use your intuition instead of your thinking to identify with your "stargazer."
Wrapping It Up:
I could go on and on about the key points and powerful messages in this book as I have barely scratched the surface here. She addresses working through your fears, not being bound by your past, creating new ways of thinking, and relating to the people in our lives better. If I wrote about all that it would be the longest blog I have ever written!
What I hope it did was pique your interest enough to pick up the book and read it yourself. It is always exciting for me when a non-clinical book offers a lot to learn and Steering by Starlight truly does.
Get involved in the conversation with me. I would love to hear your thoughts on Steering by Starlight: The Science and Magic of Finding Your Destiny!
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