“It seems to me that a spirituality that doesn’t help me when my kids are fighting is a hobby, not a way of life,” says my dear friend and esteemed colleague Staci Boden, author of the new book Turning Dead Ends into Doorways: How to Grow Through Whatever Life Throws Your Way.
To Staci, I say “Amen, sister!” And to you I say: Don’t miss your chance to pre-order Staci’s new book that supports people in moving beyond control to navigate daily life unknowns in relationship with eight universal teachers: fear, awareness, choice, body, intuition, energy, intention and surrender. When you pre-order, you can receive eight downloadable gifts—one of which is from me.
What do I love and admire about Staci and her book? Here are a few words from my endorsement:
“Staci Boden is the ideal guide for navigating the unknown. She is the wise friend, the generous teacher, the compassionate soul-sister you’ve always waished for. In this book, Staci introduces a practice and a path that will help you move from control to trust, no matter what challenges you are facing. If you are seeking a practical spirituality that makes deep wisdom accessible (and applicable) in everyday life, this is the book for you. If you would like to awaken your capacity to experience grace and gratitude—in any circumstance—this is the book for you. Staci has transformed my appreciation for life as it is—while awakening the possibilities for life as it could be.”
Staci’s Practical Spirituality has helped me navigate some of the most powerful transitions of my life—from preparing to give birth to letting go of my marriage. I’m honored to welcome you into our conversation below.
Q&A with Staci Boden, author of Turning Dead Ends into Doorways: How to Grow Through Whatever Life Throws Your Way, a new book from Conari Press, September 2012
How do you define healing? How can letting go of control be a way to heal?
So often our Western culture emphasizes success as achieving a positive outcome. I’m all for positive outcomes but I’ve found that when it comes to healing, if we can’t control our reality we often feel like we’re doing something wrong. If we can let go of holding onto to a specific outcome with a death grip, we can access healing in many ways. Healing becomes a journey as well as a destination. For example, we may or may not get a certain job but by cultivating awareness as we go through the process, we can develop patience, perseverance, or even a better sense of humor. When the stakes are high around health, finances, fertility or relationships, daily life becomes a spiritual training ground to discover meaning and transform.
What does it mean to grow a conscious relationship with the unknown in daily life?
The truth is, we can never predict what’s around the next corner. We may not know small things, like what’s for dinner, or big things, like if we will meet a soul mate or remain healthy. The unknown is a tangible yet mysterious force that permeates daily life. The challenge is that relying on control to deal with the unknown doesn’t always work, and often, control ends up controlling us. If instead, we start developing a more conscious relationship within ourselves and with whatever part of everyday living is calling for our attention—health, finances, relationships, fertility—we can learn how to navigate the unknown in daily life in a more balanced and empowered way.
Who is Turning Dead Ends Into Doorways written for?
My book meets people where they are to help them navigate change and transform their lives. You may be feeling stuck or overwhelmed. Perhaps you realize it’s time to change but don’t know how. Or perhaps you’re hungry to develop awareness and purely positive thinking doesn’t ring true. You may also be in the middle of a severe life crisis, feeling raw and vulnerable inside some unimaginable unknown where the only way out is through. Turning Dead Ends into Doorways is a guide for learning how to feel your way through the dark from wherever you are. In the process, you develop your own inroads and pathways of healing so you can carry yourself through anything.
Your book introduces eight teachers for navigating the unknown in daily life–fear, awareness, choice, body, intuition, energy, intention and surrender. Why eight and why call them “teachers”?
The eight teachers emerged through fifteen years of being a healing practitioner. Learning how to navigate the unknown can seem rather amorphous and I began to notice individuals and groups grappling with core issues around fear, awareness, body etc. As I sat with how a reader might learn to navigate the unknown in a book, core issues coalesced into universal teachers. Anything can be a teacher in our lives, and certainly, these eight aren’t meant to be definitive. They are relationships that I felt called to write about first.
What inspired you to write Turning Dead End Into Doorways?
Growing up with a legally blind mother, chronically ill family members and friends who experienced sexual abuse made me aware of healing, and how sometimes we unconsciously convey blaming messages. As I developed my healing practice, it became important to create a safe place where everyone could access healing, whether they achieved a specific outcome or not. The intention of Turning Dead Ends into Doorways is to be a resource for people to develop their own unique healing ways, so they can grow self-reliance through any circumstance. It’s also an opportunity to shine a light on inspiring people and mentors who embody a different relationship with life.
What sets Turning Dead Ends Into Doorways apart from other self-help books?
Rather than issuing false promises for happy outcomes, Turning Dead Ends into Doorways invites readers to activate another kind of self-help. Not the kind of self-help that offers 35 days to discover a perfect you who will attract the best lover who already owns your dream house (outright). Instead, after choosing an intention to study throughout the book, you connect with each chapter teacher to engage the unknown of who you are. As you interact with client stories, exercises and personal reflection, most likely life will begin to surprise you with lessons strangely designed to facilitate just what you need to learn. Change can start to happen. Healing expands to include accepting loss alongside a positive outcome sprinkled with a soul restoring aha moment of meaning. These experiences then unite to create a new foundation of capacity for wholeness that can emanate from you out into the world.
If you had to choose one thing for people to learn from your book, what would that be?
My vote would be for people to learn how to get behind, hold, follow and navigate energy through developing conscious relationship in their life (okay four things, but one process). This is easier said than done because being in control by getting ahead is our cultural ideal. Learning to pull your attention back in order to follow something–a relationship, a project or even a wish–cannot be done through the mind alone. Navigating energy is an experiential practice. That’s why I encourage readers to focus on an intention throughout the book, so they can practice learning how to navigate energy. Regardless of what I hope people learn, my commitment is to get behind each readers’ intention so they facilitate their own healing, whatever that looks like for them.
You refer to your healing work as Practical Spirituality, what does Practical Spirituality mean to you?
My training arises from earth-based and women’s spirituality traditions but as I sat across from clients unfamiliar with that world, we needed to find another way to communicate. Practical Spirituality is an approach to life that bridges earth-based, women’s spiritual and Western ways to help people navigate daily unknowns and discover meaning. Practical Spirituality embraces the mystical with pragmatic arms. If we can’t embody peace while negotiating traffic, then we’re truly stuck. Beyond a specific form, Practical Spirituality helps people develop their own healing ways that they can access through daily living.
You wrote Turning Dead Ends Into Doorways in real time asking the eight teachers to inform the book through daily life happenings. Why? How was that?
For me, conscious living means inviting a conversation with the unknown in the context of daily life. Because I pay close attention to synchronicity–meaningful events–to help me navigate everyday living, I would naturally notice synchronicity while writing a book as well. Also, since I ask readers to let go of control and engage the unknown, it seemed only fair to join them through writing the book. Within that, I was unprepared for what arrived with each chapter teacher in beautiful and shattering ways. An earthquake punctuated a point, birth made a surprise re-entrance into my life and in the last month of writing, my teenage daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of adolescent cancer. I don’t know if noticing synchronicity while writing the book helped my daughter’s cancer come to light, but if so, I’m very grateful. Thankfully, my daughter has been in remission for over a year now.
How has writing the book helped you grow in daily life?
I had no idea that in writing the book partially as a love letter to those surrounded by challenging unknowns, I would end up there myself. I also didn’t realize that the level of relationship I grew with fear, awareness, choice, body, intuition, energy, intention and surrender while writing would become a lifeline of support to navigate my daughter’s healing, but I am eternally grateful. While it’s always been my intention to be of service, the converging points of the book and my daughter’s health has lit a fire in my belly about supporting people in crisis. While I understand from experience that self-care is difficult during trying times, if one paragraph, one page, one teacher from the book can help someone in dire need feel less alone, I will be content.
How can people connect with you directly?
I’m available for individual sessions, groups and book-related classes in person and via phone/Skype/online. For more information visit me at Dancing-Tree Consulting. Healing is my passion and purpose, so please feel free to email me at staci at dancing-tree dot com with any questions or comments. Thank you for your time!
Staci Boden is a San Francisco-based writer, healing practitioner, and energy worker. As a feisty teenager, Staci didn’t buy the you-can-create-your-own reality interpretation of how her legally blind mother should heal her eyes. Instead, she has developed a Practical Spirituality® approach to cultivating balance within the unpredictability of life. Her book, Turning Dead Ends into Doorways: How to Grow Through Whatever Life Throws Your Way (Conari Press, 2012), introduces eight teachers for moving beyond control to navigate daily life unknowns: fear, awareness, choice, body, intuition, energy, intention and surrender. Through her company, Dancing-Tree Consulting, Staci sees private clients as well as leads personal and spiritual development workshops in energy work, sacred dance, breathwork, and guided visualization. To learn more, visit www.dancing-tree.com.
DON’T FORGET TO PRE-ORDER Turning Dead Ends into Doorways: How to Grow Through Whatever Life Throws Your Way and receive eight downloadable gifts—one of which is from me.