By Colin Whitby
When I first started out on the journey of bringing The Magic of Being to life Bonnie Starr was one of the first people to support the project with ‘musings’ from her then new monthly ezine ‘Healing from the Heart’.
When she published her first book Beyond Forgiveness:Spiritual Alchemy earlier this year I ordered a copy straight away and was so moved by it that I asked if she would like to tells us a little more about herself, and the book (you can also read my review).
I hope you enjoy,
You say your own journey as a healer started with yourself, when did you first set off on the healing path?
I date the start back to 1985, when my first daughter was a year old. Her birth triggered so many of my issues from my early childhood, particularly my issues around abandonment and not having “enough time” with someone, in my case with my father who died when I was four.
I love the way you describe how you remind your clients they are divine beings, how did you first decide this was your own path, to coach others?
Back in December 2003, when I was still practicing law, I became friends with a woman who was in a managerial position with one of my clients. She called one day to ask for some legal help with a personal problem. She was totally distraught, and I suggested that we get together for coffee right then. The legal issue was the least of her concerns. Her significant other of several years had just broken off with her and her mother was in the hospital. We talked, and over time, the friendship grew. Then one day she said to me: “You really ought to coach people; you are really good at helping me sort things out.” Another year went by, but the seed had planted. I finally quit my law practice at the end of 2005.
How would you describe the Consciousness Integration ProcessTM and what lead you to adopt this particular approach?
In the fall of 2005, I found myself desperate to leave my legal practice. I simply was “done.” I wanted to write, do inspirational public speaking (of which I already had had a taste) and life coaching – helping others to open to the truth of who they really are. That November I received a bulletin from the ReCreation (Conversations with God) Foundation, which was founded by Neale Donald Walsch, in which it was stated that a Life Enhancement Program was going to start in two weeks. Through that program I would receive life coaching, public speaking and seminar-leading training and skills. This was living proof to me that “even before ye have asked, I shall have answered.” I signed up for the FastTrak, meaning I would complete my training in four months instead of 18.
During that Progam I was trained in the Consciousness Integration ProcessTM, a process developed by CWG Coaching Services. The Process focuses on the understanding that what you experience in your life is based on, and flows from, who you are - your character, your principles, and the qualities - love, compassion, peace, joy, gratitude and abundance -that you embody and express. What you are being informs or shapes what you experience in your life. The conditions and situations that you experience when you are creating from states of beinghappy, grateful, peaceful and loving will be very different from theconditionsconditions and situations that you experience when you are creating fromstates of being unhappy, ungrateful,or unloving. In other words, your outer reality is a reflection of your inner reality. Your inner reality changes when you question your thoughts and set intentions aligned with with the qualities of the divine.
When did you first realise there was a book, Beyond Forgiveness; Spiritual Alchemy, waiting to be written?
I didn’t realise there was a book waiting to be written. In the spring of 2006, after have given a couple of talks and workshops on what it means to “be the change you wish to see in the world” (as Gandhi advised) and on creating authenticity and intimacy through truth-telling, a friend suggested I speak at a group to which she belonged about forgiveness in October 2006. The talk would be about an hour in length. I agreed. The next few months proved the axiom that you teach what you need to learn, because as I began to think about what I would say in the talk, I began to have more experiences that invited me to re-examine forgiveness and the wounded places still lurking within me. During that time, I also simply set out to write the talk. The material just kept flowing. I gave the talk and material kept coming for another month or so. Then that December, it simply stopped. When it stopped, I realized there was a book.
Beyond Forgiveness is an incredibly powerful tool (link to my review), can you tell us a little more about how you came to articulate the process in this way?
Thank you. As I said, the material just seemed to flow. Neither the book nor the process (such as it is – since there are many tools offered in the book) was a particularly conscious decision on my part. The book seemed to come organically out of my own experiences and how I had dealt with them over the years to come to the peace and freedom that lies beyond forgiveness. Inspiration came as I pondered how differently different people view forgiveness and what it means and how to respond to people who inevitably would ask me tough questions about forgiving the terrible things that happen in our world. The pondering, however, was not belaboured. I simply asked the questions and remained open to the answers and insights that came to me. I felt that as I wrote I was being healed. It became my prayer and intention as I wrote that the material would help to open and heal the hearts and minds of all who heard it or, later, when I realized there was a book, read it.
One phrase in your book that really stood out for me was: ‘ Love is without judgment; it loves and gives love simply because love is what it is and giving love is what it does’. Do you find people are becoming more willing to give and receive love unconditionally in this way?
Yes, I do think that there is a growing willingness on people’s parts to do this. The greatest obstacle may be simply that we have so little experience with loving unconditionally. It is virtually automatic for most of us to condition our love on the other being and acting a certain way (pleasing to us), even as most of us seek to be loved by trying to be and act in ways that will please the other. Likewise, most of us tend to withdraw love (what we call love) when the other displeases us. So there is some “retraining” involved. The wonderful thing about how the Universe operates, however, is that when we form the intention to love unconditionally, when we commit to loving unconditionally, we will be presented the perfect training situations – many of which may be very trying – to practice. Thus we have to remember to love ourselves unconditionally as well – forgive ourselves (which is an expression of the givingness of love) when we fail, and recommit.
There have been a number of really significant energy shifts during 2008 and the early part of 2009 which seem to be bringing more people together in some amazing ways, I have been talking to people at work about all sorts of things that would not have been acceptable only a year ago. Are you finding this in your own circles, if so how has this impacted your own life?’
Yes, there have been some powerful energy shifts! What I have noticed mostly has been the shifts happening in people. Old emotional pain – even from years ago – is rising to the surface to be cleared and healed. The shifting is happening faster. What might have taken many months – if not years in the old psychotherapeutic paradigm – of work is happening in weeks and days. In one instance, chronic depression for over 30 years lifted, overnight to the incredulity of this person. All the years of treatment and “just living with it” either had done enough to tip the scales so that Grace intervened at last – or Grace now enters with greater ease. I think we have individually and collectively done so much work that Grace is descending upon us. The other thing I’ve noticed– which may be more along the lines you mention – is that people are examining their beliefs and their resistance to belief in God.
I have been doing that as well, because as I describe in my book, I have had a lot of issues with God over the years! I think this is happening because, we can no longer keep thinking of God as outside of ourselves, separate from us, and handing out punishments and rewards – those thoughts are killing us. Instead, with our movement into the higher dimensional energies, we have to claim and own our Divine Power as God in expression in human form. We have to let go of the small self and let our GodSelf express through us without all of our fear and judgment blocking the way and thus creating distortion and distress in the world as we perceive and experience it.
Bonnie Starr Mandell-Rice is a writer, inspirational public speaker, spiritual mentor, and life coach. Her work is a reflection of her life-long fascination with and study of spirituality and the evolution and awakening of consciousness.
2540 Outlook Trail, Broomfield, CO 80020