10/31/2012 02:05 pm ET Updated Dec 31, 2012

Tap Into Radical Trust

When I watch Cynthia James' "Your Extraordinary Essence" on, I am reminded over and over of Viktor Frankl's prescient quote, "What is to give light must endure burning." James has put her time in the fire, but she has come out alight and aglow with inspiration. Each of us endures our "burning" differently. While on the outside, James seemed to be living the dream -- a respected Hollywood actress (the original Lexie on Days of Our Lives), an attentive husband, a house in Malibu, a lovely family -- inside, James was struggling with a legacy of emotional trauma that had shattered her self-worth.

But eventually the wake-up call came. For James, it began by recognizing a pattern in herself of shutting down in her relationships as soon as they got intimate. By sniffing out that pattern, and having the courage to dive deeper into its meaning, James was finally able come face to face with her abusive childhood. In confronting her memories of violence and abuse, she realized why her current relationships kept playing out a similar theme. "We keep creating the same fields of resonance -- we seek out what's familiar," James says.

That abuse was in fact part of her lineage -- five generations of women in her family were victims of misogynist and racist violence. But in her willingness to go to the depths of her own pain, she found healing. Pain transforms into its own medicine, the chalice that holds both our most virulent fears and most tender love. In her swan dive into her shadow side, James is able to stop the cycle of abuse and create a new lineage of transcendence.

James' journey, from an empty shell profoundly disassociated from her truth to being a beacon of strength and fulfillment, has the power to ignite all of us on our journey toward awakening.

And it's not just her words that are a powerful testimony to finding what makes us come alive -- and awake -- James has a wonderful presence, emitting a warm, relaxed vibe, coupled with a tough-love clarity that makes her the kind of girlfriend we all wish we had. In fact, James calls herself a transformation specialist, committed to helping people from all walks of life uncover their authenticity and connect with their essence. Here are a few of James' suggestions for rediscovering your unique groove:

Stop the soap opera
Be willing to see the thought patterns that you create. Notice what overlays your memory -- don't be afraid to dig. Ask yourself what would your life be like if that story wasn't running?

Recognize the tight spots
A huge part of awakening, James says, is recognizing the triggers that shut you down. "When you shut down your voice, the throat tends to tighten and constrict, literally," says James. "But every moment is a choice. Ask yourself, how do you want to show up?"

Let go of what no longer serves
Rather than think of in terms of forgiveness, think of it as letting go. Don't invest your energy in the old stories of the past. Learn to be present -- the only thing we have for sure is this delicious moment, says James. Overhaul your energy by giving it a spring cleaning, and get rid of the baggage you no longer want to carry.

In the end, the secret to living your authentic life is ultimately trusting the universe. "If you don't, that seed, that lack of trust, colors everything," James says. "Keep your agreement with yourself to find your song -- and sing it full out."

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