Acts of Faith: Daily Meditations for People of Color

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9780671864163: Acts of Faith: Daily Meditations for People of Color
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of In the Meantime, and with nearly a million copies in print, Acts of Faith is an internationally acclaimed resource for spiritual guidance and balance, specially written for people of color.

Acts of Faith is a thoughtful and inspirational book that explores the unique pressures on people of color today with great insight and sensitivity. Each day of the year has a unique inspirational quote or message with it, along with a short essay to assist in reflection and wisdom. These messages are pulled from a great variety of spiritual practices and teachings, to assist spiritual people across faiths and disciplines. This book is invaluable for people of color in search of motivation and support as they journey on their spiritual path.

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About the Author:

With more than 8 million books in print, Iyanla Vanzant has truly established a dedicated fan base.
Iyanla's path to success took her through a multitude of life-changing experiences that shaped the profound insights she eagerly shares with others. A neglected, overweight, sexually abused child who was shuttled from one family to another, she became a teenage mother on welfare living in the projects of a major urban city. Vanzant took control of her life when she walked out of her second abusive marriage and entered Medgar Evers College in New York and then the City University of New York Law School. She moved to Philadelphia with her children and became a public defender for three years. Then she eventually became an ordained minister, who was committed to a message based on the principles of divine power and self-determination.

Iyanla combined her professional skills with her life's lessons and embarked on a writing and speaking career. Her mass appeal is evident in her overwhelming success as an author. In the Meantime was a #1 New York Times bestseller, where it spent 20 weeks on the list, and she has had numerous other major bestsellers. As a nationally recognized speaker she has sold out such prestigious venues as New York's Jacob Javits Convention Center, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, Atlanta's Civic Center, and the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. Vanzant is also familiar to the daytime TV audience from her role as a regular contributor on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

Acclaimed journalist and producer Barbara Walters recognized Vanzant's extraordinary appeal, seeing in her a "breakaway talent" with the potential for huge success in daytime television. With Walters and partner Bill Geddie on board to executive produce, Buena Vista Productions to develop the show, and Buena Vista Television as distributor, the road to Iyanla was forged.

Vanzant has received numerous accolades for her work. In 1992 Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley named October 21st "Tapping the Power Within Day" in honor of a workshop she presented in that city for African-American women. In 1994, the National Association of Equal Opportunity in Education, an organization comprised of the presidents and administrators of the 117 predominantly Black colleges in the United States named her Alumni of the Year. She also was awarded an "Oni" by the International Congress of Black Women as one of the nation's unsung heroes, and she served as the national spokesperson for Literacy Volunteers of America in 1998.

In 1999 she was listed among the 100 Most Influential African-Americans by Ebony magazine. Later that year, she was awarded the 31st NAACP Image Award for "Outstanding Literary Work, Non-Fiction" for Yesterday I Cried. She also earned her first Honorary Doctorate degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from the City University of New York, Medgar Evars College. In 2000, she earned her second honorary degree, Doctor of Divinity, from the Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition, Ebony has named her one of their "55 Most Intriguing People," Vibe magazine tabbed her one of "100 Leaders of the New Millennium" and Newsweek recently included her as one of the "Women of the New Century."

The mother of three and grandmother of four, Vanzant lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband Adeyemi and Mr. Coco, their cat.

To learn how Iyanla can help you get started on your journey toward spiritual enlightenment, visit Inner Visions Worldwide, Inc., at
www.innervisionsworldwide.com.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1

January 1

There is a power greater than myself who loves me exactly as I Am.

The stress began the day you learned you were expected to please other people. Parents wanted you to stay clean and be quiet. Neighbors wanted you to be respectful and helpful. Teachers wanted you to be attentive and alert. Friends wanted you to share and hang out. Whenever you failed to do exactly what someone expected of you, you weren't good, or good enough. You were bad, weak or dumb. Unfortunately, you began to believe it. Giving in to the demands, day by day, you lost a little more of yourself and your understanding of the truth. The truth is you are fine, just the way you are! Perfect in your imperfection! You are divine! Growing brighter and more brilliant each day, you can accept the truth of who you are. The next time you want to know who you are, what you are or if something is the right thing to do, don't ask your neighbor -- ask the power within...and pay attention to the response!

The divine power within knows exactly who I Am!

January 2

Our hearts are the wrapping which preserve God's word, we need no more.

The Koran, Sura 4:155

When was the last time you sat down to have a heart to heart with yourself? Have you really examined your heart lately? Are you harboring childhood wounds? Are you still nursing a broken heart? Are you frightened? Angry? Guilty or ashamed? Is there someone you need to apologize to? Who have you forgiven lately? If God were to speak through your heart today, what would you hear? In the everyday quest to get through life, we sometimes forget we really do have all we need. It's tucked away safely inside of us. It contributes to our thoughts and motivates our actions. If we clear it out it will actually speak to us and tell us exactly what to do. When was the last time you had a heart to heart with yourself?

With a pure heart, I am balanced in life.

January 3

Don't be afraid to look at your faults.

Yoruba proverb

Even though we know there is always room for improvement, we tend to shy away from criticism. Our egos tell us we are being attacked and quite naturally we want to strike back. In order to be whole, healthy beings, we need to know all there is to know about ourselves. Sometimes that information must come from others. This may mean admitting that we are not always right, and knowing it is okay to make a mistake. A mistake, an error, a poor choice, or bad decision does not equal "there is something wrong with me." It means you are on your way to being better. We do not make mistakes on the basis of race or color. We make them because we are human. When we acknowledge our errors and face up to our shortcomings, no one can use them against us.

I Am not afraid to admit when I am wrong.

January 4

Take a day to heal from the lies you've told yourself and the ones that have been told to you.

Maya Angelou

There comes a time when we have to pause to listen to what we are telling ourselves -- "I'm so stupid," "I'm broke," "I don't know how," "I can't take it anymore..." Yet in the midst of our dishonest chatter we are making great strides, accomplishing many tasks, overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. We can't see it because we keep lying to ourselves. We lie because we've been lied to -- "You're no good," "You can't do it," "You'll never make it," "How do you think you're gonna do that..." We can't think because there are so many lies running loose in our minds. The only way to eradicate a lie is with the truth. We must not only speak the truth, we must think in truth. The truth is, we start from a place where success is born, in the mind's eye of the Most High. The truth is that no one has ever made a true deal with the Master and lost.

The truth springs forth from my mind.

January 5

STOP!

Most of us know exactly what it is that creates the pain, confusion, stagnation and disruption in our lives. Whether it is a habit, behavior, relationship or fear, we know. Unfortunately, we seem powerless to stop whatever it is. Sometimes we believe we don't have the discipline or willpower to stop. The behavior becomes so habitual we do it without thinking. Other times we know exactly what it is and what we do, but we simply keep doing it anyway. We are the only ones responsible for what goes on in our lives. We can make excuses and blame others, but we are responsible to and for ourselves. When we find something or someone creating in our lives that which we do not want, we must muster the courage and strength to stop it.

Today I use my power to stop what is no longer good to me.

January 6

You've got to get the mind cleared out before you put the truth in it.

Minister Louis Farrakhan

Everyone has something they are ashamed of, afraid of or that they feel guilty about. Each of us in our own way will devise a neat little method of handling it. Some of us deny. Some of us blame. Some of us do a combination of both. Undoubtedly the day will come when we will be forced to examine that which we have tucked away. We can willingly begin the process of examination by telling the truth to ourselves about ourselves. We all have the right to make mistakes. Our fault is being righteous about it. When we fail to admit our faults, the faults become what everyone can see. When we refuse to admit what we have done in the past, we block our path to the future. No matter how terrible we think we are, how bad we believe we have been, how low we think we have fallen, we can clean out our minds and begin again.

The only way out is truth.

January 7

Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and to be that perfectly.

St. Francis De Sales

A minister friend of mine once told me, "On the seventh day God rested." He said, "It is good and very good." Then we come along and try to improve on perfection. For people of color, the most damaging habit we have is trying to be who and what we are not. We expend so much energy trying to fix who we are, we rarely get to really know ourselves. If we truly realized how precious the gift of life is, we would not waste a moment trying to improve it. If we really understood how precious we are to the gift of life, we would not waste time trying to fix ourselves. It's not about what we look like or what we have. It's not about fixing our face, body or lives. It's about taking what we have and doing as much as we can with it. It's about learning and growing. When we are willing to learn what we don't know and use our experiences, our perfection will begin to show.

I accept me as I Am.

rJanuary 8

Know thy ideal and live for that. For each soul must give an account for its own self.

Paramhansa Yogananda

Everything that happens to us, and every choice we make, is a reflection of what we believe about ourselves. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we believe we are worth. The things we believe and say about ourselves come back to us in many ways. Self-motivation comes from self-knowledge. We must inspire ourselves by believing we have the power to accomplish everything we set out to do. We must put faith in our ability to use mind and spirit and picture our lives the way we want them to be. We must use inner strength and the power of our being to tear down the walls, break through the barriers and move through the obstacles with ease. Our bodies have been freed. Now we must train our minds to believe it.

I Am free, hallelujah, I Am free!

January 9

You may not know how to raise your self-esteem, but you definitely know how to stop lowering it.

Awo Osun Kunle

Self-esteem is a sense of value and worth that comes from a positive self-image. Self-esteem begins with you and extends to all that you do. With the belief that your best is always good enough, no one but you can destroy your self-esteem. You destroy your esteem when you do not keep your word. When you do not honor the agreements and commitments you make. If you say "yes" when you really mean "no." When you don't follow your first thought. It does not matter what your environment may be. It is of little consequence what your past has been. It is not your concern what others may be saying or doing. It is only in your mind that you build and destroy your self-esteem.

I Am as great as I think I Am.

January 10

It thy right eye offends thee, pluck it out...

Matthew 5:29

The only way to eliminate stress and pain is to stop doing the things that create it. It is easy to see what others do to us while we forget the drama we create for ourselves. How? Take your pick: The need to be right. Lack of life purpose. How we think others see us. Trying to fix the world. Dishonesty with self and others. Accepting someone else's truth. Seeking material wealth over spiritual values. Doing it alone. My way is the right way. Fear of the future. Negative thought patterns. Trying to prove yourself to others. Anger over the past. Telling other people what to do. It all boils down to "not knowing who we are."

When I know me, I stop doing what's not good for me.

January 11

When you strengthen your self-esteem, there is no room for jealousy.

Dr. Harold Bloomfield

Jealousy is the surest way to get rid of the very person you are afraid of losing. When you say I love you, it means "I want the very best for you whether or not I am included." You must acknowledge any feelings of jealousy to understand what they are. Jealousy is a signpost of the longings in your subconscious mind. It reminds you that what you are longing is also longing you. There are only two emotions, love and fear. When jealousy comes up, stop and recognize that it is actually fear raising its ugly head. Fear of losing someone or something, fear that there is not enough. If you allow yourself to be jealous, you cannot love. It is important to acknowledge all your feelings and not beat yourself up for having them. Your feelings are not good or bad, they just are. Jealousy is simply reminding you that you are worthy of the best. When you remember who you are, the jealousy will dissolve and you will be ready to receive what you want.

I honor my feelings no matter what they are.

January 12

There's absolutely no way to save people from the things in their eyes. They must gather the courage to do it for themselves.

Alvin Lester Ben-Moring

Before we were indoctrinated to the rules of the world, with all its do's and don'ts, we were actually very receptive. We were willing to try new things, go into forbidden places and take risks without hesitation. We did not believe in unhappiness, defeat, rejection or lack. We asked for what we wanted and were willing to demand that it be provided. We thought the world existed to respond to our needs. It might do us well to revert back to the ways of childhood if we want to bring some good into our lives. It's not the temper tantrums or childish outbursts we want. It is the openness and freedom from limitation we need. We have been taught to accept fear, lack, sorrow and restriction as a part of everyday life. We are afraid to make demands of life because we believe we can't have what we want. We no longer feel free to express what we feel, when we feel it. Now, we want to be everyone's friend. If only we could think like a child again, there's a good chance we would find the freedom we gave up to become adults.

Today, I Am a child again.

January 13

Heaven is where you'll be when you are okay right where you are.

Sun Ra

Pretend for a moment that you are a mink -- beautiful, valuable, precious because of the skin that covers you. Suddenly your homeland is invaded by hunters, with bats. The hunters seem kind, yet you approach them cautiously. They pet the younglings who are innocent, less cautious. As you approach your young, the hunters attack. They beat you. You are dazed, struggling for composure. The hunters steal your skin, your heritage, the very essence of your being. They leave you to die, but you survive. Your fur grows back. Stronger. More beautiful than before. Somehow it doesn't make sense. The very thing that makes you who and what you are is the source of pain. Confused, distrustful, you hide yourself or camouflage your fur, your essence. Silently you begin to curse your fur, because the hunters return again and again. You begin to understand you will never get away from being what you are. As long as you have fur, you will be hunted. The issue is: Will you curse your fur, give up and die? Or just continue to be a proud but cautious mink?

I will not hide who or what I Am.

January 14

Successful people succeed because they learn from their failures.

Bettina Flores


The most difficult things to face in life are the things you do not like about yourself. Not your ears, legs, hair or those habits and abilities you feel are not up to par. It is the ugly little things you know about yourself that need a good long look. You recognize it when you see it in others, but you make excuses for yourself. You may go to any length to cover a shortcoming, while you quickly point out the ills of another. Since the very thing you want to hide is the thing that shows itself, you need to be able to say, "I know that and I'm working on it!" It takes a loving heart, a willing mind and a sensitive spirit to get to the core of the self. But when you do, you can root out the seeds of ugliness.

I acknowledge, accept and embrace everything about me.

January 15

We [must] realize that our future lies chiefly in our own hands.

Paul Robeson

If you can blame anyone for any condition in your life, then you, not they, are digging your grave. Your chief adversary comes to teach you a lesson. Your most difficult challenge strengthens your survival skills. Your greatest fear deepens your faith. Your weakest ability beckons you to grow. Anyone and anything can challenge you. It will not overtake you until you surrender. Only you can determine what you do and how you respond in a situation. It is your responsibility to make a decision about what is important to you; choose what you want and how you are going to get it. Once you accomplish that, it is your responsibility to move forward until you get it.

I Am taking a stand for me.

January 16

Sitting in a sacred place means you must sit alone.

Marilyn "Omi Funke" Torres

There are times when we each have sacred blessings to learn. These are the lessons that will push us to the limit of our greatness. At these times, it may seem that others are abandoning, rejecting or criticizing us without just cause. They are not. No matter how hard we try, we can't seem to do, say or be what others expect of us. We can't. The harder we try to pull others to us, the farther they move away. The more we try to fix things, the worse they seem to get. What we must do at these very sacred times is pull back, withdraw and prepare to grow. Our lessons are very sacred. They are the basic ingredient of our greatness. To accept them we must be open. To receive them we must be willing. To understand them we must be alone.

I Am sitting in a sacred place.

January 17

In the solitude of your mind are the answers to all your questions about life. You must take the time to ask and listen.

Bawa Mahaiyaddeen

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