Episode 246 | May 11, 2021

Invite More Joy in Your Life with Stephanie James

A Personal Note From Orion

When you open up your whole heart to the universe things, start to show up. You hold a light that has the power to illuminate your life and the lives of others. With this discovery, you begin to think differently about life’s everyday problems. Sure, that sounds highly ideal.  It is easier said than done. But, it’s never impossible to achieve.

In this episode, an amazing woman and a light herself, Stephanie James, shares how it’s the simple things that really matter. Stephanie is a psychotherapist, transformational life coach, presenter, radio show and podcast host, author, and filmmaker. Her primary mission is powerfully delivering her message to help others find their internal sparks and create their best lives at the next level. 

Stephanie’s unrelenting commitment to help others ignite their best lives and become the best versions of themselves is genuinely inspirational, and I am excited to share my talk with her. So without further ado, on with the show!


In this Episode

  • [01:17] – Orion introduces Stephanie James. She delivers her message in a powerful way to help others find their own internal sparks and create their best lives at the next level. 
  • [05:27] – How to surrender and let go of your ego?
  • [10:31] – Stephanie shares her daily morning practice of surrendering her day and inviting the Divine.
  • [16:02] – Orion and Stephanie discuss the effects of consuming negative programming and how to tune in to your heart to avoid succumbing to fear.
  • [21:42] – Stephanie talks about how essential taking care of your heart and soul and your healing is.
  •  [25:39] – Stephanie enumerates three powerful questions you can ask yourself to start your day in the process of healing. 
  • [30:06] – Stephanie shares an exercise she did with her therapist on reprogramming the subconscious mind.
  • [35:29] – What are Stephanie’s top healing modalities?
  • [41:47] – Stephanie talks about her documentary film, When Sparks Ignite, and her book, The Spark: Igniting Your Best Life.
  • [44:16] – Follow Stephanie James on her social media accounts and visit her website at StephanieJames.world to check out her film, book, podcast, or to get a complimentary coaching session with her.

Jump to Links and Resources

About Today’s Show

Hey, Stephanie, and welcome to Stellar Life podcast. It’s wonderful having you here. Thank you so much for being with us. 

Orion, it is so wonderful to be here with you, such a delight. 

Thank you. Before we begin, I would like you to share with us a little bit about your passion and how did you discover your passion? 

Oh gosh, that’s such a great question. I think that it’s continually evolved throughout my life. I’ve always been a lover. I can remember being four years old, and I was just in love with all my friends at the preschool academy. 


Life is showing up for us, and it will continue to guide us as we surrender to it. Click To Tweet

I remember the first time I was six years old when I realized that there were negative people in the world. I had no idea. I just thought everybody loved each other because that was my experience of life, being in touch with nature or other people. When I used to go into preschool academy, my memories are walking in the front door, and literally, the kids would be on the porch waiting for me to get there, we all jumped up and down, and we were so excited to see each other. 

I think that has been this internal fuse, if you will, that’s run through my whole life. I always had this sense of really being love-driven would be a really accurate statement. Whether it was my career, my children, or my spiritual path, whatever it was, I could put that passion into that. The way that it’s evolved, I would say in the last four years now, it’s just ignited. It’s become something that I’ve known really clearly for the past almost 15 years now that my true purpose in this world is to put as much love and to heal into the world as possible. 

The last four years, it’s like that has just exploded as I’ve really learned how to surrender to the divine, to the flow of life, and to quit trying to make my agenda the agenda, it’s just been amazing. The people, the film, the book, the transformational coaching, the speaking opportunities. It’s like the whole world has just bloomed as I’ve gotten out of my own way. 

Wow. How do we surrender? I feel like surrendering sometimes has negative connotations. People are like, ”Oh, I’m going to surrender, that means I’m going to be passive, and I’m going to be less then.” What is surrender for you and how do we do that? 

It takes amazing power to surrender because we’re having to let go of our ego.

It takes amazing power to surrender because we’re having to let go of our ego. That’s oftentimes really difficult. Because our ego wants to be right, our ego wants to say I know what to do. I’ll share it with you. It was really about a little over four years ago when I’ve been struggling with my daughter’s addiction for a decade. It had gotten to the point where it was time for her to go into treatment again, and this is really what saved her life. It was three months in treatment and I took her two sons at the time, three and four years old. 

I’m a psychotherapist so I’m working full days and taking the boys in the morning, getting them up, getting them dressed. I know moms do this all the time, work all day, get done, and then my whole life was them. But I’ve already done that. I was living a life at the time with my ex-husband where we were very much jetsetters and just going all over, traveling, a luxurious lifestyle, and all of a sudden all of that came to a screeching halt. 

There was one night in particular where he was gone, he was at a conference, and I was home alone. I had just gotten the boys, and they were emotionally just struggling so much. They just come out of chaos. I’m there trying to get them to go to sleep. I’m so exhausted. I’ve got my head against the nightstand in between their two twin beds. I’m stroking their backs and trying to get them to relax and fall asleep. They finally do. 

When I go into my bedroom, and I’m so mad, I’m literally furious. I felt very abandoned at that time by my ex-husband. It really did end up becoming the end of our marriage. At that moment, I’m like, I don’t want any of this. This is not the life I signed up for.

Everything that I was doing that seemed fun, exciting, or meaningful had switched. What was truly meaningful was taking care of these two little boys. I mean, I was just crying, angry, and all of a sudden, it was like this feeling just came through me. It was like, you’ve been pushing your way of how things “should be and what they should look like,” and you just have to surrender, you have to surrender to me. I call it the divine. It could be for other people, the higher power, the universe, God. It hit my knees, and I was like, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t do it. I can’t keep trying to push my way.

It was a moment that I started surrendering that I just had this beautiful peace come over me. I woke up at three in the morning, I remember going to bed that night, and I had the most peace I’d experienced in years. What was really interesting as a result of that, all these amazing things started coming into my life. 

The Spark: Igniting Your Best Life by Stephanie James

One day, I was in my office and I was thinking, gosh, how do I get back into radio? Because I loved radio. I’ve been a guest on a local radio station and literally three minutes later, there’s a knock on my door and it was my producer—my not yet then a producer—who came and he said, “Hey, I was just thinking about you. I was just wondering if you’d ever thought about doing your own radio show?” 

That was the beginning of so many amazing things for me. It was the beginning of my own radio show and podcast, The Spark. I ended up writing a book, The Spark: Igniting Your Best Life. Having so many amazing contexts, doing a documentary film with amazing thought leaders, luminaries on this planet. 

To answer your question, going back to surrender, what we have to do is we have to get our own egos out of the way and realize, what we’re doing is we’re not being weak and saying, I don’t care what happens to me or someone else can walk over me. We’re not surrendering to something negative. We’re surrendering to a power greater than us. And really, trusting life or trusting that higher power or the universe to have our back, to take care of us, and to know that life is showing up for us, and it will continue to guide us as we surrender to it. 

It’s really beautiful, empowering when you can step into that trust when you can step into that knowingness. Honestly, Orion, miracles begin to happen then. To me, that’s what surrender is. 

I had a similar experience when I was manifesting my soulmate. I was just on my knees saying, “God, I can’t do it anymore.” Within 48 hours, I met him, and then nine days later he proposed in a hot air balloon in Vegas, and I said, no. Nine months later, he proposed again and I said, yes. We are happily married now. I understand that. I also understand that it’s not enough to surrender. It’s not a one and done.

Oh my God, no.

Because we go back to ego, we go back to control, we go back to it’s my way or the highway. When we’re in that state, how do we handle that?

Such a good point because I feel like I’ve got clients constantly that are saying to me when are we done? Not when are we done with therapy or when are we done with life coaching, but when are we done having to keep putting effort in? It’s like, as long as there’s breath in your body, we’re going to have to keep being aware of this. 

For me, Orion, what I do is a daily practice. When I wake up in the morning, this is before I get out of bed, I have one hand on my heart and one hand on my belly or my gut, you could call it your lower chakra, your third chakra. I’m literally just inviting in the divine. For me, I’m surrendering that day. It’s like, thy will be done. This is not about religion by any means. It’s about saying, “Okay, Universe, life, God,” whatever you want to call it, “today I’m intentionally going to be conscious and aware of my ego, be conscious and aware of trust, and trusting the day to unfold as it should.”

It’s about intentionality and how we start our day.

It’s really about intentionality, and it’s about how we start our day. What I’ve experienced as a result of this beautiful practice is that I start that day with peace. I start that day by being able to relax into the knowingness. And it’s not about life being perfect. I think that’s an important point as well because I imagine, as you know too, we can surrender and surrender, and life is going to keep showing up exactly as it does. There are still difficulties, there are still challenges, yet we meet those challenges in a very different way when we’re in a surrendered state. 

What we’re able to address things with calmness, we’re able to address things not in a reactive state but in a responsive state, which is very different. It’s really a beautiful tool. What we’re doing is we’re cultivating the art of surrender. It’s something that we continue to show up, we continue to work on enhancing, and that’s just it. You’re exactly it. There’s no one and done. It just becomes part of our spiritual practice. 

Yes. I’ve been very much the opposite of surrender lately. We lived in LA, we spent some time in Israel, and now we just moved to Florida with a toddler and having my mom, who doesn’t speak English, with us. It’s been intense, and I had guests in the first weekend so it’s been so intense. It’s been hard to be in a place of surrender because I want everything to be so perfect and beautiful for everyone. I wanted to be the perfect daughter, the perfect mom, the perfect host, the perfect wife. 

I feel like only this morning, I was like, let’s go take a break, take a super long shower and pamper myself because I’m tired. 

There is always something to be happy about, no matter how small and simple it may seem.

Yes. Oh my gosh, that’s so much energy and so much pressure on you to perform. The word ‘perfect,’ right? I mean, there’s something that alleviates. It’s like this pressure valve, and we alleviate all this pressure when we surrender into ourselves. Because part of that surrender is this knowingness that I’m enough. It’s this surrender into, “Gosh, I already am just by my intention, my love, the energy that I put out. I’m enough as I show up as a partner, a mom, and a daughter. I can erase the perfectionist piece. I can surrender to that place in my heart that knows I’m showing up the best way I can in each moment.”

I think when we do that too, we’re better able to take care of ourselves because we’re really in touch with exactly what you’re just saying, like, “Wow, I really need to go take a really long shower and take care of me.” Because it’s when we do that, that we’re able to truly show up in a much more resourceful way with the people that we love and with humanity at large. 

That’s what’s important. It’s not important how many yummy items are on the table. It’s important that I’ll be happy because it affects everyone. If I serve a luxurious meal and I’m all like, “Ugh, what’s the point?” 

Exactly. If you’re showing up and you’re stressed out, but all the food tastes delicious, it’s not going to be as delicious with your particular energy or vibration, your frequency being in stress or anxiety. Whatever the food offerings are, I think it becomes more delicious, and sometimes we don’t even notice the food when we’re in our joy. 

That’s so true, so beautiful. You call yourself a lover—a lover of life, a lover of people—and you’ve been like that since you were a small child. How can you maintain that state of being a lover when you see bad things happen and you notice bad people. It’s undeniable that some people are bad and are doing bad things. And yes, even bad people have light in them, blah, blah, blah. Right now, they’re doing something that might hurt us, our families, or the world, or the environment. How do you handle that? How do you bring love into those places? 

Great question because I don’t think this is about rose-colored glasses or putting our heads in the sand. It’s not about ignoring what’s going on in the world. I think that’s important, and I think it’s important that we don’t really succumb to all this fear-mongering. I think people can get way too addicted to the news, the media, and all this negative programming. 

It is what it is. It’s programming because when people are in a state of fear, you can do whatever to their subconscious, and it will tick it. They will receive whatever you tell them. 

I think it was the KGB where they did an experiment. They took people, put them in a locked place, and terrified them. They were in an extreme state of fear and then they told them all kinds of things. Two months later they came in and said, “You know what, we lied to you.” The people that received so much brainwash for the last two months in a state of fear didn’t believe them. They couldn’t even conceive the fact that it was a lie. They just refused. 

That’s what’s happening in the media. They put people in a state of extreme fear. They broadcast fear 24/7 and fear and fear only, and then they tell people whatever they want them to believe in.

Right. We have this world culture right now of fear. I’m also a trauma specialist. I do work with people that have been through horrific things. If I have focused and put my energy into experiencing those things or taking on that energy, I couldn’t do my job. There’s no way. 

I think the way that we cultivate and reserve, and we can tap into that sense of love is by coming up with rituals where we’re nurturing our hearts. Part of that ritual is tuning into your heart and not tuning into social media. 

Don’t start or end your day by consuming news.

I tell people if you’ve got to watch the news, okay, 15 minutes or something in the middle of the day, great. But don’t start your day with news and don’t end it. Because what happens then is we’re just feeding that fear-mongering inside of us. We’re bringing up our own anxiety, and that’s not helping us to be centered. To become heart-centered, I think is so essential. Having a morning routine where what you’re doing is cultivating a sense of groundedness, as I said, you could start with a surrender practice.

What’s a surrender practice?

That’s the one I told you about with your hand on your heart, your hand on your gut, and starting the day with that. And moving into the next part of your day, you could do this for an hour, you could do a half-hour, depending on your time. Really, just starting with 10 minutes of exercise, where you’re getting your blood pumping. You could do 100 jumping jacks, whatever it is that you want to do, you’re getting your body moving. 

Then I invite people to do 10 minutes of meditation. Great grounding meditation is just sitting with your back against the sofa, you’re sitting on the floor, and you’re just breathing into feeling your body’s contact with the floor. You’re just grounding into that root chakra because that’s a place where we can feel really safe and connected.

Again, you can invite whether it’s your experience of whatever your Higher power is, the Divine, God, the Universe, and you’re just feeling that connection. After that 10 minutes, what I really encourage people to do is then 10 minutes of writing, which is where you’re writing down everything you’re grateful for on that day. It doesn’t matter if it’s everything you were grateful for the day before, the day before, and the day before is just feeling into it as you’re writing it. 

Some days it’s like, I am so thankful that I get to wake up in this warm bed, that I get to wake up beside the love of my life, I get to hug and nestle into my beautiful dog. I’m so thankful and grateful that when I open these curtains, even on a rainy day like today here in Colorado, I’m able to just let the whole house flooded with light.

Part of surrender is the knowingness that you're enough. When you feel enough as a partner, a mom, a daughter, you eliminate perfectionism. Click To Tweet

It doesn’t have to be that huge boom-booms in life that we’re grateful for. I’m grateful for hot water every single day knowing how many people don’t have hot water. I look out my window right now, these beautiful pink tulips are getting ready to bloom. The buds are finally coming up, and it’s like, I’m so grateful for the beauty of that. 

That’s how we start cultivating that mindset and heart. It doesn’t matter, I’m not saying it’s not important what’s going on, again I’m not saying put your head in the sand, but you don’t have to dictate your happiness by what’s going on outside of you. Because circumstances are going to happen and life is going to continue to change. Tune in to your heart, tune in to that connection to the divine, and then that’s what you’re bringing into your day and truly to the world. 

Because our brains are conditioned from prehistoric times to look for that saber-toothed tiger, to look for danger. We like to look for danger, we like to see the danger because then we are protected. It’s just that now the danger is not always real. Not everything that is broadcast is a real danger to us because we are right here, right now, we are safe. Everything’s okay. It’s almost like an addiction to fear. It’s an addiction to bad news. 

Exactly. That’s just it. We get an adrenaline hit when we hear the headlines.

It’s like watching a good movie. We have all those emotions. It seems like something is happening, but nothing is really happening except our cortisol levels are going up. It’s not helping us.

We get this adrenaline dump. Our fight-or-flight kicks in. It is true, our brain is hardwired with this natural negativity bias. That’s exactly what you’re talking about is prehistoric caveman brain, if you will. That’s hardwired within us to help keep us safe. It’s not about something that’s “bad.” That’s a lovely part that’s helped us to survive, and yet, we need to really be intentional about focusing on the good, on the positive, on the resources within us. Because it’s also a principle in physics that what we focus on expands. 

If we’re hyper-focused on fear and what’s wrong in the world, we’re just going to keep that adrenaline dump going and that cortisol flowing. We’re going to be in that state of panic and fear.

That’s the irony because when we focus on those bad things, we feel like we’re doing something, we are involved in some way. But actually, we are not doing anything good. We are contributing to the negative energy of the collective consciousness. 

Love Is Letting Go of Fear by Gerald G. Jampolsky

It’s essential, I think. That’s why one of my messages to people around is how essential your own healing is and how essential just taking care of your heart and soul are because that is then what you’re contributing. I mean, they truly are this collective consciousness. What vibration do you want to enter into your day with? And what do you want to contribute during your day? It’s like an old book that Gerald Jampolsky wrote, Love Is Letting Go of Fear.


That’s really what it’s about. It’s about focusing on love. How do I experience love on this day? How do I more fully inhabit my heart? One of the ways that I think people can really access this as well, and this is around cultivating, literally, I call it befriending yourself. How you can befriend yourself and begin this process of healing is to really start your day with three essential questions. One of those being, how can I take care of myself on this day?

So important.

Because a lot of our fear comes from the unknown. When our brain doesn’t know what to predict. Life right now and the world is so unpredictable, that’s part of what can perpetuate that fear. Yet, none of that is happening now like you just said a few moments ago. Right now, in the present moment, I’m safe, I’m well, things are really good. 

It’s reeling ourselves into this 24 hours and saying, okay, what do I need to do to take care of myself today? It might be eating nutritious food, exercise, and just like you said, it might be I’m going to take a really hot bath or a shower, I’m going to pamper myself. Maybe one of the ways I take care of myself today is I’m going to listen to uplifting content. I’m going to listen to my favorite music that just makes my heart sing. Those are the ways I can take care of myself. We write those down so we’re really intentional about carrying through with them. 

Then the second C is how do I connect today? That’s how do we, in this 24-hour period, make connections with the people that we love? It might be someone that an old friend you haven’t spoken to for years or an aunt that you really care about. It’s the ability to reach out and connect because we’re interconnected beings and we need one another. We’re interdependent. 

Then the third C is how can I be creative today so that we’re tapping into that sense of flow? We don’t have to be artists or we don’t have to be writers. It’s really around what can I do that gives me that sense of timelessness when I step into that creative place? 

It can be I’m going to make a song list, let’s say, of 10 of my very favorite songs on Spotify that make me feel joy, and I’m going to dance in my living room when nobody’s watching. Or maybe I will put on something that uplifts me and I’m going to do an adult coloring book, a mandala coloring book, or it could be painting. It could be I’m just going to be in the creative flow of singing and just letting lyrics come to me. I mean, there are so many different things we can do. 

Maybe being creative today is what can I do that’s different that I don’t usually do? Maybe I’m going to walk a different way as I take my dog for a walk, or I’m going to be creative in the way that I’m going to go in the backyard and really notice what’s coming up in spring right now. It’s just creating. It’s creativity. I’m creating in a new way on this day. 

Most of the time, it’s the little things that bring the most significant impact on your life.

That’s beautiful. The first one is, how do I care for myself today? The second one is, how can I connect better today, and the third one is, how do I tap into my creativity today?


Wow. These are powerful questions. I think I’m going to use them. I think I’m going to make a poster. 


It’s beautiful. It’s really cool. 

Thank you.

No, thank you. 

They really got their game-changer questions that help us because we really do. What’s beautiful too is that we really do have the power to choose what we focus our attention on. Viktor Frankl wrote the book, Man’s Search for Meaning. He was an Auschwitz survivor. One of his quotes—and this isn’t word for word but an approximation—is like they can take everything from us but the one thing we always have is our ability to choose, our own attitude, to choose one’s own way.

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

And I heard an interview from a 90 some year old Auschwitz Survivor who is a therapist. She said that we need to break free from the concentration camp in our minds because we put the bars on it. We can break free. 

Love that. 

Super powerful.

So powerful. One of the things that I have when I do my workshops and oftentimes just in speaking presentations, I’ll invite the audience to look at something across the room, then to look at something midway across the room, and then to look in their own laps. I say to them, “Were you able to pay attention to those things?” They all say, yes. It’s like, how awesome? You have the ability to choose what you give your attention to.

Yes, it’s a reticular activating system. When you think about red, you’ll see red, you won’t see the green. Like you said, what do you focus on, that’s where your energy is going to go to.

This reminds me then, one of the things that I talk about in my book. My gosh, with my life coaching clients all the time, one of the activities I love to give is a 30-day journaling activity, which is around, we can program our reticular activating system. Which is that part of our brain that notices things to focus on what we want to focus on. 

If I can share a story with you, when I took this course, gosh, it’s been like 10 years ago, on understanding the reticular activating system, I decided, well, I’m going to do this journaling exercise that we learned about for 30 days because I wanted to say to my clients, yeah, I’ve done this. I know it’s amazing. I like to do that with all the techniques that I use that I have used them myself so I know that they work. 

What the instructor had said is think about something in your life that, if you had a certain mindset about it, could really enhance your life and I want you to blow it up out of the water. It took me a while to think about it. Ironically, something that had always felt like a real positive for me because I’m very driven, and I’m the oldest kid in my family. I was a single mom for five years. I put myself through graduate schools. 

Like a superwoman. 

I’m just driven to the next thing, the next thing. And part of that, when I thought about where that behavior came from, I was able to rewind to being 13 years old and my parents going through a really, really awful bloody divorce. The wounding that happened during that time was that I had this belief that really got hardwired for a long time that nobody’s there for me. I have to do it all on my own. 

Stepping into your creative place gives you a sense of timelessness. It is when you are truly yourself. Click To Tweet

That’s good and bad. 

While there was positive behavior from it, I think the negative thing is I didn’t rely on other people. I didn’t allow people to show up for me in the same way that I’m telling you in the last decade I have. 

That’s hard. That’s a lot of pushing upstream.

It was a lot of unconscious programming, right? It happened so long ago and that’s the way our mind works going through that trauma, that belief became very conscious. When I started doing this exercise, to blow it out of the water as she said, I said, “Okay, I’m completely loved and supported by the universe.” The exercise is you write that affirmation the same one every night for 30 days and then underneath it, you write down the evidence that showed up during that day to support it. 

Oh, that’s good. Wow. 

And talk about training your brain to notice things. What’s interesting is that so many of those things were already happening. The first thing I started doing that activity, I was like, wow, I really get a lot of loving messages from my girlfriends. I have such wonderful girlfriends and they are continually giving me these sweet messages. “I love you and I’m thinking of you,” and I was like, that is so wonderful. 

And then, the little things, of course, starts showing up, like, how kind of people are and people letting me in on traffic, or just being really generous and having lovely conversations.

What was it? I am completely supported by the universe. That was the affirmation?

I am completely loved and supported by the universe.

I am completely loved and supported by the universe. Little things started happening like in one week, I had two different baristas at this coffee place I frequented give me free coffee. They were just like, we just love when you come in, and you’re just so much sunshine. It was so cool. 

But then the biggest thing that happened that just blew the lid off of all this and really changed my life forever was, it was a couple of weeks into this process and my daughter and I had gone up to Estes Park for the day and we came back. In my basement of this new house, it was new to me. It was an old 1940s home. I had completely spent most of my savings to remodel it. 

We came home and the basement had flooded. The old water heater had rusted out and water just during the day had been dumping into the basement. The new rug, the new pad everything was soaked. I go outside and my neighbors are out there. One caddy-corner across the street and right next door and I just said, “Oh my gosh, people are all outside,” it was this sunny afternoon. I said, “I just need help. My basement is flooded.” The next thing I know, people are over with ShopVacs and fans, and people are really helping me. 

Then there’s a knock on the door, and I had a girlfriend who lived about four houses down and they could see people coming into the house and like, “What’s going on?” I said, “Oh my gosh, the basement is flooded.” She was like, “I’ll be right back.” She came back about 15 minutes later and handed me a thousand-dollar check. 

Oh wow.

And she said you can pay me back when you need to. I know you’ve spent all this money on this house and don’t have the money right now, but you need a water heater. My husband has a truck. Let’s go pick it up and we’ll get it fixed so you guys have hot water tomorrow.

Instead of worrying or spending energy on the negative, shift your perspective and keep finding the beauty in everything.

That is so cute. Wow. 

Oh my gosh. From that point, it changed my paradigm, it changed my internal script around, “Oh my gosh, I am completely loved and supported by the universe.” People really do and always have shown up whenever I’ve needed them. It’s just around having that true clarity around allowing them in. It changed my relationship with my mom. I started really allowing her to show up. She’s truly one of my very best friends to this day, and my girlfriends were like, “Oh my God, thank you for coming to us for help because we’re always the ones coming to you.” 

It’s just opened up this whole world full of experience. Again, I think these things are so essential, and it’s really from doing those kinds of activities where we’re shifting our focus to what we want in our lives instead of focusing on what we don’t want or what we don’t like. 

That’s beautiful. What are some of your favorite healing modalities? 

Instantly I knew because the number one for me is meditation. That’s one of my deepest and I’m literally talking about 20 minutes a day. I’m a part of a group where we meditate Tuesday and Thursday nights for an hour. It’s for me when I access the divine—and I do that through many different ways. I mean, I can do that 20 minutes of sitting meditation. Like I told you, like doing that first 10 minutes of really grounding into the earth and then lying 10 minutes in Shavasana, which is that yoga pose where you’re lying just flat on your back with your palms up and just allowing that to integrate. 

It’s meditation or it’s a connection to the Divine for me is I go in the morning out to my backyard and put my feet on the earth—no matter what the day is—and just look up, soak in the sky. No matter what time of year it is, the birds are singing, you can hear the birds. It’s just a beautiful way to connect with life and the earth. Those are things that are really fortifying to me that keep me in that place. I do think it’s really being aware of gratitudes. It’s also what I do at the end of my day that matters. 

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I have what I call the bookends to my day. It’s doing all those things in the morning, and then at night, I encourage people to do this with a stationary object that can also become a visual cue and reminder. I had this beautiful orange rock that a girlfriend gave me from the creek outside her home in Arkansas, and orange is my favorite color. Having that on your nightstand and you pick it up at the end of the day, you’re holding onto it, and you say, “What was the best part of today? What was the best thing that happened?” You’re bringing that up in your mind and experiencing it with all of your senses again. 

It’s powerful for two reasons. One, it’s training our reticular activating system then to focus on seeing more of things that were the best part of the day the next day. It’s that mind that we were talking about. It’s like negative experiences are like velcro in the brain. Our brain is like, “Yup, got that.” You don’t need to touch the hot stove twice to know that it’s going to burn you because your brain files that away. 

Positive experiences are like fried eggs on a Teflon pan, they just slide right out because our brain’s like, I don’t need that to survive. When we bring back up this wonderful memory again, it’s like we can marinate on those good feelings, and then not only do we feel that in that moment, because our brain’s experiencing it happening now. Again, whatever we bring up in our brain, if we’re bringing up fear of the future like, “Oh my gosh, what if, what if,” we start feeling anxious. It’s not happening now, but our brain is experiencing it as now.

The same thing is if you’re ruminating about the past, it’s not happening now, but I’m having a physiological and emotional experience of it as if it is happening now. The beautiful thing is we can pull up also what we want to focus on and what makes us feel good, what makes us feel centered, what makes us feel loved. We experience it. Our brain experiences it as happening now. So we’re getting all the positive endorphins. It’s literally carving neural pathways that are hard-wiring our brain to notice the good and to feel good. 

Yes. What brings you joy? 

I’m not someone who worries about the future, I don’t live in the past.

Oh my gosh. There is so much that brings me joy. I just have to laugh because I was just talking to my partner and he was talking to a friend of his online. They heard me laugh as I was having a conversation. My partner said she can stub her toe and it brings joy. I don’t know that that’s true. I feel so blessed. I feel like I experience so much joy every day. What brings me joy is being in the present moment. I would say that that’s one of the things that I can only see really good at. I think I’ve practiced a lot. I’m not someone who worries about the future, I don’t live in the past. 

If we’re open to this moment unfolding, there is so much joy here. It’s the conversation at the moment. It’s how beautiful things look right now as I’m looking outside and these beautiful vibrant leaves are starting to unfurl from their buds in the trees. Everything just looks crisp and beautiful. 

I think what brings me joy is to be right here in the moment. Of course, there’s heightened joy when I’m with my grandchildren, my daughters, my partner, with my wonderful friends, when I’m listening to music, dancing, singing, or reading a book that brings me joy. Being with you right now, Orion, brings me so much joy. I’m loving our conversation so much. You’ve got such beautiful energy. I’m just really loving being here. 

Thank you. As you were talking about looking outside your window, I’m looking outside my window. We are on this temporary vacation rental and I see grass, I see the river, and I see birds, squirrels, and ducks. Just beautiful, beautiful nature. As we speak, I hear you, and I look at the beautiful sky, the clouds, the trees, and the leaves. It’s just so beautiful. 

I love what you’re doing with living in the present moment because there is nothing other than the present. Every time we get in fear mode, anxiety mode, worry mode, we just need to go back to the here and now and from a place of being more grounded and connected to who we are. Everything is going to be better and feel better. We won’t be reactive, but we can be active with our reaction to everything that is going on. 

I love that, and I think that you’ve really articulated that really well because it’s being in that place where it’s not just immediately reactive. If we’re in a place of presence, we can say oh wow, that’s how that landed with me and then we can respond from there as we get more and more in touch with our essence. My brand and what I bring through my film, that’s a documentary that’s going to be coming out, When Sparks Ignite, and my book, The Spark. 

I can’t wait to see it. 

Oh, thank you. All of that, what it’s speaking to is the spark is our essence. In the essence of who we are is pure joy. It doesn’t mean it has to be this explosive joy that we’re jumping up and down. It can be the subtle, beautiful sense of joy that’s just this glow within our own beings. Oftentimes, what we have to do—this is our continual work—is how do we excavate that spark, that light that is us? It can get covered up with circumstances and difficulties. We have to be conscious about doing the work to excavate that light to allow that light to emanate and shine. 

It truly is a daily practice. It’s the best gig in town. It’s one of those things where we can access it at any moment that we choose, and the more that we cultivate it the more that’s available to us. The more that we practice being in that sense of joy. 

And I’m telling you, I of course, still have difficult things happen and life presents challenges. It’s not that those things are ever going to stop happening for any of us. When we can continually access that place of joy, we don’t have to fear those things happening. We can know that we’re going to be coming from a place of so much more resiliency and a depth of being able to hold them. And ultimately, what we strive for is to get to a place where we go, oh wow. We can feel the pain or we can feel the sorrow and yet that’s not the definition of us. 


Our light is so much bigger than that, so we can hold it, and then we can breathe through it, transform it, transmute it, and we keep returning to the love. 

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Definitely. Before we say goodbye for now—and this was a very fun, lovely, beautiful, and just good conversation—what are your three top tips to living a stellar life, and where can people find you? 

Number one, bookend your day. Show up for yourself. Allow yourself to be a priority in your own life. The better you take care of yourself truly the better you’re able to take care of others. Know that your healing matters. 

I would say another tip for leading a stellar life is what we’ve been talking about and breathing into the present moment. Allowing yourself to be in the present moment because it’s from there, that spontaneous joy, spontaneous happiness, all those things arise. Whether it’s through breathing, meditation, exercise, bringing yourself right here and right now. 

And then I would say, truly, part of the thing that brings us incredible joy and a stellar life is connecting to others. Even if you’re an introvert, being able to let that flow, that connection, and that communication flow knowing that even when it’s over Skype, like right now with you, Orion. There’s no space, time, or distance. We’re right here together. I can totally feel us heart-to-heart. That’s what we need to make sure that we’re doing. That we’re connecting with others as we connect more deeply with ourselves

People can get a hold of me and find me on stephaniejames.world. There you can sign up for my Igniting Your Best Life Group that meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month. That’s a beautiful offering. My speaking events are on there, you can access my book through there, and my individual coaching packages. I love doing transformational coaching and love seeing the changes that we can make together. 

People can get on for a 20-minute free exploratory call with me and access that through the website and access the trailer to the film, that’s also there. It’s stephaniejames.world is the portal for all of that. 

Thank you, Stephanie James. You are incredible. I loved having you here. People didn’t know we were laughing a lot at the beginning of this conversation. It was really a fun way to begin. Thank you for your joy, thank you for your spark, and thank you for who you are being in the world. 

Thank you, Orion. What a joy meeting with you and what an honor. Thank you so much for having me on your show. 

Thank you, and thank you, listeners. Remember, show up for yourselves, breathe into the present moment, connect to others, and have a stellar life. This is Orion. Until next time.

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

{✓} Spark more joy in your life. There is always something to be happy about, no matter how small or simple it may seem.
{✓} Appreciate the little things. Most of the time, it’s the little things that bring the most significant impact to your life.
{✓} Focus your attention on positive things. Instead of worrying and spending energy on the negative, shift your perspective to keep finding the beauty in everything. 
{✓} Surrender to a higher power not because you want to let go of control but because you trust that the universe will always guide you in the right direction. Everything that is happening or is about to happen is for the greater good. 
{✓} Manifest your deepest desires and dreams. You have the power and capability to accomplish any goal you want as long as your brain is wired in the right direction. 
{✓} Start the day with peace. Establish a morning ritual that aims to get you energized, aligned, and ready to take on the day.
{✓} Pamper yourself. Don’t forget to take breaks. Rest is vital for a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
{✓} Limit your use of social media. Studies show that spending too much time on social media can affect your self-esteem and mental health. Detach and be offline more often.
{✓} Show up for yourself. Make sure you prioritize your needs first. You cannot pour from an empty cup. 
{✓} Visit Stephanie James’ website to learn more about her mission and advocacy.

Links and Resources

About Stephanie James

Stephanie James delivers her message in a powerful way to help others find their own internal sparks and create their best lives at the next level. Nominated for Fort Collins Woman of The Year in 2014 and a graduate of the University of Denver, Stephanie has an unrelenting commitment to help others ignite their best lives and to become the best versions of themselves.

The Spark, With Stephanie James, is a worldwide weekly radio and podcast created to help you live your best life. Her guests are luminaries in the fields of psychology, inspiration and motivation, science, entrepreneurialism, and more!

Her book, The Spark: Igniting Your Best Life, is available on Amazon. A compelling and inspiring book, The Spark is an excellent guide. Step by step, Stephanie James shows how to examine beliefs that don’t serve us, ways to develop more authentic and rewarding relationships (including with ourselves), and how to approach each day with zest.

With over thirty years in the personal development and mental health field, Stephanie has a passion for connecting with people from all walks of life and continues to fulfill her personal mission to bring as much love and healing to the world as possible. Her soon-to-be-released film, When Sparks Ignite, is about the challenges we all face and how those challenges can actually become the match point that ignite something amazing within us that then can become our gift to the world.

Disclaimer: The medical, fitness, psychological, mindset, lifestyle, and nutritional information provided on this website and through any materials, downloads, videos, webinars, podcasts, or emails are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical/fitness/nutritional advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Always seek the help of your physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, certified trainer, or dietitian with any questions regarding starting any new programs or treatments or stopping any current programs or treatments. This website is for information purposes only, and the creators and editors, including Orion Talmay, accept no liability for any injury or illness arising out of the use of the material contained herein, and make no warranty, express or implied, with respect to the contents of this website and affiliated materials.

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