Watch Your Thoughts. Our thoughts are the starting point for any type of change. How fast do you feel defeat or tell yourself you’re not strong enough, worthy enough, or brave enough? Slow down, take a breath. Start listening to those limiting beliefs. The more conscious you become of them, the more quickly you can shift them to the empowering thoughts of “I can do this. I will do this. I AM doing this.”
Resilience has been described as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Times are not easy now. How do we develop greater resilience to withstand the challenges that keep being thrown at us? In this interview series, we are talking to mental health experts, authors, resilience experts, coaches, and business leaders who can talk about how we can develop greater resilience to improve our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jared Schuster.
Jared Schuster is a spiritual coach and founder of Sparks of Consciousness Life Alchemy Coaching. He has traveled the world studying with yogis in India, shamans in Ecuador, and many cultures in-between. He has gained tools that have helped him to overcome the death of his father and recover from a near-death-experience, which he now uses to guide people in stepping out of their shadows and into the light of their life.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?
I’ve been told I am the embodiment of manifesting thoughts, or of “where thought goes, energy flows.”
I had always identified as a successful salesman and like many people, from a very young age I felt that money was going to make me happy. I started a door-to-door stationery business at age 6, and had my first job as manager of a Chinese take out restaurant at the age of 13.
For years I followed the societal conditioning of what I refer to as, the path of the “shoulds” (i.e. “you should get good grades because you should go to a good university because you should get a good job because you should want a house, kids, etc…)
Following this path set me up for what would be a very lucrative career right out of college working in sales and marketing for an education start-up.
Nine months into this new career, disillusionment set in: The hours kept getting longer; the work never seemed to end; the sales quotas would get set higher each time I would exceed them.
Quite frankly, the thought of being jolted awake each morning by an alarm clock for the next 40 years repulsed me.
Around this time I also discovered a new passion in my life that I wanted, more than anything, to do each day: Surfing.
I met an acquaintance who was working in the service industry at the time who was making 3 times the money I was while working 1/3 of the hours. Not to mention, he had freedom over his days to do the things he loved.
We had a conversation that galvanized me to reevaluate my path and get really clear on what I truly wanted my life to look like.
At 22 years old, I quit the corporate job I had spent 16 years educating myself for and “retired” from a conventional life.
I landed in Malibu, California where I worked at a high-end sushi restaurant serving movie stars and our world’s “Rich and Famous.” I slowly learned some very valuable lessons about money, and as the high of buying things quickly wore off, I began to realize that it wasn’t going to buy me happiness.
About a year and half into working at this restaurant, I heard an inner calling that told me it was time to start traveling and exploring our world.
As I traveled, I began a journey of listening to my intuition.
What began as 3 months backpacking around Europe soon led to 6 months around Southeast Asia and India, a year in Ecuador and countless journeys in-between. I spent time studying with Yogis and Shamans. I practiced their teachings on myself as I healed from a near death experience which I will tell you more about shortly.
I woke up to my soul purpose then, and it set me on the course I’m on today: being of service to the world.
Travel and near- death were the catalysts that ignited my passion and the birth of my business, Sparks of Consciousness.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
This is a story of ego death.
Many years ago I worked at a surf and yoga lodge in Portugal.
My ego had me convinced that I was a much better surfer than I was at the time. I was convinced that I was too good to join in the group lesson with the guests.
As the instructor taught the lesson, I paddled far past where the lesson was taking place. In the blink of an eye, the ocean current carried me miles from class and I found myself in waters that I was not ready to navigate.
Massive, impossible-to-surf waves started rolling in and crashing down on top of me.
I remember throwing my surfboard as far away from my body as I could to prevent it from injuring me as these waves pinned me under the water.
I began to surrender and to count my breaths, knowing I was about to drown.
I fought the ocean for what felt like an eternity until it spit me up on shore. I had never been so grateful to be planted back on the earth.
A Portuguese man had been watching my whole experience as it unfolded. He rushed down the cliffs and said in very broken English that he was about to call the fire department when I washed ashore.
Grateful to him, my guardian angel, I gathered my board and began my humble walk back to where the class was going on.
It took almost 30 minutes walking down the beach to return to the group and when I got there, no one even knew I had gone missing and almost died.
This life changing experience was meant to be between me and Mother Nature and no one else.
This day taught me many valuable lessons about not letting my ego get in the way. I now consciously practice this on a daily basis.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Portugal was a stop over on my way to what would be a year living and learning from Shamans in Ecuador. When I returned to the United States from my studies in Ecuador, I found myself crossing paths with people, many times complete strangers, that would stop me in my tracks and share very intimate and personal stories. In a matter of moments, Spirit (or God, The Universe, etc) would come through me with a message of guidance, and I found I could direct them to radically shift their perspective, release old programming, and move onto a new trajectory on their life’s path.
Often as I was speaking I would hear an audible sound from The Universe — almost a loud clap — that confirmed to me that the needed message was being received by that person.
I call this a Spark of Consciousness.
I began having these interactions more frequently; my skills improved. And as these interactions developed and deepened, so did I.
I have spent the past 6 years honing my skills, receiving necessary certifications and growing my spiritual toolbox. (300 hours of yoga teaching certification, professional life coaching certification, Infinite Possibilities® certified, Playing The Matrix® certified, and more).
My clients are people who desire guidance as they navigate their purpose and spiritual path.
Every aspect of my business is focused on improving our world, and on helping clients shine better and brighter. Everything I offer my clients — from spiritual and life coaching, Infinite Possibilities trainings, metaphysical workshops, guided meditations — is created with the absolute intention of helping them welcome in more light into their lives.
Even though I am drawn to this work and know it is my dharma, this has been the ultimate test in surrendering, allowing and trusting The Universe to guide me towards exactly where I need to be. I’m reminded almost daily that I’m on the right path.
The more I practice these ideals, the more amazing life becomes as I see positive changes manifest in both my and my clients’ lives.
What makes Sparks of Consciousness stand out further is that this business is a living example of manifestation; it’s the embodiment of the notion that you can turn your thoughts into things and dreams into reality.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
One of my favorite quotes is, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears” as this so fits how my life continues to unfold.
I’ve been blessed to have some amazing teachers appear when I was most ready to receive what they had to teach me.
When I decided to step onto a more spiritual path and begin studying the ancient wisdom of the east, Indian Yogis presented themselves to me. They gifted their teachings and tools to me.
When my soul needed healing, plant medicine and Shamans presented themselves and taught me how to heal and step into my power.
When Sparks of Consciousness was birthed, metaphysical teachers (such as Mike Dooley, New York Times best-selling author and co-star of the movie, “The Secret”) showed up in my life to give me tools and wisdom to spread my own message with the world.
The truth is, as I reflect on this question and feel such gratitude for all who have contributed to my path towards success, one person stands out from the rest: my mom.
I was blessed to grow up with a parent who is so supportive of me chasing my dreams. I would venture to say that few of us has a mother who is both a Reiki master and a spiritual intuitive.
My mother gave me wings and encouraged me to take flight. She never let me give up on my dreams, and encouraged me to dream even bigger. My mom is the reason I am who I am today.
Having support and someone to hold you accountable in achieving your dreams is so important to achieve success in life, and I feel so much gratitude that I’ve had this since birth.
We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Do you ever feel like The Universe keeps knocking you down?
And then suddenly, things start turning around and getting better.
Before you know it, things and ideas and circumstances you had been working towards seem to start flowing to you.
You feel on top of the world again. In control.
You’re manifesting things left and right and you start believing again that The Universe has your back…
Resilience is understanding that in the hardest moments, there will be light again. Resilience is having a desire to grow and strengthen one’s self.
Resilient people take the lessons learned from their hardest challenges and use them to make the world a better place.
They take leaps of faith even if the noise outside is trying to convince them not to.
They go after their dreams and carve out their own path in a world that tries to make them conform.
They embrace their Inner Being and let that voice guide their way.
Resilient people fully believe in themselves and know that the more that they trust, the more beautiful their life becomes.
Finally, truly resilient people are those that have moved through these past 2 years (2020/21 with COVID-19 bringing the world as we know it to a standstill) as a stronger, brighter version of themselves.
Courage is often likened to resilience. In your opinion how is courage both similar and different to resilience?
Courage fuels and grows resilience. The more you take courageous steps, the more resilient you become. Resilience is what makes you unstoppable.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
The most resilient person I know is my mom. She has endured many challenges and continues to bounce back stronger and wiser each time.
In the early 90s my father was diagnosed with the end stages of the AIDS virus. There was a lot of ignorance that came with this disease back then, as little was known about it at the time. Our family was ostracized, ridiculed, and abandoned by many that were once close to us. When my father died, my mom was left to raise 2 young children on her own.
My mother did a masterful job of cultivating a loving, abundant home and lifestyle for my sister and me, even though behind the scenes she was healing from this trauma herself.
This was despite the harsh fact that shortly after my father’s passing, a tree branch fell on my mom’s head, leaving her with a severe head injury. This resulted in permanent vertigo and ringing in her ears.
Despite these setbacks, my sister and I continued to be the focus of her life.
Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?
My whole life is a living example of what you can achieve when you erase the word, “impossible” from your vocabulary.
I have been witness to countless people accomplishing and overcoming things that society would have deemed impossible. I’ve seen cancers, diseases, ailments, addictions and traumas healed in a matter of moments. I’ve met people who have paddleboarded thousands of miles, climbed difficult mountains, started implausible businesses and achieved more things that once again society has deemed impossible.
As for me, I left the security (albeit it being a false sense of security) of a corporate career to take sabbaticals to travel the world. I survived more than one near death experience; I manifested dream homes in exotic locations; I built a business.
I see the word “impossible” as a challenge to repeatedly overcome.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
I had just returned from 6 months traveling around Southeast Asia and studying yoga in India.
My yoga training sparked a beautiful passion in me to devote myself to share my newfound knowledge with my world back home.
But the Universe had a different agenda…
I was back home for 2 short weeks and as I was driving home from work, I was struck head on by a distracted driver.
The jaws of life had to extract me from my mangled car where I was thought to be dead.
Both my legs were badly broken and there was glass embedded all over my body.
In the blink of an eye, it seemed like my world was taken from me. No surfing, traveling, hiking, working or walking.
I was bedridden for more than a year as I healed and slowly learned to walk again. I had to go within, deepening my connection to self and Spirit, using all the tools I had learned in India.
I discovered this: The mind can keep you stuck in fear; it’s the connection to the heart that pulls you out.
As you deepen your connection to your heart, you deepen your connection with your intuition. Your intuition is your guiding force.
Intuition allows you to claim your power. I was told I may never walk again. There was the risk that if the surgery was unsuccessful, I would have to have a foot amputated. Each time these moments of fear crept in, I would connect back with my breath and heart and would focus on the outcome that I was desiring the most. In so doing, I witnessed what was short of a miracle healing that stunned the doctors.
When I was well enough to walk again, travel called to me again. I attended a 12 day, Shamanic healing retreat in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador.
This is where I received clarity, purpose, healing, transformation. I learned forgiveness.
How have you cultivated resilience throughout your life? Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?
Losing my father at the tender age of 6 left me with scars that prevented me from letting others in.
I was afraid of losing them, of betrayal and of being abandoned again.
I spent years insulating myself from others with material possessions. I amassed wealth, yet somehow still felt empty.
To help us heal from this trauma of losing our father and husband to AIDS, we became AIDS advocates, spreading the ideals of compassion, forgiveness, and understanding.
My mother, sister and I created an AIDS memorial quilt and spoke at many venues, educating the public and softening hearts.
These experiences allowed me to soften my own heart and I was able to welcome in the paternal love that would become my future (step) dad.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
This 5 step practice helps you build more resilience in your life.
#1 Watch Your Thoughts.
Our thoughts are the starting point for any type of change.
How fast do you feel defeat or tell yourself you’re not strong enough, worthy enough, or brave enough?
Slow down, take a breath. Start listening to those limiting beliefs. The more conscious you become of them, the more quickly you can shift them to the empowering thoughts of “I can do this. I will do this. I AM doing this.”
#2 Visualize Yourself Being Resilient.
What does resilience look like to you?
What examples can you draw on from your past that have demonstrated times when you’ve showcased resilience? How can you can carry these forward with you?
#3 Find The Silver Linings in Everything.
When faced with a challenge, begin asking yourself, “why is this happening for me?” instead of, “why is this happening to me?”.
Every challenge has a lesson hidden in it. As you seek out the lessons you stop needing to repeat the challenge. Our lessons are our gifts and the more we’re open to receiving them, the more resilient you become.
When you can bow to your biggest challenges and express gratitude for having gone through them, you heal and become more resilient.
A quick gratitude boost: set your timer for 2 minutes, walk through your house or outside, and with each step say, “thank you, thank you, thank you.” When your timer dings, notice how you feel. Is there a renewed sense of joy and happiness?
#5 Ask For Opportunities and Show Up.
When you start consciously asking The Universe for opportunities to practice and grow your resilience, you will see wonders happen.
This connection is forged through prayer and meditation.
Once the message has been received, your job is to show up, implement what you’ve learned and take action to move forward.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
My movement is called Sparks of Consciousness.
My mission is to guide people out of their darkness and into the light of their life. To reconnect with their higher self and realize their purpose for being on this Earth.
If you want to align with this transformative movement, one of the most beneficial things you can do is start practicing 2–5 minutes of meditation each day.
If you need help with this, let me know.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
I would like to meet YOU, our reader. Everybody is a leader or a teacher. We all have stories to share and ways to support one another, and building community is our way forward.
Thank you for reading, listening and showing up in the world just as you are.
Blessings to you,
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I would love for you to be a part of my community.
You can connect with me Via:
Email: [email protected]
I also host a monthly workshop series called, “The Art of Living Your Dreams”. To learn more visit: https://www.sparksofconsciousness.com/workshop
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!