People need to start getting in touch with their spiritual side more often. Because sometimes, the path you’re on, even if it feels wrong, might be the path you’re meant to go. Your ancestors, God, or force are guiding you toward your path to success. Join Juliet Clark as she talks to a spiritual leader, author, and finance mentor, James Weeks. Learn more about his book, Meditations Across the King’s River: African-Inspired Wisdom for Life’s Journey. Discover James’ spiritual journey and why you should trust in God’s plan.
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Meditations Across The King’s River With James Weeks
We have one of our authors on this episode, but even more than having this author on to talk about his book, we have an opportunity with this book that I want to share with you guys. Before we get started, remember to go over and grab your free subscription to Breakthrough Author Magazine. You can find that at BreakthroughAuthorMagazine.com.
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Our guest is James Weeks. He is an internationally known spiritual leader, author, and finance mentor who has spoken at Harvard University and has been a guest on numerous radio and internet shows, including KPFA, Africa Today, KPOO, the Ibeji Lounge, and Ancestral Voices. He has been featured in MarketWatch, the Associated Press, and International Business Times.
He’s the producer of an upcoming documentary, Across the King’s River: Finding and Fulfilling Your Life’s Purpose. He is also a Babalawo, or priest in the Ifa spiritual tradition of West Africa, and helps clients with strategies for emotional, spiritual, and financial wellness. James is a native of St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and currently lives in Oakland, California, with his wife and youngest son. To learn more about what he does, visit AcrossTheKingsRiver.com.
This was an exciting opportunity to reproduce this book, and here’s why. His first publisher put him in a lot of general categories. We are republishing the book. What is exciting is understanding the categories and the BISAC codes involved here and asking Amazon for the creation of new codes. Unfortunately, until the summer of 2020, when BLM brought into awareness some of the Black issues and things like that, Amazon began to expand some of their categories to include Black categories. For us, this was an opportunity when we put this book in to go and ask them to create some new categories there that fit into Black literature. Stay tuned. Here’s our interview with James.
Welcome, James. I’m so glad to have you on the show. People are going to get a lot of good information from you.
Thank you for having me on your show. It’s an honor, and I’m excited to be here.
This is Black History Month, and this is the perfect book for Black History Month. It’s very spiritual. It’s a very deep book. How did you get into this spirituality where you went back to your African roots?
I always like to say this because it’s true that my son led me there. In around 2002, my son was going through a very rough time. At that time, he wanted to be a thug. I was working for Corporate America, The Clorox Company, and my wife was working as an editor at the time, but he started going down the wrong path. It was a very scary time.
During that time, I wanted to get help from my son, so I consulted a diviner, a shaman who was from Nigeria in town. He told me about my son, but he also told me about myself. He said I was meant to be a spiritual advisor or a diviner. I’m supposed to be guiding people spiritually. I started to look at my son as a messenger, not so much as a troublemaker.
I took my son with me to West Africa, and I decided, “If this is what my destiny is, if I’m going to be successful at this, I might as well explore this.” There are some things that he said that resonated with me, and so I went. I went to Africa, and they were able to help and transform my son over time. When I look at my son now, he’s a totally different person. He’s a father. He’s an amazing businessman, and I’m doing the work that they predicted I would be doing. That’s how I got in deeper into the spiritual side of it.
The book came about because, over the years, I’ve developed a big following on social media and people were copying and pasting some of the affirmations and inspirations I was sharing with them. They were making their own book. They would copy it, paste it, and stick it under mirrors, and so then they would ask me, “Do you have a book?” I’ll say, “I’ll give you a book.”
It’s almost accidental. When I got into this business, there was a, “I see this need, and I never intended to be here.” It sounds like you did the same thing.
Exactly because all of us, I feel, are on a spiritual journey. What I like to share about my journey is a lot of it looks haphazard or chaotic. It’s one thing leading to the next without rhyme or reason, but when you step back, you can see, “There was a reason.” There’s a bigger plot unfolding for our lives because we’re humans. We tend not to see it because we’re going through our ups and downs. We’re frustrated and feel stuck, but there’s a thread in all of our lives. As I look at my life, I see that a lot of things were planned a long time ago, and all of these things and all of these different stages in my life are connected. That’s what’s so beautiful about it.A lot of the different stages that happen in your life are planned and connected. Click To Tweet
It is, and I’ve related that in interviews before when I went from college to publishing to advertising to real estate, you would think, “What in the world am I doing? How is that all connected?” As a business owner now, I can see. From the publishing company, the advertising was learning marketing and platform building. Also, running my own real estate helped me with sales. Now, I had to do the accounting for my own company. I love that you said that because that’s how I felt for a very long time. There was this, “Why am I here, and why did I go over there? Am I on a path there?” Most people don’t evaluate it the way that you did. Now that I look back, I see the pieces fall into place for me.
For example, the work that I did in Corporate America is I worked for customer service. I did that for seventeen years. What was I doing? I was listening to consumers complain and ask questions all day long. That helped me in my job now as a spiritual counselor because what am I doing? I’m listening to people talk all day long, and I have to sit there and listen to what they’re saying. There are so many things.
In my mid-twenties in the Virgin Islands, where I’m from, I was working at a newspaper and writing. I was a reporter, but when I moved to the states and got started working with Corporate America, I never thought that side of myself would come back. I never thought that I would go back into writing. For many years, I didn’t feel called to write, but when this development happened in my life, there it was that these gifts from the past started playing a role again. I always say I feel that there’s nothing wasted as we look at our lives. I feel that God or our spirit guides, whatever term you want to use, are very resourceful and strategic. Nothing goes to waste. For some things that we have dropped, we’ll go back to the class and pick them up again.
In fact, it reminds me. One of our romance novelists said, “What did you think of my book?” I said, “Romance is not my genre.” I had that moment since I used to write mystery novels that I was like, “I’d rather kill somebody than kiss them.” We got a good laugh out of it, but it was one of those gifts because I’m a little bit of an investigator. That is more top of mind than going out and being a romance novelist.
You put together this big audience, and I have to tell you before we jump on that I was researching the first book that he put out, and he has 145 great reviews, which is astounding that you have that many. In this new book, which is a second edition of the old book, the first book you put out, you’re expanding your wisdom in it. What have you learned since your first book that you wanted to share with everybody?
There are so many different reasons why I’m doing this book. One of them was I discovered that I’m related to the great African-American actress Cicely Tyson. I didn’t know that before. Everything is in a spiritual way. I was mentoring someone on the East Coast in finance, and she was telling me, “I’m enjoying Cicely Tyson’s book. It’s such a great book.”
She then said something bizarre. She said, “I’m reading this book, and I’m this and that.” She said something like, “Maybe you all are related,” because she knows I’m from the islands. When she said that, it took me back to a childhood memory I had completely forgotten about where, “Did I hear my father say that once?” I’d completely forgotten about that. After I got off the phone with her, I said, “Let me find out where her parents are from.”
I googled where her parents are from, and they’re from the island of Nevis, which is where my grandparents are from, even though I grew up in St. Croix. I called my sister. I said, “Did dad ever say that? Do you remember dad saying that?” She said, “Yes, he did say that.” She told me that my aunt in New York always used to say that too. I called my aunt in New York. She said, “It’s true. She’s a distant cousin.” I then found out something else. In Cicely Tyson’s book, she mentions my great-aunt by name, Mrs. Weeks. What she did was when Cicely Tyson’s mom and her dad broke up, she helped them find a church.
There it was. Someone that I’ve never met, this woman from Haiti who I was talking to, said some random thing, and it sent me on this family journey. I wanted to share that as an example of how spirits communicate with us because I wasn’t thinking about this ever. I realized that this is part of the story of my family, and they wanted to share that with me so I could share that with my children. This is something that they’re proud of, but it is something that I would not have known.
Part of this story is how spirits communicate with all of us in different ways and how they attempt to reach us. There were other revisions to the book. I started going deeper into finance and found a spiritual side of finance that fascinates me about balance, patterns, how things ebb and flow even in the market, and how a lot of the principles of spirituality could help us navigate financial things if we had that spiritual understanding.A lot of the principles of spirituality can help you navigate financial things. Click To Tweet
I love that aspect of it with the finances. I’m not judging here, but you’d be amazed how many people will call me and say, “I’m an abundance coach, and this is what I’d like to do.” When I tell them a price, they’re like, “I don’t have any money.” It’s almost like they’re telling me they have their own work to do. It’s like someone trying to help someone else without doing the work themselves, if that makes sense.
It does, and it’s a big issue in our space. It’s a big issue in spiritual type spaces or life coach spaces where as you said, a lot of people haven’t done the work to that degree, or they haven’t lived in that experience, so then it becomes difficult for them to create that abundance for themselves and to help people in practical ways to create that abundance.
That is so very true. I find that when I talk to people on a regular basis about their books. I’m going to give you guys an awful example. Someone many years ago brought us a book on overcoming perfectionism, and on Rev 14, 15, 16, and 17 of the manuscript, my staff is screaming at me about she has not overcome her own perfection. A lot of times, the content we put out and the things we write are sometimes a reflection of what we’re learning in life or what we think we’ve learned that still needs to be perfected. Speak to that a little bit from a spiritual standpoint because spirituality is not something you wake up and have one day.
I tend to think of spirituality as a contribution that we all make to what spirituality is or maybe what God is. I think of it as maybe you bring the potato salad, someone else brings the chicken, or someone else brings the barbecue. We all bring something to this soup that we call spirituality, but for that to happen, we have to understand ourselves. We have to be willing to be ourselves. We have to find out what resonates with us.
I work with clients. One of the things I often try to get them to do is to find out what works for them and what’s speaking to them. Also, a lot of self-awareness and being willing to let go and understand that, “I feel like things that don’t go our way are often a blessing for us.” That’s what helps us develop our spiritual power. Over time, we start to see the blessings in it, and that’s where our gift comes out. If things go our way a lot of times, then that doesn’t happen. We don’t get a chance to develop spiritually.
That is so true. It’s about understanding and being able to see the patterns and acknowledging that, “This has happened before. Why didn’t I learn from it? Maybe now it’s time for me to take responsibility.” I see a lot in some of these younger, and maybe it comes with age, where it used to be when something bothered me, I would blame the other person. Now, I have to stop and say, “What was my part in this, and why did that trigger me? How do I get over that?” That is the hardest part of the lesson because that means I have to let go of something.
It’s about patterns and what we know of patterns that they tend to repeat themselves. I’ve become a trader of financial stuff since I first came out, but the reason why I’m mentioning that here now is because, as a trader, what we do is look for patterns in the financial market. That’s one of the things that we do. These patterns tend to repeat. If you understand where the pattern has been, then you can position yourself to potentially create more abundance. Everything is about patterns. A lot of spirituality is about patterns. In relationships, as you said, people tend to repeat patterns. If they were in an abusive relationship before, they tend to go back into another abusive hyper relationship.
Being a customer service rep was huge in letting you listen. I could imagine myself listening and doing some eye-rolling. Bless you for not eye-rolling and just listening. What I was going to say is, are you bold about saying, “Juliet, I’m hearing a pattern here. Are you hearing it?” Do you bring awareness to them about what you are hearing from your listening skills?
One of the things I like to do is I like to think, “What area of their life should they be focusing on at this point?” For example, sometimes someone might be focused on finances, their money. Maybe what it is they should be focused more on their relationships because if they’re in a toxic relationship, they’ll never be able to build wealth. Why? Because they’ll be too stressed out to take the steps they should be taking. It’s because so much of their lives and time is spent worrying about or stressing about a relationship that they’re in.
It could be that what they’re meant to learn at that point is self-love and not being in a relationship. Sometimes maybe they want to be in a relationship, but that’s not where their focus should be. It should be on filling themselves up with their own spirit so that they’re less dependent on looking for someone else to fill them up. Also, maybe what they should be working on is their emotional and mental health. That should be step number one. I always point out where their focus should be, what their primary focus should be on what their secondary focus should be.
One of the quotes we took from your book for the bestseller campaign was, “Give up the need to know how it will happen. Give up the need to know when it will happen and give up the need to control how it will happen. Leave such details in the hands of God and your ancestors.” That’s that letting go thing again, isn’t it?
It is. Going back to spirituality, regardless of what tradition one practices, when we step into spirituality, we’re stepping into something infinite. It’s an infinite tool and what God can do for our lives is infinite. It’s beyond our understanding. Here’s an example, and I don’t know if I mentioned this to you in detail. Back in November, things were a bit slow in my business. It was kind of trying, which is not unusual this time of the year. I was cleaning up my house because a client was coming over for a consultation, and I saw this envelope. It was from my bank, so I thought it was the bills saying I was behind on my mortgage again.When you step into spirituality, you're really stepping into something that's infinite. Click To Tweet
It was a cashier’s check for $16,000. The letter said, “We did a review of your account, and we saw that some payments were misapplied.” I have no idea what they’re talking about. They said, “If you have any questions or concerns, call us.” I didn’t have any questions or concerns. I deposited the check but my point in saying that I had no idea that I’ll be getting $16,000 at this time of the year just like that which is what helped me pay off the balance so that I could do the book this 2022.
Prior to then, I was thinking, “I’ll be able to work on moving the book forward in 2023, but not this 2022.” Did I know that some checks would be coming in the mail for $16,000? No. Saying that, there’s a plan for all of us. I feel God has a plan for all of us. It’s limitless in terms of what could happen for us and how it could happen.
An ordinary mindset might have said, “Look for some other job, get a loan, or whatever,” but here it is. A check came in the mail out of the blue unexpectedly. In my tradition, sixteen is a sacred number anyway. It lets me know that, “This is a message from my ancestors to keep trusting and do the work that I’ve been called to do.”
Learning to trust is probably one of the hardest things you can do. Especially, I’m a type A personality. For me, this was a journey to be like, “Whatever’s going to happen is going to happen. I’m going to move on with my day.” Learning how to do that was a real change for me. It was scary at first, but now I do it all the time.
It’s hard because you live in a society that’s type A-driven in a sense. A lot of us are trained to be control freaks, and we’re trained to think we need to have all the answers. We need to have it all figured out. We need to be planning every single aspect of our lives, which we can’t do anyway. The beauty of adversity is that it helps us disrupt. It comes as a blessing sometimes to disrupt our plan so that this greater plan can unfold and become clear to us over time over time.
Do you feel that most people have to hit rock bottom with a situation before they find it? I feel that way, too, about it.
If someone asked me that question, I wouldn’t say that necessarily that they have to hit rock bottom. Let’s say they didn’t hit rock bottom. They weren’t necessarily at rock bottom. Something would still happen on their journey that would become a catalyst for them. They could be doing well and not be at rock bottom. They could be happy in a relationship, and things are moving, and then they meet this other person. This other person realizes their soulmate, but they aren’t at rock bottom.
Now, this soulmate starts to make them question everything that they thought was their life for the last 10 or 15 years or whatever. As we go along, either way, something will happen that will trigger us to grow in a different way. For some people, it’s rock bottom, or maybe for a lot of people, but as I said, for example, as I look back at my son when he was going to, we were always supportive parents.
When this thing happened when he wanted to be a thug, it was out of the blue. “How could you want to be a thug? Didn’t you have horseback riding lessons? Didn’t you come with me for flying lessons? Didn’t we take you to all these museums? How could you possibly want to be a thug?” but he did. That was where he was going, but his wanting to be a thug has turned out to be a blessing for me. Not just for me but for other people because it helped me to bring more spirituality into the world, which was part of my purpose.
I had much of the same thing. I had a period I went through. My whole original family died in seven years. Suddenly, I was on my own, and it was like, “I don’t have a family with expectations. Now, I can be what I want to be,” which it shouldn’t have taken that to make that happen in many ways. A lot of times, there is a catalyst that comes along that does push that. I’m so shocked that your son wanted to be a thug. I thought that happened with kids that didn’t have a close family unit. I can tell you guys are a good family unit.
That was surprising because he had “everything.” Every summer, I would often take him back to where I’m from in St. Croix, Virgin Islands. He had loving grandparents. He had all these elements in his life, but still, he had that need where at that time, he wanted to act out. He wanted something else.
The book is coming out. It’s called Meditations Across the King’s River: African-Inspired Wisdom for Life’s Journey. The new release for the updated version will be out on February 7, 2023. This comes out on January 31st, 2023, I believe. Get out there and buy it in pre-sale. We need 200 reviews this time. How does that sound, James?
It sounds great.
Thank you so much for being on. I appreciate it.
Thank you so much for having me.
- Meditations Across the King’s River: African-Inspired Wisdom for Life’s Journey