First book: Author of the book Sharon Beepath You Can Shine Brighter and Better than I. —Photos: Verdel Bishop

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‘You can shine brighter’

from diary to debut book

By Essiba Small essiba.small@trinidadexpress.com

Living in Chicago Illinois, USA, for over 16 years with her husband Harry and two children Rabina and Akshay, Sharon Beepath grew concerned about the influence the western world would have on her daughter and elder child Rabina. She wanted that the young woman be well rounded and remain true to her spiritual teachings and traditions even into adulthood.
When Rabina turned seven, Beepath started a diary in which she wrote letters to her daughter on wide ranging topics that mothers and daughters usually talk about including teenage years and sexuality, your true Friends, managing feminine cycles, the knots and bolts of married life along with the spiritual and empowering like reincarnation and personality, guru is more than the physical and leading by example.
In her letter to Rabina on the topic of a romantic relationship she advises her daughter to “explain to the (person who is interested) the principle of abstaining from becoming sexually engaged and from indulging in unhealthy habits such as drugs, alcohol and non-vegetarian (vegan) life.
“If this is not the person who will stay in your life, then he will move on, and so will you.”
In the part telling of Think Critically – Don’t Criticise, Beepath encourages her daughter to put herself in other people’s shoes and try to understand how they see and experience things.
“Open your mind to seeing things from their view even if you decide to hold on to your own.”
Beepath also apologises to her daughter for falling short as a parent at times.
“I wrote these letters so that my daughter would have a guide for living; in case I am not around to explain certain things to her as a mother.
The Beepaths are Kabir Panths and follow the teachings of 14th century Indian saint and poet Kabir Saheb. It was important for Beepath to remind her daughter about these teachings so she included some of the nuggets of Kabir at the end of some of the letters she wrote.
Beepath’s diary of letters evolved into the book You Can Shine Brighter and Better than I after she presented the diary to Rabina on her 16th birthday and from watching her daughter’s constant referral to the book over time.
“I started writing the diary when she was seven years old. As she grew and issues came up, I added topics. Rabina knew her mother was writing letters to her and was understandably excited to finally lay her eyes on it when she was presented with the diary on her 16th birthday.
Rabina’s father Harry shared that his first-born is an independent young lady who was touched by her mother’s dedication to her.
“I can tell you that she was full of pride that her mother did this.”
Beepath said, her daughter goes to the book whenever she is confronted with any life issue.
“Recently she had an issue with a friend at school. Instead of coming to me to talk about it, she went to the book to see if she was on the right track.”
You can Shine Brighter, Beepath said, is for all daughters since they all go through the same things. It’s also a book for fathers who are raising daughters alone .
A first time author and psychotherapist with a private practice in Chaguanas, Beepath admits that she was nervous for the book to be published, never mind the response by friends to the manuscript was favourable.
“One friend of mine told me she just couldn’t stop reading to the end, even though she planned to read one chapter at a time.”
Beepath was further encouraged by those who turned out for her book launch of her book last month and the support from her family.
“This book was really a family project, “Everyone got involved.”
“My sister Sharmin Dookram helped me at every step, encouraging me to keep working at it.
“My husband, son and daughter put up with the many extended after hours to make sure I got this project completed.
“I cannot forget the life lessons and consistent love and support from my parents, Dr Deochan Dass and Hashumina Dass without whose many acts of selfless love and guidance I would have been a lost ship at sea.”
Beepath is currently working on part two of her book, this time one dedicated to her son Akshay who is now ten years old. She is also working on a book of poetry and another of short stories called Dayaa, which is based on the teachings of Kabir. She hopes to publish both soon.
To young daughters Beepath had this advice: “Be true to yourself and dont forget to laugh at life. Live, love and forgive and help someone when you can.”

You Can Shine Brighter and Better is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
You can find Beepath at her blog 16and1.blogspot.com
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