Former senator Alicia Barnes has written and self-published her first book,“Nuggets of Authenticity,” inspired by her “Celebrating the Authentic You” workshops developed to focus on personal reflection and growth.

Born and raised on St. Croix, Barnes held a number of significant positions in the Virgin Islands government and served as a member of the 33rd Legislature . She currently working in disaster recovery and development consulting.

For more than 19 years, Barnes has also conducted her own workshop, “Celebrating the Authentic You.”

“It’s a workshop that was designed to help women discover their sense of purpose and their sense of worth,” Barnes said. “It was a women’s empowerment workshop that I wrote just coming out of all of my experiences being in executive management in the public sector as a woman and all of the challenges that come with that. I recognized that a lot of women see other strong women as competition or as threats. I wanted to explain that we can complement each other and not compete, and we do so by finding our own unique purpose, sense of worth and value and developing that. The workshop was really designed for women to assess who they are, where they are and where they want to go.”

Barnes went on to modify the workshop for men, organizations and organizational boards that may have lost their sense of purpose and core values.

During a workshop in 2010, Ingrid Bough, one of Barnes’ sorority sisters, suggested that she consider taking the workshop’s concepts and putting them into a book that people could use as a guide as they went through the process with more time to reflect. Barnes created an outline and got the workshop copyrighted, but the project was put on hold indefinitely, though she continued offering workshops.

When the pandemic hit and the islands were placed on lockdown in March 2020, Barnes had time for a little self-reflection of her own.

“With all the down time and time to reflect, it just gave me time to revisit the outline and revisit the workshop, first for myself, and then I reached out to Ingrid and asked if she would be willing to assist me. She said ‘absolutely,’ because everyone is at a time of reflection and everyone is also just evaluating their mortality in terms of this pandemic,” Barnes said.

Bough, who had self-published herself, coached her through the process, and the book published in January 2021 through Outskirts Press.

The book is divided into “nuggets” of various precious metals such as gold, silver, palladium and platinum. The chapters explain the characteristic of each nugget and relates it back to the stages in our lives as we go through the discovery process.

“I think Governor Bryan said it best, that it’s digestible in terms of it’s a small book, but it’s not easy reading, because it causes you to reflect. You really need to read the book when you have time put in the work and read it with an open mind, be honest with yourself and do the work of introspection and reflection. It’s worth the work, but it’s not easy.”

Plans are underway to write a daily devotional, 365 days of authentic reflection, taking the concepts of the book and “doing it a nugget a day.”

“Nuggets of Authenticity” can be found at Undercover Books on St. Croix, 340 Bookstore on St. Thomas, online at Barnes and Noble and A Kindle version is also available.