Gabrielle Bernstein is a motivational speaker, life coach, and author. In 2008 she founded HerFuture.com, a social networking and mentoring website for women. Bernstein has written three books: Add More ~ing to Your Life – A hip guide to happiness, her second book, Spirit Junkie – A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles and this month, April 2014, Gabrielle launches her new book, Miracles Now.
We recently spoke with Gabrielle about her beautiful book “Miracles Now”.
Interview with Gabrielle Bernstein
Dirk Terpstra: You started your own business at 21 and hit rock bottom, mentally and physically at 25. How did this happen?
Gabrielle Bernstein: When we are not feeling connected to the world and we’re not feeling connected to our higher purpose, then we look for purpose and happiness outside of ourselves and in many cases, particularly with people who have more of an addictive personality, it can be really escalating to the point of abuse and in some cases death. In my case I was really on the search, trying to fill myself up and I was led to drugs and alcohol that was a huge part of my lifestyle because of the type of work I was doing in public relations for nightclubs, but I also just wanted to numb out and feel a connection.
When I look back I can’t even believe how I got there, how it got so bad, but it was part of God’s plan for me, I know that and it was a big blessing. I was addicted to cocaine and alcohol and I hit the bottom on my own without someone pushing me and on October 2nd of 2005 I prayed for a miracle and I experienced a great spiritual intervention where I heard spirit say: “Get clean and you will live a life beyond your wildest dreams”. I listened and it has been nine years of recovery and being on a spiritual path and like most people, I am sure just like yourself, when you get on a path you feel called to teach and share. So that was the call for me and it was very loud. In my early recovery I started mentoring, coaching and lecturing and this led into the career path that I am on today which is nine years of being a spiritual teacher.
Dirk: So you realized you weren’t on the right path – how did you make the choice to choose differently?
Gabrielle: If you want to get there, you get there. The first lesson of Miracles Now is “Happiness is a choice I make” and so if you make that choice, then you’re given all the resources that you need. That is when you find the workshops, the mentors and guides and that begins to happen very rapidly when you start to make those spiritual commitments to yourself and to the world.
Dirk: I just finished reading your beautiful book Miracles Now – 108 Life changing Tools for less stress, more flow, and finding your true purpose. For those who have never been introduced to yoga or meditation, your teachings might come across as a bit overwhelming, because this is stuff we often simply don’t grow up with. What would you tell those people?
Gabrielle: I think that if anyone finds this type of work or may have been guided to a book like mine or to an interview like this then there is something within them that is calling them to know more and I would encourage them to trust that voice and trust that guidance and know that they are being led and that in the presence of that guidance they receive all that they need. Trust that they will be guided to the teachers that they resonate with most, so if there is a new conversation and they do find this interview then that is exactly where they are meant to be. Even if it doesn’t all make sense all at once, they can pick up on what they resonate with and then leave the rest behind until that does catch up with them.
It is my intention in my work to really be a translator and just reinterpret very beautiful, spiritual principles in a way that is very easy for people to digest, hence the simplicity of my new book. I am very happy that you liked my new book, but it’s not just for you. The main reader is actually not you. The main reader is the person who is not on the spiritual path, that really needs that book to wake up and to accept what they are here to do and they are here to be and learn how to reorganize their energy and their belief system.
For people on the path, they can use it absolutely and enjoy it and it will be a great resource but the intention here is to really wake up the people who are not on that path yet or who are embarking on their path now.
Gabrielle: “A Miracle is a shift in perception.”
Dirk: How would you describe a miracle?
Gabrielle: A miracle is much simpler than we make it. A miracle in my teachings means ‘a shift in perception’. A miracle occurs when we forgive, when we sit in stillness and listen to the voice of our inner guidance system. A miracle occurs when we choose to let go and surrender. A miracle also occurs in that decision and reorganization of our energy, that is the miracle. The miracle isn’t necessarily that the money comes in right when you want it or the cancer goes away right when you think it should, the miracle is that you are at peace with whatever the circumstances.
Dirk: How can we combine our busy lifestyle and expectations from others with living a more peaceful and mindful life? Let’s be honest, most of us are craving for that but simply don’t know how to manage it.
Gabrielle: Well, that is the point of this book, so you kind of nailed it. The point of this book is to give people the resources to turn to a moment-to-moment basis because we have a million things that take us out and disconnect us and align us with something negative and our job is to use our tools to reorganize and come back and reconnect that place of peace and centre.
Right now most people live in the darkness and have fleeting moments of light. My hope is that this book helps people live in the light and just have fleeting moments of darkness. The intention here is that they just start to use the tools and they build their own toolbox so that they can call on these tools in any given moment so that they can have that experience of a miracle. As we begin to add up those miracles is when we start to live a miraculous life. This book helps in the reprogramming and retraining of your energy system, your belief system and your nervous system so that you can start to have more flow in your life and the tools are meant to be used daily. Multiple tools can be used daily and the tools are meant to be shared.
Dirk: In your book you talk about Being Love and Sharing Love. What does Love mean to you?
Gabrielle: It is like with God. Love is energy. Love is God. Love is who we are. Being in alignment with the presence of peace and love and interconnectedness and oneness is the truth of who we are, but everything that we have known and been taught has taken us away and separated us from that connection to love. Every moment is a disconnect from love, so our work is once again to start to do whatever we can do to bring us back in alignment with the energy and that presence of love and truth. The goal here is to just keep coming back, keep coming back.
Dirk: In technique #29 you write about “You are not your habits”. How do you determine for yourself whether or not a habit is good for you?
Gabrielle: That is a nice question. You have got to be honest with yourself and everyone is different. Someone like myself who tends to lead more into addictive behavior, I work really well with abstinence and I can see when a habit becomes an addiction. You have to decide for yourself “Am I relying on this? Am I powerless over it?” It’s like in the “twelve steps” they say “am I powerless over this or is my life unmanageable because of this habit?” If you notice one of those two things then it is likely a habit that has gone in the wrong direction and is leading into addiction. If it’s not unmanageable and you can go without that coffee one day, you’re okay. You can have coffee in your life [laughing now]. I think it really depends on your own personal wellbeing.
Dirk: When you talk about God, what do you exactly mean by that? Do you believe in a religious God or something different?
Gabrielle: Everything I teach is non-denominational and so God is not a religious term for me. God is a spiritual term. God for me means the ever present energy of the Universe, the energy that we are, the energy that is around us, the energy that supports us and guides us and the energy we all have access to when we choose to tap into it and consciously vibrate with it. I can use the word God interchangeably with the word Spirit, Guide, Energy or the word Universe. I actually don’t get too caught up in semantics. I prefer to just talk about it as a presence that we are and that when we get out of alignment with it is when our life falls off course and when we are in alignment with the energy of God, we are living on purpose and connected and happy and healthy and holy.
Dirk: Personally, I loved reading about Handling your fears (#41) because I believe that many interactions in our society are based on fear. You talk about living through tragedies and how we are trying to hide from it, but how do we recognize our smaller fears in our day-to-day lives, because these are the fears that often paralyze the person who we truly are.
Gabrielle: There are a lot of lessons in the book that help you become the witness of your fear and in the experience of witnessing your fear you can start to make the commitment to try to shift out of it or try to meditate through it. When we are not witnessing the fear we get stuck in the fear and we believe we are the fear and so a lot of lessons throughout the book are really just about becoming that non-judgmental witness of the fear so that you can see it not as you but as something outside of you.
Dirk: Somewhere in your book you write about “Breathing like a dog and boost your immune system”. It was too funny and I should have realized the impact before I started trying this because I made a complete fool of myself. Can you elaborate on this technique?
Gabrielle: This is a kundalini meditation that was taught by yogi Bhajan and the concept is when you breathe like a dog your energy starts to reorganize. All of the Kundalini meditations are about balancing the glandular system so that the pineal gland, which regulates our entire glandular system, can be balanced. That is the message in this meditation, that it is balancing the pineal gland. It is funny but it really works. So if you have a weak immune system for example, it is a really good thing to do this when you are getting on an airplane or doing something that might weaken you.
Dirk: Can you share with us an example of a profound miracle that happened in your personal life?
Gabrielle: I experience miracles every day. Something as simple as the miracle of forgiving someone, letting a grievance go or something greater like being sober nine years, the miracle of releasing an addiction. I’ve been off sugar for 130 days – that is a miracle. The miracle of letting go and releasing. I am now in the middle of launching the book and it is a miracle that I am released to the outcome. That is a miracle.
For more information, please visit Gabrielle’s website: gabbyb.tv
INTERVIEW BY: DIRK TERPSTRA – SOUL LOVE FOUNDER