Last week I was bopping around NYC, on my way to an amazing little conference (more on that later), and started to cross the cross-walk. Mid way through, I got hit with a funny feeling. That I had totally been there before.
I quickly looked around to double check the streets and restaurants…..yes? Yes. Whoa. This exact spot. This building. But, in what felt like forever ago .
In 2 seconds, I was back in October 25th, 2012.
I remember it well, because my heart was pounding and I felt those little pangs of nervousness as I scooted down the side of a massive auditorium, pretending to be looking for someone, and desperately for a aisle seat, not too close to the front. You know, just in case.
It was my first time NYC all alone. There for my very first “conference” as a new business owner, with huge eyes and open ears trying to take it all in.
And, yes, if you’re wondering– this is the same event I talked about this past February, in my series of building a rich business and a beautiful and inspiring life. But before you think you’ve heard this story— this one is way different.
I’ve actually never told it before.
It’s a subject and personal journey that I haven’t talked much about publicly, although it started the exact same weekend for me. I went in for business, and got schooled on life, kind of a thing.
And truthfully, I’ve been more than a little hesitant to share it (try like 5 years), because, well…this topic feels so deeply personal. And it can have a tendency to make other people shut down when you start talking about it.
And, fine. Yes. I’m afraid you’ll judge me, or label me. Or maybe stop reading this blog completely.
Honestly, I have all of those thoughts as I sit here.
But, if there is one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that we often judge and shut down the fastest to the things we most need to learn and hear and know in our own lives.
So, after 5 years of waiting, I’m gonna roll with it, just trusting that if it’s hits or resonates with even ONE of you, I will consider it so worth it. And if it annoys or bothers you, well then, even better maybe.
To me, the above little lesson, has been almost a consistent theme in my life: to learn to feel the uncomfortable things in life, and calmly lean right into it, instead of away. Because that’s where the juicy stuff and GROWTH lies.
With food. With your emotions. With people in your life. With topics. Everything.
I’m gonna go there.
So, just warning you today.
Because this isn’t a easy topic for me to talk about, but it’s HUGE. A game-changing piece, and a totally necessary piece in my mind, to living your life on fire, sharing your gifts with the world, and getting out of your head and therefore— out of your own way.
And I can’t help but think we all need a little bit more of that in our lives. A little more real talk and depth and truth, and our own stories of growth (even if it’s uncomfortable). Wait. Especially if it’s uncomfortable.
So, let’s get back to it.
It was October, 25th, 2012.
The day was important, because it was the first day that I had one of those clear moments of eeee, uncomfortable, yikes, no, nope, get me out of here, I don’t know what to do with that, etc.
And I had to sit there anyways, trapped in my middle seat. With nowhere to escape, no where to run, and nothing to distract myself with.
It was a moment, that although tiny– has changed so many things that came after it. And not just because it was a tangible moment of fear, but also because of the subject matter itself.
Let me explain:
The weekend had been filled with amazing moments and little light bulbs, business wise.
Inspiration to the max. A little fire under my butt to get going. There were amazing speakers on everything related to business: writing, content creation, social media, a business with soul, website stuff, video. And me: scribbling like crazy, for hours on end.
So much to learn.
Then, I remember glancing down at the schedule, and seeing yet another name I didn’t know. This one was going to be on meditation, and some more spiritual stuff. You know, some of that woo-woo stuff. Wait, what? At a so-called business weekend? Weird.
I remember almost going to the bathroom or to grab some more tea in the lobby, thinking that it might be a little too weird/out there for me. Aka, I didn’t know how to meditate, I didn’t do yoga, and I didn’t really feel all that connected or spiritual at the time.
But as I was mulling it over, the lights went dark.
There was no escaping now.
Beyonce came twinkling in over the speakers and out of nowhere this woman just kind of landed on stage, a tiny gorgeous little blonde with killer heals and skinny jeans, and a smile bigger than herself, as she danced around to the beat, totally comfortable and happy up there. Not an ounce of nervousness in a room of 500 people.
Like whoa. It was fierce girl power to the max, that you couldn’t help but be captivated by it.
And then, me:
Wait, isn’t this the spiritual talk? Where was drumbeat music? The long gray hair? The peaceful, starry-eyed, non-makeuped yogi, ready to lead us in a wild chant?
I can’t believe I’m telling you guys this. Those were for real, the thoughts in my head.
“Hey guys. I’m Gabby Bernstein. Welcome sisters (with a little shimmy shake to her shoulders). Let’s start with a little meditation. Close your eyes. And right now, let’s just let go of everything you think this is going to be”.
Dang it. How did she know?
Her heels made light little clicks as she moved across the stage. “You don’t need to know what you’re doing. This isn’t a performance. No one is watching you– you all have your eyes closed, remember? Ok, now, just relax”.
I don’t remember a whole lot of what happened next. Some music maybe, and her voice, soothing but confidently guiding us to get r-e-a-l-l-y honest, and really present.
To think about what got us here, sitting in these seats. And where we want to go. To dream big– what did that look like? And feel like? Soak it in.
And then– the next sentence– what was getting in the way of that?
Before I knew it, hot tears started streaming down my face like two crazy flooding rivers. I felt embarrassed for a second until I realized that everyone else was sniffling and discreetly trying to wipe their face too.
Oh, ok. This is normal I guess?
Great, she said. Now, I want you to write those things down:
What things do you do, thoughts that you think, or stories that you tell yourself, keep you stuck, playing small, or from taking the actions you really want to in your life?
It was a question I had never really thought about before. I prided myself on being a generally pretty positive person, with a pretty great life so far. But the words came, flowing fast and hot to my page.
Perfect, she said. Now read it out loud to the person sitting next to you.
I panicked. Nooooooooo. DON’T. I can’t. These things are really embarrassing and weird to share out loud. I looked around.
Every single person looked panicky, awkwardly glancing at the person next to them.
Exactly her point, as I can see now. And I started to realize:
So I guess we all do this to ourselves, to some capacity. No matter what we’re trying to create in this lifetime, we’re all human. And we all get in our own way- a lot.
we all do and say weird things to ourselves
we create wild stories or excuses
we convince ourselves that we’re not worthy or are un-deserving,
that we’re too old/too young/its not the right time,
too whatever enough,
that other people are better,
or tell ourselves that when (blah) (blah) (blah) happens, THEN and only then, we’ll be ready.
THEN you can deserve your dreams.
THEN you can take action.
And most of it– when we get honest, is stuff that 95 % of it, we make-up and that have no grounding in actual reality.
This was confirmed when I listened to people on either side of me, read their lists. Like ridiculous stuff that people were telling themselves. And putting words to them sort of left us all released and relieved.
And so much lighter.
Because, even weirder? For most of us, we don’t even realize this stuff is happening. It’s sub-conscious, and kinda deeper down inside our little hearts and souls. Hidden, unless we go find it and let it out in the open.
So we can be free and move about our own lives with more ease. And power.
Because, disturbing fact: if left to our own devices, we will naturally gear toward doubt, fear, lack, comparison, judgement, and we essentially create it for ourselves.
Back on stage, Gabby smiled. “This my friends, she said. This is meditation. It’s getting quiet enough to actually hear, acknowledge and listen to what’s coming up for you, seeing it for what it is, and then choosing to release it.”
And choose again.
It was the moment I fell in love with this woman. Because, hello. Right?
It was such a pivotal and necessary reminder to me, that we have a choice. We have a actual say, as to how our lives play out. That things don’t just happen to us, they happen FOR us, if we opt in to see if that way.
So, when I got home that next week, I made a commitment. To “meditate”. The Gabby way, I called it. Straightforward, and just by allowing myself to get totally real with myself and quiet.
Because, well. Why not? Back then, I needed all the extra power I could get. A new business, living back at home with my parents, fresh from a breakup, the whole thing. Give me all the juju please!
And so, it began.
My own spiritual path, of sorts.
Of learning to rise up and above.
In a very tangible way.
To feel the fear, but then not let it control me. To just release it and move forward.
Of reminding myself, over and over, to just choose again. And the freedom to keep doing that as many times as I needed to.
So that I could stop getting in my own way.
And learn to trust that voice and instinct that was much deeper down inside of me.
I’d wake up in the morning at my parents house, in my old bedroom, and wedge myself in between the only free space in the room, squished between all my boxes of belongings and the bed.
I’d cross my legs, open my laptop, and plug in my headphones.
I’d turn on one of her 5 minute meditations or videos, and just try my best to clear my head.
Failing miserably, half the time. Self-conscious about it, that I didn’t actually know what I was doing.
But, I kept doing it anyways, knowing that me being insecure about not nailing my meditation perfectly was a sign that I needed it, more than ever.
Which was exactly the point.
There’s no one right way to do it. All that matters is that you start to do it, in some capacity, in whatever way feels uplifting to you.
For some, it’s praying. Or time in a more organized kind of spiritual service. For others, its adding a little more intention in the last 5 minutes of yoga class as you lay there, instead of ticking off your to-do list.
The important thing is that you create space for it, because in that space, there is so much more wisdom and insight and TRUTH. And ultimately, guidance.
And MAGIC, with the things that come after.
I know, for one, that I wouldn’t be here today, without it. There is actually no possible way. And I mean that as it relates to every part of me: my work in this world with clients, running a business, my relationships, finding the love of my life, my outlook in general on life, the projects I get to create.
A L L of it.
It’s intentional. It’s been crafted with love. And is part of a much bigger perspective that has changed my life in huge, significant ways:
That we don’t have to do this alone (life).
And instead of feeling like you now have to add more to your plate/you don’t know what to do/how to start to get in on this goodness, try this one on for size:
What having a little spiritual practice means is actually just releasing blocks and fears that keep you stuck, and guide you back to good.
You’re off-loading, not adding.
Think of how juicy and freeing that could be.
So. Your assignment this week? Start somewhere. Anywhere. Feel a little uncomfortable, and then be ok with it. It’s worth it.
I of course, adore Gabby, and think she’s the perfect place to start for those who were like me– a little uncertain, and totally new at the game. So, maybe just get on her email list like I did back in the day, because the woman gives and serves like nobody’s business, every single week.
If you’re reading this now (in June), she even has a limited little video training series she’s doing just this month, that kills it, and is a great fun intro into this world of goodness. It’s so worth checking out, and dipping your toe in, in whatever way feels good to you.
Or, find someone, or something you resonate with, to learn from. And grow baby, grow.
And next week I’ll be back with PART 2 of this story. Because you’ve gotta know, this is only where the journey began for me. And 5 years in, there’s been a lot of whoas, a lot of wows, and whole lot of nuggets of wisdom along the way. So stay tuned.
And can I just say? Thank you for letting me share this. For so long, it’s felt like my little secret, or so private and personal to tell. But in the last year alone, I keep being reminded that that way of thinking helps approximately no one. So, what’s the point of that?
So, thank you for being here, for being a part of my journey, for sharing yours with me, and for taking the time and space to go a little deeper into this journey for a healthier and happier life. I adore you for it, and hope that you know that.