“Manifesting the life you want”.
They were all things I used to roll my eyes at.
I knew about visualization — you know, the kind they teach you in high school sports growing up, about closing your eyes and imagining sinking the tennis ball into the winning shot of the game, over and over. I thought it was probably the same kind of thing: something that took a lot of time to do, with questionable results.
I thought that manifesting was maybe saying those cheesy affirmation lines you’d see on posters at the dentist’s office– of everything in a overly positive, pollyana-like light. Or imagining a million dollars landing in your bank, while you sat on the beach. Like you just sit back and think good thoughts and that they would magically appear? Hmm. Doubtful.
It’s not like I was anti-self growth or anything. But if you would have asked me 10 years ago, I was more into good old fashioned goal setting. You know, SMART ones, like they teach you in school (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely). (And yes, I did just have to google that). It was more logical, more realistic seeming to me. And based on the timeless principle that more efforting = more results. That you just had to work hard and harder to get where and what you wanted in life. Everyone knows that.
It just wasn’t for me.
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.
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.
So for me, this was one of those things.
It’s true, I didn’t need any of it.
Until….. I started a business that is.
And like anyone else who’s ever had a big dream, that has either tried to or has successfully started one doing what they love, one thing is for certain: it’s all up to you. You’re the one calling the shots. You’re the one setting your hours. You’re the one that if you don’t work, you’re not making money.
No one is telling you what to do, there is no set path to follow, and there are no limits on what you can accomplish.
Which is thrilling, really.
But after the initial flurry of adrenaline that every business owner gets when they’re in startup mode (usually anytime from the first 3 months to the first year of business), you also start to notice something else: when you have no ceiling on what you can do or create, you start to realize all the ceilings we create in our own minds.
Because truth be told: there is nothing more vulnerable that starting a business— or creating anything based on something you love (whether that’s a blog, writing a book, creating music, art, etc). The very act alone, calls into question every part of yourself, no matter how confident you are. In the quiet moments, the doubts arise. The fear creeps it’s way in. The voices of I’m not good enough, I’m not old enough, I’m not young enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not experienced enough, who am I to do this, who really wants to read/listen/watch what I’m putting out there…. well, all of those can and do sneak in, sometimes when you least expect it.
All of it is normal. Which I didn’t know. I thought it was just me.
Now, it’s something I always tell my business coaching girls: that your mindset & head-talk is like 90% of being a successful entrepreneur. It’s in the long game, not something that happens overnight. And in the women I help with getting a better relationship to food, the same is actually true. It’s SO MUCH a part of the game, no matter what you are trying to rise up and above in life. Your mindset, and the voices you allow airtime in your head can be the make-it or break-it things between long term success, or the thing that stops you before you even truly start.
So much of living your life on fire, living your best and healthiest life, sharing your gifts with the world is about getting out of your head and therefore-— out of your own way.
And, you can ignore it for a while. I sure did.
But sooner or later, if wild success is something you want (in any area of life), mastering your mind is a huge piece of the puzzle. It’s a super-power to be harnessed instead of afraid of. That those thoughts that bring you down, can also be turned around to create such a different experience. And such different results.
And you need both sides: “mindset” as in the actual factual thoughts in your head. What you allow, and what you don’t. But it’s more than just tempering down negative thought patterns. It’s also the flip side: about allowing your brain to also open up, to dream big, and to release a lot of limits we all put on ourselves without knowing it. This is the manifesting part, that I never understood.
Until I realized how much I was holding back in my business, especially, because of it.
So today, I wanted to talk more about both of these things, because they’re the starting point to conversations that are so much bigger. About your purpose here on earth. All about faith. Our beliefs. Spirituality. God. The Universe. Manifesting. Trusting. Creating. And being led and guided in your life.
All of which have been massive parts of my own story, and getting out of my own way.
Nowadays, both of these practices are almost daily habits for me, and what I attribute so much of my success to – in business, in life and in my big dreams too. It’s something I’ve shared little peeks of, here and there as I talk about my morning rituals, weekly rituals, seasonal rituals & yearly ones, and is always something that I get asked all the time if I can talk about more.
Because it didn’t start like that, as you can imagine. It’s been a long process of finding what works and resonates, and what doesn’t. Which I think is true for anyone.
So lets start at the beginning, because if you’re new to this world, it can feel weird. And kind of overwhelming. And like you don’t know what you’re doing, or if you’re doing it right. But seriously, that is all normal. Par for the course. And is actually the whole point, and first lesson in this realm: when things get uncomfortable, don’t run away. Dig in. It’s a sign there’s more goodness there.
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, for those of you that resonate with ever feeling a little bit stuck, blocking yourself from success or being truly aligned (in any area of your life), dimming your light, or playing small.
Well, my friend. Than this one is for you.
My first experience with meditation & manifesting was when I least expected it: at a business conference. Hint #1 that the two are so closely tied, although I didn’t connect it at the time. It was like a sneak attack. Beyonce was playing on the speakers and this cute tiny little blonde walked out on stage.
“Hey guys. I’m Gabby Bernstein“. Alright, let’s start today, with a little meditation, shall we? Close your eyes. Right now, let’s just let go of everything you think this is going to be”.
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? Side note: I can’t believe I’m telling you guys this. Those were for real, the thoughts in my head.
I closed my eyes, but kept one slightly cracked open at first because I wanted to watch, before quickly, closing it because well- I was there. What did I have to lose by trying?
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 with our inner souls. 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 these 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 that list out loud to the person sitting next to you.
I panicked. Nooooooooo. OMG, DON’T. I can’t. These are SO freaking 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 all dim our own lights out of fear of what will happen if we shine big & bright
we convince ourselves that we’re not worthy or are un-deserving,
that its not the right time,
we’re 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 (me especially in that moment), we don’t even realize this stuff is happening. I truly-to my core—thought everything was going awesome. But I guess, it was much deeper: on a sub-conscious level, 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 all meditation is. 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.
Hmm. It actually made sense.
It all sounded so simple. I had never really thought of meditation like that– I thought about it like a yoga/trance/trying to think of nothing, kind of a thing.
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 start to “meditate” like Gabby has done with us: straightforward, nothing weird, and just by allowing myself to get totally real with myself and quiet. And see what came up in the voices in my head.
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!
So, I started. As awkward and weird as it felt to do, I knew there was something there that could help me navigate my day and decisions better. To not have to rely on my own energy and motivation alone. 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 on spotify or videos on youtube, 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. Or a guided meditation on one of the hundreds of apps out there. For others it’s journaling. 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.
And so, it began.
My own spiritual path, of sorts. Although I didn’t know it at the time.
Of learning to rise up and above.
Of learning the thoughts that were playing background music in my head, even when I didn’t know it.
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. All the fear and littleness and blocking myself– ok, what can I do to NOT let that play into my day? What thoughts or reminders do I need today, so that doesn’t get the best of me?
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 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 have done almost every program and retreat she’s done up till this point, and think she’s the perfect place to start for those who were like me– a little uncertain, and totally new at the game, and needing someone you feel like you can relate to. Now I’d be all about the drum circles and chanting, but back then? NO WAY.
If you’re reading this now (in June), she even has a limited little video training series she’s doing just this month on owning your confidence and getting rid of self doubt, 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.
But the point is: find someone, or something you resonate with, to learn from. It doesn’t matter as long as you just start– I truly believe you get guided and led from one thing to the next with this kind of stuff. So, just start. Because it’s time to grow baby, grow.
And next week I’ll be back with PART 2. Because you’ve gotta know, this is only where the journey began for me. There have been so many great teachers, experiences, and so many different things and rituals I’ve experimented with to find what works for me. All of which I’m happy to share for those that are curious.
Photos by Carina Skrobecki, Talitha Bullock (and me).
I loved reading this, Sarah! I’m really getting into meditation and can’t wait to check out Gabby’s link you provided.
Shawnna Stiver says
Where can I find Part 2 to this whole thing? I’m really interested in knowing more about your rituals that you really liked and that have worked for you. Thanks!
I really love what you wrote about vulnerability when you create something. Oh my gosh, yes, I am feeling that so much now as I’m starting a blog and thinking up a business dream. It’s scary to put yourself out there to be judged. I’m definitely pinning this to read again, and again. Thank you for sharing so much! I have been inspired by you so much.