On Sunday of the 2nd annual Emerging Women Live conference “Changing the World Through Feminine Leadership and Entrepreneurship,” in New York City, Gabrielle Bernstein, New York Times bestselling author of “May Cause Miracles” and “Miracles Now,” took the stage to discuss the power of our presence.
Bernstein shared how she was once running a PR company and on the outside it looked like she had all she desired to be successful and happy — but on the inside her world was falling apart. She was addicted to drugs and alcohol, and when she woke up at 25 years old in a stranger’s apartment not knowing where she was or how she got there, she realized she needed to change.
She went home, opened her journal and wrote — “there has to be a better way.” She then heard the voice of her intuition for the first time — an inner voice — tell her to “get clean and you will live a life beyond your wildest dreams.” She realized she needed to stop looking outside herself for what she already had within her.
“I got clean. I found a recovery group, and immediately spun back into this childlike faith I had forgotten,” she shared with the audience. “Within a month I was guided to a beautiful mentor in my recovery group who said, ‘I have a book for you.’ She handed me Marianne Williamson’s ‘A Return to Love,’ which is basically the cliff notes for a metaphysical book ‘A Course in Miracles.’ I read the entire book in one night.”
Bernstein decided to become a student of “A Course in Miracles” and began doing the workbook. The Course teaches that “through the experience of forgiveness we reorganize our beliefs systems and shift to love…the moment we choose again, to forgive, to see as situation with a loving lens instead of a fearful lens,” is when miracles occur, she said.
She shared five principles with the audience that she has been using to change her perceptions and shift from fear to love for the past nine years. These include:
1. Become the Non-Judgmental Witness of Your Fear — She asked the audience to be willing to take a fearless inventory of what is going on in their lives and take full ownership of what it means to be in negativity and fear. “Yes I am an addict I’m not stepping into my power. I’m talking a lot of shit about people. I am stuck in fear. I am stuck in a bad relationship,” she said. “But in a non judgmental way so you don’t get stuck in fear. Get brutally honest with yourself and your notebook. What is it that you want to transform?” It’s about owning if you are not showing up for your husband, business, etc. and accepting where you are first.
2. Invite In a Higher Power — She shared a line from the Course that says: The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are relying on your own strength. “How are you blocking and controlling the natural flow of your life by relying on your own strength, and how do you get to a place where you can start to redirect?” she asked, explaining we can all tap into a higher presence, whether we call it God, inspiration, energy or the Universe. She shared a daily prayer she uses every morning directly from the Course: “Where would you have me go, what would you have me do, what would you have me say and to whom?”
She also urged the audience to take up a meditation practice, as she has found it to be the most important tool she has in her life. “What I find to be most important to me in my life, more than husband, work, family and friends, is the time I spend on my meditation pillow,” she said. “My meditation has offered me everything. Why I’m standing here today, why I’m a New York Times bestselling author, why I have a healthy relationship, why I have a healthy body, and why I can live in this city [New York]. Do you want to go big in your life? My answer is meditate.”
3. Measure Your Success By How Much Fun You Are Having — “Joy is your responsibility,” she said. “We need to elevate joy in our own lives. If you are feeling powerless, lean toward joy . . . release the littleness, the story of ‘I’m not where I want to be yet,’ or ‘my guy sucks’ and say I’m going to show up.’”
4. Our presence is Our Power — It’s not how well we are dressed or what it says on our business card or even what we say or do for a living — our power is how we be, said Bernstein. “Have you even been in the presence of someone who is really embodying who they are? You feel good. Because you can recognize yourself,” she said. “ In every given situation, if you are leaning toward joy, you will be guided to show up, and you will be guided to your power and to be.”
5. Be the Light — “In any given moment we have the capacity to show up with our darkness or we can be the light,” she explained. “Any given moment offers the opportunity to show back up, to choose again. You can smother the darkness and dissolve all boundaries with love. Take ownership and bring the light.”
As a result of practicing these principles, Bernstein said she truly has created a life far beyond her wildest dreams and just celebrated nine years of recovery and one year of marriage. She also shared a mantra mediation for people to use to bring them out of negativity. It is “Ek Ong Kar Sat Gur Prasad,” and the music she played was from “Meditations for Transformation: The Expansive Spirit,” by Jai-Jagdesh.”
Read Part 1 with Kris Carr on Resilience
Read Part 2 with Sera Beak on Unleashing Your Soul’s Voice
Read Part 4 with Danielle LaPorte