In December I had the pleasure of getting a sneak peek at Gabrielle Bernstein’s new book May Cause Miracles. The book is a 42-day fear cleanse and, as its subtitle notes, it’s a “Guidebook Of Subtle Shifts For Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness.”
I’ve been on a path of positive, radical change these last three years and I’ve come a long way in that time. I’ve recognized that happiness is indeed my choice, moment to moment. However, there are still areas in my life where fear has been holding me back and preventing me from living up to my fullest potential.
Gabrielle’s book has helped me look my fears in the eye and call them out for the insane illusions they are.
We have the power to exercise choice in any given situation. We can choose to perceive our life with fear or we can choose love. I choose love.
—Gabrielle Bernstein, May Cause Miracles
It Began with Sadness
I’ve been told I have an outstanding work ethic. What’s more, I always thought my work ethic would eventually help me get ahead in life. I thought that if I just worked hard enough, things would just… fall into place. They never did.
My whole life I suffered from a deep sense of sadness that had no identifiable source. I was constantly searching for external ways to find happiness. When I was a kid I tried changing schools. As a teenager, I had a hard time connecting with people and never felt like I fit in, or belonged. As an adult, I moved multiple times and tried multiple jobs, never finding satisfaction for very long.
Eventually, I got a prescription for Prozac and was resigned to the idea that I would probably need to take it for the rest of my life in order to manage my sadness.
It never once occurred to me that the key to the happiness I so desperately sought had been with me all along. I, obliviously, held that key for years.
Three years ago, I began to believe that there must be a better way.
My life probably looked pretty good to everyone on the outside. I was a successful small business owner with a great husband and two wonderful kids. What wasn’t to love about that picture-perfect situation? I should have been happy, but I wasn’t. I still suffered from incredible, inexplicable sadness.
I’ve heard people describe turning points in their lives where they are “cracked open” by a traumatic event or they “hit rock bottom”. There are moments in my life that stand out as milestones, but overall my process has been more of a slow awakening. An awakening to a knowing that has always been there, but I’d forgotten.
How Pilates and My Spiritual Awakening Traveled Together
I’m currently a professional movement and Pilates instructor and my path with movement and Pilates has mirrored my spiritual awakening. When I first began to experience my body through Pilates-based movement, I was completely out of touch with my physical senses.
When I went to class, I couldn’t feel the connections I heard the instructors talking about. I was unable to connect with the deepest muscles in my body—the ones that support my skeleton and carry me through the day.
I also had no idea that my spine was crooked as my coonhound’s hind leg. (I discovered later that I actually have scoliosis and I essentially “cured” it with Pilates and deep spiritual practice. Although my spine is still a bit crooked (you can’t really cure scoliosis) it’s much better aligned and no longer causes me pain, or bothers me like it used to. But that’s a whole other story for later!)
If I were to meet myself back then with what I know now about movement and posture, it would take me five seconds to identify the physical sources of the pain in my body just by looking at the way I stood and carried myself.
When you change your mind about your body, your body changes.
—Gabrielle Bernstein, May Cause Miracles
Body Image and How We Treat Ourselves
Week three in May Cause Miracles focuses on body image. Over time I’ve discovered that the body is a learning device that instructs us about our thoughts and how we treat ourselves. The exercises in week three took my understanding of this concept to a whole different level.
The exercises helped me see how an experience I had when I was fifteen was still controlling parts of my life today. This discovery allowed me to instantly shine light onto the situation and see how clearly I was allowing it to continue to affect me. This awareness allowed me to forgive the situation, including myself and those involved. My heart has been lighter ever since.
This journey has been a process. It hasn’t always been easy, but every single minute has been worth it. While some huge shifts happened rapidly for me, I didn’t get to a place of peace overnight. It’s an ongoing practice and I commit to it every single day.
Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real
I realized last year that my mission, my purpose on this planet, was to help others realize they also hold the key to happiness. With this realization came all kinds of fear. Fear of what others would think. Fear of not being good enough to help others discover their own light they hold within. Fear of people thinking I’m a New Age Holy Roller.
I’ve been holding back the desire to share the lessons I’ve learned using the storyboard of my life because of fear. I want to launch a new program that helps people on the physical and spiritual level and I’m really facing that fear now.
The tools I learned in May Cause Miracles have provided the catalyst for me to finally bust through my fears. This book takes the concepts of the metaphysical text A Course in Miracles and puts them into a format that is easy to understand and incorporate into daily life.
Now that I finally have this new piece of the puzzle in place, I can’t wait to share it with you!
Look out, 2013 may cause miracles!
See you in the studio,
Without your smile, the world cannot be saved.
—A Course In Miracles