Have you heard of this great little book called May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein? This book was recommended to me by my dear friend and mentor the incredible badass goddess Margie Pargie (hi Margie!). It’s a 40 day journey of rewiring your life to the miracle mindset. And listen, I know you may not be one of those people who’s into the hippie dippie spiritual grooviness that tends to accompany this type of thing. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. Even so, I think this book is beneficial for anyone of any faith or philosophical leanings. If you’re interested in learning how to be more positive and appreciative of the good things in life, then you can certainly get something out of this book. Sounds great, right?
But I do have to give you fair warning. Any type of deeply introspective work is going to shake you up.
We have this lil ol thing called an ego that is desperate to keep us confined in a headspace of fear and negative self-image. Throughout our lives we’ve built up these patterns of doubting our abilities and worth, comparing ourselves to others, feeling like nothing is going right, etc etc. These icky patterns are usually established early on (not to get all Freud on you) and they get stronger and stronger as we experience more of the ups and downs of life and the patterns have opportunities to reinforce themselves. Maybe your parents put a lot of pressure on you to succeed, maybe your teachers didn’t acknowledge your performance, or your friends trash talked you, or you were rejected by a love interest.
In any case, the roots of the ego are deep. Naturally, it can be excruciatingly difficult to try to change these old habitual thoughts and behaviors. That’s where exercises like the ones in May Cause Miracles come into play. Or any exercises that encourage you to look within, notice your patterns, and gently work toward building up your self-love and positivity. You don’t necessarily need a book or podcast or video to teach you how to do it, but for me (and my total lack of motivation and consistency with most things) it has been immensely helpful. I can get overwhelmed easily and get stuck in a rut when I can’t think of what to do next, so having some guidance and jumping off points provided by someone else is invaluable to me.
Anyways, as I was saying earlier, you may get rattled as you start trying to scrape away at this harmful gunk that has grown unchecked for decades. You are basically setting out to totally rewrite your internal dialogue with yourself and reframe your perception of your world. That is a lot to do. It’s downright exhausting. And sometimes that ugly mindset will dig its heels in to try and stay.
This exact thing happened to me when I was just three days into May Cause Miracles. It was so weird but once I realized what was happening, a lightbulb went off in my head and I just got it. So here’s how it all went down.
It was a dark and stormy night…just kidding, it was a normal hot as hell day in Florida. I started my morning in my meditation space (aka our spare bedroom) and sat down with May Cause Miracles. The day’s task was to choose a new perspective and the affirmation was “Love did not create this.” My goal was to remind myself that love did not create this fear/hesitation/negative self-image/doubt that I experience throughout the day. This affirmation encourages the development of a new, loving, positive perspective. Or so I thought. As my work morning went on, I became more and more stressed and anxious. Now I’m no stranger to anxiety (diagnosed in 2014 along with depression but that’s a whole other blog post), but I was totally mystified. Work wasn’t any more hectic than it normally was. I hadn’t dealt with any grumps. But my anxiety was through the roof. What the hell was this bullshark? I felt anxious, I repeated my affirmation that love did not create this anxiety, I felt even more anxious. It was a damn cycle.
It started to feel unbearable. My mind was racing and I couldn’t concentrate on my work, I was suddenly confused by very simple things. My brain felt like it was getting bigger and bigger (not in a good way) until it was smooshed up against my skull, about to burst through and make for an unfortunate clean-up situation at work. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. I was supposed to be all zen and chill and optimistic. What had I done wrong? Was I just not cut out for this lifestyle?
While all of this was whirling around inside my brain, a sudden moment of clarity broke through in the form of my cute little inner guide saying something along the lines of “Guess what, buddy, your ego is NOT a fan of you trying to join the love train. It’s throwing everything at you to keep you in trapped in its evil clutches!” Okay, maybe it didn’t come through quite that clearly, but I miraculously came to know this information. I knew that I had just accomplished something huge.
By recognizing that simple fact, I had reclaimed a big chunk of my personal power and dealt a serious blow to my nasty old ego. Yay! I really felt like I was making progress in my spiritual, mental, and emotional journey. Granted, the physical anxiety response took a little while to die down after my mind came to terms with this new cool realization, but man did I really feel at peace finally, for once.
I’ll be real with you, I can be a really skeptical person. Honestly, when I started May Cause Miracles, and getting interested in all this worldview shifting work in general, I wasn’t very optimistic that it would work out. I was sure it worked for other people. In fact, there are plenty of people in my own life that are deep into self-love, meditation, manifestation, positive thinking, and the whole nine yards. They had a peace that I desperately wanted. I just wasn’t sure if I was meant to have that peace (thanks ego).
But now I know, without a doubt, that I am just as capable of transforming my life into a beautiful expression of love and enjoying deep inner peace. That inexplicable moment of calm in the chaos of anxiety showed me that my old self is falling away and I’m building new patterns of positivity and trust in the universe and in myself. I feel like a freaking butterfly emerging from a cocoon.
Do you want to feel like a newborn (newhatched?) butterfly too? Don’t worry, my fellow skeptics, it’s possible for you, too! All you need to start with is the willingness to experience radical stuff, even if you’re not 100% sure it will work. If you have that ember within you, even if it’s teeny tiny, I promise you it’s enough. Tell me below about some ways that you notice your ego clamping down on you. How do you think you can reframe that negative ego talk into kindness and self-loving affirmations?