Gabrielle Bernstein Shares How To Find Balance In A Busy World
In a non-stop world of overwhelming demands, finding balance can sometimes seem impossible. Writer and speaker Gabrielle Bernstein is on a mission to change that. She's helped readers around the world tap into a greater sense of mindfulness, and her latest book, The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear To Faith, is all about strengthening your connection to joy and tossing fear out the window. In a conversation with SELF.com, Bernstein offered up some of her best advice for finding your center in a chaotic world.
How do you find balance in your busy life, and how would you advise other women to do the same?
The first thing I would share is having a meditation practice. I know that's hard for people to consider at first, but I really believe—and I can swear by this—that even five to ten minutes in the morning can change everything about the rest of your day. Sometimes having balance requires that you be in a centered place, and maintaining that balance requires that you set yourself up to win from the onset of the day.
For me, I know that if I haven't gotten that meditation in in the morning, things feel off balance all day until I can actually take the time to sit down. So make sure that there's some time that you have to tune in. I always say that you can speed up by slowing down. So when you have that tune-in time, whether it be a meditation, or whether it be doing something early in the morning to ground yourself before you start your day, then you're much more likely to feel balance throughout the day.
If someone's never meditated before, what should they know about getting started?
A really simple meditation to get somebody started would just be breathing in for five seconds, holding their breath for five seconds, and releasing it for five seconds. In for five, hold for five, out for five. Just doing that for two minutes is the beginning of a meditation practice.
What advice do you have for women who are struggling with burnout and feeling like they just can't fit everything in?
A practical response would be organization. Sort of compartmentalizing and deciding what you have to take off or take away so that you can step into what you want to be. That's something I often have to ask myself—what do I have to remove so that I can step into who I want to be? So there may be some things that you have to let go of in order to create space for something else, and burnout often happens when we try to do it all.
I think I heard Arianna Huffington say, "you can have it all, just not at the same time." There's something kind of awesome about that concept. You don't have to say no to your dreams, but just knowing when the right time is and accepting that doing it all at once will not create the space for you to necessarily do it at all.
Something you mention a lot in your writing is the concept of syncrhonicity. Can you share a bit more about that?
The more that you tune in—I keep using that phrase, 'tune in'—but the more that you calm yourself and still your mind, the more that intuitive nature within you starts to speed up. So, you'll start to experience a lot of synchronicity in your life when you begin to have a daily meditation practice and a daily practice of calming your energy and your nervous system. Because when you're stressed out and out of balance, you actually block that intuitive nature.
When you're in that flow, and you're feeling good, and you're feeling peaceful, then that intuition can flow through you very naturally. That's sort of the 101 of being on a spiritual path—having these daily practices of contemplation so that you can slow down, tune in, and receive. You're receiving a greater sense of intuition, you're experiencing synchronicity showing up in your life. You're receiving almost an inner wisdom that you can trust regardless of whether or not it makes sense logically, and that can be enhanced and fine-tuned. It can grow a lot as you begin to accept it more into your life.
There's a lot of focus in The Universe Has Your Back on turning fear into something more positive. Has that been a common experience in your own life?
Yeah, pretty much my whole life has been about how I can transform my fears, and how I can chose to see things differently. So the practices throughout the book are really daily rituals and practices of getting into that belief system, mainly that when you transform your fear into faith, your life begins to change. The goals throughout the book are to help you reprogram and let go of the attachment to the fear. That way, you can start to step into this softer way of living so that you can enjoy your life and experience that synchronicity, and experience that balance and experience more flow.
What surprised you the most while writing the book?
I love this question. What surprised me the most was how much I needed it. It's my fifth book—I've been in this field for eleven years, teaching these principles—and here I was writing the book and needing it more than anything. This book is just so timely, because I think that many people are sort of walking around right now feeling very powerless, given the circumstances of our time. I feel really strongly that this book is going to give people a lot of grounding in these times where they feel so out of control, and I'm really proud to be able to share it now, when people really need it.