May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein
May Cause Miracles is a book that I was introduced to more than two years ago. It had such an impact on my life during that time, though, that I keep it on my shelf for a little ‘life boost’ anytime that I feel my life is beginning to descend into chaos.
Written by one of my favorite life encouragement gurus, Gabrielle Bernstein, it is literally a guidebook on how to take a step back, slow things down, and begin to understand why and how your ego is driving your life. Your ego? Yep, ego. Bernstein equates all fear to that ever present little creature.
Her basic principle is not anything new. Fear and ego create a hold on your mental capacities, and essentially hop into the captain’s chair to take you anywhere they want – practically anything that you have looked back on in your life and said “Why in the hell did (or didn’t) I do that?” Sound familiar? Probably because almost anyone who has written any kind of self-help book ever has at least had a few sentences on this very thing.
Where Bernstein differs is her approach on how to identify these thoughts and basic reactions, see them for what they are, and change your way of thinking to be full of love, for yourself and others. She lays out a 40 day plan that incorporates journaling, meditation, affirmations, and exercises (if that sounds too woo-woo for you, perhaps think of these things instead as analyzing personal reactions through lists, visualization, and self-talk) to really get down to the root of your fears and help you to understand why they don’t mean a damn thing.
For myself, I started this when I was in the middle of a “Who am I, really?” and a “I am not a good mother,” rut. I ran across Bernstein on Instagram, and saw a quick blurb for May Cause Miracles. The next trip to the library, I decided to give it a try. At first, I was a bit skeptical that in 40 days, my life would be full of miracles (by Bernstein’s definition, a miracle is anytime you make the deliberate action to choose love over fear). Imagine my surprise when, only a few days in, I had an “AHA” moment. I was in the middle of a chore in the kitchen, and my daughter, who was no more than 2 at the time, kept interrupting me. I was getting more and more frustrated because I just wanted to get my chore done and over with. Finally, after about the 10th time of feeling a hand on my leg, I started to yell... “What!” But I interrupted myself. I literally had the thought
“This anger is not real. Your ego is trying to tell you that you need to finish this right now, but it really can wait for five minutes. This feeling is your ego, and doesn’t need to be acknowledged.”
So I stopped, focused on what my daughter was asking me – which turned out to be something super simple – and was able to finish my chore in a few minutes.
In the book, Bernstein mentions that you’ll know when the exercises are working when you begin to remove yourself from your thoughts as you're having them. This experience made me a believer. When I was able, I bought the book to keep at home and finish it out. It was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Most of the tasks she asks you to do are short and quick, not really taking up more than 10 minutes at a time. There are some more involved efforts, but these are well worth the extra time scraped out of your day. For example, one exercise asks you to simply list everything that you worry about. That’s it. Seems easy enough, doesn’t it? The meditations and affirmations (or sitting in silence and self-talk if you’d rather) are usually the tasks that take up the most time, but like I said, well worth it.
If you are in a spot in your life where you are unsure of where you should go, feel trapped, or even feel like you’re failing at everything you do, I would highly recommend that you check out this book. You could literally turn your life around in as little as 40 days.
No, don’t wait until January 1. Start now. Your future self will thank you for it.
Don’t forget to send across any suggestions for books you would like to see reviewed. Or if you are a fellow spirit junkie and have worked through May Cause Miracles.
Let me know all about it in the comments!