The New York Times has called motivational speaker, life coach and author Gabrielle Bernstein the next-generation guru. Her first book, Add More~ing to Your Life: A Hip Guide to Happiness, established her as the leader of a new wave of soul searchers and a mentor to young women nationwide. Bernstein’s latest, Spirit Junkie, details the author’s spiritual journey in a guidebook that encourages others to overcome their fears and welcome everyday miracles.
Did you read Erica Jong's collection of women writing about sex, 'Sugar in My Bowl'?
You’ve always loved to speak but have said that writing was—at least for your first book—more challenging. What have you learned about yourself as a writer that might help others who find the task daunting?
For the first book, I had a writing coach who helped me get organized, get the outline. After that, if you have an outline, and you’re writing a prescriptive book, with that guideline, real inspiration can come through.
Being a writer is about recognizing the service that you are offering the world. If you get hung up about structure or process then really you are just depriving the world of your work.
You seem quite fearless, unafraid to ask for advice or to try something like writing a book even if you’ve never done it before. Is fearlessness how you’d phrase what I’m talking about?
Exactly. Fear is the only thing that blocks us from what we desire. One of my greatest gifts is that I say no to fear as often as possible. When something is not feeling possible, it’s a sure sign I need to work on it. Of course, there are always things I am afraid of. It’s funny how there are fears I recognize as illusions. But I try to witness the fear and allow it to pass and not get hooked into it.
How do you manage the fine line between being a spiritual junkie, a nonmaterial person hooked on highs not derived from material objects, and someone who’s a very successful businesswoman in charge of a brand and who charges for that spiritual work?
My mentor Marianne Williamson has a great quote: “There’s nothing spiritual about being broke.” External abundance is a reflection of internal abundance. If you feel abundant and you believe in abundance, it will flow to you naturally.
How do you see social networks and the Internet affecting your work and your message?
There are people who are feeling overwhelmed by technology. I say, “Take your time and learn how to use this resource.” It’s so powerful. You can change the world with the Internet, so we shouldn’t look down on it or be afraid of it. Once you embrace it, it’s all good. I see social networking as the most impactful vehicle. If we can use the Internet as our business partner, we are in good shape.
How does the fearful financial landscape surrounding this book—the recession, the feeling that people have less, materially speaking—affect your message, especially about miracles?
I see the downfall of people’s outside source for happiness as the greatest gift anyone could receive. It is this crumbling moment when things are falling apart where we can recognize that the only thing we really need is the sense of peace we have within us. When you have that internal peace you can allow the outside world to reflect it back to you.
So you’d say this is a good time for your book.
I’d say it is beyond a good time. It is the most divine time for this book.