BOOK CLUB: The Universe Has Your Back
What I learned from The Universe Has your Back by Gabrielle Berstein
By: Rosalyn Solomon
I am not a self-help book- type of person.
In fact, I will often bypass that section in Indigo (with a bit of a scoff) and head directly to mysteries and fiction.
I personally turn to books to escape and to inspire my own writing, not to turn inwards and analyze my life. But here I am. My girlfriends and I decided to start a book-club and my bestie chose The Universe Has Your Back - Transform Fear to Faith by Gabrielle Bernstein. See, I’ve committed to a new journey of finding peace and self-love, fully and wholly, perhaps because I’m now in my early 30s or find myself at a crossroads in my career, either way I am trying (sometimes stubbornly) to turn inwards. If there’s anything I’ve learned in this early path of self-discovery is you have to find what works for you.
I’m not sure if it’s because I created very low expectations for the book, or because I went in reading with preconceived thoughts that I wouldn’t learn or feel anything – that I was blown away several times as I turned the pages. I found myself nodding my head to Bernstein’s stories and lesson or reaching for my notebook to scribble something down or take on the exercises she walks you through.
The lessons I took from the book seem so simple when you write them down or say them aloud, but when you take a moment, step back and really think about them – they give you pause. Well, they did for me at least.
Here are my biggest takeaways:
Needs and wants aren’t just material things
Bernstein explains that we get so caught up on what we think we need to feel happy or to feel successful that sometimes we lose focus on what is best or the “highest good” for us. We may not even know what that is, but – and here’s the hard part – we should trust that an energy, a higher being, the universe – whatever works for you – is receptive to our needs and goals and we shouldn’t feel the need to hang on so tightly to controlling how we get there.
Vibes are louder than words
I’m lifting that almost exactly from one of the chapters in the book. We’ve all heard it before that actions speak louder than words, but how about that internal voice? How many times do we find ourselves regretting something or worse, comparing ourselves to others and think “I’m an idiot” or “Why does she have such and such, when I’m better?” even if you’re an Oscar-worthy actress you can fake a smile on the outside, but if you’re beating yourself up on the inside is your vibe right? Are you being fair to yourself? Can you really project your true, lovely self if there’s discord on the inside? Bernstein offers mantras or prayers you can say to accept these negative feelings and also let them go. I’ve caught myself judging and projecting in my daily life and also found myself stepping back from the situation and following her advice. It does something good when you’re projecting authentic, true vibes.
“The best conversations begin with the words thank you”
Count your blessings is a line thrown around a lot – especially by older folk. How often do we really look at the love and happiness that already exists around us and take a moment to be like damn, I’ve really got it good. It doesn’t have to mean you’re making premium dough, drive a flashy car or own the best of the best to feel this way. Maybe it’s recognizing you’ve got friends you can text anytime of day, or that the barista smiled at you and remembered your order, or a co-worker kindly pointed out you got spinach in your teeth before a meeting. Bernstein recommends looking for the love and joy of everyday moments, small and big. Looking at life through love-skewed glasses instead of what’s going wrong or what we have to do next in order to get to the next thing. She says that small shift in perception “opens the floodgates to miracles” – who couldn’t use one or two of those? But you have to do the work to get there.
There are many lessons in The Universe Has Your Back and please keep in mind I’ve interpreted these three things from the perspective of my own personal journey – perhaps you know and practice all these things already (in which case, that’s amazing, let’s grab a coffee and please tell me about it) or maybe, you’re like me skeptic, but perhaps a little curious and willing.
Wherever you are in your journey, I wish you love and I hope you takeaway something great from this book too.