Inspiring Women: Gabrielle Bernstein

I thought I’d write the first of the “Inspiring Women” series about someone who I think is the best role model of this generation.

gab_book

If you havent heard of Gabrielle Bernstein go to her website or google her right now. I stumbled upon her glorious message on New Years Day 2014 and have been a diligent follower ever since.  I was ready to deepen my spiritual practice, as well as jumpstart a lifestyle of positive thinking and creating miracles.

She is a teacher of A Course in Miracles, which is what ultimitely lead me to her. I had begun reading the course and wanted to understand it better. Gabby (we’re on a nickname basis now) breaks down the message from A Course in Miracles for everyone to understand. All boiled down it teaches transcending lower thoughts of hatred, judgement, and fear that come from the ego, and achieving a state of love, forgiveness and inner peace. But don’t assume that she’s some aging hippy dippy earth mother with gray hair down to her ankles, eating the bark off a tree (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). She fully lives in the real world, and does so in a fabulous wordrobe.

Gabrielle

Her following called “spirit junkies” (of which I consider myself a part) is a group of higher minded individuals, looking for deeper meaning, peace and beauty in everyday life. Her active and uplifting content on all social media outlets makes her followers feel like they have a life coach/spiritual guru/wise girlfriend in the palm of their hand. Along with her beautiful instagram pictures of health foods, scenes of nature and adorable boho inspired outfits, she posts quotes that seem to be just what you need to hear at that very moment, such as “My light illuminates the world” and “Life is far more fun when you have faith in the guidance that is around you.”

She is also a best selling author of 4 books aimed at helping you achieve your best and most fulfilling life. They are all significant and enlightened messages, told in an easy to understand way. Get ready for “aha” moments.

Each week she posts blogs and video content on subjects such as  meditation practices for manifesting abundance in our lives, how to mindfully handle difficult situations, and tips for growing your spiritual practice. The content is short, sweet and increadibly powerful.

Along with being a author, speaker and web entrepeneur, she is a Kundalini yoga and meditation teacher. She’s definitely up there on my “dream best friend list” right next to Jennerfer Lawrence and Emma Stone.

Digital Hoarding and Happiness

As a fully immersed and loyal subject of the social media kingdom I look forward to the hours (yes, hours) I spend on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and various blogs and websites. I feel an innate hunter gatherer tendency to accumulate as much information I can.  If I see something I like I have to pin it, save it to my favorites and share it on facebook and twitter. Am I a digital information hoarder?

I began following various yogis and food/wellness experts on these platforms to gain inspiration and knowledge to further enhance my own crusade to be as happy and healthy as I can. Alas, what began as a well intentioned sunday stroll has now become an all out sprint to the front lines with a serious case of a-need-to-be-in-the-know. I am starting to notice that every free second I have, my brain is craving constant input. At any given moment I’ll have 10 tabs open in my browser. Even when I’m not in front of the computer, my iphone is practically glued to my hand at all times. I spend hours “window shopping” the internet without actually investing in much quality content. When was the last time I read a whole article anywhere? Probably never. So I came to a conclusion: Pinterest has ruined my brain. Well I can’t blame pinterest in general, but it got me thinking; The ways in which we communicate and connect these days are boiled down to a single picture, status update or 140 characters. When we spend 1-3 seconds looking at something do our brains begin to only respond to small quick bits of input? I find this kind of scary, and I’m sure I’m not alone.  Are we unknowingly deprogramming our brains from attending to something for longer than a minute? And in turn, are we craving bits of things without actually getting to something real and substantial? No wonder I’m never satisfied. It’s like popcorn; little pieces of nothing that you crave but doesn’t fill you up, only leaves you wanting more.

I also wonder what it’s doing to our happiness. We are constantly evaluating our lives in comparison to others because we are so connected with each other. Every time I see a cool yoga posture on instagram I think “I wish I could do that.” Or when a blog shows someone’s gorgeously decorated living room I think “I want my living room to look like that.” And food is the worst! Food pictures evoke thoughts such as “I should be eating more of that superfood” or “yeah right pinterest, my reindeer cookies will never look like that!” Whether we realize it or not we are constantly bombarded with opportunities to compare our lives with others. And let’s face it, nobody wants to follow someone who complains about the crap in their lives. We choose who we follow because they have great pictures, or are aspirational to us in some way. The problem with that is our lives will never measure up to those on our social networks.

I guess my observation is two-fold: 1) With our addiction to social media our brains are constantly craving short bits of satisfaction without achieving any real satisfaction. 2) We are beginning to lose sense of our own happiness by always seeing the great things others are doing, and comparing ourselves to them.

Is there a lesson in all of this? I don’t know. Maybe just by being aware of it we can become better at realizing when we are mindlessly cruising the internet, or feeling inadequate because  Susie-yoga-instructor is doing an inverted body back bend handstand.