Gabrielle Bernstein: Turning Her Mess into Her Message

Looking at her whimsical, slim frame and blonde, beachy waves, Gabrielle Bernstein is a cross between a new age Carrie Bradshaw with the seasoned wisdom of Oprah and the calming energy of a coffee date with an old friend. This wide-eyed girl next door has an unabashed realness that can captivate any room. “Success for me today is how much fun I’m having,” says Gabrielle unapologetically.

At 34, Gabrielle is the New York Times best selling author of May Cause Miracles and her latest book Miracles Now; a motivational speaker; life coach; certified yoga and meditation teacher; and was named one of the Top 50 Women in Business by Self-Made Magazine. Branded as the happiness expert, Gabrielle is part of a new wave of self-empowerment and realization for women. Dress for Success sat down with Gabrielle to find out how she changed a life of partying and materialism into meditation, mindfulness and intention. She shares the idea of looking inward for inspiration, turning her new lifestyle into her life’s work and becoming a role model for women everywhere.

It was not that long ago that Gabrielle’s “fun” could have referred to what night club she was opening that week.  A young entrepreneur, she started a public relations firm right out of college that represented some of the swankiest nightclubs in New York City.  She was living the hard and fast lifestyle in NYC’s party scene. On the outside, Gabrielle had the “Sex and the City” fantasy that most 20-somethings yearn for, but inside she was fighting a silent battle of addiction and depression.  At age 25, she finally made the decision to get sober and turn her “mess into her message.”

But as anyone who has faced their bad habits head-on knows, making the decision to do something and actually doing it are two very different things.  Gabrielle realized that sobriety was not only necessary, it was simply inevitable.  But on her journey to a substance-free life, she spent months of indulging her addictive behaviors in a limbo-like phase between being ambivalent about her future and being an active and eager participant defining her fate.  “You can’t deprive someone of their bottom,” she says, referring to the all-time emotional low that she came to embrace as the catalyst that turned her “deciding” into “doing.”

Gabrielle’s experience is reflective of so many of us today who have grown up in a culture of consumption, inundated with conflicting messages from the media, causing us to constantly reach outside of ourselves for validation and self-worth, instead of looking inwardly for those same affirmations.  This mindset of material-success has created a void for many, leaving us searching for answers, including Gabrielle herself.

A self-proclaimed “spirit junkie,” Gabrielle believes it’s all about energy, perspective and understanding the mind-body connection. If we are confident, open and actively seeking the positive, we will naturally gravitate towards people that are going to support and guide us.  You can really just think of us like magnets, she says.  “If we’re in an energy that is low-level and negative and surrounded by thoughts that keep us down, then we are attracting towards a likeness; whereas if we’re in an inspired, free, and happy state, that is when life begins to really flow naturally and doors begin to open for us,” says Gabrielle.

Now nine years clean, Gabrielle shares with clients her transformational lesson that contentment and self-fulfillment can only come from within.  “Happiness is an inside job,” she says.

So how did she get to a place where those positive vibes began flowing? Here’s where perspective is particularly important.  We’ve all had experiences that help shape who we are today, but Gabrielle takes those experiences, learns from them and chooses the part that they will play in her future, just as we all should.

“Happiness is a choice we make. We can choose to go down the negative spiral and live the story we’ve been holding onto for decades or we can choose to change the story.”

When old ideas and thoughts begin to creep in– reorganize, repurpose and choose to perceive them differently. “Continue to show up for those obstacles as opportunities for growth, rather than show up with fear and uncertainty,” she says.

As a reoccurring theme in Gabrielle’s classes and books, fear plays a huge role in both our home and work life.  Fear causes stress, which has a devastating effect on our physical and emotional health, playing a role in everything from susceptibility to cancer to heart disease.

Even with all she’s overcome, Gabrielle still works on controlling her own fears and stress every day. With the same confidence that she shares her personal triumphs over a self-destructive lifestyle, she admits that as a professional speaker, she often over shares and constantly works to exercise humility.

Juggling the promotion of her fourth book, Miracles Now; a weekly radio show; various TV spotlights; and regularly touring on the international speaking circuit, as well as teaching various yoga and meditation classes to her clients and still making time for herself, Gabrielle knows a thing or two about multitasking—and keeping her cool.

So how does Gabrielle break it down for us? Reorganize your life to honor the areas that are relevant at the time. It all comes back to perspective. In her new book, Miracles Now, she reassures us that women can have it all, maybe just not all at once. If we can let go of stress and fear and instead focus on what empowers us, we can achieve balance and contentment.

Connect with Gabrielle at!

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