About hitting the wall as a 22-year old, and how I started to find the way back to myself. And what I learned from Gabby Bernstein.
The year was 2012, and the past12 months or so I had been through the dark night of the soul (Definition; “The dark night of the soul is a stage in personal development when a person undergoes a difficult and significant transition to a deeper perception of life and their place in it”).
The past year had provided a complete revolution in everything I thought I knew about the world, about others, about myself and my life. Without really being aware of it, I had gone through most of my young life with a kind of blurry perception of who I really was. There were some pointers there; I could look back on the girl who would sit by the piano for hours learning to play, the joy of standing on a stage through dance and drama, the weird but humorous playfulness that was expressed through homemade silly videos with girlfriends (the little videotapes with hour-long sketches was the early 00's Tik Tok), the sincere empathy and compassion for other people, and the pleasure of writing whether it was litterature homework or poetry that went straight to the bedside drawer. I knew what I thought was fun, and not fun. But there was still a lot of the personality, and my inner life, that was shaped and conditioned by the outside world; what I thought I was supposed to be. Or not be. “Weird” for example (which actually just meant creative, artistic and sensitive), was one of those things .
I tried my hardest to be good, cool, choose a good academic career, look the "right" way (and thus shape the body to the unrecognizable, to a size that was not healthy for me), and perhaps most of all: bury my emotions and my voice so far down that I didn't even know it was there (any other good girls or boys who recognize themselves here?). Parts of my story that had been painful were lying there unprocessed and unfinished, creating an ever-increasing weight in the metaphorical backpack that kept pushing me further and further down. There was grief that had not been mourned, fear and loneliness that had not been put into words, the pain of separation, and a perception that "something is wrong with me" (something I have since been happy to come to know it isn´t).
Fortunately, one might say, everything crashed. I was 22 years old and hit the wall. By that I do not mean "take a week at home to rest and reflect on life", or "a couple of weeks on a yoga retreat"- type of burnt out. I mean full black out. I went from being an A-student to sitting with trembling hands on one exam while the words danced around on the paper. It was a collapse. Blinds down. Leave student life in Bergen, and temporarily move home to mum.
Luckily, and I'm tempted to say miraculously, I met an amazing lady who worked in psychosomatic physiotherapy , who became my professional hand to hold. Through a few months of intense inner work, literally blood, sweat and tears, and dedicated introspection, I had regained the color in my face and the curves back on my body. I was no longer frail and shivering, but more and more healthy. Among the greatest gifts this woman taught me was to meditate, and use the body almost as much as the mental (side note: this is one of the reasons I am a big proponent of somatic treatment. But this is another blog post). We did weird exercises that made me look awkwardly around the room, but which were still so effective and of immense benefit to me.
It was a lovely silence that began to spread inside me, which I had not felt for a long time. In fact, I could not remember having felt so peaceful for many years. There was still much work left to be done, but there was a newfound inner calm. This allowed a voice to begin to speak more clearly inside me. You might’ve been wondering when I was going to get to the point about Gabby Bernstein*, and here it comes.
I do not remember how I found her book, but I think it was in the library. The turquoise cover spoke to me, as did the title; "Spirit junkie" (this was 2012 and a lot has happened since then. I no longer use words like "spiritual" to describe myself, but those were words that resonated at the time). I vaguely knew about Gabby through some guided meditations I found online. And I knew it was something she was going to teach me. My own newfound spirituality was not really that new, it reminded me of how I as a child could hear a clear and intuitive voice , such as knowing what was going to happen before it happened. I just hadn’t had any language for it until now, and for a long time I had also been out of touch with it.
Throughout Gabby's story, I learned more about intuition, and how we are guided from the inside all the time if we are open to listening to it. She wrote about how the inner voice and a devotion to her meditation practice became her way out of alcohol addiction. Through her, I was introduced to Kundalini yoga, mantras, breathing techniques, and much more. I also chose to follow this path further and train as a Kundalini teacher (this is a direction I no longer practice but which was useful at the time).
Gabby became a door opener for me. Through her work, I began to train and do exercises that constantly strengthened me from within, strengthened my intuition, and helped me become clearer and clearer on who I am, what I want, and how to get there. The inner frequency started to increase, like a radio station that changed signals, and more and more cool and synchronized things started happening in my life.
To me, the inner voice, or intuition, is the truth that comes from my own essence and my own self (it is also, in my opinion, connected to a higher and collective consciousness, but we will not go into that here). It is always there, it cannot be changed or removed, but it can be drowned out and overlooked. It can be overtaken by our ego, by distractions, by addictions, or when we are out of balance (such as, for example, making lifestyle choices that are not good for us or if we live under very unhealthy stress).
This was just the beginning of what was to be a decade long cycle, 2011-2021, of a lot of growth and transformation. Since then, I have moved on to other teachers and inspirations, but Gabby remains the one who contributed massively to my path. The most important teacher, by the way, I have not found in others, not in Gabby, but in myself. And part of my job here is to support others in finding their own inner teacher as well.
* Even though I´m writing about what I learned from Gabby, this does not mean that I resonate with or that I stand behind everything that she teaches. I´m in no shape or form directly associated to her. I´m forever grateful for how discovering her work was a door opener in my life.