Spirit Junkie

Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle BernsteinFull Title: Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles
Author: Gabrielle Bernstein
Publisher: Harmony Books (2011)
Number of Pages: 288
How long it took me to read: 2 weeks
Where I bought this book: I first received it as an ebook from the publisher. I had a difficult time figuring out how to load it on my Nook Color, so I was limited to reading the book on my computer. The lack of mobility was frustrating, and when I saw the book for purchase in an airport gift shop, I decided to get a hardback version instead.
ISBN: 978-0-307-88740-5

Like a Moth to a Flame

Inspiration to finally read this book came as a chance opportunity. While reading Bernstein’s first book, Add More ~ing to Your Life, I found out about her social networking site called herfuture.com, where women can get together to be or to find a mentor, and provide inspiration to each other. Since Bernstein is also a life coach, she often sends messages to members of herfuture.com about upcoming events. I received an email about this book coming out, along with a request for people to read and review it. I decided that it was a great opportunity and I took it as a sign that I should look into it.

Since I could only figure out how to read it on my computer, I didn’t start the book right away. Then, I was in one of the Oakland Airport gift shops killing time before my flight and looking for another book to add to my ever-growing collection. It was quiet, and aside from the cashier, I was the only other person there. After perusing the bookshelves lining one of the walls, a stand filled with California State memorabilia caught my eye. I decided to get a California coffee mug as a gift for my sister, whom I was going to visit. As I turned around to head toward the cashier, I saw it—Spirit Junkie was propped up, right in front of me, on a table in the middle of the shop. I knew right then that I needed to buy the hardback copy and start reading it.

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Favorite Five

I propose that the top 5 quotes from this book are:

5. “As soon as I became willing to stop being right and start being happy, I was able to welcome in an opportunity to forgive.” (p.112)

4. “I used daily reinforcement to stay focused on the good stuff. I made reminders for myself in my phone and computer calendars. These reminders would pop up throughout the day in the form of messages such as I accept happiness now, or I expect miracles.” (p.234)

3. “I’ve learned that fear is simply an illusion based on past experiences that we project into the present and onto the future.” (p.3)

2. “Becoming a miracle worker requires your full trust in the miracle-minded belief system of love.” (p.240)

…and my pick for the No.1 quote is…

1. “See love in all people, objects, and situations. You can see love in an orange-leafed October tree, an acquaintance you bump into on the street, or a cup of steaming black tea. Choose to see love. Expect Miracles.” (p.243)

New Words

Words are wondrous creatures. Put them together and they paint a picture. Rearrange them and the scene changes. But to be able to see what they are saying, we must first know what they mean.

New Word: loquacious (adjective)

Definition (Source: Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary 11th Ed): 1) full of excessive talk; 2) given to fluent or excessive talk
Synonyms: talkative, babbling, chattering, gossipy, wordy
Origins: of French origins; ‘loqui’ to speak
As in: “My outside persona was a loquacious, white, middle-class, Jewish girl growing up in the ‘burbs’ with her divorced hippie parents. But I had no clue who I was on the inside.” (p.16)

Conversation with the Reader

While I read, I write, and as I write, I read. Here’s some of what I wrote while I read this book:

“There are times when I need a little pick-me-up, some inspirational wisdom. Having read Bernstein’s first book, I have high expectations of getting the spiritual charge I am seeking to help me acquire more tools to improve my positive thinking. I hope this book will give me some insights that are different from other books in this genre. From my experience in reading self-help books, many seem to talk at you, and others are just too technical. Authors that choose a tone that says, ‘I know best because I know’ makes me relate less to their message. I want a more personal approach from an author experienced in what he or she is teaching—one that relates how their teachings have impacted their own lives.”

“Bernstein’s writing style deviates from the styles of most other self-help authors; she makes it personal. There is a strong autobiographical element that adds to her knowledge of the subject and gives her a more authoritative voice. Bernstein can talk about being a ‘Spirit Junkie’ and about the power of believing in miracles because she has been through the struggle, has followed her own advice, and has become a better person for it (much more convincing than someone trying to tell you what they think might work).”

“The integration of her life experiences and her transformation, all based on the teachings from the book, threw me off at first. The use of ‘I’ is something I am not used to in this type of book, and it came across as a bit self-centered. Once I got further into the book, I realized that it actually gave me more hope that she could help me create more positive change within myself.”

“Some strong teachings resonate throughout the book. They are lessons that, according to Bernstein, will lead one to become a ‘Spirit Junkie.’ First, the power of positive thinking; this is the key to start changing your outlook on the world, and for you to open up to the universe in order to start receiving miracles (a.k.a. having more positive events start coming back to you). This can be accomplished through guided meditations, either by listening to Bernstein’s recordings or doing them through the memorization of lines to be repeated and focused upon, and journal prompts Bernstein provides throughout her book. I have started the meditations, which can be done almost anywhere. I practice the meditations at my desk or in a random spare moment. It helps center me and is a calming experience. I have not had the opportunity to write on any of the journal prompts, but I think I will soon, in order to help release some of the negativity I am holding onto.

“The book’s second lesson is that there is a competition between oneself and the strong negative emotions brought on by how the psyche has been conditioned up until now. Bernstein suggests that we are apt to think negatively and that our psyche then feeds on this negativity, which creates more negativity and contributes to a continuous cycle of negative thinking. Therefore, the goal is to break this cycle by focusing on the positive aspects of life. I found it hard to notice the negative feelings since I’m so used to living with them, but through meditation, I’m starting to see where most of the negative thoughts reside; this creates awareness of the thoughts that need changing.

“A final lesson is that forgiving others is part of the process to opening yourself up to miracles. An example for me would be my supervisor at work not telling me when my contract was terminating, and having someone else do it instead. Rather than holding a grudge that she didn’t do it herself, I forgave her for acting the way she did. She didn’t really harm me in any way, and I was expecting it. Furthermore, having bad feelings towards her wouldn’t change the situation. My contract would still be up on the set date, whether she told me or someone else did. Things could be worse. I could have not been told until the day of or closer to it. Thinking differently about the reason why someone acted the way they takes a huge burden off my shoulders. Carrying around that anger doesn’t help me; it just holds me down. I can see that now.”

“As of right now, it is hard to say how much the book has helped me in becoming a ‘Spirit Junkie,’ but I can say that focusing more on the positive has lowered my stress levels and helped me see that maybe some of the things I was focusing on and getting upset over were not such a big deal after all. Events happening in my life can have a positive side to them if I want them to. Whether I will be able to harness all of Bernstein’s teachings is still unknown, but it feels like I am on the right path.”

Heather Rae Butler

1 Comment

  1. Teta Bombardieri says:

    I believe on the author’s definition of FEAR

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