May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein
As a spiritual entrepreneur and life coach, Gabrielle Bernstein has been called a new-age thought leader and a guru for a new generation. Her third book, May Cause Miracles, is a guidebook that adapts the principles of A Course in Miracles, serving as a tool for faith-seekers on their journey to peace and enlightenment. One of the things I loved right off the bat is that May Cause Miracles manages to liberate spirituality from the politics of religion. It operates on the basis that there’s no right or wrong way to have faith. Let’s say it’s very BYOF –Bring Your Own Faith. Regardless of your spiritual practice – or even if you don’t have one – the tools in May Cause Miracles offer an effective way to look at our real-life problems and find ways of changing our perspective that feel genuinely natural.
Throughout the book’s 42-day practice, Bernstein invites her readers to utilize meditation, journaling, prayer, and affirmations as they approach key struggles in life: relationships, self-worth, body image, and financial fears among them. Six days of each week involve a three-point practice - a morning reflection, a daily affirmation, and an evening reflection - while Sunday becomes a day of reviewing the week behind and planning for the week ahead. The morning reflections most often include a prayer or meditation while the evening reflections encourage readers to witness the fears that came up in their day and acknowledge them through letter-writing, list-making, or Bernstein’s unique practice of ~ing writing, the act of journaling with abandon from the heart rather than the mind. These tools all work to exercise Bernstein’s key steps to blasting through fear: witnessing, acknowledging, and forgiving. She encourages readers to bring the work they do through the book to their Inner Guide, or ~ing, as she calls it. In this practice, one’s Inner Guide can take any form: it can be God, it can be Buddha; it can simply be love itself. Her basis gives the impression that the foundation of faith is simply the act of believing in a greater good. This approach, combined with her thoughtful and dependable tone throughout the book, makes May Cause Miracles a rich and insightful journey for a decidedly vast audience.
As with any book on spirituality, I think the ideal reader is someone who is simply open to receiving what the author has to offer. I went into May Cause Miracles with the desire to open myself up to more positivity and I came out of it with a whole new skill set to better equip me as I attempt to live life with a little more balance, grace, and peace. I had never been particularly effective at writing longhand, but the practices in May Cause Miracles not only helped me develop a passion for journaling, they also helped me learn to examine my own thoughts better without the therapeutic tap of a keyboard. Some of the practices weren’t easy – here Bernstein encourages us to forgive a lot of what we find most unforgivable about ourselves – but I think one of my favorite things about the book is that it offers opportunities to grow in all the areas of our lives. Over the course of my journey with May Cause Miracles I learned to know myself better, to strengthen my self-worth, and to simply accept some of my shortcomings. In a voice full of compassion and wisdom, Gabrielle Bernstein presents May Cause Miracles in a way that trades the banalities of self-help for progressive self-actualization, and the result is a game-changer.