When I ducked into my recording studio to chat with Martha Beck for this episode of the Dear Gabby podcast, my kitten Jimi Blue sauntered in after me. (Jimi couldn’t WAIT to hear about the spiritual realm.)

Martha is a world-renowned life coach, speaker and author. She has such profound wisdom on connecting with the spiritual realm, trauma-recovery, integrity and more! I’ve wanted to meet Martha for so long, and I knew I was going to hang on her every word … 

All while Jimi purred on my lap, nipped at my hand and pawed at the wires on my headphones. 

But even if my furry baby can be slightly distracting in the recording booth, I know that I can’t do it without her. 

A Gift From the Spiritual Realm

Ever since she came home with me, this angelic creature has stayed by my side. And she’s not just angelic … She’s truly an angel. Jimi Blue is one of my guides, coming through to me in cute-kitten form! (I share the story of how and when she came into my life on today’s podcast.) 

It may sound odd to say that my kitten is my guide …. but this is something I know to be true! And if you’re an animal-lover yourself, you probably know what I’m saying. 

When you really start connecting to the spiritual realm, and opening up to the guidance that’s all around you, you’ll start to recognize that the Universal presence of love can show up in almost anything. 

It can show up in books; it can show up in people … and you bet it can show up in pets. We all have spiritual guidance within and around us. We just have to learn how to recognize it. 

If you need help connecting to that guidance, today’s episode of the Dear Gabby podcast is for you! 

Let’s Get Metaphysical

In this wide-ranging Big Talk, Martha and I dig into the mystical and the metaphysical. And, Martha reveals some of the profound techniques she shares with her life-coaching clients (Oprah Winfrey is one of them). 

In Martha’s view of the world, spirituality and reality aren’t separate, but deeply intertwined. I believe this too! 

The truer we are to ourselves, the more miraculous our lives become … or, as Martha puts it: “When you start to be really honest, the magic in your life goes bananas.”

Want your magic to go bananas?! Listen in to learn: 

  • Why suffering doesn’t have to shatter you … and how it can crack you open instead. 
  • How to bust through blocks to the “wildy mystical existence” we all have access to 
  • The one question you can ask yourself to let go of needless suffering 
  • A beautiful mantra you can use to activate your inner peace …. and start manifesting like crazy! (I had a full-body reaction when Martha said these 7 words.)

A Journaling Exercise to Help You Feel Good!

PLUS, this Big Talk inspired me to create a journaling exercise for you! Think of it as a BONUS for today’s episode.

While we were chatting, Martha suggested a technique you can use to stop dwelling on any perceived failures, and start celebrating your successes. (I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: As you celebrate your successes … you’ll start attracting more. Feeling good is the key to manifesting!) 

The technique Martha shared is based on Dante’s Divine Comedy. I came up with a journaling exercise based on that … and I think you’ll really dig it.  Here’s what to do:

Before you go to bed at night, find a quiet spot and an uninterrupted chunk of time. I’d recommend allotting at least 20 minutes to this exercise, but even 10 minutes will work. 

On one page in your journal, jot down anything that disappointed you or frustrated you throughout the day. (Think of this as a mini version of my “rage on the page” exercise, which I teach in my Meditation Challenge.) You can list out small issues, complex problems — or anything that’s lowering your vibe. After about 10 minutes, draw a big X through that list or crumple it up and toss it into the recycling bin. 

Now, start a new page. In your mind’s eye, go back over the day … and this time, remember anything that went well. This could be anything from a delicious morning coffee to a cathartic talk with a friend. And if your day felt particularly rough, you can just write: “I am breathing; I am alive.” That is enough! Do this for about 10 minutes. 

Manifest More

Now, read over the list of things that went right in your day, and celebrate each one of them. As you make this a daily practice, you’ll learn to focus on what’s thriving in your life … and you’ll start manifesting effortlessly — as if by magic! 

^^^^This worked for Dante and it’ll work for you. I hope this isn’t a spoiler, but this is what happens in the Divine Comedy, as Dante starts to celebrate his successes: 

“He starts to experience the world as filled with light,” Martha says in today’s podcast. “He has things come to him, effortlessly and magically. There’s beings of love all around him.” 

Whether you call it beings of love, or spirit guides or the Universe, there is indeed an energy of love that’s within us and around us at all times. And the more we can tune into that divine guidance, the more we can be divinely led. 

Tap Into the Spiritual Realm

Having a deep spiritual connection has helped me in every single area of my life, and it’s ultimately what allowed me to survive and thrive after trauma. As I write in my new book Happy Days

“When we face our discomfort with faith instead of fear, we can grow in profound ways. It’s faith that got me out of the darkness, and it’s faith that keeps me in the light.” Page 134, Chapter 6, Happy Days  

Whether guidance comes to you through this podcast, a book like Happy Days or Martha’s book The Way of Integrity, through meditation, or through a kitten, my prayer is this: 

May you open yourself up to a deeper level of spiritual connection than you’ve ever known …. And watch the magic in your life go bananas! 

Get More Guidance

Oh, and if you want more help deepening your spiritual practice, I have good news! The 21-Day Meditation Challenge starts again on April 1 You can sign up now to get access to the prep work in the members-only portal!  Click here to join the challenge now.  

For more info on connecting with the spiritual realm and the guidance that’s around you, press play on the video below:

Get More Gabby:

The following are helpful resources and books I mention within the episode: 

My meditation practice has always helped me feel connected to the spiritual guidance that’s within me and around me. Whether you’re new to meditation or an experienced meditator, I’d love to give you my favorite practices for shifting my energy and feeling spiritually connected. To claim 2 free meditations, click here

Want even more support? I created the Miracle Membership to help you design a spiritual practice you can stick to—so you can feel connected, supported and inspired every day. Each week I deliver brand new workshops, guided meditations, community connection and so much more. Plus, it’s easy to access on your phone, computer or tablet. Click here to join.

Happy Days is my most vulnerable and personal book yet. In it, I share the 9 spiritual and therapeutic tools that helped me become not only a trauma survivor, but a thriver. If you feel called to read this book, my prayer is that it brings you great comfort and healing — and a deep knowing that you are not alone. 

About Martha Beck: Martha Beck, PhD, is a world-renowned life coach. She’s a Harvard-trained sociologist, a nine-time author, and a highly sought after life coach and speaker. Her most recent book is The Way of Integrity

The 2022 Meditation Challenge starts on April 1! If you’d like to join me for 21 days of meditations that will calm your energy, help you feel connected and elevate every area of your life, join the challenge now! I’ll help you make meditation a habit. 

In this episode of The Dear Gabby podcast, I refer to a previous episode that features an interview with Richard Schwartz, the founder of Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy. If you’d like to learn more about IFS, check out my Big Talk with Richard! 

If you need additional support, or are looking for a trauma therapist near you, please refer to this list of  mental health resources. I’m proud of you for being here


The following podcast is a Dear Media production.

The way to come back into integrity is to look at anything that feels bleak, sad, miserable, frustrating, and see what you believe that’s at the root of that, that suffering...

The following podcast is a Dear Media production.

The way to come back into integrity is to look at anything that feels bleak, sad, miserable, frustrating, and see what you believe that’s at the root of that, that suffering. And just ask yourself, am I sure that’s true?

Hey there. Welcome to Dear Gabby. I’m your host Gabby Bernstein. And if you landed here, it is absolutely no accident. It means that you’re ready to feel good and manifest a life beyond your wildest dreams. Let’s get started.

What’s up, Dear Gabby listeners? It’s so exciting to be with you right now. I’m sitting here in my little Zen den in my New York City apartment. I’m packing up. I’m moving in a week as I record this intro to today’s Big Talk. Today’s Big Talk is with a profound woman. You probably know who she is. Martha Beck, she’s a world-renowned author and life coach.

She is a Harvard-trained sociologist who reveres science and spirit. And that’s what I think is so profound about what she teaches, because it’s really grounded and really spiritual. And she shares how we can deepen our connection to our spirit guides, and how we can lead with total truth and integrity. And she talks a lot about how we can create more magic in our lives.

I’m really, really honored to have her on the show today because she’s been very inspirational in my own life and my career and my practice. And pretty exciting that we have her on the show today. I also am so excited to share that today we open the doors to the Meditation Challenge. So if you are a meditator or want to strengthen your meditation practice, just click the link in the show notes.

All right. Get pumped right now to listen to Martha Beck. It is all happening, people. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. Mwah.

GABBY: You know, you and I, we have a lot of similarities in, in historical experiences. We’ve both are trauma survivors and thrivers. I like to say thrivers of, of sexual trauma. And I’m actually just most recently coming out with a new book that’s about my trauma recovery.

MARTHA: Oh wow.

GABBY: And so it’s my first time coming forward, not talking about it, I’ve been speaking about it, but really sharing very intimately, some personal details I never shared before and also being very vulnerable about my own personal experience. And so I think that I’d really like to no small talk here clearly.

Um, I’d like to kind of start there as it relates to being, being a woman, a teacher, a leader, a public figure who has been forthcoming about your experience as a child, having experienced sexual abuse and what it has taken for you to stay steady and, and rooted in that conversation and to help others through, through such a common issue, unfortunately, but to help us as, as you have.

MARTHA: Yeah, well, anyone who’s been traumatized in particular, uh, anybody who’s been sexually abused knows what it feels like to keep the secret. You’d think it would be innocuous. And that’s what the whole society basically believes. It’s a lot less trouble to believe that there has never been sexual abuse than to believe a survivor and disrupt everything, rock the boat.

So the whole culture in society is sort of, um, calibrated to keep the survivor or thriver silent and support perpetrators as just normal. And even if people agree that something’s been done just to say, ah, but really isn’t that big a deal.

GABBY: Mm-hmm.

MARTHA: Well, if you’ve kept this secret and this is what this book I just wrote is about, you’re divided from yourself.

So you’re presenting a face to the world that doesn’t match your insides. You wouldn’t think just saying that out loud, that it’s a big deal. But in fact, I believe it’s the source of all psychological suffering. And the more central the damage is to your, your soul, to your sense of self. The more horrible it is to divide what’s true in your heart and in your memory from the story people are telling and that you would join in telling.

So what happened to me when I decided to be upfront about sexual abuse and mine took place in the context of really intense religious insanity. I came out and told that whole story in a book. And what I lost was everything. I didn’t lose my children. I lost my home. I was living in Utah. I was raised Mormon.

So I lost my family of origin. I lost my in terms of them not speaking to me anymore. Lost all the friends I’d ever had growing up. Lost my job, lost my left my profession, came out as gay. I mean, I realized I was gay. I was not a closeted gay person, but I fell in love with a woman. And, uh, so there went my marriage and everything went into the fire and still, I felt better, more healed, more whole than I had before.

And what I wanna tell people is look, if I can survive that level of loss, I think you can survive whatever happens to you because most people won’t have that much backlash.

GABBY: Mm-hmm.

MARTHA: So that’s why I told the story to say, look, this is the worst it gets, and it’s still worth doing.

GABBY: Go girl. Yes, I really appreciate that.

I also think that, that, uh, this let’s go right into the metaphysical here. I think that sometimes when our soul makes the contract to come back in this life, in this way and this body, and this time, part of that contract is I’m gonna go through certain suffering so that I could live to tell and be the teacher, be the messenger, be the coach to, to show people.

One. Yes, here are the practices for recovery and, and, and resilience. But also to really be a power of example for people who are living in that, because I know for myself when I, I actually disassociated from the trauma. So talk about, talk about lying, right? Like I, I was like my brain, my brain, my body, everything was lying for 36 years.


GABBY: Um, hiding, lying. Until I remembered. And in that memory, I remember it was women like you and in the truth of your story and in the witnessing of your resilience, that gave me permission and the freedom to believe that there was light on the other side.

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GABBY: Let’s just go into that kind of metaphysical conversation. I mean, do you believe that you in any way kind of chose this life?

MARTHA: Yeah, I do. I even go a step more because I was so I felt so separated from the world that I, and so afraid of people that I never actually identified really strongly with being human.

I felt, and I read when I was in my twenties about how trauma in rats permanently alters their brains and they have different neural function. And I was like, oh my gosh, I am completely ruined. And there’s no way back. But then I started thinking maybe it’s made my brain different in good ways.


MARTHA: And so, and I think it did, I think powerful disassociation makes you more prone to seek the spiritual, to seek that which is not physically visible.

There’s a connection with an energetic flow through the world that I don’t think we would’ve had if we hadn’t undergone so much trauma that we split from our bodies for a little while.

GABBY: Totally.

MARTHA: And maybe for years. So I actually see it as the soul, not just wanting to help others. But the soul wanting to evolve in its own compassion.

I talked to a South American shaman once who said compassion is the evolution of consciousness in the healing of trauma. So to the extent that you’ve experienced trauma and you heal it, you’re able to access much more compassion. And, and sometimes it’s the heart as wide as the world sensation like even completely shattered, then be shattered open.

And so not just for other people, but for your soul’s own sake, you now have access to so much compassion and the suffering doesn’t doesn’t last, but the compassion does.

GABBY: Yeah, right on. That’s such a beautiful way to look at it. And I also, you know, I’m studying, uh, parts, parts therapy. I’m studying IFS, which is internal family systems.

MARTHA: Oh, I do that.

GABBY: Oh yes you are.

MARTHA: I’m so excited that I got myself an IFS therapist; I love it.

GABBY: You know, I think that, I think that it’s it for me personally. I can just say it’s been what, some of the most transformational trauma recovery of work really, really all work. I’ve done work in my, my marriage work with my team, you know, it’s just.

It’s it’s it’s exceptional. And for people who are like, what is that? We did a, we did an episode with where I interviewed Dick Schwartz. So people can go back and listen to IFS right now. But, um, what I was gonna say about that was that one of the things that I really appreciate so much about that model is that there are no bad parts.

And so, even the part that dissociated. In my case, in your case, it, it was really there to protect us from what we were capable of handling in that moment. For me, I’m a recovering addict, you know, it’s like the addicted part was a protector and had a really important role. And so when we can really see not only the experience of trauma but also all of the ways that we responded to it with so much compassion, then we can move through it. We can become new from it. And, you know, I think it’s, it’s interesting, you know, you said something that was really important, which is we have these opportunities when we disassociate to have a deeper seeking and longing for spiritual connection.

And I really appreciate what you said, because I think in some clinical places, it could be seen as like spiritually bypassing, you know, to like, just try to get above the pain and the suffering. But I never really thought that to be true. I think that spirituality without the deeper work could be perceived in that way, but when there’s a spiritual anchor, it is, it is part of the, the guidance to the deeper work.

Because I know for myself, I couldn’t have done the deeper work. I couldn’t have gone to the places that scared me without that spiritual faith and foundation.

MARTHA: Hundred percent.

GABBY: Yeah, me even right now, I’ve got this kitten who’s chewing on my, I had to bring her into the show. I mean, she’s gonna, this is Jimmy blue who you’ve met and she’s gonna have to be on the show from now on because she just wants to be with me.

And I, um…


GABBY: And it’s the biggest blessing and I got this kitten just two months after I lost a baby. I lost a baby two months ago. Um, I was five months, five and a half months pregnant. Oh yeah. It was rough. And, um, It’s so fascinating when you go through something and then you just witness the spiritual guidance of, okay.

Yes. You have your therapist. Yes. You have your, you know, your, your team, whatever it is. But then, you know, these beings, these spiritual beings come to us in many forms, in some cases, physical forms like this. And so I’d love to hear from you just a little bit about what that means to you, what it means to you to have spirit guides, or if you have faith in angels or…Let’s go there.

MARTHA: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, one of the interesting things about IFS or parts therapy is that you just, the, the therapist, at least my therapist is so noninvasive. They just say, look at your inner landscape and tell me what you see. And my inner landscape, you know, is just completely populated with wild animals and spirit guides.

And I don’t tightly hold any beliefs. I think loosely attaching to something and letting it go immediately when it turns out not to feel true or to be destructive, that’s really the key to navigating the world. Just don’t attach too tightly to anything except your own sense of truth. Which is always giving you feedback.

So one of the things that happens when you decide to come out of denial or come out of hiding and be completely an integrity, which just means being one thing whole and intact, is that you start to encounter the spiritual aspects of your life. And our culture doesn’t really entertain that, or it entertains it only in very religious ways.

GABBY: Right.

MARTHA: But the ways it comes up are like anybody out there. If you close your eyes and go inward and try to see what the inner landscape of your world is, pretty soon, you’re gonna start seeing things that are loving and caring and beautiful that never came up in school, but they show up a lot when people go inward, which is not what we’re trained to do.

So I think the universe is conscious. I think everything is conscious when we’re ready to come out of denial. We meet with a spiritual teacher of some kind. I write about this in my book. When you say I’m ready to go through whatever it takes to be true to myself, to be whole the universe or… In Joseph Campbell’s typology of the hero saga, the spiritual teacher shows up and it’s very often an animal for me, sometimes it’s books.

A lot of times it’s books. Uh, sometimes it’s a literal person who will just call me on the phone, happens more and more lately. I was, you know, Studying Jill Bolte Taylor’s work. She’s a Harvard neuroanatomist who had this massive stroke and recovery.

GABBY: The coolest story. It’s the coolest story. Yeah. Tell the story just for anyone who hasn’t heard it. It’s such a fascinating story.

MARTHA: Yeah. Okay. The first Ted talk that ever went viral and watch it and you’ll see, it’s fascinating. This is a woman who has like clawed her way up the Harvard ladder to being at the top of her field in neurological anatomy, anatomy of the brain.

And at the age of 37, she has a massive left hemisphere stroke, which takes out all her verbal capacity. And obviously a lot of other… leaves her with a lot of other shortcomings. She didn’t even recognize her own mother, but it took out the left side of her brain, which is the part that feels fear and the part that controls and talks. The right side of the brain feels curiosity rather than fear. And instead of trying to control the world feels united with the entire universe.

She literally felt like she was the size of the universe, this vast intelligence. And it took her eight years to build back her ability to speak. I mean, she’s a walking miracle that she can even function and she’s highly functional, but, um, she came back to say, there’s this.

The connection with the universe is real. There’s nothing. Our culture says the left hemisphere is real. The right hemisphere is not. And she says no, other way around. The connection with all things is real. And quantum physics says that, you know, that we’re all right. Just part of one universal wave function, and we’re all just energy.

And she experienced that. And so now she teaches about it. And as I was chattering away about it online and whatever, she just called me to say, Hey and other people have called I’m, I’m working on fear now. one of my favorite experts on fear is a guy named Gavin de Becker.

I was writing a text to someone saying I should read his work from 20 years ago when, an email popped up that said, Hi, Martha, sorry to come in out of nowhere. This is Gavin de Becker. I was like, ha!

GABBY: Not outta nowhere at all.

A while back I was on another Dear Media podcast with the one and only Lauren from Skinny Confidential. And she was talked about these shoes that were a sponsor for her podcast, that she fell madly in love with. And Michael was talking with her about it. And he was like, yeah, she’s truly obsessed with these.

So I’ve always wanted to get my hands on some Rothy’s. And I love those moments when I discover something new and it just becomes this amazing, amazing staple in my wardrobe. Lauren was right. These shoes are seriously the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever put on my feet. And I’m obsessed. Rothy’s shoes give you right out-of-the-box comfort.

And they come from amazing styles and colorways and you can wash them. That’s right. You can wash them. So when you’re feeling like you have a little bit of a grungy shoe, you can just throw it in the washing machine and get it cleaned up, which means they’re also super durable and very long-lasting.

You may have heard of the point and the flat from Rothy’s, but they also make insanely comfortable sneakers, loafers, ankle boots, and so much more. The lace-up sneakers have been living on my feet. And the best part is everything Rothy’s makes is better for the planet. They’ve repurposed millions of water bottles into their signature thread, and it goes into every single one of their products.

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MARTHA: So yeah, animals, books, teachers, the very people you’re thinking about the more you are committed to your own truth, the more quickly and magically it seems to happen.

And that kitty cat of yours. Yeah. She’s the real deal.

GABBY: She’s the real deal. And it was a lot of synchronicity that led her here. And I don’t question any of it. And I, I think that, I think when, when you’re saying the more in integrity that we get into is also in my language, I might say the more blocks that we released to the presence of that integrity.

The easier it is for us to establish a greater conscious awareness of all of the guidance that’s around us. And so maybe that guidance is always there, but we don’t see it. We’re not capable of being able to even witness it.

MARTHA: Yeah, I mean we’re capable, but we’re socialized out of it. So, when I say integrity, I just mean being whole and being aware of all the parts of you that are in operation.

I don’t mean you were back. What happens is we’re all born in integrity. And then before we can even talk, we confront social pressure not to express ourselves the way we want to. So people are shushing kids and keeping them quiet and keeping them still. And the kid goes, oh, okay. There’s something wrong with the way I am.

And typically abandons parts of the true self in order to fit in socially. So our society says, no, we can’t feel spiritual impulses and things. Those aren’t real. Those are woo woo. Put ’em aside. But the fact is we do have the capability to do it. The way to come back into integrity is to look at anything that feels bleak, sad, miserable, frustrating, and see what you believe that’s at the root of that suffering and just ask yourself, am I sure that’s true?

So I felt alone, friendless abandoned in a godless universe where my life, the only thing certain was death and taxes and I hated it all. And then I started when I was about 18. I started asking myself, but am I absolutely sure that’s the way it is?

And I realized that I can’t be absolutely sure of anything because everything is filtered through my perceptions and colored by my beliefs. So depending on what I believe, I see a different world and I don’t know which one is real so I just decided to let go of it all and see what happened. And I’ve been doing that ever since more and more and more.

And what happens is floods of spiritual experience, spiritual companionship, and the ever-present love of some invisible, but incredibly tangible, conscious force. It’s a wildly mystical existence and we have access to it. If we just drop our socialization and feel what we really feel.

GABBY: In your book. So I wanna just make sure I let everybody know the book that we’re referencing.

It’s The Way of Integrity, finding the path to your true self. I appreciate that subtitle very much. You have a four-step path in the book, so I’d love for you to share that with us, everybody loves four steps and, you know, but, but really also just, just to reiterate that this is sort of what I love most about this book and about you is that it’s not like we have to go and do something to get something. It’s that we’re just clearing away to what already is and to the awareness of what is.

And so, um, let’s go there. I mean, just share everything you want about that.

MARTHA: Sure. Actually, I was standing on the shoulders of a giant, I, I decided to base this book for some reason on Dante’s Divine Comedy. And it wasn’t until I was three-quarters of the way through that I thought, why am I doing this?

But it, it works. Dante was a genius. And he actually was a genius telling us how to wake up spiritually and, and psychologically out of suffering. But here’s the crazy thing that people don’t know about Dante’s Inferno. They could leave. In fact, there are regular delegations of angels that come down and say, anybody, want outta here?

And they don’t leave because they’re attached to what they think they’re attached to visions of revenge or victimization or whatever. And that’s like the process of therapy. You know, you just go deeper and deeper. You face the demons that believe I’m no good. I deserve to be punished. Whatever the lies are in your head, you go through hell to disbelieve them.

The deepest part of hell is being frozen away from joy, frozen out of activity. To me, that’s depression. That’s where I was throughout my adolescence in young adult years. And if you go deep enough into your own hell. While you’re going in the same direction down becomes up. And then, then it is like three lines until he is out of the whole thing.

And he says, walks up this path and he says, we came forth. And once again, we held the stars and that’s how therapy works, too. What it is is walking the talk, he’s now learned his truth. Which is that his demons are lying to him, but how do you behave? If you don’t believe anymore, I’m not good enough. Or I should give other people my power or whatever a racist society is, is in charge and there’s no way I can change it.

Like if you start, if you drop those beliefs and you say no I am worthy, and I can change things and everything, you have to start being really brave. And you have to stand up, you have to speak out for your truth. You have to sometimes make choices that are really unpopular with the people who socialized you.

And it’s hardest at the beginning, but if you keep doing it as Dante walks, he gets happier and happier and lighter and lighter till, at the end, he’s almost flying. How many times do you sit down and make lists of everything you’ve ever done right?

GABBY: It’s not a common thing for folks.

MARTHA: Nobody does it. We, we enumerate our regrets and our mistakes, but we never just go, Hey, somebody said to me the other day, they write articles about every time a plane crashes, but they do not write about every time a plane takes off.

GABBY: Right.

MARTHA: And if they did, the newspapers would look really different. So forget your crashes. Watch your integrity, forget your crashes. Remember your flights.

And what happens then is he starts to experience the world that’s filled with light. He has things come to him, effortlessly, magically filled with love.

There’s love all around him. There are beings of love who are they’re just in a constant state of increasing joy and love. And ultimately he comes to the center of the universe, which is this flower of light that’s just unfolding eternally. And so now, he’s in the present moment. He’s in the presence of God.

We’re all here in the same present moment and there’s no distance. And I had this kind of explosive experience of connection and I thought. Holy smokes. This poem is not really fiction.

GABBY: In my new book, Happy Days, I’ve been sharing this story about how my therapist once said to me, your trauma can even affect the way you brush your teeth.

And this actually really resonated with me because I always was someone who didn’t really care for my teeth the way I should have. And I think that does go back to my history, my childhood, and some of the wounds that I had to really uncover. But the more work I’ve done on myself, the more I have made a commitment to care for every part of my body.

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MARTHA: So sorry for the long diatribe.

GABBY: I actually, please don’t apologize. That was, that was absolutely beautiful.

And I think that this poem is not fiction is, is beautiful because. It’s really everything that you’ve been in the pursuit of in your personal experiences, your personal recovery and in your career and to someone that’s listening to think about. Okay, well that sounds beautiful, but I don’t wanna even touch the core underneath or I can’t even contemplate getting past the freeze place or whatever that is.

MARTHA: Right.

GABBY: What would you as the coach? Right? As the, as the teacher. First of all, I do wanna acknowledge how many times you said therapy. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Because I really do believe that therapy is the answer and that having a guide go with you to those places that scare you is the answer, but I’d love to hear just like how you would address that person.

It’s like, I want that. I believe that, but how do I even, you know, cuz the places that scare us, freeze us.

MARTHA: Oh yeah. And even, you know, my agent, my editors, my publishers would read some of the chapters and go, okay, this is scary.

GABBY: Mm-hmm.

MARTHA: And I’m like, yeah, it was now that you mentioned it now; I’m not scared anymore, but it was horrible.

So what I would suggest is that if you push yourself into absolute terror, which I did a lot, you actually create more traumas. So what you wanna do is stay within just a little short of the edge of your comfort zone. So the first thing I ask people to do is calibrate your sense of truth by saying there’s one statement that I’ve coached thousands of people.

And they all told me this, made them feel like it was true. And that statement is: I am meant to live in peace. So if you repeat that to yourself, a few times, I’m meant to live in peace. I’m meant to live in peace. You, you may find, I mean, what happens to you when you say that to yourself?

GABBY: I wanna just, I’ve heard you say that many times and I take it in first, even hearing you acknowledge and affirm that has a full-body experience for.

And then so saying it or thinking it in this moment, I am meant to live in peace. It feels, I feel relief. I believe that now. There may have been a time when I didn’t.

MARTHA: Even people who don’t believe that they can live in peace to say that out loud sort of aligns all the truth centers somehow.

And, uh, so once we’ve done that, the next thing is just to say the truth about how scared you are to find the truth. So say I know there’s stuff going on inside me, but I’m terrified to look at it. Or whatever fits your particular case and stay there. That’s it. That’s, that’s the step you need. It’s and every step, you know, that takes a little courage and vulnerability to say, look, there’s stuff I have to look at.

I don’t want to, but I know it’s there. That little step into vulnerability is the size of step you should be taking all the way through the Inferno, paradise, the whole thing. I call it one-degree turns.

GABBY: Mm-hmm.

MARTHA: So if you’re in an airplane and you’re going 10,000 miles and every half hour, you turn one degree north, you won’t even notice the turn, but you’ll end up in a completely different destination. So just one degree, one degree. Learn to live with I know that there’s stuff that I’m scared to look at, live with it for a few days, and you’ll actually feel your soul pushing you to go one step further. All right. The stuff I have to look at has to do with my marriage or my jaw or whatever it is.

Okay. All right. Ugh. And you’ll get those agitations, the fight or flight stimulation, and then live with that for a few days. It also helps to give, uh, what one therapist calls messages of safety to yourself. Like you’re okay. You don’t have to go any further. We’re just gonna stay with this for a while. You don’t have to take one more step, one more inch until you feel like you want to.

We’re just gonna be here. If you become your own source of comfort. What’s interesting is you start to feel that there’s another power greater than you that is actually using your ability to be calming, to give its message to your frightened self.

GABBY: Yeah, well, it’s like working with, with self, so it’s, it’s acknowledging the parts that need need healing, and then self that, that voice of compassion and curiosity and that, that caring voice of God can be there to be that pillow to, to rest on.

To say, okay, we’re gonna touch in and go as far as we can. That’s as far as we should go.

MARTHA: It’s so interesting. The more truth you tell, the more you realize that self capital S is flowing through your truth. And so you, as you tell more and more truth, you’re filled with more and more of a sense of the presence of that compassion and your courage will rise gradually because of that experience.

If you’re not sensitive to it, pay close attention and you’ll feel it. You’ll actually feel, as you tell yourself, I’m safe. It’s okay. It’s all right. You’ll feel something calming you. That is the great self, as you said. And, and that’s a, that is the path of spiritual discovery, right there.

GABBY: Really echoing everything that you’ve said is it’s having the bravery to be willing to witness what needs to be brought to the light, right? Just be the witness.

MARTHA: It’s terrifying.

GABBY: But to not have to feel like you have to do something with it overnight. And I really appreciate that because one, because you’re right, you can actually reactivate yourself and go back into the, you know, you can retraumatize yourself and, and two, because it will just make us run further run faster.

And so I’ve found I really wanna testify to everything you just said because in my own therapy, just being able to witness and know, I know I have more to do there and I’ll do it, when I’m ready. That t readiness does, does show up and it, and it does, and it’s not overnight, it’s, it is those subtle shifts of just leaning in slightly and leaning in slightly and leaning in slightly.

And then there is a moment there recently was a moment for me where I remember saying to myself, alright. I do some EMDR therapy. And I remember saying this was almost a week and a half ago where I was like, alright. I’m gonna call my EMDR therapist and we’re gonna go there. And that was a place I couldn’t go to for, for 42 years.


MARTHA: Absolutely.

GABBY: So,and then it’s like, okay, let’s go there. And, you know, it’s just, it’s just a testament to the, to the, the subtleties of the inner work. And I think that that makes it that it simplifies. It gives us, um, a greater sense of, of possibility rather than thinking I have to go fix this up.

Cause I think what so many people live in is, um, the opposite of the integrity and the wholeness that you write about, they live in just this, this fragmented place, as you would say, you know?

MARTHA: Yeah. And, and we talk about fragmentation and things being torn apart in Asia, they talk about things being clouded or obscured.

So instead of, so if you think, okay, I’m like a machine that got shattered. I remember saying when I was in my twenties, I’m like an appliance where every part of me is broken. Like just on me away I’m caput, but in Asia and at the end of this book, I use this metaphor you’re seen as a jewel. With many, many facets, perfectly clear you’re you’re created completely clear and completely beautifully um, cut. So that radiance comes to you into you, out of you and it’s muddy. So you clean each facet every time you say to yourself, I’m gonna stop pretending that I’m okay with this and I’m gonna change something so that I really feel okay. Like you gradually, gradually are cleaning this jewel. So instead of having to come back to wholeness, you’re just revealed as having all, always been whole.

And when you know that you’ve always been whole and every facet is clear, that’s the paradise part of the equation.

GABBY: Yep. Yep. Yep. And it’s all about truth telling. I love that you, you spent a year of your life, just, you made that commitment. You were having all these psychosomatic conditions and witnessing, you know, your body reacting to the lies.

And then you said I’m gonna spend this year just in truth. And, uh, obviously became, became how you live, but, um, I’d love to hear what that, what, yeah. So, so yeah. Do you live in truth-telling now?

MARTHA: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, that’s absolutely fundamental, but when I started, I was 29 years old and I was, I was at a new year’s Eve party with a bunch of friends and I was back in Utah. So all my friends were Mormon and I said, you know, I am sick of not feeling free. I, they say the truth will set me free. So I’m not gonna tell a single lie for this entire calendar year. And all my friends freaked out. They were like, you can’t do that. And these were very religious people who espouse the value of honesty.

And they’re like, no, you can’t always tell the truth. Oh my God. And I was like, nope, I’m gonna do it. And sure enough, that year, that was the year I lost, you know, or left my family, my job and my marriage, everything. Cuz I was lying about all of it in complete innocence. I did not know that I was out of integrity.

I was just trying to be a good person. And that’s the thing is we get out of integrity. Not because we’re bad, but because we’re trying so hard to be good. And then we abandon ourselves, but it was, I would not. And do not advise you to go a whole calendar year without lying. If you have never done it before.

GABBY: Mm-hmm mm-hmm.

MARTHA: Cause it’s like base-jumping in the nude, you just it’s it’s some big times, I’ll tell you, but if you wanna start, like if you wanna take three days and try not to lie, or at least notice when you do. Even that has been shown in research to reduce the number of doctor visits that you have, the number of headaches, it increases your sense of well-being, your relationships.

This is when they just take people and say, try not to lie so much for three days. It’s amazing how powerful this is.

GABBY: Right. Just thinking about all of the repressed rage and anger and just all of that, that you push down when you lie. And for myself, you know, I’ve started practicing radical honesty and I’ve been also practicing nonviolent communication.

So it makes it a lot easier to tell the truth when you’re just doing it in a, in a very compassionate and honest way. I can’t tell you how much easier it is to be, to run a business, to have, to have employees, to be a wife, to be a mother when I’m just speaking from that seat of truth, with just, just respect for the other.

With no shaming and blaming just truth. I think that’s probably one of the most transformational things I’ve ever experienced. I’ve had many instances in my life where not lying sometimes meant just not doing anything.

MARTHA: Right.

GABBY: Because you know, if people were asking of me to do things that I wasn’t ready to do, responding was only gonna feel there was still a need to sort of care for them.

And so the only response was no response and that it still is a response. That’s actually a truthful response. And so…

MARTHA: Absolutely. Yeah.

GABBY: You know, noticing that you don’t always have to say something to be honest.

MARTHA: Right. No. In some cases Alexander Solzhenitsyn said there are times when silence is a lie. And what you’re saying is also true.

There are times when any words at all are a lie because all of language reduces reality to something smaller than it is. And that’s the thing when you’re telling the truth and living in the truth, what you are aligning with is simply reality. And the way you know, that it’s reality is that it actually works.

So I have had so many clients over the years who do The Secret, you know, and they, they make vision boards and they. Imagine themselves having success and love and everything. And I always say, well, that’s a little woo. On the other hand, it always works for me. So like, not always, but it works ridiculously well for me.

And I love science and I’ve been trained in it. And I’m like, why, why do vision boards work for me? And then I tell other people to do it. And sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. And what I found out I, I wanted to write this book without any of the woo woo stuff. I just wanted to go with truth. And what I found out was the more you adhere to the truth, the more your consciousness is engaged with the rest of reality.

And so when, when you start to be really honest, the magic in your life goes bananas.

GABBY: Right.

MARTHA: Like I said, I am meant to live in peace is something that almost everyone feels at a deep level. And I started to realize, whenever you’ve asked the universe for something love, money, whatever it is. The answer is always, yes, it is always sent to you immediately with no waiting whatsoever, but your real address is peace.

You’re meant to live in peace. So all the things you want are being sent to your real home address, which is peace. If you are not in peace. You can’t see it. You can’t find it because you’re off in, I don’t know, desperation and the universe isn’t gonna reward that because it’s not true. And because it would teach you to stay in desperation to get your stuff.

So when you come into peace, just for the sake of peace, you also get bombarded with miracles. And, and I mean, I’m not saying nothing bad ever happens to you again, but. Good Lord. If you wanna get The Secret to work, try just telling the truth all the time.

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GABBY: It’s so wonderful to hear that reiterated because I always say that the secret to manifesting is to really feel good. It’s like, you know, just to feel good. And when we’re in the pursuit of peace, rather than getting something, then all the things that we want end up coming to us naturally, because the peace is what is attracting it towards us.

And also, ultimately, what do we want anyway, we wanna feel that peace. It’s beautiful that the address that we have to put on the envelope is peace.

MARTHA: Yes. Right. But here’s the thing. Here’s the little tricky bit because this, and this is where I used to go wrong, where a lot of my clients have gone wrong. You say, okay.

The secret to manifesting is to feel good and I believe that’s true, but what if I’ve just lost a loved one? What if I’ve just lost a baby? Like you did, like the grief is the truth. So. For me, it’s not just make yourself feel good. It’s go somewhere by yourself and allow yourself to feel whatever you’re truly feeling.

And then there’s a kind of progression. Have you ever met Anita Moorjani? She’s a woman, who literally died of cancer. Had a near-death experience came back. Her body was, she was an 85-pound body riddled with lemon-sized tumors. And she came back after this near-death experience. And within nine days she was cancer free.

She’s a spiritual teacher and her stuff is wonderful, but she told me even when you’re very deeply grieving, you allow yourself to go there. If you allow what you’re feeling, that’s acceptance. And from acceptance, you can go to peace. You can go straight there and get all your good stuff. Or if you wanna even build on that, from peace, you can go to gratitude. From gratitude, you can go to joy.

Then a whole bunch of stuff starts happening, but the truth is more important to me than the feel-good. And, and I want people to know that the way to the feel good, that is magical is through whatever you’re really feeling.

GABBY: And I appreciate you calling that out because to just throw away, oh, feel good.

It’s kind of like, okay, that’s a little bit of a bypass. And so just to, to really echo what you’re saying for me, like even, when I most recently went through the trauma of a 20-week scan and seen that the baby’s not growing and all of this horrific stuff that happens when you witness this. I was able to move and I, I don’t wanna say feel good because t didn’t feel good at all, but through the pursuit of honesty, truth, facing into the grief, having 42 years of spiritual practice behind me.

And I say that, cause I really think I’ve been on this journey since birth. Um, really, but really the, the commitment and the devotion to fit my faith. I was able to identify what feeling good was even in the midst of feeling grief.


GABBY: And so I, and I guess it’s hard to, to find that as feeling good when you’re feeling suffering.

But I think what I really wanna express is that even in the midst of those dark moments, we can still be really grounded in our faith because of our willingness to be authentic, our willingness to be vulnerable, our willingness to be present and, and genuinely experience what we’re experiencing.

I suppose that would be the same way I would say that we’re still in the pursuit of feeling good, even in those difficult moments.

MARTHA: Absolutely. And don’t discount the 42 years because the more spiritual practice you have and life is a spiritual practice. So it forces us over and over again to confront fear, fear of death, fear of loss—it’s happening all the time.

I mean, the last few years have been a festival of loss for so many people, but the soul is here in this incarnation. Why is it here? I think that our souls are here because they value deeply value the experience of expanding into more compassion and more joy, and the soul is not afraid of suffering.

So we, as humans are afraid of suffering, it feels horrible, but the soul, when it experiences suffering at an emotional level. We’re in agony and the soul is holding back without fear without pain.

And that’s the embrace you feel when you say in your agony, am I sure my beliefs are true, that this is all horrible and meaningless? When you think, well, maybe it’s meaningful. Suddenly you feel what’s been holding you all along.

GABBY: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. And I, I think that the word that kept coming up for me in the last, uh, two months as I’ve gone through this grief is the word grace.

Because, because what I believe, what you’re saying and what my experience was was that I was able to, to be okay, even happy at moments in the midst of this tremendous grief because I wasn’t attached because I was letting go in the acceptance of what, what is. And in some cases that’s because of just the nature of how things happened, you know, there wasn’t a choice.

Like I couldn’t, I wasn’t gonna be like, okay, let me see if this works out. There was no choice. I had to make the choice and I had to, to let go completely. But I, I noticed so clearly I’m not clutching onto this idea of what it should have been. Right. I wasn’t dwelling in all the year of IVF and all the hard work that it took to even get that embryo, embryo, I wasn’t in that story.

I was truly in the story of, I have this, this three-year-old boy at home, I’m gonna get this little kitten. And that wasn’t me trying to get out of that suffering. It was genuine.

MARTHA: Right.

GABBY: And so I, I think that is the 42 years of, of spiritual practice. That just is there when you, when you wake up and you have this, these, I guess that’s the point I wanna make.

When you make the commitment to live in the pursuit of feeling good. Right? So growing, doing, going to the, to the dark places, awakening spiritually, strengthening your faith, doing the therapeutic work that that pursuit of feeling good, ultimately adds up and adds up and adds up. So the moments when you do experience great suffering, you’re held and, and not only held, but you are able to move through them with grace.

MARTHA: Yeah. And what you’re, you know, I said earlier about the part of the brain that controls that it holds on it attaches and we’re taught that that’s how to make things work. And it has created miracles, like IVF technology and stuff, even though that’s hell to go through.

But on the other hand, you’ve got, so you’ve moved more into the right side where you let go of everything and our culture says if you let go of everything, you fall. And it turns out that if you let go of everything you do fall, but you never land.

And it’s not the fall that kills you. It’s the landing. So you realize, oh, what I’m doing now is flying and it’s this feeling of complete liberation. And that is one of the things that I do to try to help people at the beginning of the way of integrity is to help them let go and fly.

And there’s a little meditation I do when I’m confronting something like that. Ugh. I’m so sorry that that happened to you. But I call it the surrender-allow meditation. And even if you haven’t done 42 years, this meditation can bring people really quickly into a space where they can feel that they’re flying and supported by the air.

And it’s really simple. Every time you breathe out, you surrender all resistance to everything being the way it is right now. It’s just allow it to be the way it is. So when you breathe in, you allow it. So breathe in and say, I allow everything in the universe to be, as it is right now. You can’t really change it right now.

When you breathe out, you say, I surrender all my resistance to reality as it is, and you breathe in and you allow and you breathe out and you surrender. And the first thing you did when you were born was to breathe in and allow the universe to be, as it is. And the last thing you will do in this life is to breathe out and let the universe be as it is.

So in that with each breath, you’re born again and with each out-breath you die. And that really helps me not attach to my experiences, just to focus on that process.

GABBY: And that’s the perfect place to end. I really appreciate the simplicity of the allowing and the letting go to what is. I appreciate you for your vulnerable, authentic truth.

I’ve had the privilege of meeting so many wonderful spiritual teachers and authors, and I have had you at the top of the list. And you, you are someone who truly walks her talk, thank you for that.

MARTHA: Well, you too. I mean, we try. Yeah, it works.

GABBY: It works, it works, it works. And I really think that if there’s anything that anyone experiences, whether they listen to everything you’ve said, or they just experience your presence, that’ll be enough because you’re witnessing somebody in their truth.

And so I just, I just, I can’t thank you enough. And I adore you and I’m, I’m grateful that we can now be friends.

MARTHA: Oh, thank you so much. I think we’ve been friends all along and probably continue with adding to the end of eternity. And, uh, I keep doing the wonderful, beautiful work that you do in the world because you are changing so many lives and helping so many people, including me.

So gratitude and admiration.

GABBY: Thank you. Thank you so beautiful.

If you made it to the end of this episode, that means you’re truly committed to miracles. I’m really proud of you. If you wanna get more Gabby, tune in every Monday for a new episode. Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any of the guidance or special bonus episodes. Your experience at this show means a lot to me.

So I really wanna welcome you to leave an honest review and you can follow me on social media at @GabbyBernstein. And if you wanna get in on the action, sign up for a chance to be Dear Gabby-ed live: deargabby.com. See you next week.

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