Picking Up The Pieces

This past weekend I attended a workshop at Kripalu, “Transforming Fear to Faith, The Universe Has Your Back” with Gabrielle Bernstein.

I’ve been dabbling with the idea of a spiritual path for several years now (ironically, on the last day of our workshop, Gabby said, “being on a spiritual path is not for dabblers…”), and since my separation I’ve read SO many books on various topics — all surrounding our purpose, how to be centered, how to keep faith, recovering from rock bottom. Some may call this an existential crisis, I’m going to say I’m fine tuning my soul and building my self-help library in the process.

During the first workshop on day one, my head started buzzing. One of the things you learn about when you are the parent of an autistic child is something called echolalia. Defined, it is the repetition of another’s words. Autistics who are in the process of language acquisition will repeat words and sounds they have heard when they don’t know how to socially integrate, or when they don’t have language of their own to use.

The repetition of another’s words when you don’t know what to say. How often do we do this as adults? How often do the words of others become the soundtrack of our life?

Maybe for some that soundtrack is full of unconditional love and hope. But for me, maybe for a lot of us, that soundtrack is my limiting beliefs — I’m not lovable, worthy, deserving of happiness. And I just repeat, repeat, repeat.

So that first night, my head is just swirling because I don’t understand how you surrender your fear, let go of your limiting beliefs when the echolalia of your life says you don’t deserve what’s on the other side of that submission, and you agree.

And I write this down, and bold it, and shakily raise my hand during the Q&A to ask this question, but I’m the last one hand-raised, and time is up for the night. So as a gift, Gabby gives me her notes and I go to my room, question unanswered.

In her book, “The Universe Has Your Back”, she has a chapter on surrendering. The premise being that in order to achieve a belief system free of limitation, doubt, judgment, separation, and attack, in order to become aligned with an energy of joy, you need to let go. And when you think you’ve let go, let go some more. Then you pick your sign, simply by closing your eyes and choosing the first thing that pops into your head, and then you can ask the Universe to show you your sign to give you guidance and show you that you’re on the right track.

My sign is a puzzle piece. And over the last year I have followed the instructions in the book. I’ve really looked at how my words and beliefs and the low-vibe stories I tell myself have blocked the support of the Universe. I have literally said out loud, “I am determined to see this with love. I surrender this story.” And I have asked the Universe to show me my sign. And nothing. NOTHING. has happened. No signs, no change, nothing.

So by the end of day two I’m aching. I’ve done the work, I’ve been doing the work, why is the work not working?

By some random chance, I end up being the last person with the mic in my hand at the end of session two, day two. And though Gabby was done with the session, she let me ask my question. So I do.

I tell her about how her mantra put me into labor with Eliza. And that when I was pregnant with Eliza, I was at rock bottom and I was so open to anything that would affect change, provide hope, nudge us forward. And, as a result, so many spirit guides came to me, I was given so many signs that we were on the right path and that things were going to be okay.

But now I’m not at rock bottom — not that I’m elevated and complete — but I’m not at that lowest of the low space I have been in so many times. And not being at rock bottom, I’m literally terrified of being at rock bottom again, and making the wrong choice. So to ensure that I’m making the right choices, I have asked for my sign so many times and nothing has happened.

And I tell her, “I’ve cursed you, Gabby. I have yelled, ‘Where is my fucking sign? Where is my puzzle piece? This is all bullshit!’ And I know it isn’t, because I’ve lived the miracle before. So why is it that when we’re at our lowest, we are so open. And when we have something, even a small shred of something, to lose we are so closed?”

At this point my hands are trembling, and I have just accused an international speaker, author, and acclaimed spiritual guru of being full of shit in front of a room full of people (like hundreds, you guys) who paid to hear her speak. When all of a sudden, a woman is pushing another woman into the aisle and this woman is stuttering and nervously asking if it’s okay to interject, and we’re all looking at her confused.

She walks up to me and says, “I have your sign.” And I’m like, what???

She says, “I have your sign. And when you said puzzle piece I asked the woman next to me if that’s what you said, and she told me I have to show you. I have your sign, right here on my foot.”

With that I burst into tears. She started crying. Most of the room was crying with us. I wanted to throw up on the floor. This woman has a tattoo of a puzzle piece on her foot.

Come to find out that she almost left the day before, she just felt out of her element and uncomfortable, but something called her to stay. And here she was standing before me, with my sign that I’m on the right path.

So through lots of hugs and tears, I left the night’s workshop with hope, and an assignment to rewatch Gabby’s Super Soul Session with Oprah where she shares her Five Steps to Spiritual Surrender.

Over the weekend’s lessons my key takeaway (and there were so many, so, so many) was that when you place your happiness and safety in the outcome, you lose sight of a plan beyond your own. The key to releasing control is to surrender your outside needs and obsessions and remember that nothing can take away your power — the love and peace within you.

And just in case that lesson wasn’t driven home over the course of three days, while I was searching for Gabby’s Super Soul Session on Sunday night, this was the first video I found.


Those that have hit rock bottom understand that when you’re at rock bottom you literally lose everything you think you need. And what you have left, when you’ve really hit bottom, what you have left is your faith, your hope, and your love. And those are things that no one can take from you. And in the realization that all you need can never be taken from you, you can release your fear.


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