Hello, my loves.
I am so excited to be kicking off this monthly book club with my favorite book of the year so far, The Universe Has Your Back.
I love this book possibly because of the shift that it brought into my personal life and also for the way that she has a seriously lighthearted yet very tangible approach for a first timer to meditation and the benefits with connecting with a higher energy.
How is this going to work?
The questions will be posted below along with my personal reflections on the subjects and in the comments at the bottom of the post I hope to have a place of connection + community that we can chat about the ways that this book impacted you or fell short.
This book & discussion is not attached to any form of religion yet I want everyone to be able to reflect on their own form of God, energy, The Universe, whatever it is openly and without judgement.
That being said, let’s keep it positive y’all. Let us practice non-judgement and be open to community!
Grab your wine & let’s get this show on the road.
1. In Chapter One, Gabby beautifully illustrates the energizing sensation you receive when you discover a new practice (meditation for her) and then how poorly you feel when you find yourself lost (drugs). The best part of a practice is that it ebbs and flows. You just jump back in and it feels like you never left. Practice isn’t perfect. What are you in the practice of?
- I am currently in the practice of finding small ways to find the calm in the chaos. Slowing down instead of speeding up. I am in the practice of a daily meditation and also knowing that some days that I am not going to execute mindfulness. I know that the fact that it is a practice is what keeps me from feeling like a failure when I get caught up and do not fully experience the moment I am in. Being present and having a present awareness around each moment without grasping for the future in your thoughts or reliving the past is the most challenging practice mentally but the most freeing that I have ever experienced.
2. Do you recognize your negative and positive stories? Do you know what it feels like to be connected and disconnected to the presence of your power?
- My negative story is that I am not worthy. That I am not good enough and that I don’t know how/have enough credentials to __ (fill in the blank). So I notice that when I am really out of alignment with my energy and truest form of self I start to feel less than. I start to get down on myself. It’s such an obvious negative story, and is really easy to point out but tough to see past when you’re in the thick of that negative energy.
- My positive story is that I can and will do anything I put my mind to. That I am powerful, strong, intelligent and fully able to succeed in an authentic way to myself. I know when I am connected to this presence of power when I am excited about life and feel fully grounded at the same time.
3. In Chapter Two, Gabby gives the Universal Lesson: the universe will always conspire to lead you toward solutions of the highest good when you open up to receive them. Where have you seen examples of this, whether in your own life or others’ lives?
- hmm. The last few months have brought so much abundance and grounded authentic energy into my being. And I truly believe I have felt a huge shift because I have put into practice being present, surrender and knowing/trusting that I am on a really fucking awesome path. I know that whatever is meant to be will be and I also know what I need to work on to help the process. I know what it feels like to lean into the good and back away from what your intuition is telling you is not good for you. All of this came by quieting down and tuning in and surrendering the process over to the universe. Some examples? I am working on a mindfulness course to offer to others, I am studying to become a yoga teacher and I am incorporating mindfulness into my everyday work life. I am also happy as hell, present, grateful every day and genuinely clear minded. That is a feat in itself.
4. If Gabby believes that your purpose in life is to be joyful, then how do you open yourself up to receive as much joy as you possibly can throughout your life? What are things that you need to adjust/line up to have more joy daily?
- Daily yoga + meditation, daily kisses from my handsome, more time with nature and some time in my life to create and not always be on the go. More connection from like minded souls (makes my heart happy) and less worry about the future. That is how I find joy.
5. In Chapter Four Gabby talks about the difference between leaning towards fear vs. leaning toward joy, and then asks the question: what if I just chose for this to be fun? What would happen if you chose to have fun in stressful seasons or decisions? Would they improve for you?
- The first time I read this book this concept of breathing in love, breathing out fear RADICALLY shifted things for me. If you have ever known me at any point in my lifetime you know that I am a very fearful person. I’m not talking about life/career/goal fears but rather afraid of the dark and my shadow type of fears #truestory. But this concept of leaning toward the love in a situation instead of the fear made me so much more present and joyful in moments that I didn’t even realize I was being fearful. Such as walking from my car into work, in the daytime… baby steps people. (I blame my mom and all of the episodes of ‘Americas Most Wanted’ we watched as a child hahaha).
- As far as things that were hard such as a difficult conversation or the “what will people think” type of fears that I also struggle with like most human beings, I have found this concept to be just as grounding and helpful. Instead of allowing my mind to gravitate and go immediately toward the fear-based patterns of thinking, I have allowed and practiced shifting them to the more love-based patterns of thinking and have felt more present and so much more connected to the people around me.
6. In Chapter Five, Gabby states: “you have denied your power for far too long. Now is your time to receive love, light and a sense of deep connection.” Through recognizing your negative and positive stories, are you able to take it one step further? Do you recognize the power within you that you are denying so that you can step away from limitation and into a joy filled life?
- I am more than able to take it one step further and recognize the power within me that I have been denying. I am stepping into my confidence, knowing that I am more than qualified and able to show up in the world the way that I know I can. I am working on a mindfulness course, am becoming a yoga teacher and am working with a life coach to get to the core of my most authentic self + create the life & business of my dreams.
7. When Gabby talks about the universe doing for you what you cannot do for yourself, do you resonate with that? Have there ever been times that you cannot choose and you feel that God steps in and chooses for you? Do you find that there is power around seeing obstacles in your life as detours in the right direction?
- This one. Yes. I have had this experience and felt the relief of an outcome being no longer in my hands even when I knew it wasn’t right for me. I know now that it was a crucial piece of my life that I would never change. a few years ago I was invited to speak at a conference for a company that my soul no longer resonated with. The constant busy and perpetual non use of boundaries left me completely drained and 100% anxious. I felt guilty that I knew I needed to step away but knew that it wasn’t simply because I wasn’t giving it a try. I was giving it my everything and leaving nothing left for my daily functioning. The lack of boundaries that I did not successfully put in place left me feeling overrun and trampled. And then I got asked to speak, which was and still is a huge passion of mine. I want to speak at conferences and be a speaker, but not in this way. Not in the way of further establishing and putting myself up on a pedestal within a company I no longer resonated with at the truest form of my being level. And so the uncertainty began, should I speak or should I not? Back and forth I went until I finally said, “yes” (thinking in my head that I just needed to suck it up & knowing that my intuition was telling me this was not the time or the place).
Until the night before the event, I got in a car accident, was t-boned and walked away with a bad concussion. Well, that moment of no longer having a car or a functioning head to get in front of lights on a stage I didn’t feel like I belonged on and would not feel like coming home to my truest self, it felt like a huge weight off my shoulders. I would never want to get in an accident in order to learn boundaries again but damn, the universe knew what I really needed and that was to say, “no, this isn’t me anymore, I can not show up authentically in this place and I need to move on.” And so I did. I listened to that feeling of relief in a shitty situation and knew it was a clear sign that stepping away from the chaos, the noise, the opinions, the go-so-hard-until-you-have-a-panic-attack was what my soul needed. And I leaned into that.
8. In Chapter 7 Gabby talks about “certainty of outcome” being the most important piece to fulfill your life’s purpose and states, “those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait and to wait without anxiety.” What would you do if you lived with faith and certainty?
- I would live a more grounded, confident and sure existence. I know this because I have been using certainty as my favorite mantra to stop the constant need to “figure out my life,” and career outcomes, business plans and creative endeavors have been falling into place with ease instead of with my need to control every thought and go over every possible outcome. I have found peace in the present moment because I know that where I am going and where I am at are two really fucking rad places.
9. Did you write a faith statement? Why do you think having something to call on to remind you that you are one with the universe is important for day to day life?
- I think it is always important to have a way to remind yourself that you are one with the universe and that you are doing a really good job. It is important because without it you can easily get swept up in the nonsense. Have a way to come back to your intention of life and who you are.
10. On page 145 Gabby states, “the way to knowing your truth is to allow the voice of love to echo through every single thought you have.” Fears are only detours. What is a mantra you will use to get back to loving thoughts and away from fearful living?
- Breathe in love, breathe out fear. It is my favorite mantra to pair with breath during those moments of feeling off track.
11. Is letting go of judgement and judgmental thoughts hard for you day to day or easy? Do you find most of your judgement aimed toward yourself or towards others?
- This is so hard! Which is why it is a practice. I practice it when the yoga teacher has us to weird movements that I am not familiar with, I practice it when I realize that I am judging said teacher, I use it when I am feeling down on myself and then knowing that I cannot judge myself for where I am and I use it when the dude making my tacos at Q’doba takes an impossibly long time. Finding ways to be in the moment and not lean into judgement is an extremely important practice that again makes you more connected to the present moment.
Let me know what hit you the most or answer any of the above questions below! Feel free to ask anything you would like to dive deeper in and remember let’s keep it respectful!
P.S: The next book we will be discussing is White Hot Truth by Danielle LaPort. It is amazing, I am halfway through it right now and it really keeps it real & raw while simultaneously being hilarious. Want to get in on the discussion questions early while you’re reading? Email me @ email@example.com to be added to the newsletter!