Gabrielle Bernstein: The Origins of a Spirit Junkie

The author of Add More ~ing to Your Life shares her journey from party girl to spirit junkie.

Gabrielle Bernstein

There was a time when motivational speaker and author Gabrielle Bernstein was just another New York City 20-something looking for the great boyfriend, the perfect pair of shoes and the hottest clubs in town. When the party was over and Bernstein found herself at rock bottom, it took a "course in miracles" to put her back on track. 

Q. Tell me what your growing up was like. You're from New York, right?

A. Yes. I actually grew up outside the city in Westchester, and a big part of my spiritual path that I live today was planted in my early years as an adolescent. I grew up with a Jewish/Buddhist mom, a "Jewbu", and a yogi. I learned to meditate at 16 and was going to ashram with my mother. Then I turned my back on that way of living for several years. Around 17 to 25, I was just looking for happiness and inspiration in all the wrong places: in my relationships, my career, money, shoes and night clubs. As a result, I was blessed with hitting a very big bottom. It was my catalyst for turning inward and becoming a "spirit junkie". I had no other choice but to look back to my spiritual roots for help, because all of the outside sources were not serving me. I started to pick up my meditation practice. I got sober. I became a student of A Course in Miracles and became addicted to meditation and metaphysics.

Q. Did you have any inkling that you’d ever be a motivational speaker?

A. It’s funny. I was always very theatrical. I went to theater school in a conservatory program. So it was very comfortable being on a stage and presenting ideas. I was uncomfortable acting, because I didn’t like being something that I wasn’t, but I knew that there was this need to present. Even when I was adolescent, I was a natural leader and it was very, very thrilling for me to rally people around an inspired idea. When I was in my 20s, I was running a public relations business. I would still have this intuition that I was going to be a motivational speaker, a coach and an author. I had this psychic kick that that was the case. I would be at after hours partying, doing God knows what drugs and drinking and be just a mess, telling strangers I was going to be a motivational speaker. It was this voice inside of me that was like, 'You're going to do this,' but I didn’t know how.

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