How I Created My Own Custom Spiritual Practice


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Do you ever feel like your mind is spinning out of control?

You encounter a stressful situation. Uncertain circumstances threaten your plans and desires. Something really bad happens.

What thoughts run through your mind?

  • “Our society is screwed. It’s only a matter of time before things get worse.”
  • “Why did I do that? How could I be so dumb/careless/naive?”
  • “Bad things always happen to me. I should have known this was coming.”
  • “There’s no point in trying. Nothing good will come from this.”

If any of the above statements sound familiar– you’re not alone.

Negative thought patterns and self-defeating beliefs have become a big part of our current culture.

Many of us have normalized negative conversation and self-talk in everyday life. But negative thoughts and beliefs rarely serve our best interests, even when they are factually accurate or realistic. And negative thoughts certainly don’t make difficult situations better.

  • Negative thoughts are focused on problems, rather than solutions.
  • Negative thoughts can lead to unwitting self-sabotage through the power of confirmation bias.
  • Negative thoughts lead to decisions made with fear, worry, and doubt– rather than decisions made with clarity, compassion, and generosity.
  • Negative thoughts remove you from the present moment, seducing you with worries about the past or future.
  • Negative thoughts make it harder to see the positive angles and opportunities in any situation.
  • Negative thoughts are addictive, and it’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of toxic negativity.

Like many others, I was stuck in negativity loop for years, until a painful breakup sent me into a downward spiral– then out the other side– changing my life forever.

From High Functioning to Hot Mess

In order to feel good, you must decide to stop feeling bad. It’s as simple and profound as that. There is no other way.

– Gabrielle Bernstein, “Super Attractor”

How I Created My Own Custom Spiritual Practice 2

Hi, I’m Sasha, and I’m a high functioning person who lives with anxiety and depressive tendencies.

I have a fun and successful life by many measures. I’ve always taken pride in being ‘high functioning,’ and outwardly thriving despite my inner turmoil.

But last year, I experienced the most heart-wrenching breakup of my life– and the limitations of being ‘high functioning’ became apparent.

My family was friends with another young family. Our kids were the same age and played together often. We shared meals, laughs, playtimes, and adventures. It was nice.

I’m an introvert, and I have a belief that I don’t make friends easily. So my friendship with the other mom felt especially precious to me.

When the big fight between our families happened, it escalated quickly.

I made a few mistakes. We all did. We were acting out of fear, trying to protect our hearts from each other. Even so, I sincerely believed that profuse apologies and forgiveness could fix the friendship.

I was wrong. It was over.

I was devastated.

I wanted so badly to go back in time and make different choices. But changing the past wasn’t an option. There was no way to mend the relationship– and I refused to accept that reality.

So I resisted feeling my grief– and replaced it with blame instead.

I blamed my husband. I blamed myself. I wallowed in an emotional swamp of blame and feelings of victimhood.

The swirl of negative thoughts soon became negative statements that I repeated out loud, inadvertently pushing away my loved ones as I struggled to control the world around me.

After months of suffering, I finally acknowledged that I needed to change.

I needed to learn how to create happiness within.

Happiness that would endure, no matter what the tides of life would bring.

Inspiration Arrived At The Perfect Moment

The issues in our lives offer us a choice: we can let them take over, or we can let them help us pivot toward grace.

– Gabrielle Bernstein, “Super Attractor”

How I Created My Own Custom Spiritual Practice 3

Not knowing where to begin, I decided to seek help from a therapist.

Due to my busy schedule, I was only available for a pilot program via phone, centered around cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This ended up being a serendipitous turn of events, propelling me down a path of mental and emotional mindfulness I desperately needed.

CBT taught me how to notice my thoughts in the moment. I learned how to intentionally replace negative thoughts with more positive thoughts. And I discovered that positivity and optimism are perfectly valid perspectives, not phony or unrealistic (as I used to believe).

But my biggest takeaway from CBT is that emotions don’t just happen.

Emotions arise from your thoughts. Master your thoughts, and you can master your emotions.

We ALL have the power to design an emotional experience that best serves us.

So I began to proactively think positive thoughts– and I started to feel a little happier, a little calmer.

But something was still missing.

Although I was better at coping with the ups and downs of life, it didn’t feel like I was living with purpose and clarity.

I kept practicing, and one day, I came across Gabby Bernstein’s latest book.

That’s when everything changed.

Becoming The Creator Of My Own Universe

When we feel good, we remember the God within us.

– Gabrielle Bernstein, “Super Attractor”

How I Created My Own Custom Spiritual Practice 4

At first, I was very skeptical of Gabby’s commodified flavor of spiritual self-help. But I decided to proceed with an open mind.

What did I have to lose?

While CBT taught me that taking command of my thoughts would promote emotional wellbeing, Gabby Bernstein goes further.

She argues that shifting towards good-feeling emotions helps us connect with a nonphysical higher power. (For the sake of the experiment, I chose to call this power my Higher Self.)

I began to use mantras, affirmations, and meditation to enter into a relaxed, euphoric state several times a day.

But feeling good was no longer my end goal.

Feeling good was a tool I could use to design a life that would allow my Higher Self to best serve and support others.

My spiritual beliefs began to take shape, and my intuition grew stronger each day.

I realized that sharing my story could help others design a custom spiritual practice that would bring even more joy and love into the world.


Writer + Creator of Vital Ethos

Sasha is a writer, spiritual teacher, highly sensitive intuitive, and artist on a mission to illuminate your path to personal growth and transformation with helpful tools and resources like digital journals and workbooks ✨

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