I became a guru overnight, said no one ever. But you can become an overnight guru. Let me explain. This weekend, for the first time since I can remember, I put my phone on Airplane Mode for 2 days straight. I went to the spa, read books, meditated, did yoga, wrote in my journal and spent my entire weekend nurturing the most important relationship in my life. My relationship with myself.
I started this year feeling utterly depleted. Last year really was like a sucker punch. Grasping for air, I made it through but in the process, I lost sight of what was truly important. Love. I became angry. I had bouts of positivity, only to be bookended by longwinded negative episodes. I got into verbal fights with people. I felt this boiling pit in my stomach and throat. In a mediation class over the holidays, we were instructed to put our thumb and ring finger together for healing the heart. I almost cried from the pain this small, insignificant move, sent shooting through my entire body.
Fear was her name, I just didn’t know it yet.
I thought I was dying. I managed to convince myself that I had invited disease into my body. I panicked. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t breathe. I scoured the Internet with every disease query I could think of (Google literally told me: Justine, you are dying). I went to doctors all over the city looking for answers. I even manifested physical symptoms. When all the tests came back negative, I knew it was something more than physical. Again, Fear was her name.
I mean, I started this year by telling all of you that I was going to love myself, find inner peace, namaste, yada yada yada. But in reality, I did no such thing. I was just angry. Angry with my family and my boyfriend and his family, for taking up my precious holiday time, only to come back feeling even more tired. I was angry at my job. Angry that I chose a career path that gives me no break whatsoever. Angry at all the time and energy needed to keep this blog afloat. Angry at myself for starting yet another IG account that now I have no time or energy to maintain. Like, I sound like such a fucking drag. I was. Believe me.
My boyfriend, who has been at his wits’ end with me for months, begged me to take a break. “How can I take a break,” I would reply. “I’ve got bills to pay, people to employ, contracts to fulfil. I can’t take a fucking break. I will go bankrupt.”
In my mind, I had missed my chance to take a break. And now I was left to rot in the ruin. Thank you very much, world.
Well, it really is no wonder that last week I had a breakdown. Meltdown extraordinaire. The kinds I used to have when my parents were going through their separation and I was just so so so angry. Anyway, last week, a few minor triggers culminated into my demise. I screamed at the top of my lungs. Tears streamed down my face. My whole body shook with the vibration of my despair. I could have ploughed through a wall if I tried. And then nothing. I was empty. The last of my rage left my body.
Two pivotal things happened:
- The day before the breakdown, I ignored a breakfast invitation to meet Gabrielle Bernstein. Full disclosure, I had no idea who she was. I was too busy, I told myself, to attend yet another breakfast for yet another brand that isn’t ever going to hire me. (Wow, just typing that gives me chills, I can’t believe I allowed myself to think those things). But little did I know, the Universe was set on putting Gabrielle Bernstein in front of me.
- The night after the breakdown, I had dinner with one of my closest girlfriends and confidant. I told her I was having a hard day but didn’t want to cancel our dinner. I needed her energy. At dinner she asked if I was OK. I said, yes. Then almost involuntarily, I said, “actually, no. I’m not OK.” She told me she had been at the breakfast with Gabrielle Bernstein the day before and that I needed to read The Universe Has Your Back. And she also said, “Justine, please give yourself a break.”
How I Became an Overnight Guru
You see, Gabrielle was determined to get to me. In my desperate cry to the Universe, I was relinquishing all control. It was sort of a desperate cry for help. And in that moment, I was able to hear my friend’s words and surrender to them.
You can totally, in an instant or in a weekend, change your life’s purpose. It’s a long, long journey. And I’m nowhere close to having my fears totally under control or able to impart wisdom on other people. But, I’m making a commitment to try to put love first.
What else do I have to lose? An angry psycho bitch who checks her Instagram every five seconds to see what her engagement is, who rages when a brand forgets to add something to a contract, who feels jealous of other bloggers when they get a campaign that she was up for. Believe me, I have been that person. And as Gabby taught me, it is completely natural to be that person. We are conditioned to live in a fear-based perspective. We find comfort in it. It’s normal.
So, I’m not judging myself too much for getting down on myself. But I’m doing something about it. This weekend showed me that taking a break is honourable. It’s honourable because I came back a person who is more willing to create good in the world, for myself and for others. I came back, an overnight guru.
We Need to Talk…
Has anyone else ever experienced the Universe’s call to action? I find these moments to be the most powerful ones in my life, and ones in which I changed my course to find greater success, happiness and self-love. Or maybe you’re already a fan of Gabrielle’s work? I’d love to know your own personal experiences with all this spiritual hippie stuff. Leave me a comment below and let’s chat!
The feature image is me in my happy place, the beach at sunset. This is where I always imagine myself when I meditate :)
Well, girl, I can so identify with this. I am reading this and just in shock at how closely you mimic what I have gone through at times. You seem so together and so confident, who knew that you go through this crap like the rest of us. I now see you in a different light – one that is more human and more feeling than a lot of your Instagram stories would suggest. I won’t go on as I know you will get a ton of comments to this entry but take care of yourself and thank you so much for posting this. It shows me that others, even ultra confident people like yourself, go through this stuff. Hugs to you – Kat aka KatMagic Phoyography.
Hey Kat! Thanks so much for your comment :) Yup, it is true. We all go through stuff, that’s what makes us human. Sometimes on social media we feel the need to put on a front that everything is Ok, and life is amazing. When in reality, we are crumbling inside. That’s why I love my blog, I can truly be myself here. I feel like it is a safe space for people like me, and my readers, to just be ourselves. I hope my honesty inspires you to choose love!
Thanks for your constant support!
Oh Justine what a beautiful and touching story! I can relate to almost everything here. Anger, constant anger even rage sometimes and people just can’t understand why! Sometime I can’t even understand why I’m THAT angry! You’re a great person and I’m very happy I have met you through the internet! Please love yourself and take time for ykurself! Instagram will always be there.
Awww thanks for saying that. It really means a lot! I’m so happy that there are other people out there who think a. it’s OK to say you’re not OK and b. to do something about it! We are all human, trying to figure out this thing called life. Anger, to me, is usually just a sign of deep pain. So, I hope you take some time out of your week to maybe read a few passages from Gabby’s books or to meditate or to just be alone with yourself. You might be surprised at what you find.
So happy to hear this is working for you!!! Cheers to lots of love in 2027!
Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this. I want to fly to Toronto and hug you :) Thanks for being so honest and raw.
1.) Universal call to action moment: the day I got sober. I just could. not. do. it. anymore. My body and mind just gave up and I cried a lot and said goodbye to all my drinks and said “I just have to stop drinking” Biggest, most powerful life changing and necessary moment of my life. Listen to the Universe. It’s a beautiful mistress; I”m going to check out that book!
2.) You might like Tara Brach. She’s a DC based psychologist and Buddist & does hour long sessions that are great, bur really emotional. The first one I listened to asked us to ask ourselves “Where does it hurt”. Damn, it was a tough hour, but a really good one for the soul. https://www.youtube.com/user/tarabrach
Thanks for your comment and energy, Jocellyn! I feel like I know you so well already after all these years I wanna call you Joce. (Unless you hate that nickname haha).
So amazing and powerful to share these truths here. I often drink wine just because it sort of numbs my mind a bit, and after a long day I look forward to that glass. Which, I feel like that type of thinking is a slippery slope. I’ve often thought about what life would be like if I didn’t drink (and that thought freaks me out, which, is also alarming). But, I do love wine and feel like if I improve other parts in my life I can continue to drink in moderation cuz I do love a good glass with steak and stuff, but I need to stop using it as my stress release. That’s where it gets dangerous.
I’ll check out your girl Tara. And will report back.
Thank you for letting me be honest with you, and for giving me the same honesty in return.
Hey again sweets, I also look so forward to my glass of red wine or glass of prosecco at night! I would not like that taken away from me so I so get you here – enjoy it as it is part of self kindness ! I do live in Toronto and one day sweets – and soon – I am going to meet you, hug you and TOGETHER we will enjoy a glass of champagne, okay? I am not far from you at all!
You’re welcome :) And “Jocey” is a common nickname for me and I like it. “Saucy, Jocey” not so much *cringes*
I think plenty of people use wine/booze to relax and unwind a bit, so don’t worry. Unfortunately I took it wayyy to an extreme and had other years and years of emotional layers piled on top so the outcome wasn’t so great. Keep sipping away, sista!
Justine, thanks for sharing this. I was in your shoes and dealing with those similar feelings. It was not a good time. I couldn’t help how angry I was getting, then cry that I was so angry, then cry even more that I was crying. Then go back to overworking myself to forget about the anger and crying. It. Was. Exhausting. I was so unpleasant to be around. I could not lift my head off my pillow before 9 am, and wanted to crawl back in by 7 pm. I was doing this all out of fear. A friend of mine gave me Gabby’s 40 day guidebook (May Cause Miracles) – if you haven’t picked it up already, do it! I’m feeling way better now that I’m realizing I was letting fear run my life and I was taking a back seat. I’m happy that you realized it was fear and took time to yourself this weekend. I’m sure once you uncover your fears and replace those false feelings with thoughts of how awesome you are/life can be, you’ll be back on track. Sending love!!
Omg you know what’s so crazy?! I’m actually doing my 40 days right now!!! After I read The Universe Has Your Back, something told me to download May Cause Miracles as the next book of hers to read. And now I’m on Day 3 and so incredibly grateful for this journey that has come to me. I am already seeing how the Universe is moving people and things around me, making me see with new eyes. It’s crazy. Last night in yoga class, these girls beside me were making noise, chatting, etc, as they were setting up their mats, I was already in Savasana, and usually that would make MY BLOOD BOIL. I would start an inner dialogue like omg can’t these people be quiet, omg this is breaking my zen, omg i’m so angry. But all I felt was joy. Like pure joy. I was so happy for their presence that we could practise together and was in awe of their friendship. Can you believe that? I was shocked at myself.
Anyway, I hope that you are still doing so well and that your 40 days have changed your life. Please tell me they did!!!! lol xoxo J
Omg…Always remember we all need time off including you…we all need vacation…You are doing an amazing job!!!People will stay with you and if you take a week off,nothing will change!!!Xoxox
Hey Olya! Thanks so much for your comment!!!! You are so right. We all need a break! Thanks so much for your support no matter what. I hope you have an amazing day! xoxoxo J
A few points:
1) I involuntarily scoffed at “Angry that I chose a career path that gives me no break whatsoever” because it’s true. We have no breaks and I am tired. I am sick and tired of portraying perfection on social media and seeing it on my feed. I am tired of not getting a break. How did this happen? How?!
2) I was invited to breakfast with Gabrielle. I couldn’t make it last minute and I’m so sad I didn’t because I started reading her book in the beginning of the year. I’m a fan of her positive mombojumbo cuz like you I also spent a large chunk of 2016 being angry and resentful. What’s the point in that though? Why drag yourself through hell and back? No one else is gonna give a shit that you’re having an emotional breakdown right? Gabs taught me how to be present with what’s happening in my life and celebrate me. She’s pretty cool that chick.
3) If you don’t take the time for YOU, to love and to appreciate everything you have and everything you’ve worked so hard for, what’s the fucking point??
Well, I’m glad you’re on track again in putting yourself first. Our indruatry is getting really competitive and over saturated but you always have to put yourself and your happiness first.
While you and Justine obvsly have your differences, you clearly have one thing in common – passion. You’re artists who trying to make a living on a platform that’s saturated by charlatans, so it’s unsurprising that shit gets to you. Realizing that you have a problem is always the first step, right? You got this far for a reason, make sure to celebrate your success because it’s actually pretty incredible (and a testament to your skill set) that you’ve been able to cut through some of the BS noise on IG.
Love this honest blog. You are such an inspiration – quirky, authentic (really, who else makes funny faces on videos! LOL), awesome style (and tips) and fun(ny). You actually seem to approach everything head on – without fear. It is amazing what we all show on THE OUTSIDE and, when in reality, no one really knows what is going on… Thanks for the honesty. I hope we work together again one day. Congrats for keeping it real, Justine.
Hey Sue! Thank you so much for the sweet comment. I have been struggling over the past year or two to keep authentic in an environment where brands *claim* they want authenticity but then censor your every move. But, it has definitely made me a stronger person. I hope I can inspire others to embrace the imperfections of life. Wishing you all the best! xoxo J
Hey Justine- my name’s Lauren – I’ve read your blog for years ever since meeting you at Fashion Week back when there was one (lol) and reading about your recent experiences with Gabby B, changing your course and tuning into your heart was a pretty rad experience for me.
For a long time, I followed your blog, looking to see what was in style, what haircuts were in, what products were awesome and I’d base almost all of my style decisions off of that and a slew of other bloggers sites. You’re a beautiful soul- so reading about how you felt anxiety looking at other blogger’s sites made my heart hurt for you. You see, I had that with you. I’d look at your life, your perfectly styled photos and immaculate looking everythings and I would feel bad. I’d think “that girl has got her shit together, she’s got it all, she must be so happy. Why am I so unhappy and unstylish?” and then after having my own identidy breakdown I deleted my social media pages, quit my job, started mediating, got a life coach and started working at a yoga studio and hosting heart healing workshops. Gabby B got me there. The universe brought her to me when I thought the world was going to fall apart. Then after a few years of not looking at your blog, I came back and saw all of this and it made my heart explode. The world needs people like you, someone with a voice to remind others that it is OKAY to be vulnerable, and unique and loved and from love.
I get that compare and despair struggle. It’s a real thing and reminding ourselves just how special and loved we are is WORK but it’s the meaningful important kind and I’m so thrilled that you’re finding your groove. Self love is yummy and contagious. Keep spreading the word.
I hope this message reminds you that there are real people out there who FEEL you on this spiritual who-who stuff and who are cheering you on. So even though I don’t really know you, I feel like I do and I feel like the world got a litte bit brighter the day you started loving yourself more. Shine on, lady <3