MINDSET – My Mantra
Monica Berg on Embracing Change and Living Fearlessly
By Lashaun Dale
If you’re having trouble making lasting changes in your life, Monica Berg can empathize. As chief communications officer for The Kabbalah Centre and author of “Fear Is Not an Option” (Kabbalah Centre Publishing, 2017), Berg says in order to achieve your best self, you first have to kick fear to the curb.
“To live a successful life is to live one that’s balanced and where you’re putting energy and love and care in all the areas that matter to you,” Berg says.
A self-professed “change junkie,” Berg draws on her own experiences in creating positive life changes. As a young girl, she battled and overcame an eating disorder, and today she helps people strengthen their consciousness, challenge their beliefs and embrace a lifestyle of change.
Tapping into ancient wisdom
Everyone from Madonna to Demi Moore has been rumored to have dabbled in the ancient practice of Kabbalah, which empowers people to improve their lives, discover their purpose and achieve lasting fulfillment.
Berg began studying Kabbalah at age 17, and she learned that the growing pains we face as we implement change often offer valuable life lessons.
“The idea of Kabbalah is all about transformation,” Berg explains. “It’s leaving the world differently than how you came in, becoming more elevated, tapping into something higher than you, and it’s really a formula for happiness.”
The anatomy of fear
Fear is an emotion that holds us back from implementing positive changes in our lives. Rather than viewing change as an opportunity, Berg says many of us fear change and this prevents us from moving forward.
“Fear can manifest in many forms, including fear of rejection, relationships, public speaking or of simply not being good enough,” she says. “I realized through my own journey that we all basically fear the unknown.”
Berg says there are three types of fear: healthy fear, real fear and illogical fear.
“Healthy fear is something that we actually need. It warns us of physical danger and is connected to intuition,” Berg explains. “Real fear isn’t about physical danger but rather losing the people we love or the thought of never achieving our goals. Illogical fear is having a response to something hypothetical or nonexistent.”
While it takes work and commitment, Berg says it’s possible to overcome illogical fear by shifting perspective and determining that fear no longer has a place in your life.
“One of our greatest strengths is our power to change the way we see things,” she says. “If we reframe the way we think, fear can motivate us to push past our comfort zones.”
Become a change junkie
Over the years, Berg has learned that in change there’s great power and that being addicted to change (a change junkie) can be infectious.
“When you live consciously and are connected to something larger than you, then when things happen in your life, you have the understanding and the tools to see the beauty in it,” Berg explains. “For example, if you miss your flight, you might tell yourself you should have left earlier or done this or that. But another option is to look at it in a different way and think, I don’t know why I missed the flight, but I’m sure maybe the next one is going to be even better.”
Berg actually experienced this while at an airport with her husband. Headed to a friend’s 40th birthday party, the person in front of them got on the flight and they did not.
“My husband and I both work a lot and thought, OK, we’ll make the best use of our time and have a date at the airport,” Berg says. “There’s a spa, shops, restaurants, so we had a three-hour date and saw it as the gift of time spent together.”
One step at a time
One of Berg’s tools for overcoming fear is to take action and challenge your fearful thoughts. Ask yourself what you would do if you weren’t afraid?
“All too often when we think about making big changes, we settle for a temporary fix or we replace action with talk,” she says. “We can get stuck in a cycle and believe we’re actually making progress when we’re not.”
To bring about positive change in your life, Berg recommends starting with taking one step in the right direction.
“One positive change is all it takes to change the rest of your life,” she explains. “And once you’ve made a small change, do it again. By awakening your consciousness and slowly implementing change gradually day to day, your small changes will lead to great change.”
Live without regret
That guy who ghosted you after six months, that job that didn’t turn out to be quite what you expected—there are all kinds of scenarios in which we can look back and say, “Why did I invest so much when this was the outcome?”
Yet Berg says that’s only your understanding if you can’t appreciate all that went into that journey.
“Each experience is rich with learning, understanding, introspection, but you have to be looking for that, and not a lot of people live life on those terms,” she explains. “I check in with myself every day and give myself emotional feedback. If something doesn’t feel quite right, I ask myself, ‘What happened an hour ago or five hours ago?’ And then I make little adjustments and move forward on the course.”
To avoid waking up after 10 years of having invested in something and feeling regret, Berg says it’s important to look at what you’re doing, how you’re spending your time and ask yourself, “Is this how I want to be spending my time? Is this bringing me happiness?”
Pay attention to your life rather than just exist, she advises.
“Check in with yourself on a regular basis,” Berg says. “Are the things you’re doing and the decisions you’re making based on what you believe in today or what you believed 10 years ago when you started on that journey?”
First thing you do when you wake up?
Coffee, say a gratitude-appreciation prayer and then exercise. Repeat every day.
Last thing before you go to sleep?
I set my alarm.
No.1 travel tip?
I anticipate what I’ll need. My favorite thing to have in a day is my perfect cup of coffee. I have one in the morning. So basically, I anticipate my mood and pack accordingly.
The last book you read?
“The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.”
I like a lot. One of my favorites is “Armchair.”
Song you use to get into a mindset or music you can’t stop listening to?
Yeah, my go-to is “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi.
Food you can’t live without?
You have many superpowers. What would you request if you could have another superpower?
I’m pretty intuitive, but I would love to be able to look at somebody and see their whole life, their joy, pain, happiness, hurt so I could just get right in there and connect. I feel like if we could all see everybody’s story, we’d be so much more kind because there’d be no room for judgment.
If you only have 24 minutes, what’s your go-to workout?
I used to be a marathon runner, so I think I’d just run out the door and sprint.
And your longer workout?
The Tracy Anderson Method. I’ve been doing it for 12 years.
If you could whisper one mantra into the ears of everyone in the world, what would it be?
It’s your life and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. If you love what you do, do more of it. And if you don’t know what you love, it’s time to find out.
Video credit: wundervisuals, Getty Images
Photo credit: Blake Wisz, Unsplash; petekarici, Getty Images; Mikolette, Getty Images; AJ_Watt, Getty Images; PeopleImages, Getty Images; twinsterphoto, Getty Images