A few weeks ago I attended Gabby Bernstein’s The Universe Has Your Back summer retreat at Kripalu. These retreats have become my version of summer camp. I get to see my friends, spend time in nature, and always walk away with some major wisdom from Gabby.

Here are a few of the lessons I learned at The Universe Has Your Back retreat:

There is no yes or no when it comes to the Universe

Whatever you say/think is always a yes to the Universe. Even when you are intending it to be a no. For example, the mindset of “I’m always just getting by.” or “I can barely pay my bills.” is a YES for lack. The Universe picks up what you are putting down. Even the less than stellar stuff. So, it’s important to ask yourself what you’re a yes for. What messages are you sending out to the Universe? Are those yeses supporting you or hurting you?

Think your way out

If you’re stuck in a negative thought reach for a thought that makes you feel good. So often we dwell on the negative thought. And then feel guilty about the negative thought. And then think another negative thought. Or we over-spiritualize and fixate on the negative thought to try to locate the spiritual assignment in it. But like attracts like. Negative thoughts attracts more negative thoughts. Instead, think your way out of the negative by reaching for good thoughts. Maybe it’s something like “It’s such a beautiful day today.” or “This meal is delicious.” It doesn’t really matter what you think – as long as it makes you feel good.

Play the appreciation game

This is an amazing tool that I learned at the retreat – appreciate people to their face. I watched as Gabby played this game with a few of her friends and it instantly brought tears to their eyes and mine. It feels so good to be appreciated and, in turn, feels so good to appreciate someone. Next time you’re at dinner with your friends or cozy on the couch with your love play the game. Look at each other and list all of the things that you appreciate about them. And then they return the favor. This is an instant mood lifter.

Ask yourself: What will bring me peace right now?

Ah. Even that question brings me peace. When you’re feeling stuck, stressed, angry, sad or confused ask yourself: what will bring me peace right now? And listen for the answer. Maybe it’s five minutes of meditation or a walk around the block. Maybe you need to watch a movie. Or call a friend. Or read a book. Go to yoga. Go for a run. Laugh. Maybe peace is on the other side of one of your to-do items. By stopping to ask yourself this question you are giving yourself space to process and permission to feel better.

Obstacles are detours in the right direction

Beliefs are just thoughts that we keep thinking

I love this one! We base so many of our decisions on our beliefs. But what if our beliefs are based on fear instead of love? We can get new beliefs! If beliefs are just thoughts that we keep thinking, we can stop thinking those thoughts and replace them with more loving thoughts. I know that my life used to be ruled by the belief that I wasn’t good enough. This belief seemed so very real and so very true. And clouded all of my actions. But once I accepted that this belief was simply a thought and I could think a new thought, I was able to let go of the limiting belief. Give yourself permission to question your beliefs and release any that aren’t serving you.

You are the dreamer of your dreams

You are the writer, director and star of your own life. And the dreamer of your dreams. You get to envision the life that you desire. This lesson was delivered loud and clear on the last day of the retreat. I was writing in my notebook, minding my own business, when Gabby looked and me and called my name. Someone had asked a question about how she could promote her new book without a large audience. Gabby often shares the story about my first workshop when these types of questions are asked. I’ve never been in the room when she’s told it, but I’ve seen in it videos. When she called my name I honestly thought that she was simply going to tell the story and wanted the woman to see who she was talking about in case she wanted to connect on the break. That was until she cleared a space next to her and handed me the microphone. Apparently she wasn’t going to tell the story…I was. In front of 300 people. And so I did.

the universe has your back

It was amazing but here’s the thing: this didn’t happen by accident. I dreamt this dream years ago. The first time I heard that Gabby shared my story I envisioned one day sharing the stage with her while I got the opportunity to tell the story in front of a room full of people. I never told anyone this dream. And I never really thought about it again. But then it happened – just like I imagined it would!! [Well – not exactly like I imagined. In my version I had a glam squad and in the real version I was sweating, wearing no makeup and hadn’t brought a blowdryer to Kripalu.] Give yourself permission to dream your dreams. And allow yourself to let those dreams float away into the Universe to be cared for. And celebrate them when they come true.

Female friendship is magical

One of my favorite parts of Gabby’s summer retreats is spending quality time with girlfriends. But, I’ll be honest. I typically struggle with it too. One on one I’m great but in groups of women I usually clam up. My comparison and fear of judgment kick into high gear and my fear voice calls all the shots. So I hang back, stay quiet and usually need long solo breaks to recharge. But this year was completely different. Many of the friends that I see every year weren’t there and I found myself at a table with mostly new people. At first my fear voice started to take over. I caught myself trying to hide. Literally. I hunched over, stayed quiet and tried to become invisible. As soon as I noticed it, though, I decided to see things differently. I decided to show up. I decided to be myself. And I trusted that I would connect with the women that I was meant to connect with. And something magical happened – I connected with these women on a deep soul level.

the universe has your back group

Within minutes of being together we were all peeling back our layers, taking off our masks and revealing our truth. We logged hours and hours of the most amazing conversations – everything from wounds from our childhoods, relationships, business advice, outfits to wear in photo shoots, and so much in between. We laughed [a lot], cried [a medium amount] and meditated [a lot a lot] together. I am so grateful that I had the courage to allow myself to be seen and not be afraid of judgment because I was able to form the most amazing connections.