We had the good fortune of connecting with Monica Berg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Monica, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
I knew a man once, a good, salt-of-the-Earth man, who never balked at back-breaking labor. So, naturally, I laughed when I overheard him tell his son that “nothing worth doing is hard.” We eventually figured out, all three of us together, that he meant when something is overwhelming and has you bloodied and sweating and on your knees from exhaustion, sometimes it still feels right. Sometimes, that can feel like the kind of torture you were made for. The tricky thing is, that can also be the way the universe is telling you that you’re being stubborn, inflexible, and way too focused on the how instead of the why. Like most people in my generation, I had a Def Leppard phase, and you could write a whole Kabbalistic textbook on Rick Allen. He was a stellar drummer who lost his arm in a car accident. But I believe he didn’t come back to become iconic on a kit because he focused on the whether or the how. I would bet you he kept his eye on the why. His why was because he just had to rock. So, make sure you know your why before you decide how or whether, and then you can adapt to anything. Rick had a choice. No one would fault him for walking away: after all he only had one arm. But he chose to adapt. Rick relearned to play on a customized drum kit that allowed for his former right-hand side to be played entirely via foot pedals, and he never missed a beat. Darwin told us that adaptation plays the most significant role in the evolution and growth of the human race, more so than genetic predispositions. I would argue that adaptation is the key to our personal evolution as well… but unlike transitioning from gill-breathing, most of our individual adjustments are a choice. We are constantly presented with two options; we can either evolve and grow into something new, or we can stay the same, repeating old experiences and patterns ad infinitum. So the short answer to your question: Keep going or give up? I’d say keep going and change as necessary. If you truly want to rock, you’ll find a way.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a mother, wife, teacher, friend, author, and change junkie. My journey really began when I started studying Kabbalah at the age of 17. At the core of all my books and everything I share is the ancient wisdom of Kabbalah. One of the ancient teachings is that all of us, without exception, are destined for greatness in every area of our lives. This teaching is so powerful and resonates deeply within my soul. I am impassioned to share it with as many people as I can reach, and that is what motivates me to continue writing, speaking, and studying every single day. Happiness and fulfillment are your birthright, but it’s your responsibility to pursue the life and the love that you want. My goal is to give everyone the tools, tips, and support they need to be their most evolved, actualized, purposeful self. What sets Kabbalah and my books apart isn’t the topics or even the wisdom: it’s the actionable, practical advice that is both timeless and universal. Whereas many self-help approaches show you how to go around an issue, skirt negative feelings, or learn to cope with a situation, Kabbalah takes you through it. Not around, not medicated, but through it to the other side. I am not above the fray. I have had challenges and struggles in my life that seemed insurmountable at the time. I understand pain and struggle and the deep sometimes painful yearning of the soul that asks “what is it all about?” In fact, I almost didn’t take the leap to write my first book, which took me seven years, by the way, and actually became my second book! I used to sit behind a desk, doing important work, but not connecting to people in a real, intimate way; a way that I truly craved and knew in my heart would be of greater benefit to myself and the world. I no longer felt inspired or satisfied. I didn’t feel that it was what I was supposed to be doing anymore. So, for a year I struggled with how to move forward. Over the years, I shared with my husband, Michael, my growing desire to speak in public, to write, and to serve as a mentor. I had a fear of failure and a ‘better the devil you know than the one you don’t’ mentality. I kept wavering. Should I do it? Was it worth it? Did I have anything unique to offer? And Michael said to me, “You know what, Monica? A lot of people in this world would rather you just sit behind that desk for the rest of your life, and they’d be totally fine with you doing that. But if you feel this is what you need to do, then go and do it. I believe in you. It’s time you start believing in yourself.” Michael’s words provided me with a major aha-moment because what he had said was true and simple, yet profound. Whether I would fail or succeed, I needed to try. I want to do for others what Michael did for me. And that desk job? It evolved into my current role as the CCO of The Kabbalah Centre. I am most proud of the lives I am able to touch daily, most engaged when I am debating my husband during our Spiritually Hungry podcasts, and happiest when I can face my children at the end of the day knowing that I made the world a little more mindful, and a little more joyful.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I don’t get to Miami as much as I’d like (hit me up when you’re in New York!), but some of my favorite haunts include The Surf Club Restaurant from the brilliant chef Thomas Keller (eat at the bar right next to the live band), Bayside Marketplace’s shops and quintessential MIA sightseeing (still trying to get there for a New Year’s Eve party), Casa Tua (the Mango and Pineapple Semifreddo will knock your socks off), and then I swing by the Frost Museum of Science with the kids to burn off all of the above calories while everyone learns something about the universe around us. @surfclubrestaurant @casatualife @frostscience https://www.baysidemarketplace.com/
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’ve written about this before in my rethinklife.today blog, because it’s almost constantly on my mind. The obvious answer is Rav and Karen Berg. Almost half a century ago, Karen asked Rav Berg to teach her the then-mysterious, completely off-limits-to-women wisdom of the Kabbalah. He agreed. They fell in love. Their passion for the fullness of life created Kabbalah Centre International and, even more personally to me, my husband, Michael. Two hundred generations of study, belief, faith, and challenging of the status quo have gifted me with four children who are the beats of my heart, a partner who shares my desire to help elevate the world, and parents-in-law who are an example I can always hold myself to without feeling anything but grace and love. I miss them both.
Other: Podcast: www.spirituallyhungrypodcast.com