Welcoming 2021 With Open Arms

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We asked the Happiness Doctor, Lia Bernardo, to shed some light on 2020, what to expect in the upcoming new year, and how to move forward in finding your life’s purpose.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” -Marriane Williamson

The past year has been a turbulent one for many individuals all over the world. As we reflect on the months that flew by, dealing with a pandemic on a global scale, there’s a growing concern for what’s to come. How do we move forward with hope, into a future with so much uncertainty? Well, the work starts within, and Lia Bernardo, one of the leading experts in personal growth and development in the country, knows exactly what it takes to guide us towards brighter days ahead.

Dr. Lia  S. Bernardo is known as The Happiness Doctor. With a PhD in Psychoneurology and Integrative Health, she conducts classes, workshops, and retreats for those in search of guidance towards self-love and fulfillment. She has made it her life’s mission to teach people how to love themselves, and in turn, reach their fullest potential to thrive.

Amidst the holiday rush, on the morning of The Great Conjunction no less, I was invited to join a meditation class on raising frequencies hosted by Lia. I popped in, just to observe at first, and found myself in a group full of people from all walks of life. Within minutes, the class filled up with nearly 100 members, and the session began. I participated in the hour-long practice and left without any doubts that there was more to the meditation than I initially expected.

A time of great awakening

Later that afternoon, with a renewed sense of mindfulness, I sat down for a chat with Lia, eager to pick her brain. As it was the day of the planetary conjunction, it seemed almost serendipitous to be talking to a bona fide healer about the state of the world. On December 21, 2020, Saturn and Jupiter appeared as a single star to the naked eye, which some speculate was considered to be the Star of Bethlehem. It is also known as the beginning of the Age of Aquarius. “It is a time of great awakening and a time of renewal,” says Lia, “It’s something that gives us hope on an energetic level, after a long period of uncertainty.”

“What’s symbolic of today is really light. I have always associated spirituality with light. We are all, in fact, beings of light because we are all energy. Our lives become a direct reflection of what’s going on inside of us. Today, I think people ought to focus on who they are and their authenticity— who they’re being. To just be themselves without apology, without excuses, and to be unafraid to shine their light.“

A different side of the pandemic

When asked about her thoughts on the year that passed, her words were profound and held true for all of us. She expressed sentiments of grace saying, “It was a time where people could no longer avoid looking at themselves. I think 2020 forced people to look inwards and really like who they are, to stop judging themselves, and accept who they are as human beings.”

Lia adds, “People come with a whole gamut of emotions. There is not one person that doesn’t get angry, that doesn’t get sad, or doesn’t feel pain. 2020 gave us no choice but to look inwards and really like or accept who we are because there is no one on the planet that has been spared of the emotional upheaval.”

She continued to explain that our situation really became a wellbeing pandemic. More than the physical aspects of our overall wellness, everything we experienced this year had more to do with our emotional health. “For the first time, people are now understanding their emotions because the external factors were removed.”

Every cloud has a silver lining

Looking for the bright side in a time of darkness is tough, but it’s there. Everything we go through is a part of our soul’s journey. Lia shares how challenges are necessary to our growth and transformation. “As with anything, there are parts that are not so nice, and parts that are blessings. Of course, when you’re going through it, it feels like the pain is never going to stop. But after you transcend that pain, after going through it, you’re able to look back and see everything as a blessing— including those times that you cried out in pain.”

Hindsight truly is 20/20 as she explained, “You see how that really served you in terms of healing parts of yourself that were not addressed, that were not healed. Parts of ourselves that we were burying in shame, for instance, or parts of ourselves that we just wish would go away if we didn’t mind it. All of that came to the surface.”

As we confront feelings of pain and despair, only then can we truly accept the entirety of who we are. Along with the baggage of our past, which is crucial in creating who we are, we become who we are meant to be. Our past does not define us, labels carry no weight, and people can most definitely change if that is what they really want.

The brightest stars are those who shine for others

Conversation carried on with ease as Lia expounds on the importance of learning as you grow, and growing to feel more comfortable in your own skin. She places emphasis on shining her own light, not to be seen, but more so to be able to make others aware of their own.

“You can’t do that for them. A lot of people don’t see their magnificence. That they, in fact, hold the key to their own well-being. That they hold the key to their own happiness. It’s just a choice away,” she says.

Lia believes in surrounding yourself with people that uplift and encourage you to shine, and greatly discourages the dimming of one’s light to make others feel less insecure. “When you are comfortable in your own light, you will find that you attract others who are comfortable in theirs.”

Navigating your way through 2021

As we moved into exploring ways for a better year ahead, Lia gave a wide smile. In a simple statement, without missing a beat, she said, “Like with any new year, you’re going to get from the year what you put into it. The year doesn’t do anything to you.”

“It’s really all about self nurturing and self acceptance. This is not the way most people would choose, but there is no other way. And until you learn how to nurture yourself and accept who you are, your purpose will not be revealed to you.”

“You can only fully love another and give without expectations when you are fulfilled from within.”

More so for parents. If you ask any mother or father what they want for their children, most will tell you that they want their kids to be happy. Parents are more than likely to transfer their belief systems and their limits onto their children, so you really have to ask yourself, what are you doing to make yourself happy

Raise your frequency

An important practice in learning how to be more aware of your light and in being present, especially in times of hardship, is by raising your frequency. The higher the frequency of your energy or vibration, the lighter you feel in your physical, emotional, and mental bodies. With this in mind, Lia shares her formula for raising your frequency. 

Move everyday. As long as you get in some form of movement (dancing, walking, yoga, workout, anything that gets you moving), it can be very uplifting.

Learn something new. It can be a life skill or something that you read. Anything that will enrich you, because learning helps your self esteem. 

Grow— In meditation or in prayer. When you’re growing, you’re actually focusing on your divinity and that time you spent on your prayer and going inwards.

Create— is divinity expressed. What did you do today to create that divinity? What did you do today to create your heaven on earth?  

Living out your purpose

For Lia, there is no delineation between her work and her life. She says, “With what i do, I don’t even think of it as work. I’m doing what I was meant to do, what makes me happy. Nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing a soul move from being unaware to aware, and being a part of that whole process is the most rewarding thing.”

As human beings, we all strive to live out our life’s purpose. Everyone wants to be happy living out what they believe they were meant to do. Living a life of happiness and fulfilment is attainable for each and every one of us— if you’re willing to put in the work. “You’ve got to learn how to take care of yourself first. And you have to learn how to nurture yourself, love yourself, and accept who you are, just the way you are, before you can even start helping others.”

Having this collective consciousness two days before we start a brand new year — one that we are banking on to be better, brighter and more promising — suddenly seems more attainable because now we know, it all begins with us.

For more inspiring stories, check these out:

Parenting Lessons From 2020
The Road to Conscious Parenting

Finding the Silver Lining