It’s hard to picture spiritual leaders like Gabrielle Bernstein or Taryn Toomey having a crappy day. Women who radiate such peace and love can’t possibly pick fights with their partners or feel uninspired at work, can they?
Well, as any gal harnessing her ascension energies will tell you, hard times are universal—such women have just cultivated serious life skills that make it easier to navigate tough situations. One such guru is Joanna Garzilli, an intuitive and spiritual success coach who’s revealing the most important of those tools in her new book, Big Miracles: The 11 Spiritual Rules for Ultimate Success.
Each step in Garzilli’s guidebook is designed to help deepen your connection to your intuition, which she claims will help you along the sometimes rocky path toward your big dreams. “I wanted to give people something practical that everyone can apply to their lives,” she says. “When you hit overwhelm, you’ll have something to come back to. That way, you can return to a state of alignment—peace, happiness, and gratitude—so much faster.”
Think of these rules as simple, subtle mindset shifts that you can apply any time, anywhere—even on an overcrowded subway train when you’re two stops away from losing it.
Keep reading for the 11 things that all cool, spiritual people do to live peaceful and passion-filled lives.
1. Align with spirit
According to Garzilli, this is the spiritual rule that makes all the rest possible. “Another way to look at it is [tapping into] intuition,” she says. “The simplest way to boil it down is to check in with yourself and ask, ‘Do I feel good or do I feel bad?’”
For example, she says, if you wake up in a bad mood, center yourself and meditate on what might be going on—maybe you’ll realize you ate a ton of sugar the day before, or perhaps you’ve taken on too many projects at work. From there, you can do what needs to be done to feel like yourself again.
2. Be a spiritual vehicle
Simply put, this means knowing what you want from life, letting go of all your expectations, and allowing intuition—or spirit, or God, or whatever you want to call it—guide your way. (Think of it like planning a road trip, except the route is your life path and your intuition is the navigator.)
If you’re someone who likes to be in control, this step can be really hard. But Garzilli says it’s worth trying. “As you pick up momentum, your awareness will shift so that you can plainly see how you are the main thing holding yourself back,” she says. “You’ll also understand what is and isn’t working in your life and why.”
And what if your inner GPS goes out of range? Refer back to rule No. 1.
3. Commit to having breakthroughs
When things get stormy, Garzilli says spiritual types have a knack for staying the course and waiting for a breakthrough moment, even when it would be easier to give up.
The best way to stay on track when you feel like quitting, she says, is to do something about your predicament. “Whenever I’m not where I want to be, I take some action—no matter how small,” she says. “Sometimes it’s getting quiet and focusing inward, or it could be phoning or emailing someone,” she says. “In taking action, it clears the [negative] energy and things start moving again.”
So if you’re feeling down on your job, don’t just resign yourself to misery. Instead, present your boss with some ideas that can make you happier in your role…or look for something new.
4. Forgive mistakes
What sets spiritual people apart, says Garzilli, is that they don’t dwell on their missteps. “We all start out as beginners,” she says. “When you forgive yourself of mistakes, it gives you permission to show up again and learn.”
Yes, it can be deeply uncomfortable to do this, but Garzilli says there’s one silver lining: It feels awesome to watch yourself improve at something and master it over time.
5. Live without ego
You know that nagging little voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough to have what you want? That’s your ego, says Garzilli.
“The unevolved ego batters us down,” she stresses. “That’s why I’m a big advocate of meditation—it’s where you get to see where that ego shows up and how it talks to you. Once you’re aware of it, you don’t let it catch you out anymore.”
6. Believe in yourself
If you’ve got a wildly ambitious dream, it can be all too easy to tell yourself you don’t have the knowledge, skills, or chutzpah it takes to succeed. But Garzilli argues that the only things standing in your way are your own perceived limitations.
“A heartfelt desire is a sign that you already have within you the seed of the skill you need to accomplish a goal,” she proclaims. “For a big miracle to occur, you must give yourself permission to follow through on what your heart desires.”
It’s important to keep up this self-belief even if no one else believes in you, Garzilli stresses. “The negative outlook of others—their criticism, doubt, ridicule, rejection, or lack of support—isn’t a reason for you to push aside your heartfelt dreams,” she says. “Belief is very powerful.”
7. Accept responsibility
You’ll never find a spiritual sort playing the victim. Rather, they understand that they alone are responsible for creating their own destiny.
“Accepting responsibility for your choices means you can see your circumstances with new eyes and shift from feeling overwhelmed to being aligned,” writes Garzilli. For instance, this could mean setting boundaries in a difficult relationship, or taking steps to improve your diet if you’re dealing with a health issue.
This approach does wonders for your stress levels, says Garzilli. “Accepting responsibility sets your mind free, because you know in your heart that no matter what anyone says, you’ve done your best.”
8. Aim high
Ever wonder why some people seem to magically attract blissful relationships, awesome jobs, and incredible apartments? There’s really no magic about it, Garzilli insists—it’s just that they don’t settle for anything less than the best.
So if you’ve been dating a guy who’s just okay, cut him loose and hold out for someone amazing. If you get a job offer that pays well but doesn’t excite you, wait until something truly dazzling comes along. Do this, says Garzilli, and you’ll be amazed at how your quality of life improves.
“Aiming high leads to all sorts of miracles, because you’re open and embodying a high-energy vibe,” she says. “This makes you a magnet for love, friendship, abundance, success, and well-being.”
9. Take the right action
“It’s critical to maintain momentum once you begin moving toward a goal,” stresses Garzilli. “This means you must act ASAP whenever an opportunity that aligns with your values and intentions presents itself. Following hunches is imperative.”
Those tuned into spirit are always looking for clues about what to do next—they’re watching for signs, listening for messages from their intuition, feeling how their bodies react to the options presented, and honoring when they feel urgently drawn to do something.
One caveat: The “right” step might not always work out in your favor. “Sometimes you’re going to take an action and it’s not going to go the way you want,” Garzilli says. “You’ll think it was the wrong action, but actually it was right.” After all, your failures are your greatest lessons—right?
10. Serve others
According to Garzilli, the whole purpose of your existence on earth is to help others, whether it’s on a global level, a local level, or just within your own circle. “Being of service leads us back to joy, peace, and ultimately, to love,” the author says. “We feel amazing when we serve because we feel so connected to others.”
This could mean running for office (activism is awesome!) or volunteering at a soup kitchen every weekend. Or something as simple as using your gifts and passions to improve the lives of those around you. “It can be anything from inspiring people through art to making healthy treats that nurture people,” says Garzilli. “There are different things that allow us to step into that role of being of service.”
11. Go outside your comfort zone
Running your own business, falling in love, finishing a marathon—all of these things may look idyllic from the outside, but the process of getting there is really scary for everyone (spiritual folks included).
Garzilli insists you can’t live a big life without taking big risks, and that’s going to be uncomfortable. You may even think you’re doing the wrong thing. “Every time you go outside of your comfort zone, you’ll automatically move into what you may consider a misalignment,” she says. “That’s why people get scared and put on the brakes when they set a new intention. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong; it just means you’re reaching for a new state of being.”
Above all, she says, spiritual folks know to enjoy the journey, even the messy parts. “We’re going to be learning for the rest of our lives,” she says. “Appreciate where you are, and everything else is icing on the gluten-free cake.”