Photography & Video by Sasha Israel
“WHEN PEOPLE ASK, ‘HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOURSELF FROM NEGATIVE ENERGY,’ I ALWAYS SAY, ‘IT’S NOT ABOUT PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM OTHER PEOPLE, IT’S ABOUT GROUNDING YOURSELF IN YOUR OWN ENERGY,” SAYS JORDAN BACH CLAD IN A WHITE T-SHIRT AND RIPPED JEANS AT A FRIEND’S APARTMENT IN DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN. It’s this spiritual insight coupled with an effortless style and a knack for social media, which has made the under-30 motivational speaker and life coach the poster child for a new breed of gurus that speak to the Snapchat generation. Just take a look at his prolific YouTube videos or hotly-followed Instagram account where the Boston native advises his thousands of followers on overcoming life road blocks, getting through a breakup or forgiving yourself for having that cookie. He’s the post-millenial Tony Robbins, if Mr. Robbins posted motivational memes and looked as if he was plucked from a Bruce Weber campaign. We first encountered Bach at a Spirit Junkie Masterclass weekend hosted by Gabrielle Bernstein and were struck by his candor in discussing the spiritual merit of posting selfies. (Break out that Valencia filter and mala beads.) Below, Bach talks his philosophy on wellness, how to navigate social media and his secret weapon for getting grounded fast.
When were you first introduced to the spiritual world? What led you here?
I grew up in a completely non-religious, utterly non-spiritual home with a liberal, intellectual family in Boston. We would sit at the dinner table and my father would say that anyone who believes in any sort of higher power is intellectually feeble. For a while I believed that. But it was at odds with what was a very mystical childhood for me. I had vivid dreams that I later came to understand as past life experiences. Trying to find out why I was here was of great importance to me. I called myself an atheist, meanwhile I was hiding my spiritual books.
Was there one book that stood out?
In 2009, I read A Course In Miracles.
Did that change you?
At the time, I was looking for something that was not intellectually wishy-washy. I found in A Course In Miracles a very psychologically astute framework on which to base my perception. Some people find the perfect form of the curriculum in Jesus of Nazareth. Some people find it in Buddha, some people find it in nature and some people find it in just experiencing everyday grace and forgiveness. You’ll know the path that is right for you because it’ll just scream out to you or it’ll subtly hint at you over and over and over again. It may not be the path for you forever and always, it just means right now, see where this leads you.
You’re a New Yorker. It’s inherent as a New Yorker to hustle until you drop. What is your advice for the workaholic?
I’m known to hustle and be a workaholic too. My intuitive advisor once said to me, “”Gently, gently, gently. You’re right where you should be. Everything is unfolding as it should.” Trust that. Put your best foot forward and do what you know needs doing. Pay your bills, put out the next thing that needs to be put out, but do it from a space of knowing that you are being supported. You really don’t need to go 100% of the way. You only need to go so far and let the Universe is bring you to the finish line.
Do you personally have morning affirmations that you wake up with?
I’ve had the same one for as long as I can remember. It’s a line from A Course In Miracles and it’s my go-to affirmation: “There is a place in me where there is perfect peace.” Every morning that I wake up, it doesn’t matter if I didn’t get sleep or if I have to run out the door within five minutes, I take at least a few moments to use that affirmation to bring me to that place within.
What is the best advice you give your coaching clients?
I always tell my clients to start with small habits. I had a client say the other day, ‘Okay I have to get really serious about meditation. I’m going to commit to thirty minutes a day.’This is a guy who runs a multi-million dollar national corporation. I asked, ‘How about you commit to just five minutes in the morning before you check your email?’ We start small. It’s much better to do five minutes every single day than an hour with incense and perfect Buddhist hands.
For someone who doesn’t have experience in meditating, how does a rookie begin?
The meditation for a calm heart is a great way to start. There’s something about matching your breath with your posture or a point of focus in your mind. Using that pranayama breathing makes for an effective meditation.
What about doing something relaxing like getting a massage, is that meditation?
Relaxation is not meditation. Taking a bath is very relaxing and may make you a calmer person, but it’s not meditation. Meditation is, as A Course in Miracles says, rising above the raucous shrieks of the world or dropping into that place where there is perfect peace. Whatever way you think of it, it requires you to close your eyes and not fall asleep.
Don’t share your mess until it becomes your message.
What does one have to do while meditating?
Breath deeply. Meaning, as you inhale your belly should expand and as you exhale it should fall. So many people, particularly women who wear tight clothes, don’t breathe that way. They walk around all day, sitting in meetings and at dinners, breathing the wrong way. The quality of your breath determines the quality of your thoughts. When you’re breathing deeply and someone says something crazy to you, in that moment you can say, check in with your breath. You can breathe through a verbal attack
One of your mentors is Marianne Williamson. What is the best advice she has given you?
She once told me, “All of us who are in this work have to support each other.” From that day, it’s been rare that I turn down an interview or a blog, even for someone with 10 followers. That is my way to support the people who are doing what I do, because we can’t do it alone. It’s not just me and Gabby [Bernstein] and Marianne, it has to become a mass movement of people who are invested in the uplifting of others. I don’t want to create more followers, I want to create more leaders– people who are out there powerfully leading their own lives from a calm heart with clear eyes.
Did she ever give you advice you disagreed with?
I’ll tell you some advice she gave me that I didn’t agree with that I think is really important for our generation. I was going through a terrible time in my life. I had a breakup that felt like the floor had fallen out from beneath me. Everything that I thought to be stable and good and true wasn’t, so I was bereft and grieving. She said to me, ‘Jordan you need to get clear on something. Is it about you and your life or is it about the teachings? Because you have to pick one or the other.” And I said, “I’ll think about that.” I thought about it and the answer is in this generation of people, we’re moving out of the Piscean age where there’s one leader who teaches from belief, which genuinely served that age, and into the Aquarian age where a leader gives you an experience. Within social media, you can be in the middle of bumfuck nowhere, with no followers, but if you have an internet connection, you can reach out and by sharing your experience with other people, you can give them an experience of their own that has less to do with their intellectual ascension to a set of beliefs and more about an experience of grace and forgiveness. So when I share a story about a past boyfriend cheating on me, I’m allowing people to come into my experience.
So it’s ok to share negativity?
The crucial thing I tell people is, don’t share your mess until it becomes your message. I see a lot of bloggers do that thing like, “My life’s just a mess.” This culture of relatability has aspects that I don’t think does a service to people. But a message can serve other people, particularly in a field where you want to project a certain caliber of radiance so that other people can be elevated from it. Don’t share your mess until it has become some sort of elevating message. It’s a bit of an art.
That’s a great point. I feel like our lives are so driven by social media now. As far as taking care of your own side of the street in social media, so to speak, what are things that people can do to be mindful?
Find good, true ways to ground your energy. When we’re on social media, we’re putting up our antennae and picking up signals. Whether it’s your racist friend from high school or your friends who are doing much better than you are. You’re picking up so many different signals and in order to not assimilate those signals as part of your own subtle body, you must stay grounded in your energy. You don’t protect yourself. You ground yourself in your own energy. By definition, you cannot be uprooted or swayed by other people.
How do you do that?
Many ways. I have a video on Youtube about this, entitled, “How To Protect Yourself.” But there are some true basic techniques that actually work. 1. Place your bare feet on the earth. Whether it’s near an ocean or a lake or anything earth-based. 2. Take cold showers to stimulate the nervous system and reduce anxiety to calm your mind. 3. Take salt-water baths using Epsom salts. 4. Breathe deeply. 5. One more simple thing: just say to yourself, “What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is yours.”
You mentioned cold showers. Is that a tool you use yourself?
I take a cold shower every day. Tony Robbins has a cold plunge pool on every one of his eight properties. That is my dream, to have a cold plunge pool. It feels like taking a Xanax. Take a freezing cold shower for the length of a song. Bring your Jambox into the bathroom, turn on your favorite song and do a little dance.
How cold does it need to be?
As cold as it can be. I’ve been doing it for six years now and it’s never cold enough. It’s especially great when its freezing cold in New York.
Do you feel like it has a physical affect on your body, as well?
Yes, dramatically. It sends all of the blood inward to your organs and flushes them with blood. Once you step out of the shower the blood comes rushing back to the surface of your skin, so you’re pumping both your organs and your mind with blood and energy. That first reaction really energizes you and at the same time, it calms you down. Cold showers are also great for washing off any bad energy that you’ve brought on.
Speaking of the body, does your relationship with food inform your spiritual life?
Hugely. I’ve had autoimmune disorders since I was a little kid: vitiligo, chronic hives, psoriasis. Since I was little, I’ve known that diet really affects those conditions as well as my mood. For instance, I ate pasta and bread all weekend and right now I feel puffy and my joints feel swollen. I know what to eat in order to feel in balance.
Rather than taking the latest nutrition fads, try to check in with your intuition.
What does balance mean to you?
I’ve giving myself some space to find balance because I’m in my twenties. We really have to be gentle with ourselves, particularly with food. There are people who are way too unhealthy because they eat too much and there’s also a smaller but just as unhealthy population who have disordered eating. I am very mindful of how my stress is informed by how I am eating. It’s just as important to me to focus on how I am eating as what I am eating. If I’m eating kale and green juice and MCT oil in a state of anxiety and shame and self-restriction, then my life is going to begin to mirror back experiences that reinforce my shame and self-restriction. But if I’m eating a moderately healthy diet with some cookies thrown in there but I’m doing it in a place of joy and relaxation, I might be better off. For me it’s about knowing what brings you out and what brings you back in. As ever, the whole point is, you’re responsible for your own life.
What are things that bring you back “in”?
Protein first thing in the morning works for me. I’ll have a whey protein shake or really great grass-fed eggs and grass-fed butter. This keeps my brain energized. I love a ginger juice before a workout so I can get sweaty. And I take cold showers every single day.
Are their certain “diets” that work best for you?
I gained thirty pounds during my breakup from 2014 to 2015. I decided I needed to lose it. I researched the most effective ways to lose weight and I went on the Ketogenic diet- high fat, moderate protein, very low carb. I lost twenty pounds very quickly. But I had this craving for fruit, which was off-limits because of the sugar. Then I came across a book called Medical Medium and that is all about eating all raw fruits and vegetables. I flipped! I went from being strictly and religiously all-keto to being totally fruits and vegetables. I lost an extra ten pounds and all of my puffiness. Here are two completely different diets: the Keto diet made me feel very clear, mentally and emotionally and the Medical Medium diet made me feel more deeply calm. I still don’t know. I found many different things from seemingly opposing nutritional schools of thought that work for me. I’m still choosing here and there the things that feel right in the moment. I do realize that the more I meditate and connect to my intuition and affirmation, the more I am able to intuit what’s right for my body in any given moment. Rather than taking the latest nutrition fads, try to check in with your intuition.
What’s your favorite workout?
I love Kundalini yoga because the endorphin rush is greater than any other rush I’ve gotten from running. It burns, it gets you out of your head and by the time you put your arms down your body just floods with relaxation. I like to get high like most animals and Kundalini yoga does that for me. I go to Golden Bridge. There’s also a great thing called Ra Ma TV, Guru Jagat is a teacher in Venice it’s her streaming Kundalini yoga service with hundreds of videos straight to your computer.
What is your self-care routine?
I love going to get those Chinese massages where the tiny women walk on your back. I don’t need any aromatherapy. I want them to murder me.
Any final words of wisdom to the bloggers and social media mavens out there putting out spiritually-grounded content?
Everything you do is infused with the energy with which you do it, so if you’re an anxious mess, running around, writing and posting, because you need to get it out, all of that is infused in your work. But if you can do it knowing that you have the wind of grace on your back pushing your content where it needs to go at the right time, then that’s the content you’ll get.
Jordan’s Guided Meditation For Overcoming Social Media Anxiety