Ep. 22: Miracle Mindset with JJ Virgin
I am thrilled to introduce you to a dear friend who has an amazing story to share with you today. Miracle Mindset is a groundbreaking new work that covers the seven powerful lessons that author JJ Virgin learned after her 16-year old son Grant was in a brutal hit and run accident. JJ is best known for her bestsellers, “The Virgin Diet” and “The Sugar Impact Diet.” I’ve often said that we prove who we are in our extremities or in those few crisis in life where we could go down hard or we can do the greatest things we’ve ever dreamed of and soar to those high frequencies.
We’re talking today about how JJ fighting for her son’s life inspired a new focus for her mindset. There’s a lot of science coming out about how small shifts in our mindset can lead us to greatness in life. JJ is here to talk to us about the power of courage, strength, and resilience to help you not just survive, but thrive during life’s hardest moments. When the unthinkable happened to JJ Virgin’s family, this forged her into choosing into higher vibrations.
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Robyn: Hey everyone. It’s Robyn Openshaw and welcome back to Your High Vibration Life. I am thrilled to introduce you to a dear friend who has an amazing story to share with you today. Miracle Mindset is a groundbreaking new work that covers the seven powerful lessons that author, JJ Virgin learned after her 16-year old son, Grant was in a brutal hit and run accident. JJ is best known for her bestsellers, “The Virgin Diet” and “The Sugar Impact Diet,” and she’s also a leader among leaders. She puts on an event for other wellness influencers and authors that 400 of us go to every summer and I’ve learned so much from her, but today we’re getting really personal. I’ve often said that we prove who we are in our extremities or in those few crisis in life where we could go down hard or we can do the greatest things we’ve ever dreamed of and soar to those high frequencies.
We’re talking today about how JJ fighting for her son’s life inspired a new focus for her on mindset. There’s a lot of science coming out about how small shifts in our mindset can lead us too greatness in life. JJ is here to talk to us about the power of courage, strength, and resilience to help you not just survive, but thrive during life’s hardest moments. I’m really excited to learn more from her today about what she learned that we can all benefit from when the unthinkable happened to JJ Virgin’s family and how this forged her into choosing into higher vibrations. Welcome JJ.
JJ Virgin: Thank you. Good to be here.
Robyn: You’ve got a new book coming out called “Miracle Mindset.” This is a little different than your four other New York Times best sellers. They’re all focused on diet and nutrition. Tell me what inspired the Miracle Mindset?
JJ Virgin: You mentioned that as you were doing the bio that my son was a victim of a hit and run. I’ll back up because the setting is really important to what really went down here, is I was getting ready for the Virgin Diet to come out. Now I’m the financial support for my family. At the time, my boys were 15 and 16. Grant, my older son has bipolar disorder. That means there’s good days and bad days, and I have everything invested in this book. I’d gotten a really good advance for The Virgin diet and I went, “Wow. I can really get this message out in the world.” I was going to use it as my marketing budget. I’d put everything into the book, into doing a documentary for the … Or a TV show for the book, and I’d also borrowed some too. I was all in, right? It’s the last couple of weeks before it’s coming out, which are the craziest time.
I come home from doing some video and my son, Grant is in a bad mood. It’s one of the bad days. He wants to go to martial arts, but he’d skipped school because he had a headache. I’m like, “You can’t go because you didn’t feel well. You have to stay home.” He escalated the situation, and finally looked at me and said, “I’m not as strong as you think I am mom,” and stormed out the door in his bare feet, pair of shorts, t-shirt, nothing. That was it in its dusk. I thought, “What should I do?” I thought, “You know what? He’s a big kid. He can go walk to a friend’s house blow off steam. It’ll be fine.”
I walked into the garage and I started doing my verse training in the garage and next thing I know, Bryce, my 15-year old runs into the garage and say, “Mom, Grant’s been hit by a car and he got airlifted to the local hospital.” It was like total auto pilot at that point. I threw everything in my bag, laptop, everything else. I don’t know what was in my mind to think I needed that and we run to the hospital. My ex-husband, Bryce, and I and we get there and they won’t tell us anything. They actually usher us into a conference room which was horrifying because you know your son got airlifted. That’s bad. He’s now been airlifted to the local hospital. That’s bad. I can’t even see him and I don’t know what’s going on and their asking me questions.
I finally was like, “I need to know what’s going on.” They said, “Well, your son was a victim of a hit and run. He has a torn aorta that kills 90% of the people on the scene. His is literally hanging on by an onion skin. It’s going to rupture sometime in the next 24 hours if it’s not repaired, but to repair it in this hospital requires a blood thinner. If not, it’s a very special surgery. We don’t do it here and he’s got major brain bleeds. If we were to do that, his brain would bleed out. Basically you can choose his brain or his heart but you’re not going to get both.”
My other son, Bryce, we looked at the doctor and we said, “Well, since you said there was another hospital, what if we took him there?” He goes, “He’ll never survive that airlift. Even if he did, he’s not going to survive the surgery. Even if he were to survive both of those, he’s going to be so brain damaged, it wouldn’t be worth it.” My son, Bryce, the 15-year old at the time looks at that doctor and said, “Like a .25% chance?” The doctor said, “That’s about right.” Bryce said, “We’ll take those odds.” That was when we just went into our full fierce protective family. We overruled the doctor. We got him airlifted. Got him into Harbor-UCLA which the doctors there saved his life. We got through that first surgery, but now he’s in a deep coma. He’s go the stent. His aorta’s safe, but he’s got 13 fractures, major fractures like roded femurs, a crushed heel, just bad. That’s not the real issue. The issue is this brain injury. He’s in a coma. We have no idea what’s going to happen here.
I’ve got this book coming out and if the book doesn’t go, I’m bankrupt and I won’t be able to pay for all of this. I know that I have to be there for my son, there is no question. I’m not leaving. I need to be fully present because we’re making life and death decisions, but I also know that I have to make this book go because whatever my son’s going to need, I’ve got to provide for him. That was the set up and we got through the first couple weeks of him in a coma. He came out of the coma and came through it over the next four months. Then, it’s been four years of really recovering from that.
We walked out of the hospital and in fact, we were at one of my events for my health entrepreneurs and people were like, “How did you just do that?” It was right after we all came out and I looked back and I didn’t know at the time, I was like, “I don’t know.” You’re just on auto pilot. This is where you better have the right habits in place, but as I started to really look at how did we do that, it was super clear that the mindset that I developed over my lifetime of adversity was what had allowed me to be able to help save my son and you look at everybody. You’re in the documentary bonus material as there are the lot of people in our community and there are this people who I admire and as I started to look at people who are so cool out there in life, the ones that you look at and they’re inspiring to you. I have not yet met one person who’s aspiring and inspiring that hasn’t been through major life challenges. They all have. It’s what’s made them great.
I went, “Wow. I go, “The reason I was able to pull this off was I’d gone through some major life challenges. I’d built that Miracle Mindset muscle to be able to stand up to the doctors. To be able to expect my son to be 110%,” which was one of the first things we started telling him in a coma was, “This is going to be the best thing that ever happened to you. We’ve got you. We are going to make sure you’re 110%. You’ve got it. We’re going to do it.” It was all of these attributes that I started to really evaluate better make up the Miracle Mindset that allow you to take on the unthinkable because Robyn, we all know, you’ve been through some brutal times, I have too and chances are there’s more on the horizon and chances for everybody listening is they’re out there. You wouldn’t want to be the fireman running into the fire realizing you forgot your equipment. You got to have it ahead of time. You’ve gotta have you mindset on board now.
Robyn: Well, this is just a classic example of how you’ve made the bad thing the good thing. First of all, tell us really fast how Grant is doing now?
JJ Virgin: That first day after he had survived that first surgery and he’s in the deep coma and I’m standing in the hospital with him holding the only … There was like one part of his body that wasn’t covered in casts or bandages or road rash that was just raw, and I’m holding his hand and I said, “Grant.” I literally did and I’m scared to death and there’s no sign that he’s going to ever even wake up. The neurosurgeons were like, “We don’t think he’s going to wake up,” and I said, “Grant, you do not need to worry.” I go, “We’ve go this. We are fighting for you. You’re a fighter. Your name means warrior and you’re going to be 110%.”
I just decided that day. So often, we just don’t have a dream worth fighting for. It’s not big enough. It’s like we didn’t stretch ourselves enough. I’m like going, “I’m not going to go for like he’s not going to stay, he’s going to live through this.” I’m going to go, “He’s going to be better through this,” because as scared as I am, and I was scared every single day and I’ve been scared every single day for the last six months, I’ve been getting ready to get this book out. This is what carried me through was this belief that he could be and then when you ask the right question, guess what you get. It’s been a really hard four and a half years.
Some of the best times and some of the absolute worst times. Brain injury, 25% of people with brain injuries become suicidal. Grant was one of them. It’s just been a tough, tough time, but we kept working on it 110% which you get 1% by 1%. You don’t go from almost dead on the pavement to 110% in a day, week, month, year, but he at this point is now better than before the accident. He’s more creative, he’s nicer, he’s more empathetic, he’s more motivated, he has a purpose, he is now at the point of 110%. It’s really exciting and I think two things. You get what you expect and you’re never better than when you’re challenged. When Grant’s been frustrated and down over this last four years, when he couldn’t remember things, couldn’t do things, I was like, “This is not going to be easy, honey. This is going to be hard and it’s worth it and you can do it.” If I try to do things for him, he got angry. When I flipped it to that and challenged him, he stepped up.
Robyn: That is so inspiring. Congratulations. Already at the 110% now. Now, we’ll just keep on going up to 120, 150%. That is such good stuff. As a mom who almost lost my son many times over the course of about a year and a half, I’m so inspired and I can’t wait to tell my audience about the Miracle Mindset. I’m reading your galley now. I know you’re coming out with a free movie and this movie is incredible. I’ve seen the trailer for it. You’re just going to get chills. We are going to put a link to it in the show notes, greensmoothiegirl.com/episode20. Tell us what exactly is the Miracle Mindset? Why does mindset matter so much?
JJ Virgin: Oh my gosh. I know when I started to look at all this and I wouldn’t have gone down this road until I knew that you could actually create your own miracle mindset and when you do, you will see all the miracles that are out there. One could have looked at what I just went through and went, “Oh my gosh.” People did say that, “I’m so sorry.” I’m like, “Oh my gosh.” It was miracle after miracle after miracle. I cannot believe how lucky I am. It’s all you perspective.
There is a psychologist, Carol Dweck who talks about two types of mindsets or really your group of beliefs. There’s the fixed mindset and we all know those people. I don’t think they’d be listening to your show, Robyn but they’re the victims. They’re the ones that go in life, “Oh my god, I can’t believe that happened to me.” Those people that they feel like they have no control, they’re powerless. Then, there’s the growth mindset. Those are the people that life happens by them, for them, through them. They’ve got the control. They’ve got the responsibility. They can show up. I believe mindset’s a muscle which means you’ve got to use it or you’ll lose it. It’s like you can build it or it will atrophy.
As I looked at all those people and you were part of that group of like who are people who I admire who inspire me? What are the common characteristics of that mindset that they all have? Because you guys all have it. We all have it. It was being resilient, be an action taker, thinking abundantly, thinking Grant’s going to be 110%, living in the present, being able to see every little win, every little miracle. Miracles are happening everyday. We just don’t see them because we’re so focused on the next thing that we can’t see what’s right in front of us. Right?
Being courageous, which is very different than being fearless. Being courageous means you seek out the scary thing, you realize that that’s going to help you get to the next level. You step into it. You’re successful. You become more confident and your comfort zone expands and that’s how you build resilience. Then, being able to ask for help and be collaborative. Give help, accept help which is a lot more vulnerable than giving it. My community helped me save my son. That was a huge part of it. Then, this is the biggie and probably the biggest one of all is being able to forgive.
Robyn: Yeah. Well you had a hit and run driver and the first time I ever talked to you about this, I said, I got preoccupied with that. Just the injustice of it. The fact that you never learned who she was and you had a couple of clues and you just pushed it aside. It was very shortly after you and I met and you pushed it aside and you said, “I don’t have time for that. I don’t have time for that. I just forgave her.”
JJ Virgin: Yes. So many people. It was one of the biggest questions that we got asked is, “Did they find that woman?” Early on, this woman got out of her car, looked at Grant, gasped, got in and drove off. Early on, it was like a witch hunt where I lived and people were offering rewards and they wanted me to come back to the desert and be on TV and I’m like, “I’m not doing that. I’m not giving this any energy.” First of all, we don’t even know. What if he ran out in front of her car? She shouldn’t have driven off, but no one has any idea what happened. We’re always so quick to judge. Right?
JJ Virgin: Yes, she didn’t operate correctly but we don’t know what was going on in her life. She saw another person pulling up to help, so I don’t know. Maybe she had a baby at home and she thought she’d get put in jail and the kid would go in foster care. I don’t know. I’m not going to judge that because it doesn’t matter one bit for me with Grant. The only thing that it could possibly do is take my energy off of where it needed to be.
Robyn: Well, you can’t have that miracle shift in the way that you think. You can’t focus on a miracle mindset when you’re chasing the past.
JJ Virgin: No. You’ll just be angry and when you’re angry and resentful and it just crushes your joy.
Robyn: Right. Those are our low vibration emotions that we’ve been talking about a lot. I’m working on seeing the miracles earlier and seeing more of them. It reminds me of my audience may remember one of my very favorite interviews we’ve done. We’re in season two now, was with Caroline Pearson on her work and her book on synchronicities and finding those connections and they light up these centers in your brain that help you see the miracles. I want you to talk about this word that I’ve been fascinated with. I’ve been studying the concept of resilience. You’ve been talking about strength and resilience. What’s the difference there? What does it mean to be resilient?
JJ Virgin: Yes. I look at everything and I have to correlate it back to nutrition and fitness, right?
Robyn: Of course.
JJ Virgin: Of course, mindset is a muscle and you can build it. I look at strength as the initial building. You have a situation come up. It’s scary which is great. That means that you’re being tested. You’re playing big enough. You need your courage. You step into it. You’re strong. You’ve got to build your strength and everyone of those situations builds resilience. Resilience is like the endurance training of fact, of stepping into these situations. That saying of, “Do one thing a day that scares you,” to me, that’s a big part of do that and you build that resilience. As you know, the studies show people who go through these challenges and step up and face them are better because of it. They’re happier, they’re more successful. It’s like the people who just have life is easy. I think we’re seeing a lot of it in the millennials. The life is easy part.
Actually I’ve got to tell you, as a parent, I started when Grant came home from the hospital, I’ve never been an overprotective parent, I became one. At first, I was trying to do everything for him. That was the worst thing that I could have done. Finally one day, he was upset about something and I go, “You know what? It’s going to be hard.” I just started going like, “What have you been doing, JJ? Don’t protect him. He doesn’t want to be protected. He doesn’t want to be coddled. He wants to step up and be a young man.” That’s what I did and he stepped right up. I challenged him. I told him it was going to be hard.
Robyn: I love that. Well, you were having your own process. You were learning how to deal with a changed child who suddenly probably seemed fragile to you, but that was part of your mindset shift is to realize how strong you were and how strong he was and would have to become. You’re coddling him wasn’t going to help. What a great life lessons as a mom. You learned all these lessons as a result of this horrible accident. We don’t want that in our life where none of us are going to seek that out.
JJ Virgin: No, we don’t.
Robyn: What about people who are facing problem that aren’t about their health? What about other challenges people have? Does Miracle Mindset apply here?
JJ Virgin: When I wrote this, of course I’ve got my very specific story, but the lessons are absolutely universal. When you think about it, whether it’s your health or your relationships or your finances or your career, it’s like there’s no shortage of strategies to go out and be successful in any one of those areas. You can get them free on Google, but yet most people are struggling and that is because of mindset. You will never grow farther than what your mindset tells you you can do.
If you believe you can only be in this job and make this amount of money, that’s it. That’s as far as you’re going to go. It is key and that’s what I’ve been working on now is teaching people how to build this miracle mindset and what’s interesting is as we focus just on the mindset part and moving into action there, which is the most important thing, it’s like, “You don’t learn it by sitting and thinking about it. You got to do it,” but it does just impact every other area of their life. If they up level their mindset, every area of their life gets better.
Robyn: Perfect. There’s probably a lot of light bulb moments during this whole process with Grant and I’m sure we’re going to see that in your movie. Can’t wait for it to come out. What lesson in the Miracle Mindset totally surprised you?
JJ Virgin: It was our buddy brother, Dave Asprey.
Robyn: I love Dave.
JJ Virgin: Dave’s another one who really saved my life and a couple years ago, he said, “JJ, you have to come to this thing called 40 Years of Sand.” It’s basically neuro feedback in a chamber for a week like all day, everyday for seven days. I’m thinking, “Really?” He goes, “Yeah. You have to come.” I knew at the time I was in trouble because I wasn’t feeling anything. I was very flat lined. I wasn’t getting excited about things, but I wasn’t sad about things. I just wasn’t feeling. I go there and I didn’t know anything about it. I just trusted Dave. There I am and I’m there with Dave, Joe Polish, and Vishen Lakhiani and I find out that what we’re actually doing is we’re going to be in these chambers during neuro feedback for a week, but what we’re doing is we go through forgiveness protocols because that’s how we trained our brain waves to really be positive, joyful, creative is through forgiveness. It’ the fastest way to do it.
If you’d asked me, I’m like, “Oh, I don’t hold …” Because I used to be a little grudge-y holder growing up, I was one of those little grudge-y people. I didn’t want to be that person anymore, so I thought I’m just not going to hold grudges. If something does something wrong to me, I’ll just go put it into my closet. I had like the imaginary closet where I put everything crappy people did to me. I was like, “I’ll just put it over there. That’ll be great.” No, you can’t do that. That actually does not work because it’s just stored up in there and it gets really full and that’s what had happened.
What I didn’t realize is that you actually have to go and be very active when you forgive and it’s got nothing to do with the other person because that holds on you, not them. It’s a very active process to forgive them. The reality is where you really charge them for the crime and deeply feel it, then you go into their position and where they were and you get deeply empathetic. Then, you look for the gifts in the situation because they’re always there. They’re always there. As I went through this, I realized as I’m going through this after the first couple days when I think, “Gosh, I really need to be here for a year,” but the big thing I realized was, “Wow. I need to forgive myself.” That was the biggest person to forgive.
I check in with myself, Robyn because something happened in my business a couple of months ago and I was so angry. I’m like, “Hey, I don’t like the person I’m being.” I’m like, “But I just can’t seem to stop it.” I went, “Oh my gosh. You just have to forgive this person. Forgive this person.” I went through the process and I’m like, “Free. There it is.”
Robyn: Well when you don’t, it’s that old saying of that’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person who hurt you to die because it only harms you and we all know that, but we don’t learn forgiveness once. It’s a process and we keep having to forgive our whole lives. It’s almost like one of the most important lessons we learned. Don’t you think?
JJ Virgin: Hugely. I never ever, ever again would have thought about this had I not gone through that with Dave. It’s not like you’ve ever gone … Where do you get teaching on how to forgive?
Robyn: Never. There’s no class.
JJ Virgin: It’s like say you’re sorry.
Robyn: There’s not degree.
JJ Virgin: Then say, “I forgive you.” No, that’s really not quite it.
Robyn: Yeah. Not going to lie. I used to lock my kids in a room and say, “You can come out when you’ve said I love you and you’re at peace with each other,” but did I teach them how? No. Probably because I didn’t know how in my 30s when my kids were that young, but what a great valuable lesson and you’ve kicked my butt when I’m not forgiving somebody and said hard things to me that I need to hear.
JJ Virgin: Here’s where you know that you have people who really care about you is they want to help you be your best self and we can’t see these things. I can’t see them. Look what Dave did. Dave came to me and was like, “JJ.” I couldn’t see it. I just knew that I was hurting, but I didn’t know what to do.
Robyn: What happened to you a few months ago to just give you a little peace with it, we all don’t forgive in a second. We got to sit with the hurt of it and process it. Then, my life lesson, I think really the developmental task of my 40s, and I think that you can relate to this, it’s not that I’m done is to forgive faster and easier and really do it. Let it be behind me. There are layers to things but I think we have to forgive ourselves that we do feel resentful of people who have taken advantage of us. I’m impressed. I always am. I’m inspired by how much you’ve learned and that you’re willing to pass it along. I know you’re so busy and I really appreciate in the middle of you book launch taking a few minutes with us, but share just a little bit as we end this interview about how do people start? People hearing this and saying, “I want to forgive like that. I want to make a Miracle Mindset so that all of my vibrations are higher from this point forward.” How do they start changing mindset today?
JJ Virgin: One of the things that’s in my book and a part of all of this is an assessment. I always think that you have to start with measuring. What you measure, you can improve. I actually created a Miracle Mindset score card, so that you could look at these seven characteristics and rate yourself on a scale of one to 12 ranging from victim to frustrated to comfortably unhappy to transformative. It starts there. Then, the book has lessons but I’ll share one today because I think that the biggest thing I like to do is get people in action and one that we’ve been using in the academy and one that’s in my book and it’s really one of the habits I’ve had in my life for decades that was probably one of the most significant reasons I could get through what I was going through with Grant and the key thing here was it was already a habit.
Habits create the structure that gives us freedom. You don’t have to think any more. It was just the way I lived so I didn’t have to think about it because I didn’t need more things to think about during that time. One of the key things that I do everyday and I’ve been doing this for years is I have a journal with a pen by my bed right where I will reach for it first when I wake up. The first thing I do is think of three people, three things that I’m grateful for and I write it down. If I’m super busy, I might just be, “One, two, three.” What I really like to do is write those down. I really allow myself to feel it. Sometimes, I’ll fill a whole page full of people and things I’m grateful for. Then, I write the things that I’m working on like during this whole thing. It was like Grant will be 110% and you’re just visualizing everything that will happen in his life and just writing it down.
Gratitude just basically crowds out the fear. That was one of the big things that I did in the hospital and I’ve been doing over the last … I’ve been totally freaked out over the last six months with this whole project and gratitude every morning. It’s what I’ve been doing to stay sane.
Robyn: That is just perfect and we’ve discussed at length on this show how gratitude is one of the highest vibration emotions. In fact, a person in total flow, in total gratitude, you actually pick up on the heart waves emanating from a person in total gratitude, love, joy. These are the highest vibration emotions. They destroy low vibration emotions. They’re stronger. They matter more. Thank you as always for the incredible inspiration and the impact you make on my life, JJ. Now, I’m so pleased to introduce your movie and your book to my audience. Any last words of encouragement or advice?
JJ Virgin: Get in gratitude in the morning. That’s it. Start there. Make that habit happen. That I am amazed at the crazy transformations that happen from that small little hinge that swings such a massive door.
Robyn: What a beautiful way to start everyday. Thank you, JJ Virgin. Thank you for constantly mentoring me and hundreds of other wellness influencers to be our very best selves.
JJ Virgin: You are welcome. I adore you.