"Spiritual minimalism is a way of cultivating what you're ultimately looking for by rearranging things externally, by doing it on the inside first, and then, as a byproduct of that, you'll be less attached to things on the outside."

Light Watkins

Want to learn how to quiet the constant chatter in your head and make decisions from a place of heart-centered wisdom? Tune into this enlightening conversation with Light Watkins, who has spent the past five years living out of a carry-on bag and pioneering a lifestyle of spiritual minimalism. Yeah!

We dive deep into his transformative journey and explore how you, too, can make a commitment to minimalism to enrich your life, foster deeper relationships, and lead you to fulfillment.

Follow Light @lightwatkins

Follow Chase @chase_chewning

In this episode, you will learn...

  • How spiritual minimalism is a powerful tool that aids in aligning our hearts with our heads, promoting intentionality and purpose in our lives

  • How meditation can help you reduce stress, shifting you from a self-centered perspective to a more inclusive one

  • Your happiness is not about the monetary riches we amass, but about the quality of the relationships you share our lives with

  • How overcoming the fear of other's opinions is key to living an authentic life

  • Why cultivating an appreciation for the present moment can lead to better performance and contentment in everyday activities

  • Relationships and friendships require a give and take, and the natural tendency is to wait for the other person to go first. This perspective needs to be reframed for healthy relationships.

  • How your perceived limitations can often hold us back from achieving our goals. By understanding your own journey and recognizing our individual steps, we can achieve your dreams.

  • Your beliefs can either empower or disempower us. We need to make choices that create a more adventurous and fulfilling life.

Ever Forward Radio is brought to you by...

Cured Nutrition

Functional mushrooms and microdose THC ease stress and unwind the mind. Two juicy, fruit flavors to satisfy your sweet-tooth.

✓ Meditative calm ✓ Stress relief and mood regulation ✓ Relief from general aches and pains ✓ Microdose THC

CLICK HERE to save 20% with code EVERFORWARD


"Thanks to Timeline I am able to fortify my health at the cellular level and support my longevity."

We’ve conducted numerous clinical studies and have thousands of people taking Mitopure daily. Your mitochondrial upgrade starts here!

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EFR 736: Six Principles for Finding Fulfillment and Meaning in Life Through Spiritual Minimalism with Light Watkins

Want to learn how to quiet the constant chatter in your head and make decisions from a place of heart-centered wisdom? Tune into this enlightening conversation with Light Watkins, who has spent the past five years living out of a carry-on bag and pioneering a lifestyle of spiritual minimalism. Yeah!

We dive deep into his transformative journey and explore how you, too, can make a commitment to minimalism to enrich your life, foster deeper relationships, and lead you to fulfillment.

Follow Light @lightwatkins

Follow Chase @chase_chewning

In this episode, you will learn...

  • How spiritual minimalism is a powerful tool that aids in aligning our hearts with our heads, promoting intentionality and purpose in our lives

  • How meditation can help you reduce stress, shifting you from a self-centered perspective to a more inclusive one

  • Your happiness is not about the monetary riches we amass, but about the quality of the relationships you share our lives with

  • How overcoming the fear of other's opinions is key to living an authentic life

  • Why cultivating an appreciation for the present moment can lead to better performance and contentment in everyday activities

  • Relationships and friendships require a give and take, and the natural tendency is to wait for the other person to go first. This perspective needs to be reframed for healthy relationships.

  • How your perceived limitations can often hold us back from achieving our goals. By understanding your own journey and recognizing our individual steps, we can achieve your dreams.

  • Your beliefs can either empower or disempower us. We need to make choices that create a more adventurous and fulfilling life.

Ever Forward Radio is brought to you by...

Cured Nutrition

Functional mushrooms and microdose THC ease stress and unwind the mind. Two juicy, fruit flavors to satisfy your sweet-tooth.

✓ Meditative calm ✓ Stress relief and mood regulation ✓ Relief from general aches and pains ✓ Microdose THC

CLICK HERE to save 20% with code EVERFORWARD


"Thanks to Timeline I am able to fortify my health at the cellular level and support my longevity."

We’ve conducted numerous clinical studies and have thousands of people taking Mitopure daily. Your mitochondrial upgrade starts here!

Our clinical studies have shown a 17% increase in muscle recovery and a reduction of muscle fatigue after 8 weeks of taking a daily dose of Mitopure*.

After 4 months, clinical studies show the benefits of Mitopure on muscles, with a 12% increase in muscle strength.

CLICK HERE to save 10% with code EVERFORWARD


0:00:01 - Speaker 1 Light. Welcome to Ever Forward Radio, my man.

Thanks, bro, good to be here, I'm in fact this is gonna be good, this is gonna be good Out of the gate. I gotta ask For me and I think a lot of people listening, minimalism is not a totally new concept. Maybe it's something we've heard about, we read about. Maybe we're not adopting it, but it's not really a foreign concept right now. But you have a unique approach to it. You've got this quote inside outweigh to minimalism Mm-hmm. What is it and how does this approach actually improve people's lives compared to, maybe, other forms of minimalism?

0:00:34 - Speaker 2 Yeah, I call it spiritual minimalism and it's something, it's a, it's a framework that I sort of developed from an experience that I started in 2018, where I Got rid of my two bedroom apartment in Santa Monica, slash Venice, and I started living from a carry-on bag and then a year later, from a back pack, and then a year later for a day pack.

0:00:58 - Speaker 1 I want everybody here there. So quick, not not just. You went on a trip and you packed light, you said, started living living yeah, that was my new apartment, was my carry-on bag.

0:01:06 - Speaker 2 So I was still staying in apartments and Airbnb and staying with friends, but I didn't have any sort of conventional form of stability in the, in the sense that I didn't have my name on the lease anywhere and I didn't know how long it was gonna last. So there's a lot of uncertainty built into the experience, and so that's where spinner, spiritual minimalism, came from. It's not that I started practicing spiritual minimalism at that time. I realized in hindsight that I had already been practicing spiritual minimalism without realizing that I was practicing something called spiritual minimalism. So, to answer your question, spiritual minimalism. So let's just break it down. So spiritual. When I use the word spiritual, I'm referring to an experience that is informed by spirit or by that sort of inner Compass, that inner guidance like an innate to a no way, to a knowing exactly, yeah, which I think we've all experienced at some point in our life and probably hush too often.

Yeah, exactly. And and then minimalism is the act of Doing more with less, doing more with less. So the conventional idea of minimalism is I'm going to get rid of some of the Belongings that I have in hopes of creating more of a sense of Zen or peace in my life. You know, I'll get rid of the old couch. I get rid of the old blender.

0:02:35 - Speaker 1 Clean out underneath the bed, clean out one fork, one bowl, all that, yeah, maybe, maybe not one shoe, but but yeah, just minimizing things.

0:02:43 - Speaker 2 And then there's this I, this is there's this thinking that as soon as I do all this, I'm going to create space in my life externally and that space is gonna lead me to feel a sense of peace, which is true, but it doesn't last very long. Why is that? Because the peace isn't coming from your external environment. The piece is happening from within. So, in other words, if you're not experiencing peace, if you're experiencing the opposite of peace say You're experiencing anxiety or misery or depression, hmm, and someone rearranges your living room and gets rid of some of the stuff that you had in there, you may have an initial wave of peace or allow, this is really nice. And then your baseline, your set point of whatever you're experiencing before, will eventually return and you'll just be a miserable person or an anxious person, or depressed person, or a bored person in a living room that has one less couch or one less chair because we just changed the external self.

0:03:43 - Speaker 1 Yeah, really do anything to change our approach our relationship to our space right.

0:03:48 - Speaker 2 Exactly so. It's kind of the old Buddhist saying there is no way to happiness, happiness is the way, and so spiritual minimalism is a Is a way of cultivating what you're ultimately looking for by rearranging things externally, by doing it on the inside first, and then, as a byproduct of that, you'll be less attached to things on the outside. And so that's why I say, with spiritual minimalism, it's not about getting rid of anything that you may still seem, that may still feel relevant in your life, but you won't be as attached to things that you know, deep down, you don't feel a line with, or it may even be toxic.

0:04:26 - Speaker 1 At this point, and you've been kind of adopting living this way of life for how long now?

0:04:32 - Speaker 2 It's over five years now.

0:04:33 - Speaker 1 Okay, intentionally, intentionally being a spiritual minimalist. Yeah, how hard has it been for you. Are you finding that it just gets easier? Or is it just learning to just Better navigate the struggles with it?

0:04:48 - Speaker 2 man, you know it's a hard question to answer because I know I know you want me to come off as relatable and say some things that are really challenging for me and all of that. But I also want to be really honest about my experience at the same time and.

Have you really had any difficulties with it. I haven't really had. I I mean, I've been in some situations that other people may find difficult, but a Part of the discipline is to embrace uncertainty, to find comfort and discomfort. That's actually one of the principles and spiritual minimalism. So I've been very intentional about doing that.

And then also you know things like listen, I'll just go over the principles and then you can see what I've been please experiencing so cultivating your Connection to your heart voice I call it your heart voice, which is another way of saying intuition or your innate knowing and then, from there, making your most important decisions from your heart and not from your head sorry, from your heart and not from your head and Then, as a result of that, you'll be in a better position to treat life as though there are no throwaway moments. You'll be more inclined to give what you want to receive that's principle number four and then it'll be easier to follow through on your innate curiosity, which I believe is the path, the gateway to your fulfillment, and You'll have it a less difficult time finding comfort and discomfort. I won't say easy, but I'll say less difficult.

0:06:31 - Speaker 1 Yeah, I like that catch less difficult. Yeah, yeah.

0:06:34 - Speaker 2 And and then you'll you'll be able to embrace the freedom of choicelessness. So it's kind of like a domino effect, right? Yeah, you start with the meditation. I've been doing the meditation for 20 years now, like clockwork every day.

0:06:46 - Speaker 1 That's amazing.

0:06:47 - Speaker 2 I'm on week two, right a week to everybody in 20 years, 20 years every day, so that that really starts to shape your perception of what's happening in life. And then, back in 2016, I started this daily dose of inspiration email that I've been doing ever since then, every day, every morning, at six six am Pacific time. And it's not, I don't batch them, I literally do them every single day. You're up six am Every day I'm either up at five am Writing it or getting out before I go to bed the night before.

Depending on what I have to do the next morning. I like to my. Ideally I like to wake up in the morning and write it, because that way it's fresh. But you know, it's kind of like if you had a blog about red cars and Every day you were gonna write a post about all the red cars you saw how many, you saw what kind of cars they were, etc. You would see more red cars than anyone else you knew in your life awareness theory.

0:07:45 - Speaker 1 Right, exactly so it's called.

0:07:47 - Speaker 2 Yeah, and other people may see, just may pass just as many red cars, but they would, they would notice, notice only a small fraction of them, and so, not realizing the effects of writing a daily dose of inspiration? It's, it's positioned me to find Inspiration in everything, every, all day long, whatever I'm doing, and especially the stuff that doesn't seem to be going the way that I Wanted to go, because there's a story in that too. So that's, I put myself in this position, I've painted myself into this corner To be inspired more often than not, and that's why I say I haven't really had a lot of hard Experiences. I mean, yes, they've been uncomfortable, sure.

0:08:29 - Speaker 1 Yeah, uncomfortable, but nothing to make you kind of just throw up your hands.

0:08:34 - Speaker 2 No, no, no, no, no. But that's I put in the work too, and I really put in the work. And you know, it's kind of like asking a Navy Seal they ever have a hard day in the gym. It's like I have no idea, I just choose hard days all the time. Yeah, just embrace the sub.

0:08:50 - Speaker 1 Of the six principles for spiritual minimal minimalism, which one do you think is most difficult for most people? If you had the first one, the first one, why is that?

0:09:01 - Speaker 2 The first one is prioritizing your connection with your inner guidance and I the parentheses through meditation, through stillness, so just sitting down and being still. For even though meditation is a thing now, you know everyone's talking about it. Like you say, you started two weeks ago. I'm sure that's not you didn't just hear about meditation two weeks ago.

0:09:21 - Speaker 1 No, it's been knocking on my door for years, right?

0:09:23 - Speaker 2 years. So you've been excusing yourself For all these years, up until about two weeks ago, and I don't think you have bad intentions. You don't think you're stupid. You obviously feel like you know this is something that could be valuable to you, but it's just not where. Where it's it could be priority wise in a life of a lot of of well-meaning people, and a lot of times it's a matter of just Not understanding the mechanics well enough right, yeah so when you, when people have tried it in the past, it hasn't felt particularly good.

Dan Harris, the former news anchor, says something that I think is really true. He says meditation has a horrible PR problem. You know, like we all think, no, it's great we could do it yeah it's just.

It's just so clunky and hard and and no one wants to sit there in agony. So when people say I don't have time to meditate or I'm too tired, what they really mean is I don't have time to sit there and feel like nothing is happening, and I'm too tired to sit there just staring at the back of my eyelids. I'd rather go to sleep. I'd rather take a nap. I'd rather watch TV. I'd rather scroll through social media. At least it's a little bit more interesting.

0:10:35 - Speaker 1 Do you think it's too much of a jump for people in the beginning to go from living in chaos or having zero or very few aspects of spiritual minimalism here to going straight to meditating Without maybe starting with this aspect of stillness you were talking about first? I feel like that's a great little Stepping stone. I feel like first we need to kind of understand and learn how to carve out.

Yeah being still being quiet. Help. Maybe it's just taking a walk outside without having air pods or your phone or something like that, and then going into Really intentional quiet time.

0:11:08 - Speaker 2 I think what's most important and I put this in the book it are just some basic instructions. I call it the minimalist approach to meditation because what I've observed as a long-time Practitioner and teacher of meditation is that most people are just doing way too much, and that's one of the reasons why it feels so difficult doing too much with meditation doing too much in meditation, yeah that kind of seems counter-intuitive right, so they're breathing too much, they're focusing too much, they're trying to emulate monastic types of people and they could actually just relax a lot more.

Strip away some of the doing and just practice more being, and they'll have a much more enjoyable Experience. And I liken it to swimming. You know, if you I just I just learned how to swim in my 30s, my early 30s, and it's not that I didn't know how to swim before, but I knew how to tread water. But if I had to go from one-.

0:11:59 - Speaker 1 You knew how to not drown, I knew how to not drown.

0:12:02 - Speaker 2 So if I had- to go from one side of a 25 meter pool to the other side. I could do it once, but I would be completely winded by the time I got to the other side. So clearly I was lacking in mechanics and the understanding of the mechanics. Do you know how to swim?

0:12:19 - Speaker 1 Yes, so I've been truly-. No, michael Phelps, but yeah of course.

0:12:23 - Speaker 2 I took a swimming course in West Hollywood and I learned the mechanics. And once I learned the mechanics, I found swimming to be a lot more enjoyable, and meditation is literally just like that.

0:12:37 - Speaker 1 We're talking like technique form. Yeah, technique form.

0:12:39 - Speaker 2 You're like the freestyle form to swim, which is usually the basic one that people start with. There's a version of that for meditation. There's a freestyle version of meditation where you can navigate through your mind and if you are familiar with the mechanics, then you can actually experience stillness quite easily Amazing. And then the meditation enjoyment factor is going to go through the roof and you're gonna start to completely relate to it in a different way and you'll look forward to meditating, as opposed to sitting there waiting for the time to finish, which is how I feel most people are experiencing meditation.

0:13:18 - Speaker 1 I'm there it's only been two weeks at this point of a daily meditation practice and, yeah, I actually really look forward to it in the morning sound, it's the first thing that I do after waking up. Beautiful yeah, I'm already getting some amazing, both quantitative and qualitative kind of ROI's, in my opinion.

0:13:33 - Speaker 2 What changed for you? What was the?

0:13:35 - Speaker 1 thing that you know, I kind of have. I normally have this rule of threes with things in my life. If something gets brought up or presented, or I see it in like a unique lens three times, like two times, the third time is I all right, chase, you gotta take action on it. There's a reason. You kind of keep seeing this, or I'm choosing to give reason to why this is coming up in my life. Now.

I have had way more than three instances with meditation over the years, but, for whatever reason, about a month ago I had actually a former podcast guest shout out Dr Casey Means share this meditation study going on with another person that I know. Shout out Kimberly Snyder, a recent guest as well. I know both of them, they're a friend of the show. Yeah and so. Yeah, so Kimberly was running this meditation study in preparation for her new book. It's a very heart centered, heart focused meditation, like five, eight minutes, and I was like you know what guys? I respect both of you. I'm gonna take this as a double whammy sign from the universe. I'm gonna join the study and commit for four weeks and hopefully that would be my stepping stone to do it more. And so, yeah, I'm in Kimberly's study now week two, and I love it and I'm like, damn, why didn't I do this sooner? It's really really enjoyable. Awesome, really enjoyable.

0:14:46 - Speaker 2 And what does Casey have to do? She's helping to study it.

0:14:48 - Speaker 1 She. I don't know if she was just aware of it or she just brought it to my attention. Maybe we're talking about it in our recent interview and maybe I just was top of mind for her, which I'm thankful for and so she was like, hey, kimberly's doing this study, would you wanna join? So I was like, hell, yeah, and actually my wife is on board now as well, awesome, yeah. So I got a little at home accountability.

0:15:08 - Speaker 2 Yeah. So I think it's difficult for people who just are going at it cold, with no real instructions and trying to kind of white knuckle their way through it, cause if you don't do that it's gonna be a lot harder to make those heart-based decisions, cause the stress is gonna make you wanna do the comfortable, convenient, certain thing that protects you or your ego and to do all the other principles, treat life as though there are no throwaway moments and give what you wanna receive, et cetera, et cetera.

0:15:38 - Speaker 1 Yeah, you're hitting on a lot of great things that we wanna make sure we get to here. We kind of already covered some of the aspects of. It's not about what we get rid of, it's about what we're kind of working on inside. Okay, what about the opposite of spiritual, mental? That's a tongue twister today for me. Excuse me guys, spiritual minimalism. There we go If we are not acting out of spiritual minimalism what are we acting out of what is the opposite of this?

0:16:06 - Speaker 2 Right. So the opposite of spiritual minimalism and other interviews I've said it's chaos and confusion.

0:16:12 - Speaker 1 That makes sense, we would think.

0:16:14 - Speaker 2 Yeah, but I'll use a different terminology for this one. The opposite of spiritual minimalism is letting your ego run the show and dictate why you do the things that you do and taking your cues from external factors as opposed to internal factors. Now, what that will lead to ultimately are a lot of life experiences that don't feel aligned, and it's kind of like when people go for the money and they ignore doing something that's for their heart, or doing the right thing or, yeah, just doing things that feel aligned. You will almost always find yourself in a compromised position. If you're just thinking about the money, if you're just thinking about what you're gonna get from a situation as opposed to what you can give to a situation, if you're just thinking about what's in it for me, how's it gonna make me look? And I think that's what society has sort of set up to help us feel is the right thing to do is to be me focused as opposed to we focused.

And when you look at people throughout history who you would, where most people would agree, oh, that person was living their purpose or their path. Usually it's aligned with some sort of service opportunity the Martin Luther Kings, the Gandhi's, the Mandela's, the Mother Teresa's, the Shayser, shavez's, people like that, malcolm X's. They're usually not hyper focused on themselves. They're usually focused on some sort of aspect of the greater good, and I get that. There's Maslow's hierarchy of needs and people have to have their basic needs met. So this is not a basic needs conversation. This is assuming people listening to a podcast have their basic needs met. Hopefully, hopefully, you're good.

And if not, then yes, you have to do whatever you have to do to make sure your needs are met. But once you have your basic needs met, what is the statistic if after like $70,000, having more money is not gonna increase your level?

0:18:16 - Speaker 1 of happiness, right? Yeah, I think it's really not anything. It's not as much as I think a lot of people would think yeah and the latest research.

0:18:23 - Speaker 2 These guys were just doing the podcast circuit. Maybe they were on your podcast.

0:18:26 - Speaker 1 The Harvard study, the long the long run, the good life, absolutely, yeah.

0:18:29 - Speaker 2 Yeah, were they here A couple of months ago, so they talk about Dr Marcus Schultz, I think yeah they talk about, the most important factor to happiness is not money, it's not achievements, it's relationships, quality relationships, quality of your relationships. And so I don't know anybody who couldn't use more presence in their relationships, or more compassion, or more patience, or more generosity, and these are the direct side effects of your daily stillness practice. So, yeah, I would say the opposite of minimalism, spiritual minimalism, is the opposite of that. You're making your relationships worse because you're letting stress run the show, and anytime you let stress run the show and make your biggest decisions for you, you're gonna end up in some pretty funky places.

0:19:12 - Speaker 1 Yeah, I agree, man. I think the more we can try to focus on our thoughts and our actions aligning with getting away from I and go to we instead of me, go to us. Just watch how your perspective of the world changes, especially watch how your actions change, and at least in my experience, that has always come back to me 9.9 times out of 10. Sometimes you run into just a stone cold taker, but I think but your intuition is gonna warn you about these people.

0:19:42 - Speaker 2 Very true, but if you're not tuned into it, you're not gonna get the warning, you're not gonna hear the warning. And if anything bad happens to you and there are some bad things that can happen to all of us when we trace the steps back and I've done this several times when you trace the steps back, there was a moment where something was warning you. You had a feeling, absolutely yeah, and you ignored that feeling and that's why in the book I say that you know something about. You know, if you don't listen to your heart, then that's the form of self-betrayal, and anything that happens after that is on you.

0:20:11 - Speaker 1 We're getting there. I don't remember the exact quote, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, that was beautiful. I wanna dive into that. We kinda touched about meditation, but specifically to this idea of being a spiritual minimalist. Why is meditation so important to this way of living?

0:20:29 - Speaker 2 Meditation is like kryptonite, to stress. So the opposite of spiritual minimalism, meditation dissolves that stuff melts it away. Over time it's not gonna happen overnight.

Right, but it's basically a numbers game. So every day you're getting an input of stress, and stress is just a catch-all term for anything that causes you to go out of balance. So any demand or pressure that's placed on you if you can't successfully adapt to it, which means you do not experience anger, fear, sadness, boredom or mania, those are the five catalysts of distress. So anytime you're experiencing any of these emotions, your body is automatically going to trigger the fight-flight reaction and when that happens, your whole digestive system shuts down, your immune system gets compromised, your reproduction system stops working, your hormonal balancing system goes haywire.

We're not in homeostasis, you're not in homeostasis at all, and it's for good reason, because those emotions tell your body that you're being attacked by something that could potentially kill you. So it's a defense mechanism. Your body's just trying to protect itself. But the body doesn't distinguish between a lion is trying to kill me versus. I just dropped my cell phone and the screen just cracked.

0:21:54 - Speaker 1 Real threat versus perceived threat, Right.

0:21:56 - Speaker 2 So if it's a perceived, even, if it's a movie, a horror movie, and I'm watching it and I have these mirror neurons that make me identify with the person being attacked in the movie and my body jolts when they do the whole scary person behind it, if it's happening to you.

So your body still thinks you're being attacked. You're going into the fight-or-flight reaction and if that happens once every now and again it's fine. You go to sleep at night. The rest is the way the body kind of comes back into homeostasis. But we live in an age now where our technology has exceeded our own human evolution in terms of how much information we're getting and we're able to stay up all hours of the night and we're able to meet and interact with people more people in one day than we would have seen in two lifetimes, probably, yeah, so it's a lot of stimuli and a lot of demand and a lot of pressure, and if you don't have an outlet for that, it's gonna keep building and building and then the brain is gonna start to hardwire itself to respond reactively, stressfully, as opposed to adaptively. So that's happening whether you meditate or not. That's just the given.

That's the status quo, especially life, everybody, you live a normal modern life, and so you need an outlet for that. If you don't have an outlet for that, then you're gonna turn into a human pressure cooker, and we see this in the news. That's what the news is essentially is our headlines about human pressure cookers or societal pressure cookers? Something exploded, someone's running, someone's fighting, and it's not. And you look at the hospitals 90% of the reasons people have to go to the hospitals is some stress-related cause. It may look like diabetes, it may look like respiratory problems, it may look like cigarette addictions, but if you trace the steps back far enough, you'll see oh, there was a period where they dealt with a lot of stress and it never got released. And so now they're coping with something or their bodies are just out of balance, and eventually it starts manifesting itself physically, and that's where you get the diagnosis.

0:24:07 - Speaker 1 We've had many, many, I guess, on here talking about that. Shout out Casey Means again, absolutely.

0:24:12 - Speaker 2 So that's where meditation comes in. Meditation is the counterbalance to that. That's why we're still talking about meditation 6,000 years later is because there's nothing else that has been shown to create an outlet for stress release as effective and efficient as a daily meditation practice. But it's gotta be daily, because the stress isn't taken any days off.

0:24:33 - Speaker 1 Right, yeah, name one day of the week where you can go. Oh you know what I'm good. I had zero stress, zero stress. Please, let me know how you're living your life. You got a zero stress day. Maybe you're meditating all day that day, I don't know. But so is spot on, man. So that's such a good point too, I think.

When we're looking for answers, when we're looking to clean up our life, when we're looking to better our life, a lot of times we're looking to external things. We're looking for a lot of things here and now, the latest and the greatest. What's the cutting edge? Science? But, man, personally speaking, at least I can tell you when I fall back on some of these ancient principles of taking a long walk, of getting sunshine, of surrounding myself with people that serve me, quality, meaningful relationships, things like meditation. I mean, we can look at any textbook, any spiritual book, any kind of historical text, and we can find evidence of this hundreds thousands of years ago. So humans have evolved, but let's be honest here we're still carrying a lot of the same stress. So why not fall back on things that are ancestors, ancestors, ancestors used and praised?

0:25:40 - Speaker 2 Yeah, and I'm glad you brought that up, because I don't want people thinking all you have to do is meditate either. You still have to get outside, you still have to get some sun, you still have to be in quality relationships, you still have to walk, you still have to move, exercise, eat well, be productive, have a purpose, feel like you have a why in your life, even if it's just raising a family, tending to a garden or doing something that-.

0:26:02 - Speaker 1 Important things you have one.

0:26:03 - Speaker 2 Yeah, that uplifts wherever you are. But those things are a lot easier when you have a meditation practice. So that's why I consider meditation to be the key domino. Without that, it's a lot harder to let the stress, to not let the stress talk you out of going out for a walk. Like, you have time to go out for a walk, you have time to stop and smell the roses, you have time to make a salad versus going to get fast food, but the stress is very convincing in telling you no, no, no. We just need to get this done quickly because we have to hurry up and survive. That's what it is. That's the basic message whenever people don't have time to do the things that they know deep down are good for them is I need to survive. And so they're in a constant state of survival, even though they may have their basic needs met.

0:26:46 - Speaker 1 That's how you know stress is running your show. That's a huge call out. I think everybody needs to rewind and hear that again. How much extra stress are we putting on ourselves beyond knowing our basic needs are being met? That's a privilege thing, that's an ego thing, for sure, but I mean it's a wanting more thing as well.

One thing you said kind of reminded me of a really unique insight I'm having now with my morning meditation practice. I'm finding, by doing my meditation first thing in the morning and right now it's only it's like five, eight minutes total I am actually way more looking forward to the rest of my normal morning routine and I love my routines. I'm a habit guy. I got a lot of hacks, I got a lot of habits, a lot of things, but maybe just because of so much time has built up with them over the years, I kind of just feel like I lately have just been going through the motions Like I gotta do this, boom, boom, just gotta get it done, knock it done. Because this is what I do Now with my morning meditation practice.

Afterwards I have this new level of excitement in looking forwardness to oh wow, like I'm gonna do this thing because I'm gonna drink this drink because I'm kind of re reminding myself of what I'm doing, why I'm doing it, the benefit it's giving me and like a whole new level of appreciation, which maybe, to credit this meditation study I'm in, is very much about being heart centered through a memory, through a feeling of appreciation. So I'm definitely, I think, already carrying that with me. How many of us could probably benefit from that, instead of just going through the motions, even though we're probably doing things that are serving us, that we've carved out for our life, for our performance optimization? Do we really have clarity? Do we know why we're doing them, or are we just maybe going through the motions again? At least that's what I'm experiencing.

0:28:36 - Speaker 2 That's what's great about meditation is it turns everything else into a little mini meditation. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah and that's what makes it feel enjoyable and delightful, because so something like folding clothes can just feel like a chore if you're just rushing through it and it's kind of arbitrary. But if you meditate first and then fold clothes, then that folding of the clothes can become like a little meditation, because you have more presence.

You're breaking the presence from your practice into the other activities and that's what can make it beautiful and time starts slowing down you start noticing things that you didn't notice before, like, for instance, I was watching this documentary about the iPhone, the development of the iPhone, and they were talking about one of the people working on it wasn't taking a flight going to some meeting while he was developing, or she was developing the iPhone and on the flight she had to go to the bathroom. She's standing there, someone's in the bathroom, she's waiting, and then the person unlocks the bathroom and then she goes in and she's something occurs to her. Oh wow, that mechanism of sliding to unlock and lock. No way, that'll be great for the iPhone.

0:29:47 - Speaker 1 No way it came from an airplane bathroom.

0:29:49 - Speaker 2 It came from an airplane bathroom, and so my argument with meditation is that there are insights like that all around us. The only question is are we present enough to detect them? And when you do, it's kind of like one of those magic eye puzzles, right, it's like that design on the door behind you just a bunch of loves and different colors and those magic eye puzzles. You just stare at that and you kind of gaze at that without trying to see anything. And then all of a sudden an image appears from the background.

it's like, oh wow, look, that's an elephant or that's a tree Floating sailboat or something yeah but you never would have seen it if you just kind of Saw it as something you needed to get through, a door to get through, as opposed to, this is a really beautiful moment, right now. And I don't know if that's what she was experiencing, but you know, we've all had moments like that where we got some random insight because she didn't have the iPhone yet to like, stand there and just aimlessly scroll but what if you could cultivate that?

and what if that could become your experience all the time? And that's why I was saying I don't really have a lot of heart days, because I'm seeing Inspiration everywhere. I mean, I've been in pain, don't get me wrong. You know, because you know, for whatever reasons, but you can. You can reorient yourself a lot faster and easier with a steady meditation practice and that gives you access again to all of the richness of the present moment. And that's, I think that's one of our greatest assets that a lot of people aren't tapping into.

0:31:16 - Speaker 1 Yeah, you bring up a great point there. You know, maybe this is a great way for somebody to kind of have it stack. You know, if we don't have a level of appreciation with something that we need to do or we have to do or being asked to do, maybe by a partner or a friend, you know what, if we maybe went meditation that task, there's a way to kind of redevelop a relationship to that thing, to get something out of it. But how much better would it be, just blatantly to not have this level of stress or even Hatred. For a part of our day we had an appreciation and enjoyment with every task in every day of our life, and what a better way, what a better way to live your life.

0:31:54 - Speaker 2 Yeah, it's, it's. Look, it's a hard thing to do. You can't intellectualize your way there just sitting there, going be present, be present, be present.

0:32:00 - Speaker 1 You're not, you're the least present person, right, yeah, that's why here now is the first principle.

0:32:04 - Speaker 2 You do that and, as an extension of that, you'll start treating life as though there are no throwaway moments. Folding of the clothes, washing up the dishes, taking the dog out for a walk, cleaning out, cleaning off the driveway, you know, getting the leaves out of the gutter. You can find all kinds of connections and insights between seemingly unrelated things, when you're not actually looking for them, but you're present to whatever it is that you're doing.

0:32:26 - Speaker 1 No throw, no throwaway moments. I have a couple questions around that. Let me go to my notes here. Might have to take a little break here. Isaac, if you're editing this man taking a pause. I Think I had it wrapped up in the self-sub atrial. Where did it go, I?

0:33:16 - Speaker 2 Think you're asking like is it realistic to have no throwaway moments or something like that, right?

0:33:20 - Speaker 1 Yeah, I'm trying to. I know I had like this question around it. I'm near the beginning reading line by line here I was sitting here with we covered that. I'm following your heart.

0:33:43 - Speaker 2 Maybe it was just in my head, no, no, this is a ring of bell too, yeah.

0:33:48 - Speaker 1 I was not following your heart. Oh, here we go.

0:33:58 - Speaker 2 Yeah, what do you mean by giving the benefit of the doubt and trust?

0:34:01 - Speaker 1 the case in point. You know we look at something and we don't see what's right in front of us.

So, speaking of no throwaway moments, what do you mean by giving life the benefit of the doubt and this is a direct quote from your book, giving life the benefit of the doubt and you trust that there are no throwaway moments? I feel like that is some people might call that Delusional optimism, like everything is here, like nothing was a waste to it's too, it's too difficult for people to kind of maybe adopt that sometimes. Yeah, would you agree? And like what do you mean really by no throwaway moments?

0:34:36 - Speaker 2 So I'll share an A story and I've shared this on a few other podcasts, but I think it's it's a good story for your audience, thank you. So I used to teach yoga here in Los Angeles back in like early early 2000, and I was teaching Right down the street from my house in West Hollywood with the tight hamstrings right.

Yeah, yeah, I had tight hamstrings, but I had my commute time down timed out to like it was like a Five-minute drive, so I would leave about 15 minutes early. Okay it just in case you know. There's a little bit of traffic. This is LA, so you, this could be a traffic anywhere at any time. So Get out to my car, get in, start the commute, get up to the Fountain Avenue going towards Crescent Heights, which is like a mile, was less than a mile away right, bumper to bumper traffic. Never this much traffic the whole time I've been making this commute, of course, which was like two or three years prior, I started making this commute a few times a week. So, of course, like any good Los Angeles driver, I zigzag down to Santa Monica, both part, and I try to go west down Santa Monica. Same thing, bumper to bumper traffic. So now it looks like I'm going to be late to teach this yoga class and I hate it being late. I'm like a super big stickular. You saw me texting you.

0:36:02 - Speaker 1 I'm here, that I'm part of you know, giving you the updates very punctual, very informative, communicative and and I'm like man, I can't believe this, I'm gonna be late.

0:36:13 - Speaker 2 And this was before smartphones, it's early 2000s, so so I didn't have a way to text anybody any, any information. And and I get to Fairfax finally after like 10 minutes. And if there was an obstruction for both Fountain and fair and Santa Monica, it would have been like around Fairfax because the traffic started to clear up. And I'm looking around as I'm going through the intersection I don't see anything. I don't see any construction, I don't see any accidents, I don't see anything indicating why there was this traffic jam. So now I'm Batmaning it to the place, heart racing yeah, pissed off, because I have nothing to blame it on except traffic. And and I park in the garage and I'm racing up the stairs and then I walk very slowly because I'm the yoga teacher You're not supposed to be rushed right, you supposed to look like You're always peaceful.

And I walk into, I'm walking towards the room and I see people through the glass wall, huddled in the back of the room and in the front of the room. They have like five massive pains of glass and Like nine feet by three feet, and I see in the middle there's a missing. One of the pains is missing, and I looked down and there's like a million shards of glass on the floor. So, long story short, what happened was right at the top of the hour, when I was supposed to arrive and start the class. I Would have been sitting right in front of that middle pane of glass. It somehow Dislodged and came crashing down no way. So, as it turns out, that phantom traffic jam that I was cursing 10 minutes before was actually Saving.

Saving my ass, yeah, saving my life or just having a very bad start to my day yeah and, and after that happened I had a completely new orientation around things like that.

You know, those kinds of delays and rejection, you know those are spiritual saying, nature's rejection is nature's protection. But it just, it was just an intellectual concept for me before. But now I actually got to see it was practical. Yeah, I got to see, like, how it works in application and I was like, wow, okay, okay, because it's not like I left late, I didn't leave late, I did the best I could, I tried a different route and it was still, you know, jammed up.

But that's what I mean by trusting life, like if you're doing your best and You're still feeling like you're getting rejected and blocked, and you try a different path and you try to go up and under and around and through and it's still not happening, then trust that Life is Navigating you in a direction that is actually sparing you from something worse than whatever you think is going to happen as a consequence of you not getting accepted into this, whatever thing you're wanting to be accepted in, whether it's arriving on time, getting a certain position somewhere, being in a relationship with someone you know, etc. Etc.

0:39:24 - Speaker 1 What a perfect story for for that question. Yeah, I think that speaks volumes for itself. I think most people have been there again. Even if you didn't have the level of awareness during the event or in that day we can probably think back to oh yeah, Because of this, this didn't happen. Yeah or this didn't happen. Therefore this did, and it actually kind of worked out on my favor. Sometimes a life-changing or life-saving event like that.

0:39:52 - Speaker 2 I would say everything that's good in your life right now. As a result of a lot of all the things that bad that happened to you, they were navigating you in some way to whatever you're enjoying right now. So if that was the case in the past, what's different about now? Maybe the things that are bad now are navigating you to the thing you're going to be really enjoying five or ten years from now.

0:40:12 - Speaker 1 I think it's all about our choices. It just a very personal case in point here. I would not be here sitting with you today if it were not for the most traumatic event of my life personally. Everforward was my late father's mantra, and when he passed away about 18 years ago now 2005 from a terminal illness, it completely Shut me down for years and just it took. It took a lot of falling apart Until I decided to change my mind and face it and choose to develop a different relationship with it, because that one just wasn't cutting it, it was ruining my life in a way that I just felt would was such the biggest disservice to my father and his memory, and so actually, by choosing his mantra and making it my own to like, hopefully heal me. I mean, at the time was very painful. I mean to turn and face on a regular basis the most devastating loss in my life. It's not an easy choice, but I had to believe that on the other other side of it there was something better than this, absolutely yeah. Shout out pops.

0:41:24 - Speaker 2 Mm-hmm.

0:41:25 - Speaker 1 What do you mean by giving the benefit of the Dow? And oh no, excuse me right, it's actually we just went over that. This aspect of abundance you talk a lot about in the book. Yeah we are either creating a way to access it or Stacking limitations to it. I love that approach. I think it's quite literally one of the little quotes in one of the sections there about abundance we're either creating a way to access it or stacking limitations to it. Can you unpack that for us please?

0:41:51 - Speaker 2 Yeah, we think about abundance is something that is that we Essentially get from you know deserving it or working really hard to achieve something, and what I've that comes from the chapter you give what you want to receive, mm-hmm. So the mechanism is, if there's something, that if you want an abundance of friends, you have to be friendly, you can't not be friendly and have an abundance of right.

Yeah so it's kind of Mother Tracy says I mean, you can only have what you you've given. If you want an abundance of love, you have to be loving. And what we do is Is, in relationships and friendships we look, we wait for the other person to go first. Right, a lot of times we'll start with giving a little bit and then we'll see if they reciprocate, and then, if they reciprocate, we'll give a little bit more and we both are like rationing it out.

0:42:48 - Speaker 1 Right, yeah, and both playing the waiting game.

0:42:51 - Speaker 2 Yeah, and if the other person, for whatever reason, they don't seem like they're giving us not as much as you give, then we start withholding, thinking that that's the solution to getting them to give more, and, and that's usually that doesn't end well, that's usually the beginning of the end. When we start playing tit for tat and Waiting for people to give us the things that we think we need In order to feel whole and complete and fulfilled, then that's setting us up for just a big disappointment, because they're never gonna be able to make us feel whole, complete or fulfilled. We have to cultivate that within ourselves. So I think it's a, it's an invitation to re imagine or reframe relationships, not as the source of our fulfillment or happiness, but really as an outlet for our fulfillment and happiness. And so our job is really to Give the fulfillment to the relationship. That's our job.

And Dr Stephen Colby of seven habits books he talked about this. He said every relationship is kind of like a bank account. Hmm, right, yeah, and, and, and. You have to fund that account with listening, patients seeking to understand, you know, compassion, generosity, etc. So those are, those are your credit deposits into that account. So if your account is overdrawn, you're not gonna trust the other person. They're not gonna trust you. You can say simple things and feel like you're walking on eggshells. They take it the wrong way, etc. Those are symptoms that the bank account is overdrawn, and so, instead of waiting for them to have this spontaneous, miraculous turnaround in their mood, we want to. If you, if we've deemed that this relationship is worthy and it's not just a love relationship, it could be a relationship with your job, relationship with your children, relationship with your friends, a relationship with yourself. If you deem that it's worthy of maintaining, then the the call is to give more of what you want to receive, and that's how you create more abundance in your life.

0:44:56 - Speaker 1 Do we need to first develop a Relationship maybe for some people, but a better relationship for most with ourselves first, before we can begin to make these deposits with other people? It's easier. It's easier if you have that.

0:45:09 - Speaker 2 That's why the principles are in the order that they're in, you know. Hmm start meditating, get familiar with your heart voice, because that's gonna give you your best information about what to do, who to be in a relationship with. Mm-hmm. Because maybe if you miss that cue now you're in a relationship with a narcissist. You're giving the relation the narcissist is more and more. They're just taking, taking, taking. You're like wait a minute, it's not working for me.

0:45:31 - Speaker 1 I'm with this person, they're just draining me they're getting a little bit of empire.

0:45:35 - Speaker 2 Yeah, but you also realize, well, you didn't have strong enough boundaries. But you may not realize that until you hit a rock bottom moment, right? So that becomes a teaching experience for you and you have to go back to square one, which is Okay. I got to take my inner work more seriously. So, out of all the 15 plus years I've been teaching meditation, 90% of the people that I teach come to me because they hit a rock bottom moment, and that's one of nature's navigation devices to get you to do the important things, which is Going with them to cultivate the peace and the happiness and fulfillment, and then making your most important decisions, such as who am I going to date From that into its intuitive place, as opposed to the ego place.

Oh, she's hot, or he's rich, or you know, they, they, they'll make me look good, right, yeah, that's how a lot of people are making decisions based on external circumstances, external factors, and we're talking ourselves into these situations that are are directly negating our internal experience. Where our internal experiences is, we feel off, we feel misaligned, we feel Untrusting and imbalanced and all the things, and so we'll go and drink and take pills and do all kinds of cope, cope, cope, yeah, to cope to, so that we can keep up appearances, but ultimately we're gonna have to, we're gonna have a fallout with that and again it's gonna be instructive. So that's not a throwaway moment, it's that's your, that's a, that's a PhD level course in how to love yourself.

Truly yeah like Oscar Wilde said, you know, life gives you the, the test first and lesson after. So.

0:47:17 - Speaker 1 Ain't that the truth, man? That's, that's the damn truth.

0:47:19 - Speaker 2 There's no wasted moments are out here.

0:47:24 - Speaker 1 You talked early about leaps of faith. A leap of faith cannot be an isolated act. It must become a lifestyle. In my note on this, I wrote just in all caps this mm-hmm.

I read this and it hit home so hard, because I think it's so important For us to realize whatever we're after in life, whatever this change we we want or need, we think we need for ourselves, whatever the optimization is, whatever the habit is, it can't just be this one-off thing. Sometimes it needs to be. We need to take a leap of faith. We need to just jump all in, we need to burn the boats, we need to just make a decision, but it doesn't end there. We have to continuously make these decisions in support of this thing that we're after. We have to cultivate this lifestyle. But that's easier said than done, right? Why do people struggle with the compounding effect of these choices and our happiness and why do we stay so stuck in thinking that, oh, if I just do this one thing, then boom, I'm sad?

0:48:26 - Speaker 2 I mean, you know human, look human nature is. We seek comfort. Hmm, right, we seek safety. We seek approval and acceptance and all this leaf of leap of faith business. It disrupts that. You know it's gonna make us uncomfortable. Nobody wants to do that. It's gonna make us look weird.

0:48:46 - Speaker 1 We're not gonna get accepted.

0:48:48 - Speaker 2 And, as a result, we may lose relationships that no longer make us feel financially or emotionally safe, and so that's a real thing for people and, and I completely understand why you know, we choose Every single alternative to taking a leap of faith before we break down and finally take that leap of faith. And what I'm offering in this, in that part of the book, is that You're either choosing Directly or indirectly. You're either choosing Adventure by taking the leap of faith You'll have a very adventurous time or you're choosing drama, which is the symptom of chaos, which we say. That's the opposite of spiritual minimalism. There is no neutral path, and that's the thing, that's, that's the blind spot, or the delusion, if you will. It's that people think that if I play it safe, I'm just gonna have a neutral experience. No, you're not gonna have a neutral experience because, again, if you make yourself Go into a situation that doesn't feel aligned, then you're gonna create internal chaos and then internal chaos, eventually, if there's enough of it, it's gonna manifest itself physically, which you it's not gonna end well.

Mm-hmm right, and you're gonna have to take a lot of Things to cope with that. Whether it's medication or whether it's, you know, drugs or alcohol or pornography or something, everyone has some sort of coping mechanism. Mm-hmm. If you don't have a clean release valve for the stress which again, is a catch-all term for anything that causes you to go out of balance Then you you're gonna choose a dirty one, one that has dirty side effects, side effects that make you feel worse over the long term, mm-hmm. And or, in exchange for a short term, it's got a debt to pay with it.

0:50:40 - Speaker 1 Yeah, you have a debt with that.

0:50:41 - Speaker 2 So so you know, if you start to look at that and leap of faith Sounds scary, but I think a better way to kind of frame it is, you're just betting on yourself. That's what you're doing. You're betting.

0:50:54 - Speaker 1 I love that reframe and that sounds more attainable right for a lot of people.

0:50:57 - Speaker 2 Yeah, so like going to the gym, is a leap of faith. It's a bet on yourself. You're saying that by making this choice, I'm gonna be in a better position than sitting on the couch, mm-hmm. And by choosing to Work on your book as opposed to, you know, scrolling through Instagram at night, you're betting on yourself.

Yeah, so just look at it like that look at it like you're just betting on yourself and make that a lie. So make make every. Every choice is Is either taking you further in the direction of betting on yourself or moving you away from that. And so I talk about that in the book as well helping people get clear on their values. And the way you do that is you. You ask yourself you know, am I? When it's all said and done, and I'm having a Celebration of life ceremony or my friends are having it for me, what kind of things do I imagine people will say about me and what do that? What do I want them to say about me? And if they say, oh well, you know, sarah was a very kind person, okay, I like. I like the way that sits with me. I feel like I'm a kind person in my finest hour. I'm a kind person or problem-solver, or generous or whatever. Whatever the you, you feel like those four or five core values are. That Becomes a part of your mission statement, mm-hmm. And then you make decisions based on that becomes your editor. You make decisions based on like that. I like that.

So when you're thinking about your day, your week, your month, your year and the things that you're gonna be involving yourself with. Do they Align with those values? Do they allow you to display moments of kindness or Solution, solving problems? They allow you an opportunity to solve a problem like this job that I'm considering taken. Taking money is whatever it is. You know the money's again after your basic needs are met. Mm-hmm, you really.

It's really spiritually immature to be making decisions about money, right, you want to make decisions about that align with what you feel like you're here to do, which, again, is Informed by the values that you decide it for yourself. That you want people to say about you, that's key. That's key that's encoded in your spiritual DNA and it's different for different people. So the more and here's the theory is, the more you make choices that are aligned with those values that you've determined for yourself, the more adventurous and the more fulfilled you're going to be over the long term. The less you make decisions Align with those values, it doesn't matter how much money you make, doesn't matter what kind of car you drive, what kind of house you live in, how many vacations you take a year. You're gonna have a horrible existence. You're gonna have a horrible existence.

0:53:44 - Speaker 1 There are plenty of case studies out there plenty of case. I mean, look at what I think. It's something like 80% or vast majority of people that that win the lottery. Not only many years later, not even that many years later Are they usually right back where they were financially, or their quality of life, by their own description, has gotten worse.

0:54:07 - Speaker 2 Even people who work for it and pull themselves up by the right right yeah you're doing something to make all that money. That is out of integrity with who and what. You feel like you are at your core and you're never going to feel fulfilled as a result of that.

0:54:20 - Speaker 1 Talk to us about pain and curiosity. This was some really, in these two points, really interesting to me. When we're talking about the two motivating factors to taking a leap of faith, you describe them as being pain and curiosity. How can we take a leap of faith While being curious but prohibited by pain or fearful of the pain doing so?

0:54:40 - Speaker 2 So I mentioned that 90% of the people that I've worked with in meditation came to me because they had a rock bottom moment. The other 10% came to me because they were just curious. They were what was called seekers.

0:54:51 - Speaker 1 You know, they're people who are looking for, yeah, I heard you speak on this, yeah looking for internal answers to external solutions, external problems.

0:54:57 - Speaker 2 and and you know we've all at this point heard about meditation they want to see okay, is this meditation thing all that it's advertised to be? And so you know that when we're, when we're able to disrupt our Idolization of comfort in this society enough to Explore other ways of finding happiness and fulfillment through practices like Meditation, gratitude, even like I'll put exercise in that category, you know, put exercise, movement, volunteer work, being of service, etc.

You, you find that there's a new layer, a new dimension of fulfillment that gets unlocked and it doesn't mean that life gets easier, right, but the way you feel about your life, it changes and it becomes less about what I can get from life and it becomes more about what I can give to life and you start to realize that's the real, that's the real gift here is me giving, giving, giving the things that I've struggled with in the past, that I now see other people struggling with, and and that becomes sort of your unique Purpose and your unique, your unique path.

Because, look, we've all had things that we've struggled with before, like, for instance, I struggle with meditation for many years, or for like five years, I felt like meditation was second to being tortured, right Just sitting there in agony with my tight hamstrings, legs crossed, etc. Not feeling like anything was happening. And so when I finally Found the solution by meeting my teacher back in 2003 here in Los Angeles and learned how to Meditate in a way that felt enjoyable and delightful, I recognize almost immediately that my mission is to help other people feel like this. Well, because now I know it's possible, and I was the biggest skeptic. I was the person who, just you know, kept coming back to it, and it was a combination of like pain in the experience, but also curiosity, like there's got to be more to it than what I've been experiencing, and so I Recognize that as my calling In a very clear way, and I've been doing that through all my books. All my books are really meditation books.

Okay they're about minimalism and happiness and inspiration. But they're really meditation books at their core, because I always start with that as the core practice. But that just gets you in a Better position to not have to go through too much pain before you find your path in your purpose.

0:57:43 - Speaker 1 I was gonna ask you you might, this might be it what was the most painful leap of faith that you had, and how did you? How did you get through it? Was it the meditation practice?

0:57:53 - Speaker 2 So you you Allude it to the tight hamstrings thing earlier.

Yeah and I used to be a model in New York, which no one's feeling sorry for, you know, being a model, but at some point it run its course and I said, you know what? I wanted something a little bit more Purposeful and I really like yoga and I'm wondering what it would be like to teach yoga. So I was curious. But I Wasn't flexible at all and this is again back in the late 90s, early 2000s. So back then there weren't a lot of yoga studios everywhere, there weren't a lot of yoga classes everywhere and I felt really insecure about the fact that I was super inflexible.

0:58:38 - Speaker 1 And I wanted to be the joke, kind of a precursor to being a yoga teacher.

0:58:41 - Speaker 2 Yeah, you got to be flexible and I almost talked myself out of it and I kept having to talk myself back in it. It's like I'm gonna bed on myself and so, anyway, cut a long story short, ended up taking a yoga teacher training felt like a complete imposter in there. You know, I just knew that one day my, my secret Was gonna get exposed. And I couldn't. I wasn't flexible at all. I was like I was a dentist with two missing front teeth, afraid to smile. You know, working on people. So I just felt awkward, man, and I felt like that the whole. You know, first few years of teaching meditation or teaching yoga.

And then Something that shifted for me was one day I was out for a hike with a buddy of mine and he called me out. He said something. You know he was kind of making a joke, but there was some truth in it. He said how does it feel to be one of the most popular yoga teachers in LA who can barely touch his own toes? And I remember hearing that we were walking and it got really quiet and I was looking for the perfect spiritual answer. Nothing was coming. And then, finally, he answers his own question. He says you know, a wise man told me you don't have to beat Michael Jordan in the game of basketball in order to coach into a championship Damn. And it was just a really beautiful, elegant reframe to the whole thing and it all just kind of made sense. But what ended up happening was I became that popular teacher because I couldn't touch my toes. You were so relatable.

I was relatable, I could articulate the poses very well and people appreciated the fact that I was, you know, just a regular person and not some contortion Right.

So I didn't. I never it never occurred to me that that would be the case, but I would argue that that's the case for anyone out there listening to this who's struggling because of whatever affliction they think is going to stop them from following their dream or their heart or whatever, whatever they've been envisioning for themselves, and there's something in that that will help you not only do the thing that you want to do in a more adventurous way, but also provide you with a unique advantage when you do finally get to that place, and no one else will be able to emulate that, because you will be the first and because you know you're in the situation that you're in right now.

1:01:18 - Speaker 1 That's kind of the most fundamental thing. I think we throw out the window anytime we're trying something new or taking a leap of faith, as you say. We think the thing that we're leaping into this new job, this new role, this new identity, this new version of ourself that we, by choosing it, we're automatically going to be it there are a bajillion freaking steps in between the idea of what you want to do with your life and who you want to be, to being it and having it be this, this new lifestyle. I think it would be more worthwhile. I would encourage a listener to like keep that in mind for sure. But go, okay, let me. Let me reel it in a little bit. Let me go from where I am now to. I aspire to be the beginner. I aspire to be the person on step one of step 100. I think there's so much more relatability, so much more probability that we're going to stick with it, which turns into adherence, which is going to turn into you being that 100 step person at the end.

1:02:15 - Speaker 2 Yeah, I agree.

1:02:17 - Speaker 1 We just skip so many steps, man.

1:02:19 - Speaker 2 Well, we think it's. We think that the place that we ultimately want to go is like a 10 step process, and actually it's a thousand step process, maybe even a 5000 step process and your own step three.

1:02:29 - Speaker 1 So you know, relax, take it easy.

1:02:33 - Speaker 2 Yeah, settle in. You're going to be here for a while.

1:02:35 - Speaker 1 You're going to be here. You got the rest of your life yeah, if that's a year or 100 years, you know you got the rest of your life to work on this stuff. We kind of already touched on boundaries, so I don't think I want to go down that rabbit hole again, but I would like to. Maybe let's visit a couple, I think, recent examples of you sharing spiritual minimalism with the world.

1:02:56 - Speaker 2 And.

1:02:56 - Speaker 1 I found some really great quotes from your Instagram that I like to share and if you could just maybe just unpack them a little bit, give us a little bit of the reasoning behind these these words you don't ever have to leave anyone behind. Just keep being true to yourself, and whoever isn't aligned will leave themselves behind.

1:03:13 - Speaker 2 Yeah.

1:03:13 - Speaker 1 I bring this up because I think a lot of people struggle, myself included in the past. We struggle with, but what about my friends? What about my family? What about my relationships? You might even be in maybe a marriage or a significant partnership right now and you're worried. If I pursue my happiness and I get closer to the life that I want to live, I'm going to leave these people behind. That's a big pain point for a lot of people.

1:03:38 - Speaker 2 Yeah, and you know, I think that's one of the reasons why we don't take that leap of faith is because we suffer from more FOPO than we're willing to admit fear of other people's opinions.

1:03:51 - Speaker 1 I know FOMO FOPO. That's new on me. I like that.

1:03:53 - Speaker 2 Fear of other people's opinions, and you know, that's what really, why we can shame ourselves when it comes to following our curiosity, because it doesn't make sense to. It was not going to make sense to people. I'll give you a great example. Again, it's a story I've shared before, but it's a good story for this example. So, back when I was teaching meditation in New York City this was probably in 2010 or something like that Right, I was in New York City teaching meditation, finished my one of my classes late at night. I'm walking to my Airbnb, I'm passing through Union Square and this is massive Barnes Noble bookstore on the north end of Union Square. And as I'm walking through the square, something tells me to go into Barnes Noble, get a Rubik's Cube and learn how to solve it. And it's completely random. Like literally five minutes before that, I'm thinking how can I get more people into my meditation training?

1:04:56 - Speaker 1 Rubik's Cube yeah.

1:04:58 - Speaker 2 Getting this call to go get a Rubik's Cube. So I ended up going to Barnes Noble because I used to go to that Barnes Noble a lot when I lived in New York and I knew where the toy section was and I got the last Rubik's Cube and I come back to my Airbnb and now it's like 10.30 at night. I'm online trying to figure out how to solve Rubik's Cube. I never knew how you actually solve it.

I thought you had to be a genius to solve a Rubik's Cube, but turns out it's just a sequence of turns, just an algorithm. So no matter what shape the cube is in, if you start following the sequence of turns, maybe after a hundred of them it'll eventually solve itself. So I'm starting to practice this turn by turn, and my friend calls me and this is a buddy of mine who I talk to about business stuff quite often and he goes what are you doing? I say, oh, I'm learning how to solve a Rubik's Cube. He goes what are you doing? Why are you wasting your time? You're a grown man. You shouldn't be playing Rubik's Cube. You need to get more people in the meditation training.

1:05:57 - Speaker 1 Right, yeah.

1:05:58 - Speaker 2 You know, on the surface it all makes very pragmatic sense. Okay, but I kept working on the solution to the Rubik's Cube. Finally, after about a day or two, I had solved my first Rubik's Cube. So then I'd start practicing it more and more. It's not that impressive.

1:06:17 - Speaker 1 That's my point. I think I've ever solved one. It's just memorizing these turns.

1:06:20 - Speaker 2 It's like a certain package of turns and then you just keep repeating it over and over and over and then it becomes muscle memory, and then that's how these guys solve a Rubik's Cube in like five seconds.

1:06:31 - Speaker 1 They just they're all doing the same turns. They know the turns. Yeah, it's not impressive at all.

1:06:36 - Speaker 2 That's the. But if you're on the New York subway and you're doing this, people are losing their minds. They're like, oh my God, this guy is a freaking genius. He's like Einstein, it's the best party trick ever. So I was addicted to solving. I carried a cube around with me everywhere I went and then something occurred to me. I was like, oh my God, the way the cube solves itself, which is in rows, starting with the bottom, then the middle, then the top row, is very similar to the way meditation works. How so? Because there's a foundation of rest that gets restored, which is like the bottom row of the cube, and then the digestive system comes back online, and then the reproduction system, and then all the sides represent all the other systems. Wow. And then the domino effect.

1:07:21 - Speaker 1 If one, then the other.

1:07:22 - Speaker 2 Yeah, yeah. If the rest doesn't get restored, none of the others are going to come back into balance. So I was like fascinated by this connection, so much so that when I got back home to Los Angeles, where I was living, I decided to take my point and shoot camera and create a video talking about this. I was going to solve the cube on the video and in the I was going to speak, do a voiceover, talking about the relationship between this and meditation. Brilliant. But I lived right in the flight line to the Santa Monica airport, so I kept trying to do it within two minutes before the next plane, and it just wasn't working. So I decided to do voice do captions instead. And this is again. This is early 2000s, so captions weren't. There was no caption app. There were no apps.

1:08:08 - Speaker 1 Yeah, good luck with that man. Good luck with that. I'm glad to figure that out.

1:08:11 - Speaker 2 And the whole thing took me a couple of days, but I finally got the video done, uploaded it to this new platform called YouTube. It goes viral. The video goes viral in the meditation community. Everybody's talking about it, everybody's sharing it around and guess what happens? More people come to learn how to meditate. Oh shit, that's brilliant.

1:08:33 - Speaker 1 That's. That's thinking outside of the box using a box. That's so wild.

1:08:37 - Speaker 2 But what's interesting about this story is we've all had like little impulses and you know, go and do this, go and do that, but again society pushes back. Oh, you don't, you shouldn't be doing, you're too old to be. Oh, you should be thinking about this business problem or that thing. You should be working on it. Don't play video, you know. And it's like the universe is trying to give us more imaginative ways, more adventurous ways to get to the place that we ultimately wanted to get all along. But because we're talking ourselves out of it as a result of being afraid of what other people are going to think about it, we're robbing ourselves of having those more elegant solutions and more adventurous pathways to in our life.

And the other thing is that at no point was it easy. Learning how to solve a cube wasn't easy. Facing the backlash, my friend wasn't easy. Learning how to shoot videos and do captions on iMovie wasn't easy. You know, trying to negotiate with the planes wasn't None of it was easy, right, and that's the other thing. When you follow your curiosity, it's not going to take you down easy lane. It's still going to be challenging. But I was excited about it. I was excited about the challenge, and so we can either be in a job where we're excited about someone else's mission right or we can do that whatever we have to do to make sure we pay the bills and incorporate some things that excite us, that are also challenging, and my argument is that if you do that more often than not that's what why making it a lifestyle is important You'll find yourself in positions in places to do more of that. Life is never going to get easy.

That is so true, but you're going to find you're excited to get up in the morning. So true, you know. Like Issa Rae, the creator of the show in Secure, said that before she created her own show, she didn't like getting up in the morning. Once she started to live more of her purpose, she loved being, you know, getting up in the morning. She didn't need to take alcohol and drugs and stuff to have a good time, because being on her purpose was her good time, and I think we all have access to that. But we're either putting limitations to it because we don't want to follow what we're feeling inside, because we're afraid of what other people are going to think.

1:10:50 - Speaker 1 We're letting other people live our life instead of us living our life. Not anymore, not after this episode, that's for damn sure. All right, I got another one for you, sure.

1:11:04 - Speaker 2 You had some hard questions on there too.

1:11:06 - Speaker 1 I want you to ask the hard questions about the delusions and yeah. Okay, let's go, let's go there.

1:11:14 - Speaker 2 I like your question.

1:11:15 - Speaker 1 Let's backtrack here. A second here, Isaac. I got another card for you, my man.

1:11:21 - Speaker 2 Isaac is a professional. He's like man. This ain't nothing.

1:11:25 - Speaker 1 I love talking to my editor. In like the future, the whole space travel, I'm talking. I'm talking to Isaac's, my editor.

1:11:33 - Speaker 2 I'm speaking into my head.

1:11:34 - Speaker 1 Okay, joel is my live guy. Which one? It's a delusion.

1:11:41 - Speaker 2 Delusion yeah, you had something near the bottom about. Isn't this a delusional?

1:11:49 - Speaker 1 The delusional optimism.

1:11:51 - Speaker 2 Yeah, delusional, we kind of touch on that.

1:11:53 - Speaker 1 There's another part you want to unpack about it, giving the benefit of the doubt and you trust that there are no throwaway moments. To feel like that is delusional optimism for most people. Okay, let me reframe that a little bit. So, no doubt, personally I've gotten so much away from this conversation in your book but for some reason, maybe holding on to like old, limiting belief or fear of stepping out into the unknown a little bit, a little part of me. But I think a lot of people listening still might think that this is just a delusional way to live your life. There's no way that this is real. There's no way that this is maintainable. There's no way that this is actually giving you all these things that we're talking about. There's no way that this is going to put me on my path to living my purpose. What do you say to people like that? What do you say to this aspect of delusional I?

1:12:41 - Speaker 2 100% agree. I agree that there's no way to know for 100% fact that what I'm saying is it has any. You know legitimacy in the grand scheme of things. You know the whole thing about everything is happening for you and not to you, and we're all connected. And who knows? Who knows, if there's karma, if there's reincarnation, any of these things? You have a purpose. Who knows if you actually have a life purpose? Maybe we're just here to procreate like ants and and die. We don't know. We don't know, but we can't say for certain that that's not the case either.

So what I like to do is, and what I encourage the listeners to do, is, to adopt the belief system that empowers you the most, to be the most authentic version of you. Since nobody can say definitively one way or the other which is correct. Adopt the thing that empowers you the most, and this, for me, this is what empowers me the most, this is what allows light Watkins to be the best version of light. Watkins, at any given time, is thinking and behaving as though life is happening for me and not to me, because, look, you may think that there are some people who who are religious and some people aren't, but that's not true. We're all religious. We're all religious about. We all have our own religion. Atheists that's a religion. People who believe in ghosts that's a religion. People who believe in spirits that's a religion. You know, we're all believing something, but the question is is your belief system empowering you or is it disempowering you?

1:14:27 - Speaker 1 Yeah.

1:14:28 - Speaker 2 And if it's not empowering you, you're probably going to end up making choices that don't align with your direct experience, but if it does empower you, you're going to look for choices that do align with your direct experience and take action on those, and, again, I would offer that, if you take more actions that align with your direct experience, based on whatever belief system empowers you, you're going to end up creating for yourself a more adventurous life, as opposed to a chaotic life. So it's going to be scary one way or the other. You get to choose, though. Do you want the scary adventure or do you want the scary drama? I choose the adventure.

1:15:06 - Speaker 1 What do you think right now is the number one thing keeping people from living this empowered life of putting them on their path to their fulfillment, their purpose, this life of adventure as you talk about?

1:15:17 - Speaker 2 I think we're obsessed with comfort and material success and that's what we've been indoctrinated to believe is the answer. As soon as I can make enough money to get into the fancy neighborhood to make myself controlled and comfortable, then I'm going to be happy and fulfilled.

1:15:32 - Speaker 1 I'll be happy when. I'll be happy when.

1:15:33 - Speaker 2 I'll be happy when the achievement approach to happiness and if we're courageous enough to be able to make different choices within that. Because it's hard to you, can't? We're all in it. Right, I'm in it, you're in it to a degree, we're all in it. But you don't have to make all of your choices based on that. Obviously, you have to have a roof over your head. Obviously, you have to have clothes. Obviously, you have to be able to pay for flights, if you need to travel and whatnot. But you don't have to make all of your decisions based on that.

And I talk about following your heart in principle two and making the most important decisions. I don't say make all your decisions from your heart, because that would be gullible, but your most important decisions, such as who you're going to be in a relationship with, where you're going to work or how you're going to work, because this is not a call to quit your job or your partner or your life or anything like that. But maybe you can relate to it a little differently, in a way that lights you up a little bit more. I love that little shift right there.

1:16:38 - Speaker 1 It's sorry to cut you off, but I think that's so important for the listener because I think a lot of times people think that's what we have to do, yeah, all or none Right no.

I have to completely be all in or all out. Maybe in some situations there needs to be a judgment call for that. But you can change how you are in that job. You can change how you are in that relationship and insert any place or person here. It doesn't have to be changing the world, it just has to start with changing your world.

1:17:07 - Speaker 2 Yeah, I have a story for that if you have time, please, please. So do you ever live in New York?

1:17:12 - Speaker 1 No, I visit a lot.

1:17:13 - Speaker 2 Okay. So back in the day in New York City they had a few Whole Foods opening up. Every year or so there was a new whole.

This was back when Whole Foods was like everything and it was just brand new and they just started opening up outside of Texas and there was this Whole Foods that opened up in Chelsea on 7th and like 24th Street and there were throngs of people coming out to this Whole Foods and I was one of them and so to get out of that place to check out, there were like six lanes, seven lanes, and in each lane there were like 20 people waiting to get checked out, I believe it.

They were like 20 or 30 cash registers, cashiers, and there was this sort of number system that showed your lane, and then there was a guy that they had hired to call out your lane number and the cash register number, right. And so this guy was his tall, stately African-American gentleman. He looked like he was probably I was in my 20s at the time, so he looked like he was definitely older than me. He was like probably in his mid 30s, maybe late 30s, and he had this really beautiful. He had a voice like yours. He was like a announcer's voice.

You know, really beautiful and you were surprised he wasn't working at some radio station somewhere, but he's standing there calling out and he just had this presence, that it perfectly suited the job that he was performing at Whole Foods because he didn't ever have to get anybody's attention. You were already paying attention to him because of his presence and I just remember being fascinated by seeing this guy whenever I went to the Whole Foods, which is often, and I didn't mind, waiting in the line. Now maybe somebody recognized that inside of him. Maybe he decided I'm gonna show up this way at this job. But here's what I do know now as an adult he probably wasn't making a lot of money Working at Whole Foods in the 90s Calling out some numbers, calling out numbers in the front of the store, and back then minimum wage was probably what?

1:19:23 - Speaker 1 12, $10 if that, yeah, maybe 10, yeah.

1:19:26 - Speaker 2 So maybe, let's say generously, he was making $15, $16 an hour calling out those numbers. It's not a lot of money for New York City, but he was showing up to it in a way that it seemed like he was just the maestro of Whole Foods and it was consistent. So anyways, three months, four months later, I remember being in the apartment I was staying in in New York and I somehow got my hands on the New York Times and I looked at the front cover, above the fold, there's an illustration of this dude. And I look at the article. It's a profile. So apparently some New York Times editor high up was in that line and was also fascinated by this guy and the way he sounded and his presence, so much so that she profiled him. Damn, it was a whole article. Man Like you have to go to this other page to continue the article.

I remember perusing the article. I don't know anything about the guy, but I can imagine what kind of opportunities he would have had after being profiled on the front page above the fold. New York Times, sunday Times, damn. And I think it's a great example of, again, if you're listening to this, you may not have a world-class job. You may not have a world-class salary, but if you show up in a world-class way, somebody is going to notice and that's really the invitation. Just, whatever you're doing, relate to it in a way that lights you up. It's like that social media meme of the guy navigating the airplanes on the tarmac and he's like dancing.

1:21:10 - Speaker 1 Remember that. Yeah, he getting it, yeah, and everyone's like joy is watching this guy.

1:21:15 - Speaker 2 He didn't have to do that and who knows what happened with him. But there are ways to do something that can turn an otherwise mediocre job or relationship or connection, or connection with your kids or whatever, into this forgettable moments where everybody kind of goes within themselves. And then there are ways to do it that would light you up and then, as a consequence, would bring something a little bit extra for everybody else, and that's if you take anything away from this conversation. Find a way to do that.

Don't think in terms of black and white binary, off and on I'm in it or not, I'm not in it. Just start with little hops of faith, betting on yourself in small ways. Let me just do a little bit more of what I want to bring to this and just show up more fully in that role and as business owners. If you have someone working with you and they're bringing more of themselves to something and the client notices and the mood in the author's environment is lighter, we love it, everyone loves that. So you never know what's gonna happen as a result of that.

1:22:37 - Speaker 1 For me, the word in that story that comes to mind is unforgettable. But for all parties involved, how much better of a life are we going to live? How much better of a life are we going to reflect back on when we create more unforgettable days for ourselves, how we show up in the world, how we show up for our coworkers, our customers in this story and we give them an unforgettable experience? Yeah, go above and beyond. I love. I talk about this all the time. I love. One of my favorite things about humans that literally, I think has one of the most profound impacts on my daily life is when I go through my daily life and I interact with people who could just be going through the motions in their job.

Yeah mailing it in. They're just, they're technically doing what they need to do, but when I interact with somebody at a gas station, at a coffee house, at a restaurant, anywhere that I go where there's a transaction going on, and they just, they do it with a smile, they say a joke, they just go above and beyond in any capacity. Man, I think that. I think that's the secret sauce to save humanity. I think that's an outlet for creativity, inspiration, because I walk away changed, I walk away empowered, I walk away just hopeful and with a smile on my face. If nothing else, going on to the next thing in my day. With a smile on my face and in a better mood than when I started, how much better is the rest of my day gonna be? We all can do that.

1:24:12 - Speaker 2 We all can do that. Yeah, and a good prompt if you're like in line somewhere or you're having one of those transactions. It's just instead of asking how are you, which is kind of like a throw away throw away service level question. People can find, find, you know. Boy it's hot out huh. What's the highlight of your day today? What's the highlight of your day today?

1:24:31 - Speaker 1 Meaningful small talk.

1:24:32 - Speaker 2 Yeah, just something like that. And then that has started so many amazing interesting conversations between me and people who otherwise I would have not remembered at all the moments I wouldn't have remembered. And yeah, you just never know where those things are gonna lead.

1:24:48 - Speaker 1 Well like this has been amazing, man. Your book, your work has left an impact on me and it couldn't have come at a better time now, with my decision to kind of be leaning more into meditation. So I just wanna honor your work, say thank you again for what you do for this book, travel Light, which we'll have linked for everybody down the show notes. My final question to ask everybody I shared with you earlier kind of the story behind Ever Forward.

I'm always curious, you know I see it in every guest that comes on. That's my through line really is I see you living a life Ever Forward. I see you turning obstacles into your, into the way, adversity into an advantage. But more so than that, you are taking these lessons and what you could have just gone on the rest of your life with and made your own life, but you're actually sharing it with the world. That's kind of like the second precursor for the people that bring on the show. But I'm curious when you hear those two words, man, what does that mean to you? Living a life Ever Forward? How would you define that?

1:25:48 - Speaker 2 You know, it reminds me of what Denzel Washington said. He said you never wanna fall back. If you're gonna fall, fall forward.

1:25:55 - Speaker 1 Oh, I was thinking, king Kong ain't got shit on me? I bet too.

1:25:59 - Speaker 2 But it's just another way of saying bet on yourself, you know, just bet on yourself. Take that leap of faith, take the hop of faith. My teacher would say the safest place you can go is in the direction of the unknown and the unsafest place, the most dangerous place, is to play it safe. So that resonates, and that resonates for a reason. And whatever you're at the precipice of deciding for yourself, bet on yourself, take the path, less travel, and I think things are gonna work out beautifully for you.

1:26:32 - Speaker 1 Destination unknown baby that's. I love it. It's terrifying, but it is the most rewarding. It's the most rewarding Light. Where can people go to learn more about you, your work, your book? Of course, we'll have everything linked, like I said.

1:26:45 - Speaker 2 My hub is like my website, lightwatkins.com, and then on the socials at Light Watkins Amazing yeah. Well thank you, man. Thank you, that was awesome. It's great questions. I really enjoyed it.

1:26:54 - Speaker 1 My pleasure, thank you.