Practicing Spiritual Minimalism to Live a More Fulfilled Life with Light Watkins [Episode #803]
This week’s topic is: Practicing Spiritual Minimalism to Live a More Fulfilled Life with Light Watkins
I am so excited to have my very special guest, Light Watkins, who is a bestselling author, an accomplished meditation teacher, host of The Light Watkins Show, and an inspirational keynote speaker and workshop leader. Listen in as Light shares how the heart directs you, minimalism and making room for the messages, tips for building a meditation practice, and so much more!
Minimalism, inner spiritual emotional space, and making room for the messages…
The heart and how it directs you…
Tips for building a meditation practice…
Blame and forgiveness and letting go of the heaviness…
The essence of spiritual minimalism…
Getting to your ultimate vision…
About Light Watkins
Light Watkins is a long-time meditation teacher and thought leader who has spoken and consulted at Fortune 500 companies around the world on the topics of wellness, purpose, and enlightened leadership. He is the author of three best-sellers: The Inner Gym, Bliss More, and Knowing Where to Look, as well as the soon-to-be-released Travel Light: Spiritual Minimalism to Live a More Fulfilled Lifeight has written a daily dose of inspiration email to his tens of thousands of subscribers. He is the host of The Light Watkins Show, which is a podcast that features the backstory of luminaries who’ve created platforms for social good. And in his online community, The Happiness Insiders, Light has created masterclasses and challenges to help spiritual practitioners around the globe embody the principles of “inner” work. Light is a “one-bagger” who has been living nomadically since 2018.
I LOVE HEARING FROM YOU!
There are lots of ways to share your responses or questions about the podcast:
You may be really intrigued by podcasts, but you may just know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, I promise! To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s way better to subscribe so you never miss an episode!
Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the “Feel Good Podcast with Kimberly Snyder”? My passion is to inspire and empower you to be your most authentic and beautiful self. We offer interviews with top experts, my personal philosophies and experiences, as well as answers to community-based questions around topics such as health, beauty, nutrition, yoga, spirituality and personal growth.
The intention of the Feel Good Podcast is to well…help you really Feel Good in your body, mind and spirit! Feeling Good means feeling peaceful, energized, whole, uniquely beautiful, confident and joyful, right in the midst of your perfectly imperfect life. This podcast is as informative and full of practical tips and take-aways as it is inspirational. I am here to support you in being your very best! I have so much love and gratitude for you. Thank you for tuning in and being part of the community :).
LEAVE A REVIEW ON ITUNES
Listeners really respect the views of other listeners, so your response helps people find good material they are interested in! If you enjoyed the podcast, please tell your friends and give us arating or review. Many thanks in advance.
Hiya: We’ve worked out a special deal for our listeners with Hiya on their best-selling children’s vitamins where you will receive 50% off your first order. To claim this deal you must go to hiyahealth.com/FEELGOOD. This deal is not available on their regular website. Go to H-I-Y-A-H-E-A-L-T-H dot com slash FEELGOOD and get your kids the full-body nourishment they need to grow into healthy adults.
Note: The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate. This is due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
00:01 Namaste loves and welcome back to our Monday interview show. I am very excited to share a special conversation that I had with Light Walkins, who is a bestselling author, an accomplished meditation teacher, host of the Light Walkins Show, and an inspirational keynote speaker. He has a new book out called Travel Light, spiritual Minimalism to Live a More Fulfilled Life. So Light is also a personal friend of mine. I’ve met him and I’ve attended some of his, um, shine events, which is, you know, these large community events that he would put on with speaking and, you know, just, um, with the focus of community coming together. So I’m really excited about his new book, which is accessible, and, um, just a delight to read, which we’ll get into in just a moment.
Fan of the Week
01:08 Before we get into our show though, I wanted to give a shout out to our fan of the week, and her name is Ashley, 1998, and she writes, love, love, love. I’m a new listener and new on my wellness journey. I’ve been trying to get started for months, and I finally stumbled onto this podcast. I love listening to the podcast while I walk. It’s so inspiring and Kimberly makes me feel excited to start this journey. Ashleigh1998. I am so excited that we found each other. I am honored to be part of your wellness journey and I look forward to connecting with you more. So thank you so much, my love for your kind words and sending you a huge virtual hug wherever you happen to be in the world, and for your chance, my love to be shouted out as the fan of the week, for me to read your beautiful personal words.
Please leave a review on iTunes and Subscribe
02:09 Please take a moment or two out of your day to leave me a review on Apple, Spotify, wherever you happen to listen to our show. It’s an amazing way to support, and I thank you so much in advance. Please also be sure to subscribe to our show so you stay in the flow of these conversations and our q and a podcasts on Thursdays. It’s just really important to create these practices and set up these systems so that we stay in the flow. We don’t always have to make a million different daily decisions, and that’s what podcast subscription really provides. Please also share the show with anyone that you think would benefit as an act of love and abundance and just being plugged into this
02:59 Matrix, this field of which we are all connected. A guiding principle on my journey has been that if something has supported me, if something has benefited me, I want to pass it on as much as possible. And it has really helped me to build my own community and also to build abundance. And so I encourage you to do the same. Speaking of community, I encourage you to take advantage of all the different offerings on our website, mysolluna.com. And one very important one is to get on our newsletter. So I share a monthly newsletter with highlights and fun pictures and tips, and we also send out recipes that I create over the month, as well as different articles. My, um, the, the blogging that I’m doing every month now, which is known as the Kim’s Corner article, which is very personal, and how I really started this whole community, um, was from my blogging, so I’ve gone back to that.
04:02 And also, we have a live community Zoom every second Wednesday of the month at 9:30 AM Pacific Standard Time, which is available to anyone and all that subscribe to any of our sauna products. So it’s our inner Sauna Circle, and if you subscribe, you’ll automatically get an email the week prior to sign up. It’s been really amazing to connect face to face with our community members, and of course, the playback is available, so I encourage you to check that out over on our website. All right, let’s get into our show today with the wonderful light walk-ins.
Interview with Light Watkins
Kimberly: 01:38 Congratulations on your new book and it, thank you. Feels really, really great in my hand. And I wanna say that, you know, travel light is actually like, it feels that it embodies that because it, it’s a light book and it’s actually accessible. We’re all really busy today as we know, light. And I get sent these really thick books sometimes that are so dense and the typeface is so small, and I think, how do you guys think I’m gonna read all this, you know, all the time. But this is really distilled down to a lot of core messages. So I really enjoyed the flow as you took us through different principles. And it feels like it was an enjoyable book to write. It was very, um, you know, reflective where you are in your life. You’ve been nomadic that you are really living what you teach in the book.
Light: 02:31 Yeah. Yeah. I mean it’s, you know, I, I don’t know what your experience is like, but it feels like all the books I’ve written are, you know, in the, when you’re in the process of it, I’ve described it before, is it’s like, it’s like cutting the grass at Central Park <laugh> with the, with the push lawnmower, and you’re the only one that can do it, <laugh>. And all people can do is say, Hey, you missed that spot over there. Or Hey, don’t forget this hidden area over here, <laugh>. Yeah. And, you know, you just, it just feels a little bit overwhelming, but the thing that’s changed is, I know I’m gonna get to the end of it versus my first book where I was just like, am I gonna even finish this thing? So yeah.
Kimberly: 03:09 So this, this concept of traveling light and then the, um, the subtitle, spiritual Minimalism to Live a More Fulfilled Life. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we hear about minimalism, you know, a bit now in culture, it’s a bit of a bit buzzword and people are talking about selling things and decluttering their space. And you’re talking about it a lot from the inner spiritual emotional space and making room for the messages. Um, I love this quote that you have up here in the beginning where you say, you know, the grass will always look greener on the other side until it becomes green on the inside. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I thought that was really profound to talk about. And I also wanted to ask upfront, there does seem to be somewhat of a connection between letting go of stuff. You talk about what’s in your backpack through the book, and just, you know, your capsule wardrobe, letting go of stuff doesn’t have to be part of the process, but in my life and certainly your life, it seems that, you know, not being so reliant on stuff can help the process of feeling lighter and just more spacious spiritually as well.
Minimalism and inner spiritual emotional space, and making room for the messages
04:16 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.
Light: 04:18 Yeah, I, um, I’m a big root cause person. I’ve been that my whole career with meditation and working with these foundational spiritual practices. And the question that I don’t think a lot of people ask themselves when they’re thinking about, oh, maybe I’ll start doing this minimalism thing, or maybe I’ll, you know, sell everything off. The question is, why did I think I needed all that stuff in the first place? Like, how did I even get to the point where I accumulated it? And if you, if you, if you go upstream far enough, you’ll start to see, oh, there’s some sort of emotional thing that is unresolved, or there’s some, you know, pain that, that I haven’t really looked at or unpacked yet. And maybe it’s a fear of, you know, abandonment or, uh, not having, not, you know, you grew up and you didn’t ever have enough, so you felt like you needed to get more than enough once you became an adult.
05:12 And so these kinds of emotional slash psychological slash spiritual reasons need to be sort of worked out. And it’s not that, you know, if you sit down and meditate, your life is gonna be golden after a few months. That’s not how it works. But it’s, it’s really medi. What the thing I like about meditation as a foundational practice, which I talk about in the book, you know, starting your spiritual minimalism journey with meditation, meditation is a lot like, it’s like, you know, wander woman, when you would hook somebody with that lasso, it’s, and, and her magic, her superpower was they would start telling her the truth. <laugh> meditation’s like a truth serum. You can’t lie to yourself when you’re under the influence of meditation. You have to like, start to really be honest with yourself. And when you do that, then you can start making different choices.
06:06 Yes. And so, again, it’s not that the meditation is going to work out your past trauma, but, but you may realize, okay, I’ve got blind spots, I’ve got magical thinking. I’ve got belief systems that aren’t really matching up with my direct experience. Maybe I need to go see someone. Maybe, maybe I need to go see a therapist or go to a healer or, you know, change my diet or do something. Cuz whatever I’ve been doing led me to where I am right now and I need to make different choices. So that’s what meditation is really good at. And I, I refer to it in the, in the book as tapping into your heart voice or your voice of inner guidance to kind of give you the next step along your path.
Kimberly: 06:48 Beautiful. And I’m, I’m really glad you you brought up that language about tuning into the heart. As you know, I’m a, um, crea yogi. I practice Yogananda’s teachings, and he talks a lot about the heart as this, um, you know, the central point of consciousness through which we can access the true self, you know, however we wanna think of it, the soul, the voice of the intuition. And as you point out in your book, there’s a lot of confusion around what that can be like and what that can sound like. And I think in our culture, sometimes we think we’re following our heart, but it’s really infatuation or attachment or over emotional, which all come from the ego. They’re not really from the heart. There’s this depth, this calmness that is really, when we’re coming from this center and you give some points, um, from your perspective about what it sounds like or what it is like when it’s really the heart, not the ego speaking to us. Can you, um, share a little bit more about that?
The heart and how it directs you
Light: 07:49 Yeah. Another thing that we oftentimes assign or credit the heart with is doing things that we just kind of want to do for short term satisfaction, such as eating a bunch of ice cream or eating a bunch of donuts or something. We blame the heart.
Kimberly: 08:02 There’s
Light: 08:02 Nothing, yeah, there’s nothing. I’m just following my heart. I’m listening to my body, just listening to my body. I’m self, it’s self-care. <laugh> eating all these donuts is self-care. And look, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with donuts and ice cream and all kinds of stuff like that, but let’s not confuse it for I was following my, my heart. Because when you do that, you end up, um, muddling that connection to your heart. So first of all, the heart, the heart is really more, um, interested in, in long term satisfaction with, with kind of directing you towards, again, whatever your path, whatever your purpose is for this season of your life. And usually that requires you to be stretched in some way to, to, to stretch into your potential, which means you’re gonna have to leave your comfort zone and move the direction of your growth zone.
08:57 That’s what the heart is all about. So oftentimes the heart is gonna have you doing things that don’t make a whole lot of logical sense, such as, um, you know, maybe it’s time to leave your job <laugh> and, and, and take a part-time job that on paper may even look like you’re not doing that well in life. You know? Yeah. You started this, you started working in a banking in the banking industry, now you’re working, uh, part-time as a teacher in a school or something like that. And, and then, you know, we get in our head around that and start thinking, well, it’s not gonna look good. Um, how am I gonna pay my bills? Da da da. The heart isn’t, isn’t concern with satisfying your ego needs. Right? It doesn’t mean that you’re gonna be starving or anything like that. It just means that’s the next step.
09:47 The next step could be, um, you know, resigning from this thing that’s sucking your soul, right? So the heart already knows it’s already done. The, the assessment, this thing is, it was relevant for a period of time. So, so that you understand how that works. But now when you start getting that internal friction and tension and you get those nudgings to, to move away from that and towards something that’s a little bit more in alignment, that’s where we want to really pay attention and really listen. Yes. Because if we ignore those, if we ignore those internal cues, usually what happens is things just get worse and worse and worse. And then eventually it may even manifest physically or you start having a cough that you can’t explain or, you know, autoimmune stuff. And again, it’s, it’s like, it’s not black or white. It’s not that it’s only this or that, it’s that it’s all sort of combined.
10:37 But one thing that we can do that we oftentimes don’t think to do, if we’re experiencing internal friction, emotional friction, spiritual friction, is just to allow ourselves to move out of that comfort zone a little bit more. And just trust, trust that that internal urge that if we move in this direction, we do the thing that feels more aligned, it’s gonna work out, it’s gonna work out for our highest good and als. And also this is important for the highest good of the people who depend on us. Mm-hmm. Cause that’s one of the reasons we’ll use as an excuse not to do it, is, oh, I have kids, or, oh, I have to take care of my mom. Or, oh, I have to, you know, pay this or that. And again, the heart already knows all of that. Your resources are right there just beyond your comfort zone. As soon as you step outta that comfort zone, you’re gonna experience a really great adventure on your path. And then things that you never imagined were possible will start to happen as a result of you moving forward, instead of continuing to double down on these fallback plans that we tend to have. And that’s a big deal. You know, it’s not easy. It’s not for the faint at heart. That’s why you really have to cultivate that heart voice and then trust it.
Tips for building a meditation practice
Kimberly: 11:49 Exactly. Th thank you for saying that. Like, because it’s very powerful when we go this path, but sometimes it feels subtle, it can be confusing. So it takes silence and stillness and going inside. And I like the story where you talk about, you know, at one of your workshops you asked people to talk about how often or if they meditated and they were like, yeah, come to see light today. But then when it came down to regular meditation, it was like a few people whittled down like 90%. And so it is this, you know, this continual practice, like we said, whether it’s going walking, you walking every day or working out or having your lemon water every day, it builds over time. And so I remember when I started meditating how difficult it was for me to sit and I didn’t know what was what.
12:32 But over time, we can start to come from this deeper, calmer, more expansive place. And like you said, it is expansive. The heart will see things <laugh> and what, you know, instead of being isolated, the ego, like, this is for me, this is what seems right in this minute, which is very clingy and there’s a lot of control in that. And then the courage of stepping into something. And also like things we may not necessarily wanna do, but it’s the right thing to do. The heart will whisper as it, you know, that to us, I just had a situation recently where, you know, I had lent someone a lot, bunch of money and it was just like kind of dragging on. And then this person was like, is really struggling. So, you know, it’s just like, you know, whatever, like this person’s happiness means more to me. We just, you know, we just learned to let go even though we could fix it and be like, but it’s not right. Right. The linear mind versus win-win piece, you know, understanding that we’re all connected into this web and ultimately that harmony and that peace is, is more important not just for ourselves, but for others around us.
We discuss experiences that can then apply to other experiences in your life and what this looks like
Light: 13:41 Yeah. Um, it’s, and I love that example too, cause that’s, those are the exact type of experiences that we’re talking about is, you know, even your heart could say, okay, in a situation like that, you wanna like hold the person to their word or whatever, whatever the situation is. Yes. They’re not, they’re not doing it right. Blame them. The heart’s saying, no, no, no, forgive, forgive yourself, first of all for, for putting yourself in this situation. Then instead of focusing your attention on what they’re not doing and blaming and da da da, what are the lessons? What did you learn from this experience? Okay. I learned boundaries. I learned, uh, managing expectations. I learned not to project my, my, my values onto other people. You know, you learn all these things when you put your attention on what you, what, what what, what you’re getting from this experience that you can then apply to other experiences in your life.
14:34 And it may not be about this situation, this situation is actually helping you, helping to spare you from a situation that was coming, you know, five years down the line where you would’ve lost everything had you not learned these little lessons now. But, you know, life is great like that. It has to teach us through experience. I think it was Oscar Wild or something, someone who said, life gives you the test first and then the lesson afterward, <laugh>, you know, you learn through these experience and then when five years down the line comes, you, you, you’ve already embodied it. So yes, now you, you don’t even realize that you’re being spared from this thing. But, um, but you are as a result of the things you’re going through right now. And all that requires is a bit of a frame, a reframing of anything that’s happening.
What is reframing
15:23 And I, I, if you’re time, I have a, a perfect story that illustrates please this in your life. So this is a story actually that I put in my last book, knowing where to look. Um, but I used to teach yoga in, in West Hollywood back in the day, back in like the early two thousands. And I lived in West Hollywood like 10 minutes from the place where I was teaching, which was Crunch Gym on Sunset. And, um, and so I had my commute just timed, you know, perfectly. I’m, I’m a v stickler stick stickler for punctuality. So I would always get there within about five minutes to spare, to set up the room, get ready, welcome people in, you know, that kind of thing. Yes. And this particular morning I’d left to go to the class at the normal time I always left. There was never any traffic on the way to class.
16:13 And the whole commute would take me like seven minutes. I get up to fountain. So minutes driving or walking. Yeah, seven minutes driving. So I drive up to Fountain Avenue to turn towards, uh, going towards crunch and there’s bumper to bumper traffic and it’s like, it’s like 10, 10 o’clock, 10, 15 mm. There’s never any traffic at this time. So like any good, you know, driver in Los Angeles, I zigzag my way down to Santa Monica Boulevard, <laugh>, which is the other major street going in that same direction. And again, bumper to bumper traffic. So I’m just sitting in this traffic, I’m getting anxious because now I know I’m gonna be late and the traffic is really not moving that much. And I’m like, man, I can’t even use the excuse that I’m in traffic cuz that’s, you know, that’s just lame excuse in LA cuz everyone has to deal with traffic <laugh>.
17:02 And I finally get to Fairfax, I get to the corner of Fairfax in Santa Monica where if there was any obstruction, it would’ve been there, there was construction. If there was some crazy person in the street holding up traffic on both of those, uh, streets, it would’ve been at Fairfax. And then once I got to Fairfax, it just cleared up spontaneously. And I’m, look, I’m looking around to see, okay, what caused this traffic jam? I didn’t see anything. So I’m even more pissed off cuz there’s nothing I can even blame it on. And I get to, uh, the gym, I’m like 10 minutes late. Mm. And my heart is racing and I race up the stairs from the parking garage and then I start walking slowly cuz I’m the yoga teacher and I’m not supposed to be in a and I get to the room and everyone’s huddled into the back of the room.
17:54 I’m like, what are they doing in the back of the room? And there’s these guys in the front of the room from the janitorial staff sweeping up. And I walk in and I’m wearing flip flops and I can feel this crunching under my feet. And I look at the front of the room. So the whole front of that room, this is, it’s a group exercise room. The whole front of the room is a, is a wall. It’s like different panels of a wall mirror, right? Like probably nine feet tall, three feet wide, that kind of thing. The middle of the wa wall of mirrors, the, the mirror was missing. And apparently what had happened was right when the class was supposed to start that middle mirror, which is right where I would’ve been sitting spontaneously dislodged and came crashing down. Wow. Right where I would’ve been sitting.
18:42 So turns out that that phantom traffic jam that I was cursing Wow. 10 minutes before was actually saving me from having a very unlucky start to my day. Wow. And ever since I had that experience, I just get reminded that, oh yes, this is inconvenient and I’m, I’m doing my best. It’s not like I left late, you know, and now I’m trying to make up for lost time. I’m doing my best. I left on time, I went to another street and they’re still trying. Wow. Okay. I’m being spared from something. Wow. And that’s, you know, that’s kind of, again, that’s, that’s that’s how the universe likes to work is, is, is it gives us these little, you know, these little experiences that are, can be painful in the moment, but they’re usually sparing us from a, a worse experience down the line.
Kimberly: 19:31 Wow. Powerful. Like, and also just being in that state of trust, like you said, I think it was Jay, uh, Krishna Murti who said, I don’t mind what matters. Right. So he’s flowing along and really staying connected to that inner peace, that stillness and saying, oh, well this is, you know, now I’m 20 minutes late and you know, this got derailed and this person quit, or this person dumped me. Easier said than done. Right. But then we just start to get more neutral about things. Which goes back to your theme again about traveling light. You said a couple words before in my example as well about blame mm-hmm. <affirmative> and about forgiveness. And it’s the opposite of light. It’s really heavy when we hold onto these ideas, you know, these mind created ideas and we focus outside saying, well, you know, this shouldn’t have happened.
20:22 Like that person should have, you know, paid me back by now. It’s been a couple years or like out here. And that, you know, again, we can argue right or wrong, but energetically we start to feel heavy energetically we start to feel blocked energetically, our heart feels heavy and we don’t feel that peace. So we have to make a choice between light and heavy, essentially. Right. We have to live some of these principles. And a lot of this seems to be, and you write about this in your book, it’s continuously going inward. So we can all day long say, well, this isn’t right and look at what’s happening here and the politicians da da da da. Or we can start to keep going inward and, you know, the inner states what we can really work on.
Blame and forgiveness and letting go of the heaviness
Light: 21:05 Yeah. Uh, the guy who wrote Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance, which is one of my favorite spiritual books, his name is Robert Percy. He’s got this great quote. He says, the only zen you’re gonna find at the top of the mountain is the zen you bring up there with you. And what he means by that is, let’s say you have an experience at the bottom of the mountain where you loan somebody some money and they didn’t pay you back. So now you have the weight of that, that emotional baggage that you’re taking all the way up to the top of the mountain. So when you get up to the top of the mountain, what are you gonna be thinking about? Oh, this is nice, but that fucking person didn’t pay me back. Oh, look at the beautiful flower. But it reminds me of that flower that’s in that person’s yard.
21:46 You know, it’s robbing you of your ability to find, to, to experience the beauty that’s around you everywhere you go. And so the top of the mountain is a metaphor for wherever you are right now. Yeah. You’re in the post office and you may be pissed off that you have to go to the post office and stand in line, but that’s because of something else that happened in your past Yes. That you think should have been different. There could be all kinds of hidden opportunities and moments of serendipity that are right there in that post office with you. The person in front of you could hold the key to the very thing you think you, you want or you desire in your life. But if you’re closed off to whatever is going on around you, you won’t have that, that moment of spontaneous connection. You won’t compliment them on their shoes.
22:31 You won’t, you know, do something kind for someone who’s behind you because you’re so pissed off being in that environment because of something that happened before. Yeah. So if we wanna be present, which is ultimately what we all want, even more than time, you want presence. You want to be able to, to be so in the moment that you can, you can see these opportunities as they’re arising all around you. Kind of like those magic eye puzzles that you stare at softly and then the object appears. Right. Every moment bears gifts like that, that if you’re, if you’re surrendered to it, then you’ll see opportunities appear that you can then take advantage of when it can happen in the post office. It can happen in traffic, it can happen in Walmart, it can happen happen in the grocery store, it can happen in the dmv.
The essence of spiritual minimalism
23:19 All these environments that we tend to dismiss as throwaway moments, because it’s not the Oscars, it’s not, you’re not on a flight to Bora Bora. You know, I like, we reserve our attention and presence for those kinds of experiences. But what if we were able to bring that to just regular everyday moments and every day can feel like your birthday, every day can feel like you’re going to the Oscars because you’re so present. That’s really the only, the only difference. Yes. And, and that needs to be cultivated from the inside out. It’s not gonna happen from intellectualizing. It you, you can’t walk around and just say to yourself, be present, be present. If you do that, you’re not present. True presence is not being aware that you’re present. You’re just so immersed in your environment that you’re just, you’re literally like a child. You’re noticing every little thing you’re noticing. Oh wow. The moon. Oh look at the stick. I mean, you’ve seen, you, you have children. We all, we’ve all seen children. They can completely get immersed in a stick or a ball for hours and just be Yes. You know, just have that wonderful sense of, of innocence. And, and we have that we, we started there. That’s, that’s our factory setting. And we can come back to that if we take the time to cultivate that from the inside out. And that’s the essence of spiritual minimalism.
Kimberly: 24:32 Yes. I love your whole chapter about the throwaway moments and you know, you mentioned things from the past bring you into this. And also sort of that past future. I know if I’m sitting in the line, sometimes I’ll start to feel annoyed and this awareness starts to come up. What is, what is this? Oh, it’s resistance. And why am I resisting being in line? Oh, because I have this story in my head that I have to pack all these things in and this is keeping me from this. And, you know, where did that come from? Oh, in the past I felt like I had to get a lot done. I had to achieve enough to be worthy. You know, it’s just all sort of mixed. So I sometimes, I don’t really use this word a lot mindfulness because it reminds me of being in my mind, I really just think of awareness.
25:15 Right. I just start to bring in, you know, what you talk about here in this chapter of every moment can really be an amazing, you use, um, wonderful stories in here. Every moment can have such lessons and richness and depth if we’re not just trying to get to the big, the quote big stuff. But cuz life is here, right here, right now, like you said, we think, oh, we’re gonna get to the top. It’s gonna be this, you know, heaven, this blissful place. But it really is where we are in each moment. That’s this is it.
Light: 25:47 Yeah. I, I wanna share another story about this to illustrate the point. It’s, again, it’s not in this book. It’s one, one of my previous books. But this guy who’s a friend of mine was in Chicago’s airport, which is like the busiest airport in the world, or at least it was at one point. Yes. And he was on a connecting flight and the flight had gotten, kept getting postponed. And so everybody was just like freaking out. And he decided he was gonna use his time to sit there in the, at the gate and just close his eyes and just do a little meditation for a minute. And that meditation helped to kind of take the edge off. And then he’s just sitting there, people watching. And again, his flight was supposed to leave like four hours prior. So he’s sitting there eating bad food and just people watching.
26:30 And then from the other side of the terminal, he sees his familiar face walking towards him. And it happens to be the surgeon that operated on his deceased wife. She died of cancer, uh, many months before then. And because of obviously that’s a very emotionally heavy and draining situation, he never got a chance to really get closure and, and say thank you to the surgeon for his, his, uh, contribution, his work and, and, and just helping her through the months that, that, um, that she was trying to, to beat cancer. So they got a chance to connect and have a coffee cuz his flight was also delayed. And, and he reflected back on that and he said, if I had been all, you know, upset and angry over these delayed flights, I probably would not have seen that guy coming and I probably would’ve missed that moment of connection. Mm. And and that’s what we’re talking about. Like, you could argue that the whole thing was orchestrated by the universe Yeah. To bring those two guys together so that they can have that moment. And um, and, and, and the opportunity is that there are things happening like that all around us. We’ve all experienced it every now and again. And we know that it’s special, special
Kimberly: 27:44 <laugh>.
Light: 27:45 We know that it’s a special thing cuz it’s, it ends up becoming the storyline for the day. And everybody we talk to, we say, oh, guess what happened? I was thinking about so-and-so and guess get, I walked into the drugstore and guess who I saw? And I, it was so and so, it was John. I was just thinking about you. And it’s like, you get this, this, this excitement because it’s just a little reminder that maybe things aren’t so random as we like to think that they are. Yes. And, and if that’s not random, then maybe some of these other things that we’ve experienced are not random and maybe we’re right where we need to be at all times. And again, the only difference is just whether we’re being present to it or if we’re just treating it like a throwaway moment. And so the call there is just to start to be more present and you may start to generate more of those kinds of experiences
Kimberly: 28:33 And it’s, you know, what’s the downside, right? If we’re stuck in the line at the post office, we’re gonna be in the line at the post office so we can be building up this inflammation and this, you know, this, this fast breathing and really stressing our organs and having a miserable time. Or we can start to create this awareness of this, this ability to shift. So it’s interesting, we, we think about this choice, right? Like, like I can choose this, I can choose to be open, I can choose to let go. But then you have a principle, uh, called the freedom of choice lessness. Can you share a little bit about that principle and how that applies to
Freedom of choicelessness
Light: 29:14 Know light? Yeah. That, that’s the next level of it, <laugh>. So if you’re at the post office, just use that example that we keep using. Yeah. Everybody knows what that day.
Kimberly: 29:22 Yeah.
Light: 29:23 You’re at the post office, there’s one per there’s one, uh, open, they all a break or whatever. And you have to nail this thing off today, right? So if you’re in that situation and you just don’t have an option, then that’s, that’s a telltale sign that you need to be right there right then, right? Mm-hmm. So your whole, your whole life situation is, is that’s the gateway to the next phase of your, your journey is through standing in that line. And that’s what the freedom of joylessness ultimately is, is that when you remember, okay, I don’t have any other options here, then you wanna remind yourself that this is exactly where you need to be. It’s me in that traffic jam. Mm-hmm. That’s, I gave myself the freedom of joylessness. It didn’t mean I was happy about it. It didn’t mean I was sitting in my car smiling and singing kumbaya with the traffic.
30:19 I was still pissed off, I was still anxious, I was still trying to calm myself down. But at the same time, I also worked out, okay, this is, I have no other choice but to sit in this traffic. So there maybe this is happening for not just a reason. It’s happening for all reasons. It’s happening for every stuff I can’t even fathom right now is happening for that reason. Yeah. And here’s the thing, when you, when you, when you remind yourself about that, it does give you a little bit more presence than you would’ve had otherwise. And it’s that presence again, that’s the gift of the moment that can allow you to notice things, make connections between things. See themes between unrelated, seemingly unrelated occurrences to see how this thing here led to this here that caused that there, that triggered this here. And that’s how you can come out, come up with a, in insight or an epiphany.
31:12 It’s just by being in that moment, in that way. So we’ve all fortunately, um, we’re being gifted with these, these opportunities of joylessness. Um, which, which is actually I think an easier, um, ex experience to embody versus one where you have the opposite, which is too many choices and you don’t know which one to choose. Right? So some people may be going through, uh, the job search experience and they’ve got five different opportunities. You know, thankfully, oh, I’ve got so many. But you also have the paralysis analysis. Yes. Which one do I take? I don’t know. This one pays more, but it’s kind of like soul sucking, uh, type of work. This one doesn’t pay a lot, but it feels more aligned with my heart. This one here, I’m kind of neutral about. Right? This other thing here requires me to move, but I don’t know if I really wanna move.
32:10 I really like my, you know, so you have all these different options and what the book says and what that chapter of freedom of Joylessness says is that you want to go with the option that feels most aligned, not the one that pays the most, not the one with the prettiest people, not the one in the location that seems to be the glittery option, but the one that feels aligned. Mm-hmm. And so when it comes to hearing your heart, the heart doesn’t speak to you in in your language. The heart doesn’t say in English, take this job over here because da da da da. No. The heart speaks through feelings. It speaks through feelings. And when you have a feeling that feels expansive because of the, the possibilities to help people, to be a provider, to nurture something or someone, or your family, whatever, those possibilities, when you’re, when you’re, when you’re, uh, considering those, it makes you feel expansive.
33:22 It makes you feel like the biggest version of you. Yeah. I can do that. You know, in your quietest, most peaceful, most joyous state, a possibility, a position that is going to take a lot of effort to really step into that. It, it, it feels expansive in the same way that if someone on Jan, on December 31st, when you’re sitting there in your house by yourself, you’ve had a nice Christmas, you family all came down, you, you ate well. So you’re feeling good. You feel, you feel optimistic about the year and you start thinking to yourself, this next year I’m gonna get into the best shape of my life. Right? Those are those kinds of expansive possibilities that we have on December 31st. So then we go, okay, January 1st I’m gonna start, I’m gonna cut sugar, I’m gonna cut alcohol, I’m gonna start, you know, meal planning.
34:18 I’m gonna stop staying out later. <laugh>, you have this whole litany of things that you think you’re gonna do and you start on January 1st, but then what happens on January 9th, <laugh>? Well, you know, I’m tired. Well, yeah. Uh, you know, I have my, this celebration is happening. I have to have at least a little glass something. Well, uh, you know, uh, I need to, I I can’t go to the grocery store on Mondays to meal plan because kids need to dropped off. You start coming up with all what? And you start thinking, okay, I’m just listening to my heart. My heart’s telling me to back off. No, no, no, no, no. The heart, the heart gave you the vision. Yes. Getting to the best shape of your life. Okay. That’s your vision. The heart didn’t, didn’t say not to do that. Okay. Your job is to use your brain to figure out, okay, what’s the best way to get to that ultimate vision?
The best way to get to your ultimate vision
35:12 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. It’s not through eating the donuts and the cake and the cookies and the pizza and all of that, and staying up late at night watching the next episode. That’s not your heart telling you to do those things. That’s your ego trying to look for that short-term satisfaction. Yes. So freedom of joyousness, the vision is getting in the best shape of my life. That’s my, okay. So now that’s my editor. That purpose for this part of my life, that’s the editor that’s gonna dictate how late I stay up at night. It’s gonna dictate who I’m hanging out with. Cuz if you’re hanging out with five unhealthy people, you’re gonna be the sixth. Right? As Dr. Mark Hyman says, friend power is stronger than willpower. So, you know, you may have to go and curate your social media following and follow all fitness influencers and people who are talking about how you can prioritize your health.
36:02 And you, you have to make all these little micro changes in order to put yourself in the best possible position to move forward in the direction of what that ultimate vision is for yourself. So mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it, it’s liberating cuz once you do that, you stop going back and forth in your mind, you know, oh, you know, is this one little cookie gonna hurt? No, it’s not even, that’s not a consideration anymore. And it’s just for six months and you can do six months and, you know, what’s the alternative to this cookie? Maybe I’ll get carrots, maybe I’ll go get a keto version of this thing, or whatever, whatever the solution is. But you become more solution oriented as opposed to problem centric.
Kimberly: 36:42 Mm. I love that. And clear, right? Like you said, there’s this picture of the direction and then it’s up to us to determine and, and to fall into alignment with that versus these everyday little, you know, indulgences, Yogananda talks about that a lot. Not indulging our constant preferences, our aversions and you know, what we prefer because then we get lost in everyday life. And you know, when you were talking about that, it reminded me this feeling, um, when I met my husband, light was very different than anyone else. And I had been meditating for many months. I think I shared this with you, um, and I’ve certainly shared it here before, but I’ll say it briefly where I’d been meditating for some months and I kind of stepped out and he looked just like physically different than anyone else I had dated or was ever attracted to.
37:33 But the feeling in my heart was expansive and peaceful. And then we just started hanging out and it really flowed. And I think again, in the romantic context and where we are in society and people are, you know, you know, on a lot of apps and dating and doing all sorts of things, sometimes what we think of as like, my heart is leading me is that clinginess loneliness. Like, I want this, it’s infatuation, it’s obsessed with the surface or appearance versus that expansive connection. I mean, not everybody wants partnership or long-term, but I can say for me, from my meditation practice and my spiritual practices, it helped me like really listen to when it felt right. And of course it developed and we started hanging out and spending time and getting to know each other a bit. Although we were married in two months <laugh>. But it was this, this, this real trust, you know, and it continues to deepen to this day. So it was a feeling, it was a real strong intuition, but it wasn’t erratic and it didn’t feel volatile. It was like a, the heart feels to me just calm, like centered clear when we learn to really listen.
Meditation and spiritual practices
Light: 38:48 Yeah. I think the, the, what I would like to add to that, cause I agree with everything you’re saying is that being in a relationship is a massive growth opportunity. And you know, we hear a lot about people saying, oh, I’ve healed, or I want someone who’s healed. Or, you know, when you first beat someone, how, how are you healed? Or how are it doesn’t matter really how someone thinks they’ve healed. People come together because that’s the perfect dynamic to help us continue Yes. To work on ourselves. So you could be 90% healed, but that 10% is what’s gonna get <laugh>, it’s gonna get worked on in that relationship. And that 10% is gonna,
Kimberly: 39:32 Oh, it’s the mirror. It’s like this, you can’t run,
Light: 39:36 The 10% is gonna feel like 90% <laugh> when you’re with that particular person. And you could argue again from the universe’s perspective, that’s why you are attracted to that person and not somebody else’s. Cuz they have the perfect formula. Mm-hmm <affirmative> the perfect background, the perfect life experience, the perfect perspective, the perfect blind spots, the perfect degree of projection to help us move into our, our love potential. And so, you know, you’re always right where you, you need to be. And, and I’m, I’m mentioning this because again, this is the idea of spiritual minimalism. Don’t bring this expectation that, that they’re supposed to be perfect. You’re supposed to be perfect. The situation is supposed to be something other than it is. It is what it is. It’s an opportunity. It’s an opportunity. And so the only question is how am I gonna take advantage of this opportunity for my own personal growth? And that may be okay, um, I’m going to stop projecting my stuff onto them. And then the ego says, well no, no, no, no, no, they have to go first. You, you can love them. They have to love, they gotta love you first. So they show that they deserve, that’s the ego talking <laugh>. That’s the ego talking. Right? And in this book I talk about giving what you wanna receive.
Kimberly: 40:58 Yes. If
Light: 40:59 You know better, you have to do better. So you go first. The way you get love from someone mm-hmm. <affirmative> is you give love, you’re loving towards them. You’re loving towards, we’ve all seen these like dog videos on social media where the dog was abandoned and it’s in the cage and they try to pet the dog and they snap at you. And, and that’s because the dog has experienced so much trauma and abuse that it just doesn’t trust anything. And so the person who’s trying to rehabilitate the dog has to be extra patient. They don’t take it personally that the dog snaps at them. They’re extra patient, they’re extra, you know, con compassionate and empathetic and keep coming back with love in their heart. And, but we lose all that when it comes to other people, especially grown people. Cuz we think in our back of our mind and our ego mind, oh, they should know better.
41:51 Why are they treating me like this? Why are they snapping at? And I’m not saying to be in an abusive relationship, if you’re getting your ass beat, you need to do something different. You think that get outta that situation. That’s not what we’re talking about. But you know, just like regular, an annoyances that people experience, a lot of times it’s, it’s, it’s actually a re a, a symptom that the relationship has gotten, uh, a bit bankrupt and there are no credit deposits of compassion, love and be patient generosity being, being put into that relationship. And you have to do that. And it’s not gonna happen over a week or a month. It may, may require if you guys have been neglecting each other in that way and drawing down on the account for, and I didn’t, Stephen Covey of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People came up with this analogy.
42:38 But if you’ve been drawing down on that account for 10 years, you know, it may take you two years to turn that thing around. Hmm. But you have to be very intentional about depositing more love, more compassion, more generosity. If you think it’s worth it, maybe you don’t think it’s worth it anymore. Maybe the situation is no longer it feel, doesn’t feel relevant for you anymore. And the proposition of being on your own again, feels more expansive, then you have to explore that perhaps. Maybe that’s a conversation you need to have. Maybe you can have a different type of arrangement. I mean, anything is possible, but it starts with just getting honest with yourself and then stops putting it on the other person. And just taking responsibility for what you’re feeling and where you need to, where or where, where the opportunities are for you to, um, to put more of what you want into a situation and, and see what happens.
Kimberly: 43:28 Mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it’s, it’s so confronting, right. When we’re on our own, we can, you know, there’s a space and time to be on our own and to Yeah. You know, have
Light: 43:37 That space. You can, you can be the Buddha on your own. Right. Exactly. But that’s like a 25 year old fitness influencer. It’s like, you’re supposed to be in shape for 25. Show me what you look like at 50 and then we can talk about your tips for staying in shape.
Kimberly: 43:51 Exactly. Just this confrontation of being in partnership is, you know, um, brings up a lot. Which leads me, you know, to the last principle I wanted to talk about today, I could talk to you all day late, but in, um, wanna be respectful of our time. Principle six, find comfort and discomfort. So when we’re not feeling good about something like a past story, a wound, a trigger, there’s this reflex, almost this reactivity, let me push it out, let me blame, let me do something, let me complain, whatever it is. But we build this capacity, right? This real resilience where we can be in it and sort of process and, and, and tune it in back to this concept of minimalism. We don’t need a lot of things to feel fulfilled, to feel peaceful, but we do need to be able to process and to be aware, right.
44:47 And to work through. And also I think a big part, my personal journey of finding more peace is to build resilience and discomfort. I’ve all been in these situations and I remember an extreme example is when, you know, I, I held my mom as she was passing away and it was no way out. Like there’s no, I don’t want this to happen, but it is happening and very brought up a lot of intense feelings and we just have to be in certain situations, like you said, it could be everyday moments like the post office or it could be losing a loved one, but life isn’t all rosy and, you know, cheerful. And we’re not just skipping down the lane. Right? There’s a lot in life. And so if we’re always just waiting for the really, you know, joyful, happy, lighter moments, then a lot of life is, like you said, left on the table, then we we’re treating it like these throwaway moments.
Light: 45:41 Yeah. And this is where your inner practices really can help you, um, and integrate that discomfort because, you know, a lot of people don’t, don’t meditate. A lot of people don’t, um, exercise because it’s uncomfortable to do so. And, and I get it, <laugh>. Yeah. It’s uncomfortable. Um, but still to, to this day in the history of humanity, no one’s ever meditated and thought to themselves, oh man, I wish I didn’t meditate just then. Or they didn’t exercise and go, oh my God, I wish I hadn’t worked out. Just, yeah, sure. You almost feel good after the fact. And that’s what you’re doing is you’re, you’re essentially conditioning yourself to be comfortable in the discomfort. So when life does throw you that curve ball, when someone close to you passes away, when you lose something, when you experience a a big change in your life, you’ve already sort of simulated the discomfort of not getting your way so many times by just little things working out, going for a walk when you don’t feel, when you just wanna sit on the couch and watch tv, having honest conversations with people who are close to you and, and their elephants all, all in the room and in the attic and under the floor <laugh> Yeah.
How to expand your capacity to listen and why it’s so important in lasting relationships
46:51 Everyone’s talking about, and you know, just kind of putting yourself in these positions, cordially, kindly, you know, leading with kindness, leading with, with, um, compassion. And even like listening. Listening is a very uncomfortable thing to do because we want to get our, uh, perspective in the conversation and maybe there’s not gonna be enough time. Maybe we’re talking with someone who’s so emotionally invested in what didn’t happen that they’re nominating the conversation and it’s so tempting to just shut them down and and force our onto them. But it’s, you know, to have to, to, to, I I, I listen to Usher the singer. He was talking yesterday on a, about a, uh, you know, a hack, a relationship hack that he’s discovered recently, which is this whole idea of active listening. When your partner is, uh, is annoyed by something you did or said, and they bring it up, our tendency is to get defensive immediately.
47:55 Yes. And to start saying, no, no, no, but you, you misheard me and you start invalidating their experience. Mm. And he was like, he’s like, what you want to do instead, it’s just listen. And then you want to, um, restate what they just said. Okay. You feel like I’m not, I’m not really, um, giving, you know, giving you enough of my attention. Yes. Okay, what else? And you keep asking what else? And you let them talk and you don’t try to defend yourself. And eventually they will talk themselves into a resolution or it will just deescalate the situation. And then eventually they may ask you, okay, what is your experience in all of this? But the big, the big takeaway was just listen, just go above and beyond in your capacity to listen. And if you can expand that capacity, you can dissolve or diffuse, you know, 95% of, again, if you’re in a healthy relationship, not in a relationship with some, you know, ego, mania, maniacal, super narcissist.
49:02 But if you’re in a healthy relationship where every now and again you guys have little spats and little disagreements and stuff, you can keep that relationship moving forward, moving on the up and up by just expanding your capacity to listen. We don’t need any assistance and being more defensive, quicker <laugh>, we have that down, you know, but we wanna practice the things that are actually gonna gonna help, uh, keep the relationship on the rails. And everybody, no matter who you are, no matter what your status in life is, everybody wants to feel like they’re being seen and heard. We all do. It’s true. So give that to your partner. And, and again, it’s giving what you want to receive and finding comfort in the discomfort of not not being able to just yell what your perspective is and just then you’ll get everything that you want back from that.
Kimberly: 49:57 And, and also the discomfort light of big feelings that are coming up like, Ooh, I’m actually angry at you. And that’s not right. And the feelings inside, but to actually sit with big feelings, right? Because sometimes we’re not taught that as a child there’s neglect. We weren’t seen or heard. And so as adults we really want, uh, so, um, it’s so powerful, like you mentioned here in that chapter as well, to really hold that space and really not give our power away. When people annoy us and we react, it’s really us robbing, you know, back to tuning into ourselves. It’s us that gets robbed of our peace. Ultimately it’s us that gets robbed of that equanimity, the inner voice a hundred percent the guidance <laugh>. And we’re the ones that lose out. So thank you so much for this wonderful book that is, I wanna emphasize not only full of wisdom and practical wisdom, it’s also really accessible. The stories are entertaining and wonderful. And then it’s also, I like when books are broken down in these, um, sections and bullet points. So it’s, you know, easy today with our monkey minds and our, you know, lower attention spans to really still absorb. And it’s a really great book to take on, a plane to take with you, you know, on the subway
Light: 51:17 To leave in the bathroom,
Kimberly: 51:19 <laugh>, you know, any anywhere just to, to keep it the, um, we have this little stool area in the kitchen and I like to always have a book and that’s actually where I read your book, like when I was having tea. Right. So anywhere that, um, you know, your little happy space, um, congratulations on this wonderful book. Can you share with us where we can pick it up and more about where we can find you on your work?
Light: 51:46 Sure, yeah. You can get the book anywhere books are sold. Um, yeah, so whatever, whatever vendor suits you go to, go there and you can find the book and, uh, you can find me on the socials at Light Watkins, l i g h t Watkins and lightwatkins.com.
Kimberly: 52:08 Wonderful. And congratulations again. And we will link to the book directly in our show notes and lights website as well. Cindy, thank you of love and lots of light. Love light.
Light: 52:19 Thank you. Thank you. By the way, one of my favorite quotes that was actually an inspiration for all of this work is, is, uh, material possessions without inner peace. Like, like swimming in a lake while dying of thirst, which is part of Mahan Yogananda, which is your guru. So, um, that’s, that’s so close to me at my heart. And that was the essence of spiritual minimalism. So thank you very much again for facilitating this conversation and I look forward to getting a chance to cross paths.
All right, my love. I hope you enjoyed our conversation today with light. Please check out his new book. Please check out the show email@example.com with also links to other shows and podcasts that I think you would enjoy, articles, recipes, guided meditations and more. We’ll be back here Thursday for our next q and a show. Until then, take great care of yourself. I’d love to see you on social as well at underscore Kimberly Snyder and sending you all the best. Namaste.