So minimalism has been a thing for the last decade or so. You know, getting rid of a ton of stuff in order to feel lighter, more empowered, less encumbered, and free. But, oftentimes, even a giant stuff purge doesn’t end up making you feel the way you hoped. What’s going on there? My guest this week, an old friend, Light Watkins, suggests a different approach to lightening your life he calls “spiritual minimalism,” which is all about applying the ideals of minimalism in a deeper, more internal way. And, Light would know.
Leaving behind a 2 bedroom apartment in LA and packed meditation and yoga classes, he downsized his life into a single backpack and has been living that way, joyfully and without yearning for more, for the last 5 years, while simultaneously traveling the world, teaching, speaking, facilitating retreats, writing books, and more. Thing is, Light’s external shedding of stuff wasn’t the real unlock key. It was the internal letting go, the deeper spiritual practices, and inner cleaning that laid the foundation for so much more freedom, peace, and ease in his life.
In this conversation, Light and I discuss the concept of spiritual minimalism – shedding internal distractions that prevent us from being fully ourselves, as shared in his wonderful new book, Travel Light: Spiritual Minimalism to Live a More Fulfilled Life. Through stories of his own journey and principles like prioritizing inner happiness and building stillness practices, Light shows how even a fledgling meditation routine can have ripple effects, allowing insights to emerge during ordinary moments.
Over time, these practices strengthen our ability to tune into and trust our inner guidance, opening up new possibilities within. But I know firsthand it’s not always easy to follow that internal compass. There’s comfort in the familiar, even if it doesn’t fulfill us. And we dive into this point of resistance, and how to move through it so you can begin to travel more lightly in your own life with a focus more on your inner stuff than your outer stuff.
If you LOVED this episode:
- You’ll also love the conversations we had with Sharon Salzberg about insight meditation and loving-kindness.
Check out our offerings & partners:
- My New Book Sparked
- My New Podcast SPARKED. To submit your “moment & question” for consideration to be on the show go to sparketype.com/submit.
- Visit Our Sponsor Page For Great Resources & Discount Codes
photo credit: Maria Postigo
Light Watkins (00:00:00) – Spiritual minimalism takes the principle of minimalism, which is essentially doing more with less. Can you be more authentic by doing less? Can you find your path and your purpose by doing less? And so the spiritual part is getting your cues from the inside as opposed to the outside. Don’t try to be present. Don’t try to be happy. Don’t try to be fulfilled. Just be yourself. Give yourself permission to be yourself more and more and more, which means follow your curiosity and you’ll end up along your purpose, which is what we all want. We all want to live a more purposeful, more fulfilled life. It’s just that you can’t try to live a purposeful, fulfilled life.
Jonathan Fields (00:00:39) – So minimalism, it has been a thing for the last, I don’t know, decade or so. Getting rid of a ton of stuff in order to feel lighter, more empowered, less encumbered and free. But oftentimes even a giant stuff purge, it doesn’t end up making you feel the way you hoped you’d feel. So what’s going on there? Well, my guest this week, an old friend, Light Watkins, suggests a bit of a different approach to lightning your life that he calls spiritual minimalism, which is all about applying the ideals of minimalism and more, but in a deeper, more internal way.
Jonathan Fields (00:01:14) – And light wood No. Leaving behind a two bedroom apartment in LA and packed meditation and yoga classes, he downsized his life into a single backpack and has been living that way joyfully, without yearning for more than five years now, while simultaneously traveling the world, teaching, speaking, facilitating retreats, writing books, and more. The thing is, Light’s external shedding of stuff wasn’t the real unlock key, it was the internal letting go, the deeper spiritual practices and inner cleaning that laid the foundation for so much more freedom, peace and ease in his life long before the external shedding really took root. In today’s conversation, Light and I discussed this concept of spiritual minimalism shedding internal distractions that prevent us from being fully ourselves. As shared in his wonderful new book, Travel Light Through stories of his own journey and principles like prioritizing inner happiness, building stillness practices and more, he really shows how even a fledgling meditation routine can have these powerful ripple effects, allowing insights to emerge during ordinary moments and over time, the practices that we will dive into in our conversation, they really strengthen our ability to tune into and trust our inner guidance, opening up really possibilities within.
Jonathan Fields (00:02:35) – But I know firsthand, it’s not always easy to follow that internal compass and deepen into these practices. There’s comfort in the familiar, even if it doesn’t fulfill us. And we dive into this very point of resistance to and how to move through it so that you can begin to travel more lightly in your own life with a focus more on your inner stuff than your outer stuff. So excited to share this conversation with you. I’m Jonathan Fields and this is Good Life Project. Flight walk ins. You and I have been in this rolling conversation for years now as we had this conversation. I’m hanging out in Boulder, Colorado. You are in Mexico City. And that seems to be sort of what’s become the closest to what you could probably call a home base for you over the last few years. Does that feel right to you?
Light Watkins (00:03:28) – Yeah, definitely. I’m in this Airbnb that I that I’ve been extending, but I’ll leave from time to time and go travel and they’ll rent it out to other people, but then they’ll, they’ll keep it kind of semi available to me.
Light Watkins (00:03:41) – So what’s interesting is if you walked in here you wouldn’t think that a quote, minimalist lived in here because it’s all the same furniture for the most part. But yeah, everything that I live from still kind of fits in my backpack. So I’ve maintained that lifestyle. While I’m I would say I’m based here, I would say I still don’t say I live in Mexico City. I’d say I’m based in Mexico City.
Jonathan Fields (00:04:03) – Yeah. I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard you say you live there. So it’s interesting, right? You have been living this kind of semi-nomadic life for a number of years and a lot of people got dropped into that mode over the last three years. When the pandemic turned the world upside down, they started revisiting what mattered, where they wanted to be and basically picked up and started trying on different places and seeing how they felt. This is an earlier experiment for you. This is something that you actually kicked off of your own accord. I think it was around 2018 ish, if I have that right.
Jonathan Fields (00:04:37) – Yeah. So give me a little bit of before and after here around that moment.
Light Watkins (00:04:41) – So I’d been living in Los Angeles for about 16 years. I moved to LA in 2002 and I’d been traveling and teaching meditation and hosting workshops and retreats and giving talks literally all around the world, especially in the 20 teens, right? The 2014, 15, 16, 17. And then I’ve been on the road so much that I started thinking, you know, I’m only really packing the same things every time I go on the road and I’m not really using anything in my apartment and I’m feeling a little disconnected from my apartment. And then I saw like the minimalist documentary which came out in 2016 and the Ram Dass documentary, which came out, I think in 2017. And I had another friend of mine who had already been kind of traveling with a one bag or two bags, and I was like, You know what? I think this is time. This is I just gotten out of a relationship, too. And I was in my the second half of my 40s.
Light Watkins (00:05:42) – And I thought, okay, this is probably the last time I’ll be able to do something like this, like live from a single bag and just kind of travel around. So turning my notice to the Lord of my Land 30 days to get rid of all my stuff and whatever didn’t fit into my carry on bag was going to be discarded. So that was my sort of leap of faith moment into this lifestyle. And that was May 31st, 2018, when I rolled out of my two bedroom apartment into my new carry on bag apartment and started traveling around the world much lighter than I had been. And I didn’t think I was going to write a book or anything like that about it at the time. But after having written books, you know, you start thinking in books. And I started sort of developing a philosophy around this lifestyle, which I called spiritual minimalism and principles around that, things that I had already been sort of doing inherently as a result of my meditation practice. But yeah, it just started to come into this really beautiful framework.
Light Watkins (00:06:54) – And, you know, I’ve been a big fan of books like The Four Agreements, and so then it was Deepak Chopra, Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and the Seven Habits of Highly Effective, You know. So I was thinking about all of that and thought, wow, I thought about all the what I would call principles of spiritual minimalism and came up with seven and started sort of outlining it out and ran it by my book agent. And that turned into this this book Travel light spiritual minimalism to live a more fulfilled life. And yeah, so that’s where we are now with it. It’s a book that’s out and I’m excited to introduce these principles to the people and all of my books really, at the end of the day, are meditation books. There’s always a foundation of inner work, inner stillness, practice, and this one is no exception. But it does also contain some tips and tools and resources for for traveling lighter, whatever your version of that is, it doesn’t have to be living from a backpack, but it could be, you know, following your heart into maybe a career path that feels a little bit that lights you up in.
Light Watkins (00:08:07) – The side or getting out of a relationship that that’s weighing you down because it’s semi abusive or semi narcissistic and it’s time to be more authentic. So those kinds of things and it’s yes, it’s just exciting to talk about it. Yeah.
Jonathan Fields (00:08:21) – And I want to dive into spiritual minimalism and the principles, but I don’t want to pass something which is when you embarked on this journey about five years ago now, from the outside looking in, you were kind of living the life that a lot of people said, Oh, this is it. This is the aspiration. You know, you were you had freedom. You had a deeply passionate pursuit. You are traveling the world, teaching and sharing it and being able to live comfortably doing that. You had a, like you said, a nice two bedroom place in LA for a chunk of years. You were actually leading this gathering in LA, the shine. So from the outside looking in, there was a lot where you would look at that and say, Well, but what could be better? So I think it’s interesting from the inside looking out, you hit a point where you said it sounds like what you said was, I don’t necessarily know what that looks like, but there’s something in me that says I at least need to run the experiment and see.
Light Watkins (00:09:19) – So in the spiritual, from a spiritual perspective, when you get a little bit too comfortable, that’s the time to switch it up. And I had a very comfortable life. As you mentioned, I lived ten minutes walking from the beach in one of the most desirable areas, Venice, California, and had a beautiful place and, you know, a wonderful community, the wellness community in Los Angeles, thriving practice. And yeah, had already, you know, come out with a few books. And so things were definitely moving on the up and up. And that was when I heard the heart voice say, It’s time to switch it up. And this has happened to me several times in my life. So it wasn’t like it was the first time I’d ever heard the voice to switch it up. I kind of suspected that it would be coming at a certain time. And the thing with that voice of intuition that I think a lot of people get a little confused by is that when you say you’re following your heart, it’s never really going to lead you in a direction that makes you more comfortable.
Light Watkins (00:10:26) – It’s always going to challenge your status quo because what it’s doing is it’s helping you grow into your potential in the same way that if you were going to, you’re going to hire a trainer to work out with and help you get stronger or help you lose weight or whatever your goal was when you walk in, the trainer is not going to give you exercises that are going to make you more comfortable. They’re going to give you exercises that are going to expose whatever weaknesses you happen to have and get those areas a lot stronger in order to stretch your potential. So for me, moving out and having adopting this new lifestyle was definitely I didn’t know what was going to happen. I didn’t know how long it was going to last. And that was those were all the telltale signs that, okay, I’m truly following my heart. This is not something for my ego. My ego would rather me stay here and just keep building this life from this sort of comfort zone place. But yeah, the heart doesn’t work like that.
Light Watkins (00:11:20) – And fortunately I put myself in enough positions prior to that to have to take those leaps that I was familiar with, the language of how the heart communicates and the idea of possibilities making you feel more expansive. And then just following through that. And there’s something my my spiritual teacher told me years and years ago. He said, the most dangerous place you can be is in what he calls the ever repeating known, which is another way of saying your comfort zone, where you kind of know how things are going to turn out. And he says the safest place to be is moving towards the unknown, following your heart, following your your inner guidance. And I really took that to heart, pun intended. And and that served me really well along my journey.
Jonathan Fields (00:12:09) – It reminds me of something Milton Glaser said to me years ago in conversation, where he said, Certainty is a closing of the mind. And for most people we’d love to believe it’s the opposite because we strive so much for certainty and security. Whatever word is the proxy you use for it.
Jonathan Fields (00:12:25) – We all want to know what’s coming next, and we think that that’s when we’re happiest. We think that that’s what life is about, when we can lock down the future as much as possible. And in fact, when you look at it as you describe from a spiritual perspective, often that’s when we become least happy, least fulfilled. And even from an academic, from a research standpoint, that also tends to prove out as well. I’m curious about the term spiritual minimalism as well. And when you think about that in the context of minimalism in general has been a large scale movement, for lack of a better word, for, I want to say, the better part of a decade or so, at least in a lot of Western culture. Do you make a distinction between what a lot of people. Talk about when they use the word minimalism and the concept of spiritual minimalism.
Light Watkins (00:13:13) – 100% minimalism, I think in a conventional sense to the layperson implies getting rid of things externally in order to create a more peaceful, Zen like environment.
Light Watkins (00:13:27) – And then the thinking is that if I can create a Zen like environment by getting rid of half of my furniture, putting up some wind chimes, some dreamcatchers, then I’m going to feel more peaceful. But that’s not really how it works from a spiritual perspective. Spiritual perspective is that if you’re miserable, you get rid of half your furniture. You’re just going to be a miserable person with half their furniture. You know, there will be an initial wave of peace for the first few days, but then eventually, whatever your set point of misery or happiness happens to be inside, you’re going to reach that point again. So spiritual minimalism takes the the principle of minimalism, which is essentially doing more with less. So any way you can do more with less, can you be more authentic by doing less? Can you find your path and your purpose by doing less, by not trying to find your path right and talk about in the book, just follow your curiosity and your path will find you. So that’s kind of a way you’re already naturally curious about things.
Light Watkins (00:14:31) – So now all you have to do is stop shaming yourself for the things you’re curious about because society tells you that it’s a waste of time. Stop feeling embarrassed about that and just indulge yourself. Just become relentless about following your curiosity and eventually you’ll go deep enough to the point where you’ll start to see, Oh, this is connected to that. This is a way that I can use this thing that I’m really passionate about to help someone else who was like me, who was where I was ten years ago. And next thing you know, you’re bringing more service into your curiosity and that’s those are the two criteria for your path and your purpose. Everybody’s purpose usually involves some degree of service, some degree of giving back, some degree of helping others, some degree of inspiration. And we all have access to that. We just have to give ourselves permission to go off the beaten path. Which is why you’re curious about the things you’re curious about. I’m curious about what is it like to live from a backpack somebody else may be curious about? What is it like to dig a tunnel under Las Vegas to, you know, circumnavigate traffic? Somebody else may be curious about how do we get to Mars, right? So everybody has their own curiosities.
Light Watkins (00:15:48) – And, you know, when you have a lot of money, you’re considered to be eccentric. If you follow your curiosities when you don’t have a lot of money, you’re considered to be crazy or lazy, even because you’re not focused on grinding and hustling with, you know, trying to master the capitalist game. And you just have to start giving yourself more and more permission to do those things that you’re naturally curious about. And then next thing you know, you will feel yourself being more expansive and wanting to give back more and then you’ll know you’re in your purpose. So that’s just like a user case for how someone can employ this idea of minimalism less, less shaming, less trivialization, and more permission to just do the things that you naturally want to do. And so the spiritual part is getting your cues from the inside as opposed to the outside. So following the intuition we all have, we all have an intuition. And usually if we have experiences that lead to suffering, usually when we look back, it’s hard to see this in in real time.
Light Watkins (00:16:56) – But when you look back, you can see, oh, something inside of me told me to do X, I ended up doing Y and it led to this bad experience. And in the moments that you have really powerful experiences, your finest hours, if you will, in your life, if you look back, you’ll see that actually something told you to do something that required a little bit of a leap of faith or even a hop of faith. You followed it. You didn’t know how it was going to turn out, but you felt like that was the right thing to do. And yes, true indeed. You were in a position that allowed you to to help someone or to be authentic in a way that you probably didn’t even plan on being authentic. It allowed you to to leave a ripple of goodness in that part of the world and left an imprint in you, because then it reminded you that whenever you make those kinds of choices, usually things work out for the best. So we have the internal cues.
Light Watkins (00:17:55) – We just have to get better and better at listening to those cues and following through on the cues. There’s one thing to listen, but then you also have to be courageous enough to follow through on the cues because again, those. Are not the ones. Where are you going to be certain how things are going to turn out. And so that’s the essence of spiritual minimalism, is take your cues from the inside and try to do less. Don’t try to be present. Don’t try to be happy. Don’t try to be fulfilled. Just be yourself. Give yourself permission to be yourself more and more and more. And which means follow your curiosity and you’ll end up along your purpose, which is what we all want. We all want to live a more purposeful, more fulfilled life. Yeah, it’s just that you can’t try to live a purposeful, fulfilled life.
Jonathan Fields (00:18:42) – So the shedding that is often associated with the word minimalism, then sounds like what you’re describing is the classic idea of minimalism is we shed all the stuff that’s on the outside.
Jonathan Fields (00:18:53) – We get rid of all of our things. And what you’re inviting people to do is reconsider and say, Well, maybe the shedding actually is more of an internal thing. Maybe it’s shedding the things that stop you from being who you are. Maybe it’s shedding the shame, maybe it’s shedding the blame. Maybe it’s shedding the fear of uncertainty. Maybe it’s it’s all of those things which that stop you from showing up to. So the invitation is still, well, what if I let this go? But instead of starting with the stuff that’s outside, you’re kind of starting with the stuff that’s inside. And in your case, what’s interesting is that led to you letting go of the stuff that was outside.
Light Watkins (00:19:33) – Yeah, the stuff people ask me, you know, when did you become a minimalist? And they’re expecting me to describe the experience of getting rid of my stuff and moving into the carry on bag. But the real answer is when I started taking my meditation practice seriously, because that’s that allowed me to create more internal spaciousness.
Light Watkins (00:19:53) – And it’s it’s kind of like the light and the dark, right? Darkness is essentially the absence of light. If you turn the light on, the darkness goes away. In other words, you don’t have to worry about how to get rid of all the darkness by trying to get rid of the darkness. You just have to turn up. The light in the darkness goes away. So all the hang ups and the shame and the you know, the ways that we stop ourselves and feel stuck and all the judgment, that’s kind of like the darkness. And instead of trying to negotiate with the darkness, create theme songs about the darkness to get used to the darkness, find comfort in the darkness, all you have to do is turn up the light. The light is that spaciousness. It creates the spaciousness. It allows us to move and operate from less fear. And that light is where why I start with, you know, cultivating stillness inside, starting with the meditation practice. That’s kind of like your spring cleaning for what’s going on inside.
Light Watkins (00:20:50) – And as a result of that, you’re creating more space and you find that it’s easier to let go of the things that you thought previously, that you need it in order to be happy, which could look like, again, a toxic relationship and unfulfilling job. But you’re attached to this paycheck that you’re getting because what happens if I don’t make that much money? I’m not going to be able to help my family out. I’m not going. These are real concerns, right? I’m not going to be able to pay my hospital bills for my, you know, sister or whatever responsibilities you have. And it’s so easy to talk ourselves out of taking any kind of leap of faith that will compromise our current position, even though our current position may be sucking our soul or making us making it hard to sleep at night, you know? But we feel we really feel like we need that in order to do all the other things that we’re here to do. And so we’ll ignore our curiosities in the meantime. And so what this is saying is that if you practice your stillness and you create spaciousness inside, yes, you’ll be in the same situation, but you will start to see and feel other opportunities, other solutions to getting those other things done.
Light Watkins (00:22:07) – And without trying to. And then you’ll get internal hunches and urges to try other things out, such as, you know, go to the gym and get yourself in shape or start changing your diet and this or that way, or go to an acupuncturist or start taking a walk after work every day. And then it’s from those experiences that you start to have other interactions and see other connections that again, give you more information on how to sort of find your path and your purpose. And then eventually you may find yourself feeling confident enough to start a side project or to help somebody in some way, and then that leads you to another connection. And then before you know it, you land yourself into a position that can help you still provide in the way that you need to provide and perhaps even more. But now you don’t feel like you’re compromising yourself. You don’t feel like you’re betraying yourself anymore. And that’s again, this is encoded within our spiritual DNA. All we have to do is listen to it.
Jonathan Fields (00:23:05) – Yeah. And which is not easy to do when your life is filled with stuff both internally and externally. And I guess that’s part of the reason why you start out sort of like the fundamental principle that you start out with around spiritual minimalism is you broadly describe it as as prioritizing, cultivating inner happiness. But the practice itself, the real focus is stillness, building practices, meditation, like not being the least of them. We are. And you and I’ve had parts of this conversation over the years, but stillness is an interesting thing, you know, because on the one hand. That seems to give us access to all we say we want and value. And part of that is also clarity. It gets us closer to the truth, whatever that truth is for us. But at the same time, people tend to to fiercely resist the practices that would bring it into their lives. In part, I think, because there’s been a lot of baggage and dogma associated with it in different ways in the past or complexity.
Jonathan Fields (00:24:08) – Like we’re just not good at it. We can’t do it. It won’t come to us. But I sometimes wonder whether part of what’s going on there is a concern that if I get really still still enough for whatever has been spinning in my head to really take center stage, there is stuff in there which might be beautiful and give me access to light, but there’s other stuff that might scare me and I kind of want to just keep on keeping on and not deal with that.
Light Watkins (00:24:35) – Yeah, it’s it’s a very common concern with, especially with new meditators and that will happen. And at the same time, I think that the practice itself needs to get to a point where it feels relatively enjoyable to do. And I think if it feels enjoyable to do, people will be having an easier time dealing with all the stuff that that comes up. You know, it’s the same thing with ayahuasca and plant journeys and stuff. Like it’s very extreme, but if you ever had a psilocybin journey, part of it that actually feels quite unique, like there’s nothing else like that.
Light Watkins (00:25:12) – And with meditation, people just feel like they’re sitting there staring at the back of their eyelids and nothing is happening. And a part of that is because they’re doing the opposite of the minimalist approach to the practice. They’re focusing a little bit too much. They’re trying to control their mind a lot. They’re probably doing it longer than they need to do it. And so I’m introducing the reader to the minimalist approach to meditation. And you’re right, in a way, meditation is like a truth serum. You know, it’s hard to tolerate somebody else’s BS if you’ve been meditating consistently for a few weeks or a few months. It’s hard to tolerate your own BBS and you have to make changes. It’s not like you even have an option anymore, which is what one of the things I love about it and I talk about that in one of these principles, which is you have the freedom of choice lessness. And what that simply means is meditation gets you to a point where you realize that there is only really one option for you and everything else that kind of looks like it is not even a consideration anymore.
Light Watkins (00:26:16) – And it’s so clear to you that it gives you a sense of freedom, you know? So it’s kind of like that saying the truth shall set you free once you see the truth of your life and the truth of the situation and you realize the truth of, Hey, this relationship is not working out in the way that I’ve been engaging in. It doesn’t mean you need to leave anybody, but you need to start figuring out ways to relate to them differently. And you don’t want to wait one more day to do that. You know that you have to roll up your sleeves and get busy doing it. And that starts happening in every aspect of life. It’s not easy and sometimes it requires having a lot of hard conversations, but you start to recognize that it’s a lot more painful to ignore it than it is to face it head on. And that’s a really beautiful shift that I’ve seen, you know, hundreds of people go through in real time and no one ever got to the other side of that and thought to themselves, Oh, man, I wish I hadn’t had that honest conversation.
Light Watkins (00:27:15) – I wish I hadn’t gotten real with myself and and, you know, taking those actions. So once you start doing it a little bit, it becomes addicting in the same way that the meditation could become addicting because the meditation is sort of like your your means of deciphering, okay, what’s the next move? And what’s because you’re you’re getting the message, you’re getting your mission and you’re going and applying it in real time and then going back, okay, what do I do next? And it’s like the mentor, except it’s your own inner guidance that’s giving you the directives. So you’re taking the next step and the next step. And you don’t feel alone that way because when you start this process, you know, other people aren’t going to necessarily be able to relate to you. People who aren’t also engaging in their practices on a consistent basis. And in a way, there is a little bit of isolation that comes with that which could make those those thoughts that come up even more intense. But you’ll see that you’re always being guided at the same time and you just have to trust that that guidance is going to come through right when you need it.
Light Watkins (00:28:18) – Not before, but right when you need it. Kind of like when you’re lifting weights with a trainer and the barbell gets lower and lower and you just don’t think you can push back up. And they come and they put their two fingers underneath it and they just spot you, they assist you, the bar back up and it’s like, Oh, finally, right. And you finish that set and you’re like, Oh, that was I couldn’t have done that by myself, but I’m so happy that I had this experience. I feel a little bit stronger and you are stronger the next time you indulge in that exercise. So life can be a lot like that when you’re following your inner guidance with a sense of of security.
Jonathan Fields (00:28:52) – Yeah. And you used a word there, which I think is is critical, which is trust. And that’s something that a lot of folks have a lot of trouble with and sometimes rightly so. Sometimes they have trusted either in themselves or in others. It’s ended in pain. It’s ended in suffering.
Jonathan Fields (00:29:08) – So the notion of stepping into a practice that may bring you closer to the truth and also closer to a sense of some sort of internal guidance and then surrendering to that, trusting that there is something in there of value and following it that can be scary for a lot of people. And it’s funny because part of the theme of this conversation keeps going back to the what you started out with, which is when you follow the heart, it’s often not going to lead you to a place where you’ve been before or a place of comfort, or a place where it’s like, Oh no, I’m good. It’s going to invite you into the space of the unknown. And we tend not to like that, you know? And that kind of references another one of the principles that you that you invite people into, which is this notion of making decisions from the heart and not the head, but at the same time, going deeper into that, the notion of I think your language is split, testing the internal voices, because sometimes it’s not going to just be one.
Light Watkins (00:30:08) – Yeah, it’s hundreds of there’s could be thousands of voices in there, right? There’s your heart voice, which we oftentimes refer to as the still small voice. And the reason it’s still in small is because it’s being drowned out by a bunch of these other voices. Your fear voice, your trauma voice, the voice of your parents, the voice of your caretakers, the voice of your teachers society, the voice of the media that you’ve consumed, you know, and just all the voices, every voice that you have experienced in your life that is tried to direct you in one way or the other, could theoretically be in there when you are trying to figure out, okay, which one of these is my heart voice? And so the thing to remember is this with the heart voice, it doesn’t necessarily speak to you in your language. It speaks through feeling. It speaks through expansion. So, for instance, a lot of people may say, okay, I’m listening to my body. My body is saying, you need to go eat a piece of cake, two dozen donuts and sit and watch Netflix.
Light Watkins (00:31:06) – And that’s me being practicing self-care because that’s what my body’s telling me to do. I would argue that the part of your body that you’re listening to is not your heart voice. It could be maybe even stress. Stress is telling you, hey, you’re overwhelmed. Time to rack up on some sugar or some salt and just be sedentary. Right? I would argue that the heart voice would probably say to skip the ice cream or skip the donuts and go and eat some of those carrots you have in the refrigerator. And that’s because the idea of being healthy, right? Everybody wants to be healthy. No one’s walking around thinking to themselves, I want to be unhealthy. Right? So we’re kind of in a tug of war with the ego voice, which just wants comfort and short term satisfaction. And then the heart voice is kind of like long term satisfaction. What do I need to do in the short term to create long term satisfaction? And that usually requires us to do things that we may not think we’re even able to do.
Light Watkins (00:32:15) – Kind of like being the with the trainer in the gym, like they may have you do something, you’re thinking to yourself, There’s no way I can finish that exercise that many reps. But they say, Don’t worry about it, I’m going to spot you. I’m going to be here right with you. We can take breaks, but you need to do this in order to achieve the goal that you said you wanted to achieve when you hired me. I didn’t give you the goal. You gave me the goal that you wanted. So when we are in our most authentic space, we can envision what we ultimately want for ourselves, but we under appreciate what’s required. And so the hard place is always like the GPS in your cars, always direct you towards your vision for yourself. And oftentimes it’s doing things that you may not want to do in the short term. But when you do, do them. When you do go to the gym, no one has ever left the gym and thought to themselves, Oh my God, I wish I hadn’t gone to the gym today.
Light Watkins (00:33:07) – You always feel better pushing yourself, stretching your potential, putting yourself in uncomfortable situations where you have to grow and expand. For instance, I’ve been a fan of stand up comedy for years. I know certain comedians stand up bits, you know, verbatim. I’ve got all my favorites. I’ve studied people like Richard Pryor and all the way up to like the Bill burrs. And I’ve always thought about, you know, what would it be like to be up on stage and to do like a five minute comedy routine in front of an actual live crowd? And but. My ego. Like there’s no way you’re going to do that. You’re going to get you’re going to embarrass yourself. You’re going to lose your train of thought. No one’s going to laugh. It’s going to circulate around the Internet, you know? And so I kept finding reasons not to even try. And then a friend of mine here at Mexico City about two months ago said, Hey, I’m in the stand up comedy workshop. It’s a six week workshop.
Light Watkins (00:34:04) – It all culminates with a five minute long set in an actual comedy club after the six week and where you get to actually perform the things you’ve been working on. Man, I was so, like apprehensive about signing up for that because I didn’t think that I could do it. But something inside of me said, No, go and take the workshop. And I took the workshop and I’m I’m going week after week and I’m not feeling like I can come up with anything good enough to be up on stage and I’m talking myself out of going, but then I’m forcing myself to go and I do The whole six weeks. I missed a couple of them because I was just out of town. And so the day of the showcase, I’m just like, I can’t do this. I had so much stuff going on. I was like, I could easily just come up with an excuse not to do it. I came so close to texting the guy and saying, Hey, I can’t come. I’m not ready.
Light Watkins (00:34:57) – I have this other stuff I’m doing. I’m going out of town in two days, blah, blah, blah. But then something told me, just go. And I ended up rewriting my set. And as I was walking to the venue, I memorized the main points of the set. I’m like, I’m definitely going to forget this. And so this apprehension continues all the way until I get up on stage and I go on stage, I start my bit. I forget what I was going to say within like 10s. I have to pull out my notes and read it. And then after that I just kind of settled in to my body and was like, okay, this is happening. And I actually ended up killing. I ended up which is which is comedy parlance for I, you know, I had I did really good. People were laughing. It was great. It was much better than I ever anticipated. And I was so happy that I did it after having done it. Now, do I want to continue doing it? I don’t know.
Light Watkins (00:35:51) – I don’t know if I’m really going to be a standup comedian professionally, but that’s how following the heart works. There was no part of that process where I was like, Oh yeah, I get to do this right. The payoff didn’t happen until I was actually fulfilling the vision that I had for myself, which is being up on stage and making people laugh. But all the preparation leading up to that, I was in that gym, I was doing the squats, I was doing the deadlifting. I didn’t want to do that set. I don’t have enough right? Even up until the final minute, I was like, Oh God, this is going to be horrible. And I think when people get used to the idea that this is what following your heart actually feels like, it’s not like you start doing it and the skies open up and, you know, you start to you’re on the yellow brick road or something like that. It’s treacherous the entire way, and you’re constantly having to talk yourself into it because no one else is really there saying, you know, pumping you up, coaching you.
Light Watkins (00:36:46) – You have to coach yourself a lot of times. But I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. And the fact that I did that reminded me, Oh, you can do other things like that. You’ve taken so many leaps now you’ve seen the net appear. Now the idea of doing it is not going to stop you, right? You know, you can do it. And ultimately the underlying lesson is, is trusting, like you said, trusting that as you continue on step by step by step, everything you need is going to come into play. And even your doubts, the doubts that I had going to the venue that my previous set wasn’t good enough and I started rewriting it. Those came into play as well and were helpful and instructive and allowed me to have the the outcome that I ended up having.
Jonathan Fields (00:37:30) – So if you could. Identify a single signpost, a single indicator, a green light that says this is the heart voice and not all those other voices which would take you sideways. What jumps out at you is there.
Jonathan Fields (00:37:46) – Is there something where you’re like, Oh, this is how I know this is the thing? And it’s not all the other stuff, which feels more tempting but may not lead me to the place I really need to go.
Light Watkins (00:37:56) – Yeah. When you think about the outcome, when you think about the ultimate vision, for me, in that scenario, it was being on stage, being in my body, expressing myself in a way that allowed people to have an easier time in that in their life. That allowed them to sort of make fun of themselves or make fun of some other situation so they can see things a little bit differently. So in a way, comedy is like service, you know, it’s a service opportunity. And and that’s why I talk about split testing the heart voices, because sometimes even that won’t be clear. And you still won’t know, okay, this is my heart, voice versus some other voice because I have another situation where I was thinking of getting into real estate back in 2006, back when everybody and their mother was getting these zero interest loans and buying up places and flipping them two months later.
Light Watkins (00:38:51) – And I had all these friends doing it, and I had convinced myself that this is something that I could do. I could make a bunch of money and then I could potentially use it to, I don’t know, open up a yoga studio or, you know, would you know all about or do something along those lines. What I wasn’t appreciating was that I had zero passion around real estate. And so I remember sitting at the table with all the paperwork in front of me and everything in my body was like, Whatever you do, don’t sign these papers. And of course I signed them anyway because I was thinking about all the money I was going to be making. And and then the real estate bubble burst and, you know, I lost my pants and my shirt and my socks and everything else, and it just ended up being an experience that I just regret it and felt resentful towards pretty much the entire time until I finally just just ejected out of the situation and almost had to file for bankruptcy and, you know, and, and claw my way out of that.
Light Watkins (00:39:51) – And so at the same time, that still led me to my path, which was going to India and learning how to become a meditation teacher. And this is the good news about, you know, split testing is that sometimes you’ll follow your heart and sometimes you won’t. But either way, you’ll still end up where you need to be. It’s just that it may be a lot more painful if you don’t follow your heart. The other option is it’ll be more adventurous. So there’s no neutral path where, you know, you just don’t experience anything. You’re either choosing pain because you’re choosing the voice of your ego or you’re choosing adventure because you’re choosing to follow the voice of your heart. And in split testing, what I’m referring to is if you’re running Google ads or Facebook ads, a lot of times Internet marketers will test different headlines, different colors, different photos, different elements to the ad to figure out which one people are clicking on the most. And after split testing different versions, they’ll see, okay, this headline works the best along with this color, along with this photo, along with this caption, and they run with that.
Light Watkins (00:40:55) – And now it’s a highly optimized ad, And so if you think you are following your heart voice, great. Follow through with it. See how it works. See what happens if you get the fallout, the painful fallout like I was describing with real estate. That’s probably wasn’t your heart voice. But if you’re getting that expansive feeling that I described with the comedy where you arrive at that destination and it’s like, Oh, I’m so happy. I’m so happy. I went through this whole thing that was probably your heart voice, and you keep doing that with big things, with little things. I obviously recommend doing it with little things at first to start off with, just as a means of just becoming conversational and the voice of your heart without the stakes being too high. And what I mean by that is, let’s say you’re an elevator and someone else is in the elevator and something inside of you says, Oh, compliment that person’s shoes. You keep staring at their shoes, you keep admiring their shoes, compliment them, or you see somebody helping out another person in public and you think to yourself, Wow, that’s such a good person.
Light Watkins (00:41:56) – And normally you just keep walking, but something inside of you says, No, go, go share that, go express that compliment with that other person. Right. And it ends up brightening up their day. And so those are the little moments that we can really hone in on, which is the voice of our heart, because they always leave us feeling a little bit more expansive. If you share a compliment, you’re going to receive a sense of of joy in the same way that the person who who got the compliment from you is going to receive a sense of joy. And and you do that enough times, maybe a thousand times. Right. Which sounds like a lot, but actually think about how many choices you. Have just in a week. That could be just a week’s worth of choices. And you follow. You follow what you think is your heart choice. After about a thousand times, you’ll get pretty clear on what the feeling tone is when you hear that voice versus any of those other hundreds or thousands of voices.
Jonathan Fields (00:42:49) – Yeah, no, that resonates. It’s interesting. You kind of are talking about the notion of tiny moments also and start with little tiny experiments and then go to the bigger and the bigger ones over time, in part because the downside or like if you choose wrong, it may not hurt as much and you can kind of build the muscle while the stakes are a little bit lower over time. But eventually we do want to move into a place where the stakes are high, where our joy, our meaning, our happiness or sense of express purpose. And those are high stakes, but those are also the things that make life good. But at the same time, and this is where you write and invite people to say live as though there are no throwaway moments. You know, like they may be tiny, they may be low stakes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t matter.
Light Watkins (00:43:39) – Yeah, I like the idea of time being our most valuable asset, but I think that more so than time, it’s presence, right? If you can have all the time in the world because you’ve bought back your time, you’re an entrepreneur or whatever, you sold your company.
Light Watkins (00:43:56) – But if you’re not present with your family, with your kids, even with yourself, then you could argue that you’re actually squandering the time that you have versus maybe you’re still working a 9 to 5 job. Maybe you’re a student, maybe you’re still hustling. You have 2 or 3 side gigs, but you’re able to be present wherever you are. What you’ll discover is that you can have profound moments of connection, of insight wherever you are in line at the grocery store, at the post office, in Target, in traffic. Right. And the only difference is just how present you’re able to be. And what I’ve talked about before is that presence is sort of like having the ability to see those magic eye puzzles, you know, those magic eye puzzles with the pattern. It’s like it’s like wallpaper. Like it’s just you’re just staring at wallpaper. But the way you, you, you do it is you soften your gaze instead of trying to see something by focusing, you actually soften your gaze and you don’t try to see anything.
Light Watkins (00:45:03) – And then eventually an object will appear from the background. So you’re like, Oh my God, that’s a pyramid coming at me, or that’s a shark, or that’s a ball or a cat. And if you try to see that, you won’t see whatever that object is that’s hidden in there. And so when you’re present in these otherwise throwaway moments or mundane experiences, you may see or download insights around things that are important to your heart, right? Which is to say things that are important to your path, things that may not really make a whole lot of sense. Like you see a cat on the magic puzzle, you see a pyramid. It’s like, okay, it’s nice as a pyramid. That’s interesting. But then later on that day, you’re watching a movie. In that movie, there’s a plot point about pyramids. You’re like, Wow, that’s that’s coincidental. I saw a pyramid earlier today and this is a pyramid. And then the next day there’s a billboard, there’s a pyramid on the bill.
Light Watkins (00:45:56) – And then you’re sitting down thinking about your job or how you can create a better way of doing X, Y and Z at your job. And then it occurs to you, wait a minute, if we make it like a pyramid in some way, then that you start to see that I don’t have to try to come up with these things. I’m actually being fed these ideas. And that’s the essence of minimalism, right? I told the story maybe in our last interview about me writing these daily doses of inspiration emails that I started in June 6th of 2016, and I was so apprehensive about starting those, something inside of me told me to start them. So I knew that I had to take it seriously. And I started writing them, knowing deep down that I was going to run out of material within about three weeks. You know, because if you think about it, I’m just telling stories. How many stories does the average person know? I figured, okay, I know probably a dozen, two dozen stories that are interesting enough to share with my audience that are inspirational.
Light Watkins (00:46:57) – Right. So sure enough, after about three weeks, I ran out of content. But I had already painted myself into this corner where I was going to send out a daily dose of inspiration. So I had to come up with something and I had nothing. I remember being in my apartment late at night and nothing was coming, and I was I just wanted to go to sleep. I was tired. I had to be up early the next day to go work out. So I’m sitting on my couch and I just decide, okay, I’m going to stop trying to figure out what to write and I’m just going to close my eyes and just sit in this sort of meditative state. And I sat there like that for about five minutes and all of a sudden, boom, this idea comes through me, this story, this something that happened to me two days before came through. And I was like, That’s it. Because at that point I had had a feeling tone associated with the messages that I was going to write for the next day.
Light Watkins (00:47:50) – So I wrote that down, sent it out to. Next morning. It was great. You know, two nights later, same deal. I’m tapped out. I have nothing. It’s late. I just want to go to bed, close my eyes, Something comes through. And then I started to realize, Oh, that’s how it works. I don’t have to be responsible for coming up with the story. I just have to show up. I just have to facilitate the time and the space and I’ll let the universe, the muse, whatever you want to call it, feed me whatever needs to go out. Because guess what? My desire to write these emails was not even really my desire. It was my heart’s desire. So I was just fulfilling the message of the heart. And it’s the ego that gets us so attached to, okay, this has to be perfect, this has to be this way or that way, or I’m doing this to get recognition or to get fame. But when you’re following your heart, oftentimes you’re like, I don’t even know if anybody’s going to care about this thing that I’m doing.
Light Watkins (00:48:48) – I’m just there’s some impulse to do it. I’m curious about following through on that impulse. Let me do it. And so, yeah, I had a direct experience with the thing that that Maya Angelou used to say, which is you can’t run out of creativity because creativity begets creativity. And I think in any endeavor where you’re following your heart, all you have to be responsible for is showing up. And if you show up, whatever you need to take, that next step is going to come through you showing up. That’s where it’s going to come from. So you can trust in that. And once you have enough experiences with that and I’ve been doing this daily email, I’m still doing it. So we’re over seven years now. Yeah, I.
Jonathan Fields (00:49:26) – Remember and I remember in the early days.
Light Watkins (00:49:29) – Of them being fed the messages. I’m not coming up with these messages anymore.
Jonathan Fields (00:49:34) – And it’s amazing, right? And it’s as you’re describing, that it’s also like my mind went to where I am now.
Jonathan Fields (00:49:41) – I’m actually I go out and in seven minutes from my back door, these gorgeous trails in the mountains and, you know, often 4 or 5 days a week I’m hiking for an hour and a half in the middle of the day. And I often see people out there with devices or earphones in and stuff like this. And every once in a while I’ll pop them in. But most days when I go out into nature, I go out without any electronics. I go out without headphones on, not listening to anything. And it’s very intentional for me. And part of it is because I just want to be in nature. Part of it is I want to be present and I want to see the leaves and smell the smells and look at the beautiful little things budding all around me and hear the sounds. But part of it is also that just what you described is that I’ve noticed over a period of years that whenever I go into spaces, even for small amounts of time or longer amounts of time, there’s something in the back of my mind that needs to come through me.
Jonathan Fields (00:50:35) – And I know that, you know, it sort of has to happen if I just go into a space where I feel really at ease, at peace open and I create an experience which is non distracted. I’m just really present in this space that something is going to channel through me. Some things are going to drop into my mind and into my heart, and I cannot tell you how many times I have been out walking along water, hiking and trails or literally just sitting on a park bench in Central Park. When we were in New York watching the people go by without agenda, they’re like an idea for a business idea, for a podcast, like a solution to a problem. It just drops into my head because I was very intentional about just being present in a moment, not trying to actually make the thing happen. Going back to that word we used earlier, trusting that if I really get present in the small moments, whatever needs to come to me will come to me. And you do that enough times and you start to realize, Oh, there’s something happening here that I want to keep happening.
Jonathan Fields (00:51:39) – So I’m going to keep showing up in that same way, even if I don’t know how it’s going to end or how it’s happening.
Light Watkins (00:51:45) – Yeah. And then eventually you want that to be the case. Even when you’re in activity and chaotic and at work and you can get to the point where you can stabilize that and it’ll just start coming through you all the time and you’ll be able to solve problems in real time while you have two or 3 or 5 other things that you’re having to think about. That’s what flow is, by the way. Flow is not everything is going my way. That’s not what it means to be in the flow. Being in the flow means whatever is happening to me, I can adapt to it. So a good day is not a day where somebody gifted me with $1 million. A good day is a day that I was able to successfully adapt to most, if not all, of the changes that I faced. A bad day is a day when I wasn’t able to successfully adapt.
Light Watkins (00:52:32) – That’s the day I overreacted. I had anger. You know, I had a burst. I had a blowout in the car because somebody cut me off and it ruined my whole day or, you know, I was around somebody and I found myself lying a lot because I was too afraid of what they were going to think of me like. That’s what a bad day truly, truly is. The day where you can’t really adapt. And a good day is a day where you can adapt. And so that presence allows you to adapt a lot easier to whatever’s going on around you. And as a result, you’ll feel like, Hey, I’m in this flow, I can’t lose, I can’t miss. And that’s a really beautiful feeling that again, your heart will help you navigate because it’s kind of like your GPS. You don’t have to think about where you’re going. If this is should I be going right here? Should I be going left there? Your GPS already knows the destination. All you have to do is kind of follow along and trust that you’re going to get there in the most efficient way.
Jonathan Fields (00:53:26) – It’s almost like it’s a state that exists beyond thought, beyond emotion. It just is. It’s interesting also because if you look at the literature, academic literature on flow, it’s not described as something that just comes easy. It’s actually described as something which is often highly challenging to you, but you feel resourced to be able to actually move through whatever the level of a challenge or adversity is like. That’s what what gives you access to the state, not the fact that, oh, it’s just truly effortless. It takes no work at all. It’s generally the exact opposite. You are working fiercely hard, but you’re immersed in it, but you feel fully resourced for whatever the thing is that you are doing and that allows you to just become absorbed in it and sort of lose sense of time and space and just feel that sense of deep connection. And that kind of speaks to one. I wanted to ask you about one of the other things that you sort of call out as an element, and it’s this notion of really getting comfortable with discomfort.
Jonathan Fields (00:54:24) – We’ve kind of spoken around this, but I’d love you to just speak directly to it, because I think it’s interesting that under your concept of spiritual minimalism, a key element of this for you is actually inviting discomfort and then learning to equip yourself to be in that space sometimes for a long windows of time.
Light Watkins (00:54:46) – Yeah, I mean, look, and there’s, there’s a specific order to these principles. So getting comfortable and discomfort is principle number six. So it’s like this is near the end of, you know, the journey of becoming a spiritual minimalist, which is someone who is again, being informed from the inside out, making important decisions from their heart, treating life. And so there are no throwaway moments giving what they want to receive, following their curiosity. So assuming you’re doing most, if not all of that on a fairly regular basis, then you’re going to find yourself in some pretty uncomfortable situations. Because I’ll use my own example from that chapter in the book, I talk about me wanting to become a yoga teacher.
Light Watkins (00:55:28) – Okay, there’s nothing wrong with anybody wanting to become a yoga teacher. The problem in my head was I wasn’t a very flexible person. So this is back in 2002 when yoga was mainly about being a contortionist.
Jonathan Fields (00:55:44) – Yeah, especially in LA in L.A.
Light Watkins (00:55:47) – Right. And I would bend over in a forward fold and I was about ten inches from my toes. I could touch my shins. And so I had the audacity to think that I should go to a yoga teacher training as if my flexibility was going to improve at all in those three months. So I had to essentially, again, talk myself into it, find a program that I felt was accommodating to to someone like me who wasn’t a very flexible person. And it was kind of like my little secret. I didn’t tell anybody that I was insecure about my inflexibility and no one said anything. And after the training ended, I was going around Los Angeles trying to teach at any opportunity that I could, a bunch of substituting of classes, and I couldn’t demonstrate the poses that I was teaching.
Light Watkins (00:56:45) – So now I felt like a fraud. I felt like a complete imposter. I was like a dentist that was missing two front teeth and afraid to smile. But over time, my classes started to grow in size. And what I realized was that because I was so inflexible, because I was so insecure, I was able to connect with most of the people that were coming because most people were like me, right? And I was also able to articulate poses as opposed to showing the pose, which allowed me to be able to kind of develop the gift of gab as a yoga teacher a lot quicker. And yeah, I became one of the most popular teachers in Los Angeles because of my supposed disadvantage. I ended up turning out to be my unique advantage, but I would not have experienced that. I wouldn’t have discovered that had I not allowed myself to find enough comfort to get into that that uncomfortable situation. And, you know, I’ve written before that most people who are who are on their path, who are living at their.
Light Watkins (00:57:52) – Edge are feeling a sense of imposter syndrome. And if you don’t feel imposter syndrome, you want to go further. Whatever you’re doing, go a little further. And once you start to feel that imposter syndrome, now you’re back in the gym, you’re with the trainer universe, is there spotting you and you know that that’s now you’re in your growth zone, you’re out of your comfort zone, you’re in your growth zone now you’re stretching into your potential, and that’s exactly where you want to be.
Jonathan Fields (00:58:19) – I love that. And that’s the place where I often try and push myself. But like you said, there’s a skill set that you develop over time through saying yes to different principles and practices that allows you to regularly put yourself into a place of discomfort in the name of growth and that skill set. Those practices are the things that often allow you to sustain yourself that way or in that place. And by the way, for everybody listening, we’ve been talking about general concepts and stories. But in the book there are a whole bunch of specific actions and step by step practices and things.
Jonathan Fields (00:58:53) – So to to really just go step by step and say, okay, this is here’s how I actually implement this. Here are the things that I say yes to. Here are the practices and the things that I can do to start to invite this into my life. Zooming out as we start to come full circle in our conversation, when you think about the notion of spiritual minimalism, minimalism in general over the last decade or so, as we described, became really a very powerful movement. Do you have a sense that there is a need for the concept of spiritual minimalism to become something bigger than a concept and actually embrace more of the energy of a movement?
Light Watkins (00:59:35) – I would like to see that happen. Yes, I think that it can explain a lot of things around why we may feel stuck in our life and we attribute it to so many things outside of ourselves without realizing that we have the power to get unstuck from the inside out. And a lot of that just comes from not controlling things, not controlling people, but adopting a lifestyle that allows us to be more in control of ourselves, to be more in flow, to be more in alignment with what we’re feeling internally, the good parts of what we’re feeling internally.
Light Watkins (01:00:16) – And if we can do that and be patient enough with ourselves while we’re going through the initial stages of that process, which can create a lot of internal turbulence, it’s kind of like, you know, if you decide to become a minimalist from the outside in, there’s going to be a period where you’re going to have shit all over the place, clothes all over the floor, you know, and you walk in your house, looks like a bomb just went off. But that’s the part you have to go through internally in order to arrive at this place of spaciousness that we’ve been talking about. And it’s from that place of spaciousness that you’ll be able to make the best decisions for yourself, the best choices possible. And what I say in the book is this is principle number two, make your most important decisions from your heart, right? It’s not to say ignore what your your head is saying is just saying make your most important decisions from your heart. So going back to my stand up comedy example, my heart told me to do that.
Light Watkins (01:01:12) – My head told me how to write the bit and to rewrite it and to practice it and rehearse it. Going up to, you know, and work out all the logistics around it. So your head is important, your ego is important. What are you going to wear? How do you want to present? You know, all of these kinds of things are also important, but don’t let your head and your ego decide if you’re going to do it or not. You want your heart to decide that, and if your heart is giving you the green light, then just know that you can rely on your head, you can rely on your ego and all the other tools and resources that you have to help you figure out how. And all you have to do is just keep moving forward. Right? That’s it. You don’t have to figure out how it’s all going to happen. And you know, if you’re going to be awarded at the end of it or any of that kind of stuff, your paycheck is going to your soul and you’re not.
Light Watkins (01:02:04) – You may not get an external reward for it, but your soul will feel like you just got a big bonus for the year and that’s going to help you to stay inspired to keep listening to that. And so eventually the still small voice, the volume gets turned up into a loud, annoying voice that you couldn’t ignore even if you wanted to ignore it. And that’s exactly where you want it to be.
Jonathan Fields (01:02:26) – Love it. And that feels like a great place for us to come full circle as well. So I have asked you this question before, but it’s been a number of years now and life changes and people change. So in this container of Good Life project, if I offer up the phrase to live a good life, what comes up?
Light Watkins (01:02:41) – When I hear to live a good life. The thing that’s coming up for me is to structure your day to day lifestyle to get as close as you can to feeling like if this was your last day on earth. You would have no regrets. So to get as close as you can on a day to day basis, which means working in a job that you love, that you don’t regret at all, which means taking care of yourself, eating the kinds of foods that are both healthy and tasty, which means exercising in a way that makes you feel like you’re just celebrating your strength.
Light Watkins (01:03:23) – And it’s not a punishment. Which means surrounding yourself with people that are actually lifting you up instead of dragging you down, which means being of service budgeting in some time each day to just be of service, whether that’s posting on your blog or putting something inspirational on social media or doing a random act of kindness once a day, you know, things like that. Like you can do these little things and you combine them all together and one day is coming where it will be your last day and you’re not going to be sitting there thinking, Oh man, I wish I had given myself time to do X, Y, and Z because that’s all you’ve been doing. And when your birthday comes around, it should be no different from any other day. The things you do on your birthday should be very close to the things that you’re doing on a daily basis, and that way every day becomes your birthday. That’s a good life to me.
Jonathan Fields (01:04:19) – Thank you. Hey, before you leave, if you love this episode, safe bet you’ll also love the conversation we had with Sharon Salzberg about insight, meditation and loving kindness.
Jonathan Fields (01:04:30) – You’ll find a link to Sharon’s episode in the show notes. And of course, if you haven’t already done so, please go ahead and follow Good Life Project in your favorite listening app. And if you found this conversation interesting or inspiring or valuable and chances are you did. Since you’re still listening here, would you do me a personal favor, a seven second favor, and share it maybe on social or by text or by email? Even just with one person. Just copy the link from the app you’re using and tell those you know those you love, those you want to help navigate this thing called life a little better so we can all do it better together with more ease and more joy. Tell them to listen, then even invite them to talk about what you’ve both discovered. Because when podcasts become conversations and conversations become action. That’s how we all come alive together. Until next time, I’m Jonathan Fields, signing off for Good Life Project.