Kaira Jewel Lingo was a nun in Thich Nhat Hanh's Plum Village monastery for 15 years, a leader in his mindfulness retreats and programs, helped edit some of his bestselling books. Then she decided to leave monastic life, and go into the uncertainty of what to do next. She wrote a beautiful book called, "We Were Made for These Times: Ten Lessons for Moving Through Change, Loss, and Disruption."
- Kaira Jewel’s passions for building communities and spaces for self-discovery, along with eco-dharma — exploring how spirituality can address environmental crises
- The benefits of holding meditation retreats outdoors, emphasizing nature's role in healing and its ability to absorb human emotions and experiences
- Embarking on a new path without knowing what comes next — and sitting with uncertainty
- How to work with moments of doubt and discomfort during transition, and learning to trust the process and not rush into decisions
- The possibility and freedom that comes with not knowing
- How to stay calm and mindful in a stressful situation, using mindfulness practices to stay grounded and nourished in your busy life
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Welcome to the Zen Habits podcast, where we dive into how to work with uncertainty, resistance, and fear around our meaningful work. This is for anyone who wants to create an impact in the world and cares deeply enough to do the work. I'm your host, Leo Babauta, creator of the Zen Habits blog.
Okay. So I am excited to bring on as a guest, as one of my first guests, Kyra Jewel Lingo, who is someone who I know I'm starting to consider a friend since we've worked together for a few times now. Let me introduce her a little bit. So Kyra Jewel, she studied under Thich Nhat Hanh in his plum village and became a Buddhist nun at the age of 25 in 1999, and spent 15 years as a nun, engaging in all day mindfulness practice, basically, you know, studying under Thich Nhat Hanh, leading retreats, community building, guiding individual students, leading the community's mindfulness programs, and retreats for teens, children, families worked closely with Thich Nhat Hanh to edit transcripts of his talks into books, including a couple of New York Times bestsellers. And so she worked deeply with him and considered him not only a mentor, but someone she was really close to. And then not too long ago, she decided to leave the nunhood, leave the monastic life.
and go into lay life. And she spent some time not knowing what that was going to be and sitting with that. And so now she is exploring not only leading people in mindfulness, but doing it with her husband and leading communities and doing some really fascinating things. She's also written a book. I highly recommend it.
We will link to it in the links below. You know, I think it's an incredible book. It's called We Were Made for These Times. Ten lessons for moving through change, loss, and disruption. I've read the book, I've given it as gifts as a gift, and it's really about practicing, resting into the unknown, taking care of your emotions, maintaining your centeredness and finding equanimity and joy in any circumstance. This is a perfect book for the times that we're going through, and I'm happy to dive into this with Cairo Jewel. Okay. Well, welcome Cairo Jewel to the podcast. Beautiful to have you on.
Thank you for having me. Is it okay if I just dive right in?
Please. I have a lot of things I'm really curious about, and I want to respect your time. Sure thing. So, I want to just so, well, first of all it's been a little while since the last time we talked, and so I'd really love to hear some of the things that you've been working on lately and the ways you've been working with people, things you're excited about.
Sure. I am excited about Building community and creating spaces where people can encounter themselves and each other. And that's been happening in a few different things that I've been doing. A small group mentoring that I did last year and that I've done this year for three months. And hope to do that on a regular basis, maybe every year where people really.
It was surprising to me how quickly people felt a sense of community in this group where we just come together to share our practice, deepen our practice, it's, you know, a space for people to bring in their questions and their, you know, concerns as it relates to their daily life and practice. So that's been really nourishing for me.
And then The Buddhist Christian Community of Meditation and Action that my husband and I teach together. It's also been just surprising to me how people really feel it is their community. You know, not, and some people just come a few times or they drop in every so often, but a number of people seem to really feel it.
It's becoming a real. spiritual community for them. Can you tell me more about that? Buddhist, Christian meditation and action. Okay, community. Okay, go ahead. Yeah. Community of meditation and action. So we started it this January 2022. So we've been going a little more than a year. We meet monthly, but this year we also started to have small group, like, check in time.
So, Adam, my husband would do one. Once a month, and I'll do a small group once a month, people can just drop in and it's more of a conversational space because the monthly session, one of us will offer a practice to start, the other will offer a teaching, and then we'll have breakout groups and then Q and A or a conversation in the larger group.
So we bring in, we weave different elements, you know, we weave our. different lineages, traditions in this session, and many people who come also feel like those two traditions are in their life in a very alive way, and there are not many spaces where both can be acknowledged simultaneously,
And that's really...
I was curious why, what was the intention behind it? Why you decided to create this?
Yeah, thanks for that question. You know, really, Early on in our relationship we, we, we really felt like we were kind of brought together that all these things just like it was so like astoundingly quick, we recognized immediately that we wanted to be in a relationship and we were both, you know, very committed to, you know, Whatever was going to unfold, you know, like very quickly and and one of the things we understood sort of a few months into the relationship was when we started talking about what did we see in our future in five years or whatever, 10, and we both started talking about building community and like like some kind of residential community or like a center where Buddhism and Christianity could be.
Practice, but also basically we just, we were finding our own spiritual practice as a couple becoming so enriched by the other person's, you know, cause while I had 15 years in a monastery, Adam has this very deep. You know engagement with contemplative traditions in Christianity and other traditions as well, but he's a, an Episcopal priest, and so he's done a lot of study and practice and work with others around like mysticism and especially Christian mysticism, and so zinging when we would talk, I would name a Buddhist teaching and he would name like some teaching Christianity that I'd never heard of, even though I'd grown up Christian.
And we would just be like, Whoa, and it would be so rich. And I think we wanted to we wanted to figure out how to weave that as part of our like larger lives. Cause we felt it, it was so, you know, a space, well, first of all, we wanted a space for us to go deeper in the practice. Like we didn't want to be in this.
He, he works for the cathedral, which is very There's a lot that he appreciates about this job, you know, where he's employed by the church. And I have a pretty full schedule as a Dharma teacher, self employed. But we both long for a really more of a contemplative life where it's sort of, you know, he wrote a book some years ago called The New Monasticism, which was looking at how can we bring monastic qualities into lay life to really have a deeper spiritual grounding as lay people.
And so I think it, this idea of a community came out of both of us really wanting a deeper spiritual life ourselves, because we both feel pretty busy. Which it doesn't mean like we wouldn't still be doing a lot in a community, but the power of like group practice on a daily basis. would also be very grounding and centering.
And we would just have to probably live simpler and do less to be committing to a group like that. So so that was the vision that sort of emerged early on. And so we thought, how can we build towards this? We need to start building community now. And so that's where the Zoom monthly meetings came about is like, well, let's just start practicing with people and seeing what comes from us as far as a way of practice, and then that will show us the way as far as some kind of community.
And as you're discovering the way, I really love that idea, by the way, as you're discovering that, is there anything that's been Interesting to you, like surprising that's being revealed at this point? You know, we, we actually were wondering if we were on the right track after the first year.
You can't sometimes see when you're right in the woods. So we decided to have listening sessions. We thought maybe we'll just take a break because we kind of didn't really know, you know, things were quite busy and. Yeah, we didn't know how to exactly continue. So we said, let's have listening sessions to just take the temperature of the group and hear what's been important for people so far, and then we'll decide if we continue or not.
And we were just blown away in the listening sessions to hear how important this space is for people. And how it's so unique, they keep, they don't find this kind of, you know, interweaving in other spaces in their lives and how how much they are like yearning for it each month and often also wanting more often and how much the community also is like nourishing for them.
Like they really want to get to know each other more. So we were just like, wow, like this actually is making a difference in people's lives. Like we were kind of like. We don't know if this is really doing something. And so with that, we were like, okay, we have to continue. And so we, we. That's amazing. And then, and then now with the meeting every month in small groups too, like that optional just drop in space for a smaller group is also letting us get to know people better.
And they have more space to bring in their own personal questions that we don't have time for in the larger group. So yeah, we've been surprised, like we're getting like 50 to 60 people each month, but like a hundred and something are registering, so they'll watch the recording later. So it seems to be resonating.
Yeah. The community is, is being built. Yes. Amazing. Well, we've. We've kind of gone into that area of your work, but there's other things that you've been exploring lately. Anything else you want to share?
Yeah, yeah. So another area that's really been of concern and interest to me for a long time is, is kind of ecodharma.
And how the, the practice of spirituality can support us in this time of polycrisis. So I've been engaged with different groups and study groups and advisory groups trying to, you know understand how dharma and climate change can really come together, both to offer a kind of grounding for activists working in this field, but also how to bring activism and engagement to people in spiritual communities around climate, around everything really, racial justice economic justice, all of that's so connected to the climate crisis.
And it's even bigger than the climate crisis. It's a, you know, biodiversity loss and, you know, pollution of air and water and soil. So it's so many things. But one of the things that I am engaged in now that feels like a very creative response to this is two women, Anna Kovasna and Justine Huxley have started a concentric leadership training program, and I'm just a small, small part of that with my dear friend Kriti Kanko, we're facilitating the U. S. based retreat.
There's going to be retreats in several different places for this international group that's going to go through this 18 month training together. Each of them do a one week retreat at the start. So we'll be facilitating the U. S. based retreat, but we'll be in a center in the Rockies and we're right now designing a week for experiencing ourselves as kin with all all of life.
So it's a meditation based retreat, but the focus is really on how to experience ourselves, not as separate or above other forms of life, the more than human world, but as embedded within and as siblings, kin with, with all other species and the planet.
Wow. So amazing. I'm just feeling really moved by that. And there's And I have a zillion questions coming up for me, so we could probably dive in just in that topic for the rest of this podcast and beyond. But I just really want to say, like, I'm guessing people listening to this, there's stuff there that's resonating with them.
Just the idea of spiritual practice and, and the eco. You know, like the Polly crisis that you talked about, like there's so much richness when you look at the two of those kind of combining, combining those two approaches. And I've been imagining that people who are interested in one or the other, and And feeling some resonance, and like, oh, there's this other whole, like, sphere that I could explore.
And then there are probably a bunch of people listening to this who are interested in both, but have not really gotten involved in a spiritual community or in environmental, like, activism. So they, those are like two areas they'd love to explore, but maybe don't know where to get started. And I'm wondering, like, What would you say to someone who's like in that space who are like, those are both amazing places, and I feel a little bit intimidated.
Well, there's some wonderful easy places to start, which again, emphasize community and learning and and joy really, because we're, we all can grow and learn on this path together. There's two organizations that I'm connected with. One is One Earth. Sangha, which is a Buddhist response to the climate crisis.
And they have eco sattva training and eight week training, which you can do on your own time, you're encouraged to do it with a group. So you could bring a group of friends along and you, everything's prerecorded and you can do this course. As a way to kind of dip your toe in what this means to, you know, eco sattva is like based on the word bodhisattva, this awakened being.
So it's like, you know, a being who really works on behalf of all of life. I love that. But they also have, even if the training isn't, you know, what you'd be interested in, they have a monthly session that is open to everyone by, by donation. And they have different teachers that offer really, you know, profound, like a two hour session with practice as well as teaching.
And time to connect in community around a prompt, you know, so that's something people could drop in. And then another Buddhist group is called the Earth Holder Sangha. It's in the Plum Village tradition and of Thich Nhat Hanh. And so they also meet not just monthly, but I think every two weeks. And it's a very much community based you know, getting to know each other and supporting each other.
They have a wonderful website with so many resources on practices, very grounded in practices we can do that help us connect with the earth, connect with from a spiritual perspective touching the earth and meditations. So I would say both of those are great entry points where there are others that are doing it with you and that, you know, there's the, the teaching element, there's the being in community element.
And so and just those, both of those websites are just talk full of resources and talks and recordings. So, yeah. Thank you. And. There's one more thing that I think you mentioned before we started recording that I wanted just to make sure we, we touched on as we look, look at the things you're passionate about.
And I'll just say a word to prompt you which is wild. Oh, yes. So connected to this eco Dharma, by the way, another great. is the kin centric leadership website that has a growing resource. So stay connected to that too, if that's of interest, it's more than just the 18 month program. It's a whole thing that will be on offer for the public, even if they're not in that leadership training, but yeah, as far as the world wild.
Word wild. I had a chance to offer a retreat with other teachers in the fall that was It was almost completely outdoors. It was a meditation retreat in silence. We were sitting, walking, sitting, walking, but outdoors. And it was such a I have led hiking retreats and nature retreats before, but this was the first time doing that format of vipassana practice outside.
And it was so it was so profound for me. To notice how much nature absorbed, like there would usually be so much more suffering on a, on a normal retreat indoors, and it just wasn't coming up. People were touching so much joy so quickly, or, or at peace, or, or You know, deep, deep things, but they weren't hitting the kind of obstacles that they would often hit on sitting indoors.
And so that was just really profound. And so I just thought, I just want to teach all of my retreats outdoors, like this sense of yeah, like really wanting to do more you know, really bring in nature as part of the Sangha. As, as the teacher and to, to take refuge more in, in the natural world as not just the backdrop of a retreat, but like the foreground, like.
You know, a really big part of our healing. Cause I feel like what is so at the root of our, all of the destruction we're causing the planet is this sense of separation from, from the earth, from life, and so anything we can do to be. Outside and with, you know, other life forms with the earth and the sky and the rain and the sun is, is healing.
Hmm. That's really profound stuff and I resonate a hundred percent with all of it. It's just so important from, you know, I was just leading a retreat in Costa Rica and The wild there is just right there in your face. Even when you're indoors, it's coming in for you. And it was just so, like, I was so nourished by that.
I'm, I'm someone who's from the tropics. So when I was there, I'm just like, Oh my God, it's just. It just filled me up in a way that, you know, being in California doesn't oh, there's some amazing wilds here too. But the other piece of it that you spoke to that I really resonate with is how much nature can absorb from us.
Like all of, our emotions, all of, all of the stuff that comes up in us and we try and hold it in. And if we release it, some of the things that I've been working with is trusting nature to be able to hold all of that. And it's actually. Amazing. I think I had a view of the world as fragile, like it couldn't take all of my pain, anger, suffering, all of that.
And it could take so much more than that. And it's, it's energy that it can absorb. So yeah, absolutely. I resonate with that. And it's amazing that you're bringing that into the world. Thank you. Okay. There's a couple of things that I want to get to in this conversation that I, I'm really curious about.
And one of them is, so as I've shared with you I'm really interested in, in taking practice with uncertainty and spiritual practice into meaningful work. So like where, Those combine, and one of the reasons your story has always really fascinated me is because you spent years in a monastery with an incredible teacher, but with an incredible community as well, and and I'm sure that was you know, there's so much there that we could learn from, from that, and, and then you decided to leave it leave that behind, leave that person behind, that part of your life behind, and enter into something new without even knowing what that was.
And you talked about sitting with that, that not knowing and being willing to sit in that and then to see what emerges. And now what you've just shared with us are some of the things that have emerged that I'm, I'm sure you couldn't have even guessed when you decided to leave the monastic life. And so that's just a fascinating example, a model in the world of what I'm really curious about right now.
So I'd like to ask a couple of questions about that, if that's okay. For sure. Yeah. Okay. Let's see. The first one is, what has that been like for you to not only leave behind your old life and identity? But to move through the unknown and be discovering without even knowing if anything will be discovered Do you know that I think that's one thing people want is like if I can sit with it for a week Then I'll know the answers and if you could give me that guarantee then I'll do it But you you went into it without having any Guarantees that anything was going to emerge.
You don't, you didn't know what was on the other side or if there was anything on the other side. And so I'm curious what that, what that's been like for you personally, as you've been working with that.
Yeah. You know, I was sharing with someone about this recently, a new, a new thing clicked for me about what.
What allowed me to trust, you know, cause for me, it was really just like a profound trust for one thing. It was like, I kept getting confirmation all along the way. So like the first moment I took the leap out of the monastery, while it was really difficult and really painful, I cried a lot. And, you know, the people I love too, I was leaving, we, we cried together, you know Like very soon after that I, you know, was invited to, to lead a retreat here or offer, you know, so, so there was like some place that held me, you know, and then, and then that led to the next being able to offer something, whether it was, you know, a retreat or you know, to be in Sangha, to be in community.
But basically, I, I always had. Like one, one experience would lead me to the next place and, and each place felt, yes, this is what I need to be doing. Like it was some kind, it was a, it was a landing place. It wasn't, you know, the answer, but I was, I was held. I noticed there was ground under my feet and all I had to do was be there.
I would get into trouble if I tried to guess. Three steps ahead. So it was really like being led. So I was like, okay, I'm here. I've had, I had something meaningful and wholesome to be engaged in with people who cared about me and respected me. And, you know, there was a genuine love and then that would lead to the next.
So it wasn't like everything, you know, unfolded all at once, but there was continuous confirmation. You're doing the right thing. Like I never. I never felt at any point, especially in those early days, as I was really very vulnerable, leaving the monastery for the first time, I never felt I shouldn't be doing this.
Whatever I was doing, it felt very fulfilling. It felt very enlivening. And there was a lot of love. And I was still able to support people and be, be supported and, you know, engage in the practice and be with, you know, in communities of people who loved Thay's teachings and Thay's practices. And so I, I was just, I was on a different orbit than I was used to, but I was still orbiting the sun, you know?
So here's what I'm curious about. I love that by the way. Thank you for sharing that. But what I'm curious about is. I can imagine a lot of people in your shoes and you're like, well, I just, you know, knew that I was doing the right thing. A lot of people would be like, am I doing the right thing? Like, well, there's this thing here and like, sure, that's happening.
But like, you know, there's a lot of question that comes up for a lot of people and you just had this trust. So why is that?
Well, I mean, I also had moments. So like, then I, after doing some teaching, then I would every month, I mean, every fall, I would spend six weeks or a month of six weeks or three months at the Insight Meditation Society doing their long silent retreat.
So that was, I did that for four years in a row. And and yeah, I would sit in, in these retreats with like, I don't know what's going to come. I don't know what I'm supposed to do. And that was very frightening, very you know, agonizing. Cause I had always known up until then, I always knew what I was supposed to be doing.
And so while I felt this sense of resonance. In, in every place I would go to teach and I never felt I regretted doing anything that I was doing, it was all very meaningful. I also was in, you know, distress when I was trying to figure out what's supposed to come. And it was this very awkward place, like I'm a nun, but I'm not living in a monastery.
Like, I am having to somehow support myself. sort of, you know, like I didn't have the material support from the community. So I, you know, I needed to be, you know, I wanted to be practicing and teaching. I was a Dharma teacher before I left the monastery. I wanted to keep teaching. But I also was just trying to figure out what, what was I going to go back to the monastery?
If not, then what would I disrobe? Like all of these were questions and there weren't answers for a long time. Like it was two years as a nun outside of the monastery before I decided I do need to disrobe. And so, so that was very uncomfortable. You know, not too much doubt about, Oh, I, I didn't really think I should go back.
Although sometimes if I really felt, you know, just so uncomfortable in this, you know, not yet this, not that anymore state, there would be like this, Oh, it would just, you could, but every time I thought of going back to the monastery, I felt like I would have to shrink to be back in there. Not because the monastic life wasn't beautiful, but I felt like where I was personally, I would have to you know, not be true to myself to go back to being a nun.
Yeah. That sounds, that sounds like an important point is this, you could feel the shrinking of that again, not that that's a smaller life or anything, but it's just, that's that option at that point in your life felt like it would have been shrinking. Yeah.
So I think, yeah, so I think in terms of the doubt, it was really around just not knowing what was coming.
And what I think, what really, what I learned in sitting on these retreats was I could be okay with the not knowing.
Tell me more about that if that's okay, because that's a, that's a really important topic. So you said it was agonizing, you know, just being in that, like all of the doubts or fears or not knowing, but then there was a.
A learning that you could be okay with that. So, so how do you get from agonizing to like what you just said?
Yeah. I mean, it wasn't a linear journey, but it was more like times of agony and then dipping into actually I'm okay. Right. In this moment, as I sit, if I fully give myself to the people around me, appreciating my own. You know, wish to really live deeply this moment, then it was like, I realized I actually have everything I need to meet this moment. It's when I would spin into, you know, what do I do in six months or what, who am I going to become?
That's when, you know, I would not be equipped for that kind of question, and then that would lead to the distress. And so, you know, some of the things that helped me were just zooming out and realizing any, you know, this has happened many times in my life where you don't know what's going to come. You don't know how things will unfold, but somehow they resolve themselves, right?
So just knowing that this would also be. At some point, I would know if I would disrobe or go back to the monastery, like that would come to clarity. And so just trusting that, that this was impermanent, but also you know, this teaching Joseph Goldstein, one of my teachers at IMS shared is that there's so much possibility when you don't know, we often think of it as a negative thing.
Oh. If I don't know, then I'm somehow handicapped, but there's all this possibility when you don't know, when you do know what you're going to do, there's just that one option, but when you don't know, there's infinite options. And so also appreciating the freedom, the spaciousness, the, you know, it's scary, but it's also wondrous.
And so just learning to hold the unknowing in different ways, and to realize actually my real security is not in knowing what's coming, it's in being able to be with what's right here.
Really beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. And another thing I'm curious about as you, as you were describing it, so there's the kind of the discomfort or the agony or the distress and then you'd kind of like realize that you had everything you needed right here in this moment.
There's a root of that distress that you shared which is like I want an answer about what's going to happen in six months or, or beyond. And so it's like wanting to concretize the future, right? Which you can't. And so that's the, the root that you pointed to. But when it was peaked like that, that discomfort, I would imagine that it would, it could be there for hours or days or something like that.
And I'm wondering how you were able to practice being with that. If you were like, let's say you were sitting and that was arising and it was, that was your experience. Most people want to run from that and it sounds like you were able to be with it.
Yeah. I mean, I also wanted to run from it too. It was very disorienting.
But yeah, talking about it with my teachers and hearing what they had to share was very helpful and soothing, which is just like, you are capable of being with this, you know, it won't kill you and discovering that for myself that like I could sit through it. I could meet it and I could investigate it actually, because that feeling is made up of beliefs, right?
And those beliefs are just beliefs. They're not reality. And so so that was a learning of just it's okay not to know. Like I could just, you know, I could see how much I wanted to land on something, this or that. And I just wasn't. There yet. And so I could, I felt, I learned to expand into the not knowing, right.
To just be like, yeah, it's okay. I can, I can hold this not knowing. And I, I had to, I just had to, there wasn't, there wasn't really, especially when you're sitting and walking in silence for three months, there's no escape, like it was just there and then there was no way to avoid it. And so I realized, yeah, I can just, this can be here.
That no escape can feel very trapping for people, like claustrophobic and limiting. And what what you're sharing is that it was actually freeing, like not. actually being able to escape from it, because that's what we're, most of us are doing all day long, is trying to escape from that. Yeah. And there isn't an escape, unfortunately, but you actually had some, had a container, had some restrictions that actually helped you to stay with it.
And it sounds like that was powerful, like the powerful investigations there, powerful learnings and breakthroughs for you.
Yeah. Okay. Let me move to the next piece that I'm really interested in. And that is okay. So you're now in your next phase of your work. So you're working with people, I'm assuming.
you're busier now than you were when you were in the monastery. And so what I'm really curious about is what are some of the things you brought with you from your year, your years of like marinating in the monastery? I don't know if that's the right term, but if you know what I mean, you've learned some things from there that are now you're able to apply to your busy life of doing your meaningful work with people.
Yeah. Well, let me just tell you a story because, you know, it's so nice when people come back to you and tell you stories of things they remember, which you have long forgotten. But someone just told me this story, a dear friend. She, so I had, I was going to Pittsburgh to give a talk at the university she taught at, and we put the wrong destination in the GPS.
This was some years ago. And so we ended up coming late because we went to some other place and it was, you know a hall full of people. And so of course she was beside herself and what she reminded me, I had no recollection of this. She said, I have always, this teaching you gave by what you did always has stayed with me.
She said, when you came into that hall, you were not rushing. This was, you know, some years after disrobing and she said, and, and I was like, what, like, I would be so rushed in that situation, you know, but she was so impressed that I just came in, I guess, mindfully. And then the first thing I did was I led people in a body relaxation, you know, and she said she was so, you know, surprised that I just kind of centered, you know, centered myself and helped everyone come into a steady place.
As my first thing, and of course I did that because I needed, I'm sure I needed it. I'm sure I was very stressed that I was late accidentally, but, but I think that kind of thing, which touched her so much, but I had forgotten about was part of the monastic training of like a lot of things are going to be outside of our control and still we have to practice.
You know, we have to practice, that is the practice right there. So we, we walk mindfully and, and with awareness, even if. We're late, but we're, we're like embodying what we're teaching as much as we can. I don't profess to be able to do this all the time, but it was lovely to have that story given back to me of like, I'm sure that wasn't, you know, something I would have been able to do of my own accord.
It was the monastic training. That helped me to but, but I definitely you know, I'm more busy and life moves much faster than when it was in the monastery. And what are some of the practices you use now when you're this busy?
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, luckily my day is. It's often full of getting to do things like this or teach meditation to groups or sit with people one on one and, you know, support them.
And so, and so I really try to track what's happening in me. And when I'm leading a meditation or sitting with others, I really do allow that to nourish me as well. Like I listen to my teachings and I'm like, Oh, I have to do better in this area. pondering and reflecting on my life too. And so luckily a lot of the things, the content of what I'm doing throughout the day is helping me come into my true home, my sense of real what's really important in my life.
But you know, one thing, I have a dog, she's two years old, and many times a day I'll stop and pet her and talk to her because I work from home. And so she's a kind of mindfulness bell for me and an enjoyment bell. What does it do for you when you, when you pet her? Yeah, I just, I feel like I, I get in touch with love.
I'm not thinking about work that I have to do next. I'm just being with her, looking into her eyes, smelling her yeah, just, so she's like a, a being that really helps me also to just like slow down and enjoy and connect and feel my heart but yeah, one other thing I would say, and this is something I've just kind of come into more in the last.
Maybe year is just really having a committed exercise routine where I really spend the morning, you know, I have a meditation time, but I also have a time where I work out and I work out more vigorously than I used to where I sweat and I'm, you know, lifting weights and, and it's so, it's feels so good to let my body, you know, feel its strength and to do things that are challenging and to sweat.
And, and I feel like that sets me up also for just my mind being more still throughout the day when I really can work my body. Not too, too, you know, not overly, but to a good, like to challenge myself on a regular basis. So I'm jogging again. I took, I wasn't jogging for many years and anyway, just different kinds of exercise.
Well, I'm looking forward to the Cairo, Cairo jewel workout program released on YouTube. I think that's a good place to wrap up. I, I want to acknowledge a couple of things you just said there, because I'm not sure. I want to make sure that people really get the, some of the really key things. And what you just shared, there was a recognition of what's coming up in you, like an awareness of, like, you know, what's there for you, I'm guessing in terms of body sensation, emotional, maybe even thoughts.
And so there's just a checking in and just being aware of that on a regular basis. I heard a being nourished by other people and the connection with other people which is such an amazing thing. We don't, we're often thinking, we often relate to that as a draining thing, but there's a way to relate to it where it could be nourishing.
It sounded like that you might be using people to remind you of your own teachings, to follow them. So that sounded pretty cool. And then petting your sweet dog and just getting in touch with love was, is such an incredible thing. Just having a moment where you just get to be there and there's nothing else in the world but you and her.
And, and it's also sounded like a tactile experience as well. Really beautiful. And and then exercise, which is just a, like, you know, really getting ourselves in touch and taking care of the vessel that we have and even feeling like a little bit strong and building some of that. Really incredible.
Okay. Thank you for sharing all of that. You're so welcome. Yeah. I'm going to let you go. I know you've got other things to get on to, but I really want to thank you for your time. I wish I had three times as long as I could dive in even longer with you. But I really appreciate the gift of you and your wisdom and your teachings and the work that you're doing in the world.
We'll share some links for things that you're doing so people can find out more and support you and get more of your teachings. But Kai Ridgewell, thank you for being on the podcast.
Always good to be with you. Really appreciated our conversation.
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