I had the pleasure of interviewing the fun and fabulous founder of Elephant Journal, Waylon Lewis on the Untangle Podcast by five-star app, Meditation Studio.
Below are some favorite insights that he shared. You can find the full interview here:
On why it’s harder for kids today to simply “be”:
We had some advantages even just a couple of decades ago that children don’t have today. We didn’t need to fill every moment of our day looking at a screen.
As human beings—and it’s especially true for children—we need moments of mental relaxation where we’re outside, just walking and just looking up at a tree, for example. Those moments can dissolve stress whether we realize it or not. Today, there’s this continual hunt for constant entertainment and we’re all so busy, busy, busy. When I was a kid, in Boulder, every summer day, I’d get on my bike, go play with friends, go swim, and come back for dinner. I didn’t have the seduction of a screen to come back to every few minutes.
On his first impression of meditation:
I didn’t realize it as a kid, but as I got older, I realized that meditation is this incredibly beautiful way to connect to the present moment and get past your self-concern, your neuroses, and your habitual patterns. Even when you’re feeling depressed or insecure, you can learn to make friends with yourself and with those feelings. Whatever you’re feeling, it’s better to accept it instead of pushing it away or resisting it. It’s helped me to relax and just live life.
On being mindful in a “noisy” world:
When I wake up, I take a moment to ask myself why I’m alive and I remind myself that I want to be of benefit to others.
I touch in with my breath…and then I get on my bike or walk outside. Even when driving, I think it’s important to be mindful vs. multitasking. Using your time in a productive, focused way can be important. Listen to a podcast like Untangle or a book on tape when in traffic to learn something new. I also think it’s important to be mindful while eating and to pay attention to and really enjoy each bite of food.
On being messy:
In Buddhism, they say your heart confidence or morale is affected by “messiness.” I need to be reminded of that because I’m a pretty messy guy. I always find that just taking the time to clean the dishes, pick up my clothing, clean my house—these things can be so therapeutic. A lot of us want to change the world, but we can’t clean up our own world. It can be so rewarding and humbling to simply tidy up.
On love, vulnerability, and having a sense of humor:
The world is full of this idea that love is all about two flames becoming one; the Jerry Maguire idea that “you complete me” and then you live happily ever after.
I think of love more in terms of two independent people who’ve chosen to walk on a path together. And hopefully your loved one is the person who loves you enough to tell you the truth about your impact on the world—to give you real feedback, even if it’s uncomfortable. I don’t understand how, in marriage, you can promise to do something for the rest of your life when we all change so much. I look to the Buddhist teachings and they talk a lot about relationships having the space for change, independence, and creativity vs. being rigid. With love, vulnerability, humor, and genuine intimacy can live together.
On endless forgiveness and living “messily ever after”:
I know that I can be just as messy in relationships as anyone else. I’m very open, but also I’m a mess, and there’s no pretense that I have my sh*t together. I can be just as defensive as anyone else when I’m given feedback.
So I think a big thing we need in relationships is endless forgiveness for your own stubbornness…and the stubbornness of your partner. Whatever weird stuff you have going on is going to come up in relationship—whether you’re at Thanksgiving dinner or traveling together. That’s actually what the relationship is for, which is the opposite of happily ever after. Your relationship is for messily ever after because that’s where you have the opportunity to wake up and grow.
Author: Patricia Karpas
Image: Waylon Lewis on Instagram
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Nicole Cameron
Social Editor: Nicole Cameron