Hello and welcome to the blossom, your awesome podcast episode number 12, we have got award winning author speaker and teacher, Liz Lewin johnson, she is the author of the power of the loving man, I cannot wait to talk to her about this and the importance of men and vulnerability. She is also the author of women meditation and Power and her award winning book american buddhist rebel Liz, I am so excited to have you here today. Thank you so much and welcome. Well it's a pleasure to be here and I look forward to talking to you. I am so excited about this conversation, so I want to jump right in and I would love to kind of hear a little bit about your background with mindfulness, how that all started for you.
Okay, well um I started meditation wealth decades ago when I was in college and um I never stopped, I actually, you know, the first technique I learned was so emphasizing that you had to meditate twice a day. And so I picked up that habit pretty quickly and of course part of meditating is to be mindful because meditation brings you into these beautiful, clear clean states of mind, but then you have to go out into the world which make is immediately challenging. And I find that um over the years, mindfulness has proved to be such an incredibly necessary complement to meditation. I would say it was first formally um exposed to mindfulness more when I met a second teacher who was more in the slightly more buddhist mindset where there's really an emphasis on keeping your mind and your emotions kind of clean.
You know, you you don't want to drop in two states of anger and depression and all kinds of the negative self image things if you have the ability to be conscious, you you find ways to pull yourself out. So I was introduced to that probably Maybe 15 years into just doing meditation. So I I have really had a pretty strong background in both, both aspects of which I strongly love and think are so powerful meditation and mindfulness. And now, you know one of your, you say that mindfulness meditation, this is the new bottom line. So can you talk to us about that? Well, yes, I think to me um I differentiate a little bit with, to me meditation is you're you're really probably you can do a walking meditation. It is true, but you're really consciously trying to steal your mind.
And usually this is done with some type of focus so that by focusing on one thing very intensely, you can get your mind trained as it were to just have one thing and then you can let go into stillness. Otherwise it's very hard to when you're meditating, which to me is sitting somewhere uh being removed from distraction to some extent. To me that is the meditation practice mindfulness, which I consider to be different practice is when you're out engaged in your life, you've done your meditation, you're starting your day and the day, you know as we know it would go really well or all kinds of crazy things can happen. Mindfulness is about returning to this center. Point that those moments that you've now experienced during meditation of stillness going back and going, I have actually the ability to manage this wild spectrum of emotions.
I have the ability to come back to a center where I am that wise loving kind but insightful and frequently streetwise kind of person. To me that's mindfulness. So to me it's you can say mindful meditation but to me I go meditation and mindfulness As two complementary practices. Does that make sense? It does. Yes. Yeah. So it's kind of I mean they go hand in hand but one is born of the other, they're different. Yes. Well I do think it's if you only practice mindfulness without also meditating, I think your disadvantage because meditation strengthens your mind, You're sitting there trying to focus and so you know it's a it's a muscle and even if you find you don't steal your thoughts at all, meditation still has the effect of relaxation, all kinds of healthy things. It does build your mental muscle.
So yeah, I I consider that you are at a great advantage by doing both. You also don't necessarily separate mindfulness when you're out in the day, you don't have to sit down to do it. You know, you're in a business meeting or you're teaching the kids or whatever it is and you find yourself sort of losing it a little bit. That's when you can have some kind of thing and it can sometimes be just a tiny little mantra or a little symbol, a beautiful, just think of maybe even a flower, just something that has you remember, oh there's this whole other side to my being into life and I'm coming right back into that place in my being and his death, the mindfulness side. So we do the both. And now as far as gender is concerned and gender roles and now you say, you know, this can help um for women and men who are speaking right to rebalance, so share share those insights with us.
Okay, so now we come out into the world where the world what what you know, there's a new generation coming along maybe is that that may not have quite as strong gender imprints as most people around today, but most of the world still has very inaccurate gender imprints. And one of the ways, So let me talk about that first. And then I'll get back to meditation and mindfulness in in the world of yoga and in the world of um just seeing a little more deeply into our physical structure and infrastructure, There is a difference between the male physical body and the female physical body and that is the women's physical body according to my studies is and people I've studied with is it literally proper processes, kundalini energy or chi chi is life force more quickly and that is actually so it's faster inside of women.
Just that she this inner power moves more quickly and the energy body around a woman is more vibrating. It just goes faster. And what that means is when you step back and you say okay now we're in an age of science, we have a better look of what power is power in a ignorant the world is just domination, domination and controls. That was powerless but in a more actual and accurate description, power is just changes, changing fluidity. So power is generated today. The faster something is the more powerful it is considered, this is seen in something like fishing and nuclear fission. It seemed uh those rocket ships that have been going up lately are only possible by the increasingly rapid change and fluidity.
A fuel that powers these things up into the air power is like, you know, we've got a little breeze versus a huge hurricane. What happened? It's all wind but when it speeded up and started to exchange form, it became powerful. When you take that model and apply it to women. Women are the model of power were really suited for power and power as we are seeing more and more has more to do with agility and adaptability and that is who who is able to wield power as women have an innate female infrastructure I will say is has an innate ability to do that. Now the male female, male infrastructure is a little bit more like grids a little bit more processes beautifully. Energy is stored. But it's also more about loving kindness than power. That is what I've observed and learned.
And there's been such a huge mix up now, getting back to meditation and mindfulness today, women who were emerging and I think this pandemic in many ways has been a great time for reflection and women starting to pull in and start to really see where their power is and how it's been knocked around and abused also. But when you meditate, you get into this essence, it's truthfully neither male nor female. When you meditate, it's male and female, there's really no duality to it. But if you've had a lifetime where you've been stuck in certain old patterns, a woman is slightly less powerful for a woman is, you know, is going to be in any way held down. If she even shows her vast it's actually vast inner power.
Then to meditate, starts to sort of loosen up some of those old ideas. And to be mindful. It also means you're gonna come back to your center of your being where you're still, you can see better, your intuition will work better. And you can start seeing situations where people are operating on old nervous systems, they're all operating on old ideas and it's interesting to see how this is, it's getting to the point where I think people are recognizing more and more of this idea that yes, we have male and female inside of us. It is the female side of your of your being, which men and women both have, that is the power being. And when you are mindful and you meditate, you are drawing more upon that. So the um I would say to men and women now we've all been through a time of greater isolation.
I know that many people use this time to learn to meditate, so don't stop and if it's not working for you remember that there isn't one right way to meditate. Okay, that's not true. It's good to learn four or 5 ways to meditate because you never know which one is going to work better for you at that moment. Your goal is to become more still inside and to learn to quiet down that constant drill. And so I know when I meditate, my meditation practice is to focus intently. You know, we have these, it's a yoga concept that we have seven major energy centers in our in our actually our energy body and that we can focus on those during meditation. So I focus on the third energy center, that's your third chakra, your power center. I focus in the center of the chest and my heart center and I focus on the middle of my forehead is my power center, Excuse me, my intellect.
So power is around the belly button part is right in the center of the chest and intellect often called the third eye, right between the eyebrows and a little bit above. That's how I meditate. I focus on those three places consecutively. one power than heart and intellect. And it's um an amazing way to meditate. And it's also something that build those qualities and it's also something that over time you become more and more adept at just honing in on these beautiful energy centers and you become very still. So there's many ways to meditate. I just mentioned one of them, but this whole idea that women have this in vast innate power that they should be focusing on. Now, men have a great deal. I've been a loving kindness. It's built into this is much more uh I would say the right word would be restrained if there's that humility side.
It's it's held, it isn't just vibrant around the physical body. It's a little bit more quiet. Conducive to love, conducive to kindness. And men haven't even had a chance to really develop that side of themselves either. So with mindfulness you can start to go, I'm going to be aware of where not only can these qualities be developed, but where are they being held down? And then you can start to work on that. Now tell me, you know, you you share about women in this vast in our power and we know that women at times struggle with kind of that truth right there going through a hardship, a separation, whatever it may be. And um so many women struggle to find that like vastness inside of them. And what is the guidance for that? You know, the guidance for that is a number of things, because there's so there are a lot of aspects to it.
So and I think the main thing I would say maybe begin at the beginning, ok, You're struggling. How can you do a few things just to perk up your energy level? Okay, sometimes it's just going taking a walk in nature. Uh how about if you just just start to do some things that, you know, just totally raise your spirits, we're now and I think enough post pandemic, you could go to a movie, you can do something that you haven't done before and start to focus on make a list. What did you ever do that cause you to raise up in your energy? Because when you're in a great mood, it's really more about energy as well as mental thing. It's really feeling uh that kind of self confidence that you want to get back into. So I would say consciously try to do some things that break your routines. Um you know, truthfully if you could just start to watch some tv that makes you laugh more, You need to uh just first try to shift it and then I would actually keep going with those lists, what are the things you've always wanted to do?
I would totally map out your goals and I would start to map out and put this all in writing. It's actually don't think that this is trivial. I have a yellow pad next to me and when you start enunciating this stuff, it has a power in it. So, I would ask women to start to really structure and plan, get those goals out, don't feel they're not achievable, understand that they are achievable. And I also want you to be realistic and say if you're feeling that down and out, you have to look at whoever did that to you. That wasn't right. People are often when we are emotionally receptive to other people, you might be picking up thoughts and feelings of other people that are not even your own. You might be a lot of times, you know, a lot of men because they had to repress this inner kindness. They grew up with a lot of anger towards women. So if you're feeling that down and low about yourself, what I would look at that really carefully and I would try to practice something that is also a buddhist quality is called dispassion.
You know, in spiritual circles there was, there's different types of growth patterns. one of them is Yana Yoga. The knowledge knowledge yoga of Knowledge, it's very just passionate and you go and you look at this thing that you had with someone and you're just detached and you go, what happened there? I was happy and self confident when it started and now this thing is continuing, it's over, it's gone, this job is gone, this person is gone. You have to make a conscious effort and I think you can, the more you're mindful and you meditate and though I'm very powerful, my power is to manifest, but it's also to be in a place I've been here a lot lately. Soon. It's a place of no pity. It's a place of coolness. It's a place that goes, I put my best into that, I did the best I could I am a powerful woman and if it didn't happen in this relationship or in this situation that's okay, I'm I'm gonna pull back and just be detached from it.
It's not taking away from me, there's a lot of things to it, but go first, also build up your energy level with things that are fun and have fun and go take beautiful brakes, go out there and nature and take a walk and see how you feel and if you're cleared up, I understand that's your real nature and the other stuff is like this sort of um you may be picking up some thoughts and feelings or old habits, your job is to break the old habits. All the stuff about women being powerless is untrue, it's harming the planet. The, you know, the planet needs more women leaders. If you want to be helpful to the planet, to your family, to other people, then, you know, you stand up straight and I, you know, whatever it takes online yoga, I do that do things that energetically push you up and that will make a huge change.
I hope, you know, there's a lot there, Right? But those are some ideas. Yes. Yeah, no, that was all wonderful now, you know, getting into this women leading right more, that's more and more critical today and women owning their own power. So is that shift, do you believe that shift is happening on all of these kind of a wider front where people are starting to honor that more and men are allowing, you know, like you say, allowing women to lead. How important is that? It's incredibly important. I think it's one of the most important things that we can do as a human rights. Um, because I think the reason we're facing all these things, I, you know, let's look at who's been leaving the world for the last many millennia, it's been men and not only has it been men, they have repressed the power of women and that's bad, bad karma.
If you believe in such things to completely repress a woman from educationally socially healthwise. Um, every single way that women have been repressed for so long has been very wrong. And so I think that it is critical that women step up and realize that this has been going on, it's programmed into women's minds, not always to take these leadership spots and it needs to change. It's one of the healthiest things that can happen, I think that when we see more of that, so we are starting to see more of that and I find it interesting to see that women candidates for office for example or women leaders are stepping up and if you want to see a role model um if you'd like, I'll repeat that, if you would like to see a role model of a powerful woman, I suggest you check out Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand, she is the prime Minister, I was living in New Zealand when she ran, she is quite something, she's totally uh you know, you would never, she's a female definitely, you can see this um she would have debates with these men that would try to just do the usual kind of put down heavy condescension thing that is often hard to stand up against.
And Jacinda just three or four years ago would just, wow, she would just tear into the fabulous debater, really smart, but she never flickered, none of that ever hit her, I I think she's a good role model, she's compassionate, she's smart, she's wise, but she knows how to stick up for herself and defend herself and um that's gonna be necessary in anything that you do. So I think um I think it's a positive thing that I'm seeing, we still have plenty of instances. Um I said not men, I would say still not letting go. I mean, I read statistics where there's people being rehired, but there's more men than women getting rehired. This is just wrong. It really women have just persist and they also have to work together.
So I would say another way you can come out of a stuck situation is to look around and to see if there's other women in a similar situation, reach out and try to collaborate. Because I think what you'll find is that underlying energy, I'm talking about that power, that rapid movement that we have as women, it's so creative and it's so easy for women collaborating to find solutions women need to support each other. Because one of the ways again, historically that women got into, you know, women were taught to compete with each other. Why? Because it's fun to think about because it's good to realize that for millennia, thousands, thousands of years, the only way a woman got ahead was guess what marriage. It's the only way if she had to compete with other women in the village and the family, whatever too land, someone that would give her a male that would give her a decent life.
There was really basically, I mean, a few exceptions, some majestic people here and there, but I'm talking thousands of years when that happened. And I think women got that distrust or competitiveness from that old creepy paradigm. So I believe that whenever there's anything to be done, one of the best ways is to start to reach out to other women and start to experience that underlying collaboration and that underlying humor and wit and fun and power and then share a dream if you are stuck with. You know, there's there's um women now that they, especially the single moms who got absolutely saddled with education as well as a full time job can.
And I think that in that case, given the lag and the lack of good child care in this country and that would be a normal and natural way to collaborate with other women in the block in the area and see if they can't free up time, make an arrangement that would be very powerful and work for a different lifestyle. And I think one thing that we see with this pandemic it upended so many things, it should have appended any any of this old sexist ideas that there was some superiority, inferiority thing going on between the sexes and now of course today there's many, many, many aspects of gender and sexual preference, but that's not really what I'm talking about. I'm talking about personality traits and that we have male and female within us. And that can manifest in so many ways sexual preference is not what I'm talking about here at all.
I'm talking about having loving partners, whoever they may be and don't let any negative people into your life. They hurt you more than you realize they hold you down more than you realize. Use a woman want to expand your rule. You will help others, you will help your immediately family and you will manifest equality that's needed on the planet. So, I think that it's starting to change. But we were at the beginning and we can't think it's been anything that's good. It's not quite good enough yet to that's how I see it. Now. I love that you you talk about women coming together and collaborating because you know, and now with society and social media, it's like it's just so much of it just seems so pretentious, right? And oh, who's gonna who looks better and who's prettier and who's you know, got the nicer this and nicer that and all of this stuff.
But, you know, women collaborating, That's beautiful. But you have this other philosophy of the men who allow women to lead, right? And the power of the loving man. That's the title of one of your books so share with us the overwhelming importance of that. Um okay, the the power of the loving man, I will say that no man will ever be happy unless he finds within himself that loving kind nature and to fear it is to just be ridiculous, of course. But it's also a habit, it's it's time for that to change. It's really huge. It's boundless. That loving and kind quality. And I think that it's the only thing that's really going to soften a man's nature for his habit that I would say of appearing to be macho or dominating.
That weakens a man. And I think that men should understand that they're operating in half mast. They're living in a mask, their living half of a life or less and they are hurting the people around them if they are not able to express loving kindness in a very clear and visceral way and support women becoming more powerful. So there again, I think that, you know, even the idea that words, their words, we use to say, oh, a man who is loving and kind and just bountiful in those expressions would in some way be effeminate, let's say, well let's look at that word, effeminate. Effeminate should even should not be a negative word. Effeminate should mean fabulous, high powerful, expressing human nature at its best. So men need to realize that they have both male and female inside of them and nurture women who want and seek that power and they need to treat women with difference, respect.
And I think insight. The women need to go through a lot of changes right now and then I should be able to respect and understand that without being threatened in any way that such a mature and what you mentioned earlier to me is I mean the idea that you could actually care about whether someone is prettier than you are as a better forest. So gosh, primitive. I think that once you start to meditate and practice mindfulness, that's one of the first things that tends to go away is these false ideas of what will make you happy. You realize that you have an inner reservoir of light and kind of perkiness. There's nothing whatsoever to do with looks for cars right now, you know, So for the man who is and this is not to knock anyone or men or anything whatsoever.
But you know, it's this cultural thing with men are kind of taught to not express vulnerability or you know, they've got to be tough and they've got to put on this front. So for the man who doesn't know how to be comfortable with showing up in this other loving way, you know more sensitive, kinder, softer, softer way. What's the advice for that man? Where where can he start? Well, you know, I in in the books the power of loving man. I suggest a man starts just not admitting yet that he's going off to do such. But he does very simple things like meditate on a flower, just hold your mind. Make that one of your practices meditate on a flower. Just gaze at the center of the flower and try to stop all thought.
And I suggest that men start to look around and give themselves exercise. To appreciate more about beauty. Not not female beauty or women, you know human but all around them. To use mindfulness to simply look around and say, wow, I enjoy and feel gratitude towards that cloud towards that tree. I recommend men go very deeply into gratitude. Both men and women. Of course this is another way for women to feel fabulous again when they're feeling down, feel gratitude. But for men and particularly when they're overcoming bad programming. These are things you can, they can do on their own. They don't have to tell anybody. But I think by doing it on a regular basis. You know everything around them. Everything on their desk. I appreciate that pen. I appreciate that cell phone and to feel it, what they're feeling is their heart.
They're getting their heart back. And so I recommend exercises like that. Just start to, I do suggest that men take a yoga class. They should make a list. I said man should make a list of everything they held themselves back from because they thought it was feminine. Mm hmm. And I suggest that they go do it and that might be eating at a certain restaurant. It might be drinking a certain glass of wine in company and you know in the company of other people. Uh I it may mean taking up a different exercise. So I suggest a whole bunch of ways to chip away at just what you said, this rigid, which is exactly the grid gone bad in a grid. It can get hard and that's the downside. That's the truth is just the dark side of a of a man is when that rigidity and that, you know, authoritarian domination things that's in it's really quite negative.
And the notion is to build up this fluidity in areas where they had not felt, allowed themselves to wear clothes they didn't wear before and feel what that feels like. And then start to go over the aisle and start to say in front of your male friends, especially because they egg each other on say, well, I really loved it. I mean it say it with the heart and emotion. I really loved that exhibit. I saw the other day at the so and so museum. You know, I really there's that side, the art appreciation the softer side and be able to tiptoe into displaying that. And when that starts to happen, What I think I know from men that do this is that it's like, it creates a wedge it's a wedge not only into a man's being, but into the man that they associate with.
And that recognition that they have this much faster reservoir of love and kindness than they've ever been able to tap into. It starts to open up and it's also good to talk with the men in your life and say to your whoever, you know, your partner collaborator, your son, your uncle. Um I want to express more power in my life. And I know that you acknowledge that and I'm fine if you express more loving kindness because you see a male partner may be afraid that if he shows this sort of softer side, he isn't living living up to someone's macho you know, expectation. So both sides have to let it go a little bit. Men are not these macho people that they were told that they had to be.
It's hurting them. It's causing toxic reactions. It's causing them to be angry with the power of women because they don't understand that they have it in themselves. Although it manifests in a different way. But these men who are so angry at women have had something that was within them. So repressed, so unexpressed. And it's so they can but they have to change it. And there's many tiptoeing ways and large ways they can start to do it. They need to understand, wow the things that make me happy. Happiest in my whole life are the times when it's been the most loving kind giving times humility. The humblest men are brilliant at that. Believe it or not. It's true. It's their nature. And women have it too. We have both sides but it's been repressed on both sides. So yeah, men have to get pro activists just like saying a woman, I want power and managed to say I want love and kindness and humility it's said, mm that was so powerful.
Um I just love everything you shared right now about how men are not like you said, they're not these people, this you know, tough exterior tough guy that they were kind of society taught them to be, you know, they're really thrive when that loving kindness comes out and that's what we all need more of. So that's just so beautiful Liz Now, you know, I I want to know here in closing if what you can leave us with about just the importance of men showing us this kind of more loving kindness, learning to find that and allowing women to lead and just how this is going to move us along just powerfully and in the right direction. Yes.
Well, when things are out of balance, it radiates from just like a home to a government too, you know, our planet, which is obviously so unbalanced. That's what climate disaster women. It's a world completely out of balance. So it's incredibly important for women to step up and express their power in the beautiful ways that women immediately have. Because when you're confident in your power, it's always it's going to be to help people, it's gonna be to lead. It's gonna be to use your intellect and your heart and you're healthy. You know, physical presence just to always uplift. That's the power of leading power that women have. and for men to open up to that kindness, that loving kind nature.
And I want to add humility because humility means that you blend. You're not trying to show up and be in the front. Humility means that you go with what life gives or you might even excel at what life gives. But it's not your goal to dominate domination and controls a big issue for either male or female. It's not this week. Power. That's crummy power, domination, control fluidity and change its beautiful power. So all of us, whatever our sexual preference, we need to look at power, we need to look at that imbalance. We need to look at love and kindness and humility and go that's where that's where the balance comes in and that's what we need critically. We need to develop it in ourselves. Meditation and mindfulness I believe will help you greatly. Because when you meditate, you already are drawing on this deeper, more powerful.
It's unprogrammed. When you meditate, there is no meditation there. I'm sorry there's no um male female. When you get into pure areas of stillness, come do your meditation try you may not feel the stillness right away but try because it's heading in that direction. You'll have more energy to make these changes in your life. And men and women will both be sort of doing this lovely kind of finding their way down the river as it were. And lots of beautiful discoveries. So I would say. And then of course, you know this is what I address in the book. Um The power of the loving man. I think men should read it. And I think women are starting to get more and more into their power. But there's lots of uh tips in women meditation and power that book take some of those ideas and things that we were talking about today soon and just run with it.
Wow, that was amazing. And just so beautiful. Thank you so very much for your time this afternoon. You're welcome. Suze. I'm happy to be speaking with you and remember is listening. I wish them great joy on their journey. Thank you so much. Okay, bye bye. Okay. Thank you. Yeah. Mm hmm, mm hmm, mm hmm. Yes. Mm hmm.