Get Rid of Your Inner Clutter and Live a More Fulfilled Life


Clint Murphy Light Watkins


Clint Murphy, Light Watkins

Clint Murphy  00:00

I’d like before we dive into your book, would you be able to give our listeners a brief bio about yourself, and then we’ll tackle your book together?


Light Watkins  00:09

Sure I am. I grew up in the South in the US in Alabama. And then after school, moved to Chicago, worked in advertising for a few months and decided that I wanted to travel the world a bit before I got locked down into a conventional career. And turns out that was the one and only quotes real job I’ve ever had, got into fashion, which was great. I was actually in front of the camera, and had a lot of downtime. And that’s when I got introduced to yoga and meditation, and then moved from New York City to Los Angeles, where I became a full time meditation teacher back in the early 2000s. And I’ve been teaching 1000s of people all around the world since then, and started writing books in 2014. And in 2018, I purged all of the things that I’ve been carrying around with me for four decades. And I started living life from a backpack. And, and so I started practicing, very intentionally practicing minimalism and as a nomad, and I developed this this philosophy of spiritual minimalism, which I recently wrote about in my upcoming book, Travel Light.


Clint Murphy  01:34

So here’s the first two questions popping out of that, what prompted that journey to, as we’ll say, travel light, which is the title of your book. And for those who are listening, you travel, you worked your way down to about 30 items in your backpack, and can you contrast high level the difference between minimalism and spiritual minimalism?


Light Watkins  02:08

Sure. So let’s do that. Let’s answer that question first. And then we’ll talk about the items in the bag. And how I got there. So when people ask, you know, when did your minimalism journey start, I usually cite the moment that I moved out of my two bedroom apartment in Santa Monica, and started living from what I actually started living from a carry on bag. But the real answer is, the minimalist journey began when I started taking my meditation practice seriously in 2003. And at that point, I’ve been meditating off and on for about four or five years, and I met a meditation teacher who taught me a very simplified way to settle the mind. And I now see that as a minimalist approach to meditation, but it’s, it’s stripping away any focus, any concentration on the breath, trying to sit like a monk, meditating for hours on end. And he showed me how to really tap into that state of, of inner bliss, within about 10 or 15 minutes, and I started doing it like clockwork. And what happened over the next several years is I started to become more in tune with my own intuition, and what I call my heart voice. And then that started guiding me through these other experiences, where I began taking these leaps of faith and trusting that things are going to work out for the best. And I realized over time, that is actually the true minimalism. Right. In other words, the conventional way of thinking about minimalism is if I can get rid of this extra furniture and create more external space in my life, then I’m going to experience a zen like quality of peace of serenity. But what happens is, if you are still cluttered on the inside, if you’re living in scarcity, if you are holding on to old, outdated beliefs, if you are, if you had past trauma that hasn’t been cleared yet, then it propels you to make choices in your life that ended up really complicating your life even more and cluttering it even more. So yes, theoretically, you can have the most sparse living room and you can have, you know, clothes that bring you joy and these kinds of things. But if you don’t address the stuff on the inside, you’re going to end up replacing the things that you gave away with other things that you’re going to use as a coping mechanism to deal with what Ever tension and friction you’re experiencing on the inside. Spiritual minimalism is minimalism cultivated from the inside out, create space inside first, connect with your heart voice, then your heart is going to prompt you in a direction that is going to lead you to simplifying your life, that’s going to lead you to your path and your purpose. And that’s what’s going to allow you to feel like you’re more aligned with the choices that you’re making. And it doesn’t mean that you’re going to have to get rid of all your stuff, or live in a backpack or any of those kinds of things. It means that the choices that you’re making, the leaps of faith that you’re taking, are getting you closer and closer to whatever your true potential happens to be. And you become less and less concerned about what everybody thinks about you moving along your path and living in your purpose. So that’s the essence of spiritual minimalism. So for me, it’s taken many different iterations, right? It started with leaving that job in advertising, taking a leap of faith, a trip over to Europe and living there for a while not not speaking any of those languages, not knowing anybody not having a whole lot of money, but everything sort of working out in this beautiful serendipitous way. And then landing me in New York City, where I had that experience in fashion. And, and then having another leap of faith moment, going from purging everything that I had there and moving to Los Angeles, and then changing my name to Light, which was not something I ever sat down and thought about and you know, intended it to happen. But it happened. And the way I met my meditation teacher, and then learn this minimalist approach to meditation, and then eventually getting the other internal nudging to get rid of all of my stuff, and live from this backpack. All of those are really just symptoms of being connected to that heart voice. And so yes, on the outside, it looks like the minimalism is just, you know, something that I sort of manufacture by getting rid of a bunch of stuff, but on the inside, it’s, it’s just a symptom of me staying really loyal to my intuition. And that’s what I’m encouraging people to do. Don’t emulate me, in the sense that you need to get rid of anything, just tap into what your intuition your heart voice is telling you, and be relentless about following that. And being loyal to that. And if you do that, you’re going to find yourself in a situation, maybe a year, two years, five years from now, that’s going to be something you never anticipated for yourself. But it’s going to feel so you, so authentic, so aligned, that you’re going to want that for everybody that you know, but you can’t tell them how to get there, all you can say is tap into your heart voice. And it’ll tell you, it’ll give you the whole blueprint, in the same way that if you get in your car, and you’re driving somewhere that you’ve never been before and you turn on your GPS, it’ll tell you exactly how to get there. But if you’re just navigating from what you can see, you know, you’re going to end up getting turned around a lot, you may still get there, but it’s going to take you a lot longer. And it’s going to be a lot more, you know, mistakes along the way.


Clint Murphy  08:35

So work our way through some of the principles of spiritual minimalism. One of the ideas that you just talked about there was with your meditation teacher finding a means of meditation to reach that inner bliss, in a quicker amount of time. Was this the easy meditation practice that you talk about in the book? And can we can we start there so we can get our listeners to maybe go for a little bit of a meditation with us while we dive into the principles of spiritual minimalism life?


Light Watkins  09:08

Sure. So I called it the easy approach in my second book, which is Bliss More: How to Succeed in Meditation without Really Trying. So that book, I go really deep go through all the instructions, all the questions people have, and teach people how to settle their mind effectively. And in Travel Light, I give a cliff notes version of those instructions. So it’s based off of those same principles and a very, very simple, it’s a 10 step process. Step number one is to just sit with comfortable back support. And when you do that, you are positioning your mind to become more settled. In other words, if you’re sitting like a monk with your back completely straight and your shoulders back, and your legs crossed, and all of those things, you’re using physical activity, and that physical activity is going to cause you to have more mental activity, it’s 100% of the time, it doesn’t matter who you are, how much experience you have, how much you believe in it, or don’t believe in it. It’s trying to it’s like trying to sleep on an airplane, right? Maybe you can doze off here and there, but you’re not going to get the same quality of sleep that you would get in your bed, when you’re sitting upright, because that’s not the position for sleeping. And so the position for tapping into what they call the relaxation response in meditation, is you want to sit with comfortable back support, it’s not a suggestion, it’s mandatory, you have to do this in order to experience the relaxation response. So that’s number one. Number two, is you need some way of measuring time. So what I suggest is using something very gentle, like a gentle chime, or if you want, eyeballing the time, just just having some sort of digital clock that you can see or peek at from time to time. And the reason why I don’t advocate for using loud alarms is because when you are settling, and that alarm goes off, you’re going to end up shocking yourself. Out of that mind state, which is not ideal for coming out of meditation, the meditation is releasing stress and alarms can create stress. So you don’t really need to have that. And if you if you get to a point in your meditation, where you completely lose track of time, that’s actually a positive thing, you don’t need to be aware of how much time is passing at any point during the practice. Number three, you just close your eyes. So this is not a practice that you’re on, you want to do walking, driving, you know, looking at something staring at a yantra or anything like that, you just sit with your eyes closed. So anyone looking at you from the outside, sitting in a chair or on your couch or on your bed would just think you’re just resting that’s what it would look like, if they look at you. And they know right off the bat, you’re meditating, you’re doing it wrong, you’re using your you’re sitting in a way that’s not, that’s not ideal for the result you ultimately want to experience. And then I recommend taking a few deep breaths just to settle into your body. So every exhale allows you to settle a little bit more. Step number five after that, after your third or fourth deep breath to start breathing naturally, and I want you to adopt a very friendly attitude towards your thoughts. So this is a big thing. Because a lot of times we take on an antagonistic attitude towards our brain or our mind or our thoughts thinking that, Oh, I need to battle with the thought about my to do list or the thought about what I’m going to have for dinner, or the conversation I had yesterday. And if I’m having those thoughts, then I’m doing something wrong. But in actuality, your mind is going to have any thought you’ve ever had in the past. And if you can go the other way with it and adopt a friendly attitude towards your thoughts, and resist them less and hopefully not at all, then you’ll find that they just naturally fade away on their own. And then number six, you want to use your breath, your breathing as a sort of soft and gentle anchor. So in those moments where you are losing awareness of what you’re doing, there’s nothing to do when you start to remember, Oh, I’m sitting here meditating, just gently, gently return your your attention softly, gently to your breathing. So again, not focusing on anything, and not looking at that as correct practice. And then the other thoughts is being distracted. It’s all a part of this beautiful dance. And that’s how you want to see it, you’re in this beautiful dance. And then number seven, continuing to gently come back. And even if that happens dozens of times, that’s totally fine. So you’re just kind of in this beautiful dance circular motion. And then number eight, you’re going to keep breathing naturally. Right. In other words, there’s no need to control your breath or deepen your breath. Number nine, as your time sounds, or as you can see that the 15 minutes or the 10 minutes or however long you’re doing this, and I recommend no more than about 20 minutes, no less than 10 minutes. So any anything in between those two times. When you realize that time has come, then you start to just take a few more deep breaths. And then finally, after your third or fourth deep breath, you slowly bring yourself out. So that’s what the minimalist approach to meditation is.


Clint Murphy  14:27

I love it. I’m so relaxed, just listening as we talk and let go of a little stress there. Light, how did you arrive for you because I have another friend meditated for a long time years and he found to us from Tim Ferriss minimum effective daily dose. He said as long as he gets 12 minutes every day, he feels as if he’s getting the benefits from his practice. How did you arrive at two by 20? What was that process?


Light Watkins  14:56

So I personally practice a style of meditation called Vedic Meditation, which is a very specific approach, it’s, you use a personalized monitor that you get from your teacher and the instruction is, you do it for 20 minutes twice a day. And they’re basically two types of meditators. There are meditators who don’t have any instruction or have very little instruction or have shoddy instruction. And those meditators usually can’t wait for the 20 minutes to arrive. So they’re continually looking at the clock, closing their eyes, oh, my god, I can’t believe it’s been only three minutes, oh, my god, I can’t believe it’s been only five minutes, when is 20 minutes gonna get here? Oh, God, I’m still in this, oh, my mind is so busy, blah, blah, blah. And the other type of meditator, someone who receives these kinds of instructions, they don’t want the 20 minutes to end, in the same way that if you wake up in the morning to an alarm, a lot of times the first thought is 10 more minutes. That’s how you want meditation to feel. So when it feels that way, when you take it out of the chore category, and you get it into the the yummy, feel good category, the I get to category, then most of the time, when you reach 20 minutes, you’re going to want to go longer. And so then you have a new problem. The problem is, I have other stuff to do, I can’t sit here. So I have to limit myself to just 20 minutes. So the people who are having that experience aren’t, you know, they don’t have more discipline than the people who are doing it for 10 minutes or 12 minutes. They’re just their understanding of how to operate in concert with the thinking mind is become more refined through exposure to people like me, people like my teacher. And then as a result, they don’t want it to end. And that’s, I would say, and I’m biased because this is my experience. But I would say that’s the experience you want to have in meditation. All right, otherwise, you gotta rely on all this discipline and white knuckling your way through?


Clint Murphy  16:56

Well, it sounds you know, just saw a post on, I think it was YouTube yesterday with David Goggins going to war with your mind. And it sounds like the exact opposite approach. And one that in the fullness of time is a lot less mentally stressful and heavy, which is the idea of minimalism, we’re not constantly going to battle and just doing that heavy lifting, which I love. So, let’s look at the first principle of spiritual minimalism. Like you highlight that inner happiness doesn’t come from achieving future goals, acquiring experiences, or from getting rid of your belongings. But it is possible to increase happiness by practicing certain exercises, such as stillness, gratitude, and giving. What does that look like? And how does the idea of this concept you talked about de-exciting play into it.


Light Watkins  17:55

So meditation is what I would consider to be and that’s what I mean by stillness, meditation, seated eyes, closed practice, okay, just to be clear about that is I’m not talking about walking meditation, although that’s nice, it’s meditative. I’m not talking about journaling, meditation, or, or riding your bike as a meditation or running, I’m talking about sitting your butt down and closing your eyes, and just being still for a period of time on a regular basis. And what that does is it creates this sort of key domino effect, that’s the domino that’s going to knock down all the other dominoes. In other words, when you meditate on a regular basis, you’re more grateful, you’re naturally more grateful, you don’t have to necessarily try to be grateful, you just come out of meditation, and you feel grateful for whatever’s happening around you. And you’re naturally more giving, you don’t have to force yourself to perform random acts of kindness, you just want to do that. Whereas if you didn’t have that key domino, sure, you could still be grateful if you if you have the willpower to be grateful, you can still be giving if you have the willpower to stop whatever you’re doing, and place your attention on service or on giving. And so those are possible, but they’re just it’s like driving with the emergency brake on, you could still drive, but it’s feels a little bit harder, because your mind is probably under the influence of stress. It’s probably conditioned to think that there’s not enough time to be grateful. There’s not enough time to be giving or you’re comparing yourself to everyone else and everything else that’s happening. And there’s this, there’s this tendency to drop into that scarcity mindset. I don’t have enough time. There’s not enough generosity in the world is not enough compassion, everybody’s out for themselves. I need to be out for myself. Right? And you take on this very individualistic approach to life. It’s me against everyone and everything else. And so I have this parable in the book in that chapter about what I call the lonely wave, this little wave who feels lonely amongst all the other, bigger, stronger, richer, more powerful waves in the ocean. And it’s under the impression that in order to feel safe and secure, it needs to figure out how to get bigger, how to get more powerful, how to become mighty. And this wise wave comes up to the little lonely wave and says, you know, if you really want to feel more secure, you want to de-excite, try de-exciting. And this is the most peculiar thing to the little wave, because it goes, well, why would I want to get smaller, I need to get bigger, I need to, I need to figure out how I can compete. And the wise wave says, you know, I get that, but just try it out and see what happens. And so it does less, it tries less. And as a result of trying less, it starts to get smaller and smaller, and eventually, it flatlines into the ocean. And then it comes out of that experience, feeling a sense of connection that it never quite felt just in its own lonely independent wave hood status. And so it does it again and again and again. And every time it comes back into its individual form, it brings more and more of that remembrance of what it felt like to be one with the ocean. And it also realize I’m connected to all these other ways. It’s not me separate from everything else, it’s me with everything else. And then eventually it arrives at his awareness. And I’m not just a lonely old way, I’m the ocean, I am the ocean being expressed as a wave. And that’s a more powerful way of, of seeing oneself. I mean, in Eastern traditions, spiritual traditions, this is what’s known as becoming self realized, is you go from the smallest self, I’m just the individual to the large s self, which is I am totality being expressed through this individuality. And within my totality, I have a specific spiritual DNA, you know, encoding or genetic encoding, have something, to do something to give something to offer a purpose, a passion, something that lights me up inside. And when I do that, more often than not, I feel aligned with myself, I feel good with myself. When I don’t do that, when I’m following what all the other bigger, richer waves are advising me to do. I feel less than myself, I feel lost, I feel disconnected, I feel depressed, I feel anxious, I feel lonely, I feel isolated. And so it really is a matter of a b testing in terms of, and this is getting into principle number two, you know, when we have the experience of de-exciting, and we start to feel that connection with our, our own spiritual encoding, and which is also known as our heart voice, and we start taking steps in that direction, the way you know you’re moving in that direction, as you start to feel more aligned, the way you know, you’re moving away from that as you start to feel more disconnected, more isolated. And so that’s how the universe or nature speaks to us not through the English language, but through feelings, do we feel expansive, do we feel contracted. And if you continue to follow those nudgings over maybe 500 or 1000 instances, you’ll start to see, you’ll start to be conversational in the language of your inner guidance. And then that’s where things get really interesting, because they’re never going to take you in the direction of something that makes you comfortable. It’s always going to stretch your potential in some way. And that’s, that’s what you’re here for.


Clint Murphy  23:49

And before we dive into that second principle, something you were you were saying earlier, tied with the idea of periodically, when you’re in the meditation and you feel is if wow, I am part of something bigger, I’m part of a connection to the, to the whole universe to all all sentient beings, and you can get glimpses, glimpses of it that are beautiful. You didn’t necessarily use the words, but when you were talking about the approach that people may have, it almost gave me a sense of abundance versus scarcity. And do you find that through meditation practice, we tend to move more in a direction of an abundant mindset than a scarcity mindset.


Light Watkins  24:37

Yeah, another way of looking at it is there’s basically two approaches to life. There’s the do less and accomplish more approach, which means more in the flow. I’m more aligned with what I’m here to do. So it doesn’t feel like hard work, doesn’t feel like heavy lifting and doesn’t mean that it’s easy, but I’m when I’m in engaged in this, and this is, you know, any creative, any artist and or, you know, someone who is, is living their purpose. That’s hard work, like Martin Luther King, anybody or Gandhi would agree that these guys were living in their purpose, but their life was very difficult, very challenging, living under the constant threat of death and you know, this kind of thing. But look how much they were able to accomplish in terms of service and helping other people based on having the same 24 hours and seven days of the week that we have, right. So that’s one approach to like, do less, accomplish more. Be in alignment, and you’ll accomplish more, you’ll get more of your mission accomplished. Or do more and accomplish less, do more of trying to control things trying to fit in, trying to be successful, trying to be worried about what everybody else is thinking about you. And as a result, you feel like there’s never enough time to do the healthy, the quote, healthy things that you know, deep down that you should be doing. There’s not enough time to meditate, there’s not enough time to exercise, there’s not enough time to eat healthy, because I need to be grinding and hustling and trying to, you know, keep up with society’s idea for success. And it’s true. So the only things you end up making time for are the endless cravings of the body, sex, you know, fast food, trying to entertain yourself all the time, so that you can shut off because working and grinding and hustling is so taxing on your, on your physical body, your mental, emotional, and even your spiritual body, that you need escape and coping mechanisms. So you’re not really feeling like you’re ever arriving at a place of fulfillment, because you’re so out of alignment with what you’re truly here to do. Because you don’t even know what that is because you haven’t really taken the time to go within. So this is an invitation to go within, even though it seems like it’s going to take time away from you’re grinding and you’re hustling, but it’s going to put you in a position in all areas of your life where you’re just operating more in alignment. And so then you’ll start to feel like okay, I can edit my life a little bit better. Now. All these things that I thought were so important are actually not that important, right? I can redefine success for myself now, is it really more important to send these emails, or to spend time with my kids, or to spend time with myself or to go out into nature, right. And so when you start asking those kinds of questions, some people may look at that and go, you’re crazy, or you’re nuts, or you’re, you know, airy fairy, or woowoo, and all of this, but that’s the transition process of disconnecting from the social conditioning that I need to achieve my way to happiness. And moving back towards your factory setting, which is happiness is who I am fulfillment is already inside. Now all I need to do is strip away the things that I thought were going to bring me that fulfillment, so that I can be more present to the things that are actually sustaining the fulfillment that I have, such as my relationships, my service work, my personal development, and getting to know who and what I truly am deep down inside. And so when I make those the priority, all of a sudden time frees up, I have enough time to walk to work instead of driving and you know, and listening to the loud radio to tune out whatever other thoughts are happening in the back of my mind, I can walk in silence, I can have time to help an old lady across the street, I have time to sit and meditate, I have time to make food by hand, because I know that it’s more nourishing for me. And you start to realize that these are the true ways of investing in your health insurance. The stuff you send to the insurance company every month is not your health. That’s your accident coverage, which is necessary, right? We need accident and coverage. But you also need proper health insurance, which is living a slower life, more present, live more purposeful life and editing your life in real time, all the time. So that the things that are the most important, get your attention and everything else can get your attention if you have enough time left over.


Clint Murphy  29:28

And something that you brought up a couple of times in there . before we talk about our heart voice and how to find it. We’re going to talk about something that is a roadblock for it. And you talked about escaping and the things we do to numb and so one of the things you talk about is one of the biggest roadblocks that at least for a period of time we we may want to remove our conscious dimming substances. And you know we look at this as the numbing and I can say without a doubt, like the last 13-14 months I have been alcohol, conscious dimming substance free, and in any measurable way. It’s been the most productive 14 months of my life. And every category I can measure and productive doesn’t even feel like the right word to use. It’s just been amazing. The results, and then the feeling and the mental, emotional, spiritual, the financial, the physical, every category has improved massively. Now, I don’t want to say causation. But there’s a high high high correlations. So why do we want to remove them? And why do we want to replace them with activities that give you that natural high?


Light Watkins  30:51

You know, I think at the end of the day, we all want to be the best version of ourselves. That’s what we ultimately want. That’s when we feel the best is when we, when we are authentic, when we’re speaking our truth, we’re honest. And we’re showing up and we’re present. And so just a little thought experiment around alcohol, you know, a lot of people would hear that and go, well, you know, alcohol actually makes me more myself. And if that was true, then everybody would drink a few glasses of wine before they go to their job interview, right? But no one would do that because when you go to a job interview, you want to present as the best version of you, the sharpest, the clearest, the most intuitive, the most insightful, right? Alcohol doesn’t make you that, if it did, then you would drink before you went to a place before you got up on stage and delivered your TED talk, you would drink a few glasses of wine, and that would help you. But that’s not what’s happening. So what it does, if you’re being honest, if we’re being honest with ourselves, what it does is it actually dims our ability to be authentic, truly authentic, truly present, truly aware, truly connected. And we don’t realize is that most of us who drink are functional alcoholics, and just looking at that term, objectively, what that means is, you drink, and you may feel that you need to drink once or twice a week, in order to enjoy your meal or in order to wind down or whatever reason you’re telling yourself. Right, in other words, if you can’t go a month, two months, three months without drinking, then that means that you are some to some degree an alcoholic. But if you’re able to do that, and go to work, and pay your bills, and drive, and, you know, take care of your other responsibilities, you’re functional. So you’re essentially a functional alcoholic, right? Let’s call it what it is. So I’m not my message is not you know, one of anti alcohol, I don’t really care about that so much. I personally, I drink on occasion, right? But I don’t, I’ve gone long stretches of time, years and years and years without touching alcohol. And I can do so now if I really wanted to. But we also want to grow and sustain as much awareness as possible. So it’s really a pro awareness message than an anti alcohol message. And I say that the exact opposite state of spiritual minimalism is the state of inebriation because it disconnects you so much from your heart voice. So what that means is that there are dozens, maybe even hundreds of voices inside of our awareness. And this is one of the reasons why people say they can’t hear what their heart is telling them or they can’t hear what their intuition is telling them. And that’s because there’s so many competing voices. Some of those voices are from your past, from your parents, your caregivers. There’s lots of voices from whatever the news is saying, you know, be afraid of this be worried about that. Their voices from just social conditioning, success looks like this,happiness is looks like that, you need to go on vacation, you need this makeup, you need this car, you need this architecture to be happy. You need this burglary system to have peace of mind, you know, these kinds of things. And then you have past traumas, you have fears, you know, phobias from your past. So all those voices are in there, you have the ego, the ego pretty much runs the show for most people. And then you have the still small voice, the still small voice which is your intuition or your voice of inner guidance. And, you know, it’s, it’s still in its small because we we’ve, we listened to it and we followed it so so little in our lives because that’s the voice that’s going to make you look like a clown. That’s the voice is going to embarrass you potentially That’s the voice that if you follow it, you are risking everything that you built up until now, because it’s going to tell you, you know, yeah, you’re in this job that’s paying you half a million dollars, that’s great. But you look, you’re, you’re crying, in the shower, thinking about going to work. And then you’re driving your Ferrari to that job, and you’re crying on the way to the job. And then when you’re there, you’re going in the bathroom, and you’re crying, because you just hate being there so much, you feel like you’re selling your soul. And then you’re crying on the way back home, what you really want to do is, is, you know, you’ve always, you’ve always thought about social work and helping kids and working in, you know, high schools. And that’s something that’s, you had that social worker that really helped you when you were in high school, and you’ve always thought about giving back in that way. And you know, you really, there’s this opportunity across town, you can go and do that, but it’s only going to pay you $50,000. And so the ego says, Wait, what the fuck are you talking about? 50 thousand, no, we’re not going to quit this $500,000 a year job to take some $50,000 a year job, everyone’s going to make fun of you, you’re not going to date, you’re going to have to sell the Ferrari, you know, this is ridiculous. You can volunteer on the weekends to try that out. So you have all these competing voices. And that hard voice, you know, is getting smaller and smaller, because all the other voices are like jumping in like No, no, that’s crazy, you’re ridiculous. Don’t do that. And if you’re courageous enough, to follow through on that still small voice, two things will happen. Number one, it’ll get louder. Because whichever voice you follow the most in the past is the one that’s going to have the volume turned up and the other ones are going to get a little bit lower that you can’t get rid of them. But you can turn up the volume on one and the other ones get a little bit softer. But number two, you realize that taking that leap of faith out of the 500,000, and this is just an example right out of the $500,000 year paying job that was sucking your soul in order to now work in this $50,000 a year job that’s lighting you up inside that actually is the higher paying job when you factor in paycheck to your soul. The Social Work job was actually the $500,000 job. And the other soul sucking job was actually the $50,000 job, but you didn’t realize it until and you can’t realize it until you take that leap of faith. And then guess what happens? Because you’re now working in a situation that lights you up, you’re giving everything to it, you’re present, you’re authentic, you’re connected, people notice. And then they tap you and they say, hey, the city has a position where we want it we want we need somebody to oversee all of the social workers in the city. Because you do such a great job, you’ve had such a positive impact, we want you for this position, right? Something you never would have imagined was possible. And you do that and you show up and you’re authentic, and you’re lit up inside. And then somebody from DC reaches out to you and says, hey, the government, we’re establishing this panel for you know, helping kids and social work, we want you to come to the White House, and advise the president. So now all of a sudden, you become a thought leader in this space. You’re making $5 million a year from giving talks, and writing books, and being on panels. And something that you were never doing for the money, you were doing it because it lit you up inside, and you found your purpose and you found your path. And that thing you had to sacrifice that seemed like such a big deal before was actually complicating your life. It was cluttering your life, and it was probably not going to end well was probably going to end in some sort of diagnosis from the physical manifestation of the stress that you’re experiencing every day. So that’s why following that still small voice is the path of minimalism, you’re simplifying your life, you’re bringing more light to the world. Whereas if you do the conventional thing, you’re complicating your life and unfortunately, this is the thing that we have to experience directly in order to really appreciate the positive effect of following that still small voice but that’s how you turn the volume on.


Clint Murphy  39:34

This is such an interesting one for me at this phase of life because I to a large extent, am following the heart voice on the side with my podcasts, creating, writing, pursuing that area that lights me up and I still have that full time, day job that maybe isn’t the heart voice. But it’s what I’ve done for 23 years. And for people in this situation that you’ve worked with, once you start to find that that heart voice, once you find us start to find what lights you up, how much harder is it to go into work every day, and to do what isn’t what lights you up.


Light Watkins  40:35

So at that point, the invitation is to shift your why. Right. So I’m not advocating anybody quit their day job as a part of the leap of faith, although that may be a part of if that’s not a necessary part of it, \you want to stop seeing your day job as your main thing and start looking at it. Okay, this is my, this is my funding mechanism for this podcast. And I’m going to put everything into this other project and treat that like the main thing, even though I only work on it on the weekends and at night. And I’m going to treat the job as my funding mechanisms. So that allows me to edit other areas of my budget and of my life instead of splurging here and wasting money there to cope with this thing. Now I’m going to go in, and I’m still going to do a great job at my nine to five as a means of saving up more money so that I can fund myself for maybe six months or a year. So that when I do decide to disconnect from it and take that that ultimate leap of faith, I’m not going to be sitting around thinking how am I going to pay my bills. So it’s not so much of an either or it’s really a both and situation. Like, I have a podcast, I just interviewed this guy who started his very successful podcast called Dissect, which is a long form musical analysis podcast. And he started it at probably the worst possible time anyone could ever start a podcast, which is he had, he had been married for a few years. And he, his wife had just given birth to their first child. He literally came home with the child. And he was working at a coffee shop to pay the bills. And he got this idea to do musical analysis on hip hop songs, which is something he had done with classical arrangements and music school. But he’d never even considered doing it for anything else. And then he was listening to Kendrick Lamar’s  Pimp my Butterfly album as he was nursing his new baby. And then the dots connected. He goes, Oh my god, I could do this thing that I used to do a music school for Kendrick Lamar for hip hop, and I’ll create a podcast. And nobody will probably listen to it. But I’ll I get so much joy out of breaking songs down. So maybe somebody out there is like me, I don’t know. And so he would only work on it in the evenings after his wife and his kid went to sleep. So the guy was getting very little to no sleep. But he was so energized because he was feeling like he was on his purpose as he was working on this podcast. And he put that season out, which was like 13 episodes of these individual songs from that album. And it started gaining this, this cult following. And then the next album, he decided to dissect, it was Kanye West’s my beautiful dark, twisted fantasy. And he poured everything he had to it in the evenings. And the weekends while his family was sleeping. And he was so exhausted, he said I couldn’t have gone any further than that that was going to be it. But then Spotify heard that second season of Kanye West’s album, and the cult following grew bigger and bigger. And Spotify offered him an exclusive full time deal to continue his podcast. Oh, wow, he got what he was looking for. And he said, he said this thing, you know, in that second season, he said the world doesn’t give you anything until you give it everything. And for him. His version of that was I have to work at the coffee shop, I have to be the best husband and father I can be. And I want to devote time to this other project. And that’s what he did. And so it was just a beautiful, beautiful example of you don’t have to go out and quit your job. You can do both, but just show up fully in all the areas that you can, and then it’s going to, you know, again, it’s not going to work out in the way you anticipate it working out but it is going to work out in the most in the most serendipitous way that it needs to work out your job is just to keep taking that next step and the next step and the next step.


Clint Murphy  44:45

You’re showing up fully in both recognizing that the job is a part of the mission because without it, you couldn’t do it. So now when you bring that energy, it reverses it in take some of that light from the heart voice and brings it to it. You say, I’m going to show up here and kick ass every day. So you have no reason to doubt. Like, I’m here to do a great job, love what I do. And I’m also going to do this. Beautiful, I love it. How can we argue with that? I love it. So I’m gonna take us back to the substance is for a second, because it’s an interesting one, I was on a call with my and it ties to another principle. I was on a call with my dad earlier this week. He’s been sober for the last 35 years. And we were talking about that. And one of the things I said was, well, the hardest part, one of the reasons a lot of people don’t do this is you have to actually deal with your shit. Like, you don’t get to numb it. You got to sit there and work through it. Like I had a rough day at work. Okay, well, what am I going to do? You know, what am I going to do about that I can’t just have a glass of wine. I’ve got to process it. And so you talk about this idea of learning to be comfortable, being uncomfortable. So not numbing away the uncomfortable but being comfortable being uncomfortable. What does that look like? And what should people be thinking, as it ties to that and working their way through what’s happening in their lives?


Light Watkins  46:19

Yeah, so just something to kind of circle back to these principles are in a specific order. And the first one is this daily stillness, like you need that in order for this other thing to work. So if you don’t have the daily stillness, it’s a lot harder to find comfort in discomfort. If you’re not following your heart voice, you haven’t conditioned yourself to do that, and started the A B testing that I talked about with your heart voice, it’s a lot harder to find the comfort in discomfort, and then the other principles like leading up to that. So by the time you arrive at the finding comfort and discomfort, that almost becomes a natural extension of all of the other things that you’ve been experiencing. So what that simply means is, you know, we have this whole idea that, you know, if something is not a hell yes, then then don’t do it. Which is kind of its kind of pedestrian, because if, of course, you’re going to do something that’s a hell yes. Right. But what about the scary Yes’s what about this idea of challenging that the assumption that you need a glass of wine with dinner, that’s something that makes you uncomfortable, right? But if you’re hearing a voice inside that saying, you know, you really don’t need this glass of wine, this idea that you think you need a glass of wine, it’s something that your ego is telling you, it’s a result of your functional alcoholism, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, then you start to see, okay, wait a minute, there’s a different voice in here. This other voice, it actually resonates with who I know I myself to be deep down within. But it’s a scarier thing to follow than the voice is telling me, hey, look, it’s just a glass of wine, it’s not going to kill you, you know, makes your dinner taste better. All these people are fanatics who are telling you to stop drinking and blah, blah, blah. So now you have pretty hard evidence that there are multiple voices in there. And that the one that has the most influence over you may not be your heart voice. Because your heart voice would never tell you to dilute your consciousness and to lose awareness in order to deal with the problem. Your heart voice will tell you, Hey, you have a problem. You know, it’s like taking your car to Jiffy Lube, right. And they call you out all you want it was an oil change. The $39 oil change and they take they say, Okay, Mr. Smith, come on out, we need to show you and they start telling you, okay, your air filter needs to be changed out and your windshield wipers, they need to be changed out and your carburetor, this and your transmission that by the time they get done, you’re looking at like $1,000 worth of repairs that you need. And you may not be ready to make those repairs, but they’re just telling you what you know what’s going to make the car work better. So it’s up to you to really you can either ignore it or you can just roll up your sleeves and get to it and it’s going to take longer and be more expensive and all that but deep down in the back your mind you want your car to be operating at the highest level of efficiency because you know that when you need it the most. You don’t want to break it down. And that’s what’s probably going to happen is that it’s going to break down when you need it the most, when you need to go pick up your your daughter from soccer when you need to go to the grocery store because you know get some medicine because somebody’s sick and you don’t want your car breaking down then so no one has to convince you that what you truly want in that situation. And that’s what your heart voice, your heart voice, it’s going to say, hey, you know, you need to have an honest conversation with so and so you need a better boundary over here, you need to go and start exercising, you need to, you know, start giving yourself a little more time to think about things before you react, the ego saying, hey, look, you know, forget about all that, let’s just, you know, let’s just satisfy our comfort level now. And we can deal with all that later. So, you know, they both sound logical in the moment, but you want to get used to listening to the heart voice, which is going to make, you probably do things that you don’t feel like you’re ready to do, or that little bit more expensive, time wise, or attention wise, etc. And that’s kind of like that scary Yes category, like, Okay, I’ll do the cold plunge. Okay, I’ll you know, go to the gym today, you know, you’re gonna feel better after you work out deep down in the back of your mind, because that’s what always happens. But the idea of doing that, versus sitting on the couch and watching one more episode is takes a lot more effort. And so you know, you have to literally override all of those other voices. So that’s, that’s what finding comfort in discomfort really means. It means becoming habitual, and challenging that ego voice and following through on that heart voice more often than not, it’s not about being perfect. But six out of 10 times, you know, saying yes, yes to the heart voice. And if you do that over and over and over, then you’ll eventually bump that up to seven out of 10 times, but it’ll feel like six out of 10. And then you’ll bump it up to eight out of 10. But it’ll still feel like six out of 10. So it’s still kind of, you know, it’s taking some effort, but you’re doing more, you’re doing more with less, which is the minimalism aspect of it.


Clint Murphy  51:52

And do you find when you when people talk about these two voices and listening to them, one of the challenges is that heart voice can be calm. And it may speak less, and have a better message. But that ego voice can just be so loud and frequent. And just blasting what it wants.


Light Watkins  52:15

The ego voice is, is very clever. And it knows all your weaknesses, it knows how to exploit those weaknesses. It knows how to manipulate you, no bigger narcissist than your ego voice. Your ego voice knows how to charm you, knows how to seduce you, knows how to make you think that you don’t have enough and that you need to do X, Y and Z etc, etc. And yet it’s still small voice is still in small because again, we haven’t followed it nudgings enough. But here’s the good news. Once you follow it, even just like say 100 times, it starts to become this loud, annoying voice. So I say you don’t want it to be still in small you want it to sound loud and annoying. Just like for those of us who’ve had roommates before, you know, you split the bills and blah, blah, blah, well, if you haven’t paid your half of the light bill, your roommate is going to tell you, Hey, your light bill is due. And you’re like, Oh, I’m going to you know miniature golf, miniature golf, you haven’t paid the light bill yet. Right? It ends up becoming a confrontation. And so you’re still small voice can become confrontational like that, like, no, no, you are not going to sit on the couch today, you’re going to get your ass up, and you’re going to go to the gym. And if you keep doing this, I’m going to cut the cable off. Right, you start losing things when you don’t follow it when it’s that loud and that annoying. And that’s where you want it to be. You don’t want it to be still in small you want it to be loud enough. So that you’re rendered choiceless in the matter.


Clint Murphy  53:50

So the more we listen to it, the more we’re building it like a muscle so it’s growing in strength and in ownership and volume. I love it. So we’ll jump to principle three. And in this one, you talk about the importance of no throw away moments. And you say that every moment will feel as if we’re fully aligned. And we begin to treat every day like it’s our birthday and every moment as though it holds a surprise gift for us. And it reminds me of a meditation exercise I would have my students do in the practicum I was doing which was when you’re outside and you’re walking down the street. Let’s say you’re at lunch and you go to the same lunch spot every day and you walk four blocks. Just look around you. And notice how many stores are on that street that you’ve never actually even seen. You’ve been walking for two years and you never noticed the pottery store right there. And so, being present being in that current moment, Can you unpack what that looks like for our readers and for you, I thought it was so interesting how that led you. In a bit of a scary Yes’ing sure to April, I’ll go to a meditation or to yoga class with you on the other side of town. And that one moment, that one throw away moment, had tail effects that ultimately led to you being the meditation teacher you are today.


Light Watkins  55:24

And to us have a way conversation, exactly, yes. Yeah. Yeah. And you can you go back from there. And I could point to stuff that happened in high school that led me to be in New York and to have that conversation. So yeah, it’s kind of like what Steve Jobs said, you can’t see how things are going to connect in front of you, you can only see them in hindsight. And so there’s an inherent trust that comes from understanding that, hey, all of these things that I’m experiencing right now, are not, are not just arbitrary. And particularly the challenging things that I’m experiencing are gateways to my potential, and they’re all setting me up for something that is going to allow me to stretch into my potential. And so that’s basically what a throw what I mean by no throw away moments. Now, the caveat is, you don’t want to go around, trying to be present, all the time necessary, it’s exhausting. No one has, you know, the energy for that. And that’s, again, why you want to get your stillness practice going on a daily basis first. And then as a consequence of that, a desirable side effect of that is you’ll just naturally feel more present, or more in the moment when it counts the most. Right? And that’s kind of exposes this mistaken philosophy that we can achieve our way to fulfillment or to happiness. If that was true, that we could achieve our way to fulfillment. Or if we, if achievements made us happier, then you would still be just as happy today, as you were when you were walking across the stage at your high school graduation, you will be just as happy today, as you were when you were getting married, you will be just as happy today, as you were when you got notice that you were accepted at your first job, or any other moment in your life where you achieved something pretty remarkable. You know, what happens is you have a wave of joy that may last for a day or week, maybe a month at the most. But then eventually, you settle back down into the same state that you were in prior to that thing happening. And if that previous state was one of contentedness and you achieve something or you lost something, after a few months, you would be back in that same state of contentedness. If you were miserable before you achieved or lost something, after a while, you’ll be miserable again. So achievements are not the gateway to more happiness. The path to happiness is found inside it’s like Arther Schopenhauer once said, he said, finding happiness inside is difficult, but finding it outside is impossible. So the invitation is when you go inside, and you realize, oh, that happiness that I was looking for in the salary, in the soulmate, in the architecture, that is actually inside of me. And my daily stillness practice allows me to tap into that. And then guess what happens? It makes me more present, the more fulfilled I am, the more present I am. If I’m another way of saying that the less fulfilled I am, the more I’m thinking about the future. What could happen in the future, or I’m thinking about the past what should have happened in the past. So I’m either future focused or past focused, I’m either worried or I’m anxious. And that’s a symptom of having very little fulfillment inside. And so the mistake that a lot of people are making is, well, that fulfillment is going to come from me moving from Atlanta to Denver, or it’s going to come from me getting on Tinder and finding my soulmate, or it’s going to come from me getting the iPhone 15 when it comes out instead of my old iPhone 10. You know, whatever the achievement is, when I get my PhD, when I you know, get out of this Toyota and get myself a Tesla. And you keep having these experiences and running this experiment and saying that, Oh, I’m still not very fulfilled. But for anyone who’s taking their meditation practice seriously, and you’ve done so you’ve committed yourself to a daily practice. After two, three years, you are not the same person. Three years later that you were prior to starting that practice. You are more content insight with who and what you are. It doesn’t mean you’re going to be Become a perfect human. And you’re always going to be happy and walk around with a smile plastered on your face. But your trust in your ability to adapt to change is going to increase significantly. And that’s what I mean by contentedness and fulfillment. Fulfillment is knowing that whatever I’m experiencing, I can get through this sure is going to take me on a roller coaster temporarily, emotionally. But I know I can get through this. And so that’s a very powerful asset to to have as a human on planet earth. Because the things that cause us to have the most internal turmoil and chaos is feeling like I can’t get through this, I need to control my way through it, I need to control other people, I need to control and manipulate my external environment, I need to guard myself from everyone and everything so that I can, I can’t have anybody disturbing my peace, right? Because your peace is very thin, it’s very fragile. It’s not stable yet. And so only the inner work is going to stabilize that. And once that happens, you can have you can be anywhere you can be in traffic, you can be in the post office, you can be in Walmart, you could be having these profound real time, experiences of connection. And you realize that oh my god, the universe is speaking to me all the time. I’m looking at a billboard, and I’m getting this profound insight. Whereas if I didn’t have that level of awareness, I just it just be a billboard. You know, why is all this traffic here, I’m focused on the traffic, I’m focusing on why this is not happening versus everything that is happening all around me. And it’s, it’s kind of like one of those magic eye puzzles. When you stare at it. It just looks like hey, and then you soften you surrender to it. And all of a sudden, this image appears from the chaos and oh my god, that’s a pyramid or that’s a cat or that’s a, you know, that’s a centipede or whatever the image is, but someone just trying to focus on and what why is it so stupid, why they don’t see anything, they don’t see anything, because they’re not in the state. They haven’t surrendered enough, they haven’t softened enough in order to see it. So that’s the irony. The less you try, the more you soften. The more you surrender, the more you see, the more you experience, the more insight you have, the more profound moments you experience in life. And that becomes that makes all of those moments beautiful. So it’s not you’re not having to convince yourself that this is a profound moment, your experience at the moment is profound. And you’re trying, you’re telling other people, Oh, my God, the most amazing thing just happened to me at the, you know, coffee shop, and they’re like, What are you, what are you talking about? I’d had this conversation with the barista and you know, turns out we have this and that in common and Oh, my God, I you know it. So it just becomes a story that most people aren’t having those kinds of stories in their life. Oh, it’s so powerful.


Clint Murphy  1:02:56

And one of the things you talked about, there was a, someone’s having their daily stillness practice, they’re more open to this. And there’s something in there about consistency and discipline. And it takes me to the principle one of the principles you talk about, I always say to people, if you want to be a writer, write, every single day, write consistently, if you want to be a runner, run, whatever you want to be do. And I found that very similar to your principle of whatever you want to receive, you have to give. So if you want a friend, be a friendly person, if you want generosity, be a generous person, what does that principle look like for you? And how can people start to put that into action in their life?


Light Watkins  1:03:50

I think one of the biggest opportunities that we all have in relationships, especially is we’ll be experiencing some conflict or some turmoil or some tension, and then we’re waiting for the other person to go first. You know, sure, I’ll be forgiving, but they have to forgive me first, or I’ll be compassionate, but they have to show compassion at first because, because they don’t realize that I’ve already done XY and Z. And, you know, I’ve already shown them, you know, compassion in the past. And, you know, and here’s the thing that we can forget is that we all feel like we’re the hero of our own little story, you know, deep down, that we’ve done enough, we’re the ones that are misunderstood. We’re the ones that have gone above and beyond and the other person is the a-hole, the narcissist the one that’s insensitive, etc. Everybody feels like this. Nobody wakes up thinking I’m such an insidious, insensitive narcissistic a-hole. They think I had such a hard background that, you know, it forced me to have to show up this way and this is what I have to do in order to make sure that I’m protected. So when you understand that, then you can lead with more compassion than you would have otherwise. And it’s not to say you’re not compassionate, but you can have more compassion. And you realize what Stephen Covey in the seven habits of highly effective people said, say every relationship is like a bank account. And if you’re experiencing lots of conflict, that is a symptom that your bank account, your relationship bank account is overdrawn, there have not been enough credit deposits of the good stuff, the forgiveness, the compassion, the joy, the friendliness, the love the protection. And so you may have to make multiple credit deposits over a longer period of time than you want it to, in order to get that account that relationship account back solvent, again, in the way you know, it’s solvent is that there’s a little bit more leeway a little bit more benefit of the doubt given a little bit more trust given if you were to say something that could be interpreted as being insensitive, there’s benefit of the doubt Oh, you know, they just had a hard day, they didn’t really mean that. Whereas if it’s overdrawn, you say something with the best intentions that is not meant to be insensitive at all. And the other person completely blows it up out of proportion, interprets it in the most negative way possible, because there’s no trust there. It’s you’re in the red right now in that relationship make account. So it’s not about, you know, this person isn’t for me, or any of those kinds of narratives that we can sometimes jump to. And it’s an opportunity to just make some more credit deposits. Okay, well, I’m sitting around waiting for them to show me compassion, let what happens, what would happen if I were to just take responsibility for my experience, complete responsibility? Sure. They reacted, they said this thing to me that was really insensitive, but just maybe I contributed something to that. Right. So just as an experiment, let me just take responsibility for responsibility. I’m the one that’s responsible for being compassionate, being friendly, being loving, etc. And maybe that means I initiate a conversation, a long overdue heart conversation, hey, I noticed that you react like this, I’m reacting like that, because you react like this, I know, I want us to feel like we’re on the same team, that we’re not against each other. I know, we’ve never really talked about it before, would you be open to just having a dialogue about the things that we struggle with, or maybe a monthly basis, we can reserve the first Sunday of the month, we’ll go out and have ice cream, and then we’ll talk about things that you know, that you think I can do better and things, I think you can do better. And just to see where we go from there. And there’ll be like this little monthly State of the Union address that we can have with each other. And you know, it’s a confronting thing to do that, because that means that you’re going to also get feedback, you’re going to also get constructive criticism from the other side, and that’s going to hold you accountable. Right? A lot of times we want to hold other people accountable, but we don’t want to hold ourselves accountable. And so we want to put ourselves in positions where we’re giving what we want. So we want someone to be accountable, then we’re saying you I want you to hold me accountable, as well. And if you try that experiment, and after six months or a year, things haven’t changed all that much. Well, now you feel like okay, I’ve done everything, I’ve done everything, maybe the next best solution is for us to just spend some time apart and go our separate ways, you know, and or reimagine what this relationship could look like. And so you can do that without all of the remorse, and oh, I didn’t get closure, all those kinds of conversations, those are all symptoms of the fact that you weren’t giving what you want it to receive. You were hoping the other person was going to be superwoman, or Superman, you were going to be Lois Lane and Clark Kent. And, in fact, everybody’s Lois Lane and Clark Kent, and we need to understand that everyone’s doing their best everyone’s struggling, everyone’s, you know, trying to figure this life thing out. No one is the authority in communication, right, which is a very arrogant stance that some people can take, you know, just by getting upset with somebody who said something or, or reacted in a way that you didn’t like, you’re essentially saying, I’m the authority of communication, which means anyone who doesn’t communicate like me, is the bad guy or the bad girl. And they need to understand how to properly communicate with me, which is arrogant and narcissistic. And it’s something that’s worth taking a look at. And so, you know, you’re never going to lose from adopting a stance of humility. And because that’s what you want from the other person. Ultimately, you want the other person to admit when they were wrong, and to be humble and to be willing to learn and to be willing to take feedback, but you have to do that first. If you know better, you have to do better.


Clint Murphy  1:09:57

You remind me as you say that of another principle from the seven habits seeking to understand first. So before we jump in on someone for what they said, just exploring it with humility and curiosity, and which brings us to curiosity for you how has curiosity played a major role in your life, it what I enjoyed was, you talked about the idea of walking and the impact that’s had on your curiosity, I had a had a guest on a couple months ago who wrote the book Built to Move. And since then, I’ve been averaging about 15-16,000 steps a day, my curiosity is through the roof. So So, so I liked reading that and I’ll pass the torch over to you to hear your thoughts on that one, Light.


Light Watkins  1:10:49

So curiosity is something again, it’s innate to us were born with that anyone who has a young child sees that they can be absolutely fascinated by just simple objects, a stick a ball, a blanket, or even watching the same movie 100 times. And they’re just fascinated, because they’re noticing all the little subtleties and the nuances that you probably haven’t noticed watching it once or twice. So that’s why they keep wanting to watch it again and again, and again. Because then they become curious about understanding this story on a deeper and deeper level. So we all have that curiosity. It’s a childlike sense of wonder and innocence. And we, we tend to have it beaten out of us. When we become adults, in Western society, especially because we’re indoctrinated to believe that, you know, success isn’t about stopping and smelling the metaphorical flowers, it’s about getting to the destination. So the thing that you thought you were curious about before that small beans compared to what you’re going to find at the destination, this is our indoctrination. So then we become goal focused, destination focused, achievement focused, and I’m not anti achievement, you need achievements, you need goals, in order to feel like you’re living a purposeful life, you just want to make sure you’re going after the right goals. If the goal is, you know, I need to make as much money as possible. So I can be as comfortable as possible. That’s not going to end well. If your goal is I need to make as much money as possible. So I can help as many people as possible. Now, that’s a more noble goal, that’s probably going to feel better on the underside of that achievement. But the reason why you’re even considering a goal like that is because you probably have enough fulfillment inside that then allows you to even entertain this, this notion of going after this really big goal so that you can help more and more people. And again, that’s where you talk about the Gandhi’s and the Martin Luther King’s and people like that, who are thinking or who are engaged in radical selfless service, radical, selfless service. But when it comes to walking, walking is a great way of engaging in a meditative practice, not not your meditation, but a meditative practice, which means you can be outside you can be getting sun, you can be moving your body. And it’s there’s like a rhythm to it, there’s a cadence to it, which can be a bit meditative as well, you can see things so you’re practicing your present moment awareness. And at the same time, you’re able to practice split testing, or a be testing your inner voice, your heart voice, because inevitably, you’re going to reach a crossroads. And your ego or your conventional mind is going to say, well just go the way you always go, your heart voice is going to probably tell you go up go the other way, just see what happens the other way. And so you have that opportunity to listen to the heart voice and go the other way go left instead of going right. Or if something makes you curious about some store you pass, you know, you see something in there, maybe you smell something that’s delicious. And it says go go in there and just investigate, and you go in there. And maybe you strike up a conversation with someone, and then that conversation leads to a friendship. And then that friendship leads to a business deal where you’re able to reach your goal, again, in a predictable way that ends up landing you in a position that’s more than what you imagined for yourself. Right. And when you start tracing the steps back, you may see that oh, going into that store because I smelled that delicious chai tea was really the pivotal moment. I’m so glad I listened to that. And the argument that I’m making is that that’s all that’s ever happening. You’re being guided by the things that you’re naturally curious about. Somebody else could smell that same chai tea wouldn’t even register. Just keep moving. I hate chai tea, I’m looking for coffee, but the universe knows you love chai tea. So when it sends you that with a chai tea, that is, that is a an opportunity for you to stop trying to get to the destination and to say, oh, that the destination is right here, I’m already there. And now from this, from this place of fulfillment, I’m making choices that are either aligned with what I’m naturally curious about or that are not aligned with what I’m curious about. And so then it frees you up to be able to follow those urges in those nudges a little bit easier. And this is not a call to avoid responsibility. It’s not either, or it’s both. And so the challenge is, you know, if I have to go pick up my child or whatever, obviously, I don’t have time to go in and have a chai tea and talk to people, but I make a mental note about it, and write it down. And the next time I’m in that area, I go to that place and I investigate what’s going on in that chai tea place.


Clint Murphy  1:15:58

And it sounds like that curiosity is a conduit or a gateway to allowing us to listen to our heart voice more as well to be open direct to what’s coming.


Light Watkins  1:16:10

Yeah, that’s your language learning session. The language of your heart voice when you’re out walking. That’s when you’re you’re becoming conversational in the language of your heart.


Clint Murphy  1:16:20

So being open, being being aware, being curious and then and then letting it speak into us. I love it. Do you have time for four rapid fire questions that we usually wrap up with? All right, let’s do so what’s a book that’s had a major impact for you on your life?


Light Watkins  1:16:38

So many, I would say my gateway book to becoming a conscious spiritual seeker is Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch. Oh, which I read back in the 90s. It just opened me up to a lot of answers that I didn’t, you know, two questions that I didn’t think had answers.


Clint Murphy  1:16:59

Beautiful one, you’re reminding me that I have it on my shelf. I have started it. I never finished it. So that’s something I can do. Second one is what’s on your shelf right now? What are you reading?


Light Watkins  1:17:10

Ah, so I have Rick Rubin’s new book on creativity. Okay. And I, I’ve just started rereading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Percy, which is also on my favorite books. I love it. He said, he said, I’ve been using this quote in these interviews about travel light. And I thought you know, let me go back and read the book. But the quote is the only Zen you’re going to find at the top of a mountain is the zen you bring up there with you. But it’s one which is which is this idea that the fulfillment is inside, it’s not even at the top of the mountain. If you’re miserable at the bottom of the mountain, once you get to the top, you’re still going to be miserable.


Clint Murphy  1:17:51

Yeah, you remind me of the one I heard where it’s a more of a joke, but the person says, you know, I went to the I went to France, it was a miserable experience. I went to Italy, it was horrible. I went to Germany, it sucked. And the person says, well, they all had one thing in common. You went. Not as nice as this. No. But we end up in the same spot. So the third one would be what is something and this might be hard for you as minimalist traveling lately. But what something in the last 18 months will give you an extra six months that you bought for under $1,000 that you’ve thought to yourself, Wow, this is something that should have been on my minimal list earlier.


Light Watkins  1:18:41

Hmm. What’s something that I have bought in the last 18 months? Oh, cast iron skillet. Now I don’t carry that in my backpack. But I’m in this Airbnb for an extended period of time. And I’m a big believer in leaving places better than you found them, which I talked about in the book as well. And even though I’m technically you know, a temporary resident of this place, I’m here for a period of time. And I want something that’s going to make it better a better experience for not just me, but for everyone else who stays here then I’m happy. So I’ve gotten pans for this place. I got some things in the kitchen that I think will leave it better. I got a new mattress on it, which I think will leave it better. And then once I get ready to leave here I’ll pack my little backpack and I’ll take off and I’ll do the same thing elsewhere. Because this place is an extension of me. And you know so that’s how I look at it. Well, it’s beautiful. I love my rental cars clean or anything although I have done that before but I don’t make a habit out of that. But look we’re renting everything is rental the body is a rental that you have everything that you think you own right now. You’re just renting it for a small period of time in the grand scheme of things. So, if today was all you had, then treat it like that.


Clint Murphy  1:20:06

Oh, that’s powerful right there. The last one is in your life, what’s one habit mindset shift behavior change that’s had an overall or oversized impact on improvement for you?


Light Watkins  1:20:23

I recently started this minimalist workout with weights. I’ve been working out as a minimalist for years now. But it’s been beautiful because I only do one exercise a day. It only takes me about 15 or 20 minutes. And I always leave the gym wanting more. And it’s a complete opposite experience to the one I was having before, before the pandemic specifically where I would go to the gym, kind of reluctantly like a lot of people do. And I would spend too much time there working out and then I couldn’t wait to get out of there and doing less. And doing something on a scheduled specific dates like Mondays are always benchpress. And Tuesdays are always deadlifts and Wednesdays are always pull ups. And Thursdays are always squats and Fridays are a alternate alternating push up pull up day to hit the upper body again. And then Saturdays are arms and shoulders. And then Sundays. I was for a long time I was doing burpees 100 burpees on Sundays. But now I’m doing these calisthenics at a local park on Sundays. So I already know what I’m doing on every day of the week, which then allows me when I’m traveling, to know what you know, okay, I’m gonna stay in this place because it’s closer to a park that has a pull up bar. And because I’m going to be there on a Wednesday, right, or I’m not going to be there on a Wednesday, and I don’t need to like it informs where I stay and how I kind of move around what I need to bring with me and all of that, because I know what my daily exercise routine is going to be. And I’ve worked out how to do it in hotel rooms and how to do it, when I don’t have any equipment and how to do it, you know, because I know it’s going to be chest day on Monday. So if I don’t have a benchpress, and I’ll do push ups, I’ll do as many I do 100 Push ups and as many sets as I need, and I can do that anywhere. So I just kind of systemized the workout program, it’s a maintenance mode program. It’s not to like, you know, get into a fitness competition or anything like that. But it’s a way to feel strong, feel functionally strong. And, and to be able to do it anywhere. And then that way you eliminate that excuse that a lot of people have, which is I can’t work out because I’m on the road or because the gym is closed or because whatever the excuse is, and it makes me feel better when I’m when I’m being physically active. So, so obviously the combination of that, and then walking 10-15,000 steps a day has been life changing.


Clint Murphy  1:22:59

And I love that because when you’re doing that many steps, it’s a fair amount of time. And so I’m finding, I’ve gotten to that, let go of the workouts a little and I’m thinking okay, now that I’m making the walking a habit, I need to reintroduce the workout but the idea of reintroducing an hour. I’m like, Well, I can’t go for an hour and a half walk with the dog then do an hour workouts too. But if I came in, I got a gym right beside where I’m recording with you as I motion to the left. If I just walked over there and did three, you know, did did a set, did benchpress for the day, did three or four sets I met least getting some definition, some maintaining some musculature, and I’m not killing the clock.


Light Watkins  1:23:45

Yeah, and if you do progressive overload, do progressive overload do five sets of five, five sets. So I’ve okay five by five sets of five. And that’s all I do. And then I leave, even if I want to do more, I still leave. And I do progressive overload and focus on quality over quantity. So I’m doing full extensions, very gradually adding weight on a weekly basis, or I decrease the rest times, or I you know, go for you know, full extensions. And I record myself because you know, the tape don’t lie, as they say, and you think you’re going full extensions, but you’re actually not. So it’s good to be able to just check hold yourself accountable in that way. But yeah, and then it just becomes every Monday. So you know, rain, shine, snow, sleet, whatever, by the end of the year, you’ve done your chest 50 times, and you’ve done your back 50 times and you know, and that that consistency adds up, man, it really does. I’m actually lifting more now at 50 years old and I’ve ever lifted in my entire life. And I’ve been lifting weights for 25 something years on a consistent basis. But I’ve never been able to reach the amount the personal records that I’m able to reach today. Just doing one one exercise a day which is pretty remarkable.


Clint Murphy  1:25:00

And we wait to the end of the conversation and you say the thing that shocked me most when you say 50 years old and because you You look so young on the other side of this camera, Light, and that may be that spiritual minimalism, lightens the load on our bodies mentally and physically.


Light Watkins  1:25:22

I would attribute I’ve done a lot of meditation or you know, acupuncture I’ve done a lot of modalities I would say the biggest thing that attributes to maintaining that youthfulness honestly was I stopped drinking at 25. Stopped drinking 25 years ago for the most part so but everything else is great too. But I would say that compared to the my friends who still drink and all that they look like old grandfather’s.


Clint Murphy  1:25:49

All right, we we went far and wide on on Travel Lightly. Is there anything that we that we didn’t hit on that you want to make sure you leave the listeners with?


Light Watkins  1:25:59

I think we had a very thorough conversation. But I always like to remind people, this book is not a travel book. It’s not a book about getting rid of your stuff. It’s about approaching this idea of doing less and accomplishing more from the inside out. So there’s something in there for everyone. It’s a lifestyle book. There’s a lot of takeaways for dating, for finances, for health, wellness, there’s a little workout thing in there and then there’s just like regular old just personal development stuff. So there’s there’s a little bit something for everyone. It’s Choose Your Own Adventure, which means you can crack it open in any place and just read what what catches your eye. So that’s it’s a very unique book in that way.


Clint Murphy  1:26:38

And where can people find you, Light.


Light Watkins  1:26:40

I’m on the socials @LightWatkins and then my website is


Clint Murphy  1:26:46

Perfect. Thank you for joining me today. That was wonderful to have a conversation with you. Thank you, Clint.




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