What if there was a way to be more aware of our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations and to have the power to respond to them in a more thoughtful way? Now imagine treating yourself with kindness and understanding, especially during difficult...
In this episode we discuss:
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Jeremy: [00:00:00] What if there was a way to be more aware of our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and to have the power to respond to them in a more thoughtful way.
Zach: Now just imagine treating yourself with kindness and understanding, especially during difficult times.
Jeremy: In this episode, you'll learn how both are possible by developing better mindfulness and self-compassion practices, and why doing so can make a big difference, not only for you, but for generations to come.
Zach: So we literally just talked about self-compassion the other day, and clearly we're not the only ones who think that it's kind of a big deal and this person that we're talking to today is kind of an expert in it, and he's talking about it. So like, we're not crazy.
We're not in left field, are we?
Jeremy: [00:01:00] It's very nice to not be alone in this, uh, endeavor to become more self-compassionate, to help other people find that. And one of the things we talked about on that last episode was how mindfulness and meditation is such a powerful way. To build that muscle, to build up that self-compassion, to develop that gap between external forces and the way we react to them.
And when it comes to meditation, this guy, literally his voice has been in my head for a year and a half. We're talking today to a Foso Jones Cordy. He's one of the voices of the balanced meditation app.
And I know for me, the more that I stay on track and continue my meditation practice, the easier it is for me to not only have self-compassion, but compassion for others, right? Like when my kids are melting down, when the world is, seems out to get me. Like all the stuff that just, that life just throws at you when you do take the time to meditate and make it part of your routine.
All of that stuff, just, just that, that gap that I mentioned, it just gets bigger and bigger so that you. A larger perception of time to react [00:02:00] appropriately to those external forces.
Zach: See, I love that you like, get that, that gap where, , your initial reaction is different. My initial reaction never changed, but I have like, I have that interrupt like as soon as my initial reaction hits, , I stop it and then I change it. , it's the same.
Jeremy: same end result.
Zach: Same end result. But , in my head, when I see somebody do something stupid, my initial reaction is, what a dump. And like, and then I stop and I go, oh, you know what? You know, some, maybe something's happening, maybe this is happening. Maybe that's happening. Like it just that compassion for others, right. And the compassion for me, like I still hear that voice. I still hear myself calling myself an asshole. And actually it's not my voice, it's my father's.
So, I just wanna point out , it doesn't always happen that way. It doesn't completely stop. Sometimes it's still there
Jeremy: Oh yeah. No, I, I, if I ever get to a point where it completely stops, I mean, I, I don't, I don't know that that level of enlightenment, uh, exists [00:03:00] for most human beings. I think that that is a, a level that I'll never experience. But like you said, having that ability to catch the narrative, and to me, that gap.
It feels like eons, but, but I think it is, like you're saying, you'll hear that voice, you'll that, that instinct, that reaction kicks in and having the ability to pump the brakes and go, Nope, we're gonna do this differently. We're gonna slow down. We're gonna take a breath, we're gonna change that voice.
We're gonna say something else That gets easier. The more that you sit in that silence or sit through a guided meditation to start reprogramming the way that your brain responds to all of these different situ. [00:04:00]
Zach: So you and I have been talking about this for multiple episodes now, but I think we need to hear from somebody else who's a little bit more of an expert than we are.
Jeremy: Fortunately, we have someone who fits the bill. His name is ASU Jones Cordy. He's the author of Love Your Amazing Self. He's a meditation teacher and hip hop musician who goes by the name of Born. I. . I started the conversation by just geeking out about having a real conversation with him after more than a year of hearing his voice in my head.
Interview-Ofosu - Mic 1: I'm excited to talk about the book, which we will do in just a minute, but I'm, super excited because I listened to you basically every single day of my life.
The, the, the Balance app has been a part of
Interview-Ofosu - USB: Oh, wow.
Interview-Ofosu - Mic 1: for like a year and a half.
Interview-Ofosu - USB: That's amazing.
Interview-Ofosu - Mic 1: or Leah helped me fall asleep every night. It's the, it's the last voice I hear at the end of every day.
So I, if you don't mind, I just wanna sort of ask you about the Balance app because it's, it's just been uh, a big part of my life and so I, I want to tell people about it because I think , it's one of those, uh, meditation apps that I don't think people know enough about.
And so I wanna make sure people are where it exists and, and how it can help them.
Interview-Ofosu - USB: [00:05:00] Wow. That is, that is so awesome. I'm so happy , to know that. Yeah. the Balance app, we, we've been around for, uh, three going on four years, so relatively new and. what we, I guess what the vision of balance is, is to create meditations that are customized for whatever our users individual goals are.
So Leia and I both record thousands of meditation, , scenarios , and options and paths, et cetera, so that when you, , engage with the app, the experience that you have is really a, an experience that isn't cookie cutter. It's not one size fits all. It's what are your goals? What are your needs, and how can we help you achieve them?
Through the practice of mindfulness? And for me , as a meditation teacher, somebody who's been teaching this for [00:06:00] close to 20 years now, I thought that balance was really special in that it understands that the, the, the journey of meditation, the journey of mindfulness is a very personal one. And , to create something or to assume that people are.
Gonna all be able to fit into one format is short-sighted. So, yeah, I, I, I really appreciate the vision and the mission of balance and, uh, and, and being a part of it and, uh, being a part of the, the app itself, the podcast, well-balanced, uh, uh, all of that. Yeah. I'm so happy I'm like, over the moon that, uh, that you are enjoying the app and that it's showing up for you in a positive
Interview-Ofosu - Mic 1: Seriously. I mean, it replaced like three other meditation apps that I either had or tried. And I just love that, , every time you listen to one, it's a little different. It's a little customized and, and there's different paths to go. It's just, it's amazing. So I'm just, I'm so glad that we can sort of share that message and, and let people know it exists.
Interview-Ofosu - USB: Yeah, absolutely.
Interview-Ofosu - Mic 1: Well, cool. You, you mentioned that this journey sort of [00:07:00] started for you about 20 years ago. You've been teaching this, so tell us a little bit about that, that origin story and how this became a big part of your life.
Interview-Ofosu - USB: Sure, sure. Well, I, I learned about mindfulness and meditation from my mom , and she. Was on her own self-care journey. Um, I don't think it was really called that back in the eighties, but, um, you know, she, my, my family's from Ghana in West Africa. I'm a first generation American. I, I feel like if I'm putting myself in my mom's shoes, she's a new mom in a new country.
, she's, , looking for some kind of avenue for peace of mind. , and she and I are very close. So as she was on her self-care, self-love journey, she took me along for the ride, and that's where I kind of was introduced to mindfulness, meditation, yoga, Buddhism, et cetera, through my mom. , fast forward several years later, , when I was in college, , my then girlfriend, , now wife, , [00:08:00] by the time we got to my senior year, we were with Child
My first, uh, child, my daughters Sonara. , and for, for some reason, the memories of my mom bringing me to meditation centers or temples, they all started to flood back. And I felt that perhaps this, this path is something that I should take up again. In the process of becoming a, a new parent at such a young age. And then, but also it was more like perhaps this, this kid is gonna need a dad who meditates, you know? So, , I'm not a hundred percent sure where it all came from, but I, I really did throw myself into my meditation practice. Interestingly enough, my, my wife's mom, my mother-in-law was also a mindfulness and meditation teacher.
, and so I got a good foundation in the practice from her as well, and in my own personal study. So it, it, it became something that I was very passionate [00:09:00] about. And, but at the same time, in the practice of it, I recognized how much anxiety and negative self-talk and, , yeah, how unpleasant my inner terrain had become almost imperceptibly.
, and so I, I, I struggled in my practice for a long time , but yeah, and, and, and those struggles really led me down the avenue of, uh, of, of creating a book like this, et cetera, just to, um, To encourage people to practice self-love and self-compassion from an earlier age, because, uh, cuz it can get tough as, as we get older.
But you, we hadn't gotten to the book yet. That's kind of like, that's sort of the meditation origin story. And I felt, I fell into teaching again just by happenstance. , uh, I, I met, a , a fellow meditation practitioner on the bus one day. He happened to be the teacher of a, uh, a family meditation program through the [00:10:00] Insight meditation community of Washington.
It was something that I wanted to share with my family. So we would go to those monthly Sundays and one day he was like, would you mind, being a guest teacher in the class and the rest is kind of history from there. Yeah. I from, I never had any ambition to be, uh, a teacher or an educator. It just kind of happened and, uh, but it's been, it's, it's, it's been happening for two decades now,
Interview-Ofosu - Mic 1: It's, it's, it's funny, uh, it's funny how , purpose tends, tends to show up in our life whether we like it or not, and it invites us along. Right.
Interview-Ofosu - USB: For sure. For sure.
Interview-Ofosu - Mic 1: Uh, I wanna talk about the book Love Your Amazing Self. , and it sort of ties into what you were just talking about there. The, the first question I had about it, uh, I loved in the beginning how you shared that you had a solid upbringing, supportive family taught you about the importance of kindness and loving others, but still, A hole found something that you needed to work on in terms of that self-love.
Can you talk a little bit about that, that struggle?
Interview-Ofosu - USB: yeah, absolutely. , as it happens in life, , , as we [00:11:00] grow, our lives become more dynamic and the, the conflicts that we have with, with others and with ourselves become more, , more detailed , and I, my my situation was no different. , I'm very fortunate to have grown up, you know, two parent household, , and loving parents.
But one thing that wasn't emphasized in my upbringing, , by no fault of anybody, but I just don't think it was in the cultural, , lexicon at the time, , was , it's very important to take care of your own heart. It's very important to pour love into yourself because life is going to show up with massive challenges, and when it does, you've got to have some inner strength.
, but also some gentleness, you have to have a soft place to land within yourself. It's not just, , pulling yourself up by your bootstraps , or grit or toughness, but it's also kindness and love and compassion for yourself and. [00:12:00] it was teachers, parents, uncles, aunts, that just wasn't messaging that I was getting.
So , I had some pretty difficult, uh, things happen in my life, in my young adolescence, and it really threw me for a loop. And I experienced quite a long spell of anxiety and depression, and all the dark avenues that those two, , conditions can take you down. Without the support , of my family, of my wife in particular, , being like a constant mirror to myself.
Like, Hey, you know, you, you're, you're more okay than you think. , I don't know if I would be sitting here. And even with all of that support that like got me here by like a thread, it was still pretty dicey. And I feel like if I had had the, the, the presence of mine to be there for myself much earlier on, , I would've had an easier go of it.
, and what I've come to [00:13:00] realize in my teaching in my life is that self-love, self-compassion, self-acceptance. These are. Fundamental foundations of what it means to have a happy life. And that's what I want , to share and to offer, with my time here.
Interview-Ofosu - Mic 1: This, this might be just personal therapy time, but I mean, that's the hardest thing, right? I mean, you can, you can love your kids like you never thought possible. Your spouse, your family. It's so easy to pour love in other people, but then you look in the mirror
and you see something else. What, what is that?
Why do we struggle so much to give ourself the same grace that we give everyone around us?
Interview-Ofosu - USB: yeah. It's this really distortion of our own experience that, , Tara Brock calls the trance of unworthiness, and we get lost in that trance. And I think that there are a few sort of intersecting reasons for that. one of them has to do with our evolutionary [00:14:00] makeup. The, the negativity bias that comes from our supreme problem solving.
, that's, that's allowed us to be at the top of the food chain, you know, when n when we otherwise, you know, shouldn't be . But we are such effective problem solvers and it's because we are always looking for the problems. And that is something that came from our ancient ancestors. , The negatives are still what's are very stimulating to us.
So if somebody says something crazy on Twitter, that's what we're gonna flock to some. If there's a car accident on the road, we're gonna slow down and look, we're going to pay the most attention to the negative news story, et cetera. And it's not because we are in love with the negative, but it's because our problem solving mechanism kicks in so that I can preserve my existence. As we've grown as a society, that mechanism is still running on high, but we've slowed down a bit. So it turns on us a bit [00:15:00] and we start to ask like, well, what, what's wrong with me? What can I say better? What can I do better?
How can I be better? , if we're not careful, that inner inventory becomes an inner critic and then the inner critic becomes the inner voice and that inner voice gets calcified into belief. Compounding this scenario is the world outside of us also, challenging our ability to be. Loving towards ourselves.
We might have had parents who prized our achievements more than just our basic humanity. You know, that showed us affection when we achieved, and not just for affection sake, we might have had teachers, coaches, siblings, friends who gave us the same sort of messaging. We also have social media these days, advertising, et cetera, that's purposefully designed to make us feel anxious so that we, , click the next [00:16:00] thing, buy the next thing, , stay engaged with, uh, with the app.
So we've got this evolutionary, , heritage of, searching for the negative in all scenarios. And we've got the social, that, you know, that, that that leads us away from our own hearts. And what we're left with is this feeling of in, of, of, of pervasive inadequacy. , that can feel like it's innate.
But the truth is, none of this has to be the whole story. None of this has to be fundamental to who we are. We can transform the way that we relate to ourselves. And going back to what you said, we know how to pour love, so we are not, , restricted in that ability. An exercise that I love to do with, , I'm sorry, I'm, I'm just, I'm off on a tangent here, but an exercise that I love to do with people is to, , take a moment and just check in with yourself.
[00:17:00] How are you doing mentally? How are you doing emotionally? How are you doing physically? So, a little bit of mindfulness practice, just being aware of your mind, body, and emotional state. And then based on how you're feeling in the present moment. If your best friend or a loved one was feeling exactly how you're feeling right now, what would you say to them?
Whether you're feeling elated or whether you're feeling terrible, what would you say to somebody that you love who is feeling the same way? , automatically these words of comfort, compassion, these words of care, love. I'm here for you. I love you. I'm sorry. They all arise in us and we know what we would say to somebody else.
And so, okay, you've got that skill. Just apply it to yourself. Bring those same words into your own heart. Speak to yourself in the same way you'd speak to a friend or a loved one.
Interview-Ofosu - Mic 1: Those lessons, your own experience, and I hope I'm not too big of an assumption here. Your experience as a parent, I, I, I believe, drove you to create this book to help young people not [00:18:00] reboot the programming, but but maybe carve out better programming from the beginning so they're not in their thirties and forties and going, oh my God, why have I hated myself my entire
So, so tell us about the book and, and how it's helpful for young.
Interview-Ofosu - USB: Yeah. Well, , this book is overtly for young people. Covertly for all people . And, um, I just, like you said, it's a way that I think I want to, , kind of redirect , the tendency that we have to slowly but surely, , be increasingly unkind to ourselves and to just have these messages that are in the book be, uh, an alternate to that sort of mental trend.
Not only for the messaging to be something that is impactful, but then the activities that are in the book that parents can do with their kids or that educators can do with young people, caretakers can do with young people. So that it's a collective experience of, , rewiring , a [00:19:00] collective experience of, of practicing self-love and self-compassion.
I want self-compassion, self-love, self-care, self-acceptance to be, , The default, , to be something that is not a revelation for people. , in my adult life, when I talk about self-compassion or self-love to other adults, it really is like a light bulb goes off like, oh my God, I haven't been doing this ever.
So if we can make this the default way that kids relate to themselves, even if it doesn't look like it's showing up for them immediately. Cause having the long view as a parent of a six year old and a 20 year old, and two points in between nine and 17 year olds, , I've seen my 20 year old go through all those stages, go through the pain of adolescences, come out as a young adult, and have a lot of these lessons that her mom and I tried to impart, show up for her when we were sure [00:20:00] that they weren't showing up for her.
When we were like, well, I guess, you know, we tried our best and then all of a sudden one day. , she's prac, she's going on retreats on her own, practicing meditation on her own and just, and not only those external things, but she's catching herself when she can feel herself falling.
She's taking active care of her own heart, her mind, her body. , so even if you don't think that these kind of messages are, are having an impact, you're putting them in the bank and they will make those withdrawals when it's time.
Interview-Ofosu - Mic 1: As the, as the father of a 11 and seven year old man. I hope you're right cuz there's
Interview-Ofosu - USB: I, I'm telling you, I was, I, I was just like, I guess we're just, we did our best, you know, Hey, ch fingers crossed, but then all of a sudden you saw this adult who was way more healthy mentally than, uh, than, than we expected her to be.
Interview-Ofosu - Mic 1: I say all the time. My seven [00:21:00] year old has learned more about social emotional intelligence than I have figured out in my 45 years on this planet. It's incredible what, what
Interview-Ofosu - USB: sure. Yeah, absolutely. And, and, and they might still throw, so it doesn't mean that you, they won't throw tantrums. It doesn't mean they won't say hurtful things. It doesn't mean that they won't think unkind things about themselves. But there's a counter, but if, if there's nothing there, if there's no counter to self-hatred, then that becomes the belief. But if, if an unkind thought is there, but there's an alternative, , then there's some balance. , no pun intended,
Interview-Ofosu - Mic 1: I love that. Uh, I know we just have a couple minutes left. I wanted to bring it back to the book for just a minute because the artwork, I mean, the content itself is, is very powerful. The artwork is stunning. It is such a beautiful book. And I know this is an audio podcast, but can you try and give us a picture of, uh, of what we find when we open the pages?
Interview-Ofosu - USB: yeah, absolutely. You know, the big shout out to Ini Okoye who, , provided the illustrations for this book, I really feel like our [00:22:00] work together was a match made in heaven here. , the illustrations f to me feel like what you would see when you close your eyes and listen to the words, the colors that arise, the shapes that arise.
There is a dreamlike and almost psychedelic kind of quality , to the artwork. And it, it, it really soars and takes you on this wonderful journey. , so yeah, I can't wait for your listeners to, to take a look cuz I'm, I'm sitting here looking at it in front of me and I, I'm, I'm, I'm so happy and so, so impressed with, uh, with how it all came out.
Interview-Ofosu - Mic 1: And then finally, uh, as a hip hop artist, uh, this is a very artistic and beautiful book. Is there any plan to, to do a, take it to another level as some sort of musical collaboration with the work that's already existing?
Interview-Ofosu - USB: Yes, definitely. I wanted to put the book out and allow people to hear the words of the book in their own voice, whether it's their voice, voice or their inner voice, and, and to give them some time to, to create that relationship with the [00:23:00] book. And so I will be releasing a companion album to accompany the book.
And it'll be, , a lot of the verses here will be read as hip hop verses and I'll als I, I'm, I'm planning on doing a combination where the verses are read in a more meditative zone and then they're read in a more hip hop zone. So yeah, it should be pretty
Interview-Ofosu - Mic 1: That's amazing. This is such a thrill to get to talk to you, uh, and to have a two-way conversation with you and not just a one-way conversation. This has been a big deal for me, so I'm very excited for this. Thank you for your time. Where can we learn more about you, the app, the book, and all the things that you have going on,
Interview-Ofosu - USB: For sure, for sure. Thank you so much for having me. It's been a wonderful conversation. And, , you can find out more about me via, on my website. Just go to born eye music.com. That's b o r n, the letter i music.com on social media. You can find me at Born Eye Music, pretty much across the board.
That's at B O R N, the letter I music, , the book, love Your Amazing Self is available everywhere books are [00:24:00] sold. I always want to encourage people to support their local bookstore , but if you don't have a local bookstore, Amazon, Walmart, target, Barnes and Noble, et cetera, they're all carrying the book online and in person.
So very happy about that. I'm also on the balanced meditation app, so you can go to the App store, look up balance, and you can catch Leia and I talking about all things meditation and wellness on the Well-balanced podcast. So bunch of different ways to catch up.
Interview-Ofosu - Mic 1: and we'll have all those links, uh, on the show notes for this episode. Any final thoughts you wanna leave our, our.
Interview-Ofosu - USB: Just that loving kindness towards yourself. Self-kindness, self-compassion. These are the building blocks for a happy life. It's never too late to practice kindness towards yourself and it's never too early to encourage it in young people. So please do, , follow the prompt of the title of this book and love your amazing.
Interview-Ofosu - Mic 1: Powerful stuff man. Thank you seriously so much for your time and for this opportunity. It really means a lot [00:25:00] and uh, I'm so glad we connected.
Interview-Ofosu - USB: Me too. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.
Zach: Our thanks to O OSU Jones Cordy. He's the author of Love Your Amazing Self. You can find links to him and his work in the show notes for this email@example.com.
This is such a good follow up to our last episode and the importance of self-compassion. I just want to reiterate to everyone and to you, Jeremy, because , I know you struggle with it as much as I do, being compassionate to yourself, like it really, really is important. This isn't something you sweep under the rug.
This is something you actually need to pay attention.
Jeremy: And I think it's so valuable to practice it on yourself because if you can be compassionate with yourself. It just makes it so much be easier to be even more compassionate with others. , I think, by default it's easier for all of us to be compassionate towards others. Our kids, the people that do us wrong, for whatever reason, we can make that space, but we just beat the shit out of ourselves all day long in many cases. [00:26:00] And so I think if we can find that space to forgive ourselves, to, to give ourselves a little bit of grace, it just amplifies what we're able to do for others in the real.
and one of the things that I loved about that interview and and about ASO's experience is that he's a meditation teacher. Like he's the voice of an app that is helping people learn how to do this. He had a great upbringing, family loved him, , taught him all about compassion and loving others.
Despite that, he still lacked the ability to have compassion for himself and had to seek that out and had to do that work for him. So it's just such a great reminder that no matter what background you have, no matter what struggles you're facing, nobody's flawless. Nobody's got all of this stuff figured out.
And so again, it's just another opportunity to give yourself a break and, and accept that you're gonna have shortcomings. You're gonna fall down, you're gonna fail, but give yourself a break. Dust yourself off and try and do better again tomorrow.
Zach: I know I'm not flawless and, and my, my daughter and, and my own actions pointed [00:27:00] out to me every single day. I do the best I can though. But you know, at this point in my life, I have learned to just say, you know what? I screwed up. And you know what? I won't make that same mistake again, but I, I'm, I'm pretty easy on myself because I've said this a hundred times on our show.
On other shows, when I think about talking negatively to myself, I ask myself, would I talk that way to my daughter? Would I talk that way to somebody I love? And the answer is always no. Like I would never call somebody fucking more onto their face. Well, maybe a
Jeremy: not, not out loud. Not out loud. Anyway,
Zach: Maybe a couple of people, but generally speaking, I wouldn't do it to somebody I loved and I shouldn't be doing it to myself.
So if it's something that I wouldn't say to somebody I love, I shouldn't say it to myself and then I reframe it, what would I say to that person if they did the exact same thing , that I did, that I'm beating myself up over? And then I'm gonna say that to myself.
Jeremy: And speaking of daughters, this is work that I'm doing [00:28:00] and, and you know, just talking about that, using myself as training ground. I'm in particular trying to do the work on myself so that I can turn that around and be a better dad for my kids. Try and teach them the same lesson, to give yourself a break to, to have compassion for yourself.
To accept that you're gonna have flaws and things are gonna go wrong, and just to be okay and, and move forward. Because I just know that had I learned this earlier, had I learned this, , before my thirties and, you know, really understanding it deeply in my forties, my life would've been so much less, , full of struggle and pain and hardship.
And so if my kids at now, seven, 11 years old are hearing this and seeing this from. , it's just gonna make it that much easier for them and the future generations to be kind to themselves and not give that, that angry, powerful voice so much space, , in their heads.
Zach: Yeah. And one other point that , you just said, is that person you used to be right. So I [00:29:00] am very compassionate with my current self, with my, with who I am today, when I'm making mistakes. didn't always have that compassion for prior me. So 10, 15, 20 years ago, me, I would talk really negatively about that guy, but talk really positively about the current me .
So just a word of warning, like that's still negative self-talk. That's still not being compassionate with yourself. So be compassionate with who you are today. And who you were as a child when you were developing all these patterns and all this stuff and all that crap was going on. Like you as a whole person be compassionate with every point in your life.
I think that makes a big difference for me.
Jeremy: And I, and I think that it will pay dividends in the future when you have changed the narrative of how you talked to that younger version of your. To how you're talking to yourself now. I think that just propels forward into better self-talk later in the future.
All right, well, we'll take an even closer look at mindfulness and self-compassion in our next [00:30:00] newsletter that's coming out soon. We'd love to share it with you. It also offers exclusive deals on things we use to make our own lives a little happier and healthier. You can get it by signing up firstname.lastname@example.org, and that's where we will be back in just a few days with a brand new episode.
Thank you so much for.
Zach: See everyone
OFOSU JONES-QUARTEY is the author of the new book: LOVE YOUR AMAZING SELF and has been teaching mindfulness and meditation for more than a decade. He lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his wife and four children