In modern society where being busy is a norm, we often choose to ignore our pains, cover it up with happiness, leave it in a corner, and hope in the back of our minds that it’ll eventually be better. Instead of loving and caring for ourselves consistently and persistently, we go for a band-aid solution and just hope for the best. Author, Food Heals Podcast host, and a leading figure in the health and wellness field, Allison Melody, conveys to us the importance of connecting with other people. She talks about how people relate to pain and suffering, which can be physical, mental, or emotional. Learn how she personally connects with people through vulnerability and how she faces the struggles of being alone through self-love and self-care.
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Allison Melody On Finding Healing In Loving And Caring For Yourself
We’re starting this episode with me having a pulled rib from laughing at Allison. I was doing one of those snide whiplash laughs and it was like, “Pulled ribs.” I’m literally in pain.
That’s what you get for laughing at someone rather than with them.
I think pain is a subject, Allison. In terms of what we like to focus on, which is healing, food, wellness and all the things that at least the three of us professionally focused on. You, with all the efforts with the podcast and the books that you’ve done. Pain and suffering are something that in the mainstream conversation around wellness or healing is still something people shy away from. I feel like a lot of people are less apt to talk about the pain they’re going through or been through and get to that level of vulnerability where they’re sharing their suffering. I’m curious as we kick off this conversation when you think about the pain, the suffering and the growth that you’ve been through and continue to go through. What’s your relationship to pain and suffering in your life? How do you handle it? How do you view it? Do you think it’s important that we start talking more publicly about it in our society instead of acting like it doesn’t exist or being ashamed of it?
For so long I thought I was alone in this pain because I thought everyone else was doing great and I was the only one suffering. I was the only one depressed. I was the only one who had been through this great tragedy. For years I thought that because no one was talking about it. As I started my show and starting to get to know people better and realizing all of these people with these incredible life stories who had been through so much trauma and pain and we’re still thriving, all of a sudden I was like, “I’m not alone. This is normal.” It’s normal to wake up and be like, “I don’t know if I want to get out of bed.” It is not normal to wake up and be like, “Welcome to the world. I’m so happy.” If you wake up that way and you have completely healed yourself, good for you. For most of us, we’re on a healing journey and the more that we can talk and be honest about that, the happier we will all collectively be. There’s something about sharing when you feel that connection to someone who has been through something that you have been through. You can immediately emotionally connect with them because you’re like, “You’ve been where I’ve been.” There’s an understanding there. There’s a friendship there. There’s something deep there. The more that we talk about it, the more we can connect and the more we can help each other collectively heal.
It’s almost like you prepared.
I had no idea what was coming, I swear.
You had no idea what we were going to ask you.
It’s completely true. Allison was nervous because we didn’t prepare her for this. Was that your original question, Jason, or did you come up with that because it felt authentic?
No, because of the literal pain I’m feeling it sparked something in me organically to ask her about her relationship to pain and suffering. Knowing what I know about your life story, Allison, with your parents and your relationship to losses in life, which you can share as much as you’d like to. That kicks off my curiosity in this conversation.
Even though it’s not an interview, I still feel like we should provide some context for who Allison is because we haven’t done that yet. In your own words, who is Allison Melody?
Allison Melody is an incredible filmmaker, videographer and producer. She’s one of the world’s leading podcasters in the health and wellness field. She’s a beacon of light and joy, an incredible singer and a dear friend. She’s dedicated to guiding people through an authentic conversation and experience of their wellness in a way that is not bypassing, which I feel is a fancy in social media where people are seemingly having a perfect life. I love your approach to wellness with your podcast and your productions in the sense of let’s have a radically authentic conversation about what is going on in our lives and not acting like, “Wellness is this great thing that’s amazing all the time.” You also make it fun, which people are drawn to. I’m definitely drawn to the authenticity in which you frame what you do. You make it fun and joyful and I think there’s a room for both. We can go into our things, darkness and pain, but we can also laugh about the folly of being human and how insane it is here.
You have to laugh about it. Otherwise, you’ll cry. I would rather laugh and find joy in the pain.
I don’t mind the crying part though. Have you cried on your podcast? You must have.
Yes, I’ve had moments. I haven’t all outright sobbed, but certainly when Laura who was a psychic. I started talking to my dog who had passed away on Easter, I lost it. I was so emotional at that moment. There have been moments like that. I read the intro to my book on air and I started crying and tearing up. I just left it in because it was real.
I know I cried in an episode. I’m pretty sure you did too, Jason.
Yes, that’s good though because in a way it’s subverting maybe some of the cultural narrative or the familial narrative of like, “Don’t cry. Don’t ever show emotion.” I feel sometimes there are moments in public where we’ll be moved by something, at least I will feel sometimes like, “I shouldn’t cry in public. What are people going to think?”Most of us are on a healing journey. The more we can talk about that, the happier we will all collectively be. Click To Tweet
It’s like you’re on a plane and you’re watching a movie and you’re like, “I need to bawl, but this guy next to me is going to be like, ‘What?’”
I always find it interesting when people are being interviewed for a documentary and they always say, “I’m sorry,” after they start crying. I’m fascinated by that.
The Kelly Clarkson performance where she was singing that song about her dad and she was sorry. Everyone was like, “No, girl. We feel you. We are with you. There is nothing to be sorry or ashamed of.”
We all walked in your house, Allison, seeing all of the amazing lanyards from the transformational and entrepreneurial workshops you’ve been.
How many lanyards do you think you have?
At least 100.
No one is ever going to question your dedication. You’re a student of the game. You’re clearly dedicated to growth. In piggybacking on this conversation about crying and apologizing for it. I’m curious how you feel about this because I’m trying to frame this in our experience. I’ve heard several coaches or transformational leaders in our space be like, “If you’re telling an emotional story, don’t cry even if you feel moved because then that makes it all about you.” When I’ve had that said to me, I’m like, “No, I think if you feel moved to cry in front of people, they’re going to connect to that level of your walls being completely down.” I always find it fascinating when I’ve heard that advice from “transformational” leaders saying, “If you’re a live speaker, don’t cry on stage because then it doesn’t make it about them. It makes it about you.” I don’t know if I resonate with that.
My counter-argument would be if you’re not moved by your message, then who will be? If you are moved by your own message, then that audience is going to be moved by your message, so let it out.
It reminds me of the first person that came to mind. I was trying to think of have I seen some people cry on stage? Do you remember when I cried during our presentation, Jason? We did this one speaking appearance. I don’t know if I cried or I got choked up. Did I cry?
You got choked up. You got clearly emotionally moved and taken away by something.
It was a tough thing to address. We were presenting in front of a small group of people. It was a mastermind type of weekend and there were ten people there. We had spent the whole weekend with them getting to know them. Jason and I had spent all of this time trying to understand their needs, their desires, how we could support them best. We came up with this incredible presentation. We modified it to help them. There was this one guy the whole weekend who seemed detached and didn’t want to participate. He was the outlier in the group. During our presentation, we asked everybody to put their phones on airplane mode to be present and connected. He refused to put his phone in airplane mode. I kindly asked him if he could put his phone on airplane mode. He looked up at me with this expression of disdain. He got up and he left the room in the middle of our presentation.
You triggered something.
He was massively triggered and so was I. I immediately felt maybe shame that I made a mistake. I hurt this guy’s feelings and I didn’t mean for him to leave the room and I did something wrong. All of those things are coming up for me and I couldn’t focus. I was trying hard to keep my composure and then there was an opportunity for me to be vulnerable during our presentation. I used what had happened as an example. I said to the group, “What happened ten minutes ago is tough for me.” As I was talking about it, I started getting choked up. To Jason’s point, I could see how maybe that would seem like it was making it about me, but it’s also a common practice that if you share your story to your audience, you’re helping them learn and get closer to you. If you don’t share personal anecdotes, people might not necessarily believe you, trust you or identify with you.
Part of me was releasing what I was trying to hold in so I could be more present with the group. Another part of me was thinking this would be a nice opportunity for me to share my vulnerability. My opinion is that sometimes when people come across too much as the teacher, the students might not have as enriched of an experience as if when they feel like you’re equal, then somebody feels they are maybe more accepted or similar to you. It changes the dynamic a bit. It depends on what your goal is and what type of relationship you want to have with people.
How do you view this subject, Allison? We’re talking about this prior to the conversation. Before we started, we were talking about this old school mentality around some of the old school people in the wellness transformation industry. This guru dumb of like, “You’re this millionaire man or lady who solved all of your problems, you’re perfect and you’re going to teach me how to solve all my deepest, darkest, painful things and I’m going to bow down.” There’s this old formula of, “You’re the guru. I don’t know anything. I’m in pain and darkness. You’ve clearly solved all your stuff.” To Whitney’s point about what she brought up, at least in the way to connect with people deeply, do you see a benefit between getting down on their level and being like, “I’m very much human and in fact, I’m still going through my things and my pain?” Is there a balance between the two of like, “I’m an authority or an expert and I also am human?” How do you present landing on that spectrum? What do you feel is most effective in connecting with people?
It probably depends on where the person is who’s receiving the teaching. For example, when I started, I didn’t know anyone that was at my level. I only saw the authors and people online. I would follow the bigger people and they would give me inspiration, which would lead to more books. I would then start meeting people in the community. What I find is I learned much more from the person who’s 1 or 2 steps ahead of me who I can completely relate to rather than the guru who I don’t feel like I can relate to because they’re far ahead or they’re far away. I don’t find myself following those big people that I used to follow. I’m grateful for them for getting me into the community. Now that I’m in it, I want to learn from people who are a few steps ahead of me of where I want to be because then I feel it’s all achievable and accomplishable.
In terms of vulnerability, the more vulnerable people are, the more that we can connect immediately. What Whitney did and what I think is completely fine is to cry on stage because someone out there is going to be like, “You gave me permission to live my truth or to tell my story.” When you’re telling your truth in your story, that could be the key that someone needed to unlock their own prison. We have to remember that when we’re asking ourselves, “Are we willing to be vulnerable?” My best podcast episodes that I get emails about are when I am 100% authentic talking about the lows and the highs and not being like, “Food heals everything.” You have to be honest about it and I do believe that food heals a lot. I also believe in many different healing tools and we can all live our best life and all those things. However, we can’t be like, “We’re over here on the other side of the rainbow. You can get here too with these five-step formulas.” That’s garbage. You have to be honest about it. It’s like, “There’s a five-step formula that worked for me. It may or may not work for you. Here are all the trials and tribulations I went through to get to this place and I’m still healing.” If someone says they’re done, then I think they’re full of crap.
That’s part of the reason that I’m such a stickler for not using the word interview too. It’s because what our aim with this show is to make it feel like somebody is part of the conversation relates to us. It’s not that we’re two people bringing in an expert on our show to teach somebody something and they’re just reading. I would rather people feel they’re sitting across the table from us being part of the conversation. That’s something that I feel there’s almost sterileness when you’re on a show and it’s structured. I love structure when I’m in a specific learning mode. If I want to sit down and take notes or if I want a step-by-step formula, that’s great. There’s a time and a place for that.
In my experience, my favorite podcasts are when I’m driving in the car for an hour and I’m listening to people have a discussion about something deep. I feel like everybody’s unfiltered and they’re willing to share themselves openly. That’s my favorite style and that’s what we’ve been going through here. Sometimes Jason looks at me during interviews with this expression I cannot read. This is what I’ve been trying to get used to. Especially sometimes when it’s the two of us, I’ll look at Jason and he’s staring at me with this blank expression and I’m thinking, “What is he thinking? Is he agreeing with me? Is he listening? Is he daydreaming?” What were you thinking?
I was thinking about not just in this conversation but in life. I’m observing people, even those that I’m not super close to. I went out with someone as friends, but someone who’s been in the periphery of our community that I would consider them as friends. I was shocked and pleasantly delighted by the depth of the vulnerability of the conversation. There are more people being willing to talk about how much they’re struggling with money, relationships, their purpose or healing something.
We’re all close, the three of us in this conversation. Even in random like, “I don’t even know you that well,” I’m noticing how willing people are to crack themselves open and talk about these things. I’m wondering if people are getting hip to the relationship between speaking their truth and healing themselves on a physical level. Healing with food or healing with nutrition is on a biological cellular level. What I’m curious about and wondering how much you’ve gotten into this, Allison is the psychospiritual dynamics of healing beyond food and nutrition. It’s things like speaking our truth, owning our shame and suffering, all of these things on a psychological-spiritual level and how that contributes to healing. What’s your relationship with spirituality or the mental part of all this?
When I started on this journey, I started with food. I was like, “Food is the answer. Food heals or food kills.” I was like, “This is it,” I went down that trap for a while because I was feeling better by healing myself with food. I was learning about how nutrition could heal the body instead of all these harsh treatments that people are getting when they have chronic degenerative diseases or cancer that my parents did. I was like, “Nutrition is the answer. It’s the holy grail,” then I wasn’t all the way healed and there was still something missing. I didn’t know there were five stages of grief. I didn’t know that I was burying my trauma and starting a new one. I was passionate about food and I was helping myself and others, but I was still missing that component and I didn’t even know I was missing it.
I slowly started to discover it. I ended up going to grad school at the University of Santa Monica, which is the school of learning to love yourself where all you do is self-care and self-love exercises all day long. You have to write papers about loving yourself. You have to cry. You have to feel it to heal it and all the things. That’s when I started developing a more spiritual relationship with myself, with God, the universe or whatever you believe in, I don’t care. Knowing that you have to love yourself, put yourself first and take care of yourself on that level and you have to grieve. I skipped over that part. I moved into the next thing. I was like, “That was awful.” I was absolutely devastated, but I was like, “Now I have to pick myself up and figure out what my new life looks like.” I was driven by that and that’s a manic way to live.
Even if you’re helping people, healing yourself, learning, teaching and doing all these things, I was still not dealing with the emotional component and I didn’t know how to. I got all the tools and then I started adding tools to my healing toolboxes like meditation, gratitude and all these things. That’s when the true healing shifts were able to occur for me within me. I was able to have better relationships with people in my life. I was able to cultivate a better relationship with myself and what I was telling myself every day. Instead of looking in the mirror and being like, “You’re not good enough and you’re a fat, ugly pig,” I’d be like, “You are amazing. You’re kicking butt in life and you’re beautiful.”
It took me long to be able to say that without crying, but I didn’t know. I thought as long as I eat this kale, I’m going to be healed. There was the next level, then I had to go into that level of healing. I have all these tools in my toolbox. When I face those moments of, “I’m not good enough. I’m not pretty enough. I’m not smart enough,” I have tools so I can heal that because they all stem from trauma from my past. The loss of my parents is a large trauma. We all have little things where you’re made fun of on the playground and that never truly healed. I had to go back to that little girl and that little boy at that moment and give them all that love so that can heal us in the present so when we’re in LA traffic, we’re not screaming, “Douchebag,” at someone because you’re not mad at that guy in traffic. You’re mad because daddy didn’t love you enough or some things because we’ve all got it. I developed that relationship over time and I’m definitely not done. I’m grateful that I have the healing tools that I can be happy on a regular basis and keep on the journey of leveling up in the healing.
First of all, I don’t feel many people are even aware of how much food can heal them. It’s always super fascinating to me to talk about it. Since I’ve been engaged with this, 2003 was probably the big turning point for me when I went vegan. It opened up a lot of doors to wellness. Going vegan started to teach me more about nutrition and then I started to uncover all of these other benefits that I was seeing. I was already curious about healing naturally. I remember for me, I experimented with antidepressants. I was prescribed with them when I was in college because I didn’t know how to deal with the pain.
That’s what the society says, “Take this antidepressant and don’t feel the pain.”
I don’t know if society says that. I was looking for a shortcut and I remember slightly the first day or two that I took the antidepressant. I was waiting to see if it would help. I don’t know if it did anything, even though what I took was a very common one that apparently works. I probably did not actually need that, but I was looking for something to help me. Therapy ended up helping a lot, but then I started to learn about food and all of that. It’s interesting to me because as you were saying, you thought all you would had to eat is kale and then you would feel better, but then you had to learn all these other tools and I’m thinking like, “There’s always so much to learn.” Some of the things that we’ve been talking about are, I don’t even know if I ever want to use the word, expert. We have a whole episode on this about calling yourself an expert and how we’re not even sure that anybody qualifies as an expert because we’re always learning. There’s always something new coming out. When somebody says that they’re an expert, I start to wonder, “Are they really?”
Even Dr. Michael Greger who reads all the scientific studies. He literally posted to Facebook, “My recommendations based on the current science has changed. I now recommend this.” It was a B12 thing. It was like, “You’re the expert.” It’s exactly what you’re saying. Information is changing and not everything helps everybody. Therapy or drugs might help one person and totally not help someone else. You can be an expert and say, “This works for everyone because nothing works for everyone.” Eating healthy, healing yourself and working on your trauma is going to help everyone in general, but we’re all going to have different tools and different diets to do that.
A lot of people get overwhelmed by that too. They’re like, “The information is always changing and I don’t know who to believe.” There are all these different sources. It starts to feel super overwhelming. It’s like anything else that you have to be committed to learning all the time.
It’s interesting as part of this healing journey how I’ve noticed in myself and in other people that there’s this drive in certain people to find the answer. They latch onto something with such veracity and fervency to be like, “This is the way,” whether it’s a style of eating or a way of worshiping or their religion or spirituality. As we’re talking about this evolution of knowledge and wisdom, whether it’s a science thing or our consciousness or the melding of science and consciousness, it’s interesting to me how hardcore people are. They’re like, “The best way to eat is vegan. The best way to eat is keto. Humans are definitely meant to be paleo. They’re meant to be Christian, Jewish or Muslim.” It seems that zealousness is such a massive part of first of all human society, but in particular wellness and healing where people will say, “This is the absolute best way to meditate. This is the best way to eat. This is the best way to work out.” They get so doggedly determined in preaching their version of the gospel of, “This is the way to enlightenment. This is the way to health.”
What we’re talking about is a fluidity and a willingness to change and evolve. I remember back in the day when I was a hardcore raw foodist. I remember saying, “Cooked food is poison,” I laugh at it now but it’s easy to latch on. I remember the motivation for me was I found the answer. I am the one you come to for the truth. I feel there’s almost this mixture of ego involved in it, but also maybe this desire for control. I’m curious about what you both think of this. If I found the answer, then that means I’m in control of my life because I found the truth.If you’re not moved by your own message, then who will be? Click To Tweet
That is pure ego. Our ego is always fighting for control of our minds. We’re constantly battling. I personally am because I’m going, “Is this true or is this ego trying to control?” Our whole lives are based on this whether we realize it or not. Addiction is based on control. All of these things like emotional eating, whether you are eating too much, eating emotionally or not eating at all, it’s all the need to control a feeling that we don’t want to feel. Part of healing myself mentally, emotionally and spiritually is dealing with what’s my ego and what is the pure person inside of me that has a desire to help others and help myself learn, grow and change. It’s constantly going, “What’s ego and what’s not?”
I did the same thing, Jason, when I discovered raw food. I was a raw foodist for a summer. I was like, “This is the answer,” but then I’m sick. I go to the acupuncture and she’s like, “You need warm food. It is October. Your body wants some rice. Give yourself some soup.” I was like, “Okay.” I was convinced that if I found the answer that I could help what happened to my parents not happen to anyone else. As altruistic as that mission is, it’s still all a form of control. It’s like constantly trying to regulate that because we all have egos and the ego’s job is to protect us.
Also, it’s because we’re laughing about raw food. I’m probably laughing because I went through my raw food period as well. There’s nothing wrong with raw food. We know some people that have been raw for many years successfully as far as we know. We can all relate to that feeling of we found the answer. We found the thing. I’m in the opposite stage, which is also interesting. I feel like it’s important to find a balance perhaps because of being in the vegan entrepreneur world for many years and being exposed to many different perspectives and radical thinking. We know some people that have very strong opinions. Jason is probably thinking the same person we won’t name, bless their hearts, but there are people that I don’t want to be around. I feel like they’re always going to tell me that I’m wrong because I’m not doing it their way. I don’t want to be around those people. It’s not a matter of denial or disrespect, it’s that I would prefer to be around people who can listen to the way that I’m eating or living and respect it and maybe try to learn something. If they’re willing to learn from me, then I’m probably more willing to learn from them. It’s coming back around to what we were saying about being more equals that everybody can learn from each other versus being someone that has it all figured out.
I have my book coming out and it’s about the vegan keto diet. I was reading it overthinking in my head, “Some people are going to come after me.” It’s a bit frightening, but there’s another part of me that’s like, I’m writing from the heart first and foremost. We can’t prevent people from coming after us. No matter what we do, people are probably going to come after us. In a way, sometimes we’re trying so hard to protect ourselves and that’s another matter of control because we’re trying to control how people react to us. We’re trying to control and make it so that everybody likes or agrees with us. Sometimes we swing in the opposite direction where instead of being super opinionated, we’re super unopinionated because we don’t want to rock the boat. I found myself in that place a lot like, “I don’t want to argue and I don’t want to state my opinion super strongly,” because I don’t like debating. That makes me feel uncomfortable. I’d rather try to please people. In a way, doing this book about a pretty extreme diet that’s worked well for me, but my approach at the same time is not trying to convince everyone that it’s the way to eat. I’m offering information do with it what you will versus each of us had been through a place where we’ve probably said, “This is the way to eat because it’s worked for me,” which is in the ego too. It’s because something worked for you doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for everybody else.
Speaking of books, Whitney, you’re coming out with your book, and Allison, I saw this wonderful preview on social media of the cover of your book, which having known you for many years, I know it’s been a long time in the making. We’d love for you to tell us about this creation that you are birthing into the world. What inspired it and ultimately what you would hope people get from reading your book? Tell us all about it.
The video you saw was from my editor. We both ordered it on the same day and she’s gotten it. I have not seen the physical copy yet. She got it right away in San Diego. Here I am in an LA and I’m tracking it. I’m anxiously awaiting the book.
I’m a little confused about being completely transparent. Moving away from the interview style but towards the conversational style like friends. How are you describing your book? Did you self-publish it?
Is this the same book that you were going to work with as a publisher or a different project? Why did you decide to self-publish? Tell us because I feel a little confused. We want the backstory. I would rather know to a story than an interview answer.
Here’s what happened. I’ve had a couple of books in me for a few years as you guys all do. You know how it is. You have 40 different Google Docs with all your ideas. The first one that I did get the book deal with was with a well-known publisher and I was over the moon excited. I remember we had that dinner at Emily’s and we were celebrating. I was happy and I think your book had come out at that time. I remember when I was writing my proposal for my book that I ended up getting the publishing contract with, Jason gave me the manuscript before it was published. That’s what it was and then I had stacks of my favorite books. I was looking at what everyone else was doing, getting inspired and I was so excited. I got this book deal from this proposal that I wrote and I was proud and happy. What happened is that they started to do things that felt uncomfortable telling me I was required to buy $20,000 worth of the book. They’re trying to upsell me on their PR packages for $10,000 or $15,000 when I’m already a marketer. I already had my whole marketing plan on the thing. I was going to partner with influencers, do all the podcasts and do all the things that we know how to do well that I’m pretty good at. I wasn’t going to buy and it felt gross.
Did you get an advance for the book?
I did not get an advance. I was a new author so I didn’t have any clout for them to give me an advance, but they liked the proposal and the marketing plan because it was an alignment with other books that they’ve done. I thought it was a great opportunity, but I ended up waiting out the contract and then deciding I was going to self-publish that book. That book was called The Healing Kitchen: Radiant Recipes Powered by Plants, which is not the book that I’m about to come out with. The Healing Kitchen is still in our future, but I was waiting for the contract to run out, which it has. In the meantime, I wrote my other book. I can come out with the other book that the contract has run out so that I own the rights to it. No one else can do anything with it or come after me because they had the rights to it temporarily. In the meantime, I wrote the other book, which is Food Heals. If you remember those books that I used to love Chicken Soup for the Soul. It is an anthology of healing stories from people who have been on my show.
Is this the one that we’ve each contributed to?
Yes, this is the book that you guys are in. When you submitted stories to me and they’re both featured and you wrote on the back of the book.
I did share a very vulnerable story.
It’s a good one. My editor loved both of yours.
What was yours about, Jason?
It’s about depression and trying to commit suicide.
They were both deep and good. I’m very appreciative of you. A lot of our mutual friends like Nicole, Alana, and Melissa are in it, and lots of amazing people.
This is what I mean that sometimes even your close friends can be doing things and you’re not even aware.
We get sucked into our worlds.
This is why it’s important to have community, conversations, and connections with people in real life and get clarity because you’ve been posting about it on social media, but I haven’t had the clarity. That’s another thing too. This is a bit of a tangent, one lesson I’ve learned over and over again is how easy it is for people to misunderstand you, whether we’re talking about anything in life this can apply to. I’m thinking specifically when it comes to marketing. Jason and I finished the first launch of our program, the Consistency Code. I know in my heart that we did not communicate it clearly enough because if we had done a good job at being super clear with it, we would have a different type of response. It’s so tough when you know something in your heart, but it’s almost like you haven’t figured out the right words or the language. It takes so much work to convey things even to your friends. I have people that come up to me and they’re like, “I didn’t know you did this.” I’m like, “I’ve been doing this for so long. How did you not know?” It’s a great reminder that we need to continue to communicate, clarify, experiment and tell people things multiple times even when we feel we’re being obnoxious. A book like yours, people need to see this, but if they don’t know it exists or they don’t understand what it is, then they’re going to bypass it.
I want to go back to ego quickly because it wrapped in all this conversation. Without naming the publisher, did you feel a sense of heartbreak or disappointment? Were your illusions shattered? When you realized that deal with that publisher was falling through, what was your emotional relationship navigating that? How did that feel and then how did you decide to transition into self-publishing rather than seeking another publishing deal?
There are a few factors for that. What I felt was being taken advantage of and being scammed, which I always go, “If I’m feeling a feeling, what is triggering it? When’s the first time I felt this way?” I was also taken advantage of and scammed by the woman who was the executive of my parents’ estate. Long story short, I had lost all of the money. I got nothing out of this whole thing. I don’t remember how many houses my dad had when he passed. It’s probably seven. I lost everything back then. When I started feeling the sense of weird betrayal and I was like, “I don’t know this is coming. I’m not being betrayed by them.” I was feeling scammed and taken advantage of and that type of thing. That made me emotionally go back and revisit what I had been through to go, “There’s more healing that we have to do here.” I was like, “I’ve lost everything before.” If I lose this book deal, I’m going to get another one or I’m going to self-publish. I didn’t care how it happened, but I knew it would happen if I waited out the contract.
The reason the self-publishing came about was that one of my good friends, Laura Petersen, who I met on a podcast cruise, we were both speakers and she had gone vegan. She sat with me at every meal to learn how to eat better. We became best friends. She lives in San Diego and she is a smart lady in the world of self-publishing. She knew much more than I did about the self-publishing space. I had many conversations with her realizing the power of self-publishing, how much control you have and all of the benefits to it. I realized, “This is what I’m doing.” As I’m waiting for this contract to run out, I will be writing this other book that I will self-publish. If I get a book deal in the future from that, it’s great, more power to me. If I don’t, that’s okay too because my mission is not to make money off of this book. My mission is to get it into the people’s hands that it needs to serve. With that mission, however, I get it out there, it needs to get out there. I’m not waiting around for a publisher. I had one conversation with a publisher at a conference who was interested and the book was almost done. They said, “We wouldn’t be able to have a launch date for nine months.” I said, “It’s not going to work for me. Maybe we’ll talk in the future. I’m publishing this book by Christmas.”
Jason, that reminds me of a story you had with a publisher. Maybe it’s not quite the exact same thing, but you had something that you felt was so good and it was heartbreaking because they passed on it.
Which heartbreak are you referring to? There’s multiple.
I’m wondering if you wanted to add in your own story. I didn’t mean to turn this into a whole story about book publishing, but I’m sure a lot of people are interested in what’s the process of writing a book. I feel like a lot of people would like to write a book or dream of it. Maybe they don’t think they can, but you’re such a great example of self-publishing and that’s essentially what I was encouraging Jason to do because I felt like you were upset. Maybe it was the beginning of 2019, you pitched an idea that you were excited about and felt like it was going to work and it’s hard.
For me, it’s acknowledging that there’s an expectation that something ought to happen in reality. It was like, “I’ve already sold these many books. I’ve had a successful first book. I’ve made a name for myself. I’ve proven myself. What do you mean you don’t want to buy this book? Are you out of your mind?” That’s the ego. It’s because in my mind, I’ve set up myself, my brand and my career. It’s almost like if you’re dating and someone’s like, “What do you mean you don’t want to go on a second date?” It was that same energy like, “Are you mad? Are you out of your mind? Did you read what I wrote?” It’s also living in illusion because expectations are illusions, even when we think we’ve set up our lives in a way personally or professionally. How many times have something been going great in any relationship and then all of a sudden, the rug gets pulled out from under us or something happens in life that we don’t expect. This happens all the time and our desire to control or our ego’s desire to protect or predict the future, how many times for all of us has that been completely derailed? What we dream, hope and expect of doesn’t come to fruition. Maybe it doesn’t come to fruition in the way we think it will. Maybe it takes a year or comes in a different way.
For me, it was the disappointment of thinking I had something in the bag and then being like, “This was a surefire thing. What do you mean?” That to me was the disappointment of the expectation I had set up in my life based on conditions I had created and then seeing the outcome not be what it is. Truth be told, I still have a lot more work to do because when I put my everything into something, I still have to learn how to be better at doing that without expecting something to happen in return. That is part of my work, my spiritual practice of this expectation, which is a little bit juvenile or childlike in a way of if I just do my best, then I’ll get a medal too. In the world, you can do your absolute best and knowing your heart. You’ve put everything into a romantic relationship, a marriage, a business relationship, your art, and nobody buys your art or your book flops or you don’t even get a book deal or the relationship falters. I’m still trying to get better at how can I give my full heart to something and even if it doesn’t “work out” the way I want it to, I will not feel a tremendous sense of disappointment or feel crushed? I still have a tendency to do that.
How come you didn’t self-publish like Allison decided to do? Is this something you would recommend, Allison, after your experience?
I haven’t published yet but so far, absolutely.The more vulnerable people are, the more they can connect immediately. Click To Tweet
If the publisher either doesn’t accept your book or doesn’t want to do it the way that you want to do it, so far in your process, you would recommend self-publishing.
I would recommend working with Laura Petersen who can guide you through the process. I would recommend it 100% because I’m in full control and it’s been a great dreamy process, but that’s because I’m working with someone amazing. If you’re doing it on your own and you don’t know what you’re doing, it would be tough to navigate. I’m working with someone who knows what she’s doing and we’re also friends, so that’s made it an amazing experience. For anyone who doesn’t have a friend who knows how to do self-publishing, which is most people, it’s still risky because you still have to be one of those people who’s like, “I’m going to teach myself this game and I’m going to play it well.” You are that, Jason. You’d be fine.
What is it that stopped you from doing that?
Before I answer that question because there’s cross-stream. I will answer that question, Whitney. I’m curious, Allison, the majority of people I’ve seen who self-published have done some form of a Kickstarter or Indiegogo. I’ve had several friends that have raised between $40,000 and $80,000 to publish a book because to do a full-color hardbound recipe book is a very expensive endeavor.
Are you doing yours through Amazon or something like that?
It’s Kindle, CreateSpace and Amazon. It is not a cookbook with photos. That is a different animal. I agree with you. I would do a Kickstarter for that for sure because that’s way more expensive. I am paying Laura 100% and she edited the book. There are definite costs involved but not as expensive as it would be to do a full-color cookbook.
In forgoing the traditional publishing route, you are giving up perhaps a lot of the worldwide distribution you would have with some person that could get you in India or China. It’s not that you couldn’t do that.
Not necessarily, because as long as you have the ISBN number, you can get your book anywhere. You just have to be a marketer and a PR person and start calling the bookstores. I can get my book into Barnes & Noble. We’re starting with Amazon. The next is Barnes & Noble. My dream is to do a book signing at The Grove, Barnes & Noble. I know that can happen, but it’s going to take time. I don’t have a PR machine behind it. I’ll either do it myself or hire someone smarter than me to do it.
You’re not giving up anything by not going with a traditional route. It’s that you have to take on all of that responsibility in-house rather than farming it out to the publisher who might handle some of that stuff.
In my understanding from everyone I’ve talked to about this is that most publishers aren’t doing things for you unless you are a well-known author. If you are a beginner as I am in the author’s world, at least you already have books, I’m new to this space. They’re not going to do anything for me. I’m still in charge of that PR even if I have a publisher behind me. That is my understanding.
Is this exciting? Is it daunting? Are you scared? What emotions does all this spring up for you?
All of the above. I’m so excited and I’m scared. It’s like what you were saying, Whitney. It’s going to be polarizing because we’re stating who we are, what we believe, what we’ve been and it’s vulnerable. It’s going to turn some people off and I’m sure I’m going to get some bad reviews, but they say you haven’t made it until you get your first bad review. When you guys get your first bad show review, I’m going to be like, “Let’s celebrate. Pop the cork and let’s drink some champagne. Congratulations, you’ve made it.”
What about your book? We all have something in our head. When I was reading over my book, I had to submit some changes to my publisher. I’m working with a publisher of my book and I was like, “I wish I had more time. I want to go through this with a fine-tooth comb.” I was trying to predict anything that people would criticize me on and fix it before they could criticize. That’s what I was trying to do. In hindsight, I’m like, “That’s not possible.” I could go through it meticulously and still not catch or predict something that would trigger somebody else or a mistake or whatever it is in somebody’s mind versus some people are going to read my book. They’re going to love it. They’ll think it’s the greatest thing. I’m not trying to be in my ego, but there are some people that come across a book and think it’s the best thing that they’ve ever seen, without flaw.
It’s like me. If I didn’t know you and I read it, I’d be like, “This girl’s amazing,” because we vibrate on that same frequency, but someone else that doesn’t vibrate on this frequency is not going to see it the same.
You can’t control that or predict that. That’s one of the biggest if not the biggest thing that’s held me back in my career. I’m always afraid of people criticizing me and me doing things wrong. That’s my personal pain. For you, is there something specific or is there a story or is it the format? What is it that you’re afraid of?
What would polarize people as you mentioned?
Is there a moment in your book where you’re like, “People might not like this part?”
There are plenty of those. The thing is this. When you’re in this space that we’re all in, this wellness space where we are literally trying to provide people with healthy alternative ways to live their lives that they’re not hearing about it in the media and all of that things. Often someone might receive a copy of your book or read your blog who does not subscribe to these beliefs. They believe that veganism is a sickly diet that’s going to kill someone or believe in killing animals for sport because that’s how they were brought up. They’re never going to change their minds. In terms of medicine, they believe that what the doctor says is God’s word and there is nothing else they can do except take that pill and put that poison in their body, whether it’s chemotherapy or something like that. I’m of the opposite where I believe in healing the body holistically and naturally. I’m going to reach those people. When I reach those people, they’re going to say this book is garbage and they’re not going to believe in it. I know that because I know these people. A lot of them are people that I still know and I’m friends with. It’s going to hit them wrong. They’re not going to receive it the way that other people are, but it’s not for them.
If they’re reading it and they can get far enough into your book to feel offended by it, in a way they’ve got to feel interested in it enough, otherwise, they would never pick it up.
I would hope so. I think of it like if I gave it to my girlfriend who’s on our side, but her husband could not be further from where we are. It’s going to be in the house and he’s going to hate-read it.
Did you say, “Hate-read it?”
Yes, it’s like you hate-follow people on Instagram. It’s like you hate-follow someone and you’re like, “I can’t stand this person, but I’m fascinated by what they do.”
Can you please provide an example of hate-follow? In all seriousness.
It’s like when somebody irritates you and they triggered you.
Can’t you subject yourself to it? Why?
I love learning about people and what makes people drawn to certain people. There are some people that are in our wellness space or in the spirituality space that are full of crap, but they have hundreds and thousands of followers. They’re selling courses and they’re making millions of dollars a year like some of the people we talked about. I’m not going to hate mention, but you follow them because you’re like, “What is the fascination here? What are they doing right? What is good?” Sometimes I’ll be like, “This wasn’t so bad,” then sometimes I’m like, “This is fodder for me to know that this person is spreading this information in this way and I hate the way they’re doing it. I’m going to do it better, stronger, faster, in a more effective way to reach more people.”
Anytime I catch myself doing that, it’s a mirror reflecting back some side of me. I can think of someone off the top of my head that I refuse to follow, but every once in a while, I go look up this person on social media just to see what they’re doing. I’ll find myself going through their posts trying to find something to reaffirm my beliefs. It’s what I’m looking for. Every once in a while, I try to step back and go, “Can I see this from a different perspective? Am I getting triggered by things that they’re doing that I secretly want to do or things that maybe I do that I haven’t admitted that I do?” I have trained myself to use it as a practice. It’s this weird instinct where you want to go to that confirmation bias like, “I was right about this person. They are doing the stuff that I don’t like about them.” That’s another thing that I’m feeling about my book. People are going to buy the book or get the book so they can prove me wrong and they’re going to be fact-checkers.
You’re in that YouTube space. That probably will happen and they will be like, “These are the top five reasons why this book is crap.” That’s what people do. It’s about having thick skin and knowing in your heart that it’s going to help more people and it’s worth it to help those people to get those hate followers.
That’s super important though. For a lot of people, that is a massive fear. It is incredibly scary when you do something and you either realize after you’ve done it or while you’re doing it that you’re going to get a lot of criticism. It gets incredibly uncomfortable. The truth is the biggest thing that’s helped me in those moments is knowing that people get over it. People forget especially on YouTube. The number of times like PewDiePie or Logan Paul. You think that there’s this whole cancel culture on YouTube and maybe on Instagram or any of these social media platforms, “This person’s canceled because they did this outrageous thing.” Most of those people eventually make a comeback and are forgiven by at least the majority of people. They start following them again and they buy their product. It’s like these people have a recovery. You might not completely forget what they did, but you forgive them or you let it go or maybe you forget. It’s important for any of us to realize that it’s not that big of a deal. No one cares that much. They’ll move on.
They’ll write you one bad review and then they’re done but that review crushes us.
Years ago, I started to practice and I’m still practicing dealing with hateful or spiteful or comments that might be interpreted as painful. I remember when I started practicing this and it was a specific moment when the TV series came out on Cooking Channel, How To Live To 100. Someone made a comment about my humor being annoying. I remember they said, “He’s annoying.” They said something about my receding hairline. I’m like, “They hit that one on the head, didn’t they?” Because I am sensitive about my hair. I am in my early 40s. It has technically receded, so they’re perceptive. There are moments that I can be annoying. It’s true.
What I did was instead of feeling offended and hurt by it, I chose to be like, “You’re right.” Saying that was a huge shift for me. Technically, my hairline has receded and there are moments when my humor can be a little bit off-putting and a little bit overbearing. What they were saying was true. I started to remember looking at the book comments on Amazon seeing people criticizing the recipes or how many superfoods I used, etc. It’s not taking things personally. Beyond that, if I can identify with and laugh and go, “They’re true with the hate comments,” it diffuses the energy from them. For all of us, especially I’m an incredibly sensitive person. If I can find a way to diffuse the negativity of a comment and laugh at it or take some ownership and go, “They’re right and I’m okay with that,” instead of being so not okay with it, being offended, being hurt and carrying that charge with me all day from some random person I’ve never met.The more authentic you are, the more people will gravitate towards you. Click To Tweet
You’re trying to pretend like you’re not hurt. That’s another big thing, coming back to some of the things we’ve talked about at the beginning of this episode, which is getting on stage and holding back tears if you feel like you’re going to cry, don’t cry or you cry because that’s your authentic feeling and physical reaction at that moment. It’s an interesting thing because of this whole idea of reacting. Do you get stoic about things? Is that true for you to be stoic? Do you get emotional, angry or sad? It’s a little confusing. It’s hard to navigate because you can see it from all these different perspectives. If you let yourself cry and you let someone get to you, maybe that’s not so great. If you pretend that they don’t get to you, that’s also not great. If you can get to a point where they truly don’t get to you, maybe that’s the ideal. Do you become just too numb? If things don’t get to you, are you still a sensitive person? I don’t know. It’s Zen, I suppose.
Zen is a better word than numb because then you’re realizing negative comments or hate from other people are like the weather. They’re passing through and it’s a stormy day. There’s some negativity coming into my world and I know it won’t be here forever. It will pass and people will forget and we’ll move on. You described it right. Whether we’re going through a difficult time in our lives with our relationships, finances, business, we all go through struggles, but I always like to say it’s like the weather. I don’t know how long it’s going to be here, but that’s the challenge.
What about the pain that you are feeling? Is that gone?
Did you know the moment that it went away?
No, until you pointed it out. I was so deep in this with both of you that I wasn’t even present to the pain anymore.
That’s other great tactics too. If you can genuinely distract yourself. What you did was one of the most ideal ways to deal with physical or emotional pain. If you acknowledge the pain as you did like, “I’m feeling pain and it is what it is,” then you organically got distracted and focus on something else that you forgot about the pain. You weren’t trying to forget about the pain, were you?
No, I was not.
That’s the other thing too is a lot of us want to try to numb ourselves, find the answer and find the steps to achieve whatever it is. What if you accept it and then continue living and maybe it will fade away naturally? That’s the ideal, isn’t it?
It is. In terms of pain, I want to ask you a direct and probing question, Allison. What are some challenging or painful things you’re currently dancing in your life? What are all the healing you’ve done and you being someone who is dedicated not only in your life and wellness but as a profession, a producer, a podcaster and an author? What are you dancing with? What are you wrestling with?
The holidays are the hardest time for me because it’s all about family and I don’t have a family anymore. My friends are my family. I have many amazing people in my life, but I don’t have anyone related to me living and that’s tough. Do I have people I can call when I’m sad? 100%, absolutely. Please don’t get me wrong. I live a wonderful life with wonderful people. When you don’t have mom and dad to tell them about the good and the bad moments, you don’t have someone to call when you’re sad about something or someone to give you that fatherly advice that I seek, I feel like I’m always seeking for that. I’m aware of it, so I can recognize it, but whenever I’m with someone a little older or a little wiser, I find myself seeking their approval and wondering if they can be my new mother figure. It’s all this weird psychological BS. I wrestle with that a lot. My triggers are someone calling their mom on the phone. They might be having a great conversation. I’m jealous of that great conversation. If they’re yelling at their mother or father, in my head I’m like, “How dare you. At least they’re alive.” I’ve wrestled with that judgment and that type of thing. Those are the biggest and I’m aware of it and I work on it. The holidays are hard and they have been for many years.
What do you do?
I have a few healing tools on my healing toolbox. The number one that I recommend and is truly transformative more than therapy and meditation for me. You try it, you might love it or you might hate it. It’s called to write and burn. It’s not a journal practice where you’re like, “I am grateful for everything,” or “I hate my dad.” It is none of that. You take a scrap paper, not from a pretty journal, something that you’re never going to use again. You take the moment that you had that day, whether it was that person that cut me off in traffic, “I hate that guy,” or “That guy didn’t text me back,” or “My friend is such a B,” whatever. You start at the top of the page and what happens is you start writing all the things you’re mad about. You don’t edit yourself. You can curse. No one’s going to read this. There’s no perfection in it. There’s no punctuation, no capital letters.
Write from the heart and soul of everything that you’re feeling and pour that out on the page. Usually, if you start with the guy that cut off you in traffic, you end up with the guy in preschool who said, “You can’t play with us,” or something. What happens is you get deep and you let out all this emotion onto the page, then you get to a place where you’re like, “I’ve dumped everything I’m feeling.” If you’re not in a safe space like a hotel, please rip it up and flush or something safe, but you burn the paper in a safe spot like I can do it in my yard, so I don’t set off the smoke alarms inside.
Do it in a safe space and what happens is that energy is now transformed. That energy of anger, sadness, regret, whatever I’m feeling is now out of my body and it’s transforming. I believe that’s when space happens for the healing to happen. That’s when I’m able to cultivate my meditation practice, my self-love practice and my gratitude practice. It’s when all that junk is out of the way. It could be work stress. You can be like, “I hate this client so much. They’re making my life miserable. Why am I doing it?” Whatever it is, it can be very simple and complex, but that’s a practice that I utilize regularly because we’re all going to build up with things that are going to trigger us.
I don’t think any of us are at that point of pure Zen all of the time. Most people aren’t. Some people are more than others and that’s a way that I strive to be more than I was before. In general, we’re going to be slapped with things. We all have to get in our cars and drive and someone is going to hit our cars like what happened to you. It’s going to make you angry or you’re going to get a parking ticket. In LA, I get a parking ticket once a month and I’m so careful and I don’t drive. You’re going to get a bill that you’re like, “My autopay stopped paying this bill and now I’m getting a late fee,” or if someone is rude to you, it’s always going to be happening. To avoid the buildup of becoming a depressed and angry person, we have to deal with it all the time. Write and burn is my most powerful recommendation and the practice that I practice more often than probably anything else so that it doesn’t build up inside.
It’s almost like if we let it build up, we get calloused. If you believe that cancer can be caused by the stuck emotion and all of that. There are a lot of things that can happen when we try to avoid something, push it down, push it away or it gets put into something else. Many people, when they’re upset with something, it’s related to something they were said about previously.
It’s a reflection of unresolved emotions within yourself every time. That’s what you have to remind yourself. It’s not about you. It’s about me. What does this reflecting back to me? What is unresolved? When is the first time I felt this feeling? Go back to that feeling, “Now, I have to deal with this moment in my life. That child, she was so hurt and I have to give her so much love.” There’s a whole process behind it and I can’t do it in an instant, but I can do it later and go, “What was that about? Why was I triggered?” That then helps heal it in the present.
With all of this self-care and self-healing that we’re discussing, by the way, that’s amazing strategies you’re talking about. It’s something that I want to practice more with the write and burn for sure. In being entrepreneurs, there’s the hustle-grind, outwork everyone culture, “I stay up until 2:00 in the morning every night. I’m working harder than the next guy,” and all of this mentality that these “thought leaders” put into our heads in social media. If we don’t deal with what’s going on in our head and our heart, then we can amass all of this wealth, influence and popularity. If we’re messed up and we’re not dealing with ourselves, what good is all of that? It’s this balance of the long hours and the dedication it requires to run your own business. When you realize you have a lot of healing to do, how do you balance that? You’re an entrepreneur, you’re running a business and you have all these things you’re doing. How do you willfully make the time to take care of yourself and heal while you are putting all the hard work to build your empire? How do you do that?
I don’t always make the time, let’s start there. My book was going to do a Kindle launch and we pushed it a week. That’s what happens sometimes. You can’t do it all. I don’t believe in the hustle to do it all. I believe in the hustle because the hustle works, but only when you’re feeling the hustle. Don’t hustle when you don’t feel like it. If you feel like taking some time out and getting some vegan Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and binge on Netflix, you need to do that because your body is telling you that for a reason. Don’t do it for too long and fall into a depression. We’ve got to take breaks. That was one of my biggest learning lessons is to put your oxygen mask on first for your self-care.
Take care of yourself. Do three things in the morning for yourself before you check your phone and your email because all email is OPP, it’s Other People’s Problems. If we’re starting the day dealing with everyone else’s things, our day is going to be terrible. I am a fan of Hal Elrod. He’s been on my show. I’m all about The Miracle Morning. I don’t care if your miracle morning starts at 5:00 AM or starts at 10:00 AM. I could care less, but it’s about doing a couple of things in the morning that serves you. I know we’ve all talked about our morning routines on my show and I know you are fans of this too. It’s about taking care of yourself, making sure that you are nourishing your soul. You’re incorporating things that you love to do during the hustle, whether it’s me and Jason love to sing. It’s like making sure that I have music in my life and I’m going to karaoke once a week.
Those are things. I don’t know how to answer your question because I don’t think that I have it all figured out. I do think that if you’re an entrepreneur and you’re doing something you believe in, you make the time and then you talk about the times when it’s not easy. That’s why we have shows because we like to talk. We can write about it and blog about it or do a Facebook Live about it. The more authentic you are, the more people are going to gravitate towards you and buy your products and services and then you have more income to create more things and to help more people and scale. I don’t know how you create time, but as long as you’re doing something that you love and you’re continuing to build on that, the time will be available to you. It wasn’t when you were doing something that you hated or if you’re still doing something that you hate.
One thing I thought a lot about, which I’m curious about both of your perspectives on this. I’ve been vlogging and for anybody who doesn’t use YouTube much, that means that your video blogging, so daily journaling via video. I started it up again. It was part of my consistency. I want to practice what I preach. Jason and I have this new program called the Consistency Code. It got me thinking about things that I wanted to be consistent with and how I wanted to follow through in my own life, which is helpful. We’re working on this program and we launched it. As I was doing my version of consistency was to make a new video every day and post it, which is challenging. It’s not as much work. It doesn’t have to be a lot of work. It depends on how you’re doing it. As long as I bring my camera with me and record moments, it can be whatever I want it to be. It doesn’t have to be work per se, you have to be consistent with it.
One thing I noticed through that process, and it ties into what you were saying, Allison, about writing things down. When you write things or you speak things, a lot of times you have realizations. One of the reasons that I find video and podcasting so powerful is you’re speaking things like if you’re writing, blogging, journaling or posting. You start to uncover things about yourself. Through writing a book, for example, you’re dumping out so much. One thing I noticed about myself that’s fascinating is how I deal with resistance and when excuses come up. I’ve been experimenting with something that feels tough for me. I’m curious about your perspectives on this.
For me specifically, it came down to changing my schedule and we’re not going to dive too far into this because this could be a whole other tangent, but I completely switch my schedule over. I wake up literally five hours earlier than I used to. One of the things that’s helped me be consistent with that is to go to this yoga class that I love. It’s every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:15 in the morning. It’s early for me. Every morning I wake up and I resist going to class. In my head, I’ll sit there. The first moment is, “I want to go back to bed,” and I’ll sit there. It took me a while to build up because sometimes I would wake up and I would think, “I want to go back to bed and I would go back to bed.”
I would wake up later in the day and think I wish I had gone to that yoga class or what would have happened if I had gone, then it evolved. I wake up and I have that thought almost every single day, which is amazing how you can do things and still experience almost like a Groundhog Day where you wake up and have the same feeling and the same reaction. It’s especially interesting the things that we feel when we first wake up because that’s almost like our pure self at that moment. I sit up and I’m like, “It’s interesting, my pure self is telling me to go back to bed.” I have listened to that voice a lot in my life, especially that I work for myself and have for many years. The number of times over the years that I have woken up and said, “I can sleep for longer,” and listen to that.
It’s been fascinating each of those mornings, which is three times a week when I wake up at 5:15 in the morning and I think, “Is this an excuse or is this my body telling me that I need to rest?” That’s a tough thing. That’s what I wanted to discuss here is I’ve been trying to examine it. It’s interesting because I don’t know yet. It’s like a process of self-discovery because it’s an inquiry. Every morning I wake up and I’ve noticed my pattern, which is I immediately want to go back to bed. I’ll sit there and I’ll think, “Is it true that I’m tired or is this resistance convincing me? Is this an excuse?” It happened twice so far. I have almost gone back to bed, then something said, “Go and see what happens.” It’s like I’m having a conversation with myself. Part of me is going, “You’re tired and you didn’t get enough sleep,” which has been true. Part of me thinks that for my self-care I should go back to bed, then there’s another part of me that says, “For your self-care, you should go work out. You should push through and be consistent.” Jason, what does this bring up for you?
It’s bringing up self-inquiry. There’s a valuation system that I go through every morning. It’s like what am I placing a higher value on? Am I placing a higher value on acknowledging that my body wants to rest? Am I placing a higher valuation on a commitment I’ve made to say be present for a 9:00 AM meeting? Am I placing a higher valuation on a subconscious or conscious association I’ve made between getting up at a certain time and my virtue? To me, there are almost three things here. If I’ve made a commitment that involves someone else, let’s say Whitney and I were working on our business and we have a meeting at 8:00 AM. There’s something I have made a commitment to someone else. You’re sure I’m going to be getting up early because I’ve made a commitment to someone else. On my value metric system, keeping my word to somebody else is very high. If I’ve signed up for a class, that also counts for me. I’ve also noticed that when I sleep “too long,” I somehow associate that with me being less virtuous because it’s like, “You woke up at 10:00 AM, you’re lazy.” There’s a self-worth valuation or virtue metric if I wake up too late.
The opposite is true too, where I feel virtuous because I wake up at 5:15 AM. I’m like, “Pat myself on the back.”
That’s what I mean. It’s like, “I wake up at 5:15,” but it’s interesting how many choices in our lives we associate with our self-worth or our virtue as human beings, whether it’s how much money we make, how early we get up, what our weight is. This conversation goes back to any of the arbitrary metrics we use to feel good or bad about ourselves.
There’s that level and then there’s this level of self-care. It’s ties into what we were talking about right or wrong and all these decisions. I can sleep longer, which is important to self-care or I can get up early and go work out. Those are both good choices. Which one do you choose? What is your version of this, Allison? Do you have those experiences when you wake up or an equivalent? It doesn’t have to be right when you wake up. It could be at any point in your day when you’re trying to decide between this or that and patterns that you’ve noticed.
Whitney, we’ve talked about this before, but I see it all of the time. Everyone is out there thinking that busy equals important. I see it with many people that I know and I’m like, “You are not important because you are busy. You are important because you are a human being.” Important is the wrong word, it’s you have value because you exist and people do not understand that. They think, “The busier I am, the more popular I am. The more calls I have to do with my clients, the more people I have to see. I have this meeting, I have this and that and I’m so busy.” I know we’re all guilty of it because we’re all entrepreneurs and there’s a lot that goes into that.When you help one person, disregard the one person that’s hating. Click To Tweet
One of my biggest realizations over the past few years, because I run a full-scale film production company in addition to the podcast, the books, and all the things, which I know sounds crazy. That’s been my business for many years. Luckily, I’ve got it to the point where I can do everything from home. I don’t have an office and the people, everyone is remote. I built that but it took time and there was such a time in my life where I was working those filmmaker hours, which I always said I would never do, which are fourteen-hour days. I was very important in the film industry. Let me tell you how important I was because I was so in demand. That wasn’t true. I was exhausted. There wasn’t enough kale to make me feel good.
That’s one of my lessons in doing all this stuff. I’m creating way more in less time because I’ve changed my approach to the way that I’m handling my business, to the way that I’m handling my clients, to the amount that I am outsourcing. That took quite a long time to figure out and I’m only working with people, clients and industries that I’m completely passionate about. There’s no more doing car commercials, which I could care less about. I love everyone who loves cars. I’m not that person. There was no passion behind that. It was a gig like, “Let me do the logistics and get this done,” and I was good at it but I don’t do that anymore. I’ve freed up more time now. For anyone who’s reading, the busier you do not mean that you’re important. Take a step back and realize your value as a human and take care of yourself first. The waking up stuff, I tried the 5:00 AM thing. I was doing the 4:00 AM thing where I was going to the Kundalini that was 3:30, 4:00 AM. When you get there you feel awesome, but then I couldn’t function for the rest of the day because I was so tired.
How Elrod’s The Miracle Morning is? What time? Is there a specific time or is it about what you do whenever?
When he was on my show, he said, “You can do it later.” There is truly something magical about the early morning hours. I do believe that and that’s why they do the Kundalini yoga at 3:30 or 4:00 AM because there’s no one to bother you. No one’s texting you. No one’s Facebooking you most likely unless you’re best friends with everyone in Australia or something. It’s about the energy of the morning and moon signs and sun that I don’t understand.
What’s the average? Is it 5:00 AM, 6:00 AM?
I don’t remember the specifics. It’s been a while but definitely, 4:00 AM or 5:00 AM. If it works for you, absolutely. More power to you. I believe in it. I personally don’t have a consistent schedule. I’m a fire sign. I cannot have routines in my life.
I’m a fire sign too. I could identify with you and then part of me is like, “I need routines.” It’s not that simple. To come back to the original question I suppose is what do you do in those moments where you’re trying to decide what’s best for you, but you’ve got all these different voices? How do you pick one?
It’s like I told Jason, I go back to sleep.
It’s that simple. What if it’s in the middle of the day? Do you go take a nap?
Maybe, I feel like that has happened. Do you ever have indecision fatigue where you cannot make a decision and so you get exhausted? That’s been something that I’ve certainly been dealing with in the past few years. I’m like, “Make a decision and don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good.” Make a decision, stick with it, see if it works. If it doesn’t work, go the other way or do something different. Let it be an opportunity to fail or mess up or take a detour so that you can say, “Now I know what doesn’t work. Now I know what will work.” For me, when I’m in indecision, it’s like, “Make a decision, go put on the workout pants right now because then you won’t change your mind once you start the podcast or the music going.”
For me, I’ll do music. If we’re talking about mornings and I’m like, “I don’t want to get up.” I’m not feeling it, but I know I have this client meeting or I know I signed up for that Pilates class, so I need to get myself up for it. I then have to put on music and I’ll literally dance in my pajamas. Once you dance to some music, your mood is completely uplifted in five seconds flat. I have a big bathrobe that I wear around my house and it’s hilarious, but it’s so cozy and it feels good. When I’m in it, I’m not energetic and ready to meet the day. I have to take off the bathrobe and start dancing, whether it’s in my underwear, workout clothes or whatever. You put that music on it and your mood completely shifts. I’m like, “Great, now I’m ready for the client meeting or the Pilates class.” That’s a big one for my mornings when I need to get out of that funk or that, “I want to go back to bed so bad.” If I don’t have something pressing, I will go back to sleep. I have no shame over that. I feel like I used to have more shame around it but I don’t.
I’ve wanted to ask this and what I think is probably going to be the final question. It’s been present in my reality and I’m curious how you both handle this because I’m curious if it comes up. There are times I want to quit.
The business, being an entrepreneur, creating. I get to a point of such exhaustion, frustration and disappointment, which is partially my own expectations, but partially putting much energy and time into things and not having the result either financially, energetically or creatively be what I had hoped it would be. After repeated moments like that, there are times where I don’t say quit, but my phrase is, “I want to detonate my life and start over.”
You want to start over. You don’t necessarily want it to end.
I’m not talking about death and suicide. I’m talking about literally saying like, “I want to blow up my life and start over.”
Hit the reset button.
Yes, but I don’t say that. I say it much more violently. I say detonate my life and start over. My question is when those moments come in whatever form, they might not be as violent as I’m portraying them to be in my own mind. It’s a scary place to be sometimes. When you feel like you want to quit like, “I’m sick of this. I’m done,” how do you handle those moments? How do you navigate those emotions? How do you not quit? How do you pull yourself out of that place?
I’m an insane optimist. I always have been. That’s ingrained in me. Even when I’m in my deepest and darkest moments, I’m always like, “I know it’s going to be okay.” There’s something in there that knows it’s going to be okay. It’s probably because I’ve been through the worst trauma that I could possibly imagine. I came out of that and survived. I’m a survivor and I will make it through this and it’s going to be better. If I need to wallow for a minute, I’m going to wallow. I don’t think there’s shame in that. Feel the feelings of depression. There’s power in that because then you have the power to let them go. If you suppress them and go, “I’m going to make it. Everything’s going to be okay.” If you try to power through your day with that mentality, you’re not going to power through that day and it’s going to get worse.
My whole thing is like you don’t always have time for this if you do have clients coming up. Sometimes I wake up and I have three podcast interviews that day. I’m so tired and I don’t want to do it because I’m an introvert and I’m good at playing an extrovert. I’m good at turning it on and interviewing when I want to be there, but when I don’t want to be there, I’m like, “Oh man.” Those are the times where I have to literally flip the script on myself and go, “You’re going to be awesome. You’re going to get the energy.” I’ll take my energy bits, which is pure algae energy nutrition to help with that. I’ll put some music on and I get myself out of the funk temporarily so I can wallow if that’s what I need to do. What often happens is I do those three interviews. I’m so empowered and excited and I’m like, “This is why I do this,” and then it doesn’t come back the next day because I reminded myself of why I’m doing this. Sometimes it’s good to have something scheduled even when you don’t want to do it at that moment and then go through with it and not cancel. I’ve done that too where I’m like, “I’m canceling all three and I’m going to wallow.” That’s okay too.
When you want to quit, Whitney, what do you do? I’m sure there are moments where you’re like, “This is upside and down and sideways.” You may be not feel done to the point of detonation as I described, but you’re so frustrated that you feel like you’re at the end of your rope. How do you not let go of the rope? How do you keep going? What is that inner dialogue for you to keep going?
To be completely frank, I don’t have that emotion very often. Maybe we’re each wired a little bit differently, whether it’s biology or it’s probably programming experiences, tools, things that we’ve learned. However, I think I’m more of a pause person than a give up person. YouTube has been a big struggle for me. I’ve been doing YouTube for many years and there are times where I’m like, “This doesn’t feel good.” I’m not getting the results that I want most of the time, almost every few months. I started working on a series and I was pumped. I had the whole thing planned out. I had it scheduled. I knew what I was going to do. I even went as far as to announce it on my YouTube channel that I was going to do the series. I’ve put it out there. I’ve set myself up for success. I thought I had it all set for consistency. I did 3 out of 15 to 20 videos. All of them planned out and I did three. The three did okay. I remember feeling, “This does not feel the way that I want it to feel.”
I paused and I sat with it and I’m still working through it. I still feel shame and guilt. I feel a little bit down on myself like feelings of, “You’re a failure. This didn’t work.” Sometimes we have our own confirmation bias. We’re looking for proof that we’re not good enough, so we keep falling into these patterns. I think that’s part of it, but I also started to examine it and realize maybe what’s happening here is that I’m trying to force myself to do something that isn’t authentically what I wanted to do. I was able to experiment with that a bit because I also revisited something I’ve been thinking about and decided to commit to, which is the new vlog series where I’m recording new videos every day for one of my other channels.
I find so much joy and ease in that process. I don’t find it that hard. I found the other project I mentioned, the twenty-video project. That one took so much mental effort and energy from me that I’d felt drained by it versus the vlog feels so easy to me that it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like maybe five minutes of my time versus the other one felt like it was twenty hours of my time because it felt grueling to me. That’s where I usually go. Maybe I pause, reflect, evaluate and then see if I can tweak it until it feels good. Also coming back to recenter myself with what I want to do versus what I think I should be doing to get a result.
A lot of the times I feel unhappy because I’m trying to please somebody else to get their affection, love, approval or money. If I let go of that and do something that I enjoy, it’s a lot easier. It’s tough as an entrepreneur because ultimately we need to make money in order to get by. When your finances are riding in other people’s approval, it’s tough. You don’t know what’s going to happen with this show. Part of the reason Jason and I like doing this is we don’t know what’s going to happen with this. We’ve recorded all these episodes. We haven’t even launched a single one of them yet unless you count Patreon which was the preview page.
We have almost 30 episodes backlogged we’ve put in.
It’s been joyful because we don’t have any results yet. We both enjoy this. Jason is shrugging though. Do you not enjoy this, Jason?
I’m shrugging because it confirms something that is so present in my reality, which is sometimes, and Elizabeth Gilbert talks about this in Big Magic, that you can have this thing you’re extremely passionate about and then once you turn it into a profession and it starts making money, there’s all this pressure and expectation layered on the thing you love and it chokes the joy out of it for you. I’m not saying categorically, but I’ve experienced that in the sense of like, “This was great. This is a hobby. I love doing this,” then the stakes get raised and money’s involved and your livelihood is attached to it. Sometimes I’ve experienced like, “I don’t enjoy doing this anymore.” This thing I love to do for many years when there were zero stakes and I was doing it to be creative. Now it’s like, “There are money and business involved in my life and I quit my job, etc.” I think the freedom I feel is there are zero stakes with this. There might be stakes and I’m okay with there being higher stakes. I invite stakes but my challenge to myself is, can I take something that’s joyful and passionate and when there’s money involved or stakes being raised, still have the joy and not lose that? To me, that’s a challenge. I have experienced challenges with that.
As a podcast host and podcast listener, I know that this show is going to do well. You guys are going to have super fans right away. I’m excited for you and I don’t think the joy will be robbed.
Are we getting the official Allison Melody blessing? That’s what that was. I feel like that was almost knighting us. I felt like there was a golden and pink sword coming across our shoulder. That honestly means a lot.
It’s interesting because it can feel vulnerable. I hope that we continue to find joy even if we get criticism once we release it. That’s always my work is I am someone that’s much better off reading the comments because I get criticism from a mean person and it’s tough for me to push through after I feel that, but I’ve done it. It’s just harder.
What I always do online is forgive and delete. If it’s a Facebook or Instagram comment. I’m like, “I forgive you and now you’re gone.” On the Apple podcast reviews, you can’t delete or respond to them. That’s the tough part. You have to forgive but you can’t delete. I got one that was so bad. It was the girl and she was right. She was like, “I couldn’t listen to five minutes because all the girls said was, ‘Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God.’” I was like, “It’s not for you.” I do say, “Oh my God,” too much. The guest, Susie, was saying it and then she went on to say it wasn’t valuable information, which I disagreed with. My heart hurt you guys and I was like, “Is this true? What does this mean? Do I need to change my format?”Learn from people who are only a few steps away from you. That way it’ll all look like it’s achievable. Click To Tweet
I’m doubting myself, then I posted it in my Facebook group. I said, “Do I need to chill on the OMGs?” Everyone in the group was like, “We love you. You are exactly who you are. That is why we follow you. Don’t change a thing.” I don’t know if you need to get validation from outside sources, but sometimes it feels good. You’re like, “My people love me and that person doesn’t love me. Not everyone’s going to love me. I see all the love from my group and that’s all that matters because they love what I’m doing and I am helping them. If I can help one person, “Screw the person that can’t take the OMGs because I’m going to say them.”
It’s got to be you, ruthlessly and relentlessly yourself.
We’re in an odd time of human history where we have so much access to other people. Clearly, people have disagreed throughout human history or resulted in war. On the plus side, we are fortunate that there are no swords being drawn. It feels like a sword, a dagger through the heart sometimes. Ultimately, we are a lot safer. We have to ride it out, whatever that means and keep learning along the way and stay true to ourselves. It’s all easier said than done, but I think it’s a daily practice. It comes back to what I’ve been practicing in those 5:00 AM moments. I have to get up and do my best in that morning and I might face that struggle each morning.
If I can push through it, then I’m present to whatever I’m going through on that specific day. It’s taking it moment by moment. I think that’s what you were saying too, Allison. All three of us have had those moments where we look at our calendars and we’re like, “Why did I schedule all these meetings? Why am I going to these events? Why am I recording these videos?” We look at it and immediately regret what seems a great idea. Every day when I look at my calendar and there’s nothing on it, I’m happy. If I had nothing on my calendar every day, I probably wouldn’t feel that happy as a whole. You’re so right, Allison, that once you do the hard thing or the thing that felt hard earlier, you often find it’s not nearly as hard as it felt when you were thinking about it ahead of time.
You have to break through the resistance and tune in to yourself as you’re saying. There’s no right or wrong answer. If you want to eat Ben & Jerry’s, the vegan kind, that’s cool. If you want to eat the non-vegan kind, that’s your prerogative too. If that’s what you want to do, if you want to cancel the meeting, then go ahead and you’d have to figure out what your priorities are. There’s no right or wrong. That to me is what makes it hard. It’s knowing that there’s no right or wrong decision and being okay with whatever decision that you make is the work for me.
The quote that I come back to over and over is, “What is happening, the choice you’ve made a reality at the moment is good into your advantage, whether or not you can see or feel it at the moment.” Often we’re like, “I want to make the right choice. I want to make the right decision.” I believe what’s happening is ultimately good to our advantage no matter what we choose. I believe life loves us so much that we keep getting more moments to make more choices. I don’t think we can get it wrong. Many of us, myself included, are so afraid of getting it wrong. I don’t think there is such a thing. It’s like to make another choice. Any final words of wisdom?
I’m excited to be here and chat with you guys and I’ll do it again anytime, come to my studio.
Thanks for the hot cocoa too. In terms of the hospitality of our guests, you get the gold star.
These could be your final words. Can you tell everybody how you made that elixir?
The Matcha Choco Latte?
Yes, what is your recipe, Allison?
It’s one part Matcha to two parts cocoa. I used oat milk, but use your plant-based creamiest milk of choice. I think the creamiest ones are soy and oat. If you’re a coconut person, go for it. I don’t think those are creamy enough.
Pea protein is my creamy milk of choice.
You like pea milk. I don’t love pea milk. That’s Matcha, Cocoa, milk, Stevia sweetener. It’s a light sweetener and it doesn’t spike your blood sugar. It’s a healthy sweetener. It’s keto-friendly, then I put a little coconut oil in there, which makes it even more creamy, and then blend. This one, I heat up. We could have it over ice, but it’s cold in LA so we decided to do it warm.
What’s the title of your book?
Food Heals: Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Stories to Nourish Your Soul and Transform Your Health. It’s a little long. Both Whitney and Jason are featured in the book so you get to read their stories.
Thank you for including both of us. Thank you for being here, your time, your elixir and your hot Matcha Choco Latte.
Thank you so much. It’s always so lovely to be with you and sharing all of your wisdom and gifts.
Thank you for having me.
- Consistency Code
- The Miracle Morning
- Big Magic
- Food Heals: Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Stories to Nourish Your Soul and Transform Your Health
- The Vegan Ketogenic Diet Cookbook
About Allison Melody
Allison Melody, host of The Food Heals Podcast and owner of Melody Productions, is an eco–entrepreneur with a passion for film, fitness and food. Through her podcast, she brings together experts in nutrition and healing to teach listeners the best-kept natural secrets to health and happiness. For the past eleven years, Allison has also directed, produced and edited documentary films, PSA’s, commercials and viral videos for clients on the topics of social justice, human rights and holistic health.
The topics she addresses through her work are powerful and heart-centered and focus on Holistic Health, Social Justice, Human Rights and Animal Rights. They reflect her passion for creating positive change in people and the communities they serve.
At the age of 26, Allison endured the devastating loss of both her parents to cancer after long and challenging battles. Witnessing her mother and father suffer so intensely and needlessly from a cure that brought more pain than the disease, Allison soon dedicated her life to finding a better way to heal. She watched in disbelief as doctors prescribed drug after drug, observed her parents’ hair fall out, their rapidly aging faces, and their exceedingly diminishing vitality. The tragedy instilled in her an unwavering passion for nutritional medicine, and propelled her into the world of holistic health and alternative healing. Allison’s firm commitment to natural health is further evidenced by her achievement of a Masters Degree in Spiritual Psychology.
Allison is currently in the process of directing Food Heals, a documentary starring NBA Champion, actor, philanthropist and vegan champion John Salley, director and star of Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, Joe Cross, and author of I Forgot to Die, Khalil Rafati, to name a few.<