How to Stress Less and Accomplish More with Emily Fletcher

Have you ever had those days where stress and anxiety are weighing you down? Meditation is humanities number 1 tool for dealing with stress. The issue is, most of us lack the knowledge and training to do it effectively. We need guidance. Emily Fletcher is the founder of Ziva Meditation and author of Stress Less, Accomplish More. Take a listen to find out how to go from being full of need and seeking fulfillment, to instead, being fulfilled and looking for need.

How to Stress Less and Accomplish More With Emily Fletcher | Convert audio-to-text with Sonix

Srini:
Emily welcome to the unmistakable creative. Thanks so much for taking the time to join us.

Emily Fletcher:
What a joy to be here still to see what unfolds.

Srini:
Yeah it is my pleasure to have you here so I was introduced to you through way of our mutual friend Clay Haber. I also met you in person and I know that you have this new book out that is just absolutely crushing the chances are that everybody here has probably either already heard of it or picked it up. But before we get into all that I want to start by asking what is the very first job that you ever had and what did you learn from that job that you've applied to your life going forward and how did that shape who you've become and what you've ended up doing.

Emily Fletcher:
So my very first job I was 15 years old and I was a busboy. I don't think they have a term for a bus girl

Srini:
Yeah.

Emily Fletcher:
But I was cleaning plates and glasses and tables at a restaurant and it was where my sister had her bridal shower and she's seven years older than I am. I was 15 years old attending the shower but I was wearing a white suit. Nobody told me that was rude to her weight to someone else's bridal event. And the owner thought that I was the bride and she's like Oh are you getting married. I said no. And 15 and she said You want a job and I said yes. And so I started bussing tables and then I ended up becoming the manager of the restaurant at 16 years old which is hilarious. But what did I learn from that job that I have applied to the rest of my life. I actually love working in a restaurant. I always loved being a waitress and because I was an actress for a long time. And to me I love it because there's a calm before the storm. There's a team of people in the restaurant that's all working together to execute this experience. You get to meet new people you get to put on a bit of a show for your table and and then at the end of the night there's a calm after the storm. And to me it's very similar to theater but I think the thing that I brought with me was kindness outgoing this like making friends with all of my tables and then that feeling like I was a part of a team. I think those are things that I knew that I liked very much and I took that with me into my theatrical career and now into my team at Ziva.

Srini:
Now what surprised you in that experience. And what if any were lessons in human behavior that you took away from it that most of us wouldn't have even thought of to you know observe that are going on in a dynamic like a restroom and obviously you talked about the teamwork. I wonder what are the things that you know people who are in a restaurant are not noticing.

Emily Fletcher:
Well if I if I extend it past beyond that first job it was my first job in New York City. I was again a waitress and it was. I moved to New York about three weeks before September 11th and the day after September 11th you know all of New York. It was it was kind of like this is gonna sound like a bad word vacation because no one was going to work. So half the people wanted to just be home and by themselves. But a lot of people wanted to be out and among other peoples who our restaurant was packed but not all of our staff could get in because of transportation and they lived far away. And so it was my second day. Like by myself having been trained and I had half the restaurant to myself and I did the lunch shift I was when way over my head I was overwhelmed I was freaking out. And then in between lunch shift and dinner shift there was a break and the manager came back and said hey Emily can you work the dinner shift. And I wasn't supposed to. He said you know someone can't make it. I remember I started crying like a single tear rolled down my cheek and I said Yeah I'll do it. And to me the lesson there was you know I was scared. I was overwhelmed. I didn't know how I was gonna do it. I felt like I was doing a bad job but I knew that they needed me and I knew that I was able to bring some joy bring some human connection to the people I was working with. And so I just said yes. And it ended up being strangely a beautifully healing day in that restaurant and and with all those humans having just experience something so intensely traumatic to create a space even if a tiny little drop in the bucket of healing.

Srini:
So when you witness something like September 11th that effectively what is the beginning of your adult life. I wonder what kinds of decisions you made about how you would live your life going forward. Having been so close to something so traumatic and tragic.

Emily Fletcher:
Well interestingly I felt safer in New York City than I feel like I would have been anywhere else because I thought what's not going to happen again here right now. Oh

Srini:
Jeff.

Emily Fletcher:
So I actually never felt scared. I never felt like it was going to happen to me or that I was in danger in any way. I remember how beautiful it was. You know the sun was shining and its blue skies and the birds were chirping and the kids were out of school as was kids playing. And I walked from my restaurant where I worked as on Third Avenue and 30 7th Street and then I walked up to 96 Street and West End Avenue. So it's like basically almost the length of the whole not the whole area but a long way. And. And I remember. I don't know if this is a choice or if it was just my nature but I was like I'm not scared. I'm not going to choose to live my life in fear. I don't feel like my life is being threatened right now and I actually felt grateful to be in the epicenter where like everyone or the world's attention was being focused I felt grateful to be a part of it and to be a part of the healing and the rebuilding. And I was young and I was like 22 or something and I was an aspiring actress. And so it wasn't even yet on this sort of spiritual path. I didn't yet have a meditation practice but I I just felt safe and I felt grateful and then hilariously so hilariously that I moved to Moscow and I did the world's first American musical to go to Russia and then six weeks after we were there there was a terrorist attack on a theater there on a musical. And so my poor mother I mean God bless her she's just moved to New York and then 9/11 happens I moved to Moscow. This terrorist attack happens on a theater there. And and so I could tell how everyone around me was very scared but something in me just knew that I was safe and knew that I had big work to do on the planet. So I don't know answering your question but that's

Srini:
Yeah.

Emily Fletcher:
The.

Srini:
No you are. How old were you when you realized you wanted to be an actress.

Emily Fletcher:
I was in fourth grade. I was sitting on the floor of my mom's bathroom reading the newspaper. She was in the shower and I saw an ad for a place called young actors theater and I pointed to the ad as like oh mom I'm going to need to go here. I'm going to be an actress. And she was like okay. And she put me in the class. And so I started when I was in fourth grade. And thank goodness for this place. I'm Tony Hale is from there Cheryl Hines. Like all these amazing actors came into this tiny little theater in this tiny little town and I got to do a voice and dance and acting classes every day after school and we did like four or five shows a year. And again that sense of teamwork and that sense of creativity and I just I loved it so much and then I had a great program in my high school. I went to a public high school in Tallahassee Florida but our teachers were incredible and we put on this big musical every year and there was when I got into high school that I was like Oh I'm definitely doing this like I'm gonna go get it maybe if a musical theater. And then I was just this knowingness it wasn't even like I wish or I hope or what if it was just like oh I'm gonna be an actress you've got to move to New York I'm gonna be on Broadway very decisive.

Srini:
What was the conversation that you had with your mother about this. The reason I'm asking is is that I recently wrote an article about how to talk to your kids about pursuing a career in the arts. Because my sister and I were listening to this podcast called off camera with Sam Jones and he was interviewing Josh Radnor. For those of you don't know Josh Radnor is that guy from How I Met Your Mother Ted and it was interesting to hear him talk about this because he had this conversation with parents particularly when you have parents like mine and his you know my dad's a professor his dad was a lawyer and to tell your parents that you want to pursue occur in the arts art is never an easy thing so I wonder what your mom encouraged wish you'd discourage in and how she talked to you about what you were getting yourself into.

Emily Fletcher:
Well very much to her credit. She just said yes. She always said yes. And she wasn't a stage mom. She isn't that what she wanted for me necessarily. But she never put any fear or any doubt or any. There was no like reality check. It was just like yes yes yes. I think she. She trusted me implicitly and always believed in me and never second guessed me. And so I never second guessed myself. And I just. What a gift. You know even you asking that question makes me realize what a gift it was that I had her and my father which you know he was challenging in a lot of ways. But he was building the sets at my high school and making it rain on stage for SINGIN IN THE RAIN. AND SO THEY ALWAYS it felt like implicit support always.

Srini:
Now. Well I mean you've spent time in this field. If you were you know a lot of parents are listening to this what would you say to them based on this experience.

Emily Fletcher:
I think that it's scary for your kids to go into something that feels so uncertain and I think that there's a reality that there's like a financial reality to the world where you don't want to go into something that's so so much supply and so little demand. And I get all those very valid concerns. But. Just like with manifesting if you if someone has a real desire and it's a real desire their happiness does not lie on the other side of the acquisition of the desire. But if the desire is there I think we have to trust that Nature put it there. And so whatever unfolds on the way of them doing that is what's meant. And so you know I did Broadway for 10 years and that's not where I stayed. You know I quote unquote like I'm a failure as an actress because I'm not doing it anymore. But it wasn't a failure like it was a great career I loved it and it gave me so many skills that I now apply to being an entrepreneur and a speaker and an author. And so I think that it's their human skills and I think any creative endeavor is going to develop someone's humanness in a way that oftentimes traditional professional parts do not. And so I think that that is valuable in a way that we can't necessarily quantify in the short term.

Srini:
Wow. So speaking of things that you learned from your time on Broadway that have applied. I mean I to this day credit you get a life as a musician for the discipline that I have as a writer because I learned how to practice and I learned how to get better at something that I had no natural aptitude for. And so I wonder for you what are the things that you have brought from that. You know what happens in terms of discipline habits ritual routine when you are somebody who is a Broadway actress.

Emily Fletcher:
So many so many at the Top. Top ones would be. I'm very much putting on a show like when I teach meditation or if I give a talk I make no qualms about it like it's a ten hour one woman show. I try to make it as entertaining as possible and as interactive as possible and there's so much improv because it's based on the questions of the people in the room. But it's. So that that level of mental and physical preparation. I feel like that has really helped me. I will. I will warm up my voice. I will do breath work. I will if I get nervous I'll do guided visualizations that I used to do before I was a performer. Even if I'm giving a talk that I've given 100 hundred times before I just it's almost in me that I have to prime my brain and body to be the best that it can be. You know if there's three people in the room or it doesn't matter. So you always want to show up is the most amazing version of you. But really to do that you have to be a vessel. And I think that actually one of my shortcomings as an actress and as a performer is that it was it was almost a very left brain experience for me because when you're performing it's someone else's words. The music's already been written the choreography has already been set and you're doing the exact same thing again and again and and it is quote unquote a performance.

Emily Fletcher:
So it was almost turned into a left brain like almost a puppet versus now when I perform or when I'm speaking or teaching. I actually feel like I'm able to be a vessel. I feel like nature creativity divinity is able to move through me and speak more directly to the people who are in in the audience. Now I think the best actors the best performers can do that even with someone else's script with someone else's choreography. I don't know that I ever got there but I didn't find meditation until after I really left acting kind of. So be interesting to see like how because the whole point of meditation right is that we're marrying the right and left hemispheres of the brains you're you're merging that left brain memorization kind of like outcome oriented piece of you with the present moment intuitive creative vessel part of you. And I feel like just now I feel like I'm really starting to fire on both cylinders simultaneously but to go back to the original question of what else I brought with me. I think timing you know just a comedic timing the ability to intuit what people need to hear when what they're ready to hear and the big one is just the bravery of putting yourself out there you know when you're an actress you're auditioning day in and day out week in and week out sometimes five six ten times a week you audition and you get rejected and

Srini:
Yeah.

Emily Fletcher:
That I think has really served me as an entrepreneur of you know hey can do you want to publish my book. Can I speak at your conference. You know hey can I be a speaker at this. You know you just keep putting yourself out there and and with lots of people saying no and it's like it doesn't faze me at all and people say no I just move on to the next. And then the other feedback I get is that when people watch my videos specifically because I think meditation is decidedly challenging to communicate via a book or

Srini:
Yes.

Emily Fletcher:
A video it's a very

Srini:
Yeah.

Emily Fletcher:
Visceral experience. And I think that the fact that I've been in front of a camera my whole life has allowed the message and the energy and the teachings to really move through the lens and into people's hearts and minds in a way that it perhaps wouldn't. Had I not been in front of a camera so long because inevitably mean in front of a camera you get nervous you get weird and stiff and that doesn't really happen for me anymore. So I'm able to really connect with people through the lens and people say that when they watch the videos they do my online training it feels like I'm with them and we have a crazy high completion rate like 43 percent completion rate I think which is an average

Srini:
Yeah.

Emily Fletcher:
Is three percent. So I think that's been very very valuable.

Srini:
Wow. So I think that this will make kind of a perfect segway into talking about the work they do arm meditated before you and I hit record here we're talking about the fact that your book is just absolutely crushing it. And we got into this conversation about control which is something that you really don't have when it comes to a career in the arts. So yeah somebody who has you know both studied meditation and teaches meditation and had this very long career as an actress how do you think about that idea of control when it comes to the things that we have no control over.

Emily Fletcher:
Well I definitely commies over recovering control freak cause it's one thing that I. I love my illusion of and I have love my illusion love

Srini:
Yeah.

Emily Fletcher:
My whole life. And I think that's sometimes if you grow up in an unstable household like a lot of adult children of alcoholics tend to be control freaks because if you have any sort of an addict or alcoholic in your life your life is so variable it's so unpredictable. So anything that you can control you want to but really any any form of control is ultimately an illusion because we're human and we don't have all the information. We're not nature. We're not divine. I mean there's a piece of us that's divine but we are just a piece of divinity. We're not. Nature itself. We don't have all of the information. And so my my favorite analogy on control is I feel like we humans when we think we're controlling our lives we're like a little kid in the grocery store who's driving the plastic shopping or the plastic car on the front of the shopping cart you know thinking that we're driving the car. And meanwhile the mom is pushing the cart I mean like all the car durable My son thinks he's driving. And I think that's how God looks at humans. You know we're all like think we're white knuckling our lives we're like I'm controlling I'm going to try to sell this many books I to make the New York Times and I'll get married at this age and I'll make a million dollars by this age and then God is like pushing the shopping cart of our lives we like Look how adorable that human thinks they're driving. And so I just whenever I find myself white knuckling my life I try to remember that God's pushing the shopping cart and that it's not exclusively mine to control. I think

Srini:
Yeah.

Emily Fletcher:
If you look at the human brain it's 50/50. You know it's 50 percent left brain 50 percent right. That mean that I interpret that as 50 percent individuality and 50 percent totality. So it's not like you just sit back and get high and play video games and just secret your dreams you know you got to do stuff but

Srini:
Right.

Emily Fletcher:
Also you have to leave room for nature to deal with the when and the how and

Srini:
That.

Emily Fletcher:
Yeah.

Srini:
Wow. Well I think that that actually makes a really perfect segue way to talking about meditation and I think I want to start with this quote Even though I have a ton of other ones but this one in particular struck me you said when we allow our brains to recharge in D frag we're actually building our mental capacity and increasing our creativity. If you think of your job chores and demands as the race you're running in life meditation as you're training the mental fitness that allows you to achieve a high level of mastery in every aspect of your life. And I think the reason that struck me was you know I drank the Anthonys Kool-Aid and I decided to go see an energy healer and for the longest time I thought she was you know the whole thing was just nonsense but one of the things that we had a conversation about in our last session was meditation and she's like I think you think you're too busy for this. And I said you know I was willing to do it for five 10 minutes whatever. Then I went to see Stephen caller and do his zero to dangerous training which was all about flow and high performance. And he said 20 minutes of meditation a day and it was amazing how quickly I was able to say you know what. Yeah I'll do it for that reason. It was amazing that just the context could change my perception of it that much because I thought oh you know what if it means high performance then yes I'll do it if it means all this new age nonsense that I can't quantify then I don't give a shit that much but you know that that's kind of an observation. So I wonder you know how how do how does this I'll be I mean how one would you have to say about that.

Emily Fletcher:
It's the exact reason why I wrote this book Why I spent three and a half years of my life basically highlighting all of the science behind why stress is making a stupid sick and slow as a species and basically taking the very powerful medicine that is meditation and wrapping it in the candy coating of like Hey it's gonna help you make more money and have better sex. Oh and also you'll be less of a dick. So why are you not doing X is making it so so practical and so it speaks to high performers high achievers people who are too busy to meditate because if it's not quantifiable if it is woo woo. If it is hippy dippy and ultimately if you're not getting a return on your time investment then you are too busy. No one has time to waste our time is our most valuable resource. And so the big argument that I make in the book in the first seven chapters are all the science behind what I call the selfish reasons why people come to meditation. So there's a whole chapter on like why. It will help your sleep Why. It will help your sex how it can reverse your body age why it can improve performance and increase your income. And then the Cliff's Notes to all of that is that stress is killing us. Stress is responsible for 90 percent of all doctor's visits according to Harvard Medical School and doctors are calling it the black plague of our century. And because we're so addicted addicted to it and because we think that we need our stress to get ahead because that's been our habit it's what's the cultural norm. I'm just trying to introduce a new paradigm in that like hey if you can run a marathon with that stress imagine what it would feel like to take the rock out of your shoe. You know it's not going to take away your ability to run a marathon. It will be much more enjoyable and much more sustainable.

Srini:
Yeah well I mean I think that you know I ever wrote about this a while back I said I think we're as a culture addicted to achievement but you know being addicted to achievement isn't like being addicted to heroin you know it's not like you're on street corners you know putting needles into your arm on the surface. We celebrate people's addiction to achievement. You know we put them on covers of magazines we give them medals we give them awards we give them money. And so when I when I hear that I think to myself all right. Yes absolutely. We do have to find a better way to go about this. One thing that you said is that meditation can help you make more money. There's no way I was gonna let that go. Tell me how.

Emily Fletcher:
Well no matter what your job is. If you are stressed right then you're gonna be more myopic in your vision. You're not going to have as great of intuition right. Because if you're stressed then all your mental and physical energy are going to an involuntary fight or flight stress reaction and when you're in fighter flight that a lot of your mental energy and blood in your brain is going to the amygdala which is the fear center of the brain. So by necessity you don't have as much blood and energy going to create great creativity parts of the brain. You don't have like a level of brain cohesion that you would have if you weren't stressed out. Also your actual physical body is not functioning as it's meant your immune system is weakened. Your sex drive is lowered your skin acidity increases. And basically it's like you're just wasting your mental and physical energy preparing for an imaginary tiger attack. Our modern day demands are ninety nine point nine percent of the time not predatory attacks. Right. And if you do get attacked by a predator get stressed. It's not bad for you to get stressed. It's terrible

Srini:
Yeah.

Emily Fletcher:
For you to stay stressed and because of our modern demands of modern life. Most of us are living in this low grade chronic fight or flight thing and it is low grade chronic stress that's leading to inflammation which is the basis of all disease. That's the thing that's making us stupid sick and slow. And so the argument is basically if you will use the most effective stress relieving tool we have which is meditation right that it stands to reason that you may in fact be able to perform better if you're not wasting so much mental and physical energy. And to me it just seems so obvious right. That if A plus B equals C you know it's like why are we. Why does why does it seem so incongruous for people. And I think that the answer is that because a lot of people are doing like the free apps out there they're doing like 10 min like you said well I'm willing to do five or 10 minutes of this thing. Now the reason you even had that negotiation is probably because whatever you were doing was not giving you an exponential return on your time investment. Right. Like if you're like stressed at work you do 10 minutes of headspace and you feel okay afterwards it's like OK that was fine but it's not like making more money or helping me have better sex. And so what I'm offering in the Ziva technique of what I teach in the book and in person is that because it's not monastic meditation it's not designed for monks it's designed for people with busy minds and busy lives that it actually helps you you need less time of it. First of all you need to invest less time in the meditation itself and then you get this exponential return on the time investment.

Srini:
So I think that you effectively said you know when you decide something you create or when you create order in your cells the stress can start to come about out in a way that allows your brain to use more computing power for the task at hand instead of wasting energy managing old stress. So I think that you know you mentioned headspace I've been using a comment. So now you know it's funny because I read this and I'm like OK I knew that we were going to have this conversation. So walk us through you know the practical application of this like how do I apply the Ziva technique and also how does it differ from what we see in the apps like com and headspace and all those things.

Emily Fletcher:
Yeah. So that's a great place to start is. You know what. What is Ziva what makes it different from an app. And I'm not. I certainly do not want to put anything down and I'm not trying to be disrespectful or insulting and I have nothing but respect for these massive companies that have introduced meditation to millions of new people. So I have only gratitude and I want to educate people on the different types of meditation because it can be confusing if we're just lumping all everything under this one blanket category of meditation just like there's millions of types of food that do different things to your brain and body. There are also different types of meditation. And so the way that I categorize them is in the three Ms races that mindfulness meditation and manifesting which all three of those elements are a part of the Ziva technique. But what most people are practicing out there are some version of a free app and most of the apps out there are teaching exclusively mindfulness. I would define mindfulness as the art of bringing your awareness into the present moment which is beautiful and necessary and powerful but mindfulness as we know it is a derivative of types of meditation originally made from monks right. And this is actually why a lot of people think that meditation is hard because they're trying to do something that wasn't designed for them it was designed for a monk and none of us will do anything for very long that we feel like we're failing at. Now I also think we kind of fetishize monks a little bit in the West because they think well whatever monks are doing must be so much more powerful because they must be like floating or vibrating or levitating. But it's actually

Srini:
Yeah.

Emily Fletcher:
The other way around. If you have a job and kids and stuff to do then you have less time in your day with which to meditate you actually need a practice that's more powerful you need something is going to go in and d excite the nervous system like you mentioned so that you can come out and deliver the most amazing version of you to your family to your job. So the meditation portion of the Ziva technique is very good. Not only getting rid of your stress in the now which is what mindfulness does. Like a state change. This

Srini:
Her.

Emily Fletcher:
Meditation is creating a treat change. It's actually going in and getting rid of your stress from the past all that stuff that we've been storing in our cellular. And now we know epigenetic memory it's going in and getting that stuff up and out and it is that old accumulated stress. That's what's bogging us down that's what's making us stupid sick and slow. So if you do a practice it's very restful that's going in and basically inducing this verifiable fourth state of consciousness then not only are you more awake on the other side but you also have eradicated some of that backlog of stresses and that's ultimately what's increasing your cognitive performance.

Srini:
Hmm. Wow. Well let's talk about how we actually do that then.

Emily Fletcher:
Okay cool. Which part.

Srini:
Well I mean how do we start. You know if I were to begin the practice tomorrow where would you have me start.

Emily Fletcher:
So the cool thing about this is that. Meditation really is like any other skill. And because it is simple. A lot of people think that they should already know how to do it right. And so it's like oh I just missed that day in school and where they taught meditation and everyone seems to know what they're doing so I'll just pretend and I'll just sit in this chair and try and clear my mind. And so you if you think the meditation means sitting in a chair and trying to clear your mind. I got news for you. You're always going to feel like a failure because the mind thinks in voluntarily just like the heart beats in voluntarily. And this is again why everyone thinks that meditation is hard because they're judging themselves based on misinformation. So step one is just know that it is a skill. It does take some training and we don't want to confuse simplicity for weakness. Right. Because the power in this practice actually comes from the simplicity just like the most profound truths are the simplest. I think that the most profound techniques are oftentimes the simplest. So you know what I teach in the book and what I teach in Ziva online. Basically we move people through a matriculation so that we start with the mindfulness and the technique that we use is really simple but very powerful it's called come to your senses and we basically use all five of the senses as a tool to bring ourselves into the body into the now to rake up that right brain.

Emily Fletcher:
And also as a bit of a hack to include all of the things going on in your awareness in the experience because a lot of us think well I have to have a quiet space to meditate not with Ziva. A lot of people think well I can't do it on a bus or on a subway or with my kids in the next room. But the reality is anywhere you can think a thought you can think these tools you can use these tools and so you can meditate. You don't need headphones or white noise or gongs or a dude playing a drum on your chest in order to meditate it's like you just close your eyes and dive in. So we start with the mindfulness and then we move into the meditation and that's probably the most different than what most people think of a lot of people think they have to focus or concentrate or have fancy fingers or incorrect spine and with Ziva it's kind of like the lazy man's meditation like all you need to do it is it is a place to sit and keep it feels more like a nap sitting up than it does like anything with effort or concentration.

Emily Fletcher:
And then we move through into the manifesting and this I think is actually the most relevant piece to you and to your work because the manifesting is basically consciously creating a life you love and it's about getting into the feeling space as if your dream is happening now and where this becomes a bit of an advanced practice is that we have to keep reminding ourselves that our happiness is not come on the other side of the manifestation of the desires the happiness isn't gonna come on the other side of manifesting a husband or a kid or in a best selling book on the New York Times list or a million dollars like our happiness is always found now and it's always found inside and yet that doesn't take our desires away. And so to me as we start to move into mastery and as we keep a daily practice we start to both actively go after our dreams and develop total detachment from them.

Srini:
Yeah.

Emily Fletcher:
And that is admittedly a lifelong practice at least for me.

Srini:
Yeah I mean I think that it's something that I've come to realize is that you know everything that you're attached to basically imprisons you and everything you let go of liberates you. It's funny because I think about it. So if you literally think physically of being attached to something. Right. Let's say that you're attached to a million dollars and get it but you're physically attached. You have to carry it around with you everywhere you go in a briefcase. You would see literally how imprisoned you are by this thing that you want it so bad.

Emily Fletcher:
Mm hmm. That's great. I've never thought about that. I love that.

Srini:
Either way I said the conversation to somebody was interviewing me for their podcast nose like huh. I think I need to read about this.

Emily Fletcher:
Yes please do.

Srini:
So I get the mindfulness peace because I think that's where most of us began our practice. So what is happening you know when we make the transition between each of these three phases How long do we spend in each one. How do you know that you've made the transition from one to the other. What is going on. How. I mean how do you know and how you know how can you be aware that you've made the transition from one to the other.

Emily Fletcher:
What so we start with the mindfulness and that is very much where you're directing your focus right. And like you said this is what most people are familiar with. So any quote unquote guided meditation. Most of the apps most of the YouTube videos most of the drop in studios are teaching what I would call mindfulness and what's happening in the brain is that it's a smaller part of the brain is lighting up very very bright and this is different than what happens in meditation and specifically Ziva where the whole brain lights up but not as bright and so a cool byproduct of that is that if the whole brain is lighting up you start to strengthen the corpus callosum which is the thin white strip that connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain which is powerful because that's the thing that's balancing masculine and feminine creative and critical individuality in totality. And. Yes. When the mindfulness was of focusing in the meditation it's much more surrendered. It's much more about letting go and you'll know that you've transitioned because you you are the one making the transition like that's that's what I teach you how to do. You know you're actually timing it you have a time piece near you and you're looking at the time like oh I'm going to spend this long and mindfulness and really think about it. That is almost like the appetizer to the main course which is the meditation and then you're just checking the time and you're like oh the certain time has gone up depending on which which training you do then you would move into the manifesting and there is magic in manifesting right after the meditation because the right and left hemispheres of the brain are talking to each other because you have d excited your nervous system and sort of connected to source energy or connected to your own higher power whatever you want to call that.

Emily Fletcher:
I think that manifesting from that place is so much more powerful than doing it from your waking state left brain middle of your day running around craziness because it's easier to both hear your intuition it's easier to hear how nature would like to use you and I think it's a more powerful place to set your intention to like. I liken it to placing your order with the cosmic waitress at the cosmic restaurant he'd like you know nature is willing to take the order but a lot of us aren't even placing it we just go into the restaurant sit down I'm like I'm so hungry I love some food and the waiters again. What would you like you're like food. I'm starving and I want I'm going to give my food. It's just place the order and be specific.

Srini:
How long you have to do this for.

Emily Fletcher:
So I recommend with Ziva online it's 15 minutes twice a day. So it's a you were the first one line before coffee breakfast or computer and then ideally you do that second one at any point before dinner. So like when you would have had that cup of coffee in the afternoon or you would have maybe you been reaching to the chocolate or the nap. That's when you want to do your second meditation. And you know people think like oh gosh I don't have 50 minutes in my day but we think we don't have 50 minutes because if we're stressed then we're

Srini:
Yeah.

Emily Fletcher:
Not functioning as optimally or as efficiently as we could.

Srini:
So one of the things that you say is the point is not to throttle your ambition but simply to be wary of allowing your ambition to control your fulfillment and believing that you have to be unhappy now in order to be happy someday. The reality is that there is no need to make yourself miserable pursuing a dream happiness is only ever found in the present moment. And the reason that that caught my attention is because I was writing something about whodunit adaptation this morning and how that this sort of pursuit of everlasting happiness really is kind of a foolish errand because there's literally nothing. You know I imagine it's day one even maybe now. You hit the New York Times bestseller list and it's cloud nine. I bet if I asked you a year from now do you still feel exactly the same about that you probably wouldn't because the carrot will have moved. So how do you mitigate Hedonic adaptation which maybe there's no answer to that question. I figured since I have you here I should ask you.

Emily Fletcher:
It's a can you define it. I wanna make sure I understand whodunit adaptation it's

Srini:
So

Emily Fletcher:
The

Srini:
It's.

Emily Fletcher:
Quest of constant pleasure eternal

Srini:
Yeah

Emily Fletcher:
Summer.

Srini:
I mean we. Yeah we all know that there's a hedonic treadmill and people have come to unmistakable Kate them they've talked about it. You know they say the very same thing. I remember Sasha Hinds told me she said Go and look at the Olympic podium and she said you'll see that the bronze winner is the one who is usually smiling. The gold winner is usually smiling and the person who has the frown on their faces the silver medalist because the bronze winner is just happy to be on the podium. The silver medalist doesn't see it as a success. They just see the fact that they didn't win a gold.

Emily Fletcher:
Yes I got that. OK. Beautiful. So I would call this. I think it's the same concept of what I call the. I'll be happy when the syndrome.

Srini:
Yeah. Mm hmm.

Emily Fletcher:
Right. I'll be happy when the carrot keeps moving. I'll be happy when I get a bike. I get a car I get in college I get a girl I get a job I go on vacation I have Wi-Fi so I can it's my work e-mails again I get a million dollars I get one hundred million dollars I get a jet. And by the time you have one hundred million dollars in a jet you just miss the days that you could get high and go to the park and you know not have to manage your money all day because you've got to carry around suitcases of money if you're attached to it like your million dollar analogy. So the carrots always gonna move. Right. And actually hilariously two days after my book came out and it was going so well we look debuted at number seven out of all books on Amazon. And two days later my publisher was like Hey let's start talking about Book 2. And I was like I want to punch you in the face right. Because it

Srini:
Worth

Emily Fletcher:
Was.

Srini:
I would have been like that would be amazing if I if I got that e-mail from my publisher you know at.

Emily Fletcher:
So it was it was such a gift right. It was such a beautiful thing. And it was an indicator of two things one that I had been working unsustainably right. Like I was hitting it arguably very very hard. And I also had a baby in the middle of this book launch I was birthing a book and a baby at the same time and nursing every three hours through the launch and which you know in hindsight it was really really a lot.

Srini:
Yeah.

Emily Fletcher:
So certainly I was to some degree in this. I'll be happy Wednesday. Right. I'll be happy when this book is wants to. I'll be happy when we make the New York Times. And so the fact that I had that reaction to her when she said that. Let's talk about Book 2 was a big flag to me of like hey you're working unsustainably which you know in the grand scheme of things that's fine. I knew it was going to be like their seasons of life you know and I knew this was going to be an intense season. And right now I'm actively resting. You know I'm downshifting you know very punishing the soil. But the point of the story is it like if you think you'll be happy once you publish your book well then there might just be another book deal right behind it. If you think happy you'll be happy once you get married. It's like the reality is if you don't have the ability to find your happiness inside of you right here right now it is not coming. On the other side of any person place or thing. And so the trick is is like we've been and I think that's where that addictive addiction to achievement comes that addiction to accomplishing comes because it's like oh well it's like we're searching for the happiness everywhere that it isn't like looking for love in all the wrong places where we have to start to look for happiness in the only place that it resides which is inside of us. And

Srini:
Yeah.

Emily Fletcher:
That's actually paradoxically why I think the meditation is so transformative because it's the only tool not the only. But I'd say it's the simplest and the most easy to implement tool that actually gives you access to your fulfillment internally it's flooding your brain and body with dopamine and serotonin which allows you to feel that fulfillment that satiation that that complete that that contentedness right here right now. And interestingly when you come out of the meditation it does not take away your ambition. It does not take away your desires what it takes away is the illusion that your happiness will come on the other side of the acquisition of your desires and this is a big shift that happens for meditators is that it changes them from being a bag of need looking to be fulfilled either through money or relationships or accomplishments or Instagram followers. And it turns you into fulfillment looking for need. And so then you start to ask questions of like where can I contribute. How can I help. How can I show up. How do I want to feel vs. you know how can they help me. How can this person further me. What can I get from them. You know so we stop being energetic vampires and we turn into being energetically generous.

Srini:
So I have to ask you. Do you think that our use of technology particularly social media plays a negative role in all of this.

Emily Fletcher:
I think that it's a very powerful tool and I think that a lot of us are very addicted to it. And I think that just like when we watch videos or movies of people smoking cigarettes in the 50s inside and on planes and pregnant women smoking and drinking martinis just just like we didn't really fully understand how addictive cigarettes were in the beginning of them existing. I think that we don't yet fully have a grasp on how addictive and what exactly it's doing to our brains. And so we're all just smoking in public and smoking when we're pregnant and you know we're just doing insatiable right now and cloaking it under the mask of productivity. And

Srini:
Yeah.

Emily Fletcher:
So I do think that there is definitely a danger to it but I think that's any tool like you can poison yourself with water. You can meditate as a drug you know the devil's in the dose you know. And so I think that it's a tool that we collectively would be wise to acknowledge the addictive benefits of it and to put some real parameters around when we allow ourselves to do it. And when it's socially acceptable to do it.

Srini:
Well

Emily Fletcher:
So

Srini:
I.

Emily Fletcher:
I know for myself I tend to have I would say I have a bit of an Instagram or social media addiction. And I think that when I was I had a very challenging postpartum time with a lot of physical complications and emotional which is a huge hormonal shift. And and I was flying back to work in publishing this book. And anyway and I was like in excruciating physical pain. And I remember posting about it on Instagram and I was I was a genuine call for help. It wasn't just like faux authenticity which makes me a little nauseous but I was actually in pain I was like Hey I need help. Like what did you guys do when you were nursing. Like please give me all your tricks and hundreds and hundreds of people commented. And it actually made me feel less alone and so many of the ideas were good and I tried them and they helped to see shit the physical pain or beat the physical pain. And so I was very grateful for it. In that moment and I like our Facebook groups like we have these beautiful huge global communities of meditators and I just got off a call with them right before this and there was thousands you know thousands of people in there that have done the trainings and that's a place for us to connect and to continue the conversation and to get support. So I think there's a lot of good and healing that can come from it. And there's a lot of

Srini:
It's

Emily Fletcher:
Hurt.

Srini:
A strange paradox for the very thing that often isolates has made you feel connected and less lonely in one context and in another it's the same thing that could make you feel incredibly lonely and miserable about your life.

Emily Fletcher:
But look that's just like every party. You know you take one person who's dealing with depression and anxiety and put them in a party that thing is gonna be torturous for them. You put another person who's happy and has just meditated and just exercise and feeling great and you put them at the same party and they're going to enjoy it. So the question is is the social media making us feel more lonely or are we bringing our anxiety and depression like to this social party. And I think it's a bit of both.

Srini:
Totally. Well I think I really appreciate that you. So the devil is in the dose. I think that you know when I when I heard one of the things that Stephen caller talked about when I went to his training was he said you know you look at sort of the way typical self-improvement works. And yeah you basically what he does he said what you're doing basically is you're taking people and you're putting them in flow and effectively just deactivating the prefrontal cortex and then you're like yes I know from a hundred thousand dollar mastermind. And I think that that's where we kind of you know don't think about the dosage and we become what he's effectively or bliss junkies.

Emily Fletcher:
Fascinating.

Srini:
Which. That was such I mean we could really talk about that for two hours.

Emily Fletcher:
Yeah I mean

Srini:
Do

Emily Fletcher:
People use like

Srini:
Exist

Emily Fletcher:
Or have you ever

Srini:
On.

Emily Fletcher:
Been to. Well yeah that's the whole rabbit hole. I don't want to go down that

Srini:
I've

Emily Fletcher:
I want

Srini:
Been

Emily Fletcher:
To talk

Srini:
To

Emily Fletcher:
About it. I.

Srini:
Some of them I've been very mindful even when I held an event because I remember that one of the very last things I said to the people at our event I said OK. You've been here for two days you probably feel this incredible high right now you should know that's going to end probably by tomorrow morning it might last until Monday. And I don't think we make people aware of that. And as a result they make really bad decisions.

Emily Fletcher:
Yeah I mean I think I've totally solve for that but when I teach you know my my live training it's two hours a day for four days and do the math on that I could do it in one day. Just looking at time but I break it up so that people start to create their own habits their own disciplines if they have time to go home practice and come back with questions and then once people graduate they can come back anytime they want to for life and part of that is so that you're not just on some like high of like I'm meditating with 50 people and Emily's telling me how awesome it is and then you go home on Monday and just quit for the rest of your life because really like if people take my training but never meditate again they're no good to me cheering they're not going to make any other meditators they're not going to refer anyone to me so selfishly from a business perspective they're not referring people but energetically and cosmically they're not contributing bliss and fulfillment to their families to their corporations to their companies or their towns. And so I have a vested interest in making sure that people keep up with this habit in the long term. And so for me it's not just about creating how much don't mean and bliss can we hit with them in one weekend. It's like can we make this sustainable can we make people self-sufficient so that they actually keep meditating.

Srini:
Wow. Well this has been amazing. I have one final question for you which is how we finish all of our interviews at the unmistakable creative. What do you think it is that makes somebody or something unmistakable.

Emily Fletcher:
What do I think. Make someone unmistakable. Do you mean. Can you clarify. Like like unmistakable like so uniquely them.

Srini:
I mean that's that's I defined unmistakable as so distinctive that nobody else could have done it. But you whether it's your work or you it's immediately recognized to the point where you don't have to put your signature on it. That's how I defined it for the purpose of writing a book. But I've asked one hundred people you know hundreds of people this question and they all have their own definitions.

Emily Fletcher:
Ok beautiful. So fascinatingly I think that the more specifically you something is the more intimately just nuanced and specifically you it is the more universal the reach is and this is something that's very hard to grasp as an actor because you think well I want to reach so many people. And the more general or broad the emotion is the more people will reach. But it's the opposite. It's like if you just try to be angry as an actor it doesn't work. It doesn't affect anyone but if you think about like the sound of the saliva popping in a loud mouth sure in your ear if that makes you crazy. If that specificity like lights up something inside of you it can have a massive ripple effect. And so I think basically it's like we want to be so unique so specific. And the same paradigm almost works in reverse because I think the way to be unmistakable is actually by tapping into creativity itself by tapping into your higher power by letting source or nature or creativity use you as a vessel. Then interestingly. It becomes so unmistakably you even though it's not your words it's not your ideas. It's you being a vessel.

Srini:
They're amazing. Well I can't thank you enough for taking the time to join us and sharing your story and your insights with our listeners. This has been really thought provoking and eye opening and probably you will make a lot of meditators out of our listeners. Where can people find out more about you your work the book and everything else save up to.

Emily Fletcher:
So the book is called stress less accomplished more. It's available basically anywhere books are sold and then all of my stuff my live and online trainings are all at Ziva that's Z I ve a meditation dot com and we're all over social at at Ziva meditation.

Srini:
Awesome and for everybody listening. We'll wrap the show with that.

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Find out more about Emily’s book, Stress Less, Accomplish More.

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