Shannon Cooper is a transformative coach and author living in beautiful, British Columbia, Canada. Having been fortunate enough to discover this life-changing understanding in her early 20s, she’s dedicated her life’s work to sharing the simple yet surprising way human beings actually work. A nature lover at heart, she’s passionate about sparking a deeper conversation to the true nature of life.
You can find Shannon Cooper at EvergreenInsight.com.
You can listen above or on iTunes or your favorite podcast app or watch the video here. Highlights, notes, resources and full transcript below.
- On ‘testing’ the Three Principles in our own lives
- How it’s possible to see that our experience comes from the inside out
- Writing as a way of connecting people with the Principles
- Running a business with an awareness of the Three Principles
- What to do when you feel you’re not ‘getting’ this understanding
- Why everything you’re looking for you already have
Resources Mention in this Episode
- Dr. Amy Johnson
- Nicola Bird’s A Little Peace of Mind
- The Inside Out Revolution by Michael Neill
- Shannon’s YouTube channel with a free video each week
Transcript of interview with Shannon Cooper
Alexandra: Hi, everyone. I’m Alexandra Amor. This is the “Stop Suffering About” podcast, and I’m here today with Shannon Cooper. Hi, Shannon.
Shannon: Hi, Alex. So glad to be here.
Alexandra: Oh, I’m so glad to have you here today. So let me introduce our listeners to you.
Shannon Cooper is a transformative coach and author living in beautiful, British Columbia, Canada, where I live, too. Having been fortunate enough to discover this life-changing understanding in her early 20s, she’s dedicated her life’s work to sharing the simple yet surprising way human beings actually work. A nature lover at heart, she’s passionate about sparking a deeper conversation to the true nature of life. I love the way you said that.
Shannon, just tell us a little bit more about your background and how you learned about this understanding.
Shannon: I didn’t grow up thinking that this is what I was going to do. I went to university with the full intention of being an environmental lawyer and just thought that that’s what I was gonna do.
I was doing my philosophy degree and in philosophy, we talk a lot about how humans work and the nature of the universe, and I found all of that extremely fascinating. And it just so happened that I decided during my degree that I don’t actually think
I gave myself a few months off after my graduation and stumbled across Dr. Amy Johnson. I have so much respect for Amy. I absolutely love her and stumbled across her in a way that I was even searching for her or this conversation.
At the time, I was subscribed to a blog called “Tiny Buddha,” which is just self-help articles, and none of it was working, and I was really anxious. I was an anxious wreck my entire life from a young child all the way through university.
And at some point, I saw that her articles were saying something different than this self-help conversation because the whole time before that, it was, like, everything was saying, you know, fix yourself. Do the affirmations. Do the mantra. Get better. This is all on you. You can make life how you want it.
Amy was saying something different. She was, like, do you know that you’re already perfect and you just have something getting in the way that says you’re not? And I was, like, what?
My curiosity got piqued, and I decided there might be something here. So I basically read every blog that she currently had out. At the time, she’d only had one book out, binged that. I kind of fell into this conversation.
I didn’t go into this thinking, “This is going to be my career,” or, “I’m going to be a coach,” or, “I’m going to learn about something called the three principles,” none of that. I just kind of followed my nose through a series of kind of cool unfoldings.
And then within about, I want to say six months after my first Dr. Amy binge, I was, like, wow, I’m living in a different life. Like, I don’t feel anxious. I don’t feel stress. I don’t feel like life has to be endured. I don’t feel like a victim, and that’s when I was, like, okay, there’s something to this.
And through another series of kind of coincidences and happenings, the very day after I thought, there might be something to this, I might wanna help others see this, Amy announced that she was training a group of life coaches, and I signed up instantly. I opened the email, and I was, like, done. I’m there. And that was the start of how I came to do this work.
I really didn’t think this is what I would be doing with my life, but sometimes, you just come across things. That it’s, like, the universe is so clearly pulling you in a direction that it would be silly not to go.
Alexandra: Right. Yes. Exactly
I was in Nicola Bird’s “A Little Piece of Mind” class last fall, and you were the coach for that semester, with that group, and one of the things that teaching or that class focuses on is anxiety and having this conversation around the subject of anxiety
You had mentioned that that was one of the things that you tended to have trouble with. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Shannon: I was anxious, basically, from the time that I can remember up until stumbling across these principles. And what I see now that I didn’t see at the time is that I, because I fundamentally misunderstood how life works, how the mind works, how humans works, I just really made a thing of all of my anxious thinking.
And I see now so
But what made me chronically suffer from it, chronically struggle with it and all of the kind of the health stuff that goes with living in chronic states of anxiety, all of the social life stuff that goes with it, like, it was not a fun 10 years of my life.
What was interesting is I just never understood that the mind isn’t actually capturing what’s out there. It’s coming from within me. And when I started to really see that, like, oh, I’m not sitting here in life the victim of an outside scary world or outside terrifying things or people or whatever is going on out there, I’m having that come through the system and paint that to be my life.
I realized, well, but for me doing anything with that, it’s going to come through, give me what it gives me and leave. And really, again, I have to thank Amy because she said, “Well, don’t take my word for it. Just test it. Just see if what I’m saying is true.” And when I tested it, I saw, wait a minute, that is true. When I don’t make a thing of how I’m thinking and feeling
And so for me, seeing through my anxiety…and I have to preface it by saying that that was not really my intention. I didn’t come into this conversation thinking, I need to learn about these principles to be free from anxiety. I found them in this kind of weird way and being a philosophy nerd, I was, like, oh, this is fascinating.
These people are saying that life works 180 from how I was taught. But what was so great to see was, like, wow, all of my suffering, all of my struggle, and all of my life
Nothing’s wrong with me. Nothing’s wrong with my brain. Nothing’s wrong with my life. I was under a misunderstanding. And to me, the power that this conversation has and why I decided to do this work is I realized, if people realize the misunderstanding we’re in and understand what’s going on, literally, just what’s always happening, when we see what’s always happening, we could be free of anything because it only lives in our mind and it’s only held in place by what we are not seeing, that that is how it actually works.
So that’s, yeah, how I came to meet Nic and I worked on and off for two years as “A Little Peace of Mind” head coach because that was the area that I saw such a dramatic, profound change and this led me to be, like, well, if I can just read a few books and listen to a few webinars and have 10 years of anxiety melt away, then there’s so much hope here for anyone.
Alexandra: Right. I love that. And you’ve talked about, and other people that I’ve interviewed, have talked too about testing what others are saying, and I know…I’ve heard Amy encourage people to do that.
Can you share at all what that ‘testing’ looked like for you?
Shannon: That’s a really great question.
And that was really intriguing to me. I don’t know, again, if it was my background in philosophy or what it was, but the idea that somebody was telling me, “Hey, don’t take my word for it. Don’t take me on as I’m an expert and look at my degrees and this is how I know it. Look because it’s there. It truly is there.”
So for me, testing it out was seeing, like, okay, if it’s true that my life is, there is an outside life. I don’t actually believe that there’s no outside world. There’s a laptop in front of me, and I am in a physical body.
But for me, testing it out was seeing, like, okay, if my life just is what it is and yet day-to-day I’m having completely different experiences of it and I’m waking up one day thinking, I have the best life, and the best friends and the best relationships and the best job and everything is great, and 12 hours later, I have the worst friends, the worst relationships. Everything sucks.
If nothing has really changed, I’m in the same job, and I have the same partner, I’m, like, what is going on? Because I always thought it came from outside.
So to me, testing it out was just seeing, like, okay, if it actually is coming from my mind, then I’ll be able to see my experience of life change quicker than my life itself. I’ll be able to be in the same circumstance, the same situation, the same whatever, and see it differently.
And it turns out when I tested it, it’s true, that my experience shifted when my thinking shifted. It shifted when my mood shifted. It shifted when what was going on within me was different.
And yet I would look out and say my life is the exact same and yet it feels different. And that’s when I started to see, okay. There’s something to this, that no matter what somebody feels like they’re up against in their life, depending on their state of mind, depending on their mood, they’re gonna see it differently, and experience it differently and feel it differently.
When I saw over and over
Alexandra: Thank you for explaining that. I’ve been going through the same sort of process, and it’s lovely to hear you talk about it as well, and I’m sure that will be very helpful for people.
We mentioned at the beginning that you’re an author and you’ve started a series of books about our true nature. Do you want to tell us a little bit about those?
Shannon: I got inspired to write my first book. I started writing in 2017, and it came out January of 2018, and to me, that book was my best attempt to really show everyone how this system works. And surprise, surprise, because we all have heard of nature because nature is not separate from us, there’s a plethora of nature metaphors that, to me, really illuminate what’s going on with us.
That book was one of those moments in life where I hadn’t set out to really write a book, and I didn’t think I was going to, but I was in the shower one day and the whole kind of synopsis and how it was going to be just kind of downloaded into my head. I knew exactly, oh, it’s going to be about nature. It’s going to be short chapters on metaphors
And then since then, that kind of did two things for me. One is I realized that I really love writing. I had written a lot in my life because I was a philosophy student, but all of that was writing because I had to do it. And then I realized I actually really love using words as a tool for connection.
Five or six months after my first book published, I was, like, I want to write a shorter series that brings this understanding to issues that we think have nothing to do with this understanding, so that’s why I wrote “True Nature Series.” And so far, there’s only one book of that out, and it’s on anxiety.
But to me, the purpose of this series and why I was so inspired to write them is because I wanted a really accessible and really easy, really inexpensive, really anybody with internet can get it, a way of showing people that stuff like anxiety, stuff.
The next one I’m writing is on compassion, and we kind of think, oh, that’s something else. That’s something that, you know, has to do with our mind in a very kind of deliberate way. And to really show that once we have an understanding of the principles, we see something like anxiety in a new light. We see something like compassion in a new light.
It says get the strategy, work on yourself, build your self-esteem, build your techniques, or that we think, well, that has to do with other people in the world. That’s nothing to do with my mind, and therefore, an understanding of the mind isn’t gonna be relevant here. So I’m trying to bridge that gap in this series.
Alexandra: You said you’ve enjoyed it, the writing experience, writing those books?
Shannon: I really have. I really have. It’s interesting. Like I said, once you’re not writing because you have an assignment due Friday, and you need to get on it, then once it’s actually just kind of
For me, writing has just kind of become this, like, really easy, simple, gentle way of sharing this understanding. Because, to me,
But to me, there’s nothing more simple than just being, like, oh, I can just sit down with somebody’s work, and it’s almost like you’re there with them even though you’re not actually there with them. So I thought, well, yeah, not only is it a beautiful, creative process for me, but I think out of all the work I’ve done in my life, I’ve never got as much kind of people telling me how much it’s impacted them than my books so…
Alexandra: Nice. And that’s one of the things I love about this conversation and this understanding is that there’s so much available that’s either inexpensive or free and that’s one of the reasons for this podcast.
That just makes my heart sing knowing that anybody at any income level can get as much out of this as anyone else.
Shannon: I love that about it, too. I think that we’d be doing everyone a disservice if this was something that you had to afford to learn about. It’s, like, no, and that’s why I put out, you know, I put out free blog posts. I put out free videos.
I try to make so much content available for free because I don’t want there to be any barriers between someone learning this. It’s
Alexandra: I totally agree.
How do you fold the Principles into running your business, being a coach and that side of things?
Shannon: That’s a really good question. To me, the principles, because like I said, they’re the foundation for everything. They’re kind of the building blocks of how our mind works. So we tend to think of something like business as being separate, like, oh, but that’s business.
Alexandra: That’s money stuff.
Shannon: Yeah. That’s money. That’s business. It’s other people.
People always love to say, well, relationships, those are a bit different. But what I’ve come to see is that when I’m willing to not go with my ideas that, yeah, it actually is different. It’s a separate thing.
I still experience my business through my thinking, like everything else in my life, so I’m going to have days where I love my work, everything seems to be going great. I can’t imagine doing anything else. Everything is amazing.
Then I have other days where I’m, like, oh, my God, I’m so fed up with everything. I’m tired. I’m stressed.
Knowing that that doesn’t mean I’m in the wrong line of work. Because that’s what we do when we misunderstand something, is that when we think it’s the business, it’s the person, then we go around rearranging our life constantly, trying to get to the perfect set of circumstances.
And when I realized that, okay, I’ll have thinking, like any other human being, that sort of business is different and money is different.
Planning, that’s one of the things that I’ve had to actually do since having a business is, I don’t like planning things. I like living in the moment, but having a business, it’s been, like, oh, I kind of need a plan of what I’m going to be doing in the coming weeks and months.
And to realize that,
And the minute us humans put something in that other category, like, well, relationships
When I started to see that, okay, maybe planning isn’t my favorite thing, but there’s a way I can plan to make things fun, and there’s a way I can plan to keep things flexible. There’s a way that I can plan when I have clarity of mind and a way that I can plan when I don’t have clarity of mind. And seeing, basically, what’s underlying my business, which is my mind, allows me to not get so stuck in my ideas about it.
Not get so stuck in, oh, if I’m feeling a certain way about it, that means I’m in the wrong job or with the wrong niche or doing the wrong thing. It’s, like, no, I just have thinking about it, and when that passes, I’m going to see that question
So that’s a really great question, but, really, it’s just kind of made me be, like, oh, yeah, add this, too, instead of thinking that it’s something different.
Alexandra: Right, right. Yes. I love that. That’s great. One of the things that I found when I first started learning about this understanding in sort of mid-2017, and I did reach some stages where I felt like I wasn’t getting it. And I think that’s quite a common thing.
You wrote a blog post about that on your site that I really liked. Can you share a little bit about that with us?
Shannon: Thank you. To me, and the reason I wrote that post is
When we come across this, even though it’s really just an unlearning and an undoing of everything that we have falsely believed about how life works, we think it’s on us to learn and study it. So I see a ton of people kind of approaching this as a, oh, I have to take notes, and I have to get it, and I have to really kind of wrap my mind around it.
And to the best I can see, that’s the wrong way to get it because that’s getting our mind involved with something when really, what we’re trying to see is what’s beyond our mind. We’re trying to see what our mind actually is a gateway to, which is this kind of larger creative unfolding behind life, behind the entire universe.
So when we’re trying to use our intellect to get past our intellect or even use our intellect to learn about our intellect, then we wonder why we don’t get far and we wonder why we struggle. And then we feel like, well, other people are getting it and I’m not getting it. And it’s, like, well, you’re probably just using the wrong tool for the job.
It’s so innocent because you’ve been taught that your intellect is a tool in which to grasp the world and learn. But what I see is that when people just give up, when people are just kind of, like, you know what? I’m going to hang out, and I’m going to listen, and I’m going to let the words float into my ears, and I’m going to let the words kind of wash from the page into my consciousness, that I’m not going to do anything with it.
I’m not gonna agree or disagree with it. I’m not going to ask questions about…not to say that we should never ask questions, but
It’s so counter-intuitive that the way to get it
So it’s the letting go and the kind of seeing and the, like, oh, it’s going to naturally come to you. It’s already within you. Everything you’re looking for, you have, and it’s gonna bubble up when you stop kind of spinning your mind trying to wrap your mind around it, seeing that it’s been, like, oh, okay, yeah, we really are designed for ease. We really are designed for natural lightness, natural insights, natural getting it without the need to kind of make it our job to get it.
Alexandra: Well said and I love that. That question actually reminded me that the first book I read about this understanding was Michael Neill’s The Inside-Out Revolution.
A girlfriend had recommended it, and that’s how I got started. I got about three-quarters of the way through and then she checked in with me and said, “How are you enjoying it?”
I said, “Well, it’s great, but he hasn’t told me what to DO yet so…”
She laughed and said, “No, he’s not going to.” And then we had more of the conversation about just letting it flow over you and flow through you.
And again, I love that technology these days just allows us to do that so much.
I listen to the various podcasts that are around, or webinars or videos or whatever, while I’m cooking or while I’m folding laundry and I find that’s just the perfect way to just kind of let it flow around me and through me. It’s really nice.
Shannon: I completely agree. Like, for me, it’s just so nice to just… And
We just notice at the end, oh, I’m in a peaceful feeling, or we notice that something has clicked and something has been realized that we didn’t see before. It’s so beautiful that our design is that the less we try, the better we do. It’s, like, oh, that’s amazing.
For somebody like me who got so burnt out by working hard and trying to always be the best. I was a straight A student and always kind of had that mentality of, like, I have to learn. I have to be the best. I have to try. If I don’t do it, everything’s going to fall apart. And then when I realized that the giving up was where I would find the freedom, it was, like, oh, what? We’re so well-designed. Can you imagine that?
Alexandra: Exactly. One final question then before we wind up today, I wanted to invite you to let us know about any sort of new offerings, or you mentioned the new book that will come out at some point.
Let us know what else you’re up to and what’s exciting to you these days.
Shannon: Yes, the book will come out at some point. The other one just really wanted to be written quite quickly, and this one wants to take its time, so I’m trying not to rush it.
The other things I’m really up to is, like you said, that we talked about earlier, really creating things that are completely free and accessible to everyone because I want to make sure that I’m… You know, I’m lucky enough that this is what I do full time for a living, but I want to make sure that money is never a barrier to anybody learning about this.
So I put out a free video on YouTube every week. I do blog posts. I have all of these things that I want to create and contribute.
And then the other thing in terms of offerings is just new programs. I’m always kind of thinking of ways that I can make this so easy for people and do it in a way that is… technology allows us to connect in beautiful ways, connect instantly. We have the power of video. We have the power of real-time kind of calls, and so I’m always just working on stuff like that.
So I don’t actually have a kind of set, like, this is what it’s going to look like and the form it’s going to take, but holding in those two intentions of, like, how can we use technology to bring us together? And also, how can anybody in the world with internet get access to this with absolutely no need to be in my time zone or pay anything or whatever, to me, is the kind of, the gift of it.
And then the books, the series will unfold as it unfolds. I’m hoping to have two more books in that series out by the end of 2019, but the timeline, we shall see.
Alexandra: I’ll put links to the show notes or links in the show notes to the things that you’ve mentioned and your website, and it’s
Alexandra: .com. Right. Great. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Shannon. This has been just lovely. Thank you for chatting with me.
Shannon: Thank you, Alexandra. I’ve absolutely loved being a guest, and I appreciate all of the work you’re doing and it’s fabulous.
Alexandra: Well, it was my pleasure.
Shannon: So thank you.
Alexandra: Thank you. Bye-bye.
[Laptop image courtesy Nick Morrison and Unsplash.]