Is it really possible to stop suffering about everything?Welcome to the Stop Suffering About Podcast. This is a short (15 min approx) introduction to the show, with your host Alexandra Amor (me!). I introduce myself, share a bit about my history, my life before I was introduced to the understanding that is the subject of this podcast, and what led me to explore that understanding.
What I’ve begun to discover is that while painful and difficult experiences are normal for every human life, it is possible to suffer less about those experiences when we understand the inside-out way that being human really works.
Alexandra Amor is an award-winning author, a podcaster and a life-long explorer of what it means to be human. Each Wednesday on the Stop Suffering About P
You can listen above or on iTunes or your favorite podcast app or watch the video here. Highlights, resources and full transcript below.
- The not-uncommon story of searching for answers for decades
- Feeling worse instead of better after two decades of self-help study
- An introduction to a different way of looking at life and ourselves
- The three reasons Alexandra feels compelled to share this understanding
- How the Stop Suffering About podcast will serve listeners like you
Resources Shared in this Episode
Transcript of Episode 1 with Alexandra Amor
Hi everyone! My name’s Alexandra Amor and as it says in the introduction I’m an author and someone with a lot of spiritual and psychological curiosity.
I wanted to give a little introduction to the podcast today. This is episode one and so I want to tell you a little bit about who I am and why I wanted to do this show. The podcast is mostly going to be interviews with other people who write, teach or coach about a field of psychology called, most often, the Three Principles. It’s also sometimes called the inside out understanding. So here in this first episode I want to tell you a little bit about myself why this understanding interests me and why I’m doing the show.
First of all, like I think probably so many of you, and also many of my guests, I’ve long sought healing and more understanding about myself as a human being. I was interested in psychology as a teenager and I took it as my major at University.
Then I promptly joined a cult as soon as I got out of university. That was a bit of a plot twist! I won’t go into that very much today because I wrote a book about it. I’ll put a link in the show notes for this episode to that book. It’s quite a long story and if you’re interested you can read more there.
Cults are damaging psychologically, obviously, but I think even without that experience I would’ve been seeking healing. I felt quite broken. I felt ill equipped to deal with life. I had, as I said, this natural curiosity about psychology and how we work and spirituality as well. I had what I would in the past have called issues, that I thought stemmed from my upbringing. The primary one was over eating for comfort found but I had others as well. And as I said I just felt a little bit ill-equipped to deal with life.
So for about 10 years after I left the cult I did a lot of healing work, as you do when you leave that kind of situation. There’s a lot of stuff to untangle and baggage to unpack. Carrying on from that, I just continued in the search for healing and I just did everything you can name. You’ll hear this over and over again with the guests that I have on the show that it’s such a common theme.
I tried talk therapy, and a self-compassion practice, meditation, emotional freedom technique (that’s also called tapping),cognitive behavioral therapy. And on and on and on. The list is way too long to go through and way too boring.
What I noticed is that nothing that I did seem to make that much of a difference in my life. Sometimes for a short time one of those self-help, healing modalities would make a small indent but then that would fade away and the problem would come back. And most of this was focused on healing my relationship with food and that was a really good measure, of or a bad measure maybe we could say, of how I felt I was doing because I just failed at fixing that over and over and over and over again. It was really frustrating.
Eventually by 2017, which was the summer I turned 50, I had made so little progress over nearly 20 years of healing work that I figured I was just broken and that was just the way it was going to be. I kind of gave up, thinking, ‘Well, I’ve done the best I can. Nothing has worked.’
It’s interesting because at the time I didn’t think there was something wrong with the self-help techniques that I was using. I assumed the problem lay with me, which as we’ll discuss in a little bit, was actually not the truth and it was the opposite of what was true.
So anyway that same summer… well, I’ll back up a little bit. A very good friend of mine had been talking about Michael Neill’s work for a couple of years at this point. She was really enjoying learning from him. She’d read a bunch of his books and she had taken his advanced course probably more than once at that point. He’s sort of a guiding light in this understanding. But whenever she talked about working with him I was a bit leery and it was because of my cult background.
She was talking about this person, an individual who was teaching about a spiritual and psychological field and that just made me nervous, as I said, because my cult background. But then that one at one point that summer, in 2017, she said something and I don’t even remember what it was but I just caught my attention.
I was actually living that summer with my parents in Ontario. My mom was ill and so had gone out there to spend some time with them and help take care of her. In the evening very often they would go into the den and watched TV and I would go to the living room. I had my favorite comfy chair and I would read or in this case I took my laptop and I looked up Michael Neill’s website.
He’s got this fantastic series of webpages on his site called The Basics and it’s a really great introduction to this understanding. So I read that through page by page and something in it really spoke to me. All my leery-ness was gone and I really felt drawn into what he was saying.
The hilarious thing is, and this is a common experience for many people, I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about, in this sort of upside down and confusing. I didn’t really grasp what he was saying. But something in what he was saying had spoken to me and I wanted to know more.
So right away I bought Michael’s book The Inside Out Revolution and I loved it. I kept reading and I found more books at the online bookstores. Each time I finished one I would buy another one. Then later that summer, approaching fall, the same friend mentioned Dr. Amy Johnson’s book The Little Book of Big Change, which talks about this understanding and the ironic way the change works, as she says, and how to find freedom from anxiety and bad habits like overeating, which was my situation.
I read that book loved it. Signed up for her course, The Little School of Big Change and since then I’ve joined other courses and have been continually listening to podcasts and watching webinars online and really enjoying the exploration of this understanding.
That’s actually the impetus for this podcast that I’m doing and I’ll talk more about that in just a second. But I wanted to just explain what’s been different for me about this exploration and why I feel moved enough to start a podcast.
It’s March 2019 as I record this and I’ve seen more change in myself in the last roughly 18 months since I learned about this understanding than I saw in the previous 18 years. It’s just been extraordinary.
I felt like the that old paradigm of psychology, all the self-help work that I was doing, was like gluing leaves onto a tree when they fell off. The more I worked to glue the leaves back that had fallen down, the more exhausted and frustrated I became, because other leaves were falling and I couldn’t keep up. So I’d learn new techniques for catching the leaves or for being quicker with the glue gun but none of that prevented the leaves from falling.
This new paradigm is the understanding that if the leaves are falling off the tree that’s okay. That’s normal and natural and it’s the flow of the energy of life. The basic understanding underneath everything we talk about when we talk about the Three Principles is that we are all whole and we all have access to the infinite wisdom that is the intelligence of life that flows through everything. Through us and through the trees and the oceans end everything in nature. That was the first point that I had, that just by relaxing and listening to this understanding I’ve seen more change in 18 months that I had in the previous 18 years.
Then the second thing was that I what I really appreciate about this understanding is that it’s kind of effortless. I used to turn myself into knots with all the self-help books that I read and the techniques and tricks that they were applying to whatever the situation was. I’ve done so many written exercises to heal and to try to fix myself.
I remember there was a certain program I took in probably I don’t know 2013 or 2014 that was sort of like cognitive behavioural therapy and it was a program about healing your relationship with food. I spent every Sunday for probably a year and a half, all day, working the exercises and doing the homework for that program and it didn’t work. And it cost thousands of dollars. I was so sad at the end of it and frustrated with all that effort that I put in.
With this understanding, the Three Principles, there’s really nothing to do. The man who articulated these principles was a man named Sydney Banks and something that he often used to express was that
That’s what’s so amazing about technology these days is that there’s so much available online about this understanding. Podcasts and tons of webinars, tons of videos on YouTube with clips from people’s talks and that kind of thing. And really that’s all we need to do is read or listen and it all begins to sink in with us.
I really appreciated that after 20 years of backbreaking hard work that got me absolutely nowhere I’m really enjoying the more effortless way that this understanding bubbles up in our awareness.
The third thing that I’ve noticed that I really appreciate is that I’m so much more compassionate and calm learning about this understanding. One thing I noticed was that the side effect of the self-help paradigm was it created more anxiety in me. Partly because I was failing at making any change in my life and probably just because there was so much to remember and so much to do. And I would beat myself up when the strategies or techniques that I was using didn’t work.
Now I’m so much more patient with myself, now that I understand that the energy of thought is just coming to life in all of us, moment to moment, and that what I’m thinking and feeling will move along and be replaced almost immediately by more thoughts and new thoughts.
This has also created a tremendous amount of compassion in me for other people, which I really appreciate. What I have come to see is that I’m responding to my thinking in any given moment and so is everybody else. I notice an increased sense of patience and compassion with everybody, which didn’t happen when I was caught up in all the self-help work that I was doing.
The actually reminds me of one of the oft quoted quotes from Sydney Banks and it’s one of my favourites. He used to say, “If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.”
That’s a little bit of background about me and some of the reasons that I wanted to start this podcast. I want to be another voice in the world that is sharing this information with the hope that it will ease your suffering. There are so many people in the world who are interested in healing and in my case that meant being the best version of myself that I can be and not feeling hampered by myself. Hampered by the parts of me that I innocently believed were broken and which actually aren’t.
The Stop Suffering About podcast is a way for me to share this understanding with you, with a wider audience. It’s been so fun for me to interview my guests. I’ve already started to do that and I’ve got through three or four episodes in the hopper, waiting to be released at the beginning of April 2019. Honestly, it’s just such a joy to talk to those people and to be in this conversation in a really fun and a really direct way. Speaking one-on-one with people who have been exploring this understanding for longer than I have.
And the really great benefit is that then I can share those conversations so that you can hear them as well. My hope is that the show will be a fun, friendly, inspiring and interesting resource for you on your own journey as you’re seeking to understand more about your own well-being and your innate wisdom.
I welcome you to join me in this conversation. You can reach out to me at any time my email address is Alexandra (at) stopsufferingabout (dot) com. The podcast episodes will be released every week on Wednesdays starting today April 3, 2019.
I look forward to chatting with you, chatting with my guests and exploring this understanding with a lot of love and compassion for ourselves and for everyone.
Thanks very much and I’ll talk to you soon.
[Beach rainbow sharing image copyright Alexandra Amor.]