How’s your meditation practice going?
Joining me on today’s show is Jennifer Iserloh, the best-selling author of 50 Shades of Kale and The Healing Slow Cooker, among over 20+ other books.
Jennifer is a certified yoga teacher, reiki practitioner, and professionally trained chef, whose clients include Jerry Seinfeld, as it turns out.
And today she’s here with us discussing meditation, mindset, adaptogenic foods, and even ancient alchemy.
On this show with Jennifer Iserloh, you’re about to learn:
- How she landed her gig with the Seinfelds
- Ways to use ancient alchemy in your every day life
- A simple trick to finally start meditating daily
- And tons more…
Let’s go hang out with Jennifer.
Jennifer Iserloh: The Journey from Chef to Healing with Shamans
Abel: Alright folks, please welcome to the show, Jennifer Iserloh, the best-selling author of 50 Shades of Kale and get this, 24 other books.
Jennifer is also an emotional healer, alchemist and professionally trained chef whose clients include Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld.
Thank you so much for joining us, Jennifer.
I’m so honored to be here. Thank you.
Abel: Right on. So we obviously have to start with the Seinfelds. What the heck was that like? Walk us through it.
I think my whole path to becoming a chef was a really mind-blowing experience.
I come from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from an island in the Ohio River where there were 200 people in my community—we knew everything about everyone.
I was definitely a small-town girl. I never expected the explosive of experiences that happened to me in New York City when I moved here.
I just started out my culinary career. I thought maybe I’d work in some little bakery, or maybe have my own catering business.
And then when I went to culinary school and started interning, it was just like jumping through a hoop of fire.
And one day I’m working in this amazing restaurant. I’m working prep and working with all these guys. I was in the restaurant business for almost 3 years.
And next thing I know, I’m private cheffing for celebrities.
You know, I think things kind of happened magically for me.
A lot of people know saying, “Follow your bliss.” I’m obsessed with Joseph Campbell. He’s the one who coined that phrase, and he’s just this master of comparative religion, and synchronicity, and magic, and all these things.
At the time, I was watching a lot of Joseph Campbell. And he says that when you’re following your bliss—and food was definitely my bliss—that these magical helping hands come to help you.
So that would lead to the most bizarre connections. I’d be working in a kitchen and then they’d say, “Oh, we love your work. We’re going to hook you up with an internship.”
Then I’d be working for Tyler Florence from the Food Network.
A lot of times these opportunities would come and I wouldn’t know who the people are. And then I’d get there and it would be like this thing, and I’d be sick to my stomach.
I’d be like, “How is this still happening to me?”
So, I actually met the Seinfelds through a placement service.
And all these things happened to me in what I consider a very random way. But when I look back on it, I guess it was those magical helping hands and also my desire, my passion around food and also my desire to help people heal.
Abel: It’s almost inevitable in retrospect, when you look back at what’s happened, right?
It may be magical to the people around you, but you can tell that you’re on the right path when those things start happening.
Because it’s not just that. You’ve had an incredible career, from what I’ve read and how I’ve been researching your work. It’s really fascinating and wonderful.
But some of the things that really stuck out to me were your interest in ancient alchemy and how to combine spiritual practice with your work in the kitchen or in life.
But let’s start with the fact that you work with a lot of busy people and coaches.
We have a lot of people who are coaches, and certainly professionals, who listen to this, and it seems harder and harder than ever in today’s world to keep your head on straight.
And if you don’t have that down, if you don’t have the mental, spiritual thing down, it’s a lot harder for your diet and lifestyle factors to fall in line.
So how do you help people juggle and manage all of this?
Right. I think that’s where things get sticky. I always think of those silly cartoons that people are posting, where this guy is writing a health blog and he’s smoking cigarettes and drinking non-stop.
And sometimes people in this space, we feel like that.
The reason why is because we’re renegades. We’re revolutionaries. We’re trying to change the tide of all the sickness and things that are going on in the world right now, including pollution and the damage to nature.
And so, what’s important for me in my health coaching practices, I’m very blessed that I get to work with some amazing healers.
A lot of these healers need emotional support. We need emotional support more than anyone else because we’re helping to heal other people, and we’re holding space for them.
We’re helping them heal with their bodies, with their mindset, but we also have to make sure we’re holding it together.
The other side of it is that a lot of us run cash-based practices.
So, I’m a health coach. Everything is cash based.
I also have to be an entrepreneur, I also have to do Facebook and Instagram, and create videos. It’s a hustle, it’s a lot.
So, you’re usually working two full-time jobs, and it can make you feel like you’re being torn apart.
So I do a lot of work in health coaching, and I work with integrated and functional medicine practitioners.
A lot of these people are doctors or naturopathic doctors. They’re MDs, but they also have training in root cause resolution medicine, which is functional medicine.
They’re integrating practices like lifestyle and food as medicine. But they also need hand-holding and help, because they have such a heavy burden to bear.
So, a lot of what I tackle is how can you dovetail practices to make it easy?
How can you release the things you feel guilty about?
How can you find a meditation practice that works for you, so you can keep your head on straight?
And also, how can you integrate things like CBD and adaptogenic foods into spiritual practices, like yoga, shamanism, visualization and things from those ancient technologies to keep your head from exploding?
And believe me, as a chef, as an author, my first time on TV was on The Today Show. I have had every scary thing in the book happen to me, I totally get it.
I know where the coaches and the practitioners are coming from, but really, what it’s all about is that mindset is king.
So that’s the first place you have to work. And then you balance it with these foods and other practices.
A Lesson in Alchemy for Optimal Wellness
Abel: What about—especially working with a lot of healers—what about the resistance to the woo?
What about people who are just like, “Well, there is nothing more than what we can see in material reality.”
Yeah, that is actually starting to melt away. This is of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from alchemy.
Alchemy is everywhere, and people are obsessed with it. They just don’t know it.
So, Harry Potter is completely based on the chemical processes of going from the nerdy kid to the superstar.
And that idea of turning your own personal lead, whether that’s chronic disease, or in my case autoimmune issues, IBS, and obesity—since obesity runs in my family.
Changing your lead mindset—so that crappy negative mindset—into something that’s gold and elevated.
And a lot of times, this transformation doesn’t happen until you balance the bigger picture, which is your body. Which is one thing, and then the woo, which is the emotions and the mindset.
So when you explain to people that emotions have a huge biological impact on your body, cortisol release, what kind of food you pick, which doctors you go to, how much money you spend on your health, then the woo isn’t all of a sudden this kind of kooky thing that doesn’t matter to your health.
These non-tangible things actually have an even bigger impact on your life than food, but food also plays a huge role.
So what alchemy teaches is you have to balance these 3 pieces.
And when you see things in spiritual traditions—for example, the triangle is a symbol for the body, the soul or the emotions, and the mindset or the spirit.
So, for spirit, “What’s your spiritual goal?”
Spiritual goals for doctors, that’s their whole life. You can’t discount that. That’s what they’re doing, spiritually.
And when I coach people, I really explain to them, “You’ve already got your spiritual practice tapped down. Just sprinkle a little meditation on there.”
But if your spiritual practice is imbalanced—for example, you’re doing a job you hate, or you’re doing a job that hurts people, and you feel guilty about that—then you’re going to be sick.
If you’re too focused on the food, you’re going to be an orthorasic because you’re going to be freaked out about what you put in your mouth every day, you’re going to be sick with that.
If you’re too soulful and you’re too attached to the physical, like a lot of chefs I worked with, then you’re going to be fat, unhealthy, and tired because you’re eating and drinking all the wrong things.
So that equation has to be balanced.
And two legs of that equation—or what scientists considered woo—are mindset and emotions.
I think a lot of integrated doctors now are really understanding the power of emotions and healing.
We have people like Dr. Joe Dispenza, his book Becoming Supernatural. He talks so much about that.
But I’m a person of science, and alchemy is the blending of science with spiritual practice. That’s what our old science and our old doctors used to be like.
Paracelsus. When he created a zinc compound to heal wounds, he was also going hard core deep into meditation.
He was doing this meditation practice on his own, and he was really against what the traditions of the church were teaching, because in those traditions you weren’t allowed to go inside, you weren’t allowed to contact the divine directly.
A lot of these renegades, like Paracelsus, Newton and Einstein, were already studying the spiritual science of alchemy.
But how I use it, I would say that diet alchemy is the lighter version. “How can I take this to teach people how to access it in an easy way for their own balanced healing?”
Three Tests You Need to Have
Abel: Well, and to use a few scientific buzzwords, even science is showing that a lot of this ancient alchemy stuff has a lot more to it than previously thought.
Like epigenetics and neuroplasticity. These concepts show that at any given time, right now for example, your thoughts are going to literally change the way you’re wired, in your brain and physiology.
And it’s going to change the way that your DNA operates in your body, the genes that you have.
I know that you’re actually going through a little bit of that investigation yourself right now. So could you fill people in? Because I hadn’t even heard about this test that you just went through.
Yeah. So, my husband and I fell down—I call it the rabbit hole of functional medicine—about five years ago. And this community totally embraced us.
I do a lot of support on the emotional coaching and food end.
And he does the tech side with evolution of medicine, which is a business leg. Basically, the business side of how to teach functional medicine practitioners how to make more money in their practice.
But when we were working with these amazing healers, they outed us. They were like, “Dude, you haven’t had testing.”
And one of the ideas behind functional medicine, which to me is modern alchemy, is that tests don’t guess.
What this means is a lot of traditional doctors that are covered under health care are not doing the correct tests because healthcare deems them preventative and they don’t cover the testing.
And honestly, the testing is not that expensive. I think I spent around $1500 for everything.
You do have to pay out of pocket, but the value is enormous.
Because when I got tested the traditional way for gluten, they said, “No, you don’t have a sensitivity.” And that was covered by my healthcare.
When I got tested with the proper test from a functional medicine practitioner, I found out that do have gluten sensitivity because gluten has hundreds of proteins that aren’t charted by the cheaper test.
So this is why it’s so important to get testing.
To backtrack a little bit, I’ll touch on epigenetics in a second, but there’s actually a multitude of tests that I feel everybody should get.
The first one is called the GI map that tests whether you have wiggly worms like parasites or Candida which is a yeast infection.
I had Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Campylobacters, which is from raw chicken just feasting in my gut. My whole gut was inflamed. I did not know this.
Even though I eat a clean Paleo diet, I exercise, I don’t smoke. I limit my drinking. I was starting to feel fatigued in my 40s. I didn’t know why.
My thyroid, my blood work was fine.
I was like, “What the heck?” Then I found out I had these wiggly worms.
So, it’s really important to get the organic acid test which tells the practitioner how well you process fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
This means if you don’t process carbs well, like my husband, he’s a skinny fat guy, which is skinny on the outside fat on the inside, 1800 triglycerides, which is like “aaahhh!”
Doctors freak out when they hear that.
We put him on a ketogenic diet. Two months, everything is clean.
I process carbohydrates ok, so I can do a little bit more in the paleo realm with my carbohydrates.
And the other tests include things like epigenetics.
There’s three hormone tests that women should get. I’m on the second leg, I’ve already done the organic acid test and the GI map, but now I’m working with a genetics test that is more intensive compared to something like a 23andMe.
23andMe is great, you can also pump that into something like Genetic Genie and learn a little bit more about your genetics.
But when you do something like the Youtrients test, it gives you a 70 page report with detailed information on how well you sleep, how you process hormones, if you’re apt to have Alzheimer’s later on.
I mean, you have to kind of be gutsy to get these tests, because then you see genetic predispositions towards certain things.
Now, I have all the cards stacked against me, in every way possible.
I have the slow gut bugs, I had all that crap in my gut. Almost every single family member of mine is obese.
But now that I look at the genetics, it makes sense why. But they also have a poor diet.
But what people don’t realize is, if you eat correctly and you do a little advanced biohacking, you can turn the tide of your genetics and you can actually change the way your genetic code is expressed.
So, what’s really interesting for me right now, and I find this to be very synchronistic and very alchemical, is that I have several girlfriends who are at various stages of breast cancer.
One of them is in stage four, which is so terrifying to me right now.
And as I’m going through the emotional pain of this, I do a Facebook Live with a doctor, Tara Scott, who’s out of Akron, Ohio.
She’s an OB-GYN and a functional medicine practitioner, and of course, she outs me again.
She’s like, “We have to look at your hormones, girl.”
Send her over the genetic testing and she’s like, “Dude. You store estrogen in your muscles. This is really bad, this is how tumors come about. You do not have the gene that creates glutathione, which is the mother of all detoxifyers.”
Which means, basically, I have trouble detoxing stuff.
I have other genetic dispositions that means I keep estrogen in my body.
So this means that I need to work with a practitioner like herself, and maybe I need progesterone and a few health and lifestyle changes.
Now fortunately, the two foods that help me the most are the two foods I champion for me, which is grapefruit and kale.
And those are the two things that I think I intuitively knew there was something going on on some level, because those are the two foods I’m energetically attracted to.
But I may need the helping hand of a practitioner to really help figure out the personal puzzle of me for prevention, and also to help me with my energy levels and to avoid things like breast cancer in the future.
Addressing the Darkness to Shine Your Light
Abel: So how do you help other people admit that they may not be perfect, and may have problems like this?
Because, like you said, it takes a bit of courage to go on this journey where it’s like, “I’m going to figure out what’s wrong with me.”
It’s not something that a lot of people wake up and want to do.
Absolutely. And I think, for me, facing all these scary demons, this is what people like Carl Jung, who’s just such a hero of mine. He was a disciple of Freud, and they say he’s a great psychiatrist and psychologist.
He created introvert, extrovert, art therapy, all these great things, but I think that dude was a badass shaman.
He would heal people in the most extraordinary of ways.
You know, a woman would have a dream about a scarab or a beetle, and then he would turn his head and there’d be a tap at the window. And he’d opened the window and a beetle would fly into his hand and he would put it in her hand.
So you know, what I’ve learned from working with healers and shamans and yogis is that it’s all about connecting energetically with people.
A little hand-holding, holding space, that means you’re listening to people, but also giving people permission to bare their souls.
I do something called shadow work, which means I’m going into the dark. And that’s when we talk about alchemy and turning lead to gold.
You know, it’s not literal. I mean, yes, it is literal in some ways, where you see the transformation afterwards, and you’re like, “Gosh, I was in a crappy, dark place.”
But I’m going into the lead of where people are and I can go there because I’ve been there.
I’ve been there in so many different ways, and I’ve been able to heal myself through many modalities, but also through help of other healers. So, I’ve been exactly where they are.
And there’s something that happens energetically between me and the person. I mean I feel like if they cry during a session, that’s the best thing that could possibly happen because there’s an immediate opening.
And I know sometimes when I go off to do a health coaching session, my husband says, “Ok honey, have a good day, make someone cry.”
So, you know, it’s about connecting with people, and letting people release their pain.
But also, because I’m there in a place where I’m not judging, people are like, “Oh I used to drink crazy.”
“Oh, you know, I have physical abuse.”
“Oh, my family were alcoholics.”
Girlfriend, or boyfriend, I have been there. This is not about judging.
Everybody has something dark that they need to transform, but until you go into those dark places, it never gets transformed.
The other thing people don’t realize is a lot of their magic, a lot of their gold, is in the dark.
So, this means when we’re forbidden to do things as children, like my parents were very blue-collar.
They never wanted me to be a chef, they never wanted me to be an artist.
They basically forced me to go to school and study business. I was miserable, and I went against them.
I became a chef, and they were devastated.
And a lot of things I’ve done, they’ve been like, “What are you doing? You’re messing up your life.”
But you create a shadow around that.
So to me, to be an artist had a little bit of a dark connotation and I think that’s why I went into the underworld of becoming a chef. And I kind of connected with some of the bad boys of the chef world when I was there.
Because, man, it felt renegade to me.
Once you understand that some of your talents are hiding out, the more you accept your dark the more you can broadcast the light.
Abel: Are there any examples of that you’d like to share?
Before we started recording this, for example, you mentioned drinking in the restaurant scene. I was a musician and hung out a lot with bartenders and restaurants seeing people, and like, man, they can drink. You know?
Yeah, so, when I was first seduced by the restaurant business, I came out of culinary school, I was 30 when I changed careers, so this was many, many moons ago.
But I had led a pretty conservative life, and I was just dazzled by the glamour of the restaurant business.
In the front, it’s very glamorous, patrons coming. And I worked in one of the top restaurants in New York City.
Some of them were number two or number seven in the Zagat guide, but in the backend, it was very dirty.
A lot of the guys I worked with had spent a ton of time in jail, a lot of illegal immigrants, nice guys, but very dark.
I had to be very tough to be in that industry, but I grew up in a really tough neighborhood in Pittsburgh.
And the way I was raised, I worked in a deli, I worked cleaning truck stops. I didn’t grow up in the glamour part of the restaurant.
Abel: Cleaning truck stops doesn’t fall underneath glamour, I don’t think.
I was a rough-and-tumble person, but I think where I got myself in big trouble was that I was also seduced by the drinking.
And let’s face it, when you’re a cook, it is the most high-pressure job you could ever possibly imagine. And I was the only woman in a lot of those restaurants.
The foul language, the knives, I’d be burning myself and I’d be working these grueling days.
They’d be 12-hour days and I’d be wielding a knife all day. You sweat like crazy, you’re on your feet for 12 hours, you’re lifting buckets, you’re putting your hand down dirty drains.
But I was there because I loved the food so much. And I saw things in the New York City kitchens that I did not see anywhere else.
That’s where I learned about farm-to-table.
But then after, here I’d watch all the chefs and cooks, we’d be drinking and guzzling alcohol, but we’d be drinking $100 bottles of champagne and 40-year-old bottles of scotch, and it was just part of the industry.
And there were certainly drugs there, as well, and fortunately that was something that didn’t attract me, I think because a lot of my family members were alcoholics and I come from a long line of that, I had a genetic predisposition.
So after about three years of that, I really saw just a ton of wear and tear in my body..
It wasn’t a breakdown, but I saw where I was like, “I can’t live like this anymore. Every bone in my body hurts, my elbows.”
I felt some days I was just keeping it together. I was so exhausted I couldn’t see straight.
I was sleeping maybe five hours a day, and then I think everything just came to a standstill for me when I got my blood work done and I was prediabetic.
I had problems with my thyroid, and I was like, “God, I have to stop all this drinking and all this silliness.”
But this was also before I realized I had the gluten intolerance.
And after I worked in the restaurant industry, I did calm down with the drinking, but then I was working for celebrities and I was doing TV, too.
So, I was probably working around 80, sometimes 90, hours a week.
Sometimes I was working seven days a week, and I would take 1 to 2 days off a month, and I was tearing myself apart.
And that’s where I receded back from that life, and I got out of TV, and I just really went into writing for doctors.
I did have a time where I was a hermit, but I think I needed that so that I wouldn’t destroy my health.
And I’m coming back now, into getting into media more, but I’m in a totally different place.
I’ve done my dark work with alcohol. I still drink, but maybe I have one to two drinks a week.
Do I miss it? Heck, yeah. But my body feels amazing, and sometimes you have to give up the dark, certain dark things. But you have to make friends with them. They never go away.
Abel: How do you manage that?
Because in recent shows we’ve talked about how some people are able to moderate and others kind of aren’t.
I love drinking wine, and I love drinking booze, but I don’t love the way I feel the next day.
I also don’t detoxify well, and that’s a genetic thing.
And so once you are armed with this knowledge about yourself, then you have to make the decision like, “Where do I go from here?”
And there are always other alternatives, but I think it’s really important to not say that you are the person who used to work in that restaurant, the hard drinker who can put up with all these hard guys, right?
At some point, you need to say, “Okay, maybe that’s a piece of me, but there’s more there, and I need to grow.”
Yeah. When I came to realize that I was this super sensitive person that was using alcohol to deal with the fact that I was overwhelmed.
Abel: Yeah, me too.
I understand that I had gifts, and I was afraid of showing the world my beauty with those gifts.
Because I wasn’t raised like that. And I was like, “It’s not me.”
And the universe was saying, “It’s you, girl.”
And I was like, “No, it’s not. So, I’m going to cover it up with alcohol because I don’t believe in myself.”
So you see the two sides of that coin. And that’s what the Yin and Yang symbol is, you have to understand that.
There’s two ways to balance the dark, and when I do shadow work, I look at this.
I think for some people, they have the easy way where they have a near-death experience, or they’re touched by an angel.
And I’ve talked to chefs, actually, I was just talking to a chef last week about this, that he fainted. And he felt like his bones came out of his body.
He was in rehab, and he was addicted to heroin, alcohol, and was an emotional eater.
His zodiac sign is cancer, like me. We’re sensitive people, man.
And he had an epiphany, and what happened to him is he never touched drugs or alcohol after that.
He was very fortunate that he had the spiritual thing happen to him very suddenly.
But what do you do if that doesn’t happen?
Now in my case, I did it the slow-burn way.
I studied yoga for 15 years, I became certified, I’ve worked with a lot of healers, and it took a while, probably took about two years to get rid of my emotional attachment to alcohol, and it’s still kind of there.
But if your emotional attachment is such that you cannot stop, then you have to go to a shaman or to a mega healer.
The guy who actually started Alcoholics Anonymous, and by the way, that symbol comes from Alchemy, the ring that they wear.
Alcoholics Anonymous and I, people who have gone through that program, we’re just like suction cupped together, because it’s Alchemy.
And they totally get it and we have a natural synergy.
So, if you can’t do it yourself, you have to go to a healer who’s going to push you to those darker places of acceptance so that you can heal.
Addiction is a really hairy thing.
It’s happening neurologically, it’s happening physically, it’s happening emotionally. But it typically starts because of some big or many big emotional events that you have not come to terms with.
Such as deep physical abuse, psychological abuse, pain of having a loved one ripped away from you too soon. It can be a myriad of things.
And so when this takes hold in your brain and your body, you become trained to have the addiction and you’re not going to just break it overnight.
So, there’s all kinds of amazing addiction specialists.
Gabor Mate is one of the guys I love, and he wrote that book called In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.
And he talks about addiction and he did palliative care for people. He’s just such an interesting doctor, but he’s a master of addiction.
A lot of people will walk the shamanic path with Ayahuasca.
If you do decide to go that path, I really caution you to make sure that you find a shaman who’s a real shaman.
Because if you’re doing ayahuasca, there’s a compound in it that’s secreted in our brain when we die, so you have a death experience.
Psychotropic plants can take you to those places because it’s all about you getting your perception and your awareness in the right place, and changing your brain chemistry.
So it has to be an alchemical process, and it’s got to happen in three places.
And things like ayahuasca can take you to those three places very quickly, or you can study with alchemists or healers and take the slow burn route.
But if you’re dangerously addicted, I wouldn’t take on a client like that because I don’t feel like they’re in a safe place.
Abel: Well, that’s the tricky part because so often our emotions are compromised and we don’t realize it.
Or we’ve numbed ourselves to something, but we don’t know that we’ve numbed ourself to that, so we’re in denial about having a problem there.
How do you see through that?
I do it by feeling.
Ok, so you have to work with somebody who’s either an empath or somebody who’s a shaman or an alchemist.
And how do we do that, how do we get that skill? By doing this deep sort of inner work.
When I pulled away from TV and the restaurant industry, I went into my little cave like Yoda and I studied for 10 years.
And I studied Alchemy for 10 years and I meditated every day for an hour.
You have to go with someone who’s hardcore because what happens is, we can see what’s happening.
Now, I don’t see auras or chakras, but shamans do.
Why do they see them? Because they’ve done 30 rounds of ayahuasca, and they can visually see, “Oh my gosh, she has lung cancer.”
Or “Oh my gosh, you’ve got parasites in your gut, in the microbiome.”
Or you work with a functional medicine practitioner who’s both.
A lot of the practitioners I work with, and they’re not going to be open about this, they’ve done plant medicine, they know.
So you have to work with someone who can see.
Now what happens to me when I work with people, they’re like, “I can’t believe I’m telling you this stuff. I don’t even tell my husband or wife or my psychiatrist.”
Am I surprised?
No, because I connect with people emotionally. They tell me all their dark stuff, I hold their hand, I don’t judge them, and then I show them how to deal with the dark because I’ve dealt with my dark and that’s how it works.
But you have to go to somebody that you’re called to, or that you feel a synergy with.
How do you find those people?
Through meditation, through prayer, through word of mouth. You’re talking to other people who have healed themselves of similar things that you’re going through.
How to Meditate Daily
Abel: Yeah. I just had this thought the other day. I’ve been meditating for long enough where it feels weird not to.
You can not meditate, but it’s kind of like not taking out the trash of your own mind.
It starts building up and then you smell it and you can’t get away from it.
But it would be as simple as just kind of like picking it up and going out, once a day, on a regular clip.
It’s a great big buzzword. Lots of people have heard about it, but the problem is most people don’t get it into their daily habits.
So, do you have any specific ways of doing that with people you work with?
I do. And the thing I tell everybody is, unless you’re meditating every day, the once a week thing isn’t going to cut it.
It’s got to be repetition, because meditation is like tennis for your mind, like a sport.
If you play a sport, you’re a weekend warrior, what’s going to happen?
It’s not going to work or you’re going to get injured, or you’re going to get turned off. The injured part would be being turned off on meditation.
So first, let me explain what meditation is, because a lt of people don’t really understand it.
People say it’s a mindfulness. It really isn’t mindfulness. What it is, is it’s focusing your mind in a way so you can release thoughts.
It’s an exercise for hyper-focus at first, and then you release the thoughts.
When that happens, not only are you connecting to divine energy, but you’re giving your own ego talk, negative self-thinking, the lead of alchemy, a rest.
What’s happening biologically is all your stress hormones come down.
And that’s the space you have to be in, so that growth hormones can be secreted so you can get the mega, mega healing.
So, people that meditate on a regular basis also get biological benefits.
Now, why meditation is so important besides all that is also, it gives you a different level of awareness. Because in every spiritual tradition, alchemy, yoga, all these spiritual sciences, and they’re not religions, they’re sciences, is they always say you have two minds.
Which may sound a little crazy. But it’s the idea that you have what’s going on with your ego concerns, and then sort of like what people say about you, who you should be, what you want, what you need, blah, blah, blah.
And then you have your higher self, which is sort of like, “What’s doing the right thing? What’s my spiritual practice?”
And that’s the side of yourself that kind of helps that person when they’re about to throw themselves off a cliff.
When you do a lot of meditation, you get into the higher self a little bit more.
Now, your higher self also isn’t a perfect part either, but you’re trying to develop that side of yourself more.
Now, you don’t want to kill the ego, because we need the ego to function in society. And we need the ego to take care of our bodies, which are the cars to our emotions, and our mindset, and our spirit and soul.
So we need those things.
But when we meditate on a regular basis and we’re about to do something stupid, like say something unkind to somebody or get nervous because we don’t feel like we’re good enough to go on this fabulous podcast or whatever it is.
The higher self kicks in and it’s like, “Dude, you’ve got some awesome information to share. Just get your heinie on there and deliver the information and help people. It’s not about you.”
So, that’s why meditation is so important.
Now, the doorway into meditation is this: stop making it a big deal and stop being afraid of it.
Is it going to take you probably a year of meditating every day to stop the voice in your mind?
Yes, it’s hard, it’s hard.
Otherwise everybody would be doing it all the time.
How do you get started? Do five minutes every day.
There’s a lot of different types. You can do mantra, where you say a word over and over again to focus the mind and get rid of the talk.
Eventually, you’ll want to stop the mantra so you can just sit in complete silence without thoughts.
That is the gold standard of where you want to get to.
That’s why we do the physical practice of yoga, to calm the body so we can sit and meditate, that’s all asana is.
Now, in alchemy we do other kinds of meditation practices. We do visualization to manifest things, and we’re concentrating on that.
You can listen to guided meditation.
But to me, the best form of meditation is non-directive. You focus at once on whatever and you release.
And when you release, later on when you come out of it is where you get these inspired ideas, answers to prayers.
Now, meditation is not prayer. Meditation is making fertile ground for the divine to come in.
Prayer is where you petition the divine. So, to me, even if you’re religious, you should do meditation.
It’s sort of opening yourself up to receive the answer to your prayer.
Now, if you’re not religious, totally cool.
Let’s say you’re an internet marketer, and you can’t figure out a problem with your business.
You do meditation to open up the idea of how you’re going to make that product, or that online product sell. Or you’re going to do the meditation so you can radiate what you need to attract the proper clientele by using the correct wordage.
But this doesn’t happen if you’re fussing around down in your ego all the time.
So this to me, this is how meditation helps practitioners and healers.
And this also helps you from losing your mind when you feel like, “How am I going to make a living and heal people, and do the media, and talk about my book, and write the book, and get the book deal?”
You can put it in perspective.
Native American Journeying
Abel: Yeah, before I got into it, I was like, “Why would the goal be to do nothing? Why would you want to just spend all this effort sitting down, taking time out of your life to do nothing? That’s the goal? That doesn’t make any sense.”
But as I started doing it more and more—and it did probably take at least a year to start feeling comfortable—it’s almost like the opposite of alone.
When you’re in deep meditation you almost feel reassurance, you feel deep connection, and that’s what it’s supposed to be about.
Some of this is just the problem with English or the way that we communicate. It’s not about doing nothing, that’s not exactly what’s happening, right?
And so, the best way I think for people to kind of get over it and give it a shot, is to just commit to like five minutes a day.
I’ve used meditation in various ways and it always shows up differently in my own life.
But how do you do it? Is it in the morning, is it in the afternoon? Is it still in that hour chunk or is it split up?
For me, I think because I’ve been doing it a long time, sometimes I’ll just go into meditation any time I need it. But I do a solid block at night.
And I have been experimenting with Native American journeying.
Abel: Oh, wow.
I feel a synergy with American Indian culture because I grew up on an island that was sacred—their version of a church—where they used to hold sacred ceremonies, and we used to find arrowheads all over the place.
So, journeying is really cool. And I do different styles of meditation based on what I need at the time. So I kind of do it intuitively.
Obviously, I’m always doing non-directive because that’s the one, to me, that’s really healing.
And journeying is not non-directive.
When you journey in the Native American tradition, it’s kind of like dreaming when you’re awake.
At first, you create the story. So, you kind of have buddies, or spirit guides, and you can make this up.
This is about using your own creative imagination. And this is a lot of what Carl Jung used to do. And men do this very naturally by the way.
So, the idea is, you have a character. I noticed on your website you have the wolf, and the wolf is one of my spirit guides.
So I was like, “Wolf, yes!”
You may connect with a person from your life that comes to you in a vision, or it could be somebody who’s passed, it could be an animal.
In my case, it’s an animal. It’s a wolf and bat. And wolf is about leadership and bat is about community.
So I start to meditate, and I imagine a tree, and I go inside the tree. And this is just kind of a symbol of you going into your own subconscious.
You have to be in a very meditative state. So, I meditate a little bit first, non-directive, no thinking. And then I visualize this and then you’ll start to see your spirit guides will pop up, and they’ll take you on a little adventure.
At first, you’ll be faking it until you make it. And then later on, the story will just happen to you like you’re watching a dream, and they’ll show you things.
So one time the bat was showing me, like, “Look, my bat friends are hanging out in a tree.”
And I was watching them, it was at night, it was very peaceful, there was the moon, they were just having a good time hanging out.
What I realized was, I had been working myself to death. It’s time to hang out with my friends and relax.
So that message to me was, “Invite your friends over, get your PJs on, Netflix and chill.”
So, they’ll show you different things. And this is a more advanced form of meditation, but it’s very good for people that are hyper-creatives, and also people that are A-types like myself, that are very driven.
Because sometimes you need to give the mind—what Buddhists call the “monkey mind”—something to do, to have these kind of messages from the divine.
And sometimes I think they’re just messages from your own body.
Like, “Dude, what are you doing? Calm down. Go hang out with your friends now.”
Abel: My dad went out on a spiritual journey, he told me this story years ago. He went on one with my mom who’s definitely much more woo than my dad, although he’s getting a little more woo as time goes on.
He said, “I went on a spiritual journey and all I saw was a dang crow.”
Wow, crow is a symbol of alchemical transformation.
Abel: I know. It’s amazing, right?
I just thought it was hilarious how bitter he was about it when he said that. Now, he realizes that it’s a bit cooler, I think.
Yeah, think about crow in Game of Thrones.
And Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Star Wars, these are all examples to us of how we can be the hero in our own journey, and how we can turn our own crappy lead to gold.
This is what these myths are telling us. And this idea of aligning yourself with spirit animals or crystals or gurus or whatever it is, this is just a way for us to process what’s going on in the mind and in the spirit.
Because these are very complex things for us to wrap our little pea-sized brains around. So this is why we have these.
And neither one is right or wrong. It’s whatever works for you, whatever system.
And it’s interesting because in Hinduism they say, “There are many paths to God.”
But God and spiritual practice is just connecting with the divine.
And getting back to what you said about meditation. When I meditate, I feel like I’m in my mother’s womb.
Who doesn’t want that? Who doesn’t want to go back to be a baby with nothing to do, hanging out in the fluid, chilling out, feeling loved and feeling warm and safe.
And when you get into regular meditation, you go back to that place and you have that time and you get a break from all the craziness, you know?
Where to Find Jennifer Iserloh
Abel: I love that. Man, we could definitely talk all day, but we’re almost out of time. So before we go, can you please tell folks a little bit more about your new book and where they can find you?
And really, to me, it’s the culmination of all the work I’ve done.
In Superfood Alchemy, you’re going to heal yourself going through all the energy centers up through the chakras.
But I really explain what I do in my coaching practice, and how to balance the body, the emotions, and the mind.
And what’s great is on the website I also have a 10-part free video series, so you guys can start right away.
I have tips on meditation, crystals, healing foods, and herbalism. So, even if you don’t get the book, you can grab the free video series.
Abel: Jennifer, thank you so much for taking the time. This has been so much fun.
Oh gosh, it’s been such an honor. Thank you.
Before You Go…
Here’s a review for the podcast that just came in from Erin. She says…
“Great podcast. I always seem to glean a good tip or two from Abel’s podcast. He has great energy and brings diverse groups of people with relevant health info. Very informative and helpful for anyone that wants to improve or take their health to a new or the next level.”
Well, Erin, thank you so much for the review.
Every time I get one of those, it gives me a little spark to keep creating for you guys.
And right now, I’ll just say, for the past few weeks now we have been stockpiling new episodes of this show to release to you.
Originally, I was releasing this show every week, which means more than 50 shows per year.
But obviously, this is a health show, and I try to be a good example for others, especially other performers, creators, coaches, and people on that side of things, who largely create their own schedule.
Because burnout is a real thing, especially now. You’ve got to be good to yourself.
So for a while we’re switching to a bi-weekly release schedule, going out a couple of times a month.
But we’ll be switching back to releasing new podcast episodes every week for a big burst here and there, especially as I release my new upcoming book, the Designer Babies project.
And as we release all of this crazy virtual reality videos and other projects that we’re working on, we’ll be ramping things up.
So, if you’d like to stay in the loop on all my upcoming livestreams, new poetry book, music videos, new podcasts, the best way to keep in touch is to sign up for the newsletter.
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