On this episode of Marketing for Good, Erica talks with Jeff Krasno about all things mindfulness. They speak about marketing mindfulness in the context of different audiences and applying mindfulness as a tool of productivity and performance. They also discuss the energetics of language, the power of stories, and writing as a form of meditation. Jeff shares techniques on incorporating mindfulness and meditation into everyday life and reminds listeners that both of those things are accessible to everyone.
This is a transcript of Erica Mills Barnhart and Jeff Krasno on the Marketing for Good podcast. You can listen to the episode here and listen to more episodes on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts. Enjoy!
SUMMARY KEY WORDS
mindfulness, feel, meditation, marketing, yoga, good, wanderlust, business, idea, commune, words, writing, world
Erica Mills Barnhart 00:31
You might have noticed that today’s episode is a little longer than usual. And that’s because my guest today, Jeff Krasno, who’s the CEO of Commune, which is a online platform focused on well being and I mean, well being in every sense of the word, you know, everything from kind of, I guess what you would expect yoga, meditation breath work, all of these things to like business clarity, it’s a very comprehensive, holistic integrative approach to well being. And one of the things that is so striking to me about Commune is that their mission is to bring well being to a billion people worldwide and on their website, which is so fun, you’ll see they, they’re they’re on track, they have brought well being to 2,175,591 people approximately, so far. So the way they do this, and I’m mentioning this because I just love how accessible they’re making this. So if you go to onecommune.com, also, there’s an app for that, the Commune app, they make these courses, which tend to be kind of four to five day courses. So kind of mini very snackable courses available for free on the day and then if you want to be able to access them whenever wherever you want, then you will become a member of the Commune, very reasonable monthly subscription. And I just, I think that that’s so much of this content can be, tends to be, maybe not tends to be but can be gated or like inaccessible for folks, I really appreciate the Commune and Jeff at the helm, is making it much more accessible. And this is what you know, people like Marianne Williamson, anyway, the guy who is all about the like super cold plunge bath and breath work and whatnot, I have to admit first, when I first was introduced to them hops, I think it’s the Wim Hof Method. I was like, absolutely, positively not. That is no, not for me. And yet, there’s a lot of science behind what he does, which is all people in Commune are doing. So why was this so important to me? Why did I want to have Jeff on the podcast? I feel like folks who listen to this podcast, you know, who are on a mission to make the world a better place, like that’s a that’s a heavy load to carry. I that can feel heavy. And so mindfulness can really be important to the sustainability of social impact. And I’m really intrigued by how mindfulness is being marketed these days. So I reached out to Jeff, and he was very generous, you know, said, Yes, he’d be happy to come on the podcast and talk to us about all these things. Jeff’s mind goes in all sorts of different directions. And so you kind of have to, in some ways, wait to the end, partially because my mind goes a lot of different directions to as you know, if you’ve listened to his podcast before, and then you know, but it comes back together, which is kind of beautiful, right? Because it gets this idea of everything being interdependent, and related, and all of that. So, this is a little longer, there’s no need to listen to it all in one sitting, or one walking, or one running, or you know, whatever you happen to be doing. You can dip in and out of a conversation, you’re not going to lose the thread, I don’t think. So feel free to chunk it out. Whatever works for you. And also in terms of whatever works for you, again, part of my hope is that you will get you know you as somebody on a mission, make your world a better place, we’ll be able to plunk at least one super actionable thing that you could do for you, right, to make to make your work and your life more joyful and sustainable. You know, we talked about breath work near the end, and just like how can we make this accessible to absolutely everybody. So I’m hoping that you’ll be able to take one thing away. And I’d love to hear what that one thing ends up being for you. I know for me, it was a reminder, which is a common reminder for me of just paying attention to breath always going back to that so I’m predisposed that way as you’ll hear in the interview. This is a lovely conversation that covers a lot of territory. And I hope that you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed having it. Here we go, a conversation with Jeff Krasno. With me today is Jeff Krasno. Jeff is the CEO and founder of Commune, a masterclass platform for well being. He also hosts just try to hold all this in your brains. I’m reading it verbatim, which I don’t generally do but there’s so many different pieces to this, Jeff. Okay. You also host the Commune podcast, interviewing a wide variety of guests from Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson to rand- I can never say his name Bouchard. Even though I speak French that’s a little bit funny, and Russell Brand. Jeff writes a weekly column that I love that is distributed to over a million people every Sunday, we’re gonna come back to that Jeff, the Comussings. But he’s also the founder of Wanderlust, a global series of wellness events. Jeff is a contributor to the Huffington Post and Fast Company. His first book, eponymously named Wanderlust, debuted in May 2015, and has sold more than 50,000 copies worldwide. His new Wanderlust Cookbook, Find Your True Fork, came out in July 2017. And in 2016, he was selected by Oprah Winfrey to be part of the super soul 100 as one of the nation’s leading entrepreneurs, which is the real deal. In 1995, I love that you include this this says a lot, Jeff married Shuyler Grant, his college sweetheart, Shuyler Grant, a yoga teacher and Director of Kula Yoga Project, served as the inspiration for Wanderlust. Jeff and Shuyler have three beautiful daughters, Phoebe Lali, and Mica, and they currently live in Los Angeles, although he is joining me from paradise, Maui. Jeff, welcome to the show.
Jeff Krasno 06:15
Hey, thank you so much. Great to be here, Erica.
Erica Mills Barnhart 06:18
Yeah, thanks for making time we had a little scheduling back and forth. So I really appreciate you being flexible and open to it. So I came across Commune when I was trying to find a resource for yoga nidra, so I was having a hard time sleeping and in the past that it really helps them you know, and I personally stumbled across a lesson on commune taught by Tracy Stanley, who by the way, possibly has the most relaxing voice on the planet.
Jeff Krasno 06:42
And Yoga nidra found Tracy and found Yoga nidra I mean, there are very few things in life that lineup so perfectly, I absolutely agree.
Erica Mills Barnhart 06:52
Yeah, listeners go right now to go to the Commune App, Tracy Stanley, honestly, I remember laying there because she started relaxes and you know, she’s relax your feet and relax your calves and I thought I am relaxing my calves and I was like what is going on? She’s anyway, so that was my intro to Commune and then I was like, this is a cornucopia of goodness. So I’ve continue to absorb, then I came across Commusings, your weekly missive. Okay, a little I got to give you a little backdrop. So one of my areas of research and interest is what I refer to as the energetics of language. Right? So words often we think of them as like inanimate objects, which is partially true. But it’s also true that they’re always in motion. Right? So they’re either being read or said, or however you’re absorbing them. So if we pair that with Newton’s third law of motion, which is for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction, you really see how the phrase words matter matters, because words actually have matter. Okay, and this is like, we don’t notice this until we do something like run across someone like you, Jeff, who writes the way you do. And I want to read, I feel like unbeknownst to you, you were sort of validating my hypothesis about the energetics of language. And I want to read for listeners, just two snippets from a recent Commusing, and listeners, I know that a lot of you walking, driving, you do all sorts of things. So in an ideal, perfect scenario, you’d be able to pause, put your right hand over your heart, close your eyes, and just listen to these because I want you to be paying attention to like what your body does as I read these. The first one “To study the long courtship I waged” with your wife, Shuyler, “would be like memorizing the DMV drivers, manual dotted lines, jagged lines, double solid lines, red lights, yellow lights, green lights, off ramps on ramps, such as the serrated nature of long term relationship”. And then you go on to say, “we also tend to associate our identities with our physical bodies, even though we are 50%, bacteria and fungi, and our proprioception can be easily deceived. Still, we are all generally convinced that our body minds that being, sitting here reading are the thinker of our thoughts moated from the balance of humanity”. Now whenever I read something like that, I just, I just have to wonder and we’re gonna go into talking about how language and words are being used to market effectively or not mindfulness and meditation. What role does writing play in your life? More generally? Have you always been drawn to writing?
Jeff Krasno 09:32
Yeah. Well, thanks for that introduction. Thanks for reading that. Writing has been an outlet for me but to be honest, most of my professional life has been characterized by my role as a business person. And so most of my writing honestly has been done within the parentheses of marketing. So we can talk about that. But at the beginning of 2020, or I guess I would say in March, early March, my kind of my best friend and partner at Commune, Jake, encouraged me to start writing a weekly column for this growing community. And, you know, like, like, you mentioned that that email list, I think it’s about 1.2 million people on it and, and initially, I really started doing it because I felt like the brand honestly needed a voice and its own editorial voice to connect with this community. But as lockdown, you know, came about in early March, and people started feeling isolated, you know, in this almost forced monasticism that quarantine prevailed upon us. I just started writing these weekly missives, and they’re pretty intense, you know, they’re, and long, you know, and many of them require tremendous amount of research. So, you know, they, they vary between 2,000 and 2,500 words, and what started as kind of an exercise in giving the brand, a voice ended up being these really kind of soul searching, soul bearing essays that began to unpack all of the upheavals and tumult of 2020. And there was so much of it, and it kept giving, you know, from obviously, from COVID, but then, you know, over the course of the summer, you know, the murder of George Floyd and the reckoning around social justice, you know, obviously, you know, the American election and American politics, social media and the weaponization of misinformation on social media. So there’s so many cultural and political topics to address, many of which were very confusing for people. And, and I think by providing words, as as vessels for thoughts and feelings and emotions, you know, I helped people, and I say that in all humility, you know, process, a lot of what was going on, over the course of the year and, and I stumbled backwards into a genre of writing that honestly, I didn’t even really know existed, which is biographical nonfiction, where I started to realize that story is so incredibly powerful. And through the telling of kind of very vulnerable, often madcap, ridiculous stories about my own life and my own family’s life, that people could often see parts of their own story in mind. And that helps people to feel less alone. So, you know, as I began to write more and more and kind of excavate my own life, my own journey, it almost became my own journey and my own personal growth happening in public in real time. And I go back to some of the essays that I wrote earlier last year, and I’m not even sure I agree with myself. But, but they’re, but they were very honest, in terms of the emotion and the feeling that I had, that I had at that time. And, and then I started to kind of explore more kind of perennial concepts, like around death and life and fatherhood, and my relationship with my mother and you know, what it’s like to come from a broken family and in these things, that that, you know, hundreds of thousands, millions of people are dealing with. So, yeah, you know, I wasn’t really a writer. I don’t have any training in it, but it’s come to signify something important in my life, almost as a meditation. Because it is, it represents a very small sliver of my life or I am, my attention is absolutely sustained on something. And you know, in a in a world of myriad distractions of notifications and slack And texts and emails and social media to have something that you must, even if it’s self imposed, sort of must concentrate on is a very, is very, very healthy for the mind. And I find myself kind of, at the end of this process of writing 2500 words a week, for a year, with an ability to sustain my attention, to finish things, to get things done, and not be quite as scattered. So obviously, I have my scattered moments, like everybody does, but but it has, it’s almost like a muscle that I’ve been happy to develop in my own mind.
Erica Mills Barnhart 15:50
And we are not in most realms, we’re alive called to do in many ways anymore, that, you know, and it’s striking about your writing the long format, because we hear so much now, like nobody has an attention span. And, and so I think there’s a question that right, so sort of a societal question about like, well, that may or may not be true. I mean, yes, the research would tell us that our attention spans are diminishing by fractions of a second, right? And so then the corollary question is like, well, so what can we do about that? And what’s the value of being able to have prolonged attentiveness to something and I, I would just echo that I think you didn’t quite say this way, but part part of what I think so resonant about your writing is that you do manage to make the perennial personal, and allow us to sort of see into, you know, like, Oh, you know, I, I may not have lived exactly that, and I get it, and I feel it, and I could feel my way into it. And you may not be like, quote unquote, trained as a writer, but I always think it’s interesting when people say, well, I’m not a writer. And I’m like, well, you wrote some really phenomenal things, so-
Jeff Krasno 16:54
Erica Mills Barnhart 16:55
Maybe you are.
Jeff Krasno 16:57
Yeah, I mean, I, I self described as a writer now. But you know, to your point, I don’t think that wagging your finger at anyone with the goal of teaching a lesson is a particularly profitable project.
Erica Mills Barnhart 17:13
Now, we’re both parents who tried that.
Jeff Krasno 17:15
Yeah, that’s right. Well, I have a line about that, is that, yeah, and I, and this is true, it’s not just, you know, a good quote card, is that, you know, my kids will never listen to me, but they almost never failed to imitate me. And, and I find that to be true, because I, you know, I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life. And it’s a double edged saber. You know, my laptop is never closed at 5pm. And, you know, I’m not thinking about it till the next day. It’s been kind of very fluid, holistic life where, you know, my responsibilities extend 24 hours a day, but I also have tremendous freedom. I’m running a company from Maui. But, you know, they’ve seen the work ethic that I have, and that my wife Shuyler has, and without ever, I’ve never once asked them to do their homework, not one single time. They just do it. And they’re exemplary students. Because that is a value that I seem to have communicated through osmosis. They have just, you know, they’re imbued with a work ethic, because they see that in their parents, in their role models. And, you know, that is that’s heartening, you know, for me, they also drink coffee at a very young age, the flip side of that, but I know you’re a tea drinker, so you don’t have any sympathy for me.
Erica Mills Barnhart 18:48
Well, although so for a while it worked to tell my son that coffee would stunted his growth and recently, like, and I mean, this, like within the last 48 hours, he was like, Mom, you know, I know that that’s not true, right? Yeah. Okay. Okay, we and like, honestly, I had to exercise a lot of discipline in preparing for this because the more one gets to know you, Jeff, online at least, the more one realizes, like there’s so many different directions that we could go in, generally, but as it relates to marketing for good, there’s a lot of different, so, yeah, I’m gonna I’m gonna try to stay disciplined. We’ll see how it goes. We talk a lot about words on the podcast, I think it’s always helpful to sort of have common definition. So I’m going to do two rounds on defining words. I will start with a popcorn round, meaning I’m going to say a word and I want you to say the first word that comes to mind when I say it, it’s four words, you’re familiar with all these words. Okay. First word wellbeing.
Jeff Krasno 19:46
Erica Mills Barnhart 19:48
Jeff Krasno 19:50
Erica Mills Barnhart 19:51
Jeff Krasno 19:55
Erica Mills Barnhart 19:57
Jeff Krasno 19:59
Erica Mills Barnhart 20:02
Ooh, interdependence. Okay, why interdependence?
Jeff Krasno 20:08
Well, yoga, the Sanskrit word means union, or yoke, to yoke.
Erica Mills Barnhart 20:20
Always, thought that sounded very uncomfortable whenever my yoga instructors would say that, like, I don’t know that I want to be yoked, but then they sort of explained it. I think you’re gonna explain this like that sounds constricting? Possibly not.
Jeff Krasno 20:32
Possibly not. I mean, I think a yoke is technically something that connects to animals, like a yoke. And there’s a quote from the Bible from the New Testament that Jesus says that, what is it? My yoke is easy and I load is light, I think something like that, you can look it up. And I’m no scripture expert. But for me, yoga and meditation are very similar. And I think of interdependence, and selflessness not quite synonymously. But in a similar way, where, you know, union, or yoga is a way of a state of being in which you recognize the interdependence of all things. And we are highly conditioned to see ourselves as separate individuated people living in a separate external universe, often in competition with each other, often exalting the ego which defines us by, you know, what we do, or our position in society or what we have, or our job title, or whatever. And when we are in a state of union, or we’re in a deep meditative state of where we glimpse the realization of non self, or that we feel a part of, this is like Hinduism of Brahman, of that we are part of an all encompassing greater self, of which we are mere modifications or reflections, that this is when the sort of illusory nature of self you know, that curtain is pulled back and we feel a sense of utter union of connection with the world, that we no longer become the thinker of our thoughts or sort of identify with emotions and feelings and thoughts, that we are the wind, that I am you, that our liberation is truly bound.
Erica Mills Barnhart 22:48
I can get behind that because I watched videos of Shuyler doing yoga, I feel like she probably feels all that stuff. I’m just trying to stay robos I mean, I got a ladder up to the rest of what you’re talking about. I did look up the Bible quote, because I don’t want to open loops and listeners brains, want them to be able to be present for the conversation. So it’s Matthew 11, I think what you’re referring to “come to me all you who are weary and burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you will learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls”. So that sounds pretty I mean, when he puts it that way. Sounds pretty good.
Jeff Krasno 23:28
Yeah, I mean, many Yogi’s claim that Jesus was a practitioner. Now that might be a stretch, I tend to think of yoga outside of the context of the pure Asana form, and tend to think about it in in the context of its other lens, which is, you know, I guess more spiritual than physical.
Erica Mills Barnhart 23:51
Jeff Krasno 23:52
But yeah, many Yogi’s point to Jesus as a practitioner, when he’s talking about yoking and his load being light, that when you are in connection, when you have a true deep sense of the interdependence of things, you are light, you are enlightened, you are walking, kind of, you’re kissing the ground, when, with your feet when you walk.
Erica Mills Barnhart 24:18
I wanted to start with yoga, because I think a lot of listeners is sort of like the gateway into some of these other things. I will quote Shuyler’s website where she describes yoga as “the manifestation of meditation through motion”. That is a good one, right? Okay, so let’s, what about meditation? I have noted and I’m curious, I mean, you have like, like this huge panoramic view of how people think about these things. I know that when I talk to people about you know, meditation or mindfulness, they kind of like it is a noun, like aspirationally. But when you get into the verb form, right, so like meditating, then you kind of lose people because they’re like, I can’t sit still, you know? That’s not for me. Like there’s an association, I feel like there’s a, there’s an association, like we’ve been marketed a certain version of meditation, which involves like the proper pillow, sitting very still. And I just I wonder if you’ve noticed that about sort of the noun, verb, dynamic?
Jeff Krasno 24:31
It’s good. Yeah, everyone, meditation is very aspirational. I’ve rarely met anyone that thinks it’s a bad idea. And, you know, though, it’s an idea that’s 2500 years old, every day science seems to prove empirically, that it is also an endeavor worth undertaking. And everyone feels that meditation is not for them. I mean, there’s no such thing really, as a good meditator. That’s a little bit of a myth. You know?
Erica Mills Barnhart 25:52
It feels a little judgy which is antithetical to the idea of the whole mindfulness thing.
Jeff Krasno 25:58
Yeah, I mean, mindfulness would be being in a state of absolute presence without judgment. And so this idea that like, Oh, you know, I’m lost in thought all the time, you know, I can’t really meditate, I’m not good at it, you know, meditation, there is a little bit of a myth there that meditation is the absence of thought, that’s not true at all, you know, when I’m meditating, and I’m certainly no guru in an ashram, you know, thoughts are swinging from branch to branch, like a monkey all the time. It’s just that, you know, when I am in a place of quiet and serenity, that I can witness those thoughts, that I can witness my feelings and emotions and not identify with them. And that I can become aware, these are just phenomena arising and subsiding in consciousness in a completely transitory way, moment by moment, you know, you may feel frustrated, you may feel angry, and there’s a actually a technique that is important to leverage with words, when I do this quite consistently, where I try to get away from identifying with these things, by I will rarely say I am angry, or I am frustrated, I will say I feel angry, or I feel frustrated, because in a way, that is an acknowledgment through the usage of words, that these are just phenomenon that are, you know, arising and subsiding. Rumi has that poem about emotions kind of visiting like guests at a party, visiting your house and leaving your house you are the house, or, you know, you are the sky. And thoughts and emotions are just clouds passing through, or you are the road and, and thoughts and feelings and emotions are bicycles and trucks.
Erica Mills Barnhart 28:10
And I always like that one, like you’re the road, although I don’t know that, you know, then I’m like, do I really want bicycles and trucks? Don’t know. It’s so concrete. And you know, mindfulness is an abstract noun. So I think that that makes it more challenging, you know, and I get it right like are, we have 60 to 70,000 thoughts per day. 80% of those are recycled, day after day. Our brains are prone to negativity bias. Therefore, in our minds, we have a whole lot of negativity going on. And we and then we have confabulation, which is sort of if we’re missing information, like our brains are hardwired to fill it in. And so, you know, I wonder if part of it is and then we combine this with the fact that really fundamentally, we’ve, we’ve reversed a lot from when we were on the tundra, and yet, fundamentally, the job of our brain is to protect us. And so sitting, I mean, biologically, just evolutionarily, if you were just sitting you were prey. And I just I wonder if there isn’t in our subconscious, which is 95 to 96% of where all the brain activity happens, but we just don’t have access to it, which is inconvenient. You know, there’s just this piece, it’s like, dude, I don’t want to just sit that seems dodgy. And then that seems dodgy, but maybe I can get over that. But then I’m sitting there with all my negative thoughts. And so you know, you you I love this idea of like you’re swinging from branch to branch. You know, it’s not about not having them. It’s, I think, sort of part of the exercise is what are you going to do with them? And then what story are you telling yourself and creating that space around that is one of the gifts of it. But anyway, that’s part of my hypothesis why people are like I know it’s a good idea, just not a good idea for me.
Jeff Krasno 30:04
Right. But I mean, I think, you know, going through life being constantly distracted, you know, with monkey mind, not being able to sustain one’s attention for long periods of time has very, very detrimental impacts. And oftentimes, it contributes to the seeking out of sort of external agents for your own happiness, you know, and that might, could have been the worst cases be drugs and alcohol. But, you know, in very many cases, it might be social media, or the approval that you’re getting, or not, from that, or other forms of addiction, codependency, chocolate cake, you know, whatever it might be, because you are simply not able to be at peace with yourself, you are constantly in search of external agents to, as Jerry Maguire said, complete me. Yeah. And, you know, this is the great process of, of life and self love really, is to, you know, find ways to complete yourself to exist to the degree that it is possible in the absence of need, because it’s in that emptiness, in that absence of need. That I feel like true love, and compassion and empathy, and all these kind of perennial values emerge from there and become part of what you say, this 96%. I mean, over time, you know, through habits and practices, your reflexive behavior changes, and this unconscious part of you. And you can, I mean, many of us, and I don’t consider myself outside this group, you know, we’re operating from a place of fear of, you know, often triggered by uncertainty. And there’s tremendous amount of that. And that fear can then provoke other kinds of emotions. Often when we’re in a place of fear, we resort to anger, because anger feels like a place. That is its buttressing, it gives us a sense of strength and self worth. But-
Erica Mills Barnhart 32:30
It lets us see what our boundaries are.
Jeff Krasno 32:32
Yeah, but it’s an awful place to dwell 24/7.
Erica Mills Barnhart 32:36
It is a great place to visit, and it has a bad rap. Anger has such a bad rap. Well all have our negative emotions in Western culture, have a bad rap, anger, sadness.
Jeff Krasno 32:43
Yeah, I mean, anger, certainly as you know, in a jungian shadow emotion sense needs to be something that is excavated. And there is times, or there are times where I think anger can be empowering, in a positive fashion, sometimes in the expressions around social justice or things like that. But I think that if you’re living from a place where you are essentially holding an ember in your hand, looking and waiting for that opportunity to throw it at someone, you’re the one getting burnt. And, you know, to the degree that I have any control over my own state of being, I tend to prefer not living in that place.
Erica Mills Barnhart 33:31
Sure. Yeah, there’s a great book called The Language of Emotion, which I recommend to every human basically, it just goes through in such a great way that, you know, we have all of these motions for a reason. And they because each of them teach us something, but you don’t want to like necessarily just be in anger.
Jeff Krasno 33:32
Yeah. And also be able to, sorry, to witness yourself in that place.
Erica Mills Barnhart 33:56
That the creating of a little bit of space, which I actually use a lot and teach this idea of resonance, and I am which is about identities and I feel just, you know, like a as a mechanism to create space. So helpful, so hard.
Jeff Krasno 34:10
So hard, and I you know, there’s many masks with the same face underneath. But you know, Viktor Frankl has a quote about finding that space between an event and your response or reaction to that event. I’ve recently just started to wade into stoicism. And one of the tenants of stoicism posits that often our reactions to things are actually not reactions to the events themselves, they are the reactions to our judgement of those.
Erica Mills Barnhart 34:45
Jeff Krasno 34:46
And if we really then want to understand why we’re feeling the way that we do, what we really need is a thorough inventory of our judgments. What are, what’s informing those judgments? You know, there’s this notion that, like, we shape the world, but oftentimes, honestly, the world shapes the self, it’s the central idea of structuralism. And, you know, we’re shaped by our parents, our socio economic class, our culture, religions, rituals, news media, and, you know, it should be all of our project to the degree that we can to sort of, you know, pull back all of those sheets, and to try to recognize the true nature of reality, the true nature of things, you know, outside of, you know, what someone prescribed for us. And if we can do that, I think we can have judgments that are more true and honest, and reflective of the nature of the event itself. And not just what we happen to be triggered.
Erica Mills Barnhart 35:55
Yeah, our emotion to it, I was thinking about, I was thinking forward to our conversation, and then thinking about all of these things, and from a marketing perspective, you know, you would actually do almost the exact opposite of like, how we market to ourselves, because this is essentially marketing, right? Creating narratives and subconscious unconscious, like you would never ever market these things that we say to ourselves, you would do the exact opposite. If we spend like a whole bunch of time and negativity bias inside our minds, like this is not, you know, we market benefits, not the negative features, which we just spent so much time in our minds around that. So people I mean, if we look at benefits, let’s talks about the benefits. So if you look at the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, I mean, this list is so long, like just off the top of your head, you relieve stress, treats heart disease, lowers blood pressure, reduces chronic pain, improve sleep, gastrointestinal difficulties, and like you said, like there are very few people are like, no I’m on in for that, that sounds nah. However, however, and I am thinking sort of specifically in the North American context, there is still this resistance, and I think a bit of mindshare, which goes to what you were talking about kind of, you know, the narratives that we are offered as we grow up, and you know, whether or not we grew up with, you know, say parents or family members who did yoga or talk to us about these things or not. And I feel like mindfulness is kind of an industry at this point, is burdened a little bit by a narrative that goes something along the lines of that’s great for privileged folk, who have time to like, get out the perfect little pillow and sit on it for hours on end until they levitate. Right. So is that or for folks, increasingly, we’re hearing about folks who were like extreme or like rarefied lines of work. So military, Special Ops, elite athletes and performers, but that’s still at the margins of society. And I’m wondering, I mean, again, you have millions of people on Commune, so it’s becoming more mainstream. But is there a little work to do in terms of reframing? Like, if we accept as sort of truth that more mindfulness would be more better for society? For us as individuals and society as a whole. How do we reframe to sort of jettison this narrative that no longer is serving us around what mindfulness is?
Jeff Krasno 38:30
Yeah, well, there, you’re right. There’s certainly a misconception that mindfulness is potentially indulgent or a feat or resultant or reserved for the affluent, on one side or the you know, it’s, it’s kind of this, you know, rarefied treatment for PTSD or, you know, mental illness, etc. And then there’s also kind of the, the vision that one might have in their third eye of mindfulness, sort of as a, you know, kind of monk ish, something that is done in an ashram, or what have you. And I think you know, what, I kind of get at this from a variety of different angles. I mean, with Wanderlust, particularly, we were trying to create quite literally a bigger tent for the mindful life or for mindfulness by making it like hella fun.
Erica Mills Barnhart 39:34
Will you for listeners, explain what wanderlust is, in a little bit more detail?
Jeff Krasno 39:38
Yeah so Wanderlust sort of borrowed the sort of experience of like Coachella, or Bonnaroo or-
Erica Mills Barnhart 39:46
Lollapalooza, it feels like Lollapalooza meets yoga, mindfulness, wonderfulness.
Jeff Krasno 39:53
Yeah, I mean, we were going to kind of yoga journal conferences that were these very like, stayed experiences in conferences with carpet and fluorescent lights. And then, you know, we were going also to, you know, joyful, somewhat drunken music festivals. And we said, like, you know, is there not sort of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup that we could, you know, fabricate here have the best of both worlds. So essentially, we created the world’s largest yoga retreat where we brought all the most renowned teachers across yoga and mindfulness and sustainability and regenerative farming and personal and spiritual growth, we brought them all to large scale resorts that we would create. But then we also instilled like music. So we had DJs, and live music acts and big stages. And we created an experience across three or four days that was, you know, transformational both in its wellness, but it’s also within its sort of community and its joy. And it was sort of like going to Lollapalooza, where you actually felt better when you left. You feel more connected, you feel healthier in your body, because you’d be doing yoga or meditating or going on hikes during the day, and then having great dinners with friends, and then going out and seeing some music for four days. And, you know, this experience scaled to 68 events in 20 countries at its peak, you know, it’s 2 to 10,000 people per day. So there was clearly an appetite for it, you know, globally. And, you know, we, I think we tapped into and also helped to form yoga and mindfulness as part of an overarching lifestyle of the way a lot of millennials, and Gen Xers like me, were just living, and we just managed to kind of, you know, create sort of a quilt out of out of different, different yarn, but that were kind of prevalent in people’s lives. And, you know, because we reframed it as something that wasn’t really done in an ashram or something that was done in a fluorescent conference room, you know, people came and we have we, we really, you know, popularized it. And I and I, in retrospect, you know, there were some really beneficial components of that, and then maybe some detrimental pieces of what we did, and in retrospect, but largely, I think we just opened the door, you know, for, for more people. And, I mean, there is a strange sort of paradox around mindfulness, or meditation being something that’s reserved for anyone, because you literally don’t need anything to do it. You don’t you need a chair maybe not even, you know, you can do it on a bus, you can do it on an airplane, you can do it with no guidance whatsoever, you know, and in many ways, I mean, Charles Eisenstein is a brilliant sort of political theorist and economist, he wrote a book about capitalism. And he’s basically that capitalism has been a history of taking things that were free, and charging from them, and charging for them. And in a way in a Wanderlust created an experience out of a bunch of things that were just free. I mean, I feel, in retrospect, somewhat guilty by the fact that we would sell a ticket to take a hike, where people can just like, literally go and take a hike. But what we did was create a sort of container, and we brought the community together around it, which was, which was valuable.
Erica Mills Barnhart 43:51
If you did it, I mean, you brought together things that until that point, it sounds like we’re sort of incompatible in people’s minds, they might have been like, either, I will, you know, do yoga in the morning and that’s like, you know, my best Angel shown up, and then I, you know, go out and party and go to the music thing, and you kind of like, set these things actually could be compatible, which is, you know, again, if we’re talking about reframing, right, was an important reframe, and also brought some things into the mainstream and open it up to more folks. I will just say it was remembering that I think it was Oprah was interviewing, I think it was Eckhart Tolle and she said, Do you meditate and he paused and I’m not going to try to imitate how Eckhart talks because it’s so distinct, I don’t want to do it a disservice. But I remember him saying is like, I’m meditating now. He said, Are you asking do I set aside time? No, I just view my life kind of as a meditation in that I try to stay very present and not judgmental. I was like, Eckhart Tolle, his approach, I don’t know maybe that can work for more of us.
Jeff Krasno 44:50
I think I can. I mean, certainly, many people seem to have an innate ability to remain extremely present without endless training.
Erica Mills Barnhart 45:01
Yeah, I mean, I, we joked about me being a tea drinker, I think one of the reasons you can have this exact same practice with coffee, by the way, I try not to do anything else, when I’m making my tea. I do try to steep most of my tea for three to four minutes, I just try to focus on the tea. And so since I drink, like quite a lot of tea, both not all black, black and herbal, okay, just want to put that on the record. But I do this more with the black tea. You know, I really was like, I’m just get this is the only thing I’m doing, which builds in moments of true presence. And I don’t always even succeed on the three to four minutes, you know, a few times a day. But that has helped, for sure. For me just to sort of build in this idea and the muscle and I tend to be somebody because I do so much research and writing and teaching these sorts of things that you do back to your point about, like, being able to concentrate for long periods of time and the benefits of that. By the nature of my work, I have to be able to do that and by the nature of the way society is going, it gets sort of harder and harder. So I guess I’m trying to offer to listeners, like are there little things in your life that you’re doing anyway where you can just sort of, you know, have it stack? If you’re doing it any way, how can you step on the habit of mindfulness, as opposed to marketing it to ourselves as like this big thing that I have to set aside time for.
Jeff Krasno 46:20
Right, yeah, I mean, when you do the dishes, do the dishes. And, you know, I’ve often found that, that, you know, wisdom, or revelation or creativity often comes in the spaces. And we’re tend to be very obsessed with busying ourselves in the name of productivity or time scarcity, all of the time, that it does not allow a lot of space for the mind, or for consciousness to shine a spotlight somewhere else. And, you know, there’s all there’s myriad examples of this. And you know, there’s humorous ones where, you know, oftentimes so you know, you’ll recognize someone will cross the street, and he’d be like, wait a minute, he looks vaguely familiar. And like his, his name, I think his name starts with a B, Bill, is it Bob, like, you know, you, you cannot identify that person’s name, but your consciousness is very aware of what it isn’t. So you can kind of, you know, go through kind of frustration, and then, you know, when it matters and that person’s approaching now, and you’re going to have an interaction with that person, and you’re not going to be able to actually remember his name and that’s going to be embarrassing. But then, of course, four hours later, while you’re washing the dishes, Brad. And so, you know, what is happening kind of prior to consciousness, is a is a mystery. And now, that’s obviously a relatively non consequential example, remembering, you know, Bill or Brad, but it is illustrative of how the mind can work. And that if you can find space, that oftentimes the most brilliant, life changing idea, or revelation will happen, you know, within that space, it’s not necessarily when you’re absolutely 100%, you know, trying to accomplish a particular goal. I find that true with writing all of the time.
Erica Mills Barnhart 48:37
Jeff Krasno 48:37
I will stumble on a term or phrase, you know, just staring off, you know, in the distance, some time that was in a completely unpremeditated way that absolutely captures the essence of something. And then, you know, you can harvest that and take it back.
Erica Mills Barnhart 48:58
I do a lot of writing in my mind when I’m, I don’t run as much anymore, but when I’m working out. And so this is when I work with clients, I never do hourly, I haven’t for years for a wide variety of reasons. So one of the things is like, why not? And I would say, I actually do a lot of my best writing in my mind for clients, when I’m like, you know, my NordicTrack, or I’m lifting weights, or I’m out for a long walk, or I’m hiking or skiing. I’m like, do you want me to bill you for that time? That seems real weird. And they are like, No, no, why would you do something like that? That’s how it happens. Pretty much all the magic happens pretty much on the mountain. Yeah, but also this idea of boredom. I mean, Einstein came up with the idea of, you know, theory of relativity when he was bored in math class. Right? And, I mean, he’s such a good teacher about many things, but but about the power of boredom. And and, you know, I also, you know, go back to our biological lines and what they’re here to help us do when that now and I have a specific question I want to ask you about related to this idea of like the how we have been marketed and this idea that boredom is bad and productivities good. So you had Adam Gazzaley–
Jeff Krasno 50:02
Yeah, funny that you bring him up because I was just about to reference him.
Erica Mills Barnhart 50:06
Yeah, well, he’s okay. So for listeners who aren’t familiar, he’s amazing. He also he has an ability that you do to like, take these very complex topics and just chat about them like he’s chatting about the latest, you know, beer that he just tried. But he’s a neuroscience and Renaissance guy for darn sure. So you two were chatting on your podcast. And, you know, you were sort of mentioning that Western culture has started to sort of poke and prod and have to, like, prove that mindfulness is a good thing, which by the way, like, there’s a preponderance of evidence, we no longer really need to be doing that. However, the sort of motivation behind it is to then apply mindfulness as a tool for productivity and performance.
Jeff Krasno 50:47
Erica Mills Barnhart 50:48
So like, I’m envisioning, like bumper stickers that are like meditate and kick ass or like, something like that, you know? And it’s, it makes me kind of uncomfortable. But then, so why do I have that judgment? So I guess my question to you is, how did this come to pass in light, and when did this start to transition, I was looking at the etymology of the word mindfulness, which I always do. And I noticed that across, and this was interesting to me, across all languages, so first, I looked at English, and you know, 1800, you know, fairly prevalent, and then around 1900, there’s this huge dip. And then it starts to come back in the 1960s. And now it’s as high as it’s ever been. And in English, that made sense to me. So I was like, I wonder if this is just sort of a North American thing. It is every single language, some languages I didn’t even know what they were, where they were, where they were from. And, and so it’s like, so when, when did this happen? And why is it happening? And, and is it necessarily a bad thing?
Jeff Krasno 51:49
Yeah, that’s really interesting, you know, my mind jumps to the Industrial Revolution and, you know, Thomas Edison was, famously against sleep. And had, you know, the advent of the light bulb, obviously, would allow for greater hours of productivity, which sort of fed this notion of kind of time scarcity. And now, you know, multiply that times, you know, a million right now, where, you know, you almost cannot even get through half of an article, because there’s this FOMO to get on to the next thing, and, you know, Adam talks, really articulately around this concept of information foraging, which is, you know, fascinating, because, you know, he, like, you traces a lot of our behavior back to kind of instinctual innate behaviors, and, you know, really looks at the mind is something that’s actually quite ancient, and we’re still kind of functioning with this ancient mind, but in a very modern context.
Erica Mills Barnhart 52:51
It is old hardware.
Jeff Krasno 52:52
Yeah, and, you know, now, you know, you know, he makes a really great analogy between foraging, you know, you’re talking about, you know, sort of a squirrel, you know, eating all the nuts from a tree and then, you know, there’s sort of diminishing returns where there’s not as many acorns left, and so now, then they, you know, they see a tree like across the way, and then now it’s time to go to the next tree, because that’s more stocked with acorns. And that humans have a similar pension around information, where, you know, we would, you know, at one point, like, read a book, and then we would get more, you know, curious about that particular topic, and then we would go to the library and read another book, but obviously, now, you know, where the entire annals of, of human knowledge are at our fingertips, you know, you know, we’ll start to read an article and before we even get through the first paragraph, there’s four links that we can click on. And we have convinced ourselves that we have exhausted everything that’s valuable in that article before even reading the second paragraph, and we’re clicking off, you know, to some other thing, and that process becomes so reductive, that now it seems like the world is just memeified where like our information is coming from, you know, 20 characters or less.
Erica Mills Barnhart 54:19
And that there are diminishing returns. I think part of his point, if I remember correctly, or heard it correctly, is there’s diminishing returns to going deep is what we’re telling ourselves. Because everybody is trying to gather and share right and FOMO fear of missing out, you know, and so it’s like, Okay, well, like I’m going deep on this whole subconscious thing and I think I’ve got the jist. It’s like people spend their lives researching that and we’re like, well I click three times I think I’m good. I got it all sorted out.
Jeff Krasno 54:48
Yeah. And I’m not immune to that.
Erica Mills Barnhart 54:51
Oh heck not, I do it constantly.
Jeff Krasno 54:53
You know, I, you know, pray to my weakest instincts of researching on Wikipedia.
Erica Mills Barnhart 55:00
I do want to just say one thing on Adam, because I feel like this would be important is, for all the negative that he points out about technology, he actually is a technologist. He’s also an entrepreneur, and feels like technology could also be the path forward. So that so he talks very eloquently about the competition crisis. And then also says, and guess what, if people are gaming anyway, why don’t we use that, you know, as a force for good and not just assume it’s bad. So I just, I feel like it’s important. You know, I don’t want Adam inadvertently to get this rap from folks like us talking about it being like, I think that like he’s just got, he’s like, it’s not categorical, categorically that it’s just it’s a little stuck right now. And we need to be proactive, about how do we use it as a force for good to rewire our brains?
Jeff Krasno 55:47
Yeah, being a Luddite at this point would be complete surrender. So we need to work within the context of the tools that are given to us, I think, you know, kind of circling back to numerous points that you made around the framing of mindfulness, for increased productivity or optimal performance, you know, certainly, there’s been kind of a harvesting of athletes, you know, LeBron James says, now quite famously come out, in advertising the Calm App, but even within this kind of sliver of CEOs and business leaders, like Ari Emanuel, WME, is a meditator, and, you know, really is leveraging meditation as a technology for productivity and optimal performance to keep him like, you know, at his top executive level. And, you know, there is certainly, you know, some some, there’s some utility to this idea that we’re going to increase the amount of people engaging in this in this activity, by marketing it in a different way. And, you know, because a lot of people are, they want to be more productive at work they want to have, but my question about it that give, it makes me some a little bit uneasy, is that in sort of the demystification of this spiritual practice, are we undermining the actual real utility of it?
Erica Mills Barnhart 57:23
Right. So we’re commercializing and commoditizing the spiritual?
Jeff Krasno 57:27
Yeah, and it’s, and yeah, and I don’t want to get like modelin about it, you know, there’s nothing wrong, per se, with, you know, people making great product and, and profiting on that. But are we essentially taking a practice that is, at its core, meant to help people recognize the illusory nature of self, to cultivate, you know, capital L love to have a feeling of greater self worth, outside of external agents, you know, all of these things, are we taking a practice that are geared towards honestly, these very spiritual ends, and now repackaging it as a way to simply kind of get ahead or make more money or be better at your job or, you know, and then you can even take that to the next level where they’re putting, you know, monks in FMRI’s, you know, to kind of it just study their brains in order to leverage that information for navy seals. Now, if I know probably, you know, that’s a little bit of an empty example, because the navy seals aren’t really learning that to be better killers, per se, if, if our, you know, soldiers are actually able to be more present and more mindful, I think that’s a great thing to be honest. But, but oftentimes, yeah, you know, we’re taking this ancient practice. And we’re saying, like, yeah, there’s this kind of utility in in, in modernity, that it might kind of just only serve to perpetuate the problems that we already kind of find ourselves in. So-
Erica Mills Barnhart 59:20
Yeah, we’re taking a millennial old practice putting on them, well, we’ve acknowledged the old hardware, our brains, in a modern context. I think it’s fair to say that could get cloogy real fast and with anything, I mean, marketing is neutral, right? It’s like money. It’s how you use it that dictates whether or not as being a force for good or force for evil.
Jeff Krasno 59:42
Yeah, I think you know, where it becomes tricky, and I have been trying to kind of unpack where I have been, you know, a culprit in this is, you know, I find marketing can be at times insidious when it is incessantly pointing out the consumers deficiency or a perceived deficiency, that, you know, basically telling that person that they’re not enough, and then in turn, trying to sell them something to address that perceived deficiency.
Erica Mills Barnhart 1:00:15
Which, by the way, is addressing the perceived deficiency that we’d be marketing to ourselves. I mean, either you, you know, from the get go, most of us are wired to either say, we’re not enough or too much, a little bit too much.
Jeff Krasno 1:00:29
Yeah, I have three daughters, I certainly like drive down Sunset, and you know, you can’t, but turn your head to look at, like, you know, images of beauty, particularly for women that are like, completely unattainable. And I, immediately, of course, you know, I tried to put myself in my daughter’s head and be like, well, it would be so easy to feel inadequate, and not enough unless I buy that particular service or dress or implant or whatever. So, you know, this is where, you know, I, I try to, you know, I always try to frame the marketing that I engage in, within the brackets of social good, and in actually serving the mission of the businesses that, that I have been, you know, fortunate enough to lead, which have already always had very, very strong missions. And, you know, one piece of sort of, kind of business strategy that I’ve picked up along the way is your marketing can be really good and really healthy if the, the mission of your business is inextricably overlaid or interwoven with this the profitability of that business. So then, you know, it’s kind of like, a little bit hollow for British Petroleum to have an ecological mission, you know, they may have initiatives that are pro sustainability, but it you know, it is not intellectually honest, for BP to be out there with like, an environmental mission. So, you know, what I always try to do within the context of my businesses is to really start with a mission and then build the profitability model on top of that mission. So, you know, with Commune, it was like, you know, we’re gonna bring well being to a billion people. And guess what, if we do that, the PNL is gonna look damn good. You know, with Wanderlust, you know, it was a little more subtle, to be honest, like, you know, I kind of stumbled on this word, I didn’t really totally know what it meant when I first popped into my mind, which is actually a good example of, sort of, quote, unquote, wisdom coming in, in the spaces. And we had spent, it was like naming a band, we had spent hours upon hours trying to find a name for this thing, and I was just sitting on my couch with my daughter climbing on me, and I was like wanderlust, okay. And then, you know, looked it up and it was like the innate desire to travel. And immediately I made, you know, an association with like, the idea that mirroring this external yearning to discover the world was also a desire to look inwards and to, you know, discover-
Erica Mills Barnhart 1:03:25
Travel within your own wilderness as a work.
Jeff Krasno 1:03:28
Erica Mills Barnhart 1:03:29
That’s great. That’s such a great story about the inbetweens, interstitial.
Jeff Krasno 1:03:32
Interstitial, and then I sort of retreated off to the beach one summer for a week, and started to build, you know, the other components around that idea of wanderlust and I stumbled again upon this idea of find your true north, which again, was a travel reference, you know, of true north being somewhere that you might go physically in the world like a compass coordinate. But obviously, also referring to really unpacking your true creative spark, your essence, your most holistically well self, and then kind of drew out this little compass as the primary visual iconography that you know, Wanderlust was here to provide the coordinates on this journey for you to find your true north. And all those things like worked together really elegantly.
Erica Mills Barnhart 1:04:27
Well, they tell a story like it gives it a very cohesive narrative and I’m sure there’s some listeners who are like well, that’s nice you did that like from the get go. You know, when I work with clients, you know, and always saying this, we’re trying to honor what you have leverage your assets, but honor where you got there, and so a little reverse engineering and deconstructing oftentimes will unearth, if not something quite that cohesive, you know, a narrative and then you could come back to it and sort of freshen it and you true it up and sharpen it and all these things because that you know, part of the marketing for good philosophy is also the people who have within your company or your organization doing it are treated well. There’s a lot of turnover. And there’s a, you know, a lot of like, I mean, marketing breeds codependence like no one’s business, a lot of sort of negativity that’s gets bred in the making of the marketing. So we tend to focus on like, was it effective? Did it work? It’s like, well, what if it worked? But like, you’ve just burned out your entire team? I mean, what if your retention rate is like, terrible? Is that, is that truly making marketing a force for good? No, because you know, that you’ve, you’ve done this terrible people to human, terrible things to the humans doing it. So anyway, I think sometimes listeners can be like, but that doesn’t relate to me. So I’m gonna offer like, a very concrete. You know, that’s why you talk to founders and get the backstory. And-
Jeff Krasno 1:05:46
Yeah, well, to be honest, I failed miserably in that respect for years. I mean, I had a company that was completely based on well being, but we had a horrible churn rate, to be honest. And it wasn’t until kind of much later, you know, where, honestly, I grew up a little bit and had my own kind of spiritual inflection points, where, you know, I really committed to, you know, the business internally being reflective of the business externally. But if you’re gonna have, I mean, it’s obviously, like, almost ridiculously, literally resonant within a business about well being, but it’s true for any business, is that, you know, I’ve come much more around to the idea that you really just want to have businesses that are healthy inside and out. And sometimes, you know, it’s easy to sacrifice the well being of a business for the sake of growth, and we become so growth minded, that, you know-
Erica Mills Barnhart 1:06:50
This is an entirely different podcast, this whole thing about growth, our obsession with growth, how marketing perpetuates that, like, it’s not all about getting bigger.
Jeff Krasno 1:06:58
No, in fact, like, the company that I run now, it’s, you know, I have really made the bottom line a priority over the top line. Where it’s like we, we control our own destiny, we don’t have to take any high velocity dollars, you know like that can misaligned incentives, all of the kind of pitfalls that you get into with intense institutional capital and all this kind of stuff.
Erica Mills Barnhart 1:07:26
Yeah, the book, The Company of One, I think, is super interesting. Even if you’re not just going to be a company of one, the principles in it are very, very interesting to me. You know, he’s Canadian. So of course, you know, my roots, I’m a little biased towards that, but but you know, if listeners are interested in, in this, and I mean, honestly, we could just, it’s such a big deal. I want to make sure that we end, I want to be mindful of your time, you’ve been so generous. We started with a popcorn round, I’m hoping we can, which is kind of concrete, I’m wondering if you’d be up for a very concrete exercise, which is to share, so if we’re trying to like mainstream mindfulness, because we’ve acknowledged that the world would be a better place, if there was more of it, and it was more accessible. When you think about different audiences for Commune, like how might you, so I have three examples, which I would love to hear you just like, if it’s this type of person, what do you say to them to bring them into the fold? So the first, what about the single mom? Taking care of the kids? She has three jobs, she has no time and his bone tired all the time? What do you say to her about mindfulness?
Jeff Krasno 1:08:37
Sure. I would say that even 30 seconds of breath work while you’re in the car between drop off, scrambling for dinner, 30 seconds of breathing of Vipassana, if you will, can make such an incredible difference in your life. It’s called a practice for a reason. You know, there’s no end. It’s something that you do every day. I mean, how long per day do you brush your teeth? Two minutes, and you can’t brush your teeth for five hours the day before you go to the dentist and not any time for the rest of the year and you know, expect a good result. So it really is just you know, you one does these things as busy as they are they brush their teeth every night. It says it’s the same thing. It’s just brushing your teeth for your mind, just you know, and again, you can do it anywhere. You can do it in your car at drop off, so-
Erica Mills Barnhart 1:09:53
You could, I was thinking of the multitasking approach and okay wouldn’t work to like brush your teeth and focus on breath, I don’t think. However, there’s a lot of other activities. I mean, I actually am a fan of the three breaths. Even three breaths, you’ll be like, Oh, that’s right, I’m breathing, like brings you back.
Jeff Krasno 1:10:11
Yeah. And just like what you said about Eckhart, you don’t have to be engaged in a guided meditation on an app to be mindful. I mean, it can be as simple as actually putting your phone down while you’re at your kids soccer game, and just watching them move, watching them play watching them interact, watching them laugh, you know, it’s, do you reach for, you know, I don’t want to indict the iPhone all the time. But is there two minutes at the grocery store, where you’re in line, where you could just be present in line and wait for the checkout? Instead of feeling like that there’s no, you’re immediately bored. And you have to check your phone, and there’s no reason that you’re checking it, it’s just to check it, instead of actually being present to what’s going on? Who else is there looking around enjoying the phenomena of, you know, your ability to see things, hear things, listen to things, smell things, you know, just these little moments. You know, I don’t think anyone really could make a coherent argument that there’s no time to be present.
Erica Mills Barnhart 1:11:33
Okay, so to the busy busy mom, we’re saying just breath, the moments where you’re there anyway, to take full advantage of them, to just be present. What about a teenage boy who could definitely benefit from some mindfulness, but he thinks it’s just like silliness that grown ups do?
Jeff Krasno 1:11:50
Yeah, I mean, I experienced that firsthand, with with three daughters, that, you know, are, are unique and special in their own way, but but certainly susceptible to all the shortcomings that teenagers are, you know, prone to panic attacks and things like that. And, you know, I would say, you know, listen, you know, I, I have panic attacks, too, but I’ve cultivated some tools. And my eldest daughter will say, Dad, don’t you fucking dare say meditation. I’m not sure I have any good advice. But, you know, again, I think, you know, what we are seeing is, you know, mindfulness is becoming part of school curriculums, you know, it’s slow, it takes the form of other names, socio-emotional learning is one of the words that often gets used within school contexts, because mindfulness or meditation, can have sort of quasi religious ring for some people, but you know, it really, I can frame it, you know, in terms of the things that do matter for them, like, you know, their relationships, like this relationship, you know, Phoebe, my eldest daughter, is really, really important to you. So maybe you want to engage in some active listening, just listen to your friend, if she’s upset. And you can frame it in other ways, because active listening or listening to understand instead of listening to respond-
Erica Mills Barnhart 1:13:31
Oh, that’s huge. That’s huge for all of us.
Jeff Krasno 1:13:32
Is it’s own form of mindfulness.
Erica Mills Barnhart 1:13:35
Jeff Krasno 1:13:36
So that, you know, mindfulness is or is very protein, you know, it’s, uh, it can, you know, doesn’t have to be like Om Shanti you know, it’s like, so I think that there’s ways to, to mold it to fit, you know, demographics or situation. So I always frame it with my kids as like, well, if this is really important to you, then take a breath here. And, and listen, or practice some form of sustained attention. Or, you know, turn your phone off. Or, you know, I mean, there’s other like little techniques that you can, you know-
Erica Mills Barnhart 1:14:13
Jeff Krasno 1:14:13
That you can pose, like, you know, the phone basket at dinner, you know, be like everyone, yeah, things like that, so.
Erica Mills Barnhart 1:14:20
It’s funny that phone basket idea. So I am, we have a don’t bring your phone to the table rule. When I talk to other parents about that, they’re like, guess what, the reason we don’t do that is because I don’t want to do it. Which I think is so interesting, and sort of, I think just reinforces like, it’s an all of us thing. I was interviewing Ian Adair, for recent podcast, and he he is prominent in sort of mental health awareness and he points out, the statistic that we hear is one out of five people you know in a year will grapple with mental health issues. And his point is that five out of five of us are impacted by mental health issues in some form or fashion. It’s a five out of five issue. And I feel like meditation and mindfulness is a five out of five solution to a lot of these things. If we can, you know, get a little more artful, like you clearly are, and you’re really speaking to the, to the specific benefits to the specific groups of people. And I want to circle back to your point about like, all of this is actually very democratic, it’s very accessible, such as I hope that one thing listeners take away from this is this idea of it truly is accessible to everybody, there’s, there’s nothing that you need, except yourself and your breath, in order to take advantage of it.
Jeff Krasno 1:15:35
Yeah, and the breath is, is used often, because it’s something that you always have, I mean, I suppose until you don’t. But becoming, you know, aware of the breath, always coming back to that into a recurring action, you know, becoming more sensitive to the subtleties of the breath, how does it feel in your lungs, in your nose? How does it you know, all of these different kind of nuances. But there’s other techniques that you can use, if that’s not one that feels really resonant for you, you know, I grew up as a musician, and I off into sort of a, like a soundscape meditation where I will walk, or I will sit. And we generally experience the world as one singular monophonic wave, which is think of sound as one thing. But if you become quiet, you start to realize that there are dozens and dozens of little sounds happening all the time. And they’re coming in, and they’re coming out. And to be honest, they don’t always have to be like, you know, like, a crow flew past the Harvest Moon or whatever it can be like the refrigerators humming in this part of my of the left stereoscape, and, you know, something’s happening over here to the right, and you become almost the producer, or the engineer of this orchestra of sound. And as you become better and more refined listener, you can start to place those sounds in space. And all of a sudden, you know, you are incredibly present. And you’re incredibly aware of sound coming in and out of your consciousness as phenomena. And so there’s other ways you can get at it, you know-
Erica Mills Barnhart 1:17:32
Many, many, many ways. Anyways, all right, I close every interview by asking the same question to guests, so just speaking of breath, so etymologically speaking, inspiration actually means to take breath in motivation means action out to take action. So we need both an equal measure, can’t can’t have one without the other and any sustained period of time, what inspires you? And what keeps you motivated to do the work? You do?
Jeff Krasno 1:17:59
Yeah, I mean, I think those things are actually one in the same and is really having connection, having conversation, I feel that, you know, outside of kind of all the metaphorical pieces of what connection and conversation can mean, the sort of realization of the non self and these kind of higher concept ideas, which are all true and resonate with me kind of intellectually, but I find just kind of where I am truly the most animated and engaged and present is in connection, you know, with other people. And I think that, you know, there’s a lot of common humanity to be found there in a time, that is very, very polarized. And I really feel that, you know, conversation is the thing that stands between us and the world, that we imagine is possible. And I’m really trying to lean in to as many conversations as possible, particularly with people that I don’t agree with, or don’t agree with me and there’s plenty of those people fortunately, and, and really try to, you know, use techniques of nonviolent communication and have compassion to, you know, to try to create, you know, common ground and, and identify some shared humanity. So, fortunately, the name of my business is Commune.
Erica Mills Barnhart 1:19:39
Yeah, it’s all coming full circle.
Jeff Krasno 1:19:42
Yeah, that works well in the context. And yeah, I mean, I love I as I grow older, I tend to get a lot of gratification through the success of others, particularly inside my family and in my business, which is really an extended family. I mean, I think this speaks to some growing up that I’ve done around concepts of leadership. But I love watching the young people kind of in my company, start to step in to their, their greater selves and accomplish more and feel super empowered, and be motivated and achieve. And, you know, more and more, I’m really enjoying that piece of it to that, that. And it also the wonderful thing about that is that it relieves me of a lot of operational responsibility. So, yeah, I would say, you know, conversation, and really deriving sort of gratification through the success of others, is a pretty happy way to live.
Erica Mills Barnhart 1:20:50
Yeah. Jeff, thank you so much for saying yes to this conversation. I really, really appreciate it. I hope that, you know, listeners, you know, got a little bit about how we might use marketing to expand the reach and impact of meditation and mindfulness and all the wonderful work you’re doing at Commune. Again, you know, I’m going to make like a total plug for listeners to go check out the app. I like I have benefited in so many ways. There’s so much to learn there in a very accessible format plus really pretty like it’s just it’s a you know, it’s a beautiful app.
Jeff Krasno 1:21:25
Erica Mills Barnhart 1:21:26
Yes, so much. Goodness, a gajillion hours really. And Tracy’s Yoga nidra. I feel like everybody needs to experience having their calves relaxed. It’s a thing it’s a total thing. So and you don’t need a meditation pillow or anything you don’t thank you listeners for sticking with us, at times meandering but I hope inspiring conversation. Like I said at the beginning there were so many different ways we could have gone. And again, Jeff so grateful to you for just creating an openness to the conversation. Listeners, do good, be well and we will see you next time.