12 Lightbulb Moments From Our Podcast Episode With The Broad Place Founder Jacqui Lewis - The Grace Tales

12 Lightbulb Moments From Our Podcast Episode With The Broad Place Founder Jacqui Lewis



If you thought you needed a monk and a cave to teach you how to meditate, think again.

Or if you’ve tried it and thought “I can’t stop my thoughts” – then you need to stop what you’re doing, and listen to last week’s episode of the podcast, with Jacqui Lewis. We spoke to Jacqui about everything from parenting to turmeric, anxiety attacks to instagram, and these are some of our favourite moments from the episode…

Listen to the episode here

Image: Sarah Wood


On the two biggest misconceptions around meditation…

The biggest misconception is that you need to stop thinking while you meditate. And the second biggest misconception is that you need to change your whole lifestyle in order to meditate. People thinking, “I need to become a vegan or I need to do yoga, or I can’t live my corporate life and meditate.” That’s lessening as time goes on. And then the other part is, “I have tried to meditate and I can’t stop my thoughts. Therefore, I’m just one of those people that can’t do it.” And I always counter with, “No. You just haven’t found the right technique yet.”


On Eastern and Western approaches to meditation…

In the East for example, there’s a lot of talk about alignment to nature and surrender, and this concept of less is more. And we’re not really taught that in the West. We’re taught more is more, try harder, you get to be successful depending on how hard you try. And this beautiful alignment with the seasons and nature is not something that we’re educated in from a young age.

And so, when we go to meditation, we don’t do it, for example, for an hour, we just meditate for 15 to 20 minutes. And we use a mantra to help the mind. Because particularly I find as Westerners, we are very heavily weighted into the intellect.


On natural healing…

You walk the streets in India and if you cough, someone will pull a clove out of their pocket and say, “Oh, chew on this for your cough.” There’s this idea that you can naturally heal yourself. We’re now, “Oh turmeric is anti-inflammatory and ginger helps with digestion.” And we’re getting it now, but it’s taken a long time for us to play catch-up on that.


On why we meditate…

I think the most important thing to distinguish is with some meditation, you’re meditating because you want to have a beautiful experience when you meditate. It’s like, “This feels lovely. I feel rested.” Whereas with integrated meditation, which I practice, it’s not necessarily about that. It’s about creating an experience for the mind and body to launder the stress, tension, and fatigue out. We’re not meditating because it’s like, “Oh, this feels so great.” We’re meditating because of how we feel in the world with our eyes open. So, it’s more of an investment in our time.


On how meditation helps you deal with stress and anxiety…

It’s not that you become completely immune to stress and anxiety, it’s that you recover remarkably quickly. And I think that’s really important. It’s not that you meditate or you do any spiritual practice or you do yoga and all of a sudden you don’t experience the full spectrum of human emotion. I think you actually experience the full spectrum of human emotion even more, and even more richly, but the key thing is that you recover really fast.


On her recent anxiety attack…

Three or four months after we moved (to London) I actually had an anxiety attack, which is the first time in so long since I had had one. But then I moved through it really quickly and found my feet. I think it was such a remarkable experience because I was reminded of how awful anxiety to that degree is. I think I had forgotten to a degree. I used to have terrible anxiety but it was becoming a distant memory so I think it was important to be reminded of how hard anxiety is to work with. But then I found my footing afterwards, and felt more grounded than ever after. It was an awesome learning experience.


On her changing relationship with her daughter…

You go from being this uncool person where they think you’re really amazing when they’re small, to just being horrifying. Everything you do is horrifying, everything you wear is horrifying. I’ve got kind of a big personality and I wear some pretty strange clothes, so I flap around in a kimono and all sorts of things, and Marley was just continually horrified.


On parenthood…

What other job would you do that’s 90%-95% challenging and 5%-10% rewarding? You’d quit. Any other relationship you’d be like, “I’m out. This is just… I’m shown no gratitude. I have to work harder than I’ve ever worked. I don’t get paid to do it.” There’s not really any reward aside from these glimpses, and these moments that are just so stunning and so… the whole world feels like it stops turning in those powerful moments as a parent, you feel so taken with life, but they’re few and far between on the whole, if you look at the daily grind. I think parenting is a marathon so we need systems in place to help us go and be nourished and be our best selves through our process.


On how meditation shows you yourself…

The one piece of feedback that I continually get from our meditation students is, “I feel far more empowered.” I say to students, “Your consciousness, think of it like a pane of glass and when it’s all fogged up and dirty and scratched, as you’re trying to peer out into the world, it’s very hard to get a clear vision of what’s going on.” Meditation cleans that glass, so not only can you see outwards. But when a piece of glass is in front of your face and you’re trying to imagine a window, and you’re trying to look out – the other thing you can’t see when it’s dirty is a reflection. And the cleaner that becomes and the more beautiful and polished, you actually get a clear reflection back to yourself.


On why integrative meditation works for families…

I think probably the biggest challenge that a lot of meditation techniques in isolation have, is that they need quiet. Traditionally you need to be in a quiet space, you need to be sitting in a particular position, you need to keep still. Good luck with that at home with young kids. Integrative meditation you can do anywhere. I used to meditate, it’s not ideal, but I used to meditate with Peppa Pig playing with Marley watching next to me. You are used to being disrupted so it does fit quite well into that family environment.


On Instagram…

What we’re doing is basically seeking happy hormones, we’re seeking connection, we’re seeking community. We get that lovely oxytocin hit when we have that connection with someone we see. There’s no mistake that Instagram created the love heart. So, it’s designed, it wires our brain to go, “Ahh.” The same oxytocin that if you see a puppy, or a new born baby, that lovely happy hormone download. That’s what Instagram is designed to give you. So, when we’re feeling pushed and stressed and out of our comfort zone and we don’t have a lot of pleasure happening in our lives, then we look to digital media for it, so it can be a trap. We’ve got to be extra careful and vigilant with it. But I think sitting down and doing a huge cull, and every single time you see something that you’re like, “Ooh, that triggered me.” Then I’m just going to either unfollow or pause it because it’s just not going to invite in what I want for my life right now.


On the opportunity of isolation…

The one thing that trauma gifts us is this hugely plastic brain. We’re like little crabs, so we’ve kind of crawled out of a shell that was probably too tight anyway and now we’re wandering around on the beach feeling a little bit vulnerable and exposed, trying to find what the new world looks like, our new home. I’m using this obviously as a simile, not physically our new home but, what’s the new world look like? We don’t know yet. So, in the new sort of jelly, I’m feeling like I could pecked off at any moment, off the sand.

It’s easy to panic in that time, but the gift of The Broad Place is that I’m exposed all the time to people that have had some sort of reckoning. So, either someone that they love has died, or they’ve received a diagnosis, or they’ve gone through a divorce, or they’ve been made redundant, or lost their business and they get really serious in a light way around what counts, and it always comes down to the same things. Everyone goes, “I value the people that I love, my time, my physical, emotion, and spiritual health.” That’s it. It’s so simple, yet they’re the things we all seem to neglect whilst we’re rushing around and running our lives. And so, if we can come back to the things that truly count and be grateful for those things and realize that there is an abundance of beauty to be had in the simplicity of our lives and the things that we know count, then our happiness increases exponentially in relation to our understanding of that.


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