Wondering “Where are all the Conscious Men hiding?” Explore that & more in a chat with Amy Baglan, founder of MeetMindful & Waylon Lewis of elephant journal.
Waylon Lewis: Okay! Honored to be with you, ol’buddy. What you been up to?
Amy Baglan: Hola Waylon! Life has been damn amazing, feeling good over here in Denver. You?
Waylon: I’m getting my butt kicked by work, as usual—and loving it for the most part.
I’ve been dating off and on, since that’s the subject of today’s convo—”keeping it real around mindful relationships”—some amazing relationships that are generally cut short by folks living elsewhere and/or my work, which is all-consuming schedule-wise. Folks don’t find me very attractive or fun to date after a few weeks, generally.
Amy: Is that what happens for you? Something starts off good, then fizzles because of your work? I totally get that. I’m having a lovely time practicing the art of balancing the hustle of a growing startup…and falling deeply in love with a man I actually met through my site, believe it or not!
Waylon: Awwww that’s quite a testimonial! Congrats to you and yours.
Amy: It’s been a challenge: but for the right person, they should love that crazy entrepreneurial part of you in all its glory, too.
Waylon: Generally. It works better if whomever my partner is, is independent, has their own passion and work. IE, they don’t want to have a life, either. I wrote about this in “Date a Boy who Serves.”
I look good on paper—a good guy, decent, fun, wildly charismatic and deeply humble [derisive laughter in the direction of Waylon], home, dog, meaningful work. Then, if you date me, you just find that you’re living with someone who works night and day. Pretty boring.
Amy: Do you really want them to be all-consumed by their work? Or just generally be able to “get it” when it comes to hustle and hard work?
Waylon: I don’t mind if they work a ton or not, but just that they don’t pressure me not to work. I honestly want to change the world and am doing my best, and the guilt of not being there for someone I care about is painful, so I’d rather just be single.
Amy: I know Way, you’re quite the catch on paper! And off, methinks [said in charitable tones]. When you’re in a relationship do you find that you can stick to your practice? What are your practices, by the way?
Waylon: Yes. That’s fundamental to my life and being able to function drama-free and intelligently.
I grew up Buddhist, though Buddhism is the kind of thing you need to actually want to do, so doesn’t really matter if you’re born in it or not. At around 17 I’d practiced a ton of meditation and programs and retreats and months of silent meditation and such, but hadn’t made a deeply personal relationship with meditation, which is really all Buddhism is on some level. And meditation is a confusing word—it can mean a lot of things. So meditation in the sense of Shamata, or Shambhala practice.
At around 17 I got deeply involved in meditation and study and am pretty grateful to that anchor of sanity, the humor it gives me about my ridiculous self, and a great way to deal with stress and difficult emotions, challenges in my life.
So I meditate first thing every morning for a few minutes, then again at night. More if I need it, which is often.
Amy: Got it. So your primary practice is meditation. Lucky you for having that as part of your upbringing. I know you also do yoga, too, yeah? Do you consider yourself a yogi?
Waylon: Not sure about that. I’ve practiced yoga somewhat intensely in the past, now do it for maintenance. I don’t believe that yoga, as taught in the U.S. generally, is “spiritual,” whatever that means. I do believe it’s good for the mind, heart and body, and stress, and the emotions. But I don’t think it’s a spiritual path as most studios and teachers present it. Of course it can be—and should be, perhaps: I wrote about that in “the Future of Yoga” and have talked about it or asked about it extensively with many great teachers on our Walk the Talk Show series, which is honored now to feature you!
Climbing, hiking, bicycling as commuting, real food, conscious consumerism, community—these things in addition to yoga, and primarily meditation, keep me sane.
And you? What are your daily practices that help you be sane, grounded, open, and of service to others?
Amy: Oh man that’s a whole other conversation, I feel you on the U.S. yoga though. After spending time practicing in India and with a handful of teachers here in the U.S., it’s a very different experience than the typical practice we have access to on a daily basis at studios.
It’s interesting, for me it started with yoga about 10 years ago, so I can see how yoga tends to be the “gateway drug” for many people who start their spiritual path. Then shortly after I began a daily meditation practice that I’ve more or less stuck to ever since. Those are my primary practices, however, as my path has evolved I’m finding more and more that I drop in during things that are not the typical “spiritual” pursuits as we might think of them.
Cycling is a big one for me too. I figure out all my life problems on my road bike.
Clean, whole food is a must. My mind doesn’t work when my body is lagging.
Waylon: How do you keep your stress and relationship in balance while starting up a big mindful business?
Amy: Community for sure. You know that statement that you’re the sum of the six people you hang out with most? That’s something I try to keep in mind a lot, because I’ve been in a place in my life years ago where I felt like I had toxicity all around me and just needed to purge a lot of connections and friendships. Now it’s all about surrounding myself with positivity and authenticity.
No petty bullshit.
It’s funny, my first two years of starting MeetMindful, I was all over the place. I went from a crazy relationship to swearing off dating for over six months, in order to focus on what I was building. I told myself I wouldn’t get involved with anyone else unless it felt truly right and aligned. It took a long time to find that.
If I’m not grounded, nothing works. Not my relationships, my body, or my team and company. So that’s priority #1 always. I know you can relate.
Another thing I’ve really had to learn is unattachment to expectations, while still working toward big goals. It’s a weird dichotomy sometimes.
Like, last night I came across a sheet of paper from a big brainstorming session I did last year. I saw the numbers I wrote for October of 2015 and just had to smile at how off my expectations were compared to what is real today.
Waylon: So…for others in the MeetMindful or elephant communities, would you say that you can’t really luck into mature fun love until you’re grounded, ready, open because of your work on yourself?
Amy: Yes I would absolutely agree with that, Way. I think there are many, many ways people can fall into other types of relationships that aren’t necessarily mature, fun or conscious, but unless you’re willing to do the work before and during the relationship, the chances for lasting love are slim.
Waylon: Okay, so…you had a tricky topic you wanted to touch upon, Amy?
Amy: One thing I will mention about the notion of “doing the work” with regards to relationships…both people have to be willing to do this, and at a similar pace. Now that Joe and I are past that three month “honeymoon” period, things are getting real. Our stuff is coming up, our past, our childhoods, our fears. And at this point a lot of people don’t feel equipped on how to deal with it. You’ve got to both be willing and able to look at your own shit and compassionately work through it together. It’s not easy, but with the right person it’s worth it.
Something that we hear from the women on MeetMindful is where do they find the conscious men? The question is usually something like, “How come there are so many more conscious, spiritually-awake women than men in the world?” I’ve run this question by a lot of people. My friend and advisor Arielle Ford said something to me the other day that I can’t stop thinking about.
She said that spiritual women are fucking it up for all the good, conscious men out there by expecting them to be like them. Expecting them all to go to yoga with them, do kirtan, kundalini, drink green juice, etc.
Waylon: It’s tough! Relationships, I always feel, are like walking down a dark corridor just feeling your way forward. It can be fun, but it’s hard work and you don’t know what you’re going to run into. Some guidance is helpful.
Follow us to elephant journal to continue reading Amy & Way’s conversation (and have a happy day).
About Waylon Lewis