Strengthen Your Intuition & Unlock Your Inner Wisdom with Amber Rae
Hey everybody, what's up? It's Chase. Welcome to another episode of "The Chase Jarvis Live Show" here on Creative Live. This is a show where I sit down with amazing humans, and I do everything I can to unlock their brain with the goal of helping you live your dreams in career, hobby, and life. The guest today is the one and only Amber Rae. Her second time on the show. The first time we talked about her book called "Choose Wonder Over Worry." Today, we are inviting her to share a completely new chapter in her life, reorientation around her work, her values, and specifically a new book called "The Answers are Within You." It's an unreal conversation. And believe me, she has been in The New York Times, Today, Self Fortune, Forbes, Entrepreneur. Her writing has been everywhere and for good reason. We cover things in this episode like how to relate our internal world to how we show up for ourselves in the real world. Four steps, for example, that she went through in taking an entire break f...
rom social media, if you wondered if that's a good thing for you to do, to put the pencil down for a little bit and take a breather, the concepts of discipline versus commitment, how creative processes are seasonal and how to understand those, the non-linear path, the nature rather of personal growth. It's not always forward. We sometimes have to take a step back. And most importantly how to not die with the gifts that you have inside of you. It's an incredible episode. I will get outta the way and let you enjoy yours truly with Amber Rae. (upbeat music) (audience applauds) They love you! Amber Rae, so great to have you back. Welcome back to the show for your second time. We're thrilled that you're with us.
Thank you. Thrilled to be here.
It's been a minute. You were one of our first audio only recording super early on in pandemic life 1.0. I don't know what life we're on now, maybe three or 4.0. (Amber laughs) But it's nice to have you on and see your face. How are you doing? Tell me what's the latest?
I am, it's good to see your face as well also. I was, it's funny, I was coming onto this thinking we were audio only. And about 45 minutes ago, I was like, "Wait, this is video?" And I was like walking around in a robe drinking my tea. And I was like, "Okay, I gotta get ready."
Oh, I love it.
And I just moved into a new place in Topanga in California, and so I've got boxes everywhere. But as you can see, I'm sort of in this wooden cabin next to a creek, so.
Oh, so cool.
I'm in a place of feeling peaceful and present.
Despite the chaos of the world.
Right, right. And so you are in LA now, and that means you've moved. I also saw on social media that a year ago, you made a post where you were going to take a break. And during all of this time, you've been writing an incredible book called "The Answers are Within You." And it seems like all of those things are related. Now, before we get into the answers are within us, "Within You" being the title of the book, for the handful of people who either didn't see your first show here on, or the first time we had you on the show or who may not be familiar with your work, why don't you start off by orienting us in the universe of how you describe yourself, your work, and what your focus and interests are right now?
Great. I'm an author and artist and a speaker. My first book was called "Choose Wonder Over Worry." I've been a long time, how I got into this was I'm more of a memoirist and a writer. And I started a blog 15 years ago sharing the vulnerabilities and truths about my life, not realizing that anyone would care. And suddenly people, I sort of accidentally built this community of people saying, "Wow, thank you for putting words to the things "that I've been feeling and experiencing." And I realized that my gift was really being able to put language to the human experience. And so, I do that through my writing, I do that through illustrations, I do that when I'm on stage. And yeah, so that's my work. I'm so deeply passionate about emotions and our internal experience and how we relate to our internal world and how we really come home to ourselves. And, you know, I think in this last year, I've been going through a whole process of kind of destroying what was no longer aligned and in full integrity and in a process of rebuilding. And so, I really realize that a lot of what I create, I'm creating for me too. And so, I'm creating things that I hope bring clarity and hope and joy and a sense of presence and peace to our lives.
That is, if not everybody's seeking that, I think that's the thing that everybody should seek; alignment, peace, connection, vitality, you know, some of the other words that you used. And that's one of the reasons I love your work. Going back to "Choose Wonder Over Worry," an amazing book that I think the subhead really helps us understand it too, which was "move beyond fear and doubt "to unlock your full potential." So, that is essentially a shorthand for what this particular show is about. So, that you have been through a new process since your last book personally, and that you've written about, again, understanding the answers are inside of us. I would like to start off today's conversation around the new area of focus for you is how did you discover that there was this lack of alignment? Because right now someone who's listening to this as they're jogging down the trail or sitting in traffic or on the subway or wherever they listen to shows or watch them, they're saying, "I don't feel perfectly aligned. "I'm not sure what alignment feels like," or, "I know I am totally outta whack." And then we've hooked those people. But how did you realize that there was some sort of disconnect in either your value system or in, what were the signals that you needed to make some changes?
Yeah. Something just felt off to be honest, and I couldn't put my finger on what. And it was like something, it was like I no longer fit in my clothes in a way. And so, my process was I sort of evaluated every part of my life. I looked at the way that I create community, the way that I create content online. And, you know, I asked myself, does this like bring me joy? Is this feeling aligned? Is this feeling an integrity? Is this feeling authentic? And I realized that with, you know, social media and content creation, here I was a writer and artist that suddenly was a media company and was trying to turn out so much content every week so that I don't lose my following on Instagram, and if they changed the algorithm, you know, there was like, I started to create from a place of fear and scarcity rather than from a place of power, abundance, and truth. And so, that's what actually led me to do a pause on social media because I thought, I realized I stopped asking the question of what do I have to say with the things I was creating. And I started asking the question, what does my audience want from me? Which I think, you know, can be healthy to like, what does the audience want and need and how can we meet that? But I'd almost lost touch with my origin as a memoirist and a truth teller. And so, you know, I took the pause on social media, and then I looked at where I was living. And I was living in New York City. And New York, I had wanted to leave there for many years. And I just began to slowly, you know, reevaluate every part of my life to the point where I realized that most areas of my life were out of alignment and needed some changes.
How do you do that without like shattering everything? Because you're talking about dismantling. Like, okay, career. Audience. How I spend my time. Where I live. Like, oh, like, is it possible to do that without blowing the whole building up?
You know, I wish I could, for me, there had been moments in my life where it was like, oh yeah, this part of my business does not feel, I'm trying to think of an example, like, oh, I don't wanna do online courses anymore. It's not, you know, it doesn't feel, so I'm gonna stop that side of my business and try this. I think there's, you know, small ways to do it. And then sometimes life requires you to blow it up. Mine over the last year happened to be more of a blow up. Not to say that finding alignment has to be this big thing. I think it can be in the small decisions we make every day. It can be what is the morning practice that is gonna have me feel centered and present with myself? What is, you know, when I find myself in anger or defensiveness, how can I respond from a place of presence and non-reaction? Like, I think it's like the smallest little moments we can begin to align of like, what would, you know, how would my highest self respond to this? Or what does it look like to embody my values and embody my integrity moment by moment? So, I think it comes in our daily small decisions. For me, it just kind of came in more of a life revamp. (Amber laughs)
Good. A restart. So, I have pulled up the post that you spoke of where you took a break, and I would like to read a piece of it, and maybe we can dig one level deeper. It says, "Hi, lovelies! "I'm signing off social media for some time "to focus on my creativity, my next book, "the first cohort of Creative Alchemy. "After 10 plus years of consistent writing "and sharing on the internet," "wild" in parentheses, "I've noticed that the pressure I place on myself "to keep up on Instagram "and 'come up with new content ideas' is taking me away "from accessing the depth of writing and creativity "that yearns to come through me. "As magical as this platform can be "and as grateful as I am to this community, "I keep seeing a visual tombstone in my mind that says, "'Amber Rae's time well spent. "'Thousands of hours and posts on Instagram.' "And that visual just doesn't sit well with me, "so I'm taking a break to reevaluate the way I create, "share, and cultivate community." So, first of all, incredibly self-aware and brave thing to put out there in the world, which as you articulated earlier, you see yourself as a truth teller, and obviously that sounds like the truth, right? When we hear the truth, it just sounds a little different.
So, you said in the post why you made that judgment and that call. How did it affect you?
Well, I wrote the book and finished the book in two months, so that was helpful. I think, you know, life and even the title of this book, "The Answers are Within You," there is so much noise in modern life. There is the news, the pandemic, the fear, there is, you know, everywhere we turn there is noise, and there is angst, and there is worry, and there is just so much that is not ours. And so, I was finding that social media was yet another layer of noise. And in that layer of noise, I was I think operating from here trying to keep up with this hamster wheel of Instagram content. And, you know, my content comes from a much deeper place. And so, what came through was I think truths that I was pushing beneath the surface. And so, in that place of quiet, not only was I able to complete this body of work, and I ended up guiding 80, I think it was 85 creators to birth their own creative work alongside that, but some truths about my life. I was in a marriage that I completed last May. Some truths about my life, that I was really afraid to admit to myself and terrified to name as truth I think bubbled to the surface because I finally gave myself the space of quiet and listening.
How fast after you turned off the or turned the volume way down on the noise, I don't know if we can ever turn it off, but how long after? What was that process like? How long after? Was there some light bulbs going off? Was there some fear in that? 'Cause I know when I turn all that stuff off, there's an immediate sort of like (mimics buzz) Like, something's missing, what's missing? And, you know, it's sort of like all the best stuff is on the other side of that uncomfortable feeling or on boredom or on, realize that I don't have all these things stimulating my neurology. How long for, can you describe the process? And then how long until you sort of started recognizing that this is a thing, this is good for me, and I'm going to extract value and like lean into these feelings and the space that I've created?
Yeah. I think if I were to put it in stages, which I'm gonna attempt to do right now thinking out loud.
All right, real time. I love it.
I think the first stage was fear and fear was, "Oh my God, I'm gonna lose my people. "They're gonna be mad at me. "What if I, you know, what if I create this thing "and then they don't want it "because I'm not creating content?" You know, there was like all of that fear based thinking. Then, I think there was the stage two was withdrawal, which was I had all these dependencies. You know, when I post something and something goes viral, like, you know, I think a part of me is like, "Oh, I don't care about those things." But like, no, that does something to you. It makes you feel something. It makes you feel like your work is important and worthy. And so, it was, you know, being really honest about where am I, as Brene Brown talks about, hustling for my self worth, and where am I depending on these different platforms to give me a sense of enoughness and a sense of my work being worthy. Side note, but I have a friend who is an artist, and he creates bodies of work over years of time. And it's so funny to me because he is like, "Social media? "What?" And he, you know, he's like, "I'm working on this one idea and one project for years, "and no one is going to see it "until like I'm ready to show it to the world." He's not capturing his process. He's not bringing people into his world. He's not updating what it feels like to, you know, he's just like so in it. And I think there's something so admirable about that because he doesn't need that external validation. He doesn't need that external approval. And so, it was like in that withdrawal period, I think it went into a space of, stage three would be like self honesty. Of, you know, why am I doing this? And where is this coming from? Actually one of the concepts in the book was inspired by this, but am I doing this for love or from love? Am I doing this for power or from power? Am I doing this for joy or from joy? For, you know, validation or from self validation? And I, you know, I think that's where the assessment process really began for me that like started at this relationship with social media and a community, but then I realized was permeating in other areas of my life. And so, I think once that self honesty stage came up, the next stage was deep listening. I've been an avid journaler for most of my life. And, you know, it's funny, I always know the periods when I'm not journaling are actually when I need it the most (laughs) and I'm hiding from and resisting something. And so, you know, I think for months I wasn't writing. And then on the other side of this ride, pen to paper, I started putting pen to paper. And, you know, once I tell myself the honest truth, it's hard to unsee and unknow it. And so I think, you know, that was like January, February. I think I started to see some things and know some things about my life that needed to shift.
And does this come to you in the form, and I'm trying to get a little specific here because I think this tactically speaking is something that is so valuable, this being honest with one's self, the trying to understand what you truly stand for. You mentioned earlier briefly your why. And this can be a very, you know, simultaneously obviously very powerful process but also a very disjointing one. And so for the people who are listening and watching, we have to give us some hope that the upside is worth the pain that it goes through to be self-aware or become self-aware or take the time. So, can you give a testimonial for the ROI of going to an uncomfortable place?
I'm so glad you brought that up. Well, I'll say on the other side of the most intense, transformative, difficult, terrifying, yet beautiful year of my life, I have never felt more alive. I have never felt more present, more peaceful, more in my body, more in integrity with the truth of who I am than any other moment in my life. And so, you know, I think for me that was big sweeping life changes over the last year, but I also know the relief that has come when I've said no to an opportunity that's not fully aligned. And then the door that opens to find and discover something else that's more true. Like, I also know the like relief that comes from having a difficult conversation with a loved one or a partner or a friend that maybe I'm avoiding because it's uncomfortable. But, you know, learning to shift my relationship to conflict and have that hard conversation actually ultimately leads to more intimacy and closeness. And so, I think when we're talking about alignment and integrity here, integrity is are you showing up? Are you doing what you say you're going to do? And are you showing up in alignment with what you value? And then I think, you know, alignment is like living integrity. And so, you know, I think the ROI of it is living courageously, truthfully, authentically, and really like, I feel like I'm, the word almost isn't proud, but I'm like, oh, I'm so proud of you. Like, you're like, like before it was like, I felt like sometimes, Julia Cameron talks about this in her book "The Artist's Way," how they're like these spiritual checks, like, did it again, did it again. And like your spiritual self is kind of like, (groans) you know, I like didn't have the hard conversation or like, you know, had a third glass of wine instead of doing my writing or like whatever it is for you, those things, the ways that we avoid. And like, for me, I've had a new checklist, and that checklist is like, I did it, I did it, I did it. I did the hard thing. I had the hard conversation. I spoke the truth, and there's nothing more powerful than that.
It's almost like there's a, in your book which I want to get to, your new one, "The Answers are Within You," which is incredible by the way. Congratulations. And I'll just, one comment on the format. It's basically a set of sort of small ideas and aphorisms that I found myself at first when I picked up the book reading front to back as one does a book, got tons of value because of the way that you laid it out. But since then, and in revisiting the work in advance of our conversation today, just going from, you know, topic to topic and the way you've outlined them in the beginning, I can literally like jump to the section called, you know, mining for inner treasure, as an example. So, I wanna commend you on, you know, taking a chance with a format. I think it's really cool and invites, you know, both the longer journey and also sort of a maintenance, like little tuneups along the way, which is how I've used it. But in doing the piece that you talked about, this understanding, you know, what truth feels like or what it feels like to you when you say the truth, it seems like there's a bit of a like a contract that you've made with yourself. And, again, these are my words, not yours to be fair, but I'm trying to understand what I felt like in reading it and mostly in hearing you say that last point about like every time I made a decision that was in line with who I've put on paper and the concept I have with myself, like some sort of momentum or inertia. Now I realize these are my words, but I'm hoping you can respond to those. Is there some way that this is like, you've made a deal with yourself and how if this is accurate, how is this different than discipline? I had the discipline to do the 20 pushups today or whatever. 'Cause discipline and sort of alignment, they can sometimes, you know, butt heads, so, or feel unsafe or painful. So, how would you respond to, is it a contract and if so, how is it different than discipline? What does it feel like in the body? 'Cause I know that's a thing you write extensively about.
Right. You know, I haven't, I actually like the word contract. I hadn't thought about it previously that way, but it is. It's almost like I've written this contract with myself that I will live the truth of who I am. I will choose courage over comfort and truth over harmony, I feel like is signed Amber Rae. (Amber laughs) And like even when it's uncomfortable and terrifying and uncertain, I will still lean into courage and truth. Like, that does, somewhere inside of me I made that contract with myself, made that vow with myself, maybe is a word that feels more true for me. And I, you know, I think on the difference between discipline and I'd say commitment, I think discipline sometimes at least my experience of it, this might not be everyone's experience of it, discipline I think is like doing for doing sake. I think discipline can get caught up in unnecessary suffering. I think discipline can get caught up in the, like the task based thinking rather than the why based thinking. Whereas like if I make a commitment to honor and take care of my body, that like seasonally could change. But if my discipline is I have to do 50 pushups, I don't know. Like, for me that feels a little bit constraining. I'd rather be like, okay, I'm committed to honoring my body and taking care of it. What does that look like for me in this season? And how can I do it in a way that feels like I'm honoring myself and not like over pushing myself? I've recently, I'm obsessed with something called The Class by, I don't know if you've heard of The Class, it's like this spiritual bootcamp type thing, but it like, it combines mental, emotional, and of course physical, it's like incredibly physical. But you'll be like doing your 17th burpee, and they'll be like, "What is the inner critic saying right now?" You know, like, "Where is your mind? "Come back to your breath." And so it's like this, you know, a whole rant, but like, you know, I think we can find, through our commitments, we can find the practices that move our soul. And I think ultimately I'm always wanting to be moved by the things that I do and create. And so, I don't know. Commitment in a vow feels more, just from a language perspective, inviting than like discipline, and... But, you know, that word might work for someone else.
Yeah. No, I find it interesting. And oftentimes semantics can align us or sort of, you know, get our wires crossed. And I like how you put the word commitment and being committed to something that's a higher idea rather than just the task because we often then can get overwhelmed individual task versus the higher order thinking of what does my body need right now? You said something that I wanna dive in on aside from, I just spent 10 seconds talking about The Class, which you're talking about. It's an online streaming service that combines basically meditation and movement in some way, shape, or form. Is that a reasonable assessment of it?
You go to TheClass.com and check it out. So, it's interesting to know that you care about that. Sidebar over. (Amber laughs) So, you used a word that I want to keep pulling on this thread, and it's related to discipline and this sort of awareness, the higher, the why, to use your word. And that is the seasons. You talked about seasons. This has come up for so many guests on the show. And ironically, whether it comes from the seasons of, you know, the year; fall, winter, summer, spring. We feel differently. It's dark at, you know, whatever 4:00 in the afternoon here in Seattle this time of year. So, you just can't do as much. And, you know, you can feel how winter feels different than summer. And for, you know, we've had world class athletes on the show and there's the season where their sport is happening and then there's the off season. So, whether you're thinking about seasons in either of those contexts, what do you mean by season? I think there's a lot in there that is valuable. So, can you talk more about that?
Yeah. Seasons. When I'm creating and in a new body of work, that becomes that season, that becomes the thing that I'm devoted to. And it really, you know, I think the biggest shift for me having my creative process when I stopped thinking that I'm making the thing and I realize that the thing is making me. And so we are in this symbiotic relationship, we are in this creative dance. And as much as I'm like, I wanna get, you know, 1,000 words written today, I always, like as I was writing "The Answers are Within You," I'll ask the work like what wants to come through you? Or when I couldn't figure out how to structure this book, and I had thousands of pieces of art on my floor, and I was banging my head against the door, finally, I thought, I like turned the book and I was like, how do you wanna be structured? And this might sound crazy 'cause you're like, "Do they talk back to you?" (everyone laughs) But I think, you know, whether it's my voice, I don't if it's the book's voice, but I think when I'm so in my mind of this is the way it needs to go and this is how it needs to be done, that I don't take a step back and try to get a different perspective. And so, when I take a step back and I'm like, how does the book wanna be structured? Not how do I, Amber, think the book needs to be structured? How does the book wanna be structured? It instantly came to me that the book actually wants to be more of an oracle book. And the, you know, the book wants to be something that you can grab and open to any page and let that be the piece of wisdom that's meant for you. And so, I'm, you know, ranting away from the idea of seasons, but I think seasonality to me is about the full immersion in whatever has my attention then. And sometimes I think seasons can match and mirror the seasons of nature. But I also think like the season for me over the last nine months of my life, which okay, maybe I was birthing a new baby, maybe I was rebirthing myself (laughs) was a season of like, you know, total reconstruction. And so, that required me, somehow in the midst of this total reconstruction, it was like divorce, launched a book, moved to a new place. I felt a little bit like a crazy person running around. It was like all of the most stressful life things happening at the same time. But I think because I realized that this isn't forever, this is a season, and this is gonna be a very uncomfortable and perhaps stressful season but it's gonna be one of full reconstruction. And so I think for me, the simple act of labeling the season that I'm in allows me to feel a greater sense, like less powerlessness and a greater sense of control. And distance. Like, there's healthy distance in it.
So, this is, to me, there's so much packed in here. I mean, obviously, it's the reason that you said you wrote. Once you actually made some of those changes, you're able to write the book in two months, and that's sort of this idea of when you tap in and the spigot is on you just, you know, leaning into that thing, and that is, whether that's a flow state or whatever you call it, I find that having, you know, and lots of guests here on the show, we're 12 years in, mostly talking to people in our community that there's so much resistance in our lives. And what we ought to be looking for is the things that are blocking us and trying to remove those blockers, which is, I think you use the word alignment, right? It's like once you can, you know, it's sort of like you line up the puzzle pieces and then the ball can roll downhill really, really quickly. And it's that so every time you click something into place and it feels right, you're, we're getting further towards that season when things can just flow. To this I ask, is this what you're talking about? Is it intuition? Are you listening to a voice that's already there? Or are you cultivating new words from inside you? Or some hybrid? Talk to me.
I love that you're having me put language to things that I like don't know if I have language for. (Amber laughs) I'm gonna try.
No, but this is, your book makes me think of all these things. You know, it's like how do we hone this?
I do think it is intuition. And I think like the example of me thinking what the structure of the book should be is not me operating from intuition. That's me operating from a mental construct and me being much more in my head. Whereas when I'm asking the book, how do you wanna be structured? It is I'm tapping into that deeper, wiser, intuitive voice that says, why don't you try this? And so, I do think that a lot of like, even the seasonality, when does the season start? When does the season end? Like, a lot of this we can't know. So, so much of my process is actually listening to my body, is listening to like, there's a knowing that's deep within that if I create the space to pause and listen and ask, an answer will come. I've been doing these journaling workshops. And in these workshops, I ask people really hard questions. Like, what are you avoiding and why? Or what truth are you afraid to admit to yourself? Or, you know, things like that. And people again and again, keep saying like, I didn't know these answers were already within me. Like, the biggest shock in this process is that I already know. I'm just not creating the space to listen. And so I think, you know, I think that speaks to the idea that like sometimes in five minutes I'll know like, is this, whatever the question is I'll ask. And then whatever comes up, like learning to trust that, which to your point, it's cultivating your relationship with your intuition. Because I think like for a lot of people, I know that they're like, how do I trust it? Or, you know, and I think it's like little by little is noticing the intuitive sense, acting on it. And when you act on it, then it's almost as if intuition's like, oh, okay, I'm safe here. We can begin to have this trusted relationship. And then what I've noticed is that intuition begins to speak more. Try this, go there, reach out to this person. What if you did it this way? And that's me sort of dancing with intuition in the creative process.
I love that. One of my favorite pieces in the book is discerning fear from intuition, which is 84, I think. 84 or 85. I'm gonna read a quote that feels exactly in line with what you just said. "Intuition feels like a clear knowing felt deep within. "Intuition isn't focused on the past or the future. "It's the intent of the present. "It may come in the form of a quiet, gentle whisper "or a hunch felt in the body. "Other times it may shout no to get your attention, "signal danger, "or help you avoid making misaligned decision. "To access the wisdom of your intuition, "consider the question that's in your heart. "Does this choice feel contracting or expansive? "Does saying yes cause me to feel delight or dread? "If money wasn't a consideration, would I still say yes?" So I just, those are huge like truth unlockers, right? You can't (laughs) it's very difficult to lie to yourself. And it's like, how does this feel, expansive or contractive? So are, you know, is this a prescription that you would write for someone who's trying to find, to hone this thing that, I'm obsessed with intuition. Do you like to get there through those questions? Or how else would you steer our listeners?
Yeah, I think, the examples that are coming up, I had a girlfriend who was going in for, you know, this big interview with someone, everything that looked great on paper. And I said to her before she went into the interview, "Watch your body language when you're in there." And notice like (clears throat) is there anything that happens, like (clears throat) I just did, like, is there anything happening in your throat when you speak? Are you noticing yourself cave forward? Or are you like opening with delight and excitement? Are you feeling a genuine connection with the other people? Or like, just pay attention to not just like, do they want me and are they going to choose me? But pay attention to your body language in the conversation. And she came out of it and she was like, "That was crazy "because one, I thought myself to be an intuitive person, "but I actually was not as, "like, I was so in touch with my body "and noticing things of like, "whoa, I'm like super caving forward right now "when they talk about this piece, "or I'm like suddenly crossing my shoulders." And she's like, you know, I think realizing that her body had instinctual responses, intuitive responses to things, helped her be more in touch with how she actually felt about, you know, and ended up, it wasn't what she wanted. It was what she thought she wanted, which is, I think, you know, oftentimes a big choice point for us. And so I think, you know, one way to get in touch is to like practice listening to your body in a conversation. Are you contracting, are you expanding? Are you listening to a song and it gives you goosebumps or does a conversation give you goosebumps? Because I think those are all signs that our intuition is speaking. So, yeah. So, I think those questions are good unlocks. And just like, I think begin a like simple practice of noticing.
This is part of the beauty of your book. And again, we're talking about your latest book called "The Answers are Within You." Congratulations. It's beautifully illustrated as well. And the beauty and I think power in the work is that it gives us actual frameworks. You know, a lot of... You know, this type of material asks big questions, but doesn't give you vectors for how to access it. And it's very, it's actionable without being, you know, too prescriptive. And there's a bunch of different ways that I think different approaches for different people. There's this intuition piece, which I'm obsessed with and listening. And if you, you know, might not have access to that part of yourself yet, then there's this list of questions that you can ask, which, oh, okay, I can go to the list of questions. How does this make you feel, expanded or contracted? And, you know, even the scientist would be able to say, okay, I understand. Now what is a feeling? Okay, I definitely feel less good now than before I started asking myself these questions. So, I'm certainly uncomfortable. So, I just wanted to comment and say congratulations on finding again this formula that I think is part of the power and the work. And, you know, that I'm referencing the book here makes me want to dig into another section here. I'd like to scroll to it and ask you a couple questions.
Most of this stuff, again, I love the organizational structure where you've got the contents is broken into a handful of smaller questions that allow you to explore these things. So, we've talked about, you know, sections about having hard conversations, for example. We've talked about letting go, we've talked a little bit about, you know, energy and discerning, you know, the one I highlighted just a moment ago, discerning fear from intuition. Talk to us about triggers. There's a handful of times you talk about triggers. You talk about both the inner critic, you know, being important and not being the enemy, so showing up or listening when those triggers are happening and the difference between inner critic and triggers. But just as a method for us understanding we're onto something. And, you know, that being a trigger. I'm wondering if you can just talk to us about triggers in our lives. And you talk about it in the book, but I thought you could share something about that here.
Yeah, great. So, triggers are anything that creates a reaction in you. You're in a conversation, someone says something, and all of a sudden you feel yourself activated or defensive, like you're triggered. Or someone sends you an email and like, again, it's that arising reaction, just for in case anyone's like, "Wait, when am I triggered?" And for me, my perspective on triggers is that they're some of our greatest teachers because they show us the places within ourself that we are not yet healed. And so, if I, you know, and a trigger could be my mind spinning an old story about not enoughness because of an interaction with someone. That would be I'm in a triggered state and I'm in a triggered anxious state, and my mind is spinning with a false story that I'm telling myself, or, you know, an old wound that I'm thinking might be true. And so, you know, in those moments, instead of I think how we respond to moments of being triggered is really important because we can either shame ourselves, we can make ourselves wrong, we can say, "I shouldn't be feeling this way. "I shouldn't be reacting this way," is one way we can respond. Another way we can respond is we can project. We can, "But I'm not being defensive. "I'm not mad." Like, you know, we can like react to the other person and point the finger at them rather than owning our own responsibility and saying, "I'm feeling triggered right now," or, "I'm having a reaction about this," or, "Something's coming up for me." Or the last thing that we can do, which I was just describing is like, we can have compassion for ourselves and we can own our stuff. And so, I think like what's key there is the idea of like, I think why we don't own our stuff is because we shame ourselves for having the reaction. And when we can have the moment of like, "I'm human, I'm having a human moment, I'm triggered," I think it makes it much easier to say, "I'm noticing myself feel really defensive about this." We don't always have to know why. Like, I've had conversations with people who are like, "Well, I don't like know how to express in the moment "that I'm triggered." I'm like, "Just say I'm triggered and I don't know why." You know, because what that does is that like, instead of it becoming, like, let's say I'm in an interaction with my mom and she says something and I'm upset, then I become defensive and cold, and then we have a whole moment. You know, like that's one way that that could play out. Or she could say something and say, "You know what, something's coming up for me around this. "I think I need a minute to sit with it. "I'm noticing myself to be like a little activated." She'd be like, "Okay." You know, like that's a place where I'm taking responsibility for what I'm experiencing in that moment rather than reacting to her and this whole like dynamic playing out. And so, and I think then, you know, we get a moment of self-reflection of like, what was that about? Like, what old story was that touching? Or what was the story I was telling myself in that moment when that was coming up? But I think there's like the in the moment response and then the post opportunity of reflection. And then the last would be then coming, you know, having the full circle moment with the other party, let's say someone close to us of like, "Here's what's coming up for me in that moment." You know, here's what that touched, and being able to own our part in that rather than being in a cycle of blaming others.
Excellent. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Perfect segue way into something that, no, it's literally, it's perfect. It's almost like we planned this. Another favorite, "be strong, not tough." It's a piece of the book. And I'm just thinking about you're having this sort of conversation, you know, it's about having tough conversations, about recognizing your state in this moment. And just pause here. Hey everybody, if you wanna get good at life, if you wanna have good relationships, if you want to get good at deciding what you need in any moment and helping your body, yourself, your mind, your heart, get those things, like this is the language of those things. And I don't know anyone who's been on the show who is a high achiever and also simultaneously is fulfilled because there are people who are just high achievers that are not fulfilled, which is hell. Like, this is the language that these people use. So, if you, I'm instructing our listeners to pay very close attention to this. It matters deeply. So... "Strong, not tough." Say more.
This came from a lot of my conversations with men actually. And I talk, like I've spoke at high schools and talked to teenage boys and also just like did work with men of all ages, but there's basically this belief to like, you know, be a tough guy. And there's, you know, don't feel your feelings, don't show emotion, be tough, like smile, and like, you know, get through it was a lot of the patterning and conditioning that I was hearing. And even from, you know, when I spoke with women and men, even, you know, men were like, but when I actually am vulnerable, sometimes like the woman doesn't like, like there's so much story in our society about men actually opening up and being vulnerable and like this need of toughness. And so I'm not, you know, I'm not a man quite so I can't speak on that behalf, but like the idea that came through and the idea that I found to be helpful in these conversations was the idea of strength versus toughness. And so toughness would be saying, "I'm fine." You know, like, "I'm fine. "I'm fine. "I'm good." When actually like on the inside, you're totally not fine and not good. Whereas like that would be toughness. Like, I'm gonna act tough and act like everything's okay. Whereas strength would be like, "You know what, I'm actually feeling something right now, "or something's coming up for me." Whether you know what you're feeling or not, just being able to verbalize and name that and own your experience allows you to like A, be in touch with your human experience and have a moment of vulnerability and connection with another. So, that would be one example. Or acting tough would be, you know, keeping all of your challenges and burdens to yourself because you don't want to, you know, bring anyone down. It's like, "Oh, if I share what's really going on "in my life, it'll be too much for this person." I think that's a kind of toughness that can also not only be toxic to ourselves but toxic to our relationships because we're not inviting people in to be able to support us. We're not allowing ourselves to receive help. Whereas strength would be realizing that by asking, you know, for help, that takes courage. And by asking for help, people often want to help. And so, when we create the invitation, that again creates more opportunities for connection and meaning.
Talk more on toxicity 'cause that's a theme that is woven loosely through the book as well. Share with us some thoughts there.
In terms of toxicity, you know, I think that there are, like I'll think like the difference between perfectionism, which like I'd say toxic perfectionism and healthy striving could be an example. Like, I think with anything there is the healthy and unhealthy or the healthy versus toxic way of approaching it. So, everything I think has a spectrum. And the toxic to me is the shutting down, the avoiding, the denying, the repressing, the pushing away and not allowing yourself to be in the experience of. So, like toxic perfectionism is the false belief that if I do X, I'll be worthy of love. You know, whereas like healthy striving is, I'm lovable no matter what, and yet I wanna like create to my highest excellence. Or, you know, toxic perfectionism could be that mistakes mean I'm not enough. Whereas healthy striving might mean mistakes mean that I'm learning and growing and like, yay, I made a mistake. Now I know it doesn't work, so I'm one step closer to what does. So, a lot of times it's just like the mindset and the perspective that we hold, which I understand is very, very deep. Like, I'm deep in therapy this year. Woo. I am doing like EMDR. Like, I'm like going to places where I was like, I really did not know that was there. Lot of things, and so like, to like recognize where these core beliefs come from, you know, it's a journey. And so, a lot of these sort of unconscious ways we move through the world are rooted in these stories that we learned at a very young age. Like, you know, I'm not worthy unless I'm achieving or whatever it is. And so, but I think anytime we're hitting something that's toxic is when it is damaging to our being and our minds and souls.
You talked about work, and you just mentioned therapy. In order to set expectations maybe that don't reach this toxic level because if, you know, the kindness and kindness to one's self versus, you know, only striving, the thought that I have is I get frustrated when I'm on a journey to try and understand more about, you know, what is this story I've been telling myself or why, you know, why is this behavior recurring? And even though it doesn't serve me. My expectation is that it gets better every day. And that if I started this process today, I'm better than yesterday and tomorrow I'm gonna be better than today. And there's a fantastic piece that you touch on in the book about trusting a non-linear path. And I am not good at this. If I lift weights one day and lift the next day, I better be stronger 'cause otherwise why did I lift weights yesterday? And obviously lifting weights is a metaphorical here, but please help us understand when you, in Amber Rae's universe, what is this non-linear path of which you speak and how can we trust it? 'Cause it feels, it violates my concept of progress.
Right, right. Well, where this idea stemmed from, a little bit different than lifting weights, but where this stemmed from is I kept having people come to me, particularly after I would give a talk and be like, you know, "I was in marketing "and then I went into photography and now I'm making murals "and now I'm like, "like am I like lost and confused "and don't know what I'm doing with my life." And so a lot of people who are making these life course shifts, there was a sense of like distrust and not a sense of ease around the transitions they made in their life. Even though like often what I found interesting is people were like, "I was so called to do this, "but like shouldn't I not do that because of X, Y, Z, "and this is what I had done before?" And so, you know, it was the idea that like life is not linear. Life is not here to here and I know exactly what's gonna get done. I think we, you know, a lot of us grow up with this false expectation. You know, our parents' generation people did have careers for 40 years. Now, I like, you know, we hop around, we try new things. Like, it's, you know, it's much more curiosity based. And so, it's really encouraging people to like trust in that non-linear path and like to trust in curiosity, you know, more than fear as Elizabeth Gilbert would say or wonder more than worry. And like if you feel called or curious to try something, like try it on no matter what your past or history is. When I worked with Seth Goden many years ago, he talked about the law of sunk costs a lot. And it was amazing. Every day he had like a new lesson for us. And one of the lessons, you know, he gave this example of someone who had like gone to medical school for a really long time, and then three months before graduation was like, "I wanna start a nonprofit." And, you know, most people might say, "Well, you've gone this far and spent this much money, "you know, get your medical degree." And the law of sunk costs would say like, if you're very clear, you do not want to be a doctor, and have no desire to ever do that, like go start the nonprofit. And so, I think there's a little bit of that, which is like the energy, time that we put into things that we create up until this moment sometimes we over consider. We over consider our past when we are actually in a new present moment. And if we make decisions instead not from all the past but from like what is most aligned and true today, I think we might sometimes make different decisions that are more aligned for us and our truth and what we're ultimately here to create.
Amazing. (Chase laughs) It feels a little bit like therapy for me. I love it. (Amber laughs) You're speaking to everybody, but that might just be speaking to me a little bit more than... I wanna close our conversation with an idea that is terrifying to me personally, and in talking to so many other people that inspire me and in... Like, you know, the science is actually clear with when you speak to people who are on their deathbeds, and they, you know, pursued a life that was scripted by others rather than scripted by themselves and did not, you know, this is the number one regret for the dying. And there's a section of the book where you talk about don't die with your gifts still inside. To me, which is like seriously, probably my biggest fear. And, you know, that particular part of the book references a friend, a mutual friend of ours, Todd Henry. And he's also been a guest on the show, but I just, I find, and Todd's book was called "Die Empty." Yours is, you know, this section, don't die with your gifts still inside. And I couldn't help but think this is a fitting way for us to wrap up our conversation because it's sort of an exclamation point. You've just, you know, for us to go full circle in our conversation here, you opened up with saying, this is the most, you know, transformational and transitory like year of your life. You, you know, changed relationship. You, you know, moved across the country. You stopped doing the thing that was driving all of your work, which was just posting regularly on social media. You know, so, you know, to say that you've done hard work in a transition... Presumably these things are so that you do not die with your gifts inside.
But talk to us a little bit about that concept because I think nobody, everyone who's listening rather instead of, I'll say it in the positive rather than the negative. Everyone who's listening I believe understands that they have value, inherent value to themselves, to the world. Just not, you don't need permission to be alive, just existing is enough. But this idea of we have something inside of us to contribute, whether that's making one person happy or 10 million or... So, sort of try and put a bow on our conversation here with this idea of not dying with our most valuable gifts inside and the courage that it takes to do that.
Yeah, I'll start with a quick story, which is that where this idea even came to me and really even started haunting me was when I was 12 years old, well, when I was three, my dad got into a car accident. He was driving under the influence unfortunately. He was young, in his early 20s. He went to Nashville to follow his dream of being a musician. And in the midst of following his dream, he got caught up in his own bullshit and really wasn't facing his own stuff. And as a result of that, got behind the wheel of a car under the influence and died with his gift still inside. And so, he ended up, you know, being in a coma, and it was like a whole thing from when I was three until when I was 12. But when he did finally pass when I was 12 years old, there was a deep sense of relief for me, but there was also a sense of kind of like rage and disappointment of he had so much to give but he got in his own way. And like, 'cause my mom would describe him as like the most, I didn't get to really know him, the most brilliant man she had, you know, ever known, so creative and entrepreneurial and like all of these things, but like just could not get out of his own way. And so, you know, I think that's when really the idea of like, I know there are gifts inside of me too, I do not wanna die with my gifts still inside where that came from. And so, it's interesting. I've had, 'cause I end my talks with this, and I've had people come to me crying after a talk and be like, "I'm dying with my gift still inside. "Like, you know, what do I do?" And I think I realize that while this message can be motivating, it can also create enormous pressure. And I think it's remembering that we are the gift, and our presence and our being is enough. And the way we move through the world and interact with others and show up and express ourselves is the gift that we get to give each day. And so, it's like, it doesn't mean you have to like birth some world changing movement. It's like is who you're being in the world and the gift that you are representative of how you want to live? And so, I think I would, you know, I think that's the place to start, and that's the place from when you're moving from that place and operating from that place of embodiment and truth, what comes through you I think will be extraordinary.
No better way to put a bow on our conversation. Congrats again. For those listening, we've been talking at length here about your latest book called "The Answers are Within You: "108 Keys to Unlock Your Mind, Body and Soul." Congratulations. It's spectacular. I've commented on the structure. Also, it's just beautiful. The illustrations throughout super... I found them like really calming, and it put, I'm a visual person, so it put a little visual language on the words. Excellent book, highly recommended. And our audience, as I've shared with you in the past, is very good at supporting the authors and the people and picking up their books. So, we will rally around you and your work.
Congratulations on all of the life change, and thank you for putting it in writing, so that we can learn from your mistakes and your wisdom. So, thank you so much for being on the show. What's the place outside of going to the book and, you know, purchasing the book either from a local bookstore or Amazon, wherever, is there any other other spot where you would point our listeners to in order to support you and your work or to learn more?
I'm still making things on Instagram, so that hasn't totally gone away, but it's just a little bit more sparse. That's HeyAmberRae. I also have a free journaling guide on my website. If you go to, actually I think it's the link in my Instagram bio, but also at AmberRae.com. I'll send you the link, but it's if you wanna begin your journaling practice, I share my three top methods. So, you can get that, and then that'll get you on my newsletter, which is more regular content. So, I think those would be the way. And just thank you for having me. I love this show so much. I'm always so inspired by the interviews. And so, it's an honor to be here.
Oh, you are a superstar human. Grateful for your time. Thank you for sharing everything with us today. And until next time to you, Amber, and to everyone else out there listening, I bid you all adieu. (upbeat music)
AMBER RAE is an author, artist and global voice for emotional wellness and self-discovery. She turns highly relatable insights on the human experience into viral art, sold-out venues, and best-selling books.
CHASE JARVIS is an award-winning artist, entrepreneur, best-selling author, and one of the most influential photographers of the past 20 years.  His expansive work ranges from shooting advertising campaigns for companies like Apple, Nike, and Red Bull; to working with athletes like Serena Williams and Tony Hawk, to collaborating with renowned icons like Lady Gaga and Richard Branson.<br>