The New Year is here! And to help us kick it off, I had a great conversation with author, client, and friend of Nardi Media, Jessie Kanzer.
Drawing from her forthcoming book Don’t Just Sit There, DO NOTHING: Healing, Chilling & Living with the Tao Te Ching (Available March 1, 2022) Jessie shares her steps to help us successfully reach our New Year’s Resolutions in 2022 through a process she likes to call ManifesTAO’tion, inspired by the Taoist way of goal-setting.
Keep reading for some highlights from our conversation!
- A: First, tell me a little bit about yourself and your new book!
- J: My name is Jessie but I was born Asya in the former Soviet Union. I immigrated to the U.S. as a child, where I faced a lot of obstacles around identity. I wasn’t sure which identity fit me, so I made an identity for myself that would help me blend in and find friends and a sense of belonging in my new life. But as I got older, I realized that I was one person who became another, and to come back to my authentic self, I had to tune into who I really was. My book charts this path of self-discovery using the ancient Tao Te Ching philosophy.
- A: What is the Tao, where did it come from, and how did you discover it?
- J: Tao Te Ching is actually from 6th Century BC China. It’s the second most translated text in the world after the Bible! I got my hands on it because I had a lot of healing to do. After college, I looked like I had it all together, but I was battling an eating disorder, depression, and anxiety, and dealing with getting a degree in an industry I didn’t want, which was Business. Then, I got into a major car crash, which I now see as a necessary car crash, and like the pandemic for everyone, it offered me a pause. I knew I was at the lowest of my bottom, so I reached for a self-help book, and it happened to be the Tao Te Ching. Every verse is like a poem, so complicated yet simple. I would read and study all of it, and I still do several decades later. It brings me back to a simpler way of being and living.
- A: In your book, you talk about ManifesTAO’tion. Can you explain what that is?
- J: Yes! It’s a chapter in my book, and it’s this spiritual dork’s take on manifestation using the Tao Te Ching. There’s a line in the Tao which I love that says, “When you realize that nothing is lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” The idea is to approach manifestation from a place of gratitude, contentment, and a knowing that everything good is on its way vs. neediness and desperation. And it’s not our fault because we live in an achievement-based society!
- A: I know you have 3 New Year’s Resolutions tips for us! But first, I want to say that 90% of people do not accomplish their Resolutions. Why do you think that is?
- J: I think a lot of times we set ourselves up for failure because we don’t think about the path to getting where we want to go.
- A: And the Taoist way is a little different right? So I want to start with your Step 1 to successfully achieving your New Year’s Resolutions, which is to Clarify and Intend. What do you mean by that?
- J: Yes, and this is where my book Don’t Just Sit There, DO NOTHING comes in! A lot of times we’re walking, but we don’t know where we’re walking to, so this step is about helping you get clear on what you want to create and think about it in a positive light. For example, saying, “I have a new job that fulfills me” or “I’m in a healthy, loving relationship”. Try creating a mission statement for yourself. It can be simple! If you don’t have clarity yet, your statement can be, “I am clear on what I want my life to look like”. Also, we have so many wishes and it’s easy to go off course in our highly attention-grabbing world, so make sure you work on one at a time and focus on just that.
- A: This sounds so much like positive affirmations! Do you also recommend writing them down?
- J: Yes, definitely! There’s power in writing things down, which leads me to Step 2: Embodiment, meaning embodying what you want to create and embodying the person who has the wish already fulfilled. It’s fun but it’s also challenging because a lot of us haven’t played pretend since we were children, and it’s about getting there mentally and how that alone will make us feel – that’s why we want what we want if you think about it! So if my intention is to become a successful writer and speaker, I practice feeling how it feels to have reached that goal before external voices and obstacles try to block me from getting there. I even wrote a book about the Tao to help me visualize and remind myself that what I want is actually possible. So visual examples and practices will help, too!
- A: What is your last step to achieve your New Year’s Resolutions?
- J: Step 3 is something I have to do over and over again: Releasing, or surrendering your wish or your goal to the Tao, the Universe, to God, whoever you want to release it to. Many times we hold on to what we want so tightly and we focus too much on the when and the how that we aren’t allowing ourselves to give in to the possibilities that are all around us. I also think you need to be an energetic match to what you want: have relief, hope, and faith rather than stress and hold onto control. I’m still practicing this by laying on my meditation pillow. For some people it’s walking or writing, etc.
- A: Do you think it has to do with trust, too?
- J: Exactly, and by the way, in all my wishes I say “this or something better”. We’re always focused on one vision, but there could be an even grander vision that could use your talents and make you feel more fulfilled. This is powerful stuff, but remember that manifestation rarely takes the form that we think it will, and it takes us to places that we can’t even imagine.
- A: With writing your book, did it happen in the way you imagined?
- J: It wasn’t at all the way I imagined! It honestly wasn’t working at first. It was a lot of hustling and trying and I was getting sick of it. Then the pandemic hit and I was stuck home, and I thought “screw this I have kids I need to take care of them”, and that night, I journaled,
“Dear Universe, show me what it is that I’m meant to do. If it’s taking care of my family, I’m fine with that, I just want to be of use as best as I can.”
The next day, my 3-year-old daughter was playing with my phone and accidentally called my friend. My friend ended up calling me back and asked me how the book was going. I was honest with her, but she offered to put me in touch with one more agent. From there, everything that has led to today unfolded because of that day, and here I am! Sometimes when you’re holding onto something so tightly, you create pain for yourself. It’s also important to remember that you have to be happy first with where you are right now before you can truly achieve your goal. That’s when good things start coming.
- A: How do you know if your goal is too big to attain or too small that you’re undermining yourself?
- J: No goal is too big! If you look at the Wonders of the World, our little wishes are nothing. If you think it’s too big, the main thing you have to work on is your belief system. We all have thresholds for what we think is possible and what is not, but if you’re feeling that your goal is too big, that tells me that you have to allow yourself to believe that you are worthy of reaching your dream. But again, nothing is too small either! If you want to try something that you consider is too small, you might want to try going for it as a stepping stone, and soon you’ll create self-trust to reach your big goal step by step.
- A: I’m thinking of those goals that are so big that they’re really scary! Can you talk about getting over the fear of those goals? There’s almost this scarcity mindset and fear of big goals, right?
- J: Courage is not a lack of fear, it’s feeling the fear, self-consciousness, and discomfort, and doing it anyway. It’s so normal to feel afraid! Before I wrote this book, I was writing personal essays, and I had a writing teacher who told me to write my most humiliating story. So I started writing the brutal truth, but once you start doing it, it’s amazing what happens because little by little you care less and less about what others think of you and how they’ll react. Because that’s where a lot of fear stems from – what others will think. The Tao says that “When you care too much about the opinion of others, you become their prisoner.” Fear is the opposite of love, and while it’s ok to feel that, go back to love and intention. Wanting good for yourself also comes from love for yourself.
- A: Writing is so healing! For the writers out there, do you mind sharing who your agent is?
- J: Yes, it’s Lisa Hagan! She has a website that you can check out and submit your writing. But look, my agent might not be your agent! My book took many turns, so be flexible, keep going, and if this is really what your heart is after, you will make it happen.
- A: Thank you for sharing! Your book comes out in March. What are your hopes for it?
- J: I want to reach as many people as possible that need this information so that we can all peacefully move past the pandemic and on with our lives, and take this moment in time to recreate ourselves in a way that is most fulfilling to us.
- A: What advice do you have for aspiring authors who keep getting told “no”?
- J: For all you dreamers, you are the holder of your vision. Other people do not see your vision. Those are just obstacles. I was told that my following wasn’t big enough, and yet somehow the following came! If I was trying to sell the book now, it would be easier to sell, but that’s the way the route goes. People will see your vision when it actualizes, just take baby steps and hold on tight. Don’t give up!
For more on Jessie and her book, Don’t Just Sit There, DO NOTHING, go to:
- Website – jessiekanzer.com
- Free ManifesTAO’tion E-Book – https://jessiekanzer.com/free-for-you
- Instagram – @jessiekanzer
- Twitter – @JessieKanzer
- TikTok – @daily_tao
CLICK HERE to watch the full IG LIVE with me and Jessie!