As promised, here is the transcript of the interview on herfuture.com
How are you?
I’m good. How are you? First of all I just want to say thank you so much for this opportunity. I am so grateful that we connected.
Oh, I’m so happy to be talking to you. So I love your book. I’m just going to go right into your intro that I’m speaking to Rebekah Mo-an. Mo-an, right?
Moan. Rebekah Moan.
Oh! I should have asked you that before! Alright, note to everyone out there interviewing: Always ask how to pronounce your interviewee’s name.
I know you were trying to be polite because Moan is not the most appealing last name!
I love it. It’s a great last name! And I’ve been devouring her book, Just a Girl from Kansas and I love it because it’s the kind of book I love to read because it’s so personal, so in depth, so real, and let’s just go into this interview. You’ve basically been meditating since you were three weeks old. Can you just tell everyone what that means?
Oh! It means a lot of things. I mean, one I have a relationship to my spiritual practice. It comes in ebbs and flows, it’s not as if I’m in a spiritual high all the time; I think it’s probably very akin to a marriage. There are things I have to work on, but in essence it’s something I have to keep coming back to. I made that commitment and also what it means for me these days, because I have been meditating for so long, is that I absolutely have to do it otherwise I get a headache.
Right. But your parents when you were a little baby they, you were meditating? They were meditating?
I was with them. There’s a practice in my yoga and meditation group called paincajanya, which means getting up at five o’clock in the morning and doing some chanting and meditation. My mom says she used to bring us [my brother and I] to that practice. We used to sit with her in the early morning while she and my dad meditated.
[Laughing] When I was a lot younger they used to make us meditate the number of minutes that we were old. So if I was 10 I had to meditate for 10 minutes, if I was 7 I had to meditate for seven minutes. They used it as something we had to do before watching a movie or something. It was forever a part of my life. In the beginning it was a little more like pulling teeth and now it’s something I want to do. I need to do.
Now, because I have kids — I’ve been meditating with them, they’re little, they’re like 3 and 5 — but growing up my mom would make me meditate too. She would make me close my eyes and be in that zone because my mom was really New Age-y as well, and I think there’s something to be said for starting kids young because you build up like a craving for it. Or something happens. Do you feel that way?
Absolutely. I think also the biggest effect I’ve noticed is that – I have a lot friends who are having kids now these days too and they’re bringing their kids with them to group meditation – is that the kids for the most part seem to be a little calmer. And a little more compassionate. They’re a little more sensitive. They’re kind of more heart-centered children and I don’t know if that’s a combination of what they came into the world with or if it’s because of the meditation but it’s a pattern I have noticed in kids who started meditating really early. And I have a lot of friends now who were born into my same yoga and meditation group and they’re not meditating now but they are still very compassionate, sensitive people. I think meditation sort of left an imprint on them even though they’ve chosen not to continue a regular practice.
Right. I think it’s an important thing and judging just from reading your book, you seem so heart-centered and so compassionate and so together that I think you are like a poster child to start meditating young. So, let’s talk a little bit about your book. You had a dream. Basically you had this dream you wanted to go and to move and all of the things you were afraid of doing you just did. How did you get the courage to do that?
Oh lord. [Laughs]
How did that happen?
In many ways I feel like it was more of a push than it was necessarily a dream. Honestly, I didn’t go into it very much in the book because I wanted to get to the action as quickly as possible, but when I was in Washington, D.C. it took a lot of convincing for me to actually move to San Francisco. I resisted it for a while and I referenced it a little in the book when I talk about getting a lot of signs of walking around the city—
The signs. I love the signs.
—and hearing someone talk about San Francisco, seeing it on hats, people talking to me about it all the time.
I love when you’re on the plane and you’re like, “What the hell? Here I am, flying just because the signs told me to do it?!? Like what??”
[Laughs] It took a really long time and I wouldn’t even necessarily say I built up the courage unless we’re defining courage as doing something even when you’re scared.
That’s how I would define it.
Well then there we go! Mostly I was scared but my dad has this saying, “If you’re scared, do it anyway,” so I did! The final kick in the pants for me was when my dad’s best friend called us up and said, “Hey, my wife and I are going to Hawaii, does Rebekah want to housesit for us?” I said, “Well, this is as good of a chance as any! OK! Let’s do it!
That’s a good sign.
So I up and went.
Yeah, usually shelter is a good signal that you should go somewhere.
Well because I’d been trying to make things work the way I thought they should work. I’d applied for tons and tons of jobs from Washington, D.C. and also from North Carolina after I’d moved back in with my parents and I kept hoping somebody would say, “Yes! We want to hire you! Come out to San Francisco!” That’s not what happened at all. So as soon as I was given that window I went for it.
Yeah, and you talk about that. The whole job thing seemed to be something that was really something you wanted really badly. You talk about watching Oprah and seeing some people from The Secret talking about grasping, what you grasp onto your dreams you block the energy flow.
How would you suggest, how did it happen to you, that you let go of your kung fu grip?
Woo God. [Laughing] I think ultimately it was a day-by-day practice. Because there were still points were I kept clinging to it really, really tightly saying it has to go like this. And then I’d have to remind myself, nope! Can’t do it! Gotta turn it over, I have to surrender. It’s hard to describe because turning it over, surrender, whatever you want to call it is a very internal process. It’s something you just have to do.
I think you do it at first, and it seems like from your book just from reading, not to put words in your mouth, but you do it at first – and this happened to me too – is you convince yourself to do it so you’re self-talking yourself, “Just let go, just let go, just let go,” until one day you realize you’ve let it go. You don’t have to remind yourself anymore, you’re not even thinking about it. Your attention is on other things like your hot, shy roommate.
So you’re thinking about other things that are kind of taking your attention from that no matter how ridiculous or how crazy they are. It’s like the universe sends you these little projects to focus your mind on.
What helps with me too is in my yoga and meditation practice we have a process of surrendering. It’s a little ritual, it’s not exactly a ritual but the closest description of it is a ritual, we visualize a lotus flower and then we just put it on the ground, we just let it go, and so that process also really helped me. I put all of my cares and worries into this little lotus flower and then just drop it on the ground. OK! Done. Here you go universe, take it.
I love that. I’m going to try that.
There’s some Sanskrit to go along with it, the practice is called guru puja but in essence that’s what it is.
That’s useful. You talk about that in your book, which I suggest everybody read because—
[Laughing.] Oh, thank you.
No, seriously because there are a lot of spiritual books out there that tell you how to do it and give you steps by steps, but you actually go through it. It’s like sweat, blood, and tears in a way. Really talking about all the little things you do. I love when you were crying on the phone with your mom, and I hope I’m not giving anything away in the book by talking about this, but you’re crying on the phone with your mom, and you mention about calling a psychic on some blogtalk radio and you do it, and you describe the reading that she gave you. I love that! That’s real. I’ve done that before. I’ve totally done that before. I’ve called up people before. Your mom’s like, “Go for it. It’s free.”
I love your mom.
[Laughing] Thank you. My mom is very practical, down to earth, “just do it.” No pussyfooting around. Thanks for bringing that up too though because one of the reasons I wrote the book in a very personal way is I wanted to show a real-life picture of what can happen. I’ve seen a lot of fairy-tale stories and descriptions of people who do really well for themselves and it seems as almost if they talk a little about the hardship and then they say, “And then I got a phone call from this person and then everything was great and happy and perfect.” And that wasn’t exactly how it was for me and I wanted to show another picture.
You wanted to show all facets of it.
Which I think is really, really cool. And I love it. Before we wrap up is one of the things I kept on feeling from you and what you talk about in the book is the frustration factor. How did you deal with the frustration? Because frustration is a common emotion that everyone seems to be dealing with these days when things aren’t unfolding as quickly as you’d like, and aside from the lotus meditation, how did you deal with frustration?
I talked about it. I told other people how I was feeling, I wrote about it. For me, if there’s an emotion that I’m feeling, it’s just kind of stewing around in my head or my emotional body and emotions need to get out. They need to be expressed. So anyway they can be expressed, whether that’s through art, or dance, or going for a walk, talking to somebody, whatever, it has to get out some way. That’s primarily how I dealt with my frustration. Calling my friend Heather, or calling my mom, or writing a journal entry, whatever I could do to get that energy to move. Because that’s the primary thing, it has to move.
Yes. Beautifully expressed. I love that. Gotta move it. You gotta move through it. I love all the things that you do. I keep saying, “I love, I love, I love,” because I love your book! I love your book!
[Laughing] Thank you!
You took salsa classes and you didn’t just sit and wait for life to happen. You went out there and you made it happen. You made it happen by letting go but you used a lot of distraction methods, which I think is so key to not sweating it and not getting all overly tied up in the how’s and how is this going to happen and how is this going to look and whatever. You did such a beautiful job of it. One of the things that I think was so cool was that you had a really great support system.
And that comes I think from just being self-loving, because whenever you’re self-loving you get the support that you need.
Yeah. For sure. I feel really blessed to have such amazing friends, and family, and community around me. I absolutely could not have done it without them.
I mean really, amazing. People are just calling you up, being there for you of all ages. You have a support system that ranges from little kids to the elderly. So I think it’s a testimony of who you are and what kind of person you are, and such a shining light. So I hope that everybody will read your book.
[Laughing] Oh, thank you!
No, for real.
I hope that whoever resonates with my book reads my book. I am sure that it will get in the hands of the people who need to hear it.
Yes. We need more spiritual memoirs. I think it’s the spiritual memoirs that will help unblock, and will help people to navigate their own spiritual journey because women like you who are paving the way with your own experiences, you’re just allowing other people to do the same, so it’s really beautiful work. Straight from the heart. Thank you so much Rebekah. And they can order your book on Amazon, right?
They can order my book anywhere that books are sold online – Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Powell’s books, Indie Bound – anywhere. Anywhere they can type it in. My own website too they can grab it.
Cool beans. And what’s your website?
Justagirlfromkansas.com. Awesome. Thank you so much Rebekah and thank you everybody for listening and again go to justagirlfromkansas.com, I’m going to include that on the interview and keep on doing what you’re doing. Will you talk to me again in a couple of months?
Sure! I’d love to talk to you! I’d love to talk to you anytime you’d like to talk to me Macha.
I’d be more than happy to.
Awesome. You’re a love machine. I will talk to you soon. Thank you everybody.