I must admit, the movie What the Bleep Do We Know?! was incredibly inspirational to me, so when I heard that the movie's co-creator Betsy Chasse was coming out with a new book called Tipping Sacred Cows, I had to read it. The book is a funny, moving, and brutally honest story about her own spiritual path and what she's learned in the wake of both success and failure. I had a chance to sit down with Betsy to talk about her new book and life in L.A.
Q: You talk about success and failure - both personally and professionally - in your new book, Tipping Sacred Cows. How do you keep perspective when things are either going incredibly well or incredibly horribly?
I’m 43 now, so I'm in the middle of life. I'm not making the mistakes of my 20’s or doing the reminiscing that happens in your 80’s, so it's a good time to have perspective and really be in the moment. I realize now that life is a journey, an adventure. It never stays the same. If it's going great, relish that---and when it's going shi**y, enjoy that too. You can’t have one without the other. There’s appreciation to be found in both. In my own life, I experienced the dark night of the soul – when I was able to understand it, I was incredibly grateful for that moment. It might sound cliche to say "this too shall pass," but it really does. I ended up being thankful for my divorce, because it opened up the desire in me to be who I really was.
Q: Let's talk more about your divorce. It was really moving to hear your struggles, and so many people can relate. What advice would you give someone going through a break-up?
In a break-up, there's lots of stuff going on in your head…you have doubts about yourself and the world around you. In the beginning of a relationship, we dream up a story of what everything will look and be like, and we work hard to make it come true. But when you look at a relationship for what it really is, without the emotion attached, all the signs are right in front of you. Most of the time, we're too focused on the story to see what's really happening. It's not to say that you shouldn’t fall in love, but it's important to be authentic, too. We fall in love with the fairytale created in our heads instead of the man or woman standing in front of us. We're beautiful dreamers, but we aren't looking at what's really happening. We're not being authentic.
Q: Fear is very real and is responsible for a lot of our decision-making. Because of it, we can’t quit our dead-end jobs, can’t leave our partners, etc. What can people do to understand and overcome their fears and change their way of thinking?
You have to be honest about what you are afraid of, and voice those fears. I never let anyone know I had a fear or when I was in pain. Everything was great, because I didn’t want to say what I was afraid of. I thought it might come true. For me, just having the willingness to say I’m afraid of being abandoned and unlovable, then I can reflect on it and ask myself if it's true. We are masters of creating thought monsters.
To let go of fear, you start by asking: "is this true?" For example, you can say, "I'm worried my boyfriend cheats on me" because it's occurred in the past. We pick our relationships according to what we think is true, and then we start building a life around that fear. You have to ask yourself: "is it just a story I’m telling myself?" You have to break the habit to let go of the fear. Look across the table at who you’re in relationship with – ask yourself: "is this person right for me? What belief systems do I have that bring me a relationship that doesn't fulfill me?" But here's the key: you have to be willing to walk away. You have to have a little faith that there is someone out there who's better for you.
Q: I love this quote from the book: “when we are seeking, we aren’t really being.” Could this apply to dating as well? When we are so desperate to find Mr. or Miss Right, are we really connecting with anyone we meet?
This quote is referring to the times when we are told to find balance, peace, love, or enlightenment. But if you are searching for these things, it means you don’t have them. So I stopped looking for all these things, and started being present with what I do have in front of me. I'm really listening and paying attention.
If you’re going to have your wish list of what you want in a man, chances are you’re not going to manifest him. There's no wiggle room because you have a preconceived belief system. There’s a story behind that long list – it's based on your beliefs about what love is, what relationships are. It's limited. For example, would you only consider a man who earns $100,000 a year, or is that fear talking? I'm dating right now without all those preconceived ideas of what I want - what I should have. Most women want a plan, an end game - to get married, to have children, to be financially secure. It's okay to make your list, but get clear as to why you need these things. Make sure what you want comes from your true self, and not from fear.
Q: Are you currently dating in L.A.? If so, what are you learning from it?
Yes. The guy I’m dating now is younger than I am – and he struggles with the fact that I don't have a plan for our relationship. I'm just looking to have fun. Generally speaking, it's hard to connect with people because we aren’t being real. For guys – they fall in love with a sexy, hot and together woman (and there are lots of beautiful women in L.A.), but the minute she becomes vulnerable they freak out. And women typically date with a plan, and no matter what else is going on in their lives, finding a man is still a top priority. The more you’re willing to keep your options open, the better. It's harder to meet people when you're locked into your end game, because you're so focused. If you accept the idea that you don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s more fun. Also, I'm learning that open and honest communication is key to any relationship. I listen to the people I go out with. I'm clear with my dates about what I’m feeling, so they understand me.