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Life, Death & The Space Between

Jul 14, 2022




“The Tao is simple… It is our human nature, I think, to complicate things where they need not be complicated.” – Jessie Kanzer




Episode Summary:


Does life seem more hectic than it was even before the pandemic?


Today we talk with Jessie Asya Kanzer, whose story begins as an child refugee from the Soviet Union seeking asylum in the US with her family. A descendant of Holocaust survivors living in a communal apartment with four households, one toilet, and a rickety old bathtub in the middle of the kitchen -- her family finally made it to Brooklyn in 1989. 


As an 8-year-old refugee who only spoke Russian, Jessie (or “Asya” then) yearned to fit in. She changed her name and much about herself. She experienced depression, bulimia, anxiety and lost herself pursuing the American Dream.


Until she stopped. 


In Tao Te Ching she rediscovered herself, found her innate power, and she learned to chill. Her book, “Don’t Just Sit There, DO NOTHING”, will help you do the same. 


Listen in to hear about Jessie’s struggles and triumphs through the lens of the 6th century philosophy Tao Te Ching, which she calls “the world’s oldest self-help book”.




Topics We Discuss:


  • [3:18] How Jessie’s story -- from losing identity as a child refugee from Russia with Eastern Europe roots, through renaming and reinventing herself in America, struggling bulimia, and being physically broken after suffering a car crash -- steered her toward a deep dive into Tao Te Ching, and ultimately going within spiritually.


  • [15:42] Tenets of 6th century philosophy Tao Te Ching: simplicity, patience, compassion.  We consume more information in a single day than people did in their entire lifetime in just a few hundred years ago.


  • [27:46]  Creativity comes with unscheduled time. 


  • [31:01] What the paradox of “do nothing” means to Jessie.



  • [41:30] Amy’s speed round questions: What is spirituality? What is something people don’t know about you? What is one thing you’re looking forward to right now? What’s one thing you’re deeply grateful for? What book in on your nightstand? What is your favorite spiritual or healing practice? What is the most spiritually transformative experience of your life?





Jessie’s book, “Don’t Just Sit There, Do Nothing” is available wherever books are sold.  Download two free chapters of on her website.


Follow her on Instagram.






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