Alex Amorosi joins Britt for an illuminating conversation about queer diversity, what your gay loved ones are not telling you, respectability politics, and how love is not always love. But most importantly they discuss all sorts of ways we can practice loving kindness in the face of cognitive dissonance, bigotry, and bias.
Join us on this wild ride, as we delve into the tough stuff and plumb the depths of our souls. You won’t want to miss it!
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Jonathan[00:00:02] Welcome to Not Going Quietly the podcast where we inspire growth, beat down biases and get into all sorts of good trouble with co-hosts Jonathan Beale and Britt East.
Britt[00:00:11] No topic is off limits as we explore ways to help everyone leap into life with a greater sense of clarity, passion, purpose and joy.
Jonathan[00:00:19] So get ready to join us in courageous conversation because not going quietly starts right now.
Britt[00:00:30] Hey everyone, and welcome to Not Going Quietly, the podcast for outraged optimists and heartbroken healers all over the world where we surface life searing truths in the name of radical togetherness. My name is Britt East. I'm your host. My co-host, Jonathan Beale, is still out on sabbatical. So it's just me. But you're in luck because I have a fantabulous featured guest today, Alex Amorosi. I can't wait for you to meet him. We're going to have a really great conversation, so let's just dive right in. Alex Amorosi has been practicing and teaching spiritual healing arts for over 25 years. He began his journey as an agnostic and skeptic. That's that's kind of like me, I feel like, and has been has spent many years coming to understand the subtle realms of the mind and reality from a grounded, analytical perspective. I love that he has extensive knowledge of human, energetic and physical anatomy from almost 20 years of teaching yoga and almost 15 years practicing Reiki and energy work. He has evolved a unique approach that combines coaching, energy, work, yoga and physical movement, meditation and teachings from modern and classical spiritual traditions. Alex has been studying and practicing astrology since 2016. He incorporates ideas and techniques from the Vedic astrological tradition of India, the Hellenistic astrological traditions of ancient Greece and Rome, medieval astrology, visual astrology and evolutionary astrology. Alex finds the symbolic language of astrology to be a powerful method for understanding one's self and the patterns in one's life. Alex is a practicing Buddhist and classical music enthusiast with a special love of Mozart, Sebelius, Mendelssohn and Berlioz. He has a history in philosophy, buff, cat, dad, proud gay man and a member of the LGBTQ plus community, aspiring fiction author and a general lover of life. Alex, welcome to the podcast. How the hell are you today?
Alex[00:02:28] Amazing! Britt It's great to be here. Thank you. So I'm just so excited. Thank you for having me.
Britt[00:02:33] Yeah, it's going to be such a wonderful conversation, so let's just dive right in. I like to, you know, hit hard right from the beginning, so let's just go for it here and do it. You know where I wanted to go first was I always like to kind of lead with disclaimers and caveats. And for right now, I want to set a certain segment of society to the side just for the purposes of this conversation. And so let's stipulate for the record that, you know, there's a certain percentage of the population, certainly in the U.S. and probably all over the world, that would love to just wish queer people away, if not eradicate us or send them away. They just don't want to think about us. They don't want to know us. They just would love to just, you know, So even if they're not willing to admit that to themselves, there's just a part of them that is they're not open. They're not really open to being in relationship to us. So let's just take that segment of society and move them to the side just for a moment. Just for the purposes of this conversation, I'm not advocating, you know, not engaging them, but just for this conversation, because I want to talk about another segment of society and speak directly to our allies and all of those people that would love us given half a chance. And so my question to you, Alex, is what would you like to tell those people about queer people that you think they might yet not already know?
Alex[00:03:54] I think what was just coming to you is you were speaking, Britt, is that we're not we can't always be as strong as we try to seem. We are and we need help. And that's that's a hard thing for me to admit as a gay man. I mean, I, I didn't even realize until recently, like, how much we and I have had, I will say, a relatively privileged existence in our community relative to many others and in our community as well. But that there's something about the nature of our experience where we have to bear a lot on our shoulders and we sort of compensate for that in different ways, right? Where we're funny or we're like, we're like, Oh, I've got it. I can do it all, I've got it all together or whatever, you know, whatever, whatever brand of gay we've compensated for to keep ourselves safe, you know? And I would love our allies to know we were not as strong as I think we try to portray ourselves to be sometimes. And a lot. We need help and we need shoulders to lean on. And I want that also in in the community for ourselves, where we can lean on each other more. And, you know, there's all sorts of conversations we can have about that. But, you know, I feel like that's really important for our allies to know and also just to know that even within our community how diverse we are, the diverse experiences, when you sit down and you talk with a roomful of queer people and you hear the backgrounds and the stories and the this led to that led to that led to that and what they've experienced in the community as well as outside of. Community started off second. I'm sorry about that. I just want to get that before Mexico's crazy. But if we only knew those stories in the community and we could communicate them to others who can understand that we're not as strong as we always appear, we need help and that we're extremely diverse in the diverse range of queer experiences. Needs a voice. I don't know exactly how to do that. That's just what I know it's been.
Britt[00:05:59] Yeah, I mean, it seems really challenging. Like I empathize for with our allies and our would be allies. The language is always changing. We're all different. We're like this uneasy coalition of people that in many regards don't have that much in common. You know, even culturally, when you take us in the aggregate, like groups of lesbians and gay men, how much do we have in common culturally in the aggregate or trans people or bisexuals or whatever? And so I could see if you identify as straight and you maybe only had cursory experiences with queer people, it can be like, okay, where do I begin? How do I get my I don't want to do any harm. I don't want to offend anybody. I would love to be there for Alex, but I don't. How do I support him? He's I know he's not like my other gay. He's not like this. But you know, this trans person, I know they're different, and I don't know. It's all so complicated. And I've got kids and I've got three jobs and I mean, and so you can see I mean, I have a tremendous amount of empathy. And we need all of the help we require, all of the love and assistance and and support that you just articulated so well. Yeah. You know, it reminds me of the the slogan, the marriage equality slogan, Love is Love. And this is my new pet peeve because, I mean, over time, it's become kind of my it's like nails on a chalkboard. And everybody says and I'm, you know, and on social media, I get love is loves kind of spewed at me. And so maybe it's just nobody's fault. I've just heard it so much, but I haven't really. You're the first person I'm sharing this with, Alex. I haven't really had the heart to tell anybody. I'm kind of embarrassed, to be honest. It's so sweet and well-intended, but I think it and it advertently erases part of our culture or culture or is, as I always a saying, it's like as it seeks to normalize us to street audience, as it tries to sanitize us and make us palatable in some drive by form of diversity and inclusion. So here's my question to you What are some ways that love is not love, meaning ways that queer love can sometimes be different from straight love?
Alex[00:08:18] Well, I mean, we're going to get really candid. It's also sex is sex or so, you know, like, I'm sorry. Like, I mean, come on. At least for those of us who are as in our community, the sexual orientation is the way that we're different from the norm. Yes, it's about love. But I actually you're in good company because I never wanted to admit that to anybody. Tell me. Yes, love is love. And I understand the legal reasons that was used. Right. Like, I get why that was used in the fight for marriage equality and like, okay, here's all the good data and they're just like you. But we're not just like you, you know, like there's so much there's so much like, my best friend is straight and he's been my best my best friend for 25 years now, you know, since the freshman year of college. And there's things like we can talk about and he's super supportive and he asks wonderful questions and he's always willing to learn whatever. But there's certain things like he's never going to quite understand, you know, because I can't, like, be I can't I can't tell him about, like, certain things that he would get it, but he'd be like, I don't let you do that. So there's that part of it. But I also, you know, it's like, yes. And I also think that it sanitizes, honestly, our sexual experiences and that it's it's something to make people feel comfortable with not having to think about the fact that gay people have sex and it's none of their business anyways. You know, it's like, you know, what goes on. My my sex life is nobody's business but my own or who I choose to share that with. But I think that there is I get the rationale behind it, like I get why that was done. But I also think, you know, even within the community too, it's maybe going a little bit tangents, what you're saying, but the advocacy issues are so different. And what we need as gay men is different from, you know, what the trans community needs right now. And they need a lot of help right now, you know, is different for, you know, my friends who are bisexual need is different. You know, there are even differing advocacy needs within the community that make blanket umbrellas like I. I think you're getting harder and harder. I think it was easier before the marriage decision from the Supreme Court. And now we're really beginning to realize there are a lot of very varied advocacy issues that need need attention and specific attention in order to continue to keep us all safe.
Britt[00:10:47] Yeah, I mean, you know, I feel like especially as two white cis men, we're kind of at the top of the pecking order of social privilege. And we reaped a lot of rewards from respectability politics. Yeah. In particular, marriage equality. I, for one, am married, so I'm getting all of those rewards. But that fight did nothing to help trans youth. You know, that fight did nothing to help bring health care to queer people of color or what have you. And so, like you're saying, there's a bill that's coming due for white, cis, gay men, whether they're single, partnered or wherever, on any continuum. And and so we have to be part of the Helping Hands as well. You know, I was chuckling earlier when we were speaking and like, I don't want to be the gay docent in the Museum of Homosexuality. You know, I don't what have you. It's just like, you know, like you're saying, I've kind of done that. And, you know, so now it's not that I'm old. It's like, you know, here's some stuff. You can go Google or read or whatever, but you have to somehow meet me where I am, you know, And I'm going to be authentic and real. I mean, maybe I'm more of a pot stirrer than you. Maybe I'm more like of a breath than you, But it's like I'm going to be all of me and be provocative and stir the pot and and drop the mic and but I'm not necessarily going to explain everything to you. Then you can go home and you and your wife can Google it or whatever and stuff, or I'll help you if you have, you know, legitimate questions. If you come correct, it's okay. It's like if you if you show you've done research, if we have, you know, built up relationship of love, trust and concern, you know, I've heard you and you just kind of shared about that. You know, you have a lot of straight friends, men and women. There's certain things that they'll never truly understand, like you were just saying, because they don't have the requisite lived experiences. I'm trying to be delicate and, you know, you're so why? Here's my question to you is like, then why is it essential for queer people to foster loving relationships? I mean, both platonic and romantic with other queer people, even cross-culturally within the community?
Alex[00:13:23] Oh, my God. I mean, I can't even enumerate the reasons. It's it's, you know, we're all interconnected and we're interconnected not only physically and within the community. We're interconnected energetically. We're interconnected. Our hearts are interconnected with each other. And we have to, you know, and I can I really I always say as a cisgender gay man, because that's the only experience I can ever speak from. I would never presume to speak for anybody else in our community, and especially as a white, cisgender gay man. And I think that we when we don't feel safe to advocate outside for ourselves, right, when we don't feel safe to say, like to look at the system that gets at us all the time in one way or another. And it's just like I'm like sometimes I'm like, Oh my God, you guys have anything else to do? Like, why? Like Regina George You mean girls? Like, are you so obsessed with us? Like, we we're not obsessed with you. You can go off and lead your lives. Like, why are you so obsessed with us? We're just kind of going off doing our thing, you know, like living our lives. And it's interesting because I think that when we can't put that energy outwards because it feels unsafe, we turn it on each other. We turn on each other as gay men, we turn it on, we inadvertently or it only turn on other people in the community. We start we we have entire community fighting with each other. And some of that is actually really necessary to raise our awareness of things that we, you know, didn't know or were willfully ignorant of. But I feel like love I tried to, in my older age, expand my definition of love a little bit. And I always thought romantic love for 20, almost 20 years is romantic love. Everything is romantic love. Like, oh my God, you love me. Amazing. That's fantastic. Now I'm thinking we need to expand the definition of love inside the community so we feel safe with each other enough that we can then pool our resources outwards and. Don't feel like we often. I feel like we just take a lot of the rage that we feel or the discomfort that we feel, that the spiritual disconnection we feel, and we either turn it in ourselves, which is really common, or we try to deny ourselves and then turn it on each other because it's almost like we don't know where else to put it, you know?
Britt[00:15:48] Yeah, that's the number one. You know, I talk to a lot of people coming out and stuff, and that's the number one complaint I hear from other queer people is where gay men in particular. I'll just say that because it's us. Why are gay men so mean to one another? Yeah. And, you know, that's the number. Like, I didn't want to come out because gay men eat their own. They're so mean to one another and so vicious and so, so cruel. And, you know, and I can't help but wonder if part of that comes from. Okay, let me say it a different way, and I'll frame it as a question to you. How can we entice queer people especially, well, frame it as weight gain assessment to demand require more from society instead of scrambling for crumbs from the table of joy. As the old saying goes.
Alex[00:16:50] There's a beautiful. I've heard that saying. And that's really what it feels. You know, I think by first demanding more, honestly demanding more and and but also grit, like you said before, not spoon feeding questions that can easily be Google essays easily is it there is you know I don't know what exact year you came out but I came out in 1997 you know, just after Ellen, you know, is huge. I was so excited to go on after Ellen. And there was do you weren't any resources available? There was no Internet, there was no pay. And there were there was one organization in Boston called Bagley, which was that Boston Association for Gay and Lesbian Youth, which is still functioning and a wonderful organization. But there were no resources. So it's like, you know, I didn't I had to figure this all out on my own and, you know, kind of go there and whatever and kind of figure it out with other gay men and try to figure that out together. And I almost feel like now there are so many resources you can Google Google gay people coming out, you're going to get like 4400 million suits, you know, hands on Google. You can look at that. And I feel like for 4 hours straight, you know, right now I feel like particularly with what's going on, it's hard to see the drag that I mean, I can't I can't even believe I'm saying the phrase the drag bands that are like like they have nothing better to do again. But we need we need to pool our resources for other things. It's like I don't necessarily want us anymore to feel like we have to beg for respect, beg for love. Fit in to the gay that you want me to be speaking just as a gay so that I'm safe and equally done that with men and women like I have. I still, at 43 years old, I catch myself reflexively bunching up around straight men. It just happens and trying to be the funny gay around straight women, right? Just try to be like, Oh, it's so funny and your dress is amazing, girl. And like the Gucci and like all that stuff, you know, whatever. And I never realized until, I don't know, maybe three years ago that I was doing all that to keep myself safe. And no idea. It was a trauma reaction. I had no idea. It was just so I could get a little semblance of safety. Safe feeling. And this is speaking as a white cisgendered, as you said, gay man. We are at the in privilege the top of height of privilege within our community. And the other thing that I think is really important about this following that point is that we we don't we're always told as gay men to deserve less, to think, not deserve less, that we deserve less or to expect less, to expect less from life. You don't deserve an absolutely phenomenal relationship. You deserve a tolerable relationship that you kind of make where you don't deserve incredible, you know, sexual connection. You deserve, like whatever you can get here in there. You know, you don't really deserve a place in society unless we feel comfortable with you being there, which means you have to kind of look like us and kind of act like us and kind of have a life like us. And I don't know what's happened to me in the last few years, but I'm like, I'm not fucking interested in that anymore. I'm interested in being my fucking self because if I don't do that, then I'm spiritually disconnected. If I'm not connected to who I am on a really authentic and true level, then I'm spiritually disconnected and I'm of no good to anybody in our community or anywhere else. So. That's my long one way to that. But yeah.
Britt[00:20:32] Yeah. You know, it's like when some of us first start the coming out process, it can be so tempting to fall into a click. Out of necessity, out of physical safety. You know, so many of us wade into the coming out process slowly looking for any port in a storm, frankly. And so it can be easy for us to start mindlessly following the rules of whichever segment of queer culture happens to embrace us. And that maybe that sounds harsh. I'm just trying to be very clear, not necessarily harsh, but certainly understand and empathize with it, but especially if we have never been embraced by any strong cultural figures like most of us, as queer people grow up in straight families who, even with the best of intentions, have no lived experience through which they can transmit queer queer culture and points of reference and traditions and rites of passage. And, you know, all of that we have to go find for ourselves like little treasure hunters. And so it seems like part of the maturing process for us as queer people is how to hone our uniqueness as an cultivator, individuality, even as labels start to fall away and conflict at first we embrace the labels. It's thrilling. We slap it on our back and we try to live up to these labels. But it seems part of it is being a middle aged queer person. It's like shedding the labels, witnessing the diminishing returns. Yes. And so I guess my question is, how can queer people summon the courage to stand out? Obviously, we're in you know, we have a wide range of experiences and we have to keep ourselves safe. But assuming that we're ostensibly safe, assuming we have our, you know, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, assuming we have our basic needs covered and we're kind of ostensibly safe, just in general, how can we as queer people summon that inner courage and strength to start to stand out?
Alex[00:22:29] I think for me, and this is from my experience on the Spirit as a spiritual teacher for a long time now you have to have a spiritual connection to who you are. And it that doesn't mean I really want to be very clear about this. I'm glad you brought this up. I think when people, queer people hear spiritual, they hear religion and they hear scary and they hear bigots and they hear that. No, no, thank you, Alex. Please stop talking about that immediately, because I don't want it to do that. So that was me. That was where I started from. Like, Oh, fuck. Now she thought of yourself a materialist atheist. There is none of that doesn't exist. And if we don't have a connection to our bodies, and particularly to our hearts and our solar plexus, where we really receive that intuitive knowledge of what is right for us and what isn't, what feels good and what doesn't, if we don't begin to clear that connection. So we understand on a felt level what is right for us. It's hard to summon that courage because we're not connected to the true well of who we are in the first place. And like you said, we're on, you know, whatever label it is. Like I was tall, 20 gay boy when I came out, I was 90 and I'm like, Okay, well, that sounds good. I'll be a top 20 game boy, you know where my top 20 gay boy clubs and this was 12. So I am a puka shell necklace and my frosted tips. And that's what I did. I thought, that's what you look like, You know, like I don't remember x Y magazine. You're mix of XY goes out like, you know, I remember looking through that and be like, Oh my God, that's what I need to look like, you know?
Britt[00:24:06] It's like, Yeah.
Alex[00:24:10] And now I realize I'm like, Yeah, actually there's a lot about me when I connect to who I am. It allows me to be this big, I don't know, mix of all these strange things that I never would have considered myself to be like, I love astronomy and astrology equally. I am a big, big hormone gay man when it comes to my musical tastes. I am Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Cher. I'm just like a walking stereotype, right? But I dress like an L.L. Bean dad. Like, you know, it's like whatever. It's like, you know, it's all these things. And that's my identity now, you know? It's like I am no longer I mean, I'm I grew out of being a twinkle a long time ago. I'm not not that age or but I can't fit in any label anymore. But that's it. That's come from me. That's come from years and years of introspective work and healing work. To understand all those facets of myself are beautiful and they're very individual to me and as yours are to you and as anybody listening as yours are to you, it's that first connection into my own heart. I think that's really necessary to understand who I am and my spiritual connection to myself. That's that's what builds and begins that courage.
Britt[00:25:27] Yeah, It's like the richness of. Life is in the contradictions and paradoxes and eccentricities. And as a young person, you know, with our age of delay, you know, speaking in the aggregate, again, at least when we were growing up, I have no idea what chimps are like anymore. But when we were growing up and coming out, it's like we had to go reclaim our youth. And so a lot of us were involved in vapid, boring, silly fun like teenagers, except we were 30. And so I think we had to go reclaim a part of us that was frankly stolen by straight people, you know, and it was taken from us. And so it was a righteous act. And eventually that gets boring. And we we kind of move on like you're describing. And I just I started tearing up actually. You describe it so beautifully when you talked about going down to the source and the wellspring. And, you know, I guess for me, what I think of is that regardless of our physical differences or abilities or proclivities, it just seems like everything starts with the body, regardless of who we are or where we've come from, what we think or believe. That's what unites us. Our bodies are mean, of course, look different, function differently, etc., etc. but we all have them. And so it's like it starts with our relationship with the body. So I guess what I'm getting at is what are some ways that queer people can learn to fall in love with their bodies, particularly if they're not as white, young, masculine or athletic as we have structured our society to tell them they should be.
Alex[00:27:03] Oh, my God, Oh, my God. I mean, I just I Yes, seriously? Because, like, what is even, like, you know, just on that point and I definitely I want to talk about this and it's really important. But, you know, what was the ideal when you know, when I think we were so old. But we talk about like, you know, back in the eighties and nineties, the ideal was this dude who was like, that was the start was the ideal. And it's like, well, that's what I have to be. And then it's like, Well, yeah. And they were white who were mostly in public. So, you know, most of them were white and there was not a large representation of trans people that I saw at least at that time. And so or bisexual people in your or anyone else, even lesbians. And I think that it's a we have to fall in love with your body is to recognize to me it is a once in infinity creation it and I really want people to hear that like whether you are spiritual or you are completely material, your body as a construction has never, ever, ever existed the way that it exists now and it never will again. For the blink of an eye that we're all here on this planet. Whatever we're doing here, you know, we're that's open for discussion too. I don't. I still wonder about that. Your body is a once in infinity creation, and it is your best friend. It loves you. And it is every second of every day communicating information to you. And the biggest thing it's trying to communicate to you is it's on your side and it has your best interests at heart and it wants you to listen. And we've been trained for it, you know, into from hetero spiritual institutions into an adversarial view of the cosmos and whatever we believed to be ourselves. And so we are therefore at odds with our bodies. And we have to where we have to overcome things, we have to submit it has to submit. It has to be this way. It has to be this different. Rather than saying, my fucking body is a divine creation. It is. It is to my mind or to or it is just here in the middle of, you know, you know, 14 billion years of the universe being around just happens to be here for this period of time. And that makes it beautiful. But it always has your best interests at heart and it's always communicating with you. I can't emphasize that enough, and it's always on your side. That information that is coming to you is always on your side.
Britt[00:29:37] And it's so fucking beautiful. I almost can't stand it. I love it. I've never thought of it like that. I just That's really touching. You make me cry again. You know, I've always been an athlete. I've always been really competitive. But where I first started to fall in love with my body, I remember the moment it was in a yoga class and the tune. Yeah, Alex and I have a lot in common and in yoga practice is something that we both love and Alex's. I've been a teacher for a long time, as we said in the intro, and I was went to my first yoga class, dragged kicking and screaming, eye rolling the entire way. Making variety withering remarks to my poor boyfriend at the time. And I did my first seated twist and it was like there was a hallelujah chorus. I mean, it was just like decades of toxicity and clenching and a lack of forgiveness and everything just started to be released or drained or whatever metaphor you want to use for my body. And I was in an immersion and intro immersion class where I went every day, five or five days a week for I think it was a month at a time. And I kept kind of re-upping because I fell in love with it right away. And this was Iyengar Yoga at the time. Since then, I practice a lot of different kinds, but this was a younger yoga and I just had this quasi religious experience and I absolutely loved it. And I remember thinking that I was beautiful for the first time in my entire life. And I was 25 and I had never thought I was beautiful until that moment, which is absolutely heartbreaking and kind of pathetic, a statement of society like that. Somehow I was allowed to exist in this space. Looping back to our previous thread about how we get support from straight people and allies and each other. Somehow I had alluded that that support and was allowed to exist in the space where I deemed myself and particularly my body to be unworthy. And so I guess what I'm going is I'm hoping, Alex, you can share some about your yoga practice, what you teach and how this kind of like you talked about this deep wellspring and integrating your life like, okay, well then how does it actually work on a tangible, corporeal level? Like, how are you? How are you manifesting that with your body?
Alex[00:32:24] Well, I think, you know, it's interesting, too. I had a similar experience when I was in my fifth yoga class. We were doing Warrior One, one of the one of the standing poses. And I remember I didn't I was so dissociated from my body, too, from from traumas and different ideas that I didn't even understand where my legs and my hips were. So I remember clearly the moment I did. I was like, What? Her hips. Hips. I know that, right? You know, like, I had no idea. I was like, That's cool. Thanks for telling me. And then all of a sudden I felt my hips drop about an inch. And what I realized was that was such a small movement, but it was me feeling like in an environment where I was doing something physical, I did not have to be on guard. I did not have to be worried about, okay, what did this person think and what did this person think? And did one of those boys see that my wrist flaps and one like that? I dropped the football because I don't fucking care about football and gives a shit, you know, It's like I sort of sit on the bleachers and talk to the girls, like every other day. Come on. That's what I want to do in gym class. Leave. And, you know, so I think that yoga, what yoga has become, I think it's become so many things. And I want to say clearly, too, that this is modern Western adaptations of yoga. Right? Is is is developed into the West over the last year, especially over the last 20 years become so popular. But is that you have to place your body in such unusual shapes relative to what we're used to, that it forces you into a reckoning with the felt experience of your body.
Britt[00:33:58] Oh, my God. Wait a second. Wait a second, Wait a second. That is so fucking beautiful, Alex. You got it. I mean, that is. That can go in a T-shirt. That is amazing. So you have to force what you said. You have to force yourself into a reckoning of the physical experience, something like that.
Alex[00:34:15] To the felt experience. So let's say, you know, let's say so there are poses, you know, you and I've done yoga for years and like downward dog write down dog dogs, fairly basic, you know, done in almost any yoga class. If you do yoga for a while, you know, it's dog. But it's a very unusual thing to do to put your hands forward and your feedback into ends of try to form this view and try to wear your shoulders or whatever. And, you know, when I'm training new yoga teachers on how to teach poses, I've trained yoga teachers now probably almost as long as I've been teaching. And I'm I will often say most of us in our society, not all, but most are in our heads and our intellectual process. And we're we're sort of not feeling neck down. So when you give a cue, sometimes someone won't even know how to turn their foot a certain way because they haven't done it before in a really long time. And so it's or a long time. I haven't done it before ever. So when when that person finds in Downward Dog or Warrior One or Warrior two or whatever that motion, it forces them to reckon with a sensory feedback from their body that they may have been really needing to feel for a long time and recognizing that, you know, speaking of that wellspring inside of you, there is a wealth of felt intuitive information. Your body is communicating all the time when you go into yoga poses. And this can happen in all other kinds of movement towards yoga. Just happens to be where I found the safest place to find this. It forces you to reconnect on a felt level to your body, and that's where all the information is. And so it's so I can't I cannot emphasize, I think, in the healing process how important embodied practices are, and especially as queer people. Right? Because we often run up here because the body doesn't feel safe or feels confusing or it feels scary or it feels whatever, or there's been abuse or trauma or something where we've just run up, not safe there. And so practices and qigong is like, this touches like this. And Derek said, sports can be like this too. But where you come in, I just I'm not a sports prospect. So I write about sports a little bit, but where you you have to re communicate with the sensory experience of your body because there's so much information there and it's on your side. Like I said before, it's on your side. It's trying to care for you.
Britt[00:36:41] And then what do you do with all that information? How do you leverage it? How do you absorb it all? How do you you know, where do you take it? So you're flooded with this information. Maybe for the first time in your life you may not even speak the language. I bet it's overwhelming. I'm sure it was for me. I can't really remember. But, you know, how do you start to leverage it and move forward?
Alex[00:37:02] Well, that takes some time and it takes really good guidance and it depends on what the goal is from that, the what's the way our predominant method of thought in the Western European mindset, European descent mindset is analytical, intellectual thinking. We analyze it. We intellectualize generally that, you know, that's kind of what we're taught to do, a sort of sort and assess and divide and understand in that way the information that comes to your body from your body does not come with a bullet point. Lists of why it's coming in and what it's trying to share with you. It doesn't say like, well, this is actually February 3rd, 1997, and what you're feeling here is 98, in 1989. And usually it doesn't do that. Right. It's just like this information. Right. So the primary way, when I'm working with people on their intuition, how to trust their intuition, what I say at a very general level. Does your body get tense or does your body relax? And it doesn't mean when your body gets tense or something malicious happening just means it's not right for you or you're not resonating with something or reminds you of something or you're right. Or does your body say, you know, like you just feel like you sit down with somebody for the first time? You're like, Oh, I just like you. I just can go, I can relax, I can breathe. And the other thing I teach from yoga all the time, what that is does when when you meet that person, is it harder to breathe or is it easier to breathe? And your breath will tell you everything too, because your breath is intimately tied to your nervous system and intimately tied to your autonomic nervous system and your fight or flight response. And so I think that it's easiest to start with that. But also what I thought and this is a general statement for just a lot of yoga teaching from my experience as a yoga teacher, generally your energy system in your body, which are intricate and intimately connected on that level, know just what to release, when to not overwhelm you. And that's why it's always so important when you're doing any healing work that you have good guidance around. You do not push yourself beyond that because it can be retraumatizing, right? Because it goes into that thing that's too deep and then you seize back against it to not go into it. So but I would say that one thing doesn't feel like I relax or just feel like I get tense. That's intuition. Basic function.
Britt[00:39:19] That's so, so amazing. Thank you so much for that. And let's move a little bit along the maturity curve. So I've been practicing yoga for, you know, a couple of years now, 18 months or something, and I'm starting to develop an ear for what my body is telling me. I'm starting to develop and cultivate an eye for the present moment, and then something shifts and the world and all of its brutal glory, not the world sees. The world is a beautiful society in all of its brutal glory. It's still society. So then how can we as queer people, maintain our sweet, sensitive souls and our tender hearts in these cultures that tend towards the brutal and the primitive like the US?
Alex[00:40:17] I think that's why it's more important than ever that we have spaces where we can gather together to do these practices that are spaces where we feel it's just us, it's just us. And, you know, like I want that space to break because the tender, you know, I, I've been realizing lately I've put on a lot of armor in my life that I didn't realize was there. And I could I could say it wasn't armor. It was easy. I'm just being funny or just thought. But I have a lot of armor and sometimes I'm like, Fuck, I don't want to fucking put up any more fucking armor, you know, like, and but I also don't necessarily feel in every space and this is not an indictment against yoga spaces, but not in every yoga space. Do I feel safe to completely trust and listen to myself as a queer person because I don't know the people in that space? And for me and again, this this may be a generational thing where we are in our generation. It may be different for the younger people, but there is a reflexive tightening. When I'm around straight people, it's still there. It always has been, and it may always be. I just have to be mindful of it, recognize I'm safe and these people aren't going to harm me and they're perfectly fine and lovely. And it's not an indictment against all straight people either. It's just what my body does naturally. But I think also that it's another sort of call to arms, I would say, oddly enough, for developing your inner life and your inner connection, your spiritual aura, you know, is to develop your inner life and your connection to your own heart is why I love Buddhism so much. That's why I've always loved the Buddhist teachings was, you know, reconnect in to who you are on in your own self. And that that can also be the ferry that gets you across the river some days that. Yes, you know, and it's yes, the world can be harsh. Yes, the world is harsh towards us. And sometimes it feels like it's getting harsher and it's definitely getting harder. Towards certain segments of our community, like trans people and gender non-conforming people. But when you can have a moment to go inside yourself, you take 30 seconds just to breathe and to notice your own heartbeat. It gives you a little bit of that oasis. It's not going to fix everything, but it gives you a little bit of an oasis. And and yeah, I would say start with that. That's my main number one question for clients as I'm busy or things come at me or I don't know how to do it. I say, take 30 seconds. Just feel your put your hand on your heart, feel your heartbeat and breathe. It does things energetically and physiologically to soothe you, but also great. The other thing is, want to say quickly on this too, is you can I got you locked into you in the last ten years, that sort of soul of healing, right? I'm doing my healing and I had friends. I could talk to that stuff, whatever. It was fine. But I had to realize I also want to sit down with a group of gay men and talk about it. Like talk about this is what I experience. You know, I want to sit down and let it go and not feel like I have to kind of be up on guard or on my own, so to speak. Know, and I think we're getting there. But that's something I've been wishing for lately, too, in terms of community.
Britt[00:43:32] Yeah, I mean, you know, and I guess that kind of we've touched on it before, but, you know, bringing it back, it's like then how do we cultivate these loving connections during this epidemic of loneliness without succumbing to all the social pressure and even the capitalist forces out there that punish and shameless for being single?
Alex[00:43:58] Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Fred, would you have another podcast really for that one? Because I could go on that. That's a that's a good three part of a three part series on that question. It's so funny. Okay. So that. Thank you. I'm going to go here. You might have to just stop. But you know, it is a capitalist thing. I never thought of it like that. So? So. So what someone else said to him, like, fuck, it really is. But like, in in loneliness, you know, one of the things you differentiate in mystical practices and what whatever the mystical tradition is, not just in Buddhism or the traditions that come from India, but from China and Japan, and from even the mystical forms of of the Abrahamic religions. There is an idea of solitude, right, where there's a certain amount of our spiritual life that is always private and always internal. It just is the way it is, our connection to that deepest part of ourselves, even those closest to us wouldn't know. But there's also in Buddhism, the idea of the sangha, which is the spiritual community, which is you also need to be with other people in order to communicate about what's going on with you and to speak about your journey. And that when you're going especially, you know, in that sort of monastic community, you're facing some deep, dark shit inside yourself. You are facing some really tough shit that you need some guidance and support and a shoulder and an ear to to work through with it. Now about loneliness and we'll get to the single part, dust part. I could go on about loneliness, I think is something, something that is part of the human condition, but has been exacerbated by the illusion that we're more connected to each other than we really are. I can go on Instagram and see all my friends, and that's the classic social media paradox, right? Is like we have all this connection. Essentially. We're not sitting here having this lovely conversation with you, right? Am I having a real conversation with somebody about really important things? And I you know, I went through the pandemic signal single. I'm a pretty classic introvert. I'm gregarious in my album, pretty classic. I can I'm pretty good on my own. And I've been single for a while. I mean, I've had I've had, you know, six months things here and there and whatever, and they've been fun and whatever. But I'm generally okay on my own, and I've just been taking a lot of time in the past few years to really discover who I am as an adult and as adult man and what I what I want for myself and how to do that by myself. But the look on people's faces, when you say you're single and you're in your early forties, it's like it's like all of a sudden it's like they get like they're looking at you like they're trying to solve a Rubik's Cube and like, really? Wow. Y But you're so, you're so hands or you're so smart. I'm like, I know, thank you. But like, I don't know, I am. And they're like, Why am I explaining this to you? And then, you know, it's and the assumptions that come at you and the all the stuff that comes out, you know, and I it's hard to say to people, I'm really okay. Some of the lonely is for everybody and listening. I'm fine, including my mother. I'm fine like she keeps thinking about Christ. But and of course and then you also feel like you have to say, of course, if someone wonderful came along, I would be excited. You don't feel like you have to go, Oh, this is all like dinner. You know, index cards are ending up here. And so so, you know, there's there's that. And it also it's interesting, too, because my intuition, you know, one of the reasons I started on, ah, a deeper spiritual journey was because I was really getting into bad relationships. Not like that's a mediocre relationship. Bad relationships, emotionally toxic, emotionally abusive. Go down the list of manipulative, go down the list of traits. Just that was the relationship. Those and and because of conditioning from there were certain traumas that I had that condition me in that way but also a conditioning as a gay man and growing up in the ah, we did. I just thought this is normal. It's normal to feel anxious all the time, and it's normal to try really hard to make someone love you. And it's normal to be treated as a sort of second class citizen in someone's life because I felt like a second class citizen in the world. And so it didn't even occur to me till 2012, which is when I really began this work of like, wait a second, this isn't normal. It's not normal to be treated this way by someone who's saying that they love you. It's not normal. And so I began this work as a way of figuring out what I was doing there, because I had been trained as a gay man to accept less. And also, if I may say, to ask, not ask for anything in my relationships. Not don't make waves. Don't. I don't want. God forbid someone should leave you. God forbid. Someone should think you're too much. I'm. I mean, I'm dramatic. Look at me. Look at my hands. I'm big Momma in a lot of ways. But that's not bad. It's just who I am. Militarizing. I mean, it's arguments. No, And. And I spent. And so what reason I'm getting what I'm getting to it, that is, I how to develop my own connection to what I knew to be right for me and also know what my value is. Not my worth, my value, what I bring and not accept something to make other people feel comfortable with my relationship status or to try to just make something work, but to really have what I genuinely want and I genuinely am okay if that comes along, that's wonderful and I would be excited and happy if it doesn't. I'm also okay and I feel like that place of equanimity, I feel like I've like took my machete and hacked through the rainforest to get to that. I'm just like, you know, get me there, girl. And now that I'm there, people are like, Why? Why are you single? So anyways, that's my I'm so.
Britt[00:50:13] By God, you're killing me, you know. And what you're describing in some ways is so empowered and beautiful and you took charge of your life and and, you know, that's certainly a component that's really important. And and I don't want to get lost. And but let's look at it through another lens. It's quintessentially American to place a premium on the value of self-directed choice. Yet in my life, I've often found serenity by swimming downstream. I mean, it's almost like I inevitably suffer when I fight the forces of the universe. And in that way I can't help but kind of chuckle and wonder if the fault really is in our stars. And I guess my question to you is like, So, okay, how can we effectively harness and channel our vital empowerment that you describe so well? And that story just then, while tempering our enthusiasm with the humble awareness and acceptance of our destiny.
Alex[00:51:23] Oh, boy. Oh. That is the conundrum of any divinity practice, astrology. That's the that's the great conundrum. Right. And, you know, one of the things we I don't think we realize how much and in European thought we have descended from either you are religious or you are material. You are a humanist and you're the triumph of the human being, or there's only this sort of weird parental figure God that hates you, for we can't even figure out why and whatever, right? There's either either or in the mystical traditions. The answer for me is like, Oh, okay, here's here's a connection in back to my Wellspring and source my and also recognizing that exists in everyone else. Everyone else that exists in you exists and everybody listening. That same awareness, that same open love exists in every single one of us. Now, I this is my belief system. I'm not going to say ask anybody to believe anything they want to believe, but that our souls reincarnate through lifetimes. Right? That's what we're saying. Trillions upon trillions upon trillions upon trillions upon trillions of incarnations and all for the sake of experience, not to learn lessons, not to, you know, not to be like, you know, told by some greater force like you did it wrong. It's just kind of like, well, I had a hamburger yesterday and today I want a burrito. Right? It's just like I just experience a variety of experience that once in infinity experience of your body, Right. It being. And so, you know, when you look at someone's astrology chart and you look at I think I'm look what I believe I'm looking at is the the plan, the sort of arena, the rules of the game they wanted to play by in this lifetime. And destiny and fate have very negative connotations. And what I see when I'm working with clients is you have absolute free will. You have so much free will that you're you're so creative source will not override your free will over your desire. You have that much free will. However, there's a certain there are certain things that light you up like for you, like music. Write music always lit me up. I always loved classical music. I put my job put on box. I think it was yes, you joined Mass Desiring or it was one of or is one of the organs. When I was like seven, I was. What's that like? You just let me off, right? I've always been interested in human nature, what makes us tick? What's our connection to the greater universe, whether that's a material connection in terms of astronomy, or there's more philosophical arts like astrology and different sorts of energy work and the understanding of the subtle universe. And so we see is, you know, there's a saying now in modern spirituality, you're the totality of possibilities. That's true, but you don't want the totality of possibilities. There are certain things that light you up like you say when you go downstream. There are certain ways you're just happier. There's certain things you're doing that make you happier and like, yeah, I could quit what I'm doing and become a, I don't know, like an English lit professor. I would hate it. I don't want to do that. That's not me. That's my job. If someone else would love that, somebody else would get those. You're just they would just go through every book. And also that's what they would want to do. And so accepting a destiny or accepting a fate has very negative patriarchal connotations that came from patriarchal thinking, that came from separate of thinking between spirit and matter. Right. And fate and destiny are certain things like I was destined to love classical music, I was destined to want to do healing. Have there been issues and things that I have to work with? For sure that has been part of my path too, and we can very within that plan. That plan is not set. You have free will to change and go here or there. But what it's saying is you came in with certain intentions. And I just want to say as quickly as you live your life, you add to those intentions, it's not fixed from when you're born to when you die. Each of us, as we live our lives, we program new intentions of what we want, new desires and new ideas that we want to bring into fruition, that we want to quote unquote, manifest. Nowadays, that's what we usually say. But yeah, fate. Destiny is letting go of yours. Where? Where would you have me go? What would you have me do? What would you have me say and to whom? That's a real course in miracles. That's what I try to say. I'm not great at surrender, by the way. I'm kind of a recovering control freak, so it's like I have to work on it.
Britt[00:56:03] Yeah, It's almost like you're saying destiny is done for us, not to us. It's almost like a platform of support that we can leap into life from. Yes, it's not a controlling. It's not the day of sex marking, reaching down from on high and moving us. Like marionettes, puppets on a string. It's almost more like a supportive almost, you could even say generative platform. And I guess that, you know, we've we've covered such a wide range of topics. I'm wondering, like if you could talk a little bit about how you bring all of this together in your coaching practice. Like what kind of tools do you draw upon to help all of the sweet, sensitive souls out there bring greater ease into their lives, build more connection, become more of themselves, and demand more of society?
Alex[00:57:02] I have a lot of tools up over a lot of years, and I continue to learn, you know, I'm still on a learning journey with all I have. You know, when I do, if I I'm going to go from astrology to somewhere, all the things I do. Astrology for me was my last holdout. I was like, That is the stupidest fucking thing I've ever done in Duper. What? That can't possibly be true. And I wasn't just a skeptic. I was like a douchey skeptic. I was like one of those people who is like, Well, you know, well, you know, I was like that guy at a party, like the the horrible person, you know, both reside on my backs and so and so. But I really began to see when I got it, when I got a real not just reading a newspaper horoscope, I got a real reading with a real star. So I was like, That was enormously helpful. I don't give a shit about the predictive aspects of it. So much for my life because I love the adventure and I want to see what happens in my life. I don't I don't need the prediction. And honestly, the predictive aspect has never been particularly accurate. It's been what was when. Very accurate is how it seen me, how I felt witnessed as a member of the cosmos itself, how I felt, Oh, there's an order to this. There's a beautiful like a symphony, right? There's there's an ordering of notes here that has made up my life. I feel seen. And I think this is so important for us as gay men, as queer people, when we're told by by religion, dogmatic religion, we're abominations, we are evil, we are that that doesn't just affect the way you feel in society. You feel like you're wrong within the cosmos itself, that all of this go on for 93 billion light years that we can see right now in the indivisible universe, you are somehow wrong because you're not gender conforming or because you sleep with the same sex or whatever it is. Somehow you're wrong. And what astrology told me when I got readings that your rights, everything is right. All of this makeup of you, you, your right in the cosmos is in order to you, there's a principle to you. The other principles are drawn out. A lot are causing miracles, which is a very Christian language. And it helped me heal a lot of the Christian wounds I had. It's very mystical and it's talking about really just the expression of the divine force is love. It's just love and it loves you. And you just have to learn how to deal with being loved. But also I draw on some shamanic practices that I've worked with, which I'm incredibly grateful for, you know, and my gratitude is and indebtedness to indigenous traditions and not everyone, because we want them all together. You know, there's all very, very varied in their experiences with shamanic practices. Shamans have known for thousands of year, about years about inherited generational trauma, have known for thousands of years about about different types of how the soul splits, you know, agency psychologists, how there's a split when this trauma is over the soul retrieval, right, that your soul splits off into different places. I can't name my gratitude for that enough. But also I think the primary I will draw any on any tool I have, any ability to have any visual, any ability to work within the subtle realms to help someone know that they're seeing they're connected to this system and that their place in it is right. Their place in it is right, They are correct. And when we can contextualize that, I've seen the way just come right. I'm just I just watched. It just comes right up. So those are some of the things I would say about that. I could go on for a while.
Britt[01:00:36] It has just been so much fun to talk with you today. I was so excited when I when we booked you to come on the show. I just I feel like I learn stuff every time I get to sit down with you. And today was no different. You blew my mind several times. I can't. I mean, I can't wait to go and rewatch this episode myself is absolutely fabulous. So thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
Alex[01:01:06] Thank you so much for having me. Britt, This has been a blast, a real blast and just a blessing. So thank you so much.
Britt[01:01:12] Well, listener, you've made it through another episode of Not Going Quietly, the podcast for outraged optimists and heartbroken healers all over the world where we serve. His life searing truths in the name of radical togetherness. I'm so grateful to Jonathan, my co-host, who couldn't be here today, but also for Alex, our featured guest for all the wisdom that he dropped on us for for an hour. And so grateful for your presence. I hope it was nourishing for you in some way. Generative healing. I know it was for me and I every time I like I said, every time I meet with Alex, I come away feeling so great about myself, frankly, and my place in the world. Alex has a wonderful website that will go in the show notes so you don't have to scribble down a URL right now. I will put that in the show notes. I've got a fantastic Instagram page. He's funny, he's charming, He gives you all sorts of great content around astrology and yoga and all sorts of stuff completely for free. So please check it out. Again, we'll put that link in the show notes so you don't have to scribble anything down and please check them out. He's a wonderful person, obviously has a wealth of knowledge, so he would be a great person to have in your corner. Thanks, everyone. It was wonderful to sit with you today. We absolutely adore you. We couldn't do this without you. So thank you so much. Bye bye now. You've been listening to. I'm Not Going Quietly with co-hosts Jonathan Beal and Britt East.
Jonathan[01:02:38] Thanks so much for joining us on this wild ride as we explore ways to help everyone leap into life with a greater sense of clarity, passion, purpose and joy.
Britt[01:02:46] Check out our show notes for links, additional information, and episodes located on your favorite podcast platform.
Spiritual Healing Arts Practitioner
Alex Amorosi has been practicing and teaching spiritual healing arts for over 25 years. He began his journey as an agnostic and skeptic, and has spent many years coming to understand the subtle realms of the mind and reality from a grounded analytical perspective. He has extensive knowledge of human energetic and physical anatomy from almost 20 years of teaching yoga and almost 15 years practicing Reiki and energy work. He has evolved a unique approach that combines coaching, energy work, yoga and physical movement, meditation, and teachings from modern and classical spiritual traditions.
Alex has been studying and practicing astrology since 2016. He incorporates ideas and techniques from the Vedic astrological tradition of India, the Hellenistic astrological traditions of ancient Greece and Rome, Medieval astrology, visual astrology, and evolutionary astrology. Alex finds the symbolic language of astrology to be a powerful method for understanding oneself and the patters of one's life.
Alex is a practicing Buddhist and classical music enthusiast with a special love of Mozart, Sibelius, Mendelssohn, and Berlioz. He is a history and philosophy buff, cat dad, proud gay man, and member of the LGBTQ+ community, aspiring fiction author, and general lover of life!