Q&A with Sukey and Elizabeth of Just Sit
Meditation. You hear about it all the time, but how often do you really sit down and make space for it? (I know my excuse is always "I don't have time!") Sukey and Elizabeth Novogratz FEEL YOU. But these two lil Buddhas are here to tell you that meditation can be approachable and simple in their new book "Just Sit."
Tell us a little bit about yourselves!
Sukey: We are sister-in-laws who have been great friends for decades. We’ve been through a ton together…
Elizabeth: Way back when in the 90s, Sukey married my brother, Mike. Some people thought it was all a ploy for Sukey to become BFF’s with me, but no one knows for certain. What we do know is that we are both Scorpios, both majored in Anthropology, both love to exercise (our bodies and our demons), both enjoy having our palms, cards, stars, auras, charts, energy, and blood work read, and as professional spiritual weather chasers, have both spent much of our free time in places like ashrams by the Bay of Bengal, vortexes outside of Mt. Shasta and Sedona, mid-western vision quests, and at faraway retreats all over the planet.
Sukey: It didn’t all start out so kumbaya though. Elizabeth comes from a very large and extremely close family and I was the first “interloper.” The Novogratz family is close, led by a man who for all eternity has insisted that his offspring (and their’s) show up no matter what. Show up for life, but more importantly for each other. That’s when I knew I was in, when I no longer questioned who would come to my birthday party (or dinner party or intimate dinner party). Before I even sent an invite, I knew that 13 siblings and 21 kids would be there every single time. No one would dare to not show up. It’s the family mantra.
What was the inspiration behind Just Sit?
Elizabeth: We have travelled the world to study meditation in every kind of classroom, from Lakota sweat lodges to Tibet House, from ashrams to vision quests to Oneness retreats. We have learned from many renowned teachers, including Sharon Salzberg, Krishna Das, Ram Dass, Amma, Tony Robbins, and the monks at One World Academy in Chennai, India. And we have done our research; reading hundreds of books on meditation and meditation science, as well as numerous treatises on brain science, and countless memoirs and biographies of all kinds of yogis and meditation gurus. We have found great inspiration from authors, including the writing of Pema Chödrön, Krishna Murti, Robert Sapolsky, Barbara Fredrickson and Dan Goldman.
Sukey: Our inspiration for writing this book is drawn from friends, readers, and complete strangers who echoed their own questions about how to take the first steps toward making meditation part of a more mindful, reflective, and joyful life.
What are the top benefits of meditation?
Elizabeth: There are so many… our favorites are:
Slows down the aging process
Makes you nicer
Gives you permission to check in
Sukey: During our search to understand meditation and to find a way to bring it into our own jam-packed modern lives, our perspectives changed in unexpected ways. For me, after twenty-eight years of dealing with the impact of a rape, meditation provided profound relief and healing in a way that nothing else had. And meditation was Elizabeth’s path to recovery from a two-packs-a-day cigarette addiction. For both of us though, this simple but powerful practice has not only been a deep-level refuge, it has given us a life raft in the churning up-and-down rapids of daily life.
And, after years and years of practice and research, we made a shocking discovery: meditation can be incredibly simple, a lot of fun—and not that big of a deal.
What do you love most about yourself?
Sukey: I am curious and always growing and am still a work in progress.
Elizabeth: I love adventure and not knowing what’s next - always willing to show up.
What makes you feel like a kween?
Sukey: If you tap into your inner Wonder Woman, I would say I tap into my inner Shaman. My super power is deep listening, coming from the heart and holding space for people. Just love everyone is my mantra. I will admit that is easier said than done but living that out in my everyday life is what gives me purpose.
Elizabeth - Compassion, a desire to always know more, and to show up. I also like to run ultra-marathons, ride horses, climb mountains, and explore as much of this incredible planet as I can. I’m a big animal rights person and am currently working on a project / radio documentary that features the super humans that are changing the world for animals.