When Benjamin, a no-nonsense businessman, and Azrya, a free-spirited artist fall madly in love, they birth a vision for a committed partnership, capable of elevating humanity. In order to become the heart-centered, impact leaders they aspire to be, they must face off with the deepest, unconscious fears threatening their mission and union. A unique hybrid of personal development, spiritual memoir, and erotic non-fiction, BEQOMING is an intimate and uncensored exploration of psychedelics, sex, power, and purpose.
Join Azrya and Benjamin Bequer as they navigate the light and shadow sides of their own becoming and they deliver potent wisdom and tangible strategies for your own activation.
Welcome to The Author Hour Podcast, I’m your host Benji Block and today, I’m excited to be joined by Azrya and Benjamin Bequer. They have just come out with a new book, the book is titled, BEQOMING: Everything You Didn’t Know You Wanted. Welcome into Author Hour you guys.
Azrya Bequer: Thank you so much.
Bee Bequer: Yeah, we’re excited to be here.
Azrya Bequer: What’s funny is Benjamin, used to be called Benji when he was a little kid. Every now and then, his mom still calls him that and my name is Azrya, it’s a little hard to pronounce but you were very close.
Benji Block: It’s a beautiful name, Azrya. My mom wouldn’t let me be called Ben, that was her only request. Benji just kind of stuck because Benjamin was too long. Benjamin, is that what you go by? You go by the full Benjamin?
Bee Bequer: It’s kind of evolved. I went by Benji as a little kid and then [in] high school, it was Ben and then my dad was Ben and we worked together so it kind of transitioned to Benjamin, and then now, I go by Bee.
Benji Block: I love it. Yeah, I probably need an evolution in my name, Benji sounds a little young but that’s okay, it stuck and that’s where we are so, anyway.
Azrya Bequer: I like Benji.
Benji Block: Thank you, I appreciate it. And it will distinguish us in this podcast, which is very helpful. Let’s do this, let’s start here. For listeners who may be a little bit unfamiliar or just new to the work that the two of you are doing, can you give a little background and context for what led up to this book?
Azrya Bequer: Sure thing. Benjamin and I have walked very different life paths up until this moment, now, we’re walking the same life path. We’ve merged everything together but before meeting and really, the book — really, the seeds of the book began right when we met but leading up to that moment, I was very much on a path of really the artist path.
I moved to LA from Germany to pursue a career in acting and I’d always been just really drawn to and fascinated by the human condition and the emotional spectrum of what it means to be alive. So acting was a really beautiful outlet for me and then I’ve started to kind of delve into the realm of psychedelics and plant medicine. Started the way a lot of people do, going to Burning Man and having some really profound experiences, altering my consciousness, and really just remembering a completely different version of reality that I feel like I was very connected to as a child but I had lost touch with over the course of my life.
That started me on a pretty intensive journey of deep, deep inner personal transformation and through that process, I started to receive just a lot of insights and awareness and kind of teachings, I guess, from the shamanic realms.
I started to just capture as much as I could in my journals, knowing that one day I was going to kind of condense all of that into a book format. By the time we met, I was brimming really, kind of bursting at the seams with all of this information and had gone through this really profound process within my own personal life of just many deaths and rebirths of my own identity and was looking to take what I was doing as a coach — as a curator and facilitator of retreat experiences and also as a media, as medicine creator — using kind of my background in entertainment to share my teachings through storytelling in the digital content, kind of era.
Then we met, it was a really synchronistic meeting because Benjamin had been calling in his deep purpose — I don’t know if you want me to share your backstory, babe, or if you want to share it for yourself. He had been a serial entrepreneur, very successful, built a business from scratch with his father throughout his entire 20s, had checked a lot of those boxes of traditional success and really gotten to a place where he was like, “I feel like I’m missing something at a soul level.”
There’s a part of him that he always knew was going to leave some sort of significant impact on this planet, he just felt like he didn’t know exactly what that was supposed to be and it was starting to get kind of painful playing the old game. It was a very beautiful moment to meet at that juncture and I really needed support to up-level everything just in terms of actually building out this business and this vision that I had in a very tangible way which of course, Benjamin is very good at.
We just combined forces and pretty much, right away, got started writing this book. It just felt really true to share our story, and maybe you can share a bit, Bee, about your experience with the book and what that process was like for you?
Bee Bequer: I never thought I’d write a book and Azrya kind of had a lot of content she’d pulled from journals. We wrote this book four times, basically from scratch and each time, I kind of put, I think, a deeper layer of myself into it and by the fourth edition, it was really a beautiful co-creation. It kind of evolved, it was really useful and fun.
Azrya Bequer: Well, I guess I’ll add that Benjamin had severe learning disabilities as a child and actually struggled to read, he had — back in those days, they didn’t really have language for ADD or dyslexia or stuff like that but in hindsight, he was really suffering from that and it was really challenging. There was a real — when he says, “I never thought I’d write a book,” it largely came from that place of not feeling like that was a gift writing our language.
This has been also a really healing process for you, right?
Bee Bequer: Yeah, it’s been a big journey. A big piece of the journey was even recording the audiobook, reading out loud to me still gives me trauma, to literally break out into cold sweats from kind of childhood traumas around that and so, going from a place of not being able to really read, to reading an audiobook live was a real challenge and a journey and beautiful.
Knowing vs. KNOWING
Benji Block: Well, thank you for sharing that. I think that is – I mean, I can even say from my own personal background, Bee, I resonate with that and I think a lot of people will and how cool that you’re reading an audiobook that you wrote. What a transformation and a beautiful part of the story there. Let’s talk a little bit — I’ll actually quote you guys here. You say “This book aims to reveal how all these universal human fears can become our greatest teachers,” we just hit on, touched on one of those, right?
“First by awakening us to the reality of how much power we give external circumstances over our lives.” With that as a background, talk me through the genesis of this book as far as knowing what topics you wanted to cover and who you’re imagining picking it up and reading it.
Bee Bequer: I think a large portion of the topics came from our own curriculum. A lot of them came from our own learnings and our own challenges so, we basically put together a book based on a lifetime of learning and challenges and continued challenges around those things, really related to the moving beyond the fear we view life as curriculum — we view the universe as benevolent so, as you progress in life, the universe just gives you more curriculum so that you can learn and grow. So this beautiful universe just continues to give you curriculum. If you look at life through that lens, it sure makes things a lot easier.
Azrya Bequer: We like to say, if love is the answer, fear is the teacher, in the sense that the fear is actually pointing us in the direction of where the growth is. Fear is like this — can illuminate the path to greater love because it’s showing you what’s in the way of that love or of that full radiant embodiment of who you can really be in this lifetime.
In our culture, we’re very much programmed and conditioned to ignore, reject, deny and suppress anything that’s uncomfortable or painful, certainly on the emotional side of the spectrum. We’re not equipped with tools to handle what we would call the shadow material of our human psyche and our emotional bodies so, as a result of that, these things, they don’t go away. Everyone runs into pain and fear in their lifetime but instead of actually really honoring it and having a dialog with it and processing it fully, we tend to just push it aside and then it gets stuck in us and kind of gets stuck in our subconscious and then finds ways to express itself that are not necessarily useful.
A huge part of our perspective on life and how we work in our transformational work as well is, let’s look at these fears, let’s embrace them as teachers, let’s start to talk about what is it that they’re here to gift us and what is it that they’re trying to illuminate for us. The person that we’re really wanting to speak to is someone who may, from the outside, look very confident and may look very successful just like Benjamin did, you know?
Someone who presents as a very accomplished, successful through A-type personality, you know? Maybe does have a fair amount of safety and control that they’ve created in their life through hard work and climbing the ladder. Underneath that, a lot of times, there’s a very different story.
Specifically, the people that we want to speak to are people who have realized that this American dream of material success is only a part of the puzzle. By no means are we saying like you should live a life of complete rejection of material possessions or wealth. We believe that money is energy and money is needed to create a more beautiful world so we’re all about integrating all of it but if you’re not taking into consideration that there’s another aspect to you that is actually not at all physical or material and can’t be measured by external things, then, you’re really starting to dig into these deeper layers and that’s where the real juices that so many people crave and try to find outside of themselves.
Benji Block: You talk about sort of the failing in your own lives of that kind of American dream and the unraveling that happens there, this stripping that happens, right? That then causes an awareness and an “awakeness”. Without having to go into all detail because obviously we’d love for people to pick up the book and read it but, I would love to hear a little bit of that personal journey for the two of you, that stripping and the awareness of the need for, I guess, I would call it, maybe an evolution and a new way of thinking.
Bee Bequer: I guess I’ll try and tackle that one. I spent most of my life climbing what David Brooks would call the “first mountain of traditional success” and doing all the things I should be doing; building a business, buying the houses, the cars, the planes, and just found myself always unhappy and unfulfilled.
After my father’s death in 2016, I decided that I was going to live with more purpose and then fast forward a couple of years and found myself in kind of the same place of just doing what was familiar to me, which was kind of chasing the dollar. I ended up in a business investment that landed me in a massive lawsuit and the lawsuit was in some forms like a spiritual awakening because it forced me to kind of wake up and start walking in integrity and start living with purpose because I was saying that I wanted to do it but my actions weren’t aligned with that.
For me, that was the impedance of saying “Okay, there’s a different way to show up in the world” and it’s been really powerful. I’ve gone through a complete transformation. I mean, there’s not much of me that’s the same as the person even three years ago so I’ve gone through a massive evolution and really just look at what matters in life in a very different way.
Benji Block: Bee, when you think back to who you were, kind of pre- that whole situation now, is it really hard to just identify with that person? How have you kind of come to terms with who you were before the unraveling and sort of the new perspective that you have now? How have you shown grace to that version of yourself?
Bee Bequer: That’s a good question. It’s been difficult. I would say, the challenging part of that transition has been relationships. People get attached to who you were and if people resonated with you based on who you were, there’s often a contraction when you start showing up differently, and sometimes, it’s also a difficult reflection for people because if you’re showing up differently and different things are mattering to you and you’re showing up in the world in a different way.
It forces them to reflect on their own situation and how they show up in the world. So, the difficult part for me hasn’t been the transition from who I was to who I am and having understanding for that version of myself. The difficult part has really been managing the relationships in my life. Friendships, family, and different things and we dive into that in the book a little bit but that’s been more of the challenge.
Benji Block: You show up one way for long enough, and obviously, that’s what’s always expected then, there going forward. I definitely can see that. What’s that journey been like and your awakening in a sense?
Azrya Bequer: I mean, for me, it was like — I think because there was our — always a part of me and I was a very empathic child, very connected to nature, very connected to animals, very connected to like the plant realms and I think a lot of kids actually are innately. Then, as I grew up, I remember vividly that transition from realizing that it’s not actually cool, it’s not considered cool to be that empathic and sensitive and connected to the natural world. So, it was like, I wanted to be liked and I wanted to be popular and I wanted to be seen in my social circles as fifth, sixth, seventh grade. It was kind of in that phase that I just made a decision to let go of that part of myself and not care as much.
That was really the main mission like how can I just not care as much about everything because the cool people don’t seem to care, you know? There was a real numbing that occurred and then my grandmother who was really kind of like a surrogate mother to me — she raised me for most of my life, passed away when I was 15 years old — I think that was one of the first real like we call it Kintsugi moment. If you know that term it describes the Japanese pottery that gets put back together with gold lacquer.
It’s like in order for the beautification process to occur, first, there has to be this cracking and so for me, I think that was a pretty pivotal moment where I made very visceral contact with death and became really intrigued by death and really drawn kind of to the more, the darker side of the human experience. I think that that part of me was also the part of me that was really drawn to, you know, in my acting career.
I was always trying to get the role of like the heroin addict that was down and out and there is permission there for me to explore these parts of myself, you know? When I found Ayahuasca, which is shamanic plant medicine used in the Amazon, that medicine is very much potent experience that kind of forces your ego to go through a death process every time you ingest it.
While it is a very life-affirming journey ultimately, a lot of times you really go through these like pretty visceral death processes and I started working with that medicine pretty consistently. It was just a continual unraveling and breaking apart of this identity that I had created that really wasn’t ever me. It was like this mask I was wearing that society told me I should wear to be this cool girl that people would like.
When in reality, I really was never that but it had become such a habit that I took years to unravel that and let go of that, let go of my attachments to that part of me, and all the protection mechanisms I had created. I would say that it was an ongoing journey that probably has no finish line. I mean, I am still on the journey but certainly today, I’m feeling much more like that original essence of me is intact and fully expressed the way it used to be when I was a kid.
Benji Block: Follow up question there, kind of in a practical [way], you say you worked with Ayahuasca pretty consistently. What did that look like for you as far as your internal journey? Are you journaling that whole time when you’re coming out of those experiences and that’s where you saw a lot of like just that internal expansion or is it in a community context where you were having conversation during and after? What did that look like?
Azrya Bequer: Yeah, it’s a great question. Generally, the Ayahuasca experience is mostly an internal journey, a journey that is between you and this brew. I mean, that’s what Ayahuasca is, it’s a plant medicine brew that has been served for many generations in indigenous communities and traditions in South America. Yeah, so it is kind of a combination. The experience itself is — it basically releases DMT in your system, which is also called the “God Molecule” but which essentially dissolves the separation between your identity, your attachment to your physical body and the rest of the universe.
If you think of it, we have the sense of self, right? We’re like, “I’m a separate human being and I’m walking through the world” but from the quantum perspective, it’s actually all one thing. We’re all part of this larger energetic body and so this particular medicine kind of unhooks your grasp or your holding onto this sense of separate self, which is also your ego and forces you to kind of see a much broader perspective.
A lot of times, you can — for me personally, I’ll leave my body entirely and go into very alternate dimensions and different experiences. That’s not true for everyone but for me personally, that journey is very energetic, very internal. Then once it sort of ends, that’s usually when a lot of the insights and the awareness comes and it can be very tangible, you know? Sometimes, the things that come through are like quit your job or you need to go connect with this person or you need to travel to this place.
Sometimes it’s very instructional, sometimes it’s more general but yeah, certainly I filled up many, many journals working with that medicine, and then for most people — and again, I don’t want to make blanket statements because it is so different for everyone but — for a lot of people who choose to work with this medicine, you’re kind of changed permanently after. Even though of course, you come back to your body and your identity gets reassembled and you still have to do the work in your day-to-day life to really integrate what you received.
But just having had that experience, having had that glimpse beyond the veil of what we think reality is does permanently change you at a very deep level, so that process then continues. For me, it’s been not so much like a one-off experience but more like a true lifestyle.
Benji Block: You made this kind of conscious choice throughout the book and you talk about it — I mean, literally throughout — but you have this all capitalized KNOWING and you’re touching that is like change that happens. It’s almost like you’re tapping into this knowing a little bit but [then can] you explain and kind of define how you use the all caps KNOWING throughout the book and you guys’ thoughts on that?
Azrya Bequer: For sure. Knowledge or lower case knowing is what we would say is like the information that’s really predominantly intellectual, right? It’s like, here’s the things that we’ve discovered about ourselves or the universe that we think we know and there’s something quite fixed about that, right? A lot of times those can be — even though the truth is that if you look at science, even things that we thought were true five seconds ago were constantly being –
Benji Block: Always changing, right.
Azrya Bequer: Yeah, always changing and showing us there’s always many layers of perspective on the one thing. But basically, we wanted to create a distinction between that type of knowing, the kind of knowing you would find like in the textbook and then the all caps KNOWING, which is this sort of innate remembrance of your own ancient intelligence.
This ancient knowing that lives inside of your DNA and inside of your bones that’s connected to your lineage, that’s connected to your intrinsic relationship with the planet itself and with this ancient universe that we’re all a part of. It is a much more zoomed-out kind of knowing and it’s very much beyond the intellectual minds, so it’s really more of a feeling than it is kind of a thought process, if that makes sense.
Meditation Is Removing Yourself From All Distractions. Even Your Own Thoughts.
Benji Block: It does make sense. I think there would be those that are listening going, “How do I better tap into that?” which obviously this book is a good start but I wonder what you would say to someone who’s going, “I have maybe experienced a moment like that or maybe a couple in my life but I would like to tap into that to a greater extent.” Where would you tell them to start or what would be a first step?
Bee Bequer: Well, I think number one, it’s a practice and what we advise people is, you know, we have these beautiful bodies that we walk around with so those knowings, when those come up it’s very important when you have that feeling like you just know something. In The Matrix, they have this quote, “From your balls to your bones, you just know it.” It’s really important to pay attention to where that is showing up in your body.
When you have that feeling — for some people it might be like, “I get this tingly sensation in my gut” or “I just have this release that happens all over my body” or whatever — but I think it’s a practice of really listening to yourself and it’s in this world where there is so much noise and opinions, I think it’s really important to find space for silence and to actually be able to tune in. It is so hard to get away from it and through meditation is a really good place for that.
It’s important to have ways in which you can connect to yourself at a deeper level. We use a medicine called Rapé, which is a finely ground tobacco bark that’s a snuff that comes from the indigenous world and that’s really powerful sometimes to just ground in and tune in, go into a meditation and say, “Okay, I have this question I’m sitting with. How do I get that deeper knowing?” Sometimes it’s just whatever works for you.
Some people might be going surfing or going for a walk or whatever but just getting in nature, getting away from all of it and tuning into yourself. Then when you do get those instances and that knowing comes up, paying attention to how that feels in your body, what’s going on so that you get more acutely aware when you’re tapping into that place.
Azrya Bequer: Yeah, I would agree with everything he said and just add that there is the external noise of just the modern world, right? Then the constant barrage of distractions and just things trying to get our attention but then there’s also the internal noise of the mind and the mind is really like when you go into like a silent retreat or even if you just set your alarm and say, “Okay, for the next hour I’m going to be in silence and I’m not going to pick up my phone.”
“I’m not going to read a book, I’m not going to journal, I’m not going to do anything. I’m just going to be with myself.” That is a lot harder than people realize because when everything else around you goes quiet you start to really hear how much your mind is running narratives and stories and opinions on autopilot and it’s that monkey mind that really, I think, is the barrier between the intellectual knowing and then the real knowing.
For me personally, meditation is a must-have to stay sane in this world and to detach from my own thoughts because I am a very intellectual person and I spend a lot of time on screens. We’re in full startup mode, so there is like a gazillion things to take care of and yeah, just taking that 30 minutes in the morning and getting really quiet inside myself, it just sets me up for the rest of the day and I don’t know if I’d be able to function the way I do without it.
I would say sit with yourself and breathe and watch your thoughts, witness them, you know? That’s really it, it’s just witnessing it.
Benji Block: I love that. Bee, for you as someone who did come from like being pretty type-A, I wonder what that evolution has looked like for you to kind of grow in your stillness and quiet practice. Where did you start to maybe where you are now?
Bee Bequer: That’s a great question and it’s certainly a practice, and I ebb and flow with it. It’s been much more difficult for me than it has been for Azrya to find that stillness just based on the way I’m wired, So for me, a lot of times it helps me sometimes to be doing something, right? For Azrya, she can just go sit quietly, she can be in a train station and just close her eyes and go into a meditation.
Benji Block: I wish I could do that.
Bee Bequer: Yeah, likewise. So for me often, I try and find things that I can do that support that, right? It could be doing some yoga or it could be doing — I reference Rapé before, which is really useful for me. I might be going on a hike, I might be by myself or somebody but sometimes I find when I’m in motion sometimes meditative experiences, I don’t do it often anymore but, I used to go fly fishing a lot and those kind of things where you have repetitive motion that where you can kind of zone out.
For me it’s been more of that and I’m getting better and better at meditation but for me, it’s really a practice and I’m on a journey. I’m a long way from being where I’d like to be but I am certainly paying attention to moments. This morning I got up and I couldn’t sleep at one in the morning and I just sat in stillness. It wasn’t really meditating but I just kind of sat for about a half-hour and just kind of tried to just be. I am just intentional about it and I think it’s just like anything, it’s a muscle that as you flex it and stretch it, it becomes easier and easier.
Benji Block: Well, I appreciate the humility in this conversation. I love that you guys titled the book, BEQOMING, and I love that you said life is curriculum and love is the answer, fear is the teacher. There are so many lines in this and throughout your book. I mean, I could have literally just pulled one-liners out and kind of given them to you like pitches in baseball, let you hit home runs with them because this book is just full of that type of content.
I appreciate the stance that this book takes because it is true, we are all becoming. There is an unfolding that’s happening in life and you are tapping into that and expressing that in this book in a beautiful way and so I wonder kind of as we wrap up here, when a reader has finished this book, what do you want them to feel? What do you hope that they experience when they finish the last page?
Bee Bequer: I would say hopefully inspired to look within and ask the essential questions of themselves. At the end of each chapter, we have a list of invitation questions, we call them, but I think hopefully inspired to take a pause in the busy-ness of life and actually go within and ask some of these essential questions. Hopefully it’s a tool that people can use on their journey of becoming everything they were designed to be.
Azrya Bequer: Yeah, I would add to that. For me on my journey, I feel like certain books have just shown up at that right moment where it’s like every word is speaking to me in such a personal way, so our hope is that people will be able to receive this book in that sort of prime like, “I didn’t know if I was looking for this but here it is” kind of way, you know?
I really believe that music or the written word, poetry, you know these are all things that can actually unlock aspects of our psyche, of our DNA, of our consciousness in ways that we can’t necessarily understand but that can really be like a key and a lock that just click something open. That would be my hope is that people feel opened in a way that they weren’t before and that they start to see life through a lens that is more awake, more aware and more in love.
Benji Block: Well, I think that that will be accomplished. I’m believing that for the both of you and the release of this book. For those that are listening and they’re intrigued and they want to follow your journey and what you guys are doing, what’s the best way for people to do that?
Azrya Bequer: The best way would be to sign up for our mailing list at beqoming.me and BEQOMING is spelled with a Q to represent the questions that we are consistently asking along this journey. Then we also have the usual Instagram. There is going to be a fair amount of content coming out very, very soon so the best way to kind of stay up to date with everything we’re doing, we have two documentaries in the pipeline as well and we host events.
Beyond the book, we’re doing a lot of other things so if you want to stay tuned in what’s happening in our little ecosystem the best place would be to just sign up for the mailing list and we won’t bombard you. We just will keep you posted with really inspiring little nuggets.
Benji Block: Well, you guys describe the book as part personal development, part memoir, part erotic fiction, I think that is such a fantastic –
Azrya Bequer: Non-fiction. Erotic non-fiction.
Benji Block: That’s right, true and the book again titled, BEQOMING: Everything You Didn’t Know You Wanted, you could go grab it on Amazon. It’s going to be a great resource. Thank you both for taking time and being here on Author Hour today.
Azrya Bequer: Thank you so much, Benji, nice to meet you.
Bee Bequer: Thank you, brother.