Danielle LaPorte :: White Hot Courageousness

Danielle and I did our first interview when she was just launching the digital version of the Fire Starter Sessions (which is now available in print).

She said something during that interview that I loved: “Truth never attacks.” I wrote it down on a post-it note afterwards that is still on my computer. As I continued to follow her work, I found myself resonating most deeply with anything that had a sacred, or spiritual nature, in her writing. I like it when people talk about spirit in a way that doesn’t make me cringe–because like most of us–I want to be more connected, not disconnected.

So I contacted Danielle about doing an interview for The Courageous Living Guideon the topic of Luck, Synchronicity and Magical Thinking.

I love the fact that in interviewing people I admire, I get to learn a bit about them…and even get some insight into some things that I myself struggle with. So enjoy the wisdom she shares here, or check out the Fire Starter Sessions to get deep into the work that speaks to your heart.

I don’t need a magic cottage

In my early 20’s, I found the work of Sabrina Ward Harrison and subsequently, SARK. Lovely, lovely work from both of them. One of SARK’s books in particular, Eat Mangoes Naked, captivated me. “Eat mangoes naked. Lick the juices from your arms,” I believe it said.

And I thought, “Okay, I’ll feel kind of stupid doing that. But yes! Let’s try it! It sounds like she’s pretty happy.” I wanted that kind of happy. I wanted whimsical. I wanted something divorced from my overly analytic mind. I wanted something that would have me feeling carefree and uninhibited. She had the answer!

I tried it one day. I was naked. I ate some mangoes. I didn’t feel happy or powerful. I just felt…naked. A little more “bulgy” than I’d have liked. And also? Sticky from all of that mango juice.

There was this entire period of my life where, if someone else reported that something they did made them happy, I wanted to do it as well. I listened intently to other people’s meditation plans, fitness plans, eating plans, creativity plans. I carefully plotted out schedules of how I’d orchestrate my days to integrate all of these things that I thought I needed for balanced living. I dreamed of owning a “magic cottage” just like SARK’s.

Many a decent apartment I have turned down simply because something about the place wasn’t visually inspiring enough. And many a “visually inspiring” place I have lived in, only to find that it didn’t really feel like a home. Like the amazing Victorian place with a cupola…that also had a leaking roof. Or the other amazing Victorian place with that green marble fireplace and hardwood floors…with the horrible downstairs neighbors.

The thing is, I needed to find my own path to happy. We all do. It’s great to take cues from others (certainly it was Elizabeth Gilbert who inspired my initial attraction to Italy and studying Italian, and that has panned out well for me). But in the end, I don’t need a magic cottage. And even though I like my body a hell of a lot better in my 30’s than I ever did in my 20’s, I still don’t have any desire to eat mangoes naked.

(And here’s the place where I make a point of saying that I think SARK’s ideas are lovely and I appreciate and honor her for sharing them, especially if it inspires others. I’m not knocking her, or magic cottages, or naked mango eating!)

I think we find the path to happy by trying lots of things and noticing what we gravitate towards, what we love in spite of the sacrifices it demands. I want to keep typing even when my fingers hurt, I love writing that much. I want to stay in Italy for long periods, despite the frustrations of language barriers and expense. I’m more motivated to go to Bikram yoga classes that are 100+ degrees than other styles of yoga. I don’t have those same impulses around other things that I’ve tried in my lifetime, things that I thought would bring me happiness–like starting my own creative business, having art shows, being friends with certain people.

In the end, my happiness looks like a strange hodgepodge of cultures and customs, from the sanskrit tattooed on my body, and the yoga practice, to the learning Italian, to the desire to stay inside all day with a book, to my burgeoning obsession with documentaries and the way I can get on this total foreign policy soapbox, combined with the moments where I’m covertly reading the latest issue of US Weekly in the magazine aisle at Borders, asking myself who the hell Justin Bieber is and if anyone else notices that his part is really, really crooked.

What does your version of happiness look like? And have you ever thought that something was going to be “your thing,” only to surprise yourself with the realization that, in fact, it’s not a fit?

Click to tweet: You don’t need a magic cottage to be happy. http://clicktotweet.com/vFb17

An Interview With Jamie Ridler

An Interview With Jamie Ridler from Kate Swoboda on Vimeo.

I can’t remember how I first connected with Jamie Ridler. Was it Facebook? Twitter? Just out and about in the online world?

I definitely remember the first time she re-tweeted something I’d put out there on Twitter. It was so very…”un-coaching-world-like.” I mean, one Coach, sharing the work of another Coach rather than the more typical desperation and clinging and gotta-get-my-piece-of-the-pie stuff–had we stepped into an alternate dimension?

I began following Jamie and noticed that I loved her enthusiasm, passion, and integrity. So I proposed that we collaborate on something and before I knew it, here we were–two Coaches supporting one another. I did a podcast for Jamie Ridler Studios, and then we gabbed on the phone for another half-hour after that interview. I loved her energy and am so excited to return the gesture and interview her and have her featured here today.

Funny thing about this interview–this moment, almost towards the end, when I was going to follow my “interview script” and move on to the next question because, uh, isn’t that what you do in an interview? But then I stopped and said, “Wait. Let’s go back a second.” There was such energy that had come forth when Jamie responded to my question: “What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?” and I felt it and we couldn’t leave it. In that moment, one part of me was in total panic (holyshityou’renotdoingitrightwhat’shappeninghowwillyouforumlatethenextquestion?) while another part of me just knew that if I got really present with each of the next words that were coming out of my mouth, I’d be a-okay.

And we totally were. And she rocked out with this unexpected detour.

Enjoy the interview.