An interview with Danielle LaPorte.
Danielle LaPorte is often referred to as a spiritual teacher, yet she tends to cast that title away. Calling herself a “Seeker of Truth,” her latest work will have you rethinking much of what you may have learned along the spiritual highway. The new age world tends to have you believe that it’s all love and light out there. Danielle keeps it real by sharing the deeper, mystical truths that have the true power to transform your life from the inside out. She will gently guide your Self to evolve while avoiding the “spiritual bypassing” that’s so common within the New Age community. Quite honestly, I don’t know when I have read a self help book that had me roaring with laughter while contemplating my evolution all at once! By the time you’re finished, you may find yourself tossing those crystals and incense to the side and relaxing into your daily meditation practice. Danielle is a big advocate of slowing down and nurturing the self from a sacred, grounded place. I’m delighted to introduce her to you today. Welcome, Danielle!
CGO: It’s an exciting day with the launch of your latest book, “White Hot Truth.” You are one of the most refreshing and self deprecating self help authors out there. Danielle, what inspired you to begin the path of spiritual evolution?
DL: I’ve always been on the path. I’ve never gotten off of it. I consider myself to be a seeker first who also happens to be a writer. The writing and “packaging of all of that” comes second. I think of being 6 years old in Catholic School and falling in love with Jesus and Mother Mary, and all of the rituals from being a Catholic. That started me on the path. My Mom, around the same age, was taking me to communes and channeling workshops. I just started out this way and I feel it’s part of my dharma and my karma. I’ll always be on the path.
CGO: That’s a very interesting beginning to go from Catholicism to communes and channeling. It sounds like quite an indoctrination on to the spiritual path. Your tag line at the start of your book is “Clarity for keeping it real on your spiritual path — from one seeker to another.” What do you mean when you call yourself a Seeker of Truth?
DL: I want to know how to be happy. (Laughter) I want to know what God means to me. I want to know who God really is and what love is. I want to know joy. I want to know how to heal myself and others. There are so many esoteric and metaphysical questions from Sacred Geometry to sound vibrations…to aliens…I want to know about all of it. I want to know as much as I can without an explosion of human brains. I want to know it all. You can’t be of service unless you’re trying to figure out how it all works.
CGO: There’s nothing more honorable than being of service. I’m fascinated by you and your continual search for the truth. I recall reading an interview on you in Forbes sharing your lack of a college education, and your gratitude to have escaped “fitting into a box.” People tend to see you as an empowered woman living life on your own terms; and a very ballsy badassy one at that! You advocate cultivating your own unique style. How do you help people to break out of their comfort zone and begin creating a life of their dreams?
DL: Well, I’m splitting hairs by saying that I don’t help people. My message has so much to do with giving yourself permission to go after what you want. I want them on a soul searching journey rather than a “soul sucking” one. We have to go after our goals that feel good. You can’t endure your way through life. You have to fulfill your way to fulfillment and have a great time getting there. It’s about permission and self agency. It’s about removing all the illusions that tell you that you’re not worthy for the dream. Most people believe they’re not worthy to have their dream come true.
CGO: Your personality has been described as charming, seductive, and loaded with audacity. Watching your videos, there’s an aliveness mixed with a lot of moxie. How would you describe Danielle LaPorte?
DL: Well…that works for me! It’s a great description! How would I describe myself? I think I’m kind. I’m intense. I’m a seeker and an attentive Mother. I’m poetic. I’m opinionated. I’m really fucking funny! And…I’m devoted.
CGO: I feel as though that’s a huge key to your success. Your devotion is undeniable and feels very authentic. Danielle, that’s the work and that’s the joy!
DL: It’s important to have both an inner practice and outer practice. That’s why meditation is so important. There is a lot of room in my life for contemplation. I’m creating a stronger connection to something bigger than myself. I’m clearing my mind. I’m building my clarity and my relationship to energy. That’s half the journey. Then, I have to go out and express myself and see what messages are received. I have to see if I make any money in business. Does my book sell? Sometimes I have to be rejected and continue to make what I want to make. I need reciprocity. You must be fed on this journey. I’m a Maker with a capital “M.” I’m not writing for myself. I don’t even have a journal. I create products so I can be of service and it’s working! I need that feedback from the Universe.
CGO: Yes, feedback is important as it helps us to course correct. Clearly, times have changed dramatically with many turning to spirituality, yoga and meditation to improve their lives. With so many teachers and modalities, what do you say to people to encourage them to be more discerning?
DL: The only way to courage someone to be more discerning is to talk about all the things you have fallen for yourself. This is where storytelling comes in. It’s so effective. You can only tell the lies that you believe and discovered. You can nudge someone to their own conclusions such as, “Maybe I should be a little more cautious. Maybe that teacher isn’t everything they say they are.” The other thing people can do is to get up and preach; to stand up and let them know to be on guard and more discerning. Not everything is as it seems. If you want to improve your life and evolve, then you have to look at things much more carefully than you have before. This doesn’t mean that you’re betraying your teacher or that you’re being disrespectful. This “earned authority” is part of being conscious and part of being in service. And, the right teacher will invite you to question them. The fact that it’s rare is a really important part to bring up. When you start waking up, you realize that not everyone is qualified to be a teacher. “Who am I going to listen to? Who am I going to turn to?” The pickings can be really slim and disheartening. You really have to learn to lean on yourself because everyone isn’t a master. The masters are really few and far between. You may meet only a few of them in a lifetime and you have to really listen to yourself.
CGO: Speaking of taking back your power, you refer to this quite often throughout your book, stating “Power retrieval is an initiation for the brave hearts.” What’s the essence of this message and how do we help people to take their power back and learn to trust their intuition?
DL: You can’t take your power back unless you’ve given it away. Betrayal is an initiation. The first thing is to see that and instead of criticizing or shaming yourself, you need to understand this is part of your path. This is where self compassion comes in. This is the work of your lifetime and it isn’t easy. Taking your power back is going to be terrifying. You’re going to have to set boundaries. You’re going to lose some friends. You’re going to speak up and speak out against some people. You’re going to have to go exactly where you’ve avoided going because you wanted someone else to do the work for you. For one, know that’s natural. Two, know that it’s excruciating. It’s everything you want. For sure, it’s liberation but it’s also clarity. It’s the mental clarity that every woman wants. It’s a certainty around your decisions. It’s very easy to put in order. You know what you mean and you say it. When you say “yes,” you mean yes and when you say “no,” you mean no. You become really fluid. Now, to answer the question…how do you actually do it? There’s no one path. It’s different for everybody.
CGO: That’s the ultimate white hot truth. There is no one path and it’s up to you to carve your own. You talk a lot about the importance of connection. I read somewhere that connection is the opposite of addiction and I’ve found this to be true. In this virtual world we live in today, it’s easy to have a false sense of connection. Why is connection so vital to our health and happiness?
DL: I love the idea that connection is the opposite of addiction. That’s beautiful. It’s true. Our brains our wired to be social. We know that as human, physiological creatures, we need to have human connection. This goes back to all the research about infants in the womb and how babies are handled when they’re born. On the most metaphysical end of the scale, I think this is about coming home. We find God in each other. I wrote a story once and it was about my son and me. We went to an astronomy evening where we looked through a telescope and we learned that most stars are binary, meaning that they travel together. Yet, when we look at the stars, we see them as one big star. It’s two stars together and I thought, “I knew it!” We need each other. When one star dies, the other one dies soon after, at least in astrological terms. We need to help and celebrate one another. We need to help each other heal. We need to know how powerful and useful we are. We need to allow others to help us to heal. It’s vital to know that we’re not alone. Connection is essential. It’s nectar. Even when you’re living a life as hermit, you’re still trying to make a connection to a higher source. I can only speak for myself. Connection is everything. Girlfriends are everything!
CGO: Yes, they are! Connection is the key to a happy life. And, a connection to a higher power gives our life a much deeper meaning. I love Joseph Campbell and you share one of my favorite quotes in your book, “You become mature when you become the own authority in your own life.” Why do you think so many people have lost themselves and are desperately searching for answers?
DL: It’s what you said at the beginning. We live in an outside-in world with a fixation on the exterior. The programming starts really young where there is a right answer and a wrong answer. We have very particular notions and images around success. It’s all about fitting in and the people who want us to fit in are vested in keeping us in a box. This is so they can look like “good parents.” You see they just want approval. Or…they can get our attention, our “buy in,” our worship. Everyone is trying to get fed and to fit in, and that’s the fastest way to lose contact with your soul.
CGO: That’s another beautiful white hot truth. The truth is that we just want to be loved and have value. You openly share that you came to the realization that this spiritual path was beginning to feel confining rather than freeing. It was a way for you to “reinforce your goodness” as you’ve said and I understand that feeling. Did you just wake up one day and realize the path you took to free yourself was having the opposite effect?
DL: I wish I could wake up and have revelations but I can’t. It’s more of a slow grinding, churning process. I wish I got things in a lightening bolt. But I don’t. I wrote about recovering from my divorce in “White Hot Truth.” I remember taking a hot bath and I was praying to have the pain of the divorce taken from me. I would do anything. I got out of the bath and I had to ask myself if I was doing everything to be free and well, and were these things helping me to be free and well. The answer of course, was some of it. But, not all of it. I was starting to feel the burden of having to meditate or having to go to therapy. And…one more appointment with a Shaman or one more astrology reading. Just one more yoga class. I started feeling this great tension from all these things that were supposed to be healing me. What was most healing for me was writing. I wanted to write. I wanted to work. I wanted to speak. I wanted to paint. I was spending so much time getting my healing done. There were a lot of truth bombs that went off during that time.
CGO: I love that you call these revelations “Truth Bombs.” Given the changes you have made to simplify your life, what’s your new daily spiritual practice to keep you balanced and grounded?
DL: I’m on an “input fast.” It’s not something I do every day. There’s no psychic or astrology readings. I don’t have a life coach. I’m turning to myself and I have a lot of space in my life. I also have some regular practices. I meditate every day. Or, almost every day. There’s some form of ongoing meditation or contemplation in my life. If I don’t have that, I feel as though I’ve left something somewhere. I have to check in with my mind. I usually have some type of therapist in my life. Meditation, therapy, and energy work — that’s my trifecta. That’s what keeps me together.
CGO: You talk a lot about our fascination with gurus and healers and our tendency to place them on pedestals. In your words, “Having flaws doesn’t make you a fraud. It makes you human.” I love that, as many of us are walking around feeling like frauds on the inside. Why do you think we have this fascination that someone is going to come along and “fix” us?
DL: Because we don’t want what the system is selling us. We actually don’t want to buy in. You know there’s this lie that they’re selling about what it means to be authentic and we don’t want to buy in. We know on the inside what “real” feels like and we don’t want to fit in. It’s the human spirit. Courage is not about fitting in. Courage is not about one size fits all. Creativity doesn’t fit into the box, and we feel this contrast. We are in conflict with the contrast and I say, “Awesome, you should feel conflict with the contrast.” That’s what creative tension is all about. Feeling different is how you wake up. Feeling different is how you serve. It’s how you express yourself. We lay this trip on ourselves about feeling different because of the social norm or collective lie. The collective lie is all about fitting in.
CGO: Danielle, you share a bit about Mother Theresa and her desire for people to give until it hurts. You propose giving until “it hurts so good.” There’s an immense difference between the two. Mother Theresa is known to have suffered from crushing depression. Why is it so important to find balance in serving others and not to lose yourself in the process?
DL: It’s because you’re going to burn out. You’re giving for the wrong reasons. You’re giving from a place of lack. Not only are you going to be harmful to yourself. You’re going to have adrenal fatigue or fall into depression. That’s the individual hardship you do to yourself. You actually become a burden to the system. You’re no fun to be around. You need more health care and support. You become the one who’s in need of healing. You know, we’re all in need of healing. Everyone has to lean on the system at some point but you don’t want to make a mess of your life that everyone has to help you clean up. You become a service to the collective.
CGO: Once again, profound words of wisdom earned the hard way via life experience. Forgiveness is a big part of the spiritual journey yet so many are confused as to the true meaning of forgiveness. You refer to it as “an experience of the spirit” and I couldn’t agree more. What is true forgiveness and have you had to forgive someone or something you thought was impossible?
DL: I don’t agree with the norm. I don’t believe it’s all about forgiving ourselves. We are individual beings and we can be victimized by others. There’s a victim and perpetrator relationship, and sometimes you will be victimized. I believe that true forgiveness involves both, forgiving yourself and the perpetrator. What I have to say about forgiveness is you’re ready to forgive when you’re ready to forgive. Premature forgiveness or forced forgiveness, or even worse, fake forgiveness because you want to look spiritual, is really damaging. It will mess up your own internal integrity. It creates a kind of festering over time. You know that feeling of “I’m a good person,” while you’re holding it in and 10 years later, you lash out! The other person is confused thinking that you’ve forgiven them while you’re secretly harboring resentment. It’s so much better to be really real and just say that you’re not ready to forgive. I’m not looking spiritual at all. I’m feeling as though I’m looking mean or not evolved. And, when you do get there it will be real and lasting on a much more integrated level.
CGO: Danielle, you’ve obviously grown tremendously through a great deal of inner work. In my world, that’s the hardest work you will ever do! You shared your “Trifecta” with us as. Is there anything else in your inner toolbox that has you to break free internally?
DL: Yes, it’s sacred movement. I need to move and get on my yoga mat and sweat. Eating clean is really important to me. I live a plant based life and I make sure my son does as well. I also need to be radically philanthropic and giving money away.
CGO: You’re irreverent, sassy as heck and basically…a lot of fun! Completing another book is no small feat with a massive book tour included. What are you planning to do to nurture and reward yourself for all that you’ve achieved?
DL: Well, I like to reward myself ahead of time and I did that by just getting back from Maui. I’m drawn to the salt water and the heat.
CGO: Why am I not surprised? Danielle, you definitely are a woman who walks her talk and that’s a rarity these days. You’re an absolute delight. Thank you for sharing your story with us!
You can find Catherine Grace O’Connell at CatherineGraceO.com. She is on Facebook, and Instagram and Twitter as @catherinegraceo. You can find out more about The Fierce 50 Campaign and how you can help us and join the Revolution by sending an email to [email protected].
Originally published at medium.com