When it comes to finding ways to feed the mind, bestselling author Danielle LaPorte knows the right ingredients. YAM recently enjoyed some mentally nourishing one-on-one time with this member of Oprah’s SuperSoul 100 and author of The Fire Starter Sessions, The Desire Map and now White Hot Truth, released in May.
By Alex Van Tol
It’s the morning after author Danielle LaPorte’s keynote at the McPherson Playhouse, where she addressed a jam-packed theatre to open the fifth annual Victoria Yoga Conference. At 9:30 a.m., I knock on the door of the Fernwood home of LaPorte’s good friend Candace, where LaPorte stays when she’s in town. In her jeans, knitted jersey top and slouchy socks, LaPorte is more petite than she appears onstage, and smaller than you’d think given her global presence as a spirituo-energetic powerhouse. The woman has touched — indeed shaped, healed and energized — the lives of soul seekers the world over.
Standing in the kitchen pouring water over her tea, LaPorte is only human. Yet for those who have spent years reading her books, #truthbombs and blog posts (Forbes named DanielleLaPorte.com one of its top 100 websites for women), LaPorte has an exalted role as an unflappable, unapologetic, rock ’n’ roll bank of spiritual guidance and certitude. And yes, with that kind of reputation, it’s easy to believe she has all the answers.
She readily admits she doesn’t. She stirs honey into her tea as we trade stories about the agonies of raising children in the information age. Her aches resonate with those of other women. As she curls up on the sofa, she admits (as she does in her new book White Hot Truth) that she’s far from finished her truth-seeking journey.
Our conversation ranges across her writings past and present, her philosophies, her epiphanies. She considers before she answers. She communicates her thinking with no excess words, often finishing her comments with a pause, then a reflective “Yeah.” She swears. She smiles less, laughs less than I would have expected — but then, Danielle LaPorte isn’t about pleasing anyone or needing to being liked. She has freed herself of that burden and prefers to define her path. In fact, in White Hot Truth, she writes about how she was once introduced in a radio interview as a spiritual teacher, and she came back with, “NO, NO, NO! No. I’m a writer. I’m a seeker. Philosophically inclined.”
And so we started our interview from that place …
YAM: We’re looking at what we should be feeding our minds. Let me start by asking: What are we feeding our minds too much of?
LaPorte: Everybody else’s opinions. Here’s what I suggest: go on an input fast. Just for three months, don’t take anybody else’s opinion on board. No coaching. No therapy sessions. No astrology readings. If you’re in crisis mode, of course, call on all of your support systems, but most of us are not in constant crisis mode. And what’ll happen when you stop seeking to feed yourself other people’s opinions and directives is you’re going to flail a bit [laughs]. You’re going to feel a bit lost and uncomfortable — kind of that sweaty-palm feeling of “Am I going to do the right thing? What’s the right direction? What’s the best decision to make today? Should I sign the contract? Should I buy the ranch? Should I break up?”
Your own decision-making muscle is going to feel weak. And then what happens is there’s some stillness. There’s some silence. Because it’s not constant input, and your system can start to recalibrate itself. You’re going to hear yourself. And lo and behold, you’re hearing your own opinions, you’re hearing your own intuition, your own wisdom, and then you’ll act on it. I’ve done this myself. In the line of work I’m in, I get offers all the time: “Would you like an energy session? I know this great psychic. There’s this channeller who wants to give you a reading.” And I’m a no. I’m a no to all of it now. And this is a big change because I was always having some kind of reading. Some kind of foretelling. Now? No, I’ll figure it out on my own.
YAM: When you’re saying “go on an input fast from other people’s opinions,” what about all the external input, like the web and social media?
LaPorte: Yeah, that’s a great question. I noticed this with the U.S. election. A lot of people around me needed to take a break from social media — because it was too much. And there’s something to be learned from that. You could just go full-tilt and unsubscribe from all of your motivational inspirational blogs. Except for mine [laughs]. Stay off Instagram — or engage in all of that in a way in which you’re not comparing yourself to all of those people. I call it “engage as a grown-up.” Know that not everybody is an authentic teacher. There’s a lot of noise out there.
YAM: So, less input. What else are we feeding our minds too much of?
LaPorte: I think we’ve become numb to vulgarity and violence. We laugh at a lot of things that we should be crying about. We make a lot of disgusting things palatable, and a lot of what’s happening culturally, especially on social media, is actually toxic and spirit-damaging. It’s poisonous. A lot of people are waking up to the toxicity of sugar or of GMOs or of gluten; we need to look at a lot of the stuff that’s happening in entertainment as those kinds of toxic substances.
YAM: Can you give me some examples? What pops to mind?
LaPorte: We live in the time of Photoshopping, so first of all, we’re not even looking at reality. We are constantly barraged by lies, and we’re told to try and aspire to those lies. Aspire to things that are impossible. These are fantasy lives. I think violence in movies is out of control. I constantly have to stop films and say to my son, “If someone was punched like that in real life, they’d have brain damage. That guy would be dead. And when you see your first fist-fight in a parking lot, you’re going to be deeply affected.” It’s very upsetting to see violence in real life.
Women have it rough, from too much face filler to the Photoshopping; there are a lot of women out there who are hypersexualized, and it’s being couched as empowerment. And this is really f-ing with the feminine psyche. So you see, say, a lot of women in pop culture, music, entertainment who are, like, really stripped down and hypersexual and they’re parading like ‘I’m empowered, I’m in charge,’ but actually the system is just playing them — and you know, who would you be if it was just about your talent and your smarts?
YAM: Okay, so no toxic garbage. What should we feed our minds, then?
LaPorte: Just less of everything. Less input, less media, less imagery. More stillness, more contemplation, more space. More quiet time. More time with the people we really want to be with. Like, really, really want to be with. Going out of our way to be with the best-quality people in our lives. Get on the plane, make time. And then once you’ve detoxed your system — we have to be constantly detoxing, by the way; it’s not like you go on one retreat a year — you should be feeding yourself truth, light and faith. The basic truths — self-honesty — and then seeking universal truths: “Why am I really here?” And the light is positivity, and I don’t mean sugared positivity. I mean what I call deep positivity. Life-is-on-my-side positivity, not all-my-dreams-are-going-to-come-true-because-it’s-on-my-vision-board. And then faith. Faith that you will have what you need to do what you want to do.
YAM: So why do people resist less input?
LaPorte: We don’t tend to choose less input because it’s so much easier to give our attention to all the interesting things in the outside world. There’s always something around the next click — better advice, a better article. Call it whatever you want ….
YAM: So what’s the antidote?
LaPorte: Meditation is medicine. And it’s an essential practice. You’ve got to come to it on your own terms. We need to clean our minds just like we clean our homes and take care of our bodies. We don’t take care of our minds, which is our most powerful asset.
YAM: You mentioned five words at the Victoria Yoga Conference keynote last night: Truth, light, faith and …
LaPorte: Joy and love. These concepts sound soft because, really, they’ve been co-opted by the New Age. But these are fierce qualities and elements of life. Being a truth-seeker is not always comfortable. It requires some courage. I think it’s really cosmically sexy to want to know the truth. To speak the truth. And you know, light is … when you commit to the light of things, to the upside of things, to wanting to know how things really work. Your life will shift.