Danielle LaPorte’s “White Hot Truth” is about finding your flame without getting burned.
“Philosopher” is the word that Danielle LaPorte uses to describe herself. Author of the personal-development sensation “The Desire Map” (Sounds True, 2014) and a member of Oprah Winfrey’s SuperSoul 100, Entrepreneur magazine calls LaPorte “equal parts poet and entrepreneurial badass.” In LaPorte’s religion, “there’s meditation, there’s contemplation and there’s prayer,” and also “a lot of music … a lot of cuddling … a lot of texting with my girlfriends,” she says. Her insights, grounded in the reality of paying the bills, raising her son, yoga and friendship, are raw and powerful.
LaPorte sat down with 24Life to talk about her new book “White Hot Truth” (Virtuonica, 2017). Inspired by the very hottest part of a flame and her search for the spiritual equivalent, LaPorte explains, “When you get to that point in the fire, it’s where it’s hottest. … That’s where the heat can actually melt metal. And I’m very interested in that center point in people. I want to know that truth in myself.”
She has no illusions about how to get to that white-hot center. LaPorte says, “You have to grind your way to freedom,” in a practical and spiritual sense. In her case, for example, it meant she had to design an alternative to a conventional work environment—and combat her inclination to create new “hamster wheels” for herself.
But “grind” also means taking risks on self-love, self-compassion, intuition and boundaries—the things that make it possible for us to avoid spiritual to-do lists, find clarity and make it part of our daily lives. This integration is what LaPorte preaches: “My most so-called enlightened moments have definitely been my most human.”
Here’s what LaPorte has to say about getting to that white-hot center.
DON’T CONFUSE DISTRACTION WITH SPIRITUALITY. We want to be loving, we want to be present for our men, our women, our children. We’re recycling, we want to shop in a socially responsible way. We want some form of contemplation. Your spiritual growth becomes another to-do list. … But to-do lists create anxiety; they are about production and approval. We replaced some gods with new gods, but our new gods were wearing black stretchy yoga pants. And they looked way hotter, and they’re talking about cooler things, as opposed to be heavily dictatorial. But really, there’s still this achievement that we’re going for … and we’re actually kind of going crazy and burning out because of it.
SELF-HELP SHOULD NOT VIOLATE YOUR BOUNDARIES. In the self-help space, there’s so much focus on liberation and freedom, but we need to be careful … because we do a lot of things that don’t quite feel right because we want to be in the cool group. “How long are you going to sit in the sweat lodge? How enlightened, how devoted are you? If you’re really devoted, be a little more flexible with your boundaries.” Anything that doesn’t feel good that you submit to is you letting your boundaries be violated.
BOUNDARIES PREVENT TOXIC TOLERANCE. Women are wired to … want to merge with the universe and the person in front of us. You combine that with a commitment to be well, to be of service, to do the right spiritual thing, and you have the perfect storm of becoming a crazy lady. You become overly tolerant. You become foolishly compassionate: “It’s OK that he’s a jerk, it’s OK that they don’t show up on time.” To maintain self-love and self-respect, you have got to have healthy boundaries … [and you] are going to be met with resistance. … There’s so much talk about harmony and fluidity that we think disharmony is not spiritual. And it is not the case.
IN OUR CULTURE, TRUSTING INTUITION IS RISKY—BUT POWERFUL. As soon as we arrive, our capacity for intuition is talked out of us. I remember I took my son to one of those baby and mommy swimming classes. And I see this dad with his little baby girl, Let’s just assume he’s a great guy because he’s taking his little nugget to swim class. She started crying, and he tried to talk her out of it. She was just maybe cold or scared, [but] we continue to be cold and scared as children, as teens, as adults, and we are continually talked out of our feelings. It’s creating this valley between our own instincts and the noise of the world. The way I look at it now is … it’s an initiation and it has to happen. You’ve got to give power away, you’ve got to get it stolen away, you’ve got to be weak to realize you are really powerful when you go get it back.
SELF-LOVE IS NOT A POPULARITY CONTEST. Loving yourself is not about being more popular. Because when you love and you respect yourself, some people are going to have to go. Not everyone is going to love what you need to do to be well and to be centered. You’re not going to go to every party. You’re not going to go to every family function. … Maya Angelou said, “You have to tell the world how to treat you.” Healthy boundaries are all about making the declaration of what works for you in a really clean, as graceful as you can way. Sometimes you need to shout your boundaries. Sometimes you just need to whisper them. Sometimes it’s a little text to say, “No, thank you.”
SELF-COMPASSION IS EASY WHEN IT’S GOING WELL. The sound of love that really changes your life is when you can pour it on when you’re hating yourself. Self-love is easy when it’s all going well … but it’s the times when you’ve been an asshat again and you’re stuck in the same pattern again. … You’re not great in that moment. The stuff that cures in those moments is when you say, “You did your best. You can do better tomorrow. Underneath this all, at the root of this all, you’re a loving, good, human person. You’re not alone.”
ENLIGHTENMENT DOESN’T MEAN YOUR FEET CAN’T TOUCH THE GROUND. So much of the spiritual conversation has to do with ascension and not so much about integration. [It’s about] sitting in meditation longer, sweating longer … it’s turning yoga into an endurance test so that you can be higher-minded and it certainly hasn’t worked for me. Integration is about wanting to feel the cosmos [as part of daily life]. I just want to be really loving to the guy who gives me my peppermint tea at the cafe. … I want to do the most effective meditation and prayer that I can for healing the planet. And I also need to vote, and I need to be informed.
Have more questions for clarity? Seeking more connection? Danielle LaPorte is fiercely committed to keep the conversation growing and has launched a White Hot Book club that offers free video and written guidance, and is open to everyone. Her website, daniellelaporte.com is rich with insight and insider information for both the mind and the soul. Find White Hot Truth, the book wherever books are sold. Wherever you wish to begin, dive into your own White Hot Truth.
Photo credit: Tom Casey, box24studio.com
Hair and make-up: Mariah Nicole, mariahnicole.com