“We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.” ~from Tiny Buddha
(Special Note: I will be giving away two copies of the book Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life's Hard Questions. See instructions at the end of the post.)
What is the meaning of life?
Why is there suffering?
What really makes us happy?
Why are relationships so hard?
Is it really possible to change?
If you have ever asked yourself these questions, welcome to the gigantic club of wisdom-seekers throughout the ages.
There are some life questions that get asked over and over again, mainly because the answers seem so elusive and plaguing. Life throws us challenges every day that set us up for these big questions, and we all believe if we could just find the answers, we'd have the key to control of our own lives.
My friend and fellow blogger (and wisdom-seeker), Lori Deschene, has bravely taken on these big questions. But she's done it in a most unique way.
Lori is the founder of the wildly popular blog, Tiny Buddha, and she has just released a lovely and comprehensive book called Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life's Hard Questions.
Lori has asked her readers and followers to provide both questions and answers to some of these life mysteries. I decided to turn the tables on Lori and ask her some hard questions! (Not too hard, really.)
What inspired you to write Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life's Hard Questions?
I wanted to ask my Twitter followers a number of the hardest questions in life to see how different people from different backgrounds would respond to them. I chose the questions that had been most paralyzing for me at different parts of my journey, like: What is the meaning of life? Why is there suffering in the world? Can people change—and how? Do you need money to be happy?
It was insightful and inspiring to see all the varied answers people tweeted, and I realized, despite the diversity of perspectives, they were all valid and empowering.
So I decided to build the book around these different answers, and also share my own experiences grappling with the big issues. My hope is that people read Tiny Buddha and first, realize whatever they’re dealing with, they are not alone; and secondly, feel a little more confident in their ability to choose purpose, happiness, and peace, regardless of their past or their individual challenges.
Why did you want collaborators and how did they impact the process of creating a book?
My main hope with Tiny Buddha has always been that we can come together, recognize our similarities, and share our experiences, struggles, and insights to make a positive difference in each others lives.
I wanted the community to influence and shape my book because that’s what Tiny Buddha is all about: finding common ground, despite the fact that we all hold varied beliefs and opinions, and working with each other, not against each other, for our individual and collective happiness.
What has been one of the most profound “hard questions” you have encountered in your life and how did you deal with it?
The hardest question for me has always been, “How can I let go?” Whenever I’ve experienced tremendous pain in life, it’s hard something to do with me holding on—holding on to anger, holding on to bitterness, and even holding on to a victim identity because it came to feel safe and comfortable.
Like most of the big questions in life, there isn’t one concrete answer that explains how to let go. But I’ve gathered a few tools over the years that help me let go when I’m clinging.
Yoga helps me tremendously, since it grounds me in my body and in the moment. But what helps me the most is frequently reminding myself that I can choose.
I can choose to stop telling myself negative stories about the events in my life; I can choose to focus on what’s in front of me; I can choose to accept my circumstances instead of fighting everything so hard; I can choose to be good to myself, even if I’ve made mistakes; and I choose to see each moment as a new opportunity to let go and be free.
How can your book help people?
My book may give people a few ideas to:
- Let go of pain from the past that’s been weighing them down and holding them back;
- Create a sense of purpose, starting right now, even if they’re not doing what they want to do professionally.
- Change habits that have not served them well and open up to new, healthier ways of being;
- Experience happiness right now, regardless of their circumstances;
- Improve their relationships;
- Seize the moment to live full of mindfulness, passion, and fearlessness;
- Find a sense of control and empowerment in an uncertain world.
Why do you think your blog and books resonate with so many people?
We live in a world where we’re constantly bombarded with groundbreaking systems to change our lives and become the people we want to be. But I think what we really want is to stop looking so hard for answers outside ourselves, and start feeling more comfortable in our own skin—even if there are things we’d like to improve.
Tiny Buddha is a place where people share themselves authentically and openly without fear or apologies, to help themselves and each other. I frequently say that the site is a space where we’re all both students and teachers, and I think that’s appealing to people.
Ultimately, we want to learn to value and trust ourselves, and we want to genuinely connect with other people, without pretenses or agendas. At least that’s what I want—I want to show people who I am, flaws and all, and make a positive difference in their lives both because of and in spite of my challenges. I think the site reflects that mission, and as a result, the conversations feel honest and loving.
What is your personal mission with your blog?
Well, aside from what I wrote above, I want to help people help each other. That’s why I run Tiny Buddha as a community blog. There’s a quote I love that reads, “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.”
I love that idea. I don’t have all the answers. But I know that when we come together, instead of thinking we’re alone or making ourselves feel separate, suddenly having all the answers seems less important. We may live in an uncertain world—but we get to share the puzzle together.
Book Give-Away: Please leave a comment below sharing your hardest life question and how you've dealt with it. I will do a random drawing for two winners of Lori's book on Sunday and will announce them in Monday's post.