Has your self-help become self-criticism? A wise and often hilarious exploration of the conflicts between spiritual aspiration and the compulsion to improve, from Oprah Super Soul 100 member, Danielle LaPorte.
Like a wise girlfriend you can totally relate to, Danielle cheerleads you to own your wisdom and self-worth by having a good laugh (and maybe a good cry) at the ways you’ve been trying to improve on your self-improvement. Rooted in compassion, feminism, and spiritual activism White Hot Truth is an intimate and (hilariously) relatable account of self-help tales gone wrong, and very right.
If you love Brene Brown and Liz Gilbert’s authenticity, and Marianne Williamson’s strong spirit, you'll adore how Danielle lays bare “Boundaries for spiritual people”; the “Discipleshit” that happens when we give our power away; a “Soul-perspective” on suffering; “over tolerance" and "foolish compassion" in relationships, sneaky self-loathing; spiritual glamour. And in her poetic and brazen way, she brings it home with the hottest truth of all: You are your own guru.
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About the Author
Danielle LaPorte is an invited member of Oprah’s inaugural Super Soul 100, a group who, in Oprah Winfrey’s words, “is uniquely connecting the world together with a spiritual energy that matters.”
She is author of The Fire Starters Sessions, and The Desire Mapthe book that turned into a day planner and journal system, a top 10 iTunes app, and an international workshop program with licensed facilitators.
Named one of the “Top 100 Websites for Women” by Forbes, over 5 million visitors go to DanielleLaPorte.com monthly for her daily #Truthbombs and what’s been called “the best place online for kickass spirituality.” Entrepreneur Magazine calls Danielle, “equal parts poet and entrepreneurial badass…edgy, contrarian…loving and inspired.”
Read an Excerpt
White Hot Truth Highlights
Chapter 1: excerpt
THE CHURCH OF SELF-IMPROVEMENT: When worship becomes work
…On the way to my first meeting at the White House, I tucked crystals into my bra for protectionthey weren’t detected by security because that’s how magical amethysts can be. I’ve dropped mushrooms but refused painkillers. I’ve popped blue-green algae to pull all-nighters, brewed kombucha for my cha-cha. I have meditated while having a coffee colonic (and let me tell you, if you can meditate with a tube up your ass, you are definitely headed toward enlightenment). I’ve read channeling transcripts on how to find my Soulmatefor which I blame at least two breakups and a few missed opportunities to get laid by good men. If I’d been less fixated on the perfect twin flame, I might have been more easy…going. I temporarily broke up with the New Age to date New Physics. Everything happens for a reason.
Being on stage a lot as a “motivational speaker,” I was sermonizing about healthy boundaries and self-Love being a divine responsibility. Most people seemed to think, Well, she doesn’t suffer fools. But behind the scenes I was suffering some serious foolishness. I took a lot of crap from lovers and other collaborators because I thought tolerance was the “spiritual” course of action, or non-action as was the case. I practiced being less attached to my wants and more attached to my needsbut it was really hard to tell the difference. I chose Freddie Mercury as my Spirit Animal. He helped. The show must go on.
... You can’t seek approval on your way to sovereignty. Freedom is not something you need to earn.
Joy does not come from a checklist.
Chapter 5: excerpt
FULL OF YOURSELF: The curiosities of self-hatred, and the only guarantee of self-Love
...we’re missing the deeper dialogue when it comes to self-Love and determination: Loving yourself, even when you do it most humbly, can attract some not-so-Loving responses. When you start to care more deeply about your own well-being, a whole new set of innerand outerchallenges will surface in your life. Self-respect can create conflict. Just get used it.
...How to know that you Love yourself... You will Love more people, more deeply. This is the best part. Self-Love expands into Loving others. It’s so perfect, and beautiful, and right. You’re not trying to attain your own sequestered happiness. You look into your heart and see that it’s connected to everyone else’s. You feel that mystical and palpable kinship, and you want the same freedoms and fulfillment for others that you want for yourself.
Chapter 6: excerpt
YOU’RE SPECIALBUT NOT THAT SPECIAL: In search of worth
The need to feel special is a healthy human need. It means we’re being seen and are loved for what’s seen. But when you combine spirituality with an unchecked hunger to be “special,” you get spiritual glamour. And it’s some nasty, nefarious stuff.
spiritual glamour (noun/verb):
1. regarding your spirituality as a qualification for special treatment;
2. New Age douche
Spiritual glamour–pusses always and a way to insert their esoteric resumé into the conversation. “I’ve been meditating for twenty-five years,” or “My work with the orphans...” or “Parmesan Yogi Wannawanda is a personal friend of mine and when I was yachting with him, he told me...” We get it. You’re buds with an Enlightened Master, so you must be special.
...On the ego’s role in spiritual growth: Befriending our ego is a step to befriending our whole self. You’re an original. If we’re always looking to see how “spiritual” others think we are, we will never tap the depths of our authentic selves. Their perceived opinions of us will be the greatest distractions to hearing and feeling our Truth. The desire to evolve must come from internal inspiration, not external motivation.
Chapter 8: excerpt
OPEN, GENTLE HEART. BIG FUCKING FENCE. Boundaries for spiritual people
...I saw the same boundary issues with my Soul Sisters as well. Other- wise remarkably powerful, get-shit-done women who couldn’t tell their adorable but freeloading brother that it was time to move out of the guest room and get a job; or the gorgeous and articulate friend who kept quiet about the tantra teacher who crossed the line with her; or the whip-smart entrepreneur who couldn’t put a “stop payment” on the check to the “socially responsible” consultant who gave her nearly fatal business advice. We were all so accustomed to directing our compassion outward that turning the tide of protective Love toward ourselves was discombobulating. We fought for causes, for relationships, for our children, for our co-workers, but it was terrifying to fight for ourselves.
Chapter 10: excerpt
THE SOUL OF SERVICE:
Conscious optimism and giving from your fullness
...according to a lot of spiritual perspectives, all is well in the Universe. Our enlightenment is inevitable. It’s all progress.
I do believe that we will get to where we’re headedto a more enlightened way of living and co-creating... I also believe that over-spiritualizing our global tragedies doesn’t heal themit perpetuates them. And I believe in free will. So we have a choice: stubborn ignorance can slow us down and make us take the long way ’round to our destination, or we can make some radical shifts and get there with some efficiency. The Universe operates on free willand that means that both ascension and devolution are options. It’s up to us.
Chapter 11: excerpt
YOU ARE THE GURU: The hottest truth of all
...I wasn’t at the ashram for long but, as it happens for me in any situation of extreme restraint, I started feeling hornier than usual, and craving other circumstantially illicit thingslike a pack of smokes and some Led Zeppelin cranked really loud. Oh woe. My mind was having a fairly predictable reaction to discipline, but so was my heart. It was becoming clear that I was not made for this scene.
...Your breakthroughs have more to do with your own power than that of the expert or guru. Outside sources can be Soul resourcesbut not because THEY know something that you don’t. They are merely showing you your own wisdom. Wisdom is built, not bestowed.
Chapter 12: excerpt
When sacred sex goes sideways
...Between oppressive culturalization and the shifting expressions of feminism, I get why Yoni Puja empowerment workshops or an orgy at Burning Man might be appealingtruly healing, even. For some of us, getting greased and going wild is exactly what we need to break the psychological chains and move up our own evolutionary spiral.
I also understand why so many progressive, spiritually focused women think they might look like prudes if they demur on the free Love. It can be easy to feel ever-so-slightly shamed for not being “freer,” as if they’re repressed just because they don’t want to go to the Proud and Powerful Pussy Power Summit and pair up with a guy they just met to find their orgasmic sweet spot.
Going wild isn’t necessarily freeing. And restraint isn’t always restrictive. What is the modern goddess to do?
Chapter 15: excerpt
DISCERNMENT IS EVERYTHING When the negative serves the positive
You can’t have the Light without the dark. It’s a primary function of metaphysical teachers to emphasize the power of the Light, but they can neglect to address the realities of dealing with the darkness. I was at an angel workshop (don’t judge me), and a woman who was mentioning some government conspiracy theories was hushed by the workshop leader, “We can’t talk about negative things like that, it gives it energy.” Please, if you can’t talk about whacky conspiracy theories at an angel reading workshop, then where can you talk about them?
...Sometimes, you have to go right to the heart of an issue and call people on their bullshit-makingwhich might not seem like a very “spiritual” thing to do. But let me tell you...opinions used for raising standards are sacred indeed... Being discerning is not the same as being judgmental.
Discernment is big-minded and awake. Judgment is narrow-minded and operates in the dark. Discernment is our wisdom coming to life.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Church of Self-Improvement: When worship feels like work
Chapter 2 The really big lies: The falsities we (inevitably, and necessarily) fall for on our way to Truth
Chapter 3 Truthfully Seeking: How wisdom happens (hint: paradoxically)
Chapter 4 Healing Instincts: Mixing our own medicine (it’s all an experiment)
Chapter 5 Full of yourself: The curiosities of self-hatred, and the only guarantee of self-Love
Chapter 6 You’re SpecialBut Not that Special: In search of worth
Chapter 7 Super. Human: Choosing to really be here
Chapter 8 Open, Gentle Heart. Big Fucking Fence.: Boundaries for spiritual people
Chapter 9 Ready to Forgive: The complicated, gritty path to grace
Chapter 10 The Soul of Service: Conscious optimism and giving from your fullness
Chapter 11 You Are the Guru: The hottest truth of all
Chapter 12 Faux freedoms: When the sacred goes sideways
Chapter 13 Power Tools: More awareness, deeper respect, less dependency
Chapter 14 The Path Within Your Path: The roundabout journey to life-affirming discipline
Chapter 15 Discernment is Everything: When the negative serves the positive
Chapter 16 Regarding Suffering: Soul, pain, perspective
Chapter 17 Desire, Refined: A broader view for making dreams come true
Chapter 18 Devotion: I think you’re up for it
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Juicy, deep, and delightful.