A couple of years ago, an interesting Twitter handle caught my attention. It was something called @tinybuddha and it aimed at delivering “simple wisdom for complex lives”. This handle grew over the last years to become one of the most popular self-help Twitter accounts. At the moment of writing this, it has more than 200.000 followers, which, to be honest with you, it’s huge. A few months ago, I had the pleasure to be introduced to the person behind this Twitter account. Yes, there is a person behind this Twitter account, and her name is Lori Deschene. And now I have the honor to introduce you to the same person, by the means of an interview.
Hold on, though. Don’t rush, there’s plenty of time. The reason behind this interview is the launch of the book. Yes, there is a book, and probably one of the most interesting modern self-help books, a unique compilation of Twitter accounts and other interesting bits and pieces of, you got it, simple wisdom for complicated lives. No, you won’t find any tweets by me, and I think this is a good thing, because you may be already bored with what I write here. But you will find plenty of very good stuff, from other fine personal development obsessed freaks like yours truly. So, without any further ado, I will give you now Lori Deschene (look for the end of the interview, though, because there is also a giveaway 😉 ).
1. Why Buddha? And why tiny?
Tiny Buddha first started on Twitter, and the stream included just one daily quoteâ€”mostly from the Buddha, the Dalai Lama, and other Buddhist thinkers. The name seemed fitting, since it was essentially a tiny piece of daily wisdom. (A friend of mine actually came up with it, so I can’t take full credit!)
Since then, Tiny Buddha has expanded to include a community blog and now my book, but the main idea remains the same: It’s about simple daily wisdom to help us live more mindfully, peacefully, and happily in our everyday lives.
Over time, I’ve found the word “tiny” to be appropriate on many levels. Happiness generally boils down to the tiny choices we make every day. Purpose and success are generally the result of many tiny steps in a direction that feels right to us. And mindfulness is about focusing on the tiny things right in front of us, instead of dwelling on the big things that happened in days past, or we fear may happen in days to come.
2. Tell me 3 things nobody knows about you.
I don’t think there’s anything that nobody knows about me! However, there are some lesser known facts:
I wore a scoliosis back brace for almost three years when I was in elementary schoolâ€”and I got Joey McIntyre from New Kids on the Block to sign it.
I was in the children’s choir for the Boston run of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with Donny Osmond. All the other kids were between 8 and 13; I was a 17-year old with pigtails.
I purposely keep a light schedule and regularly turn down opportunities to earn additional money because I enjoy having time to do nothing in specific. People often start emails to me with, “I know you must be really busy…” but I am blissfully not!
3. How was the book writing experience?
It was simultaneously the most challenging and satisfying experience of my life. For years, I told myself I couldn’t write a book because I was better with shorter works, like magazine articles and blog posts. I think this was my way of avoiding doing something that I was scared to do.
Once I jumped in, I realized I could do itâ€”it just required a lot more effort than anything else I’d ever done, especially since I included nearly 200 tweets. That’s how the whole project started: I asked a number of life’s hardest questions on the @tinybuddha Twitter stream, and then shaped the book around the responses.
It was enlightening and inspiring to see how different people answered these questions, which included: What’s the meaning of life? What does it take to be happy? Can people changeâ€”and how?
I included many of my own experiences grappling with life’s big issues, and that was both liberating and cathartic. I feel grateful that I was able to share so much of myself and also highlight varied perspectives for peace, purpose, happiness, and connection.
I also created a contest connected to theme of my book. It’s called the “Life’s Hard Questions” contest, and it runs until January 15, 2012. Anyone can enter by submitting a photo of themselves displaying the hardest question in their life at lifeshardquestions.com.
The winners will be chosen at random, though there will be a special prize for the most creative. The prizes include a Canon DSLR camera, two Kindles, and 10 free copies of my book. It’s just another opportunity for people to get involved and share a little of themselves.
4. Why did you want to write a book in the first place?
I originally started the community blog because I’d caused myself a lot of pain in life, and I wanted to create a space where we can all help each overcome adversity, heal, and thrive.
Over the past two years, I’ve published posts from more than 175 contributors; and many of them have revolved around the same ideasâ€”choosing happiness, letting go of the past, living life to the fullest, and creating positive change, for example.
We all deal with the same universal challenges in life, and we all need to make choices based on what feels right and makes sense to us individually. There are very few one-size-fits-all answers. This means we need to learn to trust ourselves, and identify and utilize the answers that we find most empowering.
That’s not always easy to do, especially in an information-overloaded world where there are always new ideas and suggestions coming our way.
I wrote this book because I wanted to acknowledge our shared humanityâ€”all the different things we all go through and deal withâ€”and then explore some ways to thrive right in this moment, both in spite of and because of those challenges.
5. Who’s your best friend?
I don’t know that I have a best friend, but I have a few people who I’m closer to than anyone else. My boyfriend is one of them. He took me skydiving on our second date, and it’s been an amazing adventure for the last two and a half yearsâ€”both the extraordinary and ordinary moments. I tried to get him to wear a gold half-heart BFF necklace, but so far, no luck!
6. Name 3 places where people could read your book.
In a park, in a coffee shop, in the bathtub. Those are the places where I read! If you mean where people can purchase the book, they can get it on Amazon, in their local book store, or through a number of independent book sellers.
Now, here’s a nice picture of the book. To get it from Amazon, just click on it (no affiliate links, so there’s nothing for me in this, I’m promoting it just because I really like it).