I am pleased and honored to have had the opportunity to interview Lori Deschene this month for a new series I'll be doing called: Kick-Ass Women. Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha, a community blog that publishes tips and stories about letting go of pain and embracing happiness. In addition to sharing her own struggles and insights and encouraging others to do the same, she also offers daily wisdom quotes through @tinybuddha on Twitter and the Tiny Buddha Facebook page. Lori grew up in Massachusetts and spent years traveling and moving around the country. She now lives in Los Angeles where she writes, often under palm trees, and focuses first and foremost on having fun.


1) What is living a kick-ass life to you?

Right now I feel like I am living a life I'm proud of, and it comes down to four things: I am doing something that I feel passionate about through Tiny Buddha. I am operating with integrity, instead of compromising my values for the sake of growth or success. I am location-independent, so I can spend a lot of time with my family on the other side of the country. And I am living a balanced life that includes time for introspection, spontaneity, and fun.

2) We do a lot of talking about “gremlins” aka inner-critics around here. Have you met yours? And what do you do to manage that voice?

Oh yes, I most definitely have met mine! I write about this a lot, actually, as I know all too well how easy it is to start getting down on yourself. The main things that help me are: meditation, yoga, and fitness. If I take care of my mind and body, it's much easier to stay positive.

It sounds so simple, but I've found it's not always easy in practice. Sometimes that little voice starts to sabotage my efforts to take care of myself. When that happens, it helps me to focus on doing one tiny thing for my well-being, even if it's just 5 minutes of deep breathing. Tiny choices can make a big difference.

3) We also talk a lot about body image here. How do you honor your body?

I should start by saying I didn't always honor my body. In fact, I hated it, and that manifested in a lot of self-destructive habits. I'd alternate between periods of starvation and binging, I drank excessively, and I was a smoker for years.

Now I eat a balanced, healthy diet. I drink in moderation. And I quit smoking years ago. I also exercise at least a few times per week, either yoga or riding my bike. During my unhealthy years, I pushed myself to workout for hours on end. I now focus on doing exercise that I enjoy, as this nurtures both my mind and body.

4) How does spirituality fit into your life?

Spirituality is a huge part of my life, as Tiny Buddha is all about introspection, self-discovery, and connection. It guides everything I do, online and offline. It's not something that I make time for–it's the way I live my life. I believe that self-awareness and growth are two of the cornerstones of happiness. When you understand yourself and commit to evolving, life has a sense of purpose and direction.

5) What have you overcome in your life and come out on the other side?

I don't know that I've come out the other side of anything. I've certainly made major progress with a lot of things, but there's still so much I work on. I've definitely evolved. I once saw myself as a scared, scarred, isolated girl who needed to hide from people and life. I now see myself as a strong, capable woman with limitless possibilities for love, passion, and fun. I may never feel like I've done a complete 180, but I think that might be a good thing. It means I'm always moving forward. The act of moving, for me, is arriving.