This weeks interview is with Kate Swoboda
Hey! Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Kate Swoboda, though I'm often referred to as Kate Courageous (which, yes, I dig). I'm a life coach, teacher and writer who works with women from around the world. What do we work on? All the good stuff--like claiming your life and having a framework for living really powerfully. And in essence, that means that I work with people on transforming their relationship with fear, because fear is the only thing that stops people from living in a 100% fully alive kind of way. When I'm not coaching, teaching, or writing, I'm studying Italian, contemplating my next tattoo, searching for the perfect chai, or hanging with my man and my cat.
Is the life you lead now, the life you dreamt of?
Yes. Which is an interesting response--I hesitated before typing it--because I don't want to confuse living the life of my dreams with "perfection." For me, living the life of my dreams is realizing that after a lot of hard work, I'm a hell of a lot more conscious about all the places where my life isn't working, as well as far more celebratory of all the places where my life is just *such* a beautiful unfolding. I'm also gentler with myself around the fact that there are places where my life is still in a process of shifting. In essence, I don't think that anyone's life is perfect, so really the greatest act of love we can give ourselves is to start embracing all that comes into the circle of our existence, and start working with it--stop seeing it as "the problem" or "bad," because to parcel any part of ourselves off in that way is to deny that part of ourselves love. My life vision is to completely and totally love and accept myself, so that I can completely and totally love and accept everyone else, and thus facilitate healing in the world. I practice my life vision every day. That's living big, so that's living the life of my dreams.
When you have faced difficulties, what has been your inspiration to keep going?
think fear shows up in so many different ways, and realizing that is important. For instance, fear shows up as chronic forgetting, procrastination, lack of motivation, feeling uninspired, resistance. Most people think that fear is only that moment of "shaking in your boots," that elevator dropping sensation. In fact, if we distill everything down, we're motivated and thus act from either love, or fear. Fear, as it manifests in my life, shows up as the Inner Critic who has a really rigid idea of the way things "should be," and a few control issues, and some anger when things don't go a certain way--and when it's not anger, it can so easily be sadness or despair or hopelessness. I wouldn't say that I've overcome that relationship with fear, nor do I really expect to...or want to, because I think that it's part of living and being a being. I have, however, transformed my relationship with fear. It's so, so, so much easier now to recognize when the Inner Critic--who is really just fearful--is going full speed. To stop, to breathe, to ask myself what I need, to be gentle with the response, to go fully into my anger if I need that or to cry big tears if I need that--I just work on getting really present to what is needed. Probably the biggest game changer was when I stopped seeing my Inner Critic as bad, and started seeing how afraid she was and loving her up, accepting that she was afraid yet putting boundaries in place at the same time, requiring respectful communication from myself.
Fear affects us all at some point. What part has fear played in your life and how have you overcome it?
I think that transforming one's relationship with fear--and starting to practice courage--is the key. I say that courage is feeling afraid (because no one gets out of that part), diving in anyway (because what else will you do--stay stuck?), and transforming (because that's always what happens when we meet our edges and expand past fear). The great thing about practising this above and beyond trying to train oneself into a rigid creating schedule, or promising that this is the year you'll accomplish XYZ, is that practising courage is transferable. We can practice courage in our creative pursuits, our jobs, our romantic relationships, with our children. We can have courage when we choose to love bigger, to have compassion, to spend our money in ways that are in alignment with our values. The other suggestion I often give people is to believe in the power of five minutes. So often, there's this feeling that there's no point in even trying to create something unless there's this great swath of time. Nah. I say, "Give it five minutes." Five minutes is better than no minutes. Then see if five minutes turns into ten, and ten turns into fifteen. And if it doesn't happen that way, be gentle with yourself, anyway. When something's ready to transform, it does.
What do you think are the three most important things you need to live a radiant and happy life?
The three most important things to lead a happy and radiant life? Well, I'll go with what my boyfriend's sister told me recently: sex, sleep, and vegetables. And in between all of those spaces, I'd suggest a.) Being your journey, b.) acting with integrity, and c.) loving bigger than you ever imagined.
You can find Kate online at http://www.yourcourageouslife.com, on Twitter @KateCourageous, and via Facebook if you search for "your courageous life."