Tiny Buddha: Lori Deschene Interview # 4

Lori Deschene of Tiny Buddha is an amazing blogger. Know why? She cares about her readers more than she cares about her personal agenda. The way she responds to you makes you feel like your a member of her personal mastermind group.

Check out what she has on her blog.

LoriThough I run this site, it is not mine. It's ours.
t's not about me. It's about us. Your stories and
your wisdom are just as meaningful as mine. 
Click here to read more.


Lori values who you are as a person! Want to get growing? Take a lesson or two from one of the wisest bloggers online. Enjoy our interview!

1. When did you fall in love with quotes and where?

I’ve loved quotes pretty much since I learned to read—which I always do with a pen or a highlighter. What I love about them is that even though it’s all been said, it’s not always been the same way. Some of my favorite quotes express similar ideas, but they come from different perspectives.

Also, I find it comforting to realize that wisdom transcends the boundaries of time and culture. Despite all our differences as people, and in spite of all our progress, we’ve always pondered the same big questions—and at the heart of most of our spiritual and philosophical systems, we generally find similar answers.

2. For our readers who don’t know you can you tell me how you got started and what’s it all about?

Sure! I run a website called tinybuddha.com, which I started in September of 2009. One thing that makes Tiny Buddha a little unique is that it all started with a quote-a-day Twitter account. It was a little over a year old when I launched the site. At that point, more than 50,000 people were following.

I realized then that quotes are everywhere on Twitter—people retweet them all the time—and I wondered how well we all apply those ideas when we disconnect from our gadgets. Do we just read them, share them, and move on without internalizing and taking action?

My goal for the site was to create a community blog where anyone, of any age, from any location could share a story about taking that wisdom off the page. I’d been running the Twitter account anonymously, and at first I thought I’d run the site that way, too.

I feared that if I put my name on there, it would seem like my blog—people would think of Tiny Buddha as synonymous with me. I wanted the message to be that there is a “Tiny Buddha” in all of us. Eventually I realized that I needed to start writing authentically and vulnerably if I wanted to create a community where other people felt motivated to do the same.

That change made all the difference. Over the past two years, more than 125 writers have shared their struggles and stories. Readers often say that the posts address exactly what they’re going through at any time, and I think there’s a simple for reason for that: We all deal with the same things over and over again in life. When we’re willing to be honest about our real feelings and experiences, suddenly we all feel less alone. 

3. How did you choose the name Tiny Buddha?

I can’t take full credit for that. A friend came up with the name. At the time, it made sense because it started on Twitter, where everything is tiny! It was really a metaphor for small pieces of wisdom.

4. Tell us about your new book? When can we purchase it?

My new book is titled Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hardest Questions, and though January 1, 2012 is the official launch date, it’s available now for pre-order on Amazon.com.

I’m really excited about how this book came together, because it also started on Twitter. A year and a half back, I began asking a number of difficult questions on the @tinybuddha Twitter page—like “What’s the meaning of life?” and “What does it take to be happy?”

I collected nearly 1,000 responses. In the end, I chose just under 200 tweets to weave throughout the book, which also features insights from wise teachers throughout time and a number of stories from my life. The end result is a guide of possibilities for happiness, mindfulness, connection, and empowerment—even in a world with so much uncertainty. 

5. Your posts carry a lot of wisdom and insight, how did you get so wise?

Sometimes I don’t feel wise at all, because there is so much I don’t know! But according to Socrates, realizing that is the foundation of all wisdom.

Most of my writing comes as a direct result of pain. In my younger years, I caused myself a lot of it. For a long time, I carried around numerous victim stories to justify my negativity and misery. After years of suffering, I realized I truly was the cause—no one and nothing else made my life hard.

was the one thinking undermining thoughts. I was the one drowning in overpowering emotions. I was the one dwelling on the past. I was the one obsessing about the future. I was the one who moved around all the time, hoping to escape myself. And no wonder—if I had a friend who treated me like I treated myself, I’d run fast and far from her, too.

I write the things I tell myself. That’s not to say I always apply these ideas perfectly. I’m by no means an expert or a guru, and sometimes I need to put a lot of effort into my happiness and self-care. I think that’s part of what makes Tiny Buddha appealing. It’s not a place where any one person has it all figured out. It’s a place where we’re all human, and we’re all both teachers and students.

There’s a quote that reads, “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.” I have learned this is true. The greatest wisdom comes from knowing that we are never alone.

6. What book have you read that has had the most impact on your life?

 The book that had the strongest impact on me was The Power of Now. I truly believe mindfulness is the path to freedom.

7. Books you’re currently reading?

I just finished Cultivating Radiance by Tamara Gerlach, and I’ve been playing around with The Game of You—an amazingly insightful book and card game set that I highly recommend!

8. If you could give a message to the world in 60 seconds what would it be?

If I could convey just one message, I would likely say nothing. Instead, I’d take a long hard look in the mirror, and sing “And no message could have been any clearer. If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.”

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. A native of Massachusetts, Lori now lives in Los Angeles where she writes from assorted coffee shops and parks. To join the Tiny Buddha community, subscribe for daily or weekly emails, join more than 220,000 @tinybuddha followers on Twitter, or “like” the Tiny Buddha Facebook page.

{ 41 comments… add one }

  • Justin | Mazzastick October 11, 2011, 6:21 pm

    Hi Tess and Lori,
    Your story sounds like mine and so many others. I didn’t start my blog because I was perfect and that I don’t have any problems but rather as a way of expressing myself through my own experiences.

    I have been to your blog many times and I will have to check it out again after this comment.

    • Tess October 11, 2011, 7:26 pm

      Hi Justin,
      There are a lot of successful bloggers that won’t take the time to help newbies. Lori goes above and beyond. I’ve seen it again and again. I know you’re going to be on the top soon. I also know that you will do the same;)

    • Lori October 12, 2011, 10:50 am

      Hi Justin,

      It’s nice to e-meet you! I think that’s the wonderful thing about blogging. Anyone can share what they’ve learned, and as a result, blogs often come from a genuine, inspired place. I love knowing that people are writing directly from their hearts.

      Happy Wednesday =)

  • Angela Artemis/Poweredbyintuition October 11, 2011, 7:00 pm

    Fabulous interview. So nice getting to know more about Lori. Tiny Buddha is a wonderful website! Good luck with your new book too!

    • Tess October 11, 2011, 7:28 pm

      Hi Angela,
      Too many people my age thing the world is coming to an end…blah, blah…my response is you should read the blogs and see what the younger generations are up to these days. That’s one thing blogging has done for me…changed the way I see the world and what’s happening.

    • Lori October 12, 2011, 10:53 am

      Thank you Angela! I enjoyed your recent post. You posed some wonderful, thought-provoking questions. =)

  • Cathy | Treatment Talk October 11, 2011, 7:22 pm

    Hi Lori and Tess,

    Just recently found Tiny Buddha and it is an amazing website. Thanks for sharing the interview.

    • Tess October 11, 2011, 7:29 pm

      You should do a guest post for Lori. I think your topic would be appreciated. I’ve not seen one on recovery before at Tiny Buddha. Not that there isn’t one there. I could have missed it.

    • Lori October 12, 2011, 10:55 am

      Thank you Cathy! Tess is right–it would be wonderful to read a post from you for Tiny Buddha! If you are interested, I have submissions guidelines on the site: http://tinybuddha.com/get-featured/

  • Betsy at Zen Mama October 11, 2011, 8:59 pm

    Hi Lori and Tess,
    I’m always amazing when coincidences happen! I was just writing about attachment and non attachment and I mentioned that those who wanted more information should go to read a guest post by Lori at Tiny Buddha!! I, too, love how Lori writes that the site is not hers but ours! Great to connect through an interview!

    • Tess October 12, 2011, 7:05 am

      Hi Betsy,
      That is funny isn’t it? What can’t you find on her blog??? The wisdom of that young woman. I don’t know how she does it. Oh I take that back. I think she’s divinely guided and she listens. Just a guess on my part;) Thanks Betsy for stopping by.

      • Lori October 12, 2011, 11:00 am

        Thanks so much for featuring my interview, and also for your kind words. I’m so glad we connected in the blogosphere!

    • Lori October 12, 2011, 10:59 am

      Thanks Betsy! I love the Tiny Buddha community, and I feel truly honored and blessed to be a part of it. The first line of your post made me laugh–that you were attached to your half-written post. Ironically, I was a little attached to my guest post about non-attachment! After I submitted it to Zen Habits, I didn’t know when it would post, and I had to remind myself to let it go–that it would be up when it went up.

  • farouk October 12, 2011, 4:13 am

    lori and tess , that’s such a great interview
    its full of useful info, thank you both

    • Lori October 12, 2011, 11:01 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Farouk!

  • Tess October 12, 2011, 7:06 am

    Thanks, Farouk. I appreciate you stopping by TBL!

  • Eric | Eden Journal October 12, 2011, 8:27 am

    Great interview. I love the closing statement. I am a firm believer that real change must begin with self.

    • Lori October 12, 2011, 11:03 am

      Thanks Eric. I couldn’t agree more. =)

  • Rand October 12, 2011, 12:56 pm

    Hi Lori,

    I really like your Tam o’Shanter…(hat). I recall two occaisions when I wore my very own Tam.

    The first time was 1984… Me…this “Yank” going across The Soviet Union with a pretty $Bold Western$ statement upon my head. The only thing that kept the KGB or the Soviet Army from knocking it off my head was it being *Red*.

    The second time was when I put it on while packing to go back to my former wife’s family farm in West Clare, Ireland. Bernadette said, “No way in hell are you going back there looking like some “Own-chuck Yank”. The hat never left the States. Easy to see the more stronger force that managed to dis-lodge the Tam.

    The #Big Hat# that you now see me wearing has a draw cord…so it won’t come off.

    Tess, you wearing a @Stetson@ across the border in Arizona yet?

    • Lori October 12, 2011, 4:38 pm

      Thanks Rand. =) I’m a huge hat fan. I like yours, too!

  • Galen Pearl October 12, 2011, 4:20 pm

    I am familiar with the Tiny Buddha site and like it so much. I’m delighted to learn more about Lori. Thanks, Tess, for conducting the interview, and thanks, Lori, for sharing some of yourself here.

    • Lori October 12, 2011, 4:42 pm

      You’re most welcome, Galen! I love what you wrote on your blog about the preciousness of every day. I was actually just writing something about treating today like your last day. It’s amazing how the world seems to change when we change our perspective.

  • Brenda October 12, 2011, 8:26 pm

    This is wonderful! Lori is a wonderful Tiny Buddha and shares so much wisdom! Love that you are writing a book Lori…we can’t have enough Buddha wisdom as far as I am concerned. You have inspired me to restart my blog..

    thanks Tess for sharing this inspiring blog and person with us!!

    hugs and love to all!

    • Lori October 13, 2011, 10:53 am

      Thank you Brenda! I’m glad you enjoyed my interview. =)

  • David Stevens October 12, 2011, 9:35 pm

    Hi Tess & Lori,
    This is a delightful well rounded post, thank you so much. I have visted Tiny Buddha a few times & I’m a “liker” on FB so that I get a regular dose. Loved your final message, very true.
    be good to yourselves

    • Lori October 13, 2011, 10:54 am

      Hi David,

      I love YOUR final message. I think it all starts with being good to ourselves.

      Happy Thursday =)

  • Christopher Foster October 13, 2011, 10:39 am

    Hi Tess and Lori: I spent a very uplifting time reading your interview. I loved the sense of real authenticity in every line. Thank you for the gift you’re both giving to your world.

    • Lori October 13, 2011, 10:57 am

      Thank you Christopher. I love the name of your blog. I’m a happy seeker, too. =)

  • Patti Foy | Lightspirited Being October 14, 2011, 3:25 pm

    Oh, I loved this interview! Thank you to both of you. I like understanding your site a little better, Lori. Good questions, Tess.

    I got chills reading the answer to #8 … and it really touched me. Now that is unique. As is a lot of what you’re offering, Lori, and how you’re doing it.

    Thanks so much for what you so generously share. And I wish you every success with your book! It sounds like yet another awesome gift.

    • Lori October 14, 2011, 4:55 pm

      Thanks so much, Patti! It’s my pleasure to share through Tiny Buddha. It’s truly one of the biggest lights in my life. Just after I wrote that, I read on your site, “If you want to shine the light that is the authentic you as freely as possible, then this site is for you.” Your site sounds like a great place to curl up and stay a while. =)

  • Tanja October 14, 2011, 8:47 pm

    Hi Lori/Tess – I have to admit, I’ve been reading Tiny Buddha for a couple of months now, and I’m constantly amazed by just how much so many posts there speak to me.

    I feel like I’m right at the beginning of my journey as a blogger, but Lori, your comment that you ” write the things you tell yourself” REALLY resonates for me. Sometimes I feel like Alice in Wonderland, in that I give myself great advice, but don’t often follow it. I wonder how much more likely I’ll be to follow my own advice if I write it down for others to read too?

    • Lori October 15, 2011, 11:41 am

      Hi Tanja,

      I thought I responded to your comment, but I don’t see it, so I apologize if this shows up twice!

      I know what you mean about giving advice but not always following it. I’ve written hundreds of blog posts–I’ve covered far too much ground to have it all perfected! I do find that writing about these ideas often makes it easier for me to act on what I’ve learned. Of course there are other times when I struggle–and that can make me feel like a fraud. I keep reminding myself that my biggest lesson is self-love, which means allowing myself to be a real person, not a persona. Real people struggle sometimes.

      Speaking of love…I’ve been reading and re-reading your recent post this morning, as it’s really inspired me to think about what it means to give and receive love.

      I’ve also wanted to be loved by everyone. It’s a tempting desire, because non-judgmental attention can be addictive. At times, I’ve depended on other people to provide this for me when I’ve struggled to give it to myself. Thank you for the reminder to love myself in the same way I’d like to receive love from others!


      • Tanja October 15, 2011, 1:23 pm

        Thanks, Lori – I’m so glad that last post got you thinking! Jamie’s wishcasting posts are a goldmine of self-examination for me (well, the two I’ve taken part in so far have been anyway!)

        And yes, I’ve never thought of it that way before, but the right kind of attention can be *thoroughly* addictive. As a child, I always wanted to be the “centre of attention” (and was told off for it more than once) – now I constantly feel as though, whenever I’m deciding to speak up in a group or online, I have to rationalise whether I’m coming from a place of genuinely wanting to contribute, or just a place of grabbing the limelight and being the centre of attention again for a few short moments.

        I guess the trick is that sometimes it’s possible to do both, and that’s OK… but I need to make sure that there *IS* a genuine desire to contribute there – otherwise, I’m just four years old and attention-seeking all over again!

        • Lori October 17, 2011, 2:40 pm

          I can totally relate to what you wrote here. I *also* wanted to be the center of attention at all times as a kid. It’s why I eventually pursued theater. I needed that validation to feel good about myself. I definitely question my intentions at times–asking myself, “Am I doing this for my ego, or is there another compelling reason to say or do this?”

          I suspect you’re right about striking a balance. One thing I’ve worked on over the years is realizing that life doesn’t have to be black and white. Living in that gray place is a lot more freeing, as it allows for self-awareness without making it stressful.

  • Jimmy October 14, 2011, 9:09 pm

    Hi Ladies,

    Cheers for the interview.

    Tiny Buddha is now very much a part of life now. I enjoy all the quotes and posts on a regular basis. I really like Buddha quotes. They are really profound and life changing if we take the trouble to internalize them. My favorite is still:

    “Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”

    If anyone ask me about our purpose in life, then that must be it.

    This interview has brought so much more insight into Lori’s experiences. I could see that she is truly a living example of someone who embraces life and all its experiences. When you shared that your past carried a lot of pain, I did not sense any resentment to it at all. That is perhaps the greatest lesson we can all take away from this sharing.


    • Lori October 15, 2011, 11:46 am

      Hi Jimmy,

      It’s a pleasure to e-meet you. =) That’s one of my favorite quotes, as well.

      I aim to embrace all of life AND myself, as it’s tempting to only love my flattering and admirable traits. I find this only sets me up for more pain! I suspect you’re right–releasing resentment has made a huge difference in my life. Forgiveness is freedom, and I’ve learned it starts with forgiving myself.

      Happy Saturday,

  • Chris Barba October 17, 2011, 1:39 pm

    Wonderful interview Tess and Lori!

    Tiny Buddha was actually one of the first blogs I came across. Loved the quotes but especially loved the authenticity behind each post. What made them particularly interesting is how much they are loaded with personal experiences and stories!

    So great to get some background on the origin of Tiny Buddha Lori. Keep up that inspiration, your work definitely has some massive ripple effects.

    Wonderful interview Tess!

  • Lori October 17, 2011, 2:43 pm

    Thank you Chris! I love when people open up and share what they’ve been though–or what they’re going through now. I feel that honesty is addictive. When one person acknowledges their struggles, and does it with confidence and grace, suddenly it feels a lot easier to embrace and share my own humanity and imperfections. That’s what I hoped for the site, and I’m so thrilled to see those types of authentic conversations happening. I know it makes a difference in my life.

    Happy Monday =)

  • Harriet Cabelly October 17, 2011, 3:28 pm

    Great to see Lori profiled here. She has been my blogging mentor from day one. You said it right, Tess, when you said above that she goes above and beyond to help ‘newbies’. She practices what she writes about from the bottom of her heart – she’s all there with the utmost authenticity, openness, wisdom and above all, sincere caring and encouragement to see others succeed. We all can take {many} lessons from Lori.
    Thank you for this wonderful interview.

    • Lori October 17, 2011, 8:58 pm

      Thank you so much, Harriet. I’m really touched by what you wrote–and it’s been my pleasure to help you. =)

  • Wendy Irene November 8, 2011, 9:04 am

    It was so wonderful to read that the book that had the biggest impact on Lori was the Power of Now! I couldn’t agree more. What a powerful life-changing book!


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