Laura Saba has done some amazing work with her website, www.TheLiberationArtist.com, and we’d like to find out more, can you tell us a bit about this site?
The Liberation Artist is a resource for those who live outside the box, those who embody our definition of a “Liberation Artist” which is: One who works to live outside of fear & hesitation, breaking with the status quo to create Life as Art while discovering the Art of Living. They aren’t necessarily artists in the creative sense (though many are), so much as in how they design their life, and their life story as it is played out in terms of how they use each and every moment of their life.
A genuine liberation artist knows who they are at core, and focus on self-actualization, deep integrity to self, and high levels of authenticity, in their dealings with people, and in the way in which they make their way through the world-at-large. The site offers interviews with a diverse group of Liberation Artists. Readers will find that they deeply identify with some, while not really ‘getting’ some of the choices others make, however, recognizing that the key common factor in all of them is that deep sense of integrity to self, and truth in dealing with the world.
How many people have you interviewed, and how frequently do you post them?
I’ve actually interviewed far more people than what appear on the site, as I’m working on a book which will be a collection of them. However, I was generally posting 2-4 interviews per month, on what I called “Featured Fridays.” I’m also looking at launching a quarterly magazine next spring, through Apple’s Newsstand. The magazine will feature a significant number of interviews.
You seem to use this site to express various thoughts and perspectives, some of them are extremely popular, like this article on “Brokenness.” What’s this all about, and are you going to expand on this?
Ah, indeed! “Rejecting the Cult of Brokenness” was my all-time most popular post on The Liberation Artist. It has been reblogged over 2500 times, and generated hundreds of emails from readers. On one hand I was surprised at the response, and on the other it makes complete sense.
In our culture we are in a way conditioned to need constant validation of self through others. In school we are taught to look to an authority to grade us, rank us, tell us how we are doing. To always look for the ‘‘one right answer’’ (which is actually the antithesis of solid critical thinking skills). We are also ‘‘socialized,’’ which everyone makes a big deal about being tremendously important – just ask a homeschooler, they are bombarded with questions about socialization. Yet what does that mean? It is a conditioning to want to fit in. To look to our peers to define us. To conform, to fit in. To – get this – keep up with the Joneses (or in more modern context, the Kardashians). This drives a production/consumption economy, turning out a perfect work-and consumption force. How is it reinforced? By convincing you that you are broken, that you need to be thinner, smarter, sexier, stronger, better, faster, and in the right clothes, car, scent, look in order to fit in and be acceptable. The culture has to continue to reinforce this, continue to compare you to others, so that you continue to consume. As a culture, we are invested in our needing to constantly be “Broken” and in need of ‘‘fixing.’’ It is important to note that “Self-Help” books have become our strongest selling category – yet no matter how many are sold, people still keep looking for the ‘fix’ to their ‘broken self.’
In that post, I suggested that perhaps we aren’t broken. Perhaps rather than something being wrong with us, it is this crazy bar against which we measure ourselves that is really broken. That rather than buying into the idea that we are broken and need to change in order to be acceptable and worthy, we build upon our unique strengths, to contribute to the world in a way that we are uniquely prepared to do.
Due to the overwhelming response, I am actually writing a book on the topic. It is going through some edits at this time, but will be out early next year.
Have people shared their content or shared with you how helpful you’re site has been for them?
Oh they have! I’ve had a tremendous amount of email and comments in which people tell me the posts, interviews, and especially the experiments, have genuinely changed their lives. One woman in particular stands out . She had never contacted me before, but told me that one of my ‘‘experiment’’ posts led her to leaving a very physically dangerous relationship. A number of people have also told me that my blog has helped them take action in pursuing the dreams closest to their heart. They speak of feeling a sense of support, of feeling like they aren’t all alone in the world, thanks to my site. This right here, this is what makes it all worth it. That is the greatest reward I can imagine, from a project like this.
You’ve clearly interviewed, and continue to interview some very interesting people. Who is your most interesting new interview you’d like to highlight?
Oh, that is so hard! I have learned so much from every last one of them! Each brings with them a new lesson. More recently, I think that Beth Howard, the Author, Adventure Journalist, and Pie-Baker really resonated with me. In addition to this blog, I also run training programs for birth doulas at Momdoulary, and Mourning and Death Doulas at MourningDoula.com Beth spoke with me extensively about the ways in which baking pie together helps build community and can help heal. She went to Newtown after the shooting and baked an endless number of pies with the community. So her work deeply resonated with me. However, I was also moved by Marilyn Mansfield’s courage to be herself, a plus-model in a size 0 world, and Chris Guillebeau’s ability to fully embrace the path of the Liberation Artist, through his Art of Non-Conformity website.
I have another interview that will be appearing soon, with Unique Sotirakis. I’m really excited about this one, because she will be the first feature with someone who is on their way to ‘‘making it’’ but is still on the slow and steady climb. Mother of a 5 and 2 year-old she is homeschooling, she is about to self-publish a potentially controversial book, “The Truth About Monsters: A Bedtime Story for Grownups” which addresses a scary thought for parents: What if one of the basic premises upon which you built your parenting decisions turned out to be a lie? She clearly is asking people to think more critically, to not just accept or buy-in to whatever we read, but to genuinely assess life carefully. What is outstanding about Unique is that she sees life very simply, and directly. She has a firm set of values, owns and is accountable for her flaws and mistakes, and continues to walk her own independent path. Her interview will be up next week, and I think it is going to be useful for people to read about someone right there on the cusp of ‘‘making it’’ and to experience their mind-set – the good, the bad, all of it – as they are moving through this space. The goal of my site is to inspire others to make the same journey into self, into deeply authentic integrity to self. It is my hope that interviews such as this will go a long way toward helping others feel supported in their own journey.
I really enjoy your “Whiteboard Wednesdays” presentations, can you tell us about what inspired that? Is it catching on?
Ah, the whiteboards! I love whiteboards lol! In my training program at Momdoulary and Mourning Doula, I created an extensive number of whiteboards, and I loved the process of creating them. The process forced me to organize my thoughts differently, to distill them in a different way. I found this very useful, which was exciting! So I began exploring topics at The Liberation Artist that way. The response has been highly positive. So much so, actually, that it created a support problem with Tumblr, where my site is hosted. I’ve delayed releasing more until the site is moved – it will be moving over to a wordpress site shortly, and when it does, I will be re-introducing “Whiteboard Wednesdays.”
Exciting times ahead, actually! As I mentioned, I have the book, “Unbroken: The Last Self Help Book You’ll Ever Need” coming out early next year, along with a collection of interviews. In the Spring the quarterly “The Liberation Artist” will debut at Apple’s Newsstand. Additionally, the site will be moving to a new host and format which will make it even more interactive. I am also launching a new app on the site for the New Year. It is a fun little “Liberation Challenge” game, which will prompt people to take action in their lives. I’m actually pretty excited about it!
We paused posts for a short time recently, as we were readying to move things over, and as all these pieces were coming together, but new articles and interviews will resume this week. I’m pretty excited – I believe 2014 will be a very exciting year for The Liberation Artist.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak with your readers, Robert. I really love your magazine site!
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