Just recently I had the very wonderful opportunity to speak with the best-selling author and artist SARK (aka Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy). With sixteen titles in print and well over two million books sold, it’s clear that her message is one people need and want to hear. Her fabulous titles include the national bestsellers Succulent Wild Woman, Bodacious Book of Succulence, Eat Mangoes Naked, Prosperity Pie, and Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper. Her newest book is Glad No Matter What – Transforming Loss and Change into Gift and Opportunity, it is perhaps her most personal and therefore in my opinion, her most profound book to date.
SARK is also the founder and CEO of Planet Sark, a world all its own that is just an internet surf away. At Planetsark you can discover SARK’s innovative products and services to support empowered living. SARK lives and creates in San Francisco, CA in what she likes to call her Magical Cottage. On the evening that I spoke to her, she was traveling on a book tour. On behalf of the Spirited Woman community, I had the opportunity to ask SARK a bit about her life, her work and her dreams. (There is also a full audio version of this interview available at: www.fabulouslysuccessful.com/sark).
Dawn: Welcome SARK, have I missed any essential elements about you that you would like to share with our readers?
SARK: Just that I live and love as what I call a full cup of self-love sharing the overflow with the world. And when I feel like a half-empty cup, I use the transformational practices that I describe in my newest book, Glad No Matter What. Let’s be sure to start by telling people this is not a book about feeling glad when you don’t. How Annoying!
Dawn: I love that you talk about that, because it is exactly what we think we are supposed to do. Some of us start feeling guilty about not feeling good all the time.
SARK: Not only is it ok, it is essential! So many great things grow in the dark.
Dawn: Do you mind if we start a bit to the beginning? The beginning of your career I mean. You are so incredibly, refreshingly unique and fun in the way you deliver your message. Where do your book titles come from? What is your source of inspiration?
SARK: Well I grew up with wonderful parents who let us read at the table. All the kids would show up for lunch and there would be this nine foot stack of comic books. There were these silent children eating grilled cheese sandwiches and reading. I was immensely inspired by the combination of words and art. In that same family I was abused by an older brother who was in turn abused by a next door neighbor so it was very difficult. One of the gifts that emerged from that was moving into my imagination and living there.
That is where I really got very intimate with what I call my higher-self or my wise-self. That is where everything comes from. It comes from Spirit and comes through me. I’m like the dictation taker. So the titles come in dreams. I am filled up all the time. At the age of 10, I came home and said "Mom I am supposed to be a beacon of hope and write books for the world." I wrote my first book the summer of my tenth year and then I was not published until I was 35.
Dawn: Since we are sort of delving into this other part of your life, the part that may not be as happy and joyful, how do you still write and create with such joy?
SARK: It comes from the gladness in the grief and in the bad stuff and in the darkness. That is the whole point. When I created this book I wanted to create something that I now am describing as ‘Practical Gladness’. We can all be happy, we can all be sad, but they really can co-exist in a wonderful way that I am calling the middle or the marvelous messy middle. We can get out of the extremes and live in the marvelous messy middle with all of our feelings all together.
Dawn: I wanted to touch on this idea of Practical Gladness because at the beginning of your book you have the Feelings menu. I would encourage everyone to buy your book just for that, by the way. I can take your book, look at the feelings menu and see how I am feeling today and what I can apply from your wisdom. And so going from that Feelings menu let’s talk about this idea of Practical Gladness. What does it truly mean and how can we start using it in our lives?
SARK: I almost named this book Practical Gladness. I was really torn but then I realized that I just love the word Glad so much I wanted to go with Glad No Matter What because I believe that people want and deserve more glad in their lives. Most people if you stopped them on the street and said, "Would you like to feel glad more often?" They would anser "Yes" and then their next question would be "How?"
One of the how’s that I have found is to name and identify how you feel. A lot of people don’t know how they feel, they’re not accustomed to identifying and naming their feelings. There is not a lot of education or support in holding or having multiple feelings. Feelings can and do co-exist but people aren’t necessarily tending to them or aren’t honoring them as they occur. So the most common thing that people do with feelings is to try and avoid them. Feelings just want a little bit of attention and love.
But that is what we are really afraid of. Let’s say we’re feeling really upset, we are afraid if we turn to that it will get larger and it could get so large that we are incapacitated by it. That may initially seem to happen but what really happens is the more we can turn towards our feelings instead of away from them we’ll begin to have our feelings as they are occurring and we’ll become very proficient in feeling language and feelings. That puts us squarely in the middle of practical gladness. That means we feel glad when we are, we feel sad when we are and we can begin to have a much wider way to describe and experience our feelings and that is going to expand and increase our gladness.
Dawn: Wonderful! SARK, I know we have many of your fans amongst our readers as well as a few people who are just getting to know you, if there was one message you could leave all of them with, what would it be?
SARK: You are enough, you have enough and you do enough. And then I would have to add to that, you are seen, you are known and you are loved.
Oh la la, our American in Paris is back. A member of our original Spirited Woman Blogger Team, Dawn Z Bournand is passionate about empowering women worldwide to Live their Lives on Purpose. Founder and Director of Fabulously Successful she is an award-winning presenter, author and entrepreneur with a mission to help women live lives of inner and outer Fabulous Success. Dawn lives in the suburbs of Paris, France with her husband and three young boys (the lights of her life) and is currently creating a new group coaching program.