I have been a fan of Alexis Donkin’s work with global compassion for the last year. I started reading her memoir, Thrive: How I Became a Superhero, and knew immediately she was tribe. In fact, we connected as two writers whose goal is to sow seeds of compassion beginning with self-love. Alexis writes with intention, with respect for herself and the reader, and with incredible open-hearted love for the world. When you need a hug or to know you’re loved, stop in at her site. Seriously.
Recently, Alexis launched an e-course called The Heart Unboxed: Loving the Unlovable. The title caught my attention. I signed up to see what it is all about. I also connected with Alexis through an interview to help get the word out. This is a course you want to take. This interview will tell you why.
You have created a new e-course, The Heart Unboxed. Can you tell me what the title means?
Humanity has a tendency to shut our hearts away. We’re taught from a young age with social/cultural messages and negative modeling that love is painful. Love, from this perspective, makes a person vulnerable. Vulnerability is perceived as “weakness” and in a society where success is linked with strength, this is something people want to avoid. We avoid loving unconditionally because it is hard, revealing, exposing, and scary. We box our hearts and hide them away, not letting people in, but also keeping ourselves in isolation. I wanted to capture this whole messy situation in a single phrase, and I thought about how often we get things online, and there’s a joy in unboxing. Unboxing a new item feels like a celebration – like a birthday present. The ultimate gift to ourselves is when we take our heart out, explore it, and let it do everything the heart is meant to do.
What inspired you to create this course?
I started “The Compassion Letter” a little while back through intuitive guidance. It’s a weekly newsletter to give readers a dose of empathy (deep empathic understanding of others) and compassion (active love). It sent me on this path which was unexpected. Things really started connecting for me. Then sometime in June I discovered Quora, which is a site where people can ask and answer questions. I saw that people were having a lot of questions around inferiority (self-worth) and judgment (of others and self). About the same time I sent out an anonymous compassion survey which came back with interesting results. Most people had two issues that really caused issues – loving themselves and loving people with opinions different than themselves. These things played out differently for different people, but the underlying roots were these two pieces. I love teaching and I thought the best way for me to reach as many people as possible was to make a class helping people to address both loving the self and others.
I decided to connect these two things because there are a lot of self-love classes out there, but few connect loving others with loving the self. By connecting these two things, a person has balance. A student can lay the foundation – getting their heart and mind right. Then they deepen their connection to the community. It’s a way to increase each student’s self-love, but also spread it and consciously impact their circles.
What has been the most difficult aspect of your journey to birth this into the world?
Ha! Ironically, it was not the tech stuff at all – or even the content. There are so many platforms that make producing a class relatively easy. The content is all based on things from my personal research and experience. Some of it was in my journal guide, TRANSFORM TO THRIVE. Some of it is in my blog posts. I did that consciously because I wanted people to have access to the information. The course is just a way for people to have a clear road map to implementation (it takes all the guesswork out of the process and streamlines it – along with tools to speed up the process).
No, the real obstacle was my unworthy story. I had a lot of self-worth issues I didn’t realize I had. The first half of 2016 was a string of epiphanies for me, and my low self-worth (and how it manifested) was one of them. I have a section on self-worth in my class, and it was one of the most cathartic sections to create. I felt with every word, “I’m sharing this lesson so you don’t have to wait to deal with this.”
What is your deepest hope in offering this to students?
Deep love has unintended consequences (I’m laughing because this sounds bad, but it’s so amazing!). Part of the reason I made the class was because of the way love has impacted my life in every level. I feel happy every day. I feel loved and loving every day. I want that for my students – I want that for everyone. But what does that mean? It sounds like an amazing life, right? And it is. But it is so much more than that. It’s a kind of enlightenment – and I say this completely sincerely and with all the spiritual implications of the word. Enlightenment, Heaven, Paradise, or Oneness – they’re all love. That’s the root of what all those spiritual masters are preaching – I’ve studied them. I read the scriptures across different religions (I wrote some books about them!). This class isn’t a religious class. There’s no scripture in here and no deities. But there’s love. It’s the same message, just a different framework, and a whole lot of practical application (which is NOT in scriptures!).
I understand you offered 10 free spots for this class that were through private recommendation only. You had to be suggested by someone who loves you. That’s brilliant given your theme. I love several people that will benefit from your course, myself included. What led you to that idea?
Well, it’s the first time the class has been offered so I wanted some people to have an experience with it and share it a bit. I thought about some different ways of doing a giveaway and I liked the nomination idea the best. It reflected my principles.
And honestly, I also made a general offer to an online entrepreneur group – anyone who wanted to beta the class could contact me and I made it available for people for 24 hours. After that, I closed the offer. I trusted that people who were genuinely interested and needed the content would find me and they did. Some people asked after I closed the offer, but I kept my word. I know that when they’re ready to do the class and receive the content, they’ll connect again.
What is the most joyful aspect of leading The Heart Unboxed?
I love doing the video lectures! I’m laughing again because that was one of the things I used as an excuse related to my unworthy story.
Seriously though, I love speaking. I love being in front of people. My parents are both ordained ministers and I learned from a very early age how to speak. I do it naturally – I didn’t take any classes for it or anything (I actually taught public speaking classes!). Speaking gives me such joy, and recording the lectures is the next best thing to being on stage.
How can I sign up?
You can go to [http://compassion-you.teachable.com/courses/the-heart-unboxed] and enroll. I’m adding course content all the time, so the class is expanding and developing a lot. In addition to the core content, I have a private Facebook Group for students which I’m really excited about! I also plan to add audios to guide students through select daily practices and exercises. I really benefited from a lot of guided meditations and exercises so I wanted to include things like this for students.
I know someone who needs this in their life. How can I help them take this course?
There isn’t a “gift certificate” option with my platform but if you want to give the class without your friend touching any money etc, you can purchase the class as you would normally. You would receive a receipt for the purchase and I can give you a certificate you can pass along to the giftee (you would need to contact me to let me know this is something you intended to do). The person receiving the class would then enroll in my school (free to do for anyone). After the giftee enrolls, I would switch access from you to the giftee.
Alexis Donkin is an intentional author, blogger, speaker, coach, and teacher. She is the creator of The Compassion Letter weekly newsletter, and the online course, The Heart Unboxed: How to Love the Unloveable, as well as host of the Intentional Writer Interview Series. Her purpose is to increase empathy and compassion by focusing, creating, and sharing positive ideas through story.
Alexis lives in Southern California with her family. She is a classically trained artist, with a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies and an MA in Global and International Studies. Between writing, speaking, and chasing her kid, she paints, sings, and dances. Sometimes Alexis does it all at once. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram , Pinterest and her website.