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Author Colette Lafia on "Seeking Surrender" 

interview facilitated by Kayce Stevens Hughlett

Author and spiritual director, Colette Lafia originally wrote to me about her book Seeking Surrender: How My Friendship With a Trappist Monk Taught Me to Trust and Embrace Life while I was traveling in Europe, pursuing two of my favorite practices—writing and SoulStrolling™.  She spoke to me of resonance with my work and the feeling that we two were kindred spirits. Let me just say, she was spot on. When I dove into her soulful words, I felt as if I were meeting an old friend. Her prose is worth savoring and I find her thoughts staying with me throughout each day.

My invitation to you? Open this book today and begin. Simply surrender. 

Not quite convinced? Then please read on, because it's my privilege to share a behind-the-scenes conversation with Colette.  

“Since my trip to Gethsemani, I have paid more attention to finding the Divine in my day-to-day life.” (written shortly after Colette met Brother René in 2003.) 

Can you please tell us what finding the Divine day-to-day looks like for you today?

Colette: For me, finding the Divine day-to-day is about becoming more aware of God’s love—a great love that holds us and our lives every moment. One thought that’s emerging for me is that Divine love is already here, and all I need to do is simply become more aware of it, notice it, and live out of it. It’s not something I have to earn or try to receive more of, but rather awaken to.  So the question for me is: How do I become more receptive to what is already there? How do I allow myself to truly receive what I have been given? God's love is so big and great I can hardly grasp it, but I can have glimpses of it—in my heart, in the eyes of another, in a bird’s call, in the darkness of the night. And as I awaken to Love every day, I find the Divine right here where I am, every moment.


“I surrender to the discovery that happens in the creative process, when goals are set free so the imagination can soar.” C.L.

How did this type of surrender play out in your writing of the book? What did your creative process look like? Did you experience writer’s block? If so, how did you move through it?

Colette: This book happened slowly because it was a very organic process. I had the letters. I had my story. But I wasn’t sure how they were going to come together. I found the structure of this book through inspiration, experimentation, and discovery. It wasn’t pre-planned. I tried one thing after another, until an authentic structure emerged. I was deeply committed to writing an honest, unpretentious book, and literally prayed my way through its creation.


Would you please share a favorite scene or quote from “Seeking Surrender”?

Colette: “One afternoon, while I am standing in the cereal aisle at the grocery store, I run into a woman from yoga class shopping with her two children after school. We exchange a greeting, and she introduces me to her five-year-old son and eight-year- old daughter, both wearing navy-blue-and-white school uniforms. I know from small talk before class that she is a busy mother.

I finish my shopping, and as I am leaving the store, I notice a sinking feeling in my chest. I will never be that woman, I say to myself.

But as I am getting into my car in the parking lot, I catch the murmur of a new voice emerging. Let me love my life and trust its path, I say to myself. Can I pay attention to these words? I put the keys in the ignition, but I don’t start the car just yet. This is the voice of surrender breaking through, urging me to let go and inviting me in—if only I am willing to listen. Let me love my life and trust its path, I repeat to myself.—excerpt from vignette “Breaking Through,” pgs. 44-45

Why did you choose this particular passage?

Colette: I chose this scene because I truly feel the heart of surrender is about listening, about being willing to listen to how the Divine is shaping and changing me. Surrendering is a deep interior listening and the response that comes out of that.


What is your hope for people who read this book?

Colette: My hope is that people will allow surrender to permeate and shape their lives, and in the process discover the many gifts and graces that can unfold from this stance of trust and openness.

I also hope to share the wisdom in Brother Rene’s letters so that his advice and compassion are passed forward to others. This would be the greatest gift.


Thank you, Colette, for this lovely look at "Seeking Surrender." It's my privilege to spread the word, and I hope our readers will consider purchasing their own copy today through  Amazon or Barnes & Noble or from their favorite bookseller. 


If you're interested in a bit of fiction, my debut novel, BLUE is releasing September 10, 2015. Here's what one reviewer had to say:

"Intrigue, mystery, vivid imagery, fascinating dialogue, and complex characters quickly draw the reader into this 'subtle psychological mind-bender.' Kayce Stevens Hughlett draws from her experience as a psychotherapist, gifting the reader with curiosity and fascination about the three heroines. What is their 'truth?' Will their worlds collide." Sharon Richards for NetGalley

 Available through Amazon, BQB Publishing and your favorite bookseller. 


Colette Lafia is the author of Seeking Surrender: How my Friendship with a Trappist Monk Taught me to Trust and Embrace Life and Comfort and Joy: Simple Ways to Care for Ourselves and Others, which was named one of the best spiritual books of 2008 by Spirituality and Practice.

A San Francisco-based spiritual director, educator, and part-time children’s librarian, Colette is passionate about awakening people to the love of the Divine and helping them connect more deeply with the presence of the sacred in their daily lives. To contact Colette, learn more about her offerings, and find out how she can work with you or your group, please visit her website at

About Seeking Surrender: How My Friendship With a Trappist Monk Taught Me to Trust and Embrace Life

Colette Lafia's palpable openness and warm storytelling lead readers through the same compassionate process that led the author to accept herself, find peace with life, and strive for an ever-deepening relationship with God.

Readers will find simple exercises and profound advice for living a more conscious and intentional life, ultimately discovering a new attitude of acceptance and letting go. 

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