When you think about it, every month could be Women’s Month—compare “able to make life” with any job, I double dare you—however, March bears a particular sparkle in honoring the strong females in our lives: and Kristin Rocco, Impact Hub member and author of 50 Days of Grace, is the perfect reminder of all the forms that strength can take. Rocco, a New York native and graduate of the Hub’s “Mastermind” challenge, came to Santa Barbara in search of a new lifestyle; and in joining the Impact Hub, gained much more than community. She made life.
“Able to make life,” after all, suggests far more than the ability to gestate a human one; which, while unparalleled, is only one piece of the puzzle. We, the strong women in your community, are creators. We are dot connectors and we are manifestors, we are artists and we are entrepreneurs, and Kristin Rocco—one of the most sincere, exuberant, and self-described “joyous” women I’ve had the pleasure of sitting down with—is one example of what can happen when a woman chooses to listen to the voice that says “yes: you are worthy.” We all know other voices exist—most notably, the one that says “GIVE UP NOW! IT’S NOT SAFE!”—and Rocco is no stranger to that voice. “[I] had all the voices, all the challenges, had the wanting to give up,” she says, listing her process in creating Grace. “But I’m so happy I stuck with it.” And in the end, that’s what truly makes the difference: the decision to listen, to weed through the voices, and to do it anyway. To heed the call. To make the thing. And, if you’re like Rocco, to do it with a remarkable amount of grace.
“Once I did decide to write a book, things just unfolded,” Rocco shares, settling down over a glass of kombucha. Mind you, I had only just discovered 50 Days of Grace; and like any good millennial, had attempted to read it in the time it took me to shovel down a salad. However, despite my best efforts to make Grace yet one more thing on an endless to-do list, the book had a mind of its own; while reading it, at least three people came up and asked, “what are you reading?”… as though the book itself serves as a lightning rod for the content it bears: that everyone, no matter our state, deserves to make time for sweetness. Not unlike its author, who—before moving to Santa Barbara—lived in New York City as a yoga teacher, holistic health practitioner, and professional actress. In fact, Rocco credits her theatrical upbringing as ushering her out of her wallflower childhood, and into the expressiveness that rings true through her text. “Something shifted in me,” she says, recalling her early days singing national anthems. “Music and acting actually got me out of my shell.” And there she remained, until a period of dark self-esteem—and subsequent stint on antidepressants—distanced her from her power. “Looking back, I was probably just going through puberty,” she recounts. But the ramifications remained. “It’s almost like the antidepressants minimize who you are,” she shares, candidly. It wasn’t until nearly a decade later that Rocco recalls something yielded: “I just heard this voice, and I’d never heard a voice before… it said ‘flush all your medication down the toilet, you don’t need it. I’ve got your back.
“I’ve never looked back since.”
It’s a similar voice, in fact, that shepherded the creation of Grace, which Rocco describes as having been spoken through a presence that she channeled while walking through Manhattan. Not long after, she followed her bliss to a dream job in Silicon Valley; and in learning to live more and more from her intuitive center, began to realize the “whole world of self-expression” that she’d tapped into as a young performer. This realization gained further traction in by way of the Landmark Forum: “That was the next level of ripping me open,” she explains. “I’d wake up in the middle of the night and these passages would just flow through me.” That said, the passages that comprise the book—50 in total, speckled with hand-picked quotations from spiritual leaders, authors, creative—sat on Rocco’s computer for years before making their way into the light. “I believe in the divine timing of everything, and grace is that to me,” Rocco shares, considering the way that her creation might fit perfectly into our current culture. “This book came to life at such a perfect time, when more and more people are becoming receptive. There is a big shift happening in the world.”
Of course, even the most fluid creations benefit from a push down the river: and Rocco received just that during her experience in Impact Hub’s Mastermind challenge, where she was coached by Valerie and Russell Bishop. “I just thought, I’m going to take advantage of this,” Rocco shares. “I’ve got these two rock star mentors supporting me, and I’ve got this supportive group—I’m going to play full out.” And play she did: utilizing the concrete guidance of her peers and mentors to free the 50 passages from her computer and take the initiative to self-publish the final product. “Why wait to get discovered when you can do it yourself?” she asks, laughing. “Self-publish and make it happen.” Which sounds easy, right here on paper. Which sounds normal, coming from the mouth of Kristin Rocco, whom I genuinely believe is as likely to spend her spare time teaching yoga to memory care patients as she is to have auditioned for American Idol. (Spoiler alert: both true.) However, the fact of the matter is that self-publishing takes dedication and drive: and while Rocco may credit a greater spirit with having provided her text—“the passages, they’re not mine”—and gush at the chance to list the women she admires, she still made the decision to follow through and do the damn thing. To make the life that needed to be made. In fact, this is one of the most profound qualities that women may bring to the projects we take on: the ability to stand strong in our efforts, while never forgetting our connectedness to the forces that aid us. To own the paradox of independence and interdependence, and see both as playing an integral role in bringing our efforts to life. “I’m excited that this book has a life of its own,” Rocco shares. And she owns the paradox. “All the depth, the highs and the lows, they just make us who we are. They’re all important.”
50 Days of Grace has earned a spot on my bedside table, and will continue provide comfort to me whether I am on top of the world or yelling at someone as I try to parallel park: because, in reality, both are part of the bigger picture. Kristin Rocco is not afraid to own the parts of her life that, while difficult at the time, are part of the bigger picture. The gift that she brings to her practice is that of inspiration, because she herself is inspired: and best of all, she is not afraid to own that… in all its simplicity, paradox, glory, and grace.
“I always knew I was meant to be an inspiration,” she smiles, glancing out the window. “But as a young teenage girl, I thought it was supposed to be in this way of fame and being seen… versus now I know it’s just [this]: allow your spirit to guide you to be an inspiration. There’s so much spiritual emphasis on, ‘find your gift and share it!’… but you already are your gift, and you’re sharing it just by being alive.
“Everything else is just a cherry on top.”
Interview by Jenna Tico.
For more on Kristin Rocco and 50 Days of Grace, visit https://www.50daysofgrace.com/