Christine Donaldson’s Interview with Don’t Tell Sumer.
I was recently approached to do an interview with an awesome blog called Don’t Tell Summer. When I first spoke with Olivia O’Connor (the founder), she explained that the mission of the website is to inspire people to do what they love now, rather than waiting until later. It’s such a simple and clear message-and it resonated with me so much! She gave me interview questions that really prompted some of my most passionate and relevant thoughts. I was so thankful that Olivia initiated such peaceful and passionate moments of writing for me, and even more happy that it resulted in answers that truly defined my authentic self. Check out Don’t Tell Summer and contact Olivia for any consultation regarding commitment to your personal happiness! My interview is copied below:
Christine’s Interview as written by Don’t Tell Summer:
Rad Livin’: Meet Christine Donaldson
Where are you in the world?
In Bariloche, Argentina on a ski & gear-testing trip. About to head home to San Francisco.
How do you follow your bliss all year round?
This is a very relevant question for a seasonal athlete! I can only ski during the winter months, which is why my quest in music is such a wonderful trade-off. This fall I had the incredible opportunity to “chase winter” in South America during August (quite literally following my bliss all year round). But that was a rare experience and there are many more summer months where I’m not skiing. This is when I shift my action to music. I’ll have been writing songs and dreaming up musical concepts all year, but summer is when I can materialize all my ideas and organize rehearsals or recording sessions. This year-round balance of skiing and music allows me to spend enough time on each passion where I never feel that one is lacking from my life. It provides an equal flow of both mind and body, which at the root of everything, is my most profound bliss.
If fear ever shows up in your life, how do you move passed it?
Fear shows up in my life on a daily basis, and I think that’s the way it should be. If you’re not feeling fear on a daily basis, you might not be pushing yourself to your limits. The way I look at it, there are two types of fear. One is the kind of butterflies-in-your-stomach fear that I get when I’m about to hit a jump on skis or perform a song for the first time. I learned very early-on in life how to mute this fear and let your ego temporarily expand. The second kind of fear is the deep, anxious feeling of security or purpose that might cause an existential tail-spiral. I think it’s good to have a healthy mix of both of these so that you continue to take risks and evaluate your goals. If you’ve reached the point to where you’re experiencing this fear, you’re already a step ahead of the game. Most people opt for comfort and don’t even get this far. There are a few things I tell myself to prevent anxiety concerning security or success. “You are coming home to yourself. You are living your truth and unveiling your highest authenticity. You are choosing to live each day with happiness, intention, and meaning. Your future self will thank you for this.”
Why do you love what you do?
I love that my passions have arrived at a cycle. The world gives me snow and mountains where I can ski, and in return I give the world song. It’s an invigorating exchange of energy that makes my life meaningful. When I ski and when I sing, I am celebrating the human body and it’s connection with the surrounding world. I love the strong communities surrounding both music and skiing, and that each of these passions is naturally very social. I have the fortune of meeting so many driven athletes and artists who are willing teachers and great sources of inspiration. You grow courage when you are in the presence of courage.
What’s one of the biggest risks you’ve taken, and how did it feel to go for it?
I moved to the mountains to ski for a season before finishing college. I was in a very intense musical program and had been involved with many jobs, internships, and bands in Los Angeles. It was a strange time to drop everything and just go ski. But all I could think about was skiing, and getting in better touch with my myself and nature. The voice of the city was beginning to dictate my goals and I felt my art was becoming diluted. I definitely had concerns of losing my professional connections and not playing shows frequently. But while living in the mountains, skiing every day, and living very simply…I wrote all of my best songs. I had the time to write the music and record without feeling rushed. The experience turned out to be much more “productive” than any internship or networking source. When I went back to school for my last semester I felt much more happy and accomplished as a thriving human being.
Tell us a time when something totally synchronistic happened…
For most of my life I had too many hobbies and they all competed with each other. I was an overachiever and I wanted to be great at everything. It took me a while to whittle things down and figure out which ones were my real passions. Funny enough, I realized it was the things I had been drawn to earliest in life. Music and skiing continued to compete in my life well into college. I looked at myself as two entities, a skier girl and a musician girl. Then one day it dawned on me – everything in my life would make sense if I just combined my passions into one entity. Me. Having and honing both of these skills is what gives me my edge and makes me unique. I’m not just a good skier, I’m a skier who writes songs! I’m not just a singer-songwriter, I’m a girl who can perform songs after shredding on the mountain all day! I felt I had discovered myself when my passions starting working together and influencing each other, rather than competing.
What advice could you give to someone who knows what they love to do, but haven’t gone for it?
If you currently feel that your time is being wasted at your full time job – that there is something else you are meant to be working on, then you should consider “going for it.” But this dream of yours cannot be a distant dream. You need to bring it into focus first. You need to already be working on it every day and know that you are good at it. If you can’t do it part time, you won’t be able to do it full time. Hard work will still be hard work…the difference is that you will find deep happiness in every moment along the way.
Christine Donaldson grew up playing music in San Francisco, and ski racing a few hours away in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Her passion for singing and guitar accompaniment paved the way for musical academia, where she studied classical voice training and gained years of experience gigging with jazz, bluegrass, and soul bands. Christine went on to study jazz performance and music industry at the University of Southern California, where she also discovered the USC Ski Team and her love of big mountain skiing in Mammoth, CA. It was there in the Eastern Sierras that she decided to spend winters progressing her skiing and developing her style of songwriting. A door opened at Google SF and Christine took the opportunity to prove that she was capable of having a fancy full-time job, but quickly learned that it was the greatest diversion from her life-long work. Christine is now confidently pursuing her goals of writing and releasing her original music, while simultaneously following her dreams of big mountain skiing.