Authenticity

The 3 Pitfalls Visionaries Fall Into (and how to climb out of 'em)

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I heard the “popping” sound as I drove over the pothole.
 
I knew before I even looked that the tire had gone flat.
 
We were on a service retreat in New Orleans, repairing houses and yards of homes that had been damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
 
I had a car load – and I mean a car load – of other volunteers in the back of the car. There were people sitting on other people’s laps, with all our gear smushed in the back. Which, retrospectively, probably didn’t help the whole tire thing…
 
Similarly, I’ve found that there are some common pitfalls that visionary healers fall into when they are going out to save the world.
 
Ones I am also very familiar with, because I’ve found myself sitting at the bottom of them.
 
We fall into them because we are in the practice of going after our calling. That practice involves us not only doing a lot of new things, but thinking and being in new ways. Falling ain't just possible, it’s inevitable.
 
But falling doesn’t mean you’re stuck there. Just like potholes, if you know where the common pitfalls are, you can take a different path and avoid them. Or if you do happen to find yourself in one, you can identify a way to hoist yourself out of it.
 
Here are the 3 most common pitfalls visionary healers tend to fall into:
 

  1. Generalized Wishy-Washiness

 
Often when we first get our vision, it can be rather vague. So it’s no surprise that when we start taking action upon it, the message, actions, and therefore, results, end up being generalized and wishy-washy. In my experience, this happens because we are afraid to put our unique spin on what we are putting out there for others to see and engage with. 
 
To make matters worse, we often feel at this stage that we need to throw everything and the kitchen sink into and at our calling in order to make it lift off. But would adding more people and weight to an airplane make it easier to take flight? No. You need just enough to get that baby off the ground. (Oh, and a pilot.)
 
When we add so many things at once into making our vision a reality, the outcome is usually a murky soup of ideas combatting for our own attention...but not getting anyone else’s.
 
How to climb out of it:
 
Dig inside yourself and explore why you want to do what you want to do. What specific experiences have you had that led you down this path? What’s your unique story behind it? What aspects of your vision do you resonate with the most? The more you you put into it, the more specific, unique, and magnetizing you vision becomes.

  1. Too Woo for School

 
I definitely roll with a tribe of people who are into spirituality and the "woo-woo" world. They believe in Source/God/The Universe/The Great Whatever. They have faith and trust. They believe in miracles.
 
I believe this is crucial to actualizing your calling in the world. But onlystaying in connection with the spiritual realm can often lead to lots of ideas, positive intentions, and initial good feelings…but not a whole lot of grounded action or real results. The power is always in the present moment, and the present moment includes our physical world. 
 
What can happen eventually is feeling discouraged that you have these great ideas but no real world experience of seeing them happen.
 
How to climb out of it:
 
Keep connecting to Source…and ask for what your next steps are. Use your intuition to guide you into taking a real action step, even if that step is creating a simple plan for moving forward. Don't stop with the plan. Take the next step. Use spirituality as your source for joy that infuses the actions you take.

  1. Super Physical

 
I have also seen the opposite end of the woo-woo spectrum – the super strategist. This is when we plan out everything, post-it note our walls to death, take immediate action after immediate action, and disregard the bigger picture why.
 
The outcome of this is burnout – where we put out more energy than we are bringing in. Burnout can happen financially – more money going out than in, physically – getting sick, or mentally/emotionally – lacking motivation or feeling caught in an emotional roller coaster.
 
Ironically, focusing only on strategy can do the opposite of what you want it to do, and leave you in an exhausted mess to boot.
 
How to climb out of it:
 
Take a pause in the action. It doesn’t mean stop forever or give up, just come back to home base. Regroup. Take a breath. Ask some big questions of yourself and tune in to the inner answers. Let that drive your decisions and prioritize your actions, so you can work from a place of true inspiration.


The main takeaway of all of this pothole/pitfall investigation isintegration.

We can integrate our biggest version of our vision with inspiring Source and grounded, focused action to not only climb out of a pothole, but also to really lift off into how we want to live and show up in the world.
 
It ended up taking all of us piling out of the car and over an hour of collective head scratching, prayer, and direct action to change the damn tire on the side of the road. But we managed to do it because we worked together. It took a little bit of messing around, asking for a miracle, and reading directions. But we got the tire fixed and we able to complete our mission – pothole or not.
 
Falling into it just made it that much more of an adventure.
 

Love Always,

 

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The #1 Thing You Need LESS of to Be Yourself

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Ironically, I am about to give you the very thing I am also proclaiming you need LESS of in order to be yourself. 
 
To be completely honest, I walk a very thin and blurry line between two really strong beliefs I hold.
 
On one hand I believe that you are your own healer. That no one else can heal you.
 
On the other hand I believe that we all need support, love, belonging, and space to be our true selves. That others can help us on our journey.
 
You are strong as an individual. And you are still human.
 
But only you know what you need and what you don’t.
 
The #1 thing I believe you need less of is… other people’s advice on what you should or shouldn’t do. 
 
Yes, I am giving you advice about not needing other people’s advice.
 
Here’s why.
 
On my path (which is always evolving by the way – I believe we can be “healed” and still be healing as long as we live), I found myself looking to others for advice on just about everything: what to eat, how to eat it, who to date, what job to take, where to live, what kind of business to create, how to market, what to think, how to think… the list goes on.
 
Pretty much, I was looking for advice on who the fuck to be.
 
The result? I got massively confused.
 
I mean, how can’t you?
 
There are so many diets out there – from raw foods, to vegan, to paleo, to GAPS, to ketogenic, to juicing; the list goes on and on. I’ve tried them all. (So I started to eat what felt right to me).
 
I’d date guys that looked great on paper but I’d always leave the relationship because something was missing. (So I finally got back with the guy my heart had been with all along).
 
I tried all the social media tips: Post MWF. #hashtagthefuckoutofeverything. Keep your focus on your “business.” (So I finally just started posting pics of my dogs, what inspires me, and my, you know, real life.)
 
I moved around – a lot. Like over five times in one year. When I’d have to reset my password to some credit card or other, I’d cringe when they’d ask me “So what address is on file?” ...Because I didn't know. I didn’t know where to live. (So I finally just decided to live where feels like “home.”)
 
We need less of the bullshit of what other people, society, or made-up constructs are telling us to do, and more of us being in alignment with our choices and who we are. 
 
It’s not that advice or outside support is a bad thing. But the way I practice supporting others is asking them what they need – not shoving my ideas down their throat. Am I always perfect at that? No. I've got shit to work on too. But that’s why I love the work I do – it helps me be a more real me.
 
When we let the advice and opinions of others override what our inner voice is saying, we are blocking the very insight that allows us to be our most authentic selves.
 
The only way to reconnect with that insight is to learn more about yourself.
 
What do you really and truly need? 
What do you believe? 
What do you stand for? 
How do you want to live your life?
 
Consistently tapping into these insights leads to purposeful choices and actions, which lead to results you feel good about, especially the result of trusting yourself more. Self-trust can be here in an instant. It’s a practice to maintain access to it, but trusting yourself never fails.
 
Trusting yourself, and your own inner voice, will always bring you right where you need to be.
 

The 3 Stages of Healing

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Feeling stuck, sick, misaligned, “off,” doubtful, fearful, lost, or frustrated never feels good.
 
We pretty much will do anything we can to not feel it. So we numb out, project it onto others, or cover it up with self-contempt, anger, envy, or guilt. We end up making ourselves feel like a different kind of shit, in order to not feel like shit. 
 
But I think we care about a lot more than not feeling shitty or even our own happiness. The reason these states don’t feel good is not just because that’s not who we really are. It’s because we know we have so much more to offer.
 
We don’t want to feel this way because we want to contribute something bigger.
 
What if you knew that this feeling, this phase you are in, was only a temporary stage? Fodder for your new unleashing?
 
Well, it is. 
 
It’s part of a distinct process of healing, with three different stages. 
 
The first stage is called the “Oh, Shit” stage. It’s where you feel misaligned, lost, sick, or not sure what to do.
 
The second stage is the “Ok, Breathe” stage. It’s where you start to feel better, more like yourself, and you can see a light at the end of the tunnel.
 
The third stage is the “Heal, Yeah!” stage. It’s where you are fully being the Real You and are actively engaged in saving the world and making that contribution.
 
I think many of us get into the “Oh, Shit” stage and think that there is something vitally flawed about us. Which ends up keeping us in that stage and fueling that belief. 

Or we get to the "Ok, Breathe" stage but end up sabotaging our own efforts and head right back to stage one. 
 
But guess what? This is NORMAL.
 
Have you met a being on this planet that hasn’t experienced some sort of suffering?
 
We suffer not for the sake of suffering, but to dig deeper into ourselves to find more of our internal strength. That means it’s OK to suffer…but you also don’t need to stay there.
 
In fact, the world needs you NOT to stay there.
 
So how do you move through it? How do we get into that “Heal, Yeah!” stage, with authenticity, determination, and maybe some messy grace?

The process I use in my life and work is called “Feel, Heal, Real.”
 
Each step in this process has its own challenges, but also its own immense rewards. You can use it for big stuff, or the “little stuff” that happens every day.
 
Feel
 
Feel is all about experiencing your experience, not pushing away the emotion or story, but also not allowing it to run you either. It’s heart-felt observation. Through this compassionate presence, we are able to dig up the deeper story that is causing the suffering. You start to feel the energy shift here… like you may have a choice or option moving forward.
 
Heal
 
Heal is about mending that suffering in some way. Sometimes that’s releasing something. Sometimes it’s integrating something. I find it tends to be both. We let go of what we don’t need, what is not really in our – or anyone else’s – best interests, and integrate the qualities, stories, and learnings that do serve the Highest Good.
 
Real
 
Real is actually witnessing and actualizing Real results in a physical reality. This is where you see the fruits of this process and the inner work. It’s where you feel vibrantly healthy, connected inside yourself and your relationships, and feel you are serving the world with your purpose in a super fulfilling way.
 
No matter what stage you are in, or where you are in the process, you are right where you need to be. This is iterative work. It’s cyclical and no one’s got it all figured out.
 
There is definitely a lot of self-trust involved in this. Courage to really look at how you are contributing or perpetuating your own pain. As well as a willingness to change.
 
But as Maya Angelou so poetically says:
 
"You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great."

So trust yourself. Move through, by being you.

Right where you are.
 

Love Always,

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What do you REALLY believe?

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I consistently hear four main things that members of my soul family consciously crave and deeply desire. They are:

  1. Courage
  2. Clarity
  3. Congruency
  4. Community

We know we want these “things” – because they make us feel a certain way. We want to feel courageous, clear, congruent (feeling good being you), and in communion with a greater tribe and cause.
 
If we want them so bad, how come we can’t just snap our fingers and get em’?
 
What if you could?
 
Hey, I am not suggesting we can squeeze our eyes shut really hard and presto! There it all is. And yet, we really do have everything we need already in order to claim this as our own.
 
You just need to start at the beginning. With yourself…and what you believe.
 
Not only your beliefs about yourself. But your beliefs about the world.
 
It can be easy to adopt and regurgitate other people’s beliefs about why things are the way they are, how things operate, and what is really important in life. Which there is nothing really wrong with…as long as YOU actually, viscerally believe it.
 
Beliefs are kind of like food – they need to be chosen, chewed, digested, transformed, and come out the other end…
 
Well, OK maybe I took that metaphor a little too far. (But really, think about it, when you really truly believe something, isn’t that “the shit”?!)
 
If you had to choose just a few core “that’s my SHIT!” beliefs, what would they be?

Mine have gotten more refined over time. The more I connect, hold onto, and live by them, the better I am at my work, and the more courageous, clear, congruent, and in communion I feel. Of course, I believe many things, so I’ll just share what creates the foundation for my work.
 
My first core belief is: You Are Your Own Healer
 
This means that sickness, dis-ease, or feeling misaligned comes from not being who you are. We are “sick” because we are denying the actualization of our purpose. Only you can heal yourself and it starts by rewriting the core stories about who you believe you are.
 
My second core belief is: The World Needs the Real You
 
Healing isn’t just about you, because when we heal ourselves, we heal the world. We need less of trying to fit in and “doing it right,” and more of us being in alignment with our own choices, gifts, and who we are. You are the difference that makes the difference. We can do more good in the world by working together as our Real Selves.
 
My third core belief is: Accepting Your Calling Heals You Fully
 
In order to heal, we must accept our calling – because our calling is asking us to be who we really are. Healing and what you were brought to this earth to do are inextricably linked. Only when you choose to answer your healing calling and align with your Real Self will you heal inside and out.
 
When I really stand in these beliefs, I feel pretty gosh darn powerful.
 
Courageous…because I am willing to stand behind something that is bigger than me, even though I don’t always know “the answer,” but I’m willing to face my fear and bring it along for the ride instead of letting it hold me down.
 
Clear…because I’m dialed in to some sort of inner compass that these beliefs lead me to.
 
Congruent…because these beliefs are an extension of who I am, my own experience, and ask me to be the Real Me.
 
And certainly, in Communion…because your beliefs don’t just come outta your head, they come through your heart and soul, from God/Source/The Great Whatever. You are plugged in to the Real Deal. Plus, I get to share them with y'all and build a community around them.
 
I invite you to explore what you really believe, dig around, wrangle with paradoxes, make up new labels, and craft in your external world what really makes you tick.
 
You are up for it.
 
Believe me.
 

Love Always,

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Why you need to Be Your Own Healer

What does healing really mean?
 
For some, the word “healing” or “healer” conjures up some mystical, esoteric, ephemeral image - one that is not only hard to hold but may also feel like it’s beyond our reach.
 
Even as much as I use the word “healing” or “healer,” I too struggle with conveying what it truly means to me.
 
Words are just labels for our internal reality. So just like learning a new language, sometimes we need to use other words to describe the ones that feel very important to us.
 
To me, a healer is someone who brings the world into greater wholeness and harmony.
 
It’s not a term that’s only reserved for people who have gone through extensive training, rituals, or have been initiated into a secret order.
 
Similarly, my definition of healing is the realization that we are already whole.
 
What these meanings mean is that healing - yourself, others, and the world - is for EVERYONE.
 
It’s accessible to you, me, and your grandmama.
 
There are a lot of people out there who would lead you to believe that if you follow every step of their pre-programmed plan, that you will heal. Whether that’s from an ongoing disease, emotional turmoil, wanting to experience more wealth and abundance, or all of the above. People say “Do THIS, and you’ll be good as gold!”
 
But you don't need a diet, a technique, or a program to heal. You need to BE YOU to heal.
 
This is what I have found on my own journey. The more I listen to myself, the better I feel, and the better outer results I get as well.
 
But when I fall into the trap of thinking someone else knows the way for me, I get lost.
 
We are spending too much time on what other people think we should do, rather than trusting our gut and being congruent with what feels right to us.
 
When I was really sick, I was spending too much energy trying to follow someone else's rules, instead of making my own rules. This is what happens to all of us. We experience long-term misalignment - “stuckness” if you will - because we are not choosing our own way of life.

When we experience this long-term misalignment, we can also can fall into the trap of thinking we are not good enough or helpless. This continues to perpetuate the cycle of feeling “off” somehow. It intensifies feeling like we either don’t know our purpose or don’t know how to live it.
 
But there is a way to get out of this soul-sucking spiral.
 
Be your OWN healer.
 
Do your research. Ask questions. Receive help from others. AND know that the buck stops with you. YOU are the one who calls the shots. You get to decide how to proceed.
 
Trust your intuition on what kind of diet to eat, which direction to go, how to relate to someone in your life, or how to uplevel your career. Believe in yourself enough to take steps towards creating what you truly desire - even if that’s starting with figuring out what the hell you truly desire.
 
Because only when you stand in your own power - when you stand in who you are - will you truly heal.

Love Always,

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Instead of Goal-Setting, Practice THIS

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It’s the time of year when many of us feel called to set goals. It’s kind of a tradition thing. There’s a lot to be said about setting intention, dreaming up the dream, and really deciding to go for it.
 
The trouble with goal-setting is for many of us, we use it as another club to beat ourselves with.
 
Either it sounds something like, "I’ve got to push myself to accomplish this outer feat (or inner one) .. by this date… or else…"
 
Or when we “fall off” the metaphorical wagon or don’t attain that goal, it’s easy to also fall into the trap of thinking something is fundamentally fucked up about us for not getting that goal.
 
Here’s the thing – it was never about the goal.
 
Yes, I know that the money, the health, the relationship, the business or work project all are noble things to reach for them.
 
But we aren’t really reaching for the goal. We are reaching for our Soul.
 
What we want from the process of going for what we desire is actually to BE the person who can do that or have that.
 
For example, you may want to lose ten pounds because you truly know you will feel better in your body. It’s not the ten pounds you care about – it’s how you FEEL.
 
Similarly, you may want to increase your income, because you have big aspirations for your life and helping those around you. It’s not about the money – it’s about freedom and impact.
 
Instead of goal-setting this year, here is another practice that can fulfill this purpose.
 

The New Practice

 
Get a sheet of paper. Make three columns. Label them like this:
 

Be | Do | Have

 
Step 1: In the “Have” column, write down all the things you want to have. Examples might be money, wealth, health, a romantic relationship, more clients, a new job, etc. Be as specific as you’d like.
 
Step 2: Then in the “Do” column, write down all the things you want to do. Examples might be write a book, go dancing, practice yoga more often, work in the line of work you love etc.
 
You’re “Do” and “Have” columns are more your standard “goals.”
 
Step 3: Now in the “Be” column – write down the qualities you would need to embody to reach those goals. Examples could be determination, consistency, compassion, dedication, etc.
 
Try those qualities on. How do you feel when you embody them?
 
Now get another sheet of paper and or flip this one over. Create the same columns.
 
But this time, start with “Be.”
 
Who do you want to Be?
 
When I think of the qualities I am practicing in my life now, they include: Present, Congruent, Conviction, Open and Vulnerable, Trusting, and Grounded.
 
Try those qualities on. Did different qualities come up or do they feel different to you this time? (Note: there is no right or wrong way to feel in this exercise)
 
Now, continuing to embody those qualities, write down what you want to do. Then write down what you want to have.
 
Are the two papers different?
 
Why do you think this is so?
 
What were your aha’s from this exercise? (Feel free to share yours with me)
 
You can continue to practice this exercise even without paper and pen as you go through your daily life. Each day, you have a choice of who you want to be. When you start with Be, what you Do feels more joyful and effortless, and the Have comes naturally.
 
Be You.

 

Love Always,

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Why People-Pleasing Makes Us Sick

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(*This article originally written for and published with Simply Woman Magazine.)

 

Hey, my name is Danielle. And I’m a recovering “Pleaseaholic.”
 
People-pleasing is a term that gets thrown around prolifically in personal growth and transformation work. But what does it really mean? How does it really affect us?
 
A general definition of people-pleasing is this: sacrificing yourself to accommodate others or a societal belief.
 
Sacrifice can sound a bit strong, but it’s accurate. Because over time, people-pleasing can make us very, very sick.
 
For most of my life, I didn’t even know I was exhibiting behaviors of a classic people-pleaser. Things such as:
 

  • Saying “Yes” when I really meant “No” or wasn’t really interested
  • Guilt-tripping myself when I invested in myself, gave myself space, increased my self-care, or just did what I wanted to do
  • Taking jobs for less money or later on discounting my services because I thought that’s all I could get
  • Staying in relationships or friendships that felt disempowering because I was afraid to be alone
  • Worrying about what other people thought
  • Wanting to “save” everyone and fix their problems
  • Overcommitting to too many projects, activities, events, and other people
  • Doing things purely because they “made sense,” “made money,” or “made people think I was cool.” (P.S. That has always backfired on me and done the opposite of what I thought it would)

 
The idea of the illness I was experiencing being connected to this behavior was even further from my concept of the world.
 
But as I grew, learned, experimented, and evolved, I found more and more that sacrificing myself was at the crux of my autoimmune symptoms. When I started working with others around this, they admitted that people-pleasing – or their term for it - tied in directly to their deeper root story of the disease.
 
It seems so innocuous… being “nice” is killing you? But I can guarantee if you are reading this, that when you think of a time when you did something you didn’t want to do, just to please other people or follow someone else’s construct of what was right, didn’t you just want to… punch something? Scream? Bite something with the fake smile you plastered on your face?
 
That’s how I feel when I people-please anyway. Self-sacrifice and people-pleasing make me feel constricted in my body, warped in a way that feels trapped and squished. The longer and more often we put ourselves in this situation, the more our body stays that way.
 
So how do you get out of people-pleasing mode and into full-on healing mode?
 
The first step in any change is always awareness.
 
If you don’t even know that you are running the pattern, you can’t change it. Similarly, if you know you have the pattern but don’t realize when you run it, you can’t change it. Awareness of this behavior is a practice, but one that pays dividends immediately and indefinitely.
 
The second step is to understand what you get by people-pleasing.
 
What do you get when you tell your boss you’ll do that weekend event for no pay, even though it makes you cringe with dread? How do you benefit when you tell your spouse, “It’s OK, you choose the movie,” when you are tired of watching kung-fo joe? What do you get to avoid by not telling your friend that you just can’t listen to her talk about her dead-beat boyfriend anymore?
 
It’s not easy to face how we benefit from our problems, because we realize that we are contributing to creating them. But it’s also the primary way to take ownership of the pattern and reprogram it.
 
The third step is simple: do what you want to do.
 
I said simple, not easy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had clients, friends, hell even myself, knowingly work themselves up into a tizzy trying to decide what to do, when all we need to do is this: just do what you want to do! What feels freer? What feels juicier? What feels more relaxing or exciting? What brings you more joy? Do THAT. And when you question yourself (because that’s another people-pleaser tendency) just repeat the mantra: “It’s OK for me to do what makes me feel ALIVE.”
 
As long as you are living within your own values, and doing what feels true and good for you, it will also benefit the highest good.
 
The fourth step, if you choose to embark on it, is to pull other pleasers out of the goddamn pleasing-matrix.
 
Hold your friends accountable. If you smell self-sacrifice, obligating, and guilt-tripping – call it out! It can be as simple as, “I could be wrong, but I get the feeling you may not want to do this/listen to this/help with this/hang out with that person, etc.”
 
Practice all this and see how it changes not only how you feel mentally and emotionally, but physically as well. Now your body has so much more energy to do what it needs to do to help you heal. Now you have so much more time for self-exploration so you can find the deeper story of your life. Now you have so much more space for self-care.
 
Sounds selfish? It is.
 
But this kind of self-ish is the most selfless thing you can do.
 
You can’t heal the world if you are falling apart. Healing yourself allows you to show up more authentically, more clear-headedly, and more whole-heartedly. Then, we get all of you, not just the half, or the third, or the tenth of you that isn’t pushed down into the black bag.
 
We are in an age, where now, more than ever, we need more whole-hearted, brave, authentic leaders in our workplaces, schools, homes, and communities. We need more of the kind-hearted, love-to-give folk leading the way, not getting mired in self-sacrifice. We need you to be completely true to you, be unapologetic about what you stand for, and teach us by example. Give up the pleasing. Get well. Heal deeply.
 
Please.

 

Love Always,

Why There's No Such Thing as a Lost Cause

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I’ve always been idealistic, maybe even quite naïve. Sometimes it does cause me pain and suffering. But more often than not, believing that good exists and that more of it is coming has served me in huge ways.
 
There’s a concept called “The Great Eastern Sun.” The essential meaning of it is that there is always opportunity, or goodness.
 
Great = the discovery of our basic goodness
Eastern = realizing our goodness is always there
Sun = the illumination once that discovery has been made
 
What this translates to is that no person or thing is a lost cause.
 
I believe this is vital to remember as we engage with life. Even in seemingly everyday experiences, living by this teaching is powerful. Imagine if we treated each other as that basic goodness. Imagine if you treated yourself like this.
 
If you are going through an illness, making a major life transition, grieving from a loss, or even asking yourself which direction you want to go next, living by the Great Eastern Sun philosophy can help.
 
That’s because the Great Eastern Sun also means a mental conviction and whole-hearted prowess to engage with life with purpose. It’s not just lukewarm inspiration. It’s living your vision.

Your vision is what you believe in so deeply, it is inextricable with who you are. It's what you grab hold of, even when it may feel like your drowning and can't even see the sky.

To live life with this level of bravery, you need to not only know you vision in the intellectual sense, but also feel it in your very being. That vision is what stems from deep inside of you and radiates forth.
 
This is what heals you. The beams of your vision traveling through you to get out to the world heals you in the process.
 
The only time we feel like we are a lost cause is when we’ve lost sight of this vision.
 
I love this excerpt from Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul:
 
Your relationship with God is the same as your relationship with the sun. If you hid from the sun for years and then chose to come out of your darkness, the sun would still be shining as if you had never left. You don’t need to apologize. You just pick you head up and look at the sun. It’s the same way when you decide to turn toward God – you just do it. If, instead, you allow guilt and shame to interfere, that’s just your ego blocking the Divine Force. You can’t offend the Divine One; its very nature is light, love, compassion, protection, and giving. You can’t make it stop loving you. It’s just like the sun. You can’t make the sun stop shining on you; you can only choose not to look at it. The moment you look, you’ll see it’s there.
 
Now go back and read it again, only this time, use the word “vision” in the place of “God.”
 
Your relationship with your Vision is the same as your relationship with the sun. If you hid from the sun for years and then chose to come out of your darkness, the sun would still be shining as if you had never left. You don’t need to apologize. You just pick you head up and look at the sun. It’s the same way when you decide to turn toward your Vision – you just do it. If, instead, you allow guilt and shame to interfere, that’s just your ego blocking the Divine Force. You can’t offend the Divine One (or Your Vision); its very nature is light, love, compassion, protection, and giving. You can’t make it (your Vision) stop loving you. It’s just like the sun. You can’t make the sun stop shining on you; you can only choose not to look at it. The moment you look, you’ll see it’s there.
 
You can also use the words “purpose,” “Calling,” “True Self,” “Source” – really whatever word reverberates with you and feels like Truth.
 
Because when you are living in your Truth, you are standing in the sun. Trust in your basic goodness, and you will always find your way.
 

Love Always,

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Reconnecting with Who You Are

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I was sitting in my favorite local café, Mellow Moods, the other day, just people watching. It just recently changed ownership and there have been quite a few learning curves for everyone involved, as there is with any transition. I was thinking to myself how when we go for what we want in life, it never turns out exactly the way we think it will.
 
I have caught myself in this many times. Just the other night my boyfriend asked me what I was thinking about and I realized I was trying to planning out 2019…
 
There is nothing at all wrong with planning. I love the phrase “Proper preparation prevents piss poor performance”  ;) Yet, I also find myself getting everything laid out so beautifully on paper, only to start engaging with that idea in real life and running into obstacles.
 
It’s important to remind ourselves that there is nothing wrong with us or our idea if it looks or feels a bit (or a lot) messy in the making of it.It’s totally natural. It’s the creative process.
 
My dad was an architect, and funny enough, I learned a lot about architecture when it comes to the human body and our souls. In architecture, there is a concept call “tensegrity.” It means:
 
Tensegrity (n): the characteristic property of a stable three-dimensional structure consisting of members under tension that are contiguous and members under compression that are not.
 
In layman’s terms, that means… everything is connected. When you affect one aspect of something, it also affects everything else.
 
This happens in the human body. If your foot is out of alignment, it affects the rotation of your knee, the alignment of your hip, and has effects all the way up to the top of your head.
 
The same goes for our ideas and dreams. Once you start to engage with them, take action towards them, you are literally creating change, not only in your life, but in the entire system.

Aka, when you create something, it affects the whole world.
 
It’s easy to get discouraged and think, “I’m not doing enough. This isn’t making a difference.” But whenever you put positive energy out into the Universe, it HAS to change something. It can’t not. It’s just the law of physics.
 
So I get it. Sometimes we want to take a lot of time to get that idea perfect, to plan it out to perfection, to make all the lists we need to tic off in order to accomplish it. Taking time for thoughtful and heartfelt preparation is amazing and necessary.
 
Trust yourself. There just comes a point where it is time to go, to lean into the action, to try something new, even something incredibly simple, and see how it reverberates. Not only in the outer world, but also inside of you. It connects you with who you are.
 

Dream with your head in the clouds. Walk with your feet on the earth. And live with your heart in the world.

 
Because you know it in your bones when you’re creating a ripple effect in the way only you can.
 

Love Always,

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Wander into Your Heart

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In April 2017, I got a wild hair up my ass and felt called to hike the Appalachian Trail. In regular Danielle spirit, I decided I wanted to do the whole entire thing in one fell swoop.
 
The entire goddamn 2,000 + miles of it.
 
I had never done such a thing before. But this is how my crazy ideas start sometimes. I remember reading Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wildand thinking to myself, “I’d like to go on an adventure like that someday…”
 
I also blame my boyfriend, Jonathan. It’s been his dream to hike the AT, too. One day, I asked a question of my community:
 
If you could go on any adventure, what would it be?
 
Jonathan told me he’d hike the AT. Although I had heard something like this from him before, for some reason it struck a different cord this time. It felt like it was the time for me to embark on this. So I bought my first backpacking backpack, a tent, and a shit ton of dried food and set my sights on a six-month journey.
 
Jonathan dropped me off at the southern terminus of the trail: Amicoloa Falls State Park on Springer Mountain, GA. It was raining. Profusely.
 
We went inside to register. I wasn’t sure what my trail name would be, so I put a placeholder in it’s stead – Weasel, a nickname my family calls me. Before stepping outside to say our goodbye, the bumper stickers in the gift shop caught my attention.
 
I laughed out loud at one.
 
“Don’t follow me. You won’t make it.”
 
I am not even sure why I found it so funny, but the laugh was real.
 
A few minutes later, I was wiggling my way in to my rain gear – a pair of black “waterproof” pants and a $200 Gortex rain jacket. We kissed goodbye and I felt that familiar stab when you part from the physical presence of someone you deeply love. But I knew it would be OK. We’ve made it through even tougher circumstances.
 
With a big inhale, I started to walk. I did turn once or twice to see Jonathan taking a ton of photos of me. Eventually though, the trail turned and I could no longer see him.
 
The light rain made the woods seem even more enchanted.
 
I’m not exactly certain when that enchantment wore off for me. I knew it would. I knew from reading other’s stories about similar journeys, as well as my own past, that when it’s new, the adventure can feel super exciting.
 
Then the reality of it all hits.
 
I am alone. In the woods. Just walking.
 
Well, not completely alone, because I do have this 40-lb pack on my back. I named her Maven.
 
I soon discovered that although I had done my very best to limit the weight I was carrying, Maven was heavy as hell. I also discovered a slew of other things, such as…

  • You can get blisters in the oddest places
  • When it rains in the forest, it stays wet for a good long while thereafter
  • Chipmunks moving around at night sound a whole lot like bears
  • Mice enjoy climbing over the top of your tent when it’s cold out
  • Rain gear is NOT waterproof
  • One can get tired of tuna fish very quickly 

I found myself cursing the trail – sometimes even yelling at it. Why was this so hard?!
 
It just stared back at me.
 
The trail taught me a lot. It was tough love. But I realized ultimately that the trail was just a reflection of myself. The harder I was on myself, the harder the trail was on me.
 
I needed to stop trying so damn hard.
 
So I cut down my mileage. I made friends. I lightened my load. I stopped in little mountain towns every three days to restock.
 
I learned to ask for help… and then actually let others help me.
 
I turned the tunes on (Florida Georgia Line for all my country music fans out there!) I was still huffing and puffing – these were mountainsafter all. I still vented, cried, screamed, got mad, stomped, and contemplated in my head and aloud with companions why the hell I was doing this.
 
I don’t think I ever knew fully why I was doing it, and maybe I still don’t. But that adventure called to me strongly, so I had to give it a shot.
 
I had to combat thoughts that I was a failure for not hiking as fast as others. For eventually deciding that I would get off the trail in Damascus, VA after 525 miles, instead of reaching Mt. Katadhin. I had to love myself enough to realize that the goal and destination don’t make me any more worthy than I already am.
 
My hiking buddy I met on the trail had a favorite phrase she always said.
 
“Get it together.”
 
That’s what answering our callings does to us. It pulls us into the middle of the woods, blows us apart, and then… with some grace and some grit… it gets us back together again.
 
I lost some stuff along the way – articles of clothing, sanity, ear buds... but I also found another piece of myself. One that realized she was strong enough to go for it...and strong enough to let go of it.
 
Because we never can really “quit.” As long as we are alive, we are always engaged in this adventure.
 
I think about that bumper sticker, “Don’t follow me you won’t make it”that’s plastered to my car among a dozen others. It’s true. We cannot follow one another. We can’t expect to walk down someone else’s path and it feel “right” and “true.” We can only walk our own. We can learn from others, but the last say is always our own – from our True Nature.
 
“True Nature” became my trail name. Because that’s what I was seeking and am still seeking, in my heart and soul.
 
I left the AT on June 25, 2017. But I’m always on my path.

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