Jean is joined by Danielle Van de Velde.
Dani helps others understand and master the art of meditation, transformative inner practice, and healing through private coaching, energy sessions, courses, and tailored programs for individuals, schools, and organizations. A sought-after healer and spiritual mentor, Dani is a popular speaker at industry forums, a published writer, and holds regular retreats in Asia and Australia.
Dani has also recently published her first book -
Spirited: A Guide to your Innate Spiritual Design to Transform your Life.
In Spirited Dani reframes meditation as an intentional practice to transform from reactive, to responsive, to expansive, and ultimately to creative living. She helps you remember who and what you really are, to live in active cohesion and co-creation with life and to operate creatively and intuitively in a state of flow. She shares how to remember this is when we heal and come back to our true nature and design. This is being spirited.
Dani is host of the Modern Crone Podcast, has some wonderful guided meditations available on spotify and insight timer , offering Reiki and intuitive healing – and so much more.
In this conversation Dani shares
You can find Dani in the following places.
Spirited is available on all major online bookstores and via her website.
Join the Spirited Community at https://instagram.com/spiritedbydani
The Modern Crone Podcast
Dani’s meditations can be found here:
The Game of Life and How to Play it - Florence Scovel Shinn
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Hi, everyone. And welcome to making sense of work. I'm Jean Balfour and today I'm really delighted to be joined by Danielle Van de Velde welcome DaniDani:
oh, thanks Jean. I'm very happy to be here.Jean:
Yeah. Thanks for joining us. I know you are into COVID. How are you doing?Dani:
I am well, we're doing day 4 of COVID and you can hear I'm a little bit nasally, but I can breathe through my nose. I actually feel fine. So, and I'm also, I've got it when I've got time and I'm in the middle of nowhere in a pine forest in Australia's blue mountains with a great heater. So I think I'm doing it well.Jean:
sounds great. Sounds a, a good place to be healing. Yeah, let me just share a little bit about Dani so I. First met Dani actually, after I had recommended, Dani's services offerings to people. And, finally came to meet you, Dani. And what a delight that has been, because we've since had some Reiki sessions together and I've learnt Reiki with you and I attend some of your offer and it's really, yeah.Dani:
So good. I love having you in the groups and the circles, Jean and it it's been a gorgeous journey. How long ago? Two years. Two years. How long we known each other? Yeah. Two years I think. Two lovely years. indeed. It's been gorgeous long may it last 2 COVID years in fact. Yeah.Jean:
so let me, for those of you who don't have the privilege of knowing Dani yet, let me tell you a bit about her. Dani helps others understand and master the arts of meditation, transformative, inner practice and healing through private coaching, energy sessions, courses and tailored programs for individuals, schools, and organizations. She is a sought after healer. In fact, she's booked out and a spiritual mentor also booked out and is a popular speaker industry forums, recently a published writer and holds regular retreats in Australia and Asia. Really wonderfully. Dani has also recently published her first book, which is called spirited, a guide to your innate spiritual design to transform your life. And I have read it this past week while I've been on retreat myself, and it's really beautiful book, Dani it's beautiful. I'm so, so happy to hear that, Jean. Yeah. Thank you. No, that's good. in spirited, Danny reframes meditation as an intentional practice to transform ourselves from reactive to responsive, to expansive and ultimately to creative living. She helps us to remember who and what we really are and to live in act of cohesion and co-creation with life and to operate creatively and intuitively in a state of flow. She shares that when we remember this is when we come to heal and come back to our true nature and design, and that this is being spirited. Dani is many things. She also is host of the modern Chrome podcast. She has some amazing guided meditations that are on Spotify and insight timer and many things. So, as I said, we'll share some links to the, in the show notes to all of your offerings, Danny. So it's really great. Thank you. Thank you so much. So we are a podcast that focuses on work. How's work for you at the moment.Dani:
So this is planned time out of work, but it's funny this whole sort of definition of work because I, this it's a school holidays. We're here in our mountain cottage we come here on purpose because it's away from everything. It's super quiet. It's surrounded by nature and, and my whole family and I have come here for years and years and we love it. But I'm always thinking about things and ideas and like, and especially now, cause I've pick COVID, I've had to stay in my bedroom. So so I've written two blogs. So there's always work, if you wanna call it that, but in general though, real busy, super busy, which is one of the reasons why I wrote this book. So, there's definitely an increase I can see in curiosity and also people taking that step to explore more. On, um, me, meditation's always really there because people are so stressed, you know, but definitely more of the sort of finer more spirited arts, I guess, like psychic development, that's getting really popular. Um, I'm also getting booked for a lot of corporate work, but with some of the corporate work, they want to extend the narrative a little bit beyond, like, how do you sleep well and how do you manage stress? Then there seems to be more interest, even within collectives and groups on, more about the energy body, more about the meridians, the nadis breath, you know, some more of that sort of finer, uh, spiritual practice, which, which I find totally delightful. Cause that's my whole world. So there's, there's definitely a growing curiosity, I think. And then I think on the other side of that with, with the healing sessions and the mentoring sessions, I, I think we haven't even started to really. Um, experience the fallout from the last few years, in terms of mental health, stress, anxiety. I'm starting to see a lot more of that. So people who've, gone through the first couple of years, the pandemic relatively well, they may have had to augment their business, or there's been obviously big considerations around security and work and teenage health and family health. And if everyone's okay, it's been enormous for everyone. Um, but there's just hitting a wall now, weirdly in the middle of the third year. Like, and then of course we here in the news that the pandemic hasn't really gone. Like I wrote this post the other day about the post pandemic workplace. I haven't published it yet. And then I, I had to caveat that by saying I'm using this term post pandemic really loosely, you know, because it's quite clear that. We're very peaked to restrictions rather than what the actual virus is doing in the virus doesn't seem to have gone anywhere. So I it's busy in my arena for lots of different reasons, but, and I think there are lots of factors playing into that. So yeah, I'm busy, but I'm loving it. I'm loving it.Jean:
I hear you loving it and, and full of energy for it. Yeah. Yeah. I know you do many, many different things, but when you have a good day, what does that, what does a good day mean for you?Dani:
Generally speaking, whether I'm sort of doing what I'm doing now, which is really more creative work rather than seeing clients and so on or, or on the talking circuit or whatever. Um, uh, but even if I am in all of that busyness, or if I'm somewhere like here a, a really good day is definitely greeting the Dawn now, even with COVID for me. And even in the sort of like absolute depth of winter here is just a thing. I just get. I always do before the Dawn and it's freezing outside. So I, I haven't been really going outside, but I've opened up all the curtains and really just participated in the Dawn, coming into the garden. And anyone in Singapore knows I ride my bike to some east facing location every single morning in Singapore, regardless of what I've got on. Um, and I host dawn meditation. So there's something for me in a good day about greeting the daybreak and sometimes I meditate then, or sometimes it's just a moment, you know, where I just really set in play in all of the possibility of the day that's coming. Like the highest possibility, like that's what I want. And there's something in that, you know, and in the days that I don't do that very, very often, it's not the highest possibility it's still okay. But. I guess the way that I see it is that the highest possibility for the day that is yet to unfold at the daybreak, already exists in some form in some pattern of information of energy. And it must because I can perceive it because I want it. And I can feel it. And I know the feeling of the highest possibility day. Everything goes and flow. You feel great, you make it creative. Your interactions are very funny and very gorgeous. And there's always like a touch of spirit in them. We've all had a high possibility day. And you can perceive it because it exists. And, uh, so I like to tap that right at the daybreak and I, there's something in my shamanic understanding as well around the daybreak being, being a good window to do it. You know, it's where it's an in between where a shaman's, I don't recover ourselves as a shaman and I'm a shamanic practitioner, but we love in between spaces. like cats if there's a gap or an in between where they're, you know, so, so that would be part of a really good day. Um, uh, having really meaningful interactions that's for me is definitely a marker of really good day. So. On Mondays and Thursdays, that's back to back in clinic with clients. And then on Wednesdays it's back to back with distance clients. So it's a zoom day. And then the other days of the week, I'm interacting with corporate clients and different collaborators. It's always something on the board. And I love it, especially with this book. Um, so, um, good interactions, so clarity, we get each other, we build on each other's ideas. Everyone's feeling like they're loving everything. That's about whatever we're talking about. And you can see that there's some heart and mind. Stirring and expansion going on, especially with sessions, that's so such gratifying work, which you know about now too, cause you studied sort of the, the more energetic side with me a little bit and all your other studies as well. So I think they're a good day and then I need to move my body, I guess. I don't eat very much during the day. I have to say, I find with healing and energy work and creativity, I'm, I'm, I'm actually a lot better running on it on a slightly empty tummy. So I graze, but many of us are Yeah, it's interesting. Isn't it. And then I tend to eat a big dinner and really earth with that at night. But finishing the day, feeling grateful and feeling like everything's done, I really like that feeling. So that was a good day. And often I'll say that, like, when I'm sort of doing my closing up meditation at night, I'll say that to myself, that was a good day, you know, and I'll thank spirit, but that was a good day spirit you know, we helped some people, some pain went away for people. we had new ideas, whatever.. So I, I guess they're the markers of a good day, regardless of what I'm doing. It's very fun. What I do, you know, like you, you're dealing with a lot of the unknown with the mystery, there's you, you witness a lot of mind blowing stuff. And, uh, I really like that. And I like seeing other people witness and experience that too.Jean:
I always have a sense of your Dani that nothing is hard work that, that you, you, perhaps, because of how you see it open to possibility that you allow the flow of work, you allow it to be, and, and thus it is not hard.Dani:
Yeah, very much. Yeah. Yeah. I don't, I certainly don't see as work, I think, that's a big difference for me. Like, I, I actually see what I do as, um, just a lovely natural expression of who I am. Mm. And in that way, uh, it, it's not very draining for me, that expression, the way I express it, you know, with my content and voice, and that sort of thing is very, it's it, it's very satisfying for me to do that because, It helps me organize my thinking. That's always the case when you're explaining something to someone else, it, it really helps organize. And you do that with your witness circles. And I do that in my causes too, to be witnessed is so powerful for inner inquiry, because you're in subjective land and you don't have frames of reference. So a spiritual community gives you those frames of reference and that's really, really super duper important.Jean:
I was just thinking that there's something for all of us about finding more opportunities to express ourselves and our working lives in the way that you are describing it in a way that is aligned with ourselves with what's helping us to grow. And even I think to find ways to look for that and express it, if we're in a corporate job, working in finance, very, to look for ways to express ourselves so that we also have that kind of regenerative experienceDani:
very much. Yeah. I think it's important. And I don't think it necessarily means, quitting the corporate job and bungee jumping into, becoming some kind of spiritual mystic or anything like that. but, some people do do that, that is quite an archetypal and that was similar to mine. I wouldn't say I'm a guru mystic, but I definitely did a bungee jump out of a very successful corporate career. So that seems to be an archetypal story for some, and then for others, it's really about, self realization within their current life. You know, so it's not about a big shift within the actual expression of their life. And this, I would say is the majority of my students and clients like these are, these are people who are very successful in their lives, you know, whatever that is, whether they're a mom at home or, they're a top level executive, or are they an influencer or an actress, or whether they're in the healing arts. So it doesn't really matter, you know, but the majority of people come to me because they know that there's more to them. and it's not so much, they wanna change their life, but they, they wanna feel a sense of purpose and they wanna feel that sense of fulfillment. They wanna feel like they are fulfilling their unique expression. And the only way you can feel it is if you express it yes. Um, you know, but for some people that can be bringing this amazing, powerful presence to their employee meetings, or it could be for other people, the more creatively minded, it could be just like a, an amazing naturally connected or holographically connected solution to a problem written on a whiteboard in a boardroom. Living a spirited life expresses in lots and lots of different ways, but, but one of the hallmarks of it is a degree of ease. There's a degree of ease. and delight, ease and delight. And that's what I go for. I go for things that have a sense of ease for me now they may not, for other people, we've all got our own skillsets, you know, but stuff that's easy for me for my makeup and that delights me. And they're usually the winners mm-hmm yeah.Jean:
They're the place that, that we hold them the best offering in a way.Dani:
I agree. Spaces. Yeah. I agree. Yeah. So I think that's why you, what you do, Jean. I, I think because I think you're built for transformation and for helping people do that. And so you are kind of mainlining your spirit into your work as well. That's why you are so highly regarded. It's real, you can't fake. You can't copy that.Jean:
there's a funny thing for me that I often think, oh, I'm gonna go off. I'm gonna move away from thinking about work and working lives for people, and I'm gonna go off and just do, you know, life coaching, which also I love doing, but I'm just gonna do that. I can't, it's like, no, it's like, I am drawn to the concept of work, the thinking about work. And I can't let it go. It's just in my heart and my being so, oh,Dani:
and, and I, I love that you, uh, you kind of wrestle with that angel now and then, and then you get to a new agreement with it and then often you'll open up something new and something amazing. Like, I think it's not so much. The polarities of that. I think it's your process. I think part of your process is to wrestle with the angel you know, that biblical, oh, you would, of course comes from your background, I have an element of that within mine. I lurch with mine as well well, my lurch is different though. My lurch is between a feeling I can easily be, be consumed because there's a lot of people in my communities. There's a lot of messaging and a lot of, uh, not need, there is some need, you know, with people who are very sick that I work with, but there's hunger, you know, and excitement. And I feel that too. And so I lurch from just getting way, way, way so busy with all of that, and then wanting solitude like I've got now and, uh, But similar for you between, um, working really with the head and all of those beautiful organizational smarts, which I love as well. I love how collectives work and how all of these principles of spirit and psychology work and are amplified and have beautiful augmented dynamics through a collective. But they're the same for the individual. It's about getting balanced though, isn't that the game it's about just a gentle undulation rather than going heart head or everybody, nobody, you know, it's about just sort of finding a, a pulse of breath through those polarities, because I think that's actually our, our creative process.Jean:
At the end of your book, you write a beautiful chapter about your journey, your career path, if you like. Yeah. And it would be really lovely if you could just briefly share a bit about how you came to be in this moment, doing what you're doing now. Yeah.Dani:
Yeah. It's I do. I do write about it. And as I was saying to you before the call, um, anyone listening to this, this is a beautiful exercise to do. Even if you're not writing a book, I hadn't really done it, which is surprising, isn't it. But cuz you wrote bios and things for talks and work, but it's not really sort of your background about, you know, what was going on on, in the side, your heart and in your mind so it's, it was a beautiful exercise to do. Just write a little history of you. In my podcast, when I was talking to the shamanic practitioners in the first season, we were talking about how in shamanism sort of recognized as two pathways that you tend to walk in life. You either walk the pathway of ex ecstasy, where you have a life where you're not, you never grow up. You're not really challenged by anything. You know, you have a sweet. A really sweet entry into adulthood. Generally, we've all got our staff, and or you walk the path of the wounded healer, which is challenging and, scary at times and a real breaking down and a rebuilding. And, uh, and I think that's sort of true generally of people, you know, within their spiritual inquiry. And I'm definitely an ecstatic path girl. I grew up in an amazing family, three siblings, very enabled. Um, my parents priorities were on excellent education and kids that were able to express themselves properly at a dinner table. We were old school, you know, we were Catholic and mum and dad have got a rock, solid faith. And so I, I grew up really trained for business and critical thinking within my family culture. And I pursued that at uni with my first degree, But I also grew up with an, a rock solid faith in angels, invisible realms, the afterlife, the power of prayer, the power of intoning ritual, um, you know, elementals within ritual. You know, I mean the Catholic church is rich in symbology and, and ritual and very beautiful, you know, sadly, which I think is one of the reasons why people like you and I are so busy is that this, the whole sort of corrupt in a mess is now revealed to us. So a lot of us Catholics have had a judder shock. You know, we're like, well, these elements of this that I love, which there is for me, but there's elements of this. I cannot even turn my face towards zero tolerance. And, and so you sort of cut loose and you've gotta find your own. Form of spirituality. And that's what I did. So as I grew up, I was school captain of my primary school, my, secondary school, I school captain again. I went to university, I did a commerce degree. I majored in corporate law and in, finance, failed first year because I discovered boys in the bar, but I caught up. And then, then I went to Italy. I did another degree. I was insatiable appetite for learning and, um, and scored a fantastic corporate job. And it had an amazing, an amazing corporate career, which I loved, which span between Sydney, London, and New York, and worked with organizational behavior and culture and, uh, de capital raising and stuff. Loved it. And I was good at it, but always underground from when I was like a young girl. Um, I was searching, I had some big questions, you know, I had big questions, um, particularly around. Not how my faith is taught to me, big ones, like original sin wants to deal with that. Why we born broke it, that doesn't seem right. You know? And where are all the chicks? Like, I had questions from an early age, where are the women? And what have they got to say about this? And I was quite rebellious and also because my family was so respectful and, and so, you know, adhered to the Catholic faith, I had to go underground. So, I was visiting ashrams and, reading, prohibitive books and things about different faiths and stuff from quite an early age. And, uh, but couldn't really come out about it to the, to the family. Mm-hmm So I was sort of charting my own course for a while. Um, and always reading, always tapping into courses wherever I was. And I was living in London for a long time. And then the people who. Bought the flat under I was in a, I bought a flat on the ground floor of the converted Victorian, you know, those gorgeous places of London and the people who lived in the ground underground flat. And we shared the ownership of the garden was an amazing couple Kalinka and Richard who were also just building an amazing business, which they're still running. But at the same time on a very deep almost, I'd say urgent, spiritual quest like me and we joined forces and we had like 10 years now, garden of just the amazing, amazing exploration, sharing books, getting people over, we had drumming. So all, all sorts of crazy stuff in our garden in London. And that really opened me up. And I was like, I was actively experimenting different spiritual principles to effect in my life. Um, I was managing a really toppy career that was going at a very fast pace. Um, and also all the beautiful salary and quick quirks and perks that go with all of that. I had a pretty serious ego as well, and I needed it to, and a way I was in a very male dominated property industry in London, very old school. And I was young and I was Australian. So I had to be pretty hardcore at work, but it got to a point where there was a wobble, an unsustainable wobble, you know, it's like the higher I got in the company, the more I was dealing with seniors and stuff, the more I realized, first of all, I really wanted to do my own thing. I didn't know what it was that I didn't wanna work for anyone. Um, so there was that going on. And at the same time, I, I really felt like my career after years of loving, it had lost purpose for me. It just got it just flatlined. And I was like, I can't keep doing this it's meaningless to me, even though I'm really good at it. Um, and so I had this really beautiful sliding doors, which I write about in the book where I decided to resign and had the letter done, and I was on a beach in Sydney for the Christmas holidays and going right, I'm gonna do it. I dunno what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna resign. And, uh, and there was a restructure over those Christmas holidays. And my, my boss had wanted to offer me to run the UK. I was in a global position. I was running a number of different strategy and comms groups globally at that stage. And I, I knocked on his door of his office the first day backpack in cold London in January. And he said, we both said at the same time, oh, we've got something, I've got something I wanna talk to you about. And, and he said, um, age, uh, what did he said ladies before gentlemen? And I said age before beauty was slightly older than, well, a bit older than me. And if that had gone the other way. It, this would've played out so differently because if I'd gone first, I would've given him my, my resignation letter, but because he went first, I was offered at redundancy or a role. So there was my spiritual inquiry in my face. He offered to me like this and I said, I think he hadn't even finished saying the word redundancy. And I said, option do taking option. Do, um, and, but because of that, I got this, really fantastic redundancy payment. And that was one of the big things that, um, was stopping me from taking this leap into a spiritual, full blown spiritual life is I bought a property. I had to pay it off. I was worried about the money. Mm. Um, so I, I basically got about two years fully paid to my lifestyle level, um, in London diving into the esoteric scene in London. And, um, That that was no turning back. I, I moved back to Australia. I found my to Louise, we're still in communication. She introduced me to much more disciplined, uh, meditation technique. I then got qualified with her to teach it. And then she started opening up more of her personal spirituality to me and, and a large part of that shamanic practice. And she's taught with some of the best around the world. And, and so she taught me those tin ack arts of like shamanic journey, working with drum, um, a very deeper connection with the wild field, with the wilderness. And, uh, and then it just went from there. I just got to a point where I started teaching it. I don't think any of it was a waste of time. I don't regret one second in corporate. I, I think. All of, it was part of the training ground of getting me clued in to do what I'm doing now. And I still feel like that. I still feel like I'm learning so much and there's so much still opening up. I love that. I say that to my students. Like we never arrive you've heard me say it. We, we never arrive. So just ditch destination mindset, because that doesn't work with this stuff. No, in this world, we're forever expanding in one massive, beautiful spiral. So let's just get, get on with it. Yeah.Jean:
I agree. I often say this when I'm teaching coaches as well. That there's no, you never get to the end of learning to be a coach because there is no end to that. It's yeah, it's a deep, it's a deepening of our experience and our ability to be with people. Um, absolutely a hundred percent agree with you about this idea that there's no regrets. I'm often working with people when they're thinking about their career and saying, you know, well, I, I'm not sure whether I wasted part of my life there. Yeah. And I, I just can't hold that because I think that we have to learn and grow through all of the bits of our working life and they all add to who we are now. And, uh, and they contribute to it. And, and the challenges, the difficult boss that we couldn't get on with the redundancy we weren't expecting and didn't want. And all of those things make us who we are. They help to bring that learning into. Yeah, absolutely. And ultimately I think, um, well, two things I'd say to that, firstly, I, I have a lot of that in my personal, private sessions, a lot. I understand it to some degree. So people who are sort of waking up to their truth, right. And they've got, they've got enough. Life experience behind them, where they're now gonna start to express it. And sometimes, you know, that can be the end of the marriage or that can be attaining a new skill. It can be a big pivot, it can be soft or gentle, but I guess the majority of people I see are people like me, they're at the same stage of life as me and you, the dynamics change and you want something different, you know? Um, so there's a little bit of that, I guess, but then there's this feeling when they start opening up to all of their amazing potential, like, why didn't I do this earlier? Like, I feel so good. I feel fulfilled. I feel, um, you know, and often a lot of the things that. Stopped them from doing it earlier, uh, were just elusory fears, but they needed it. They needed to just live a little bit to really understand that everything is working in their favor. I don't think that's something you can read in a book and assume, I think that's something that really solidifies or not solidifies, but becomes certain within you when you've been around the block a few times and you've survived and you go, actually, I'm in a better place now. That was really hard, but I'm in a better place now. So I think that's just part of the game we're in Yeah. And no learning is wasted. No learning is wasted. Absolutely not. No. I think there is a curing that happens through life. Yeah. And I think we're, we are always in such a rush and whereas that process is very important, but I don't think I could do what I do now. Especially in the corporate arena where I work, but also with some of, most of my executive clients, I couldn't do what I do now with them and get to such deep transformation. If I hadn't known that world, there's no way I, I agree. I think that the richness that you bring is, are those both worlds? It's the, both, and it's not the either or, um, yeah.Dani:
Yeah. And, and I do as well. Like I am running a business, you know, this is another interesting misconception that sometimes can happen when, you know, someone who's I'm, I, I don't even know what you'd sound in the spiritual industry, I guess say, which is a massive industry, by the way, like, and growing, and there are commercial. Intellectual property considerations. I've got a massive community. I've gotta keep them happy. I've got, content's gotta flow. So there is this side of it, where, often we don't talk about, and I wanna really raise the narrative on that, on running a spiritual business. Mm-hmm and there are potential conflicts in that, you know? And so it takes a certain mindset, I think, and skills to be able to do it and stay true to your truth. You know that better than anyone, that's what you do. I think there's a lot of different sides to this kind of work and it's not all love and mung beans and, rainbows and unicorns, the real work is the really is the challenge is the challenge stuff.Jean:
Yeah. Yeah. It's about how we weave all of those aspects of our lives. I was listening to a forecast yesterday and reminded of the, the Buddhist saying of chop would carry water, you know, and that actually in the business world, that means right. Legal agreements and make sure that everything's there. We actually do have to do the things that, that, yeah, you've gotta, you've gotta get it done.Dani:
Yeah. But what I've found though is, um, I've found people who are good at all that stuff who are really aligned energetically with me and I am with them. So again, it's not like. Like doing your books and, um, getting all your licenses right. And doing business properly in a world is also a spiritual act. I guess that's what I'm getting to is at the end of the day, it's about not seeing your spirituality is separate to you or something that you have to carve out time for. It's really the, your whole mundane and magical life. That's the tantrum. And, and from that point onwards, everything, regardless of what it is, has an energetic and a magical principle to it. Even doing your books, you know, that can be a powerful spell to generate abundance? But especially with the business side and then the authenticity side, I, I do think that has to be, managed carefully mm-hmm pets.Jean:
We, we could link on from there and I'd love to hear you talk a bit about how you see the connection between mindfulness and meditation and our working lives.Dani:
Oh, well, huge. Mindfulness and meditation is a, another pillar of, wellbeing that needs attention, just like our diet and our physical movement does because it just like our diet and our physical movement. The change happens with engagement. So, um, you can't think about changing your diet and therefore you receive the benefits of it. You have to actually change your diet and cut up different food and eat in different ways. And similarly, you can't think about going to the gym, which I do often, you know, and then expect to be fit. You've gotta go to the gym. And so mindfulness meditation's the same. Regular practice has very similar effects on your brain rebuilding and laying down new gray matter and reforming itself. So there is actually a physiological shift with regular meditation, and a neurological shift with it. But then with that comes enabled new behaviors. So, better degree of choice, better degree of discernment. You've got a calming down of the physiological stress markers in your body. So you're better able to respond to life rather than ninja kick it, you know, fight, fight with it. Um, and so of course, regular meditation practice, it's not the end game. It's really just the enablement to get you into a mindful state. And that's what I call responsive living. So that's where you've carved enough psychic space and you've cared enough of your, reactive patterning, which takes a bit of work and journaling alongside your practice. But you've, you've carved enough space around your awareness that you can start to choose to operate with life differently. Mm. And, um, And with that sort of expansions, that this is what I call in the book, you know, responsive to expansive. There becomes a whole different experience of life. So, you know, and this is not linear by the way, but it's just a model that I used to try and explain what happens, but this is where your relational field really starts to shift. And now these are relationships that work with random strangers, with relationships, with yourself, with your memory of yourself, with memories and relationship with your dreams. You know, so in this expansive sort of zone, which regular inner practice brings you to kicking or screaming or whatever, you, you start to really. understand your relationship with life and that you are actually generating it. Mm-hmm that what you're experiencing is an expression it's may be refracted in different ways, but it's an expression of what you are holding is your interstate. And then once you're onto that, you are onto the journey to consciously create your life to live creatively. Now, this can be applied anywhere within yourself, the sanctity of your own sacred space within, within your family within this is like, what I'm talking about is almost like just an archetypal metamorphosis that happens, but it begins with choosing to engage with and expand and explore your spiritual aspect. That's where it begins in whatever way.Jean:
Yeah. I mean, what, what I think I'm hearing you say is that, that for you meditation, isn't. Is just, it is this too, but an engagement with the breath, the, the calming, the space, it is also about opening up ourselves to possibility, to spirit, to sort of expand ourselves for things to be different and to openDani:
oh, very much. Yeah, very much. And also with regular meditation comes much sharper attunement to your energy body and also to your intuitive senses. And, it, it happens with meditation to dance and, uh, um, and those meditation sits become much less of a, kind of what's the word drill, practice or training, and they become much more like very, very profound. Um, quite incredible experiences where you are actively tapping spirit, and that's where you get your guidance from. People often say to me, you've gotta, you know, all these projects spinning at the same time, how do you know what to give you time to? And I spirit tells me, uh, and because it comes through my energy body. So there is this sort of awareness that happens when you move deeper and deeper into spiritual inquiry, where you start to really reframe who and what you think you are. And you realize that you're a receiver and an emanated of information and energy, and you can decode that energy. And, uh, we are designed to in fact, um, and so your life, it changes. It does go far beyond. The breath the mind and the monkey mind and the stress markers of the body and the immune function rising and all of that, it goes well beyond that, but you need, the vehicle needs to be in good shape. And that's what, that's what initial meditation practice dance. It, retunes your vehicle.Jean:
It's the discipline of sitting down and doing it to get to that point.Dani:
Yeah. Yeah, you do. But you know, the neuro this is where the neuroscience really kicks in, you know, like it's, it's the way that we reprogram our, our patterns and also what we're into, like our proclivities. That's all programmed as well, uh, is through repetition. so it's, it's just the repetition. So you do, and it works within 21 days of the daily meditation that you're starting to develop a neural pathway that enables meditation. That's, what's incredible about the human being. So, um, so what I try to do when I teach beginners to meditation is how to, you know, shake it up a little bit. So I give them a number of different sort of practices that they can choose from. They're very well understood. I'm very big on the mind understanding what's going on, um, and then make it easy for them with repetitive ritual and different ideas on how to hardwire it in basically. And it does hardwire in, and then you get this real shift that happens where. Where instead of feeling that you're sort of pushing yourself towards the practice to make it happen, it actually starts to pull you, you know, and you really miss those days when you don't have a sit or you don't have just a quiet moment with that deeper aspect of yourself, you know, you feel a bit hared, don't you? Yeah. So it's like anything it's like getting fit, isn't it. You gotta make yourself go to that gym or on that run, but it gets to a point where you love it. You know, you can't wait to get into that exercise. It works the same wayJean:
it does. It does. And for people listening, Dani has some wonderful meditation courses that are available on her website. So I'll share those as well. Thank you. Because they offer that structure that you are talking about Dani and, and helping people to learn and discover it in a very practical way, because. Uh, you, part of what you do really well is explain why this matters or where it comes from, or the tradition that you're drawing on to help explain the type of meditation that you're teaching. And yeah,Dani:
I think that's, that was certainly it's important for me. It's almost is a bit like throwing my mind a bone so I can sit down and just drop into the practice, you know, because I'm not very good at if I'm listening to a meditation and someone says, now start breathing in a certain way. The first thing I'll do is my mind will go, why so, so I load up my instructions. So everyone's very clear on why are you doing it? What's going on? And then I put that aside and then what I've tried to do is curate those beautiful guided meditation experiences with music. And so you're not thinking about it, you're just getting into it cuz you know what you're doing, you know, and that, that works for me. And it certainly works for the people that are following it. So that's good. I'm sticking with what I. What works. Yeah. For me,Jean:
I'm, I'm noticing the, the commercial lawyer ahead of you is always asking that question about why and why you make sense of it logically.Dani:
Yeah. Yeah. And I think that's a good thing. We can dismiss that and often it can be shamed, not shamed, but talk down in the spiritual world. Like, let your mind go and don't listen to your mind, but we've made, we are mind and we are heart and it's just giving everyone an equal audience. I guess. Because your mind really is, it's what spearheads your spiritual inquiry. It's not all just sort of feeling your way, you know, to, to really. Go through some big paradigm shifts and to go through some perspective, shifts that open up new experiences. That's an exercise of mind. But a spirited mind, so I Ark up a bit when I see these sort of social media things, like it's the rise of the divine feminine, dimensional Neil at our feet and all that bullshit. That's bullshit. That's a gender call. This is really about us honoring as sacred, all the aspects of the self and understanding that our innate design has got a reason. There's a reason why we're designed this way and to follow the design, I guess that's really, that's really where it is, but yeah, I, I'm interested in this idea of the spirit of mind and, um, because creativity is the same. Like it might well up from some murky energy. Patent holographic depths that are within us, but at some point it needs to be translated in a way that it can be transmitted, you know? So, and that's the mind. Yeah. So we need both,Jean:
I know in your book, you talk about this a little bit about the three intelligences, actually. So mind, I guess, head heart and, and gut my words. Um, it would be great to hear from you a little bit about how you can see those playing out for us in our working lives, those three different intelligences. And you've been saying a bit about head, but the others are equally important.Dani:
Oh, they are? Yeah, they are. Yeah. The brain and the heart and the brain and the gut. And I, I dedicate like a chapter to each of these in the book because, well, first of all, I find it fascinating. And secondly, whether we're in a work situation or a private situation, I think we're operating better when all of our aspects are I collusion for a start and in harmony, and we've got a greater, more expanded sense of who we are. So we operate better, regardless, whether it's with your lover, with your children, with your family or in the boardroom, if you're aligned within and you, you've got a sense of your design and therefore your strengths, and also to what to look hard for, you're gonna operate better. And there's lots of fantastic research now around, uh, neurobiology and neuro cardiology, and then the brain in the gut and all of the chemical implications of that, which I talk about a little bit. And the reason why I do is because within the brain, within the heart, within the gut, these three centers are highly responsive. To meditation and energy practice. Like the whole system is that these three centers seem to, magnify it and dialogue with energy, like with Reiki or with they dialogue with it, their intelligences and, uh, beyond their physiological roles, which I think it's all actually one thing. But. And this fascinates me. And the more you meditate, the more these three centers physically heal and reorganize themselves to enable deeper spiritual exploration and deeper meditation and greater presence and less stress and greater wellbeing and greater immunity. And, a much more empathetic, wider radar. So when you're talking with people, you can pick up the truth within what they're saying, rather than reacting to perhaps how they're saying it or who they are. So it totally deep dives, the relational field, and this is imperative in business that this is what business is basically. I mean, no matter what the business is, people talking to people, isn't it and people getting hundred percent. People liking people, you know, and respecting people. So, yeah. Uh, so that, that's sort of how I write about it in the book. I write about obviously the physiological thing, but really how I, I dip into much more of the empirical, and, quantitative evidence on what happens to these three centers than we meditate. And then interestingly, within the Yogi tradition and also within, in myriad in other much more esoteric traditions, it's these three and in Jungian psychology, which I love it's these three centers that really are the, the kind of the gears. If you like within the human creative system, you need to have a vision and an intent. You need to have a very strong desire or passion for it. You need to have connected with it spiritually and energetically to a point where you can feel. It's presence. You can feel its personality. You can feel it because that's really the, the track being, um, and you need to choose it, which is like the gut. you need to choose it, put it into action because universe has to trigger a bit of bleep. The universe can move in with you and that's when you move into flow. But this idea that you've gotta just put it out there. Pray believe receive is bullshit. That's hard work. you've gotta work with the universe. You've gotta create some movement. So that's sort of the line of inquiry I follow for, for the head, the heart and the gut.Jean:
So there's one thing about the head heart gut. That's being talked a bit about in the business world at the moment. And this is this idea of a whole body yes. Or a whole body, no, to a decision or an idea. And, when I read this, I, for me, I think that's about being in alignment. So a whole body, yes. Means my mind, my brain thinks this is good. My heart fill into the impact on the people. And my gut is saying, yeah, it will roll. And I, I love this way of thinking through decisions and particularly decisions that are gonna happen, uh, that are gonna impact people in the organization. If we can really sit into it and ask questions about how does this decision impact the environment? How, how does it impact the societies that we're living and working in? Yeah. And if, if, as a leader, my, my system says, okay, I'm good with that. Then, then I'll be able to look back and think. Whether it worked or not at the time with the information, it was my, I had, it was my truth.Dani:
Yeah. It was my truth, it's super exciting to hear that. And, um, I actually think it's the same, um, mechanism within spiritual inquiry is that you listen to that whole system. Yes. And if there's something that's out of alignment, I often will perceive it within myself and I teach it as well in using the framework of sound. Like if there's something out of alignment, there'll be a dissonant tone and you'll feel it in your body. Now it might take you a little while to find it, but what everything about what I teach and what regular meditation gives you is a, a clearer space to hear the harmonics and to hear the something out of harmony, a disharmony, a diss. Tone. And it's my belief that in the energy healing, that it's those dissonant tones that have been ignored or suppressed for whatever reason, whether that's family of origin or situation, and then, um, have been buried it's that it's those dissonant tones that will eventually start to express themselves through they incarnate. So through body, through illness, through some kind of dissonance within the body, because we listen to that. In many ways, I guess you, that you bridge those two worlds, like you, you're totally nodding your head off as I talk about this sort of dissonance and harmonics and stuff. Yet at the same time, you coach some of the best coaches around you, coach senior executives like you, you bridge. And I do too. I take what I talk about into the corporate world through talks and workshops and stuff, I think it's exciting. It's all coming together. And I'm really excited about these new conversations that are coming up. Probably pandemic triggered that are going into a much deeper aspect of what wellness is about. Um, and it's including these talks about alignment. Harmony, are you in harmony? What's your yes. What's your no, you know, access consciousness, not a healing modality. And I interviewed and accessed consciousness, practitioners this interview with my, see. And their framework is very similar, but it's what does it make you feel light now? Anything that's your frame of reference? So this podcast makes me feel really light and I, I know that it's aligned in some way with purpose. But if I was to watch some content or I'd have an interaction with someone and I can feel contraction and weight, then that's showing me that it's out of alignment with my truth, with my purpose. And so access consciousness, there are all these lovely models that look at that. Is it heavy or light is sort of full body yes. Or a full body? No. Or somewhere in between. And how do you determine the distance and then what do you do about it? That's the game we're in. It is, it is. Yeah.Jean:
And I love that we are able to talk about this at work now. Yes. In a more me too way. Yeah. So, um, we're gonna draw to a close soon, but could you just say a little bit more about the work that you do in corporates actually, and how you bring this into the corporate world?Dani:
My main work with corporates is usually around either a talk or a workshop. Either I'm either brought in. I was very busy online during the lockdowns, because there are a lot of corporates that were trying to find ways to keep employee engagement and also their wellness programs. They had to stop, obviously. Um, and so they were trying to convert some of that into online meditation courses. And I did some lovely ones. I did some lovely ones with the diplomatic community, here in Singapore and big global ones with Unilever., but they're mainly around, I would say sort of like the physiology of meditation mm-hmm um, and also meditation and mindfulness practices and perspectives that help with stress. They tended to be the main and that would take form in a one hour. Talk to our talk could be a half day workshop or could be a series, you know, but lately I'm getting much more interesting gig. From the corporate they wanna talk more about, energy practices that help generate business. how do we energetically connect with clients that we haven't met yet, stuff like that, which I love and which I apply to my own business. So I think there's gonna be more talk for me around the principles of modern magic, the principles of spirited, business, spirited, creativity, spirited, living spirited relationships, I think because they're their world's within themselves,, but so it's interesting to see, you know, and even though I'm doing like, uh, there's also been calls for more emotional freedom technique, work, more energy work mm-hmm, more breath work. Um, more, some people are asking for workshops on the chare, in the corporate space. Yeah. So interesting. Um, I find it super exciting, super exciting. Um, and I think it helps to the more there's this kind of blending of. Spiritual and corporate in these different worlds, the more we can actually cultivate a language around it that isn't ridiculous. Cuz you've heard me bang on about it. Like who dear wants all that just ridiculousness that's in the stereotypical spiritual arena and we can find, and maybe start to, um, allow people to curate a spiritual business language. And this is something I'm interested in so we can actually relate to each other properly. Yeah. So when we say, is that a full body? Yes, Jean, you don't look at me like I'm mad, but you know exactly what I'm saying and so well, logically it makes sense to me. I know that that business is choosing it. I'm choosing it with my team, but I'm just not feeling. I, I need more vision in this or whatever. Can you imagine a conversation like that around the boardroom? It'd be amazing. It would be, that would. So I, I think that's where it's going. I'm very, very happy to be in it in some way. I'm very happy to be having conversations with people like you who are also in it. Um, and I think, I really think this is where the pandemic war and the collective struggles. I think this is our only response to the collective struggles is to actually go into our collectives and go, how can we do collectives better? Yeah. how can we, yeah.Jean:
We've had, this is such a rich conversation, Dani. Okay. But before we draw it a close, actually I want to share a little bit about something from the book. I wanna read something from the book that really F stayed with me. Okay. And, um, and perhaps you could just say that about it afterwards, before we close. This is something from chapter 20 where you are writing about creative living. Yep. And you say many of us might not have a specific dream or intent other than to live happy, fulfilled lives. Some of us have a clear purpose and deep desire to live that purpose. But regardless of whether the intent is specific or thematic, a liberated state of being always includes four elements to experience, love to be well and vital to experience abundance and to feel fulfilled. And you go on to talk about how this is called the square of life. Yeah. So how can we step towards living that square of life in our working lives and in our whole life?Dani:
Uh, so beautiful. So I, I need to reference that. So which I do later in the book, but the square of life and, uh, and those four pillars of the square of life, you know, vitality, abundance, fulfillment, and love come from which a lot of your listeners will know. I'm sure comes from Florence Scovel Shinn's work the game of life and how to play it. And she's, she's a turn century esoteric writer that I recommend to every single student who comes into my course, you know, beautiful, beautiful writing, old school though, super old school. It's an interesting model to use. First of all, it's super simple. Um, secondly, each of those four pillars really plays into what it is to be human and what it is to be human in a world with other humans. You know, the experience of love only happens with an interaction with the world, you know, abundance, sunny happens when it can be, um, received and then given, you know, fulfillment's the same. There has to be some kind of expression of truth to really feel that fulfillment, which is what we started this podcast on. Um, and vitality as well. There has to be some kind of expression through the physical body, which is what anchors this in this physical world. So, so the square of life is a dynamic, it's not like a ticker box. And, I think it's a really interesting, it's interesting to note that around those four pillars of, of, of. Financial, not, not just financial abundance, but she talks about that specifically. And I live by that. I don't think money and spirit are in conflict at all. But around abundance, around love about around our physical body and wellness. Um, and around purpose, we hold so many weird beliefs and ideas around that. And, and for those reasons we don't experience them in full and for those reasons, but all of us have got some kind of a hang up on one of those things. is it love? Is it my deservedness and worth to live an abundant life? Um, will I ever heal, you know, when my family will have all got cancer, all that, we hold all of these beliefs around those four pillars of life. And, uh, and this is basically where my work is. It's gonna be when people come into a course or come into a session it's around one or more of those pillars of life, and I love Florence Scovel Shinn, um, take on it, but it's that, it's our sovereign right. To experience all of it. Mm. So we're so skewed on how we view these four things that we even believe that we, we don't deserve to experience. We've convinced ourselves they're elusive to us, some of them. So, I think it's a really good audit system, you know, four points pillar of life. Yeah. We all know when all of those are generally running okay. That we feel our best and do our best work. And I think then you can go into each of them and have a look at,, how am I, let's just say our relationship with love, for example, how am I physically in relationship with love? How am I mentally in relationship with love? How am I energetically in relationship with love and how do I spiritually view love? And you can work, you can work a lifetime just on that. You know? So I think it just, all of these beautiful ideas from different books and that one that I quote are just frames of reference to get your game on.Jean:
Mm, brilliant. so, yeah. So they're a place for us to think about getting our life game on and our work game on.Dani:
Yeah, definitely. Yeah, because I think they do apply to work as well, obviously for how you are feeling is you fronting up to whatever it is that you're spending your time on and also how other people are feeling that you're working with. And, uh, very often that can help you as a leader particularly, or augment how you might interact with that person to build up their sense of, you know, fulfillment or whatever it is So yeah, it's a relational tool with life and with others and the self. Yeah. I just think it's simple too. I like it.Jean:
Ah, Dani, thank you. I'm really grateful for the. Moment, you walked into my life and, um, the questions I bring to your always work questions, because that's the thing that I guess I am curious about and live with and I, and we love it. We both love it too. Yeah. Yeah, we do. Yeah. It's such a part of me. It's a part of me. Yeah. And I love that, that there are ways that I can bring my working life and my spiritual life in alignment and, and each helps the other and, and yeah, definitely have a beautiful way of doing that along with many other things. So I encourage those people listening to go and find Dani there's many, many ways that you can find Dani find her book and read it. It's a book to be read a few times. There's a lot of rich bringing together of different traditions and concepts and ideas, Dani and, um, yeah, I'll carry it with me. So thank you so much.Dani:
Uh, I'm so, so grateful to have the opportunity to come on your podcast. I love it. And I love your podcast. I love the level of conversation you get to it's right up my alley. and thank you for the shameless plugging of all my stuff, but I feel the same I think people come in and out of your life in different times and in different ways. And I feel the same about getting to know you it's been a total delight and, uh, I've got a lot of aberration for what you do and I, and I think it's so needed, you know, and, uh, so yay to us. Let's just keep enjoying each other's company as long as we can. We will. Brilliant. Well, thank you. All right, Jean. Thanks. Bye.