The German magazine Allegria, asked me some good questions about WOMANHOOD. We could have talked for days…
Q: Danielle, let’s talk about womanhood: What are the first thoughts that come mind?
So much. The Divine Feminine. Women as leaders, as healers, as lovers, as mothers — to their children and each other and the Earth. I’m very interested in how the core feminine characteristics can move life and society forward — inclusivity, intuition, truly holistic care, empathy. If we stay fluid, women can move easily between different perspectives and dimensions. And — if we stay fluid — women are immensely powerful in our capacities to heal, to fiercely protect, and to know what’s really going on behind the surface. And of course, behind the surface is where the magic is. Women know magic in their bones. And the world needs a lot of good magic right now to make progress.
Q: Being a feminine woman isn’t always easy in such a yang driven world. How can we integrate and live our feminine side in such a busy and stressful life?
For me, it gets down to this question: Do I want to be free, or not? Do I want to expand, or do I want to shrink?
If you want freedom and fulfillment, and bliss, even — then the choice is clear: Take your soul’s dare to be who you really are. And you may be tender, you may be loud, you may be super sexy, lazer intelligent, angry, or oh so soft; you may be incredibly compassionate. If you’re living an embodied woman’s life, you’re probably all of those things, in the same day — and hopefully you’re not apologizing for any of it.
Sometimes what you’re showing the world might get labeled as “too feminine.” Or too “bleeding heart” (I live a bleeding heart, by the way.) Too soft, too angry, too emotional…but are you going to care more about what the abstract “they” thinks, or more about your spiritual health and true power? Be you and keep being you, more you all the time. And, the bonus of showing up fully in your life is that you inspire others to do the same — you’re doing all of us a favour. Authenticity is a form of service.
Q: It seems that more and more women are struggling with being their true self as well as being a mother, a wife, a girlfriend and a business woman. Would you say that we are too hard on ourselves? Is society expecting too much?
Well, WE ARE SOCIETY, so it’s not an “us against them” scenario. Women are setting and managing their own expectations to a huge degree. So let’s start by looking at how we treat ourselves — how women treat themselves as private individuals, and how women treat women. Let’s start with us.
And then we also need to examine how we let other people’s expectations and agendas dictate to us. And we just be ruthless in that analysis, because the current social systems, which have been crafted with the hand of the patriarchal ideals, are most definitely oppressive and disrespectful to women and children.
So back to your question: are women too hard on themselves? For sure. I think the root of that drive comes from wanting to be loved — which is what drives most humans. It’s pretty simple and universal. And because it’s a desire to feel a certain way that’s driving us (I call those your core desired feelings), things get really problematic when we get out of touch with our feelings.
So many of us are on autopilot. Achieve, achieve, achieve. And listen, I myself am big time ambitious, so I’m not saying we should shrink our goals, necessarily. But we need to have goals with soul. That means our core desired feelings — how we want to feel in life most of the time — should be driving our goal setting and life design. That’s what desire mapping is.
The question that could change everything is: What are you going to do to feel the way you most want to feel?
Q: Most people think of being vulnerable as a weakness. But isn’t it key to being your authentic self and any real relationship? How can we practice and live our vulnerability and still be a strong woman?
I like to think in terms of openness. Openness is strength and power, and openness can be vulnerability…sometimes. So there are times to be open and fluid with others, and there are times to be closed and protected. When you truly love and respect yourself, you’ll know when it’s the right time to move openly, and when it’s time to close your gates. Self love sharpens your instincts.
Q: You’re a single mom and a successful entrepreneur. How do you get in touch with your inner Goddess? Do you have daily rituals that help you to stay connected to your femininity?
You have to regard your femininity as your greatest strength if you want that to be really alive in your life. So I start there. Femininity as strength. Not as a weakness. Period. And…I’m all about cultivating wholeness. So yes, I primarily live from my feminine energy. But I equally adore and am at ease with being a focused warrior and using my masculine qualities to get down to business when it’s needed — which is often.
Feminine qualities allows us to multi-task in a general sense – active caring for multiple people and causes at once. Women do it so naturally, always scanning, always assessing where people are at. This works great for being a mom AND making business deals. (My kid has taught me the best negotiation skills, by the way. He’s a total pro at trying to get his way — because he’s totally convinced that he deserves what he’s lobbying for. It’s impressive.)
Q: We see a lot of jealousy and judgment between us women. But it feels that there’s also a movement of powerful women coming together as a tribe to support each other. Would you say that things are shifting? Why is it so important to have a strong female support system?
Jealousy and judgement aren’t exclusive to women. Men exhibit similar characteristics but we tend to label it as “competitive.” But yes, either way jealousy and judgement is incredibly corrosive for everyone.
Personally, I experience so much gorgeous, deeply supportive love from my tribe. We cheer each other on. We’re thrilled for each other’s success — even when some of us are getting what the other one wants. We don’t give up on each other. We tell the truth — with buckets of compassion. We really want the best for one another. People ask me all the time what my wellness program is or how I stay clear with success. It’s my girlfriends — for sure. I’d be in a psych ward without them. Sisters are sanity, and big laughter, and power — everything.
Jealousy is a tricky energy when it’s directed at you because it has to operate in disguise, it’s always undercover. You just have to keep shining, and stay in the pleasure of your self expression and your service.
Q: From your experience how do most women want to feel? And how can knowing your core desired feelings help you be the woman you want to be?
Freedom. Confident. Bold. Vitality. Connected. Light. I hear those core desired feelings (CDFs) a lot. And the range is vast. Wild. Bad-ass. Rock n’ Roll. Fluid. Deeply Cherished. Grateful. Certain. Peaceful. Flowing. The possibilities — and feelings — are endless.
When you get clear on how you actually wanted to feel in your life — and then you design your life around those desires it’s a powerful formula. With that kind of inner clarity and outer action you’ll feel the way you want to feel more often than not. Decisions will be easier to make: You’ll know what to say no, thank you to and what to say hell yes! to. I bet you’ll complain less. You’ll be more optimistic, more open-hearted. It will be easier for you to return to your center in the midst of a challenge — I promise.
You will do much less proving, and way more living. And you will have more to give to the world. For starters.
Q: You put a lot of emphasis on gratitude. Why do you think gratitude is so important?
Gratitude is an empowering choice we can make about anything and everything. It washes away victim mentality. Its positivity raises our frequency, it calms our nervous system, and it’s a powerful energy for attracting more into our life to be grateful for. And it’s just way more fun to be grateful than to bitch about everything.
And all that said…I’m a huge proponent of conscious gratitude. A lot of new age theory around gratitude keeps us asleep or passive. It has us be grateful for things that actually warrant healthy anger and dissatisfaction — which are great agents for change and justice. I’m actually not grateful for everything that’s happened in my life — but I am grateful for every single lesson I’ve learned — without exception. That’s empowering.
Q: If you could tell your twenty year old self anything. What advice would you give her?
Algebra will be totally useless. Yoga — get on the mat sooner. Go easy on the fake nails. Your creative voice is everything. When that cowboy comes along — take him. Compound interest is cool. Your heart is your greatest intelligence. It’s going to turn out amazingly. Really, really.