Get to Know Your Mindbliss Authors
How did you get into meditation and how has meditation impacted your life?
For me, even as a child I would find myself sitting in silence in the forest or someplace in nature to “connect” with the wild things. It felt at home, like I had done that for many lifetimes. As a kid, I didn’t know it was meditation or shamanic journeying, I thought everyone did that. It was my one “safe place” to go.
I remember emptying my closet one day and creating a fort inside, I drew “buttons” on the wall (which did not make my parents happy) and I pretended it was a space ship that took me to another world. What I know now from my years as a Shamanic Coach, is that I had created a portal to go to the Upper World. Meditation and Journeying have changed the way I interact with the ordinary world, I see things differently and I experience life much more fully as a result.
How does it feel when you are in a meditative state?
I don’t “meditate” in the typical fashion of sitting still and emptying my mind. For me, I meditate much more deeply by using music, or the drum beat, or shamanic breathwork which I use to “transport” me into another realm. I can go into a trance which is much like a lucid state of dreaming, and interact with the non-ordinary worlds. I do much of my soul work in these places, communing with ancestors, spirit guides, angels, etc.
I teach the Medicine Wheel and it was during one of my journeys that I was shown what I call the Soul Archetypes, and how they fall into each direction and each Soul Archetype has a very distinct way of meditating that fits them. So meditation is much more enriched when you meditate according to your Soul Archetype. For example, a Visionary who resides in the East Direction of the Medicine Wheel thrives on mindfulness, or silent meditations, or prayer, or chanting whereas the Sacred Heart Warrior of the South would meditate more deeply through creative expression such as Trance Dance, or Art, or even a walking meditation. I think this is one aspect of meditation that is severely lacking in the way we teach meditation.
What is the top 3 most valuable life advice you can give from your life experience so far?
#1 Discover what makes you, you.
#2 Stop playing small.
#3 Step through the fears and the “what if’s” and just do it. We have just this one guarantee of life (we can hope for reincarnation but do we really know concretely and with evidence?) so do this one life right and have no regrets.
What is your favourite quote?
Anything by Henry David Thoreau, he has such beautiful words of wisdom about living so fully and in truth but I am always struck by his quote:
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms…” ~Henry David Thoreau
What is something easy and simple that we can do right now to make the world a better place?
Be present. It is only in this present moment which we live fully. In the present space, we aren’t fretting about the future, or defined by our past. We aren’t disconnected when we are fully present, or distracted. And it starts simply by paying attention, returning to the moment, capturing your life as it is happening in real time.
When I feel myself moving out of presence, I pause and find one focal point in my immediate surroundings – something I can use my senses to experience – smell a flower, touch a tree, taste my meal, whatever it might be and that brings me back to the moment. It takes practice.
What would you say has been the biggest benefit from meditation?
Learning that there is more than this 3D world, healing deep wounds, connecting with those beyond the veil, taking time to give to my own soul. I know that is more than just one big thing but it’s the culmination of what meditation and journeying has created for me personally. They are the perfect ingredients that has created the most change for me.
What is the biggest challenge you had to overcome? How did you overcome it? And what lessons did you learn from it?
Believing that I could make a difference in the world. I was so afraid of being seen, or that I wouldn’t matter. I am a survivor of bullying all through my high school years that left me with 2 suicide attempts. I grew up in a small rural farming community in Ohio and I didn’t fit in with the people I grew up with. Much of my childhood was spent alone, or being bullied and beat up.
When I turned 21 I left Ohio to move to Arizona. I had no job, no money, and no place to live but in my gut I knew I had to do it. That was the first time I trusted myself and I trusted the unknown. It ended up being my first step on a conscious Shamanic journey that has lasted 30 years now.
From that, I learned how to rise above the pain and yet use that pain and experience as a way to deepen my path. I realized that those times of being bullied and alone, that I was being shown how to be strong, how to be empathetic to others, to be conscious of the pain others feel. I was shown just how resilient I am, and I vowed to never play small again, or shrink back from someone else’s words or actions.
As a result, I now teach a Mentorship program where the primary focus is in teaching others how to rise up into their authentic beingness, and to step back into their power as well. I’ve been teaching this work for nearly 15 years now and have witnessed the deep and profound healing of hundreds of people. And each time, I am grateful for having gone through the fires myself so that I can have a greater understanding of others.
When you think about happiness, how do you define that for yourself?
Relationship. First with myself, how well do I treat me? That is the core of all relationships is the self-love piece. Then it’s relationships to others – people, nature, animals, spirit, etc.
I just finished a year long adventure. I took 12 months to travel all over the USA alone, a self-exploration journey so to speak as well as a journey to find where I wanted to live next. I traveled 33, 243 miles and I discovered some of the most amazing places in America.
I had a long list of places I could see myself moving to – places with great weather, loads of options for outdoor enthusiasts, spiritual communities, great art, music, etc. But in the end, I chose the most unlikely of places – I chose to move back to Ohio after 30 years and vowing I would never returned but … my family are all here and ultimately it was my relationship to them that mattered most. So happiness to me is more about who is taking up space in my heart and nurturing those seeds.
Do you have a message for our Mindbliss Community?
The fact that you are here, making meditation and journeying a part of your everyday life is a huge contribution to helping to shift the world. We can only change the world, truly, by the work we do within ourselves. We raise our vibration, our awareness, and that ripples out into the world in such a beautiful and meaningful way. I’m grateful that I can be a part of your journey in some way and to be a witness to all the goodness you bring forward. Love, Dakota.