The gift of a near death experience
On July 4, 1998, at the age of 19, I was out rock climbing with friends I had just met. On the top of the cliff, I was filled with anticipation. My intuition gave me a hit to stop that I ignored because I wanted to impress my new friends. I was distracted as I was connecting the ropes to my harness. I went to the edge of the cliff and jumped. I thought I was hooked in properly. In an instant my world went black.
Falling took a split second, yet I experienced a timeless space that didn’t include my senses as I knew them. I felt ecstatic yet peaceful, warmth without heat, nurtured and loved by formless energy, and I was seemingly in a black void but nothing was lacking. I knew I could live or die and I remember so clearly not having a preference. In that timeless space I felt connected to source and experienced myself existing beyond of my body. I touched an understanding that death was not the end of what I knew to be myself. Something caught me during my fall; it held me in a way I had never been held before. In its presence there was nothing to be afraid of.
I was in and out of consciousness arriving at the hospital as a priest read me my last rites. Medical staff perhaps thinking I was going to die had a student practicing his stapling skills on my skull. There were broken bones along my spine. One break in my neck was a centimeter away from leaving me dead or paralyzed. All the doctors and nurses affectionately referred to me as a miracle. To everyone’s surprise I walked out of the hospital five days later.
After the daily morphine drip at the hospital, I woke up at home with unquenchable questions: Why am I here? Where did I come from? Why did I live? What’s my purpose? What happens after I die? What was that extraordinary place I went to that was timeless and beyond ordinary reality?
One thing that I did know was that my bones and my dreams were crushed. I had one major goal during my teen years: to play lacrosse in college. I was proud to have been recruited and given a scholarship to a Division 1 school and to start on the field as a freshman. However, everything I was envisioning my future to be and everything I built my identity around was gone.
I could look at everything I lost in that moment, yet I’m grateful for what I gained: a modern day initiation that completely changed me and brought life to my purpose. It tore away everything so that I can connect to source within me and all around me. It took me many years to make sense of everything I experienced and set me on a healing journey that informs a lot of my work. I came to see that the connection to source that I felt in the void was the ultimate gift. I would not trade anything for it. It changed my perspective on everything to face my death and immediately put me in touch with my resilience.
This experience allowed me to be with someone’s worst fear, pain or actual death, and not be afraid. I found that by being present and connected with an open heart, without fear or fixing, was incredibly nourishing to others. Then I began guiding people to connect to this place of open heart and no fear in themselves, so that they can nurture their own parts that had fear and pain. I was amazed at how quickly people could connect to this by simply guiding them to try. There is nothing more rewarding than to hold up a mirror so people can know and trust their true resilient self.
My experience connecting with something so infinite, profound, and loving as I did when falling through space made me curious how I can help others experience something similar. When interviewing people I found that those who believed that once you die everything is over, suffered from much more fear and anxiety in life. Even if we don’t know what happens after death our beliefs greatly impact our reality. I began to study psychology and dive into meditation when I started my career path at Naropa University in Boulder, CO. I eventually found meditation to be another way to connect to source and have similar experiences as I did when I fell which led me to creating guided meditations for my clients.
In 2008, ten years after my fall I started a private practice specializing in helping people heal from all types of trauma as an integrative psychotherapist. It was my vision to grow this business and open an integrative healing center. I began hiring clinicians and manifesting my dream. I learned step-by-step how to wear and juggle all the hats of an entrepreneur. My inspiration drove me to take risks and continue through the pain and challenges. I was well acquainted with the list that never ends: contracts, HR and legal issues, managing a team, referrals, marketing, insurance, accounting, office maintenance, training, facing my greatest fears and the passion that kept me going through it all. Even though it got to a place where I was experiencing unrelenting stress managing other people, I couldn’t see any other option other than continuing toward manifesting my vision.
I was high above the clouds sitting in the window seat when I realized I was going in the wrong direction. The vision I had completely dedicated myself to needed to change. I had never allowed myself to consider this new perspective until that moment because I was going non-stop. As the new possibility entered I felt so liberated that I broke down in tears at the airport. I came back from my trip and closed down the group practice that I built, and took a step into the dark not knowing what was next.
During this time of exploring my next steps and enjoying the simplicity of downsizing my business, a pandemic came like a tsunami and turned life upside down for the whole world. As a trauma therapist I could see the long-term implications of a global trauma taking place. Trauma can impact us in every way: physical, physiological, biochemical, emotional, psychological, relational, energetic, and spiritual. The unprecedented amount of fear that swept across the planet had my attention. Fear disconnects us from ourself, our resilience, our connection to source, and our ability to create our future (rather than repeat the past). This inspired me to put my energy into reaching more people and helping them experience freedom from fear.
I realized I could help more people if I could feel greater freedom to grow and evolve in my work, which meant no longer having the limitation of working under my psychotherapy license. I’ve always been passionate about holistic health, spirituality, and the multi-dimensionality of being human. So I started this business where I am bringing all my knowledge and experience as a psychotherapist to being a guide; guiding people to explore their innate unshakable resilience, connection to source, truth and authentic expression, as well as potential for transformation and creation.
I have a vision of a more evolved world. It’s my mission to empower people
to live from power, resilience, and authenticity
instead of fear, pain, and conditioning.
Do you want to experience your true power, resilience, and potential? Do you want to free yourself from conditioning and be your most authentic self? Are you a parent or do you feel called to be a leader and want to help others live free from fear? Are you willing to step out of what is familiar and take a risk and leap into the unknown? There is support for you in the free-fall: you might not be able to see it, but I can help you experience it. I consciously choose to free-fall out of who I think I am, out of the conditioning, out of the limitations, and through the dark into the light. Would you like to join me?
I would be honored to support you on your journey!
Together let’s raise our consciousness and help evolve humanity.
“Working with Danielle was one of the best things that I have ever done. She helped teach me how to access parts of my psyche that would have been lost otherwise to my overthinking and distracted mind. I came to Danielle after being hit by a car as a pedestrian. When I first started seeing her I was triggered by all things car related: walking to work, loud screeching breaks, and even being in the car with someone else driving and if they had to slam on their brakes it would all trigger deep feelings of anxiety. Danielle helped me work through both my physical and mental trauma while also teaching me how to heal from past experiences that went beyond my accident. Many years later, I still use the tools that she taught me to help myself deal and heal from the situations that life throws at me. I’m grateful to know and trust my resilience through our work together. I also constantly praise her to my personal training clients and friends alike because her work is truly special. I would 100% recommend Danielle and her expertise for anyone that is looking for healing, growth or guidance in any area of their lives.”
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