Did you know that when you just shut up and begin, magical things happen to you?  Part of my reasoning behind this idea, is that I have spent so much time NOT beginning anything, to the point of anxious exhaustion.  Beginning means that I have to acknowledge that maybe something has to change or :::gasp::: I have to take responsibility for something.  But when I just begin, even in a small way, I remember my divinity, even while cleaning the litter box.

When I entered January, I already knew I’d be leaving my current home.  I didn’t know that I had to be an active part of that beginning, that process of rolling slowly away from the place you’ve molded to fit yourself for the last 10 years.  In my last 5 or so months here, I have began (and completed) many challenges in my life.  The difference is that normally I’d make a big fuss about said beginnings and talk all about it, and congratulate myself.  This time, I did it quietly.  And maybe, now that I am expressing these, dare I say it, accomplishments, it may look like I’m being loud (and you’re the reader so you can make whatever judgments you please), but I believe that giving each of these pieces of my life credit will actually make be better at beginning.

In January, I quietly accepted a position teaching a college level course a week before it began and completely made up the whole thing as I went.  My superiors trusted my skills and experience in the field of Early Childhood Education, to tell me “You’ll be great. We trust you.”  So I began.  I liked it, although it was time consuming and stressful, and I never got used to “Professor Gismondi.”  My seven years in the field earned me an opportunity to share about what I’ve learned in that time, trusting that my experience could actually shape future educators.  Amazing.

I quietly accepted helping to facilitate my favorite festival of the year WILD WOMAN FEST, as a Love Crew member.  Basically, I’m getting paid to be on top of a quartz mountain on the full moon with 100 perfect women for a week doing ritual, taking yoga classes, eating chocolate and having moon circles. No big deal. (just kidding, BIG DEAL.) This is an event I used to save up for, and use a payment plan to attend.  Now I am being fed and housed because my skills are of use to this community.  This is a gift that I cannot express how I grateful I am to receive.

I quietly accepted an invitation to teach at MAYFest in Cold Spring, NY.  This is a yoga festival where I am considered an “artist” and am sharing a bill with Elena Brower, Nadie Sardini, Rusted Root and Ozomatli.  What? Me? Again, this is a paid gig and the bonus is that my dearest lady love is the production manager.  This is a relationship that I cherish, and I had no idea that by nourishing it, I would be gifted with such an amazing opportunity.  Her kindness and love, knows no bounds.

Perhaps the biggest deal to me is the most recent offer I have accepted.  Beginning at the end of August, I will be teaching at Breakwater, an independent day school in Portland, 3 minutes from my new apartment.  They took such care in hiring me, and I am so impressed by their staff and their very welcoming nature.  I’ve never heard my potential employers tell me over and over how thrilled they are to have me.  This is a community that values its teachers, and I’ve never quite gotten that vibe before.

Listing these things here, makes them real for me and allows me to let gratitude flow through me.  I’ve had my head down trying to complete the most difficult year teaching I’ve ever had and I haven’t taken time to honor these blessings.  This job is more difficult than being punched in the face twice last year.  That’s not a joke.  I’ve been quiet about this too.  It has also come to my attention that this job has made my physical health deteriorate in a way I’ve never experienced.

TMI forthcoming: Recurrent yeast infections, low libido, a panic attack and poor eating habits have been the majority of my year.  I was unable to admit that I was not okay, that I was upset with feeling no pleasure in my body, and feeling like something was wrong with me.  I did not want to begin because that meant, again- something was wrong.  I was wrong and bad and not worthy of anything.

Flash forward to this month.  After doing a womb cleanse with Sohkna Heathrye Mabin of MamaSutra Loving Arts and Anita Teresa of Embodied Leadership I realized that my work directly affects my ability to take care of my body, specifically my womb.  I highly suggest their work if you’re encountering challenges such as those I’ve described above. (Womb steaming is real, I just paused in the middle of writing this to do mine, and GOODNESS GRACIOUS ME OH MY!! What an experience. My partner just said “That smells GREAT!  If I had a vagina I would totally do that!”) Although I knew this last year, I know it now in a quieter way which, bizarrely, has been more powerful.  The ailments that I sustained were neither painful, nor loud.  Instead, they were a pulse in my body, a nudge over and over again…”Hello dear, please take care of me. I’m not angry, just needing love and support.”  The process of healing these wounds is not quick or easy, but it is deeply humbling and moreover essential to my life and work.  As a note: this month after taking great care of my mental, emotional and physical health, I have not experienced any of the above ailments.  Interesting, no?

Where does this leave me?  Astounded. Incredulous. Grateful. Humbled. The list goes on.  Consider contemplating what you do, in a quiet way.  What is the benefit of keeping your contemplation and secrets to yourself, until you’re ready to share?  What happens in that seeding time, where we allow our work to work within us?  What happens when we shut up and just begin?  I’m pretty sure it’s magic.

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  1. WOW, so much of myself I see in here. Trying to transition and figure it out and knowing things need to change but never beginning!


  2. Just beautiful, Danielle. Proud of you; proud to know you. Come back and be with us… Love you. ❤️


  3. Hi Danielle , what an incredible journey of intraception! I think that’s the word I want! If not you know what I mean. It takes great courage to change and meet your demons head on. My dear mother would always say, although she never heeded her own advice…. ” you can’t take care of anyone unless you first take care of yourself . As woman we are inherently nurturers. I strive to care for me as well. It is wonderful you are aware of this and have been pro active in being the best you , you can be. Life’s challenges will bring you in and out of that goal. It has been heartwarming watching your journey from afar. May your next journey bring you closer to our Lord as you see His purpose set out for you. With love , your Dad’s cousin Chris.


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