how the pandemic is changing the way we communicate online danielle van de velde

​​Permission to be Human? Granted!

​​Permission to be Human? Granted!

How the Persistent F*%#@ng Pandemic is changing the way we communicate online

I think I have spotted a highly encouraging trend…the return of humanness online.

It seems to be a perfect storm of authenticity. We quickly recovered from the judder-shock of homestyle self-maintenance during lockdowns, creating clever tricks of the light for our days on zoom.

The industry of ‘Zoom hacks’ that burst onto the airways was testament to a new pandemic-style refocus on how we present. How to look amazing from the waist up, lighting, angles, audio, mute tactics, background dressing, and laptop positioning.

Yet it’s the human bloopers that are always picked up by millions on social media. I still laugh my head off, watching the viral footage of that BBC reporter at home, when the children burst into the room, followed by a cowering babysitter and the most intense stress responses of the journalist. Hilarious. Or the lawyer with the cat face filter on that he couldn’t switch off. Gold!

Just for a bit of fun, I have been sharing pics of my ‘bedheads’ on social media feeds these holidays. First thing, still in PJs, mad curls, no makeup, unleashed. And to my surprise, they have garnered quite the following! It’s an interesting thing. I think people (including myself) respond very positively to any glimpses of ‘humanness’ in life and online, and we all, in our own way, experience ‘bedhead’. It’s a unifier! 

The Bedhead experiment is also an expression of my mission with my book Spirited. There can be such a clichéd representation of meditation, inner transformation and living a modern spiritual life…my mission is to normalise it and keep it real.

I am a meditation teacher, Usui Reiki master, transformational mentor, speaker and author, psychic and medium…yet…as you can see…I do not wake on a bed carved from amethyst crystal, with an eagle feather in my hair, an ethereal glow and ascended masters making me coffee.

As I write this blog, I am on a break, with Covid, in the middle of a forest in the Blue Mountains, in Australia. I flew out of Singapore four days after my first book, Spirited, was released. It’s a strange feeling to be bunkered away in the deep winter and watching as this beautiful buzz is brewing outside of the tree line. Lots of media platforms are running the press release, Amazon Asia sold out in the week, Barnes & Noble and Walmart picked up the book which is wonderful for reaching the US market, podcasts, events, lots of lovely messages…awesomeness. And whilst all of this wonderful activity is spiralling around, I’m having a very interesting experience and insights with Covid, which I share in The Covid Diaries…Catch the instalments at @spiritedbydani.

how the pandemic is changing the way we communicate online danielle van de velde

As I’ve been slowing down, pondering, watching, I have come to the conclusion that there are six key dynamics at play in this reach for, and re-emergence of humanness. 

  1. The Ache for Humanness

We’re aching for it. Isolations, lockdown, masks, tracking, systemisation and high regulation plus an overload on world stats and denial of our rituals…have us reaching for humanness; honest, non-augmented, vulnerable humanness. 

  1. The Draw to Unifying Dynamics

That reach is driven by our basic human need for intimacy, witness and story sharing. We are a collective species. It’s how we roll. We are therefore designed to thrive, in community. Some of the most memorable footage on the internet during the first global wave, was seeing that Italian community come out onto their balconies and window sills during a lockdown in a divine medieval town, to listen to and love a solo violinist on his balcony. Or images of the wilderness reclaiming its original territories, tracks and patterns. Dolphins in the Venetian canals, flocks of migrating deer through town centres, birds returning to Rome, whales in shipping lanes and more baby turtles hatching along the once abandoned Australian coastline were all dazzling unifying aspects.

I started a Facebook community in 2020 called Monkey Pot Magic to connect people in lockdown over our shared love of the wild. We celebrated and shared these wild reclamations. The group grew steadily over the first two years of the pandemic to about 600 people, but, at the beginning of 2022, it jumped to nearly 1500 people. People everywhere are seeking connection with others who have shared interests.

how the pandemic is changing the way we communicate online danielle van de velde

Bedheads are also unifying. Everyone in some way, shape or form, experiences bedhead. Even if you have no hair, you will have bed face!

how the pandemic is changing the way we communicate online danielle van de velde

  1. Baulking at the Augmented Human

Somewhere in the mix too is a maturation of our fascination with the augmented human image. Advertising is welcoming real – shapes, sizes, colours, and heritages. Thank goodness. My jaded mind is questioning whether they are just riding a trend…but it’s wonderful to have humans back, even in the high fashion images. More smiles would be good too!

how the pandemic is changing the way we communicate online danielle van de velde

  1. Redefining Ageing

A big part of that return to ‘human’ is also some stunning redefinitions of ageing. Helen Mirren, Dame Judy Dench, Demi Moore, Kate Blanchett, Kate Moss, the Queen herself and many savvy, wise, and very sexy ‘older peeps’ are filling the devoid space of reality media and fame junkies. They are all defying the white-haired, washed-out stereotype of ageing and pulling off some stunning wise and edgy commentary and influence.

how the pandemic is changing the way we communicate online danielle van de velde

  1. Keeping Me Real

Publishing a book is a pretty heady business. So much of my own spirit is poured into the pages. It became my constant companion during Covid as I edited on the move. It’s bizarre, surreal, exciting, deeply satisfying and uncertain…all at once. High feels! Yet I have folded in during the book’s first few weeks of being out in the world…in the forest in the Australian Blue Mountains. I’m watching the press articles and saying yes to some beautiful events…yet the land here and posting my bedheads have helped me stay earthed and useful, as well as grateful and humbled by the whole amazing experience.

how the pandemic is changing the way we communicate online danielle van de velde

  1. Rewilding

The reason we return to this beautiful wilderness as often as possible is because it allows us to re-wild. And there’s no better barometer of ‘degree of rewilding’ than the curls in my family. My two teenagers and I have masses of wild curls. According to mum, it’s our untamed Celtic ancestry. Freed from the humidity-prison of Singapore, within a day, our curls return with gusto. They refuse to be tamed or restrained in any way. Snapped hair elastics and broken hair clips fill the bathroom bin.

Immersion in the deep, ancient, untouched wilderness that’s being drenched in cleansing land and life-reforming rains with wholesome food, a good heater and my kids, is gold. Covid gave us full permission to go deeper into what we normally do. We’re drawing, writing, reading, chatting, cooking, resting, and creating.

I believe the entire world is in need of some serious wilderness immersion. Stat!

I can’t wait to view Covid in my rear-view mirror, shrinking as we move forward, and this pandemic swiftly fades and dissolves into the realm of retrospect and reminiscing.

how the pandemic is changing the way we communicate online danielle van de veldeBut as Jean Balfour and I discussed (amongst many other cool things) on her recent podcast, Making Sense of Work, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the virus has gone nowhere and is merrily doing what viruses do…adapting and thriving. I think ‘post’ is a little hasty. Persistent Pandemic or Perpetual Pandemic might be more appropriate.

The quest for humanness is more important now than ever. Playful and authentic communication is the keycode. Are we seeing the rise of The Era of the Bedhead? I hope so.

If you are looking to join groups, retreats or circles with like-spirited people, do get in touch or go to www.daniellevandevelde.com for current offerings. You can also explore courses and useful content on the website to guide you on your path to healing, self-discovery and mindful living. If you would like to explore more about a spirited life, my book, ‘Spirited – A guide to your innate spiritual design to transform your life’, is now available. See stockists here

If you enjoyed this post and would like to share it, I request that you please credit Danielle Van de Velde as the author. I do not authorise repurposing or republishing without my written permission. You may email me for the same.

The Rite of Ritual

The Rite of Ritual

Why ritual is so powerful for generating change

One of the best descriptions of ritual and its transformative power that I have heard, is through the analogy of a match stick. 

The fire is contained within the tip, inert, dormant. Yet through the intentional action and energy generated through the strike, the fire is released and realised. Ritual is that strike of the match. Through the weaving of symbolic meanings, intentional action and energy generation, transmutation of our state occurs. What lies dormant and inert within, sparks into action and life. 

Ritual subverts the critical mind and stirs change from a deeper place within – our causal aspect. For this reason, it is integral to all my teaching and mentoring work. In context and with guidance, it is incredibly effective in healing and generating change.

Expressing our spiritual selves through symbolic energised action is a human, archetypal thing that doesn’t belong to any one religion or system. The earliest archaeological evidence of our ancestors engaging in ritual hails from Botswana, 70,000 years ago, 30,000 years earlier than the oldest European finds. Ritual no doubt is much older; it’s just that the evidence of such has been lost in time. 

 Having researched and practiced many different forms of ritual in my life, I think you can boil them down to nine key elements:

  • Intention – a clear, simple, articulated goal with measures
  • Symbolic representation – usually through symbols, colours, actions, numbers, or sounds, for example
  • Altered states – achieved through meditation
  • Raised energy – achieved through working with the energy body
  • Decree – the purposeful sounding of the intention
  • Visualisation – ‘seeing’ the desired result in ways that engender a felt certainty or propriety
  • Linking the ritual to supportive energies such as astrological movements, the lunations and archetypes
  • Repetition
  • Detachment

Many reading this may have engaged in some form of ritual to generate change, like for example making a vision board, using affirmations, or casting a money spell, but to no avail. The reason for this is that unless there is a clear alignment within the practitioner first, which requires preparation, introspection and honesty, any form of ritual will not yield. We are the source of any emanations we send out into life and we experience those emanations reflected back to us as experiences. If there is dissonance within ourselves in regard to a desired intention, we will experience dissonant results. 

 “Until you make the unconscious, conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” – Carl Jung

This process of alignment is called Metanoia in western Magic, a process of ‘reversing the flow’ within. So rather than our actions and thoughts being governed by unconscious fears and beliefs we hold around our intention, we ‘make the unconscious conscious’ and start to intentionally work with our creative capacities. When intention, desire and actioned choice are truly in a cozy threesome, we can generate pretty much anything, which participants in my Shape Shifting community can attest to over the last eight years of manifesting their many goals through the process. 

the rite of ritual danielle van de velde

Many of those fears or distorted beliefs about what’s possible are formed through our childhood, families of origin, and for some of us, traumatic experiences, and they can be sticky. We build our identity and stories upon them. They are familiar and perhaps have helped keep us feeling safe, yet also contained us in a looped pattern of experiences. Yet with support and a community that can help you acknowledge your blind spots, ritual can dissolve them very efficiently and allow new experiences to rush in. 

And it doesn’t require anything too complicated either. With Metanoia achieved, any action can be converted into a powerful ritual, even ironing shirts, or taking a shower. And this, my friends, is Magic!

75 per cent of the adult population of the Western world holds some belief in Magic. And whilst there are many forms and expressions of Magic, at its very essence, it accepts that we have a connection with the Universe, and that the Universe responds.

the rite of ritual danielle van de velde 

My signature course Shape Shifting offers perspectives that open up possibilities, tools for Metanoia and rituals to make change happen, along with a dazzling community of magic-makers who support each other through the process until goals manifest. I have also created some incredible guided meditative ritual tracks to support you. Zone Rite was recently released on the InsightTimer app. You can stream it here.

I am reopening Shape Shifting for the final time on the September Equinox, 2022. Registrations are now open. After which this beautiful process will be released into the wildlands of my mind and allowed to reseed itself into its next iteration in late 2023/2024. 

Are you ready to create change in your life, find meaning and reclaim your creative capacity? Join us and get your magic on!

If you are looking to join groups, retreats or circles with like-spirited people, do get in touch or go to www.daniellevandevelde.com for current offerings. You can also register for the Shape Shifting course or explore other courses and useful content on the website to guide you on your path to healing, self-discovery and mindful living. If you would like to explore more about a spirited life, my book, ‘Spirited – A guide to your innate spiritual design to transform your life’, is now available. See stockists here

If you enjoyed this post and would like to share it, I request that you please credit Danielle Van de Velde as the author. I do not authorise repurposing or republishing without my written permission. You may email me for the same.

the way we work post pandemic danielle van de velde

I beg to differ, Mr Elon Musk!

I beg to differ, Mr Elon Musk!

The Way We Work Post-Pandemic

Recently Tesla’s Founder and CEO, and the richest man in the world, Elon Musk sent an ultimatum to his staff: To return to the office or get out! In some industries, there’s sympathy with the felt need for in-person connection and face-to-face collaboration again. I can see it in the upswing in corporate bookings I am getting for off-site conferences and team building. Some employees are meeting at these events for the first time in person, having started with the company several years ago. 

I’m also slightly loose on my definition of ‘post pandemic’. I’m writing this blog Covid positive in my cottage in the Blue Mountains in Australia. Aside from a running nose, I am asymptomatic. However, it feels to me that our understanding of ‘post pandemic’ is largely pegged to covid regulations rather than the virus itself. It continues to adapt and thrive. It’s time we did the same. You can follow my Covid Diaries vlog @spiritedbydani.

 Now back to Musk! It was the language that he used when addressing the issue and his senior employees that has raised some big questions. Whilst Musk’s plan for world domination is slowly coming to fruition, there’s no doubt that he too has hardened to the task. As one of the most progressive thought-leaders the planet has, and ridiculously wealthy, there is no doubt that Elon Musk is an apex influencer. So, when he expresses himself publicly through words like the following, we should pay attention.

 “Moreover, the office must be where your actual colleagues are located, not some remote pseudo office. If you don’t show up, we will assume you have resigned.”

 ‘Remote pseudo office’…A clear downgrading of the work-from-home set-up. Yet all industries and workforces are voting for hybrid and greater work from home options. The reality is that the pandemic has shown us what’s possible and offered some significant cost reductions on office space leases. We have seen the rise of online collaborative and communication platforms and spaces and they’re working! 

I joined Crane Club (a shared workspace membership) here in Singapore back in 2019. Since then, I have used the snazzy vibey workspace for filming, photoshoots, podcast recording, events and meetings. It’s a fantastic community, aligned with my style and offering, and gorgeous spaces. Nothing pseudo nor remote about it. 

And some of the biggest players are investing much greater amounts into employee wellbeing and extra ‘true’ leave time.

 ‘Assume you have resigned’…not exactly world-class HR management there! Are we seeing a new side to Elon Musk? Slightly more draconian, and dare I say it…conservative?

 “The more senior you are, the more visible must be your presence,” Musk wrote.

 ‘Senior visibility’…this feels decidedly archaic to me. The Pandemic has also made many of us take a new look at leadership. The days of Senior Visibility are over. We are in the age of Wisdom Accessibility. As we navigated our businesses online over the last few years, the softer assets within the company became much more valuable: knowledge share, mentors, personalities, and stories. 

 And this new work world has also put a spotlight on two key things that have always been, but are now essential to post-pandemic success: the quality of your people and the quality of your culture & comms. 

 A remote team works best when it’s crystal clear what each team member brings to the table, and everyone takes personal responsibility for what they bring to the table. They’re good at what they do and don’t need to be micromanaged. Everyone is on program and working to exceed it. Everyone likes each other and communications are enabled, easy, courteous and fun.

 

Issuing an ultimatum shows the level of Musk’s exasperation with the impact on his labour force, but it also shows that he doesn’t trust them to get on with their jobs. Two other metric switches that the pandemic has raised in importance for post-pandemic survival, are the switches from hard work to smart work; from hours to outputs

 In recent weeks, Musk has praised Tesla’s China employees for “burning the 3 am oil” while saying that Americans are “trying to avoid going to work at all.” 

 Elon, really? Praising the 1980s & 90s hustle culture, especially from your Chinese contingent who have undergone the most devastating impact of the pandemic and endured the longest and harshest lockdowns on the planet. And are you equating ‘work for home’ to ‘avoiding going to work at all’? This attachment to the office has to be examined. It’s no longer as relevant as we thought. The ‘office’ will never be the same again.

 The thing is, that in a much, much, much, smaller way, I am also finding my way in the post-pandemic realm. My small but vibrant and growing business emerged into 2022, a vastly different offering to its 2019 pre-pandemic version. With group gatherings, retreats and talks suspended, I turned all of my attention to online content and connections. 

 It was a massive learning curve, however, I found the right people to work with. We are all enabled on collaborative platforms and we all like each other! I have gathered a small but brilliant team of five enablers around me, and we all work remotely, mainly because of locations. I had to get used to investing in these relationships, but it has created so much additional value that it has been worth it. Since 2020 I have commercialised and integrated my website, published a beautiful portfolio of guided meditation tracks and instrumentals on InsightTimer and Spotify, released four fabulous remixed lounge tracks and started my podcast The Modern Crone, which is now recording its third season. And I also published a book. Content. Content. Content. 

 Marie Nadal Sharma of Them you & Me, website and integration, is based in Melbourne and we have never met in person. 

 Luana Suciu is my visual artist, based in Sweden. We haven’t met in person in nearly three years.

 Sam Joole, an amazing musician and sound genius, is based in Sydney. Sam and I get together once or twice a year for a few days to record live and get creative, but the majority of our creations are made and published remotely. 

 Jan Young, from Expat Consulting, is now based in the UK  – bookkeeping, tax, company structure and LoC.  

 Kym Sng is my only Singapore-based team member. Kym manages the marketing and social media side. As I’m an early bird, and Kym kicks into gear after dinner, and I don’t have a fixed office address, we work remotely. We haven’t met in person since Kym came on board two months ago. 

 This little network of pros has adapted my business towards content generation and IP, and they continue to keep it adapting. And yes we’d all love to get together and meet in person, and that’s more because we like each other and feel like we’re building something together, which we are. 

 The reality is, that my little business also emerged from the pandemic having undergone some major shifts.

 My client base switched from 90% Singapore-based, 10% global, to 20% Singapore-based, 80% global. I am just as busy with my remote private sessions as I am with the in-person sessions in Singapore. The membership communities in my two signature courses Shape Shifting and Intuitive Healing are definitely global, as are the participants in my online meditation drop-ins and online psychic development circles. 

the way we work post pandemic danielle van de velde

 

Yet in my line of work, there is enormous power in physical presence, and face-to-face connection…to be seen and to see others and to engage in group practice and ritual. The retreats, groups and circles are important and beautiful. And nearly all of the corporate workshops and talks I am booked for are in-person offsites in Singapore. 

 I need a hybrid model and some thinking on how to keep engagement with me and with my offering, easy, enjoyable, inspiring, valuable, meaningful and magnetic…for all students, clients and collaborators, wherever they are based. 

 I have so many exciting ideas, more tracks, new courses, next book and (hopefully) more travel….it is clear that my priority has to be online community engagement. That’s where I’m upgrading next and I have a team who will get me there, remotely.

 So, Mr Elon Musk, I beg to differ. I think the same principles that work for my little outfit, are also relevant for global giants such as yourself. The days of micro-management, regimented hours, hustling and ultimatums have well and truly come to an end. And the talent market is so fluid now, also because it’s global and online, if your culture is blazing, you’ll attract the best out there. I think this is a much more positive perspective than ‘if you don’t show up I’ll assume you have resigned…’ Just saying…

If you are looking to join groups, retreats or circles with like-spirited people, do get in touch or go to www.daniellevandevelde.com for current offerings. You can also explore courses and useful content on the website to guide you on your path to healing, self-discovery and mindful living. If you would like to explore more about a spirited life, my book ‘Spirited – A guide to your innate spiritual design to transform your life’, is now available. See stockists here

 If you enjoyed this post and would like to share it, I request that you please credit Danielle Van de Velde as the author. I do not authorise repurposing or republishing without my written permission. You may email me for the same.

the intuitive prompts to engage danielle van de velde

The Unsolicited Guru – Part 2

The Unsolicited Guru – Part 2

The intuitive prompts to engage

Recently, I published the first part of this blog post ‘The Unsolicited Guru – How to stay empowered when navigating the spiritual industry’. I wrote it in response to a significant increase in online approaches by so-called ‘masters’, ‘seers’ and ‘psychics’, promising a direct line to my ancestors who had a special message for me, or to unblock something that I wasn’t personally aware was blocked. In a growing industry estimated to be worth USD 4trillion, combined with challenging times and a greater search for meaning, the scene is ripe for manipulation and fraud. It’s appalling behaviour and I believe it’s one of the main reasons why many people jettison spiritual enquiry and never understand their full potential and dazzling gifts.

Yet, in the mix are some amazing, wise and incredible teachers and sages. And along my journey, I have observed that Spirit can touch our hearts through a multitude of channels, be they books, the breeze, a course, a random act of kindness, or a conversation with a child.

So how do you know when it’s the real deal? When should you prick up your ears, buy that book, enrol in that course, or pursue that friendship?

This is not exclusive, but I have listed some of the main ways it can flash into one’s awareness here.

Sometimes, a teacher, a lesson or some content arrives when you aren’t reaching for it, often when you least expect it. You may have called for it in your heart, but its arrival will catch your attention. Spirit uses the element of surprise a lot.

When you draw close to it, you feel a true sense of expectation, gentle excitement, delight, and joy in your heart. These feelings are spontaneous, and they can start as a little tinkle or a flutter and then grow the more you consider the idea, thing, or person.

You may also feel it in your body, as the heart’s truth is communicated in several different ways into every part of your body. Truth is visceral.

Sometimes, the seed content is laid in your life but its season comes later. Often, I have been given a book or item that has sat in my bedside drawer or on my altar for weeks or even months, and then, without much thought, but with a strong heart compulsion, I will pick it up one day and it will be perfect for the current themes and perspectives I am focusing on at that time. Spirit plays in and out of time.

the intuitive prompts to engage danielle van de velde

If there is a practitioner you are drawn to, take a look at their other students and clients and their life generally, and don’t rely solely on written testimonials. Testimonials are sometimes engineered by the unscrupulous, and sometimes, the vulnerable are forced to write them as a sign of loyalty. This sounds medieval, I know, but I have experienced attempted cajoling for testimonials. I walked.

If a spiritual teacher has a history of broken relationships, chaos, conflict, and persistent illness, I usually take this as a sign that there is inner chaos and conflict. As within, so without.

Look at the flow of the practitioner’s service and offering. When a spiritual practitioner is aligned with Spirit and in flow, their offering and reputation grow swiftly. They are respected and loved, and there seems to be a lack of chaos, obstacles, and setbacks. This is true of all of us when walking in Spirit.

There’s a joy and vitality about spirited people. Sure, they have their bad days, but they don’t see them as bad days, because their hearts are reading a bigger pattern. There is a glow, a light, and a lightness about them. You know that you can trust them and that they will honour you. They come with a feeling of safety. Very often they feel quite familiar to you, but you may not be able to explain why logically.

You have everything you need within you, within your design. You are spirit manifesting through a human nervous system and form. If you feel you need some guidance or a new perspective as you move along, look around, keep searching, and don’t rush things. Ask Spirit to send you the right teacher and content for this time. In my observation, the soul-calls that are made for spiritual truth and enablement are answered swiftly and delightfully, and they make your heart sing. When you make it a priority to build awareness of your spirited self, your intuition is undeniable and the teachings come readily.

If you are looking to join groups, retreats or circles with like-spirited people, do get in touch or go to www.daniellevandevelde.com for current offerings. You can also explore courses and useful content on the website to guide you on your path to healing, self-discovery and mindful living. If you would like to explore more about a spirited life, my book ‘Spirited – A guide to your innate spiritual design to transform your life’, is now available. See stockists here

If you enjoyed this post and would like to share it, I request that you please credit Danielle Van de Velde as the author. I do not authorise repurposing or republishing without my written permission. You may email me for the same.

clarity and connection for business success danielle van de velde

The Unsolicited Guru – Part 1

The Unsolicited Guru – Part 1

How to stay empowered when navigating the ‘spiritual industry’

I believe you can tell when socio-economic conditions are tough by the upswings in sketchy activity on the internet. The amount of hacking, ID impersonation, phishing and sketchy-ass emails seems to spike. And with that also comes an upswing in direct contact from self-appointed gurus, seers and mages, touting a direct line to my ancestors, or picking up on some curse, or having a dream about me…and offering relief, a spell or a turn of fate for a fee.

Lately, I have been receiving a few a week and I’m going to say it straight…these people really steam up my cauldron! They usually come with terrible greetings…like ‘Grand rising love my beloved”; who really speaks like that? Or, ‘Greetings from Atlantis Dear One…” and every shade of BS in between. But what really gets me annoyed about these creepy people is that it is also during socio-economic dips or periods of uncertainty, that many people genuinely start searching for meaning and a spiritual path. There’s more need and more vulnerability.

It happens outside of the internet too. I will also get trends in what I call ‘clean up jobs’. These are clients that come in because they have been negatively affected by a session with a self-appointed healer, mystic, ‘shaman’ or some other important sounding label, which they have found appropriate because they burn some sage and maybe, have danced naked at Burning Man once.

Sometimes, the damage is serious. Low energy, depression, illness, psychological confusion and moreover, a choice to jettison all spiritual enquiry…just because of one run-in with an idiot. I also, on occasion, see it with ex-students who have had a wonderful experience in one of my courses and believe that qualifies them to hold circles and mentor others in the finer arts of spirituality. Feel good is not wisdom! And on the few occasions it has happened (that I know of at least) it has been to satiate a deep need to feel special…which is not at all the best energetic disposition for guiding others.

It’s difficult to measure the ‘spiritual industry’ as it is difficult to define and usually gets lumped in with the ‘wellness industry’ metrics. But going by that alone, we’re talking of a global market that has grown in the last few years to beyond $4trillion USD and is showing no sign of slowing down. This is exciting in some ways, as more and more people are choosing to divert greater amounts of their disposable income into self-improvement and wellbeing…however it also attracts the ‘snake oil sellers’. Whilst the fitness and psych worlds are well regulated, insured and licensed, the spiritual end of the scale in energy healing, spiritual mentoring and the psychic arts, is not.

how to stay empowered when navigating the spiritual industry 2 danielle van de velde

So how can we navigate our way through the options in the spiritual industry, without becoming jaded by the self-appointed, unsolicited gurus out there? Here are my top tips that work for me:

  • Nothing is new under the sun. Nothing. If you are being promised an exclusive patented method to enlightenment that is accessible through only one source and can only be drip-fed to you for higher and higher fees, look closely, question everything, and follow your heart.
  • Do the ‘I/me’ count. When you hear someone speak about spirit, notice how many times they refer to themselves, that subtle self-stroking of ego. If they present themselves as being the source of their power and abilities, tread carefully.
  • Trust only a spiritual guide who has earned that title through personal mastery, preferably in a known system. Check out their followers and students. You’ll get an immediate gauge. Is the guide empowered and free, or are they being manipulated? I once went to a talk with a ‘master’ that did an online metaphysical course that allowed him to choose his title. He chose ‘master.’ His students looked as if they were in a group trance when they gathered. He didn’t seem too shiny to me, and he was decidedly sleazy. I obeyed my heart and walked.
  • Be very alert to predictions of accidents, death, injury, bad luck, or illness if you don’t engage the provider. Believe me; it happens. I once met a shamanic teacher who emailed me urgently saying she had a warning dream that I was going to be hit by a car and needed her protection—for a fee, of course. I followed my heart and walked. I am alive and well.
  • Be very wary of anyone who attributes all their sketchy words and behaviours to their ‘guides.’ This is a real red light. I once met a woman who sent me an unsolicited email for some past-life regression treatment that only she could offer for a huge ‘energy exchange’ (a term I can’t stand). When I sent it back saying no thanks and that I felt neither the need nor compulsion for it, she replied saying that her guides were playing with us and they had sent the email. BS!
  • Be aware of unsolicited divinations and readings. You are in control and should always decide what support you need. I received an urgent message once from a woman in Australia who had seen my Facebook profile picture and was very concerned about my blocked upper chakras. Ironically, this was during a time when I was studying the most sublime heart-expanding practices, and I felt the best I had ever felt. I politely replied, thanked her for her concern, pointed out that the profile picture was actually two years old, and told her, ‘No thank you.’ She was very persistent, and if I were a more vulnerable person, I might have listened to her. I explained that I was not in need of, or want of, her help. She then changed the direction and thought she may have been picking up on someone close to me, maybe a family member. Again, I politely said ‘No thanks’ and wished her well. She then came back with ‘Well, I can’t help what I see or for whom I see it…all I know is that you need help’, to which I replied, ‘Well, if you don’t know what you’re seeing or whom you’re seeing it for, then you haven’t quite mastered your art, have you? Leave me alone!’
  • Exorbitant ‘energy exchanges’ can show that your provider is conflicted materially. In my experience, those who are truly connected to spirit are not focused on material gain. They’re looked after materially when they are in true service, and most give a lot of what they earn to the needy. This is not to say that spiritual teachers should give their services for free either. This life, if chosen, is an investment of time, intention, studies, and practice. It should be charged for, but realistically.

how to stay empowered when navigating the spiritual industry danielle van de velde

  • Just because someone exhibits some psychic ability or has dedicated their life to spiritual service does not mean they are a good person or aligned with spirit. We have seen this in all too stark detail with the systematic child abuse in the Church (amongst other institutions). I have seen this with spiritual practitioners—especially those offering tantric services. If it feels hinky, despite how amazing it might seem or what promises are made, just walk. Walking away doesn’t mean you are spiritually blind or ‘unable to accept higher truth’—yes, that one has been used on me too! It means you are discerning; you are listening to your heart, and you hold the power of free will and choice.

In Part 2 of this blog series I will outline what to look for when seeking out a true spiritual guide or healer, and in the meantime, remember this….

You have everything you need within you, within your design. You are spirit manifesting through a human nervous system and form. If you feel you need some guidance or a new perspective as you move along, look around, keep searching, and don’t rush things. Ask spirit to send you the right teacher and content for this time. In my observation, the soul-calls that are made for spiritual truth and enablement are answered swiftly and delightfully, and they make your heart sing. When you make it a priority to build awareness of your spirited self, your intuition is undeniable.

If you are looking to join groups, retreats or circles with like-spirited people, do get in touch or go to www.daniellevandevelde.com and sign up to receive current offerings and updates. You can also explore courses and useful content on the website to guide you on your path to healing, self-discovery and mindful living. 

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