. . . on her newest book, The Rise
by Karen Larré, Mary Anne Weaver and Carla Garcia
Danette May is the founder of Mindful Health, LLC and The Rise movement. She is a world-renowned motivational speaker, #1 best-selling author of seven health and women empowerment books, former celebrity fitness trainer, wife, and mother. She has shared her unique, inspiring message on national TV, including Access Hollywood, Hallmark Home and Family, CBS, and many others.
Danette has helped transform the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual lives of millions of people around the world. She teaches students how to transform the “muck” of their lives into inner motivation, empowering them to transform their bodies and minds. Her mission is helping others love the bodies they live in and loving the life they live.
Her own “rise” began after losing her son during childbirth, getting divorced, and nearly becoming bankrupt and homeless, all one after the other. It was then that she decided to stop being a victim and rewrite her life’s story. Danette began to focus on the three pillars of healing – healing foods, healing movement, and a healing mindset.
With this simple philosophy, Danette has helped millions of people step into radical self-love and a healthier body. With an audience of well over 2 million people, she’s changing how people think about health, healing, and self-love. Danette says, “wherever you’re at in your journey, know that you are enough, and you are worthy of whatever dreams and aspirations you’re striving to achieve!”
Truly Alive: In your book, you say “we experience life from the perspective of our pain”. Please explain.
Danette May: It’s really important that we look at the past trauma or pain that we experience because our life perspectives are often based on it. I’ll offer the following example: suppose at an early age, whenever you walked into a room, young girls would come up to you, welcoming you with love and warmth. Later in life, as an adult, you would maintain the perspective that women and girls are friendly and kind. But what happens when we turn that around? What if as a very young child, you consistently walked into rooms where the girls were whispering behind your back, or telling you that you’re not good enough, or hurting your feelings? Then you might retain the view that “girls are not nice”, especially new girls – and this can influence your relationships.
TA: Can someone else validate our sense of worth or worthiness?
DM: That depends on your perceptions. If you want to live your life waiting for others to give you approval, you can do this. Ultimately, your validation, your worth, your next level – where you are at in your essence, has nothing to do with other people’s perceptions of you. Validating yourself from your own inner place, is far more valuable. You need to connect with your pure essence before you can evaluate who you are.
TA: What is our soul’s purpose, and how does TV, social media, social functions, friends and family affect this?
DM: I believe that our purpose is to find what our soul’s expression is, and then to live into the fullest expression of who we are. To fulfill our soul’s purpose, we need to connect with ourselves however; when you are watching TV or scrolling through social media, you immerse yourself in the message that is being marketed to you by others. You are encouraged to believe a certain way, to think a certain way, to be a certain way, and so on. Plus, friends and family are also taking all this in and reflecting it back at you.
That is why it is so important to turn TV and social media OFF for a while; because then you can start to hear your own voice, your own knowing. After you “shut off” the distractions, it may take time for you to hear your inner voice. You may benefit from a daily practice of turning OFF and turning inward. It is critical that you tune into yourself – and it’s better than any Google search you can do. It’s better than any documentary you can find on TV. You have the answers inside of yourselfand your answers are the most potent for you.
TA: Why is exercise or movement such a powerful tool for us?
DM: We knowfrom the latest scientific findings, that movement of the body…whether that’s dance, or exercise, or hiking, or swimming – shifts the state of your consciousness more than anything else you can do. For example, movement can shift you quicker than meditation or smiling. If you want to control your emotions, which ultimately are going to control your destiny, why would you not get into movement on a daily basis? Movement is like sweeping out the cobwebs in your soul. Usuallyafter physical activity, people say, “That felt good”, “I feel better”, or “I feel more energized” and “I feel more awake.” That’s because movement is more effective than coffee. So, it is your great gift, to be able to move your body.
TA: Please explain the four small hinges for our readers.
DM: I love this quote: “small hinges move big doors.” If you look, you may notice that large or massive doors usually have at least 3 or 4 hinges that allow the doors to open. It’s the same principle at work in our lives. We think we need a big break or something to happen to move us forward. This is an illusion. What we need is to get into 3 or 4 consistent, non-negotiable practices each day that can be the “hinges” that open the door for us. In the book, I wrote about my 4 practices of choice, and everyone can pick theirs. Practicing this has shifted millions of people’s lives. One is, “healing food” …choosing one healing food every day. Two more practices are “healing movement” and “healing mindset”. These insure that you get into nature, and not just get into it – that you notice nature, – AND notice it every single day. Millions of women around the world, all different ages, all different demographics, have literally shifted their lives .They have shifted their perspective, their health, their relationships, their finances – because they stepped into their 4 non-negotiables.
TA: How can we “get or stay motivated?”
DM: When people ask me, “How can I get motivated?”, they ask me as if it’s something that I’ve been given, and they haven’t – as if some people have the gift of being motivated and conquering the world and others don’t! But I have found that motivation is something that is created. It is not something you are given. YOU create your momentum and your motivation. Watch what you eat, because what you put into your body is going to give you energy or take energy away. When you have depleted energy in your physical body, your brain is going to be depleted as well, and you’re not going to feel “Oh, I totally want to write that book!” or “I want to have that conversation that I know I’m supposed to have!” When depleted, your brain automatically goes into survival mode and conserves energy. So, to help with physical and mental energy, I do something really simple. I drink warm lemon water every morning. I do this if I am traveling, or if I am home, because on a physical level it balances my pH and my hormones; and on a psychological level, it lets me know that I am serving myself first. It also gives me an energy boost. So, this is something simple that everyone can do.
TA: Please explain why “rising is a journey”?
DM: I love the phrase “The Rise” because it doesn’t signify effort that you’ve arrived or that you have to start somewhere. It is the opportunity to step up a little higher from where you are now…to speak a little more, to release a little more and to “rise”. We as individuals will never fully arrive, and that’s the beautiful thing about this journey that we are on. We get to do the best we can every day; but there is no stopping, there is no end point, per se.
TA: What are the different types of fear and how can fear be a gift?
DM: I’m choosing to look at fear a little differently than most people do. I use fear like a fun little gauge. Fear that happens when I am truly in danger feels prickly on my body; almost like a prickly sensation in my skin. When that happens, I know I’m in danger, and that’s an intuition – that’s a sixth sense that we all have. I call that “true fear.” Then there is the fear of doing something that is not going to hurt me or hurt anyone else ;but just an idea or a dream I have, or a conversation I want to have that I feel hesitant about. That kind of fear shows up differently in my body. It feels like butterflies in my belly. I always say to myself, “I’m going to follow the butterflies.”
Depending on the type of fear I’m feeling, I know how to act. An example is: I could be driving my car, when suddenly I feel that prickly feeling in my body, and I realize that I left the stove on back at the house. In that case, I turn the car around and go home, because that prickly feeling in my body tells me I need to act NOW to prevent a physical threat to my well-being. In contrast, when I feel the butterflies in my stomach, I feel that’s my sign to move forward. I say to myself, “I’m going for it.” I feel fear a lot of the time, and if I didn’t have butterflies, I would not know how big and great it’s going to be on the other side of the fear.
TA: What is the benefit of forgiveness?
DM: Forgiveness can be the greatest act of self-love. We all have to step into radical forgiveness of others and of ourselves in life. Mostly, the forgiveness is for ourselves…for any negativity, things said to ourselves, what we have allowed into our lives…just offer forgiveness. That for me is the greatest self-love. And, really forgiving someone else not because you’re wrong; not because you are making them right, and not because you are forgiving them saying “What you did to me was OK” ;but rather you are breaking the chains they have on you. This provides a huge release for you.
TA: Can you speak to the power of “self-love and sexuality?”
DM: Going back in time to ten years ago, there was pain in sexuality for me, and it wasn’t because something was wrong with my body. It was because I was out of alignment with the decisions I was making, especially with the partner I was bringing into that intimacy. I needed to recognize and honor that the body knows all. When you listen to your body, that is a form of self-love, and especially in the form of sexuality. It is women’s divine right to have sexual pleasure. Our sexuality is our creative center and is also where manifestation occurs, and pleasure can be felt. It is our birthright to experience pleasure. The body is like the Holy Grail – it knows so much and is the house of the soul. If you’re not listening to your body, you are not actively engaged in self-love.
Now, at this present time, I see the power of connecting with a Divine Partner and what happens in that expression. Sexuality can be so sacred, and I see the sexual experience as the most decadent, transformational, deeply meditative state we could attain. But, it’s also about making you realize the power of a partner that can hold that space, and also the Divine gifts you have in your pleasure. And when I say Divine Gifts, it’s not just about pleasure, but also the power you have in manifesting creativity in your life. Whatever you want to bring into the world can come from that place that is pure bliss.
Danette May’s Invitation (from page 172 in The Rise):
I take a stand for unconditional love. I believe that life is abundance, a gift overflowing with choices and opportunities. We have opportunities to step into our superpowers and unleash our genius, experiencing exquisite happiness and making the contributions we were destined to make. I dream of a world in which each sister and brother looks each other in the eye and sees the beauty of unconditional love, both for the other and for themselves. I dream of a world in which this love empowers all beings to step fully into the role they are here to play, raising the vibration of the planet to one of radical self-love. This is a call for every woman to step into her shadows, to step into her truths, to own her life with 100% responsibility, and to do the work of self-love. In doing so, we change the world.