Bilingual Instructor, Mindful Kids Coach, Entrepreneur, Traveler, La Ventana, Mexico
Deniela is a firecracker. She is open-minded and listens so intently that you immediately end up spilling all your stories, hopes and dreams (in a good way). Such a caring soul, Daniela is 100% suited for her goal in life: help schools to incorporate spanish language teaching curriculum via mindful practices, play and physical activity in general. This work she hopes to take on the road, as her family sold their house and set off on a journey around the world. I met Daniela in Mexico where she temporarily enlisted her kids into a local school and was observing the ways the school operated while jotting down notes about their practices. I was curious how the family with two small children decides to embark on such journey, leaving established norms behind, and constantly answering questions like “You sold EVERYTHING?”, and “Are you afraid?”.
2. Where is your hometown?
I was born and raised is in Caracas, Venezuela. However, as I moved to the United States when I was 12 years old, the U.S. is home to me now. I started my new life in Long Branch, New Jersey (lived there for 10 years) and ended up in Long Beach, California (the state of my dreams) where my husband and I created the family that we are now.
3. What is your profession/career/title/self-label/designation?
A Global Bilingual Instructor/Mindful kids coach/Entrepreneur/Citizen of the World/Traveler
4. What was the journey like to get where you are (in life and career-wise)? What are some accomplishments you’re most proud of, and what was the turning point to set you on a current path in life?
My initial journey was rough as I started my new life in a country where I didn’t speak the language. Although coming from Venezuela to the United States wasn’t easy, as the years went by, I slowly but surely learned and was able to establish myself and continue with my education. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have been able to learn a new language, attend university, and also be able to teach and work in New Jersey, Colorado, Nevada, and California.
Career-wise: I’m very proud of having ran my own business in working with children and teaching Spanish through play. Being able to teach the Spanish language and culture was a gratifying experience.
Turning point: Running a successful business gave me the courage to look at life differently, and to know that it is all possible as long as you put your effort and love into whatever it is that you want to do.
Life: In life, I’m very proud of being able to push myself in having two children in a natural way, with no pain meds, by training myself mentally and physically through hypnobirthing techniques.
Turning point: Having the experience of birthing my children in the most natural way possible gave me the courage and empowered me to do other things in life, like starting my own business and to being more self-conscious and learning more about myself through the journey of motherhood and spirituality.
5. What did you study in school?
I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts, double major in Education and Spanish from Momouth University, Long Branch, New Jersey, USA.
coming from Venezuela to the Us wasn’t easy. But over the years, I slowly was able to establish myself and continue with my education. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have been able to learn a new language, attend university, and also teach.
6. How is your life different from what you pictured at 20?
It’s very different, my life has taken a spin since I became a mother. It has been an unfolding, ever-changing process. I always dreamed of traveling and meeting new people and learning about different cultures. I also had this dream of volunteering in Africa with children.
7. Was there a time when life knocked you down or out and how did you get back up on your feet?
When I had my first child, I felt like life knocked me down, as I felt that I lost my identity during the first year of my son’s life. I got back on my feet when I started growing my own business. This helped me see myself differently, again in the professional world, as a wife and a supportive partner to my husband.
8. Advice for other women?
For those mothers out there, to remember that first they are women, powerful, beautiful women who cannot forget about themselves and lose themselves in the hardships that motherhood brings. That it is possible to go after their dreams, even when it seems hard. That the mind is a our most powerful friend and that we can use it against us or for us.
9. Knowing what we know now in current political climate, can women be "all that we can be" in today's world? What is the way forward, as you see it, for "feminist values"?
I honestly feel that no matter how much society puts women down, women can strive in the world. Someone who comes to my mind is Dr. Shefali. This lady is someone who made a way for herself, made to the top and made opportunities with what life gave her.
10. Where in the world do you feel “tallest” (i.e. where is your happy place)?
I would consider my happy place at the beach, reading a book or simply floating in the water. Drinking a fresh coconut water on a hammock.
11. What extra-curricular activities/hobbies are you most proud of? Why?
I am most proud of my ongoing learning journey of positive parenting/mindful living and my yoga practices. I started doing yoga back in high school, I stopped for quite a while and now it is back in my life again. I embrace yoga and paddle boarding. I’m trying to incorporate new hobbies into my life as well, and one day hope to be able to kitesurf.
12. What do you want to be when you grow up? Future goals/challenges?
My goal is to enhance and enrich children in their communities through mindfulness practices; this includes being able to teach around the world as I travel and bring the values that accompany mindfulness to children. My challenges will be very intense as I am trying to teach abroad and get in touch with small communities around the world.
13. What fears are you still hoping to overcome?
The fear of failure; however I find that life is a risk and those who do not take the risk will never taste the flavor of freedom. Kitesurfing is something that intimidates me, and I want to be able to overcome this fear. The more women I see involved in this sport, the more courage they give me to give it a try.
14. Anything you'd do differently, if you had another go at life?
I would love to have learned another language and be able to speak three or four languages. I don’t think is ever too late to learn, but it certainly becomes more challenging. I’m currently learning French, but the idea of speaking German has always been appealing to me.
15. What inspires you?
The energy of the sun, good food, the beach, and the beautiful people I’m surrounded by.
16. What are you hopeful about?
I’m very hopeful for the next generation growing up in our high-paced society. I hope they will be able to see the human side of things, and be in connection with the mother earth.
17. What are some ingredients to a good life?
Get good sleep. Question the food you eat. Listen to your body. Less is more. Practice gratitude. Self care/self love. Read new books. Try something new: new food, new sport, new places, new people. Listen to healing empowering memory music that activates the brain/ brain frequency. Alpha waves music.
18. What is a quality you most love about yourself and why?
I would say how friendly I am when I meet new people. Why? Because it’s fun to be able to connect with people and make new friends.
19. What advice would you give your 14-year-old self?
To be more mindful and aware of myself when it comes to others around me, to have more of an open mind, be less judgemental and more “flowing”. I would tell myself to stop trying to be a perfectionist, to embrace what is, and notice more.
20. What are you reading now? (what books do you gift most and what are your favourite reads?)
My favorite reads are very much about children’s education and self-development and spirituality.
Books by Dr. Shefali, Dr. Michael Bernard, Osho, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Maria Montessori, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Currently reading the Awakening family by Dr. Shefali and also Life Visioning by Michael Bernard Bewick.
21. Who is a WOW Woman in your world who inspires you and why? Can you nominate three (or more) women you know who perfectly fit WOW WOMAN description? What would you tell them if you had an opportunity, why you admire them?
I admire Danllely Rivas, to me she fits the perfect description of a WOW Woman, for truly inspiring me and other parents in her community with the beautiful work that she does with children. Ms. Rivas has taught parents and children about the Montessori lifestyle. She recently opened her own school in Belmar, New Jersey, United States and is enriching the community around her by showing a different approach to the traditional education for children.
I highly admire Avital, aka (the parenting junkie). To me, she is a WOW Woman who continues to inspire mothers around the world. She is a mindful parenting coach and a mother of four beautiful kids. She is breaking with so many harmful traditional parenting techniques out there and truly shifting the disciplining and parenting world into a more mindful and joyful experience for parents and children.
Another WOW Woman who I truly respect and highly admire is Ana Zavala for taking courage and making her life well-balanced. She is a world traveler who currently works at the Pentagon in Washington DC. For me, Ana, breaks the stereotype of the Latina women in the United States. She has worked so hard to be able to reach her current position and consistently keeps moving herself up the ladder while also maintaining a humble, open minded perspective I’m sure she gained through her travels.
The women above are WOW Women to me because they all carry examples of possibilities for others. All of them come from different backgrounds and cultures and all live and strive in the same country, the United States. Danllely Rivas is from Venezuela, Ana Zavala is from Mexico, and Avital aka (the parenting junkie) is from Israel.
22. Where can others find you/your work (links to websites, blogs, etc.)?