Daphne Michaels is an author, speaker and licensed psychotherapist whose institute has helped hundreds of women and men transform their lives through the “gifts” every human being is born with. Daphne began her own journey of transformation at a young age, pursued it fearlessly, and later studied formally in the fields of social science, human services and integral psychology. The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams launches both Daphne Michaels Books and The Gifted series, whose goal it is to share with the widest audience possible the principles that guide the Daphne Michaels Institute. Daphne’s earlier book, Light of Our Times, featured her conversations with such international figures in the fields of spirituality and personal development as Ram Dass, Julia Cameron, Dr. Masaru Emoto, and Thomas Moore.
Visit her website at www.daphnemichaels.com.
About the Book:
In The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams author, speaker and licensed psychotherapist Daphne Michaels celebrates the nine gifts that are our birthright, guiding readers in how to recognize and use them to transform their lives. In her author’s preface, Michaels reveals how her own journey of life transformation began when she was young and realized that human existence wore two conflicting faces–one of love and joy, and one of fear and despair. She decided then to commit her life to reconciling these two visions because she knew that, irreconcilable though they seemed, together these two faces held the secret to living a life of endless possibility and authentic happiness. Her personal journey and formal education in social science, human services and integral psychology led to the founding of the Daphne Michaels Institute, which has helped hundreds of men and women design the lives of their dreams.
In The Gifted Michaels shows us that the first three “gifts” we must recognize and embrace within us if we are to re-design our lives are Awareness, Potential and Stillness. These three allow us to identify and use the remaining six with a life-changing power: Disharmony, Harmony, Ease, Clarity, Freedom and Engagement. Each of these six relies on the “essential three” for its own power to change our lives, and each has its own gifts–its “children.” By approaching the nine gifts with real-world metaphors, Michaels answers in easily understood ways what for many readers have been lingering questions about personal transformation—such as how it works, what kind of commitment it takes, and why, if we’re committed, real transformation becomes inevitable—and addresses obstacles that readers may have encountered in the past in trying to reach in life a happiness every human deserves.
While the human universe’s face of love is celebrated in The Gifted, so is the face of fear that haunted a young girl decades ago. As Michaels shows us in her book, even Disharmony—the “quagmire” of life born of the human ego’s fear, defenses, delusions and despair—is a gift, too, and one as important as the others if we know how to see it clearly and use it. Once we understand Disharmony, we are ready to understand the real purpose of Harmony in our lives. Disharmony does not need to rule us. It is ours to use as we design the lives of our dreams.
The final gift in The Gifted, Michaels tells us, is the gift of Engagement. Engagement—with the universe and with ourselves—allows us to use all of the other gifts with more power and joy than we ever imagined possible.
That mountaintop decision never left me. It drove my life’s work and over the years led me to understand that there are gifts – nine of them, in fact – that we are all born with but rarely experience in their full glory and potential. These gifts – which make each and every one of us “The Gifted” of this book’s title – are the keys to living lives of endless possibilities and, in turn, achieving an authentic happiness that cannot be lost. They are, in other words, the keys to achieving the life of our dreams.
Can you tell us who or what was the inspiration behind your book?
I have worked with men and women of all backgrounds and personalities for over twenty-five years, guiding them to live the lives of their dreams. In addition to having a long-term psychotherapy practice, my institute offers transformational programs for people interested in living lives of endless possibility.
My own journey, which led me to eventually write this book, started when I was an angst-ridden adolescent. I smile today, because it was such a dramatic time in my life with classic teenage experiences. And even this was classic I’m sure, although I am still shaken today when I think of the first time I really saw the world beyond my limited scope of experience. I was devastated by what I experienced as a gut-wrenching discovery of two worlds existing side by side: the world of love and the world of despair. It was the world of despair – the fear and misery that I witnessed robbing people of the beauty in life — that propelled my journey to understand and help eradicate unnecessary suffering.
My personal journey took years and led to all sorts of experiences for which I am grateful today. After earning my degrees in human services and applied behavioral sciences, I launched my private practice in 1996 and my institute in 2001. Writing personal development books is a natural next step in my journey to take my message to as broad of an audience as possible.
Is this your first published book and if so, can you tell us your experiences in finding a publisher for it?
The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams is my newest book and part of a five-book series. I chose to launch the Daphne Michaels Books imprint for many reasons. First, it is great to be part of the personal development genre as a long tradition. Our interest in self-help and personal development is part of the American story, really. To make one’s life better — to reach one’s potential and pursue happiness was the intent of our declaration of independence. Many of the successes in the personal development genre started out as self-published authors. It is great to be launching my imprint in an era where POD publishing and ebook publishing helps one reach an even larger audience … and it’s nice, too, that this is the first year Book Expo America has invited self-published authors to exhibit and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY and other venues are featuring the best self-published books. Being part of this new era in publishing allows opportunities to help shape it. This means teaming in new ways with new people and being free to see our projects all the way from conception to publication and beyond.
Where do you live and if I were coming to town, where would we go to talk books?
Pt. Defiance State Park comes to mind. We could sit under a canopy of trees and look out over the bay at majestic Mt. Rainier. Talking about books in an open setting like this seems appropriate to me — powerful ideas and open space complement one another.
When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax and have fun?
One of my favorite activities is walking. And living in the Pacific Northwest, where the beauty of nature is always within reach, makes walking especially relaxing and fun.
Do you make a living off your books or do you have another job?
I am a woman which means I have several jobs, right? While I say this in jest, I believe that regardless of how much I write, having variety in work is important. In addition to writing personal development books I am a licensed psychotherapist and the director of the Daphne Michaels Institute. And I must say that being a mom is an important job that I treasure. My thirteen year old son Gabriel lights up my world!
In your opinion, what makes a good book great?
It is so important to bring the human element to writing. If words don’t have a connection to humanity they won’t move us. They won’t wake us up. And they cannot possibly help us.
Psychologists tell us the thing we think we’d most like to grow up to be when we’re ten years old is our avocation. What did you want to be?
I wanted to be a positive force in the world.
Can you give us a short excerpt from your book?
When I was very young, and life was turbulent — as it often is for the young — I had an experience, call it a vision, that showed me two vast, human worlds in terrible contrast: One of love and one of despair. I couldn’t reconcile these worlds and was tortured by my failure. Human beings could choose to live in either world, and yet so often they chose the world of despair almost exclusively. Why? And who was I, a girl of nineteen, driving to a mountaintop to escape her terrible vision, to think she could figure out what our long human history of strife and suffering had not resolved: How to live with love for oneself and others, and, by doing so, achieve a beautiful and completely satisfying life — the kind human beings dream of.
But shouldn’t I, in my life (that teenager asked herself), try to understand how such different worlds could exist both within us and without? To understand how to acknowledge both? To find the secret to bringing heaven and earth together for an authentic, permanent human happiness and, in turn, an exhilarating life? Shouldn’t I at least try?
I had no choice but to try, though I did not know it at the time. That is the way of all life callings, isn’t it? All I knew as I drove down the mountain was that I had been changed by the stars that particular night. I had been given insights I could not name, and they would guide me – even if it took years — to realizing the kind of beauty in life that can only come from reconciling those two all-too-human worlds.
That mountaintop decision never left me. It drove my life’s work and over the years led me to understand that there are gifts — nine of them, in fact — that we are all born with but rarely experience in their full glory and potential. These gifts — which make each and every one of us “The Gifted” of this book’s title — are keys to living lives of endless possibilities and, in turn, achieving an authentic happiness that cannot be lost. They are, in other words, the keys to achieving the life of our dreams.
THE GIFTED: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams
-Author’s Preface —
What’s next for you?
My book, The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams is the first book in a five-part series. I will be planning my next launch!