Name: Danielle Bertoia
Occupation: Ayurvedic/Yogic Lifestyle Coach
Tell us about yourself!: I am a Yogini, wife, hobby-farmer, Woods Woman, lover of the moon and stars and an excavator of truth. I spend most of my days deep in the heart of the British Columbia interior, mixing up ancient ayurvedic potions, coaching kick-ass woman and guiding sacred movement. I am intrigued by the parts unseen in each of us and am constantly endeavouring to find a more potent version of truth in myself and others.
What is your definition of what a “wild woman” is?: To me, a Wild Woman is a one who laughs in the face of the ordinary, weeps for the fearful and embraces anyone who goes against the grain.
Society has created a very clear doctrine for the "modern" woman to follow in order to secure her place among the "normal". Be quiet, be subdued, be mildly ambitious, but only in the pursuit of a short list of appropriate choices.
The Wild Woman digs down deep within, consults her inner knowing, compels her ancient, feminine ancestors to unveil her truth, then sets her eyes to the sky to confirm these truths with the moon. She knows the only path for her is the muddy, moss covered, mist-laden trail that has been walked by so many before her, though nearly lost if not for her and her pack.
How would you describe your life was like before starting your journey of being a wild woman?: Anxiety-ridden, confused, consumed by the need to be embraced and accepted by others. Truly, I was lost. I knew that there was something inside me gnawing at my bones to be released and yet I was so fearful that if I let this wild-wolf out, I would be shunned by society, by my community, by my loved ones. I felt conflicted, tortured even, knowing that I was spending precious time wearing an identity that didn't belong to me.
What were your biggest insecurities before engaging your inner wild woman?: Society teaches us that there is a very specific formula for success - Be Beautiful, Be Smart (but not too smart), Be Sexy (but not sexual) Be Happy (or at least appear to be, at all times). I felt chained by these expectations, both by the pressure to meet them and the silent acknowledgement that I didn't want to. I came to yoga as a release for the anxiety and confusion I felt, but I just applied these principles to that path as well. As a member of the yogic community, I felt almost ashamed of the wildness I kept hidden inside. My understanding at the time was, in order to be a good Yogini, I must be placid, calm, soft-spoken and etheric. I can remember feeling disgust with myself, thinking "If these people find out who you REALLY are, they won't love you. You aren't Yogic enough. You aren't pure enough. You're not enough".
Of course, I understand now how strongly my initial conditioning was causing me to project these thoughts onto my peers. I had become so entranced with the idea that I needed to be more pure, more perfect, that I shut off my wildness, misinterpreting it as deviance, when the true yogic path teaches us to witness, embrace and love all parts of ourselves.
What is your life like now that you are actively engaging your inner wild woman?: I feel as though I have stepped fully into myself, as if for the first time I am actually living in my own body, instead of renting it out to the "Idea of the Ideal Woman". I love more deeply, I witness and participate in the full spectrum of my emotions, I care less and less if those around me can't accept me. As a result, I have gained a sisterhood of other wild women that I once thought could only be a fantasy and am contributing to the collective consciousness in a way that I am so, so proud of.
What are your five most favorite aspects of yourself as a wild woman?:
1. Adorning myself in clothes, scents, jewellery, tattoos and make-up and anything else that feels resonant and authentic for me.
2. Nudity. 'Nuff Said.
3. The Sisterhood I have gained. This has been the most fundamental piece for me. Women are meant to commune with other women.
4. How my husband looks at me - as if I am dangerous and edible - all at the same time ;)
5. Howling at the moon. Seriously.
What was the biggest realization, experience, or transformation that most helped you to start unleashing and embracing your wild feminine nature?:I felt the call to wildness for a very long time, but it wasn't until I stepped into sisterhood, making myself both available and totally vulnerable to other women, that I felt a deep shift in my consciousness. It is so engrained in us that other women are competition and not to be trusted, so it took a leap of faith to step into the circle and allow myself to be seen, heard and loved.
Like so many women, I have had trauma around female relationships and only once I realized that my sisters were truly there to support me and lift me up, did I feel safe enough to release that old story I had been holding for so long.
What is your favorite part of expressing your wild feminine nature?: There are so many! Sacred Adornment is huge for me, I love fashion and self expression so matching my outsides to my insides is so fun and empowering. I also love to write and so with each piece, I allow more of my wildness to come through which is both a little scary but also affirming. The world is ready for us in our Wildness, we just have to show up as we are.
When do you feel the wildest?: Again, because I have embraced my wildness with such a fervour, I feel like it pervades everything I do. If I had to pick, I would say hiking into the woods and laying naked on the forest floor makes me feel pretty fucking wild. Everything about it feels treacherous at first, until I remember that being wild is my birthright, then it feels like home.
Why did you decide to participate in Wild Women Unveiled?: This is my Wolf-Pack! Each and every woman featured here is changing the world, fearlessly stepping out and baring her soul, and her teeth ;) I couldn't be more honoured and humbled to be included amongst the finest this wild world has to offer.
What is your message to other women out there who are just beginning their journey as a wild woman, or haven’t started yet but feel the call of the wild woman speaking to their soul?: Darling, you're ready. If you are reading this, you've already started, and from that, there is no turning back. So set your eyes to the sky, howl at the moon, love your sisters and hold on tight. You're in for a wild ride.