Today is a bittersweet day. It’s our final get to know post here on The Girl Who Knows. And I couldn’t have picked a more dynamic and soulful woman to chat with.
Michelle D’Avella is a Breathwork teacher living in Los Angeles, and she embodies everything we stand for here. She’s always learning, growing and sharing those learnings along the way. She goes deeper, always seeking answers and finding meaning in all of life’s experiences.
I admire her tenacity to go after her dreams and the courage to explore uncharted territories – within herself and the world.
You’re in for a treat today – get a cup of tea and enjoy this chat!
I’ve so enjoyed having you be part of the site Michelle, and I can’t wait to get into it with you today – so let’s do this thing, shall we? Tell us a bit about you – what do you do, create and love?
Hi! I’m a Breathwork teacher and mentor in Los Angeles. I work with women and men all over the world, empowering them to connect to their souls and live a life they love. Quite simply, I love, love, love the work I do. While I love to travel, I’ve been longing to build more community lately, so this year has been all about staying put in LA for a bit to build stronger roots as a teacher. I’m having so much fun collaborating with other amazing healers and finding unique spaces for Breathwork workshops (and pretty soon for my Desire Map workshops).
I’m originally from the East Coast. I grew up in NJ, lived in Philly for 8 years, spent 8 months in Maui, and then made my way to LA. I love exploring but I think the moving around was a bit of a way for me to avoid some deep work I needed to do, which unraveled for me once I moved to LA and discovered Breathwork. It was a huge awakening for me, and I really feel like I was guided to this work – which is also why it feels so rewarding to share it with others.
What else about me….I love learning and growing. I have a newish love for plants. I love good coffee and even more so, I love good conversation over some good coffee. You’ll often find me chatting with a friend or writing an article at one of the many amazing East Side coffee shops.
I love my studio apartment. It’s my restorative space and feels very me. I’m always reading something that makes my soul grow. I dance in my apartment a lot. I post some of those videos on Instagram because I think we just need to move more and not care about how we look. It’s my work in progress. I love a lot more things but I think I will be writing all night long if I keep going. *wink*
I feel you girl, my list is quite long as well. I love what you’re up to and the way you see the world. You have a site called Pushing Beauty which I’d love to know more about – why did you decide to launch your website and pursue teaching Breathwork?
It was my 27th birthday, and I was hanging up sheets for walls in my parent’s basement to give my makeshift bedroom some privacy. Tears were streaming down my face. I was basically throwing a pity party. You see, I’m very independent and driven so the fact that I ended up back home was not something I could accept easily.
I decided right then to create a name for this “thing” that my soul had been calling out for my whole life. I have always felt this deep burning within me, and I didn’t know what it wanted, what it meant, where it was guiding me. It created a lot of pain for me for a long time. I felt isolated, confused, and frustrated. So I came up with Pushing Beauty because even though I didn’t know what it was I knew it was going to have to do with pushing beautiful things out into the world. And to be clear – for me, beauty isn’t just aesthetic. It’s about the foundational beauty inherent in love. I knew I wanted to push more of that out into the world.
When I was 27, I hadn’t learned the life lessons I needed to, that could help me make sense of my soul’s cry. That happened when I discovered Breathwork and through Breathwork I discovered I didn’t actually love myself. And that realization changed my life.
That’s so powerful. It’s no coincidence that whenever I talk to a woman about her “why”, it’s often deeply tied to a pivotal moment or turning point (often a painful one). I definitely believe that out of these moments come the biggest awakenings and it sounds like that was one for you. Now that you’re on the other side of this discovery, what do you feel is most important about the work you’re doing? Why does Breathwork matter?
I think almost all of us suffer from lack of self-love and/or self-worth issues. I have always been interested in digging deeper, in getting to the root. When I started to do that after discovering Breathwork, I kept seeing a pattern: most issues in our lives stem from a lack of self-love.
So I think this is the most important work, the work of digging deep within yourself to uncover your greatest fears and wounds and healing yourself. I don’t think there’s anything more important. When you become whole anything is possible, all of our choices radically transform. This world would look very different if we were all focusing on healing ourselves rather than judging other people or using people and things to fill our voids.
That’s so true, and something I’ve struggled with for sure. I love that you’re doing this work, it’s so important! So, now that you’ve been at this for a bit, I’m sure you know that it’s not always rainbows and unicorns in business (or life). Tell me about the biggest obstacle you’ve faced and how you got over that hurdle?
Money, money, money, moneyyyyy. Isn’t that it for most of us? I’ve had some very limiting beliefs around money that I’ve had to overcome. A big one was that I believed I had to work very hard for very little money. It was something ingrained in me since I began working as a teen. I have also been a DIY’er almost always. A hustler. I believed I could do it on my own by reading blogs and books.
When I was the most broke (synchronistically it was also when I discovered Breathwork) I took a huge leap that was out of character for me and signed up for an online business course that was focused around doubling your income in a year. I spent $2k on it and hardly had that much in the bank and I did indeed double my income.
Right there with you girl – money is such a big piece of our journey, and I wish more of us spoke up about it, and how to move past the blocks keeping us from the abundance we seek. It’s so inspiring to hear that you took that leap! Speaking of inspiring, who do you look up to in business? Who inspires you?
Danielle Laporte inspires me which is a big reason why I decided to become a Desire Map facilitator and fuse Breathwork with the Desire Map. She seems to have the perfect balance of soul, spirit, and integrity with smarts, boundaries, and strength.
I think Ramit Sethi is an incredible entrepreneur. He is the founder of some of the courses I’ve done, and I think he has a really strong sense of the psychological components that are essential for marketing and growing your business authentically.
What does it mean to you, to live a life and have a business – with SOUL?
My soul is what’s driving the VW (most of the time at least). It’s the part of me that is connected to spirit but is also unique to me. So to run a business and have a life with soul means that I am in alignment with my purpose, the thing that feels RIGHT. It can be subtle when you haven’t awakened to the calling, but once you begin to listen it’s unmistakable.
Beautifully said. Ok, I want to switch it up for a minute and ask you a few rapid fire Q’s – the first being, what’s your dream way to spend a birthday?
Ohhhhh that’s such a tough question! I think this answer would have been different for me at different points in my life, but now I would say that it’s not as much about what I’d be doing but how I would feel. Being around people who know me and love me unconditionally (and vice versa) makes me feel alive and joyful. If I could have all of them on a gorgeous beach with some bomb food and drinks for the day and then a dance party to some reggae and 90s hip-hop and a bonfire in the evening…I think I’d be blissed out.
Nice, that sounds so perfect! What are the 5 things you can’t live without (like ever)?
- Moving my body (usually through yoga but also dancing)
- Being in nature
- Fam/Soul Fam
- Learning & Sharing
What are the top three places you’d send someone if they were visiting your ‘hood (Los Angeles, CA)?
- Cafecito’s outdoor patio
- Sunset Nursery for some plants
- Elysian Park for a chill hike through some woods
As a former Angeleno – those are some solid picks. Now tell us what you’re working on right now that feels like a celebration?
I’m launching my first Desire Map workshop. It’s going to be fusing Breathwork with the Desire Map, and I’m soooooo beyond excited to explore both of these powerful tools together.
So fun! I can’t wait to hear how it goes! Going a bit deeper – if you knew then, what you know now, what message would you have for your younger self?
Let it be, let it be, let it be….whisper words of wisdom: Let. It. Be.
For real, though. Let it go, don’t hold onto all that pain that’s not yours to carry. Life always gets better. And when you let go, look within and fill yourself up with your own love. Love every single morsel of you because you’re magic just as you are.
And finally — what is one thing you know to be true?
The pot of gold is on the other side of pain. It’s worth walking through.
. . . . . .
Michelle you are a truly beautiful soul – thank you for sharing and giving of your wisdom. And for doing such important work in the world. I can’t wait to see where the next year takes you – I’ll be cheering you on from back East!
My friends – head over to visit Michelle’s beautiful site Pushing Beauty to get more of her insightful commentary on life (and find out how you can work with her – such a yes!!). You can also follow her adventures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. You can also hop over to her contributor page and check out all of the articles she’s so generously written over the last few months.
I’ll be back with another post in a few days about the future of The Girl Who Knows, and why this is our final post in this series. I look forward to sharing about the new plans on the horizon…until then my friend…
Photos courtesy of Michelle D’Avella