Dana Sardano interview – by Sleepy Lion Publishing
Empowerment, Creativity and your story
Ten recommandments for Personal empowerment by dana sardano
First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I always enjoy the opportunity to put forward my own questions, having read and edited this manuscript quite thoroughly! Also, I only realised this week that we have managed to go through the whole publishing process within half a year, which is definitely a record on our side. This is a testimony to your hard work and also your key collaborative spirit throughout our publishing journey! It has truly been fantastic working together, and I can’t wait for our ongoing project partnership. Having had our first conversation back towards the end of summer, I knew straight away that you embodied the core ideals of the company. I know that readers will have so much to gain from your writing, so hopefully this interview will give some insights and hopefully rouse their curiosity in reading the book.
One of the first queries I had when engaging with your work was the title. Therefore, this question comes in two parts. Why did you choose the word recommandment? As it has religious connotations, what message do you hope it sends the reader? What does it mean to you?
Why Ten Recommandments? Why not? I joke but the truth is, although I grew up in a Roman Catholic household and have respect for all religions, I have no real attachment to any one of them, including the one assigned to me. Actually, I have always believed where there’s smoke there’s fire, so there must be some truth in all of them.
When I began writing this book, I had noticed that I consistently rely on ten tenets of my own general understanding that I live by in my personal life and utilize within my workshops and individually when I work with my clients. I would recommend these ten pearls of wisdom to anyone looking to create a better life for themselves, so Ten Recommandments felt like the obvious title–nothing more, nothing less.
Similarly, the word “empowerment” is often used today, and in different ways, but what meaning does it have for you? And, why is it important in our lives?
In all of my years as an educator of adolescent children, my battle cry has always been about the importance of personal accountability. Personal empowerment is just another way to express that sentiment. People are often so focused on external sources for security or self-fulfillment, they often lose sight of the fact that the power is in their hands. Ten Recommandments assists the reader in shifting that mindset and returning the power to its rightful owner. After all, “teach a man to fish…”
You use your own life as an example to provide insight for the reader. I particularly enjoy this facet of your writing, especially as it shows that revelations come in stages, and that growing and learning is a journey, rather than one distinct moment of clarity. However, what drove you to writing this book? Did you have any particular inspiration when writing your work?
Believe it or not, When I was in college, I always knew on some level that I would write a book. I had such colorful life experiences and would often joke about my future book called “The Many Lives of Anonymous by Anonymous” and the chapter titles, one of which “Ouch, You’re on My Hair!”
When I began writing Ten Recommandments, I initially had no idea that I was even writing a book. At the time, my entire family got Covid and in the stillness of our home for about a 2-week period, all of the philosophies and teaching tools that I have cultivated and utilized over the years kept dropping into my head in some quite profound ways. As I began to feel better, I began to write them in my phone as they came in. Then when I became more mobile, I thought, let me sit down and organize these thoughts. I figured I’d likely create a lecture series that I would teach in the gallery. By the time I had written the first couple recommandments, I was like, “I think I’m writing a book here!”
One aspect of your book that I particularly like, and that I feel makes it stand apart from a lot of other self-help books, is that you address the reader directly, and you provide clear questions and tasks that confront the reader without unnecessary positivity. For example, even from our own editors, they mentioned that they found the book both a page turner but also oddly uncomfortable, as it really brought their awareness to parts of themselves that need attention. Is this on purpose? What advice would you give the reader when engaging with your work? Should they have a clear focal point or goal? For example, success, happiness, balance?
Yes, everything about this book is intentional.
To answer your question about a person’s goal or intention while reading this book–I believe as individuals, we all have our own personal desires, but at the end of the day, we ALL desire the same thing–joy, peace, and freedom.
As for my approach, both my personal and educational style has always been to grab as many spotlights as I can and shine them directly on the elephant in the room. I’ve learned that by hiding behind our masks and attaching to our self-protective identities and patterns, we only perpetuate our personal discomfort. Ripping off that band-aid can be quite scary but exhilarating and liberating at the same time. Again, what we all truly seek on some level is peace, joy, and freedom, and being honest with ourselves is usually the first step in that process. Ten recommandments spotlights my own uncomfortable stories and then offers you the opportunity (when you are ready) to do the same.
A theme that I often see expressed in your book is creativity. What role does creativity have in empowering ourselves and our lives?
Ohhh, this is a tough question to answer. Please know I say this with true respect for others’ belief systems. With that said, I have never resonated with the concept that God is outside of us or that life happens to us. I strongly believe that we are all aspects of this divine creative energy source. Following this logic, if we are all extensions of God, then we are all the creators of our own existence. Creativity does not solely exist in the arts–the painters, the writers, the dancers, the musicians–creativity exists EVERYWHERE, and it begins with our individual personas and expands into the life experiences that we attract and choose to cultivate. WE are the creators of our lives. Period.
Similarly, what role does spirituality have in improving and growing as a person?
My feeling is that the concept of spirituality gets thrown around a lot, and like religion, there are conditioning and connotations that are connected to these concepts. Spirit is an energy with which we are connected and that we carry within us. We are spirit–it is that which animates us. Like I previously mentioned, we are all extensions of a divine creative energy source, and once again, by giving to ourselves, caring for ourselves, loving ourselves, and empowering ourselves, this energy, our spirit grows and expands in a healthy way and ultimately affects others in a healthy way, thus making our experiences more pleasant and positively contributes to the world around us. Being the best human that I can be for me and then for those lives that I directly or indirectly impact is my idea of spirituality.
You mention that you used to be an educator for a large portion of your life. Does education still play a part in your life? It is often mentioned that we are told what to believe in traditional education, rather than how to learn or think for ourselves. What advice would you give the reader attempting to restructure their own way of learning and thinking?
Ignore your critics, for they speak to you through the filters of their perspectives. Yes, it is important to keep an open mind, but the reality is that if you shut out the noise, welcome the stillness, and take the time to be in your own presence with your own thoughts, you will find that everything that you need to know for what is in YOUR best interest is within YOU.
Finally, your book addresses a range of difficulties, from emotional and mental obstacles to even physical health. Who would you say would benefit most from your book? Do you have an intended audience for your writing? And, why is it important today, in our world?
This book is for anyone who wants to live a more fulfilling life but just needs a little assistance on how to get there. Ten Recommandments differs from the traditional “self-help” book because I am right there with you every step of the way sharing what I’ve gleaned and continue to glean through my own experiences. I often say that my target audience is women ranging in ages from around 40-60yrs-old, but I am quickly learning that that is not necessarily true. We all want better for ourselves. We all want better for our children. We all want better for our loved ones, ALL of us, but we don’t always know how to get there. When we know better, however, we do better. My audience are those of us ready to do better. You ask, why is it important today in our world? (I chuckle) You’re cute, Michael. You make me laugh ;).
Finally, if you would love to hear more about Dana Sardano, then make sure to check her Website and book! You can also find a copy internationally through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Booktopia and many more…
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