Dana Freedman is a Certified Dragontree Illuminator, spiritual teacher, intuitive coach, and energetic healer who may or may not have been hiding her gifts behind her career as a critical care nurse for the past 17 years. She now ever-so-bravely combines her knowledge of the practical, the mystical, the magical and the medical to guide her clients through the healing of cultural, familial, and ancestral wounding with the end goal of deepening their relationship with self, with family, with community, with the planet, and the Divine itself.
She even occasionally cures migraines and low back pain.
Yes, you read that correctly, and no, it’s not a joke, but if you haven’t already guessed, humor is an essential part of Dana’s character and medicine.
Some of her earliest memories involve terrifying her family with tales of encounters with dead relatives (“Mom! Grandma Klein wants us to come over for Nilla Wafers!” “Dana, Grandma Klein is dead.”) or by insisting events had already happened and stating their outcomes before they had in fact happened (“Oh, that’s just de ja vu, Dana. It must be de ja vu.”). Her mediumship turned briefly into a fabulous teenaged party trick before disappearing entirely for twenty-some-odd years after she was labeled a weirdo and accused of faking it one too many times, then re-emerged in fits and starts when she began her work with Briana Borten and the Dragontree.
Now it has become the primary vehicle for her work in the world.
Dana believes in magic, medicine, nature, God (no, not that god, but whenever you’re ready she can help you leave the oppressive white guy with the beard at the door and upgrade to the more expansive 2.0 version, which can only lead to) freedom, love--
She believes in you, and your innate magic, and your inherent right to peace, love and freedom, and she will hold you and help you heal until you believe fully in you, too.
All of you.
While she waits for you to find her, she keeps herself busy as a single mother by choice to her two amazing children and three fur babies (two feline and one elderly Siberian husky in case you want to know). They live, hike, snuggle, sing, dance and play in and around their home in Fairfax, California, just north and west of the Golden Gate Bridge. Dana is expanding the breadth of her energy work in apprenticeship with Briana Borten, is in the midst of obtaining a certification in Western Herbalism with Cheryl Fromholzer, and is nearly finished writing her ever-evolving memoir, The Kind of Woman Who Would. While she continues to practice critical care nursing two nights a week from the back of a medivac helicopter, she is no longer hiding her magic.
Neither should you.
Questions? Call Dana - 415-484-9181
Christmas Eve, 2004
I was driving up the Pacific Coast Highway on that stretch between Mill Valley and Muir Beach, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a crisp, sun-drenched, California winter’s day. My husky, Kenai, sat in the passenger seat of my ancient Mercedes Benz, her nose shoved into the crack of the open window, sniffing madly at the scent of the sea mixed with french-fried Biodiesel, and whatever wonders only her dog-nose could detect. Kenai. My white wolf. One of the great loves of my life. She was the only thing keeping me from driving right off a postcard-perfect cliff and plunging to my death. She didn’t deserve to die.
My boyfriend, the man I thought I was going to marry, had just left me, rather unceremoniously, for an 18-year old girl. We were 30. I was flat broke. All of my money had gone, prematurely, into my graduate nursing program. The school had pulled a fast one on us, tripling our tuition rate less than a week before the program began, leaving me with little choice but to pay it or wait another year to apply to different, heavily impacted, nursing programs. All of the money I had saved—for tuition, for rent, for food and gas, what should have lasted me the length of the program—was gone in three semesters. I had been living on little more than day-old bagels and peanut butter for more than a month.
I had called my family for help, and was told, despite the fact that I had never called to ask for money before in my entire adult life, that there was nothing. There had been something once. When my father passed away in 2000, there was a two-family home in the best school district in New Jersey, 20-minutes from Manhattan. There were several fat life-insurance policies. My mother could have moved into the 2-bedroom apartment upstairs, rented the 3-bed/2-bath home downstairs, and lived comfortably for the rest of her days. Instead, she chose to stay in the big house and allow my heroin-addicted brother to move upstairs with his heroin-addicted girlfriend and her two small children. They bled her dry, and then stole from her anything that was left, including her engagement ring, snagged from her dresser while she showered not ten feet away. Every dime she had went up their noses, into their veins. The house fell apart around them. She was forced to sell for a pittance so that she could buy a condo that she could barely afford. There truly was nothing.
I called my larger family, all of whom were comfortable enough, but no one would loan me anything or even co-sign for a private loan. My mother and brother had already pillaged all they could from them. I was just another Freedman-junkie.
I had nothing. No one.
I parked the car in a turn-out, climbed over an embankment, and raged and despaired into the wind and sea. Then I sat down. To just be. Kenai put her head in my lap.
You have everything you need right here.
I heard it. I wasn’t sure where it came from at first, and my automatic former Jersey-girl response was, “Bullshit!”
You have everything you need right here inside of you.
It wasn’t the first time my gut had spoken to me. It also wasn’t the first time I called bullshit on it.
But there was no denying the magic that followed.
When I returned home, there was a message waiting for me from old friends of mine, friends I hadn’t spoken to in months. “Hey Dana, Merry Christmas! Tom and I were just thinking of you. It’s been way too long! Do you wanna come over for Christmas Eve dinner, New England-style? Lobster tails and filet mignon?”
Yes.Yes I did.
Later that week, from a fellow nursing student, a lovely classical flute player who happened to be married to one of the founders of Yahoo: “Hey Dana. I heard through the grapevine that money is so tight for you right now that you’re considering dropping out of the program. Alex and I talked it over, and we decided we’d like to give you the money to finish.”
I didn’t know how to accept it as a gift, but I did accept it as a loan, which I eventually paid back in full.
From my employer, a quadriplegic man whom I bathed and dressed in the wee hours of the morning five days a week so that he could go to work, and his wife, who raised and trained dogs for the handicapped: “We have tons of produce from the farmer’s market. I started going at the end of the day when the farmers don’t want to carry the remainders back home—they really like to pile it on to the guy in the wheelchair! We’ve prepared a care package for you.” They sent me home with one weekly. Later they told me, “You were looking so thin. We were worried, but we didn’t want to make you feel uncomfortable.”
From a dear friend: “There’s a family in our community, Karen and Bill, and their two children. Bill travels extensively for work. Karen is in school and overwhelmed. They have a small studio with a kitchenette at the bottom of their house that no one is living in. They don’t need the money, but they do need help. I bet you can work out a trade with them—childcare in exchange for a free place to live.” I wrote them a letter that same day. They jumped at my offer.
But (most) magic requires a catalyst. Gratitude served as my main fuel, and yet as filled with gratitude as I was for all of the little miracles happening around me, I also knew that envisioning myself driving off a cliff on a regular basis was also a part of my reality, and it was not a healthy place to be in. I needed professional help. I couldn’t afford it, but I also recognized that I could no longer afford to go without it. The same friend who found me a new place to live also gave me the name and number of a man who would change the course of my life—my first coach, my mentor, and my now dear friend, John Pateros.
“Amazing things are happening to me,” I told him over the phone. “Amazing things and terrible things all at the same time, and I know that I need help. But I also know that I want to be able to DO something about it, to take action. The last thing I want is to spend hundreds of dollars I don’t have on a bunch of 50-minute hours for someone to tell me that this is all my mother’s fault and I just need to get over it.”
John chuckled in his wise way and said, “I can assure you, Dana, in no uncertain terms, that we won’t be pinning any of this on your mother. The goal is for you to move through this, all the way through, not to get over it.”
My work with John, whose background included Neurolinguistic Programming, Hypnotherapy, Somatic Awareness, Shamanism, metaphysics, and transpersonal psychology (to name a few) taught me how to be my own healer, to learn to call bullshit on my mind instead of my gut, to hone my sentient awareness. His techniques, which he developed into a program called Process Coaching, gave me the tools I needed to go out into the world and make healthy decisions for myself, including graduating nursing school with honors, paying off debt, setting my career sight on flight nursing and achieving it, saying no to toxic relationships (ahem, some were easier than others to say no to), and eventually choosing to have a child on my own with donor sperm. My work with John has shaped the last 15-years of my life.
When the 2016 election happened, I (along with much of the sane population of our planet) grew incredibly restless and uneasy. The world was falling apart around me, and I felt I needed to DO something about it, but as a single mother working the night shift full time, I barely had enough time in the day to pee much less tackle gender and racial inequalities and climate change.
Or so I thought.
Enter The Dragontree. (Tee hee).
In a moment of mindless middle-of-the-night Facebook scrolling, the name caught my eye: The Dragontree Apothecary—I mean, with a name like that how could it not? So I clicked. I had no idea that that one little click was about to send me on a journey into the next phase of my life.
The Dragontree Apothecary, founded by Briana and Dr. Peter Borten, is a wellness company dedicated to cultivating a more peaceful world by helping individuals reestablish inner balance through rejuvenative spa therapies, products, and education. They offer spa treatments (if you are lucky enough to be in Boulder or Portland), lotions, potions and tinctures based in Briana’s Ayurvedic training, and Peter’s training in Traditional Chinese Medicine, plus books, online courses, and planners designed to seed the greater communities with centered and healthy people.
My first purchase was their Rituals for Living Dreamer and Planner, which came with an invitation to a Facebook support group for folks using the planner for the first (or 5th) time. Briana herself would pop up live in the group, with tidbits and tools for making the most of the planner, guided meditations, and Q&A. It was abundantly clear from the first time I saw her that she was tapped into some sort of juju that I wanted to be a part of, and I was, just by being a part of this group. And then she began promoting their brand new baby— The Well Life Coaching course.
Initially, I told myself I wasn’t interested. For starters, I didn’t have the time (see “no time to even pee”), and secondly, I didn’t have the money. And yet I kept making time for the free online trainings that were leading up to the launch of the coaching program. Every time I participated in one, I walked away feeling a little more open, a little more grounded, a little more expanded, and a little better about the world and my role in it. By the time Briana introduced the first portion of the coaching program, Sacred Expansion, I was sold. Even better, on a whim I took the idea of the program to my boss at the hospital. He agreed to allow me to use my education funds to pay for the program. I now had both the money, and the willingness to make the time to dive deep into what was beginning to feel like my soul’s work.
At first, I believed I was in it solely for personal development, to move me past the place of feeling exhausted and helpless against all of my private battles (multiple miscarriages, childcare woes, my mother), and to help me figure out the places where I could make a difference in the global ones—racial and gender inequality, climate change, Trump. But as I worked through the material, often with a partner or partners from the program, I began to feel more and more certain that coaching, particularly helping women reclaim their power, is exactly the kind of work I needed to be doing to make the difference I want to make in the world.
As a practicing critical care nurse for the last 13-years, I have seen the human body, mind and spirit degrade in every manner imaginable. This is why I’m here.
I’m here to tell you that you have the power to effect profound change in this world, whether it’s in yourself, your family, or the community at large. I firmly believe that magic is everywhere—it already exists deep within you, just waiting to be unleashed. It would be my honor to guide you on your journey, to get beside you and shine a light on all of those unseen parts, to show you the way to your highest self.
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