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Word from the wise Dani Van de Velde

Who: Dani Van de Velde
Lives: Singapore
Loves: Netflix dramas of the ancient world
Does: Meditation Teacher, Reiki Master, Energy Healer & Coach

I love wine. I grew up surrounded by it, and a meal wasn’t complete without a good bottle of red. My parents taught me about different vineyards and grape varietals - it was considered a fine art and necessary life skill in our home. So wine really is part of my origin culture. But recently I’ve been re-affirming my relationship with it after living through a pandemic.

Covid-19 has actually given me a new appreciation for wine and alternatives!

Normally my drinking habits are moderated by the annual pilgrimages I take - Shamanic Ceremonies require some serious preparation. I usually spend 6-8 months abstaining from stimulants, fasting, and doing disciplined inner work to prepare my mind and body.

But now that I can't travel, the natural breaks from alcohol that I would normally take have disappeared. As a result, my drinking is a bit more salt and pepper. And that’s given me a chance to become more aware. Without the context of celebrations and dinners out with friends, I’m more conscious about the “why” when it comes to drinking.

If I make choices based on mood, that can become a slippery slope, because it puts alcohol in the position of treatment - a mood enhancer. So I’ve been shifting my perspective back to a respect for the cultivation and ceremony of wine.

I drink less and lean towards the stuff that you need to mortgage your house for! Which means I savour it instead of quaffing it! I’ve tried Dry January but it’s not for me. It turned into damp January, then wet February, as my daughter dubbed it! But the cycle of guilt bombing myself is not healthy either. 

I create intentional periods of not drinking - drinking better quality wine and less of it. I've cultivated a much more conscious relationship with whatever I decide to put in my body.

I have to say that the periods when I don’t drink are really enlightening and I think everyone should try it. When you treat it like a spiritual experiment, you can observe how you roll in social situations. It might feel weird initially but that’s mainly because of other people.

This is where non alcoholic options are handy. Honestly, it’s so liberating to realise you don’t need to rely on anything, especially if you’re an introvert like me!

It’s inculcated in our culture that we pop champagne to celebrate, and knock back a drink for Dutch courage. But the truth is, this is systemic cultural programming and it’s worth challenging to realise how much we’ve adopted as personal truth. And nothing beats waking up feeling great.