In a world full of noise, Pamela Dangelmaier has been thinking about silence.
More specifically, she’s been considering what can be accomplished in silence and how we can best use silence to listen and reflect on ourselves and how we fit into the world around us. She will be speaking on this topic in January at TEDxSurrey.
Pamela’s life and career journey have taken her from actor to author and from practitioner to entrepreneur. Today the Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coaching Federation and alum of UFV’s Mindfulness-Based Teaching & Learning graduate certificate (’20) says it’s taking that opportunity to self-reflect—not once or twice, but throughout our lives—that leads us to where we are and who we become. And she says mindfulness is at the root of it all.
Pamela has always considered herself a curious person, which led her into exploring meditation and mindfulness practices. She’d always been interested in the subject, and decided it was time to learn more about it.
“So, for me it was, ‘where can I go to learn about that in a post-secondary environment’? I was searching online in early 2019 and found this new graduate studies program starting up at UFV (Mindfulness-Based Teaching and Learning), and I thought, that’s for me. It was very serendipitous.”
Curiosity and exploration are key
Pamela is one of four siblings who grew up in a household where the children were encouraged by their parents to develop curiosity and to explore.
“They made it okay to be courageous and to try and do whatever we wanted to do and strive for success, whatever that success might mean,” she says.
Her upbringing taught her it’s okay to be curious and try lots of different things.
“It makes for a very well-rounded life and personality. And you get to meet all sorts of interesting people along the way as well,” she says.
For many, she says, success is simply to be happy with current life situations. But as a curious person, Pamela wanted to know more about what motivates people.
“I always like to find out why people do what they do,” she says. “What makes people tick? How come they are the way that they are? How come I am the way that I am?”
“We have these ideas that limit us. They come either from cultural norms or family norms or even gender norms. (We’re told) this is the way it’s supposed to be. That in itself is a limiting belief. And if we can free ourselves from those limiting beliefs…. what can we become? All sorts of great and wonderful things.”
A long and winding (career) road
Given her philosophy about allowing curiosity to serve as a guide, it’s no surprise that Pamela has, to date, had a unique and varied career path. She’s been an actor and an author (her first book, Flour Garden, is a work of fiction based on her experiences with garden clubs and focuses on “all of the quirky and fun things that go on in clubs”); she’s also an entrepreneur, launching her online horticultural store, Botanus in 1999. Her partner in the venture hails from Germany, a place Pamela knows well.
“I guess the path was calling me, so I just followed.”
She had visited the European country as a child with her family—kids, parents and grandparents spending four or five weeks in a camper van, exploring her grandparents’ homeland. That experience left a lasting imprint on her. She went again in 1979 for a short exchange trip, and then the next year said to herself, “if you’re going to go to Germany and actually learn the language and be there and do it, you need to go and you need to go now before you get to settled in your life.”
The plan was to stay a year or 18 months at most; that visit turned into a six-year experience. She returned to Canada, fluent in German and full of ideas about what she wanted to do with her life.
“I guess the path was calling me, so I just followed,” she says. “And as it turns out, it was a great experience for me. I wouldn’t have changed that for the world.”
TEDx Surrey, and a talk about silence
Today, Pamela is the founder of Your Mind and You, where she helps others in their mindfulness and life journeys through their own experiences. And it’s an extension of that practice that brings her back to the topic of silence. Pamela is going to be speaking on mindfulness through the lens of silence at TEDxSurrey on January 20. And while that seems to be a bit of an oxymoron—to be talking, about silence—her focus is on how everyone can benefit from moments of silence, “that in our world right now there is not much room for silence.”
“The working title of my presentation is ‘Silence is Golden: The profound Benefits of Intentional Silence,’ she explains. “Some of the most amazing things can happen when we are intentionally quiet, when we are intentionally silent. Even in conversations. I use this tool all the time in my life coaching sessions with people, allowing moments of silence to enter so that they have time to rest and reflect and to really think and not fill the space constantly with words.”
Pamela says the idea of silence ties into her mindfulness training and life coaching. “And as people will see, my love of silence began at a very, very young age and continues to this day.”
For more information about the upcoming TEDxSurrey, visit their website here.
To learn more about Pamela’s life coaching practice, you can find her online at yourmindandyou.com