I'm Dandan

From Lost, Unhappy Scientist
to Aligned Creative

One of the most defining moments happened during the 3rd month of my journey. We were doing a 10 day meditation intensive, where we'd meditate from 3 am to 9:30 pm. During those days, there was no talking, reading, writing, showering, leaving the temple grounds, and minimal use of electricity. I was already struggling with our daily 3 hour sits, especially with the pain in my legs, so I was scared for this one. 

For the first 3 days, I rode a rollercoaster of emotions: Happiness, frustration, boredom, sadness, worry, homesickness, hunger, cold, exhaustion. It literally felt like there was a monkey living in my mind. Once, at 4 am, I found myself absorbed in thought over powdered sugar doughnuts–the cheap kinds wrapped in cellophane sold at gas stations. 

Then, something happened in the afternoon on the fifth day. It started out as the usual: knees throbbing in pain, mind all over the place. But all of a sudden, my mind began melting into some sort of primordial state--no thoughts, just a pool of peace. It felt familiar, as if this was how it felt when I was in my mother’s womb. The birds were chirping outside and the dry wings of insects were zipping through the wind. I heard cars rushing past, but I only heard the sound that came and went. I did not think, “car.” My breaths started lengthening like midday shadows. With every exhale, I was touching something inside. I felt like I was shaking hands with an inner sage that lived in my lower belly, someone who was saying, “It's finally nice to meet you.”
Who was this wise presence? Who am I? For the next 10 years, I explored these questions through multiple doors of self discovery, living with different kinds of people, getting lost, and spending long periods of solitude in the wild. There was even a 3,500 mile motorbike journey in the mix, which taught me so much on the art of surrendering. I let go of plans and found creative ways to fund my journey.

Through the years, I scrapped together my own filmmaking path without going to school- which ultimately led me to create a new style of minimalist filmmaking. It was a profound time of shedding and the practicing of being brave. The rejection letters, the self doubt, the inner critic, the judgment from my community, the ups and downs, the uncertain messy middles, the sleepless nights from worrying about next month's bills...all were parts of the path that have forged who I am today. 

The more I came home to my truth, the more the loves in my life came to me, loves like filmmaking, deep friendships, and my Unravel program. Like groundwater, this journey seeps through everything I do. Yet, I'm still a work-in-progress that's continually evolving and learning. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I believe everyone can live their truth. Finding yourself does not have to be a shot in the dark. It's quite simple really. You just have to look inside, unlearn some conditioning, and unravel the parts that are not intrinsic to your being. I can show you how.

I'm not known as the "black sheep" in my family, but as "the genetic mutant." You see, I come from a long line of scientists, where I'd receive microscopes for birthday gifts. Yet, even though I had the “security” of a well defined path, something about my fluorescent lit days felt wrong. I had no idea what else to do. Science was the only path I knew. 

After years of failing to deny this feeling, I finally caved. I decided to take a one year sabbatical, with a little knob of savings in the bank. Meditation was a burgeoning interest of mine, so I booked a one-way ticket to Japan, where I'd ended up at a Zen monastery door. Unbeknownst to me, this would kick off a four year journey living in monasteries around the world. 

Contemplative creative, meditation teacher, and guide of playful personal growth journeys living in the Italian countryside.

My highest vocation is to help people come home to themselves and build serene, flourishing lives from their truth. 

Hi there!

My Story

It did not always look like this

I didn't always spend my days doing what I love, in deep connection with my truth. 

Just a decade ago, I was spending my days in a  cold fluorescent laboratory, working as a lost unhappy scientist. I was fulfilling the script I had worked my entire life for. I had very little savings, zero followers, zero business skills, a baggage of limiting beliefs, and no idea what I could do. I even thought I was an uncreative person! 

Little did I know that a one-way ticket to Japan would change everything...

journey with me >

From Lost Scientist to Aligned Creative

  • Knowing yourself is the foundation for flourishing in all areas of life, including your creative work.

  • The process of self discovery begins with unlearning.

  • You are not your personality.

  • True belonging first begins when you find belonging in yourself. 

  • The best way we can serve the world is to express the overflow of our truth.

Key Takeaways I Came Home With:

Ready to live your truth? 


A 12 week journey of self discovery for those who long to live life as their unique work of art. 

Join us for this playful, creative, and embodied pilgrimage through uncharted territories of your inner landscape. Unlearn the biggest barriers to your dreams and reclaim parts of yourself that have been lost along the way.

Discover your next steps alongside a safe and nurturing community of people finding their way home just like you.

Wake up feeling in awe of your life


© Dandan Liu 2022. All rights reserved.

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