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Danny Pando: 
A story of personal liberation

I was raised Catholic, meaning I was baptized but we were never forced to go to church or into any sort of practice. As an adult, I started looking at myself. I explored Buddhism and looked at other Eastern religions. I didn’t know much about the Jewish culture or traditions.

Then I heard a podcast by a guy talking about his experience with Kabbalah. I started looking around for local courses or teachers but had no luck. Then one day I was driving down the street and I saw the building sign for Kabbalah Experience. I thought: that’s an actual sign!

I stopped in, signed up for a Free Introductory Class and that’s how my Kabbalah studies began.

My personal transformation with Kabbalah actually started in the second year of study when we started tackling Masks. It gave me an opportunity to see every part I’ve played throughout my childhood, and teenage years. I had different masks that I put on as a survival mechanism. Kabbalah really gave me the tools to be conscious of the roles that I played. It also allowed me to see some of the traumas from my childhood.

Now in my fourth year studying at Kabbalah Experience I have undergone a lot of change from my first class. I have moved from awareness of my masks to examining the stories and metaphors behind those masks.

Themes emerged about roles I played in my family – like being shy and told that I couldn’t be a certain thing because I wasn’t born into it. I realized that not only am I wearing a mask, but it is one that someone handed down to me.  I realized that I led my whole life by someone else’s ideas about religion, social things, gender roles and more. I was always looking to the older generation to tell me what I needed to be instead of finding my own path.

That was what led me to take a leap and take an improv class. At first I was kind of hesitant. Old masks came up – and I thought I can’t have this thing. A lot of the metaphors made me realize that the limitation I felt, was me holding myself back and not letting me do the things that I wanted to do. At the time, my favorite song was by Joni Mitchell singing about regretting not getting on the plane to go see someone she loves because she’s scared. I realized, wait a second, what am I afraid of? What is the flight that I need to take?

I DID take the improv class. That experience, combined with the Kabbalah teachings, has taken me outside of my comfort zone of hiding and trying to avoid feelings.

My Kabbalah Experience has been a journey of transformation, a very personal transformation, spiritually as well.

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