I’m thrilled to share my friend Danielle’s book Atlas of Being: From Briefcase to Backpack, One Former Lawyer’s Exploration of the Human Way. In this post below, there is a short preface that will give you a quick introduction to the book.
She, her husband Ted, and I met 2 years ago first time at a mutual friend’s home and we have been in touch since then.
Feel free to connect with her on social media she also offers a coaching program which you can find on her website.
Danielle Sunberg is a wellness entrepreneur, transformational coach, author, international keynote speaker, and mother. A former Big Law attorney, Danielle worked as a corporate litigator at an award-winning law firm in Washington D.C. After successfully defending her client against a $6 billion judgment, Danielle was diagnosed with depression. She left the firm to travel the world to discover what truly inspired her, training with some of the most preeminent mentors in conscious living and studying as a Reiki Master. In 2019, Danielle founded a cannabis wellness brand dedicated to connecting people to their innate wellness that was acquired in December 2021. As a coach to elite entrepreneurs and leaders, Danielle guides people who have achieved success yet yearn for something more out of life. Her new book, Atlas of Being: From Briefcase to Backpack, One Former Lawyer’s Exploration of the Human Way, is a #1 New Release.
Connect with Danielle: Website | Instagram
Book: Atlas of Being: From Briefcase to Backpack, One Former Lawyer’s Exploration of the Human Way, is a #1 New Release.
Below is a preface from the book:
“As a young lawyer, I sat at the defendant’s table in the federal courthouse day after day, listening to witness examinations and flipping through binders of depositions to confirm matching testimony. I was nothing if not vigilant. Our client was a movie investor facing a six billion dollar claim in a class action lawsuit over the movie’s advertisement, and I was going to make sure I lived up to every penny he paid his legal team not to lose his hard-earned fortune.
My life had unfolded along an expected professional path. I pored over my laptop fifteen hours a day, squeezed into pencil skirts, and crammed my feet into high heels. I would have welcomed the pain from pointe shoes, but I begrudged it from my stilettos. I had chosen to be an attorney; it provided financial stability, commanded respect, offered prestige . . . and was utterly devoid of satisfaction.
Each day at my law firm was spent researching, drafting, and filing motions for large, well-funded companies that hired us to help resolve their most challenging problems. The firm’s office in downtown Washington D.C., divided into glass fishbowls, kept us associates minute-to-minute accountable to our work.
We scurried into the office in the morning and peered down the hall to confirm if we were the first to arrive as if it were a badge of honor. There was an unstated competition to jockey for the number one position, won by spending the most hours hunched over our desks. We were expected to live and breathe according to the demands of partners, fueled by an incredibly expensive commercial coffee machine right down the hall.
My office was on a long hallway dubbed “Prisoners’ Row” that housed five associates. Partners strolled by like prison guards, peering in on us as we clacked away on our keyboards. Handcuffed to our computers, we wanted our jailers to see us working but avoided making eye contact with them, which would have served as an invitation to stop for a chat and inevitably led to us being given more work. Horror stories of vacations cut short, canceled birthday dinners, and receiving silent treatment from powerful partners created an ominous atmosphere.
I became an anxious person. I never wanted to go to the office and I was afraid to leave at the end of the day. I’d wake up in the morning eyeing the snooze button, not ready to face the steady stream of urgent assignments, the research questions that never had straightforward answers, or the nervous partner-pleasing disposition (“ass-kissing”) of my fellow associates. Padding over to my closet, I’d sigh and pick out a power suit to armor myself against another day of cramming in as many billable hours as possible, anathema to my personal motto of efficiency.
During the month-long federal trial defending our movie-investor client, I lived out of a hotel room in St. Louis, Missouri. While I don’t make a habit of remembering hotel rooms, I won’t forget this one. Those four maroon walls transformed an ordinary box into a spectacular refuge. I’d fling that day’s suit jacket over the cream-colored corner chair before flopping into bed at 3 a.m. These precious hours were mine to bathe and sleep before waking up to beat the partners back to the war room in the morning.
Along with the rest of the defense team, every day we alternated back and forth from the courthouse to the “war room,” the name bestowed upon the hotel ballroom we reserved for the span of the trial. It was constantly filled with pre-and post-court prep by a team of attorneys, paralegals, assistants, and an endless carousel of food delivery. Riding in on the coattails of extreme sleep deprivation was a nasty cold, and my sneezes shook the courtroom. With a fatigued mind and a worn-down immune system, I had no strength left to swat away the Voice.
This Voice wasn’t audible to anyone but me. It had been buzzing in my ear for a while now, always pestering me when I had no patience for it. It would continually ask, “Where are you?”
It seemed obvious to me. I would hiss “Here!” and swat the Voice away.
Sitting in that courtroom, tired and drained, I heard the Voice ask again, “Where are you?”
Too exhausted to fight the Voice, I surrendered. “I don’t know.”
Finally ready to hear whatever this Voice wanted to tell me, it answered the question that had been plaguing me. Quite matter-of-factly, the Voice said, “You’re not here.”
Like an arrow released from the bow, those words shot through my spine. I straightened in my chair and took in the courtroom with fresh eyes. The judge was perched on the bench, listening to the witness being peppered with questions by a gray-haired attorney in an ill-fitting suit. It all seemed to be playing out in slow motion, as if far away on a movie screen.
I had no idea why those words were so powerful, but they shifted something within me and I couldn’t shift back.
A few days later, the trial concluded and the legal team flew back home to Washington D.C. to await the jury verdict. We were drained but proud of what we had put in front of the court. As soon as I unlocked the door to my Dupont Circle apartment and rolled in my luggage, already eyeing the bed for a good long nap, my phone rang. It was the lead partner on the case, the salt-and-pepper patriarch of my firm’s litigation group. Corner office and all.
“Hello?” I wondered what he had to say.
“Hey, Danielle. I’ve got great news. The jury came back with a verdict. We won!” He spoke excitedly, but I could hear the exhaustion in his voice.
“Great!” I responded, still eyeing my bed.
“I’m taking a vacation,” he continued. “I’ll see you back in the office in two weeks.”
The office? I hadn’t seen my glass fishbowl in a month. My stomach tightened.
My mind raced, and before I could stop myself, I said, “No, actually you won’t. I quit.”
Theme of the book:
I AM BECOMING
I AM UNDERNEATH
I AM PRESENCE
I AM AWARE
I AM BELIEF
I AM CREATIVE
I AM DESIRE
I AM YOU
I AM UNIVERSAL
I AM WELLNESS
I AM MAGIC
I AM COMMITTED
I AM WHOLE
I AM SAFE
I AM RESILIENT
I AM GRACE
I AM NOW
I AM INFINITE
I AM POSSIBLE
I AM READY