Courage: Qualities of a Well-Lived Story

As our hosts, Dr. Dan Allender and Rachael Clinton Chen, continue to explore the qualities of a well-lived story, they invite friend of The Allender Center, Danielle Castillejo to engage the topic of courage. Danielle is a writer, mother, and recent graduate of both The Seattle School’s MACP graduate program and The Allender Center’s Certificate in Narrative Focused Trauma Care Level I and II. Through their conversation, you’ll hear many stories from Danielle’s life, including her courageous journey to graduate school and the work she is called to do in the world.


“I’m trying to alter my way of living to reflect the way I talk.” Danielle Castillejo

“I have never met anybody who is courageous who thinks they are courageous. Truly courageous people are living out what they have to do, and in that sense of inevitability, they don’t think of it as unique.” Dr. Dan Allender

“Honestly, the courage came from, I know there has to be something better, and my therapist, once she knew I [had been accepted to The Seattle School] said, ‘You can do this, Danielle. You can quit every day but the next day, just try again.’” Danielle Castillejo

“To me, one of the things I so deeply respect about you is this radical hospitality that is also unapologetic. In our Allender Center world, there is certainly a very prophetic way you bring your presence to the world, you bring your voice. I’m constantly learning from you in how you bring your voice to craft language that makes meaning and gives voice not to the voiceless, but helps people to understand and find expression from what they might be experiencing or feeling.” Rachael Clinton Chen

“I really believe that there is hope, after experiencing so much destruction and devastation, even in, as I told a friend recently, it feels as if we’re living in a white ecosystem that feeds off shame. I feel called to say we don’t have to live in that ecosystem, we don’t have to survive on that kind of shame that’s tearing us apart. I’m called to bring healing to those spaces and also to disrupt this ecosystem that’s just like the air we breathe.” Danielle Castillejo

“You are a woman who really believes in the coming kingdom, which is a banquet, which is good food, good drink, stories, music—the life of the party. You create parties in order to deal with some of the harshest and heart-breaking realities of living in a fallen world. I think in part I would say that’s always been stunning. You create goodness, but you enter into very very heart-breaking portions of evil and do so in a way that feels like this is how normal people live, but you know that’s not normal.” Dr. Dan Allender