Meditation to restore balance and calm

 

This week I guide you through an exercise that grounds you to the earth and helps focus your energy back inwards, to restore balance and calm. 

This is the second audio guide in a series that I have designed to support you through this challenging time. Listen to my first podcast on reducing stress.

I always welcome your thoughts, experiences and feedback, so please sign up (below) to my mailing list to stay connected. 

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Part 2: How not to panic when you’re stuck in lockdown in a foreign country

If you missed Part 1 of our adventures, you can read it here.

Back in Auckland and the country moves into lockdown

On Tuesday 24 March we landed in Auckland from Christchurch, a bit harried and very grateful. But our flight back to San Francisco wasn't for another five days, and New Zealand was preparing for total lockdown.

It was an hour by hour world we were in and no one seemed to know what would happen next.

Would planes fly? The response from everyone we spoke to was that no planes would fly in or out once the country was in lockdown, within the next 48 hours.   

We decided to go directly to the Air New Zealand counter and see if we could change our reservations to an earlier flight - maybe we could even get a flight out that night. (As stressed as we had been, it didn’t deter Thom from taking pictures.)

We had another surprise as we approached the international terminal. There was a long line at the...

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Free podcast: reducing stress in difficult times

 
Welcome to my first podcast in a series where I will be looking at ways in which you can restore some structure into your daily routine, find calm and reduce stress during this particularly difficult period. 

This week, I guide you through a self-visualization that will help you to solve problems and deal with anxiety more effectively. 

I always welcome your thoughts, experiences and feedback, so please drop me a line at [email protected]

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Overcoming hard times: what you can learn from being on lockdown in another country

It was February 25, just a week before we were to leave for Fiji, the trip to celebrate my turning 70, when my husband, Thom, said to me. 

“You know, Jo, this is dangerous and a silly thing to go on this trip. But I’m choosing to do it anyway.” I said, I know. I’m choosing as well. 

I had planned my dream birthday trip for a year. My request to my sons was this:

 “The only gift I want for my birthday is for all my grandchildren to be together and you guys, of course.” They said, “okay, Mom, let’s do it.” 

Just weeks before we left, COVID 19 made its ugly entrance into the world.

We knew it was risky. We tried to console ourselves by saying there’s not that many cases of corona. 

How could we know that we would be caught in another country as they closed their borders? And how could we know that we'd use all our resources to overcome some tough times?

Having the best birthday of your life on a...

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Africa and the Green Way

 Africa was completely and utterly fabulous. It was the trip of a lifetime and I wouldn’t change a thing. I could write a book about my two-week experience on safari in Tanzania.

It was AMAZING.

Get a load of these pics!

 

 

 

 

At times it was surreal. Deep, wild, emotional. Being this close to animals in their natural habitat was beyond anything else I've done in my life. 

I came home from Africa with stars in my eyes, refreshed, and alert even after a 41-hour trip home.

I left again after two weeks.

First to Manitou Springs, Colorado, to be in a circle of 13 women from all over the country… the Green Women’s Leadership retreat.

We came together with our hearts wide open to learn about the climate crisis and how each one of us can make a difference. We talked, we cried, we connected and we realized just how desperate things are in the world. We each made a commitment to our own self-care so that we can be up for making...

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Wanna live your best life? You can't wait.

 

This video was made while my good friend and mentor, Helene Van Manen, and I were camping last fall. We often have discussions like this one about life and how to live it the best way.  Keep in mind that we had been camping for 5 days without showering and barely combing our hair!

Learn more about Helene here.

Today, I'll be leaving on an adventure that I’ve dreamed of for years.

 I’m going on safari in Africa.

 As I write this, I’m pinching myself and realizing that in a few days I’ll be seeing elephants, tigers, giraffes and other animals in their natural habitat in Tanzania.

Last November a very dear friend of mine passed away from cancer. She was a healthy, vibrant 62 year old. After her death, I made a pledge to myself and to her that I would not wait to do the things that I want to do.

I’m not wealthy. But I found a way to do this safari.  I choose not to wait to follow my dreams.

When you listen to the video my friend ...

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Things I wish my grandmother had told me

Four years ago today, my first grandson, Andy, was born.

Since then, I have a 2nd grandson, Rob, along with 3 granddaughters. I love them dearly and as their grandmother, there are things I want them to know. I especially feel compelled to make sure the boys are guided to respect and honor women. And I want them to know themselves and how to express their feelings. 

The following letter was written just after Andy's birth.

I sent the same one to Rob, my 2-year-old grandson when he was born. My hope is that I will be able to role model this wisdom for them but also verbalize it to them. Luckily, they have parents who will teach them these same ideals. 

Here's the letter I sent:

Hello Anderson.

I haven't met you yet but you are my first grandson.  You are the 4th one to arrive and you are met with a sister and 4 girl cousins.  I can only imagine how you will be when you play with them.  As your Gran, I am thrilled because I think that you will learn a lot...

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Climbing Mt. Fuji - learning how to do the impossible Part 2

Part 2.

"To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom."

                                        Ralph Waldo Emerson

In case you missed the 1st part of this story, you can read how we started this adventure in Part 1.  Go here

We had been warned about altitude sickness…nausea, headaches, dizziness. The only way to get rid of it we were told was to come down off the mountain.  My head was starting to bother me now.  More Advil and more water. We kept going.

Indomitable.  Unable to subdue or defeat.  It was powerful to say these words to myself as I heaved my left leg up unto a huge rock. 

In-dom-i-table. I WILL NOT be defeated by this damn mountain.  

I...

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Climbing Mt. Fuji - learning how to do the impossible Part 1

adversity challenges travel Jul 28, 2019
 

Five years ago, my husband and I climbed Mt. Fuji, the highest volcano in Japan at 12,388 ft.  Mt. Fuji is actually a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1708.

This was an epic trip for me. In the telling of this story about our adventure, it’s important to give you some background on what it’s like to climb Fuji-San (Mr. Fuji).

It was a Buddhist monk in 700 A.D. who first climbed Mt. Fuji. A temple was built at the summit 400 years later. It became a pilgrimage site for Japanese. In 1860, the first foreigner climbed Mt. Fuji.

In 1868, Lady Parkes, an Englishwoman, defied a ban on women climbers and ascended the peak. The ban was lifted afterward. What a badass woman :).

It was my husband’s idea. Thom had dreamed about this climb even before we moved to Okinawa in 2013.  He’d always said, “I’m gonna climb Mt. Fuji.   

I really didn’t want to go on this trek. I heard about...

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Miss Virginia and Miss Sara   

In the small Southern town where I grew up in the 50's, it was customary for women to put on a “tea.” These teas were to honor one of the young women in the town who was soon to be married. 

A group of three women who were best friends entertained together:  Miss Virginia, Miss Sara, and Allene, my mother. 

They would plan in advance…sometimes on the phone, occasionally in person. The parties were elaborate. 

My mother and her friends were not sophisticated or wealthy.

But they knew how to put on a “tea”. The silver platters were polished and ready beforehand, along with the silver coffee pots, sterling silverware, bone china, and freshly starched linen napkins. Fresh flowers from their own yards and tasty morsels were always featured.  

My younger sister and I were designated servers. I’m guessing I was 9 when I became a part of the tea party scene. What I remember is that we had detailed instructions as we learned...

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Women's Special Fall Online Weekend Retreat

Friday 25 September - Sunday 27 September

Fall is a time for us to slow down, to ground ourselves and to nourish our bodies. This retreat is designed to help you stop and listen to what it is you need right now. It's a fun and restorative weekend with mindfulness exercises, morning yoga, an online cooking class with the fabulous Chef Bai, healthy recipes to try at home, meditations and group calls to connect you with other women.