Your Passport to Joy

Dear Amazing Readers,

THANK YOU for your support over the last 8 (!!!) years–or whenever you have discovered my blog. This post is one to bookmark because I list and link the resources that have helped me to heal physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually over the last year. When you are struggling, I hope you will come back to this page and pick one tool that speaks to you–a video, a book, a class–and remember that you are LOVED and that we need you here, every single day.

I’ve loosely divided the resources into physical and then emotional/mental and spiritual–but they tend to cross over in categories too. For a little extra context, during the last year, I lost the ability to walk any kind of distance without pain and I experienced a lot of grief from the unexpected passing of my uncle (and godfather) and my brother. And of course, like you, I’ve experienced other life changes caused by our current collective circumstances. Today I wake up with JOY and am back to hiking, biking and boogie-boarding. My Mystic Athlete approach also helped a lot! Here’s a bit more context in a 2 1/2 minute video:

And of course, I have resourcses related to writing and general inspiration and leadership! And you’ll also see a few lovely items from makers I like.

NOTE: None of the links are affiliate links–in other words I don’t make any money if you support them. So when you see me celebrating the individuals below, you know it’s because I have benefited from the talents which they have so generously shared!

Also, if you don’t already have a library card, check out your county library system if you are in the U.S. You can usually get an online card which will allow you to use Hoopla, Libby and/or Overdrive which are all free apps and sites which offer free access to check out books and/or films listed below. I also encourage you to support the creators by purchasing their offerings too.


Natural Movement

I have had an amazing experience with Petra Fisher Movement’s Build Better Feet course. She has a waiting list for the feet course but she also provides a free 5-day Fix Your Feet Bootcamp. She is offering and upcoming course called Joints for Life. Her classes are very well-organized. You can go at your own pace. And she is super responsive to her students. It’s worth subscribing to her newsletter and following her on Instagram. She offers great guidance on helpful everyday activities like how to walk with good alignment. I am still learning that as I seem to lean forward when walking as if I have somewhere important to go!

I first learned about this approach to movement from Katy Bowman of Nutritious Movement. I’m a big fan of her book Whole Body Barefoot, which contains some great and easy daily life exercises. With approximately 25% of your body’s bones located in your feet, there’s a lot to learn and apply. Your alignment impacts your hips, back, neck, knees…everything! I love her 2-minute dynamic work spaces video. Katy has also hosted an annual advent movement experience for seven years if you want a free chance to explore natural movement. You might also be interested in Erwan Le Corre, the inventor of Natural Movement. He offers a free 150-page PDF for signing up for his newsletter.

Pilates + QiGong in One

Next I’m LOVING my Core Qigong course with Steven Washington. It’s 20 minutes of pilates followed by 20 minutes of Qigong. I encourage you to check him out. I feel amazing after every class. And don’t worry about the time of class. I rarely do them live. The recorded classes feel the same. And you have access to a whole library of options. He’s offering a free experience on January 10.

Movement Preparation

I was fortunate to work with the Purety Clinic and received these excellent exercises. After watching the intro video, I have made the second video part of my regular routine and occassionally do the moves in the third video. I’m sharing all four of his “Movement Prep” routine steps here.
1. This one provides context.

2. These are prepare to move exercises that activate your lymphatic system.
3. These are the movements to challenge you when you’re ready.
4. This is the final in the series.

The Earth as Your Body’s Ally

Have you seen The Earthing Movie? Here’s the trailer and here’s the full movie for free. The science behind the health benefits of actually going barefoot (and more) on the ground will blow your mind.

Find a Trail

If you haven’t tried the All Trails app yet, I highly recommend it in the U.S. if you are able to go outside where you live. The free version is great and I have enjoyed the paid version for the last year.

Mushrooms and that Underground Network of Mycelium: Who knew?!

Another documentary which lit up all my nerd DNA was the film Fantastic Fungi. It’s fascinating. And again, the health benefits are illuminating. You might also be interested in Merlin Sheldrake’s Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures. It was recommended by a friend and I’m interested in reading it!


Harnessing Emotions for Your Health

I found the documentary E-Motion 2.0 illuminating — especially as I value emotions as an asset in life. I listened to it during a long drive. While the film does not feature an inclusive range of experts, it offers some important insights about how emotions impact our health and our lives.

How Your Energy is Measured Scientifically and How You Can Use it to Thrive

I enjoyed this lecture by Dr. Sue Morter on The Energy Codes. It’s free but you’ll have to sign up to see it for a limited time. It really taps into ways to speed up physical healing among many other topics.

A Unique Way to See Yourself through Someone Else’s Eyes – and find a job too!

Talk to Tindi – Have you ever had someone reflect positive things about you that are so on point and fill your heart–but you never would have found those words on your own? Well, my dear friend of 25+ years, Tindi Selma Amadi does just that as a certified NLP coach. She is also a highly skilled professional who has helped people find new jobs by crafting unique resumes, cover letters and Linkedin profiles as a personal branding expert. She also has some great testimonials on her site so you don’t just have to take my word for it!

I hope you’ll also check out Brené Brown’s podcast interviews of Dr. Sarah Lewis on The Rise, the Creative Process and the Difference between Mastery and Success. I also enjoyed Brené’s study of leadership in her interview with President Barack Obama.

There are a number of books which have been influential in my healing from grief and life’s challenges. They are:

No Mud, No Lotus and No Death, No Fear by Thich Nhat Hanh – The first slim volume is chock full of incredibly gentle and helpful ways to transform suffering and the second book truly reminded me of how to re-think the conditions that exist to support the living.

Spirit Hacking by Shaman Durek – He offered some great Healing Temple sessions last year for only $10 and he now is offering a Be Your Own Damn Guru Session for 2021 for $20 here. This book is for the open-minded as it really puts the power and responsibility in your hands to clean up your stuff and do the work of bringing your light to this planet.

Ask Your Guides by Sonia Choquette – This book has seriously helped me reconnect to my daily joy. You’ll need to take a leap of faith if you only believe in what you can see.

What’s in the Way is the Way by Mary O’Malley – This is a very simple approach to the world. I resisted it wholeheartedly. When I surrendered, boy did things shift for me. I still have to refresh myself on the basic tenets of the book.

The Big Leap and The Joy of Genius by Gay Hendricks – The concepts in these books address the idea of an “upper limit” problems with relationships, health, money—you name it. Total 100% game changer for me and a beautiful invitation to live in my zone of genius.

The Motivation Code by Todd Henry and several people with PhDs–you can take the free test here. There’s also a paid test. It’s based on more than 50 years of research. In it, you not only find out your motivators, as in the free test, but you also learn about the shadow side of your motivators and what de-motivates you.

The Mystics Path by Lindsay Pera – I am grateful to have participated in two intimate masterminds over the course of twelve months under Lindsay’s leadership. All of her frameworks are included in this lovely book. I use so much of what I learned from her as a foundational part of how I operate daily.

E-2 by Pam Grout – I’ve done three of these energy experiments and they are so much fun and eye-opening!

The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker – I had the privilege of interviewing Priya last year and have been a fan of her podcast and book for some time. Rethinking how we gather is a pivotal part of our collective healing. Though this book was written when we could still meet in person, the principles of innovative thinking and intentionality can be applied in any scenario. I also deeply enjoyed Brené Brown’s interview with her here.


The Night Watchman by Lousie Erdrich was excellent. She is THE REASON that I became a writer. Her novel, The Beet Queen and the related Love Medicine books offer characters who visit with you when you’re not reading the book. If you’ve never read her, please check her out. She even has her own book store where you can get signed copies.

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram really filled my heart. I wrote him an 8-point email with the reasons I loved his book. (What author wouldn’t want to receive that?!)

The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh are retellings of One Thousand and One Nights and I could not put them down.

Lit Podcasts are one of my favorite ways to spend my time.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I adore 88 Cups of Tea hosted by Yin Chang. A recent interview with Tochi Onyebuchi was so inspiring. He is very smart and very joyful and a huge John le Carré fan! I have been blessed to meet a bunch of committed writers through the 88 Cups of Tea community including my writing partner, Michelle Reynoso. Michelle and I check in almost daily on our writing and share inspiring information with each other. She is working on her 3rd book in her The Girl, The Pendant and The Portal series. I started the first book, titled EN and it was a little too scary for me so I have not finished it! She is a lovely person and I truly enjoyed her delightful interview on The Listen Podcast.

If you write, the author Heather Demetrios has some amazingly helpful resources on her site and if you sign up for her newsletter. Nina LaCour also has some lovely, short and quietly comforting podcast episodes in her series Keeping a Notebook. And this interview by Brene Brown with author Gabby Rivera on Superheroes, Storytelling and Joy as Resistance, lifted my heart so much!

Art for your heart — My mastermind sister, Jackie M. Wood has some amazing art available in the form of masks and pillows and actual prints and original art. I wear her masks and have her pillows on my couch and her art in my house! Simple Wealth Art is also one of my favorite local creators. She offers an immediate 10% discount when you sign up for her newsletter. Her copper jewelry is often inspired by nature. I also just saw that she is having a 20% off sale in the New Year.

Now that you’ve hopefully started stamping your PASSPORT TO JOY, here’s an update on my novel: I have been in hermit mode working on the sequel to The Amazing Adventures of Selma Calderón: A Globetrotting Magica Mystery of Courage, Food and Friendship! Spoiler alert: We get to travel to Italy (where I did research in person in 2017) and to Morocco, Zanzibar (where I traveled many years ago), North Carolina and of course, Selma, Hurley and the gang are based in Chicago. And there’s a new villian in town that’s much bigger than in the first book. And as always, I will make you very, very hungry with lots of food! If you’re new to my work, you can read the reviews of my first novel here and check out my author site which includes links to a Huffington Post article, radio interview (skip the two-minute intro) and a [very homemade] documentary about my residency at the magical Drop Out on Orcas writer’s retreat.

I am inviting you to spread the joy from this post and to provide support in any of the following ways:

  1. SHARE & FOLLOW Please share this post on social media or if it’s in your inbox, consider forwarding it to someone who needs it. And follow my blog by entering your email if you don’t already follow and consider following me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
  2. PURCHASE Please consider buying my novel for yourself or someone else. Or ask your library to carry it! If you want to support independent bookstores, it’s available at Bookshop, Powell’s and Indie Bound as well as amazon, iTunes and Barnes & Noble. Remember, I donate 5% of net profits to Teaching for Change.
  3. JOIN Check out the women’s* monthly mastermind that I co-facilitate with Ho’omalamlama Brown of Wholelistic Fit. For a $30 drop-in fee, you can connect with an inspiring group of women and jump-start that project that’s been on your mind and in your heart. (Open to non-binary and anyone who identifies as a woman.)
  4. CONNECT Consider working with me 1-on-1 in 2021 or connecting me with someone who might be a good fit. I have 8 spots open for private clients. You can learn more about the process by checking out my Work With Me page.

These resources, my faith, writing my novel, a deep belief in humanity and everyday magic and my closest friends and family have carried me through. I hope this post helps in whatever way you need it. I wish you JOY always. We can hold it all, together, along with everything else that comes our way!