I met Jeanne at a yoga class in Oakland. She's got a wild spirit and hair to match along with eternally tan skin as she’s constantly chasing the sun as an avid kiteboarder. Jeanne has a PHD in clinical psychology and is a wellness coach. Jeanne recently transitioned to a nomadic lifestyle and is enjoying vanlife.
What’s your everyday magic
In the course of a regular day-running errands in Walnut Creek or going to a doctor’s appointment-I find the moments of what feels like genuine heart connections with strangers really special. It’s like the kind of instant connections that can happen when people travel and are open in a certain way or perhaps looking with different eyes at people in a foreign country. But we can find the same experiences no matter where we are. People seem to be really inspired too and often respond in beautiful and poetic ways. Sometimes with a hug, but more often a verbal expression of appreciation. That sometimes surprises me, because it doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s a day that’s flowing easily or not. Those spontaneous moments feel like little treasures - I’ve started writing down-the often quite moving things that people say-and keep them in a box.
Actually, I feel like that’s how we met. I thought you were a woman I met the week before who worked in a shop around the corner from the yoga studio that sold kids’ clothes and furniture. And I remember you said in the most bright and cheerful of ways, ‘No way - I totally hate babies.’ I found it to be so endearing and authentic because you didn’t know or adjust yourself depending on my degree of baby loving, and in that moment I got this essential and genuine quality from you right away. And we’ve been friends ever since.
What strategies and tactics do you use for everyday magic?
The spontaneous connections just seem to naturally happen if you are open as you move through the day and really notice all of the interesting and wonderful people.
But when it comes to my relationship with my partner, we actively cultivate it together. One of our little rituals is to sing love songs to each other in the middle of the night. One of us will sing a line of a song and the other one will sing the next line. We can be dead asleep and rarely do we miss a beat. We are conscious of always planting seeds of love and building and maintaining a safe and loving kind of bubble. We also approach life as a kind of improv-an unforeseen twist or bump in the road arises and we say “yes and…”
Usually, magic follows. Often it involves dancing.
Then it’s also maintaining a high quality of heart connections. I wasn’t really aware of it before and I’m sure you weren’t either as it’s a quality that we share, but it’s been more interesting lately when I’m with people where it is less available to them-maybe more buried and hard to find. So I’m struck when they feel these moments of ease and hear them describe it as a magical thing. So, I’ve become more aware of it as essential and valuable, and in turn, it’s magical for me too. I get so much joy out of these random moments with strangers. I think of it as making love through the world. I love the idea of planting little seeds of love.
Another that’s fun is when a person approaches me about a difficult person or interaction with someone we both know-I like to tell them something really touching or endearing about that person. It often transforms the energy and it’s fun because it’s the opposite of gossip and it’s like secretly making a little magic.
What are your top 3 tips for success for EDM?
The one that’s the most challenging for me that comes up is true self care. That means finding my “no” and eliminating whatever doesn’t work to make room for flow, magic and serendipity. Magic needs space. Some of the most magical things have happened because something didn’t work out.
Then there’s having a beginner’s mind. Even when you think things are one way, don’t believe your thoughts or the story you are carrying around. It’s ok to carry it lightly - we all have them, but don’t be too married to it. You think oh, I’m this or that. And then someone else thinks you are something completely different (and possibly amazing). And you can have the delight of faraway travel wherever you are by simply cultivating an openness and freshness each day.
Cultivate forgiveness, especially with and to yourself. Be easy on yourself for not always being perfect or for hurting other people. Maybe you allowed things to happen that weren’t so good – we’re all flawed and human. Being a little broken and authentic makes us lovable – and it is a gift to others.
Is there any tradition you’ve brought into your life?
There are so many Mexican traditions that I admire. There’s something I feel drawn to about this culture. It’s about being present in the moment and all the parts of life. It’s about the journey and not the destination. It’s about relationships and sitting quietly and dancing and amazing food. I’ll never forget a few years back sitting on a beach in Baja watching the whales come very close to shore. There was a large group of local teenagers also watching the whales, but it was with a quality of stillness and reverence that I will never forget. I want us to put away the devices and look up at the beauty in front of us.
Moving slowly through the world is still sometimes a challenge for me. My clients used to laugh when they would recognize the sound of their therapist running to get to her office on time for the session. My goal is to be in a slow continuous flow all day, even if I have to be waiting at the bank all day long (which can happen here in Mexico). I’m even learning to enjoy that. I’m learning not to be too attached to any particular outcome or have expectations here in Baja.