531817_444702788922105_1311798676_n

Last weekend, my husband and I took off for the clear blue skies of Southern Colorado to camp and kick up our heels up at The Pagosa Springs Folk and Bluegrass Festival. New to dancing waltz and swing after a few months of private lessons together–and being avid music lovers and campers–we were psyched to practice, listen, dance and play.

Escaping from the forest fires surrounding Santa Fe was an added bonus, and the timing of our arrival was well before Colorado’s tragic (and worst ever) fires that have claimed lives and hundreds of homes. Life in the Southwest is not without dangerous challenges, yet still we choose to be here and revel in the positive aspects that far outweigh forest fires, rattlesnakes, drought and black widows, oh my!

12962_481441225243204_508810505_n

Our trip preparation for Pagosa (where hot mineral springs awaited our eager bodies) coincided with my the launch of my first co-authored book, but little did we know that we’d also be celebrating the fact thatJourney to Joy made Amazon’s #1 Best Seller list on June 6th, the day of its launch! Holy moly, what joyous news! Our gem of a book–the pages within which 35 women open their hearts and share deeply personal stories–will now reach more people to inspire, uplift, and even heal. I’m so grateful to be part of this joyful journey and invite you to join in (if you haven’t yet ordered your signed, inscribed copy from me, that is!)

no, this j2j graphic

Having received my own box of 100 lovely copies of “Journey to Joy” prior to our departure from Santa Fe, I excitedly brought a few along on our adventure–and I was so glad I did. It was as if those books were a magical magnet for wonderful women! Just showing a copy to one interested woman was a catalyst for other women to flock to us, with fast friendships being made in the best of conditions: live music, mountains, local beer, dancing and friends. What a splendid and memorable treat that was!

Later, in a rooftop hot tub at sunset, we engaged in a deep conversation with a young Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran. During the course of the conversation, I took us on a spontaneous laughter meditation journey that I offered as a tool for when he feels triggered. Being in therapy and very open to new things, he had heard of Laughter Yoga and was open to it. Our little laughter meditation blew his mind in a good way–just as it did for me the first time I experienced the magic of laughing for no reason.

After such deep sharing of our mutual tragic tales, I was honored that this soldier with PTSD expressed gratitude to ME. He even said he admired me and saw my strength. I told him, “I intuit that you will save lives”. He shared that he knew this on a soul level, and added that this is why he’s still here. He felt so safe with me that he even disclosed that he could honestly say that he had saved more lives than he took during his multiple tours of duty.

429734_427596557322214_1920066512_nThis courageous brother expressed a willingness to recognize his emotions, allow himself to feel them, to cry when necessary, and to connect daily with his brothers on the Other Side–the ones he said he couldn’t save but are now saving him spiritually in their own way. I still feel honored to have witnessed such a vulnerable, healing and powerful young man opening his heart to my husband and me. He obviously gained so much wisdom from experiencing such hell, and our profound bond is made more precious by the fact that we will, most likely, never see each other again.

May God/Love continue to bless all of us “walking wounded”! I give thanks for finding–or attracting–courageous souls like we did on that auspicious evening, and I welcome more such connections and encounters. There’s always room in my heart, and there’s always hope for everyone’s personal journey to joy.