Nine Steps for Becoming a Gentle Revolutionary

This is a puzzle. How do you retain your passion, stand up for what you believe in, while remaining at peace. This is not an easy thing for us mere mortals to do. Especially, not now.

Later this week, I’ll be heading to the SisterGiant Conference to learn more about what others have to say about activating spirituality and democracy. The conference logo has an image of a meditator, with the tag line “Those who sit must take a stand.” Yes, but how.

I’ve also been reading a book I picked up as part of my research on this topic: Thomas Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh: Engaged Spirituality in the Age of Globalization (2003). I have long been an admirer of Thich Nhat Hahn (“Thay” for short) especially because he is known for “engaged Buddhism”. Many would say that the focus is your inner world, and it doesn’t matter if you engage in the outer world. And maybe we can’t really “help” people, as they must help themselves. And to a degree, the inner world is all that’s real.

That’s always seemed like a bit of a spiritual copout to me. I personally am passionate about speaking out, and making the world better through my actions. It’s not enough for me to simply be peaceful in my heart and outlook. So, I appreciate the way Thay explains it (as quoted in this book):

“Mindfulness elicits compassion and compassion has no limits.”

“Compassion arises in us naturally and we see what we have to do to help.”

Thay also said that he thought the anti-war protestors in the Vietnam War era were not effective because they were angry and hateful, thus they perpetuated war inside themselves. Instead he prefers “gentle revolutionaries”, those that are mindful and loving in every step, even as they are speaking out about social injustice.

So, it’s a tricky balance. And I’m not saying I’ve got anything figured out. I’ve identified it as an issue and I’m working on it.

For now, here’s what works for me:

  1. Stay Informed

I can’t help but think of my 89-year-old mom who recently passed away, telling us last summer, “I can’t believe there are still people who don’t believe in climate change.” You know a few years earlier, I’m pretty sure she was one of them. But she kept an open mind. She read the newspaper daily, watched the news and discussed politics with her friends.

Take the time to know what’s going on. This is a critical time in the history of the US. Our democracy literally is hanging in the balance.

With so much conflicting information, this requires a significant investment of your time. It’s worth it to dig in.

2. Identify Analysts You Trust

I do read articles from standard news outlets, but I don’t assume I’m getting the whole picture there.It’s valuable though to see what mainstream media is saying and how. (CNN, USA Today, Denver Post, Yahoo etc)

For me, I turn to people that have decades of experience who can identify trends. And I look to youth who have a fresh perspective. I look for those who are not pushing for the rich, but are looking out for the little guys. Find your panel! Here are some of the analysts I follow for the behind-the-scenes perspective:

  • Richard Reich – because of his economic and social professor perspective as well as having worked for multiple administrations. I like his daily Resistance Reports on Facebook, that summarize what’s new.
  • Dan Rather – because of his historical perspective
  • Bernie Sanders – because he’s all about the little guy
  • Marianne Williamson – because she provides a spiritual perspective
  • Shaun King – because he covers issues of police brutality and racial injustice
  • The Atlantic – longer articles, more in-depth analysis
  • Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Earth Guardians and Indigenous Environmental Network – because I want the long view on a situation not just immediate economic impact

And there’s a new set of folks I now follow, which are all of the “Alt” Twitter accounts of the federal agencies. Last week, the new administration issued what basically was a “gag order” for many of the agencies requiring that they discontinue posting on social media or any missives to the general public, without first being screened by the new administration.

These brave souls, our federal servants, took up new Twitter handles to dish out what they really think! Here is a list of the Twitter Resistance, aka Twistance members.  (Like Rogue NASA: The unofficial “Resistance” team of NASA. Not an official NASA account. Not managed by gov’t employees. Come for the facts, stay for the snark. )

Also getting insights from @RoguePOTUSStaff and @RogueSnrAdvisor. There’s no way to tell if these accounts are providing factual info, but they definitely do provide insights I’m not seeing elsewhere and may be an inside scoop. (Like @POTUS obsession with fast food! As a Wellness Coach, I can imagine that would make you feel very anxious and fearful. Would love to make him a salad!)

Twitter is an easy-to-forget resource when doing research. I encourage you to use it! When things are moving fast and furious as they have been this past week or two, Twitter’s ability to react quickly and concisely is helpful in sorting through the chaos.

I also try to double check stories before posting, and don’t post stories that show up along side sensational ads or stories. I like the suggestions here for figuring out if something is fake news. Snopes is also a good place to check if a story seems too fantastic to believe.

3. Read Opposing Views

You’ll get a lot of these on Twitter if you just search for a specific subject. So, that’s easy.

I also check out National Review sometimes. It’s super conservative and points out the weakness of the left’s arguments. It will explain the right’s thinking but will occasionally admit some failings. (e.g. Refugee Madness: Trump is Wrong but Liberal Critics are Crazy)

When I’m baffled by why someone has an opposing view, reading the opposing articles does help at least explain the reasoning.

4. Take a Breather

I try to notice if my chest is getting tight or if I am in anyway getting angry or upset. I then pull out all the tricks to get back to being peaceful:

  • Sending love to everyone and everything.
  • Imagining the one that’s making me mad as a little kid. And we are little kids together. That always makes me giggle.
  • Breathing deeply. Focusing on breathing.
  • Remembering I’m a spiritual being in a material world.
  • Exercising to release stress.
  • Talking with friends or cooking.

5. Take an action today that expresses the world you want

With so much happening, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and not do anything. To overcome that, I signed up for I get a text message most mornings. If I click on the link, I’m connected by phone to a recorded message about today’s issue and suggestion for who to reach out to and key points. If I stay on the line, I am asked for my zip code, then given a list of potential officials to talk to. Choose a number and leave a message (with person or on voicemail.)

The Women’s March was healing for me. I’m looking forward to more actions like that.

I sign a bunch of petitions online, which is something but not quite enough to make me feel that I did something that made a difference.


6. Be kind to a stranger

Everyone is on edge. I just try to dish out a little extra loving the customer service rep on the phone, the cashier at the store, or the person walking down the street. I get more out of this than I give.

7. Work on a project in your neighborhood or city

These days, I’m volunteering on the neighborhood green team. As much as a place to educate and take action for environmental stewardship, it’s an emotional support web. It’s a way to feel that I belong here and that I’m home in my country, where things now seem so hard to understand and so foreign.

8. Reach out to family

I’ve been trying to expend a little extra effort on family ties. Since my mom recently passed away, I see that we are all going to need to do a bit more to keep the family unity alive and well.

9. See it as a Super Hero movie

This is an epic battle. I believe, as many do, that the powers of evil are rising as a counter to the massive force of rising spiritual awakening in the past decade or so. And in the spirit of nonduality, wouldn’t this strength of evil forces be required to bring about an equal or stronger sense of responsibility and good? Hmm. I don’t really know what’s happening on a cosmic scale.

But I do ask myself, What can I do to be Wonder Woman? Or a Gentle Revolutionary? Or both?

How about you? What works for you?

Joan Gregerson is a Wellness Coach and an Eco-Nut and owner of Positive Energy Works. She is the creator of the program Food Freedom Naturally. Free 1-hour training at She’s also the author of the book Tuning In to Inner Peace: The Surprisingly Fun Way to Transform Your Life. (Pretty sure @POTUS hasn’t read this…yet.)










Reich: We will save everything we love.

I first fell in love with Robert Reich while watching the movie, “Inequality for All”. Funny, because I had earlier fallen in love with an Economics Prof who was talking about the same thing. It’s just that when Robert Reich explained it in that movie, I finally got it.

I follow Robert Reich on Facebook and most days try to watch his “Resistance Report” videos. They’re a great way to get a recap of the highlights in what I call, America’s  Experiment in Tyranny.

In today’s episode, Robert Reich recommended a few resources:

  1. “1984”, book by George Orwell
  2. Originals of Totalitarianism, book by Hannah Arendt
  3., website by former congressional staffers on how to make Congress listen. Recommended as a resource for effective organizing


Mr. Reich ended his video today with these words:

“We will save everything we love about America. Do no despair. Have the faith. Keep the faith.”



Why Affirmations Are Better Than Resolutions, And 3 Ways to Write Your Own

Free Training To Overcome Struggles With Food at

The good part of resolutions is that it’s a way to be introspective. To honestly asses what’s working and what’s not.

The bad part is the word “will”.

Watch this video to see how affirmations work with the subconscious more effectively than resolutions to affect real, lasting positive change.

And, if one of your resolutions is to overcome struggles with food and reclaim the ability to control your weight, check out my free training at   Make 2017 your breakthrough year, when you finally make peace with your food and your body!

Candace Pert: Your Body Is Your Subconscious Mind
Louise Hay: 101 Power Thoughts

Our Food System Isn’t Normal


I have visited/worked in a total of 22 countries and taught students from around the world. From all this exposure to other cultures, I realized something important.


When it comes to food, the US is an outlier.

What we think of as normal, is not. Our food system is not normal.

We are an anomaly compared to many countries in the world.

I saw firsthand that people in other countries generally don’t treat food as we do in the U.S.


In Central America, we bought all our food at the outdoor markets.

So we learned what was in season. We knew what was local.


When I was at home in the US, we just bought salsa in a jar. In Guatemala, we made it fresh daily.


In Ghana, when my friends missed a meal, they didn’t reach for snacks to assuage their hunger. They just waited to eat the next meal or the next day. They didn’t mind being hungry for awhile. I learned that it’s okay to be hungry sometimes.


In South Korea, healthy food is a tradition and a top priority. Kids and everyone eat veggies with gusto. Food is beautiful and eating is fun!

Watch the free training on how to overcome struggles with food and reclaim the ability to control weight, joyfully and automatically.


And once back in the US, a friend from Britain shocked me. We were at a business lunch, he saw that I ordered a fruit drink. A sugary imitation fruit drink. He took one look at the ingredient list, then said, “You Americans eat crap! You will eat anything!” Then I looked at the list of unrecognizable ingredients and I had to agree he was right.


Gradually, I had to accept that we Americans have been basically brainwashed. We have become disconnected from the incredible brilliance and bounty of simple food directly from nature. With our meals often coming from boxes, cans and drive-thru’s, we’re missing out  on the incredible joy of real food eaten fresh.


In Korea, I looked forward to every fifth day when grannies sell produce from their gardens at open air markets.


And shopping and eating this way, I felt energized. I felt my body getting younger and more vibrant, every year even in my 50’s.


I felt connected to everything and spiritually open. “One Love” was something I felt coursing through me, by simply filling my plate and my days with real food, eaten mindfully.


With 2/3 of American adults now overweight or obese, it’s time to wake up and choose differently. Our food system is not normal.

The saddest part is that the Standard American Diet is showing signs of being a pandemic, spreading around the world. And those that eat it are directly increasing their risk of obesity and disease.

What can be done? Until the adults in the U.S. find a way back to eating for health, this trend will continue.

Only by linking eating to spirituality, nature, inner wisdom and community activism, will we be able to rebuild a sane food system that supports health, rather than sabotaging it.

Learn more about Food Freedom Naturally in this free one-hour training, available for a limited time.

How To Overcome Struggles With Food And Control Your Weight (Free Training!)

After gaining and losing 30 pounds twice, I was depressed. I was skinny as a kid, but found myself as a fat woman. Over time though, I figured out a system. Linking spirituality, nature, inner wisdom and community, I realized that I just needed to eat the way humans have eaten for 10,000’s of years! I put this info together in a way that anyone can do it. You don’t have to waste decades frustrated, as I did!

My System Is called Food Freedom Naturally. And it’s Based On Six Principles Of Food Freedom in the Era of Processed Food.

You can remember these with a simple mnemonic that reminds you:

You are wise… U R WISE

Let me explain

U is for You!

Principle #1: You are wise! You are the expert on your own body. This system is not like typical diets that tell you what to eat.  To achieve food freedom, you must take responsibility for becoming the expert on your body. Start where you are right now, understand the continuum of options and decide what to do to eat healthier. You decide what’s right for you at each point in your lifetime journey.

FREE TRAINING: Watch the 1-hour video this week and start changing the way you eat immediately!

R is for Reverence

Principle #2: Treat food with reverence. We’ve all heard stories of how indigenous cultures have a ritual to say a blessing and even ask permission before cutting down an old tree or taking the life of an animal. That is reverence! And reverence allows us to slow down and recognize the efforts of all the people, animals, tools and elements that make each bite possible. And you’ll find it’s impossible to gorge on junk food while eating reverently! Reverence is a practice that goes way beyond a rote pre-meal prayer. Reverence elevates food to becoming part of your spiritual practice. And it recognizes nature and traditional ways as our teachers.

W is for Why

Principle #3: Focus on “Why” and “How”, then “What”. Most diets start by focusing on “what to eat”. But for lasting results, you need to be clear about “why you eat” and “how you eat”. Then, “what to eat” will follow with ease.

I is for Industrialized Food

Principle #4: Understand modern ‘food’ and food industry power. Food has changed more in the past 100 years than in the previous 10,000 years. Our ability to trust that food is generally nourishing is sadly a thing of the past. Becoming aware of food advertising, food engineering, and deceptive labeling are critical steps to being able to choose food that you can trust to be truly good for you.   

S is for Self-Mastery

Principle #5: Self-mastery is required for healthy eating and food freedom. In other times or in other countries, the culture supported healthy eating. But now, you must go out of your way, against the tide, to develop self-mastery around food. And because of the amount of food products that are heavily engineered, processed and promoted to be irresistible, we are all faced with learning how to overcome compulsive eating and food addictions.  We need to unravel our secrets, practice humility, self-love, self-compassion and self-acceptance, and get support in order to break free.

Why struggle? I made this free training so you can learn how to break free!

E is for Everything and Everyone

Principle #6: We are all connected. Our food choices impact everything and everyone. With each bite, we are choosing the world we want. We are just a droplet in an ocean of humanity. Our food choices determine what happens to our global resources. For example, pesticides, topsoil degradation, ocean acidification, and decreasing fish populations affect all of us. Because we are one big family, one big organism really, we rise and fall together. Beyond our personal food freedom, we must work for nutritious food for all.

That’s it.

And no matter what diet “gurus” argue about low-fat vs high-protein, paleo vs vegan, claims about miracle powders or food tracking apps — the six principles in the program are the foundation you can count on to deliver food freedom naturally.

The problem with conventional diets is that they start too small. And as Dwight Eisenhower said, If you can’t solve a problem, enlarge it.  My system uses that approach.By backing up enough to see the big picture, you’re able to navigate the details with ease.

 If you can’t solve a problem, enlarge it. – Dwight Eisenhower

These six principles are what took me from beating myself up around food choices to enjoying food, and maintaining a healthy weight and healthy body for over ten years. I no longer fill my days with worries and arguments in my head about food. I don’t flinch when I see my reflection in the mirror because I know I am a masterpiece of creation. I smile at my reflection in awe of this amazing body! And I’m honored to care for it through thoughtful food and lifestyle choices.

But don’t worry, I’m not advocating a super strict approach either! You decide what you want to eat, and this system helps you develop the self-mastery to eat it!


I poured my heart and soul into this free 1-hour training! See you there…

FREE TRAINING: Watch the 1-hour video this week and start making peace with your food and yourself immediately!!


Gifts from Gma: Letting go of stuff

“Gma” is the nickname my kids gave to my mom. Some of us kids have been posting announcements on the caring site we set up for her. Here’s one I sent this morning about clearing out the house where she lived for 54 years, having moved in on my 2nd birthday….


Even those of us who have been working on it are shocked to see that the house is now almost completely empty! But it’s a been a process decades in the making…
Starting after Dad died in 1997, us kids got used to Mom “deciding” that she was going to sell the house. In the early rounds, we’d ramp up, call everyone and start making plans. She’d start talking to a realtor and we’d start reserving our strength.
In the later rounds, we knew to just wait it out for a few weeks, when she’d come back to the now familiar, “Never mind. I’m going to die in this house.” And fortunately she had her wish.
So not only did she plan her own funeral in every detail, but she also thought a lot about what would happen to the stuff and the house. She repeatedly said, “I just want to make sure each kid and grandkid gets something special from me. And I don’t care what happens to everything else.”
She also admired how her mom had passed on a bit of money to each kid when she died, and her plan was that we sell the house and distribute the money among the kids.
When I talked to Mom and said, what’s new? She’d often tell me about which room she was ‘working’ in. Then, one of us would get called in to assist. Her friend was one that got the job of sorting through rec room cabinets. They filled the ping pong table with photos and baby books. Then boxed these up and sent them out.
Several of us participated in these projects. In 2008, Mom had Carol writing names on the back of art hanging on the wall. In 2011, she had me taking photos and writing up the back story of items. Like the hand drawn picture and poem by a Native American who had lived as a boarder in her mom’s boarding house. Or the desk that belonged to Dad’s mom. In recent years, several of us got turns in the back office “Dad’s office”, sorting through stuff including letters Dad wrote during his time in the Navy, his high school and college diplomas.
Most of these sorting projects ended with a trip to the post office. Just a few months ago, Mom pulled out 30+of Dad’s old ties that mysteriously appeared. So grandkids got boxes with a tie or two, old birthday cards and miscellaneous knick knacks.
In these past few weeks, as my brothers and sisters gathered, each asked, what can I do? So we pulled out the lists of special stuff, finding that we had been asked by Mom to do the project that had already been done years earlier by another sibling. Things didn’t really match up 100% but it gave us enough guidance to start making decisions.
And as other friends arrived, we began giving away more. Our friend’s daughter, was famous for running upstairs and hugging and kissing the statue of Mary each time she arrived. So, I grabbed the statue and showed it to Mom a few days before she passed. I asked, how about if I give this to Teresa? Her eyes crinkled, a tear leaked out and she said, “Great!”
Having all the siblings there, and knowing the house would have to be cleaned out, and knowing it would in the end fall to our big sister, we were motivated to work together and make good progress. Having each other right there to ask, what should we do with this, made the work go quickly and easily.
We had a huge day on Saturday, yesterday. We advertised on NextDoor, Craigslist and FreeCycle that we were having a Garage Un-Sale: Everything Free! Friends and family hauled stuff out to the front lawn. People showed up and took items, each tagged by us with a note “Enjoy this gift from Gma! She enjoyed connecting people with treasures. Enjoy your treasure with love from our family.”
Today, we’re putting out a few bedframes, some tools, and some bamboo trays. But other than stuff we’re holding in the garage, the house is nearly empty. The living room was the perfect place for an impromptu dance party yesterday, when my brother busted out a song on the piano and we danced in honor of Mom and her friends.
Tomorrow we have movers coming to haul out the dining room set. The piano will make its way to a granddaughter in Florida.
And within another week, the house will be that much closer to being put on the market.
We wanted to fill you in on this. Because while it seems like a lot if happening in a week (and it is!), we also feel like we’ve been working on this with mom for a couple decades now.
That house has been a very special gathering place for all of us. It’s been therapeutic to work together, and to move piece after piece along.
Thanks to each of you for having been a part of Mom’s life and ours! We are determined to let go of the stuff, but we aren’t letting go of the love that we share. Love goes on.


Eulogy to my mom: The Most Important Thing

My mom passed away at age 89 on October 8, 2016. Four days later, on my birthday, I was one of the family that spoke. Here’s my eulogy:

My name is Joan Magnie Gregerson and I’m the seventh of the eight kids. In 10 minutes, I don’t have time to share about her 89 years of life. But I can share what she taught us these past few weeks as she was dying.

If you know Mom, you know that she was a tenacious conversationalist. She remembered more details about your life than you did! She wanted to know if your nephew’s musical went well, and if your daughter liked her new job in Kentucky. She kept track of when John was playing and where, better than he did himself. She wanted to know which bus I caught and what time I got home.

Her humor was unfailing. Her questions were daunting and her appetite for visiting had always been unquenchable. And as much as she was a peacemaker, with her insatiable need to know she could also be a bit of a troublemaker. (We all have our strengths and challenges.) But over the past couple of weeks, her conversations and her focus changed.

It was October 1 and she was at St Joe’s Hospital. And at this point, she had just decided, no more. No more blood draws. No more tests. No more procedures. No more occupational therapy, lung therapy or physical therapy. She had made the decision to go home to be in hospice care.

Instantly, the conversations of the woman I’d known my whole life changed.

Irene called and we held the phone to her ear. Mom said, “I love you. You’ve always been a special girl. You are sweet, and kind and could always clean a house! I love you very much Irene.”

Dot called and Mom whispered, “I’m ready to go to lunch.”, then they both chuckled and Mom said, “I love you Dot. You’ve always been such a great friend. We’ve had such wonderful times together. I love you.”

Rita called and Mom said. “I love you. You’ve been such a good friend. You’ve been such good support for me all these years. I love you Rita.”

And when I stood by her bed she told me, “I’m so fortunate. I’ve had a wonderful life.” Then she got very serious and said, “Love is the most important thing.” She and I repeated it together, as if to ensure that I got this key point.

Several times she said with tears eeking out, “I’m so happy that the family is all together again.” She didn’t mean physically in one place because kids were scattered across the country at that moment. She meant that the divides that had eroded our family unity over time, were being repaired.  The differences between mother and child, and between siblings were dissolving.

And she was right. For the first time in decades, we were all getting along. Most days when I’d pop by the hospital, I’d find my brother Dan there before I arrived and he stayed long after I left. He was the one that usually fed Mom,  patiently spoon-feeding her pea-sized bites of cherry ice and a few mouthfuls of soup. Steve who lives in California  but has been working in Denver recently, would stop in after work most nights, grab dinner in the cafeteria and sit with Mom. Kay and Terry camped out beside her bed for hours. And Mary Ann got Trader Joe’s to open the doors early to get strawberry drinkable yogurt. The clerk ran and got it, and gave it to MaryAnn with a hug, whispering no charge and give her our love. And her buddies Voradel, Chrispy and Raquel came and sat for hours and modeled what families aspire to be. Countless family and  friends rallied around her. To be with her, to support her and to be together.  This circle of love that she had been cultivating for decades formed around her.

Mom got settled in at home and was fading fast. More family and friends arrived, but Carol was our rock. She was unafraid, confident and loving and helped keep our wobbly family upright as we headed toward Mom’s death.

And with each passing day, her strength was fading. It got harder for her to form words. She could listen to someone telling her, “I love you grandma!” and her eyes would crinkle and a smile would form. She would move her mouth, perhaps trying to say their name or the words I love you.

Mom’s longtime friend, Ann called. We held the phone to Mom’s ear so she could hear Ann say I love you, and then let her rest while John finished talking to Ann in the kitchen. Irene ran into the kitchen saying, Hey guys, grandma is yelling something. What? Yes, she’s yelling something.

Mom was straining with all her might to say, “Tell Ann I love her and that she has been the best friend to me. And that we had so many good times together. I love her so much.”

So it was, the woman who was famous for her visiting, her playful banter, and her interrogations, changed the conversations completely.

All those other conversations we’d ever had, were her way of trying to get to this thing. This thing that in the end she could just jump straight to.

  • I love you.
  • I appreciate you.
  • I recognize that you have enriched my life in a special way.
  • I am grateful for such a wonderful life and times together.
  • It’s crucial that we all get along.

So let me try this thing. And I’m saying this to each of you here, and to those that are with us in spirit. Speaking for our family:

  • We love you.
  • We appreciate you.
  • We recognize that you have enriched Mom’s life and ours in a special way.
  • We are grateful that Mom had such a wonderful life.
  • It’s crucial that we all continue to get along.

On Saturday, October 8, folks gathered outside the house for the Peace Walk and family was gathered inside. And then, just after the Peace Walkers began singing, Mom passed away.

So there she was ordering us around until the very end. Commanding us to form a circle of love. To hold peace and love above all difference. And to dedicate ourselves to continuing to get along.

It’s not just we are going to need the support. It’s bigger than that.

As Mom said, if you want to know the key to having a wonderful life, just remember:

Love is the Most Important Thing



Would you feed your bunny Coca-Cola?

  • Would you pour Orange Fanta into your dog’s bowl?
  • Would you give your cat Skittles?
  • Should a zookeeper feed a baby giraffe a frosted cupcake?
  • Does any other species ‘celebrate’ by giving their young ones food that harms?


You don’t have to be a vet to know what not to feed baby animals. And you don’t have to be an M.D. to know what not to feed baby humans. When we realize that we are responsible for little bodies, is there any other logical conclusion:

Stop. Feeding. Kids. Sugar.


I understand that it’s entirely opposite what our standard culture promotes. This is the same culture that has generated previously unheard of rates of obesity, diabetes and now heart disease in kids.

We “heart” our kids. Let’s care for them in ways that support their overall health.

Sugar is not love
It’s just a crutch I lean on
When I am not strong

Examine the reasons you have for giving sugar to kids. If the kids was instead a baby animal, would you still give sugar? Let’s be strong!






Finding Your Purpose: Five Surprising Questions to Ask


Having quit yet another engineering job after too many hours sitting behind the computer, I was ready for a change. So ready that I was willing to follow the advice of my good friend, Emily. She had gushed about how she and her husband found the career assessments at CU to be incredibly valuable. I didn’t really understand how they could be, but I was desperate enough to get help. (Isn’t desperation what it usually takes to ask for help?)

So, at age 55, I participated in a Career Counseling Assessment Series through the University of Colorado in Boulder. We did a ton of assessments and exercises and each was helpful. With each class, I felt layers of confusion melting away as I was beginning to recognize the true me.

The last class was called Career in Translation, led by Kevin Glavin. As part of the class, we interviewed a classmate using the following five questions. I was reminded of writing poems about pollution at age 10, the Jane Goodall book by my bedside and that my forays into engineering began with a quest to work on solar energy. It was this experience that cemented in my mind, that at my core, I’m an eco-nut. Always have been. Always will be.

What are you? What’s your purpose?

Find a friend to ask you these questions or write your answers. (Just thinking them through probably isn’t going to do it.) If you find a friend to work with, you can ask each other.

  1. Who did you admire when you were growing up? Tell me about her or him.
  2. Do you read any magazines or watch any television shows regularly? Which ones? What do you like about these?
  3. What is your favorite book or movie? Tell me the story. (What books are on your bedside now?)
  4. Tell me your favorite saying or motto, and explain how it resonates with you.
  5. What are your earliest recollections? Tell me three stories about things you recall happening to you when you were three to six years old.

When our class did this, the teacher demonstrated with one student first. It was amazing to hear her tell the plot of the Wizard of Oz, through her frame of reference. It was a COMPLETELY different story than I would have told, but it aligned with her memories, hopes and dreams.

If you try this exercise, please write here if you discovered anything about yourself or your partner.

Happy interrogating, er, interviewing! 🙂

I encourage you to contact your alma mater or community resources and find out if there’s a career counseling program you can enroll in. You’re never too old to find the true you!


Joan Gregerson is a Wellness Coach, Writer and Eco-Nut! She is the author of Tuning In to Inner Peace: The Surprisingly Fun Way to Transform Your Life and the upcoming books Eco-Nut and One World Wellness. Visit for more info.

A Mother’s Day Perspective: I Didn’t Ask to Be Born …or Did I?

Funny! I recently heard from my daughter that she remembers me crying once (maybe more!) on Mother’s Day …something about me saying I didn’t want anything and then I didn’t get anything then I cried. Oh how terrible! That’s exactly the way I remember it as a kid.

Throw all that out the window and just enjoy yourself, re-parenting yourself and others. Appreciate your mom for being a mere human, as you are. And our kids for reminding us who we truly are. And Happy Mother’s Day!

Positive Energy Works Blog

Let’s be honest. As a kid, Mother’s Day feels like a big, splatty serving of guilt pudding. Thank your mom for …everything. Your mom works so hard for you. She cooks and cleans and does your laundry. She packs your lunch and fixes your hair.

It’s not so much about thanking her, as apologizing to her for ruining her life.  Did it feel like this to you? You must ask forgiveness for being such a burden, to someone who does everything you can’t do for yourself.

I bristled at this. I felt like, Hey, I didn’t ask to be born!

When we brought home a puppy, we didn’t expect her to thank us for feeding and walking her, or picking up her poop in the yard. It was our choice. We picked her out at the pet store and brought her home. So, directly or indirectly, we chose to care…

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Poem: Run for the Hills (NaPoWriMo 28)

Piles of pies and cookies
Surround me
And I’ve only got so many
“No”s in me
Just before the meltdown
I run for the hills

Then Mountains and trees
Surround me
I’ve only got to be here
To be free
Just relax and let down
I run to the hills
To be free

Poem: Iridescent Mixed Messages (NaPoWriMo 26b)

Grey hovering clouds
Obscure the hills
I know are there

The next curve
Changes everything
Snow begins to fall
And the sun breaks through

Mixed Messages


About the poem:

After arriving in Estes Park today, I saw a little girl walking with her grandma, eating a big stick of pink candy. Love and junk food  is often interwoven deeply as a shiny mixed message too. I’ve been the giver and receiver of this one.

Poem: My Long Found Friend (NaPoWriMo 26)

You know who you are
We were once so close
And now we’re so far

I know the challenges you’ve faced
The people and place you’ve embraced
It hasn’t been easy
But you’ve done your best

When you feel discouraged
Think of me
I’m your own personal cheer squad
Yelling and chanting
Doing flips in the air
Reminding you, to go for it
Oceans separate us
But I’m right beside you

Your smell and your smile
I can’t erase
Your sweetness and your tears
An indelible trace

That love we share
Can never end
You are my
Long found friend


Poem: Rat’s Den (NaPoWriMo 25)

My room was a rat’s den
Bits of paper
Empty glasses
Thngs to give away
Things to return
Covered the space where the carpet had been

I finally hit a turning point
There were more things lost
Than things I could find
My mind mainly
My mind plainly

A place for everything
Everything was all over the place
A place for everything
Aha, everything needs a place

I lugged bureaus and shelves, drawers and the chair
I moved them from here and put them over there
But that didn’t work
So I moved some right back
I switched out chairs for shelves
Heaven glimmered from hell
I flipped this and that
Became an organizing rat
I turned on the light
As day turned to night

I found a gift card
And a check
My cousin’s address
(In Quebec)
The receipts for my business trip
The jacket that won’t unzip
And after several more hours
I found the floor
That, and my peace of my mind,
Were what I’d been searching for

My rat’s den
Became my den
My office
My study

Next time
Don’t let it go so long
Tell me to clean it up
Good buddy



Poem: The Fourth Commandment (NaPoWriMo 23)

Honor thy mother and father

It’s hard to sit still
When the extension of ourselves
Is being desecrated
When air, soils and water are being contaminated
When forests are being obliterated
It’s hard to nod politely
To accept the reasons why

Honor thy mother and father
While corporate greed
Is predictable
And government bureacracy
Is intractable
Why are so many
Of faith
So unmotivated
So unconcerned

Honor thy mother and father

Why preach love and mercy
And caring for the poor
But look away
From pesticides
And slave wages for workers and
Obscene conditions for
Factory farm animals

Honor thy mother and father

Like Luther condemned
Status quo then
I reject the teachings
That fail to teach love
I reject the preachings
That fail to preach truth

Honor thy mother and father

To neglect is
To destroy
To treat our planet
Like a throwaway toy

It’s the habitual
Turning a blind eye
It’s the willful ignorance
That masquerades as bliss

Honor thy mother and father
So that it may be well with you
And that you may live long on the earth

Mother Earth, Father Sky
What have we lost?

Now we have low, low prices
But at what cost?

Faith and food
Nature and nurture
Respect and responsibility

Mother Earth, Father Sky
What have we done?


About the poem:

Let’s wake up to the connections. Join me for “One World Wellness”, Sunday at 3 pm from May-July.