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Category Archives: Gratitude


Today my father would. have been 110 if he had not died a horrible alcoholic death.  I am so grateful to carry his genes and his spirit today, to still be living beyond the years my father and mother both had in this human form.

We celebrated my father’s life and our gratitude for our lives this morning by greeting the rising sun with Sunlight Qi Gong, meditation, journaling and meeting with some dear friends.

Are you grateful for continuing your parents energy in your life today?  I am nourishing their positive gifts of hard work, patience, tolerance, humility, choosing often to place spiritual values before material ones throughout lives that were filled with challenges.  They weren’t perfect, as I am not and don’t even aspire to be perfect.  Just the best ME that comes from their love, the best person I can be today, with all the challenges and gifts of life.  Bringing nourishing energy from ancestors, the sun, the earth, and all of you, my friends, into my mind, body and spirit.  Thank you for being part of my good energy!

Richard's DALI

My beloved nephew Richard passed away on November 16 from pulmonary hypertension, a painful, slow loss of breath.  The painting above was his last gift to me, based on Dali’s “Shades of Night Descending.”  That he could continue to create beauty like this, take care of his three dogs, maintain friendships and give so freely of his remaining time and energy amazes me.  His father and sister grieve his loss.  They also lost his mother Lynda when she was killed at age 24 by a drunk driver with 3 year old Richard in the car.  And his sister Michelle died suddenly at age 38 of a brain aneurysm.  Please pray for my family and create your own beauty with each precious moment of life.

Family is so important.  Please embrace yours at Thanksgiving with compassion and love.

J holding sun

This morning practicing Sunlight Qi Gong as the sun rose over the Atlantic Ocean and meditating with the sun warming my face, I had a realization. The sun is always there, giving tremendous energy that keeps life going on our planet. Whether I look or not, whether or not clouds block my view of the sun, it keeps shining, generating and sharing energy with all of us. The sun has not only been here, keeping me alive my entire life, but has existed about 5 billion years! A very potent “Higher Power” in my life! It will continue to sustain me for the rest of my life, and the lives of all people who now exist on earth and those to come for many generations – whether or not I pay attention, respond, understand its generosity and care.

My aspiration today is to be more like the sun, to give of the energy I have, the gifts, the love I have received. Whether or not others notice my light, respond to emails about retreats, days of mindfulness, Qi Gong classes, I want to keep sending out all the goodness, the energy, the light, the love possible that I have so freely received.

Thank you, Sun, for the gift of life. Fill me and help me generate and share your beautiful energy today, whether or not anyone reads this blog!  Or signs up for classes at  :):):)

J-QG on beach

My favorite place to practice Sunlight Qi Gong is the seashore at sunrise.  My husband and I had the surprise opportunity this week to stay at a friend’s home there for a couple of days to celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary.  Touching sand, ocean and sky, breathing in fresh morning air, my heart opens with gratitude, a smile comes alive, greeting the rising sun.

When I die, please don’t see my passing as a tragedy.  It cannot be.  I have lived so many lives already, loved so deeply, been loved so beautifully and faithfully.  I am grateful for every extra moment of life, every sunrise, sunset, wave of the ocean, every breath, every moment with family and friends, every opportunity to tell my beloved how much I love him.



My affirmation for the month of March, as I heal from a bad cold:

“The spring sun is warming, healing and inspiring me.”Joann:Qi:Beach.JPG


YES!!! Spring is coming. The first crocuses have broken through the ground, the snow is gone, and it’s now 68 degrees! What a beautiful, warm, wonderful day!

Winter hibernation, cold and shoveling have probably left this area, to be replaced by warm breezes, people outdoors digging in gardens, walking and biking on the creek path near our home.

New energy was anticipated, so we’re already teaching a Moonlight Qi Gong class and will begin a new one April 1 – Sunlight Qi Gong, my favorite. You can sign up at Also a Day of Mindfulness on April 4 ( will provide a day of rest, meditation, mindful walking and eating at a beautiful blueberry garden. Qi Gong teacher training continues, this time a lovely Taste of Taiji with Master Li. This year I will do only the Tuesday class and Pat will take the Tuesday and Sunday sessions. And Monday evenings I am taking a Cartooning Studio class, furthering work on a comic book my granddaughter and I are creating together.

Of course, women’s meditation retreats (March 6, May 1 and May 22) enliven my life and allow me to organize others to practice meditation, Qi Gong and deep relaxation. (See if you would like to join us!).

All of these activities in addition to working on another new book, with the working title Loving Mindfully. Twenty chapters written, flowing easily.

Thank you, energy of sun, wind, air, earth, flowers and friendly faces for the daily inspiration to get outdoors, engage in life, enjoy opportunities to learn, grow and share the great gifts of life.

Fitzsimmons(1)                                                                                                                My mother as a teenager

Patrick’s poem for my special day:


ouT to
new woRld
now tRuly
alivE and free

(Picture the capital letters as lined up under one another…this program would not hold the poem properly as written).


My morning message from Thich Nhat Hanh from Your True Home – “No Provenance.” He says,“All things have no provenance. They have not come from anywhere, because they are free from the ideas of being and non-being. They do not have to be born. They cannot be grasped by our notions, or discriminated by our mental categories. They have come from nowhere: they will go nowhere. There is no author or creator.
That is the true nature of reality. We can only touch and experience things when we are free from the concepts of birth and death, creator and created. All things have no provenance; therefore they have no birth. Because they have no birth, extinction cannot be found either. That is the way things are.”

I laughed when I read this message from my teacher on my birthday! My mother might disagree that I came from “nowhere” and that there was no “birth.” In the historical dimension, it was a very important day for her to see her first child born on her birthday. She would have been 106 if she had lived this long. Of course, there are historical events we mark and people who are individually very important to us. Our own birth and death seem to have particular significance to us.
But Thay’s teaching pushes my mind beyond these concepts to the other levels of reality in which I understand that all beginnings, including my own, are connected to a long line of beings, phenomena, ancestors. I will continue, as will everyone, into many future centuries, in many forms. It is comforting today to hear that I have no “provenance,” that I existed before my “birth” and will continue after my “death.” So, we Buddhists say, “Happy Continuation” to mark our “birth days.”

Thank you to all my family members and friends, to my sweet husband for his poem, to my brothers, mother, father and centuries of ancestors – and to all who are or ever have been or ever will be connected to me. We are one, all part of this amazing stream of LIFE!