To live free and ride free you don’t have to be a celeb. You don’t have to be changing the world in an obvious way. The non-obvious, the non celebrity pathway is just as powerful but oft overlooked. With that in mind I feel it’s very important to balance the extraordinary ways in which we have seen guests on the podcast live self actualized lived with equally extraordinary tales of a more ordinary path. Ordinary circumstances is perhaps a better way of putting it. But what extraordinary response to those circumstances. Jill Cohen, of Santa Cruz, California, is one of these extraordinarily self actualized ordinary people. Like you, like me, changing the world in ways more subtle. There is much to learn from Jill.
A Jewish mother, who runs a healing practice so effective that her waiting list is miles long – yet you’ve never heard of her. Five times married, sailed around the world, an equestrian, always self supporting. A self-proclaimed hippie flying that freedom flag high, who began to earn her living as a potter at the age of 15. never compromising her independence, not for society, not for any man, and making a go of it.
But there’s more. In this episode we ask, is it possible to self actualize and change the world through quiet service? Jill is grandmother to an extraordinary but challenging autistic young man, Sequoia. Giving up her freedom to co-create a safe environment in the California Hills for her granddaughter, daughter and parent, Jill sacrificed a lot, took on the role of sole breadwinner and equal care giver, but achieved great insights and great joy. No sooner had that adventure run its course than her own mother, declining with dementia, needed the same care and with the same immediate, unthinking courage, Jill rose to that occasion too. The freedom to move at will, go where she wanted, how she wanted with whom she wanted now replaced with years of service to these demanding family members, and at the same time developing and deepening her mastery of the healing arts, Jill has never lost her sense of humour, her perspective, her deep and quiet joy. Can we learn from tribal elders like Jill? Indeed, we can, and must, if we are going to self actualize in our daily, our ordinary lives. For this of course is where we are closest to the diving. So, listen on, to hear Jill is to love her. And you’ll never regard your seemingly ordinary life as quite so ordinary again.
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