I am meeting Joan for the first time when we sit down for our podcast interview. I feel I know her after reading her book and quickly I realize that I don’t know all of her and I am in for a treat as we begin our conversation. Her tone is calm, thoughtful, and kind which puts me immediately at ease. We open our interview as we always do, looking at the the past and the influences of our first steps in the world and how they shaped us into our adulthood. Joan’s family was active in social justice and desegregation when she was child and all through her life.
She mentions the close relationship her family had with the late Howard Thurman. Mr. Thurman was a well known author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader. Joan mentions, he was a close advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr. and her family was featured in his book “In Search of Common Ground” about building community and Mr. Thurman asks us to look what unites all of us as a common denominator in our humanity–instead what divides us. It is also a book that allows the reader to deepen their spiritual awakening and path.
Joan says that the foundation of her spirituality happened when she was a child, which differs from most us. Howard taught that we all belong to each other, the inner and outer journey are one journey, we should center ourselves and listen to how we are called and the rule of God is within. Joan says that she was imbued with these principles and they resonated with her. It shaped her as young person and into her adulthood.
Later in her life journey she met a guru and in the Ashram found these same teachings and principles and began weaving both of these teachings into her life. In her upbringing and influence from Mr. Thurman this gave her the insight that the outer journey and inner journey are one in the same. In her book “When Spirit Calls: A Healing Odyssey” leaning into the teachings of her past she takes a remarkable journey through a family crisis, a medical illness and a spiritual awakening. In our interview she discusses how this experience changed her and how she knows now, that alchemizing her pain and suffering means she will always come out on the other side, better, stronger, and wiser.
In wrapping up the podcast interview, Joan talks about spending 3 minutes in an Egyptian sarcophagus and hearing her life’s calling emanating from within her. She knew in that moment, everything she had overcome, all her life experiences and teachings led her to this very moment when she realized her purpose–teaching other’s the art of healing, facing fears and anxieties that hold a person back. Her life work has become liberating others.