Cultivate a Secret Garden

Happy 1st of February. Upon return from the month I spent on a Brazilian jungle island, I swiftly donated my television and canceled all cable and streaming services. The peace of soul has carried on with me and while I’d always been someone who reads more than watches TV, it’s been mentally and emotionally freeing as well as quite interesting to witness (the usually funny!) reactions from family, friends and colleagues. The upside is the discovery of many more authors and podcasters to share with you here. Have you heard of Esther Perel? While I did read her book, Mating in Captivity, a few years ago, I hadn’t ever listened to interviews or investigated further the themes she provocatively and beautifully brings to the table of humanity. She’s worth the read, the listen, and TED talk.

Photo of me in England by Mr. AJWT


Being true to yourself is acting without a guarantee. A lot of my existence on earth has been about leapfrogging continents in pursuit of human connection, storytelling, the escape into and out of love relationships, and global work experiences. Heck, this Spring I rode the Orient Express through Europe with Agatha Christie’s Grandson. One of a kind moments abound, however the majority have been in large part due to calculated risk taking. I think and I feel and boy oh boy do I think, again. Most of us are taught to plan for the future, but really all any of us have is the now. Sometimes pulling yourself out of one environment and putting yourself into another environment is what it takes to realize the incredible power of this nowness. A motorcycle ride at sunrise in Bali, Indonesia with a British stranger three years ago was one of those “nows” for me. It led me to unlock a few lingering, worn out calculations. The risk comes easy when you listen to instinct. Vulnerability is the ray of your personal sun. So when our rendez-vous’ around the world had us globetrotting more and more into one another, I surrendered to a daring invitation. He said: join me on the Island of Magic at a place called Rosemary Dream to connect with your inner monk, monkey and modern human. I said: yes.

Rosemary Dream is located in Southeastern Brazil in Barra da Lagoa (the Island of Magic as referred to by locals). Part empowerment center, part bohemian experiment, you will feel a part of a global family. This infinite container is for you to carve out your personal, optimal way of living. You will be kindly pushed beyond limits to discover your heart’s desires and carry tools back into the world to make dreams reality. Here are eight life reminders from my 21 days deep in the wilds of Rosemary…

1. Crying is good. Letting go allows space for something new to sprout. “Meditacion Alquimia de Fuego” at Rosemary Dream in Florianopolis, Brazil is an alchemical fire meditation focusing mainly on the first three chakras. Standing in a circle, you begin 30 minutes of yogic breath followed by another 30 minutes of intense breathing coupled with body movement expression exercises, all with your eyes closed. The fire rises within. Eventually guided to sit and open your eyes, each participant is asked to write what they feel. Journals are passed around and a new story is written. The process is raw, revealing, intimate, therapeutic, connective. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will walk away feeling lighter.

2. Bamboo takes time to develop. Be patient with yourself. Place your hands over your heart. Can you feel it beating? You are alive. Rosemary Dream’s resident monk, Dada Suvedananda, is available for guided meditations. Begin a morning routine. Maybe it’s three minutes of sitting in silence. You’re worth it.

3. Walk barefoot. As much as possible. Many of us hustle and bustle throughout our lives without physical touch to Mother Earth. During the Monk-Monkey-Modern Human program, I walked barefoot 99% of my time on the island. If you aren’t ready to be barefoot on the subway, at least take a moment in the morning to walk outside and stand on pachamama. Release back into the soil what no longer serves you. Synchronize with the earth’s natural electric charge.

4. Rewild yourself. Rosemary Dream is set in wild nature. The three founders are 30 year old former Israeli Special Forces soldiers. They are badasses with huge hearts. They will guide you into the jungle forest to catch and forage food and build a natural sleeping habitat. We swam down the village river, climbed tall trees, ran like wolves after dark on the beach and hiked until our lungs grew larger. This little monkey phase was my favorite, it left me wanting more of less is more.

5. Part ways with self-limiting beliefs. Stepping out of our comfort zones can feel awkward. Afterall, our brains prefer patterns. At Rosemary, I spent time with an incredible coach, Paul D’Ambrosio. Paul guided me to identify my three core values and connect them to my inner beliefs. Understanding the power our beliefs have on the shape of our lives will actually change our lives. The practice becomes real: change your belief, change your action, change your outcome.

6. Immerse yourself in a supportive community. People from around the world believe in you. When rediscovering your voice, you may lose some folks from your circles. Despair not. Having the courage to be your true self will only attract similar energy. Hang out with people who aren’t your age, whose first language isn’t the same as yours, who do not come from the same social class. Get to know the person sitting next to you. Smile at strangers.

7. Express gratitude. A simple and long-lasting takeaway has been to write down three things I feel grateful for each day. If I can do this, so can you. It’s that law of attraction kind of stuff. It works.

8. Adapt the things you love no matter where you live. Living in communal quarters for three weeks in a remote place surrounded by open-minded people from Iran, Israel, Australia, Hungary, France, Sweden, England, South Africa, Canada, Belgium, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil was the absolute most fun way to remember we are all in this together. And we all have the power to create our destiny. Minute by minute, choice by choice.

Image Credit: Jenny Graham

Autumn Coat Perfection by Sézane

Each time I wear a piece of clothing or shoes by Sézane, I immediately get asked: Jennnnnny where did you get that from?

I’ll share my secret today…I’ve been shopping (online and during each trip to Paris) at Sézane! This jacket is the perfect pop of chic with jeans and a tee at home in LA, yet so versatile I wore it draped over my shoulders at a black tie movie world premiere in London last week.

P.S. this is not an ad and I’ve never met the designer nor been gifted by Sézane. I just really like Morgane Sezalory’s creations. Sending you joyful vibes for a stylish and peaceful weekend.

Image via


I commit to the work that has longevity and meaning. This is one of a handful of mantras for my life, born of the past 21 days in Florianopolis, Brazil. I cannot wait to share so much more of my ROSEMARY DREAM experience with you. IT CHANGED THE WAY I FEEL, THINK, SAY AND DO.

This being human is delicate, beautiful, complicated, simple, fleeting, meaningful. Like Rumi said, this being human is a guest house. Amidst The Rosemary Project, I spent time with someone very special. Over the years he has taught me about the human capacity to love and so it is only fitting that he brought HUMAN into my heart and mind.

Have you seen this deeply humanistic documentary? Shot in 60 countries over three years, filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand interviewed 2,020 women and men in 63 languages. The profoundly personal and emotional accounts are interspersed with stunning aerial footage that offers critical insight into life on earth. It is an experience of immersive and inspirational odyssey, a movement to encourage reflection on the human condition, ignite a conversation around the meaning of our existence, and empower people to make social change.

As I type this, I realize the documentary is a synchronized version of what Rosemary Dream maintains, teaches, offers. Being true to yourself is acting without a guarantee.

A Short Visit

There is a bench inside of a rose garden within a park beside the Pacific Ocean. I sit on this bench, often, to read or write or think or meditate or look up at the sky. Beneath the bench is a plaque. On the plaque is an inscription about a man named Dennis. Dennis died in 1989, according to the plaque. I fantasize that his loving family or dearest friends made the beautiful effort to orchestrate a string of words which sing a song that is Dennis. Dennis: who always took the time to smell The Roses, it reads. I know Dennis, even though we never met.

Vulnerability + The Concept of Time

I was about to post a piece I wrote weeks ago, on the subject of vulnerability. Believing that you are enough. Feeling grateful to even feel this vulnerable because it means you are alive. Most of the post was me revealing relationship stories of romances from the past few years and how being vulnerable made them absolutely beautiful. But then earlier today I was sidetracked by a telephone call which eventually led me to the quote below, and well, here we are, living in the moment of what feels right. I promise the details of the original post will be in my book when it is published. For now, give this thought a really good think…are you going for it in life? Just do it.

For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way. -Tim Ferris

Image Credit: Jenny Graham|Road to Hana, Maui

Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Venice, Italy

I laugh to myself, often. My laughter today emanates from a place of: I somehow managed to spend time at yet another crown jewel of a honeymoon destination and, well, I somehow just honeymooned on my own again. Of course, a honeymoon is typically a shared celebration between two people who have recently committed their lives to one another. For today, come along on an alternate version of a honeymoon, one where you find yourself falling in love with the world, making a commitment to exploration, allowing the journey to reveal itself to you. To echo the words of Alan Keightley, once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to…

A few weeks ago I had a 12 day European adventure, one in which my day job water-taxied me first to Guidecca Island in Venice, Italy. I wandered the grounds of Belmond Hotel Cipriani where orange and yellow butterflies flitted beside me, the sun shone so bright my heart expanded, and the earth’s aroma was as strong as every smile I encountered. This wasn’t an Icelandic volcanic ice climbing expedition nor was it spearfishing in a deep blue Belizean sea, yet it somehow opened up the same kind of self-love and gratitude for being alive. Being still, feeling grounded, paying attention, listening to nature, the opportunities are there each day and sometimes an unexpected spot will bring you right back to where you need to be. The subtle elegance of Hotel Cipriani’s grounds and actual happiness that comes from the wonderful people who work there made each step worthwhile. How do you see the world, no matter where you stand?

Image Credits: Jenny Graham

Faena Hotel, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I highly recommend waking up in Buenos Aires on your birthday with your long distance beau. That’s exactly what I did this February. Southern Hemisphere sunshine and sexy night skies flooded our hours, amidst aimless city walks and tango dancing. Buenos Aires held my heart in its hand and it is a place I will return to again and again. We stayed at Alan Faena’s sophisticated, adept, red and white glamour of a hotel, FAENA. A pool scene fit for royalty, a spa and hammam to melt away the rest of the universe, the best tango show in town, and El Mercado to feed your every desire, Faena Hotel Buenos Aires is a wonderland worth never leaving.