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


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.

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.



February is my birthday month. In a beautiful way, I hold nostalgia for it yet entirely look toward a future I have not yet met. We all, quite simply, have so many layers – components – experiences to us and of which make up who we are. Much like you, I have a myriad of practices to grow my existence. Some have been with me my entire life and some are only a few weeks birthed. In honor of the new, short and sweet February, I give you fun cosmic guidance. What if and why not!

The language of astrology represented above is translated in this eccentric, transformative and full of insight chat with Kaypacha.

If you’re seeking more, I recommend checking out Mystic Mamma, Strong Eye Astrology and the gal who led me to Kaypacha, Erin Telford. Happy February!

Image Credit via Pele Report

Let Your Heart Be Light

It is with great sincerity and slight personal shock when I say I am homesick for Brooklyn. Twenty-three months since I moved back to the spectacular City of Angels and I can’t help but admit I am missing me some NYC. Brooklyn brought me back to life after a heart-breakdown and now (oh, the irony!) Brooklyn will forever be the hometown hero of a light in my heart at the holidays. No matter your coast or continent, have yourself a merry little month of Christmas, kids. xx, JBD.

nyc-christmas bk bridge
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight, my Lord
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on, our troubles will be miles away
Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more
Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas right now
Have yourself a merry little Christmas, have yourself a merry Christmas now
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on, our troubles will be miles away
Ooh, here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends

And: for fun, check out this Suspended Forest of some Brooklyn trees.

No Barriers

changetheoutlookJBDWhenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I call my Dad (or sometimes I watch Love Actually). Usually, okay, always, I realize life is simply about changing the outlook and being vulnerable. All of us in a way are climbing blind. That last sentence isn’t a remark from my Dad, although it’s similar to his ever prescient advice. It is a quote I read by a guy named Erik Weihenmayer. Erik is a human being who lives his life knowing what’s within us is stronger than what’s in our way. He is the founder of the non-profit organization No Barriers USA. Due to a rare eye disease, Erik lost his eye sight by the age of 13. Fast forward to May 2001, Erik became the first blind man to reach the summit of Mount Everest. His passion for exploration and a life of adventure led him to create No Barriers, an organization which encourages and leads people to overcome their challenges, to push themselves to succeed in discovering what they are capable of as breathing beings on planet earth. By not limiting himself he has taken the lid off of others’ self-limits. Erik’s story gave me goose bumps and reminded me why I feel lucky to exist. I hope you will choose to read a bit more about him here and feel inspired to be your best self.

Image via this unrelated yet equally rad story.

Radiant Being

I’ve been looking back in order to propel through what no longer serves me. I’ve felt quieter than usual when it comes to JBD the blog. In this meantime, however, JBD the book is slowly but surely navigating a wide open road. Sometimes I get stuck in a sea of thoughts, sometimes it’s a party in the moment and all I want is l i v i n’, ya know? We all experience frustrations, kindness, set backs, triumphs. As I step forward and reboot, one thing remains clear and true in past – present – future:

radiate-loveImage via WO & WE.

Kinsale, Ireland

JBD copyrightPatience is emotionally freeing. Sometimes, when you least expect it, the gift of quiet greets you to open you up for the next big phase of life. The power of patience will now be a chapter in the book I’m writing, all thanks to a lovely land called Ireland. A four day spontaneous road trip morphed into a myriad of life lessons and incredible experiences. One of my dearest friends (who did all of the wrong-side-of-the-road driving, thanks Rebs!) remarked everything is a lesson. Amongst music blaring, windows open, sun shining in, a sprawling Irish countryside and cathartic conversation we acknowledged the distance we’ve come, feeling grateful and ready to airgrab all that awaits.

I shared a bunch of photos and anecdotes on my Instagram feed. More bits of Ireland to follow on the blog, too.

Sip a Guinness, climb a tree, whatever you fancy…hold some space for yourself today.  xx, JBD

Image Credit: Jenny Graham

March Magic


March has me feeling like anything is possible, more than ever. A handful of unexpected, but ultimately positive, changes happened in my personal life last month. The one step at a time theory is everything, all of the time. Keep tuning into how you feel. Question yourself for your own growth. Say no and say yes. March to the beat of your own drum and surround yourself with your kind of high vibe folks.

P.S. here are some sparks of my daily March…

En route to Ojai next weekend, a getaway that doesn’t have me on a plane but feels like an exciting escape!

Hosting friends for a dinner of delicious fresh fish tacos and some cold brews. Homemade yum yum sauce is the trick.

I’m not a gardener, at all. However, I’ve attempted to grow African Violets…and it’s happening.

Homes with a heart are always after my heart. Loving this French home. Each room tells a story.