Pandemic World: How My Communal Past Helps Me Cope

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As our modern-day plague began to ripple through the USA, I wondered why community-minded health measures weren’t obvious to everyone? In “Pandemic World: How My Communal Past Helps Me Cope,” I explore how my fifteen years on a hippie commune help me get by today. Maybe it will help you too. I hope you enjoy and share! May all be safe. May all be well.

As published in Honeysuckle Magazine. Click to read the full article:

“In this global pandemic, news from the fronts changes moment by moment, and millions of people are plugged into a whole-world effort: a war to beat a microscopic enemy, ten times as deadly as the flu. With the estimated exponential growth rate, the speed of time seems to have elongated, and the cycle of one day seems like a year or million. Worldwide, the pandemic happened so quickly, yet I feel like I’m watching events unfold in slow motion.”

By Jan Mundo. Photo ©2020 Clifford Chappell and The Foundation


In These Pandemic Times


In these pandemic times, my thoughts, prayers, and heart are with all who are sick, in fear, confused — here and around the world.

In Italy, a well-respected physician, the head of a medical association, has succumbed. Overwhelmed doctors triage patients in hospitals as in wartime, prioritizing treatment to those who have the best chance of survival. The country’s mortality rate from the virus increased in 24 hours by at least 31% to 827; its population of 60 million in lockdown.

The CDC’s Anthony Fauci reports that the COVID-19 death rate is ten times that of the flu. Scary, dystopian times, indeed. Some people are sick of hearing about it, but turning away or panicking won’t solve it. Facing it and heeding the warnings will. The gravity of it, after all, is nothing to sneeze at.

Of course, I’m washing my hands, socially distancing, staying at home, writing, hanging out on social media in communication with you all, and pleased that I can offer headache and somatic coaching sessions by video cam. Yesterday, I delighted in ye olde joy of my youth: talking on the telephone. Someone I knew only online called me, in an “accidental” butt dial, and we spent a couple of hours deep in discussion. It was great!

In closing: Be well. Stay centered. Breathe.

With blessings, peace, and love to you,

xo Jan

March 12, 2020

7 Ways YOU Can Spread Hope in the World

In 1985, Deepak Chopra’s first books helped with my healing path, and I went to a lecture and was quite moved by his gentle yet resolute approach. He was a student of Yogananda, who opened a door for many of us in the 1960s. And yet, I haven’t been plugged in to Chopra’s work for a while.

But yesterday when a friend posted Oprah & Deepak’s “Hope in Uncertain Times,” I signed up and began, even though it was Day 4. You see, my hope has been in short supply lately. And today, I could feel a shift.

I welcome you to try it. The link is below. It’s free for the 21 days.

In my favorite poem of the last several years, “A Brief for the Defense,” Jack Gilbert writes: “To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.”

In these times especially, we must hold within us both the tragedy and the delight of living. Hope is a good place to start.

–Jan Mundo


Are you wondering how you can make a difference during uncertain times? Start creating the future you want to live in with wisdom from Deepak Chopra’s book The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success, with action steps you can take right now to make hope go viral.

Source: 7 Ways YOU Can Spread Hope in the World

What’s Your AQ — Appreciation Quotient?


When I first moved to Manhattan from Berkeley, I was enthralled with the energy of people on the streets, the architectural mix of old and new buildings, cultures, languages, the parks, museums, outdoor concerts, the concentration of people and cars flowing with and around each other. Then there was the light, island light, that illuminated dingy structures into glistening art, making window-pane patterns on neighboring facades.

It was all so different and new, and there was so much to discover in this dense urban jungle. But it hit me early on that I could easily lose the glow, just like anywhere else, through living life. To keep it going, I decided I’d have to pretend I was a tourist–well, my kind of low-key one.

What is it about being a tourist that makes us feel free? We’re unburdened by daily routines, obligations, deadlines, knowing what will happen. Ideally, we take the time to enjoy whatever it is we’re doing, unburdened. Even with plans, our surroundings are different, so we notice them. We’re more open, we explore and delight in colors, textures, landscapes, people, nuances. We rediscover the world through our wonderment.

After this year’s brutal winter, all the plants and trees were still dormant grey and brown in March, then April. It seemed as if they’d just given up and decided it wasn’t going to be safe to come out this year. But then across the street, peeking up through a pipe and plywood scaffolding, I spied the pale yellow lacy blossoms on a single tree. It was so exciting to see a new color that I took a pic and posted it. Wasn’t it beautiful!

When I revisited the whole picture, I was surprised that the scene actually looked pretty dingy and the flowers weren’t all that yellow. I’d been so appreciative of that small bit of difference, that its significance was magnified. As the next blossoms emerged, that first bit of color seemed embarrassingly small to have meant so much. What was I thinking? It was nothing to me now! Each successive wave of colors, blossoms, and scents, all so special and amazing, would wither and recede, finally making way for the lush green umbrella of trees. But then even those, ever-present, would soon go unnoticed.


At summer’s end when those first maples become weary of the heat and their leaves get tinged with gold, sensing their rest is near while we’re still sweltering, I notice. Each year, we ooh and ah over the reds, yellows, and oranges that were just our beloved, but now usual, greens.

I see my Appreciation Quotient in so many areas of my life. I’ll be trucking along, in the flow, getting it done, and then, boom, wipe out. I’ll take a fall, get a cut, a burn, a flu, a migraine, throw out my back. I’m unable to do a thing or am strictly limited in what I can do, forced into downtime. But then, thankfully, there’s the re-inhabiting of my rhythms.

Sometimes I bounce back quickly, but others I have to start on the ground floor and rebuild myself, inch by inch. That’s how my body, my being, seems to do it. During that time, I’m so appreciative for each little step, movement, victory, bite of food, sip of water, bit of energy, lack of pain. At zero, with little capacity to see the bigger picture, I appreciate each moment and what I am able to do.

What determines our AQ? We experience that fresh, bright yellow-green of spring, a new love, the precious people in our lives, the sun’s warmth drawing us into the street to mingle like ants after the storm, and we’re filled with wonder. But then we get bored with the familiar and lulled into complacency.

How do we stay open in the moment and notice what is alive inside and around us? I’m not prescribing, I’m exploring—and perhaps that is the way—and sharing it. Have I told you lately? I appreciate you very much!

Love and blessings,

Jan Mundo

Version 2

Saved By Intuition


Through all the holiday giving, receiving, cheer, poignancy, warmth, angst, and yearning, I always remember the true tale of my friends, whose lives were saved by their intuition. It’s now ten years since the tsunami in the Indian Ocean unimaginably and tragically took the lives of over 230,000 people on the day after Christmas 2004.

It was an intense time for me and my family. During Thanksgiving 2004, we’d almost lost my youngest daughter, Nadine, to a mysterious illness, which had just been diagnosed as cancer a few days prior to the tsunami. I was living in my sweet Berkeley, California, house that Nadine had found for me in 1993 after meeting the owner, Michael.

A builder and woodworker, Michael had been going to Thailand over a few years to study with master carvers and in search of true love, which he found. He married Jiab, a native of the beautiful, popular resort island Phuket. Each year they’d spend from around Thanksgiving to February there.

On Christmas morning, the day before the tsunami, they were taking their regular early morning walk on the beach when Jiab said “we have to leave.” “What?” Michael replied. “We have to go. Something’s not right. We must head inland right away.” Michael agreed, and they did. Early the next morning, when the earthquake hit the Indian Ocean just off Sumatra, and the tsunami barreled through Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and eleven other countries, my friends were long inland.

Jiab had saved their lives by listening to her intuition, as did Michael by honoring her. She knew the spirit and vibrations of the world around her and trusted that something was different and unsafe. Had he poo-pooed her intimate knowing, or had they not acted on it, their lives might have been lost with thousands of others.

I always remember this dramatic instance, feeling with it the import of their choice points: Jiab had an intuition and listened to it. She trusted her inner knowing and its urgency enough to tell Michael, who listened to her and trusted her knowing too. And, importantly, they took action on it. Without acting on her intuition, they would have been walking on the beach when the tsunami struck.

How many times do we listen to that still small voice, those flutterings in our chest or stomach, those messages in our mind that tell us something is wrong or right? How many times do we discount those feelings as paranoia or wishful thinking or make ourselves wrong because we think we’ve blown it, only to find that a deeper meaning, purpose, or lesson was at play? How many times do we “get a sense” and later realize we were on to something all along, and if only we had . . . ?

Sometimes we react in all those ways because our inner knowing has been socialized out of us, by our culture, society, family, or peers, or we’re ridiculed, harassed, or stigmatized for using it. Sometimes using our intuition seems to get in the way of more practical plans or duty or commitments, or it just doesn’t seem to make sense at first glance.

I’m not implying that those who tragically lost their lives weren’t using their intuition or those who lived did. I have no way of knowing, and to assume so would be superstitious. I only know the stories that affect me, but I’m sure there are millions of them about the tsunami and everything else, especially around disasters or tragic events.

As hippies we used to call it “feeling the vibes.” These days I also pay attention to how intuition lives in my body, which for me includes the weather and my environment. Sometimes it’s just about silly stuff, and other times it’s serious.

What arises when you get quiet, align your head, heart, and hara (your gut), and ask yourself, in the bigger and smaller picture, what do I want in the coming year and what do I want to let go of from the past year or era? Take several deep breaths and let your body answer.

I wish that for you too. Thank you for all you’ve been and contributed to me and the world in this past year on this life’s journey. Happy holidays and here’s to a fabulous and magical 2015!

With love,