Ever feel like it would be nice to have a little more context for someone in your inbox and social media feed? Since “Next in Mind” has really ramped up in 2020 and gotten new followers I wanted to take a minute and reintroduce myself.
My name is Gwendolyn Joy (yes, it's my given name but Gwen is just fine!) and I live in Jupiter, Florida. I’m a single mom of two boys- Cole (10), my internet wingman and Jake (15), who is awesome off camera and high fives us on his way to shoot hoops. I launched Next in Mind with the end goal of radically improving mental health by bringing life changing meditation skills to children and adults around the world.
But how did I get here?
Learning meditation when I was 8 years old was the single most impactful skill I have learned in life and it is the ONE thing I would teach every child in the world if given a magic wand.
It gave me an operating system of techniques running in the background of my mind for decades. I often found myself teaching my friends since I was little through my adult years. I would lead meditations in school and at just about every company I worked at. It was so second nature to me, I jumped at the chance to share how to do it with anyone who was interested and needed a way to get some calm and and inner peace in their lives. Which is pretty much everyone!
I am from an amazing historic little town called Concord, Ma. and went to college at the University of New Hampshire. The sunshine and ocean always spoke to me, so I headed south to Florida with my soon to be husband.
After checking all of the boxes of a getting a great corporate sales job, getting married, buying a big house in the burbs, and having 2 kids... My picture-perfect life took an unexpected turn when I ended up going through a long, difficult divorce. Gone were the days of carefree backyard BBQ’s where my biggest problem was making the perfect playlist and sangria in time.
I entered the darkest phase of my life and It was hands down the hardest thing I have ever faced. There were times when I questioned everything and my ability to come out of it alive. So dark, alone and questioning.
The one thing that kicked in at my lowest point was meditation. It reminded me who I was and that everything wasn’t just going to OK, it was going to be more than ok. That I had every power inside me to live an amazing life. That my circumstances didn't define how my life story was going to go.
As I emerged from this dark time, I also had massive clarity on who I wanted to be in the world and how I wanted to make an impact on the world.
After working in pharmaceutical sales, fitness, small business development, marketing and franchising I decided to do the thing that made me feel most alive.
I decided to devote my time and career to teaching kids and adults meditation. I knew if all children were taught these superpowers it would help them so much through life. So when challenging times were upon them and they felt they had no one or nowhere to turn, they had themselves and the power of their mind. And the peace of mind it would give parents, knowing they could send their birds out of the nest equipped with that is priceless.
I began spreading the word, teaching kids meditation one on one in their homes, and teaching in school classrooms. I knew right away on this journey that I needed 2 things to happen 1) That kids and parents were on the same page, speaking the same language when it came to meditation and 2) That I wanted to get it to as many kids and families as possible. Which is why I developed MindPowered Kids, an online course for kids and parents to do together, from the comfort of their home, on their own terms. This way they didn’t need to do one on one lessons to learn this life changing practice I am so passionate about.
Here are some tidbits that round out the story.
Spotify is my most used app and I have a playlist for every occasion.
I love wine, cheese, anything with bubbles and a good Bloody Mary
I binge watch Netflix with no shame (just finished the Hand Maid's Tale - wow!)
I’m not always so zen, I sometimes swear instead of breathing deeply, just ask my kids
And by no coincidence, the universe put a special guy on my path that shares the things I love and has pushed me, encouraged me and supported me from the beginning on my dreams. I am forever grateful for him.
I am pretty imperfect. Meditation just helps me navigate this crazy life a little more gracefully.