Blossom like the winter rose

“The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and signing.”

-Isaiah 35:1-2

Winter represents two different experiences for me.

When I lived on the East Coast, the colder, often snowy season was a time for inner reflection. No permission was needed to seclude oneself, regroup from the holidays and hibernate, like animals intuitively know to do during the winter months.

In the desert of Arizona where I now live, winter takes on a different meaning. Sitting inside on a sunny, 70-degree day feels wrong, like I am cheating myself from the glory of being outside in nature. After walking or hiking, I grab my laptop and run to an outdoor café to write or market my recently launched book, Cancer as a Love Story.

Yet, I’ve faced a unique internal winter of solitude here, when I spent many, many months over the past three years unraveling all of who I knew myself to be. The excitement of starting over was coupled with long stretches of feeling like nothing was happening, that I was stalled. There were many times of terror, chaos and excruciating loneliness.

Change is not smooth sailing from point A to point B; transformation is a lot wobblier than that, including missteps, wrong connections, hard work, and a lot of experimentation.

The journey of healing from cancer, or any other life curveball one may be thrown, requires a letting go of the past and claiming a new more vibrant future. Such courageous work of creating a new mindset can rarely be done alone. We all need others to champion us.

Even after making a five-year dream come true—and publishing my book in November to rave reviews from a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, an award-winning brain expert, doctors, healers, patients and a bestselling author—a period of stillness followed. I met another author this morning who published his book at the same time. He, too, was surprised by the quiet that followed.

I now understand that the initial adrenaline rush is for the writer, not the reader. Readers will continue to come forth, at their own pace, not at the desired timeframe of the excited author. It is another unfolding of a dream that takes time and effort.

Yet, the delays—or spending time in the void of a desert experience (which emotionally feels like a dry time in life, when life feels like a long drought)—are necessary. The gap time of the unknown between the past and future is the time to:

  • strengthen the core beliefs in yourself.
  • set intentions (which are vastly different than “resolutions”).
  • embrace solitude daily to allow for new dreams and whispers of guidance to come forth.
  • take actions out of your comfort zone by doing something new and different every day.

As a result of my stretches of inward time, I now feel like the winter rose in Arizona, just about to bloom, with new opportunities appearing daily. Each time a new possibility pops up, I listen to my strong intuition and ask if the next step is in alignment with my core essence and current needs.

Waiting for the big YES, the one that may require I take a major leap forward, is a little scary. I may be asked to place myself in situations I have never before encountered, coaching or teaching on my feet, in a roomful of people without a script instead of behind a computer screen or a cell phone. Or, I may be required to surround myself with others more technically savvy than me to expand my marketing and writing skill set.

I feel the joy of an upgrade, life expanding in new ways. Settling for the old, the familiar ways that now feel a little too boring and safe, no longer works.

My soul has grown from the time I nurtured it in the void of the unknown. A new sense of peace and aliveness has emerged. I want to scream, “Bring it on, all of the ways you want me to grow, share, laugh and love in this next phase of life.” I stand open-armed and open-hearted.

If you are in a desert experience of your life, feeling stuck or stalled, consider it a gift, a time to find what is inside you wanting to blossom.  Use the waiting period to instill new beliefs and intentions that will sustain and expand you over the long-term.

To learn more about my unique “Creating a new mindset for living” coaching programs, or to hire me to speak, email

Sign up for my coaching by the end of the month and receive a $200 discount on my six-session package. To read testimonials of my leading-edge work using the latest in neuroscience, check out and

Join me in choosing 2018 to be the year to FLOURISH!

In great courage,




Talented horse trainer, cowgirl, blacksmith and artist friend Jess Ann Cullen (pictured left) captured the above photo of a winter rose on her ranch in Cave Creek, Arizona. Jess’ deep spiritual insights, along with her eye for beauty, have added such depth and joy to my life here in the desert as I continue to reinvent myself and guide others in profound ways. 




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  • Marj says:

    Ahhhh, thank you, once again, Gail for your inspiration!
    Cold winter here in Atlanta and feeling like I have been waiting too long and desire to make the right decisions in moving forward in work opportunities and make changes. Sometimes we do need to rest and allow our journey to unfold.
    Looking forward to getting out of the winter rut….collecting info and researching for wise choices in 2018. Yes, it will be a great year!
    Loved your book! You are a wise and wonderful woman.

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Thanks, Marj: January is often a trying month, especially in the East when those winter doldrums set in. It’s at those times, when life feels on hold, that we must challenge our thoughts and beliefs most intentionally. Having an accountability partner or a coach as a sounding board helps a lot to stop spiraling down into that rabbit hole or “rut.” An absence of forward motion does not mean that our dreams will not materialize. Rest and ALLOWING our journey to unfold as you so wisely note is indeed part of the process of creation. In my sequel book to Cancer as a Love Story about my faith journey, I call this period of unknowns as “making space for grace.” Instead of resisting the pauses in life sometimes forced upon us, accept them as a time for mystery–or maybe even play. I’m distracting myself today from waiting for next steps to show up by going on a morning hike. Perhaps something greater than imagined is en route. It takes a great trust in the unknown (where true change happens) and vigilance of focusing our minds and hearts on best outcomes to stay open to the invisible powers at work when nothing externally seems to be happening in our lives. I wish you a most blessed 2018–and know, based on your commitment to thriving in new ways, that much success will manifest in your life! Hugs, Gail

  • Lisa May says:

    Raw, real, impactful. Thank you for remaining authentic and transparent about the solo journey that we all travel, regardless of massive accomplishments and victories, Gail. You are exactly where you need to be to catapult the next phase of growth for you and those you’re to serve.

    Live and Love!


    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Thank you, Lisa. People often don’t want to hear the truth about change or the tenacity it takes to reach new levels of success (and the limbo period that occurs as new ways of being are integrated). I appreciate your valuing my integrity. Blessings, Gail

  • diane says:

    Gail it was very timely to read your blog this morning. It is indeed hunker down time in the east. With an expected snowstorm due tomorrow, today is a teaser day – the sun is shining down brightly. I am listening to a woodpecker outside my window and smiling at his perseverance in a nearby tree. I will add “replace suet cakes” to my unwritten to do list today. And I will soon emerge from my warm cocoon if only to take a ride by the ocean and renew my spiritual energy. You are right, it may seem like a dry season, whether in the actual desert or not, but as you pointed out, it’s time to water in order to make the rose bloom in its own time. I have recommended your book to many-it is beautifully written and a blessing, thank you. And, I am happy to share the news that my children’s book, “Let’s Go! Animal Tracks in the Snow” is in the early stages of publication! Bloom on!

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Diane: I had no idea when I wrote this post that a snowstorm was en route to the East. Enjoy your hunker down time. Thanks for your kind words on my book. I am consistently receiving feedback that the book extends far beyond those touched by cancer. It is becoming for some a handbook to help many maneuver change and growth.

      Congratulations on getting your children’s book ready for publication. I remember fondly the day you told me of how the story came to you.

      Happy 2018-look forward to flourishing with you! Big hugs, Gail

  • Susan says:


  • Art Currier says:

    Gail – I appreciate your reflections on the seasons of life as we do have Winter-Spring-Summer-Fall cycles in nature and in our own perspectives of life’s journey. I think that you would enjoy the work of Richard Leider and Frederic Hudson in this arena. Here is one that is very reflective:

    Have a great rest of January.

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Great to hear from you, Art: Thanks for sharing yet another resource to guide others through the seasons of life. Stay safe and warm today in that Boston snowstorm. Blessings, Gail

  • Bev Wax says:

    Gail, once again your blog truly helped me. Thank you for always writing so honestly and wonderfully. I always look forward to reading your blog. Having you as a coach helped me tremendously too way back when you were on the East Coast. Thanks again!

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Bev: I appreciate your kind words and I am most grateful that you enjoy my writing. Coaching you was pure joy! Just a FYI, should you ever want to collaborate again: I continue to coach many on the East Coast via phone, and it works quite well. Happy 2018. Blessings, Gail

  • Shani Fox says:

    How we hate leaning into the mystery in this country…it’s all about results, and the sooner the better. It’s lovely to see you embrace the stillness, the listening, the waiting. A beautiful reminder to all of us at this still time of year – thank you!

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Shani: I love the way you use the word “mystery” to describe the winter or desert experience. It is such a softer, more welcoming way to embrace the unknown, that sometimes uncomfortable but necessary place from which transformation occurs. Looking forward to seeing what grace brings forth–and to hearing from my readers and clients on the new ways which 2018 unfolds for them, too. Happy 2018! I’m so excited to finally meet “The” wise and compassionate Dr. Shani Fox in person next month when you come to Tempe…the timing feels like another divine gift. Blessings, Gail

  • Cynde denson says:

    Beautifully written Gail. I am reminded of the metaphor of the place of transformation as living between two trapeze bars. We have to let go of one and hurtle through unknown time and space as we move towards that next right and perfect bar coming towards us. I have found myself in this rich and terrifying place at pivotal times in my journey. I am excited about hurtling with you as we explore creating workshops that combine compassionate coaching, neuroscience, and yoga to empower others to shift old patterns to new enlivening mindsets.

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Thanks, Cynde: I am so excited about launching some leading-edge workshops this year that incorporate the MOVEMENT of yoga and hiking along with the coaching and neuroscience. Movement is so helpful in integrating and accelerating change. Many of my clients I used to work with in person in Boston had significant breakthroughs and AH-AH moments when I coached them walking on Crane Beach in Ipswich, Mass. There are beautiful health and wellness spas here, too, near Carefree, AZ, and gorgeous hiking and walking trails nearby, that would be ideal places to teach (and bring people from the East and Colorado) to experience our combined talents. Plus, we both know of great East Coast offerings and retreat centers open to our work. Maybe we’ll take this on tour? And bring along some other thought leaders and change agents who can add their spiritual gifts, as we model the feminine spirit of collaboration!!! Lots of fun experimenting with the NEW ahead:). Ready to fly, Gail

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