Pinholes of Peace

As Carl Jung is known for saying, “Only the paradox comes anywhere near to comprehending the fullness of life.” He’s right. I’m grateful for my story and for how I’ve grown. I’m grateful for the struggles and the mistakes. And I’m grateful for the joy and the peace. I’ve laid out a piece of my story here, the most intentional pivot I’ve taken so far. I know there will be more missteps to come. But I’m ready to face them.

I’m grateful to live this life and I’m ready to appreciate its fullness.



JoAnna Baanana
JoAnna Baanana
Mother, Marketer, Writer, and Reader. I’m a mother of two wonderful little humans. I’m also an avid reader, an insatiable learner, and a self-acknowledged survivor. I’m grateful to work at O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) because I’ve learned the self-soothing and restorative craft of writing. I used to resist calling myself a writer because I have a finance degree. I naively thought I needed an English degree to effectively express myself in writing. But now, writer is a title I proudly wear, and writing is something I’ll practice for the rest of my life.

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  1. JoAnna,

    Choosing what’s important for yourself and your children is the wisest and bravest thing to do. Choosing health and to work on yourself. Committing to healing and connecting to your value time and time again. Choosing courage and peace. Choosing self-love over living a life of fear to be loved which wasn’t love anyway. There are so many good turns in your story. You get to choose what’s important. And you did.

  2. JoAnna- BRAVA!
    You are such a brilliant, strong and WISE woman! I love your post. It clearly shows you firmly planted in today, with all the wisdom of your wounds. WOW! You are absolutely spot-on when you wrote “I’m grateful to live this life and I’m ready to appreciate its fullness.” You have many more days ahead to live in strength without fear, courage to be YOU and the freedom to embrace pure joy. More days than those you’ve left in the past, when you lived in fear, making yourself small to avoid conflict, and on high alert for the next trauma.

    I am so happy for you that you have looked in, done the work and have come to know, that deep inner knowing, that you are WORTHY. Not because of any accomplishment, or title, or partner or child – but because you ARE. What a blessing for me that you entered my life and that I have a wonderful Shero to look up to in YOU!

    With love and every good wish for the future~

  3. JoAnna: This is simply riveting. I took a bit of time to respond, because I was absorbing all you shared, and then I watched and listened again. Thank you for being brave, and being vulnerable, and for being you. Three years ago tomorrow, wow. I share your love of books, and your dedication to a better world. I wish I could say I share your courage. I’m working on it. Best to you, my friend, and as my Spanish-speaking amigos say, fuerte abrazos a ti.

    • I recently did an exercise called Living Into Our Values. If your interested you can find it here:

      I mention this because the two values I chose for the exercise were courage and peace. Three years ago, when I began my journey through survival, divorce, and unlearning, my therapist said to the dilapidated and tired JoAnna sitting in front of her, “You are so brave.” I laughed. “Brave?” I said. “I can’t be brave, I’m petrified.” She laughed and said, “Being brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you are scared, but you do it anyway.”

      Because of my experience, I have put so much value into being courageous and peaceful. Those two values were far away for the majority of my life. But as an adult, I’ve learned, I can create my reality. And if I can, I’m choosing what’s most important for me.

      Thank you Byron. For you comment, for your companionship, and for your vulnerability. I’m grateful to have you and your lovely wife in my life.

  4. This is a beautiful post, JoAnna. You have referred to your story in written words; to hear you tell it made it personal in a different way.

    It made me think if the difference between the books we read, the books we listen to, and the personal conversations we have. Does the spoken word make us process the insights the same way as the written word does? As you write in a comment, reading the second or even third time the same text allows us to go deeper. But the paradox here is that the spoken word allows a feeling of relationship less abstract than the written word.

    I am a reader – great reading list btw – because I can’t multitask and it feels sinfully unproductive to just listen while otherwise doing nothing. Why that differs from reading and otherwise doing nothing I don’t know, but it does. But I do like to listen to the voices of the people I sort of know.

    So grateful to have a whole room full of great writers each Thursday. You fill my cup.

    • I just love this comment. I’ve read it at least a dozen times and each time it makes my heart sing.

      I have the same ideas when it comes to audio books. I should be doing something else while listening … But I love your question. Why does that differ from reading and doing nothing else? I’ve been thinking about that idea for a while.

      Also, I think humans are so hardwired to crave connection and belonging. It’s no wonder we love to listen to spoken word. We feel that connection. While written word is more time with our own thoughts and processing.

      Each Thursday I hope we get placed in the same breakout room. I’d love to get to know you better. Since it hasn’t happened yet, would you want to schedule a Zoom call? If so, shoot me a LinkedIn message or email – [email protected].

      Thank you you for your comment. And for being with me on this journey.

  5. Just WOW Joanna!
    The rawness of your story is heart wrenching and heart opening. Thank you for letting us in, so we can all learn from your journey. If not our own story, we all know someone who has a shared experience.
    Thank you for living your life out loud! Your story matters, your voice matters, you matter. #alwayshope #readaboook

  6. Speaking from an open heart can seem so vulnerable yet be the strongest move of all. Naming the truth—in particular, the facts of one’s experience, which no one can disprove—with simplicity and sincerity, and without contentiousness or blame, has a great moral force and such a positive ripple effect. Your word words matter, JoAnna Bennett Your words will change lives, as they convey comfort to others who then know that they are not alone. Your story matters. Because you matter, my friend!

    • Oh Dennis. 😢 I’m crying happy tears over here. I really needed those words today. I’m so very humbled and grateful to be a part of a group where I can be vulnerable and seen. It’s such a powerful thing for the psyche. I’m very lucky to be a part of this group. And I’m very lucky to have found a friend in such a wonderful man. Thank you Dennis. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Your platform has given me a space to be me. And be loved not only despite that fact, but because of it.

  7. JoAnna, first of all, thank you for sharing your story. You are one brave and strong woman, mother. Secondly, your perspective about books resonates with me fully. As I have been there and immersed myself in reading books on sleepless nights when my mind wouldn’t stop racing. They were my lifeline that kept me from watching the reruns of my visualizations about everything that went down and brought the devastating outcome. They were my best friends when I tried to stop my eyes from crying. They were the most helpful distractions when I felt helpless. I know that when I start reading a good book, I will be a different person when I finish it. And then, sometimes I read the same book again to grow even further. Books are jewels that bring out all the gifts of brilliant minds.

    • Yes Ipek! Yes! That is exactly what I mean when I say, “Be free from your mind in the mind of another.”

      There were many a day and night where I needed to be free from my mind.

      And I, too, love rereading the impactful ones. Round 2 and sometimes even round 3, give me so much more depth.

  8. What an eloquent and inspiring story! I am so glad you achieved that epiphany that surpasses all epiphanies: that “transformation is possible.” We don’t have to mirror our upbringing, and we don’t have to be pre-conditioned to think of ourselves in one particular way. Read a book! Free your mind! Great message, Joanna. Thank you.

    • Thank you Mark! I will never stop reading. And advocating for others to do the same. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to listen to my story and connect with my words.

      You are absolutely right, transformation is possible!