Woman follows life’s path to Glenwood Springs

Stina SiegPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kara K. Pearson Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – This is how life is. You never know where you’re going to end up. Those are Joni McGuern’s words, dropped off somewhere in the middle of the conversation. She was discussing her past, giving more of a sense of it, really, than a linear history. From her ski-bumming days, to her three marriages, to the discovery of her shamanism – there was much to be heard.”I love being 74,” she let out. “It’s part of what is. Better get used to it.” She is vital and thin. During an interview she wore burgundy overalls, her white hair pulled back. Behind shiny, blue makeup was a pair of big eyes, completely concentrated.”This is my home,” she said. “I knew when I first came here.” She spoke of the magic of Glenwood Springs and the power of the Rocky Mountains. Though her connection to the town was obvious, it wasn’t her first stop in the Roaring Fork Valley. After graduating from a high school in the Los Angeles area in 1951, she and a friend took a train out to Colorado for a week. They passed through Glenwood, but Aspen was their destination.

She laughed as she recounted the cost of their ski package. For seven days of lift tickets and lessons, along with seven nights of lodging and 14 meals, they each paid $75.”I was a ski-oholic. I just wanted to ski,” she said.The trip touched off a period of traveling, working seasonally at ski areas around the country. She went back to Colorado, California, whatever felt right. Even then, in her late teens and early 20s, she noticed that she had a talent for making things happen. She’d arrive in a town, and she would just find a job. She’d see a man she was interested in, and he’d ask her out. She might not have understood it, but she was starting to feel her power. She began to see there was a bit of destiny in her journey – if she only stopped to see it. As she put it, “Things are laid out in life for a reason. If you’re paying attention, you follow that path.”But it wasn’t always an easy path, and its destination was never clear. At 22, she met her first husband, Mickey, a bartender with an “almost pretty face.” Though she didn’t know why, something inside her told her to commit to him for a while. After two weeks, they were married. After seven years and four children, they were divorced. Though she dubbed the marriage her “seven years of bad luck,” there was no regret in her voice. Every experience she mentioned, good or bad, moved her forward. Why judge them?Her second husband would bring her to this valley. Her third would take her to New Zealand. All the while, she was listening to everything around her, open to what might come next. By her 30s, she saw that this sensitivity to the world, to God, whatever you want to call it, was a real force. She started to get it: She was a healer.She sensed this wasn’t a learning experience. She felt she was simply recalling what she had always known, perhaps in other lives as well as this one. “It was a gradual remembering for me. I always knew I was different from, say, the average,” she explained.

Calling herself a “light worker,” she has always chosen to work with the public. To this day, people will come to her, seeking something. She won’t offer advice, but instead, “a direct channel to the source.” She’s giving them information they need, she explained, but it’s not really coming from her. She is just awake to it.It’s telling her anything is possible, she stressed. That’s the joy she wants to spread.She has taken this “knowing” with her everywhere she’s gone. From Wyoming to Alaska, to Key West – it’s always been there. While she’s open to moving wherever she feels directed, she doesn’t think she’ll stay. So far, Glenwood is the one spot where she always returns.”I’ve traveled a lot of places,” she said. “This is the only place I’ve been that’s called me back. This is my home.”Now, obviously, not everyone believes in shamanism, spiritual powers or past lives. For everything McGuern feels in her soul, there are so many people who never will.So, what’s real? Oh, who knows. But it feels like she does, at least for her own self.Contact Stina Sieg: 384-9111ssieg@postindependent.comPost Independent Glenwood Springs CO Colorado

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