Bob Woodburn teaches people in the corporate world to juggle as a way to have them experience their lives in a different way. He also likes to hike, meditate and skydive. He lives in the eastern part of Canada and has found his way to PZI retreats in California anyway.

Why did I join PZI? Good question. I live north of Toronto, Canada, which is a long way away, as the bird, or at least Air Canada, flies.

But it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that PZI is an active community of caring and collaborative fellow travellers who passionately support each other — and me.

The teachers at PZI walk the talk, and display an unwavering commitment to catching the simple truth, the big idea, that when we open our hearts and minds and share our voices together, without the usual habitual story lines, and allow curiosity, patience and kindness to enter, we find our real selves. And discover that it ain’t so bad. In fact it’s downright freeing.

This is a long-distance relationship that works! It’s comforting to have company, affirming to have loving feedback, and inspiring to have the fresh new ideas and approaches that the PZI community is continually churning out and sharing with each other. Because the work, and life, can get dry. In fact it’s inevitable, and an interesting part of our life journey.

And this is where the true value of PZI shines. Its unique and creative approach to koan work and its community changes the game. It has certainly helped me change my outlook and get a close-in, intimate look at my life. All of it.

This morning it showed up as the newly blossomed brilliant purple and white crocuses that called me from writing this to come outside and play. Yesterday it reminded me to go easy on myself, and to be curious and plunge in, even in the full and naked light of mistakes, shortcomings, fears and regrets. Other tips and openings it has delivered recently include: go towards difficulties not away, trust my moves, and be patient and kind towards others, and especially myself, as I travel this interesting, heartfelt, and winding path.

The joy, wisdom, humour, compassion and total acceptance with which John leads our ragtag group of wonderfully committed seekers is beautiful to behold and to experience first hand. I use  “ragtag” with great affection because this is a basic, normal cross-section of folks who face the same super busyness, distractions and challenges that consume all of us these days. No matter where we live. Or how we live.

At the simplest level the PZI family kicks up a constant source of tips and reminders that keep me remembering what’s important, real and now! And that helps shift how I see myself and the world, at a very concrete level, day to day. From a big picture point of view, it helps me blow open my heart and my head and yet still stay on my feet.

I am grateful and excited to be on this journey with so many loving and equally curious companions walking hand-in-hand with me. It’s priceless!

So come on and jump in the pond with us. The water is fine and the beach is vast.

– Bob Woodburn



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p.s. You can learn more about Bob’s practice at his website: